PADRAIG Amond’s late penalty earned Newport County an FA Cup first-round replay with Grimsby Town.

The Irishman, the competition’s joint top scorer last season alongside Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, cancelled out Luke Waterfall’s header.

Exiles ace Amond, dropped from the starting XI by boss Michael Flynn, had earlier hit the post after coming on with 25 minutes left at Blundell Park.

The replay at Rodney Parade would normally take place a week on Tuesday, but County’s international call-ups means another date will have to be found.

Flynn made three changes to his side for the long trip to Cleethorpes following the defeat by Salford City.

Perhaps the most surprising one was the omission of Amond, who took his place on the bench along with Matt Dolan and Taylor Maloney.

Tristan Abrahams replaced Amond, while George Nurse also came in and skipper Joss Labadie returned to the team after suspension.

Jamille Matt, had the first chance of the game, meeting George Nurse’s cross with his head, but Town keeper James Russell saved low down.

Mariners defender Ludvig Ohman went into the book on 20 minutes after cynically hauling back Robbie Willmott, before Wales squad member Tom King was called into action for the first time.

He came some distance to punch a high ball clear and just about got the job done.

Matt then had the ball in the Grimsby net just before the half hour, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

The striker had finished neatly past Russell following a driven ball into the box by Nurse.

A scrappy first half wasn’t helped by players on both sides going down a little too easily, while referee Leigh Doughty made it a stop-start opening 45 by being a touch whistle happy.

The County defence looked relatively watertight, apart from at a Grimsby free-kick where Waterfall was left totally unmarked.

His header into the six-yard area ended up being scrambled back to King by Mark O’Brien.

That warning was one which County didn’t heed as two minutes before half-time the ball was in the visitors’ net, and that man Waterfall put it there.

Liam Gibson had too much time and space on the Grimsby left to get his cross in and Waterfall nodded home past King.

However, the Exiles keeper will feel he should have done better as the ball seemed to squirm under his body.

County needed to be much better in the second half if they were to get back into the tie – the small army of travelling supporters deserved much better too after the long trek from south Wales.

There were some early signs of hope as Nurse sent in a dangerous cross, and then a surging run from Labadie ended with Scot Bennett shooting well wide.

As the clocked ticked past the hour mark it seemed inevitable that Flynn would make a change in personnel.

He did just that on 65 minutes with Amond and Corey Whitely entering the fray – Amond had been a firm favourite with Grimsby fans after scoring 37 goals in their 2016 promotion campaign.

There was almost an equaliser for the Exiles seconds after the double change.

Haynes’ long throw bounced around the box and eventually fell to Bennett, but Jordan Cook threw himself onto the ball to smother the midfielder’s goal-bound effort.

The visitors went even closer with 20 minutes to go.

Haynes’ pinpoint cross to the far post found Amond and only the upright kept the Irishman’s header out.

Amond rattled the woodwork again soon after, but he was offside on this occasion, while Waterfall nearly made it 2-0 at the other end.

You couldn’t keep Amond out of the action – with 10 minutes left he made it 1-1 from the spot.

A Jake Hessenthaler foul on Mark O’Brien gave Amond the opportunity to punish his former club.

He did just that, despite the best efforts of Russell who came close to keeping out the striker’s penalty.

There really only looked like being one winner from that point on, and Ryan Inniss nearly picked the perfect moment to open his County account.

The ball dropped to the big centre-half in the Grimsby box and his shot was heading goalwards before a Mariners player got a foot in the way to deny the visitors.

After getting themselves level, it looked like County were going to be denied at the end.

Ethan Robson did everything right as he created space for himself in front of goal, but he fluffed his lines with a shot that sailed over.

Grimsby: Russell, Waterfall, Pollock, Öhman, Gibson, Hessenthaler (capt), Robson, Whitehouse (Clifton 83), Cook, Hanson, Green (Rose 68). Subs not used: Battersby, Davis, Cardwell, Ogbu, Starbuck.

County: King, Haynes, O’Brien, Innis, Nurse (Whitely 65), Bennett (Poleon 77), Willmott, Labadie (capt), Sheehan, Matt, Abrahams (Amond 65). Subs not used: Townsend, Howkins, Dolan, Maloney.

Referee: Leigh Doughty

Attendance: 2,086 (61 County fans)

Argus star man: Padraig Amond