A late Scott Boden goal gives the Exiles back-to-back home wins.
Ahead of a busy run of fixtures in March, Newport County faced Mansfield Town in their final game of February knowing that a win could see them clear of the bottom two by nine points. Mansfield on the other hand also needed a win to keep their playoff and automatic promotion push alive.
It was a nervous first ten minutes to the game with the visitors have a spell of good possession although it was Newport that had the best chance of the game so far when Conor Wilkinson had a shot on the turn from twelve yards out that forced a great save down low to his right from Scott Shearer to stop the home side gaining the lead early on.
As the game went on Newport began to have the better of the chances with Scott Boden being unlucky on a couple of occasions when the ball was taken away from him at the last minute. Mansfield striker Matt Green was booked 20 minutes in after a shove on the back of Darren Jones after he had already been warned for knocking the ball out of Joe Days hands earlier on in the game and Newport looked to continue to push forward as the second half of the first half continued.
With ten minutes of the first half to go Conor Wilkinson found Mark Byrne 25 yards out in the centre of the goal and he was able to take a touch and fire a strong right footed shot towards goal but it went just wide of the post on a shot that Shearer in the visiting goal had covered. Newport hadn’t had the majority of the possession but they were the ones who were able to do something with it and had many more chances than their opponents in the first half.
Mansfield then hit the post with ten minutes of the first half to go with several Newport defensive errors leading to Matt Green having an opportunity to shoot from 20 yards out and his shot beat Joe Day, cannoned off the inside of the right post and rebounded away for Darren Jones to clear. It was a half of few chances and plenty of throw in’s as Newport played several balls down the left hand side without much luck and it was Mansfield who were the happier side at the break.
HALF TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 0 – 0 MANSFIELD TOWN
The second half started quickly with a couple of early Mansfield corners and they had the ball in the back of the net five minutes into the second half following a free kick from half way but it was ruled out for offside from Tafazolli who was offside well before the kick was taken.
Newport had a good spell of possession in the Mansfield Town penalty area with Scott Boden, Conor Wilkinson and Medy Elito all having shots blocked in what was arguably their best opportunity of the game so far. Mansfield Town had all bar one behind the ball during that brief spell and the Exiles will feel as though they were unlucky not to score.
Danny Holmes then had a fantastic effort from 25 yards after he was allowed to walk through the visiting midfield and he fired a shot that was only just over the bar but that was always rising and never really troubled Shearer in the visiting goal. Mansfield then nearly did exactly the same thing from Chris Clements from 20 yards out after Newport sat off him but his shot also went over the bar.
Newport County then had a fantastic opportunity to score after Conor Wilkinson displayed some wonderful skill with a give and go with Ayina who fired the ball across the face of goal and if anyone had got a touch in either colour shirt it would have given the lead to the Exiles but Boden was half a second too late and it went out for a throw in.
With fifteen minutes of normal time to go Newport kicked up the pressure once again with a free kick on the edge of the area that was blocked twice in the penalty area before being cleared away for a corner. As the game ticked down it was the home side who looked the more likely to score and they would feel slightly hard done by if they failed to come away with all three points.
With ten minutes to go Newport allowed Mansfield several chances in the penalty area and they nearly snuck the ball into the far post with a header that should never have been allowed and hearts stopped for a split second as it looked as though the ball had snuck into the far post.
Newport County took the lead with a few minutes ago when Scott Boden was able to control the ball on the penalty spot and turned before hitting a volley with his left foot that Shearer was only able to parry into the back of the net and despite protests from the Mansfield defenders for offside and a discussion between referee and linesman the goal was given and the Exiles took the lead.
GOAL: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 0 MANSFIELD TOWN (SCOTT BODEN 85’)
Five minutes of added time seemed like an age for the Exiles but they came and went without drama and County were able to hang on for the win. They are now seven points clear of the relegation zone and have 10 points from the last 12.
FULL TIME: NEWPORT COUNTY 1 – 0 MANSFIELD TOWN
Newport County: Day, Holmes, Barrow (Klukowski 65’), Jones, Davies, Elito, Wilkinson (Morgan 81’), Hughes, Ayina, Boden, Byrne (c)
Subs not used: Green, Donacien, Owen-Evans, Parselle, Meechan
Goals: Boden 85’
Bookings: Klukowski, Byrne, Boden
Mansfield Town: Shearer, Alfei, Collins, Tafazolli, Bernning, McGuire, Clements, Blair (Rose 67’), Daniel (Kavanagh 71’), Baxendale (Yussuf 55’), Green
Subs not used: Jensen, Thomas, Beardsley, Chapman
Bookings: Green, Shearer, Alfei
Referee: Gavin Ward
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