McLeod 52, Edwards 79, Stead 90.
Westcarr pen 90+5
Attendance: 2,696 (754 from Mansfield)
Date: 1 September 2015
BELOW-STRENGTH STAGS KNOCKED OUT OF JPT
Martin Shaw at Meadow Lane
A below-full-strength Mansfield Town were comfortably beaten 3-1 by Notts County tonight in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Meadow Lane. The first half was goalless but Notts County were the better side, though Mansfield probably had the two best chances as Adi Yussuf missed a one-on-one chance and Adam Chapman forced a great save from keeper Scott Loach from a free-kick. Murray had experimented in the first half with Adam Chapman in a back three with Lee Collins and Krystian Pearce, and with Liam Marsden and Mal Benning as wing backs. The second half saw Murray switch back to four in defence. Notts County took a deserved lead on 52 minutes with a mistake by Lee Collins as he missed a ball forward allowing Notts County’s big money signing Izale McLeod through on goal and he finished brilliantly clipping the ball over Brian Jensen. Notts made it 2-0 on 79 minutes as Mike Edwards fired through Jensen’s legs from close range. Then on 90 minutes, it was 3-0 as Collins lost the ball, allowing Jon Stead to play the ball forward and Mal Benning conceded a free-kick on the edge of the D. Stead’s free-kick was deflected in. Mansfield got a consolation goal on 90+5 minutes as sub Craig Westcarr brilliantly controlled a ball over the top from Clements and was goalside of his marker Mike Edwards who clearly bundled him over from behind. It was a clear penalty. Westcarr despatched it just inside the left post. It was the first penalty Mansfield have converted since 5 October 2013 (by Sam Clucas, in a 4-1 home defeat against Hartlepool); a total of 98 league & cup games without scoring a penalty.
Stags boss Adam Murray rested the maximum players he could within the rules of the competition, including his players in top form, Matt Green and Ryan Tafazolli, plus Clements, Hunt, Lambe and Westcarr. Notts County boss Ricardo Moniz played his full strength side and desperately needed a result as he’s come under considerable pressure after a poor run of results. In addition, Notts County have got no game this coming weekend, so had absolutely no reason to rest players. (Notts County had two people on international duty and Aborah returning from suspension. These were their three changes tonight). Mansfield had several players tonight who looked rusty and lacking in match sharpness because they have not played games. Mansfield have no reserve team this season and have not been able to arrange reserve games because of the number of midweek first team games. Adi Yussuf, Liam Marsden, Lee Collins, among others, especially looked very rusty and it would be quite unfair to write them off based on this performance. Now Mansfield have some blank midweeks, boss Adam Murray will be organising reserve games to get game time into the players not playing in the first team, and as a result I’d expect to see much better match performances the next time these players are called upon.
For what it’s worth, in my opinion, Murray got it spot on with how he handled this game. Mansfield have given themselves the best chance of beating AFC Wimbledon on Saturday and climbing into the League Two play-off zone by resting players tonight, and interestingly AFC Wimbledon have done exactly the same thing in their JPT game tonight including resting Akinfenwa.
The attendance of 2,696 was only a quarter of that which attended the pulsating league game recently and reflected the relative lack of importance of early stage games in this competition. Only 754 travelled from Mansfield which was over 600 down on how many travelled to this game in the same stage of this competition last season, and over 2,000 down on how many travelled to the recent league game.
The Stags players who impressed most on the night were Brian Jensen who made some good saves, Pearce who was the only defender to play well, Rose in midfield, and Nathan Thomas who showed purpose in getting a few shots at goal.
Back to the league on Saturday and the visit of AFC Wimbledon. A real chance for the Stags to force their way into the play-off zone. Come on Mansfield!
Mansfield made six changes from the side that won impressively at York. Rested were Hunt, Tafazolli, Clements, Lambe, Westcarr and Green. In came Marsden, Collins, McGuire, Nathan Thomas, Yussuf and Beardsley. It was the first start for Lee Collins and Adi Yussuf in a competitive game for Mansfield. Collins was captain.
The formation was (3-2-2-1-2):
Pearce, Chapman, Collins (3 central defenders)
Marsden, Benning (wing backs)
Rose, McGuire (central midfielders)
N.Thomas (behind the 2 strikers)
On 7 minutes, a Notts County cross from the left, Chapman intercepted the cross with a header up in the air, which was caught by Jensen.
On 14 minutes, Burke’s free kick from 45 yards out was headed out by ??, and Aborah volleyed wide from 25 yards.
Notts County had most of the possession in the opening 15 minutes, but the Stags nearly got a lucky break on 17 minutes. A clearance hit Yussuf in the face and rebounded towards the County goal. Benning so nearly got there but keeper Scott Loach just got there first.
On 20 minutes, Marsden squared to McGuire, who made a good run at the defence and seemed to be fouled but nothing was given.
At the other end on 21 minutes, Pearce tried to run the ball out of play, then when it didn’t go out, he cleared but it hit Campbell, and Campbell moved inside and fired against the right post from a tight angle.
On 22 minutes, a Chapman corner was cleared back to him, he tried an audacious low shot which was easily saved it his near post by Loach.
On 25 minutes, a ball over the top reach Jon Stead, who got goalside of Collins, and his low shot was easily saved by Jensen. Moments later, Campbell got to the byline on the left, and pulled the ball back, but it was cleared by Collins.
Notts County had been sharper all over the pitch. Several of the Stags players looked rusty, and Mansfield were messing around with the ball too much at the back, and going backwards too much.
On 32 minutes, a good break from Rose, having won the ball in the first place, he made a good run, and played the ball forward to Yussuf, but Yussuf couldn’t get there.
Yussuf was booked on 33 minutes. He’d actually won the ball in the incident and it wasn’t a dangerous tackle, so it looked a bad decision from the referee to me.
A real chance for Mansfield to take the lead on 35 minutes. Yussuf was completely in the clear with just the keeper to beat, but he fired straight at the keeper. He should have scored.
On 37 minutes, McLeod broke into the area, he went down under a challenge, and claimed a penalty, but play continued, the ball fell to Snijders who fired wide of the far post from the angle of the area on the right.
On 40 minutes, a good ball down the line from McGuire, and a good burst of pace from Yussuf, but as he burst towards the byline he put the ball out for a goal kick. It summed up a frustrating first half for him.
On 41 minutes, Benning to Rose, Rose turned and was fouled. A free kick 29 yards out, to the left of centre. Chapman took it and fired towards the left corner of the net. Loach made a fine save pushing it wide for a corner.
On 42 minutes, a good tackle from Pearce.
On 43 minutes, a good cross from Atkinson across the face of goal, and at the far post an effort from a tight angle was blocked for a corner. Then a cross from the right was headed wide of the right post.
Notts County had been the better side in the first half. But Mansfield had two good chances, through Yussuf and Chapman. After the players had gone down the tunnel, Murray, Moore and Cooper were still deep in conversation. I guessed it was about a switch to 4 at the back.
Half time 0-0
Jack Thomas replaced Rose at the start of the second half. As I expected, Mansfield switched to 4-4-2, with Chapman and McGuire in central midfield, and Jack Thomas on the right and Nathan Thomas on the left of midfield. Marsden and Benning reverted to full back.
On 47 minutes, Campbell played a great one-two with Snijders and was one-on-one with Jensen. Jensen blocked for a corner. Good save. From the corner, Mike Edwards headed just over.
On 49 minutes, Pearce was penalised for a foul inside the D. Bizarrely the free kick was taken from 27 yards out. Burke fired well over the bar.
On 51 minutes, Beardsley did well to win the ball on the right touchline, and put in a great cross, which Pearce headed straight at the keeper.
Notts County took a deserved lead on 52 minutes with a mistake by Lee Collins as he missed a ball forward allowing Izale McLeod through on goal and he finished brilliantly clipping the ball over Jensen.
On 53 minutes, at the other end, the ball dropped to Yussuf on the edge of the box, and he sent a snapshot wide of the right post.
On 58 minutes, Campbell curled a shot straight at Jensen from 25 yards. A minute later, Benning tried to run the ball out of play. Snijders picked his pocket, kept the ball in, moved along the byline, and crossed but it was cleared. It summed up Mansfield’s messing about at the back.
On 60 minutes, Nathan Thomas sent a snapshop from 35 yards straight at the keeper.
Clements replaced Chapman on 61 minutes.
On 62 minutes, Jon Stead’s cross hit Clements on the arm but it was struck from only a yard or two away so the referee waved away appeals for a penalty.
Straight to the other end and a great left footed shot from Nathan Thomas from 25 yards was tipped wide by the keeper.
Westcarr replaced Beardsley on 65 minutes. Westcarr moved to right midfield and Jack Thomas moved into central midfield in what was now a 4-1-4-1 formation with McGuire dropping back in front of the back four.
On 67 minutes, Clements to Nathan Thomas on the left, he made a great run into the box and his cross-come-shot was blocked for a corner. Great play from Nathan Thomas.
On 70 minutes, a good header away by McGuire from a cross. Not the first time he’s done that in the match.
Westcarr tried his luck from 30 yards on 71 minutes with a low shot that was easily saved.
On 76 minutes, Marsden was asleep, dispossessed, and lucky to only concede a corner.
Notts County put Mansfield under pressure on 79 minutes from which they eventually made it 2-0. A corner from the right was flicked on and put behind for another corner. From that corner, Clements did well to block for another corner. But from that corner, Edwards fired through Jensen’s legs from close range. It was no more than Notts deserved.
On 81 minutes, McLeod was through on goal but a good tackle from Collins then a brave grab from Jensen.
Moments later, Audel got past Marsden too easily, crossed in, and Jensen just cleared.
It was 3-0 on 90 minutes. Collins lost the ball allowing Stead to play the ball forward and Mal Benning conceded a free-kick on the edge of the D. Stead’s free-kick was deflected in.
On 90+3 minutes, Audel cut inside Pearce and fired at goal. Jensen saved well.
Mansfield got a consolation goal on 90+5 minutes as sub Craig Westcarr brilliantly controlled a ball over the top from Clements and was goalside of his marker Mike Edwards who clearly bundled him over from behind. It was a clear penalty. Westcarr despatched it just inside the left post. It was the first penalty Mansfield have converted since 5 October 2013 (by Sam Clucas, in a 4-1 home defeat against Hartlepool); a total of 98 league & cup games without scoring a penalty.
A disappointing performance and result but the bigger picture is the league in which Mansfield have made a good start.
After the game, Adam Murray made it clear that the FA Cup will be treated very differently because it can make the club a lot of money.
Man of the match: Brian Jensen
Report by: Martin Shaw at Meadow Lane
Jensen 7 Made some good saves. Second goal was through his legs from close range.
Pearce 7 The only defender to have a good game.
Chapman 6 Did not look comfortable to me in 3 man central defence. Great free kick.
Collins 4 A night to forget. Mistakes led to two of the goals. Also needs game time after his injury.
Marsden 5 Looked very rusty. Needs some game time in the reserves as discussed in main report.
Benning 6 One error but otherwise ok.
Rose 7 Decent first half with a couple of good bursts forward.
McGuire 7 I thought he had a decent game despite rustiness.
N.Thomas 7 Showed purpose in getting a few shots at goal. Quiet first half.
Yussuf 5 Frustrating night. Will get better with game minutes I think.
Beardsley 6 One good cross.
Sub Line Up:
J.Thomas (for Rose, 46) - I don’t think right midfield suits him.
Clements (for Chapman, 61) - Did well.
Westcarr (for Beardsley, 65) - Good skill to earn the penalty which he clinically dispatched.
Subs not used: Lambe, Shires.
Opposition Line Up:
Loach; Atkinson, Swerts (Edwards, 45), Hollis (Jenner, 88), Audel; Aborah (Smith, 75), Burke; Snijders, Stead, Campbell; McLeod. Subs not used: Pilkington, Spencer.