STAGS DRAW IN ASTONISHING GAME
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 3 - 3 Newport County
Moult 31, 45+3, Briscoe 35 pen. Matthews 19 secs, Griffin 2, Rose 27. Todd Sent Off 34.
Attendance: 1986 (198 from Newport)
Date: 12 February 2011
by Martin Shaw
Mansfield Town and Newport County shared six goals at Field Mill in a televised encounter on Saturday night on a pudding of a pitch. The first half was the most astonishing half of football for years involving a Stags side. Newport took the lead after 19 seconds after a horrendous error by Tom Naylor. It was 2-0 in under two minutes after a scramble in the Stags box and Paul Connor's clearance struck Charlie Griffin and rebounded in from close range. Incredibly it was 3-0 to Newport after 27 minutes when the Stags defence went missing for a third time and Rose scored with a volley. But on 31 minutes, loan star Louis Moult scored a cracking goal, curling in from the left hand side of the box. And a few minutes later he was brought down from behind in the box and Chris Todd became the third player at Field Mill in 7 days to be sent off for such an offence. With no regular penalty takers on the pitch, Louis Briscoe stepped up and belted a great penalty home. Against ten men, the Stags were now on fire and three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the half, Louis Moult headed home an Ashley Cain corner at the near post. 3-3 at half time, and Newport down to ten men. Astonishing stuff and unbelievable entertainment for Premier Sports TV subscribers. For the second home league game running, half time came at a bad time for Mansfield, and they never reached the level of performance that they ended the first half with, and in fact it was Newport who came closer to winning the game when sub Yemi Odubade made a great run but missed a great chance on 86 minutes. In the end, definitely two points dropped for the Stags against ten men, though of course at 3-0 down, we couldn't have believed we would say that. But more than anything, this was just fantastic entertainment.
Man of the match: Louis Moult
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Evening Post Match report: Mansfield Town 3 Newport County 3
MANSFIELD Town battled back from going 3-0 down inside the first half hour to take a point against Newport County – but they would have been disappointed not to go on and win the game against their ten-man visitors.
In front of the Premier Sports television cameras, an incredible first half produced all six goals amid some shoddy defending.
County raced into a 3-0 lead after early strikes from Robbie Matthews, Charlie Griffin and Danny Rose.
But as Chris Todd was sent off for Newport, Mansfield powered back to square the match before half-time as Louis Moult netted twice and Louis Briscoe converted a penalty.
From that position, and with the momentum, the Stags had hoped to go on and register maximum points.
But County dug in after changing things around at the interval and Mansfield rarely threatened to break them down.
Mansfield were stunned to be a goal down in just 18 seconds after a glaring error from teenager Tom Naylor.
He stumbled as he attempted to cut out an innocuous through ball, allowing Tom Miller to tee up Matthews, who drilled gleefully under Neil Collett.
And, amazingly, it was 2-0 in the third minute when Stags failed to clear a right-wing corner delivered to the far post and Griffin, on debut, stabbed home from close range.
Mansfield tried to respond but Paul Connor was offside as he shot wide from Tyrone Thompson's through ball.
Moult then tried his luck with an acrobatic volley following a half-cleared free-kick but Glyn Garner gathered easily.
The Stags went close again when Moult was fouled and Garner had to push away Kevin Sandwith's free-kick, diving to his right.
Moult helped the rebound back into the danger zone but Briscoe's header was scrambled clear.
Ashley Cain picked the wrong option in the 19th minute after making a swift break but failing to spot Briscoe in space in the left.
County threatened again midway through the half when Rose's header gave Matthews the chance to let fly but his shot was too close to Collett.
It got even worse for Mansfield just before the hour mark as the visitors took a three-goal lead.
Griffin crossed from the right to the far post where Rose stretched to volley home superbly into the right-hand corner from 10 yards.
Mansfield needed a quick response if they were to have any hope of salvaging even a draw – and they got it.
Moult showed his class as he weighed up his options after a neat turn before bending a pinpoint strike into the top right-hand corner from 16 yards.
And it was game on again in the 33rd minute when Todd brought down Moult when he was clean through on goal to be sent off, especially when after the clamour had died down Briscoe smashed home the resulting penalty.
The Stags piled on the pressure in the lead up to half-time and were rewarded in stoppage time when Moult headed home at the near post from Cain's right-wing corner.
As the second half began, Mansfield immediately looked to seize the initiative as neat interplay between Connor and Moult saw the former flash just past the left-hand upright.
But Newport showed they were far from finished as Griffin brought the best out of Collett, who touched his low 18-yard drive around the left-hand post.
Soon after, Moult won the hosts a free-kick on the edge of the Newport area, but Kevin Sandwith's shot flew well over.
With 16 minutes to go, the Stags threw on Keigan Parker in place of Connor up front.
As time began to run out, Briscoe dragged wide of the left-hand post after cutting in while Moult volleyed Sandwith's cross well off target from the tightest of angles.
For all Mansfield's pressure, Newport had the best late opportunity to take three points when substitute Yemi Odubade's pace saw him race clear only to poke his finish over the top as Collett advanced.
There was one late glimpse of goal for Mansfield when Sandwith's long ball broke for Parker but the Scot failed to test Garner
Best and worst of Mansfield on display in front of the television cameras
Evening Post considered Match report:
THOSE devotees of Blue Square Bet Premier football who tuned in to Saturday night's live television broadcast from Field Mill got to see the very best and worst of Mansfield Town – and why they are destined this season for a mid-table finish rather than a play-off spot.
With the action beamed nationwide on pay-per-view channel Premier Sports, the Stags wanted to put on a show that would give watching rival clubs the jitters in the race for a top-five finish.
Instead, came another Jekyll and Hyde performance from the home side that neatly encapsulated their season in a single 90 minutes and left the likes of Wrexham and Fleetwood with little to fear.
The broadcasters initially picked this game to transmit because it was supposed to be the battle of the Holdsworth brothers – David versus Dean – only for the pair to leave Mansfield and Newport respectively either side of Christmas.
Even so, those neutrals tuning in would have certainly enjoyed what they saw – an entertaining, free-flowing encounter where all six goals, remarkably, came in the first half.
But the DVD of the game will not have made for quite such pleasant viewing for Mansfield boss Duncan Russell.
In an attacking sense, there are few teams in the division who can match Mansfield's creativity and goalscoring prowess. At times they are a delight to behold with the way they knock the ball around.
Russell knows there is massive potential going forward, with exciting wingers Louis Briscoe and Ashley Cain marauding down the flanks and Louis Moult really starting to find his feet in tandem with top scorer Paul Connor.
Yet at the other end of the park, the Stags, at times, defend diabolically, which so often undermines all their positive play when in possession.
Every team suffers from individual mistakes and lapses of concentration, but for Mansfield it simply happens too often.
A quick glance at the league table proves the point beyond all argument, showing the Stags have netted 53 times and conceded on 49 occasions in 30 league games.
Only top three Wimbledon and Luton (both 58) and Crawley (54) have scored more, but only five have a worse overall defensive record, four of those occupying the relegation places.
An inability to keep out the opposition is a problem at home, with Hayes and Yeading and Eastbourne (both 29) the only two sides more suspect.
On this occasion, it was the Stags' bad side that reared its ugly head first – and quickly left home fans contemplating a seventh home league defeat of the campaign.
Before some had even taken their seats, Tom Naylor lost control of the ball in the mud, allowing Tim Miller to give Robbie Matthews the simplest of chances to fire under Neil Collett after just 18 seconds.
As if that wasn't a shocking enough start, it was 2-0 to the Welsh club in the third minute as, from the visitors' first corner, Charlie Griffin scrambled home from close range.
When Danny Rose took advantage of more hesitancy to volley in a third just before the half hour mark, some Stags fans headed for an early exit, fearing another thrashing in the mould of those dished out by Grimsby (7-2) and Fleetwood (5-2) since the turn of the year.
This time, though, the good side of Mansfield suddenly came to the forefront so that, incredibly, by the break, the game was all square again at 3-3.
The spark for that fightback came from Moult, who pulled a goal back with a classy finish that was his first for the Stags, curling an unstoppable right-foot shot into top right-hand corner from just inside the box.
It was the Stoke loanee who then earned a penalty as he was hauled down when in the clear by Chris Todd, an offence that saw the Newport skipper given his marching orders.
Louis Briscoe had no trouble smashing home the penalty.
The following pressure looked as if it would go unrewarded until the dying embers of stoppage time when Moult got their first to Cain's near post corner to head home. At that point, there seemed only one winner.
But the interval came at the wrong time for Mansfield as Newport quickly re-organised, defended deeper and stood firm.
Rarely after the restart could the Stags pick a way through and a drive from Connor, that flashed past the post, was as close as they came.
And in their desperation to make a breakthrough, they were almost caught on the break by County when substitute Yemi Odubade raced clear only to poke over the top.
For Mansfield, a point was something they could scarcely have dreamed of after the first third of the game, yet come full-time there was a feeling a chance had been missed.
That familiar story underlines that until the Stags stop pressing the self-destruct button, it is questionable how much progress they can make.
It is only right that Russell and his team publically refuse to give up on a play-off spot in order to concentrate on their quest to win the FA Trophy.
Privately, however, even they must now be beginning to accept it is beyond them, just as many supporters already have
Stags fight back from three goals down in six-goal thriller - Mansfield Town 3 Newport County 3, Saturday 12th February
CHAD.co.uk report by John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town conjured up a thriller better than anything on the other TV channels on Saturday night when they roared back from 3-0 down to level the game in a sensational first half against 10-men Newport County at Field Mill, reports John Lomas.
This game was moved to an evening kick-off for the satellite Premium TV channel, initially as both sides had the Holdsworth twins as managers.
Both have since departed but the TV channel were still treated to one of the most incredible first 45 minutes ever seen at Field Mill.
Stags were behind in 18 seconds and 2-0 down in three minutes with some furious fans leaving the stadium when Newport made it 3-0 on 28 minutes.
But on-loan Stoke City striker Louis Moult sparked the comeback with a glorious strike to open his Mansfield account.
He then forced Chris Todd to haul him down in the box to earn the Newport man a red card and Stags a penalty which Louis Briscoe dispatched with venom.
Moult doubled his tally in first half stoppage time to send what was left of a poor Saturday evening crowd into raptures and a sense of anticipation for what might be ahead.
However, as so often with games like this, the second half proved an anti-climax as the Exiles dug in and shut up shop and took a hard-earned point back over the border.
Indeed, with Mansfield stretched at the back in search of the winner, they might have been undone on the counter-attack near the end but, with only Neil Collett to beat, sub Yemi Odubade chipped over the crossbar.
Once again the pitch cut up badly and made good football tricky, the ball sticking badly in places and forcing errors.
The Stags side showed just one change from the midweek FA Trophy replay victory at Alfreton with Kevin Sandwith at left back in place of Dan Spence.
The night began in disastrous fashion with Newport, who had only won one of their previous 10 games, netting after only 18 seconds.
Naylor mis-kicked as he tried to intercept a pass, allowing Miller to nip in behind him and square the ball to Matthews who tucked away a low finish under Collett.
The Newport fans were still celebrating that when they doubled their lead in the third minute.
It stemmed from a corner on the right and when Stags failed to clear at the far post, Collett got behind one effort before Griffin stabbed high into the net from close range.
Mansfield finally found their feet and troubled keeper Garner twice in as many minutes.
First he kept out a an acrobatic far post volley from Moult and then parried a curling Sandwith free kick from 20 yards, sparking a scramble that was eventually cleared.
The pitch was quickly cutting up again, despite a dryer day, and players were struggling to keep the ball moving through the worst areas.
On 24 minutes Rose headed neatly down for Griffin to shoot low and straight at Collett.
But it was 3-0 on 28 minutes. Griffin crossed long from the right and the ball bounced invitingly for Rose who tucked a half-volley back across Collett and inside the far post.
Connor saw a decent shot on the turn deflect for a corner and Moult ballooned over from the resulting corner as Mansfield urgently looked for a way back into the contest.
And it came on 31 minutes with an absolute pearler from Moult – his first goal for the club. Looking up on the left of the penalty area he picked out the far top corner with stunning ease for the goal of the night.
Two minutes later Stags were firmly back in business as the energetic Moult got goalside of Todd, who brought him down. As last man he was shown a red card
And, with the clock ticking onto 35 minutes, Briscoe stepped up to smash home an unstoppable penalty almost down the centre.
Briscoe came close again in first half stoppage time with a superb 30 yard free kick, bringing a save out of Garner sand Sandwith firing the follow-up wide.
But there was still time for Stags to go in all square as Moult struck in the fourth minute of stoppage time, heading in at the near post from a Cain corner from the right.
The sides were warmly applauded off at the end of an astonishing half with the Stags fans who walked out at 3-0 down missing an absolute treat.
After that the second half was a bit of a let-down.
Connor wasn't far wide on 53 minutes after Day put the ball in towards him. Connor backheeled a delightful pass to Moult who gave it him back immediately for a low shot that was always swerving away from goal.
On 61 minutes a poor clearance from Day was blocked and the ball ran for Griffin who sent in a difficult bobbling shot that Collett took no chances with, turning it round for a corner.
Sandwith was too high with a 25 yard free kick from a promising position just left of centre.
Then Knights was booked for an awful dive just outside the Mansfield box on 69 minutes and soon after was given a final warning for dissent after throwing the ball in fury over a decision by the referee. The visitors wisely withdrew him on 74 minutes as Stags also sent on Parker for Connor up front.
Stags came close again with eight minutes to go as Briscoe was allowed to run and pulled a low shot just wide of the left post.
Moult, sniffing for a hat-trick, was at the far post to meet a long Sandwith cross, but the angle was always too tight for him to be able to squeeze it back on target.
With Mansfield pushing for the winner, Newport sub Odubade might have won it on a breakaway three minutes from time but, with only Collett to beat, chipped his finish over.
And deep into stoppage time, Parker sent a hurried effort wide of the near post as the day ended with honours even and a very satisfied TV company.
STAGS: Collett; Silk, Day, Naylor, Sandwith; Cain, Thompson, Murray, Briscoe; Connor (Parker 74), Moult. Subs not used: Grof, Nix, Smith, Spence.
NEWPORT: Garner; Bignot, Todd, Hatswell, Collins; Knights (Foley 74), Rose, Odhiambo, Miller; Matthews (Morgan ht), Griffi (Odubade 83). Subs not used: Thompson, Burns.
REFEREE: Dean Mohareb of Stockport.
ATTENDANCE: 1,986 (198 away).
GOALS: Stags – Moult 31mins, 45 (+4)mins, Briscoe 35mins (pen). Newport – Matthews 1min, Griffin 3mins, Rose 28mins
CAUTIONS: Newport – Matthews 30mins, Knights 69mins, Hatswell 90 (+2) mins.
DISMISSAL: Newport – Todd 33mins.
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Louis Moult
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