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Match Reports

Report: Newport County 2-2 Stags

3 August 2019

Mansfield Town completed a stunning two-minute comeback to secure a well-earned point against Newport County in their opening fixture of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Stags found themselves two goals down at the interval after Joss Labadie and Padraig Amond each made their mark on the scoresheet.

However, both Krystian Pearce and Danny Rose only needed one chance apiece as they restored parity in tremendous fashion within five minutes of the restart.

Nicky Maynard did have the chance to wrap up the turnaround with a spot-kick, yet it was saved meaning the Stags began their season with a respectable 2-2 draw.  

John Dempster handed summer signing Maynard a start in south Wales while the four other acquisitions – Aidan Stone, Dion Donohue, Andy Cook and Kellan Gordon – made the bench.

Mansfield begun proceedings with real intent as CJ Hamilton escaped the attentions of his marker to deliver a dangerous cross that was hooked clear.

However, in the sixth minute, Dempster’s side fell behind.

Possession eventually landed at the feet of the Exiles’ captain, Labadie, whose effort crept into the far corner to notch the opening goal on Saturday afternoon.

Newport threated once more just minutes thereafter, yet Amond’s effort was struck clear of Conrad Logan’s crossbar.

At the other end, Neal Bishop rippled the side netting with a clever header that had the Mansfield faithful ready to erupt behind the goal.

Labadie soon had a presentable chance to double both his and Newport’s tally – his fierce volley being blocked as it travelled towards goal.

The contest continually swapped ends as Ryan Sweeney’s header from a corner looped off target prior to Amond’s attempt connecting with a teal shirt.  

On the half-hour mark, Mansfield again came close as Jacob Mellis’ long-distance effort crashed against the stanchion.

It felt as though another goal would soon arrive at Rodney Parade, and unfortunately it did so in favour of the hosts.

Jamille Matt was pulled down inside the area and Amond stepped up to bury the spot-kick past Logan’s outstretched right arm.

As the half drew to a close, Mal Benning took aim from outside the hosts’ penalty area but watched his curler fall wide.

Hamilton, who took a knock earlier in the half, had to be replaced moments before the interval by Gordon who was introduced to make his debut for the amber and blue.

There was also a switch ahead of the second period as Otis Khan replaced Sweeney in a bid to erase the Exiles’ two-goal advantage.

And the Stags rose to the challenge within minutes of the restart – displaying belief in abundance.

Pearce rose highest in the centre, on 47 minutes, to plant a firm header beyond Tom King and initially halve the deficit that faced them.

But Dempster’s side were not satisfied with just the one.  

Two minutes later, Rose weaved into the penalty area to roll the ball home and complete a superb comeback to the delight of 493 Mansfield supporters.

A breathtaking start to the second 45 showed no signs of easing when luck almost fell the way of the home side.

Fortunate rebounds ensured the ball found Matt, however, Logan stood tall to thwart the striker with a phenomenal one-handed save.

Then, the Stags were awarded a penalty of their own courtesy of some superb link-up play.

Maynard’s exquisite backheel set substitute Khan away who was chopped down as he sought to pull the trigger.

Responsibility was given to the former but Mansfield’s number 11 was denied by a smart save from King.

Maynard continued to target a debut goal when, after a neat counter attack, his curling effort was struck marginally wide of the post.

In heated surroundings, the Stags were then dealt a blow as Mellis was shown red by referee James Adcock for an altercation with Labadie – playing out the remaining 22 minutes with 10 men.

Newport expectedly pressed forward with extra man but Mansfield held firm time and time again.

It was battled-hardened display from the Nottinghamshire outfit who avoided defeat in breathtaking circumstances in Wales.

Next up for Mansfield is a Sky Bet League Two encounter at home to Morecambe on Saturday 10 August.

STAGS' XI: Logan (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, MacDonald, Mellis, Maynard (Cook 82’), Sweeney (Khan 46’), Hamilton (Gordon 45+4’), Rose.

UNUSED SUBS: Stone (GK), Donohue, Sterling-James, Smith.  

NEWPORT XI: King (GK), Haynes, Labadie ©, Howkins, Willmott, Dolan (Whitely 73’), Amond, Sheehan, Matt, McNamara (Abrahams 84’), Demetriou.  

UNUSED SUBS: Townsend (GK), Stojsavljevic, Nurse, Bennett, Maloney.

REFEREE: James Adcock

ASSISTANTS: Marvyn Amphlett & Ravel Cheosiaua

FOURTH OFFICIAL: Dale Wootton.

ATTENDANCE: 4,441 (493 away)


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