Richie Wellens rued the conditions as Sky Bet League Two leaders Swindon lost their three-point cushion at the top of the table after falling to a 2-0 defeat to Newport at Rodney Parade on a pitch that was covered in sand.
Newport’s fastest goal of the season in the opening minute by Josh Sheehan gave them the perfect start and then Jamille Matt struck early in the second half to doubled their score.
“The game was playable, but was it a good standard of pitch to play on? Definitely not,” said Swindon boss Richie Wellens.
“We knew what was coming, but we couldn’t stop it. Was the pitch in a state where it could have been called off? I don’t know the rules, but it impacts everything.
“With the experience we were missing, and with the way the game was, I was asking my players to do things they hadn’t done before. That was just to put the ball in there and fight for second balls.
“We had to try to play them at their own game and they are very good at it. The surface is what it is – we tried to play, and get the ball down, but we had a shocking start and conceded in the first minute.
“I have never seen a game where there have been so many long throws into the box. It was very difficult to get any flow into our game – they beat us up…a lot.
“It was a really bad day for us. We just have to go again next week against Port Vale.”
It was the third win in 12 days for Newport, who host Leicester Under-21s in the quarter-finals of the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday night.
“It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll make no excuses for that,” said Newport manager Michael Flynn.
“We just knew we had to swamp their box and keep getting the ball in there in whatever way possible. It was a very effective way of beating Swindon.
“Swindon are top of the league for a reason and they are the best team in the league at the moment, but we won the battles.
“They’ve got some really good players and a good manager, but they’ve also got some injuries.
“It weakens your team and lowers your performance. Swindon are going through that at the moment.
“We’ve got everybody back now and you can see we are going in the right direction. When you have 10 out, including five or six starters, it does affect you.
“It was never going to be too early to score on that pitch because it was going to be difficult to create opportunities.”