Newport manager Michael Flynn heaped praise onto his players after they cemented their place in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs with a 1-1 draw at Southend.
Newport will take on Forest Green in a two-legged semi-final and Flynn is delighted to have extended County’s season.
“The players deserve all the accolades and they’ve been outstanding this season,” said Flynn.
“If we’d been a bit more clinical we would definitely have been in the top three but we’re looking forward to playing Forest Green.”
Newport finished the season in fifth position but Flynn knows Rovers will tough to beat.
“I can’t wait to get them at Rodney Parade but it’s a tough challenge,” said Flynn.
“I’ve been very impressed by them and Mark Cooper did a very, very good job there.
“He’s built a good squad and I know he’s gone now but I’ve got a lot of time for him.
“It’s going to be tough but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
Newport will head into the game on the back of a draw at already-relegated Southend but Flynn was not too impressed with the performance.
“We weren’t very good today,” said Flynn. “We played some good football up until the final third but we didn’t penetrate too much.”
Southend went in front after just 11 minutes when a left wing cross from Terrell Egbri was only half cleared and Shaun Hobson swept home a left-footed shot from 12 yards.
Moments later, the Shrimpers’ Greg Halford somehow fired over from close range before the visitors drew back level in the 56th minute with Mickey Demetriou heading home a long right-wing throw from Aaron Lewis.
Southend wasted a golden chance to regain the lead in the 61st minute when Matt Rush saw a softly-awarded penalty pushed wide of the right post by Tom King.
But the Shrimpers have fallen out of the Football League for the first time in 101 years.
And boss Phil Brown – who returned to the club for the final six games – must now decide whether or not to stay put.
“Of course I’d like to stay but I’m holding thought on that because I don’t want to undersell myself,” said Brown.
“I’ve been in India for three years and people do tend to forget about you.
“I’ve been back in England for six games and hopefully I’ve done enough to attract attention from not just Ron Martin but maybe somebody else.
“But my intention was to win as many games of football as I could to give myself a future and hopefully that’s in the English game.
“I’ll be talking to the chairman tonight and tomorrow and that’s the main conversation I have on my hands.”