TWO late goals helped Newport County AFC to a second successive pre-season victory at Port Talbot Town.

It was fun by the seaside for the Exiles, who won out thanks to goals from two academy graduates and a new signing on what was another valuable work-out.

Boss Butcher opted to switch to a 4-3-3 system with Tom Owen-Evans deployed in an advanced role and trialists Elliott Scotcher and Branimir Kostadinov were also given starting roles to impress in attack. University student Dave Vincent was also given a start, playing alongside veteran Matt Taylor, with Regan Poole recalled to the substitutes bench.

It was a nostalgic clash for County’s new left back Scott Barrow, who returned to where it all began in his career, having started out at Victoria Road before moving to Tamworth in 2010.

The home side featured ex-County striker Cortez Belle among their substitutes – he’s returning from injury – and troubled former Cardiff City winger Leon Jeanne also featured, though he started.

The Exiles were looking to build on their opening pre-season clash in midweek when they beat local side Undy 5-3 at Dragon Park, but this contest against a Welsh Premier League stalwart side never looked like producing similar fireworks.

Newport were almost entirely dominant in the first half, albeit took them a good 20 minutes before they established themselves in the contest.

New players don’t click on the field overnight and it was encouraging to see the Exiles improve throughout the half when only good goalkeeping from Stephen Cann kept the hosts in the match.

A firm tackle from Kostadinov almost set them on their way when he allowed Mark Byrne to find Lenell John-Lewis with a ball over the top, but he fired over.

The Exiles then threatened from a set-piece, but Kostadinov’s header was tipped over the crossbar.

The Bulgarian was enjoying a fruitful afternoon and he was again involved with Elliott Scotcher’s volley was well held by the goalkeeper.

The duo almost combined again on 36 minutes, Kostadinov beating the offside trap and lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper, but Scotcher’s header was blocked on the line by the covering defender.

Butcher allowed most of his starting XI a long run-out with another game to follow at Bath on Tuesday night.

The second period began exactly as the first did, with little action to write home about, but the contest turned on its head around the hour mark with two goals in two minutes.

The hosts opened the scoring with their first attempt in the contest, Joe Clarke getting a feint touch to a Chris Jones freekick as the Exiles failed to correctly pick up their men.

It was a typical pre-season goal to concede, but the Exiles quickly found the parity they deserved in a contest they had largely dominated, with Tom Owen-Evans racing clear to lob Cann perfectly on 61 minutes.

It capped another good display from the youth graduate and it was extremely heartening for County fans to see Owen-Evans joined by Regan Poole for the last 20 minutes, the defender interestingly slotting into a defensive midfield role on his return from injury.

Substitute goalkeeper Conor McFenton would have been sent off in a proper game when he handled outside the area with John-Lewis clean through on goal, but the goalkeeper received just a yellow card in this one and new father Byrne failed to find the target with the freekick.

McFenton then denied John-Lewis more legitimately as County chased a winner, which duly arrived on 86 minutes when sub Regan Poole beat the offside trap and showed real vision is squaring for Dafydd Jones, who couldn’t miss with the goal at his mercy.

It was a nice moment for two youth products and County even added gloss to proceedings when Barrow crashed a freekick in off the underside of the crossbar.

Port Talbot: Cann, Jones, De Vulgt, Fowler, Sherman, Clarke, Jones, Jeanne, Brooks, Bowen, Hood

Subs: McFenton, Belle, Langley, Rose, Barber, Bell, Kostramin, Georgievsky

County (4-1-2-1-2): Day, Holmes, Barrow, Vincent, Taylor, Twumasi, Byrne, Scotcher, Owen-Evans, Kostadinov, John-Lewis