GOALS from Josh Sheehan and Jamille Matt at the start of each half saw Newport County secure back-to-back victories and complete a League Two double over table-topping Swindon Town.

County coped with the tricky Rodney Parade surface the better and outmuscled the Robins from start to finish to earn a deserved three points in front of a 5,000-strong crowd.

The first talking point of the afternoon – aside from the state of the sandy pitch – came when the teams were announced.

As well as a debut for defender Ashley Baker, there was no Padraig Amond in the County matchday 18 after the striker had picked up a knock before the fixture.

The Exiles’ top scorer had got the winner at Scunthorpe United seven days earlier and to be without him against the league leaders was a massive blow to the hosts.

The Irishman’s injury means he won’t play a part in Tuesday’s Leasing.com Trophy quarter-final against Leicester City U21s.

Matt, who got the equaliser in Scunthorpe came into the starting XI, while new arrivals Jordan Green, Billy Waters and Dale Gorman were on the bench.

Anyone arriving late would have missed a dramatic start for the hosts.

The game was less than a minute old – some 45 seconds to be precise – when Sheehan scored in front of the packed away stand.

And the two men brought into the Exiles’ team, debutant Baker and striker Matt created it.

Baker clipped the ball forward to Matt and the centre-forward headed on to Sheehan who took it in his stride and prodded a shot past Steven Benda.

The shell-shocked Robins, backed by a travelling support in the hundreds, tried to get themselves back the match, but without forcing Tom King into any sort of save.

In fact, it was County who looked the more dangerous going forward, and Tristan Abrahams had time and space to turn in the box and fire a shot that was deflected for a corner.

With the leaders rattled, the Exiles went even closer to doubling their advantage.

Mickey Demetriou sent one of his long throws into the Swindon box and Ryan Inniss powered a header against the bar.

Things just weren’t going right for the visitors and you got the feeling that if the game continued in the same vein then their frustration could boil over.

Rob Hunt had gone into the referee’s notebook just before the half hour and team-mate Diallang Jaiyesimi followed him in there three minutes prior to the interval.

Demetriou went for goal from the free-kick, but he hit it straight at Benda, although given the state of the pitch not a bad idea to gamble on a bobble in front of the gloveman.

Having had 15 minutes in the changing rooms to compose themselves, Swindon were undone within five minutes of the restart.

County’s second emanated from yet another Demetriou long throw, after which a goalmouth scramble resulted in Abrahams turning the ball across the six-yard box.

And just as he had done at the County Ground when County beat Swindon earlier in the campaign, Matt was there to sweep home for 2-0.

County knew they were going to be put under pressure at the back as Swindon desperately tried to salvage something from the game.

But it took until two minutes before the hour mark for Swindon to actually force King into making a save.

Not long after Jaiyesimi’s rather tame effort, Rarmani Edmonds-Green went close to halving the deficit, curling a shot inches wide of the far post with King beaten.

King then had to be quick off his line to deny substitute Scott Twine as the midfielder bore down on goal.

From then on it was all about holding firm at the back for the home side, and they did just that, as Swindon did very little to suggest they could stage a comeback.

County’s Green came on for his second debut for the club and made an immediate impact by winning a free-kick to help wind the clock down.

Waters and Gorman were brought on in time added on and they did their bit to make sure the clean sheet stayed intact.

County: King, Baker, Inniss, O’Brien, Demetriou, Haynes, Sheehan, Labadie (capt), Bennett (Waters 90+3), Abrahams (Green 83), Matt (Gorman 90+2). Subs not used: Townsend, Willmott, Dolan, Nurse.

Swindon: Benda (capt), Caddis, Broadbent, Edmonds-Green, Hunt, Grant, Rose (McGilp 81), Isgrove (Twine 60), Jaiyesimi, Woolery, Yates. Subs not used: McCormick, Bancroft, Curran, Romanski, Haines.

Referee: Christopher Pollard

Attendance: 4,981 (1,033 away fans)

Argus star man: Jamille Matt