By Paul Jones
Michael Flynn has told his Newport County team to collect the remaining six points that will take them into the League Two play-offs.
The County manager hailed an “absolutely outstanding” first-half performance from his team after the Exiles hammered Scunthorpe United 4-0.
A comfortable victory means their play-off hopes remain in their own hands with two games of the regular season left to play.
Scunthorpe defender George Taft put through his own net to get Newport off and running. Mickey Demetriou and Lewis Collins then made it 3-0 at the break.
Demetriou’s second capped off a clinical Newport performance against a poor Scunthorpe side who are now third bottom and in very real relegation danger.
“We have a tough game against Cheltenham on Saturday, but it doesn’t matter what other teams do,” said a delighted Flynn.
“If we win our last two games then we will be in the play-offs. I’m straight down the line with the players and anything I say in the media I have already said to them.
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) April 27, 2021
“I don’t do it very often, but sometimes I single out a player. I can’t do that now because I thought we were absolutely outstanding in the first half.
“We had 77 per cent possession in the first half which is unheard of for a Newport County team. If you look at the first goal, I think there were nearly 20 passes before the goal.
“It goes in off the defender, but he had to make a decision because of the cross. It’s three more points and hopefully we can finish strongly.”
Newport were dominant from start to finish and moved up to sixth with victory. They host leaders Cheltenham on Saturday in what is a huge game.
Taft scored an own goal before Demetriou and Collins put the game to bed following some shocking Scunthorpe defending from set-pieces.
There was only one goal in the second half with Demetriou heading home his second.
Cheltenham sealed promotion on Tuesday against Carlisle. Newport’s final game of the regular season is at Southend on May 8.
— Sky Bet League Two (@SkyBetLeagueTwo) April 27, 2021
The comfortable win allowed Flynn to rest several players for Exeter in the second half with Matty Dolan, Kevin Ellison, Luke Gambin, Nicky Maynard and Dom Telford all coming on.
But Flynn revealed those decisions also had an element of injury to them.
“I’ve made the substitutions and don’t think I was just making them because we were winning. I was making them because a few players are struggling,” he said.
“Josh Sheehan felt his groin, Joss Labadie hurt his ankle and Ryan Haynes was feeling his groin.
“We had to make those substitutions and I wished we’d scored the fourth earlier because I would have made the substitutions earlier.”