NEWPORT County AFC slipped to defeat at Home Park, despite an impressive performance against promotion favourites Plymouth Argyle.

Former Exiles loan star Tyreeq Bakinson scored the only goal of the game in the fifth minute and his close-range strike was enough to earn all three points for the hosts, who ended the match with 10 men.

But that only tells half the story as County produced an encouraging display against one of the best sides in the division – despite again being hit by injuries.

Manager Michael Flynn named an unchanged starting XI from Tuesday’s 1-0 home win over Macclesfield Town but there was an early change as George Nurse had to replace the injured Ryan Haynes after only five minutes.

And Nurse had only just taken the field when County found themselves a goal down as a short corner found George Cooper, who picked out Bakinson for a tap-in at the far post.

The hosts could have added to their lead as they poured forward at every opportunity in the first half, keeping Exiles stopper Tom King busy.

He denied both Ryan Hardie and Conor Grant, while Cooper sent a free-kick just over after Scot Bennett had tripped the influential Danny Mayor.

But County created plenty of opportunities of their own and should probably have been level at the break.

Jordan Green’s electric pace on the right flank was the main threat, just as it had been against Macclesfield in midweek.

He won a corner after just 45 seconds and never gave the home defence a moment to rest.

Joss Labadie forced a fine save from Alex Palmer early on, before Jamille Matt’s header from a Nurse cross hit Padraig Amond.

Green then beat his man and cut the ball back for Matt, whose shot was wide.

And, just before the break, Green’s pace and trickery won a free-kick on the right of the penalty area.

Robbie Willmott picked out Amond’s run and the Irishman’s shot was deflected onto the outside of the post.

Matt then saw a header cleared off the line by Luke Jephcott from the resulting corner as the visitors ended the half on top.

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And Amond played in Labadie for another big chance five minutes after the restart, but the captain’s shot was straight at Palmer.

After losing Haynes so early in the first half, County were again disrupted at the start of the second as Ashley Baker was forced off.

Kyle Howkins replaced him, with Bennett pushed forward into midfield and Willmott filling in at right-back.

But Flynn’s men continued to knock on the door and Amond went close just before the hour when he met a Nurse ball at the far post with a well-timed run but couldn’t keep his shot down.

King was again called into action midway through the second half and he did well to hold a fierce drive from Jephcott, before substitute Joe Edwards dragged a shot wide from distance.

Flynn reorganised again, switching Bennett to right-back and moving Willmott further forward and then sending on January signing Billy Waters in place of Amond.

There was late drama as Pilgrims’ skipper Gary Sawyer was shown a straight red card for taking out Green five minutes from time.

And Mickey Demetriou then crashed the free-kick onto the bar before Josh Sheehan was denied by Palmer late on.

But, despite a frantic finale, County were once again left to rue missed chances as they slipped to an unfortunate defeat.

County: King; Baker (Howkins, 56), Bennett, Demetriou, Haynes (Nurse, 5); Green, Labadie, Sheehan, Willmott; Matt, Amond (Waters, 74)

Subs not used: Townsend, Gorman, Dolan, Abrahams

Booked: Labadie, Matt

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 10,966 (415 County)

Argus star man: Green