NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn says his players showed how much they wanted to stay in the competition after last night’s crazy Carabao Cup victory at Gillingham.

County came back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to level deep into stoppage time before beating the League One side 4-1 in a penalty shootout.

Gillingham were awarded three penalties in the 90 minutes by referee Trevor Kettle but Exiles goalkeeper Nick Townsend saved one before stopping another two in the shootout.

Tristan Abrahams, who had made it 1-1 on 84 minutes before Padraig Amond made it 2-2 from the spot on 94 minutes after Mikael Ndjoli was sent off for the hosts, then stroked home the winning penalty in the shootout.

Flynn’s men were 4-1 winners with substitutes Josh Sheehan, Amond and Mickey Demetriou also converting their penalties.

County will now host Premier League West Ham United in round two at Rodney Parade on August 27, unless the tie is moved for TV coverage.

“It was a game of two halves,” said Flynn, who made nine changes from Saturday’s draw at Cambridge United.

“We were very poor in the first half and we could have been 3-0 down. But in the second half we could have been 3-1 up. It was crazy.

“A couple of the boys who came in looked nervous because it was their first start.

“A couple didn’t know what to expect and that’s the reason I had to change it around – to get them up to speed.

“In the second half, they showed what good players they are.”

South Wales Argus:

Flynn said before the tie that he wasn’t taking the competition seriously and even suggested that fans should “stay at home” rather than make the long midweek trek to Priestfield.

But he was pleased to deliver a win for the small band of travelling supporters who did attend.

“I’m delighted with the way the team came back and the amount of fight they showed, because we wanted to stay in the cup. We value it,” he said.

“It’s not a priority and I’ve been honest about that but I think we showed how much we want to be in the cup.

“In the past we didn’t have the squad to do it but this is an important win against what I think will be a decent League One team.

“We kept going to the end, kept our unbeaten run going and we’re in the next round. I’m delighted.”

Read more: Newport County beat Gillingham on penalties to seal West Ham tie - match report