Michael Flynn admitted he felt relieved after Newport County’s 4-1 League Two away win against relegation battlers Notts County at Meadow Lane.
Jamille Matt (2), Fraser Franks and Padraig Amond scored for Newport, who earned a first away victory in their last 11 League attempts.
Now County focus on their trip to play MK Dons on Saturday and that will be the second time the clubs have met this month. Dons earned a 1-0 win at Rodney Parade.
“I was more worried about playing Notts County than I was against Manchester City if I am totally honest,” said manager Flynn.
“We had to get back to winning away in the league and we have done that. We have gone from playing against the highest team in the country to the bottom side in the Football League.”
Notts remain last in League Two after an excellent Newport County display secured a first away victory since September.
Newport produced their most impressive performance on the road this season. The Exiles looked comfortable throughout and controlled the play.
The victory means County have put their play-off push back on track by closing the gap on the top seven to six points, staying 15th, and the Exiles still have a game in hand on the teams above them.
Flynn resisted the temptation to make big changes to his starting side despite the Exiles exerting a lot of energy against Premier League champions Manchester City in the Emirates FA Cup.
Fraser Franks returned to the team, taking over Tyreeq Bakinson with the Exiles switching to a 4-3-3 formation and pushing Robbie Willmott into a more advanced position.
Former Cardiff City player and coach Neal Ardley made two changes to his starting side, but kept to the 4-4-2 system.
Out went veteran strikers Jon Stead and January signing Craig Mackail-Smith, scorers of more than 350 professional goals between them, with Kane Hemmings and Lewis Alessandra returning for the Magpies.
Franks marked his return with the first goal after nine minutes after Willmott capitalised on an error by former Exile Mitch Rose to dart into the area.
His cross picked out the onrushing Franks and he fired past goalkeeper Ryan Schofield.
The home team equalised 59 seconds later when goalkeeper Joe Day saved well from a 30-yard shot by Jim O’Brien.
🗣 | “It’s an excellent away performance.”
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) February 19, 2019
When the ball flew loose off Day it was Hemmings who sent a looping header into goal.
Newport regained the lead after 15 minutes when Mickey Demetriou took a short throw to Willmott and he crossed for Amond to head back across goal.
Matt finished clinically for a superb team goal.
Just after the half hour Matt struck again and his 17th of 2018-19 goal came from an exquisite overhead kick which will be a contender for goal of the season.
Newport completed their tally 91 seconds into the second half when Amond netted his 20th in all competitions.
Dan Butler started the move with a cross-field pass, and Matt’s accurate cross allowed Among to score,
Joss Labadie almost added a fifth, but his long-range effort hit a post.
Flynn gave Aston Villa loanee Harry McKirdy his debut after 84 minutes and he made an instant impact with his terrier like attitude and chasing seemingly lost causes.
Newport County (3-4-3): Day, Butler, Demetriou, O’Brien (capt), Franks (Dolan 81), Poole, Bennett, Labadie (Sheehan 90), Willmott, Amond, Matt (McKirdy 84). Subs not used: Townsend, Pipe, Bakinson, Kennedy
Notts County (4-4-2): Schofield, Rose, Stubbs, Milsom, Barclay, Boldewijn, O’Brien, Doyle (caps), Alessandra (Stead 53), Gomis (Mackail-Smith 53), Hemmings. Subs not used: Fitzsimons, Tootle, Bird, Hewitt, Vaughan
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance: 6,253 (116 away)