JORDAN Lyden scored the only goal of the game as Swindon Town beat Newport County 1-0 at the County Ground in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

In a largely slow and tepid affair, Lyden took his chance well early in the second half to ensure Town won their final group match – making it three from three this season and ensuring Ben Garner’s men receive a home draw in the knockout stage.

Town made 10 changes to the side that comfortably knocked Crewe Alexandra out of the FA Cup on Saturday - with only Harry McKirdy starting both cup games.

Youngsters Harrison Minturn and Callum Winchcombe were handed their first professional starts, while Town's bench was littered with academy prospects with one notable exception. Steve Mildenhall - the club's goalkeeping coach - was once again named as a substitute after Jojo Wollacott was given the night off.

For Newport, there were a couple familiar names. Jermaine Hylton and Christopher Missilou started for the Exiles.

In a first half that very rarely got going, it took until the 12th minute for the first shot in anger at either goal. Jayden Mitchell-Lawson cut inside from the right and shot goalwards, but it was blocked away.

In the 17th minute, there was an extremely odd moment involving referee, James Oldham. The referee blew his whistle to award Swindon a penalty after goalkeeper Nick Townsend whipped the ball off Jordan Lyden's feet in the box. It wasn't a penalty, and the referee correctly - although belatedly - changed his mind.

Midway through the first period, Winchcombe produced a brave block to deny 42-year-old Kevin Ellison a goal. Timmy Abraham wiggled away from Rob Hunt before sliding a ball back low towards the penalty spot from the left. Ellison strode onto it and slammed the ball goalwards, but Winchcombe threw himself in the way bravely to turn it away.

County were enjoying a small period of pressure, and they should have opened the scoring when Dolan whipped a delightful cross in from the left, but Abaraham inexplicably missed the ball in front of goal.

Shortly before the break, after Winchcombe had made yet another brave block to prevent Ellison netting, Town went close to scoring themselves.

Minturn cleared emphatically, and Lyden picked it up before asking Harry Parsons to play the ball forward. He found Harry McKirdy down the right, but the ball across to an unmarked Jayden Mitchell-Lawson was behind him. Mitchell-Lawson gathered the ball regardless and shot narrowly wide of Townsend's right-hand post.

Newport had the last chance of the opening 45, and only an excellent save from Ward denied Abraham. Hylton worked some space down the left and clipped a cross over, but Newport's number 16 saw his effort tipped over.

It was Newport who created the better of the early chances in the second half too. First, Ellison headed narrowly wide of Ward’s left-hand post from a Collins cross.

Moments later, Ward had to be alert to deny Hylton after Collins' cross was turned away straight to the former Swindon striker. Hylton smashed a shot goalwards, but Ward beat it away for a corner.

But despite County having the better of the early play in this second half, it was Town who opened the scoring in the 58th minute.

Mitchell-Lawson did ever so well to burrow through down the left and shoot, but after Townsend palmed out the strike, Lyden was there bursting into the box to tap home the rebound.

Midway through the second half, Town should have been awarded a penalty when Mitchell-Lawson burst past Missilou into the box. The former Town man clearly dragged Mitchell-Lawson to the floor, but the referee pointed for a goal kick instead.

With a little more than 10 minutes to play, a simply superb save from Townsend denied Mitchell-Lawson one-on-one.

Gilbert sliced the Newport defence open with a good pass from within the D, and Mitchell-Lawson danced his way around three or four bodies before attempting to place the ball into the bottom corner right footed. Townsend had other ideas though, and thrust out a hand sharply to turn it wide.

Newport substitute Louis Hall whipped a great cross into the box inside the final 10 minutes as the visitors looked for a key equaliser, but Alex Fisher's header from around 12 yards out was comfortably gathered by Ward.

Newport pushed forward for an equaliser in the dying moments, but aside from another off-target Fisher header, James Rowberry’s men never looked like fashioning a meaningful chance as added time ticked away.

STFC starting XI: Ward, Lyden (C), McKirdy, Mitchell-Lawson, Gilbert, Hunt, East, Parsons, Dabre, Minturn, Winchcombe.

SUBS: Mildenhall, Gordon, Francis, Dworzak, Fox, Wynn-Davis, Afenyo.

NCFC starting XI: Townsend, Haynes, Upson, Dolan, Hylton, Fisher, Abraham, Collins, Ellison, Missilou, Bright.

SUBS: Hall, Greenidge, Woodiwiss, Twamley, Ovendale, Ryan-Phillips, Livermore.