Report from NEWPORT COUNTY 2-2 MANSFIELD TOWN as ten-man Stags fight back for a point

Nicky Maynard (right) battles for possession at Newport.
Nicky Maynard (right) battles for possession at Newport.

John Dempster’s first game in charge ended in a 2-2 as ten-man Mansfield held on for a point.

It was the old adage of a game of two halves as Joss Labadie and Padraig Amond’s penalty left the Stags down and out.

But a whirlwind start to the second half saw the visitors equalise with quick-fire goals from Krystian Pearce and Danny Rose.

Debutant Nicky Maynard had a penalty saved at 2-2 by Tom King, then Mansfield spent the last 22 minutes with ten men after Jacob Mellis’ opening-day sending off.

New boss Dempster went into his first competitive game in charge of the club full of optimism and handed summer signing Maynard an immediate debut.

But it took just six minutes for the smile to be wiped off the manager’s face as the hosts took the lead.

Labadie scored his first goal for the club since December 2017 with a well-taken finish into the bottom corner.

The game quietened down after the opener with the next best effort falling to Amond, who blazed well over.

Both sides came close as chances started to flow at both ends of the pitch.

Mansfield almost equalised in the 20th minute when Neal Bishop’s diving header hit the side netting.

Down the other end Labadie saw a fierce volley well blocked, before Ryan Sweeney nodded Jacob Mellis’ cross over the bar.

On the half hour mark Mellis’ powerful daisy cutter flew just wide as the Stags continued to search for the leveller.

The deficit nearly doubled when Matthew Dolan’s well-struck free-kick rattled against the bar.

A minute later Krystian Pearce conceded a penalty by hauling down Jamille Matt. Amond made no mistake from the spot despite Conrad Logan going the right way.

Dempster’s first half-time team talk worked wonders as the Stags levelled within four second-half minutes.

Pearce made amends for giving away the penalty as his superb diving header halved the arrears.

And Rose equalised moments later from inside the box.

Logan kept the scores level with a world class stop to tip Labadie’s effort over from close range.

A blockbuster start to the second period continued as seconds later the Stags had a penalty of their own after Otis Khan went down.

But Maynard was denied by a fine save from County stopper King as the game remained all square.

Maynard then squandered a decent chance when he fired over, before Mellis was sent off after an altercation with Labadie.

Late on the Stags were let off when Amond missed the target a scramble in the box.

Right at the death Matt had the ball in the net with the offside flag coming to the rescue.

Newport: King, Haynes, Howkins, Demetriou, Labadie, Willmott, Dolan (Whiteley, 73), Sheehan, McNamara (Abrahams, 84), Amond, Matt.

Unused subs: Townsend, Stojsavljevic, Maloney, Bennett, Nurse.

Mansfield: Logan, Preston, Pearce, Sweeney (Khan, 45), Benning, Bishop, MacDonald, Mellis, Hamilton (Gordon, 45+4), Maynard (Cook, 82), Rose.

Unused subs: Smith, Sterling-James, Donohue, Stone.

Referee: James Adcock.

Attendance: 4,441 (493)