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Season 15/16 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Oxford United
Westcarr 2. Green missed pen 8.
 Roofe pen 59.
Attendance: 3112 (547 from Oxford)
Date: 22 August 2015


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town and Oxford United played out a 1-1 at Field Mill this afternoon. Fans complained of a lack of entertaining football last season. There could be no complaints today, this was a terrific game and both sides came out of it with positives. The Stags were off to a blistering start in the intense heat and took the lead after just a couple of minutes with a fine volley from Craig Westcarr from the edge of the box. It should have been 2-0 on 8 minutes as the high-energy Mitch Rose won a penalty with a silly challenge from the Oxford keeper Slocombe. Mansfield had gone an incredible 85 league and cup matches, since November 2013, without a penalty, which I think is a league record (at least no-one has come up with a longer record). Rose had also won a penalty in pre-season against Leicester and his surging runs look likely to earn more. Up stepped Matt Green, whose penalty taking record for Mansfield is very good, but he smacked a powerful shot against the bar having sent the keeper the wrong way. The frustration for Mansfield was palpable. Green did well to create a chance for himself from a Clements ball on 23 minutes but his shot was saved by the keeper’s legs. After that, Oxford were the better side and were unlucky not equalise with a brilliant free-kick routine which saw former Burton midfielder Alex MacDonald fire a shot against the post. A few minutes earlier, Brian Jensen made a great save tipping over another free-kick from the impressive Kemar Roofe. Adam Chapman nearly scored the best goal ever at Field Mill with an audacious shot from inside his own half. Oxford were level on 59 minutes with a very clumsy challenge from Reggie Lambe conceding a penalty. I’ve had a look at it on the match DVD and it is definitely a penalty in my opinion, but so unnecessary. Kemar Roofe sent Jensen the wrong way from the spot. Roofe came so close to putting Oxford in front on 76 minutes and Jensen made a great save from Danny Hylton on 82 minutes. Mansfield didn’t look like regaining the lead and were relieved to get to the final whistle hanging on to a point. It may turn out to be a good point, and I was very impressed by Oxford who were by far the best team I’ve seen Mansfield play in the league this season. Real positives for Mansfield were the form of central defensive pairing Pearce and Tafazolli who were excellent. Benning had a fine game at left back, Mitch Rose again impressed pushing forward, Clements had a good game, and Jensen in goal made two fine saves. It was a frustrating afternoon for Matt Green against his former club, but his time will come, and his first goal of the season won’t be a far away. For Oxford, Kemar Roofe and Danny Hylton were outstanding.

Stats note: Mansfield had gone an incredible 85 league and cup matches, since November 2013, without a penalty before today, which I think is a league record (at least no-one has come up with a longer record).
The last penalty scored by Mansfield was 5 October 2013 Sam Clucas against Hartlepool at Field Mill. So that is 97 league and cup games (including today) without scoring a penalty.
Sidenote from Football League, which presumably refers to league games only: “we cannot corroborate statistics relating to longest run without being awarded a penalty as penalty statistics are only recorded in terms of when they are scored. In that sense, we can provide some data related to the longest run in terms of a club not scoring a penalty. However please note that this therefore does not necessarily mean these clubs weren’t awarded any during that time. According to our researchers the club that has gone the longest number of games without scoring a penalty is QPR who went 115 games (mid 90s).”

Mansfield made two changes to the side that lost to Accrington. As expected, Matt Green returned to replace Beardsley, and Westcarr came in for Nathan Thomas. Oxford came into the game in fine form. They included former Stags defender Johnny Mullins, and Danny Rose who scored a screamer for Newport against us in the battle of the Holdsworths. A few Oxford connections in the Stags’ ranks of course including Matt Green who once scored a goal in the play offs at Wembley for Oxford, Adam Chapman and Adam Murray.

It was a blisteringly hot day in the sunshine, touching 28 degrees, though it cooled later in the game with a sharp shower.

And Mansfield were off to a blistering start with a goal after just 2 minutes. A long throw from Adam Chapman was headed on by Tafazolli and headed out to Westcarr on the edge of the box who volleyed it into the bottom left corner of the net. A brilliant first goal for Mansfield for Craig Westcarr. Some news agencies are reporting the goal as “3 minutes” but I’ve timed it from the match DVD as 1 minute 59 seconds.

Mansfield remained on the front foot and earned a penalty on 8 minutes. Rose went down under an unnecessary challenge from keeper Slocombe right on the edge of the area on the byline. It was a definite penalty. Mansfield had gone 85 games without a penalty but runs like this from Rose will earn more. Matt Green took a long run from the edge of the D, sent the keeper the wrong way but got too much elevation on it and hit the bar to the left of centre. Field Mill was in shock as Green’s penalty scoring record is good.

On 10 minutes, Lambe got into the area but Green couldn’t quite control his pass.

On 14 minutes, Hylton cut inside Hunt on the left, too easily, and fired over the bar. A minute later, on the other side, Baldock cut inside from the right and, again, fired just over the bar. Good play by Hylton on 20 minutes as he got past Pearce along the byline but when he pulled the ball back, it was a poor ball in and Hunt cleared.

On 22 minutes, Green ran across the edge of the area and went down but it was no penalty.

On 23 minutes, a fine ball down the right from Clements, Green did very well to power past his defender and got in a shot from an angle from 8 yards which was well-saved by Slocombe with his legs.

Oxford were showing signs of getting on top after Mansfield’s fantastic start. On 31 minutes, Mitch Rose put in a good challenge on Danny Rose, then MacDonald was booked for a foul on Mitch Rose. On 35 minutes, a great tackle by Hunt on O’Dowda.

Mitch Rose was booked for a foul 25 yards from the Stags goal in a central position. Roofe took the free kick which was arrowing into the top of the net before it was brilliantly tipped over by Jensen. From the resulting corner, Pearce lost the ball and there were claims for a penalty turned down.

Hunt was booked for a late challenge on 39 minutes.

On 42 minutes, Pearce conceded a free kick 2 yards outside the Stags area to the right of centre. Oxford took a clever free kick putting MacDonald in space in the area and he slammed a shot against the right post.

On 45 minutes, Mitch Rose tried a shot from the edge of the area which was blocked. On 45+1 minutes, there was nearly a moment of brilliance from Adam Chapman. Five yards inside his own half, he spotted the Oxford keeper well off his line and sent a magnificent shot sailing wide of the left post.

A thoroughly entertaining and exciting first half. The Stags should have been two ahead after a great start but then Oxford grew into the game with Jensen making a great save and MacDonald slamming a shot against the post.

Half time 1-0

Straight after the interval, Mitch Rose won a free kick. Benning’s free kick was cleared before Mitch Rose won another free kick. This time Benning’s free kick was put behind for a corner. On 53 minutes, Skarz crossed from the left and Roofe headed well over. Two minutes later, there was a very good tackle by Benning on Roofe.

Jack Thomas replaced Mitch Rose on 55 minutes. Rose played very well but Murray was probably worried about him picking up a second booking. On 56 minutes, a good tackle by Hunt on Roofe.

Oxford were level on 59 minutes and it was such an unnecessary goal to concede. It was a rash challenge by Lambe just inside the area on the right on O’Dowda who was going nowhere. After the game Craig Westcarr said he thought it was outside the area but a view of the video shows it was definitely inside. Roofe took the kick and slid it into the bottom right corner as Jensen dived the wrong way.

On 62 minutes, Pearce did well to shepherd the ball out of play from Roofe.

A quick change in the weather as sunshine gave way to a heavy rain shower.

On 65 minutes, Hunt got a final warning having already been booked in the first half, conceding a free kick on Oxford’s left.

On 66 minutes, a chance for Oxford as Sercombe’s shot from the edge of the area was blocked, and then a good punch out from Jensen. Straight to the other end and Green fired over from 25 yards.

Nathan Thomas replaced the disappointing Lambe on 67 minutes. A minute later, a good run from Jack Thomas earned a free kick. On 71 minutes, a good move from the Stags with Chapman trying a one-two but it was cleared.

Clements was booked for a late challenge on 72 minutes.

Then Collins replaced Hunt who had picked up an injury earlier. Collins slotted in at right back.

Oxford were nearly in front on 76 minutes. Sercombe crossed from the right and at the far post, Roofe miscued wide of the left post. A let off for the Stags.

On 77 minutes, there was a great challenge by Tafazolli inside his own half.

Nathan Thomas was booked for a foul on Sercombe on 77 minutes. On 80 minutes, a good header by Pearce half way inside his own half. Straight to the other end and a disappointing cross-come-shot from Jack Thomas was over the bar.

On 82 minutes, Hylton got past Tafazolli on the right and forced a great save from Jensen. A minute later, at the other end, a cross/shot from Benning was over the bar.

On 85 minutes, a free kick from Benning into the area and cries from the crowd for a penalty for handball but it wasn’t given. On 87 minutes, good play by Pearce to push forward and find Green who got into the area on the right and cut inside but couldn’t get any power on his shot which was blocked.

On 90 minutes, Benning was booked for what looked like a fair challenge, level with the edge of the Stags penalty area on the right. The Oxford free kick was headed away by Tafazolli.

On 90+4 minutes, Chapman gave the ball away and eventually a low shot was saved by Jensen.

Moments later, Jack Thomas was booked for retaliation after he gave away a free kick. Two minutes later, Mansfield were guilty of messing around with the ball in their own half but were not made to pay for it.

The full time whistle brought a mixed response with some moans and groans but most appreciating that it had been an excellent game against a good Oxford side. The bookings are racking up for Mansfield: six booked today after seven at Accrington, and the Stags management need to get a grip on this rapidly.

The satisfactory start continues for Mansfield, right in the middle of the table.

Man of the match: Krystian Pearce and Ryan Tafazolli

Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Line Up:
Jensen 7.5 Two great saves and a good punch.
Hunt 6.5 A couple of great tackles though Hylton cut inside him too easily on one occasion in the 1st half. Roofe gave him a difficult second half.
Pearce 8.5 Excellent defensive pairing with Tafazolli.
Tafazolli 8.5 Forming an excellent defensive pairing with Pearce.
Benning 7.5 Fine game at left back.
Chapman 6 Long throw led to the goal. Nearly scored the best goal ever at Field Mill with an audacious shot from inside his own half. Is developing a worrying tendency to give the ball away in bad positions.
Clements 7 Good game. Fine ball to set up Green 1-on-1.
Rose 7.5 Impressed pushing forward. His surging runs win penalties and free kicks.
Westcarr 7 Terrific goal on his first league start.
Lambe 5 Disappointing. Clumsy, rash, stupid challenge to concede the penalty. So unnecessary, and so costly.
Green 6 A frustrating afternoon for him. Missed penalty. Great run to set up 1-on-1 but keeper saved it.
Sub Line Up:
J.Thomas (for Rose, 55) - One good run to earn a free kick.
N.Thomas (for Lambe, 67) -
Collins (for Hunt, 72) - Good to see him back from injury. Slotted in well at right back.
Subs not used: Marsden, McGuire, Beardsley, Yussuf.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Slocombe; Baldock, Mullins, Wright, Skarz; MacDonald (Taylor 46), Sercombe, Rose, O'Dowda (Ruffels 80); Roofe, Hylton (Hoban 88). Unused subs: Crocombe, Long, Dunkley, Lundstram.
Ben Toner 5.

Season 15/16 Reports