YORK City manager Nigel Worthington had no complaints with captain Russell Penn’s sending off as his 10-man team tumbled to defeat in Newport.
The Minstermen were leading 1-0, courtesy of a debut strike from on-loan Sheffield United forward Diego de Girolamo, when Penn leapt into an ugly challenge on home midfielder Lee Minshull straight from the second-half kick-off.
Referee Carl Berry showed the City captain a second yellow card, when he could have quite easily brandished a straight red, sparing Penn a longer suspension.
But his dismissal did struggling York few favours at Rodney Parade, where subsequent strikes from Andrew Hughes, Chris Zebroski and Darren Jones wrapped up victory for the hosts.
An angry Worthington chose his words carefully when questioned about Penn’s marching orders, saying: “He apologised and took responsibility after the game but it would have been better if he had stayed on the pitch. It was a bad decision from the kick-off.
“He then lost control of the ball and, because he was trying to chase it, he made a challenge you don’t want to see, so the referee was spot on with his decision.”
Earlier, the visitors had forged in front on eight minutes when Italian Under-20 international De Girolamo received Keith Lowe’s quickly-taken free-kick and turned to beat County goalkeeper Joe Day from 12 yards with the aid of a deflection.
But Penn ended the first half by talking his way into referee Carl Berry’s notebook after contesting a free-kick decision and his second misdemeanour moments into the restart proved costly.
Hughes equalised in the 51st minute, firing across goalkeeper Jason Mooney into the bottom corner after Lindon Meikle had failed to cut out a through ball.
After Meikle had chipped weakly into Day’s hands, Marvin McCoy’s woefully weak back-pass then handed Zebroski the opportunity to round an exposed Mooney, who replaced the unwell Michael Ingham at half-time, to shoot the Exiles in front.
Captain Jones went to strike a 20-yard volley that crashed in off the bar.
Newport County: Day; Tancock (Porter, 56), Jones, Yakubu; Willmott (Flynn, 46), Minshull, Klukowski, Loveridge, Hughes; Pigott (O’Connor, 76), Zebroski. Unused substitutes: Pidgeley, Feely, Owen-Evans, Poole.
York City: Ingham (Mooney, 46); McCoy, Lowe, McCombe, Ilesanmi; Meikle, Penn, Montrose, Jarvis (Summerfield, 68); Brunt, De Girolamo (Platt, 48). Unused substitutes: Straker, Murray, Hirst, Godfrey.
Referee: C Berry (Surrey)
Man of the match: Andrew Hughes.