MICHAEL Flynn made his City debut in a 5-0 thumping at Sven’s Notts County.

He was in the terrible team that crashed 3-0 to Torquay and 4-0 to Southend in the same week.

He also played on that apocalyptic Easter Saturday when a 3-0 defeat to Accrington really looked to be sending the club out of the league altogether.

Flynn may still look back fondly on his time at Valley Parade but there were some dark days.

They happen.

The sympathy was there in the tone of Stuart McCall’s former captain afterwards as he spoke about a man he remains “very fond of”.

The reaction of the outside “virtual” world to City’s home humbling was understandably less comforting.

Kurtis Guthrie spoke recently about the players being well aware that while the stands are depressingly empty, they know there is a vast audience watching every move online.

The pressure of that “big crowd” remains – even if the sales figures on iFollow are not currently what the club were banking on.

Just because they can’t see any supporters, it doesn’t mean that the vast army are not logged on to the action.

So, when you turn in a performance like this, expect the same reaction. It’s just that instead of hearing the barrage of boos, the anger is plastered all over your mobile and laptop.

Newport boss Flynn mentioned that City have nothing to worry about; they are a good team capable of much better. Of course, it is very easy to throw out such platitudes from the high ground of comfortable winners.

The jury is very much out with the Bantams public. Days like this raise serious questions about the depth of a squad facing a run of three games a week right through to the new year.

McCall has publicly expressed his confidence with the hand he has been given. But some of those cards are looking throwaway already.

The more hysterical replies, the “outside noise” that McCall refers to, spouted fears of looming relegation battles and non-league.

Ignore that nonsense after only a second defeat in seven games.

City’s patchy start does suggest an up-and-down ride to come with a team who currently look well short of genuine contenders.

But form now more than ever, given the unreal surroundings of 2020 football, seems temporary across the board.

It still does not excuse real off-days like Saturday, though.

McCall willingly took the rap for setting up wrongly – as he did in City’s previous setback against Harrogate.

His “blame me” stance was an attempt to shield the players from the wrath of supporters. He shouldn’t have.

As much as another tinker with the formation may have spelled City’s downfall against the division’s form side, those in the claret and amber shirts stood guilty as charged.

Don’t point the finger just at the manager when the players turn in such a half-hearted, hesitant and downright sloppy effort.

Tyler French did put his head above the Twitter parapet later that evening to offer an apology. “Simply not good enough” summed it up.

French was hooked at half-time after a personal shocker; but he was far from alone. There were plenty of other candidates who could have been prematurely taken off.

City were second best in every aspect. Outfought and out-thought by a Newport who have added a passing quality to the defensive mettle opponents have come to expect.

A sixth win for the Exiles took them top of the table and into the history books for the club’s best-ever start in both their guises.

The hosts, in contrast, struggled to keep hold of the ball. Too many passes went astray, too many attempts were made without due care or conviction.

Newport could argue they had the points in the bag from the 43rd second.

All the pre-match preamble of starting better and being “at it” from the whistle were blown out the window by Mickey Demetriou’s left foot.

His long throw into the City box was never properly dealt with and he was still lingering with intent on the edge as Scott Twine cut the ball back for a finish that Richard O’Donnell never had a chance with.

Demetriou’s fellow centre half Brandon Cooper was close to following up with a second soon after. Then Twine drove narrowly wide from 25 yards.

Newport went forward at will, the back three as confident as anyone to supplement the attack.

Matty Dolan, the midfielder who never quite made the grade with Phil Parkinson’s City, has been reinvented into a ball-playing centre half to superb effect.

Everywhere around the visiting team were players comfortable with possession. The same could sadly not be said for McCall’s sorry lot.

Selecting Guthrie and Austin Samuels in a front three was a throw of the dice that did not come off.

Samuels glanced one header wide and made one half-promising dart but then departed at the break after a generally lightweight contribution.

Guthrie lasted to the three-quarter point but did nothing to suggest he can provide an answer to where the goals are going to come from when Lee Novak is not firing.

City’s top scorer had an effort touched over the bar but otherwise cut an isolated figure without decent support or the chance of getting on the end of too many hit-and-hope crosses.

McCall was ready to rip up the plan and switch systems at half-time to fight for a foothold in the game. But that was taken away by Newport’s second goal just before the break.

Padraig Amond, who had been on barely a minute and a half for hamstring victim Saikou Janneh, capped off another slick move and the contest as such was done.

There was a brief flicker of hope after the restart after McCall introduced Paudie O’Connor and Dylan Mottley-Henry to match up with Newport’s system.

Anthony O’Connor was encouraged to join in with the attacks down City’s right and clipped the top of the bar.

But as the Bantams grew more desperate to get forward, the gaps going the other way grew bigger for Newport to exploit.

O’Donnell, the one player who could not be faulted, was involved in his own game with Amond for a while to keep the score in check.

City still found it hard to string together anything meaningful. The malaise even affected Elliot Watt and Connor Wood, the most consistent performers up to now, who both had their worst games.

Ben Richards-Everton was thrown forward for the closing stages – an act of desperation reminiscent of when Luke Oliver and Andrew Davies became emergency strikers. That rarely came off either.

But even with that extra height to target, City were reluctant to put balls into the box for the big man to get at.

It was woefully inept stuff.

And Newport got the third goal their domination had warranted when Twine was bundled down by Wood in stoppage time.

That gave Dolan the chance from the penalty spot to score at Valley Parade for the first time and seal City’s misery.

Next up is another trip to Bolton, who are showing signs of life after their torrid start. Time for McCall to go back to basics and his players to rediscover some fight before frustration levels grow higher.