Brentford boss Thomas Frank paid tribute to debutant goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe after his two spot-kick saves ensured the Bees edged past Newport 3-0 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade.
Mathias Jensen thought he had won the Carabao Cup tie for the visitors in the 88th minute but teenage substitute Kiban Rai headed home deep into stoppage time for the hosts to take the game to spot-kicks.
Adam Lewis then hit a post with Newport’s first effort, before Balcombe saved from Nathan Wood and Bryn Morris, and Keane Lewis-Potter settled the contest in the Premier League side’s favour.
“Our debut goalkeeper made fantastic saves in the shoot-out,” said Frank.
“He’s been at the club since he was eight years old and it’s a fantastic story for him to make a debut like this with his family watching in the stadium.
“We want to go far in the cup competitions, and you need to get the job done. We did that in the end.”
Frank praised League Two County for their dogged display.
“It’s all about getting through,” added the Dane, who was forced into bringing on Jensen, Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa after an hour.
“Of course, we’d have loved to come here and win 3-0 but it’s never easy.
“I had to bring on three more experienced guys. It’s always a balance. You want to play some of the ones who don’t play so much. With all due respect, that should be enough to win the game. But we just made it right in the end.
“Big credit to Newport, I think they defended very well. They put a lot of effort into it and made it very difficult for us.
“I could definitely see why they have created upsets in the past, and they’ve had a decent start to the season with three wins in the first five. I see them having a very good season.”
Exiles manager Graham Coughlan had mixed emotions after a fantastic effort from his players.
Midfielder Harry Charsley typified their performance, heading off the line to deny Lewis-Potter early on before heading just wide at the other end from an Omar Bogle cross.
“I am proud of the lads. They will get all of the plaudits and pats on backs they deserve but, at the end of the day, you want to win football matches,” he said.
“We were very good but that didn’t get us through to the next round and we want to be winners and to be successful.
“We had probably the best chance of the game with Harry Charsley stealing into the six-yard box.
“When you play the big boys, you need those moments and slices of luck.”