MANAGER Justin Edinburgh insists Newport County deserved their winner in the nail-biting finale of the thrilling FA Cup victory over Braintree and hailed his side's determination as they battled until the end.
Braintree fought back from behind three times but Edinburgh's charges were unrelenting, answering each equaliser with another goal, as Paul Rodgers struck a spectacular 88thminute winner to finally break the visitors' resistance.
The most relieved County player will be goalkeeper Danny Potter, whose mistakes for the Irons' first two goals, scored by Ben Wright and Andy Yiadom, handed them a route back into the match.
Sam Foley opened the scoring, with strike-partner Craig McAllister bagging his first for the club to put Newport back in front.
The final three goals arrived in a hectic last 15 minutes, substitute Nat Jarvis firing County 3-2 up but captain Kenny Davies hauled Braintree level before Rodgers produced the late fireworks - a looping lob from 40 yards - which Saunders revealed he claims was by design.
"Paul Rodgers said he meant it and I won't argue with him," Edinburgh said.
"It was a fantastic game involving two very positive teams doing their best to progress. I'm just glad we managed to get that goal at the end, I thought we deserved it.
"The crowd were fantastic, especially towards striker Craig McAllister who was yet to score.
"I thought they almost sucked the ball into the net for his goal this afternoon.
"I'm delighted for him because he's never stopped working.
"From their point of view, you would be disappointed to score three times and still go out.
"That just shows how far this group of players have come, they didn't let the third goal dampen their spirits or affect them.
"Instead they showed great character to bounce straight back and grab that decisive goal."
Edinburgh's side looked the most …