Teenager Antoine Semenyo grabbed a late, late winner for Newport County – and his effort flew in more than 97 minutes after their first goal.
Midfield player Matty Dolan fired Newport in quick fire style, scoring after only 46 seconds, and then Semenyo struck eight minutes into second half injury time to clinch a 2-1 home win.
There can rarely have been a longer gap between two goals for one club in a Football League match and manager Michael Flynn said: “The perfect way to win, scoring right at the beginning and right at the death of the game.”
Victory means Newport have earned 27 points from their opening 13 League Two fixtures, their best ever tally at this stage of a Football League season.
Semenyo, an 18-year-old playing for County on a season-long loan from Bristol City, is attracting Premier League scouts to Exiles’ matches.
Manchester United have watched the London-born forward, who has scored three goals in seven starts.
The Robins can recall Semenyo in January, but he says of his time with Newport: “It’s fantastic, the best experience.
“I love the atmosphere at Rodney Parade. It’s electric.”
Manager Michael Flynn has linked with Jamille Matt and Padraig Amond in attack at times and Semenyo says: “I’m learning a lot from them. I like to hit the ball hard when shooting, but they’re telling me about placement and controlling my shot. I am adapting.
“When we pass the ball the football is great. There are long balls here and there, but we’ve got Jamille up there and he is a big, tall giraffe and when he knocks it down we’re ready.
“Jamille is not the quickest, but in the air he’s unbelievable . When flicks it down Podge [Amond] or I will anticipate.”
County are unbeaten in their last six league and cup fixtures and manager Michael Flynn said: “I’m buzzing for Antoine. It was frustrating before he went on, but he scored the winner and that’s what he can do.
“We weren’t quite at our best, but we defeated a good team and that shows how far we have come and how far we can go.
“It is a massive, massive win and I am absolutely delighted for the players. We are a great group who always keep going, an extremely fit bunch.”
Robbie Willmott returned from suspension, but was injured and carried off on a stretcher after 76 minutes and Flynn said: “We’re hoping Robbie’s injury is not as bad as it first looked. We hope it is just a badly bruised shin.”
That delay led to nine minutes injury time, while fellow midfield player Tyreeq Bakinson was also forced off by injury.
County now focus on their next League Two fixture against Crawley Town in Sussex next Saturday, October 20.
Flynn’s Newport made a stunning start when Dolan powered home a volley from the edge of the area after 46 seconds and they were the better side for long periods.
But the teams were level by half-time after Luther Wildin headed home unmarked.
Then, deep into nine minutes of injury time, Semenyo sparked wild celebrations when he smashed a shot home from 25 yards.
At the pre-match coin toss, the swirling difficult conditions persuaded captain Mickey Demetriou to swap ends and that meant County were attacking the PureVans.com Stand in the first-half for the first time in a long while.
That proved the right decision with Dolan scored their first goal inside a minute. Flynn’s men had to wait for their winner – and how players and fans celebrated a critical victory.
Newport County AFC (3-5-2): Day, Forbes, Bennett, Franks, Demetriou (capt), Butler, Bakinson (Semenyo 58), Dolan, Willmott (Pipe 76), Matt, Amond. Subs not used: Townsend, Sheehan, Pring, Cooper
Stevenage (4-4-2): Dieng, James-Wildin, Cuthbert, Nugent, Seddon, Timlin (Ferry 78), Byrom, Campbell-Ryce (Sonupe 85), Kennedy (Reid 90+2), Revell (capt), Newton. Subs not used: Appleyard, Hunt, Iontton, Wilkinson
Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 3,126 (71 away)
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