IN-FORM Hartlepool United made it three wins from five games as they brushed aside Newport, in a comfortable 3-0 win.
Pools moved to the edge of the play-off zone with this win, leapfrogging their opponents, now winless in six, with an energetic display.
Christian Burgess stood out, and he was first to try his luck. The centre-half ghosted forward in possession and fired a shot over the bar from 20 yards.
County went close on 37 minutes, when Ryan Burge's shot was blocked by covering defender Sam Collins.
But Pools took the lead four minutes later. Simon Walton chased a deep cross and turned the ball back into the area for Luke James.
The top scorer turned and fired low under keeper Elliott Parrish from 16 yards for his 11th of the season.
Right on half-time, only a fine covering tackle by Burgess prevented Adam Chapman from levelling when he was presented with a clear opening. Pools have now kept three successive clean sheets.
Pools went two up in farcial circumstances on 55 minutes. Harry Worley and Minshull went for the same ball, but headed it against Sandell, who knew little of the ball going in off his head.
And Pools wrapped it up in injury time, when Luke Williams, on loan from Middlesbrough, crisply finished a low shot from 12 yards after some intelligent and clever play on the edge of the area.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Richards, Collins, Burgess, Holden; Walker, Walton, Monkhouse, Williams; Harewood (Barmby 72), James (Franks 87). Subs: Rafferty (gk), Poole, Compton, Sweeney, Duckworth.
NEWPORT COUNTY: Parish; Naylor, Worley, Sandell; Pipe (Zebroski 73), Chapman, Jeffers (Jolley 72), Burge; Wilmott, Howe, Minshull (Porter 62). Subs: Hughes, Crow, Jackson, Thompson.
Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland)