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Match Reports

Match report: Newport County 1-1 Stags

21 October 2017

Match Reports

Match report: Newport County 1-1 Stags

21 October 2017

Mansfield Town secured their second 1-1 draw of the week as a hard fought encounter with Newport County ended all-square at Rodney Parade.

Storm Brian was at its swirling best in South Wales as the driving rain and high winds made it hard for either side to string together patterns of attractive football.

Mansfield took the lead midway through the opening period with their first real chance. In-form striker Danny Rose scored his eighth goal of the season with a low half volley after frontman Kane Hemmings had seen his header blocked from a cross.

Newport's equaliser came in the 69th minute when Ben Tozer's throw-in found substitute Shawn McCoulsky ten yards out and he volleyed home past Mansfield 'keeper Conrad Logan, who went on to make a string of excellent saves in the final 10 minutes.

Looking to build on a midweek draw away at Barnet, Mansfield manager Steve Evans made three changes to his starting line-up. Defender Rhys Bennett came in to partner Krystian Pearce in central defence, Johnny Hunt returned to left back in place of Mal Benning and winger Alfie Potter, fit again after a recent calf injury, got the nod in place of midfielder Paul Digby.

Rodney Parade had felt the full force of Storm Brian before kick-off and the game was played in very stormy conditions all afternoon. Both sides used the opening stages of the game to adapt to the autumnal weather with neither team producing a chance of note inside the opening five minutes.

The game's first moment of note came in the seventh minute when the Mansfield bench protested after right-back Hayden White was refused a towel to dry the ball for a throw in, despite that luxury being afforded to the home side. Referee Charles Breakspear soon dealt with the situation and the game proceeded.

Rather aptly, a throw-in delivered the game's first chance and it went to the hosts. Midfielder Ben Tozer launched the ball from the left and Newport captain Mark O'Brien headed an effort wide, which never came close to testing Stags' goalkeeper Conrad Logan.

In the 13th minute left-back Dan Butler blasted a good opportunity over the bar after the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the area with Newport now just shading the early proceedings.

Mansfield's first opening came in the 19th minute. Midfielder Will Atkinson did well to capitalise on a slip by Butler but after getting to the byline, his pull back was intercepted by a home defender.

Three minutes later, with Mansfield's first clear chance, they took the lead. Winger Alex MacDonald crossed the ball for striker Kane Hemmings, but after the former Oxford United man saw his header blocked, Rose was on hand to fire low into the far corner to give his side the lead and continue his recent purple patch in front of goal.

Following the goal, Newport striker Frank Nouble came out with the ball after challenging Logan for it at the far post but the former West Ham youngster saw his effort hit Stags' defender Rhys Bennett and deflect out for a corner.

Nouble was involved again as the hosts searched for an equaliser. He received the ball 25 yards out from goal but his optimistic effort flew well over Logan's goal.

Former Hibernian 'keeper Logan had to be at his best twice in quick succession as the half-time interval neared. First, he did terrifically to punch clear Matty Dolan's whipped free-kick from the left and moments later he raced off his line to smother the ball with Nouble chasing it down.

As the home side looked to get themselves back in the game before the interval, Mansfield were doing well to stand firm and they maintained their lead at the break, surviving two late scares from Newport corners.

When play was resumed after the interval, a physical Newport side continued to pose an aerial threat. Nouble rose highest to flick the ball on but with no team-mates challenging, Logan was able to easily claim the ball.

Nouble was continuing to be Newport's main outlet and he did well to get the ball to the right byline, but after beating Hunt, his cross was met by Mansfield midfielder Calum Butcher who cleared the ball up-field.

Stags nearly doubled their lead in the 54th minute when Potter poked the ball to Hemmings, who did well to hold off his man and tee up Butcher, but the former Millwall midfielder saw his low shot blocked with Mansfield seeing their shouts of handball waved away by the referee.

After scoring his first goal for the Stags in midweek, Kane Hemmings was looking for more and he turned on the edge of the area but his powerful effort flew marginally over the bar.

Winger Alfie Potter did well to win the Stags a free-kick just before the hour and when MacDonald delivered the dead ball from the left wing, Potter himself was on hand at the far post to turn the ball against the woodwork as the visitors went close to a second.

A good passing move by the Stags in the 66th minute nearly unlocked the home defence once again but Hemmings was just beaten to Potter's cross by Exiles' 'keeper Joe Day.

Mansfield were starting to get some joy on the counter-attack and they had another chance to extend their lead, but after Atkinson slipped the ball to Hemmings, his shot was straight at Day.

The game was beginning to open up and with just over 20 minutes left on the clock, Newport drew level. Shawn McCoulsky, on as a second half sub, turned home a Tozer long throw from the middle of the area to score his sixth goal of the season.

McCoulsky almost got his name on the score sheet once again in the 70th minute, hitting a shot from the right which beat the dive of Logan but went just over the bar.

Mansfield gaffer Steve Evans shuffled his pack in the 72nd minute, making a double substitution. Frontmen Jimmy Spencer and Omari Sterling-James were brought on up front in place of Hemmings and Rose.

The home side were now in ascendancy and Butler's pacey cross from the left found McCoulsky but he couldn't divert his header towards goal.

Newport nearly scored what would have been a controversial second in the 78th minute. Both Alex MacDonald and Johnny Hunt felt they had been fouled by Nouble but the referee disagreed and Logan was forced into a smart, low save to his left to deny the Newport man.

The game was now well up for grabs and MacDonald stung the palms of Day with a shot that was initially spilt by the Newport stopper, only for him to smother at the second opportunity.

Logan was called into action once again in the 80th minute. Nouble got the ball out his feet and curled a shot towards the bottom corner but with the ball seemingly heading for the back of the net, Logan pulled off a fantastic stop to beat the ball away.

At the other end, forward Omari Sterling-James almost broke clear for Mansfield but was brought down by Butler. Sterling-James took the free-kick and his dipping effort went just wide, finding the side netting.

The game was now in its dying embers and Newport's Sean Rigg struck a powerful effort from the left of the box which Logan did brilliantly to tip over the bar.

Man-mountain Logan was continuing to frustrate the home support with his excellent shot-stopping and in the 86th minute, he pulled off another magnificent save to turn Amond's close range header over the bar.

The fourth official indicated an additional four minutes but there was to be no more goal mouth action with Mansfield doing well late on to wind down the clock and secure a hard-fought point.

STAGS' XI: Logan (GK), White, Pearce©, Bennett, Hunt, Butcher, Atkinson, MacDonald, Potter (Anderson 87'), Hemmings (Spencer 72'), Rose (Sterling-James 72')

SUBS NOT USED: Olejnik (GK), Mellis, Digby, Angol,

NEWPORT XI: Day (GK), Pipe, Butler, White (Rigg 59'), Dolan, Amond, Nouble, Tozer, Bennett (McCoulsky 64'), O'Brien ©, Demetriou

SUBS NOT USED: Bittner (GK), Barnum-Bobb, Owen-Evans, Quigley, Willmott

REFEREE: Charles Breakspear

ATTENDANCE: 3,146 (160 away)

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