STAGS BEATEN AS EXETER WIN AT HOME FOR FIRST TIME
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Exeter City 2 - 0 Mansfield Town
Watkins 19, 90
Attendance: 3626 (124 from Mansfield)
Date: 17 December 2016
Martin Shaw at St James's Park
Mansfield Town were beaten 2-0 at Exeter in a disappointing afternoon today. It was a real game of two halves as the Stags were extremely poor in the first half and fortunate to be just one goal down at the break. Yet in the second half, the Stags dominated for almost the entire 45 minutes, with in excess of 8 shots blocked, but unable to find the back of the net, and Exeter broke in the 90th minute to make it 2-0. To make matters worse Mal Benning picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time. Overall Exeter deserved their win because they were better in both boxes, they defended well under pressure getting their bodies in the way of shots. And at the other end, they took two of their chances. After the game Exeter manager Paul Tisdale told Radio Devon that his team had not been as completely outplayed for as long a period as that by any other team this season. No consolation to the Stags though. It was easy to see why Exeter have been so successful away from home this season, they have the second best away record in the league with 7 away wins, as they caused Mansfield real problems when they broke quickly and with tremendous pace. This was Exeter’s first home win of the season, and just their third home win of 2016, and as already noted their style of play suits playing away more than at home. The two goals came as firstly, Lee Holmes got past Lee Collins on the left, got to the byline, and pulled back into the middle, where Ollie Watkins got away from Kevan Hurst into yards of space to fire in from 8 yards. Secondly Rhys Bennett slipped on the halfway line (or was fouled, impossible to tell in real time or indeed from the two camera angles on video that I have) allowing Watkins to break from inside his own half to just inside the area and fire into the bottom left corner out of reach of the outstretched right arm of Scott Shearer. No blame to the keeper for either goal. Plenty of disappointing performances in the Stags side for Steve Evans to reflect upon as he looks to build a stronger side for the second half of the season. The defence was poor, especially the full-backs. Hurst was very poor, Clements was very poor in the first half but much better in the second, and no-one could find the net, with Collins missing the best chance.
Mansfield had won their last 4 games here, 3 in the last 3 seasons. Exeter hadn’t won here all season, and just twice in 2016. Nothing could go wrong. .. Of course it could!
It was a lovely day for December, mild and dry with a bit of sun.
Exeter had brought in a scoreboard for this game, to test it out at no charge. It was much smaller than the large scoreboard at Mansfield but the clarity was superb. It was also capable of showing video highlights from previous games.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: Exeter City 2 Mansfield Town 0
chad.co.uk, by SPORTS REPORTER (Agency), Saturday 17 December 2016
Mansfield Town’s winless league run on the road stretches to four games as they went down 2-0 at Exeter City.
Ollie Watkins’ brace either side of the break separated the two sides as the Stags slipped to their first defeat at St James Park this century - with the last coming way back in 1999.
Malvind Benning saw red in stoppage-time for a second yellow card as the Stags were reduced to ten men.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/match-report-exeter-city-2-mansfield-town-0-1-8294684
Manager Steve Evans made two changes to the side that drew at Colchester United last time out for the trip down south.
Kevan Hurst and Pat Hoban came into the starting line-up with James Baxendale and Chris Hamilton the two to drop out.
The Stags had the first chance of the game as some scrappy hosts’ defending kept out efforts from Chris Clements and Matt Green.
After 19 minutes the visitors were behind as Watkins netted his fifth goal of the season.
Lee Holmes’ searing pace saw him prosper down the left with Watkins on hand to turn home his drilled cross from 12 yards out.
Minutes later and the Grecians’ lead was almost doubled with a fully stretched Ryan Bennett denying Reuben Reid an easy tap in.
Holmes almost found himself on the scoresheet as his thunderbolt of a strike narrowly flew past the post, before the midfielder curled another strike wide just before the break. Watkins should have doubled his tally two minutes before half time as he slammed his shot wide.
Jamie McGuire missed a couple of chances after the break to steal a point as Evans’ men piled on the pressure.
David Wheeler could have put the game to bed as his volley whistled wide after he beat Scott Shearer to the ball.
And he was nearly made to pay down the other end as Green continued the chase for an equaliser by hammering a strike wide with 20 minutes to go.
Christy Pym held onto his clean sheet by the skin of his teeth with a good reaction stop with his legs keeping out Darius Henderson.
But Watkins’ solo last-minute effort secured the points as he charged from halfway and calmly finished past Shearer.
Exeter: Pym, Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman, Wheeler, Taylor, James (Tillson 70), Holmes (Oakley 74), Reid (McAlinden 80), Watkins. Subs not used: Harley, Grant, Hamon, Croll.
Stags: Shearer, Collins, Pearce, Bennett, Benning, Clements, McGuire (Thomas 74), Hemmings, Hurst (Henderson 45), Hoban (Hamilton 45), Green. Subs not used: Baxendale, Jensen, D.Rose, M.Rose.
Referee: Kevin Johnson.
Attendance: 3,626 (124).
Exeter City 2 Mansfield Town 0: Match report - Watkins double gives nervy City first home win
exeterexpressandecho.co.uk, By David_Byrom, December 17, 2016
Ollie Watkins' two goals gave Exeter City their first home win of the season, as they beat Mansfield Town 2-0
Ollie Watkins' brace secured Exeter City their first home league win of the season as they overcame Mansfield Town 2-0.
The Grecians dominated the first half but only went into half-time 1-0 up thanks to Watkins' 19th-minute goal, and they then survived huge amounts of pressure and nerves in the second half before they wrapped up the win late on.
City boss Paul Tisdale made one change from the side who had beaten Cheltenham Town 3-1 a week previously, as captain Jordan Moore-Taylor recovered from illness to replace Matt Oakley in defence.
Read more at http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/exeter-city-2-mansfield-town-0-match-report-watkins-double-gives-nervy-city-first-home-win/story-29990855-detail/story.html#V5u4r3kxYzs7i2iI.99
Mansfield fielded a 4-4-2 formation that looked to press City with a high defensive line, but this saw them exposed time and again to a long ball over the top.
The game got off to an even start, with City striker Reuben Reid having an early penalty appeal correctly turned down and Ashley Hemmings curling a long-range effort just over for Mansfield.
Troy Brown then did well to dispossess Matt Green as the striker shaped to shot before some last-ditch defending from City blocked three efforts from the visitors in quick succession after a free-kick had caused a scramble in the penalty area.
Yet that was the last chance the visitors had in the first half as City stepped up their game to dominate proceedings, taking the lead in the 19th minute when Lee Holmes broke down the wing before pulling a perfect ball back for Ollie Watkins, who made no mistake from 12 yards.
City almost made it 2-0 two minutes later when David Wheeler beat Malvind Bennings to a long ball and rolled a pass across the face of goal, where Watkins, sliding in, was inches away from meeting it.
It was all City at this stage and, 10 minutes later, Watkins found space on the wing and got to the byline, sending in a low ball that Holmes almost backheeled into the net from close range.
Holmes had another chance to double the lead in the 35th minute when Watkins did well to flick a throw-in into his path, but his low volley from the corner of the box hit the side netting.
Watkins and Holmes were causing Mansfield all sorts of problems and the two combined to allow Holmes to cut inside and curl a low shot towards goal that went inches wide of the post.
The final chance of the half fell to Watkins, who fired in a low shot that went wide.
The opening period of the second half was a quiet affair, with City unable to re-find their feet and Mansfield seeing plenty of the ball after Steve Evans had made a double substitution at half-time, but not actually doing that much with it.
Jamie McGuire almost equalised for the visitors four minutes after half-time with a sweetly-struck volley from the edge of the area that flew just over Christy Pym's goal.
Ashley Hemmings then cut in from the right wing and fired a low shot wide, but that was as close as they came as they were restricted to long shots by a stubborn City backline.
A period of Mansfield pressure followed and, with City unable to clear their lines, McGuire had a low shot from long range deflect to the feet of Lee Collins in the penalty area, but the Mansfield captain's volleyed effort flew tamely over the bar.
At the other end, a perfectly-flighted free-kick into the box from the halfway line deceived Scott Shearer, who had come out of his goal to collect the ball, and found Wheeler, but the winger's first-time effort when under pressure from the Mansfield keeper rolled just wide of the goal.
However, that chance was against the run of play and City started to come under more and more pressure, with Green flashing a shot just wide and City's centre-backs Brown and Moore-Taylor blocking numerous efforts at goal.
Pym was then called into action for the first time in the game when veteran striker Darius Henderson - introduced as one of Mansfield's half-time subs - brought a high ball down in the area and slid in a cross-come-shot that the City keeper blocked with his legs.
Following this, Tisdale introduced Jordan Tillson and Matt Oakley for Lloyd James and Lee Holmes, who had a large amount of strapping on his knee, and switched to 4-3-3, which seemed to shore things up a little more.
City began to see more territory in advances areas, although were unable to create any chances, and, whulst they were still clearly nervous at the back, they continued to hold out against a Mansfield side that, for all their possession, did not carry much of a scoring threat.
As the game wore on, the pace of City's attack made them continually dangerous on the counter-attack and, moments after Jake Taylor rolled a shot just wide, Watkins burst forward on the counter-attack and slid a perfectly-placed shot past Shearer and into the bottom of the goal, causing St James's Park to erupt in relief.
Malvind Benning then saw red for a second bookable offence for Mansfield as City were able to see the game out and record their first home three points of the season.
It was nervy in the second half, but City held firm for a victory that will feel like a massive weight lifted.
Exeter City (4-5-1): Pym; Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman; Wheeler, Taylor, James (Tillson, 70), Watkins, Holmes (Oakley, 73); Reid (McAlinden, 80). Subs (not used): Hamon, Harley, Grant, Croll.
Mansfield Town: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Collins, Pearce, Clements, Hoban (Hamilton, 46), Green, Hurst (Henderson, 46), Hemmings, McGuire (Thomas, 73). Subs (not used): Jensen, Baxendale, Rose, Rose.
Attendance: 3,626 (124 away)
Exeter City 2 Mansfield Town 0: Player ratings and man of the match vote as City take first home win
exeterexpressandecho.co.uk, By David_Byrom, December 17, 2016
Ollie Watkins scored two goals for Exeter City as they ran out 2-0 winners over Mansfield Town
Here are Echo Sport's player ratings from Exeter City's 2-0 win over Mansfield Town.
Vote for your City man of the match from the game in our poll below.
Christy Pym - 7
Read more at http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/exeter-city-2-mansfield-town-0-player-ratings-and-man-of-the-match-vote-as-city-take-first-home-win/story-29990981-detail/story.html#0S60OI6uHMElMFwd.99
Did not have to make many saves, aside from a good stop with his legs to deny Darius Henderson midway through the second half, but controlled his box well and, overall, his distribution was good.
Jack Stacey - 7
Dealt well with the threat of Kevan Hurst in the first half, eventually causing the winger to have such a bad day he was substituted at half-time, and then played his part in a solid backline in the second half.
Troy Brown - 9
Yet another stunning display from City's centre-back, who produced a brilliant tackle to deny Matt Green just as the Mansfield striker was about to pull the trigger in the first half, and then put his body on the line in the second period with some tremendous blocks and headed clearances.
Read more: Exeter City 2 Mansfield Town 0: Paul Tisdale's reaction as Grecians record first home league win
Jordan Moore-Taylor - 8
City's captain showed no ill-effects from not playing for three weeks as he dealt brilliantly with Mansfield's bombardment of City's box in the second half, getting his body in the way of anything that came his way - a captain's performance.
Craig Woodman - 7
Whilst he did not hit the Beckenbauer-esque heights of last week, this was still a good performance from the left-back, who, aside from two moments where he was a little sloppy in possession, did not put a foot wrong.
David Wheeler - 7
Always an outlet for City, Wheeler faded a little in the second half when Mansfield dominated possession, but he was a constant danger in the first period and was unlucky not to have an assist to his name when Ollie Watkins was inches away from connecting with his ball across the face of goal.
Jake Taylor - 7
Taylor is quickly becoming known as a player who is willing to do the dirty work for City, as today's performance shows - whilst he was not too much of an attacking threat, aside from rolling a late shot across the face of goal, he was strong defensively.
Lloyd James - 5
Once again, James showed flashes of quality in the first half, but faded in the second period before eventually being replaced by Jordan Tillson.
Ollie Watkins - 9
Watkins' two goals will rightly grab the headlines, but his all-round play was superb, and his link-up play with Lee Holmes in the first half caused constant problems to Mansfield's defence.
Lee Holmes - 8
Holmes was arguably the best player on the pitch in the first half as he created the opening goal; breaking down the wing and pulling an inch-perfect cross back to Watkins, before unluckily seeing two of his own shots go just wide of either post. Came out with heavy strapping on his knee in the second half and seemed subdued before being replaced by Matt Oakley.
Reuben Reid - 7
The striker's never-say-die attitude in the first half carved a couple of opportunities from nothing for City, and he linked up well with City's other attackers, but he struggled to get into the game in the second period before being replaced with 10 minutes to go.
Jordan Tillson (for James, 70) - 6
Came on in a midfield role and was not too noticeable aside from one good tackle, but his introduction meant City changed to a 4-3-3 formation that helped weather the storm.
Matt Oakley (for Holmes, 73) - 6
Like Tillson, did not do anything too noticeable, but his introduction proved to be a calming influence on the side.
Liam McAlinden (for Reid, 80) - N/A
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