Patience continued to be the key for Mansfield Town as the first half against bottom club Newport County ended goalless at One Call Stadium today.
The Welsh club defended well as the Stags, playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, asked most of the questions in a first half short on clear cut chances.
Janio Donacien headed over for the Exiles while Zak Ansah also tested Brian Jensen from distance.
But most of the traffic was going the other way as Stags saw several shots well blocked while keeper Joe Day denied Mal Benning, Reggie Lambe and Matt Green with saves.
He also had to keep out a header at his own goal by Matt Taylor.
But Stags hadn’t done a lot wrong and, with the home fans sticking behind them, had to hope their break would come in the second half.
After a tentative start, Mansfield began to play some neat stuff and, from a clever Chapman pass, Benning zipped in a low shot that Day took at the near post.
Lambe and Benning then had shots blocked after Newport struggled to clear a long Jack Thomas cross that was played back into the middle by Green.
But the visitors won the game’s first corner on 16 minutes and when skipper Byrne sent it over from the left, Donacien rose well to flick a header just over the bar.
On 20 minutes Taylor almost put through his own goal, stretching to cut out a dangerous Benning cross, Day having to dive to his right to keep out the stooping header.
Newport continued to soak up the pressure though on 37 minutes Stags might have broken through.
Tafazolli headed a long Benning free kick into the middle where Lambe met it from 10 yards but shot straight at Day.
Then Hunt cut in from the right by-line and thundered in a low finish that was blocked as the home fans again raised the noise levels.
Green almost broke the deadlock against his old club on 43 minutes as he sent a diving header on target at the far post, as he met a Jack Thomas cross from the left, only to see Day keep it out with his legs.
Newport broke quickly from that and Ansah warmed Jensen’s hands from 20 yards.
On 45 minutes Green leapt to meet a long Benning cross, but the ball skimmed off his head for a goalkick and Newport had survived the first 45 minutes.