GUTTED STAGS DRAW WITH LUTON
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 2 Luton Town
Bennett 23, Angol 70. Collins 85, Hylton 89.
Attendance: 4665 (987 from Luton)
Date: 26 August 2017
GUTTED STAGS CONCEDE LATE GOALS THEN MISS PENALTY TO DRAW WITH LUTON
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
An extraordinary and pulsating game saw Mansfield somehow held to a 2-2 draw by Luton. It was terrific entertainment but the Stags were left wondering how on earth they did not win the game. A magnificent first half performance from Mansfield, as good as anything we’ve seen for a very long time, saw the Stags lead 1-0 with a Rhys Bennett goal on his first league start of the season, but Mansfield could have easily been further ahead. The Stags continued to be well on top in the second half and finally made it 2-0 with a fine finish 1-on-1 from Lee Angol. The Stags still led 2-0 with just 5 minutes left, but then collapsed defensively as Luton’s deadly strikers James Collins and Danny Hylton, neither of whom had had a sniff before that, pulled them level. Unbelievably Mansfield still had a chance to win it with a penalty on 90+5 minutes, but substitute Jimmy Spencer took a horrendous penalty, low and almost down the middle, which the keeper saved and Danny Rose knocked the rebound over. Stags players and fans were left stunned that Mansfield had somehow not won the game. When the dust settles, this was a tremendous performance from Mansfield through most of the game. But Mansfield have to get out of the habit quickly of conceding late goals. Top teams score late goals, rather than conceding them, and it has cost Mansfield again today. Angol and Mellis were Mansfield’s outstanding players today in an excellent all round team performance until that late collapse allowed Luton back into the game. If Mansfield continue to put in performances like this against weaker teams than title favourites Luton, they should win many more games than they lose.
Mansfield made five changes from the side that lost at Accrington.
There was a start for new signing Kane Hemmings, signed on loan for the season from Oxford, though he can be recalled by Oxford in January if they want to. In case you missed my trivia fact of the day earlier in the week: Kane Hemmings' dad, Tony Hemmings, was an unused sub against the Stags in 2000 (see report here). The signing of Hemmings, albeit only on loan, was the end of a long road and well done to Steve Evans and John and Carolyn Radford for their tireless efforts in trying to sign a goalscorer with a proven scoring record, after previously trying to sign Danny Hylton, James Collins, John Marquis, Tom Hopper, James Hanson, and perhaps others that I can’t be sure about.
Hemmings came in for Danny Rose. There were two changes in midfield. Jacob Mellis started after surprisingly not starting at Accrington when he had already fully recovered from a virus two weeks earlier. Mellis should be the first name on the team sheet in my opinion to provide that much-needed creativity. Joel Byrom also returned. Out went CJ Hamilton and Paul Digby. I had noted last week that Hamilton’s final product wasn’t good enough at Accrington and Digby fell below his usual standards. Two changes at the back as well. Zander Diamond missed out with a strain. Hayden White also missed out with Steve Evans saying pre-match that he didn’t impress in the last game. I had noted at Accrington that White was not at his best. In came David Mirfin, and Rhys Bennett in for his first league start. Alex MacDonald was on the bench for the first time since his injury.
Luton included marquee signing James Collins but yesterday’s signing Luke Berry was on the bench. Steve Evans said during the week that Mansfield were in the mix trying to sign Collins but he got too expensive for us and “it shows you the type of resources available at Luton”. He scored a hat-trick on his debut. And Luton added to that by signing arguably the best attacking midfielder in League Two in Berry.
Before the game, there was a minute’s applause for former manager Duncan Russell, who passed away a week ago after a short battle with cancer. Russell had led the Stags to the FA Trophy final at Wembley in 2011. He was genuinely a lovely bloke. Deepest condolences to his family. RIP Russ.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Mansfield Town chuck two points away after Luton Town launch fightback
chad.co.uk, by STEPHEN THIRKILL, Saturday 26 August 2017
Mansfield Town chucked away two points after a two late goals and a missed penalty cost them dear against Luton Town. It looked like Mansfield Town had been cruising to three points following goals from Rhys Bennett and Lee Angol in each half. But Luton somehow scored two goals in the last five minutes through James Collins and Danny Hylton as they fought back from the dead. Rhys Bennett had given Stags the lead on 23 minutes when he prodded home from Joel Bryom’s cross. Lee Angol cooly finished after being put clean through on 71 minutes with what looked like a goal-clinching goal. But battling Luton gave themselves hope when James Collins tapped home from close range with five minutes left after Stags had switched off. And the unlikely comeback was completed when an unmarked Danny Hylton headed home from close range. Even at that stage Stags were given a lifeline deep into stoppage time when Scott Cuthbert was ruled to have handled in the box. But sub Jimmy Spencer then saw his weakly hit shot straight down the middle saved before the rebound was blazed over the bar. It was rough justice on a Mansfield side who had bossed 85 of 90 minutes of football and should have emerged with three points to show for it. New loan signing Kane Hemmings came straight into the Stags squad as part of five changes to the line-up. And he showed his goal threat within the first two minutes when he broke free down the right before blazing over. Stags nearly scored a minute late when a clearance hit Paul Anderson and lifted just over the bar. Rhys Bennett headed wide from a 12th minute corner as Mansfield continued to enjoy the best of the early play. Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu dragged an effort wide on 17 minutes during a rare attack for the Hatters. Stags hit the front when Rhys Bennett poked home from close range after Luton failed to Joel Bryom’s cross on 22 minutes. Lee Angol warmed Marek Stech’s hands with a free-kick on the half hour mark as Mansfield continued to push. Alan Sheehan floated an inswinging free-kick just wide of the back post on 34 minutes. Danny Hylton smashed a volley over moments after the restart as Luton came out fighting. Stech then beat away a Jacob Mellis Piledriver seconds later after a great surging run. Dan Potts headed over on the stretch on 53 minutes as Luton stepped up the pressure a touch. Mal Benning dragged a cross/shot a foot wide and out of range of the chasing Stags attackers. But it didn’t matter when Lee Angol clinically finished on 71 minutes. Yet Stags somehow managed to switch off and Luton reduced the arrears on 81 minutes through James Collins. That spurred Luton on as Mansfield sat back to defend their precious points. And they were unable to hold on when Danny Hylton had the simplest of headers after finding himself all alone two yards out. Mansfield remained the architects of their own downfall when Spencer, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes, hit a tame penalty straight at Marek Stech before Danny Rose hammered the rebound over.
Mansfield Town: Logan 5, Bennett 8, Pearce 6, Mirfin 6, Benning 6, Atkinson 6, Mellis 7 (Digby 75, 5) Byrom 7, Anderson 9, Angol 7 (Spencer 89), Hemmings 7 (Rose 82 6). Subs not used: MacDonald, Olejnik, Taft, Sterling-James.
Luton: (4-4-2): Stech 6, Stacey 7, Cuthbert7 , Sheehan 6, Potts 6, McCormack 6 (Rea 59, 6), Lee 7 (Cornick 75, 5), Mpanzu 6, Shinnie 6 (Berry 59, 6) ) Collins 7 Hylton 7. Subs not used: Justin, Gambin, Shea, Lee.
Ref: Ross Joyce. Att: 4,665.
Stags man-of-the-match: Rhys Bennett.
Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-chuck-two-points-away-after-luton-town-launch-fightback-1-8723704
MATCH REPORT: MANSFIELD 2 LUTON TOWN 2
Hatters fight back from two down to take a valuable point
The Hatters fought back from two goals down at promotion rivals Mansfield this afternoon to take a valuable point home after a thrilling second half at the One Call Stadium.
Pre-season title favourites Mansfield had taken a two-goal lead with goals either side of half-time from Rhys Bennett and Lee Angol.
But Hatters boss Nathan Jones threw Luke Berry on for his debut and Harry Cornick as a third striker, and the changes paid off with James Collins and Danny Hylton - with his first goal of the season on his 50th Town appearances - netting in the last five minutes of normal time to level as the first part of the late drama.
Then, with five minutes of added time up, goalkeeper Marek Stech produced his second brilliant penalty save in the opening four matches of the season to preserve the point after captain Scott Cuthbert had been harshly adjudged to have handled in the penalty area.
Jones made one change from last week’s home win over Colchester, with Cuthbert returning to the starting line-up after missing the 3-0 win over the U’s at Kenilworth Road last Saturday through injury.
Cuthbert replaced Glen Rea at the heart of defence, while new signing Berry - whose move from Cambridge United was completed on Friday in time for him to be eligible for today’s fixture - was on the bench.
The hosts had the first sight of goal with just over a minute on the clock when former Hatters youngster Angol put Kane Hemmings in the clear to the right if the area, but his shot flew well over the bar into the travelling Town fans.
Then, seconds later, right-back Rhys Bennett’s cross caused consternation in the Town six-yard box as Angol went in to challenge Stech, with Jack Stacey’s clearance at the far post hitting Stags skipper Paul Anderson but, thankfully, again the rebound went over the bar.
Mansfield were looking strong in the opening ten minutes, and Alan Sheehan had to be alert to get back goal-side of Hemmings in the ninth minute as the striker looked to profit on another ball over the top, the Irish defender producing a perfectly timed tackle as the Stags man prepared to shoot.
Bennett had a free header from a Joel Byrom corner on 13 minutes that went well wide, then Sheehan had to get across again to deny the rampaging right-back before Anderson shot wide from the edge of the box with a quarter-of-an-hour gone.
The Hatters grew into the game and Sheehan, Olly Lee and Andrew Shinnie combined down the left for the latter to deliver a dangerous cross that James Collins couldn’t quite get on the end of.
Their first sight of goal came in the 18th minute when Shinnie set up Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu for a right-footed shot from 20 yards, but his effort was screwed well wide when a ball to Collins just to his right might have been the better option.
Mansfield took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute after Dan Potts had been shown a yellow card for bringing Angol down in full flow on the Stags’ right. Byrom whipped in a deep free-kick that travelled through a host of bodies in the penalty area and found Bennett waiting to prod home at the far post.
The Hatters fashioned a good chance for an equaliser on the half-hour when Olly Lee and Shinnie worked the ball into Collins on the left, but his strike partner Hylton was prevented from getting on the end of the low cross by a sliding challenge from David Mirfin.
At the other end Stech collected an Angol free-kick safely, then - after Shinnie had been brought down on the Hatters’ right by Anderson - Sheehan curled in a 37th minute free-kick that beat everyone and travelled just wide of the far post.
Town finished the half on the front foot, Shinnie cutting in from the left and firing a low shot that Logan got down to deal with at his near post, but it was the Stags who went in at the break with the single-goal lead.
The Hatters came out of the blocks quickly, Hylton nutmegging Mal Benning on his way to the right byline and cutting back an inviting cross for Collins, but the ex-Crawley man’s volley flew high into the Town supporters behind the goal just 40 seconds into the half.
Almost immediately Mansfield had another go, Stech flying across his goal to push a Jacob Mellis shot away, but Town were looking much more the part after the interval.
Olly Lee did extremely well on the right wing to feed Shinnie just inside the box, but the Scot’s cross-shot was blocked by Logan and Byrom turned the ball behind for a corner, which Lee delivered onto Potts’ head, although the left-back couldn’t keep his effort down.
Lee was starting to have a growing influence on the right, but it was his flick into space for midfield partner Shinnie that resulted in the on-loan Birmingham man picking up an injury that would soon end his afternoon, his studs appearing to catch in the turf as he attempted to turn.
Shinnie’s 58th-minute departure brought new signing Berry into the action for his Town debut as part of a double substitution, with Rea also coming on for Alan McCormack, the former Brighton man dropping into a back three, with Berry the furthest forward in a new five-man midfield.
Logan held a 25-yard free-kick from Sheehan after Hylton had been pushed by Krystian Pearce, and the Town were taking a firmer grip on the game, but it was the hosts who had the next attempt, Benning firing across Stech in the 70th minute, but safely wide from the Hatters’ perspective.
That wasn’t the case a minute later, however, when Angol burst into the left side of the penalty area and slipped his shot past the advancing Stech for the Stags’ second goal.
Hemmings was soon trying to increase the Mansfield advantage, but his left-foot half-volley was well wide, then Jones made his third and final substitution with 15 minutes to go - Cornick thrown on as part of a front three, with Olly Lee making way.
The recent signing from Bournemouth was the next Town player to have a go, his curling 84th-minute effort after cutting in from the left flank was always rising though.
A minute later the Town halved the deficit, Stacey racing to the right byline and sliding a terrific low cross into the six-yard box for Collins to ram home his fifth goal of the season.
Then, four minutes later and with just a minute of normal time remaining, came the leveller. Cuthbert took a short throw to Hylton and then the captain slung a deep cross to the far post, where Potts and Collins kept the ball live, the former delivering a delightful chip into the middle for Hylton to nod home.
Two minutes into five added on the Town looked to have created a chance to win it, Mpanzu flying down the right and eventually shooting wide after getting the ball back from Stacey.
Then, with five minutes of injury time up, came the late drama.
Will Atkinson threw a cross in from the right and referee Joyce pointed to the penalty spot after Cuthbert flicked the ball clear at the far post, penalising the centre-half for an apparent handball - although replays suggested it had been headed by the skipper.
Stech dived low to his left to keep out Spencer’s penalty with another stunning save, then Rose blasted the rebound over as the Town clung onto take a valuable, hard-earned point back down the M1.
TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Cuthbert, Sheehan, Potts, McCormack (Rea 58), Mpanzu, O Lee (Cornick 75), Shinnie (Berry 58), Hylton, Collins. Subs: Justin, Gambin, Shea (GK), E Lee
Yellows: Potts, McCormack, Sheehan, Cuthbert, Stech
Goals: Collins 85, Hylton 89
MANSFIELD: Logan, Bennett, Benning, Pearce, Mellis (Digby 75), Angol (Spencer 90), Anderson ©, Atkinson, Mirfin, Hemmings (Rose 82), Byrom. Subs: Olejnik (GK), MacDonald, Taft, Sterling-James.
Yellows: Mellis, Benning, Hemmings, Byrom, Angol, Bennett
Goals: Bennett 23, Angol 71
REFEREE: Ross Joyce
ATTENDANCE: 4,665 (987 Hatters)
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