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Match Previews

PREVIEW | County travel to Nottinghamshire to face Mansfield Town

12 February 2018

The Exiles will be looking for just their second win over Mansfield Town from ten matches in League 2 when they travel to Nottinghamshire on Tuesday night. The game is also due to be County’s final away midweek game of the campaign, while the Stags will be looking to return to winning ways after suffering a blow in their bid for the play-off positions on Saturday.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 fixture.

 Last six league matches

Newport County AFC will travel to Nottinghamshire on Tuesday to face one of the form teams in the League 2 table. The Stags have picked up 13 points from the last 18 available following four wins, one draw and one defeat from their last six matches.

That run starts with a routine 3-1 home victory over Carlisle United.

Kane Hemmings and Mal Benning both scored early-on to put the Stags in control, before a penalty from Jamie Devitt temporarily found Carlisle with a route back into the contest. But Hemmings scored again to seal the points, taking Mansfield into the play-off places.

The only draw from their last six matches then comes with a 0-0 stalemate at Cambridge United. 

The Stags then truly showed their promotion credentials by coming from behind twice to beat Cheltenham Town 3-2 in an ill-tempered affair at the One Call Stadium.

A penalty from Harry Pell gave the Robins an early lead, before CJ Hamilton levelled proceedings for Mansfield. Elijah Adebayo restored the advantage, before three red cards were brandished by the matchday referee.

Kane Hemmings got Mansfield back on level terms for a second time during the match, with Hamilton scoring again deep into the four minutes of additional time to secure all three points for the Stags.

And it took another stoppage time goal for Mansfield to make it back-to-back victories with a 2-1 success at Morecambe.

Callum Lang gave the Shrimpers a half-time lead with a composed finish, before Danny Rose volleyed home with twenty minutes remaining to set up a tense finale at the Globe Arena.

Mal Benning struck with a half-volley in the final seconds to ensure it would be Mansfield taking home all three points from a lively encounter, lifting them into the top-three in the process.

That swiftly became three victories on the bounce as Graham Westley suffered his first defeat as Barnet boss with a 3-1 loss at the One Call Stadium.

Alex MacDonald, Will Atkinson and Danny Rose all scored to ease them to victory, even if Simeon Akinola did strike with three minutes remaining to give the Bees a consolation from the game.

But in their last match, however, the Stags suffered a first defeat in ten League 2 matches with a 1-0 reverse at fellow promotion chasers Swindon Town.

Matty Taylor’s first-half strike was enough to give the home side a crucial victory as they mount a push for the play-off positions, with Mansfield dropping to 6th following the defeat ahead of our encounter.

 

Tickets 

Tickets will be available for all away Exiles on the gate tomorrow night, priced at the following  

Adults: £22

Senior (60+): £18

Young Adult (18-21):  £17

Junior (7-17): £14

6 & Under: Free

 

Team-News

The Stags have virtually a clean bill of health ahead of County’s trip to Nottinghamshire.

Centre-half David Mirfin is, however, expected to miss the match as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury, although midfielder Jacob Mellis should be available for a return following a hamstring problem.

Defender Hayden White has now served his three-match suspension and is available to return to action for the game.

All that means manager Steve Evans was able to name an unchanged side from the win over Barnet for the Swindon game on Saturday, although he may make changes this time out following the short time scale between matches.

Mansfield Town team vs Swindon Town (4-4-2): Logan, Anderson, Pearce (C), Bennett, Benning, MacDonald, Atkinson, Byrom (Miller 60’), Hamilton (Penney 68’), Rose, Hemmings (Potter 82’)

 

One to watch – Kane Hemmings

Hemmings has had a relatively good season to date as he enters the final three months of his loan deal with Mansfield Town.

He has eight goals to date, seven behind strike-partner Danny Rose, although he has netted crucial goals for the Stags this campaign.

His effort saw them to a narrow win over Stevenage, while also rescuing points in draws with Exeter City and Barnet. Those strikes add to his goals against Port Vale, Morecambe, Cheltenham Town and two against Carlisle United already this season.

The Stags are the first team he has played for in League 2, with most of his career interestingly being spent in the Scottish divisions.

Hemmings originally started on the youth books with Tamworth in the non-leagues, before a successful three-year stint with the club attracted the attention of Rangers.

The 16-year old progressed through the academy system with the former Scottish champions, going on to make his debut in a Champions League qualifier with Malmo on 3rd August 2011.

Following the club’s liquidation after the 2011/12 campaign, Hemmings was actually one of the players to remain with the club as they looked to navigate a route back to the top flight.

But he couldn’t really settle into the side and joined Cowdenbeath on a six-month loan. That quickly became a permanent signing after his release from Rangers, scoring 24 goals in the 2013/14 season.

That saw Hemmings try his luck in professional football in England for the first time in his career, moving to Barnsley on a free transfer.

He was released after just one campaign following a misfiring season, with the striker only netting on five occasions in 29 appearances.

A move back to Scotland with Dundee was then agreed, with Hemmings going on to score a personal best 25 goals in his debut campaign, attracting the attention of Oxford United, who paid a reported £250,000 for his services.

He scored 15 goals last season, meaning he is up to 85 professional career goals from 206 appearances, being loaned to Mansfield from Oxford for the entirety of this campaign.

 

Stadium – The One Call Stadium

The One Call Stadium is currently the oldest ground in the Football League having hosted football since 1861, although Mansfield Town have only been tenants at the ground since 1919.

The stadium was also home to rugby team Mansfield Marksman for two years in the 1980’s, in addition to hosting greyhound racing and pop concerts, although the most recent sale of the ground in 2012 came with the condition that there could be no non-sports use until 2032.  

It has a current capacity of 9,186, although the record capacity for the stadium stands at 24, 467 for a match against Nottingham Forest on 10th January 1953.

Away fans will be housed in the North Stand on matchday behind one of the goals. That comes with a capacity of 1,910 in an all-seater stand.

County have visited the One Call Stadium on several occasions in both the Conference and League 2. 

The last time the Exiles had to visit twice in one season came in the 2010/11 season. 121 fans travelled to Nottinghamshire for a 4-2 defeat in the FA Trophy on 15th January 2011, while 198 saw the 3-3 draw in the league just over a month later.

Some other attendances in more recent times sees a league high attendance make the trip on the opening day of the 2012/13 promotion season for both sides.

That was actually the last time County won at the One Call Stadium, a 4-3 victory on 11th August 2012 being oversaw by 357 away supporters.

Further attendances in Nottinghamshire include 224 during the 2013/14 season for a 2-1 defeat, 119 the season after for a 1-0 reverse, with 158 making the trip last season for a 2-1 loss.

 

Last time out

Newport County AFC 1 – 1 Mansfield Town

Saturday 21st October 2017

Newport County AFC and Mansfield Town had to settle for a point apiece at Rodney Parade after battling to a 1-1 draw in a match hampered by the blustery conditions in South Wales.

That wet and windy environment meant it took until the 11th minute for either side to muster a chance of note, Dan Butler blazing high and wide when found in space within the box.

Stags striker Danny Rose came within a whisker of opening the scoring at the other end shortly after, a decisive interception from Mark O’Brien to prevent a Will Atkinson cross saving the Exiles on that occasion.

The warning signs were evidently there of the attacking threat posed by Rose and the striker was on hand to give the visitors the lead on 21 minutes.  

The conditions made it extremely difficult for the County defence to clear another Atkinson delivery, with the ball perfectly presenting itself for Rose to volley home from 10 yards out.

That goal seemed to stifle an otherwise positive start from the Exiles at Rodney Parade, it taking a further 15 minutes for another chance to be created from a County perspective, Frank Nouble seeing a header spectacularly cleared off the goal line by Alex MacDonald.

Stags captain Krystian Pearce was required to clear another Nouble effort off the line at the end of first-half additional time, as the Exiles looked to end the half by grabbing a deserved equaliser.

But despite that positive ending to the half, Sean Rigg had the post to thank right at the start of the second-half after somewhat miscuing his clearance from a corner.

Shawn McCoulsky came into proceedings with 25 minutes remaining and duly scored for the fourth successive game to bring the Exiles level just four minutes later. 

Ben Tozer’s long throw into the area was superbly flicked on by O’Brien into the six-yard area, as McCoulsky reacted ahead of his marker to fire a half-volley into the roof of the net to set up a tense finale to the game.

And the Exiles came agonisingly close to a winner late-on, only being denied by three smart saves by away goalkeeper Conrad Logan during the final five minutes of action.

No further chances could be created at Rodney Parade, however, as both teams had to settle for a point.   

Mike Flynn said: “You may say it was only a draw, but it was the manner of the draw. We were by far the better team and I thought that their goalkeeper was man-of-the-match. I’d love to see the possession stats and the amount of chances we created. Second-half there was only one team in it. We were outstanding.”

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans added: “Newport play a certain way that's very difficult from every angle. They put long throws, crosses, corners, free-kicks, everything goes into your box. We need to do more in terms of when we've got the ball but I'm proud of my players with how hard they've worked. We've come, we've got a point. It's a hard-earned point.”

 

Officials

Referee: Ben Toner

Assistant Referee 1: Declan Ford 

Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Hendley

Fourth Official: Anthony Tankard

Toner is currently in his 3rd season as a Football League referee having previous officiated in the Conference and Blue Square Premier before his promotion at the start of the 2015/16 season.

He has refereed 26 matches so far this campaign, the last of which came on Saturday as Plymouth Argyle secured a surprise victory away at League 1 promotion-chasers Shrewsbury Town.

One yellow card was brandished during that fixture, taking his tally for the season up to 74 yellow cards and four red cards from the 26 matches.

Those statistics follow on from his previous two seasons officiating in the Football League.

Toner produced 101 yellow cards and six red cards from 28 matches in 2015/16, while 121 yellow cards and five red cards were given out over the course of 36 matches last campaign.

 

County Connection

 

Toner has refereed Newport County AFC on five previous occasions in League 2 and the Conference. The Exiles have a mixed bag of results from the games officiated by Toner, following two wins, one draw and two defeats from the five matches.

He has actually refereed County on one occasion already this season.

That came on 9th September 2017 as two fine displays of goalkeeping ensured the Exiles and Wycombe Wanderers had to settle for a point apiece in a finely balanced encounter at Rodney Parade.

Dominic Gape was the only played booked from either side that afternoon, as County failed to win for the first time at home in all competitions during the contest.

Toner also refereed County once last season.

Omar Bogle’s penalty two minutes from time unfortunately cost Warren Feeney his job as County manager, with the Exiles falling to the foot of the table on 27th September 2016.

Five yellow cards were given out on that day, three of which to County - Scot Bennett, Ben Tozer and Jon Parkin the offenders.

Two other games officiated by Toner came during the 2015/16 campaign.

The first of those also sees the Exiles suffer defeat, a 1-0 reverse to Hartlepool United coming courtesy of a curling effort from Scott Fenwick 18 yards out.

No bookings were awarded to County on that occasion, although there was a yellow card for Michael Woods of Hartlepool.

Toner also took charge of a stunning 3-0 victory away at Portsmouth on 12th March 2016.

Darren Jones, Scott Boden and Dean Morgan gave the Exiles a third successive win at Fratton Park, as County all but secured their survival in League 2.

Gary Roberts was sent off for the home-side for a second bookable offence, with three other Pompey players booked. Mark Byrne and Tommy O’Sullivan were shown yellow cards that day for County.

That just leaves the only time Toner officiated the Exiles in the Conference, a 3-0 away victory at Barrow on 15th September 2012 coming courtesy of a Lee Evans strike and a double from Danny Crow.

No bookings were awarded during this fixture from a County perspective.

 

Other League 2 matches that day (All 7:45pm kick-offs)

Accrington Stanley vs Crewe Alexandra

Chesterfield vs Cambridge United

Colchester United vs Coventry City

Forest Green Rovers vs Stevenage

Lincoln City vs Cheltenham Town

Luton Town vs Crawley Town

Notts County vs Carlisle United

Port Vale vs Exeter City

Wycombe Wanderers vs Swindon Town

Yeovil Town vs Barnet

 

Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat (OfficialExiles) and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Tim Thraves can also be found at the Match Centre from 7:30pm.


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