STAGS THUMP NEWPORT 3-0 TO GET SEASON UNDERWAY
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 3 - 0 Newport County
Walker 12, Khan 56, 65.
Attendance: 4423 (320 from Newport)
Date: 4 August 2018
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town opened the season with a convincing 3-0 win over Newport County, in what was a continuation of the fine form from pre-season. The Stags were simply too strong for Newport and took the lead on 12 minutes finally converting the fourth of four chances inside 60 seconds as Tyler Walker fired home from 6 yards, after first CJ Hamilton’s shot had been blocked, then Walker’s shot was tipped wide for a corner, from which Neal Bishop’s shot was blocked before Walker scored. The Stags were unlucky not to double the lead on 17 minutes when Craig Davies curled a shot against the inside of the post. The Stags did make it 2-0 on 56 minutes when Walker got to the byline and crossed superbly for Otis Khan to head into the net from 12 yards. Then Khan added another goal on 65 minutes with a fabulous shot from 20 yards into the left corner of the net. All last season we wanted goals from midfield, and here we had two. Mansfield preserved a clean sheet when Hayden White made a wonderful goal line clearance after Padraig Amond went round Conrad Logan and rolled the ball towards the empty net assuming he’d score, but White somehow got back to clear away. Overall a very good performance from Mansfield, who worked hard throughout and the fine fitness levels achieved from pre-season were evident as Mansfield were still pressing Newport for the ball into stoppage time.
Remarkably it was Mansfield’s first league win at home since the 5-0 win over Newport in February, and David Flitcroft’s first league win at home.
It was Mansfield’s sixth successive victory over Newport at home. Strangely it was the third time in six years the clubs had met on the opening day of the season.
Flitcroft handed competitive debuts to five players in the starting XI, in a 3-5-2 formation, the same formation they have played in every pre-season friendly.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Mansfield Town cruise to opening day win over Newport County
chad.co.uk, by SPORTS REPORTER, Saturday 04 August 2018
An Otis Khan brace and a Tyler Walker debut goal saw Mansfield Town open their League Two campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Newport County.
Walker, who has joined on a season-long loan deal from Nottingham Forest, got Stags on their way with a cool finish on 12 minutes.
It came about after great build-up play between Neal Bishop and Krystian Pearce carved out the opening.
Otis Khan doubled the stags lead with a perfect header on 56 minutes.
And it was game over when he smashed home long range on 65 minutes to give Stags a well-deserved three points.
They had started the day without wantaway striker Danny Rose, who handed in a transfer request earlier in the week, was left out of the side.
New signings Matt Preston, Tyler Walker and Otis Khan all started the game as Stags handed out five debut.
There was also a place in the starting side for Krystian Pearce at the heart of the Stags defence after he recovered mentally from the fall-out of the brawl against Sheffield Wednesday.
Both teams took time to get into their stride as they sized each other up during the opening 10 minutes of the contest.
Tyler Walker brought a fine save out of Joe Day on 12 minutes after he reacted well to CJ Hamilton’s blocked attempt.
But there was nothing the keeper could do when Walker cooly fired home just seconds later for a debut goal after great work between Neal Bishop and Krystian Pearce.
Conrad Logan had to be at his best three minutes later to keep out Padraig Amond.
Craig Davies nearly made it 2-0 when his sweet curling effort cracked the post on 17 minutes.
Fraser Franks headed well wide on 26 minutes, before Keanu Marsh-Brown shot over eight minutes later as Mansfield continued to look comfortable.
The lively Walker wasn’t far away from doubling Stags’ lead on 38 minutes after a surging run from Alex MacDonald created an opening.
Davies fired over on 42 minute after Khan did well to beat his man.
Khan curled a long range effort wide on 54 minutes during a slow start to the second half.
But he was bang on target just seconds later when Khan headed home from 12 yards after a perfect pass from Walker on 56 minutes.
It was game over when Khan capped a brilliant individual display by cracking home an unstoppable long range effort nine minutes later.
Hayden White brilliantly cleared off his own line on 78 minutes after Amond prepared to fire into an empty net after going round Logan.
There was brief drama as one of the linesman went down and needed treatment for an injury, before Stags saw the game out.
Star man: Otis Khan (Mansfield Town)
Mansfield Town: Logan, White, Preston, Pearce, Hamilton, MacDonald, Bishop, Khan (Butcher 74), Benning, Walker (Mellis 90 +4), Davies (Graham 90) .
Subs: Mellis, Olejnik, Sweeney, Sterling-James, Gibbens.
Newport County: Day, Hornby-Forbes, Franks, Bennett, Demetriou, Butler, Marsh-Brown, Crofts (Semenyo 58 ), Dolan, Amond, Matt (Sheehan 58).
Mansfield Town 3 Newport County 0
southwalesargus.co.uk, By Andrew Penman
NEWPORT County AFC rarely enjoy their trips to Field Mill and this was no exception as they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Mansfield Town on the opening day of the new League Two season.
County beat the Stags 4-3 on the opening day of the 2012-2013 Conference campaign but they have not won a Football League match in Mansfield since 1939.
And the memories of their 5-0 humiliation at the same ground back in February were still fresh in the mind as Andrew Crofts led out the Exiles, having recovered from an injury scare during the week.
Crofts was joined by fellow new boys Fraser Franks, Tyler Forbes, Keanu Marsh-Brown and Jamille Matt in the starting XI as manager Michael Flynn gave all five their competitive debuts.
Scot Bennett started in a midfield role as the Exiles opted for a 4-3-3 formation in the opening stages.
After a nervy first few minutes with the hosts putting plenty of pressure on the back four, County grew into the game and Crofts twice shot wide from distance.
Padraig Amond then headed Dan Butler’s cross back across goal and Bennett was denied an open goal by the timely intervention of Mansfield defender Mal Benning.
But the Stags always looked dangerous in attack and they broke the deadlock in the 12th minute through new loan signing Tyler Walker - the son of former England defender Des.
It was harsh on Joe Day who saved superbly from the Nottingham Forest forward and Neal Bishop before Walker stabbed home.
At the other end Amond saw a header saved by Conrad Logan after another good delivery from Dan Butler but the hosts were full of confidence and striker Craig Davies almost doubled their lead on 17 minutes.
His brilliant curling effort beat Day but rebounded off the inside of the post as the home fans senses blood.
It began to look like County could be in for another hammering at one of their least favourite hunting grounds.
But the expected first-half onslaught didn’t materialise and it was Flynn’s men who went closest to scoring in the remainder of the first 45.
Amond crossed for the impressive Franks to head wide from the edge of the area and Matt and Marsh-Brown wasted good opportunities, the latter after a superb ball from Crofts.
The visitors were nearly punished for some slack defending in first-half stoppage-time, however, before Butler recovered well to rob Walker just as the striker was about to unleash a shot from 15 yards out.
The second half started slowly but the Stags soon emerged from their slumber to seal victory thanks to two terrific goals from Otis Khan.
The first arrived on 56 minutes when Bishop found Walker and the striker turned provider with a perfect cross for Khan to power a header past Day an into the bottom corner.
Khan’s second and Mansfield’s third came nine minutes later and it was a fabulous individual effort.
Some poor defending from Forbes allowed the ball to be pulled back for Khan, who was given far too much time and space to pick his spot from 25 yards.
Flynn brought on Josh Sheehan and Antoine Semenyo for Crofts and Matt after Khan’s first and then replaced Marsh-Brown with Charlie Cooper after his second.
Amond nearly grabbed a consolation as he rounded the goalkeeper on 78 minutes but he was denied by a last-ditch clearance by Hayden White before Sheehan saw a close-range effort palmed away by Logan.
There was no way back into the game for the Exiles and it was another miserable trip home from Mansfield for the team and the fans.
County: Day; Forbes, Franks, Demetriou, Butler; Crofts (Sheehan, 59), Bennett, Dolan; Marsh-Brown (Cooper, 72), Matt (Semenyo, 59), Amond
Subs not used: Townsend, Pipe, Bakinson, Harris
Referee: Paul Marsden
Attendance: 4, 423 (320 County)
Argus star man: Franks
The talking points from Mansfield Town 3 Newport County 0
southwalesargus.co.uk, By Andrew Penman
Mansfield look like the real deal
It was always going to be a tough place for the Exiles to start the season and the early signs are that Mansfield will take some beating at the top of the table.
County started brightly and could and probably should have had a couple of goals late on but the Stags could have had more than the three they got and they look genuine promotion candidates.
Michael Flynn’s men can console themselves with the thought that, unless they are unlucky in the cup draws, they won’t have to go to Field Mill again for a good while and at least it wasn’t 5-0 this time.
Fraser Franks looks like a quality addition
The County defence endured a difficult afternoon against a potent home attack with Tyler Forbes and Dan Butler struggling to cope with pacey wide players running at them but Fraser Franks stood out with an impressive display.
Playing in a back four alongside Mickey Demetriou he was aggressive and commanding for the most part and he looks as if he’s been part of this side for years rather than weeks.
It’s early days but, while he’s unlikely to have the impact of Ben White last season, the 27-year-old may well prove to be an astute signing by the manager.
Antoine Semenyo made a big impact from the bench
While the more experienced Jamille Matt and Keanu Marsh-Brown flattered to deceive up front alongside Padraig Amond, teenager Semenyo caught the eye with a great cameo off the bench.
The 18-year-old Bristol City striker hinted in pre-season that he preferred to play with a target man but he linked up brilliantly with Amond in the final half-hour.
He released the Irishman through the middle and then won the ball on the left before crossing for Amond to set up Josh Sheehan. Both moves could and probably should have led to goals.
New keeper should provide Joe Day with genuine competition
The big news in the build-up to Saturday’s match was the last-minute signing of goalkeeper Nick Townsend (above).
The deal was done before Friday’s midday deadline, allowing him to take his place on the bench at Field Mill, but confirmation of that clearance did not come through until five hours before kick-off.
The former Birmingham City and Barnsley stopper has been signed on a two-year contract and that fact, plus his track record and age, suggest that he will be a viable alternative to established number one Day.
Positive performance and at least a point needed against Crewe
Plenty of sides will come away from the One Call Stadium empty handed this season and it’s ridiculously early to be talking about pressure but County will be desperate to put on a good show in their first home match next Saturday.
An opening day defeat inevitably leads to a dampening of expectations and a second reverse will only add to the doom and gloom already evident in some quarters so it’s important to at least get a point on the board against Crewe.
The Railwaymen will be full of confidence after hitting Morecambe for six yesterday but that result may well tell us more about the Shrimps’ frailties than Crewe’s strengths.
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