Mansfield Town make it two wins out of two as they see off Newport County
Mansfield Town made it two wins out of two with a hard-earned 2-1 home victory over Newport County this afternoon.
Having immediately thrown away the seventh minute lead given to them by George Maris through poor defending, they were back ahead thanks to skipper Ollie Clarke just before the break.
Newport had the better second half chances but Stags defended stoutly and deserved the points in the end.
Stags' afternoon was made more uncomfortable by a string of decisions against them by experienced referee Anthony Backhouse which angered the home fans and players alike.
Stags were unchanged from last Saturday's opening day win over Bristol Rovers while Newport, who also won their opener, were missing some key players through injury and made four changes.
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Stags flew onto the front foot from kick-off and McLaughlin zipped a cross right across the face of goal within 15 seconds with no one able to reach it.
On five minutes it seemed Abraham had got the better of Rawson in the box but the defender recovered to make the tackle before the Newport man could shoot.
But Stags were in front on seven minutes.
Johnson was unable to control a short corner from Maris and it seemed the moment was wasted.
But Maris did well to win the ball back and when no ne closed him down he curled in a low shot from 20 yards which somehow found its way past Day who should have done better with it.
However a home error levelled the scores within two minutes.
First Perch and then Rawson allowed a long ball forward to bounce over them and Willmott sneaked in behind to lift the ball over a helpless Bishop into the net.
From a hotly disputed free kick on 19 minutes Willmott squared to Upson, whose finish deflected narrowly wide.
Stags then broke quickly from the corner and Maris saw his low shot beaten away by Day.
Abraham entered the book for hacking down McLaughlin on 20 minutes, Missilou joining him for a 33rd minute foul.
Oates shot over the left angle from Stags' next raid after some neat passing while Bishop was firmly behind a Haynes free kick at the other end on the half-hour.
Haynes also fired across goal from the left on a 39th minute counter-attack.
But Mansfield roared back in front two minutes from the break.
Hawkins found Johnson on the edge of the box and he expertly laid the ball off to Clarke to his right who advanced and smashed home an unstoppable finish from 15 yards high to the left of Day.
In the four added minutes Quinn made space to get a low shot away, but it lacked power and was easy for Day to gather.
Newport were almost level six minutes into the second half when Maris was robbed of possession and Missilou raced down the left and pulled a shot wide across the face of goal.
Then on 56 minutes Abraham was only just wide with his flicked header from Norman's excellent cross.
Another superb move by the Exiles on 61 minutes ended with Bishop having to tip away Azaz's first time shot from 20 yards.
McLaughlin pulled a good low cross into the Newport box in a rare home raid, but Hawkins was well off target with his hooked finish.
Stags desperately needed a lift and on 65 minutes Lapslie took over from Oates.
Three minutes later Gordon was booked for a foul on Clarke, then Haynes was added for leaving a foot in on Gordon on 72 minutes.
A frustrated Hawkins was then booked for arguing over one of several questionable decisions by the referee two minutes later.
Clarke volleyed well over the Newport goal from a half-cleared corner as we entered the 84th minute.
Johnson might have wrapped things up when the ball broke for him on 87 minutes, but Day was able to block his finish with his legs.
STAGS: Bishop, Gordon (Hewitt 77), McLaughlin, Rawson, Clarke, Maris, Johnson, Hawkins, Perch, Quinn (Bowery 90), Oates (Lapslie 65). SUBS NOT USED: Shelvey, Burke, Sinclair, Stirk.
NEWPORT: Fay, Norman, Haynes, Upson, Clarke (Collins 77), Farquharson, Willmott, Abraham (Greenidge 73), Bennett, Azaz, Missilou (Fisher 65). SUBS NOT USED: Townsend, Lewis, Woodiwiss, Livermore
REFEREE: Anthony Backhouse.
ATTENDANCE: 3,793 (156 away).