THIS match won’t make the Newport County AFC FA Cup highlights reel, but it will live long in the memory of defender Shane McLoughlin as his two goals ensured the Exiles are in the hat for round two.

Manager Graham Coughlan called on his side to make more magical FA Cup memories before kick-off and, while this game was largely forgettable, victory means they still have the chance to take on one of the Premier League big boys once again.

McLoughlin was the hero, rifling in the opening goal after 20 minutes and sealing the win with a long-ranger stunner 10 minutes from time after the Exiles soaked up plenty of pressure from a limited Oldham Athletic side.

The win also means Coughlan’s men put Tuesday’s EFL Trophy defeat by West Ham United under-21s behind them and they should be in confident mood when they return to League Two action at home to MK Dons next week.

The team sheet showed four changes from midweek with McLoughlin, Declan Drysdale, Aaron Wildig and Will Evans replacing Lewis Payne, James Waite, Nathan Wood and Kiban Rai, as manager Graham Coughlan reverted to the starting XI that won so impressively at Gillingham a week ago.

With Jonny Maxted still out due to illness, 16-year-old goalkeeper Fraser Needham was again on the bench alongside fellow academy prospect Alfie Young.

Coughlan named only seven of nine substitutes permitted in the cup, underlining the continuing injury problems.

But, with the rain having finally cleared and Autumnal sunshine on the lush Rodney Parade turf, County started in confident mood.

Bryn Morris stung goalkeeper Mat Hudson’s hands with a half-volley from distance early on and Omar Bogle and Will Evans looked hungry for more goals against the National League outfit.

The Exiles did enjoy a big let-off after 14 minutes when Scot Bennett got away with a woefully under-hit back-pass as James Norwood made a mess of his attempted chip over Nick Townsend.

And they took full advantage of that slice of luck to forge ahead six minutes later.

Matty Bondswell’s cross from the left missed everyone in the middle but found McLoughlin at the back post and the right wing-back drilled into the bottom corner.

Oldham defender Mark Kitching was perhaps fortunate to escape with a yellow card for bringing down Evans soon after the opener when another referee might have judged him to be the last man and reached for the red.

County continued to push forward and Drysdale saw two shots blocked after good work by Bogle out wide, before the centre-back also had a header cleared off the line.

The visitors created almost nothing in the first half, but they would have been level at the break had Townsend not pulled off a stunning one-handed save to keep out Joe Nuttall’s close-range header in the 44th minute.

County again started on the front foot in the second half and Bogle poked wide from Evans’ cross.

But there were still sloppy moments at the back and a misplaced pass allowed Norwood a run on goal.

He tried to square the ball for the unmarked Nutall, who would have had a tap-in, but Ryan Delaney produced a goal-saving block to preserve County’s lead.

In an end-to-end start to the second half, Wildig then saw a goal-bound effort hacked off the line and behind for a corner as he tried to convert a clever cut-back from Evans.

Having been forced into a change because of an injury in the first half, new Oldham boss Micky Mellon made a second substitution as he brought on Alex Reid for Nuttall just before the hour mark.

And striker almost had an instant impact as he controlled a high ball over the top and forced Townsend into a smart save at his near post.

Coughlan soon had to make a change of his own as Matt Baker hobbled off to be replaced by Nathan Wood in an attacking move.

And Drysdale was also withdrawn after treatment and replaced by Payne, to add to the injury worries.

With Oldham pushing forward, the home crowd was no doubt braced for a tense ending.

But McLoughlin’s second strike – a rocket from at least 25 yards – settled the nerves and kept County on course for more FA Cup excitement, with the second-round draw taking place on Sunday afternoon.

County (3-4-1-2): N Townsend; R Delaney, S Bennett, D Drysdale (L Payne, 69); S McLoughlin, B Morris, M Baker (N Wood, 64), M Bondswell; A Wildig; W Evans, O Bogle;

Substitutes not used: F Needham, J Waite, K Rai, O Thomas, A Young;

Booked: B Morris, N Wood;

Referee: D Middleton;

Attendance: 2,541.