Another home defeat but this time it was more a case of honour and heartbreak than humiliation as Newport maintained their 100 per cent success rate in five Premiership fixtures against Cardiff
The Blue & Blacks came within a whisker of, at the very least, a well-earned draw after setting themselves almost insurmountable hurdles to climb. Already weighed down with the disappointment of last week's hapless display against Cross Keys, they heaped further burdens on themselves by gifting the opposition a 13-point start in almost as many minutes at the start of the match.
No Cardiff fan could have been sure what to expect when the game kicked-off on a heavy Arms Park pitch. Within six minutes, however there was a discernible air of deja vu around the sparse terraces and stands. All the play had been in the visitors half until the ball was spilled in midfield and all Newport needed with their first taste of possession was two swift passes and four missed tackles for left wing Will Kershaw-Naylor to cross for what threatened to be the first of several tries. Aled Thomas' excellent conversion, soon followed by two short-range penalty goals put Newport 13-0 up after 16 minutes,
There was literally nowhere for any self-respecting Cardiff fan to look. At the river end the retro-Egyptian hyroglyphics of the stuttering scoreboard still recorded Cardiff 9 Cross Keys 20 from last Saturday. Turn the other way to the city end and it was Cardiff 0 Newport 13. The world was closing in on the Blue & Blacks once again.
Then somewhere, somehow a switch was flicked. Not on the scoreboards (two matches for the price of one!) but on the field of play. Suddenly Newport were losing their own lineout throws; their scrum was going backwards; their composure was being rocked by the new born dervishes in Blue and Black.
In the 19th minute Chris Anderson kicked a penalty goal. 3-13. Six minutes later after a long period of pressure Jonathan Hill skipped through for a try at the posts to which Anderson added the extras. 10-13. Five minutes before the break another reasonable penalty chance from 30 metres. It could have been 13-all -but the kick skewed wide of the posts.
No worries. Two minutes into the second half Anderson tries again and from 35-metres range and a tricky angle over it goes. 13-all. Cardiff are back in business. The good news gets even better. On 50 minutes Anderson repeats the medicine from 25 metres. 16-13. Aled Thomas kicks a goal to level the game again at 16 points each but Cardiff seem in control.
But chances go abegging. Newport prop Dai Pattison is sin-binned but Anderson misses the goal from 25 metres. When Sam Waldron joins Pattison in the bin Cardiff, for all of five minutes, are playing against 13 men. Close range scrums and lineouts lead to nothing on the scoreboard.
Injury time arrives and it is still 16-16. Now its a case of bad vibes. First Neil Coles receives a yellow card and then with 82 minutes on the clock Newport squeeze into Cardiff's half on a rare excursion. Controversially, a penalty is awarded for not releasing the ball - and from 40 metres and more Aled Thomas' kick sails over the bar. The final whistle goes immediately.
Yes, heartbreak for Cardiff, but the improvement from the Cross Keys debacle was remarkable - and pride had been restored.