NEWPORT County AFC gave a global audience – and more importantly a couple of thousand potential regulars – a taste of what they’re about when they gave Manchester United an FA Cup scare.

The Exiles were teetering on the brink at 2-0 down after the Red Devils’ rapid start at Rodney Parade.

Had Alejandro Garnacho squared the ball for the waiting Bruno Fernandes and Rasmus Hojlund then more goals could well have flowed, then we would have been denied another County cup game to remember.

Sunday can now be celebrated like the Manchester City game rather than whispered about like the 8-0 Southampton hammering.

Manager Graham Coughlan frequently speaks about the DNA of County and this was another game when it was displayed.

United didn’t kill the Exiles off… and you really need to make sure you kill the Exiles off, even if it’s Premier League against League Two.

‘We fight to the end’ is the unofficial club motto and that remains even if the players – apart from Nick Townsend and Scot Bennett – change.

Bryn Morris scored from long range, with the help of a slight deflection, and that got the crowd back into it after they had been subdued by the visitors’ professional start.

South Wales Argus: LEVEL: Rodney Parade went mad when Will Evans struck for Newport County against Manchester UnitedLEVEL: Rodney Parade went mad when Will Evans struck for Newport County against Manchester United (Image: Press Association)

It was a good hit that enjoyed a bit of luck but then County produced a moment of real quality two minutes after the resumption.

Aaron Wildig spread to the left, Adam Lewis nailed the delivery, Will Evans produced movement to make Alan Shearer purr.

Evans grafted hard in his first season as a pro but had a tendency to slash at chances, ending with 4 goals in 52 appearances.

Now, after his 19th of the campaign in 37 outings, the former dairy farmer was earning the praise of a Shearer.

Make no mistake, County’s resilience had United wobbling and the atmosphere, which was more sanitised than the raw, spikey one for the 1-0 win against Wrexham, was terrific.

An Old Trafford replay was on, or maybe the greatest of their cup upsets.

South Wales Argus: Newport County manager Graham CoughlanNewport County manager Graham Coughlan (Image: Press Association)

“I was dreaming at 2-2," said Coughlan. "We gave ourselves a mountain to climb and you can’t start like that against that quality of opposition.

“They hit us hard, they were clinical and we learnt what the Premier League is all about.

“But that belief, strength of character and resilience that our dressing room has was there for all to see.

“I would never wave the white flag and that group wouldn't either. It doesn't take a fourth-round cup tie against United and coming down from 2-0 down to peg them back 2-2 for me to be immensely proud of them.

“I love working with this group, they're a brilliant group of lads. It's just unfortunate we couldn't reach our cup final, which would have been a replay at Old Trafford.”

United spoiled the fun with Antony’s finish and then added a fourth in added time.

South Wales Argus: PACKED: Newport County v Manchester United at Rodney Parade, with fans watching from outsidePACKED: Newport County v Manchester United at Rodney Parade, with fans watching from outside (Image: Press Association)

But County produced the goods on their big day and their efforts should ensure that a few of those that bought half-and-half scarves will return in the coming weeks.

The Exiles usually get crowds of around 3,500 (with travelling contingent a big factor) but they will get more than that when Swindon head to town on Saturday (kick-off 12.45pm).

On the horizon after that are home games with Notts County, Gillingham and Mansfield, a trio of promotion contenders.

Those encounters don’t have the glamour of the United game but this County side’s core values of hard graft, tenacity and fighting for each other will still be on display, and they can play as well.

Coughlan’s side were on a seven-match unbeaten streak before Sunday and will be keen to get back to winning ways when they host Swindon.

There are no distractions now. It’s league, league, league.

County are 16th after last Saturday’s action and at the very least will be eyeing a top-half finish, and potentially more.

The campaign will not drift because there is plenty to play at the start of a new era under the ownership of Huw Jenkins. There is a feel-good factor at the club and building to be done.

County didn’t win on their big day but they grasped their opportunity to make the whole of the city proud as well as their core of loyal fans.

Now the club need to make the most of that and convince a few more hundred people to sign up to the Amber Army.