MANAGER Graham Coughlan was frustrated that Newport County AFC failed to ‘ask enough questions’ in attack when they fired a blank for a third game on the spin against promotion-chasing Mansfield.

The Exiles failed to become the first team to beat the second-placed Stags in League Two this season after a 2-0 loss at Field Mill.

Davis Keillor-Dunn struck early on after a defensive error by Scot Bennett and then, after Rhys Oates missed a penalty, doubled the lead early in the second half.

County have failed to score in their last three games after a 0-0 draw with MK Dons and a 1-0 EFL Trophy defeat to Bristol Rovers.

In fact, they have scored in open play just twice in their last seven games - Shane McLoughlin's double against Oldham in the FA Cup - and Coughlan wants to be more of a threat in the final third.

South Wales Argus: County boss Graham CoughlanCounty boss Graham Coughlan (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“The better team won, we don’t have any arguments with that,” he said. “Fair play to them – we weren’t very good.

“We were poor with the ball and didn’t ask enough questions. We got a little bit of momentum in the second half, having changed our system a bit. That was the time we needed to score a goal and we didn’t.

“Probably the most disappointing thing is that we had the ball for both of their goals. We had good possession, but gave it away and turned it over too easily and quickly.

“When you do that against good teams you get punished – and we did get punished.

“I would have liked to see us pick up a goal and make it a nervy last 15 to 20 minutes.”

South Wales Argus: DENIED: Will Evans has a shot blocked in MansfieldDENIED: Will Evans has a shot blocked in Mansfield (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Mansfield are second behind Stockport and made it nine wins and eight draws in their 17 league fixtures.

“It was a good solid three points and a clean sheet,” said boss Nigel Clough. “These are the ones that are very important come the end of the season – and it wasn’t straightforward today.

“The Rhys Oates penalty miss was a huge point in the game as if we’d got the 2-0 lead after half an hour we’d maybe go on and win a bit more comfortably.

“They came back out for the second half and changed their tactics. They came at us rather than sitting back and they had a couple of moments in the second half as did we, so I was most pleased with the clean sheet.”