Cheltenham manager Michael Duff leapt to the defence of goalkeeper Josh Griffiths after watching him concede directly from a goal kick in their 1-1 home draw with Newport.
Visiting number one Tom King launched a huge clearance which bounced on the edge of the penalty area, over Griffiths’ head and into the net to give Mike Flynn’s side a 12th minute lead.
But the Exiles were denied a first win in six and a chance to go back to the top of the table by Matty Blair’s equaliser just before half-time, with Cheltenham’s own winless run now stretching to seven ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Manchester City.
West Brom loanee Griffiths did not have a shot to save apart from the goal, but Duff believes the 19-year-old is destined for a career at the top level.
“There is a reason why young players are on loan here and they are going to make mistakes,” Duff said.
“I could point to one or two mistakes and about 20 unbelievable saves he’s made too.
“It’s why he’s here and he’s been fantastic for us.
“I think he has a chance of going right to the top and this will help him with his learning.”
After Newport took the lead in truly bizarre circumstances, Cheltenham went on to control much of the first period.
But King made fine saves to keep out Alfie May after George Lloyd’s touch and he also pushed away a powerful strike from Finn Azaz.
Jake Scrimshaw fired one just over for Newport, but Blair struck in the fifth minute of added time, racing onto May’s pass and finding the bottom left corner, despite King getting a hand to it.
Neither goalkeeper was seriously tested in the second period as the game fizzled out and both managers had to settle for a point each.
Newport boss Flynn admitted his side were fortunate to take the lead in the manner that they, but he was pleased with their second half effort.
“I’ve seen a few goals like that over the years, but that’s the first time I’ve seen it live,” he said.
“They couldn’t have known too much about Tom because we all know he’s got a big kick on him.
“We were fortunate with that goal because it came against the run of play as they were better than us in the first half, but I’m more than happy with the second half performance.
“We’ve now hit the 40-point mark and we have two games in hand, but anyone can beat anyone in this league and it’s going to be a tough, tough finish.”