SEASON OVER AS STAGS LOSE ON PENALTIES
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two - Play-off semi-final 2nd leg
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Newport County
1-1 on aggregate after extra time. Newport win 5-3 on penalties
Attendance: 7361 (1118 from Newport)
Date: 12 May 2019
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town’s season came to a devastating end last night losing a penalty shoot-out in the second leg of the League Two play-off semi-finals, with Newport County progressing through to the final at Wembley. After neither side could break the deadlock in 90 minutes plus 30 minutes of extra time, it all came down to penalties and every spot kick was converted by both sides, apart from one, with Tyler Walker having his kick superbly saved by Joe Day in the Newport goal. How ironic that it was top scorer Walker who would be the only one to miss. He’s had a terrific season, been the regular penalty taker during the season and not missed one, and without his fantastic return of 26 goals, the Stags probably would not have made the top 7, let alone been in and around the top 3 all season. Realistically I think it’s unlikely that Walker will return next season, he will either get a chance at his parent club Nottingham Forest, or go to a club in League One, and hence if so, it’s a very sad way for his time here to end. As a loan player, he committed so much to the cause.
The game itself was a remarkable one. Over the 120 minutes, Newport were unlucky not to win it, hitting the woodwork twice. In the first half, and for a short spell in the second half, they went so close on a number of occasions. In the first half: Sheehan volleyed against the back stanchion from Butler’s cross, Amond side-footed into the side netting when he should have scored, Labadie headed against the bar following a Demetriou long-throw, and Amond headed a free header just over the bar from Butler’s cross. Four near misses, while the Stags created almost nothing.
The Stags started the second half better, but it was Newport who went close twice again around the hour mark, as Bennett sent a fabulous against the bar from fully 35 yards, and then Conrad Logan made a brilliant one-handed save from a shot from Sheehan from 23 yards, to add to the list of Logan’s superb saves from the first leg.
After that it was the Stags with the better chances to win it. After 67 minutes, Ben Turner’s header forced a good save from the keeper from Mal Benning’s free kick. Then on 71 minutes, Tyler Walker shot from the edge of the area and the keeper tipped wide. And then after 85 minutes, a glorious chance for the Stags to win it, with Walker having a clear sight of goal from 14 yards but he sent his left-footed shot just wide of the right post with the keeper motionless. Agonisingly close. Then on 88 minutes, from Alex MacDonald’s cross, Danny Rose glanced a header wide.
The tension had been unbelievable, and it continued into extra time as the chances kept on coming. After 96 minutes, a great ball from MacDonald sent CJ Hamilton away, he got into the area and blazed a shot over the bar. It was the sort of chance he has converted so many times this season. Two minutes later at the other end, following a Demetriou long throw, Sheehan curled a shot wide. Then an amazing triple chance for the Stags in the last minute of the first period of extra time: great play by Hamilton to get to the byline on the right and pull back to Walker, Walker’s first time flick goalwards was saved by the keeper with his right boot, the rebound came out to Danny Rose who seemed certain to score but his shot was blocked on the line by Regan Poole, and then Benning’s shot was blocked by Willmott. An incredible triple chance missed. Into the second period of extra time, and the best chance again fell to Walker as he headed inches wide after Gethin Jones headed on Benning’s corner.
How on earth did the game end 0-0 after 120 minutes?
And so to penalties. Newport went first and converted all five kicks. Logan wasn’t far away from saving Amond’s spot kick but otherwise Newport’s kicks were convincing. For Mansfield, sub Nicky Ajose and CJ Hamilton scored, before Walker’s kick was superbly saved by Day. Mal Benning converted Mansfield’s fourth penalty, off the right post and then off the left post. But Dolan sent Logan the wrong way for Newport’s fifth penalty to send Newport to Wembley.
In my opinion, Newport were the deserved winners over the 120 minutes and penalties here. But how different it might have been if the Stags had taken a lead into the game from the first leg, which they should have done but for two incorrect refereeing decisions on Thursday.
The game was played in a wonderful atmosphere. Credit to the 6,200 Stags fans who roared their team on. Credit also to Newport and their 1110 travelling fans. Good luck at Wembley.
Spare a thought for owners John and Carolyn Radford who put in so much to try to make promotion possible and John tweeted after the game: “I'm hurting after that as my love for this club is beyond words. The measure of a club, though, is how you react and advance from adversity. This setback should only make us stronger, as one united club. A special mention to our fans who have been magnificent all season.” Thanks to John and Carolyn as always.
So that’s it for this season. It was close. It couldn’t be finer margins, losing with one penalty missed in a penalty shoot-out. And Mansfield of course had so many chances to secure promotion in those final games of the season, losing the final three games when victory in any of them would have been enough to go up automatically. Overall it’s been a very enjoyable season with plenty of entertaining and exciting football along the way. But it ends in disappointment.
Thanks for listening this season, thanks for watching the videos, and thanks for reading. We’ll go again next season.
REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Mansfield Town suffer play-off agony as Newport County win on penalties
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Sunday 12 May 2019
Mansfield Town's promotion dream was shattered in a dramatic penalty shoot-out as underdogs Newport County earned a place at Wembley.
There were a wealth of chances at both ends over 120 thrilling minutes, but in the end Stags' top scorer Tyler Walker saw his penalty kick saved and Matt Dolan was able to seal the shoot-out 5-3 to send over 1,100 travelling Welsh fans into ecstasy behind that goal.
Nicky Ajose and CJ Hamilton netted their spot kicks before Walker's miss, then Mal Benning kept hopes alive as his kick went in off both posts before Dolan applied the final blow.
Newport were excellent in the first half and had hit the home bar twice before the Stags really came to life and Danny Rose had an effort cleared off the line when he looked a certain scorer.
The game became stretched and it was a major surprise there were no goals in the end with fans on the edge of their seats throughout.
But, ultimately, it wasn't to be for the Stags, who suffered a pre-match blow when veteran midfield ace Neal Bishop failed to recover from a calf injury picked up in the 1-1 first leg draw in Wales on Thursday and was replaced by Willem Tomlinson.
Newport also made one change with Joss Labadie in for Matt Dolan.
Stags started well and forced an early corner amid a superb atmosphere.
Then Hamilton hooked clear the first long throw of the game by Demetriou on three minutes as play swung from end to end in a thrilling opening.
Labadie was booked on eight minutes for his foul on Walker, but Mellis was well over with the free kick.
There was danger for Stags as O'Brien headed a free kick back across the face of goal with no one there to apply a finish.
On 12 minutes Logan had his first save to make as Sheehan tried his luck with a low shot from 25 yards after good hold-up play from Matt.
O'Brien was added to the book on 19 minutes for wrestling Walker to the floor after he had turned him.
The Exiles came close again on 22 minutes as Sheehan stretched for a forward ball from Butler and sent a volley inches wide into the side stanchion.
Two minutes later Matt found Amond in space to his right and he should have hit the target as he sent his low finish tamely into the sidenetting.
Turner got in a fine block to halt a blast from Willmott after Matt had set him up for a shot in the box as the visitors continued to look the more threatening.
The deadlock was almost broken from another long Demetriou throw on 39 minutes as the ball bounced in the box and Labadie headed against the bar from close range with Logan gratefully pouncing on the rebound.
Butler's challenge on Rose on 41 minutes saw Butler yellow-carded.
Newport missed another golden chance with 45 minutes up as Butler whipped in a powerful free kick and from six yards Amond sent his header over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
In stoppage time, in trying to head away a left wing cross, defender Turner saw the ball drop onto the top of his own crossbar as the visitors went in disappointed not be ahead.
Mansfield made an attacking change at the break as Hamilton was pushed up front with Rose and Walker with Benning coming on at left wing back and Tomlinson withdrawn from the midfield.
Immediately Walker made space for a shot that dinked just over the bar.
Then Hamilton pulled back a low ball from the left that Rose sent flying over the bar.
Bennett would have been relieved to see an offside flag up on 51 minutes after planting a six yard free header over the bar.
Mansfield struggled to clear another long throw, Logan eventually getting down to stop a low O'Brien shot.
Newport were desperately unlucky again on 59 minutes as Bennett let fly from 25 yard and saw his shot cannon back off the crossbar with Logan beaten.
But Logan was the hero two minutes later with a flying save to his left to keep out Sheehan's powerful 18 yard blast.
Mansfield's first on-target effort finally came on 64 minutes as Benning's free kick got through the wall but straight at Day.
On 67 minutes Turner twice came close, first seeing Day save his header from a Benning free kick, and when the ball was recycled back into the box, a second header also held by Day.
Day then had to push away an awkward shot from Walker on 71 minutes as the home side began to up the ante.
Labadie was hurt by a ferocious Turner tackle on 75 minutes and had to be replaced by Azeez.
An almighty scramble on 82 minutes ended with Logan clutching O'Brien's head-height drive as Stags survived again.
But Mansfield should have gone ahead on 85 minutes after Hamilton helped the ball towards Walker who lashed wide from 12 yards.
Three minutes later Rose flicked a header inches wide from a Benning cross.
Poole hacked down Hamilton in full flight on 89 minutes to earn a booking, Turner heading wide from the free kick, before Jones was also booked for a foul a minute into the added four as the 90 minutes ended goalless.
Atkinson replaced Mellis for the start of extra-time.
Stags were first to threaten as Hamilton got in down the left only to send his hurried cross-cum-shot well over.
On 96 minutes Hamilton might have settled the tie but, put into space by a great MacDonald pass, he blazed his finish over.
On 98 minutes Sheehan curled a powerful effort across the face of the home goal and wide of the far post from a tight angle.
There was high drama in the final minute of the first half of extra-time as Day saved superbly from a low Walker shot and Poole cleared Rose's follow-up off the line.
Stags' last throw of the dice was sending on Ajose for Rose as the game entered its final 15 minutes.
On the restart Stags could only clear a long Demetriou throw as far as Sheehan who volleyed wide from 18 yards.
Walker was again narrowly wide with a header from a corner and then went down under a challenge from Demetriou in the box with nothing given.
In the final minute Demetriou headed over a Willmott free kick before Stags sent on Grant for Jones as the game ended in penalties and heartbreak.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Logan; Pearce, Turner, Sweeney; Jones (Grant 120), MacDonald, Tomlinson (Benning HT), Mellis (Atkinson 91), Hamilton; Walker, Rose (Ajose 105). Subs not used: J. Smith, Khan, A. Smith.
NEWPORT COUNTY: Day, Poole, Demetriou, O’Brien, Willmott, Labadie (Azeez 75, McKirdy 110)), Sheehan (Dolan 110), Bennett, Butler, Amond, Matt. Subs not used: Pipe, Marsh-Brown, Randall, Crofts.
REFEREE: Michael Salisbury of Lancashire.
ATTENDANCE: 7,361 (1,118 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Alex MacDonald.
Mansfield Town 0 Newport County 0: Exiles seal Wembley play-off place after penalty shootout drama
By Rob Cole
Matt Dolan sent Newport County to Wembley and into the League Two play-off final after a penalty shootout at the end of 120 extraordinary goalless minutes.
There were 45 attempts on goal between the two sides at the One Call Stadium as they tried to find the goal to break the deadlock after the first leg at Rodney Parade ended in a 1-1 draw. But when it came to penalties the County players were word perfect and Joe Day pulled off a great save to finally separate the two teams.
Goals from Dan Butler and Padraig Amond were matched by Nicky Ajose and CJ Hamilton and then Mickey Demetriou made it 3-2 to the Exiles. Up stepped Mansfield’s top scorer, Tyler Walker, but Day went the right way and made a great save to give his side the advantage.
Regan Poole was next to strike before Mal Benning kept the Stags in it with a penalty that hit the post and went in off Day’s back. That left Dolan with the chance to win it with the fifth spot-kick and he hit the target to send the 1,100 County fans directly behind the goal into raptures.
“I have got belief in these players and I knew we would keep going to the end. If that meant going to penalties then that was fine,” said a delighted County manager Michael Flynn.
“They were absolutely immense and in the first half they were unbelievable. We could have been three or four goals ahead.”
Mansfield goalkeeper Conrad Logan was once again in superb form and he dived full length to push a 30-yard shot from Josh Sheehan past his right hand post in the early exchanges. Then came the best chances of the half.
Two minutes later Jamille Matt took the ball down, turned and released striking partner Padraig Amond on the left side of the box, but the Irishman’s shot hit the side netting.
Former Cardiff City skipper Ben Turner then threw himself in front of a Robbie Willmott volley that was goal-bound to clear before Labadie got on the end of Mickey Demetriou's long throw and hit the cross bar. There was even further dismay for the visitors when a Butler free- kick from the right found Amond unmarked on the edge of the six yard box, but his header went inches over the bar.
Mansfield fired in three shots within the first few minutes of the re-start, but County soon got back into their dominant first-half stride. Scott Bennett hammered the cross bar from 30 yards with a wonder strike and then Logan pulled off a brilliant save from a Sheehan volley that seemed destined for the back of the net on the hour.
Day was forced to make a couple of saves before Walker, with 26 goals this season, missed Mansfield’s best chance of the night in the 85th minute when he dragged his shot wide. Extra-time couldn’t break the deadlock before County held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out to book their ticket to face either Forest Green or Tranmere at Wembley.
Newport 0, Mansfield 0 (1-1 on aggregate, 5-3 on pens)
Mansfield Town: Logan; Pearce (captain), Turner, Sweeney; Jones (Grant 119), Tomlinson (Benning 46), MacDonald, Hamilton, Mellis (Atkinson 91); Walker, Rose (Ajose 105)
Subs Unused : Khan, J Smith, , A. Smith
Newport County: Day; Butler, Demetriou, O’Brien (captain), Poole; Labadie (Azeez 75, McKirdy 110), Bennett, Sheehan (Dolan 110); Willmott, Matt, Amond
Subs Unused: Pipe, Marsh-Brown, Randall, Crofts
Referee: Michael Salisbury