After the very good and deserved goal-less draw at Exeter on last Easter Monday, the Stags now take on playoff and promotion hopefuls Newport County at headquarters on Friday night. This is also the current Newport club’s eleventh consecutive visit to Mansfield for a League fixture. Against no other current League Two side, the Stags have played more than eight consecutive seasons (eight seasons now completed against Morecambe and Exeter) in preview history. Wrexham are out of the question as they still have to return to the EFL. The current Newport club are also one of the most previewed ones in preview history, most previewed are Cambridge with 28 league previews and two FA Cup ones (in 2014-15).
Earlier this season, Newport not for the first time at their place in preview history, benefitted from a poor refereeing decision. A debatable spot-kick earned Newport maximum points late on last October. More on the other one below. And the Exiles are currently around the playoff zone after beating Bolton by the only goal of the game at headquarters, goal netted by Exiles loanee Nicky Maynard, who cannot play on Friday night due to loan terms.
And when the sides met at Newport on the opening day last 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 the 2018-19 season, but at One Call Stadium, where the Stags ran out 3-0 winners.
Incredibly enough, the Stags finished that campaign 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 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 as the FA’s in the UK are the only ones which don’t use the away goals ruling in playoffs. And eventually earning the right to play sides like Sunderland and Ipswich, instead of another League Two campaign. In the end, Tranmere beat Newport in the 2018-19 League Two playoff final, only to return this season.
Last campaign marked the tenth consecutive one in which the Stags and the current Newport club played 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 had 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.
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 two seasons ago. 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 the2018-19. Exiles v Stags League Two fixture. And this season, Newport were minutes away from dumping Newcastle out of the EFL Cup, eventually losing on penalties at headquarters. The Exiles, just like the Stags, also reached the FA Cup third round. While the Stags lost at Cheltenham after extra time in front of the previewer watching a TV Channel, the Exiles were beaten by Brighton on spot-kicks at headquarters.
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 some time (as the Minstermen still are in Conf North with their season cancelled).
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 in 2019 (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. Last season, a Danny Rose strike was enough to separate the sides in which was to be the Stags’ final home fixture of last campaign before the season was halted in mid-March.
Incidentally, the 2-2 draw at Rodney Parade on the opening day last term was the one Newport home fixture this season which saw most goals scored. In that game, the Stags came back from 2-0 down to gain a point.
While the Stags have averaged nearly 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 club: Jon Challinor, Adam Chapman, Rob Duffy, Matt Green, Kyle Howkins, Otis Khan, Jefferson Louis, Nicky Maynard, 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 1973-10-09 Division 4 (old)
1974-75 3-0 1974-12-28 1-2 1975-03-31 Division 4 (old)
1986-87 1-0 1986-11-25 3-0 1987-03-17 Division 3 (old)
1964-65 0-3 1964-12-05 2nd round at Somerton Park, Newport
Current Newport club:
Home:P 10, W 8, D 1, L 1, GF 27, GA 9
Away:P 11, W 2, D 3, L 6, GF 9, GA 14
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 1-0 2020-02-15 2-2 2019-08-03 League Two
2020-21 (at Newport) 1-2 2020-10-03 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, last season’s PL set-up had also been different if the away goals ruling had been in use in the playoffs.
About time to get back on the winning trail. Come on Mansfield!
Stockholm, July 4, 2008, 15.00 GMT. Good news came, K.H. gone. March 1, 2012. Ground purchased.