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Season 16/17 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
 Cambridge United
Attendance: 2981 (334 from Cambridge)
Date: 3 September 2016


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town and Cambridge United drew 0-0 this afternoon in a drab game that neither side deserved to win. Neither goalkeeper had to make a difficult save as chances at both ends were few and far between. I said during full match commentary on StagsPlayerHD that if you’re not going to win the game, make sure you don’t lose it, and that is what the Stags did with a fine display from the defence. Mal Benning made one outstanding last gasp challenge in the first half, and man of the match Krystian Pearce made a fine challenge in the second half. Rhys Bennett also played very well and George Taft came in for the injured Howkins and gave an assured display. Cambridge came into the game bottom of the league but with the quality of players in their team such as former Accrington pair Mingoia and Halliday, they surely won’t be there for long. The Stags created very few chances with the best falling to Mitch Rose with a shot on target in the first half, and Rhys Bennett with a header just over the bar in the second half. Cambridge could have won the game with a good chance for Pigott who volleyed wide from a good position in the second half. The Stags remain well-positioned in the table, in 5th place, two points behind the leaders. Barnet visit the One Call Stadium next week, and the Stags will be wary of the huge threat of Akinde, but it is a game Mansfield can win.

Mansfield made two changes from the last league game, at Leyton Orient last Saturday: Scott Shearer replaced Jensen in goal, and George Taft came in for the injured Howkins. It was a 4-4-2 formation with Chapman and Collins in central midfield, with Mitch Rose and Hurst either side. McGuire had recovered from his injury on Tuesday and was on the bench. Alex Iacovitti, signed on loan for the season from Nottingham Forest, was on the bench in place of Taft. Howkins has a hamstring injury and will be out for a while. Danny Rose, suspended for this game, fractured his eye socket against Doncaster in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday and will be see a specialist on Monday.

Cambridge started the game with just two points from five games, hard to fathom with the squad they have. They had dangerous strikers Adam McGurk and Ben Williamson on the bench. Blair Adams didn’t even make the Cambridge 18, and we were told by BBC Cambridge that he had been playing appallingly.

It was a wet day in Mansfield. Rain had been hammering down for several hours before kick-off but the pitch stood up to it superbly.

The game was off to a slow start. On 9 minutes, Henderson was hauled down 28 yards from goal to the left of centre. Chapman took the resulting free kick and blasted it straight into the wall. On 11 minutes, a long throw from Chapman was headed back by Pearce to Mitch Rose, who volleyed over the bar. Good approach play by the Stags on 13 minutes, and Green laid off to Henderson who sent a left foot shot well wide of the right post.

The best chance of the game so far came on 24 minutes. A one-two between Mitch Rose and Green, and Mitch Rose fired in a low shot which was beaten away by keeper Norris. On 29 minutes, Green did well to get to the byline, but his cross was just over Hurst.

Cambridge broke into the Stags box on 32 minutes, and as Newton was about to shoot from about 12 yards, Benning produced an outstanding challenge to put the ball out for a corner. It was the best tackle of the game, and probably of the season. Two minutes later, a good challenge by Pearce after a loose ball from Chapman.

Good football from the Stag on 37 minutes, on the right as Bennett was brought down for a free kick. Benning curled the free kick into the area towards Taft but a defender just got there first.

On 41 minutes, Mitch Rose fired a snapshot from 40 yards on the volley which was caught by the keeper. On 45+2 minutes, Benning’s free kick from the halfway line found Collins who pulled back into the middle but it was cleared for a corner.

Not a great half of football with very little goalmouth action. The defence was however looking solid, with Taft slotting in well alongside Pearce. Benning’s last gasp challenge was the highlight of the half.

Half time 0-0

On 49 minutes, Newton into the area for Cambridge, but he hesitated giving Pearce the chance to clear for a corner. Very good defending from Pearce though poor from Newton. That came after Hurst gave the ball away.

Taft was booked on 52 minutes for in a challenge that looked shoulder to shoulder. Dreadful decision from the referee, who’d been overly lenient in the first half on some challenges.

Hamilton replaced Henderson on 54 minutes, to inject some pace into the Stags. The Stags switched to a 4-1-4-1 formation with Collins in front of the back 4, and Mitch Rose, Chapman, Hurst and Hamilton, behind Green.

Taft committed a foul on 56 minutes and received a final warning from the referee.

On 58 minutes, a good header away by Bennett from a corner. Then more good defending by Pearce.

Cambridge could have taken the lead on 61 minutes. Mingoia crossed from the right to Newton who volleyed wide from a great position. Poor effort.

Hemmings replaced Hurst on 64 minutes. A disappointing performance from Hurst who’d been anonymous.

On 66 minutes, a bit better from the Stags as Green got into the area on the right, but the ball was cleared.

On 70 minutes, Mingoia cut in from the right and sent a left footed shot over the bar. Then Hamilton embarked a good run but miscontrolled the ball at the crucial moment.

The Stags came close to taking the lead on 72 minutes. Benning’s corner from the left was met by Bennett who headed just over the bar.

Mansfield came under a bit of pressure from Cambridge. On 74 minutes, Mingoia crossed from the right and a good punch away from Shearer under pressure.

The Stags eased the pressure. On 79 minutes, Hamilton got in a shot from the edge of the area that was deflected wide.

Pat Hoban replaced Mitch Rose on 80 minutes.

On 84 minutes, Hamilton made a great run down the left and won a free kick near the byline. Chapman took it and fired over the bar, unable to recreate his wonderful effort against Notts County last season.

Pearce was booked on 86 minutes. Ludicrous decision from the referee after a comedy dive by Luke Berry over Pearce. Staggeringly inept from the officials. The resulting free kick was blasted straight into the wall.

That was the last effort on goal by either side. It was a game that deserved to be 0-0.

Man of the match: Krystian Pearce

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

Line Up:
Shearer 7 No saves to make. One good punch from a dangerous cross.
Bennett 7 Good game. One good header away from a corner. Nearly scored from a corner.
Pearce 8 Several good challenges.
Taft 7 Assured display alongside Pearce.
Benning 8 Outstanding last gasp challenge in the first half. Good corner for Bennett header.
M.Rose 6 Good one-two with Green and shot that brought a good save. Otherwise not as good as in previous games.
Collins 6 Did ok.
Chapman 6 A couple of free kicks, one into the wall and one over the bar. Gave the ball away dangerously and reprieved by Pearce.
Hurst 5 Anonymous. Also nearly put Cambridge in for a chance.
Henderson 5 Ineffective. No spark after a good game last week.
Green 6 Didn’t get good enough service. No opportunity to run at the defence.
Sub Line Up:
Hamilton (for Henderson, 54 mins) 6.5 A couple of good runs. Won a free kick. Injected some much needed pace.
Hemmings (for Hurst, 64 mins) -
Hoban (for M.Rose, 80 mins) -
Subs not used: Jensen, McGuire, Iacovitti, Baxendale.
Opposition Line Up:
Norris; Halliday, Legge, Dallison, Taylor; Mingoia, Dunne (Clark, 80 mins), Newton (McGurk, 67 mins), Berry; Pigott (Williamson, 60 mins), Elito. Subs not used: Gregory, Coulson, Gosling, Ikpeazu.
Dean Whitestone 5 Poor. Bookings of Taft and Pearce were poor decisions.

Season 16/17 Reports