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Season 16/17 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Cheltenham Town
M.Rose 49.
 
 O'Shaughnessy 79.
Attendance: 2884 (211 from Cheltenham)
 
Date: 13 August 2016

STAGS FRUSTRATED IN DRAW WITH CHELTENHAM

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town drew their first home league game of the season with newly promoted Cheltenham Town at Field Mill this afternoon. After a quiet first half, the Stags had gone in front after 49 minutes with an outstanding piece of play by Matt Green on the left touchline, leaving two defenders for dead with a wonderful turn, and squaring for Mitch Rose to side-foot home from 8 yards, for his second goal in 4 days. Green had a couple of chances to extend the lead, but Cheltenham were level after 79 minutes with a wonder goal from Finland international centre half Dan O'Shaughnessy who fired in a thunderous drive from 30 yards that moved in the air and beat Scott Shearer for his first senior goal. It would be easy to criticise Shearer for being beaten from 30 yards but I think movement in the air makes it difficult for a keeper. Eight minutes of time were added on and it was Cheltenham who went closer to winning it, when Lee Collins blocked an effort from Dan Holman and Danny Wright scuffed the rebound wide of a more or less empty net. The first half had seen few attempts on goal for either side, and with one great save from each keeper, with Shearer saving superbly from Harry Pell, and Green denied by a great save from Russel Griffiths. In the end, a fair result in my opinion. Mansfield weren’t at their best, and Cheltenham look a decent side, who ought to finish at least in mid-table. No side has won both their games in League Two, and Mansfield are one of 9 sides to have 4 points, which represents a good start. Yeovil are another of those sides with 4 points and visit Field Mill on Tuesday in what I expect to be another close game.

Mansfield made one change from the side that played at Newport last Saturday. Howkins started in place of Chapman, with Collins in front of the back four, in the usual 4-1-3-2 formation. Darius Henderson was on the bench for the first time for Mansfield albeit it not fully match fit. Cheltenham included James Jennings at left back. Jennings was with Forest Green Rovers last season and signed in the summer. He was of course in Mansfield’s Conference winning squad and our first season back in the Football League. Cheltenham also included Amari Morgan-Smith who was on trial at Mansfield three years ago.

Cheltenham were very clearly a big side who would pose an aerial threat and anyone who watched the video of their winning goal against Charlton in the League Cup on Tuesday would know that in Finland international centre half O’Shaughnessy, they possess a player with a monster long throw. It looked like Mansfield had pulled the advertising hoardings closer to the touchline on the West Stand side. This could have been deliberate by Adam Murray in order to counteract the long throw from O’Shaughnessy and would be one of those “one per cents” that he often talks about.

It was a pleasant, sunny day in Mansfield.

On three minutes, Holman got into the Stags area and it took a good tackle from Howkins to clear.

The Stags were passing the ball around nicely in the opening minutes, winning two corners from which Taft got in a couple of headers, albeit it not at goal.

The first half-chance of the game for either side came on 19 minutes when Bennett clipped a cross into the area and Danny Rose flicked a header on which was wide of the left post.

Cheltenham were nearly in front on 22 minutes. Whitehead took a quick free kick on the right and a cross into the middle from Waters found Harry Pell completely unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box. He headed towards the right corner of the net and Shearer made a superb save pushing away left handed.

On 27 minutes, a good free kick from the left by Hurst was punched away by the keeper. On 30 minutes, Cheltenham got into the Stags area, Collins barged Wright off the ball fairly, and Morgan-Smith’s attempted square ball to two unmarked Cheltenham players in the middle was importantly cleared by Collins.

On 31 minutes, great play by Mitch Rose to Hurst who crossed to the far post where a defender put behind for a corner. That was better from Mansfield going forward.

And on 32 minutes, Mansfield were nearly in front. Green created a chance for himself from nothing 25 yards out and fired an excellent effort low towards the left corner of the net where keeper Griffiths made a great save, pushing it away. Stags also came close from the resulting corner. Hurst’s corner from the left was very good, and towards Green who met the ball at the same time as the keeper and the ball squirted agonisingly over the bar. A corner was given.

On 35 minutes, Danny Rose shot from a tight angle straight at the keeper. Danny Rose went down in the area on 41 minutes but rightly, no penalty was given. On 43 minutes, a cross from the left from Cheltenham found Holman whose low shot was saved by Shearer.

Not many chances for either side in a low key first half with both keepers making one very good save. Mitch Rose was impressive for the Stags.

Half time 0-0

On 47 minutes, a low cross from Bennett and Green got in a poke wide of the right post.

The Stags were in front on 49 minutes. Hurst found Green on the left touchline and, with a magnificent piece of skill, Green beat two defenders leaving them for dead and squared to Mitch Rose who side footed into the net from 8 yards. It was Mitch Rose’s second goal in two games, both coming just after half time and both capping a fine performance.

On 54 minutes, a chance for Green. He got to the edge of the area and fired a low shot straight at the keeper. He looked visibly annoyed with himself for not making more of the chance.

On 56 minutes a couple of long throws from O’Shaughnessy were both cleared, one by a Taft header.

A great turn by Mitch Rose on 58 minutes and he was cynically brought down for a free kick. Ludicrously, there was no yellow card from the referee.

Danny Rose headed down to Green on 61 minutes. Green turned and his shot was deflected over the bar.

Cheltenham made a double change including taking off James Jennings, and switched from 4-4-2, to 3-5-2.

On 64 minutes, the first yellow card of the match went to Danny Rose for throwing the ball away and that after Mansfield had won a throw in. It was a silly from Danny Rose who had also kicked the ball away in the first half.

On 65 minutes, a free kick for Cheltenham 32 yards out was clipped into the area, Pell headed up and Shearer caught it easily.

Great goalkeeping by Shearer soon afterwards, out of his area quickly to clear as Morgan-Smith charged in. Shearer was clattered by Morgan-Smith but able to continue after a delay.

Hemmings replaced Danny Rose on 69 minutes as Mansfield went one up front in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Whether Murray was influenced by the yellow card for Danny Rose is hard to say. However, Mansfield are badly missing the injured Hoban who I think would probably have come on to hold the ball up front. Murray clearly considers Henderson not match fit enough for 30 minutes yet (ie. 20 minutes plus plenty of stoppage time).

A chance for Mansfield to extend the lead came on 73 minutes. Mitch Rose found Green in the area on the right and Green’s shot was parried away by the keeper.

A minute later at the other end, a ball forward to Morgan-Smith in the area. He had a chance to shoot, but before he could pull the trigger, superb defending by Bennett who stood strong to hold off Morgan-Smith and prevent a shot. On 77 minutes, good play by Hurst down the right to win corner but his corner was caught by the keeper.

A great move by Mansfield a minute later down the left and Benning got in a low cross but Green couldn’t turn it goalwards.

Out of the blue, Cheltenham were level on 79 minutes. O’Shaughnessy picked up the ball 40 yards from goal, shimmied past Mitch Rose a bit too easily and sent a thunderous drive from 30 yards that moved in the air and beat Shearer. It would be easy to criticise Shearer for being beaten from 30 yards but I think movement in the air makes it difficult for a keeper. I mentioned during commentary that it reminded me of George Foster’s goal in the Freight Rover Trophy Northern Area Final against Wigan in the 1980’s.

On 81 minutes, Hurst got into the area on the right and his shot was pushed away. A good save. A minute later, Hurst put in a good cross which again the keeper pushed away.

Darius Henderson replaced Hurst on 89 minutes for his Stags debut.

Eight minutes of time were added on for a couple of long stoppages.

On 90+4 minutes, Cranston lofted a diagonal ball into the area to Wright who chested down and volleyed wide. A minute later, Pell lifted a high ball to the left post where Wright headed wide albeit from an impossible angle.

Cheltenham could have won the game on 90+6 minutes when Lee Collins blocked an effort from Dan Holman and Danny Wright scuffed the rebound wide of a more or less empty net.

A minute later, a good clearance from Howkins in the area and almost immediately, an important clearance from Collins as the Stags were under the cosh.

Mansfield had one final chance to win the game on 90+8 minutes with a good turn from Hemmings on the edge of the area but he fired over the bar.

An exciting second half, and in the end I think a fair result.

Man of the match: Mitch Rose

FURTHER REFLECTIONS:
Mansfield Town drew their first home league game of the season on Saturday with newly promoted Cheltenham Town. It was a fair result, albeit frustrating for the Stags having led for half an hour. The two goals were worth the entrance money alone. Mansfield’s goal came after an outstanding piece of play by Matt Green on the left touchline, leaving two defenders for dead with a wonderful turn, and squaring for Mitch Rose to side-foot home from 8 yards, his second goal in 4 days, after also scoring against Blackburn in the League Cup. Cheltenham’s equaliser was even better as centre half Dan O'Shaughnessy fired in a thunderous drive from 30 yards that moved in the air and beat Scott Shearer. I mentioned during full match commentary on StagsPlayerHD that it reminded me of George Foster’s goal in the Freight Rover Trophy Northern Area Final against Wigan in the 1980’s. It would be easy to criticise Shearer for being beaten from 30 yards but I think movement in the air makes it difficult for a keeper. Perhaps more open to criticism was Mitch Rose who allowed the scorer to shimmy past him a bit too easily before shooting. Nevertheless Mitch Rose was my man of the match, as several pieces of good play caught the eye. Shearer himself had earlier made one superb save in the first half, tipping away a header from Harry Pell that looked destined for the net. It was a frustrating afternoon for Matt Green, despite him having a very good game and setting up the goal, as he was denied by Cheltenham keeper Griffiths on several occasions. Green’s strike partner Danny Rose was substituted by Murray with the Stags leading 1-0 but having just been booked. Danny Rose was replaced by a midfielder, Ashley Hemmings, as Mansfield switched to one up front. Whether Murray was influenced by the yellow card for Danny Rose is hard to say. However, Mansfield are badly missing the injured Pat Hoban who I think would probably have come on to hold the ball up front. Murray clearly considers Darius Henderson not match fit enough for 20 minutes yet, though he did come on for the final few minutes. After Cheltenham had equalised, it was they who came closer to winning it with Lee Collins doing well to block a shot and big striker Danny Wright scuffing the rebound wide of a more or less empty net late in stoppage time. The Stags’ new look central defensive partnership impressed, with Kyle Howkins making a number of good headed clearances, and George Taft also looking very solid and earning the sponsors’ man of the match award. Overall, Mansfield weren’t at their best, but Cheltenham looked a decent side, who ought to finish at least in mid-table. So should Mansfield based on what we’ve seen so far.

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



Line Up:
(4-1-3-2)
Shearer 6.5 Superb save from Pell in the first half, and brave coming out quickly in the second half. For the goal, it would be easy to criticise him for being beaten from 30 yards but I think movement in the air makes it difficult for a keeper.
Bennett 7 One piece of strong defending in the second half, and a couple of good crosses going forward.
Howkins 7 Several good headed clearances.
Taft 7 Good solid game in defence. Sponsors’ man of the match.
Benning 6.5 Did ok.
Collins 7 Several important clearances.
M.Rose 8 Several pieces of good play caught the eye. Scored his second goal in 4 days. Was disappointed with himself that he allowed the Cheltenham scorer to get past him too easily and shoot, albeit from long distance.
Clements 5.5 Didn’t get involved enough in my opinion.
Hurst 7 A few good crosses and one fine corner. Involved at the start of the build-up to the Stags goal.
D.Rose 6.5 Silly booking. Won some good headers.
Green 8 Magnificent play to set up Mitch Rose’s goal. Denied by a great save from an excellent effort out of nothing.
Sub Line Up:
Hemmings (for D.Rose, 69 mins) - Good turn on the edge of the area in stoppage time but fired over the bar.
Henderson (for Hurst, 89 mins) - His Stags debut.
Subs not used: Jensen, McGuire, Chapman, Baxendale, Hamilton.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Griffiths; Suliman, Parslow, O’Shaughnessy, Jennings (Cranston 61); Waters (Barthram 61), Whitehead (Rowe 78), Pell, Morgan-Smith; Wright, Holman. Subs not used: Kitscha, Hall, Lymn.
Referee:
John Bushby 6 Too lenient with his cards.


Season 16/17 Reports