NEWPORT County finally turned possession and panache into points on Saturday as Justin Edinburgh’s men put the boot into the Cobblers at Rodney Parade.

On the back of their best performance in ions against Cambridge on Monday, County were determined to produce a similar display against Northampton, safe in the knowledge that the level of quality displayed on Monday would be good enough to beat most sides in League Two.

And for an hour County did exactly as they set out, only this time they got an early goal and never looked back, scoring three times either side of the interval to exert complete control of the contest.

They most certainly blotted their copy books by managing to somehow turn Lee Minshull’s oh so easy free header that made it 3-0 into a decisive, match winning goal, County all over the place in the final moments of the game as Northampton laid siege in searching for an unlikely equaliser.

However, it is, we were reminded on Monday by Justin Edinburgh when the Exiles played brilliantly but only drew; a results business, so it would be churlish in the extreme to focus too much on County’s wobbly finish as opposed to their overall display.

For the second time in six days the Exiles were highly impressive, dominating possession, pressing all over the park and showing real variety in their attacking intent.

The midfield tandem of Adam Chapman and Mark Byrne is functioning beautifully for County at the moment and the duo are combining exceptional passing with combativeness.

That’s allowing wingbacks Robbie Willmott and Ryan Jackson to pick their opportunities and get forward time and again and County’s attacking play is rampant when they are in full flow.

With Byrne and Chapman exerting control on games and stamping their authority, Minshull is given a license to attack and he could’ve been on the scoresheet in each of Newport’s last four games.

Even when the Exiles were at their best last term they didn’t have such variety in their attacking play and that will boost Edinburgh as he looks to preserve their unbeaten run this week at Tranmere and Shrewsbury.

To go four unbeaten against Burton, Portsmouth, Cambridge and Northampton with an eight point haul is no easy feat and Edinburgh will be keen to maintain the form that suggests this run represents a turning point as opposed to a false dawn after a pretty miserable eight months in 2014.

The Exiles flew out of the traps and were by far the more likely side to make something happen in the opening exchanges against Chris Wilder’s in-form side; Byrne flashing wide after Willmott and Chris Zebroski combined on ten minutes, a chance that should’ve been taken.

However, fears that we were about to witness the Cambridge clash all over again were allayed eight minutes later when Newport opened the scoring.

There was a touch of irony about the goal, Newport, a side who missed chance after chance against Cambridge grabbing the advantage courtesy of a goal scored as a consequence of poor finishing.

The visitors couldn’t clear and eventually wilted under sustained Newport missing, a couple of players miscuing the ball before Byrne’s shot that was deflecting wide was intercepted by Zebroski who bundled home.

It was far from pretty but Newport and in particular their strikers really needed a goal by any means and it gave the Exiles the confidence to keep pushing forward.

County dominated the game because they pressed high and fast, O’Connor and Zebroski the first line of attack but also the first phase of defence.

Only once in the first period did the visitors call Joe Day into action and when they did, with the score poised at 1-0, he produced a tremendous save at full strength and low to his left to deny Ivan Toney’s lashed effort.

A key moment as Newport’s lead was doubled just after the half hour as more sustained pressure reaped a reward, Northampton able to block Byrne’s blast only as far as Darren Jones who got over the ball and blasted it, his effort taking a deflection off Ryan Creswell as it flew past on-loan Spurs goalkeeper and Scotland U21 international Jordan Archer. The strike looked on target shouldn’t trouble the dubious goal panel.

The Exiles deserved the supremacy on the scoreboard but the sight of the Northampton players well before the end of the half time interval and two changes from Chris Wilder at the break signalled their intent.

County needed the cushion of a third and they got it within minutes of the restart in bizarre circumstances when Minshull somehow had the freedom of the penalty box with only Darren Jones for company as he was able to nod home Willmott’s floated centre, atrocious marking from a routine set piece.

That seemed to be game, set and match for County who missed two fine chances for a fourth, substitute and debutant Joe Pigott flashing just past the post twice.

And it nearly proved costly, the Cobblers had a goal ruled out for a push and then did get one back, Lawson D’Ath on as a sub running at Newport’s tiring rearguard and lashing home.

It was a fine goal and the Cobblers struck again five minutes before the end when the red-hot Marc Richards nodded home from close range from Daniel Alfei’s centre.

It was suddenly panic stations for County who benefitted when Wales U21 international Alfei kicked fresh area during a frenetic injury time, but they did hold on and will reflect on a week where they at the very least recaptured their form from a year ago and accrued four valuable points.

Newport: (3-5-2): Day, Feely, Jones, Hughes, Jackson (Sandell 69), Wllmott, Chapman (Klukowski 78), Minshull, Byrne, Zebroski, O’Connor (Pigott 65)

Subs not used: Pidgeley, Parker, Flynn, Jolley

Booked: Feely

Northampton: (4-4-2): Archer, Tozer (Alfei 46), Robertson (O’Toole 46), Diamond, Cresswell, Hackett, Watson (D’Ath, 69) Byrom, Carter, Toney, Richards

Subs not used: Duke, Moyo, Collins, Ravenhill

Booked: Watson

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 2875