Danny Rose’s first-half strike sealed proceedings as Mansfield Town defeated Newport County AFC 1-0 at One Call Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In the Stags’ latest contest, the visitors from Wales were put behind when Rose thumped his side into a lead after 29 minutes.
Mansfield were never able to notch a second to ease the nerves, although it mattered little with a resolute defensive performance to seal three points alongside a clean sheet.
Graham Coughlan named three changes from his side’s midweek trip to the capital as he began by handing Aidan Stone his Sky Bet League Two debut.
Harry Charsley replaced Mal Benning while Hayden White – after the recent injury to Joe Riley – was welcomed back into the line-up for the first time since early January.
Amidst difficult conditions in NG18, the visitors were evidently set on making life difficult with high, hanging deliveries throughout the early exchanges.
Mansfield, though, defended well and were able to begin to find their feet. Nicky Maynard’s neat touch allowed himself to set Rose away, yet the attack broke down on the edge of the area.
Soon after, Dale Gorman flashed an effort beyond the target before Will Tomlinson saw his drive blocked by the feet of Ryan Inniss.
But the breakthrough would eventually arrive for the Stags just before the half-hour mark.
Making the most of an error from Mickey Demetriou, Maynard burst forward with possession and after his initial effort was thwarted by the Newport man, it was Rose who duly took control and thumped beyond Tom King at his near post.
The Stags continued to probe the opposition’s defensive line in sight of a quick-fire double but King was positioned well to deny Rose’s low, placed strike thereafter.
An unpredictable half of football – courtesy of Storm Dennis’ presence – was peerlessly dealt with by Coughlan’s charges as they entered the interval deservedly ahead.
Into the second period and Mansfield maintained their blanket of pressure. Harry Charsley miscued with a swinging right boot prior to Krystian Pearce forcing yet another smart save by King.
The Exiles’ No. 1 was undoubtedly the busier goalkeeper and was required once more on the hour mark. Rose leapt above his marker and the looping header was clawed away with athleticism.
However, the home side would count themselves fortunate minutes later. Possession fell kindly towards Gorman inside a crowded 18-yard box but the midfielder struck wide of the upright from a glorious position.
The visitors began to turn the screw with time running down and only an excellent defensive clearance by Ryan Sweeney denied Inniss a point-blank strike to restore parity. In tandem, the One Call faithful broke into collective noise as they chanted their side towards victory.
Michael Flynn’s men were unable to find an all-important equaliser with the Stags holding firm to secure a huge victory throughout difficult conditions.
Mansfield will be hoping to build upon Saturday’s victory next weekend when they travel to Cheltenham Town.
STAGS XI: Stone (GK), White, Pearce ©, Bishop, Maynard, Watts, Tomlinson, Sweeney, Hamilton, Charsley, Rose.
UNUSED SUBS: Olejnik (GK), Benning, Preston, Davies, Evans, Clarke, Knowles.
NEWPORT XI: King (GK), Labadie ©, Gorman (Dolan 78’), Willmott, Amond, Abrahams (Collins 46’), Bennett, Waters (Matt 59’), Inniss, Demetriou, Green.
UNUSED SUBS: Howkins, Woodiwiss
REFEREE: Dean Whitestone
ASSISTANTS: Michael George & Paul Hodskinson
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Nik Barnard
ATTENDANCE: 3,653 (111 away)