MANAGER Dean Holdsworth said he wanted his team to play like Manchester United, but they outperformed the Premier League champions on Saturday.

While Sir Alex Ferguson’s men went down to a 3-1 defeat at Everton there were no such problems for Newport County at Hampton & Richmond as they continued their unstoppable march towards the Blue Square South title.

Two more goals from the frankly unplayable Craig Reid, the second from the penalty spot, a first of the season for Wayne Turk and a deserved late strike from Sam Foley gave the Exiles perhaps their most comfortable win of the season.

Most observers felt the performance ranked among the team’s most impressive in a campaign packed with highlights, but Holdsworth was not among them.

The boss was disappointed that his team appeared to take their foot off the gas after racing into a 3-0 lead after 36 minutes and effectively ended the game as a contest.

In truth, the home side offered so little resistance that it was probably inevitable that the County players would look to conserve their energy after the break, particularly with tonight’s match at Worcester City coming just 48 hours later.

And the first 45 minutes, in which Holdsworth’s men racked up an incredible 16 shots on goal, were more than enough to send the travelling army of fans home happy.

There was one change from last week’s 0-0 draw at Chelmsford, but what a change with Reid returning from his hamstring strain and replacing Scott Rogers in the starting XI.

It made for a very attacking line-up, with Danny Rose partnering Turk in the middle, Charlie Henry and Kerry Morgan on the flanks and Foley and Reid dovetailing beautifully up front.

Foley and Henry both went close to opening the scoring in the first five minutes, but almost inevitably, it was Reid who broke the deadlock in the seventh minute with a real touch of class.

As with many of the best moves of the first half it started with left-back Jamie Collins.

He floated a long ball forward for Reid who beat the offside trap and, with home ’keeper Matt Lovett off his line, the striker lobbed the ball into the net as if he was in a training session.

That he then received a booking for revealing a message to his sick mother under his shirt was a bad joke but there was no stopping Reid or his partners in crime.

Hampton were inadvisably playing a 3-5-2 system which granted County far too much space to wreak havoc and Reid, Rose and Paul Cochlin all went within a whisker of adding the second before Turk took centre stage on 34 minutes in the move of the match.

Once again it started with Collins finding Reid. He played a quick-as-a-flash one-two with Henry before feeding Turk, who fired home from six yards out to put the seal on a fantastic team goal.

And two minutes later it was game over as Reid sent Lovett the wrong way after being tugged down in the box.

Holdsworth is correct – the second half was something of a non-event before Foley’s fourth with a header from a Rose corner in the 93rd minute.

The home side didn’t seriously threaten Glyn Thompson’s goal until the 66th minute, when substitute Ian Hodges headed onto the bar from five yards out and Turk cleared up field.

There was concern for County followers when Chris Todd came off the bench to replace injured Gary Warren after just three minutes of the second period and the captain must be a doubt for tonight’s match.

The Exiles should have had a second penalty on 69 minutes when Henry was chopped down in the box but the referee was perhaps feeling sorry for the home side by that point.

New loan signing Stuart Douglas was given just 12 minutes to impress on his debut as Reid departed for a hard-earned rest to a standing ovation.

And the man who scored a hat trick for Bath City at Spytty Park last March to inflict County’s last home defeat looks like a useful addition to the squad.

With so little action it’s hard to make a full assessment of the dreadlocked star but he did enough to suggest he will be a viable option to replace Reid if and when he’s required to.

It was nearly a dream debut for Douglas when the ever-impressive Morgan slipped him through one-on-one with Lovett in the final minute but he snatched at the chance and saw his shot soar 10 yards over the top.

And so it was left to Foley to put the seal on another fantastic afternoon for everyone connected with the club, and perhaps take the edge off tough taskmaster Holdsworth’s post-match dressing-room dressing down.

Nobody’s perfect, but this season at least Newport County are pretty close.

Hampton & Richmond: Lovett, Beckford, Matthews, Jeffrey, Inman, Wells, Lake (Kanjor, 83), Collier, Dundas (Hodges, 60), Yaku (Tarpey, 68), Tanner.

Subs not used: Gaisie, Robinson.

Booked: Jeffrey.

County: Thompson, Bignot, Collins, Turk, Warren (Todd, 48), Cochlin, Rose, Henry (Rogers, 70), Reid (Douglas, 78), Foley, Morgan.

Subs not used: Morris, Blackburn.

Booked: Reid, Morgan.

Referee: I Crouch.

Attendance: 742.

Argus star man: Reid.