Newport County suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to promotion-chasing Mansfield Town on Tuesday night at a bouncing Rodney Parade.
Newport went two down to goals from Hiram Boateng and James Gale, but the home faithful got behind their side and helped get their side back into it.
Aaron Wildig popped up at the back post with a well taken header to reduce the arrears but it wasn't enough and the visitors went home with all three points.
Newport carried on their exciting attacking football from Saturday with a swift break on six minutes, with Mickey Demetriou’s wicked pass finding Charlie McNeill.
The forward played an audacious volleyed through ball to Will Evans, unfortunately, though, the Welshman had strayed offside.
Demetriou did well in his own area on 13 minutes. Davis Keillor-Dunn found space down the left to put in a ball towards the dangerous Jordan Bowery. As the frontman leapt to head in six yards out, our captain did brilliantly to head clear under pressure.
McNeill then took aim from the edge of the box three minutes later and it nearly proved fruitful, cutting in to send a near-perfect shot toward the top right, his effort, though, went just over with the ‘keeper helpless.
Evans beat the offside trap in the 21st minute and again Demetriou was at the heart of it. His right-footed cross found Evans on the six-yard line but his poked effort was diverted over the bar by goalkeeper Christy Pym.
Demetriou hit the bar from the resulting corner kick, rising highest to meet a looping delivery which landed on top of the bar as it went over.
Mansfield took the lead shortly after in what was a sucker punch for County, with Boateng beating a number of defenders deep inside the box before stabbing it home with his left.
The visitors’ threatened again just before the half hour mark when they were awarded a free-kick on the corner of the left side of the penalty area.
Boateng delivered it towards the far post where Alfie Kilgour waited, his header, thankfully, was way over the bar.
Elliot Hewitt met a cutback after some good wing play from Lucas Akins, the former met it with a firm side-footed shot which was well gathered by Joe Day.
James Waite had a good chance in the 45th minute and it was all his own making. He trapped it from Demetriou’s pass in the area, cut back on his left, sending a defender packing in the meantime, but dragged his shot well wide.
Keillor-Dunn had the first attempt on goal in the second period on 50 minutes, twisting and turning inside the penalty area before shooting with his left, however, the shot dribbled well wide.
Pym had to be at his best to keep County out shortly after with a brilliant double save to deny Evans and Calum Kavanagh.
From the resulting corner-kick, Cameron Norman chested down a cross from substitute Aaron Wildig, before sending a volley toward the far post that had Pym flat-footed, but sadly it dropped just wide.
After some neat build up play Nathan Moriah-Welsh found himself in space about 30 yards out. He took aim but unfortunately, his shot went a few yards over.
The visitors doubled the lead in the 73rd minute with Gale’s goal, which came from a swift counter-attack from a Newport corner, ending with the substitute cutting onto his right to bend one into the far corner.
Gale nearly added to his tally on 84 minutes, sweeping a delicious shot towards the far corner that cannoned off the upright.
Newport deservedly got on the scoresheet and it was a brilliant team goal. Moriah-Welsh with neat feet on the edge, layed it off to Aaron Lewis, whose teasing ball found the late run of Aaron Wildig to head head into the ground and into the roof of the net.
We were denied a penalty in stoppage time after a bouncing ball appeared to strike a Mansfield arm, but referee Thomas Kirk decided against awarding a spot-kick.
Kavanagh tried a late bicycle kick deep into added time but sadly for the Exiles it went wide of the left-hand post.
Newport County XI: Day (GK), Norman, Drysdale (Baker, 45’), Farquharson (Lewis, 67’), Demetriou (c), Evans, Bennett (Wildig, 57’), Moriah-Welsh, Waite (Bogle, 67’), McNeill, Kavanagh.
Subs not used: Townsend (GK), Baker, Bowen, Rai.
Mansfield Town XI: Pym (GK), Johnson, Kilgour, Perch (c) (Harbottle, 46’), Hewitt, Wallace, Boateng (McLaughlin, 81’), Quinn, Keillor-Dunn, Bowery, Akins.
Subs not used: Flinders (GK), Anderson, Abdullah.
Referee: Thomas Kirk
Assistant referee: Christopher Wade
Assistant referee: Declan O’Shea
Fourth official: Lisa Rashid