MICHAEL Flynn notched up another Rodney Parade victory after his Walsall side burgled a 1-0 success against Newport County AFC.

The Exiles will wonder how their former boss was able to toast three points, and back-to-back wins to start the League Two campaign, with his assistant Wayne Hatswell on the final whistle.

The Saddlers hit the front with a scrappy goal and then did a professional, and frustrating, job to take the spoils without having a shot on target.

Evergreen Peter Clarke was majestic at the back at the age of 40 alongside imposing centre-backs Manny Monthe and Donervon Daniels – Walsall will be a nightmare side to chase the game against in the coming campaign.

County had the better of the first half and Aaron Wildig was denied a first goal in amber by an offside flag but it was goalless at the break.

The second half wasn’t as lively and it was Walsall that hit the front after a scrambled effort from a whipped corner, with Exiles defender Mickey Demetriou credited with an own goal.

South Wales Argus:

That was enough to make it six defeats on the spin for County on home soil, even if their performance gave plenty of reason for optimism.

They moved the ball well and mixed it with an imposing Walsall side, while the front pair of Omar Bogle and Offrande Zanzala picked up where they left off in the 1-1 draw at Sutton.

Yet for all that, it was defeat for County.

County’s came short in their bid for promotion last season largely because of a disastrous run-in on home soil with defeats to Hartlepool, Exeter, Crawley, Colchester and Rochdale.

Six of the starters weren’t part of that, so such a streak wasn’t really a factor. Nor, after the reception at 3pm, was the presence of Flynn and right-hand man Hatswell.

After kick-off, it was pretty much like it will be in the 22 other League Two encounters at Rodney Parade; business as usual as captain Matty Dolan stressed on Friday.

Walsall settled well but County went close three times inside 13 minutes.

First Wildig headed in a Matty Dolan cross only for celebrations to be cut short by the linesman’s flag.

The Exiles kept on the front foot and a long throw led to central defender Declan Drysdale nodding against the post then Dolan pinging in a shot that was tipped away by Owen Evans.

Offrande Zanzala was giving the Saddlers defence a headache but it was Isaac Hutchinson that joined Scot Bennett in the book after a crude challenge on County striker Omar Bogle.

The Exiles kept racking up the shots with Sam Bowen curling an effort a couple of yards wide after Bogle laid the ball off after 25 minutes.

Walsall had half a chance in the 30th minute when Andy Williams could only get a thigh to a cross from the right but it was County that carried the bigger threat.

They kept pressing at half-time approached and went close from set plays with Drysdale flicking on a Demetriou header and Zanzala nodding a Dolan cross only for nobody to be in position to tap in.

It was goalless at the break and the second half got off to a sedate start with Walsall making a change after an hour by bringing on rapid Timmy Abraham.

The striker failed to fire with County on loan from Fulham last season, scoring a winner for Flynn at Ipswich in the Carabao Cup and then a pair of EFL Trophy goals.

His arrival was swiftly followed by a Saddlers sucker punch with the visitors scrambling in the opener from a whipped corner from the right.

It should have been level-pegging after 67 minutes only for Drysdale to volley over from six yards after Bogle flicked on a Demetriou long throw.

County called Aaron Lewis and James Waite from the bench in their rescue job then Lewis Collins with 11 minutes to go.

He nearly had an immediate impact only for his cross from the left to go all the way through and be unconvincingly saved by Evans.

That was followed by Rowberry making his final changes, bringing on Liverpool loanee Adam Lewis for a debut down the left and Cardiff prospect Chanka Zimba up front.

Walsall were reduced to 10 men with six minutes to go when Taylor Allen picked up a second caution when stopping Aaron Lewis taking a quick throw.

County pressed but fired a blank as Flynn enjoyed his homecoming.

County: Townsend, Norman, Drysdale, Dolan (captain, Aaron Lewis 68), Demetriou, Evans (Adam Lewis 81), Bowen (Waite 68), Bennett, Wildig (Collins 79), Bogle (Zimba 81), Zanzala.
Substitutes: Day, Adam Lewis Aaron Lewis, Willmott, Waite, Collins, Zimba.
Yellow: Bennett.

Walsall: Evans, Daniels, Clarke, Monthe, White, Williams, Kinsella, Comley, Allen, Hutchinson, Johnson.
Substitutes: Przybek, James-Taylor, Knowles, Earing, Maher, Bennett, Abraham.
Yellow: Hutchinson, Daniels, Allen, Comley.
Red: Allen.
Goal: Demetriou (OG)

Referee: Ollie Yates