Michael Flynn thinks his Newport side should have already booked their place in the FA Cup second round – but he will not take anything for granted in the replay.
After falling behind to a header from Luke Waterfall, the Exiles hit back to earn a 1-1 draw against Grimsby at Blundell Park.
Their equaliser came from a familiar source in Irish frontman Padraig Amond, who scored a penalty 10 minutes from time against his former club.
It means both League Two sides will now go into the hat ahead of the second round draw.
Flynn said: “We didn’t have enough cutting edge first half – or second half actually.
“But we dominated the game. We gave away a sloppy goal and, with some better finishing or some better runs, we could have scored a hatful.
“We should have won that game. We were by far the better team.
“We conceded a really, really schoolboy goal and it’s something that I’m not happy about.
“Everything else, for the majority, we defended well and we attacked well. But that cutting edge just wasn’t there – and if it was, we would have been comfortably through to the next round.
“We had a lot of joy. We failed in the final third, but as soon as that clicks, we are going to start scoring a few more goals.
“The main thing that I said to the players before the game is that I wanted to be in the hat on Monday.
“But to be totally honest, we should have won the game. We were the better team in nearly every area – and that’s the frustrating thing.
“We just lacked that cutting edge. We will see the draw on Monday, but we take nothing for granted. We are still in the hat.”
Chances were few and far between during the early stages of the first round tie, with Jamille Matt heading one straight at Sam Russell – deputising for James McKeown.
At the other end, Jordan Cook took aim before Waterfall then headed Grimsby in front, stooping low to force it past Tom King.
Upon the restart, Newport pushed and probed for an equaliser.
Amond hit the post with a header shortly after his introduction, before striking the frame once more as the clock ticked by.
He was handed an even better opportunity after a foul from Jake Hessenthaler – and the former Grimsby man really made his mark from the penalty spot.
Russell guessed the right way, but was unable to push it to safety.
Sunderland loanee Ethan Robson curled one wide in the closing stages, but a replay will now be needed to separate these two sides.
Grimsby boss Michael Jolley added: “It was a tough game. We showed some good qualities.
“These are not excuses, but we lost our goalkeeper and the lad who was going to play right-back in the last 24 hours for different reasons.
“We had to shuffle the pack going into the game, which is never helpful, and Newport ask a lot of questions of you.
“They are a tough, physical team to play against. I thought it was a very tight game, with a lot of set-plays and a lot of stoppages from the referee.
“But we could have won the game.
“We had some chances towards the end, particularly the one for Ethan (Robson) that I really fancied him to score.
“I’m disappointed not to win it, but we are still in the hat for the second round.
“I’ve been told the foul wasn’t (in the area), but I’ve not seen it back myself. The lads are saying that it was on the edge, but it was given.
“It is what it is. We have to take it on the chin and move forward into the replay.
“We didn’t want to just defend our goal in the second half, but they forced us back and there were a lot of balls coming into the box.
“Naturally, when you are trying to protect a lead, the tendency is to drop a little bit deeper.”