Fortress Field Mill to come to Mansfield's rescue
With an intriguing first-leg finishing 1-1 at Rodney Parade, the return fixture at Field Mill promises to be blockbuster. Will it be Mike Flynn’s plucky upstarts or David Flitcroft’s big guns that come out on top?
The first thing to note about the first leg is that these are two well-matched teams. It was hard coming into this game for the Stags after such a massive disappointment on the final day of the regular season.
That performance at Stadium MK was worrying not only because of its general abjectness but more because of damage it could do to morale. Well, credit where credit is due, David Flitcroft’s side came out quickly at Rodney Parade using a different system that saw CJ Hamilton playing at left wing-back with the more physical Danny Rose partnering speedster Tyler Walker up top.
It worked and they took a deserved lead. They probably should have increased their advantage with Newport lucky not to see defender Mark O’Brien sent off but as was always going to be the case, Newport fought their way back into it and started to cause the Stags problems.
They did eventually equalise after being given a debatable penalty. Whether Logan got his hand on the ball or not, he didn’t have to come out as he did. Padraig Amond saw his spot-kick saved but smashed home the rebound that saw the final score reflect the contest.
Fortress Field Mill
Not many sides have been to Field Mill this season and lived to tell the tale. Ok that may be exaggerating, but not many sides have left with three points.
Home form has been bettered by only two sides this season; Newport, where they have just picked up an excellent draw, and Bury who went up automatically.
Four defeats in the 23 home games helped them get to the cusp of promotion but two of those defeats came in the last four games and that has cost them dearly.
Flitcroft’s tactical changes at Rodney Parade worked well so it is unlikely that he will change but a better final ball and more clinical finishing will be needed to see off the toughest outfit in the fourth tier.
Mansfield v Newport Betting tip
Mansfield will have taken a lot of heart with how they dealt with everything thrown at them by the Exiles. This should give them the confidence to continue in this manner.
I can see them scoring first again but also think they will be able to assert themselves better at home. This could lead to them hitting Newport on the break should Mike Flynn’s side try and push forward to get back into the game. That is why backing Mansfield to win by two goals at odds of 5/1 is my pick here.