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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Newport County  
1 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Foley 33
 
 
Attendance: 1285 (89 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 18 February 2012

DREADFUL STAGS GET WHAT THEY DESERVE AT NEWPORT

Martin Shaw at Spytty Park

Mansfield Town put in a poor performance at Newport this afternoon and were deservedly beaten by a rejuvenated home side whose win stretched their unbeaten run to 7 games. The Stags had not played for 3 weeks whereas Newport had played twice in the last week and the Stags looked terribly rusty throughout the game while Newport seemed to be faster to the ball. The Stags created almost no chances from open play during the entire game while Newport had a host of chances and Foley could have had 4 goals but had to settle for the only goal of the game on 33 minutes. However for all their poor play, the Stags were denied a point they wouldn’t have deserved by two refereeing decisions as the Stags were not given two clear penalties. The second of these was in the 92nd minute as O'Neill's corner to the nearpost was headed goalwards by Riley, Green chested it down and then backheeled it, putting Dempster in space in the box. Newport centre back Andrew Hughes went to ground and as Dempster pushed the ball past him Dempster went over Hughes and to ground. As Hughes had gone to ground it was a clear penalty but the referee waved away Mansfield’s vociferous appeals. The Stags should have had a penalty in the first half as well when O'Neill's corner from the right was nicely flighted for Riley at the far post. As Riley rose, Gary Warren was behind him and had his arms all over Riley. Riley went down, and the DVD showed it was another clear penalty. Nevertheless the Stags performance didn’t warrant a point and we will need to bounce back with home games against Darlington, Tamworth and Lincoln, all of which I would suggest need to be won in order to mount a challenge on the play-off zone.

Both sides were unbeaten for 6 games, but whereas Newport had taken four points from Stockport and Bath in the last 7 days, the Stags had been kicking their heels for 3 weeks since the impressive win at Ebbsfleet. Heavy rain around 1pm would have put the game in doubt if it had lasted for more than about 10 minutes. As it was, the game was played throughout in bright sunshine but on a terrible pitch. Before the game, Stags boss Paul Cox described the pitch as “pretty bad” and warned that it wouldn’t be a pretty game - he was right on both counts.

Paul Cox left the starting eleven unchanged from the Ebbsfleet game, and replaced the injured Louis Briscoe with burly new striker Matt Rhead on the bench. Newport included Adam Chapman on loan from Oxford who the Stags had on trial a few weeks ago, in midfield, and former Stags keeper from 2000 Glyn Thompson in goal.

Newport had the first chance on 3 minutes when a long throw from Chapman was headed out by O’Neill and Foley fired wide. On 4 minutes, a free kick from Gary Roberts from the halfway line was floated to the edge of the box. Green got goalside of his marker Andrew Hughes. Hughes fell over and as he went down he brought Green down as well. The referee must have decided it was all accidental and waves away appeals, notably from Hutchinson who was just behind Green.

On 6 minutes, O'Neill's corner from the right was nice flighted for Riley at the far post. As Riley rose, Gary Warren was behind him and had his arms all over Riley. Riley went down, and the DVD showed it was a clear penalty. Stags players including Dempster and Riley were unhappy with the decision.

Newport should have been ahead on 7 minutes, as a ball from the right looped off Dempster perfectly into the path of Foley who had just Marriott to beat from 6 yards but scuffed his shot wide. It was a terrible miss and Foley put his head in his hands.

Fine play by Adam Murray on 9 minutes as he swept a great ball out to Sutton on the right and Sutton’s cross into the middle was deflected just out of the reach of Green and into the keeper’s arms. A quiet passage of 15 minutes followed which was poor fare for the fans and no chances for either side.

On 25 minutes, a Newport cross from the left found Buchanan who volleyed straight at Marriott. On 28 minutes, Gary Roberts who had been quiet before then, put in a beautiful flighted cross from the right to find Adam Smith in space at the far post. But Smith headed tamely wide of the left post. On 30 minutes, Foley got into another goal scoring position and shot wide of the left post.

Foley was getting closer and Mansfield didn’t heed the warning as he put them ahead on 33 minutes. An excellent move by Newport from a throw-in from the right taken by Pipe and eventually a ball into Foley found the striker unmarked, where Riley should have been in the box, and Foley fired underneath Marriott from close range giving the keeper no chance.

On 39 minutes, a terrible clearance from Riley fell straight for Buchanan who volleyed wide of the right post.

A very poor first half from Mansfield.

Half time 1-0

Stags boss Paul Cox made a surprising triple change at the start of the second half, hauling off Dyer, Smith and Hutchinson and replacing them with Howell, Edwards and Matt Rhead who came on for his debut. The Stags reorganised into a 3-5-2 formation with Sutton, Riley and Dempster in defence, O’Neill at right wingback, Edwards at left wingback, and Rhead and Green up front.

On 50 minutes, Jarvis turned in the box and shot straight at Marriott. Two minutes later, Gary Roberts tried his luck with a free kick from 28 yards which he put wide of the right post.

A minute after that, O’Neill’s long throw from the right fell for Murray who toe-poked a good opportunity over the bar. On 56 minutes, another opportunity for Mansfield following an O’Neill long throw, this time from the left which found Green who twisted in the 6 yard box but his acrobatic effort was an easy save for the keeper. On 58 minutes, a long throw from Chapman into the box and Martin Riley appeared to have his hands on the shoulders of an attacker but the referee gave a free kick to Mansfield and there were no appeals from the home players.

On 61 minutes, a Newport cross into the six yard box was headed straight at Marriott from close range when a yard either side and it certainly would have been in. The best piece of football of the afternoon came on 66 minutes when home midfielder Minshull volleyed just over the bar from a ball from the left.

A remarkable piece of sportsmanship from Stags sub Paul Edwards on 68 minutes when. with a Newport player down and looking injured, Edwards had an attacking opportunity but still put the ball out of play to allow the Newport player to get attention.

A brilliant save from Marriott on 75 minutes as his clearance from a Riley backpass was straight to Nat Jarvis. Jarvis sent his shot back goalwards and it was heading for the left corner of the net until Marriott tipped it wide.

The Stags should have equalised on 85 minutes as Green got past his defender into a shooting position 1-on-1 with the keeper but inexplicably tried a chipped square ball for Howell, who was actually well behind him, and the ball hit a defender. Green should certainly have tried to shoot from that position.

The Stags won a free kick on 91 minutes, which was taken by O’Neill and deflected wide. In the 92nd minute, as O'Neill's corner to the near post was headed goalwards by Riley, Green chested it down and then backheeled it, putting Dempster in space in the box. Newport centre back Andrew Hughes went to ground and as Dempster pushed the ball past him Dempster went over Hughes and to ground. As Hughes had gone to ground it was a clear penalty but the referee waved away Mansfield’s vociferous appeals.

The game ended with Mansfield players again complaining to the referee. After the game, manager Paul Cox refused to blame the officials, which made a refreshing change from many managers you could list. A poor performance from the Stags, and it’ll need to be much better to win the upcoming three home games. Man of the match for Newport was Adam Chapman, who looked very impressive and certainly outshone Adam Murray and Gary Roberts. On this form, Chapman will soon be back in the Oxford first team and plying his trade back in the football league.

Man of the match: Paul Edwards


Report by: Martin Shaw at Spytty Park



Line Up:
Marriott 7 One terrific save in the second half, tipping away a good shot. No chance with the goal. Did drop one cross, but otherwise had a very solid game.
Sutton 5 Right back in the first half, and then part of a three man defence in the second half.
Riley 4 Had a nightmare game. For all his poor defending, he was unlucky not to earn a penalty at the other end.
Dempster 6 The pick of the defence.
O'Neill 5 Some good and some bad set pieces. Pushed forward in the second half without much success.
Dyer 5 Some awful distribution on an admittedly bumpy pitch.
Murray 5 Poor game.
Roberts 5 Didn’t look the same player as all his previous performances. Cut a frustrated figure.
Smith 5 Missed a good chance when he sent a header wide.
Hutchinson 5 Anonymous.
Green 5 Didn’t look his normal self. Summed up by when he was through on goal on 85 minutes and didn’t shoot.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Hutchinson, 46) 5 Put himself about, fouling the keeper before he’d even touched the ball. But really didn’t do anything positive. Looked fairly clueless - hopefully there is more to come.
Edwards (for Smith, 46) 7 Looked fairly classy, won some good challenges. And one fantastic piece of sportsmanship when a Newport player was down looking hurt and Edwards had a chance to break forward, he still put the ball into touch.
Howell (for Dyer, 46) 5 One good challenge, but otherwise just didn’t get into the game.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Meikle.
Opposition Line Up:
Thompson, Pipe, Warren (Rodgers, 46), Hughes, Baker, Buchanan, Chapman, Minshull, Charles (Reid, 53), Foley, Jarvis. Subs: Potter, Harris, Rose.
Referee:
Tim Robinson (Bognor Regis) 5 Sadly for Mansfield, he got two penalty decisions wrong.


Season 11/12 Reports