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Season 17/18 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Cambridge United
Mellis pen 65, Rose 87.
 
 Legg 58
Attendance: 3814 (349 from Cambridge)
 
Date: 23 September 2017

STAGS COME FROM BEHIND TO BEAT CAMBRIDGE

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town came from behind to beat Cambridge United 2-1 this afternoon. It’s well known that successful sides have to be able to win when they don’t play well and Mansfield certainly achieved that this afternoon with a pretty poor performance overall but they still managed to dig out the 3 points. Cambridge arrived level on points with Mansfield and impressed through most of the game, suggesting that they will be in and around the play-offs this season. Cambridge were certainly the better team in the first half, with by far the best two chances of the half as firstly the powerful Jabo Ibehre headed cleverly across to Jevani Brown whose low shot from the edge of the area was heading for the bottom right corner of the net before Conrad Logan pulled off a brilliant save to tip it wide. Then the ball fell for Brad Halliday on the edge of the area and his low rasping drive deflected off David Mirfin and just over the bar. Ibehre and his strike partner Uche Ikpeanza had been a real handful in that first half, as powerful a front two as I’ve seen in the league, and Mirfin and Krystian Pearce had done really well to keep them at bay. The Stags had been so disappointing pushing forward, and Steve Evans appeared to be getting more and more frustrated on the touchline with his midfield and forward line. Cambridge continued their supremacy early in the second half and a warning shot was fired on 51 minutes when the tricky Piero Mingoia crossed from the left and Ibehre rose above Pearce to head just wide. Poor from Pearce. Then Ikpeazu went on a great run down the right, cut inside and sent a low shot just wide of the left post. A goal seemed to be coming for Cambridge and it duly arrived on 58 minutes. George Maris’s corner from the left was curled to the far post where Leon Legge lost his marker Pearce to head down into the ground and into the top corner of the net from 6 yards. Disappointing from Pearce, coming after he had allowed Ibehre a free header just 7 minutes earlier. The Stags hadn’t looked like scoring all game but were level after 65 minutes through excellent play from Hayden White bursting forward down the right. Jacob Mellis, on as sub, did well to win the ball and slide it down the touchline to White, White cut inside to the edge of the area, played the ball across the edge of the area to Kane Hemmings, and as Hemmings knocked the ball back towards White who had carried on his run into the area, White was tripped by Maris. It was a clear penalty. Lee Angol, who successfully converted two penalties against Grimsby, was still on the subs bench, so the task fell to Mellis to step up and take the penalty. Mellis’s penalty was into the bottom right corner, but keeper David Forde got down brilliantly and it seemed as though he had saved it, but the ball squirmed up and into the net. Relief for Mellis and for Mansfield. Finally the Stags started to look more creative, with subs Mellis and Anderson playing well. On 71 minutes, good play from White to set up Alex MacDonald for a chance but he fired over. Angol replaced the disappointing Hemmings on 74 minutes, and it was Angol who nearly put the Stags in front on 84 minutes as he magnificently controlled a long free kick from Logan in the box, turned and fired in a rasping shot which keeper Forde pushed away. The Stags didn’t deserve a winner but they got it on 87 minutes. White chipped a ball forward from the halfway line to the edge of the area where Pearce beautifully flicked a header into the path of Danny Rose, who lost his marker, to slide a left footed shot first time into the bottom right corner of the net from 10 yards. A clinical finish from Rose, and a superb assist from Pearce who atoned for his earlier errors. 6 minutes of stoppage time were added on and Cambridge had just one chance to equalise as Mingoia volleyed goalwards from 18 yards and Logan unconventionally punched the ball away and behind for a corner. It was all about keeping the shot out and Logan did just that. So the Stags held on for victory that was clearly not deserved but the three points were important against a good side. Some disappointing performances from Stags players, including Calum Butcher, Paul Digby, Alfie Potter and Kane Hemmings. But also some good performances: Mirfin was very good against difficult opponents, Pearce played well though made two errors, one of which cost a goal but he atoned with an excellent assist for Rose’s goal, White played well and got the Stags back into the game winning the penalty, Hunt was again solid at left back, MacDonald was the pick of the midfield that started the game, and Danny Rose had a fine game, with tremendous battling spirit and fittingly popping up with the winner for the second match running. The three Stags substitutes also made a difference: Mellis added much needed creativity and really should be starting, especially in home games in my opinion, Anderson did well, and Lee Angol nearly scored with a fabulous bit on control. On to Cheltenham on Tuesday and much for Steve Evans to contemplate, but I would think that today’s substitutes Mellis, Anderson and Angol have done more than enough to warrant a starting position.

In the last 3 seasons, each league game between the sides at Mansfield has ended 0-0. But these appear to be stronger Mansfield and Cambridge sides, even though Cambridge have lost the impressive Luke Berry.

Mansfield made one change from the side that won at Lincoln with Danny Rose coming in for Lee Angol. It would have been a shock if Rose hadn’t started, but I expected him to come in for Kane Hemmings rather than Angol. Angol dropped to the bench. Evans explained afterwards that Angol had a little virus during the week which had swayed his decision. As at Lincoln, it was a 4-1-3-2 formation for Mansfield, with Digby in a defensive midfield role, Potter on the right, MacDonald on the left, and Butcher in the middle. Cambridge were also unchanged, from their side that beat Coventry. Greg Taylor, who played at left back for the Stags in our Conference winning season, was at centre half. Kyle Howkins, on loan at Mansfield last season, was on the bench for Cambridge, and was to come on in stoppage time for his Cambridge debut. David Forde in the Cambridge goal, was Portsmouth’s first choice keeper last season.

Danny Rose tried to set the tone for the game inside the opening 10 seconds with great play to win the ball, and then winning a free kick.

The game had started with a crackling atmosphere, especially from the home fans.

On 10 minutes, Butcher’s crossfield pass was conveniently deflected into the path of White on the right, his low cross eventally looped up, and Danny Rose attempted an overhead kick, but missed the ball and fortunately missed the defenders around him too.

Danny Rose won a free kick on 17 minutes, 35 yards out. MacDonald chipped the ball into the area, but the referee blew for a foul on the keeper.

On 24 minutes, a ball forward to Hemmings, he seemed to have a chance of getting to it, but for some reason stopped and then had no chance. Poor from Hemmings.

On 25 minutes, the powerful Jabo Ibehre headed cleverly across to Jevani Brown whose low shot from the edge of the area was heading for the bottom right corner of the net before Conrad Logan pulled off a brilliant save to tip it wide.

On 31 minutes, a great tackle by Potter on the right, he played a long ball forward and Rose to run onto. Defender Legge had a several yard head-start but Rose got a boot on it and was unlucky as the ball looped up to the keeper.

Cambridge went close again on 38 minutes. The ball fell for Brad Halliday on the edge of the area and his low rasping drive deflected off David Mirfin and just over the bar. The shot had been going straight at Logan, but the deflection would have given Logan no chance if it had gone just under the bar, rather than just over it. From the resulting corner, Ibehre headed well wide.

The Stags at last had a shot on 40 minutes. Potter cut inside from the right and his shot was deflected wide for a corner.

Then a minute later, Hemmings shot straight at the keeper from 28 yards out on the right hand side.

On 42 minutes, Butcher chipped the ball forward, MacDonald ran on to it in the area and very nearly got to it, but not quite.

On 45 minutes, Hemmings won a free kick, 35 yards out on the right. Hunt took the resulting free kick but it was poor and cleared.

On 45+2 minutes, Potter did well to get a cross in from the right, but it was a fraction too high for Rose and the ball flicked off the top of his head.

Cambridge were certainly the better team in the first half, with by far the best two chances. The Stags had been so disappointing pushing forward, and Steve Evans appeared to be getting more and more frustrated on the touchline with his midfield and forward line. Surely he would make changes early in the second half...

Half time 0-0

On 49 minutes, Rose won a free kick on the right, 35 yards from goal. MacDonald’s free kick flicked off Digby’s head for a goal kick.

A warning shot for Mansfield on 51 minutes when the tricky Mingoia crossed from the left and Ibehre rose above Pearce to head just wide. Poor from Pearce.

Digby gave the ball away twice in a couple of minutes.

It was no surprise when Steve Evans made a double change on 54 minutes. On came Anderson and Mellis for Potter and Digby.

On 56 minutes, Hemmings broke forward, played to Rose, but Rose lost the ball on the edge of the area.

On 57 minutes, Ikpeazu went on a great run down the right, cut inside and sent a low shot just wide of the left post.

At the other end, Rose got into the area and his shot was blocked, out to MacDonald, whose weak shot bounced into the ground and was straight at the keeper.

A goal seemed to be coming for Cambridge and it duly arrived on 58 minutes. Maris’s corner from the left was curled to the far post where Legge lost his marker Pearce to head down into the ground and into the top corner of the net from 6 yards. Disappointing from Pearce, coming after he had allowed Ibehre a free header just 7 minutes earlier.

On 63 minutes, Hunt played the ball in, it came off MacDonald, and was almost stabbed in by Rose from close range but the keeper saved.

The Stags hadn’t really looked like scoring all game but were level after 65 minutes through excellent play from Hayden White bursting forward down the right. Mellis did well to win the ball and slide it down the touchline to White, White cut inside to the edge of the area, played the ball across the edge of the area to Hemmings, and as Hemmings knocked the ball back towards White who had carried on his run into the area, White was tripped by Maris. It was a clear penalty. The task fell to Mellis to step up and take the penalty. Mellis’s penalty was into the bottom right corner, but keeper David Forde got down brilliantly and it seemed as though he had saved it, but the ball squirmed up and into the net. Relief for Mellis and for Mansfield.

Mellis was Mansfield’s 5th different penalty taker of the season, after Rose, Spencer and Hemmings had missed, and Angol had scored (twice).

Excellent play by MacDonald on 70 minutes to win a corner, but it came to nothing.

On 71 minutes, good play from White to set up MacDonald for a chance but he fired over from 12 yards.

On 73 minutes, a great cross in from Rose and Hemmings’ 1st time flick was straight at the keeper. At the other end a minute later, Ikpeazu tried an overhead kick which Logan comfortably watched wide of his post.

Angol replaced the disappointing Hemmings on 74 minutes.

Mellis had a shot deflected for a corner on 75 minutes. Then on 76 minutes, Hunt’s high ball forward was met by Rose who got up well but his header was easily saved.

Angol nearly put the Stags in front on 84 minutes as he magnificently controlled a long free kick from Logan in the box, turned and fired in a rasping shot which keeper Forde pushed away. Seconds later another chance for Angol as Rose flicked on Anderson’s long throw to MacDonald whose shot was blocked back to Angol who had a free shot at goal but his shot was also blocked.

The Stags didn’t deserve a winner but they got it on 87 minutes. White chipped a ball forward from the halfway line to the edge of the area where Pearce beautifully flicked a header into the path of Danny Rose, who lost his marker, to slide a left footed shot first time into the bottom right corner of the net from 10 yards. A clinical finish from Rose, and a superb assist from Pearce who atoned for his earlier errors.

Kyle Howkins came for his Cambridge debut on 90 minutes, replacing the injured Greg Taylor.

6 minutes of stoppage time were added on.

Howkins was straight in to the action on 90+2 minutes as he headed a corner from the right over the bar, but the referee had already blown for a foul.

On 90+3 minutes, Mingoia volleyed goalwards from 18 yards and Logan unconventionally punched the ball away and behind for a corner. It was all about keeping the shot out and Logan did just that.

On 90+5 minutes, Rose had a shot blocked after Mellis threaded a super ball forward to him.

Then Rose was booked on 90+6 minutes for a foul on Halliday.

But the Stags held on for victory that was clearly not deserved yet the three points were important against a good side. The Stags are one point behind 3rd placed Luton.

Man of the match: Mirfin/Rose


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



Line Up:
(4-1-3-2):
Logan 7 Brilliant save from Jevani Brown in the first half. Unconventionally punched away Mingoia’s shot in stoppage but it was just important to keep it out. Not at fault for the goal in my opinion.
White 7.5 Played well and got the Stags back into the game with excellent play to win the penalty. Also provided the chip forward which Pearce headed into the path of Rose for the winner.
Pearce 7 Played really well but made two bad errors, one of which cost a goal. He atoned with an excellent assist for Rose’s goal. Evans has a track record of dropping players who make costly errors, but I would keep him in the team.
Mirfin 8 Very good against difficult opponents in Ibehre and Ikpeanza. In a rich vein of form.
Hunt 7 Again solid at left back.
Digby 5 Disappointing after his fine game at Lincoln. Gave the ball away twice immediately before he was subbed.
Potter 5.5 A couple of good pieces of play in the first half, but didn’t offer enough.
Butcher 5 Isn’t living up to expectations after an outstanding start on his debut. Poor here.
MacDonald 7 The pick of the midfield that started the game.
Hemmings 5 Another disappointing game. Only kept his place in the side because Angol had a little virus during the week. Will surely be replaced by Angol at Cheltenham.
Rose 8 A fine game, with tremendous battling spirit and fittingly popping up with the winner for the second match running.
Sub Line Up:
Anderson (for Potter, 54 mins) 7 Did well adding energy to the wide midfield.
Mellis (for Digby, 54 mins) 8 Added much needed creativity with some fine passing and really should be starting, especially in home games in my opinion. Got slightly lucky with his penalty just squeezing in.
Angol (for Hemmings, 74 mins) - Nearly scored with a fabulous bit on control. Evans revealed he had a little virus during the week which was enough to keep him out of the starting XI.
Subs not used: Olejnik, Bennett, Atkinson, Sterling-James.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Forde; Halliday, Legge, Taylor (Howkins, 90 mins), Dunk; Mingoia, Deegan, Brown (Elito, 67 mins), Maris (Amoo, 80 mins); Ikpeazu, Ibehre. Subs not used: Mitov, Carroll, O’Neil, Foy.
Referee:
Ben Toner 8 Got the penalty decision clearly right. Handled the game well.


Season 17/18 Reports