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Wales On Sunday - - SPORT SUNDAY -

NEWPORT County man­ager Mike Flynn was an­gry with ref­eree Craig Hicks after his side’s heavy de­feat at Notts County, claim­ing a con­tro­ver­sial red card for Dan But­ler changed the game.

The de­fender was sent off after just 34 min­utes for lead­ing with his el­bow as he chal­lenged for a high ball.

And the hosts took full ad­van­tage to storm to vic­tory as they over-ran 10-man Newport.

Jorge Grant scored ei­ther side of half-time and set up for­mer New­cas­tle striker Shola Ameobi for the sec­ond in be­tween.

And it could have been more, but for some hero­ics in the Newport goal from Joe Day.

But Flynn in­sisted that the red card changed the course of the game and he did not agree with the ref­eree’s de­ci­sion.

“The ref­eree has got it wrong,” he said. “It changed the game and it spoiled the game.

“I don’t think he had con­trol of the game to start with.

“I be­lieve he’s made hon­est de­ci­sions, but un­for­tu­nately he’s got a lot of key ones wrong.

“I’ve been told by the fourth of­fi­cial that he (But­ler) went in with ex­ces­sive force.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate that the game’s been spoiled be­cause Notts County are a good team and they don’t need much help.

“And, just to rub salt into the wounds, I’ve watched the third goal again as well and it wasn’t over the line. It’s not been a great day.”

Grant’s first goal came two min­utes after But­ler’s dis­missal as he was fed by Jon Stead be­fore fir­ing past Day and into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Grant squared for Ameobi to slam home on 52 min­utes and then nod­ded in the third on the line three min­utes later after Day had saved his first ef­fort at point-blank range.

The hosts could have hit six be­fore the end, with Grant de­nied a hat­trick by the bar and Day sav­ing from Shaun Bris­ley and Stead.

But Flynn praised his play­ers’ ef­forts in against the new League Two lead­ers.

“I thought we were slightly the bet­ter team be­fore the red,” he said.

“We’ve played some out­stand­ing foot­ball with 10 men as well.

“We con­ceded some sloppy goals but I’m proud of the play­ers with the at­ti­tude and the work ethic that they showed in tough cir­cum­stances.”

Flynn’s men drop to eighth and will at­tempt to bounce back when they host League One Walsall in the FA Cup next Satur­day. NEWPORT: Day; White, Ben­nett, Demetriou; Will­mott, Dolan, Tozer, But­ler; Rigg (Bar­num-Bobb, 46); Nou­ble (Reynolds, 74), Amond (McCoul­sky, 46) SUBS NOT USED: Bit­tner, OwenE­vans, Quigley, Jack­son REF­EREE: Craig Hicks AT­TEN­DANCE: 6,019

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