IT was men against boys at the Woodspring Stadium and for 75 minutes the Newport County AFC boys dominated against Weston-super-Mare.

First half goals from Aaron Collins and Dafydd Jones gave an Exiles side containing nine teenagers a commanding lead.

They were denied victory after conceding two late goals to their vastly more experienced opponents but this was a night when the County kids showed their exciting potential.

With manager Terry Butcher away on a scouting mission his assistant Russell Osman was in charge of a starting XI with only goalkeeper Rhys Taylor and forward Alex Rodman over the age of 20.

The new names on the team sheet were right-back Cedrick Mpadi and left-back Cai Smith, while Sam James, Jake Young and Andrew Evans were on the bench alongside goalkeeper Joe Day.

At 28 Rodman was a decade older than most of his teammates and he took the captain’s armband and the early initiative with a superb cross from the right wing.

Collins kept his header on target and it was well stopped by Dan Jackson in the home goal.

But there was no stopping the youngster’s next effort three minutes later as he lashed the ball in from at least 25 yards.

It swerved and dipped beyond a hapless Jackson and into the centre of the goal to audible gasps from the small crowd.

Realistically only Taylor, Rodman and Regan Poole are likely to start at Cambridge United on August 8 but Collins, Tom Owen-Evans, Lewis Bamford and Kieran Parselle all enhanced their chances of being involved.

Collins in particular really gave Butcher and Osman something to think about with a superb display in the final match of pre-season.

Mpadi and Smith gained valuable first team experience and Corey Shephard and Dafydd Jones again showed that they could have a bright future with County.

Rodman nearly made it 2-0 with a free-kick that was cleared off the line by Kane Ingram and County did get the second their energetic display deserved ten minutes before the break.

Collins was the provider this time as he raced clear of a static defence and pulled the ball back for left winger Dafydd Jones to score with ease at the far post.

Taylor wasn’t called into action until the final minute of the half as he palmed away a Bradley Ash half volley before punching clear from underneath his bar from a resulting corner to maintain the Exiles’ two-goal cushion.

That was Taylor’s first and last involvement as he was replaced by Day for the second half and the former Peterborough stopper was slightly more involved.

He did well to beat out a shot from Dayle Grubb but could only watch helpless as Ash dragged his shot wide from six yards out.

Day also raced out of his area to come to come to Mpadi’s aid in one of several mini flare-ups that threatened the friendly spirit.

They do say seagulls are becoming more aggressive and the Seagulls didn’t hold back but the County youngsters also showed they can mix style with steel.

And they had to dig in at the end after the hosts pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining.

Captain Tom Jordan, son of Scottish legend Joe, headed powerfully towards goal and Day did well to get a hand to it but substitute Scott Wilson was on hand to smash the rebound in.

Day again saved superbly from sub Ollie Barnes but from the corner the striker lashed in at the far post to level four minutes from time.

That was hard on the young County team and it could have been worse but Day prevented a cruel defeat by denying Ash and then Wilson.

County: Taylor (Day, 46), Mpadi, Smith, Bamford, Poole, Parselle, Rodman, Shephard, Collins, Owen-Evans, Jones

Subs not used: Sam James, Jake Young, Andrew Evans