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5-0
13 February 2018 Venue One Call Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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REPORT| County suffer defeat at Mansfield Town

13 February 2018

Newport County AFC suffered a third successive defeat in League 2 as an Alfie Potter inspired performance saw Mansfield Town to a 5-0 victory at the One Call Stadium.

The Stags had the first two of their goals on the night within the opening ten minutes.

Both goals were virtually carbon-copies of each other, Mansfield utilising space on the County right-hand side before drilling the ball across the face of goal for Danny Rose and Alfie Potter to score.

Potter got his second after just 28 minutes, this one again from another lethal cross into the penalty area, the winger firing into the roof of the net after Rose had hit the crossbar with the original attempt.

Mansfield’s fourth came with ten minutes of first-half proceedings remaining in Nottinghamshire, this time Alex MacDonald getting involved in the scoring by firing a low attempt into the bottom corner from the edge-of-the-area.

The fifth and final goal saw Potter complete his hat-trick on the hour mark, volleying home to complete a sensational treble from a tight angle via a slight deflection off Ben White.

That result means the Exiles stay 12th in the League 2 table, although slip a point further back from the play-off positions and are now seven points adrift of the top-seven.

Mike Flynn elected to make just the one change to the starting side that battled valiantly during the Emirates FA Cup defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley last Wednesday.

The postponement with Forest Green Rovers on the weekend afforded the opportunity for David Pipe to fully recover from his hamstring problem and keep his place, while the change came in the midfield as Ben Tozer made way for Matty Dolan.

That like-for-like change meant the Exiles stuck to their 4-3-3 formation at the One Call Stadium, with Padraig Amond again in the role of sole striker.

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans made two changes to his side that suffered a first defeat in ten League 2 matches at Swindon Town on Saturday.

Adam King came into the midfield for his Stags debut after his loan move from Swansea City last month, taking the place of Joel Byrom who was ruled out with an unspecified illness.

The other change also came in the midfield, with Alfie Potter replacing Will Atkinson as part of a 4-4-2 line-up for the home side.

It was certainly a lively start from the Stags as they looked to get their play-off hopes back on track after the setback at the County Ground and they probably should have been in-front within 150 seconds.

Joe Day’s clearance from a deep free-kick only fell as far as Malvind Benning on the edge-of-the area, who set Kane Hemmings up for a shot from 10 yards, Day producing a clever low save to keep it out.

The warning signs were certainly there for the Exiles in Nottinghamshire and Mansfield duly found their opener in just the sixth minute.  

Stags captain Krystian Pearce set off down the left wing with menacing pace, skipping through the challenges of the County defenders and into the area, before squaring the ball across the box for talisman Danny Rose to tap home at the far post from five yards.

And no sooner had the Exiles reacted to that early setback, they found themselves further behind just three minutes later.  

This time Benning worked wonders on the County right-hand side to get himself into the penalty area, drilling the ball to about 12 yards out for Potter to mark his return to the starting side with a composed finish into the top corner.

Everything was falling the way of the home side at the One Call Stadium and no-one in the ground could have disagreed if the lead became three after just 20 minutes.

All the threat from the Stags was coming through their left-hand side, CJ Hamilton making great strides to lay the chance on a plate for Rose, who somehow could only slide in and send the attempt narrowly wide of the far post.  

That scare finally seemed to wake the Exiles up after a somewhat shaky start in Nottinghamshire, and had it not been for the offside flag then they may have found a route back into the game on 22 minutes.

Dolan’s 30-yard free-kick was only blocked by Pearce into the path of Labadie, who finished the chance well from a narrow angle, although the flag had already been raised to disallow the goal.

But that chance only seemed to make the home side more intent on extending their advantage and Potter duly got his second after 28 minutes.

Scot Bennett’s pass was intercepted in the middle by Hamilton, who again ran straight through the County defence before sending another threatening delivery across the area.

It was all too easy for the Stags to find their third after that cross, Rose somehow slipping on the first attempt and chipping onto the bar with the second effort, before Potter rifled a shot into the roof of the net after Butler could only half-clear.

You would have to say that Mansfield looked likely with every attack they created and the Stags found their fourth with ten minutes of the first-half still remaining.

Potter’s corner was only half-cleared by Frank Nouble into the path of Alex MacDonald on the edge-of-the-area, who fired through a host of bodies into the bottom left corner of the goal to further extend their advantage.

An injury to Day in the build-up to that fourth goal ensured that four minutes were indicated at the end of the first-half.

And County came their closest to a goal in the final few seconds of the added extras, Willmott forcing a smart save from Conrad Logan with a cross-shot at a tight angle.

That brought the first-half proceedings to a close in Nottinghamshire and you would have to say that Mansfield were good money for their heavy lead.

The Stags looked menacing every time they had possession, Hamilton and Benning running the left channel with ease and by far the star men from the contest, although every home player was putting in a faultless performance.

County did have their brief spells in possession as they fought intently to get themselves back into the game, although only had that disallowed goal from Labadie to show for their efforts.

That saw Flynn make a double substitution at half-time to try and at least get the Exiles back into proceedings, Marlon Jackson coming on for his first league minutes of the season.

Mark O’Brien was also introduced in-place of Nouble and Dolan, as the Exiles switched to more of a 5-3-2 formation ahead of the second-half.

But if anything, Mansfield started the second-half as the better team and had Joe Day not made a stunning double save then it would definitely have been five on 50 minutes.

Rose intercepted a poor pass from Pipe before bursting through and forcing a low save from the County goalkeeper, who did expertly well to get up and stop the follow-up from debutant King.

Mal Benning hit the post shortly after as the chances showed no signs of letting up from the home side, while Kane Hemmings somehow fired high and wide out of the stadium with the goal at his mercy from three yards.   

But it soon became five after Potter completed his splendid hat-trick on the hour mark.

Hamilton again caused havoc with another threatening run down the left, delivering an inch perfect cross for Potter to volley home on the edge of the other side of the box via a slight deflection off White.

Substitute Matt Penney and Rose were both denied late-on as Mansfield looked to further extend their lead, the two saves from Day ending a difficult afternoon for the Exiles at the One Call Stadium.

 

County: Day, Pipe, Demetriou, White, Butler, Dolan (O’Brien 45’), Bennett (Tozer 58’), Labadie (C), Willmott, Amond, Nouble (Jackson 45’)

Subs not used: Bittner, McCoulsky, Reid, Sheehan

 

Mansfield: Logan, Anderson, Pearce (C), Bennett, Benning, Potter (Penney 76’), MacDonald, King, Hamilton, Rose (Spencer 89’), Hemmings (Miller 78’)

Subs not used: Olejnik, Diamond, Mellis, Atkinson

 

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 2,866 (57 AWAY)

Next up for County: Notts County (17th February 2018)

 

* Picture used was not taken from this match

 

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