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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
3 - 4
 Newport County
Speight 46, 89, Green 51.
 Yakubu 10, James 12, O’Connor 56, Louis 65.
Attendance: 2924 (357 from Newport)
Date: 11 August 2012


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium

Mansfield Town opened the new season with a stunningly awful defensive display to gift Newport County a 4-3 victory at the One Call Stadium. Newport scored two early goals, one a free header from a free kick and then a well taken volley from a corner that was not cleared. The Stags equalised with two goals early in the second half as substitute Jake Speight tapped in from close range and then Matt Green scored with a delightful chip over the keeper. But Newport restored their lead with a free header from another free kick, the header being from Aaron O’Connor who did not score a single goal from a similar situation in his time at the Stags. Then another former Stag Jefferson Louis was given space to turn and tap home from close range after another defensive shambles. The Stags were unable to come back from two goals again, though Speight scored his second on 89 minutes, heading home from close range, and Luke Jones missed a glorious opportunity to equalise with a free header in injury time. Conceding four shocking goals at home has the alarm bells ringing loudly and the Stags will need to improve dramatically at the back with visits to Gateshead and Kidderminster in the next week. Going forward, the Stags were ok, but there was an over-reliance on long throws from Owens and Beevers which did not contain the danger of Geohaghon’s from last season due to the looping trajectory and lack of power. When the Stags played the ball on the deck they looked dangerous, but for too much of the game the midfield were bypassed.

Five of the Stags starting eleven were new faces, including the entire back four. In addition there were new faces on the bench, including Speight and Wright who actually came on. Newport included former Stags Aaron O’Connor and Jefferson Louis, along with Danny Crow formerly of Luton and Peterborough.

The Stags created three chances in the opening 5 minutes. On 3 minutes, Tolley shot wide from 20 yards. A minute later, Meikle cut inside from the left and shot wide of the left post. Then on 5 minutes, Luke Jones headed wide from the near the penalty spot from a Tolley corner.

Newport were ahead on 10 minutes. Former Aldershot midfielder Andy Sandell, who possesses a sweet left foot, curled in a free kick from 35 yards from the right hand side and Ismaal Yakubu rose to head home unmarked into the bottom right corner of the net giving Marriott no chance, as the defence looked on.

It got worse on 12 minutes, as a Newport corner from the left was not cleared and fell to Tony James just inside the box who had time to control the ball and pick his spot in the left corner of the net, again giving Marriott no chance. Again the defence stood and watched.

On 16 minutes, a stunned Mansfield defence nearly conceded a third goal. A Newport cross from the left just evaded O’Connor who would have had a tap-in to an empty net.

The Stags nearly had a goal back on 23 minutes when a long throw from the right by Beevers, flicked off a Newport head and off the top of his own bar. This turned out to be the only long throw of the afternoon which created danger, out of at least ten long throws.

A minute later, Green shot wide of the left post from 20 yards following an excellent flick on from Dyer.

On 25 minutes, Dyer went down, possibly getting his right foot stuck in the turf. Dyer immediately signalled that he was in trouble. The doctor was called, and Dyer was eventually stretchered off with his leg strapped up. After the game, we were unable to get news of the injury and Paul Cox had not received any information.

After a 5 minute stoppage, Jake Speight came on and Meikle switched from the left to the right.

On 33 minutes, Howell fired over from 19 yards after Owens had gone down in the box but the referee had waved play on.

On 40 minutes, Green squared the ball for Speight who touched the ball past a defender and the defender appeared to bring Speight down on the edge of the box. The referee booked Speight for diving, to the disbelief of Speight and the crowd. The video evidence suggests it was 6 inches outside the area but that Speight was caught by the defenders leg.

On 45+2 minutes, Speight was through on goal and with just the keeper to beat, he elected to chip the ball but only succeeded in a feeble effort straight into the keeper’s arms.

Half time 0-2

The Stags pulled a goal back on 46 minutes. Tolley’s shot from the edge of the box was parried by the keeper into the path of Speight who tapped home from close range. The Newport keeper and defence claimed offside but to no avail. The video evidence showed Speight was onside.

On 47 minutes, Meikle went down in the area on the right hand side, but the referee waved away appeals for a penalty. From the video evidence, it’s impossible to tell if the defender got the ball. If he didn’t get the ball, then it should have been a penalty.

The Stags were level on 51 minutes. Green ran on to a ball over the top and chipped the onrushing keeper with a beautifully flighted shot into the net from 18 yards.

On 53 minutes, a good run down the right from Meikle but his cross was cleared.

Disaster struck on 56 minutes as Newport restored their lead. A free kick from the left, this time taken right footed by Jake Thompson, was headed home by an unmarked Aaron O’Connor. It was a mirror image of their first goal. The defence again was rooted to the spot.

On 65 minutes, Newport had a two goal cushion again. More appalling defending allowed Jefferson Louis time to turn in the box and fire low into the net from 6 yards.

Nick Wright immediately replaced Tolley, and went up front.

Gary Roberts, who was desperately trying to get into attacking positions, came close on 72 minutes when he got to the edge of the box and his left footed shot was parried over the bar. On 74 minutes, Nick Wright had a shot blocked and moments later Roberts’ shot whistled just past the left post. A minute after that, a double chance for the Stags as Wright had his shot blocked by the keeper in a 1-on-1 and then Meikle had a dangerous cross cleared.

Newport then had a spell where they kept possession in the Stags half to wind the clock down.

On 89 minutes, the Stags pulled a goal back. Green did well to chip a cross from the byeline on the right, over the keeper allowing Speight to head into the empty net from close range.

Four minutes of injury time were added. In the first of those minutes, Jones headed wide of the left post from a Roberts corner taken from the left. It was a glorious chance as Jones was unmarked.

Then in the third minute of stoppage time, Roberts played a free kick to Speight, taking everyone by surprise, but Speight miskicked it completely and the chance was gone.

Newport players celebrated with their delighted fans at the end of the game, while Mansfield players trooped off dejectedly. Long after the game and after the post match interviews, the management trio of Cox, Murray and Cooper sat at the back of the Quarry Lane stand trying to figure out how it went so badly wrong.

Man of the Match: Matt Green

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Not at fault for any of the goals. Had nothing else to do.
Beevers 4 Defended poorly, looked clumsy. Got forward but crossing was poor. One long throw created danger when Newport defender headed against his own bar, but other throws were headed away.
Jones 4 Defended poorly. Bad miss when he headed wide in stoppage time.
Pilkington 4 Defended poorly. Disappointing for someone with such experience and appointed as the new captain.
Owens 4 Many long throws, none of which looked dangerous. Has a long throw but trajectory is looping which looked easy to defend, unlike Geohaghon’s low powerful trajectory.
Roberts 6 Often bypassed and had to go deep to retrieve the ball in an attempt to make something happen. Cut a frustrated figure.
Howell 5 Largely anonymous.
Tolley 5 One or two decent set pieces, but didn’t get hold of the ball.
Dyer - Picked up a nasty injury in the first half. Paul Cox did not know the extent of the injury.
Green 6.5 Took his goal beautifully. Looked dangerous when he got the ball to his feet.
Meikle 6.5 Worked tirelessly and was a threat. Switched from left to right after Dyer injury
Sub Line Up:
Speight (for Dyer, 30) 6.5 Scored twice from close range. Missed a good chance soon after coming on.
Wright (for Tolley, 66) 6.5 Looked sharp enough - half decent.
Subs Not Used: Thompson, Clements, Daniel.
Opposition Line Up:
Pidgeley; Pipe, James, Yakubu, Sandell; Porter, Thomson, Evans (Hughes 85); O’Connor (Charles 70), Crow (Minshull 68), Louis. Subs not used: Harris, Perry.

Chris Kavanagh (Ashton-under-Lyne) 5 Poor.

Season 12/13 Reports