FREE HEADERS COSTLY FOR STAGS DESPITE GOOD PERFORM
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Plymouth Argyle 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
O’Connor 3, 63. Oliver 64
Attendance: 6,626 (166 from Mansfield)
Date: 11 April 2015
Martin Shaw at Home Park
Mansfield Town put in a good performance at play-off chasing Plymouth Argyle but were beaten with two headers from set pieces. On both occasions Lee Beevers allowed a free header in the box and the Stags were punished to the maximum effect. It was desperately disappointing for Mansfield who certainly deserved to get something from the game. The Stags were behind with just a minute and 45 seconds played as a free-kick from 35 yards was met by Anthony O’Connor who sent a looping header from fully 14 yards out on the right across and over Studer, who watched it sail into the top left corner. Poor marking from Beevers who allowed O’Connor to get the header in unchallenged. From watching it again on the DVD, I would have expected Studer to at least leap and attempt to turn it away. The Stags were shell-shocked and weren't in game for opening 15 minutes. But from that point on, the Stags were the better team through most of the rest of the game. During the first, Lambe twice went close, the first from a well-worked corner, and Oliver missed by a whisker on the stroke of half time. Plymouth left the field to calls of “rubbish” from home fans around me, despite leading 1-0. The second half continued in the same vein, and Mansfield should have been level on 57 minutes when Rhead nodded down a cross from Beevers to Clements whose shot from close range was well-saved on the line by McCormick. Plymouth had done nothing for some time since the 15th minute, but on 62 minutes Studer had to make a fine save with his legs from Blizzard and then Beevers did well to block Lee’s rebound shot over the bar. And from the resulting corner, Plymouth scored again, as McHugh beat Beevers to a header at the near post and headed it goalwards where it flicked in off O’Connor. Poor marking again from Beevers. Within a minute, the Stags pulled it back to 2-1. Oliver headed a cross from the right from Beevers against the right post, the ball came back to him and he fired a shot into the ground and up into the net. A good goal from Oliver. The long awaited return of Liam Hearn came on 79 minutes and within two minutes he should have had a penalty in my opinion as Beevers crossed from the right, Rhead nodded forward, and Hearn looked likely to get on the end of it but was pulled back. After the game, Hearn confirmed that he thought it should have been a penalty. From the DVD, the pull back is visible, but Hearn didn’t go down and that is probably what swayed the referee (wrongly in my opinion). Rhead could have equalised in stoppage time when he was tee’ed up by the superb Thomas but his shot was deflected and the keeper was able to save. Desperately disappointing to lose this game which Mansfield should not have lost. Five defeats on the trot. Four games to go. The bottom three clubs all lost, so Mansfield remain 8 points above Cheltenham, 6 ahead of Tranmere, and 5 ahead of Hartlepool. A huge game coming up on Tuesday as Tranmere come to the One Call Stadium. A win for Mansfield would surely more or less seal our safety, while a draw would keep Tranmere 6 points adrift. It will be a big night so make sure you get to the game and cheer the team on if you possibly can. Come on Mansfield!
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre
Saturday, 11th April 2015: Plymouth Argyle 2, Mansfield Town 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Despite another sterling performance against one of the division’s leading sides, Mansfield Town once again came away with nothing as they lost 2-1 at Plymouth Argyle in the Devon sunshine this afternoon.
They were undone by two set pieces, the first from a free kick in the second minute that Anthony O’Connor headed home, then, against the run of play, from a 63rd minute corner, headed in by Carl McHugh.
Vadaine Oliver immediately pulled one back, but the equaliser would not come, even with three up front near the end, for a side that has only netted 12 away goals all season.
The game did at least mark a late cameo return for Mansfield striker Liam Hearn after missing almost the whole season with a cruciate knee injury from August, and he could yet play an important part in the run-in.
This was the third game in a row Stags had gained no reward for a decent display against promotion-chasers and it extended their losing sequence to five to keep them in the relegation mire.
Thankfully elsewhere, bottom two Cheltenham and Tranmere both lost as did Hartlepool, but Carlisle picked up a win to leapfrog Mansfield and push them back to 21st, though still six points clear of the drop with just four games left.
Mansfield know how important winning at home to Tranmere Rovers could now be on Tuesday to allay fears they could still go down.
Even before the game, the signs were that it may not be Mansfield’s day.
They were dealt a blow pre-match when Ritchie Sutton hurt himself in the warm-up and had to be replaced in the starting XI by Ryan Tafazolli, Michael Raynes making up the numbers on the bench.
Keeper Lenny Pidgeley and winger Terry Hawkridge missed out with illness, replaced by Sasha Studer and Rakish Bingham.
Jamie McGuire and Ricky Ravenhill both shook off ankle injuries and Vadaine Oliver a shoulder injury to be involved, McGuire and Oliver staying in the side and Ravenhill returning to the bench.
After the Sutton blow pre-match, Stags went on to make a nightmare start and go behind with just one minutes 38 seconds gone.
Tafazolli conceded a free kick 40 yards from goal. Bobby Reid floated it in to the right of the box where O’Connor leapt well to direct a magnificent dipping header over Studer and under the far angle.
A slip by Tafazolli in the box almost let in Mellor as he attacked the right by-line, but his cross was hooked clear.
An offside flag saved Stags on 11 minutes as Reuben Reid chased a through ball down the middle.
Oliver headed away another Bobby Reid free kick, Reid then seeing a low follow-up shot blocked.
Stags finally began to settle and on 19 minutes almost levelled as Clements took a training ground corner low towards the incoming Lambe, whose first time shot was turned round for a second corner by McCormick.
A minute later Oliver leapt to head a forward ball over the keeper, but an offside flag cut short his celebrations.
Blizzard was wide for Argyle from 25 yards from a Bobby Reid pass on 24 minutes.
Lambe then slipped Thomas into the box at the other end and he beat a defender before stabbing a low shot straight at the keeper.
Plymouth won another free kick from the same range as the goal stemmed from, this time Bobby Reid over-hitting his kick and, with Beevers policing O’Connor well, the ball bounced out harmlessly for a goalkick.
Beevers was booked on 33 minutes for taking both of Alessandra’s legs in a challenge.
McGuire and then Tafazolli prevented another Bobby Reid free kick causing problems.
On a counter-attack Oliver crossed low from the left and had Lambe dummied to leave the ball to Bingham behind him, they might have been level. But Lambe took possession and the moment was gone.
Stags then survived a couple of worrying moments.
McGuire gave the ball away which offered Lee a shooting chance that Tafazolli blocked.
Then Allesandra pulled a low ball back from the right by-line that Mellor pulled wide of the near post when he should have tested Studer on 39 minutes.
Oliver was furious when he was held down in the box from a Beevers cross, then Lambe had a shot seconds later that deflected wide for a corner as Mansfield resumed their pressure.
Oliver came so close to what would have been a deserved levelled in two minutes of stoppage time, turning to shoot into the sidenetting.
Beevers headed the ball across from the right of the box and, when Lambe couldn’t get a shot away, Oliver took over and worked some space to turn, but just couldn’t find the target from six yards.
Stags survived a home break before launching one of their own on 52 minutes.
They were three on two and Clements fed Oliver to his right who only had to try to pick out Bingham in the middle but chose instead to shoot and lashed wide to the anger of the other two.
On 54 minutes Stags switched to two up front with Rhead coming for for winger Bingham and Stags going 4-1-3-2.
And they were so close to going level three minutes later as Rhead nodded on a cross from the right and Clements fired a finish from point blank range at McCormick’s legs.
Argyle almost caught Stags cold on another counter-attack soon after, Alessandra drilling the ball across the six yard box and wide of the far post.
On 62 minutes Stags had a let-off as Studer made a great stop to keep out a Blizzard shot and Beevers got in the way of Lee’s follow-up.
But the home side went 2-0 up against the run of play on 63 minutes as Bobby Reid floated a corner in to the near post where McHugh flicked a header home.
That could have killed off the Stags. Instead they bit straight back as Beevers crossed from the right towards Oliver, who headed against the bar before reacting quickest to bury his follow-up.
Plymouth responded with a double change on 69 minutes, Cox and Jones on for Lee and McHugh.
Mansfield allowed Alessandra to come inside from the left and make space, the Argyle man’s finish eventually weak and straight to Studer.
The big moment for Hearn came on 78 minutes as he replaced Oliver.
Cox was low and wide, and a minute later Bobby Reid was too high from the same range as the home side tried to wrap the points up.
Hearn looked to be held in the box as he tried to reach a Rhead flick, but nothing was given.
Then home sub Ansah got to the left by-line on a great run and pulled the ball back for Bobby Reid, who saw two defenders throw themselves in the path of his finish and the ball flew up and over for a corner.
There was a hold-up as the ball came over and Tafazolli and Beevers clashed heads in a nasty collision, Beevers staying down dazed and Tafazolli coming off to have a gash taped over. Beevers also needed bandaging.
Stags pushed three up top as Fisher replaced Lambe on 89 minutes, the referee then adding six minutes on at the end.
Stags won a throw on the right which saw everyone pile forwards. Elder threw it long to the near post, but Rhead’s flick dropped harmlessly wide.
Then Hartley made a great interception in the box to prevent a Rhead flick reaching a team mate.
Great work by Thomas saw him cue up Rhead, O’Connor’s challenge taking the sting off the shot as the keeper gathered.
Plymouth kept the ball well near the end and Studer had to turn over a dipping Alessandra shot as time ran out on Mansfield’s brave efforts.
PLYMOUTH: McCormick, Mellor, Alessandra, R. Reid (Ansah 77), Blizzard, Holmes-Dennis, McHugh (Jones 69), B. Reid, O’Connor, Lee (Cox 69), Hartley. Subs not used: Bittner, Banton, Harvey, Brunt.
STAGS: Studer, Beevers, Tafazolli, Riley, Elder, Clements, McGuire, Thomas, Lambe (Fisher 89), Bingham (Rhead 54), Oliver (Hearn 78). Subs not used: Raynes, Marsden, Fitzpatrick, Ravenhill.
REFEREE: Rob Lewis of Shrewsbury.
ATTENDANCE: 6,626 (166 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jack Thomas.
Plymouth Argyle 2 Mansfield Town 1: Match report
Herald Sport, By Chris Errington
ARGYLE put their League Two play-off push back on track with a nervy victory over Mansfield at Home Park on Saturday.
The fit-again Anthony O'Connor headed the Pilgrims into the lead in only the second minute, but they could not build on that early boost.
Mansfield applied plenty of pressure at the start of the second half but it was the Pilgrims who scored next as O'Connor got the final touch after a flick towards goal from defender Carl McHugh.
The visitors hit back almost immediately as striker Vadaine Oliver fired into the net after his header came back off the crossbar.
There were some anxious moments for Argyle in the closing stages but they retained their lead until full-time.
With results elsewhere going in their favour, the Pilgrims moved back into a play-off position, with only four games to play.
Manager John Sheridan made four changes to his starting line-up from the 2-1 defeat away to Portsmouth on Easter Monday.
With captain Curtis Nelson suspended for one match after his red card at Fratton Park, the Pilgrims were led out by Peter Hartley.
Nelson was replaced in central defence by O'Connor, who had missed the previous two matches because of a groin injury.
Also returning to the Argyle team were Lewis Alessandra, Olly Lee and Kelvin Mellor.
Everton loan signing Gethin Jones made way for Mellor at right wing-back, with Zak Ansah and Jason Banton also dropping down to the substitutes' bench.
Mansfield arrived at Home Park six points clear of the League Two relegation zone.
They were aiming to complete the double against Argyle after beating them 1-0 at Field Mill in November.
Mansfield made a late change to their team as Ritchie Sutton dropped out because of an injury in the warm-up and was replaced in central defence by Ryan Tafazolli.
That was far from ideal final preparation for the Stags and Argyle took the lead only one minute and forty seconds after the kick-off.
Bobby Reid aimed a free-kick into the penalty area and O'Connor scored with a firm header high into the net.
It could have got even worse for Mansfield in the fourth minute when Mellor worked his way to the by-line and tried to pick out a team-mate with a cross.
However, defender Martin Riley managed to intercept the cut-back and cleared his lines.
It was an excellent start from Argyle but they could not build on the early momentum and Mansfield almost drew level in the 19th minute.
Chris Clements hit a low corner into the Pilgrims' box and a cleanly struck first-time shot from Reggie Lambe was superbly pushed wide by 'keeper Luke McCormick.
Mansfield's 18-year-old midfielder Jack Thomas showed up well in the opening stages and had a low shot saved by McCormick after weaving his way into the penalty area.
Both sides struggled to retain possession of the ball for any length of time so attacking moves were few and far between.
Lee and Alessandra combined well in the 38th minute to set up a chance for Mellor but he stabbed the ball wide from close range.
Mansfield had penalty appeals waved away by referee Rob Lewis for what looked like a push on striker Vadaine Oliver.
Lambe's on-target shot deflected off Hartley for a corner before Oliver fired narrowly wide with the last kick of the first half.
Mansfield continued to push forward after the break as Argyle repeatedly gave away the ball.
On one occasion, Hartley misplaced a pass close to the halfway line and Mansfield launched a counter attack which could easily have led to a goal.
However, Oliver tried an ambitious long-range shot which went wide instead of passing it inside to an unmarked Rakish Bingham.
McCormick had to make an incredible save to maintain Argyle's lead in the 58th minute.
Mansfield substitute Matt Rhead nodded the ball down in the box and Clements seemed certain to score but his shot was superbly blocked by McCormick.
It was further evidence, if any was needed, of the importance of McCormick to the Pilgrims.
Argyle had a double chance in the 62nd minute when Blizzard and Lee had goalbound shots blocked by 'keeper Sascha Studer and Lee Beevers respectively.
From the resulting Bobby Reid corner, though, McHugh flicked the ball towards goal and O'Connor got the decisive last touch.
Argyle's two-goal lead did not last long as Oliver cut the deficit in the 64th minute when he scored at the second attempt after his initial header hit the bar.
The ball rebounded out and the Mansfield striker was first to react as he shot into the net.
Argyle made a double substitution in the 70th minute with an injured McHugh and Lee replaced by Jones and Lee Cox respectively.
Mellor moved into central defence to replace McHugh with Jones playing at wing-back.
There was another substitution by Sheridan in the 77th minute as Ansah took over in attack from Reuben Reid.
Cox and Bobby Reid both had off-target shots for Argyle and the latter then also had a powerful strike deflect off Tafazolli for a corner.
There was a long break in play after a nasty clash of heads between Mansfield duo Beevers and Tafazolli.
Both players were able to continue after treatment but they had their heads bandaged.
Rhead had one goalbound shot blocked by O'Connor deep into stoppage time which took all the power out of it and McCormick safely gathered the ball.
That was Mansfield's last chance as the Pilgrims held on for a very important three points.
ARGYLE: Luke McCormick; Anthony O'Connor, Carl McHugh (Gethin Jones 70 mins), Peter Hartley; Kelvin Mellor, Olly Lee (Lee Cox 70 mins), Bobby Reid, Dominic Blizzard, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis; Reuben Reid (Zak Ansah 77 mins), Lewis Alessandra.
Substitutes (not used): James Bittner, Jason Banton, Tyler Harvey, Ryan Brunt.
MANSFIELD: Sascha Studer; Lee Beevers, Martin Riley, Ryan Tafazolli, Callum Elder; Reggie Lambe (Alex Fisher 89 mins), Chris Clements, Jamie McGuire, Rakish Bingham (Matt Rhead 54 mins); Jack Thomas; Vadaine Oliver (Liam Hearn 79 mins).
Substitutes (not used): Alex Fisher, Ricky Ravenhill, Liam Marsden, Michael Raynes, Joe Fitzpatrick.
REFEREE: Rob Lewis (Shropshire)
ATTENDANCE: 6,626 (166 away)
Plymouth Argyle 2 Mansfield Town 1: Match stats
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE (3-5-2)
23 Luke McCormick 7
19 Anthony O'Connor 8
16 Carl McHugh 6
29 Peter Hartley 6
2 Kelvin Mellor 5
21 Olly Lee 6
17 Bobby Reid 6
11 Dominic Blizzard 5
13 Tareiq Holmes-Dennis 5
9 Reuben Reid 5
7 Lewis Alessandra 6
1 James Bittner
4 Lee Cox (for Lee 70 mins) 6
8 Jason Banton
14 Tyler Harvey
20 Gethin Jones (for McHugh 70 mins) 6
27 Zak Ansah (for R Reid 77 mins)
28 Ryan Brunt
MANSFIELD TOWN (4-4-1-1)
Sascha Studer; Lee Beevers, Martin Riley, Ryan Tafazolli, Callum Elder; Reggie Lambe (Alex Fisher 89 mins), Chris Clements, Jamie McGuire, Rakish Bingham (Matt Rhead 54 mins); Jack Thomas; Vadaine Oliver (Liam Hearn 79 mins).
Substitutes (not used): Ricky Ravenhill, Liam Marsden, Michael Raynes, Joe Fitzpatrick.
REFEREE: Rob Lewis (Shropshire) 6
ATTENDANCE: 6,626 (166 away)
GOALS - Argyle: O'Connor 2, 63 mins; Mansfield: Oliver 64 mins
YELLOW CARDS - Argyle: None; Mansfield: Beevers 33 mins
MATCH RATING: 2
ARGYLE STAR MAN - Anthony O'Connor: A commanding display in central defence and scored an early goal to set the Pilgrims on their way to an important win
Latest | April 2015