After two away games within a week, the Stags are at home now. The opponents now are the side which followed the Stags back into the EFL, namely Newport County.
And when the sides met at Newport on the opening day this season, it was also the third time in just four seasons the sides had done so (twice at Newport, last season at Mansfield). And for the fourth time overall as the two sides which went on to be promoted together from the current National League clashed at One Call Stadium on the opening day of the 2012-13 season.
It was also the the second time in three years, the sides played out an opener at Newport. Three years ago, an injury-time strike by Kevan Hurst sealed the tie in favour of the Stags. And from the then Stags line-up, only Benning, Danny Rose and CJ Hamilton are still at the Stags, while Kyle Howkins, then on loan, now plays for Newport after having signed for the Exiles during the close-season.
The sides also faced other on the opening day of last season, but at One Call Stadium, where the Stags ran out 3-0 winners.
Incredibly enough, the Stags finished last season against Newport, following a narrow near-miss on automatic promotion on the final day of last season, a season which saw Newport secure the playoffs with three minutes remaining at Morecambe, the side we drew 1-1 against last Saturday at their place.
The first leg at Newport, watched by the previewer, was marred by the far worst refereeing display the previewer had ever seen when watching the Stags either live or on television. Enough printed. And had the away goals ruling counted in the UK, the Stags had been in the playoff finals as the second leg at One Call ended up goal-less. And eventually earning the right to play sides like Bolton, Sunderland and Ipswich, instead of another League Two campaign. In the end, Tranmere beat Newport in the playoff final.
This season have marked the tenth consecutive one in which the Stags and the current Newport club play in the same division, starting on September 18, 2010 at Newport in a historic encounter inasmuch as two twin brothers managed the sides then, Dave Holdsworth for Stags and Dean for Newport.
Not for nearly 60 years, the Stags have played any League sides for ten consecutive seasons. Last time this happened, it was against Wrexham between the 1947-48 and 1961-62 seasons, eleven of those in the old Division 3 (N), then two in the old third as founder members, then two in the old fourth after being relegated together in 1959-60.
The most recent Stags games at Newport had been marred by poor refereeing. Enough printed. This time, we’ll have a ref from the Championship. More on that in the topic “Ref against Newport on Saturday” in the main discussion forum.
Since pulling off a great relegation escape in 2016-17, Newport have fared much better, eventually ending up in 11th position in 2017-18, their second-best following promotion, the best being 7th last term. And the Exiles also have made very good FA Cup runs. In 2017-18, the Exiles kayoed Leeds at home in the round and were rewarded with a bumper home tie against Tottenham Hotspurs. Then, Newport much more than held their own against the PL opponents, close to dumping them out. But the Spurs equalized with seven minutes left and then won the Wembley replay to a 2-0 scoreline, Last season, Newport disposed of Leicester City at headquarters in the third round, then in the 90th minute at Middlesbrough managed a home replay, which was won. The reward was a dumper home tie against Manchester City, played a week after the latest Exiles v Stags League Two fixture.
After two defeats at Newport during the Conf days, the Stags went on to winning runs. The 1-0 defeat in 2012 was followed by thirteen Stags wins, one draw and one defeat before unluckily losing the playoff semifinals against York City, who a few years ago became the first side to be relegated from League Two and Conference National in successive seasons, now very unlikely to return to the FL for quite a some time (as the Minstermen at the moment are in the Conf North playoff zone).
And the 2-0 defeat at Newport in February 2013, incidentaly reffed by the same official who was in charge of the playoff semi-final first leg at Newport last term (details checked). was followed by the Stags’ record 12-match winning run on the way to the title and subsequent FL return. Newport followed a few weeks later after two late goals against Wrexham in the playoff final.
Since the EFL return in 2013, the Stags have won EVERY home fixture against Newport. But the record is 16 against the old Halifax Town club between 1932 and 1958. We also had seven against Forest Green until a month ago, when FGR won thanks to poor defending and TOO MUCH added time in both halves by the officials.
Currently, the Stags sit ten points above the only drop zone spot, which Stevenage have at the moment. If posters think we have poor recently, Stevenage have been far worse. Since Graham Westley returned there once again (he had a poor spell at Newport before Flynn took over a few years ago), Stevenage have lost nine out of thirteen, including the last five. And no League Two club managing just three wins out of 33 have survived before. Three wins are in fact an even worse return than the likes of Darlington in 2009-10, Workington in 1976-77, Dagenham & Redbridge in 2016 and the old Newport club managed in 1987-88. The two northerners and the Daggers managed four each, while the old Newport club in fact managed five three-pointers in their first 33 games. Unless something drastic happens, the previewer can see Stevenage as favourites for the drop out of the EFL with Macclesfield (due to the points deduction) and Morecambe as their main rivals. Meanwhile, Newport sit around mid-table after having played several low-scoring games. Incidentally, the 2-2 draw at Rodney Parade on the opening day this term is the one Newport home fixtures this season which have seen most goals scored so far.
Incredibly enough, the games at One Call Stadium this season have seen MORE goals than Newport’s home and away programme combined (55 at One Call, 53 in Newport’s 30 league games).
While the Stags have averaged three goals per home game against the current Newport club, the goals at Newport have been fewer. Just look at the stats below.
Played for both sides: Walter Akers, Neville Chamberlain, Roddy Collins, Fred Flanders, Dai Jones, Kevin Kent, Terence Melling, John Moore, Tommy Pritchard, Mick Vinter, Alan Waddle. Current Newport side: Jon Challinor, Adam Chapman, Rob Duffy, Matt Green, Kyle Howkins, Otis Khan (ineligible on Saturday), Jefferson Louis, Tom Naylor, Aaron O'Connor, Lenny Pidgeley, Mitchell Rose, Glyn Thompson. .
Stats against the old Newport club:
Home:P 9, W 6, D 2, L 1, GF 14, GA 7
Away:P 9, W 3, D 2, L 4, GF 7, GA 7
Home games Away games
1937-38 1-1 1937-12-04 0-1 1938-04-16 Division 3 (S)
1938-39 0-2 1939-11-01 0-0 1939-04-01 Division 3 (S)
1958-59 2-1 1959-01-31 0-1 1958-09-13 Division 3 (old)
1959-60 3-1 1959-11-21 1-0 1960-04-09 Division 3 (old)
1962-63 2-1 1963-04-20 1-1 1962-12-01 Division 4 (old)
1972-73 0-0 1973-03-26 1-0 1972-09-02 Division 4 (old)
1973-74 2-1 1974-02-24 0-2 1973-10-09Division 4 (old)
1974-75 3-0 1974-12-28 1-2 1975-03-31Division 4 (old)
1986-87 1-0 1986-11-25 3-0 1987-03-17Division 3 (old)
1964-65 0-3 1964-12-05 2nd round at Somerton Park, Newport
Current Newport club:
Home:P 9, W 7, D 1, L 1, GF 27, GA 9
Away:P 10, W 2, D 3, L 5, GF 8, GA 12
2010-11 3-3 2011-02-12 0-1 2010-09-18 BSP
2011-12 5-0 2011-09-10 0-1 2012-02-18 BSP
2012-13 3-4 2012-08-11 0-2 2013-02-12 BSP
2013-14 2-1 2014-03-08 1-1 2013-09-07 League Two
2014-15 1-0 2014-08-19 1-0 2015-03-03 League Two
2015-16 3-0 2015-10-03 0-1 2016-03-05 League Two
2016-17 2-1 2017-02-25 3-2 2016-08-06 League Two
2017-18 5-0 2018-02-13 1-1 2017-10-21 League Two
2018-19 3-0 2018-08-04 0-1 2019-02-09 League Two
2019-20 (at Newport) 2-2 2019-08-03 League Two
2010-11 4-2 2011-01-15 2nd round at Field Mill
2019-05-09 1-1 at Newport first leg
2019-05-12 0-0 at Mansfield second leg. Newport to the final 5-3 on penalties as the UK are the only country which doesn’t use the away goals ruling in two-legged knock-out competitions like playoff semi-finals. The Stags also suffered from that against York in 2012, and also against Chesterfield way back in 1995 but benefitted against Northampton in 2004. By the way, this season’s PL set-up had also been different if the away goals ruling had been in use in the playoffs.
The Stags need to bounce back quickly this weekend. Come on Mansfield!
Stockholm, July 4, 2008, 15.00 GMT. Good news came, K.H. gone. March 1, 2012. Ground purchased.