Warren Feeney's Newport team suffer FA cup burn out
Newport Co 1-2 Blackburn
Warren Feeney's hopes of claiming the first major FA Cup shock of his managerial career went up in smoke as Jordan Rhodes guided 10-man Blackburn into the fourth round.
Rhodes broke Newport's resistance with a 75th-minute winner at Rodney Parade, but former Northern Ireland striker Feeney won't be too upset at the outcome as he viewed the game as a "free one."
Prolific goalscorer Rhodes, who was a half-time substitute, headed Tom Lawrence's cross past County goalkeeper Joe Day, who was sent off for a foul during the dying seconds, to secure a 2-1 victory and a trip to Oxford United in the next round.
Feeney only took charge of County last week following the departure of John Sheridan to Oldham Athletic, just days after the initial tie with Blackburn was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The former Linfield manager and his assistant Andy Todd kicked off their Newport reign with a 1-0 victory at York City at the weekend and points are precious for the Welsh club as they are currently fighting for survival in League Two.
County are fifth from bottom, seven points clear of basement side York City.
The Emirates FA Cup tie against Championship opponents was used by Feeney to help impose his ideas on the team and while Blackburn progress, County face another titanic league battle against Dagenham & Redbridge.
"We showed good character to get back into the game," Feeney said.
"They are a quality team and Jordan Rhodes was the difference. That's why he is worth what he is.
"I wish Blackburn good luck in the next round. I thought we applied ourselves very well, and we look forward to Saturday (against Dagenham) now. That's our main focus, the league.
"I want determination and desire. I was pleased with the players' attitude tonight, but just a little bit disappointed that we couldn't keep the momentum going in the second half."
While the hosts displayed plenty of fighting spirt, the game also represented an impressive show of resilience by Rovers, who had Chris Brown red-carded just 10 minutes into the game following a challenge on Medy Elito that saw Elito carried off.
Blackburn had taken the lead two minutes before Brown saw red when Ben Marshall rifled home a penalty, before captain Mark Byrne's superb right-footed strike 15 minutes from half-time gave League Two County - 50 places below Championship outfit Blackburn - a brilliant equaliser.
But Wales' last remaining team in the competition this season could not fight back for a second time, with Rhodes' late strike proving decisive.
Rovers boss Paul Lambert said: "In the second half, I thought we were fantastic.
I felt there was only one team that was going to win it in the second half, I really did.
"It is a great trait to have in any team when you are mentally strong, and it was a fantastic winning goal from Jordan.
"It was a terrific cross by Tom, and Jordan made a brilliant run across the face of goal to get on the end of it."
Reflecting on Brown's dismissal, Lambert added: "I thought that he (referee Charles Breakspear) was quite quick to get his red card out.
"I need to see it again, but 75-80 minutes is a long time to play with 10 men, especially on a pitch that is not in great condition."
Newport County: Day, Holmes, Donacien, Hughes, Davies, Barrow (Green 90), Dymond (Taylor 83), Byrne, Elito (Owen-Evans 14), Boden, Collins.
Subs not used: Klukowski, Ralph, Nana Ofori-Twumasi, Parselle.
Sent Off: Day (90).
Goals: Byrne 30.
Blackburn: Steele, Marshall, Evans (Henley 90), Hanley, Spurr, Bennett (Rhodes 46), Taylor, Lenihan, Lawrence (Conway 77), Brown, Akpan.
Subs not used: Olsson,Raya.
Sent Off: Brown (10).
Goals: Marshall 8 pen,Rhodes 75.
Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)