FORMER Newport County AFC midfielder Tom Owen-Evans says he’s yet to match the feeling of helping the Exiles complete the Great Escape in 2017.

The County academy graduate, who turned 23 last week, is facing up to an early end to the season with National League North side Hereford so he’s had plenty of time to reflect on past glories in recent weeks.

And Owen-Evans told the Argus that nothing compares to that famous victory over Notts County at Rodney Parade in May 2017 when Michael Flynn’s men avoided relegation from League Two.

The Exiles were 11 points from safety with only 12 games left to play when Flynn replaced Graham Westley three years ago and looked nailed on to fall through the trapdoor back into non-league football.

Owen-Evans played in all 12 games as County earned seven wins and a draw to overhaul Hartlepool United and beat the drop.

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“The day we stayed up was the best day of my life,” said the Bristol-born youngster, who made more than 50 appearances for the Exiles between 2014 and 2018.

“To finally get over the line was an incredible feeling.

“Those 12 games were the most enjoyable period of my career so far.

“It was tough, really hard, but to save the club from relegation from the position we were in was amazing.

“We were written off by everyone and we felt like we had nothing to lose so it was probably easier for us than for teams like Hartlepool, who were always looking over their shoulder, but it was a great achievement.”

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One other game in that season sticks out for Owen-Evans – the 1-0 win at Exeter City in April 2017 when he scored the winning goal.

“The Exeter game was obviously the other highlight for me,” he said.

“I remember we were late because of the traffic and we only had 20 minutes to warm up so it wasn’t ideal preparation.

“They were in the play-offs but we went there and got the win and to get the goal was very special.

“I had scored earlier in the season against Morecambe but that got wiped out because the game was abandoned so that winner at Exeter was my only goal for County officially. I’ll never forget that.”

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Owen-Evans left County for Scottish side Falkirk in June 2018 and he moved on to Hereford later that year.

He briefly joined Chippenham Town on loan in December after falling out with Bulls boss Russell Slade but he was recalled in January, just after Slade departed.

“I’m still in touch with Joss Labadie quite a bit and I speak to OB (Mark O’Brien), Sheezy (Josh Sheehan) and a few of the boys who are still there,” he said.

“And I’m still close with boys like Dan Butler and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb.”

Owen-Evans has played with former Exiles teammates Tommy O’Sullivan and Lenell John-Lewis at Hereford this season, as well as the likes of Marlon Jackson and Jennison Myrie-Williams last year.

He also teamed up with Chris Zebroski, Jay Foulston and Kieran Parselle during that brief loan spell at Chippenham.

“It’s great to be around players you already know and you have great memories of from Newport,” he said.

“It helps the team spirit and it’s good to have Tommy O’Sullivan and Lenny in the team with me at the moment.

“I’ve scored eight goals in all competitions this year, which isn’t where I want to be but it’s not too bad after a stop-start season. It was going well so it’s disappointing that everything has stopped.

“We don’t really know what is happening at the moment but we’ve all been given training programmes to do at home to keep us ticking over.”

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