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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Newport County  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Sandell pen 66, Jolley 78.
Attendance: 1902 (90 from Mansfield)
Date: 12 February 2013


Martin Shaw at Rodney Parade

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-0 by Newport County in a game that seemed to have 0-0 written all over it. The game turned on a soft penalty, but one which upon review of the match DVD was correctly awarded when Lee Beevers tripped the impressive Christian Jolley. Andy Sandell dispatched the spot kick. After that the Stags pushed forward in numbers and were caught out down the Stags’ left, as Jolley broke forward and buried a fine goal. It wasn’t the best performance from Mansfield, although there was no lack of effort and commitment. The Stags defended solidly in the first half, but were caught out a few times in the second half, and didn’t have enough threat going forward to rescue the game after going behind. Without doubt the Stags tended to sit too deep. In hindsight, this was probably a game to get more balls into the box quickly, as Newport did, and playing Green more on his own up front didn’t work as a tactic.

The Stags were unchanged from the side that battered Barrow 8-1. Lee Stevenson played further behind Green than he did at Field Mill. Newport were without Aaron O’Connor, out injured. Scott Donnelly played in midfield after scoring on his debut on Saturday; he signed from Farnborough on deadline day and only a fortnight ago I saw him scoring twice for Farnborough against Salisbury in Blue Square South. Christian Jolley was up front with Danny Crow, having signed permanently from AFC Wimbledon during the transfer window.

This was Mansfield’s first visit to Rodney Parade, home of Newport Gwent Dragons RFC, having played the games in the previous two seasons at Spytty Park. The pitch was in reasonable condition considering all the rain, though of course it was very heavy.

The Stags started positively in the opening stages chasing hard at every ball and it was combative and competitive stuff.

The first goalmouth incident came on 9 minutes, as Beevers nudge Danny Crow in the back inside the box. The referee waved play on. From our position in the press box it looked like the incident that is often given as a penalty, though from the match video, filmed fomr the opposite side of the ground, it looked like less of a penalty. On 16 minutes, Crow chested down nicely and Scott Donnelly fired wide. On 21 minutes, defender Yakubu’s shot was deflected wide.

A ball over the top for Green on 23 minutes seemed to catch the hand of a Newport defender (outside the box) but the referee waved played on, much to the annoyance of Paul Cox. A minute later, Murray sent a shot from outside the box a couple of yards over the bar, left-footed. On 26 minutes, Dempster tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick but Crow hooked a cross back into play, and Jones put in a great challenge on Jolley to rescue his central defensive partner. On 28 minutes, Crow’s shot from the left was easily saved by Marriott. On 29 minutes, Jolley’s close range effort was very well cleared off the line by Dempster, and the follow-up shot hit Jones and bounced away.

A competitive contest between two fired-up sides. Solid enough defending from the Stags and a decent start, though little threat going forward.

On 33 minutes, Jones, already on the ground in the Newport box, sent an overhead kick acrobatically straight at keeper Pidgeley. Two minutes later, Danny Crow went down in the box under a challenge from Jones and the home side appealed for a penalty but the referee correctly waved away the appeals. On 39 minutes, Sandell sent a free kick from the 22 metre line over the bar. On 40 minutes, Luke Jones headed straight at the keeper following a Jennings free kick. Two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the half, another free kick from Sandell went straight through a crowd of players and was held by Marriott.

Half time 0-0

Mansfield were nearly in front on 51 minutes. A corner from the right by Jennings was met by a glancing header from Stevenson which was heading for the roof of the net until keeper Pidgeley brilliantly turned it over the bar. Following the resulting corner, a cross from Jennings was deflected into the side netting. From another Stags’ corner on 57 minutes, Dempster had a goal bound shot blocked. A minute later at the other end, Jolley’s acrobatic effort was just wide. On 62 minutes, Sandell sent a low shot straight at Marriott.

The game’s defining moment came on 66 minutes. On the left edge of the penalty area, Jolley went down very easily under a slight trip from Beevers and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. At half time, members of the Newport press had told me that they expected the referee to give Newport a penalty from the next appeal having turned down two appeals. They were right, but in my opinion, on review of the DVD, it was the right decision. Sandell took the spot kick and planted it in the bottom left corner as Marriott never moved.

Rhead replaced Briscoe on 70 minutes as Mansfield attempted to add more of a presence up front. Good play by Green on 74 minutes as he got down the right and crossed into the middle with lots of bodies in the box, but Newport were able to clear. A minute later, Crow had another shot for Newport as he shot over the bar.

With Mansfield pushing forward, Jennings attempted to play Jolley offside on 78 minutes but Beevers played him onside. Jolley surged down the right and planted a left footed shot past Marriott into the left of the net. It was very poor defending from the Stags.

On 80 minutes, a free kick from the Stags but it was weak from Jennings and held by Pidgeley at the foot of the post. Newport almost scored a carbon copy of their second goal on 85 minutes as Jolley broke down the right, but this time Beevers dispossessed him with a good tackle. With the Stags unable to create a chance to pull a goal back, Marriott, out of his goal on the right made a good save from Sandell on 90+4. The final whistle brought celebrations from the home players and fans.

Man of the match: Jones/Murray

Report by: Martin Shaw at Rodney Parade

Line Up:
Marriott 6.5 No chance with the goals. A couple of easy saves but otherwise had little to do.
Beevers 6 Gave away another penalty after the one against Barrow. A bit needless as Jolley was going nowhere. Was also lucky that his early push in Crow’s back did not give away a penalty. Otherwise defended well.
Dempster 6.5 Very good clearance off the line in the first half. Caught out trying to shepherd the ball out of play and rescued by Jones.
Jones 7 Rescued Dempster on one occasion. One overhead kick was straight at the keeper.
Jennings 5.5 Caught out defensively a few times. Some good set pieces and some poor ones.
Briscoe 6 Some good tracking back, but created nothing going forward.
Howell 6 Too quiet, not involved in any incident that I noted all game.
Murray 7 A couple of fine passes, worked extremely hard typified by a run back from a forward position to intercept a dangerous Newport break.
Daniel 5 Poor game, contributing little. Provided little or no cover to Jennings.
Stevenson 5.5 Good header from a corner that was brilliantly tipped over. Otherwise he did little.
Green 6.5 Worked hard and looked sharp at the start, but starved of any good service. One good run and cross in the second half.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Briscoe, 70) -
Subs not used: Sutton, Clements , Meikle, Wright.
Opposition Line Up:
Pidgeley, Pipe, Yakubu, James; Anthony, Sandell, Minshull, Flynn, Donnelly; Jolley, Crow (Washington 87). Subs not used: Julian, Thomson, Willmott, Evans.
C. Breakspear 7 Very lenient in general. Got the Newport penalty right.

Season 12/13 Reports