MIDFIELDER Taylor Maloney hopes his stunning hat-trick against Cheltenham Town will be a turning point after a difficult start to his loan spell with Newport County AFC.

Maloney has made just one start in League Two since arriving on a season-long loan deal from Championship club Charlton Athletic in August.

The 20-year-old has otherwise been restricted to cameos from the bench and appearances in the Carabao Cup and Leasing.com Trophy.

Maloney admits that he’s been frustrated at his inability to force his way into manager Michael Flynn’s starting XI on a regular basis.

But he certainly gave the Exiles boss some food for thought on Tuesday night as his three goals, his first in senior football, helped secure a remarkable 7-4 win at League Two rivals Cheltenham in the Trophy.

“It was a good game and a good performance from the boys and I’m obviously delighted to get a few goals,” said the Addicks youngster.

“I’ve never scored before [in senior football] so I’m happy and pleased that we won the game.

“It’s our first win in the competition and I’m delighted to contribute to it.

“Hopefully it will help my confidence,” he added. “I’m just looking to get a bit more game time and fingers crossed that will come.

“It’s definitely been frustrating so far but I’ve been patient and the gaffer’s been good with me so fingers crossed I can turn a corner.

“It’s just about getting more opportunity and showing what I can do.

“That’s what these came are for – so that players like me, who are on the fringes at the moment, get a chance and we’ve got to come in and do well and show the gaffer what we can do and what we can bring to the league games.”

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Asked about Maloney after Tuesday’s tie, Flynn said: “I hope it boosts his confidence. He doesn’t smile at the best of times so he’s hard to read, but I’m really pleased for him.”

Tristan Abrahams also helped himself to a hat-trick at Whaddon Road and both he and Maloney took home a match ball.

“We’ve got one each,” said Maloney. “I haven’t really thought about what I’ll do with it. All the boys have signed it so I’ll probably get it framed.”

Gravesend-born Maloney is now hoping he can help County get past Grimsby Town in next Wednesday’s FA Cup first-round replay to book a second-round trip to Essex to take on non-league minnows Maldon & Tiptree.

“It’ll be a tough game, like it was away, but I think we’ve got a good chance at home with the fans behind us,” he said.

“Our home results are better than our away results so hopefully we can do well and get through.

“Maldon is not too far away from me so I should have a few friends and family there for that one, if we get there.”

Read more: Newport County boss hopes Cheltenham Town rout can kick-start the season