Attendance: 2361 (172 from Mansfield)
Date: 27 February 2016
STAGS BEATEN ON BEACH AT NEWPORT BY GOAL THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OFFSIDE
Martin Shaw at Rodney Parade
Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at Newport County this afternoon by a goal after 86 minutes from Scott Boden that was clearly a yard offside. It was a bitter pill for the Stags to swallow. The match was played on a pitch that had more sand on it than any I can ever remember seeing the Stags play on in the 45 years I have been watching them. 40 tons of sand to be precise had been put on the pitch and in my opinion it wasn’t up to Football League standard. It was the same for both sides of course, but made for a poor spectacle and made it difficult for either side to play any decent football. In truth both sides looked poor on the day. The Stags were unlucky not to be ahead at the break as Matt Green hit the inside of the post from 23 yards on 39 minutes after being teed up by Matty Blair. Earlier Scott Shearer saved well from Conor Wilkinson’s low shot on 8 minutes. The Stags had the ball in the net early in the second half but Ryan Tafazolli was offside as he headed in Mal Benning’s free kick. Lee Collins did well to block a shot from Medy Elito on 55 minutes. Chris Clements had a good chance on 62 minutes when he made space for himself and fired over the bar. Newport went close on 67 minutes when Ayina got to the byline and his ball ran across the face of goal and out for a throw-in. Adi Yussuf nearly put the Stags in front when he headed inches wide on 81 minutes from Sean Kavanagh’s cross. But the game was settled on 86 minutes, when a shot was Darren Jones was going well wide but reached Scott Boden, 12 yards from goal. Boden was clearly a yard offside, but turned and fired powerfully past Scott Shearer, who got an outstretched fingertip to it but couldn’t keep it out. The Stags players were incensed and couldn’t believe that the flag didn’t go up, but the referee gave the goal after a consultation with his linesman. Chris Clements had Mansfield’s best chance to equalise on 90+1 minutes when he fired just over from 17 yards after a good first touch. At the full time whistle, the Stags players again remonstrated with the officials. Mansfield have been ruthless in beating the teams in the bottom half of the table and this defeat was tough to take. The Stags drop to 9th, one point outside the play-off zone. Bouncing back with victory over Yeovil next Saturday will be important if Mansfield want to stay close to the play-off zone.
Mansfield came into the game on the back of a fine run of 13 points from 6 matches. Newport’s recent run was also impressive with 11 points from 6 matches under new manager Warren Feeney.
Adam Murray gave a second debut to Junior Daniel, on his return to the club on a three-month loan from Port Vale. He replaced Chris Beardsley in attack. Considering the pitch, this was a day more suited to Jamie McGuire than Adam Chapman, so McGuire came in to the side. James Baxendale also returned to the side in place of Krystian Pearce, suspended for two games. It was a 4-1-3-2 formation, with McGuire in front of the back four, which included Danny Alfei at right back and Lee Collins in central defence. The midfield three was Clements (right), Baxendale (centre) and Blair (left), though there was some interchanging. Daniel joined Green up front. It was a cold day in South Wales, probably the coldest matchday of the season, certainly when taking into account the wind chill factor anyway.
My counterpart from the ExilesPlayer club website told me this was the worst this pitch has ever looked. He couldn’t fathom why they’d put so much sand on it.
Mansfield won the first corner of the game on 3 minutes. Benning took it from the right, but the keeper grabbed in front of Tafazolli. Green escaped a booking as he impeded the keeper kicking upfield.
On 7 minutes, Baxendale won the ball 30 yards from goal, and played to Clements whose cross/shot was well wide.
On 8 minutes, Ayina squared for Conor Wilkinson who turned and his low shot from 7 yards was very well saved by Scott Shearer, to his right.
On 13 minutes, Ayina crossed from the right, and a great header away by Collins as Boden looked for a header at the far post.
On 16 minutes, a good run from left to right by Junior Daniel, he played a diagonal ball forward to Clements who was barged over in the area. The referee said it was a fair barge.
On 18 minutes, a good flicked header from Green to Blair. Blair got to the byline, and played back to Green, who tried to find a Stags man but was unable to.
Baxendale gave the ball away twice in succession on 21 minutes, but the Stags got away with it.
Green was booked for an innocuous foul on 22 minutes, but clearly the referee considered it an accumulation after he had impeded the keeper earlier.
On 24 minutes, Alfei’s deep cross was beyond the far post, Daniel headed down and back towards goal but straight at the keeper.
Wilkinson’s speculative shot from a tight angle was straight at Shearer on 31 minutes.
Blair won Mansfield’s second corner on 32 minutes. Benning took it but straight to the keeper. Straight to the other end and a good tackle by Collins.
A chance for Byrne on 35 minutes 25 yards out, and Baxendale did enough to force him to fire wide.
A good Stags move on 37 minutes involving Green and Baxendale, to Benning who lost the ball inside the area.
The Stags were unlucky not to take the lead on 39 minutes. Baxendale curled a good cross to the far post, where Daniel tried to pull it back. Elito tried to play the ball out of danger for Newport, but Blair intercepted, and fed Green. From 25 yards out, and unable to take a backlift on his shot, Green still managed to hit the inside of the post with a terrific effort.
Daniel won the Stags’ third corner. Benning’s corner was headed away. Alfei’s cross on 42 minutes was put behind for the Stags’ fourth corner. Clements took over corner duties but the keeper punched that away. Baxendale won a free kick 40 yards out on 44 minutes. Benning’s free kick was headed on by Tafazolli, but Green fell over in the sand.
On 45 minutes, Wilkinson ran along the byline and his cross hit McGuire on the head for a corner, despite ludicrous claims from the crowd for a penalty. It gave Newport their first corner.
An even first half but a poor spectacle on a joke of a pitch. The Stags came the closest to scoring with Green’s shot against the inside of the post.
Half time 0-0
On 46 minutes, Daniel won the Stags’ 5th corner. Benning’s corner from the left was headed back to him and his shot from a tight angle was blocked for another corner. From that corner, Baxendale’s soft shot goalwards was cleared.
The Stags had the ball in the net on 50 minutes. Benning’s free kick from the halfway line was headed over the keeper and into the net by Tafazolli, but the offside flag was already up. Video evidence confirms Tafazolli was half a yard offside, and he should be doing better from there, not straying offside. Moments later, Daniel went down in the area but it was no foul. Then Blair broke into the area but his pass was blocked.
On 54 minutes, a great ball from Clements out to Blair on the right, and his cross was put behind for another corner. Benning’s corner was headed away.
Collins did well to block a shot from Medy Elito from 12 yards on 55 minutes.
Yussuf replaced Baxendale on 56 minutes. Yussuf joined Green up front, Daniel moved back into the left side of midfield.
On 59 minutes, Green played out to Blair on the right, who crossed it back into the middle but Yussuf was offside.
A corner for Newport on 60 minutes was headed away by McGuire. A minute later, Yussuf gave the ball away 40 yards from his own goal. Holmes pushed forward and fired wide. I noticed Yussuf apologise to Murray.
Clements had a good chance on 62 minutes when he made a great run forward from the halfway line to about 22 yards from goal and made space for himself but fired over the bar.
Yussuf conceded an unnecessary free kick 40 yards from his own goal on 65 minutes. Alfei made a good tackle following the free kick and Clements completed the clearance.
Newport went close on 67 minutes when Ayina got to the byline and his ball ran across the face of goal and out for a throw-in. Klukowski was a whisker away from turning it in.
Rose replaced Blair on 68 minutes.
Clements and Byrne tangled on 70 minutes off the ball, and both were lucky to escape without a yellow card. A minute later, Newport sub Klukowski was booked for a bad foul on Benning.
Kavanagh replaced Daniel on 72 minutes. It was still a 4-1-3-2 formation, with Rose (right), Clements, and Kavanagh (left) making up the midfield 3.
Great play by Benning on 72 minutes to win the ball on the left and break forward though it came to nothing.
On 74 minutes, Clements was penalised for a foul on the Newport left. A cross shot was deflected to Darren Jones, whose cross from the byline was deflected into the side netting. From the resulting corner, Ben Davies missed his kick from 18 yards. Two minutes later, Byrne was booked for a late tackle on Rose, which could have been a red card.
On 79 minutes, Holmes played forward to Byrne on the right, and his powerful cross went out for a goal kick on the far side.
Adi Yussuf nearly put the Stags in front on 81 minutes. Kavanagh won a corner on the left, Mansfield’s 8th. The corner from Clements was too deep, but it came out to Kavanagh on the right who crossed back in and Yussuf glanced a header inches wide.
On 83 minutes, Benning was penalised for a tug on Morgan’s shirt. The free kick was headed away by McGuire. A minute later, Kavanagh conceded a corner. From Byrne’s corner, Davies’ header was blocked.
On 85 minutes, a long ball forward down the left by Kavanagh. Yussuf was in space and got into the area, but he allowed Elito to get back and tackle him for a corner. Given Yussuf’s goals this season against Dagenham away and home, I expected him to do better. Kavanagh took the corner from the left, Yussuf got in a header which was saved on his line by the keeper.
But the game was settled on 86 minutes, when a shot was Darren Jones was going well wide but reached Scott Boden, 12 yards from goal. Boden was clearly a yard offside, but turned and fired powerfully past Scott Shearer, who got an outstretched fingertip to it but couldn’t keep it out. The Stags players were incensed and couldn’t believe that the flag didn’t go up, but the referee gave the goal after a consultation with his linesman. Shearer was booked for protesting.
A minute later, Alfei and Boden were also booked for shoving.
On 90 minutes, Clements headed forward, and Green sent an overhead kick wide.
Clements had Mansfield’s best chance to equalise on 90+1 minutes. Yussuf did well to win the ball on the left, his ball into the middle came out to Clements, who fired just over from 17 yards after a good first touch.
Green was given a final warning by the referee after a foul on 90+2 minutes, and even called over captain Lee Collins into the discussion.
On 90+minutes, Rose won a free kick 35 yards out, on the right. Kavanagh took the free kick, but Tafazolli was penalised for a foul in the middle.
At the full time whistle, the Stags players again remonstrated with the officials.
The Stags had 9 corners to Newport’s 5 but the two teams had a similar number of attempts on goal. The Stags clearly deserved at least a draw in my opinion but it wasn’t to be. It was galling to hear the home fans chanting “shit ref” even in the minutes after the goal. We take it on the chin and move on to the next one. Come on Mansfield!
Man of the match: Lee Collins
Report by: Martin Shaw at Rodney Parade
Shearer 6.5 Very good save from Wilkinson early on. Got a hand to the shot for the goal, but would not be fair to blame him.
Alfei 7 Some decent crosses and one notable tackle.
Collins 7.5 Good headers, tackles and blocks.
Tafazolli 7 Defended solidly. Had a goal disallowed; on review of the video though he should have done better to keep himself onside.
Benning 5.5 Good free kick for Tafazolli’s disallowed goal, but most of his set pieces were disappointing.
McGuire 7 Some good headers away from set pieces.
Clements 6 Had two good chances that he put off target in the second half. Some good pieces of play.
Baxendale 5.5 One or two good passes but didn’t contribute enough and subbed after 56 minutes.
Blair 6 I noticed him looking very concerned about the pitch before the game; understandable, and it was a pitch that made wingplay almost impossible. Didn’t reach the heights of last week. Set up chance for Green which hit the post.
Green 6 Very unlucky with great effort against the inside of the post. Picked up a yellow card for an innocuous foul, but could have had another yellow on two occasions.
Daniel 5.5 One good run and won some corners. But didn’t contribute enough, perhaps due to a bit of rustiness.
Sub Line Up:
Yussuf (for Baxendale, 56) 6 Missed by a whisker with a good header. Should have done better when away in space down the left. Must look after the ball better in defensive situations.
Rose (for Blair, 68) -
Kavanagh (for Daniel, 72) - Encouraging. Several good crosses.
Subs not used: Jensen, J.Thomas, Chapman, Beardsley.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Day; Davies, Hughes, Jones, Holmes; Barrow (Klukowski, 66), Elito, Byrne, Ayina; Boden, Wilkinson (Morgan, 82). Subs not used: Green, Donacien, Owen-Evans, Parselle, Meechan.
Gavin Ward 5 The officials got the major decision of the game wrong in allowing the Newport goal. Other than that he was generous in not booking Green twice. Generally handled the game ok.