Mansfield Town rue their missed chances with a frustrating but vital draw against Newport County


The Stags lacked the cutting edge as they were unlucky not to win the game. Stephen Quinn and Tyrese Sinclair both saw efforts cannon back off the post but the youngster proved the star man that helped the amber and blues earn a point.

With an unchanged lineup from Mansfield’s clash against Exeter City on Easter Monday, Nigel Clough’s men set out on another tough task against Newport County.

The Exiles are on their search for promotion after falling short in the 2018/19 season, but look certain to battle it out in the play-offs where they do not hold fond memories.

Mansfield Town started the game brightly and could have been 1-0 up after only three minutes. The youngster Sinclair headed the ball towards the goal and was unfortunate to see his effort rebound off of Nick Townsend’s knee and bounce out off the post.

It was a sign of things to come for the Stags as they simply missed the predatory instinct in the final third which they have been lacking all season.

Once again, Clough’s men ran into Newport’s box and overloaded Townsend’s area, but were unable to capitalise as Ryan Sweeney smashed his effort over with another chance coming to nothing.

Newport probably had the best chance of the half and missed a sitter from close range. The fantastic Josh Sheehan delivered a wicked ball into the box which saw Joe Ledley put the ball wide of Aidan Stone’s goal from about five yards with the midfielder facing the goal and under no pressure at all.

Michael Flynn’s side did not stop there as they looked to find an opening past the resolute Mansfield defence. Joss Labadie laid the ball off to Dom Telford as he struck an effort that forced the Stags’ number 31 to make a vital stop.

Quinn was inches away opening the score himself near the end of the first-half. He was able to have a go on goal after the ball rebounded to him ever so kindly, but was unable to add enough power and curl as his effort went agonisingly wide of Townsend’s left post.

George Lapslie, Sinclair and Jordan Bowery broke at pace in the dying embers of the half only for the aforementioned Lapslie to have his shot blocked when he could have slipped Bowery through.

The Welsh outfit turned the screw and threatened again from a Sheehan free-kick. This time the brilliant midfielder had a shot directly at Stone’s goal and forced Mansfield’s shot-stopper to make another important save.

Not long after, the Stags had the best chance of the game. Bowery laid the ball off to Quinn, who took the ball in his stride and fired a shot that would be denied by the woodwork. The second time Mansfield were denied by the post and it would come back to bite them.

19-year-old Lewis Collins came on and provided Newport pace, directness and attacking threat. He was able to make a surging charge towards the Stags goal providing the ball to Labadie only for the Exiles’ captain to fire his effort over.

Newport’s skipper made amends for that missed chance not long after. George Maris was caught slacking at gifted possession to Labadie as he took a touch and fired an effort goalwards. The shot was able to roll under the diving Stone and roll into the back of the net.

From that point onwards the Stags went all out and reaped their rewards in the 84th minute. After switching to a 4-3-3 with Jamie Reid replacing Ollie Clarke, Clough’s men pilled on the pressure and it was youngster Sinclair who found himself on the scoresheet.

With the tricky forward pressing the Newport defence, he was able to gain possession and smashed an effort past Townsend and into the back of the net.

In only his second league appearance for the Stags, the son of ex-Chelsea and Leicester City player Frank Sinclair, proved to be a character that showed persistence and willingness to keep going.

Yes, he did miss a few chances. Yes, he had one of his efforts cleared off the line, but he never wanted to give up and ultimately helped his side take a point against a play-off pushing side.

That 1-1 draw helped move Mansfield up to 18th, ahead of Scunthorpe on goal difference, and 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

For Newport, this 1-1 draw meant they would remain in the Play-Off spots for at least another matchday as they move up to 61 points, four points clear of Exeter City, Carlisle United and Leyton Orient who are hunting the Exiles down.

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