THE new era at Newport County AFC started much the same as the old era ended as the side now led by Jimmy Dack went down to a fourth successive defeat.

Justin Edinburgh’s protracted move to Gillingham was finally confirmed two hours before kick-off and ten-man County then went down to a 2-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon.

Goals in either half from giant Dons striker Adebayo Akinfenwa, who also saw a penalty saved by Joe Day, were enough to seal the points after Kevin Feely was sent off for the visitors.

It may have been all change in the dugout but on the pitch Dack named the same team that was narrowly beaten by Shrewsbury Town at Rodney Parade in the final match of Edinburgh’s reign.

There were certainly signs of improvement in that match following the abject performances at Cambridge United and Northampton Town in the previous fortnight.

But County still went into the match with a record of no goals scored and eight conceded in the last two weeks of January.

The uncertainty over Edinburgh’s position certainly played a big part in that run and the hope was that this would be a fresh start after the saga finally came to an end.

Dack and the players, not to mention the travelling fans, will have been desperate for a good start to the new regime.

But it was the hosts who got out of the blocks quicker and there was a sense of inevitability as the hulking presence of Akinfenwa rose to head Wimbledon in front after only 11 minutes.

The Exiles thought there was a foul in the build up but Akinfenwa was given far too much space and time to nod Sean Rigg’s cross past Day.

After a traumatic week it would have been easy for the team to crumble after that early setback but they showed plenty of spirit as they took the fight to their hosts.

Mark Byrne was inches away from firing in a Ryan Jackson cross from six yards out but a home defender just got there first and the chance was gone.

Byrne had another chance just before the break from an Andy Sandell long throw but his snatched effort was straight at former Arsenal stopper James Shea in the home goal.

At the other end most of the threat came down the flanks with Rigg looking lively on the left and David Connolly posing similar problems for the County defence on the right.

Connolly fizzed in a tempting cross ten minutes before the break that really should have resulted in a second Dons goal but none of the four home players reacted quickly enough and County remained very much in the game at the break.

Any hopes of a turnaround went out of the window ten minutes after the break, however, as Feely was shown a straight red card for bringing down George Francomb in the box.

Day easily saved Akinfenwa’s strangely lackadaisical penalty but the writing was on the wall and Neal Ardley’s men dominated the final third of the match.

Akinfenwa finally got his second goal after 72 minutes as he bundled Yakubu off the ball and poked Francomb’s cross past Day.

Substitute Adebayo Azeez almost added a third as he charged down a clearance from Day and the ball looped just over the crossbar for a goal kick.

In the end it was a comfortable win for the hosts and County know they must improve quickly with Tranmere Rovers at home on Tuesday night.

Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Kennedy, Reeves, Oshilaja, Nightingale (Phillips, 46) Rigg (Potter, 69), Bulman, Connolly (Azeez, 70), Akinfenwa, Francomb

Subs not used: McDonnell, Moore, Beere, Tanner

County: Day, Jackson, Yakubu, Jones, Feely, Sandell, Porter (Minshull, 78), Byrne, Chapman (Klukowski, 75), O’Connor, Zebroski (Storey, 60)

Subs not used: Stephens, Jeffers, Flynn, Poole

Booked: Porter, Jones

Sent off: Feely

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 3,817 (County 276)