GOALS from Padraig Amond and Robbie Willmott earned Newport County AFC all three points against Exeter City at Rodney Parade on New Year's Day. Here's what we learned...

1. County started 2018 as they mean to go on

The Exiles began the New Year on a high as they recorded their first home win over Exeter City since September 1986.

More importantly, it was a first League Two win at Rodney Parade since October 7 and a much needed one with the three points ensuring that the play-off places remain within their reach after 26 games.

2. Small squad produced a big effort

Exeter made five changes but Michael Flynn didn’t have the luxury of squad rotation with Mark O’Brien suspended, three others out injured and several still feeling the effects of a sickness bug.

Tom Owen-Evans was the only one to drop out but the hosts looked much fresher from the start, with the 10 playing their second match in three days all giving 100 per cent for the cause and over-running the visitors.

3. Labadie learned from Boxing Day red card

Joss Labadie returned from his one game ban and immediately showed what County had missed at Cheltenham as he hit the post inside two minutes.

The skipper was in the thick of the action throughout, linking defence and attack, and showed restraint in not reacting to some heavy tackles.

4. Slow start to second half nearly proved costly again

It’s been an Achilles heel for County for far too long and it reared its head again as they dominated the first 45 minutes only to sleepwalk out of the changing rooms for the second period.

Exeter could have scored three in the 10 minutes after the restart and the Exiles were lucky that they only conceded one before digging deep to reassert their superiority.

5. Willmott can be a match-winner in his best position(s)

Robbie Willmott made no secret of his love for the club when he returned after two years away last summer and this was his first County goal since September 2014 when he netted in a 1-1 home draw with Cambridge United.

He has often suffered for his versatility this season and struggled to shine at wing-back or as a central midfielder. But, starting wide in a front three, he showed what he’s capable of by creating the first goal. And he then scored a superb second after switching to play as a number 10 behind the strikers.