STAGS FIGHT BACK TO EARN DRAW AT NEWPORT
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Newport County 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Zebroski 30. Clucas 67
Attendance: 3709 (212 from Mansfield)
Date: 7 September 2013
STAGS FIGHT BACK TO EARN DRAW AT NEWPORT IN FIESTY GAME
Martin Shaw at Rodney Parade
30 1-0 Chapman’s corner from the left is headed home by Zebroski at the near post. Jennings complains to the ref, not clear what about. Zebroski got away from his marker. Good corner from Chapman. Bad marking, bad goal to concede. (After the game, Sutton held his hand up for bad marking).
67 1-1 Hutchinson’s corner from the left is turned in by Clucas from 3 yards after a possible touch off a defender. Clucas celebrates putting his finger to his lips, as if to shut up the noisy home fans. A deserved equaliser.
75 RED CARD. Minshull is red-carded, straight red, for clattering Riley with an elbow. Riley is treated for a cut head. No surprise to get a red card in this game. What we don’t need now is one for the Stags.
80 RED CARD From the resulting corner, Rhead gets a second yellow for a late tackle. Harsh, but he gave the ref a decision to make. Stupid from Rhead. And it hands the initiative back to Newport. Chapman puts the resulting free kick harmlessly out for a goal kick.
FT 1-1 A good reception for the Stags players from the Stags fans at the full time whistle.
A good point for the Stags and undoubtedly a fair result. Had Rhead not got himself sent off, the Stags might have had the momentum to go on and win it at the end, against 10 men, after the home fans had been momentarily silenced. Newport created almost nothing from open play, though did bombard us with corners, free kicks and long throws. The Stags defence generally stood up to that well. At the other end, Clucas caused Newport lots of problems, and could have had more than the one goal he did score.
Some good performances from the Stags players, including the 3 central defenders, McGuire and Clements in central midfield, and Hutchinson just behind the front two. Clucas just edged man of the match for me. For Newport, Adam Chapman created danger with some long throws, like he used to for Mansfield, and his corner for the goal was a cracker. But he faded badly after that and several set pieces were dreadful. Tom Naylor didn’t have a great game at centre half for Newport.
All in all a good performance and a satisfying result. On to York. Come on Mansfield!
Man of the match: Sam Clucas
Stagsnet player ratings shortly here
Saturday, 7th September 2013 - Newport County 1 Mansfield Town 1
CHAD report by John Lomas
The battle of the promoted sides ended honours even as resilient Mansfield Town came away from Newport County with a hard-earned 1-1 draw in a game that ended with 10-a-side this afternoon.
Stags had the best chances of a fiery first half as Ben Hutchinson shot just wide and home keeper Lenny Pidgeley made two great saves to thwart Matt Rhead and Sam Clucas.
But a moment of poor defending from a corner allowed Chris Zebrowski to steal the Exiles a 1-0 interval lead in a ill-tempered half which often threatened to spill over.
In a less eventful second half, Stags were finally level when Sam Clucas netted his second goal in as many games from close range on 67 minutes.
Referee Dave Phillips angered Stags boss Paul Cox with some of his decisions, but there were no doubts he got one right when Lee Minshull was red-carded for his elbow on Martin Riley on 75 minutes.
However, the official evened things up five minutes later when Matt Rhead earned his second yellow card of the game.
But Stags will be still have been delighted to leave a hostile away venue with a point and a first goal away to Newport in four games after three successive defeats there in three years without scoring. It was also a fifth game unbeaten for Mansfield.
Earlier, Rhead had been rewarded for his goal and fine second half display against Dagenham and Redbridge last Saturday with a starting place.
The big striker replaced Ollie Palmer, who suffered concussion last weekend, but was fit enough to take a place on the bench.
James Jennings, who hurt his ankle in the same game and hadn’t trained all week, was also passed fit to keep his place in the starting XI.
Newport, with a lengthy injury list, could only name six substitutes, but the starting XI included Adam Chapman, who played his part in Stags’ promotion push last season on loan from Oxford United, as well as ex-Mansfield defender Tom Naylor, who is on loan at Rodney Parade from Derby County.
The afternoon began with a minute’s applause for four home supporters who had passed away.
Rhead was involved in a couple of early bruising challenges with home defenders.
But the Exiles won an early corner which saw Jennings miscue his clearance and grateful to see Marriott prevent it going into his own net.
Clucas led Stags’ first attack of the day down the right and drilled in a hard, low cross aimed for the incoming Jennings, Pipe doing well to stop it reaching him.
Rhead rose to head clear a stunning first long throw by Chapman from the right as Newport resumed their offensive.
McGuire’s late tackle on Pipe earned him a seventh minute booking and set up a well-placed central free kick for Newport, 20 yards from goal. However, Willmott was well over the top with his set piece attempt.
Stags came far closer on 12 minutes when Rhead stooped to guide a header towards Clucas from a long kick upfield, and he in turn fed Hutchinson for a low finish inches wide.
Home danger man Jolley reminded Stags of his capabilities soon after as he teased on the right before cutting inside, making space and then firing a disappointing finish wide.
Clucas was well off target with a powerful header from Dempster’s ball in after another good spell of Mansfield pressure.
McGuire was fouled on several occasions in the thick of things, angering Paul Cox, before Jolley was finally yellow-carded for his challenge on the all-action midfielder.
A promising home move ended with Minshull tamely sidefooting the ball to Marriott, caught in two minds between a shot and low cross.
Clucas almost unlocked the Newport defence on 24 minutes with the best chance of the game.
He did superbly well to control McGuire’s long, high forward ball to create the chance but, with only Pidgeley to beat, saw the keeper make a superb parry.
As the game was held up for a head injury to Minshull, both sides went across to the benches for water where McGuire became involved in a heated exchange with the home bench who were shouting and gesticulating at him.
Both sets of players became involved before it all calmed down again.
In a tinderbox atmosphere, the game restarted and within a couple of minutes the home side went ahead.
It stemmed from poor marking by the visitors from a left wing Chapman corner which Zebrowski was allowed to meet unchallenged with a powerful header that gave Marriott no chance.
Newport cleared a Jennings corner at the second attempt as Mansfield sought a quick reply.
Then on 33 minutes Clucas did well to win the ball in the box and roll a pass to Rhead, whose low first time shot wasn’t far wide of the far post.
Two minutes later Hutchinson’s far post cross picked out Rhead and Pidgley did superbly well again to turn over his powerful header.
Jennings corner and subsequent long throw were then cleared as the Exiles held onto their advantage.
Dempster was wide with a header from Jennings’ free kick.
An ill-tempered half ended with Minshull taking another bang to his head in a challenge with Rhead and then Minshull clashed with Hutchinson right on the whistle with home boss Justin Edinburgh having to separate the pair.
Mansfield won an early second half corner, Pidgeley confidently punching clear as Clements flag kick swung inwards.
The home side hit back with two corners which were cleared.
Jackson was then booked for kicking the ball away after Mansfield were awarded a 58th minute free kick, Rhead joining him in the book seconds later for dissent.
On 64 minutes Stags went 4-4-2 with Palmer replacing Beevers and Clucas switching to the wing.
Zebrowski was well over with a mistimed finish that looped over in what by now had become a much tamer second half.
But within three minutes Clucas had stolen a 67th minute equaliser.
Hutchinson curled over a corner from the left into the danger zone which came off a home defender towards his own goal where Clucas applied the finishing touch from close range.
Zebrowski’s shot on the turn from 20 yards warmed Marriott’s hands two minutes later, but the keeper safely held on.
Dempster hauled down sub Washington on 71 minutes to earn the game’s fifth yellow card.
Clucas almost got in again soon after from Palmer’s flick, but Worley stretched to get in an important block.
Meikle replaced Hutchinson, booed from the field by the home fans, before the game exploded again a minute later when the abrasive Minshull sent his elbow into the face of Riley.
An immediate red card was produced and the Welsh fans applauded Minshull from the field and booed Riley as he got up after a lengthy spell of treatment.
The 10 men of Newport gamely won a couple of corners on 79 minutes.
When the second was half-cleared and Worley took possession, Rhead’s mistimed tackle saw him bring the Newport man down and, having already been booked, the referee was quick to even up the numbers and Rhead was off.
Pidgeley had to dive to his left to grab a dangerously bouncing 20 yard free kick from Clements with the game now anyone’s.
Riley held onto the ball too long in stoppage time and was dispossessed by Washington, his subsequent trip seeing the Stags man take a cheap booking.
But Stags saw out the four minutes of added time in comfort to take home a hard-earned point from over the border.
NEWPORT: Pidgeley, Pipe, Hughes, Chapman (Burge 84), Minshull, Zebrowski, Willmott (Flynn 76), Jackson, Naylor, Worley, Jolley (Washington 69). Subs not used: Yakubu, Crow, Stephens.
STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Dempster, Riley; Beevers (Palmer 64), Clements, Hutchinson (Meikle 74), McGuire, Jennings; Rhead. Clucas. Subs not used: Stevenson, Howell, Andrew, Daniel, Mitchell.?REFEREE: Dave Phillips of West Sussex.
ATTENDANCE: 3,709 (212 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Sam Clucas.
In-form Mansfield go five unbeaten with Newport draw
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
NOT helped by a false start to his radio interview, Sam Clucas cut a nervous and hesitant figure in the Rodney Parade press box. Answers to questions were short, at times a little muddled and often cliched in a performance that was less than convincing.
Thankfully, from a Stags point of view, it had been an entirely different story out on the pitch in the preceding couple of hours, where the versatile former Hereford man had demonstrated to everyone in South Wales why he has been marked out as a future star.
It was not Clucas' goal that caught the eye, his strike being no more than an opportunistic right place, right time effort that was harder to miss than score.
No, what was altogether more impressive was the way he continually put the Newport defence on high alert with his high work-rate, ability to run with the ball and pace off the mark - whether utilised up front, as he was for the first two-thirds of the game, or on the left flank, which was his allotted role thereafter.
It's true that Clucas still needs plenty of work to become the player he promises to be.
That much was evident with the way he failed to show the ruthlessness to put an early chance away after he raced onto Jamie McGuire's ball over the top, the way he sometimes dribbled down a blind alley when a team-mate was better placed and the way he delayed his shot that split second long enough to enable Harry Worley to block late on.
Yet there is no denying the kid has the talent and the raw tools to play a much higher level, a belief reportedly shared by neighbours Nottingham Forest, who were said to have been sniffing around him just weeks after his move to the One Call Stadium.
It's no wonder manager Paul Cox is so keen to nurture the player he captured from under the noses of League One Crewe Alexandra.
He knows full well that a year or so down the line, Clucas could be following former striker Matt Green into the Championship - and netting Mansfield a tidy profit into the bargain.
In the short-term, though, the Stags' hopes for the youngster are that they can improve his consistency and make showings like this the norm.
It will, of course, take time, but at least he is developing in a squad that seems to be in a good place, aided by what, over the border, was a fifth game undefeated since losing at Scunthorpe on the opening day of the 2013-14 campaign.
Mansfield certainly passed this latest test with flying colours against the only side last season to complete a league double over them, and one who had won all three previous meetings in the principality dating back to County's promotion to the Conference for the 2010-11 campaign.
The visitors made it clear they were up for the battle from the off and Ben Hutchinson was not far off with a volleyed snapshot after neat work from Matt Rhead - in for Ollie Palmer as the only change from the 3-0 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge - and Clucas.
But, after Clucas had been denied by Lenny Pidgeley in that one-on-one, the Stags were left trailing when Chris Zebroski was left unattended at the near post and gleefully headed home a left-wing corner from ex-Stag Adam Chapman.
It could have been a signal for Mansfield to crumble, but that rarely happens these days and Rhead was distraught with himself for not levelling five minutes later, heading too close to Pidgeley when he should have buried Hutchinson's inviting cross.
With another ex-Mansfield player, Tom Naylor, struggling to handle Rhead, the Stags always looked capable of restoring parity, even if half-time, and then the hour mark, came and went with no change in the scoreline.
It was then that Cox made the decision to switch to 4-4-2 - and it paid dividends almost instantly.
Hutchinson whipped in a corner not dissimilar to that of Chapman's for the Newport goal and as the ball flicked off a Newport head, Clucas nodded home from inside the six-yard box.
When County were reduced to ten men with 15 minutes to go, as Lee Minshull caught Martin Riley with an elbow, Mansfield sensed the chance to push for a winner, but those plans were soon put on ice with Rhead also sent off for a second booking.
Even so, the Stags saw out the game with few alarms.
A point was far from a disastrous day's work, especially as confidence is growing all the time ahead of the visit to Bootham Crescent, York, which is next up.
After this weekend's contribution, there are sure to be considerably less requests for Clucas to take part in the post-match interviews up there, but so long as the goals keep flowing, Mansfield will be more than happy if he continues to do his best talking in the number 11 shirt, rather than into microphones up in the stands.
Player watch - Mansfield Town v Newport County
Alan Marriott - 6
The Mansfield goalkeeper had precious little to do for most of the afternoon as his defenders in front of him worked hard to keep it tight.
Lee Beevers - 5
Defended solidly enough, but didn’t give the Stags anything in an attacking sense, which led to his substitution when the switch to 4-4-2 came midway through the second period.
Ritchie Sutton - 7
Did nothing wrong once again to fully justify his selection as part of the back three when some were calling for him to be dropped to accommodate a change in formation.
John Dempster - 7
The captain was a steadying influence at the back and ensured Mansfield did not panic when they went behind.
Martin Riley - 7
His usual composed and unflustered self. Always tried to find a pass out from the back, rather than simply clearing his lines.
James Jennings - 5
A disappointing showing from the left wing-back cum left-back who wasted possession from good attacking positions and twice miskicked in his own area, which could have proved costly.
Chris Clements - 7
Not able to get on the ball as much as he would have liked, but certainly put in an excellent shift, which is something that has not always been the case in the past.
Jamie McGuire - 6
A quieter game than of late for the tigerish midfielder, not helped by an early booking, but nevertheless did his best to make things tough for Newport.
Ben Hutchinson - 7
Was bright and busy just behind the front two as Mansfield started out with wing-backs and was unlucky with his first half snapshot.
Sam Clucas - 8
His best game for Mansfield. Not only popped up with the equaliser, but was a constant menace to Newport, both operating through the middle and down the left.
Matt Rhead - 7
Was an influential figure before he saw red for a second yellow card ten minutes from time, although he will be mightily disappointed not to find the net with a first half header.
Newport County 1 - 1 Mansfield: Honours even as both teams see red
By Steve Tucker
Newport County dropped their first home points of the season as they had to settle for a hard-fought draw against fellow League Two newcomers Mansfield.
Justin Edinburgh’s men looked like they might be set to make it three wins on the bounce at Rodney Parade at the start of the campaign when striker Chris Zebroski headed home a first-half corner, but the Stags’ Sam Clucas also nodded in a corner midway through the second period to frustrate the Exiles.
The game saw two players sent off late on. First the Exiles’ Lee Minshull was shown a straight red for apparently throwing an arm at Martin Riley on 75 minutes and then five minutes later, referee David Phillips showed Stags’ striker Matt Rhead a second yellow after he clattered into Harry Worley.
But this was a fair result as Newport battled hard in a match that still had more than a bit of the blood and thunder of the Conference clashes both sides experienced last term.
This was a third 1-1 draw on the bounce for Newport and although his side has made a great start to their first Football League campaign in 25 years, Edinburgh was left unhappy that they failed to hold onto the lead here.
At the back, despite injuries, County have looked reasonably solid, but they were guilty of losing concentration when the lively Clucas got the leveller.
Mansfield boss Paul Cox meanwhile will believe his side did enough to emerge victors as they created perhaps the better chances overall.
The Stags finished top of the Conference last campaign to book their place in League Two whilst County finished third, 10 points behind their opponents yesterday and had to fight their way through the play-offs to earn their own promotion. Not only were both teams promoted last season, they have also shared identical fortunes in League Two so far with two wins, two draws and a single defeat to their names.
It was little wonder then that the match started on a pretty even keel with both sides contributing to an open affair with plenty of chances at both ends. In the opening half in particular, the Exiles were thankful to goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley for two big saves that helped the Exiles go in at half-time with their slender lead intact.
After 24 minutes the ball was lofted over the top of a static Newport defence and fell to the lively Clucas. The Stags frontman hit a good shot, but Pidgeley was equal to the task, throwing himself to his right to push the effort away.
Then, 10 minutes before the break Pidgeley was at it again, acrobatically saving a header from the sturdy Rhead. The marking by County was again questionable.
But the Exiles had plenty of chances themselves and of course that all important goal to show for their first-half efforts.
That arrived on the half hour when Adam Chapman, playing against the side he had helped to the Conference title last term while on loan at Mansfield, put in a good corner and Zebroski did ever so well to elude his marker, find the space and head home.
Five minutes earlier, Zebroski’s equally lively partner, Christian Jolley, had shown his class by cutting inside and past a couple of bemused Mansfield defenders only to see his shot lack the requisite curl to trouble Alan Marriott in the visitors’ goal. Edinburgh’s men probably did not quite warrant the half-time lead, but few at Rodney Parade were going to complain.
What the County faithful might have had reason to grumble about though was the marking which led to Mansfield’s second-half leveller. The home side looked to be doing a reasonable job of holding their guests at bay, but all that good work was to be undone on 67 minutes.
Again it was from a corner, but Edinburgh will have been left unhappy with his side’s marking from it. The set-piece was lofted in by Ben Hutchinson, and seemed to elude everyone in an amber shirt before dropping to Clucas to head home unmolested.
Thereafter, Newport could not seem to carve out a chance to get their noses back in front. What opportunities they did create seemed to fall to Zebroski, with the frontman slicing one shot spectacularly wide and then putting one straight at Marriott.
Then County were down to ten men when Minshull was adjudged to have elbowed Riley, but barely had he left the pitch then the sides were equal in personnel as Rhead received his marching orders too.
The Exiles battled and pushed to keep up that 100 per cent home record intact, but they could not get past a resolute Stags defence. So it was honours even and probably rightly so in an encounter that was not too pretty on the eye, but which demonstrated that the division’s two new boys are not going to allow themselves to be pushed around.
County boss Justin Edinburgh said: "I'm disappointed, not with the effort and commitment as I never doubt that from my players, but I didn't think we were brave enough or good enough in possession of the ball and that's probably the worst we've played for a long time
"Everyone got caught up in the physical side of the game and... we were 100 miles an hour and trying to get in with one pass, but I can't criticise them for the way they competed.
"It was a heated game, there was one or two incidents that were let go where I thought that if they were dealt with early on then the game wouldn't have got a little bit out of control."
Latest | September 2013