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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Newport County  
0 - 1
 Mansfield Town
 Lambe 87
Attendance: 2,481 (65 from Mansfield)
Date: 3 March 2015


Martin Shaw at Rodney Parade

Mansfield Town pulled off a stunning 1-0 victory at 7th placed Newport County this evening. It was a great performance from the Stags, so solid at the back whilst creating several good chances going forward. I think Mansfield have been unlucky several times this season not to win games they deserved to win, but this evening the Stags certainly had a bit of luck on their side as Adam Chapman sent a thunderbolt against the underside of the Stags bar on 85 minutes, and two minutes later the Stags were in front with a great cross from the left by Callum Elder which Reggie Lambe converted at the far post from a tight angle. The Chapman shot was just that little bit of luck we needed. Only seconds before Chapman rattled the bar, he had another fine shot that was superbly saved by the returning Sascha Studer in goal. Studer actually had a surprisingly quiet night in goal, a great credit to the defence in front of him in which Tafazolli was outstandingly dominant, Riley was very good alongside him, and Callum Elder had a good game both at the back and going forward. Studer really had only one other save to make when he did well to dive on a flicked header from Minshull direct from a long throw early in the second half. The first half had been even with the Stags holding their own as Billy Kee brought two good saves from home keeper Day, the first from a superb header, while Heslop clipped the ball over the keeper as he came out but a defender cleared. At the other end in the first half, Studer did not have to make a save other than from a cross, and the closest Newport came was a free header over the bar from a corner. In the second half, before those crucial last 5 minutes, Kee had a great shot which brought an equally great save. The Stags had four penalty shouts, three on Kee and one on Lambe, but that elusive penalty just won’t come. The last penalty the Stags were given was in November 2013, over 15 months ago!

A great night for the 65 Stags fans that travelled to South Wales and those back in Mansfield and everyone associated with the club. This was the Stags first “double” since we were promoted from the Conference, and it felt very good! A caller to the phone-in with Adam Murray on Mansfield 103.2 on Friday suggested that Mansfield were going backwards under Murray. Well, the Stags have now played 17 games under Murray and taken 22 points, compared to 17 games and 19 points before he took charge.

The Stags are up to 17th and are 14 points ahead of Hartlepool with 12 games left. Hartlepool are in big trouble, obviously. The Stags are then 7 points above Cheltenham and Tranmere, and 5 points above Carlisle and York. Interestingly Mansfield have gone level with Cambridge, who are dropping fast despite their wonderful cup run. The table is looking better of course, but the game at Cheltenham on Saturday is still huge. Come on Mansfield! The Stags are also two points ahead of where they were last season (this season P 34 Pts 41, last season P 34 Pts 39).

The Stags made six changes to the side that beat Dagenham & Redbridge, with Murray keen to freshen things up after the last away game at Oxford when his team looked tired after the win over Luton. One change was enforced with Studer replacing Pidgeley in goal, Pidgeley not allowed to play against his parent club. Rested were Sutton, Ravenhill, Lambe, Thomas and Oliver. In came Beevers, McGuire, Monakana, Heslop and Kee. It was a continuation of the 4-1-4-1 formation, with McGuire sitting in front of the back four, and Kee in the lone-striker role. Newport included former Stag Adam Chapman, a good friend of Adam Murray of course, and he went on to have a good game. The Stags elected not to play in the red and white hooped strip, and instead wore black shirts and amber shorts, while Newport were in amber shirts and black shorts. It looked like there might be a delayed kick-off with Newport having problems in their ticket office and plenty of fans still queueing outside but the game started on time and some home fans missed the start.

The pitch was in better condition than I expected and was surprisingly free of bobbles all night. Newport had previously had huge problems with their pitch, and share their ground with Newport Gwent Dragons.

Statistical note: the Stags away following of 65 was our lowest for a league game since records began in 2002 when away followings were routinely reported. This includes all through the Conference years. The previous lowest was 73 at Crawley in the Conference in March 2011.

The Stags started positively and created the first chance on 5 minutes. Monakana put in a great cross from the touchline on the right and Kee headed wide of the goalkeeper, but keeper Day made a great one-handed save to tip away. A super effort from Kee but thwarted but great goalkeeping.

On 15 minutes, a ball forward from Beevers, Kee squared and Brown scuffed a shot from 22 yards well wide. A minute later, Brown crossed low from the left, and Kee stretched but couldn’t get enough on it to turn it past the keeper. On 17 minutes, Klukowski got in a shot from 20 yards that was going wide but Riley blocked it anyway.

On 21 minutes, good defending from Riley against Zebroski from a ball over the top, Riley resisted the temptation to put Studer under pressure with a backpass and instead turned and cleared. A minute later at the other end, a long throw from Elder almost fell to Kee and he went down but the referee wasn’t interested in a penalty. On 23 minutes, a scramble in the Stags box and Elder did well to block a Chapman shot, before McGuire was fouled and Newport put the ball in the net after the whistle had gone.

Studer was called into action for the first and only time of the half on 25 minutes as a cross from Byrne nearly crept under his bar and he had to punch it away.

Newport came close to taking the lead on 26 minutes. A corner from the right by Byrne and a free header from Jones, who sent it just over the bar. I think it was Beevers who lost Jones for the free header (to be confirmed once I have the match DVD). On 28 minutes, a great block by McGuire from a Zebroski shot from the edge of the box.

On 30 minutes, Jones appeared to clearly shove Kee in the back in the box from a corner, but all the Stags got was another corner. It looked a penalty to me (though I haven’t seen it back yet on video). The Stags haven’t had a penalty since November 2013.

A minute later a great run from Monakana down the right, to earn another corner.

On 33 minutes, the ball skimmed into the Stags box off Tafazolli’s thigh and luckily just reached Studer with Zebroski ready to pounce. On 39 minutes, Clements nodded down to Kee who shot over from 22 yards. Two minutes later, Kee found Monakana, who lost the ball.

On 41 minutes, Beevers crossed from the right, it deflected off a defender and hit Kee in the face and nearly flew into the net, keeper Day making a good save.

On 44 minutes, Beevers played a forward to release Heslop, who clipped the ball over the keeper only to see it cleared away by Yakubu before he could follow it in.

0-0 at the break and the Stags had held their own with Billy Kee bringing two good saves from home keeper.

Half time 0-0

On 49 minutes, Ryan Jackson hurled in a monster long throw, Minshull got a flicked header on it from close range and Studer dived on the ball on his line. A good save from Studer.

On 52 minutes, Tafazolli headed the ball forward to Kee who forced his way forward but his shot was blocked.

On 54 minutes, Monakana crossed into Kee who went down but the referee was unmoved despite appeals for a penalty.

On 58 minutes, a harsh free kick was given against Riley. From 23 yards, Byrne hot the stanchion behind the right post, and Studer seemed to have it covered.

Lambe replaced Monakana on 58 minutes. Brown moved from the left to the right, and Lambe started on the left.

On 59 minutes, Clements made a good break and slid in Brown whose cross was blocked for a corner.

The Stags went close on 61 minutes with a great effort from Kee. McGuire headed the ball high into the box, and Kee did superbly to hold off Yakubu before turning a firing in a great shot which brought another fine save from Day, who held it at the second attempt with Clements ready to pounce. We were now seeing Billy Kee at his best.

On 63 minutes, a ridiculous free kick against Tafazolli on the right; it was never a foul. McGuire headed away the free kick. On 64 minutes, a Brown shot deflected to Kee, and Kee curled shot wide rom the edge of the box. A minute later at the other end, Storey shot from 22 yards and it deflected off Clements for a corner.

On 74 minutes, a Clements free kick from the halfway line into the box, and Lambe went down, but again the referee waved appeals for a penalty. On 78 minutes, a ball over the top for Kee, who got into the area on the left, but his square ball for Lambe was poor.

Thomas replaced Heslop on 81 minutes, and Oliver replaced the impressive Kee a minute later.

On 85 minutes, Chapman sent in a volley from 24 yards that was superbly saved by Studer diving down to his left. There was a scramble in the Stags box and then Chapman sent a thunderbolt against the underside of the Stags bar. It was a magnificent effort from Chapman and we were so lucky it didn’t go in. Stags fans of course needed no reminding about the quality of Chapman’s shooting.

Elder was booked for being too slow to take a throw on 86 minutes.

But the Stags took the lead on 87 minutes. A great cross from the left by Callum Elder which Reggie Lambe converted at the far post from a tight angle on the volley. A great moment.

On 89 minutes, Lambe went down the right, got into a good position and pulled back for Thomas, but Thomas lost it.

Four minutes were added on. Thomas was booked for a silly foul on 90+2, conceding a free kick in the process. And on 90+4, Lambe was also booked though it didn’t even look a foul to me. But the Stags repelled both free-kicks and Newport were kept at bay with fabulous defending.

A superb win for the Stags. A very good performance at a top 7 side, and credit to Adam Murray whose changes to freshen the side up worked perfectly.

Man of the match: Ryan Tafazolli

Report by: Martin Shaw at Rodney Parade

Line Up:
Studer 7.5 Good return to the side. One fabulous save from Chapman at a crucial time, and a good save following a long throw early in the second half. Unexpectedly quiet night otherwise mainly thanks to his defence.
Beevers 6.5 Solid game defensively, apart from I think it was Beevers who lost his man for the free header just over the bar in the first half (to be confirmed). Some disappointing crosses.
Riley 8 Very good game. No messing about, just cleared the ball when needed to, and read the game well.
Tafazolli 8.5 Outstandingly dominant.
Elder 8 Defended well. Got the assist for the goal with a great cross to the far post.
McGuire 8 Several good clearances at critical moments. Protected the back four very well. Responsible, captain’s performance.
Monakana 6 One great run to earn a corner, and one good cross for Kee’s header, but lost the ball several times.
Heslop 6.5 Decent game.
Clements 7 Some good balls to create things going forward. Worked very hard.
Brown 6.5 Some good tracking back and worked hard to help out Elder.
Kee 8 Went close three times with a great header, a good shot and one that bounced off his face. Also could have earned a penalty. Worked very hard. Contender for man of the match.
Sub Line Up:
Lambe (for Monakana, 58) 7 Got the crucial goal from a tight angle. His goals against Stevenage, Dagenham and tonight have earned an extra six points in the last 3.5 weeks. A tremendous contribution.
Thomas (for Heslop, 81) -
Oliver (for Kee, 82) -
Subs not used: Sutton, Ravenhill, Bingham, Rhead.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Day; Byrne, Jones, Yakubu, Jackson; Tutonda; Klukowski (Porter 72), Minshull (Sandell 69), Chapman; Storey, Zebroski (Parker 83). Subs not used: Stephens, Feely, Howe, Jeffers.
Andy Davies 7 Decent game and let the game flow, though gave a couple of soft fouls in the last few minutes against Riley and Tafazolli. Turned down several penalty appeals for the Stags, including a clear shove on Billy Kee.

Season 14/15 Reports