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Match Reports

Report: Stags 2-1 Newport County AFC

14 August 2021

First-half goals from George Maris and Ollie Clarke saw the Stags secure back-to-back wins in Sky Bet League Two.

Mansfield took the lead after just seven minutes, George Maris finding the bottom corner from outside the box two minutes before Robbie Wilmott struck the visitors' equaliser.  

The skipper’s 43rd minute strike put the hosts ahead once more following some clever interplay with striker Danny Johnson. 

Nigel Clough set up with the same starting XI that beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 in the season opener, Stags’ only change saw Elliott Hewitt replace James Clarke on the bench. 

Goalscoring duo Oli Hawkins and Danny Johnson returned to lead the line following their exclusion from the side that faced Preston North End in the Carabao Cup in midweek. 

Stephen McLaughlin started in his more natural place at left-back following a runout at centre-back on Tuesday night. 

Mansfield attacked Newport from the off, McLaughlin’s low cross after 15 seconds was narrowly ahead of Hawkins who had rushed into the goalmouth area from the kick-off. 

A long Newport ball forward five minutes later beat Farrend Rawson’s attempted clearance to play Timmy Abraham through before the centre-back recovered to deal with the danger. 

Stags halted any hope of an early lead for the visitors by going ahead themselves two minutes later. 

Maris received the ball on the edge of the box to curl his effort into the bottom right corner, beating Joe Day, who may have hoped to deal with the strike.

The visitors were back level just two minutes later as a long ball from ‘keeper Day beat the Stags' defence. 

Robbie Wilmott raced beyond his marker Rawson to collect the ball with his chest and beat a helpless Nathan Bishop in the Mansfield goal. 

Newport wasted a free-kick in a dangerous position after 19 minutes, Wilmott drove his set-piece into Ed Upson whose skewed shot was deflected wide. 

McLaughlin’s break from the back a minute later set Johnson through on goal, following a slight deflection on Newport’s Chris Missilou, however the striker’s effort was straight at Day and easily dealt with. 

Hawkins teed up Rhys Oates on the edge of the box with 27 minutes played but the attacking midfielder’s snapshot drifted wide of the left post. 

Perch fouled Azaz after half an hour and Haynes’ subsequent free-kick was well held by Bishop after the ball was driven powerfully through the wall. 

A lively start saw the visitors receive their second caution of the match, Missilou going into the book after 33 minutes. 

Newport found themselves up the pitch five minutes later as Haynes drilled a left-sided shot through the box and narrowly wide of the bottom right corner. 

Stags regained their lead two minutes before the break following some clever centre forward play by Johnson. 

The striker received the ball with his chest and laid off Clarke with his second touch, allowing the skipper to smash the ball past Day from inside the box. 

Missilou dispossessed Maris five minutes after the break playing in Abraham whose off-balance shot rolled narrowly wide of the bottom right corner. 

A right sided Oates cross minutes later was tipped to safety by Day to deny Hawkins who would surely have headed home at the back post. 

Ten minutes after the break Wilmott’s cross found Abraham in space inside the box, but the young forward’s header was glanced wide from a threatening position.  

Shortly before the hour mark Kellan Gordon raced up the right by-line clipping a miscued cross which almost fortunately chipped Day and found the back of the net. 

Minutes later, Haynes teed up Azaz on the edge of the box whose first time shot was tipped over the ’bar by a stretching Bishop to keep the visitors at bay. 

George Lapslie replaced Rhys Oates in the 65th minute to front the midfield diamond for Stags. 

Elliott Hewitt was introduced in the 77th minute making his first League appearance for Mansfield since making his move from Grimsby Town. 

Johnson should have sealed Stags’ victory three minutes from time, receiving the ball in the box and firing a one on one opportunity into the ‘keepers’ legs.  

A late onslaught of direct Newport pressure was seen out by Mansfield’s defenders to see the victory through. 

Next up for the Stags is a trip to face Colchester United on Tuesday evening.

STAGS XI: Bishop, Gordon (72’ Hewitt), McLaughlin, Rawson, O. Clarke, Maris, Johnson, Hawkins, Perch, Quinn (90’ Bowery), Oates (65’ Lapslie) 

UNUSED SUBS: Shelvey, Hewitt, Burke, Sinclair, Stirk 

NEWPORT COUNTY XI: Day, Norman, Haynes, Upson, J Clarke, Farquharson, Wilmott, Abraham (72’ Greenidge) , Bennett, Azaz, Missilou (65’ Fisher) 

UNUSED SUBS: Townsend, Lewis, Collins, Woodiwiss, Livermore 

REFEREE: Anthony Backhouse 

ASSISTANTS: Wayne Grunnill & Bradley Hall 

FOURTH OFFICIAL: Gareth Roberts 

ATTENDANCE: 3,793 (156) 


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