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Season 15/16 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
AFC Wimbledon  
3 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Taylor 49, Meads 77, Azeez 87.
 
 Green 11
Attendance: 4089 (302 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 16 January 2016

MANSFIELD UNABLE TO COPE WITH WIMBLEDON STRENGTH AND ROUTE ONE FOOTBALL

Martin Shaw at Kingsmeadow

Mansfield Town were beaten 3-1 by AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow this afternoon in a game that was remarkable in its contrast between the first half and second half. The Stags were terrific in the first half and deservedly in front at the break. It was 1-0 with a goal from Matt Green that took him to 66 league & cup goals, and equal 7th in Mansfield’s all-time list of goalscorers (level with Dave Caldwell). The goal came after a lovely free-kick in from Adams, the goalkeeper failed to deal with it, a shot from Lambe was blocked straight to Green who side-footed in from an angle on the right, on 11 minutes. The Stags should have been further ahead at the break with some good chances including a glorious chance for Lambe and then an effort from Green which agonisingly went just wide, right on the stroke of half time. Chris Clements was outstanding in that first half, with Green and Adams and plenty of others also very good. In all the league away games this season before today, Mansfield had incredibly only conceded two second half goals and they were both penalties (at Luton and Barnet) so hopes were high that Mansfield would have enough in the tank for a victory. But what followed was instead a second half horror show. On 48 minutes, a long ball forward from halfway inside his own half by centre-half Osborne was flicked on by Rigg to Lyle Taylor who powered forward, rounded Jensen and slotted into an empty net. Route one football at its most dangerous. The referee gave the goal, then after some considerable time, consulted with his linesman and ruled it out again. That was the correct decision as video evidence that I have from right in line shows it was indeed a yard offside. That should have been the let-off the Stags needed to deflate the home side. Instead, just 11 seconds after the game re-started with a free-kick from Jensen, Wimbledon had scored and this time there would be no ruling it out. Jensen’s free-kick well into the Wimbledon half was booted straight back, Pearce, running back towards his own goal, got there first, tried to play it back to Jensen, but left it woefully short, allowing Lyle Taylor to nip in and fire under Jensen into the net. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing and I don’t think anyone else could either. Stags undone by route one football again but Pearce’s error was almost unforgiveable given what had gone just before it. Two minutes later, more route one football by the home side, a ball flicked on to Bulman, and he fired just wide. This was horrible to watch and my mind had gone back to that 20 minutes at Barnet when Barnet brought on Akinde, started playing route one football and we simply couldn’t cope with it. On that occasion we got away with it because it came too late for Barnet and we were already two ahead. Murray had to do something here to change it, and he brought on McGuire to sit in front of the back four. This was a sensible change in the circumstances in my opinion and McGuire has carried out this role successfully in backs-to-the-wall situations before. The Stags recovered their composure and Green had a great chance to put the Stags back in front on 64 minutes when he turned and fired into the side netting with the keeper out of position. Then Mitch Rose had a great chance too on 68 minutes firing wide from a great position. With 20 minutes to go, the game could have gone either way, but it was to be Wimbledon who found another gear to go on and win it. Azeez headed into the side netting when he should have scored on 71 minutes from a corner. And it was from another corner that Wimbledon did score as Meades, who from the video was being man-marked by Mitch Rose, but got away from Rose and leapt to head in. Sleepy work from Rose who didn’t do his job. The Stags didn’t lie down and were so unlucky on 80 minutes as Clements got past one man and curled a terrific shot against the post. Clements really didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. On 87 minutes, a huge goal-kick from James Shea, Pearce and Tom Elliott rose for it, Elliott won the header flicking it into the path of Azeez who simply ran on to it and flicked past Jensen and into the net. Oh no, another route one goal with pace and power. Into stoppage and nearly another carbon copy goal, a long ball over the top, Azeez got past Pearce and shot into the side netting. Rose should have pulled one back after that firing wide from a great position. So some poor defending from Mansfield in the second half was costly. It was tough to take that Mansfield had been blown away by power, strength, route one football and generally out-muscled. Some hard thinking to do with how Mansfield are going to combat this when they come up against it again. Hard lines on Chris Clements, who was outstanding and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. And let’s celebrate Matt Green going equal 7th in Mansfield’s all-time list of league and cup goalscorers (since we joined the league in 1931).

So Mansfield drop below Wimbledon, but still just a point outside the play-offs. Next week the visit of Luton to Field Mill in a game that can’t come soon enough as the Stags will want to get this defeat out of the system, and a game against one of the biggest rivals of recent years.

Mansfield made one change from the side that started against Stevenage, and it was the change that had been made at half time in that game: Lambe for Jack Thomas. Blair Adams was starting the last game of his three month loan from Notts County. After the game, Adam Murray hinted that discussions with Notts County about whether he will return to Field Mill, are on the positive side at the moment. It was the same 4-2-3-1 formation, with Westcarr, Baxendale and Lambe just behind Green.

It was the Stags’ first away game for four weeks, after three consecutive home games.

A good away following of 302 from Mansfield (up from 178 at the same fixture last season). Remarkable consistency in the Stags away followings in the last three away games: 299 at Barnet, 297 at Cambridge, and 302 today!

It was a sunny day in south west London and bitterly cold.

The first goalmouth action came after 7 minutes as Akinfenwa crossed and the Stags defended it well. Straight to the other end and Baxendale forced a rebound into the path of Green who got to the ball at the same time as the keeper just outside the area and the keeper did enough to clear. On 9 minutes, Adams whipped in a good right footed cross but Green couldn’t rise high enough to get to it.

Osborne was booked for a bad foul on Green on 11 minutes.

From the resulting free kick from the right the Stags were in front. Adams put a lovely ball in a dangerous area, the goalkeeper James Shea failed to deal with it as he missed his punch, a shot from Lambe was blocked straight to Green who side-footed in from an angle on the right. The goal came right on front of the Stags fans.

On 17 minutes, Taylor shot from 20 yards and it was deflected wide by Adams for a corner. The corner came out to Barcham and his low shot was saved by Jensen by his right post. On 20 minutes, a ball in from the left by Wimbledon and Jensen was out bravely to push it away. A minute later, Fuller played a ball across from the right and Taylor fired over from the left hand side. He never got his body shape right to get in a good shot.

On 22 minutes, Baxendale lost the ball, got it back and fired goalwards but his shot was blocked on the edge of the area. On 25 minutes, Westcarr played a good ball down the right, Green muscled his way past a defender into the box but his run was blocked by another defender.

On 29 minutes, Taylor just about held off Chapman to get in a low shot that he scuffed straight at Jensen. Chapman had done just enough to put him off.

Adams was having a good half typified by a great block from a Taylor cross on 32 minutes.

The Stags should have been further in front on 36 minutes. Great play by Clements 40 yards from goal as he won the ball, broke forward and slid a fabulous ball to find Lambe in space in the area. Lambe couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet and allowed the keeper to save but it was a glorious chance. Too slow from Lambe but good goalkeeping.

Straight to the other end and Taylor crossed from the right with Pearce getting a vital touch as the ball came across. A minute later, Fuller fired well over from 25 yards. On 39 minutes, fine play from Clements who played the ball forwards to Baxendale who got to the edge of the area but it was cleared.

Another good chance for the Stags came on 40 minutes as Adams crossed a fine ball from the left which Westcarr met with his head but instead of getting a strong connection to head it forwards, he glanced his header well wide of the right post. On 41 minutes, great play by Baxendale but Chapman wasted it with a poor ball forwards. Chapman immediately apologised to his teammates.

On 44 minutes, there was a chance for Wimbledon. It looked like Lambe had done well to stop Fuller attacking but Fuller then got past Lambe and sent in a low shot straight at Jensen.

The Stags were agonisingly close to making it 2-0 on 45+1 minutes. Green seemed to be through one-on-one, the keeper was out quickly and Fuller was there too to put in a great last ditch challenge block as Green shot and the ball looped over the keeper and I thought it was going to drop in to the net but agonisingly it looped just wide and hit the stanchion at the back of the goal. Great defending and so close for Green.

So the Stags deservedly in front at the break by one goal which could have been more. Chris Clements was outstanding in that first half, with Green and Adams and plenty of others also very good.

Half time 0-1

At the start of the second half, AFC Wimbledon took off the totally ineffective Akinfenwa. They switched formation from 4-3-3 with two wide men, including Lyle Taylor out wide, and Taylor now played straight down the middle where his pace could cause the Stags problems.

On 48 minutes, a long ball forward from halfway inside his own half by centre-half Osborne was flicked on by Rigg to Taylor who powered forward, rounded Jensen and slotted into an empty net. Route one football at its most dangerous. The referee gave the goal, then after some considerable time, consulted with his linesman and ruled it out again. That was the correct decision as video evidence that I have from right in line shows it was indeed a yard offside.

That should have been the let-off the Stags needed to deflate the home side.

Instead, just 11 seconds after the game re-started with a free-kick from Jensen, Wimbledon had scored and this time there would be no ruling it out. Jensen’s free-kick well into the Wimbledon half was booted straight back, Pearce, running back towards his own goal, got there first, tried to play it back to Jensen, but left it woefully short, allowing Taylor to nip in and fire under Jensen into the net. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing and I don’t think anyone else could either. Stags undone by route one football again but Pearce’s error was almost unforgiveable given what had gone just before it.

Two minutes later, more route one football by the home side, a ball flicked on to Bulman, and he fired just wide. Moments later a great tackle by Hunt on Barcham.

This was horrible to watch and my mind had gone back to that 20 minutes at Barnet when Barnet brought on Akinde, started playing route one football and we simply couldn’t cope with it. On that occasion we got away with it because it came too late for Barnet and we were already two ahead.

Wimbledon were totally on top and Murray had to do something here to change it, and he brought on McGuire to sit in front of the back four. This was a sensible change in the circumstances in my opinion and McGuire has carried out this role successfully in backs-to-the-wall situations before. He also brought on Rose, and off went Baxendale and Westcarr.

On 57 minutes, Chapman’s corner found Pearce unmarked who headed down but no one could get on the end of it. On 60 minutes, Taylor’s fine free kick in from the left was headed over by Elliott. Then Rigg fired over the bar from 30 yards.

A chance for Mansfield to regain the lead came on 64 minutes. Green broke forward to the edge of the box. He turned cleverly to keep hold of the ball under pressure but then fired into the side netting on the turn.

Jack Thomas replaced Chapman on 65 minutes. Chapman is still the only player to have started every game this season.

On 66 minutes, Pearce broke forward, he found Rose who found Clements but the Stags couldn’t manufacture a shot.

Another great chance came for the Stags to regain the lead on 68 minutes. Clements pushed forward and found Rose on his right in space but Rose sent a wild shot wide from a great position.

Taylor had been Wimbledon’s best player in the second half, but seemed to have picked up a knock and was replaced by Azeez on 69 minutes. Azeez is another player to be very direct with real pace.

Great defending by Tafazolli in the box on 71 minutes, then seconds later, the ball hit Hunt on the arm but it was clearly accidental and the referee waved away appeals. That resulted in a corner for Wimbledon from the right all the way to the far post where Azeez flicked into the side netting. He should have scored. In my opinion, Jensen was at fault here and should have come for the cross.

Good play by McGuire on 74 minutes. He’d looked solid since coming on.

On 77 minutes, Barcham forced his way into the area, fired goalwards and Jensen made a great save palming over. Moments later, another Wimbledon shot was blocked.

From a third consecutive corner, Wimbledon were in front on 77 minutes, as Meades, who from the video was being man-marked by Mitch Rose, but got away from Rose and leapt to head in. Sleepy work from Rose who didn’t do his job.

The Stags didn’t lie down and were so unlucky on 80 minutes as Clements got past one man and curled a terrific shot against the post. Clements really didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. The ball was recycled back into the middle but wouldn’t fall for Clements.

Azeez was booked on 82 minutes. Thirty seconds later, he was penalised for a foul on McGuire and must have held his breath as the referee did not produce another card.

It was 3-1 on 87 minutes. A huge goal-kick from James Shea, Pearce and Tom Elliott rose for it, Elliott won the header flicking it into the path of Azeez who simply ran on to it and flicked past Jensen and into the net. Oh no, another route one goal with pace and power.

On 88 minutes, a great tackle by Hunt as Wimbledon broke forward in a two-on-two situation.

Into stoppage time on 90+2, and nearly another carbon copy goal, a long ball over the top, Azeez got past Pearce and shot into the side netting.

Rose should have pulled one back on 90+4 minutes firing wide of the left post from a great position in the area.

A horrible feeling at the final whistle, almost like we’d been overpowered and mugged. The Stags haven’t been in a situation where they’ve been blown away by power, strength, route one football and generally out-muscled, other than that spell by Barnet, that I can think of, this season. But you can be sure that other clubs will be watching the video of this game. So some hard thinking to do with how Mansfield are going to combat this when they come up against it again. Having said that, without the horrendous back-pass by Pearce, without Rose going to sleep and not doing his job at a corner, and with better finishing, Mansfield could still have won this game. On to the next one.

Man of the match: Chris Clements


Report by: Martin Shaw at Kingsmeadow



Line Up:
(4-2-3-1)
Jensen 6 One very good save from Barcham and some routine saves. Misjudged cross which Azeez put into the side netting. Not at fault for the goals in my opinion.
Hunt 6.5 Two good tackles. Defended ok.
Pearce 4 Awful backpass for the first goal was so costly shifting momentum to Wimbledon just after a disallowed goal. And beaten for a header in the build-up to the third goal.
Tafazolli 6.5 Did ok. One particularly good piece of defending.
Adams 7 Very good first half at both ends. Average second half.
Chapman 6 In hindsight (and I realise that’s easy now), his defensive attributes were probably missed in the later stages after he’d been subbed.
Clements 8.5 Outstanding game.
Lambe 5.5 Missed a great chance in the first half. Involved in the build-up to the goal, probably inadvertently.
Baxendale 6 Some neat play in the first half though never reached the level of last week’s performance. He was surprised to be subbed. I would probably have taken Lambe off instead.
Westcarr 5.5 One good ball down the wing. One header off target. Didn’t do enough for me.
Green 7 Took his goal neatly. Unlucky to be thwarted by great defending at the end of the first half. Did well to create a chance for himself in the second half but disappointingly didn’t get it on target.
Sub Line Up:
McGuire (for Baxendale, 53) 6 Looked solid enough in front of the back four. Not to blame in my opinion and I could understand why Murray brought him on.
Rose (for Westcarr, 53) 5 Didn’t do his job for the second goal. Missed two reasonable chances.
J.Thomas (for Chapman, 65) -
Subs not used: Shearer, Collins, Blair, Beardsley.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-3-3): James Shea; Barry Fuller, Paul Robinson, Karleigh Osborne, Jon Meades; Dannie Bulman, Sean Rigg, Andy Barcham; Tom Elliott, Lyle Taylor (Ade Azeez, 69), Bayo Akinfenwa (Callum Kennedy, 46). Subs not used: McDonnell, Beere, Fitzpatrick, Sweeney, Gallagher.
Referee:
F.Graham 6 Correct decision to rule out Wimbledon goal, but the decision should have come more quickly (the linesman’s fault).


Season 15/16 Reports