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Season 23/24 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 0
 Newport County
Keillor-Dunn 4, 52
Attendance: 6,877 (223 from Newport)
Date: 18 November 2023


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town beat Newport County 2-0 at the One Call Stadium yesterday to complete a fifth league win on the trot, remain unbeaten in the league this season, and move into second place in the table. Mansfield were well on top for almost all of the game having taken an early lead through David Keillor-Dunn, and once he had added a second goal early in the second half, the result didn’t look in doubt. The Stags missed a first half penalty through Rhys Oates, while Keillor-Dunn came close to a hat-trick. Newport, in the words of their manager Graham Coughlan “weren’t very good”.

A few stand-out stats:

This was the Stags’ 5th league win on the trot.

Mansfield are now 17 league games unbeaten this season (9 wins and 8 draws) which continues to extend the club record for the longest unbeaten start to a league season (see club records here).

Mansfield and Portsmouth remain the only teams unbeaten in the Premier League, EFL, and National League (including North and South), so that’s the top 6 tiers of English football.

Including last season, Mansfield are 18 league games unbeaten. The club record is 20, set in 1976.

Mansfield have also conceded the fewest goals in League Two this season (13 goals in 17 games).

Mansfield made one change from the side that won at Salford: Cargill came in for Macdonald at left back. Macdonald was suspended for one game.
Great news on the bench that Quinn and Akins were back from injury. Both were to come on in the second half, Akins wearing a mask after his operation just below his eye.
Aaron Lewis was playing against his former club.
Clarke and McLaughlin remain out for another 2-3 weeks. O’Toole should be involved at Burton in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.

Newport arrived with a few injuries, including former Stag Harry Charsley, and Offrande Zanzala, while Matt Baker was away with Wales U21. James Clarke and Seb Palmer-Houlden were returning from injury on the bench.
Newport were in 20th place with 5 wins and 8 defeats this season, but had won their last away game at Gillingham.

Graham Coughlan is the Newport manager. He is doing a decent job there with limited resources. The Stags played against his Newport side twice last season.

The pitch looked heavy in front of the Ian Greaves stand after rain overnight, but appeared to play well.

The two teams were led out by Proud Stags, including fan Kieran Halpin-Danby.

Newport had the first shot of the game after two minutes as Omar Bogle miscued well over the bar from 20 yards.

Mansfield took the lead after just 4 minutes. Maris curled a good ball down the right from 20 yards inside his own half. Oates ran on to it and reached it by the byline. He pulled the ball across the edge of the six-yard box towards Bowery. It was cleared before it reached Bowery by Bennett, but only to the edge of the box where Keillor-Dunn nipped in ahead of Waite to win the ball, took a touch and fired low into the net from 12 yards through the legs of Delaney and just past the keeper Townsend. Alert and clinical finishing from Keillor-Dunn, keeping the ball down. As Keillor-Dunn acknowledged after the game “the keeper probably should have done a bit better”. Keillor-Dunn’s tenth goal of the season.
An understated celebration from Stags players, handshakes all round, jogging back to the halfway line, after Nigel Clough had said in midweek, when asked in the press conference about goal celebrations: "Be a bit more reserved about it, save your energy certainly - because when they kick off you have to go get the ball back.”

Poor play from Reed after 8 minutes, giving the ball away in his own half. Evans moved forward and his shot was well blocked by Flint.

A good run forward by Oates after 12 minutes. He was brought down, 32 yards out in a central position. The free kick was taken out to the left, a low ball in reached Oates who turned and miscued a low shot straight to the keeper.

Keillor-Dunn had another chance after 17 minutes. Brunt lifted a great ball forward from 6 yards inside his own half which Keillor-Dunn controlled superbly in the area. He turned inside Bondswell to create a yard of space and fired goalwards, left footed, from 12 yards. The keeper was able to parry it, and Bowery couldn’t get on to the rebound.

At the other end, great tracking back by Keillor-Dunn after 24 minutes.

On 27 minutes, Johnson played inside to Reed whose shot was blocked by Delaney.

It should have been 2-0 after 31 minutes as the Stags missed a penalty. Bowery slid the ball down the left touchline for Oates who outpaced Bennett, cut into the area and was clumsily brought down from behind from Bennett for a clear penalty. Great play from Oates, classic Oates really. Bowery, who was expected by Nigel Clough to take it with Akins on the bench, went to collect the ball, but Oates held on to it and took it himself. Oates took the penalty to the keeper’s right, but the keeper went the right way and saved it. A poor penalty, which either needed to be along the ground or much higher so the keeper couldn’t get to it, or hit with more power.
The Stags should have also scored from the rebound. The ball rebounded out but from 8 yards both Oates and Keillor-Dunn missed it with just the keeper to beat, getting in each other’s way, and then Maris’s shot from 12 yards was blocked by Shane McLoughlin.

Bogle was booked for Newport after 33 minutes. He had been warned several times and a foul was the final straw for the referee. A minute later, manager Coughlan was also booked, presumably for dissent.

Maris fired well over the bar after 36 minutes after Bowery had played inside to him. Then on 39 minutes, Keillor-Dunn shot wide of the left post from the edge of the area.

Johnson cut in from the right and clipped the top of the bar with a cross-shot after 45+2 minutes. From the replay, I think it was intended as a shot.

The Stags led 1-0 at half time. A sense of frustration that it wasn’t more, especially with the missed penalty.

Half time 1-0

Will Evans fired a low shot straight at Pym from 16 yards a minute into the second half. The Bogle turned and his shot was blocked by Reed after Reed had given the ball away.

Lewis won the ball and set Oates away after 48 minutes. Oates did well to get to the byline on the right and his cross just evaded Bowery in the middle in the six yard box.

After 50 minutes, Keillor-Dunn surged forward, laid off to Lewis. Lewis shot low and hard from the edge of the area, the keeper parried it and it just evaded Bowery and Oates as it rebounded away.

It was 2-0 after 51 minutes. Reed nicked the ball off Will Evans 40 yards from goal. Maris picked up the loose ball, turned, dribbled forward, and slid an outstanding pass from 28 yards out into the path of Keillor-Dunn in the area, right of centre. Keillor-Dunn side-footed it first time from 14 yards past the keeper at the near post into the right corner of the net.
Keillor-Dunn admitted afterwards “I didn’t actually mean to put it in at the near post, I meant to go across the keeper, but it went in and (laughing) I’m going to take that as giving the keeper the eyes!”
Nigel Clough called it, and the first goal, “two good finishes.”
Keillor-Dunn acknowledged afterwards that it was an “inch-perfect” ball from Maris.

Keillor-Dunn nearly had his hat-trick after 54 minutes. Maris slid another ball forward from the edge of the area for Keillor-Dunn to run on to in the area on the right, Keillor-Dunn dinked the ball over the keeper and just wide of the left post from an angle. Keillor-Dunn joked afterwards that this time the ball from Maris was just overhit by a fraction and he had let Maris know this!

After 57 minutes, a Shane McLoughlin corner from the left was headed back across goal and blocked by Oates in his six yard box. Then on the hour, Bogle played inside to Evans whose shot from 14 yards was parried by Pym, a comfortable save. Then on 63 minutes, Payne cut inside from the right and Maris blocked his shot more or less at source.

At the other end after 64 minutes, Oates got to the byline again, pulled it back, but again Bowery couldn’t get to it.

Good defending by Cargill on the left after 66 minutes. Then after 68 minutes, Brunt blocked three efforts in five seconds, from Evans, a cross-shot from Payne, and then from Waite, before Waite fired high over the bar from 20 yards.

A free kick from Keillor-Dunn from the left after 73 minutes, Cargill headed goalwards and the keeper saved easily on his line.

Akins replaced Oates after 74 minutes. Akins wearing a mask after his operation.

Johnson did well to get back and put out for a corner after 75 minutes as sub Palmer-Houlden broke forward. Straight to the other end, Keillor-Dunn broke forward, played a great crossfield ball to Reed on the edge of the area on the left. Reed crossed into the middle to Akins, with his back to goal. Akins turned and shot straight at the keeper from 12 yards.

After 79 minutes, Maris shot inches over the bar from 16 yards, after Cargill had pulled back to him following a corner.

Quinn replaced Lewis after 80 minutes. Rapturous applause for the return from injury of Quinn. Boateng also replaced Maris. Clough said after the game: "I thought George Maris and Aaron Lewis didn't have as much impact on the game as normal today, and they both needed a breather with 10 or 15 minutes to go. So it wasn't ideal putting Quinny on, but needs must.”

A ridiculous high kick from sub James Clarke caught Akins in the head after 80 minutes. A pretty irresponsible challenge from James Clarke especially given Akins was coming back from facial surgery. I think there was an argument for serious foul play, but James Clarke got away with a yellow card. Luckily there appeared to be no damage to Akins.

Boateng pulled a shot from 18 yards just wide of the right post after 83 minutes.

Year after year we have watched Newport sending long throw after long throw into the Stags box through Demetriou and others (including Aaron Lewis). Here the first long throw came after 87 minutes, and was easily cleared.

Keillor-Dunn had a final chance to complete his hat-trick after 88 minutes. Sub Boateng slid a pass to him along the edge of the area. Keillor-Dunn took a touch to sidestep Delaney, and from 17 yards blasted in a shot that the keeper parried away.

Good defending by Johnson again at the other end after 89 minutes.

Two more changes after 89 minutes: Gale and Swan replaced Bowery and Keillor-Dunn, who went off to a standing ovation of course.

Five minutes of additional time was added on. Newport really did not look like mounting a comeback. Flint won the ball after 90+3 after Boateng had given it away.

Full time and a comfortable win for the Stags which should have been by a greater margin.

Plenty of good performances through the team. Keillor-Dunn was my man of the match for the two goals and going so close to a hat-trick. Brunt had a superb game in central defence putting in some great blocks. Flint was as usual very good alongside him. Johnson played well at right back again, including getting forward well, and Cargill slotted in well at left back, he is a very solid defender. Oates was dangerous up front with his pace, though his penalty was poor. Maris provided a wonderful pass for Keillor-Dunn’s second goal, and nearly did it again for a hat-trick goal. Lewis played well against his former club working incredibly hard. Reed gave the ball away once or twice and was closed down well in the second half but still had a decent game. Pym had very little to do, with just two comfortable saves.

The next league game is at Swindon next week.
Before then, an EFL Trophy game at Burton on Tuesday. Mansfield will qualify for the second round if they win, or draw and win the penalty shootout for an extra point. Nigel Clough will be keen to do that, to continue to give game time to players who are not starting regularly in the league.
Expect Reed, Keillor-Dunn, Oates to be rested, and the subs against Newport to start.
Clough added "Quinn will start at Burton and hopefully get 45 minutes under his belt.
"John-Joe O'Toole will be back in the squad at Burton, we're hoping to get him 20 minutes at the end of the game, it depends how it works out."
If you’re not going to the Pirelli Stadium, you can watch the game with us on iFollow Stags (7pm kick off).

Man of the match: Davis Keillor-Dunn

Running tally of various stats this season:

Goals (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 11, Akins 7, Maris 4, Oates 4, Bowery 2, Flint 2, Gale 2, Reed 2, Brunt 1, Cargill, Clarke 1, Johnson 1, Lewis 1, Swan 1.

Assists (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 8, Oates 4, Quinn 4, Swan 4, Flint 3, Maris 3, Bowery 2, Clarke 2, Gale 2, Akins 1, Johnson 1, Lewis 1, Macdonald 1, Reed 1.
(notes on assists: in the case of a penalty, the player who earns the penalty gets an assist. In the case of a solo goal, such as Maris against Newport at home two seasons ago, nobody gets an assist. In the case of the scorer scoring from the rebound after a shot is saved or blocked, the player who had the shot saved gets an assist. In the case of an own goal, the player who caused the own goal gets an assist, for example McLaughlin against Newport away two seasons ago where his shot was deflected in for an own goal. In the case of a cross that is cleared away before the goal is scored, such as Keillor-Dunn’s first goal against Newport, nobody gets an assist.)

Injuries (including quotes from Nigel Clough):
Kilgour (ruptured Achilles, return July),
Hewitt (ACL, “on schedule for February time"),
Clarke (out for 2-3 more weeks with a thigh strain picked up vs Wrexham in FA Cup).
McLaughlin (out for 2-3 more weeks with a groin strain picked up vs Everton U21)
O'Toole (expected to be involved against Burton in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday)

Yellow cards (league only, alphabetical order): Boateng 2, Bowery 1, Brunt 2, Cargill 5, Clarke 2, Gale 2, Johnson 2, Keillor-Dunn 2, Kilgour 1, Lewis 2, Macdonald 5, Maris 1, Quinn 1, Reed 4 (has to avoid a yellow card in the 18th and 19th league game to avoid a suspension), Swan 1.
Red cards (league and cup): Macdonald 1.
(note: red cards count across competitions apart from Papa John’s Trophy; yellow cards are competition specific)
(note: 5 yellow cards before the end of the 19th league game will result in a one match ban; 10 yellow cards before the end of the 37th league game will result in a two match ban; 15 yellow cards before the end of the 46th league game will result in a three match ban)

Average home league attendance: 7457 (average away fans: 761, average home fans 6696) (remember the attendance is calculated as tickets sold, including season tickets. There are 5171 season ticket holders this season.)

Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Pym 7 Solid. Had very little to do, with just two comfortable saves.
Johnson 8 Played well at right back again, including getting forward well, and some good defending.
Flint 8 As usual, very good.
Brunt 9 Superb game in central defence putting in some great blocks.
Cargill 8 Slotted in well at left back, he is a very solid defender.
Reed 7 Won the ball in the build-up to the second goal. Gave the ball away once or twice and was closed down well in the second half but still had a decent game. On 4 yellow cards. Has to avoid a yellow card in the 18th and 19th league game to avoid a suspension.
Lewis 7 Played well against his former club working incredibly hard.
Maris 8.5 A good ball down the wing in the build-up to the first goal. Outstanding assist for the second goal.
Keillor-Dunn 9 Two goal hero and my man of the match. Could have had a hat-trick.
Bowery 7 Some good hold-up and approach play. Three times the ball evaded him around the six yard box, perhaps he could have been sharper.
Oates 7 Dangerous up front with his pace, though his penalty was poor.
Sub Line Up:
Akins (for Oates, 74) - Great to see him back. Wore a mask.
Quinn (for Lewis, 80) - Received rapturous applause for his return from injury.
Boateng (for Maris, 80) -
Gale (for Bowery, 89) -
Swan (for Keillor-Dunn, 89) -
Subs not used: Flinders, Williams.
Opposition Line Up:
(5-3-2): Townsend; Payne, Shane McLoughlin, Bennett, Delaney, Bondswell (James Clarke 55); Waite, Morris, Wood (Palmer-Houlden 50); Bogie, Evans. Subs not used: Maxted, Thomas, Young, Sanca.
Thomas Kirk 7 Correctly awarded the penalty. Newport felt he gave them very little, with some justification.

Season 23/24 Reports