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Season 17/18 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Stevenage
Hemmings 24
 
 
Attendance: 3353 (141 from Stevenage)
 
Date: 18 November 2017

STAGS DESERVEDLY BEAT STEVENAGE

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

Mansfield Town beat Stevenage 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from Kane Hemmings, his third of the season and second in consecutive home games. The win should have been much more comfortable as the Stags missed a number of glorious chances to put the game to bed, as well as being denied a goal which appeared initially to be given by the referee who then disallowed it. The only goal of the game came when Joel Byrom’s free kick from just inside the Stevenage half was straight down the middle, the keeper Joe Fryer came to clear away, missed it, and the ball rebounded off defender Jack King to Hemmings to sweep into the empty net from 6 yards, on 24 minutes. Controversy on 57 minutes, as the Stags thought they were 2-0 up. Another Byrom free kick into the box was headed straight up in the air by a defender, Bennett and goalkeeper Fryer rose for the high ball, the keeper let the ball through his hands above Bennett’s head, and from the video does not appear to be fouled by Bennett. The loose ball fell for Hemmings who fired in from 3 yards. The referee appeared to give the goal by pointing to the halfway line, a Stevenage defender booted the ball away in frustration as the Stags players celebrated, before the referee seemed to change him mind and give a free kick. The goal should have stood. The Stags had enough chances to make the game safe though, none better than Hemmings himself who fired wide from a great position after good play by MacDonald, and then sub Atkinson who got past one man in the box before somehow his shot from 8 yards was deflected wide after terrific play by Hamilton. The misses weren’t costly in the end. Overall a good performance and a deserved win. The Stags are up to 8th, 2 points behind 6th and 7th place. And unbeaten for 8 games: 2 league wins, 3 league draws, 3 cup wins. 4 wins on the trot. It was the 6th successive league game in which the Stags have scored one goal. On to Port Vale on Tuesday, a team that are on a good run after a terrible start to the season.

After the game, Stevenage manager Darren Sarll remarkably told BBC Three Counties Radio that his team deserved to draw and had more chances than Mansfield. He watched a different game to us!

Before the game, an excellent rendition of the Last Post to commemorate those who have given their lives.

Danny Rose was suspended after picking up his 5th booking of the season at Coventry. Jacob Mellis and Krystian Pearce were both available again after being suspended at Coventry. Mansfield have been shown more yellow cards this season than any other club in the top four divisions before today. Mellis came back into the side, but Pearce was kept out of the side with Bennett and Diamond in such good form in central defence last week. So there were two changes from last Saturday, with Jimmy Spencer replacing Rose, and Mellis replacing Anderson.

Before the pre-match press interviews, Steve Evans asked me to name the team. He had asked me to do that before the Exeter and Coventry games as well, and on both occasions I got ten players right out of 11. This time I predicted with a smile that I would get 11 out of 11. He pulled a £20 note out of his pocket, handed it to Mark Stevenson and said it was mine if I got them all right. I did get 11 out of 11, and he duly handed me the money!


Photo by Chris Holloway.

Stevenage were unchanged from the side that drew with Notts County last week, meaning that Matt Godden, who was prolific last season, but who had gone off injured last week, was able to start.

It was an overcast but fine day in Mansfield.

The Stags created a chance inside the opening the minute. Spencer was fouled. Byrom’s free kick was headed out, and Mellis found Hamilton who shot straight at the keeper.

The Stags quickly out of the traps but it was Stevenage who were on top for the next 10 minutes. On 3 minutes, Whelpdale headed a good ball inside the area to Godden who fired over from a good position. Then a speculative shot from Pett from 25 yards was over the bar.

A good break by Mellis on 8 minutes but gave the ball away as he approached the edge of the Stevenage area.

The Stags should have been ahead on 10 minutes. Hemmings did well to win a corner on the right. Byrom floated in a great corner, which Diamond headed back across giving the unmarked Spencer a free header at goal, but he headed wide and over. He certainly should have got that on target.

On 12 minutes at the other end, a Stevenage free kick. Joe Martin’s kick was punched away by Logan, Whelpdale retrieved the ball on the right, cut back inside and fired high and wide of the post.

On 15 minutes, a corner for the Stags from the left. MacDonald took it short to Byrom, who gave it him back, and MacDonald fired a low shot which was saved the keeper at the foot of the near post.

Danny Newton was booked for a terrible challenge on Hunt in front of the Stags dugout on 17 minutes. That could easily have been a red card and Hunt was lucky to get up from it.

From the resulting free kick, taken by Hunt himself, Spencer chested down to MacDonald who shot wide of the right post from the left via a deflection. That was close. The resulting corner by Byrom from the right was a good one and nearly sailed straight in and was headed off the line.

The Stags took the lead on 24 minutes. Byrom’s free kick just inside the Stevenage half, was straight down the middle, the keeper Joe Fryer came to clear away, missed it, and the ball rebounded off defender Jack King to Hemmings to sweep into the empty net from 6 yards. Hemmings didn’t get the goal he deserved at Coventry, but here he got a gift that he couldn’t miss.

On 26 minutes, Mellis switched played from the left to the right with a great ball, White controlled and beat his defender in one movement 25 yards from goal, and fizzed a shot powerfully but well wide of the left post.

Then on 29 minutes, a low corner from MacDonald into the near post to Mellis, whose shot was blocked from point blank range. Cleverly worked.

Byrom brought down Godden 19 yards out to the right of centre on 32 minutes. Joe Martin’s free kick was just over, though Logan appeared to have it covered.

A great passing move from the Stags on 35 minutes and good from Mellis as he set up Spencer for a left footed shot from the left, which was well struck but at a nice height for the keeper to parry away.

Mellis and Byrom were now winning the midfield battle.

Great play from Byrom on 37 minutes, as he beat two mean to create room for a shot outside the box, but elected to lay the ball off instead and made a mess of it, with Hamilton not expecting the pass. Byrom should have shot.

On 41 minutes, Spencer to MacDonald on the right, he played a good ball back in, but it was cleared just in front of Hemmings.

More excellent play by Mellis on 42 minutes, as he found Hamilton who had a chance to shoot but instead cut the ball back and it was cleared.

On 45+2 minutes, a Stevenage free kick came out to Whelpdale whose low shot was wide of the left post through a crowd of bodies.

The Stags deservedly ahead at the break, after Stevenage had looked good in the opening 10 minutes, the Stags were very much in top after that.

Half time 1-0

The Stags were close to extending the lead on 47 minutes. MacDonald’s corner from the left, was headed towards the near corner of the goal by Spencer, and the keeper did well to save. Moments later, Hunt’s hopeful punt forward nearly caught the keeper out, as he clawed it away from under his bar. Unlike Logan’s effort against Exeter, Hunt wasn’t attempting to score.

On 48 minutes, a Stevenage free kick from the halfway line was cleared to Pett who shot miles wide. Then on 50 minutes, Stevenage claimed for a penalty for a foul on Godden, which Stevenage boss Darren Sarll was adamant was a penalty. From the video, it was not even close to being a foul. On 53 minutes, Joe Martin’s corner from the right was just cleared.

Controversy on 57 minutes, as the Stags thought they were 2-0 up. Another Byrom free kick into the box was headed straight up in the air by a defender, Bennett and goalkeeper Fryer rose for the high ball, the keeper let the ball through his hands above Bennett’s head, and from the video does not appear to be fouled by Bennett. The loose ball fell for Hemmings who fired in from 3 yards. The referee appeared to give the goal by pointing to the halfway line, a Stevenage defender booted the ball away in frustration as the Stags players celebrated, before the referee seemed to change him mind and give a free kick. The goal should have stood.

The Stags fans were making a great atmosphere.

On 66 minutes, Godden sent a speculative shot from 30 yards well wide.

On 68 minutes, Hemmings was gifted the ball by the Stevenage defence, but his ball forward for Spencer was overhit.

Byrom’s free kick from 35 yards was headed wide by Diamond on 72 minutes.

Poor play by Mellis on 80 minutes, as he miscontrolled the ball 20 yards from his own goal and then gave away a free kick. Joe Martin’s free kick was deflected over the bar by the wall which did its job.

Sterling-James replaced Spencer on 81 minutes, Spencer coming off to good applause.

The Stags should have made the game safe on 82 minutes as Hemmings fired wide from a great position after good play by MacDonald.

Atkinson replaced Mellis on 85 minutes. Mellis had had a fine game.

On 86 minutes, Sterling-James played the ball forward to MacDonald who had a great chance to shoot, but took an extra touch, and the defender was able to block.

An even better chance for the Stags to seal it on 90 minutes. Sub Atkinson got past one man in the box before his shot from 8 yards was deflected wide by a defender, after a terrific run from inside his own half by Hamilton on the left. Atkinson really should have scored from there.

4 minutes of stoppage time was signalled. We were pleased it wasn’t more, which we thought it could have been.

Butcher replaced Hemmings on 90+3 minutes.

Atkinson gave away a sloppy free kick on the halfway line. This gave Stevenage a chance to launch the ball into the box. The Stags cleared the free kick for a corner. And then the resulting corner was overhit at which point the referee blew the final whistle.

So those misses and the disallowed goal weren’t costly in the end. Overall a good performance from Mansfield and a deserved win, but the Stags need to be more clinical in the finishing.

Man of the match: Rhys Bennett

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



Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond formation in midfield):
Logan 6.5 Didn’t have a save to make. One punch away from a free kick.
White 7 Defended well. One shot fizzed wide.
Diamond 7 Defended well. Set up a good chance for Spencer.
Bennett 8 Very good game in central defence. Very composed and looked classy.
Hunt 7 Solid at left back. Almost created a goalscoring chance for himself but just overhit the ball cutting inside.
Byrom 8 Free kicks created havoc for the goal and disallowed goal. Some very good corners. Good from open play.
MacDonald 7 Several good pieces of play. Set up a great chance which Hemmings fired wide.
Hamilton 7 Terrific run to set up the chance for Atkinson. One shot straight at the keeper.
Mellis 7.5 Terrific first half creating several chances. Faded in the second half, and gave away a dangerous free kick with poor play on the edge of his own box.
Spencer 6.5 Two good chances as he sent a free header over the bar and gave the keeper to chance to save his shot that was at a nice height. Some good lay-offs.
Hemmings 7.5 Scored for the second home game running and had another disallowed. Should have also scored when he fired wide from a great position.
Sub Line Up:
Sterling-James (for Spencer, 81 mins) - One good pass forward for MacDonald who should have shot.
Atkinson (for Mellis, 85 mins) - Should have scored and gave away a sloppy free kick late in stoppage time.
Butcher (for Hemmings, 90+3 mins) -
Subs not used: Olejnik, Pearce, Anderson, Potter.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Fryer; Henry, King, Wilkinson, Martin; Whelpdale (Samuel 88), Smith, Beautyman (McKee 46), Pett (Conlon 64); Newton, Godden. Subs not used: Day, Franks, VanCooten, Wilmot.
Referee:
Tom Nield 5 Poor game. Wrongly disallowed a Stags goal.


Season 17/18 Reports