York City confirmed an end-of-season play-off place courtesy of Michael Coulson’s late winner extending their unbeaten run to sixteen games at Bootham Crescent.
Match-winner Coulson had earlier struck the woodwork while recalled midfielder Adam Reed missed a number of chances as their side chased the required victory.
The decisive moment arrived when Coulson expertly curled a 77th minute free-kick past the defensive wall for his third goal in four games.
But it was the visitors with the first effort when Adam Chapman tried a volley from outside the area which cleared the target. Kevin Feely then went even closer after his close-range header was turned onto the post by Nick Pope, who instantly clawed the loose ball off the line.
Ryan Jackson drilled wide from distance midway through the opening half before the home side finally responded, although the recalled Reed’s tame effort was comfortably taken by on loan goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin.
Northern Ireland Under-21 international winger Ryan Brobbel was soon brought down on the edge of the area but nothing resulted from the free-kick before Lewis Montrose was cautioned following a clash.
However, Coulson next crossed for Reed to be denied at point-blank range and then superbly chipped over the keeper and onto the crossbar before Reed shot too close to McLoughlin.
Robbie Willmott blazed a 35-yard free-kick well over in reply – but the hosts continued their improvement with Montrose flicking on Keith Lowe’s delivery and John McCombe striking directly at McLoughlin while being adjudged offside.
Newport made a change just ahead of the interval with Aaron O’Connor replacing the injured Andy Sandell before Reed finally put the ball in their net but another raised flag kept the sides level.
York were attacking towards their own supporters in the second-half and Coulson soon curled wide after Calvin Andrew laid off Brobbel’s cross.
Five minutes later Reed volleyed firmly at McLoughlin following Andrew heading on while Max Porter replied at Pope after a neat move from the visitors. The big on loan Charlton Athletic keeper was also called upon to parry a Willmott free-kick over the bar.
There was a change from the hosts with Ryan Bowman replacing Brobbel on 65 minutes and Will Hayhurst soon joined him at the expense of Montrose.
But the action continued to remain scoreless until Bowman earned his side a 77th minute free-kick and Coulson stepped up to despatch a glorious 25-yard finish into the net.
Moments later Hayhurst steered a Coulson cross wide and then delivered a corner from which Lowe nearly took advantage following a scuffed attempt by McCombe.
The Minstermen continued to keep it tight over the closing stages to register an incredible thirteenth clean-sheet in their last fifteen games – until the final whistle signalled their delighted supporters spilling onto the pitch in joyous celebration.
York City: Pope, Oyebanjo, Lowe, McCombe, Davies, Brobbel (Bowman 65), Montrose (Hayhurst 71), Penn, Reed, Coulson, Andrew
subs (unused): McGurk, Jarvis, Platt, Allan, Ingham
Goals: Coulson (77)
Newport County: McLoughlin, Jackson, Hughes, Porter, Feely, Sandell (O’Connor 45), Minshull, Chapman (Flynn 85), Zebroski, Jolley (Jeffers 71), Willmott
subs (unused): Pidgeley, Amadi-Holloway, Howe
Ref: J. Simpson (Lancashire)
Att: 4,531 (222 Newport)
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