MANAGER Michael Flynn hopes his Newport County AFC side can use Tuesday’s demolition of Cheltenham Town to kick-start their season after a disappointing few weeks.

County have slipped to seventh in League Two after back-to-back defeats at Colchester United at home to Salford City.

And Flynn has repeatedly expressed his frustration at a lack of cutting edge, most recently after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town in the FA Cup first round.

But a much-changed starting XI certainly showed a ruthless streak in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday night as they thrashed promotion rivals Cheltenham 7-4 at Whaddon Road.

Striker Tristan Abrahams is now the club’s top scorer after he took his season’s tally to eight goals with a hat-trick against the Robins.

Midfielder Taylor Maloney also staked his claim for more minutes as he too bagged three goals, while a Matty Dolan penalty completed the rout.

“At times Corey [Whitely] and Tristan were unplayable,” said Flynn.

“They were superb. Dom Poleon worked his socks off and was a thorn in their side, Lewis Collins looked dangerous in spells, Taylor Maloney got a hat-trick, Matty Dolan got the penalty and George Nurse looked superb.

“And the two youngsters – Dom Jefferies and Joe Woodiwiss – did really well.

“I was really pleased for them and for the other two [Callum Jones and Ryan Hillier] getting on.”

Woodiwiss, a 16-year-old first-year scholar, impressed on his debut in central defence alongside Kyle Howkins.

“It was a debut for Joe and he’s not the tallest,” said the Exiles boss.

“We looked at it once the game started and he looked a bit [too] young but I thought he was excellent.

“He had a bit of a shaky start but after the first 15 minutes I thought he was superb and that’s a credit to him.

“It’s not very often when you’re going to concede four goals and I’ll be happy and we’ll win the game, so I’ll make the most of it.”

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County will progress to the second round of the Trophy if Exeter City beat West Ham United under-21s tonight.

“I’ve not even thought about that,” said Flynn. “It’s a positive. We were 4-1 up against West Ham [in September] and we ended up losing 5-4 so it’s not as if I haven’t given it a go.

“But you want to give youth a chance as well, and it’s also important for the boys who haven’t played much [to get some minutes].”

County were due to return to Grimsby this Saturday in the league but that match has been postponed due to international call-ups for Tom King, Danny McNamara and Keanu Marsh-Brown.

They are next in action in the FA Cup replay against the Mariners at Rodney Parade next Wednesday night.

“The players will have Saturday and Sunday off, but me and the staff won’t because we’ll be going to watch games,” said Flynn.

“I hope we can take this confidence into next week.

“What I will have is a very hungry squad again. I’m not saying they haven’t been [hungry], but they’ll all want to be playing next week.

“And Tristan is now the top scorer in the club so he’s given me a good few problems, and Nick Townsend has given me another one because I thought he was excellent.

“I don’t know if they’ve played their way into the team, but I’ll have a look at it.

“We know the draw and we’ve got to do all we can to win the game.”

The winners will head to non-league minnows Maldon & Tiptree in the second round at the end of the month.

“I’m not even thinking about the second round yet,” added the Exiles boss.

“We’ve got a game against Grimsby and like the Middlesbrough game last season, where we knew we’d play Man City if we won, you can’t think about it.

“You’ve got to concentrate on the job in hand and that’s what we’ll do.”

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