NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn has rubbished claims by Gillingham boss Steve Evans that his side are a long-ball team who were lucky to win Tuesday’s Carabao Cup clash at Priestfield.

County fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to earn a 2-2 draw with a Padraig Amond penalty in the fourth minute of time added on – the fourth spot-kick of the match.

The Exiles then triumphed 4-1 in the shootout to book a second-round tie at home to Premier League side West Ham United, which will be screened live on Sky Sports on Tuesday, August 27 (kick-off 7.45pm).

Speaking after the match, Gills boss Evans told KentOnline: “We had to deal with a bit of an aerial threat and that is how Flynn’s team play, they just launch it.

“I thought we played some good stuff and if we had taken our chances, we could have scored six or seven. We didn’t take our chances.”

Those comments have angered Flynn, who felt his side were the better team after a poor first 45 minutes.

The Exiles boss withdrew defender Lazar Stojsavljevic after just 29 minutes, bringing on striker Padraig Amond and switching to a 4-3-3 formation, and he was delighted with the way they played after that.

“It was tactical,” said Flynn. “We had to change it. I wasn’t comfortable with how we looked [early on].

“It wasn’t just Lazar; we weren’t winning second balls, we weren’t anticipating challenges, we weren’t brave on the ball, we were kicking it out of play.

“That’s not us – we’ve come a long way since those days.

“They were better than us in the first half and we had to make that tactical change, but after that we were the better team in the second half.

“We created the better chances and we played the better football.”

South Wales Argus:

And the statistics appear to back-up Flynn’s point of view with his side enjoying 55 per cent of possession and a similar number of shots and long balls.

“The stats don’t lie; we had more possession and more passes and the long-ball count was exactly the same,” he said.

“I don’t know where Steve was sat but he must have had a bad view. My eyes are still good.

“It’s not the first time Steve has made comments like this about my team and I don’t usually get involved, but I’ve got to look out for my players.

“It was a very proud night for us to beat a team in the division above us and then to draw West Ham in the next round.

“We’ll be bringing a Premier League team to Rodney Parade for the third year in a row and I’m sure it’s one that our fans will all be looking forward to.”

Flynn believes his team’s reputation as a ‘direct’ side is unjust.

“It’s because we work on set-pieces and we use the long throw, but it’s not right – the stats don’t lie,” he added.

“Usually it’s when a bigger team loses to little old Newport and they’ve got to find an excuse.

“That’s up to them. We wish Steve and Gillingham all the best.”

Read more: Newport County 'just launch it' claims Gillingham boss