SEB Palmer-Houlden was once again Newport County AFC’s ‘derby’ hero as they shook off their FA Cup hangover for a 2-1 fightback win against Swindon Town.

The Exiles started sluggishly after giving Manchester United a scare but took the spoils thanks to their strike force at Rodney Parade.

It was goalless at the break and County were fortunate to be level after Swindon were the sharper and more threatening.

The visitors got their reward for first-half dominance at the start of the second half when Paul Glatzel beat the offside trap and calmly finished.

The lead didn’t last long with Will Evans scoring his 20th of the season from close range after a slick 53rd-minute corner.

County then turned it around in the 74 minute when Palmer-Houlden, the match-winner against Wrexham a fortnight earlier, was put through by Aaron Wildig and provided the finish.

The Exiles stayed aggressive in their bid to retain the lead and did just that – albeit after Harry McKirdy struck the woodwork in added time – to continue their push for a top-half finish, and maybe the sniff of a push for the play-offs if things go remarkably well.

It was another memorable afternoon at Rodney Parade against rivals from nearby for the Amber Army, who haven't seen their side lose a league game since the start of October.

South Wales Argus: TUSSLE: County's Scot Bennett battles with Swindon's Dawson DevoyTUSSLE: County's Scot Bennett battles with Swindon's Dawson Devoy (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Boss Graham Coughlan made one change to the XI that went up against Manchester United with Matt Baker in for midfielder Harry Charsley, who dropped to the bench.

New striker Luke Jephcott was also a substitute along with the fit-again pair of centre-back Kyle Jameson and forward Offrande Zanzala.

With the bench dropping from nine to seven, midfielder Nathan Wood (now on loan at Cork City), left-back Matty Bondswell and forward Kiban Rai were the changes.

Baker, who had dropped out of the starting line-up after a pre-United knee injury, slotted in on the right of the defensive three to add some pace with Scot Bennett moving to midfield.

County made a rapid start with a dangerous Adam Lewis cross from the left and a blocked Aaron Wildig shot inside a minute.

Swindon countered with an attack down the left that led to an early booking for Shane McLoughlin for dragging down Williams Kokolo.

Rather than cross, Dawson Devoy whipped in a low shot that had Nick Townsend scrambling but the Exiles were saved by their right post.

The visitors kept their foot down and Glatzel got in behind Lewis but was denied by a James Clarke block then former County loanee Jake Cain tried his luck from distance but Townsend saved easily.

Swindon were a threat with their lively players, plus the experienced Charlie Austin, in the final third while the Exiles were unable to build up a head of steam with the whistle of Matt Corlett frustrating them.

The Robins applied pressure through set pieces – three corners plus free-kicks inside the first half hour – but County held firm with Townsend taking command.

Devoy wastefully shot over the bar from a Glatzel cut-back in the 31st minute as the visitors continued to look the more likely until Seb Palmer-Houlden crafted a chance inside the box only for his drive to be kept out by Jack Bycroft’s strong right hand.

Swindon should have had the opener in the 39th minute when a counter attack – which continued despite a crude late tackle by Bennett, who was subsequently booked – ended with Hepburn-Murphy shooting over from Devoy’s cross from the right.

The Exiles were lucky to still be level at the break after the Robins had been sharper of both thought and action.

Coughlan responded by making a change with Charsley on for Bennett, who had a tough first half and had received treatment.

The manager also tinkered with the shape by moving Matt Baker to right-back and McLoughlin into midfield but his side were soon chasing the game.

Glatzel timed his run and latched onto a ball over the top before beating Townsend in a one-on-one.

It was no more than Swindon deserved but that goal woke County up and they levelled thanks to work on the training ground.

South Wales Argus: CELEBRATION: Will Evans put County level with SwindonCELEBRATION: Will Evans put County level with Swindon (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

A corner was neatly worked to McLoughlin down the left and he crossed for Evans to score from close range.

County suddenly had a spring in their step but it took good defending by Baker to keep them on level terms after Lewis had been skinned down the left with Glatzel’s shot cleared off the line.

From there to the other end with another training-ground move from a free-kick ending with Bryn Morris curling in a long-range effort that was going in until Bycroft got down well to his left to save one-handed.

Former County loanee Harry McKirdy, who returned to Swindon on deadline day, was called into action for the last 20 minutes as the visitors attempted to get control back.

Instead they fell behind when Evans went up for a header and the ball fell to Aaron Wildig, who lofted a ball over the top for Palmer-Houlden.

The Bristol City youngster, hero against Wrexham, kept his cool to put his side in front.

It should have soon been 2-2 but Sean McGurk failed to hit the target from close to the penalty spot after taking an age to get a shot off.

Coughlan added fresh legs with seven minutes left in a bid to secure the spoils, bringing on full-back Lewis Payne and forwards Jephcott and Zanzala.

Those aggressive chances helped to keep Swindon at arm’s length entering seven minutes of added time, but County then had a lucky escape.

McKirdy drove at the defence and had a crack from distance, beating Townsend but hitting the right post.

Swindon will wonder how they lost. County won’t care.

County: Townsend, McLoughlin, Baker, Clarke, Delaney (captain), Lewis (Payne 83), Bennett (Charsley 45), Morris, Wildig (Jephcott 83), Evans, Palmer-Houlden (Zanzala 83).

Substitutes not used: Maxted, Jameson, Waite.

Yellow: McLoughlin, Bennett.

Goals: Evans, Palmer-Houlden.

Swindon scorers: Glatzel.

Referee: Matt Corlett.

Attendance: 5,912.