Gavin Gunning lost his first game as a head coach as Swindon once again let a lead slip to lose 2-1 against Newport County.

Town put in a strong showing in the first half and were able to cut through Newport when they got the passing right, but some lacklustre finishing meant the game was all square at the break.

Paul Glatzel gave Swindon the lead straight away in the second half, but goals from Will Evans and Seb Palmer-Houlden left them with nothing.

Defeat sees Newport move above Swindon in the table and continues Town’s rotten record at Rodney Parade of one win since 1982.

Gavin Gunning opted to stick with the same starting 11 that had got him a win in his first game in charge against Bradford City last weekend. All four new signings from this week came onto the bench in Zack Elbouzedi, Harry McKirdy, Sean McGurk, and Aaron Drinan.

The Exiles made their intent known straight from kick-off and drove up the left flank. Adam Lewis’ cross was hooked away by Dawson Devoy before it came through to Will Evans. Newport kept the pressure on, and Bryn Morris drove to the edge of the box and had his shot blocked.

The high tempo start continued as after four minutes Williams Kokolo won a free-kick down the left side of the box. Devoy took the set piece and whipped in a low ball that caught out Nick Townsend and crashed against the near post before spinning to safety.

Udoka Godwin-Malife played a quick pass into Jake Cain, who controlled it well on the turn and drove into space. Paul Glatzel made a run beyond the defence and was picked out, but his finish was too close to Townsend.

After the thrilling opening ten minutes, both defences started to get a handle on things and chances weren’t quite so thrifty. Newport were asking their wing-backs to man-mark Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Glatzel, making it difficult for Swindon to run in behind as freely as they had done against Bradford. Graham Coughlan’s plan was clear, to make Godwin-Malife and Kokolo be the ones to beat Newport.

Godwin-Malife spotted the space he had after 27 minutes and made a fine out to in run to be picked out by Saidou Khan. His volleyed pass teed up Cain on the top of the box and his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

A slaloming passing move through midfield cut straight through Newport and created space for Glatzel in the area. He looked to play the ball into Devoy, but his effort looped over the top of the crossbar.

The hosts were still able to cause issues of their own on the counterattack and did so after 35 minutes. Seb Palmer-Houlden was able to wriggle into some space on the right side of the box and reversed a shot at goal that was beaten away by Jack Bycroft.

Devoy picked the ball up on the halfway line and drove down the right and into the penalty area. Hepburn-Murphy managed to peel off and find some space on the edge of the area but lifted his effort over the bar.

The game to halftime goalless and Gunning was faced with the position for the first time as a head coach of a side that had obviously prepared in advance to counteract what he wanted to do. Swindon were on top but finding it tough to consistently break Newport down and the 33-year-old would need to figure out how that should be done.

Straight after the second half began, Swindon took the lead. Godwin-Malife’s long ball picked out Glatzel as he raced in behind the Newport defence and coolly slotted beyond Townsend to notch his first goal for the club.

Newport levelled the scores six minutes later as they created an overload from a short corner and created space down the side of the box and a ball across the face of goal allowed Evans to turn home from close range.

Just before the hour mark Zack Elbouzedi raced beyond Lewis down the right and got to the by-line before pulling back a cross. It was prodded by a defender into the path of Glatzel and his finish was cleared off the line by Matt Baker.

Straight after coming on, McKirdy took up a good space in the box and played a one-two with Frazer Blake-Tracy to get the defender charging into the area and he had a shot saved at the near post by Townsend.

Newport took the lead with 15 minutes remaining as a poor clearance gave Newport the ball in front of the backline. Palmer-Houlden was played into space in the area and he slotted a finish beyond Bycroft.

In stoppage time, McKirdy charged away from three defenders coming in from the right and beat Townsend with a strike that came back off the post.

NCAFC starting XI: Townsend, Lewis, Delaney, Clarke, Evans, Morris, Bennett, McLoughlin, Wildig, Baker, Palmer-Houlden.

NCAFC substitutes: Maxted, Payne, Zanzala, Waite, Charsley, Jameson, Jephcott.

STFC starting XI: Bycroft, Blake-Tracy, Khan, Glatzel, Hepburn-Murphy, Cain, Kokolo, Devoy, Godwin-Malife, McCarthy, Austin.

STFC substitutes: Brann, Elbouzedi, McKirdy, Brewitt, McGurk, Drinan, Minturn.