NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn praised the courage of Ryan Inniss after the defender missed the crucial penalty in Wednesday night’s Leasing.com Trophy semi-final shootout defeat to Salford City.

County went down 6-5 on penalties after a 0-0 draw at Rodney Parade as Tristan Abrahams and Inniss both failed to score from the spot.

It means the Exiles’ Wembley dream is over for another season, unless they can force their way back into the League Two play-off race.

But Flynn refused to blame centre-back Inniss, whose spot-kick clipped the top of the bar on its way into the North Terrace.

“We sorted out the order to the top five, they all wanted to take one,” explained the Exiles boss.

“Then it was only really Jamille [Matt] and Ryan Inniss who wanted to take one after that, the others didn’t.

“I didn’t really want Ryan taking one that early, but what can you do?

“He was confident and fair play to him for backing himself to go up and take it. It is what is.”

County dominated the second half but once again they couldn’t find the net – a familiar problem throughout the season and one that frustrates Flynn.

“It is a horrible way to lose, but we’ve also been on the positive end of those – to get to Wembley [last year] – so we know the other side of it,” he said.

“It’s part and parcel of football and I couldn’t ask much more of my players.

“I thought we were very good in the second half and we’ve just got to find a way of putting the ball in the net.

“The first half was very even, but we were the better team in the second half.

“I had four or five who were limping and stiff and sore and you can only make three subs!

“They’ve put their bodies on the line for the football club and they’ve given their all, so I’m very proud of them.”

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County have not scored in their past four games in all competitions. Asked to explain the lack of goals, Flynn said: “It’s a mixture of everything. We work on it, we tell them.

“But in the first half, we tried to put a cross in from the left and we had three players over there.

“Padraig Amond was out on the left. We tell him to stay in the box and then he’s putting a cross in from the right. I don’t want him out there.

“But it’s not just him. We’ve talked to them and it’s a whole catalogue of things.

“It’s injuries to one side and you can’t get a decent cross in, or a comfortable crosser, people not on the move, a little bit of luck from defenders, poor technique.

“It’s everything, and it’s mounting up and it’s really bit us on the backside this season.

“Nobody means to miss and nobody means to not get in a good position. It is what it is.”

Flynn also pointed to the injury crisis that meant Nick Townsend, Mark O’Brien, Ashley Baker, Dan Leadbitter and George Nurse all missed Tuesday’s tie, while Otis Khan, Billy Waters and Dale Gorman were cup-tied.

“I thought we were the better team on the night, but you don’t always get what you deserve,” he said.

“We’ve had some really good performances [lately] with nothing to show for it.

“And we’ve had one or two poor performances and got nothing.

“But you look at the bench again and there’s too many missing. That’s killed us.”

Read more: Newport County 0 (5) Salford City 0 (6) - match report from Rodney Parade