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22nd November 2023 21:41

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, the designated penalty taker 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.

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. 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


Mansfield Town 2-0 Newport County: Keillor-Dunn double downs County
Keillor-Dunn (4'minutes, 52'minutes)
Maris (52'minutes)
Pens Missed
Oates (31'minutes)


Mansfield remain unbeaten in League Two as Davis Keillor-Dunn's two goals secured victory over Newport County.

Keillor-Dunn capitalised on Newport's failure to clear to fire low for his 10th goal of the season after just four minutes.

Rhys Oates could have doubled the lead from the penalty spot but his effort was saved by Nick Townsend.

But George Maris' through ball found Keillor-Dunn, who fired home again as Mansfield moved up to second.

County stay 20th, five points clear of the relegation zone.

Newport County manager Graham Coughlan said:

"Probably the better team won, I don't think we've any arguments with that. We weren't very good - we were poor with the ball and we didn't ask enough questions.

"We had the ball for both goals which is probably the disappointing part of the afternoon - we had good possession of the ball and we gave it away and turned it over too quickly.

"We had a little bit of momentum in the second half. We changed our system a little bit and that was the moment that we needed to really to score a goal and we didn't."

Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Newport
Possession Home 59% Away 41%
Shots Home 19 Away 14
Shots on Target Home 8 Away 2
Corners Home 5 Away 8
Fouls Home 7 Away 18


Davis Keillor-Dunn brace sends Mansfield Town up to second place after home win over Newport County
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Sat 18 Nov 2023

Mansfield Town soared back up into second place in the table after a Davis Keillor-Dunn brace saw them beat Newport County 2-0 at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.

It extended the fabulous unbeaten start to the season to 17 games as they saw off former Stags boss Graham Coughlan's injury-hit Exiles in relative comfort.

Keillor-Dunn gave Stags a fourth minute lead as they dominated the first half and should have gone in with more goals to their name, Rhys Oates also having a 31st minute penalty saved.

The visitors were improved in the second half.

But Keillor-Dunn did double his and Mansfield's tally on 51 minutes and that proved enough to take the points.


Baily Cargill replaced the suspended Calum Macdonald in the only change to the Stags' side and injured pair Lucas Akins and Stephen Quinn returned to the bench.

The injury-hit visitors were only able to name six players on their bench, two being Academy players Alfie Young and Nelson Sanca.

Their only change to the starting XI saw Omar Bogle coming in for Olly Thomas.

Newport produced the first attack of the game in the second minute as the ball was worked to Bogle who hurried a 16 yard finish well over the crossbar.

The visitors were looking ambitious, but Stags rocked them with a fourth minute goal.

The defence failed to properly clear an Oates cross from the right and the ball ran loose in the box, Keillor-Dunn quickly latching into it and stroking home low from 12 yards, taking him into double figures for the season.

Flint got in the way of an Evans shot on eight minutes to concede the game's first corner, which was cleared.

Oates had a fleeting chance from a free kick on 13 minutes with a shot on the turn but didn't catch hold of the ball well and it trickled to the keeper.

Then a superb forward ball from Brunt on 17 minutes was well controlled in the box by Keillor-Dunn, who forced Townsend into a save.

Stags then enjoyed a lengthy spell of possession with the Exiles holding their shape well under the intense pressure.

But the home team should have doubled their lead on 31 minutes.

Oates burst past Bennett on the left by-line and was then shoved over by his opponent.

Oates stepped up to take the penalty but he tried to place it low and central and Townsend was able to make a comfortable save.

A shove by Bogle on Brunt on 33 minutes saw him booked after already being warned for a string of fouls.

A minute later Newport boss Coughlan was also cautioned for dissent.

Good work from Bowery opened up a sight of goal for Maris, but his finish was wild and well over.

Soon after Lewis found Keillor-Dunn, whose low finish was wide of the far post.

In the first of two added minutes Johnson's cros from the right clipped the top of the bar and went over as Stags went in with just the one goal to show for their dominance.

Newport almost caught Mansfield cold in the opening minute of the second half as a neat flick from Wood saw Evans fire a low shot at goal that Pym saved.

Stags were forced to endure a few uncomfortable moment from a side that had clearly come out intending to go up a gear.

But they finally got the ball under their control and Oates sent a tempting low ball across the face of goal with Bowery inches away from touching it home.

On 51 minutes Keillor-Dunn burst down the middle and laid the ball off to Lewis, who forced Townsend to save low to his right.

But Keillor-Dunn doubled Mansfield's lead within seconds as Maris picked him out with a sublime pass down the middle and Keillor-Dunn sidefooted oast a rooted Townsend from 10 yards.

Keillor-Dunn floated another teasing ball over the keeper and across the open goal with no one capitalising.

The visitors then forced two corners in reply, the second of which saw a scramble and a shot charged down, but the home goal remained intact.

Pym was again tested on the hour as Bogle set up Evans. But his fierce finish was straight at the keeper.

Morris was booked for clattering into Lewis on 61 minutes.

Another cutting Maris pass set Oates loose on the right and his low cross again was inches away from the incoming Bowery.

More Newport pressure saw Brunt superbly block a close range shor from Wood.

Then Cargill headed straight at Townsend from a corner on 74 minutes.

Immediately Akins, wearing a protective face mask, replaced Oates up front. He was quickly into the action sending a tame shot on the turn at Townsend after a swift Stags break.

Quinn, to huge appluase, and Boateng took over from Lewis and Maris on 80 minutes and a minute later a high boot from Clarke on Akins earned him a yellow card.

Boateng was just wide with a low 18-yard shot from a half-clearance on 83 minutes.

Desperate Newport won three more corners in a row to no avail while at the other end Townsend beat away a Keillor-Dunn snapshot as he looked for his hat-trick.

STAGS: Pym, Johnson, Flint, Brunt, Cargill, Reed, Lewis ( Quinn 80) Maris (Boateng 80), Keillor-Dunn (Swan 89), Oates (Akins 74), Bowery (Gale 89). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Williams.

NEWPORT: Townsend, Payne, Delaney, McLoughlin, Bondswell (Clarke 55), Waite, Morris, Bennett, Wood (Palmer-Houlden 50), Bogie, Evans. SUBS NOT USED: Maxted, Thomas, Young, Sanca.

REFEREE: Thomas Kirk.

ATTENDANCE: 6,877 (223 away).


EFL side follow manager's orders by refusing to celebrate goals despite dominating game
dailystar.co.uk, Sat 18 Nov 2023

Mansfield Town continued their League Two promotion challenge with a 2-0 win over Newport County with their players following their manager's orders not to over-celebrate

Mansfield Town players followed their manager’s orders by toning down their celebrations as they cruised to another win.

Ahead of the Stags’ League Two clash against Newport County, manager Nigel Clough revealed he had instructed his players not to milk their goal celebrations, taking a leaf out of his legendary late father’s book in the process. Brian Clough, who led Nottingham Forest to European Cup glory in 1979 and 1980, famously refused to celebrate goals and his veteran manager son has adopted a similar approach, claiming it “wastes too much energy”.

And his players did as they were told as Mansfield swept to a 2-0 win over Newport County to continue their promotion challenge. The highly-rated Davis Keillor-Dunn scored the goals, with both coming early in each half.


And in-keeping with their manager’s orders, there were no elaborate celebrations, just a few fist-pumps, high fives and waves to the fans. The win left the Stags six points behind leaders Stockport, who have played a game more.


Report: Exiles fall to defeat in Nottinghamshire
newport-county.co.uk, Sat 18 Nov 2023

Newport County fell to 2-0 defeat against Mansfield Town at One Call Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

A brace from Davis Keillor-Dunn was enough to hand the Stags all three points and continue their unbeaten start in Sky Bet League Two.


Manager Graham Coughlan made just one change from the side that faced Bristol Rovers in midweek, with Omar Bogle coming into the starting XI in place of Olly Thomas. Academy players Alfie Young and Nelson Sanca retained their places on the bench.

It was the home side who made a dream start to proceedings, netting the opening goal inside three minutes. Rhys Oates broke down the right-hand side before delivering a low cross which allowed Keillor-Dunn to fire the Stags into an early lead.

As County searched for a way back into the game, Will Evans showed some great footwork outside the box prior to being denied by a great block from defender Aden Flint. At the other end, a long ball from Lewis Brunt picked out the on-running Oates, however, he was denied by a smart save from Nick Townsend after 16 minutes.

Midway through the first half, the Stags had a great chance to double their lead after they were awarded a penalty. Scott Bennett was adjudged to have brought down the advancing Oates inside the box but Townsend pulled off a magnificent save to deny the forward from the spot.

With the half-time whistle fast approaching, Coughlan’s men produced a late charge, with Nathan Wood coming the closest for County in the minutes that remained. The winger showed neat interchange play with Bogle before flashing an effort just wide.

Half Time

The second half began with County on the front foot, with Evans going close immediately after the restart. After a smart attacking move which saw County move the ball from front to back well, the forward found himself in behind the Stags backline but failed to find the cutting edge to beat the advancing Pym.

Despite Newport’s early pressure though, at the other end, Townsend was called into action just moments later, after he was forced to deny a fierce strike from former Exiles Aaron Lewis from distance.

On 51 minutes, the Stags were rewarded for their pressure when they doubled their lead through Keillor Dunn. After a smart delivery towards the far post, the attacker beat Matt Bondswell to the ball to tuck home his second of the afternoon.

Midway through the second period, Coughlan deployed a double change in the hope of changing County’s fortunes in attack, as Seb Palmer-Houlden and James Clake entered the fray.

Following the switch, the Exiles came close to clawing back a goal back through Evans, once again, who found space inside the box. He showed great skill to beat Reed but was foiled by Pym from point-blank range.

With 20 minutes remaining of the contest, County created another good attacking move through Bogle again. The striker threaded a lovely pass into the path of Evans but yet again the forward was denied via the outstretched Pym.

In the final stages, Newport threw bodies forward in attack in the hope of securing a consolation goal, but it wasn’t enough as they fell to defeat in Nottinghamshire.

Full Time

The Exiles return to league action next weekend as Stockport County make the trip to Rodney Parade in Sky Bet League Two (3pm).

Mansfield Town: Pym, Johnson, Flint (C), Brunt, Cargill, Reed, Lewis (Quin 80), Maris (Boateng 80), Keillor-Dunn (Gale 89), Oates (Atkins 74), Bowery (Swan 89).

Subs not used: Flinders, Williams.

Newport County: Townsend, Payne, Delaney (C), Evans, Morris, Bennett, Waite, McLoughlin, Bogle, Wood (Palmer-Houlden 49), Bondswell (Clarke 54).

Subs not used: Maxted, Thomas, Young, Sanca.

Attendance: 6,877 (223 Away)


Newport County suffer 2-0 loss at Mansfield
southwalesargus.co.uk, Sat 18 Nov 2023

NEWPORT County AFC failed to halt the Mansfield juggernaut after suffering a 2-0 defeat in League Two.

The Exiles, looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation zone, headed to Field Mill hunting an upset against a Stags side hunting automatic promotion.

However, Graham Coughlan's injury-hit side were unable to end Mansfield's unbeaten league run in their 17th game of the campaign.

County made a nightmare start to trail from the fourth minute courtesy of a defensive error that was pounced on by Davis Keillor-Dunn.


In-form Exiles goalkeeper Nick Townsend saved Rhys Oates' penalty after half an hour to keep it a one-goal game at the break.

However, the Stags took command in the 51st minute when Keillor-Dunn calmly side-footed in from George Maris’ defence-splitter then safely saw out the game to climb to second.

County gave a reasonable account of themselves against a promotion contender but, once again, lacked a bit of quality in the final third.

Things don’t get any easier with a Rodney Parade encounter against leaders Stockport next up but there were some flashes of encouragement, with fit-again Bristol City striker Seb Palmer-Houlden making an impression off the bench.

At least the gap to the drop zone remains a healthy five - the four teams beneath them faced each other and shared the spoils - and there should be some reinforcements for the hectic December schedule.

Coughlan went with the side that started the second half of the EFL Trophy clash with Bristol Rovers.

In the absence of Matt Baker, who is on Wales Under-21s duty, midfielder James Waite made his first League Two start since the start of October.

The Exiles stuck with three centre-backs with versatile Shane McLoughlin continuing on the right of the trio, where he had deputised against the Gas in the absence of Baker, Declan Drysdale, James Clarke and Kyle Jameson.

County started well with neat combination play creating a half-chance for Omar Bogle on the edge of the area but the striker didn't manage a clean connection.

The Exiles were soon playing catch-up with Keillor-Dunn pouncing on a defensive error in the fourth minute.

A cross came in from the right and Scot Bennett made a mess of his clearance with the Stags man beating Waite to the loose ball before slotting past Nick Townsend.

The Exiles responded well with top scorer Will Evans stealing possession in the final third but his shot from the edge of the area was well blocked by former Cardiff defender Aden Flint.

The next goal was vital for the Exiles and thankfully the classy Keillor-Dunn couldn't find the left-footed finish to match his touch after bringing down a long diagonal in the 17th minute, Townsend saving easily.

The pitch, already iffy in mid-November, was not making passing football easy but Mansfield gradually got on top.

Mansfield should have doubled their lead after half an hour when Bennett was beaten down the Exiles' right flank by Oates and then tangled with the forward in the box.

Oates took responsibility from the spot but his low effort was saved to his right by Townsend, then the penalty taker got in a mess with Keillor-Dunn in a bid to fire in the rebound.

Coughlan's frustration in the away dugout at a ground where he used to ply his trade in the home one led to a yellow card from referee Thomas Kirk, shortly after Bogle had become the first player in the book.

It remained 1-0 at the break but only after a Callum Johnson cross hit the top of the bar after a deflection off Matty Bondswell.

County started the second half well with Evans testing Christy Pym inside the first minute after aneat flick by Nathan Wood.

That was followed by a couple of openings for Bogle with the striker trying to slot in partner Evans with the first before having a shot from a tight angle blocked.

Coughlan made his first change just four minutes into the half with striker Palmer-Houlden coming on for Wood.

It was the Bristol City prospect's first League Two game since a hamstring injury in August after his successful return in the EFL Trophy.

That was soon followed by a chance for former Exile Aaron Lewis, who forced his former teammate Townsend into a stop with drive from inside the box.

However, there was no mistake in the 51st minute when Evans was dispossessed in midfield. George Maris split the defence to find Keillor-Dunn, who calmly side-footed past Townsend.

It was far, far too easy after a good start to the second half and it was soon almost 3-0 and a hat-trick but the dangerman couldn’t hit the target after a flowing move.

Coughlan responded with a change that added solidity and also got valuable minutes into the legs of fit-again centre-back James Clarke, who came on for Bondswell.

County produced a nice move in the 60th minute with good link-up play by Lewis Payne and Bogle creating a shooting opportunity for Evans, but his side-footed effort was straight at Pym.

The forward felt he was caught after his shot but his penalty appeal was waved away.

The Exiles were having a good spell but needed a bit more quality in the final third, a familiar grumble of late.

It took a strong block by Lewis Brunt after Evans latched onto a ball inside the box and it remained 2-0 after 70 minutes.

Mansfield nearly sealed it with a Baily Cargill header and then a counter-attack that ended with Lucas Akins shooting straight at Townsend.

The Stags were easing their way to the three points and it took a smart stop by Townsend to deny Keillor-Dunn his hat-trick after fast feet in the box after 87 minutes.

Mansfield took the spoils, County at least didn’t appear to pick up any more injuries from what was always going to be a tough assignment.

Mansfield scorers: Keillor-Dunn (2).

County: Townsend, Payne, Bennett, Delaney (captain), Bondswell (Clarke 54), Waite, McLoughlin, Morris, Wood (Palmer-Houlden 49), Evans, Bogle.

Substitutes: Maxted, Sanca, Young, Thomas.

Yellow: Bogle, Bennett, Morris, Clarke.

Referee: Thomas Kirk.

Attendance: 6,877 (223 County).