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STAGS PLAY GREAT FOOTBALL BUT MISS CHANCES AND GET
15th March 2017 21:10


English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Plymouth Argyle
Bradley 69, Carey 74
Attendance: 4546 (657 from Plymouth)

Date: 11 March 2017

STAGS PLAY GREAT FOOTBALL BUT MISS CHANCES AND GET PUNISHED

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

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-0 at home by second placed Plymouth after missing a hatful of very good chances in the first half. Plymouth had barely been in the game when they took the lead on 69 minutes as Graham Carey’s excellent set piece delivery from the right was headed in at the far post as Sonny Bradley rose above Rhys Bennett to head in. Poor defending which Steve Evans was disappointed about after the game. Five minutes later the game was effectively over as Carey fired in a wonderful free kick from 27 yards. Two pieces of great play from Carey, whose quality had enabled Plymouth to win the game, just as he did at Home Park earlier in the season. The first half saw Mansfield play arguably their best 45 minutes of attacking football this season, but unable to take any of several glorious chances. The Stags created 4 chances in just the opening 10 minutes, as Ben Whiteman’s cross-shot from the left just missed at the far post with Matt Green unable to get anything on it to turn it in. Then Alex MacDonald broke the offside trap and with just the keeper to beat, McCormick pushed his shot wide. Then a great ball from Whiteman, Green outmuscled the defence but his attempted lob was saved by McCormick high above his head. And finally MacDonald’s cushioned volley from 6 yards was straight at McCormick. The chances kept on coming, on 19 minutes, as Green did well to set up Whiteman who lashed over the bar from 10 yards. On 27 minutes, great play from Mal Benning to set up Whiteman again, but he side-footed wide when unmarked. Controversy on 34 minutes as CJ Hamilton made a great run towards goal and was cynically hacked down by Sokolik who was only booked, when it seemed to us that it was a genuine goalscoring opportunity and should have warranted a red card. Plymouth weren’t in it in the first half and just had one chance when Carey fired just wide from a free kick. The Stags will have to lick their wounds and go again at Colchester on Tuesday, so badly needing to find their goalscoring form again. Evans has been switching around his striker combinations and will probably give Danny Rose his chance to start. Despite failing to score in 3 games, taking just 2 points, the Stags are still just two points outside the play-offs with all to play to for.

FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE

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REPORT: Mansfield Town 0-2 Plymouth Argyle
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS,Saturday 11 March 2017

Wasteful Mansfield Town had only themselves to blame for this afternoon’s 2-0 home defeat by title-chasers Plymouth Argyle.

With Stags wasting a wealth of first half chances to score, the visitors had not even managed a shot on target until the 69th minute when they scored against the run of play before sealing the points five minutes later, Graham Carey making the first and scoring the second.

For so long leaders in the division, Plymouth’s recent stutter of one win in six had seen them drop to second place.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/report-mansfield-town-0-2-plymouth-argyle-1-8433992#comments-area

But Carey’s magic saw them pull off a win against the odds - their third win over Mansfield in all competitions this season - and left Steve Evans’ men with only two points from the last nine and facing a tough trip to Colchester on Tuesday. There were plenty of fine home performances with Joel Byrom pulling the strings in the middle, Alex MacDonald a constant menace and Hayden White in fine form on the right. But a third game without a goal saw Stags’ hopes of a return to the top seven ended for this weekend. The home side showed two changes with top scorer Matt Green returning up front while Byrom was restored to central midfield with Paddy Hoban and Jamie McGuire left out. Frontman Danny Rose was also back from injury on the bench. Quite how the Stags failed to score in a dominant first half is a mystery. They had eight shots, five on target, compared to Argyle’s one shot off target and the visitors will have gone in relieved to be on level terms. Ben Whiteman was inches wide of the far post and MacDonald saw his shot from a narrow angle saved by Luke McCormick in an exciting first three minutes as Mansfield started on the front foot. Matt Green just failed to life a poor Gary Sawyer backheader over the keeper and MacDonald volleyed tamely at McCormick before we had even reached the 10-minute mark. Plymouth’s one chance came on 18 minutes when Carey lifted a central 20-yard free kick over the wall but narrowly wide. The home side resumed the offensive and MacDonald was well over after great work by Green, then on 27 minutes Whiteman sidefooted the best opening wide from 16 yards after great approach play by Benning. Rhys Bennett headed a corner at the keeper and MacDonald sent a free kick at him before the break. The momentum was not lost in the interval and soon after the break McCormick had to quickly change direction to keep out Hamilton’s far post header. MacDonald then warmed McCormick’s hands with a low 20 yard first time shot from the right. Almost inevitably, the visitors broke the deadlock with their first effort on target on 69 minutes. Carey thought he’d won a penalty from Hamilton’s challenge, but the referee adjudged a free kick just outside the box on the right. Carey floated that to the far post and Bradley was unmarked to power home a close range header. The points were then sealed by an outstanding free kick by Carey five minutes later. Pearce brought down Carey 25 yards out and Carey picked out the top left corner with sublime ease. Over the 90 minutes Stags had eight shots on target and seven off with Argyle producing just two on target and one off. The corner count was also 7-1 in Mansfield’s favour, but in the end all that pressure counted for nothing.

STAGS: Shearer, White, Pearce, Benning, Benning, Collins (Rose 76), Whiteman, Byrom, Hamilton, MacDonald (Potter 84), Green (Coulthirst 76). Subs not used: Jensen, McGuire, Baxendale, Arquin.

PLYMOUTH: McCormick, Threlkeld, Sokolik, Bradley, Sawyer, Songo’o, Fox (Miller 88), Carey, Donaldson, Slew (Jervis 62), Taylor (Spencer HT). Subs not used: Bulvitis, Blissett, Tanner, Dorel.

REFEREE: Richard Clark of Northumberland.

ATTENDANCE: 4,546 (657 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Joel Byrom.

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Travel Smart
pafc.co.uk, Sat 11 Mar 2017, by Rick Cowdery

ARGYLE returned from a second visit of the season to Mansfield with three valuable points, and matchwinner Graham Carey hopes they have also brought back a little of their away-day savvy with them.
Playmaker Graham set up Sonny Bradley for the 69th-minute opener in the 2-0 victory at One Call Stadium before firing home a sweet free-kick five minutes later to seal the Pilgrims’ 11th away win of the Sky Bet League Two campaign and 23rd triumph on the road in their last 40 league road-trips.

The win, which cemented Argyle’s position in the automatic promotion spots and kept them tucked in behind leaders Doncaster Rovers, was a triumph for tactics and resilience.

The first hour saw a disciplined defensive display which laid the foundations for the late goal-double that secured a third victory of the season over the play-off chasing Stags, who had lost only one of their previous 13 matches.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” said Graham. “We knew they are quite a physical team and like to get the ball forward very quickly.

Read more at http://www.pafc.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/travel-smart-3620637.aspx#e1oKwt4Qc5WPypem.99

“We said, before the game, that we needed to give ourselves the basis to work ourselves into the game and it was tough, first half, but I thought we dug in.

“We always know there are goals in the team, especially with set-pieces, so we knew we needed to keep ourselves in the game and we’ll eventually score; keep a clean sheet and we’ll win.

“We know, when we come away from home, that we can sit in, and we have a lot of attacking players to go and punish teams on the break; that’s what we have done.”

Argyle now travel to Wycombe on Tuesday - a night of the week which has proved their Achilles heel at Home Park this season.

“So many times this season, we’ve given ourselves too much to do in games,” said Graham. “We’ve kind of, not gone gung-ho, but we’ve gone and attacked teams too early and we’ve got countered, and then we’re chasing the game.

“We just haven’t been performing to our standards; we know that and we have to address it, but we know, coming away from home, we’re always dangerous. I think we have one of the best away records in the league, and it shows.

“It’s important we just keep ourselves in games. We know the fitness levels in the squad and I think it showed, pushing towards the last 10-15 minutes of the game - we were closing down and the shape we showed [was good], as well.

“Possibly, we need to do that at a little bit at home, as well. A lot of the time, we go out straight from kick-off, try to attack teams, and get countered, and, if you give teams one or two goal leads in this league, they are going to set up defensively and just counter you, and it’s going to be really difficult.

“We know we can cause people problems in the later part of the game; we just need to be in them.”

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Match Report Mansfield 0 - 2 Plymouth
pafc.co.uk, by Rick Cowdery

Plymouth:
Sonny Bradley (69)
Graham Carey (74)

Cards
Mansfield:
Krystian Pearce (73)
Plymouth:
Jakub Sokolik (34)
Ryan Donaldson (80)

ARGYLE manager Derek Adams had talked in midweek about being happy to forego an eye-catching display in favour of a three points and, although it would be vastly overstretching things to say he had his wish granted at One Call Stadium, a third win over Mansfield this season was about guts as well as glory.

Sonny Bradley and Graham Carey got the goals, but such was the nature of the win and Adams’s superbly executed spot-on tactics that it would have been no surprise to see ‘Smash’ and ‘Grab’ on the scoresheet.

For an hour, the Pilgrims soaked up pretty well everything that their in-form hosts could throw at them. They bent a few times, and creaked a few more, but thanks to their ability, character and the division’s best goalkeeper, they simply refused to be broken.

Read more at http://www.pafc.co.uk/fixtures-results/match-report/index.aspx?matchid=3926655&tcmuri=3155422#839LSLvjsUyhEzX7.99

Then, Bradley’s sixth goal of the season - all with his head - in the 69th minute and Carey’s free-kick five minutes later secured the Pilgrims their 11th away win of the campaign. They have worked no harder for any of them.

Adams had made two changes from the side beaten by Blackpool at Home Park in midweek, one up front and one at the back.

On-loan Cardiff City forward Matty Kennedy was ruled out through injury, leading to a recall for Jordan Slew, after ten games on the substitutes’ bench, to the scene of probably his best game as a Pilgrim and possibly his greatest career goal - the opener in Argyle’s 2-1 Emirates FA Cup win at One Call Stadium on Guy Fawkes Day.

The other recall was for Czech defender Jakub Sokolik, who resumed his centre-back partnership with ever-present Sonny Bradley, allowing Yann Songo’o to yo-yo back to central defensive midfield. Ryan Donaldson, who had occupied that position against the Tangerines, retained his place in the side, moving to the right side of midfield and relegating Jake Jervis from the starting 11.

The Pilgrims’ starting line-up showed five differences from the one that had begun the November cup-tie, as did that of their hosts. Mansfield had also changed manager in the interim, Steve Evans coming in after the dismissal of Adam Murray.

The most notable name on the Stags’ team sheet was that of forward Alex MacDonald, who scored six goals in 35 appearances for Argyle in 2012 at the beginning of a career which has since taken in Burton and Oxford, who he left in the January transfer-window to continue his affinity with the colour yellow.

MacDonald almost caught his former employers napping in the opening minutes, sprinting into space to seize on to a quickly-taken free-kick before composing himself and firing in a shot low to Luke McCormick’s near post that the Argyle ’keeper saved well. The move set the pattern for the first half.

McCormick’s alertness was tested soon afterwards as Mansfield sought to hit the Pilgrims with speed of thought and sharpness of movement. Their top pin, Matt Green, chased down Sokolik, facing his own goal, forced him into an imprecise header back to the Greens’ custodian and then nipped in to volley a chip goalwards that McCormick clawed away with the tips of his fingers.

After soaking it up, Argyle started to make some decent headway and nearly went ahead when Donaldson won two free-kicks in quick succession. The first was too far away to make decent use of although the second saw Carey send an exquisite shot curling over the defensive wall that left Stags’ goalkeeper Scott Shearer flat-footed but drifted just wide of the goal.

Mansfield, though, looked the more potent, and Ben Whiteman twice found himself in more space than he should have been afforded, but wasted the opportunities by failing to find the target on either occasion. Centre-back Krystian Pearce did send a header from a corner goalwards, but McCormick was squarely behind the rather tame effort.

Mansfield’s pace and eye for a break continued to cause problems for Argyle and, when CJ Hamilton caught them on their heels ten minutes before the break, Sokolik was obliged to take direct action. His cynically calculated foul summarily halted the danger and earned him a yellow card which, on another day, might have been red. MacDonald’s free-kick beat the wall, but not McCormick.

Argyle limped to the interval, literally in the case of Ryan Taylor and Gary Sawyer, who had suffered knocks during the testing first half, without suffering any more scares and hoping, no doubt, that they had drawn the sting from their eager hosts.

Taylor failed to show for the second 45 minutes, with fellow Yorkie Jimmy Spencer replacing him in a like-for-like exchange but the switch did little, initially, to alter the pattern of the match.

After a quiet spell following the resumption, Mansfield sprang into life and, when Hamilton got ahead on MacDonald’s cross at the far post, it needed all the experience and anticipation of McCormick to keep the ball out of the goal. That was followed by an excellently timed tackle from Sokolik to not only prevent a possibly fatal Stags attack, but also to avoid a sending-off.

MacDonald sent a speculative shot into McCormick’s near post before Jervis was sent on in place of Slew. Imperceptibly, Argyle began to make gentle headway, with Carey moving into the middle and getting on the ball a lot more.

He was moved off it by Hamilton after dropping a shoulder and heading for the penalty area. It looked like the collision had happened inside the box but referee Richard Clark ruled otherwise.

No matter. Carey curled a left-foot shot towards the far post, where Bradley’s only competitor for the ball was his own team-mate Songo’o, and Bradley was not for being beaten to the wonderful delivery by anyone.

Carey continued to be central to the Pilgrims’ revival. Literally. Within five minutes from architecting the breakthrough, he gave Argyle the breathing space that had barely seemed possible for the first hour.

When he was poleaxed by Pearce in front of goal 25 yards out, there was no doubt that he would bounce up to take the kick himself, and there was only marginally more doubt that he would have the beating of Shearer. This time, the ball was on target.

Goals change matches, for sure; two of them so closely together doubled that effect. Argyle appeared to have an extra yard in their legs, Mansfield a yard less in theirs.

Gary Miller was sent on for his first appearance since Anfield to shore things up, and they saw the game out with calm to a continual chorus of Twist ’n’ Shout.

Shake it up, baby.

Mansfield Town (4-2-3-1): 1 Scott Shearer; 16 Hayden White, 5 Krystian Pearce, 2 Rhys Bennett, 3 Mal Benning; 4 Lee Collins (capt, 7 Shaquile Coulthirst 76), 26 Joel Byrom; 18 Alex MacDonald (8 Alfie Potter 84), 28 Ben Whiteman, 22 CJ Hamilton; 10 Matt Green (32 Danny Rose 76). Substitutes (not used): 11 James Baxendale, 12 Brian Jensen (gk), 17 Yoann Arquin, 24 Jamie McGuire.

Booked: Pearce 74.

Argyle (4-2-3-1): 23 Luke McCormick (capt); 18 Oscar Threlkeld, 31 Jakub Sokolik, 15 Sonny Bradley, 3 Gary Sawyer; 4 Yann Songo’o, 24 David Fox (2 Gary Miller 88); 11 Ryan Donaldson, 10 Graham Carey, 8 Jordan Slew (14 Jake Jervis 62); 14 Ryan Taylor (9 Jimmy Spencer half-time). Substitutes (not used): 5 Nauris Bulvitis, 13 Nathan Blissett, 21 Vincent Dorel, 27 Craig Tanner.

Booked: Sokolik 34, Donaldson 80.

Referee: Richard Clark.

Attendance: 4,546 (657 away).

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Graham Carey reminds doubters why he must be the first name on the Plymouth Argyle teamsheet
By BEREN CROSS, @BerenCross, plymouthherald.co.uk

GRAHAM Carey reminded anyone who had doubted him over the past few weeks of his ability to win points for Plymouth Argyle on his own at Mansfield Town on Saturday.

For what felt like every second of the match, the hosts were on top and in charge of this contest, and the best the Pilgrims could hope for would be a 0-0 draw.

There were a number of close scares and while the Stags should have scored on several occasions, the Pilgrims defended admirably, especially in the second half when they looked assured and up to the challenge.

Read more at http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/graham-carey-reminds-doubters-why-he-must-be-the-first-name-on-the-plymouth-argyle-teamsheet/story-30196618-detail/story.html#3cdUlyzX4QKyHfw4.99

However, if a man like Carey decides to play and switches it on, the momentum and flow of a match counts for very little.

With Derek Adams barking instructions down the touchline in his ear, Carey decided to switch up the free-kick from deep and play it short to Fox, who then put the Irishman in down the right flank.

He took it at a tight angle and rushed into the box, drawing the foul and earning what the referee felt was a free-kick.

From the resulting Sonny Bradley goal, everything lifted among the Pilgrims, with the elevation led by Carey, whose confidence was booming.

While in the first half, nothing seemed to stick for Argyle's top goalscorer, he suddenly rediscovered his creative spark.

It was that spark which fuelled the run at Krystian Pearce on the edge of the box, drawing yet another foul and this time a far more dangerous and central free-kick.

Whether he is in form or not, you cannot drop players of Carey's quality because of the way he can dig out a free-kick as he did here for the second goal.

That quality is hard to find at this level and on Saturday he reminded everybody just how important he is as an individual when the Argyle collective are struggling to find a way to win.

Just as the Green Army sing it, Adams and Argyle will be proud to say 'We've got Carey' tonight.

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