County 0-1 Mansfield Town
A cold Rodney Parade played host to Newport County against Mansfield Town with the Exiles looking to continue their good run of form following on from their weekend win at leaders Burton Albion.
The home side started strongly with some early chances but Mansfield, who were playing a very defensive formation, managed to keep Newport out of the penalty area for much of the early period. It was the visitors who had the first chance of the game when Billy Kee had a header saved brilliantly by Joe Day diving away to his left after just five minutes.
After that the game was slow with no real chances and it was not until twenty five minutes had passed that Newport began to pile the pressure on Studer in the Mansfield goal with a string of corners which saw captain Darren Jones head just over the bar. Newport did have the ball in the net from Chris Zebroski after the ball bobbled around the box but it was disallowed for an earlier foul.
Mansfield were the side that made the opposition keeper work the most in the first half although none of their efforts severely troubled Joe Day. The defensive formation that Mansfield were playing made sure that most of Newport’s shots didn’t make it on goal. Despite this Newport looked as though they were the side in the playoffs and would continue to press in the second half.
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY AFC 0-0 MANSFIELD TOWN
Newport were much the stronger side in the second half, spending a great deal of time pressing the Mansfield box. Lee Minshull had a glancing header just saved by Studer only three minutes after the restart. Mark Byrne hit the outside of the post from a brilliant free kick from just outside the penalty area just before the hour mark after Chris Zebroski had been brought down with his back to goal.
The game was one of few clear chances with Newport’s superior defence keeping Mansfield out at one end, and sheer number stopping the men in amber breaking the deadlock. This meant that a lot of chance came from distance with very limited success. Firstly Zebroski saw his shot go high and wide before Adam Chapman tried his luck from thirty yards, to no avail.
With just ten minutes of the contest left Newport threw everything at their opponents. Chapman again struck firmly on the volley from twenty five yards, forcing a fine fingertip save from the Stags keeper before a few minutes later striking the bar with an identical effort. Unfortunately it was one of those occasions for the Exiles where the luck just didn’t go their way, and so it proved to be.
With just three minutes of normal time remaining Callum Elder whipped in a looping cross aimed towards the back post that went over the heads of all the Newport defenders, picking out a running Reggie Lambe to sneak the ball in at the back post giving the visitors the lead. County threw everything at the goal in the last few minutes, including sending Joe Day up for a last minute free kick but it was not to be and County go to Stevenage on Saturday on the back of a one nil defeat in a game that they should have come away with the points.
FULL TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY AFC 0-1 MANSFIELD TOWN