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Match Previews

PREVIEW | County return to league action with the visit of Mansfield Town

7 February 2019

Newport County AFC will be looking to return to winning ways in League Two when they host automatic promotion chasers Mansfield Town on Saturday. The Exiles won’t need any more motivation than the resolute and simply sublime performance against Middlesbrough on Tuesday, while the away side will know how important three points could be in consolidating themselves inside the top-three.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two encounter.

 

Last five results in League Two

Currently the form side in League Two, Mansfield Town have lost the least number of matches of any side in the division – three – and have only lost on the road once throughout the campaign.

Trailing leaders Lincoln City by just two points although they have played a game more, David Flitcroft’s side have responded well to too many draws in the inaugural parts of the season and have taken 13 of the last 15 points available to them.

That run starts on 15th January 2019 when Tyler Walker’s late match winner secured a slender 1-0 victory over Crawley Town, before they showed the mark of a promotion side in their next match when coming from behind against play-off hopefuls Colchester United.

Trailing 2-0 after half an hour through goals from Tom Eastman and Courtney Senior, the Stags showed their mark of quality when fighting back away from home in the second-half through Nicky Ajose, Walker and a late winner from CJ Hamilton.

A comfortable 3-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers was then secured thanks to a double from loan star Jorge Grant and yet another for Walker, before the winning run came to a halt at Forest Green Rovers – Grant having his opener cancelled out by Reuben Reid.

In their last match, Mansfield Town came through a close affair when securing a 3-1 victory at home against struggling Macclesfield Town. Grant saw his early strike cancelled out by Callum Evans, before late second-half goals from Krystian Pearce and Walker secured them all three points.        

 

Team-News

Stags manager David Flitcroft has a couple of injury concerns to contend with when he brings his Mansfield Town side to Rodney Parade on Saturday.

Mansfield have had some terrible luck with injuries this season and will be missing goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik for the remainder of the season with a ruptured ACL and defender Hayden White who has a broken leg.

Forward Alex Macdonald continues to recover from a knee injury and is therefore expected to miss out, as is striker CJ Hamilton who has a problem with his ankle.

Mansfield Town team vs Macclesfield Town (4-3-3): Smith, Pearce, Preston, Sweeney, Hamilton (Jones 82’), Mellis (Atkinson 89’), Bishop, Benning, Grant, Ajose (Rose 72’), Walker.

 

One to Watch – Jorge Grant

A player that has stood out against County in every performance for his various teams, Nottingham Forest star Jorge Grant looks set to be the man who has brought the extra firepower required to send Mansfield Town to League One by the end of the season.   

A real coup for the club seeing as he spent the first part of the season starring for League One leaders Luton Town, Grant has already found the net against County on three occasions – during the ‘Great Escape’ victory for County over Notts County then taking County apart in the subsequent season when the Magpies secured a 3-0 home victory.

Since joining the Stags in the most recent window, Grant has netted four times in his five appearances – and worryingly for County, those goals have all come in the last three appearances.

It’s a continuation of a remarkable early career for the 24-year old who has starred everywhere he’s been on loan and he’s also made 20 appearances and scored once for parent club Nottingham Forest in the Championship.

He spent the back end of the 2016/17 campaign then the full 2017/18 campaign on loan at Notts County – scoring 25 times from 73 appearances across the two spells.

His spell with Luton for the first five months of the season wasn’t as fruitful in terms of goals – 4 in 22 appearances for the Hatters – but his performances caught the eye and the goals, when they came, were straight out of the top drawer.

  

Manager – David Flitcroft

A man with the know-how to get sides out of League Two, David Flitcroft looks set to add another promotion to his résumé as the Stags continue to look to be a title contender or at worst, through the automatic promotion places.

It’s a remarkable turn of events because eight draws in the opening 12 matches looked to have curtailed any promotion hopes as they only just crept into the top-half as late as November, but some imperious form has seen them in the top-three on and off since Boxing Day.

A lot of credit has to go to Flitcroft as he’s relatively new to the role having taken charge on 1st March 2018 and he’s made Mansfield an extremely difficult side to beat. He’s only lost 10 of his 51 matches in charge, drawing 20 games and winning the remaining 21.

This spell at Mansfield is the fourth managerial position of his career.

Coming through the coaching ranks at former club from his playing days Rochdale, Flitcroft swiftly moved to be assistant manager at Barnsley then took over the team after a successful stint in a caretaker capacity.

From there, he moved on to Bury FC – his most successful managerial stint – and he took the side to the third tier by securing promotion on the final day of the 2014/15 season.

Flitcroft was sacked in November 2016 so took the hotseat at Swindon ahead of the 2017/18 season, leaving the Robins for Mansfield when the opportunity arose nine months later.

 

Last meeting between the two sides

Mansfield Town 3 – 0 Newport County AFC

Saturday 4th August 2018

Newport County AFC suffered defeat in the reverse fixture against Mansfield Town as they fell to a 3-0 reverse on the opening day of the 2018/19 season.

The Exiles started the game in Nottinghamshire on the front foot but were hit by a sucker punch after 12 minutes as Tyler Walker bundled home from close range to give Mansfield the lead on his debut.

Just after that, the home side had to rely on the very best reflexes of goalkeeper Conrad Logan to keep their early lead, the Stags shot stopper getting his angles right to save Padraig Amond’s bullet header and the follow-up rebound.

Andrew Crofts, Matty Dolan and Jamille Matt all tested Logan before the half-time whistle, while at the other end Craig Davies hit the base of the post with a curling effort from outside the area.

The match was finely poised as the teams returned from the tunnel for the second half, but it was unfortunately Mansfield who again found the net on another two occasions to take the game away from County.

It was a day for the Stags debutants at the One Call Stadium, Walker this time turning provider as his superb cross found Otis Khan in the centre who headed home on 56 minutes to double the home side’s advantage.

The former Yeovil Town midfielder – who commanded a transfer fee when making the move to Nottinghamshire - then completed the scoring with a sublime strike after 64 minutes, picking his spot before curling an unstoppable strike into the right corner from just outside the area.

Read the full match report.

Read Mike Flynn’s thoughts or watch captain Andrew Crofts’ post-match interview.

Watch the highlights.

 

Officials

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Assistant Referee 1: Ravel Cheosiaua

Assistant Referee 2: Darren Wilding

Fourth Official: Dean Treleaven

Salisbury is remarkably embarking on his 18th full season as a Football League official having first officiated a match in League Two on 11th August 2001 as Saturday’s visitors Mansfield Town and Hartlepool United played out a 1-1 draw.

He has refereed 24 matches so far this season, giving out 89 yellow cards and three red cards, including three yellows on the opening day of the campaign when Exeter City secured a 3-1 home victory over Carlisle United.

Only one fixture has passed this season without Salisbury going to his pocket – that coming on 17th November as Carlisle United smashed Swindon Town 4-0 away from home.

His record number of yellow cards for a single fixture this season stands at nine – a figure he has brandished just the once – as Bradford City won on penalties after an initial 1-1 draw with Aldershot in the Emirates FA Cup on 20th November.

That follows on from refereeing a total of 37 games during the 2017/18 campaign, a season in which Salisbury brandished 146 yellow cards and 13 red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.

 

County Connection

Salisbury has refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on seven previous occasions in League Two. The Exiles have a mixed bag of results from those game having won three times, drawn twice and lost the other two matches.

He officiated the Exiles twice last season, including the final home game of the campaign as County beat Cambridge United 2-1 on 28th April 2018. One of the goal scorers, Frank Nouble, was the only Exiles player to receive a booking.

The other game was also a 2-1 success for County and it came away at Grimsby Town on 13th January 2018. Now Exiles talisman Jamille Matt was sent off for the home side, whilst Padraig Amond, Ben White, Ben Tozer and Joss Labadie were all cautioned on that occasion.

In 2016/17, Salisbury refereed County on one other occasion, when they drew 2-2 with Barnet in a rearranged game at Rodney Parade on 25th October 2016. Ben Tozer, Mark Randall and Jennison Myrie-Williams were all cautioned.

Two County matches were officiated by Salisbury in the 2015/16 campaign, starting with the 0-0 draw at Dagenham & Redbridge on 19th September 2015. No bookings for County.

The second game was less fruitful for County as they suffered a 4-1 home defeat to eventual promotion winner Bristol Rovers on 19th March 2016. Ben Tozer, Mark Randall and Jennison Myrie-Williams the offenders

In 2014/15, another one match was presided over by Salisbury as County suffered a 2-1 defeat at Stevenage on 7th March 2015. During that game, Robbie Willmott and Kevin Feely were both shown yellow cards, while Chris Zebroski was sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.

That just leaves the first County game refereed by Salisbury and it came on 19th October 2013 in a routine 3-0 victory over York City. Lenny Pidgeley and Adam Chapman were booked.

    

Other League Two fixtures that day (All 3pm kick-offs)

Cambridge United vs Port Vale

Carlisle United vs Exeter City

Colchester United vs Cheltenham Town

Crawley Town vs Oldham Athletic

Forest Green Rovers vs Notts County

Lincoln City vs Northampton Town

Macclesfield Town vs Crewe Alexandra

MK Dons vs Swindon Town

Morecambe vs Bury FC

Tranmere Rovers vs Stevenage

Yeovil Town vs Grimsby Town

 

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 Charlie Brown and Richard Shepherd can also be found at the Match Centre from 2.45pm.

An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to #iFollowExiles.


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