James Clarke came back to haunt his old club as he headed home a late winner to earn Newport a 2-1 victory over Walsall at Rodney Parade.
Signed in the summer by the Exiles, Clarke rose high to meet Cameron Norman’s pinpoint cross in the 87th minute and notch his first goal for his new club.
Walsall goalkeeper Carl Rushworth saved a first-half penalty to keep his side in a game that looked like running away from them in the opening 45 minutes as Newport found their feet after their midweek defeat to Northampton.
Michael Flynn made eight changes to that side and saw his new-look team respond with some sparkling football.
They took the lead in the ninth minute when Mickey Demetriou eventually found the back of the net from a Matty Dolan corner after the ball had bounced around on the six-yard line.
Dolan then missed a penalty after 45 minutes that would have made it 2-0, and two minutes into first-half stoppage time the scores were level thanks to a goal from Tyrese Shade that was made by the outstanding Emmanuel Osadebe.
Walsall pressed harder and higher in the second half and saw one header bounce clear off the home crossbar but, just when it seemed like the points would be shared, then came Clarke’s late header to win in for County.