NEWPORT County AFC moved back into the automatic promotion places in League Two thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe United.

Padraig Amond put the Exiles ahead in first-half stoppage time and Josh Sheehan secured the win after a Mark O’Brien own goal had briefly threatened to gift the visitors a share of the spoils.

The win lifts Michael Flynn’s men to third in the table, three points behind leaders Crewe Alexandra with a game in hand due to the postponement of last week’s trip to Cheltenham Town.

After a two-week break from league action, Flynn made two changes from the starting XI from the last-gasp win over Carlisle United on October 5.

The Exiles boss welcomed back Ryan Inniss from suspension and Joss Labadie from injury, with Kyle Howkins and Matty Dolan the two players making way.

Last season’s prolific duo of Amond and Jamille Matt continued up front and the pair combined to create the first chance of the game after only eight seconds.

Matt robbed Rory McArdle from the kick-off and fed Amond, whose shot was straight at Scunthorpe goalkeeper Rory Watson.

After that initial burst, most of the hosts first-half chances came from Ryan Haynes free-kicks.

The left-back curled one over the bar from 25 yards early on.

But the head of 6ft 5ins Inniss was the primary target throughout and the giant centre-back caused the visitors plenty of problems with his aerial prowess.

After missing the target with a volley at the far post, Inniss created a number of opportunities by flicking on Haynes’ expertly-delivered set-pieces.

Labadie couldn’t quite connect properly with a volley from one flick on and O’Brien curled a shot over from another.

Scunthorpe rarely threatened in the first half, other than an early Jamie Proctor header straight at Tom King, and they couldn’t complain when the Exiles broke the deadlock in time added on.

Another free-kick, this time from Robbie Willmott to the left of the penalty area, was saved by Watson but Danny McNamara returned the ball into the box and onto the head of O'Brien and Amond nodded in from close range for his sixth goal of the campaign.

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Flynn’s men should have made it 2-0 three minutes after the break when Scot Bennett crossed for Matt.

The striker's downward header was well saved by Watson at point-blank range and he poked the rebound over the top from a few yards out.

The Iron punished that profligacy moments later when James Perch’s cross was turned into his own net by O’Brien.

But County responded well to that setback and they restored their lead just seven minutes later when Amond brought down a high ball and space opened up for the on-rushing Sheehan to sweep the ball past Watson from 20 yards for his first goal since last November.

Scot Bennett almost added a third in the closing stages, which were increasingly bad-tempered, but his flicked effort was cleared off the line by Lee Novak.

There were a few nervy moments towards the end and King did well to hold on to a low volley from McArdle, but County held on for a seventh win of the season.

County: King; McNamara, O’Brien, Inniss, Haynes; Willmott, Sheehan, Bennett, Labadie (Nurse, 86); Matt, Amond (Abrahams, 85)

Subs not used: Townsend, Howkins, Dolan, Whitely, Poleon

Booked: McNamara, O’Brien, Willmott

Referee: Tom Nield

Attendance: 3,946 (178 Scunthorpe)

Argus star man: Amond