The Stags welcome Newport County to the One Call stadium this weekend, where they will look to close the gap on first place. Mansfield won the most recent meeting 2-1 and the Ironsides have not beat this weekend's opponent in their last five attempts.
Mansfield are still the only side in League Two to have not suffered a single defeat yet. That is extremely impressive considering they have played 16 matches and the Stags currently sit in third with a game in hand over the top two. Nigel Clough's side boast the best defence, conceding just 13 goals, with a home average of 0.43 goals suffered per game. Mansfield have also scored 1.81 times per game on average but they have only won half of their matches, with draws being a common occurrence.
The Stags were victorious in their most recent match, beating Salford City 2-1 on the road. The visitors only registered 35% possession but they controlled the tie after an action-packed first half that saw them go into the break with a 2-1 lead, with the second-half performance showcasing why they are the best defence in League Two.
The Ironsides are currently placed in 20th after 17 matches, picking up 19 points. It is clear that they are a side that performs much better when at home and on the road they have lost 75% of their matches. Unfortunately for Newport, they have conceded the second most amount of goals this season, 32, and their attack seems to only perform when hosting. That said, their form has picked up slightly recently and they are unbeaten in their previous two league matches.
The most recent of those was the home 0-0 draw versus MK Dons. The visitors controlled the tie and were unfortunate to not convert their chances, whereas Newport found joy on the break, yet they struggled to create any chances despite having 16 attempts at goal. Nick Townsend had an excellent performance, making five sides from inside the box.
Mansfield should win this game, especially given how strong they are at the back and how vulnerable Newport are at times. The visitors will be happy to sit in and wait for their moments on the counter. A Mansfield win is 4/9, with an away win priced at 21/4.
The final prediction is Mansfield 2-0 Newport.