NEWPORT County AFC rarely enjoy their trips to Field Mill and this was no exception as they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Mansfield Town on the opening day of the new League Two season.

County beat the Stags 4-3 on the opening day of the 2012-2013 Conference campaign but they have not won a Football League match in Mansfield since 1939.

And the memories of their 5-0 humiliation at the same ground back in February were still fresh in the mind as Andrew Crofts led out the Exiles, having recovered from an injury scare during the week.

Crofts was joined by fellow new boys Fraser Franks, Tyler Forbes, Keanu Marsh-Brown and Jamille Matt in the starting XI as manager Michael Flynn gave all five their competitive debuts.

Scot Bennett started in a midfield role as the Exiles opted for a 4-3-3 formation in the opening stages.

After a nervy first few minutes with the hosts putting plenty of pressure on the back four, County grew into the game and Crofts twice shot wide from distance.

Padraig Amond then headed Dan Butler’s cross back across goal and Bennett was denied an open goal by the timely intervention of Mansfield defender Mal Benning.

But the Stags always looked dangerous in attack and they broke the deadlock in the 12th minute through new loan signing Tyler Walker – the son of former England defender Des.

It was harsh on Joe Day who saved superbly from the Nottingham Forest forward and Neal Bishop before Walker stabbed home.

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At the other end Amond saw a header saved by Conrad Logan after another good delivery from Dan Butler but the hosts were full of confidence and striker Craig Davies almost doubled their lead on 17 minutes.

His brilliant curling effort beat Day but rebounded off the inside of the post as the home fans senses blood.

It began to look like County could be in for another hammering at one of their least favourite hunting grounds.

But the expected first-half onslaught didn’t materialise and it was Flynn’s men who went closest to scoring in the remainder of the first 45.

Amond crossed for the impressive Franks to head wide from the edge of the area and Matt and Marsh-Brown wasted good opportunities, the latter after a superb ball from Crofts.

The visitors were nearly punished for some slack defending in first-half stoppage-time, however, before Butler recovered well to rob Walker just as the striker was about to unleash a shot from 15 yards out.

The second half started slowly but the Stags soon emerged from their slumber to seal victory thanks to two terrific goals from Otis Khan.

The first arrived on 56 minutes when Bishop found Walker and the striker turned provider with a perfect cross for Khan to power a header past Day an into the bottom corner.

Khan’s second and Mansfield’s third came nine minutes later and it was a fabulous individual effort.

Some poor defending from Forbes allowed the ball to be pulled back for Khan, who was given far too much time and space to pick his spot from 25 yards.

Flynn brought on Josh Sheehan and Antoine Semenyo for Crofts and Matt after Khan’s first and then replaced Marsh-Brown with Charlie Cooper after his second.

Amond nearly grabbed a consolation as he rounded the goalkeeper on 78 minutes but he was denied by a last-ditch clearance by Hayden White before Sheehan saw a close-range effort palmed away by Logan.

There was no way back into the game for the Exiles and it was another miserable trip home from Mansfield for the team and the fans.

County: Day; Forbes, Franks, Demetriou, Butler; Crofts (Sheehan, 59), Bennett, Dolan; Marsh-Brown (Cooper, 72), Matt (Semenyo, 59), Amond

Subs not used: Townsend, Pipe, Bakinson, Harris

Referee: Paul Marsden

Attendance: 4, 423 (320 County)

Argus star man: Franks