Dave Jones was left frustrated that Hartlepool United could not "deal" with Newport County's set-piece strength at Rodney Parade.
Pools succumbed to three corners as League Two's bottom club won at home in the division for the first time since mid-November.
All three goals came following Craig Reid's deliveries from flag-kicks.
Former Pools loanee Ryan Bird headed in the first when he rose highest in the 15th minute to score from six yards.
The second, from strike partner Aaron Williams, was from even closer in on 56 minutes, as Pools failed to clear.
And while they did get the ball out of their box in the 71st minute, left wing-back Dan Butler fired in the third goal past Adam Bartlett from the edge of the area.
Padraig Amond bagged his 10th of the season when he turned in Sean Kavanagh's cross in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time.
"We didn't deal with the set plays," Jones said. "We knew they'd play for corners and free-kicks and we didn't deal with them.
"We knew how they were going to play, but we just deal with set-plays how we should have done.
"The pitch surprised me but the way Newport played didn't, but we didn't deal with it
"We have to bigger and braver but they are a young bunch and they'll have to learn from it."
Pools struggled with the conditions with the heavy, bobbly surface impossible to play football on, though Jones refused to cite the surface as an excuse.
"We wanted to play but you can't play on that so you have to adapt - they did, we didn't," he said.
"The pitch was scandalous but I ain't blaming the pitch for the result in any way.
"They dealt with it and we didn't.
"Sometimes you need to put your foot through it instead of trying to play."