MacDonald 42, Atkinson 55, Rose 71.
Attendance: 3795 (79 from Barnet)
Date: 3 February 2018
STAGS COMFORTABLY BEAT BARNET
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town comfortably beat bottom club Barnet 3-1 this afternoon with goals from Alex MacDonald, Will Atkinson (his first for the club), and Danny Rose, before a howler from Rhys Bennett gifted an 87th minute consolation to Simeon Akinola. The Stags created enough chances to have won by a much great margin. Mansfield could have had an early penalty when Danny Rose got goalside of Ricardo Santos in the area, Santos had his arm all over Rose and Rose went down but the referee waved away the appeals. A great move then as CJ Hamilton squared to MacDonald who played a 1-2 with Kane Hemmings before MacDonald side-footed a shot against the outside of the right post. Then Hemmings fired across the keeper from the left and the keeper made a fine save to tip it wide, though the referee gave a goal kick. A shot from Hemmings a minute later looked goalbound but was blocked by defender Charlie Clough. MacDonald went close again on 38 minutes when his shot from distance was deflected just wide. The goal the Stags deserved finally came on 42 minutes when MacDonald played a 1-2 with Benning on the edge of the box on the left, before curling a sublime right-footed shot in off the right post. Early in the second half, MacDonald should have had his second goal when he somehow shot wide from 5 yards. Mansfield doubled the lead on 55 minutes, as Joel Byrom’s corner from the left was headed goalwards by Kane Hemmings and Will Atkinson flicked in with his right boot from a couple of yards. Hemmings should have had a goal when Benning put in a great cross from the left and Hemmings, completely unmarked, somehow headed well wide. But it was 3-0 on 71 minutes, Krystian Pearce won the ball and made a great run forward, before finding Hamilton, who squared across the edge of the box from the left to Rose, who shot left footed back across the keeper and into the left corner of the net for a fine finish. It seemed just a matter of how many Mansfield would score, but out of the blue Bennett left a back header to Logan short, allowing Akinola to nip in and fire past Logan on 87 minutes. The second goal Mansfield have gifted to the opposition in a week. Overall a super performance for about 70 minutes and more than enough to see off Barnet. Plenty of candidates for man of the match, with Alex MacDonald scoring a sublime goal and going close on several other occasions, plus covering every blade of grass on the pitch, Will Atkinson thoroughly justified his starting place with a fine game going forward and deserving his goal, Danny Rose had a fine game and scored a great goal, Hemmings played well but missed a sitter, Mal Benning had a good game, and Rhys Bennett made a number of good clearances before that howler at the end. In fact all the team played well. Mansfield’s run continues, just one defeat in 17 league games; a run started away to Barnet in October. The Stags are 4th, one point behind 3rd place and two points behind 2nd place.
Steve Evans named the side that started the second half at Morecambe, so Anderson and Atkinson replacing Diamond and Potter from that starting XI at Morecambe. All three new signings (Ricky Miller signed on loan from Peterborough with a view to a permanent signing, Matt Penney on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, and Adam King on loan from Swansea) were on the bench. Evans said that Sterling-James would have been on the bench after his hat-trick for the reserves in midweek but he has been feeling under the weather in the last 24 hours. Also missing from the bench were Angol (slight groin strain) and Diamond (his wife is having a baby). As is often the case, Steve Evans asked me to name the side, which I did correctly. Then he asked me to name the subs but I stumbled on Sterling-James who I expected to be included.
Barnet were without defender Dan Sweeney, banned for 3 games after a stamping incident at Cheltenham that was, according to Graham Westley at least, captured via a fans video. Barnet had John Akinde and Shaq Coulthirst up front, both well known to Stags fans.
Mansfield announced new head physio Ross Hollinworth before the game, to replace Dan Kett who has joined a special physiotherapy unit at St George’s Park. Dan Kett was watching the game from the West Stand as a fan. Hollinworth has joined from the Norwich academy where he was head of Sports Science. He couldn’t have had an easier game today and did not come on the pitch.
It had rained steadily all morning and the pitch was in fine condition considering that.
On 6 minutes, a long ball forward from Barnet and Akinde went down easily under a challenge from Pearce. The referee gave a goal kick. It didn’t look like a foul from the West Stand upper tier. From studying the video from the main camera, and the angle is not great, Pearce and Akinde are heading for the byline, Pearce appears to get a touch on the ball a split second before Akinde goes down. I don’t think it was a penalty, but it should have been a corner. We don’t have the footage from our pitchside camera.
On 12 minutes, a ball forward for Brindley, who looked 2 yards offside, but the flag did not go up, Brindley shot and Bennett did very well to get in a block.
Mansfield could have had a penalty on 13 minutes when Hamilton chipped the ball forward, Danny Rose got goalside of Ricardo Santos in the area, Santos had his arm all over Rose and Rose went down but the referee waved away the appeals. From the pitchside video, it looks like a foul.
Straight to the other end, Akinde forced his way into the area, slipped the ball to Coulthirst, who should have shot but let the ball run away from him, and MacDonald cleared with a good challenge. A minute later, Coulthirst did get in a shot but was well wide from 30 yards. On 16 minutes, Nicholls fired a good shot from 25 yards straight at Logan.
A great move from the Stags on 17 minutes, as Hamilton squared to MacDonald who played a 1-2 with Hemmings before MacDonald side-footed a shot against the outside of the right post.
On 20 minutes, Hamilton put in a high cross, which Rose nearly got to but the keeper got a vital touch away. Moments later, Benning put in a terrific cross into the corridor of uncertainty, but no-one got on the end of it.
Referee Scott Oldham had to go off on 21 minutes and was replaced by Fourth Official Thomas Bramall. The referee was clutching some ice so he had probably pulled a muscle. The referee’s coach took over as the Fourth official.
On 29 minutes, a great run forward by Hemmings who then fired left-footed across the keeper from the left and the keeper made a fine save to tip it wide, though the referee gave a goal kick. From the pitchside video, the keeper definitely tipped it wide.
A minute later, Logan’s long ball forward was brilliantly controlled by Hemmings, who then fired goalwards but it was blocked by defender Charlie Clough. A minute after that, the Stags had the ball pinging around the Barnet area with some good play.
On 33 minute, Logan’s long ball forward came out to MacDonald who fired a powerful shot from 28 yards straight at the keeper. Some good kicking from Logan.
On 36 minutes, Hamilton’s cross from the left came to Anderson on the right, and Anderson’s powerful cross-shot went wide of the left post as Rose threw himself at it and couldn’t connect.
A good touch by Anderson at the back to clear on 37 minutes.
MacDonald went close again on 38 minutes when his shot from distance was deflected just wide of the right post.
On 40 minutes, a good tackle by Byrom at the back.
The goal the Stags deserved finally came on 42 minutes when MacDonald played a 1-2 with Benning on the edge of the box on the left, before curling a sublime right-footed shot in off the right post.
On 45 minutes, Hamilton got to the byline on the left and pulled back to Rose who sent a first time right-footed shot wide of the left post and against the stanchion.
A foul from Pearce on 45+3 minutes, that could have earned him a yellow card but the referee let him off. From the resulting free kick Brindley sent a shot from 32 yards at Logan who saved, though fumbled it behind for a corner. From the video, the ball quite clearly did not go behind for a corner with Logan holding it on the line.
The Stags deservedly ahead at the break. Mansfield had brought in new signings Ricky Miller and Matt Penney who both know how to find the net from distance, but it was Alex MacDonald who stepped up to the plate firing in a wonderful goal from the edge of the box. He had also gone close on other occasions, hitting the post and a shot deflected just wide, with good chances also for Hemmings and Rose.
Half time 1-0
On 52 minutes, MacDonald should have had his second goal when he somehow shot wide from 5 yards, after Anderson’s long throw had been headed down to him by Hemmings.
Good play by Hemmings on 54 minutes to win the ball, then moments later Hamilton fired in a cross-shot from the byline on the left which the keeper tipped over the bar.
Mansfield doubled the lead on 55 minutes from resulting corner, as Byrom’s corner from the left was headed goalwards by Hemmings and Atkinson flicked in with his right boot from a couple of yards. Atkinson had had a fine game at Morecambe in the second half last week to nail a starting place for himself and took his chance well here with his first goal for the club.
On 57 minutes, Akinde pulled back from the byline to Weston who shot well wide from the edge of the box.
Coulthirst was replaced by Akinola on 59 minutes. Coulthirst had really not done anything.
On 61 minutes, Anderson’s cross from the right was headed out by Clough to Benning who fired wide of the left post from 28 yards.
A chance for Barnet on 64 minutes. Watson’s free kick from 35 yards was headed on by Clough, straight at Logan. A yard either side and it would have been in.
On 66 minutes, another long throw from Anderson, was headed up in the air by Tutonda, and Rose got up well to head straight at the keeper.
Hemmings should have had a goal on 67 minutes when Benning put in a great cross from the left and Hemmings, completely unmarked, somehow headed well wide.
A minute later, a good header away by Bennett at the other end. Then Hamilton got in a great block on an Akinola shot from a tight angle, before Bennett did well again to head away the resulting corner.
It was 3-0 on 71 minutes, Krystian Pearce won the ball and made a great run forward, before finding Hamilton, who squared across the edge of the box from the left to Rose, who shot left footed back across the keeper and into the left corner of the net for a fine finish from about 12 yards.
On 72 minutes, a great run down the right by Rose to win a corner. From Byrom’s corner from the right, Bennett’s goalbound header was blocked by his own man Atkinson.
Fabulous play by Rose pushing forward to Hemmings who tried to find Atkinson in the middle on 74 minutes, but Brindley got in a great tackle.
Spencer replaced Rose on 83 minutes, with Rose coming off to a rousing reception.
Good play from MacDonald on 85 minutes, on the left to set up a chance for Hemmings who shot wide of the left post.
Ricky Miller replaced Hemmings on 85 minutes. Hemmings also coming off to a great reception.
It had seemed just a matter of how many Mansfield would score, but out of the blue Bennett left a back header to Logan short, allowing Akinola to nip in and fire past Logan on 87 minutes. The second goal Mansfield have gifted to the opposition in a week, and the Stags have to cut this out straight away. Logan was furious, rightly so.
On 88 minutes, Ricky Miller played to Hamilton, back to Miller whose shot was blocked. A minute later, Miller turned 25 yards out, and his shot was blocked. We can expect to see him shooting from all distances and angles.
On 90 minutes, Akinola headed tamely straight at Logan. A minute later, a great tackle by Anderson on Akinola in the area. From the resulting corner. Logan made a good save from Watson’s shot from the edge of the box. A minute later, a great block by Atkinson on Bover’s shot.
Potter replaced Atkinson on 90+3 minutes. Atkinson had had a super game and got a good reception.
On 90+4 minutes, a Barnet corner and Clough found himself unmarked to shoot wide. Then Brindley shot wide of the left post from 35 yards.
A good end to the game from Barnet in the final 5 minutes but it was too little too late for them.
The Stags were convincing winners and now have a free week, before a tough 7 days with games against Swindon, Newport and Exeter.
Footnote: a bizarre post match interview from Barnet’s new manager Graham Westley. He claimed it “was a very encouraging day at the office”. If that was encouraging for Barnet, then they are hurtling inexorably for relegation.
Man of the match: Alex MacDonald
Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Logan 7 One good save late on. Good kicking. Fumbled one save from a free kick behind and just wide for a corner. Hung out to dry for the goal, and not at fault.
Anderson 7 Some good tackles. Got forward well.
Pearce 7 Great play in the build-up to Rose’s goal. Solid. Lucky not to be booked.
Bennett 7 Several good clearances and blocks, but a howler to gift Barnet their goal, in an otherwise really good display.
Benning 7 Some good crosses coming forward, especially for the Hemmings header.
MacDonald 8.5 Scored a sublime goal and went close on several other occasions though missed one really good chance, plus covered every blade of grass on the pitch.
Byrom 7 Two good corners, which set up the second goal and a chance for Bennett. Some good defending.
Atkinson 8 Thoroughly justified his starting place with a very fine game going forward and deserved his goal.
Hamilton 7 An assist for the third goal. Also set up another good chance for Rose.
Rose 7.5 Fine game and scored a great goal.
Hemmings 7 Played well but missed a sitter, and also brought a good save from the keeper. Good header to set up Atkinson’s goal.
Sub Line Up:
Spencer (for Rose, 83 mins) -
Miller (for Hemmings, 85 mins) -
Potter (for Atkinson, 90+3 mins) -
Subs not used: Olejnik. Digby, King, Penney.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-3-1-2): Ross; Brindley, Santos, Clough, Tutonda; Watson, Weston (Nicholson 74), Nicholls (J. Taylor 79); Bover; Akinde, Coulthirst (Akinola 59). Subs not used: Legg, Vilhete, Sule, Plavotic.
Scott Oldham (replaced on 21 minutes by Fourth Official Thomas Bramall) 5 Two tricky penalty decisions to make. I think he got the Akinde one correct but the Rose one was probably a penalty. Several poor decisions from the officials.