Attendance: 4257 (358 from Mansfield)
Date: 30 April 2016
STAGS LOSE TO OLLIE PALMER GOAL IN LAST AWAY GAME OF SEASON
Martin Shaw at Brisbane Road
Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at Leyton Orient in the final away game of the season, at Brisbane Road this afternoon. In a game that had a real end of season feel to it, the only goal of the game came from Ollie Palmer who got above the Stags defence to head home on 48 minutes. It was a deserved goal for Palmer who had the better of the Stags defence all afternoon. Palmer seemed to be fired up by chanting aimed at him from the Stags fans, and celebrated by putting his fingers to his ears looking at the Stags fans. Palmer said to me after the game with a wry smile on his face: “Are you going to give me a rating higher than 4 ?” Palmer was one of the few players to get the better overall of Ryan Tafazolli, his good friend of course, this season and deserved a rating of 8 today.
Real frustration for Mansfield in losing the game. The Stags created more chances than Orient with Lambe hitting the bar, Dieseruvwe heading wide from a good position and a Chapman free kick somehow being kept out. The Stags also had the ball in the net three times, but ruled out. The first of those was ruled out for offside against Mani Dieseruvwe but video evidence shows that it was onside. The Stags had the majority of possession in the second half but lacked quality in the final third. Overall this was very disappointing.
The Stags drop to 13th. And so on to the final game of the season at home to Cambridge. Cambridge missed out on the chance for the final play-off place this afternoon. The Stags meanwhile can finish anywhere between 9th and 14th depending on results next Saturday.
The Stags therefore finished the season away from home with 10 wins. Fewer than when winning the Conference of course in 2012/13 when the Stags won 13 away games (http://stagsnet.net/vintage/records/records01.html) but only one short of the club’s record in the Football League of 11 away wins, set in the promotion seasons of 1974/75 and 1976/77 (stat pointed out to me by Paul Taylor). And the Stags finished just one point short of the club record for number of away points in a season in the Football League under the 3 points for a win, which is 34, set during the promotion seasons of 1985-86 and 1991-92 (stat also pointed out to me by Paul Taylor).
Meanwhile huge congratulations to the Stags youth team who won the Football League Youth Alliance North East Division this morning, a fantastic achievement.
Mansfield made 3 changes to the side that drew with Barnet: Colin Daniel was out with an ankle injury and Jack Thomas out with a groin injury. In came Krystian Pearce, with Lee Collins switching to right back, and in came Mitch Rose. One other change as Reggie Lambe started in place of James Baxendale. Chris Clements was back on the bench after his hamstring injury. 16 year old striker Jason Law was also on the bench, for the first time.
Karl Hawley, striker coach who has been with the club several weeks but not been present on matchdays as he’s been playing for Stourbridge in the Northern Premier League, was with the team for the first time today on a matchday.
Leyton Orient were without Nicky Hunt, who was injured. Ollie Palmer started. Orient had two players making their first start after impressing in the youth team: Semedo and Pollock.
It was Mansfield’s first visit to Orient for over a decade, since October 2005, and Mansfield had lost on the last 5 visits here. Only two years ago, Orient lost in the League One play-off final at Wembley. But in the last 7 games, they had only taken 4 points to slip into the bottom half of the table.
The pitch was in fantastic condition, the best of the season probably.
In the early stages, there were chants of “Ollie Palmer, what a w*****, what a w*****” from some away fans. Palmer always gave 100% for the club but upset some fans with comments on social media after he left.
The Stags had the ball in the net on 4 minutes. A free-kick 40 yards from goal, on the left, fell to Dieseruvwe who tucked into the bottom left corner of the net. The goal was ruled out for offside, though video evidence shows he was onside.
A ball forward to Green, on the edge of the area, nearly opened up for him, but the defence just cleared.
A mistake by Tafazolli on 8 minutes as his clearance hit Turgott, Turgott was clean though on goal on the right but at an angle, and from that angle his low shot was well saved by Shearer. A minute later, Semedo crossed from the right, Palmer headed down, and Shearer was alert to it and claimed. A minute after that, another good header down by Palmer, Turgott got to the byline, crossed in and Shearer held it.
Palmer should have put Orient in front on 11 minutes. Simpson played the ball forward to Palmer who muscled past Tafazolli, went around Shearer and had an opportunity to slide the ball into the empty net left footed, but instead tried to get it onto his right foot, and gave Shearer and then Chapman time to block his efforts. Palmer should have scored.
On 13 minutes, a high cross from the right by Pollock, and Shearer took no chances as he tipped it over the bar. From the resulting corner, Ramage got ahead of the defence at the near post and flicked over. On 16 minutes, Benning’s deep cross from the left was headed out to Rose who volleyed over the bar and out of the ground from 20 yards.
The Stags were within a whisker of taking the lead on 21 minutes. Lambe floated in a great cross from the left and Dieseruvwe rose brilliantly but headed just wide of the right post. He held his head in his hands.
On 25 minutes, Collins gave the ball away and Simpson broke forward but Tafazolli got an important touch to break up the attack. On 30 minutes, Green found Blair on the right who won a corner, the first of the game. Chapman’s high corner was over everyone, returned into the middle but cleared again. Orient went straight up the other end and Simpson blasted well wide from a tight angle.
Dieseruvwe did well on 32 minutes as he got past his man on the right via a couple of stepovers and put in a low cross Lambe shot but it was blocked and then cleared. A minute later, Benning crossed from the left, Blair rose but couldn’t get high enough and it went over his head and out for a throw in.
On 34 minutes, a ball forward from Blair nearly put Green in on goal but it was just cleared.
On 35 minutes, Blair seemed to be bundled over in the box but nothing was given. From the video, it was a deliberate barge.
The Stags went close to scoring on 36 minutes. Chapman’s free kick from the left 20 yards out was powerfully struck towards the bottom left corner and the keeper did superbly to keep it out and the rebound was nearly bundled in by Tafazolli in as the keeper saved that as well.
On 40 minutes, a high ball into the Stags box and Tafazolli headed away under pressure from Palmer.
Half time 0-0
On 46 minutes, Palmer chested the ball down, cut inside Collins on the left, and fired against the outside of the left post. Good play from Palmer.
A minute later at the other end, Collins crossed from the right, it came out to Rose whose volley was blocked.
Orient went ahead on 48 minutes. A free kick from the right was crossed into the middle and Palmer rose above Tafazolli to head in. In his celebration he headed towards the Stags fans with his fingers to his ears but thought better of it before he got too close as the referee might have booked him as he did Nathan Thomas at Hartlepool.
On 54 minutes, Lambe cut in from the right on to his left foot and his low shot was an easy save for the keeper.
Good football from the Stags on 57 minutes as Blair got to the byline and his cross was blocked for a corner. From the corner, Lambe turned and smashed a great effort against the bar.
Moments later, a ball forward into the Orient box and Pearce headed over the keeper into the empty net but had already been penalised for a foul. It was the second time the Stags had had the ball in the net but ruled out.
Clements replaced Dieseruvwe. Clements moved into a midfield four of Blair (right), Clements and Rose (central), Lambe (left) in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
On 63 minutes, Palmer did brilliantly to get past Benning and Pearce on the right and then fired wide.
On 68 minutes, Lambe to Clements, back to Lambe and his shot from the edge of the area was blocked. A minute later, Clements had a shot blocked, it came back to him, he dinked in a cross which was well pushed away by the keeper.
Baxendale replaced Rose on 71 minutes.
On 74 minutes, Tafazolli fouled Palmer. The free kick 20 yards out, to the left of centre, was curled just wide of the left post by James. A minute later at the other end, Baxendale squared for Chapman who sent a poor effort with the outside of his right boot curling wide of the right post.
Yussuf replaced Lambe on 76 minutes.
On 79 minutes, James scythed down Green from behind as Green surged forward. It was the first yellow card of a low key game. The free kick was 24 yards out to the right of centre, perfect for Mal Benning, but he fired over the bar.
The Stags were having the large majority of the possession but a lack of quality, and urgency, was preventing them from doing much with it.
On 89 minutes, Chapman’s ball over the top for Green had just too much on it.
A couple of good touches from Blair as Orient broke forward. On 90+1 minutes, a ball forward nearly fell for Yussuf.
Moments later, the Stags had the ball in the net yet again, through Benning, but the whistle had gone for a foul.
Pearce was now up front with Green and Yussuf with Chapman at centre half.
On 90+3 minutes, Chapman’s free kick was cleared away. Tafazolli stayed up front as the Stags now had 4 up front.
In the final minute of 5 minutes of stoppage time, Baxendale was booked for tripping Simpson. The Stags regained possession and Blair made a great run down the right from deep but completely wasted his cross. Before the game restarted, the referee blew the final whistle.
Man of the match: Mani Dieseruvwe
Footnote: Following this game, and with just 1 game to go this season, these are my average player ratings based on the 49 league+cup games so far this season (top 8 players):
Tafazolli 7.26, Jensen 7.13, McGuire 7.03, Clements 6.97, J.Thomas 6.97, Pearce 6.86, Benning 6.82, Shearer 6.80.
Tafazolli has been remarkably consistent with no ratings lower than 6, before today.
Jensen started the season in tremendous form, though his form tailed off slightly before he lost his place.
McGuire’s average rating shot up following a purple patch of games against Morecambe twice, Crawley and Oxford.
Clements had no ratings lower than 6 in the first half of the season, but 4 ratings lower than 6 since then.
Jack Thomas’s average is based on just 17 games that he has started.
Pearce has been generally consistent but three very poor games in the second half of the season lowered his average.
Note: only ratings for players starting a game are included - ie. sub appearances not included.
Minimum appearances: 10.
Adams not included, having returned to Notts County (average 6.90).
Thanks to Pete Wright for his spreadsheet.
Report by: Martin Shaw at Brisbane Road
Shearer 6.5 One good save from Turgott, and good handling. Had no other saves to make, aside from the goal for which he had no chance.
Collins 5.5 Poor first half and early second half, giving the ball away and being beaten by Palmer as he shot against the post. Improved after that.
Pearce 6 Did ok.
Tafazolli 5 Palmer got the better of him today. A rare off day, in fact the first rating below 6 all season.
Benning 5.5 Poor game. His frustration was shown when he booted the ball away, wasting time, with the Stags losing, in the final 15 minutes.
Chapman 5 One fine free kick that was well saved. Defensively did ok, but quality of passing was very poor.
Blair 6.5 Some good touches. Worked very hard, including tracking back.
Rose 5 A couple of volleys, one blocked and one well over. Didn’t contribute enough.
Lambe 6 Very unlucky when his fine effort struck the bar, and one great cross for Dieseruvwe. Otherwise too quiet.
Dieseruvwe 6.5 Worked hard. So close with a header, and had a goal ruled out.
Green 5 Poor game.
Sub Line Up:
Clements (for Dieseruvwe, 58) - Good to see him back from injury.
Baxendale (for Rose, 71) -
Yussuf (for Lambe, 76) -
Subs not used: Jensen, Shires, McGuire, Law.
Opposition Line Up:
Cisak; Clohessy, Pollock, Brisley, Ramage (Binnom-Williams 58); Turgott, Atangana (Moore 46), James, Semedo (Koroma 72); Simpson, Palmer. Subs not used: Sargeant, Payne, Kashket, Gnanduillet.
Gavin Ward 6 Handled the game ok. His lineswoman let him down ruling out the Dieseruvwe goal for offside.