WALES and the United States fired blanks at the Liberty Stadium on Thursday evening but there was a Newport double courtesy of Chris Gunter and debutant Josh Sheehan.

Gunter, raised in the city’s Riverside area, captained his country in the friendly as he moved to 98 caps, closing in on becoming the first Welsh male centurion.

It all started against New Zealand back in 2007 for the skipper and for County playmaker Sheehan, who came through the Swansea academy, the magical moment came at the Liberty.

The midfielder came on for the second half to become the first County player to appear for the national side since June 1983, when Nigel Vaughan and Steve Lowndes faced Brazil at Ninian Park.

The 25-year-old from Pembrey, who battled back from a serious knee injury and being released by the Swans, who has thrived as Newport's main man in League Two, was on the biggest stage.

There was a tinge of disappointment when the team was revealed at 6.30pm and Sheehan wasn't in the XI but hope remained given that six substitutes were allowed in the friendly fixture.

The classy playmaker has been vital in County’s flying start to the League Two season and earned the praise of caretaker boss Robert Page in the build-up to the fixture.

Given squad number 21, he sat patiently behind the Liberty Stadium dugout in the first half before trotting off to warm up on the touchline during the first half.

When the half-time whistle went, Sheehan was given special instructions ahead of his introduction before heading to the changing room and then returning without his tracksuit bottoms.

The teams came out, County’s number 10 pulled on the red 21 jersey, County teammate Tom King (sadly an unused substitute) wished him luck and he was on, sitting in front of the defence after replacing Matthew Smith.

Unusually, he failed to find Rabbi Matondo with his first cross-field pass but settled into his role alongside Dylan Levitt, coming up with a key intervention when Weston McKennie was on the counter approaching the hour.

Much of County’s play goes through Sheehan – calm on the ball and with an expansive passing range – but this occasion called for staying alert and snapping away at the young Americans.

The bench were furious after he was given a ticking off by Scottish referee Nicolas Walsh for a tackle on 65 minute.

“He’s given it the wrong way,” shouted one member of the backroom team. “Great tackle, Josh.”

An uncharacteristically heavy touch led to Danny Ward being forced into action with a save to his right, although Sheehan made up for it when helping to clear the corner.

The County playmaker was snapping into tackles rather than pinging the ball away and he helped earn a clean sheet.

Sheehan will have been greeted by a glut of notifications from Exiles teammates when he turned on his phone after the game.

The 21 jersey will no doubt be framed and put in a special place but Sheehan will be hungry for more, maybe even against the Republic of Ireland and Finland in the Nations League.