MANSFIELD BEATEN IN TIGHT GAME AT LUTON
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Luton Town 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Mackail-Smith pen 59
Attendance: 7,939 (262 from Mansfield)
Date: 19 September 2015
DECENT PERFORMANCE BUT MANSFIELD BEATEN IN TIGHT GAME AT LUTON
Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Kenilworth Road
Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at Kenilworth Road this afternoon as a penalty from Craig Mackail-Smith was enough for Luton to earn the points. Mackail-Smith had won the penalty after a classy ball forward put him clear in the area and he was brought down by Tafazolli. It looked a nailed on penalty from my position. Tafazolli was booked when other referees might have shown a red card. But the Stags had enough chances to get a point in a decent performance and home goalkeeper Mark Tyler was Luton’s man of the match. Mansfield’s best chances were a shot from Matt Green in the first half saved by Tyler after a mistake by Steve McNulty left Green with the keeper to beat from 8 yards, a low shot from Craig Westcarr that was half-stopped by Tyler who then gathered as the ball rolled behind him, a great left-footed volley from Jack Thomas that was just tipped wide, and Adi Yussuf who was clean through on goal but his first touch was poor and he over-ran it to the keeper. Mansfield also put in some good crosses that weren’t converted. Luton had some good chances of their own and were unfortunate as a magnificent overhead kick from Mackail-Smith was ruled out for offside. It was a piece of skill from Mackail-Smith that highlighted why he probably should still be playing a higher level. Mansfield played some good passing football and at one point Luton didn’t touch the ball for around minute (to be checked from DVD) culminating in a cross-shot from Rose that was saved. Mansfield lost Chris Clements through a groin injury that may keep him out for a while (to be assessed in the next 48 hours), and Nicky Hunt will be suspended next week after picking up his fifth yellow card. The squad is already getting stretched with Chris Beardsley also out for two weeks with a shin injury and Corbin Shires in hospital with a virus. Clements especially will be a big miss if he is out after a rich vein of form, though Jack Thomas came on today and looked dangerous and will need to take his opportunity next week. All in all a disappointing result, but not a bad performance and Mansfield are still healthily placed just outside the play-off zone.
report in the Match Centre
Saturday, 19th September 2015: Luton Town 1, Mansfield Town 0
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas, Saturday 19 September 2015
Luton Town keeper Mark Tyler won man of the match as he defied a superb Mansfield Town to help the Hatters win a thrilling game 1-0 at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.
Stags deserved at least a point from this clash away to a very talented Luton side, but Tyler made crucial saves to deny Matt Green, Nathan Thomas and Jack Thomas while Adi Yussuf also let a great opportunity roll away from him.
The winning goal, which gave Luton only their second win of the campaign, was a 59th minute penalty from former Scottish international Craig Mackail-Smith after he had been brought down by Ryan Tafazolli.
Mackail-Smith was a handful all afternoon and had a spectacular scissor kick finish ruled out for offside just before the break.
Luke Wilkinson and Cameron McGeehan also missed the target from good positions for the Hatters.
But Mansfield, who had only lost once all season before this setback, were magnificent all afternoon, never throwing in the towel right to the end.
The Stags defended superbly under some intense pressure earlier in the encounter.
But for much of the second half, it was Mansfield who had Luton on the back foot and home fans desperate for the whistle.
On the negative side Stags did lose Chris Clements to injury and Nicky Hunt took his fifth booking of the season and a one-game ban next week.
But they will take great heart from their display in this defeat, knowing their approach play deserved so much more.
Mansfield welcomed Matty Blair back into the first team squad for the first time since his serious knee injury at Carlisle in January.
Blair was given a big boost after a good first week’s training with a place on the bench at the expense of Chris Beardsley, though didn’t get onto the pitch.
There were pre-match worries when a virus hit the Stags camp with Corbyn Shires taken very ill.
But, although Joe Fitzpatrick was recalled from a loan spell at Sutton Coldfield as a precaution, the first team have so managed to avoid contracting it.
Mansfield found themselves under the expected early pressure, surviving a couple of free kicks and a dangerous Griffiths cross that drifted just wide of the far post.
But on eight minutes Luton forced a good save from Jensen as a low McQuoid cross into the six yard box came off a defender’s leg towards Smith, whose low drive forced Jensen down to parry.
It took 11 minutes for Stags to fashion an attack, Rose setting up Thomas. Thomas should have shot but instead returned the ball to Rose for a low finish that was blocked.
After surviving more home pressure, on 20 minutes Mansfield almost went ahead against the run of play.
Thomas sent in a low cross from the left that bounced off McNulty, who should have done better, and allowed Green to stab an effort from goal from close range that Tyler did well to get in the way of.
Stags skipper Hunt’s trip on McCourt on 26 minutes earned him his fifth yellow of the season and a suspension for next weekend.
Luton were calling for a red card for Green on 29 minutes, alleging he had elbowed Wilkinson in a challenge. But it was right in front of a linesman and the officials were unimpressed.
Smith was booked on 33 minutes for catching Hunt from behind.
Mansfield then had a big let-off on 42 minutes as Luton had a goal disallowed. And what a goal it would have been.
McQuoid sent over a cross from the right from which Mackail-Smith, with back to goal, crashed home a superb overhead kick, only to see an offside flag raised.
A minute from the interval, Stags lost the influential Clements to an injury, replaced by Jack Thomas.
But the visitors will have been delighted to go in all sqaure after some excellent defending.
A trip by Jack Thomas in the second minute after the restart saw him pick up Mansfield’s second booking of the afternoon.
Chapman slid in with a superb challenge in the box to win the ball with home fans inevitably screaming for a penalty.
Stags were almost ahead on 52 minutes on a swift counter-attack. Nathan Thomas burst down the centre with thrilling acceleration and fed a perfect pass into the path of Westcarr who saw Tyler get down to make a good save from his low finish.
It was the last contribution from Nathan Thomas, replaced om 53 minutes by Lambe.
But Mansfield were undone on 59 minutes.
McCourt sent a perfectly-weighted through ball down the middle for the lively Mackail-Smith to go clear only to be brought down by Tafazolli.
The Stags man was lucky to only get a yellow card before Mackail-Smith gleefully buried the spot kick firmly down the middle.
Mansfield’s response was good with some decent pressure and a couple of great balls in from Rose. But on 63 minutes the home side came close again.
Stags twice tried and failed to clear Luton’s third corner of the half and the ball fell to Wilkinson 12 yards out who, thankfully, produced a defender’s finish, blazing well over the bar.
On 70 minutes Jack Thomas went close, but Tyler again thwarted the Stags.
Tafazolli won the ball in the air and it ran to Thomas 20 yards from goal, his powerful shot just turned away at full stretch by the fingertips of Tyler.
Mansfield continued to press and a Benning free kick was cleared to Jack Thomas, who fired in another 20 yard shot straight at Tyler.
On 76 minutes Luton might have doubled their lead. O’Donmell crossed from the right and McGeehan met it with a powerful header that would have beaten Jensen had it been on target, but it flashed inches over.
At the other end Benning swung over a free kick that saw Westcarr guide his header wide at the far post.
But Stags should have been level on 82 minutes. Chapman sent sub Yussuf away with a ball down the centre over the defenders. But his first touch let him down and the ball ran away from him to a grateful Tyler.
Two minutes from time Jack Thomas whipped over a great cross from the right and, with three stags queuing at the far post, defender O’Donnell’s header was crucial.
LUTON: Tyler, O’Donnell, Smith, McNulty, McGeehan (O’Brien 86), Griffiths, McCourt (Lawless 90+4), Lee, Mackail-Smith, McQuoid (Green 80), Wilkinson. Subs not used: Hall, Marriott, Justham, Williams.
STAGS: Jensen, Hunt, Tafazolli, Pearce, Benning, Chapman, Rose (Yussuf 77), Clements (Jack Thomas 44), Nathan Thomas (Lambe 53), Westcarr, Green. Subs not used: Marsden, Collins, Blair, McGuire.
REFEREE: Rob Lewis of Shrewsbury.
ATTENDANCE: 7,939 (262 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Krystian Pearce.
REPORT: LUTON TOWN 1-0 MANSFIELD TOWN
lutontown.co.uk, 19th September 2015
Mackail-Smith penalty has Hatters win at home at last
Craig Mackail-Smith’s second half penalty was enough for the Hatters to clinch a vital three points and a first home win of the season against Mansfield.
The striker was felled by Ryan Tafazolli just before the hour mark, but picked himself up to smash the spot-kick straight down the middle of Brian Jensen’s goal for a 1-0 victory in front of almost 8,000 fans.
Read more at http://www.lutontown.co.uk/news/article/report-luton-town-1-0-mansfield-town-2698922.aspx#WYmM76Argq06VPys.99
Mackail-Smith had already been denied an outstanding overhead kick by the assistant’s flag in the first half, but was not to go without his third goal of the season to give Luton a deserved victory.
It was by no means a clear-cut victory, with Mansfield pressing in the last 10 minutes, but despite a nervy finale the Town were able to hang on for a vital three points at Kenilworth Road.
The Hatters made three changes following last week’s defeat to Notts County, with Stephen McNulty, Paddy McCourt and Cameron McGeehan all coming in. And it was McCourt who had the opening opportunity but his free-kick from the inside right was comfortably dealt with by the Mansfield keeper.
McGeehan was also in and amongst the early Luton attacks, breaking through the Mansfield midfield to earn a free-kick 30 yards out, which again came to nothing as the Town dominated the early proceedings.
The Stags got a foothold in the game soon after, but it was the Hatters who continued to form the half-chances, before Smith had his low shot, the best chance of the first 45 minutes, saved low down by Jensen from ten yards out.
The visitors then lodged their first real meaningful attack just after the 10-minute mark as Nathan Thomas found a fraction of room to get a shot away on the edge of the area that was well blocked by Griffiths.
Despite early domination, the Town were unable to fashion many clear-cut chances, with McQuoid the latest to jig his way through to the area, but again the hosts were left disappointed as their claims for a trip on Mackail-Smith were not met by the referee.
Mansfield became increasingly threatening on the break, and were able to fashion a chance of their own as Matt Green had a snap-shot dealt with excellently by Mark Tyler after McNulty - who replaced the suspended Scott Cuthbert in the back four - lost his footing in the area.
The home faithful became increasing frustrated with numerous decisions not going their way, with the officials missing an apparent elbow from Green on Luke Wilkinson, with the Town centre-half requiring treatment following the off-the-ball incident.
Chances dried up as the half developed, with numerous refereeing decisions going against the Hatters, who frequently gave the ball away in the last ten minutes of a bustling 45 minutes, the half eventually ending goalless in the Kenilworth Road sunshine.
The Town continued their dominance in the second half, and Mackail-Smith was once again left appealing in vain for a foul against Krystian Pearce 25 yards from goal.
But an early chance fell to the Stags on 50 minutes through Craig Westcarr who, after being put through from a counter-attack from the hosts, had his shot superbly saved from Tyler, who then dealt equally well with the spinning ball before it disappeared into the back of the net.
The Hatters were eventually rewarded for their endeavour though. Mackail-Smith latched onto a fine thoughball from McCourt but was hauled down in the area by Tafazolli. The striker dusted himself down to fire in the opener shortly before the hour mark. The offending Tafazolli was perhaps fortunate to remain on the pitch given he was the last man in the visiting defence.
A goal to the good, the Town were unable to press for a second, limited to an Olly Lee half-chance that the 24-year-old fired over from 10 yards, with the desire for that elusive victory at home becoming ever greater having previously lost two and drawn one of their games at Kenilworth Road this season.
While Mansfield were pressing, they were far from peppering the Town goal, limited to long-range efforts, mainly from substitute Jack Thomas who twice tested Tyler from difference in tend second-half minutes but to no avail.
The Town opted for some fresh legs with McGeehan, who just minutes before had nodded over from a Stephen O’Donnell cross, replaced by Mark O’Brien, alongside Danny Green, himself a late substitute for the Town.
Having suffered late goals in four of the previous seven league matches this campaign, nerves were understandably fraught in the home back four, but a commanding display from McNulty, marshalled by man-of-the-match Tyler, kept Mansfield at bay as the Town secured a first clean sheet of the season also.
Groans rang all around as four added minutes were announced, but the visitors could only muster a half-chance through Ari Yussuf’s header as Mackail-Smith defied his 93-plus minutes of running to execute some superb hold-up play in the dying moments to secure three points in Bedfordshire for the first time of the season.
The Town return to Kenilworth Road for their next league game, with AFC Wimbledon the visitors at 3pm next Saturday.
TOWN: Tyler; O’Donnell, Wilkinson, McNulty, Griffiths; McQuoid (sub Green 81), Smith, McGeehan (sub O’Brien 86), Lee, McCourt (sub Lawless 94), Mackail-Smith. Subs not used: Justham, Williams, O’Brien, Hall.
Attendance: 7,939, with 262 following Mansfield.
Mackail-Smith on the spot as Hatters finally win at home
by Mike Simmonds, lutontoday.co.uk
League Two: Luton Town 1 Mansfield Town 0
Luton Town are finally are off to winning ways at Kenilworth Road in League Two after Craig Mackail-Smith’s penalty was enough to beat Mansfield Town this afternoon.
The Hatters striker won the spot-kick himself just before the hour mark, latching on to Paddy McCourt’s magnificent through ball and being clearly pulled back by Ryan Tafazolli as he shaped to shoot.
How the Stags man was only shown yellow by official Kevin Johnson remains bewildering though, with Tafazolli easily the last man, and just one in a number of baffling decisions made throughout by the poor set of officials.
Mansfield were ultimately punished though, with Mackail-Smith dusting himself down to hammer past Brian Jensen from 12 yards for his third goal of the season as Town survived another late onslaught to secure a hugely welcome three points.
Hatters had made three changes for the clash, with Steve McNulty replacing the suspended Scott Cuthbert, Cameron McGeehan in for Luke Guttridge, while Paddy McCourt was given the nod over Danny Green.
The hosts started off playing some decent football and a neat Cameron McGeehan ball saw Stephen O’Donnell flying down the right flank, whose cross was deflected into the path of Jonathan Smith,the midfielder’s low shot drawing a fine save from Brian Jensen.
However, Hatters were then indebted to a fine save from Mark Tyler, a theme that was to become recurrent, as when McNulty slipped, he was off his line in a flash to deny Matt Green.
The half hour mark of a quiet opening then saw a flash point of sorts as Luke Wilkinson fell to the floor in an off the ball incident with Green, and furiously intimated to the officials he had been elbowed.
However, both referee or linesman were clearly not of the same opinion, as the Stags forward went unpunished, with the hush quickly returning to Kenilworth Road.
Luton were then left fuming at the linesman for denying them a world class opener as McQuoid’s cross was met by a simply stunning overhead volley from Mackail-Smith that flew past Jensen, only to see a raised flag cruelly cut short his celebrations.
After the break, Luton were thankful to Tyler once more for keeping the scores level as an incisive Stags break saw Craig Westcarr racing away. The Luton stopper got just enough to block the shot, before managing to grab the rebound as it threatened to trickle over the line.
With McCourt in the role of quarter back, and Mackail-Smith on the same wavelength, the pair combined perfectly to break the deadlock on 58 minutes, although after Town’s supporters celebrations had died down, they remained irked it wasn’t 11 versus 10.
Stags weren’t a beaten side though as Tyler collected Westcarr’s low attempt, although Wilkinson could have given his side some vital breathing space, lashing over from inside the area.
The Stags were a danger from distance as well, Jack Thomas’ volley flying inches wide with Tyler appearing to get a crucial touch as the ball looked to fly into the far corner
Luton, as they have previously done in home games, started to retreat further and further into their own half, giving the home support kittens, although they could have the game safe as O’Donnell finally delivered a decent cross and McGeehan stooped to head over.
The final 10 minutes saw Mansfield throw everything at their hosts, with Tyler called upon to brave block from Adi Yussuf as Luton’s defence parted far too easily.
A marvellous intervention from O’Donnell also kept the visitors at bay, as they subjected Town to an aerial bombardment. Led by skipper McNulty though, it eventually came to nothing as Luton could celebrate a first clean sheet of the campaign, and more importantly, a first home victory.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Stephen O’Donnell, Scott Griffiths, Steve McNulty(C), Luke Wilkinson, Olly Lee, Jonathan Smith, Paddy McCourt (Alex Lawless 90), Josh McQuoid (Danny Green 80), Cameron McGeehan (Mark O’Brien 86), Craig Mackail-Smith.
Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Ryan Hall, Curtley Williams, Jack Marriot.
Magpies: Brian Jensen, Malvind Benning, Mitch Rose (Adi Yussuf 77), Krystian Pearce, Adam Chapman, Chris Clements (Jack Thomas 44), Matt Green, Craig Westcarr, Nathan Thomas (Reggie Lambe 53), Ryan Tafazolli, Nicky Hunt (C).
Subs not used: Liam Marsden, Lee Collins, Matty Blair, Jamie McGuire.
Referee: Kevin Johnson.
Booked: Hunt 25, Smith 33, J Thomas 46, Tafazolli 58.
Attendance: 7,939 (262 Stags)
Hatters MOM: Mark Tyler -rewarded for some crucial saves with a first clean sheet of the season.
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