SUPERB STAGS WIN AT WYCOMBE
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Wycombe Wanderers 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Akinfenwa 7. Potter 52, Angol 81
Attendance: 4227 (299 from Mansfield)
Date: 30 December 2017
Martin Shaw at Adams Park
Mansfield Town produced a barnstorming second half performance to come from behind to win at high-flying Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon. Wycombe had previously won 6 home games in a row in all competitions. It was the second time this season Mansfield have won after going behind (the first being the Cambridge game). Mansfield are now only outside the play-off zone on goal difference, level on points with Wycombe who are in 6th place, three points behind 3rd placed Lincoln, and seven points behind 2nd placed Notts County. Mansfield’s run is now extended to just one loss in the last 17 games in all competitions. The first half, on a windy afternoon, was the Adebayo Akinfenwa show as the Stags defence simply couldn’t cope with him. Nicknamed The Beast, he bullied the Stags defence into submission and could have had four first half goals on his own. He opened the scoring on 7 minutes. Poor defending by Alfie Potter on the left as right back Dominic Gape got past him to the byline and chipped a cross to the far post where Akinfenwa got the better of Zander Diamond to powerfully head past keeper Bobby Olejnik from 6 yards. In fairness to Diamond, he had been hit in the face by a free kick 4 minutes earlier, and had to go off injured as a result 10 minutes later having tried to struggle on. On 10 minutes, Akinfenwa nearly had a second goal as he headed Joe Jacobson’s corner towards the right corner of the net, but Olejnik pushed it away. On 45+3 minutes, a lucky ricochet presented Akinfenwa with a free shot at goal from 16 yards and he fired against the outside of the left post, the ball came out to Nathan Tyson who fired goalwards and Olejnik made a fine save tipping it over the bar. From the resulting corner, Akinfenwa headed just wide at the far post. Akinfenwa on his own could have had four goals, but the Stags had just about hung in there despite a poor first half performance. Steve Evans told me after the game that he said to his centre halves Krystian Pearce and Rhys Bennett at half time that they had been bullied out of it and needed to do better in the second half. They agreed, and they certainly did brilliantly in the second half. The second half was an astonishing turn around. The Stags produced a barnstorming second half performance that had Wycombe well and truly on the ropes for almost its entirety. Lee Angol had had a sight of goal on 47 minutes, then on 50 minutes great play down on the left involving Benning and Hamilton set up another chance for Angol, but the keeper smothered his shot. The Stags were level on 52 minutes. Mal Benning’s free kick was superbly headed down by Pearce to Hamilton, whose shot was blocked and fell kindly for Alfie Potter who sidefooted under the keeper into the net from 10 yards. It certainly atoned for his first half error. Great play from the Stags on 55 minutes, as Potter found Anderson who crossed in from the right to Angol, who played to Mellis, back to Angol, and Angol fired over from the edge of the box. On 57 minutes, Potter got into the area on the right, and went down. It was a bit too far away for me to see if it should be a penalty, but John Peers texting into our commentary on iFollow Stags from behind the goal and with a good view, thought it should have been. From the pitchside video, Jacobson sticks out a leg as Potter cuts inside him, Potter goes down, Jacobson withdraws his leg and protests his innocence. I think that was a penalty, though it is a very hard one to tell, and the referee probably couldn’t tell. The referee did not book Potter for diving. Benning shot wide of the left post on 58 minutes. Another chance for Mansfield on 59 minutes, Potter crossed, Angol controlled and his shot was blocked by the keeper. The ball looped up, Angol headed back across goal, but the ball was cleared. The chances kept on coming, a shot from Mellis on 62 minutes was deflected for a corner, then MacDonald shot over from 14 yards on 63 minutes. The Stags got the goal their second half play merited on 81 minutes and what a goal it was. A throw-in from Benning to Potter on the left, Potter played forward to the overlapping Benning with a wonderful little reverse pass, Benning crossed low across the edge of the six-yard box and it was just a fraction behind Lee Angol who magnificently back-flicked it across the keeper and into the net. What skill from Angol and a goal his second half play merited. Wycombe had been well and truly on the ropes but launched a fightback into the final 5 minutes. On 84 minutes, Dan Scarr headed straight at Olejnik from a cross from the left. On 90+1 minutes, Olejnik had to stretch to tip a dangerous cross from Nick Freeman over the bar. From the resulting corner, Wycombe claimed for a penalty which was not given. From the video, Mackail-Smith lofted a shot towards the roof of the net from 4 yards. Angol, who was about a yard away, blocked the ball with his right arm, with his elbow sticking slightly out from by his side. From the video, you can see that the referee had a perfect view and carried on. It was a difficult one for the referee (as was the Potter possible penalty earlier). It could have been given, and I would say the two incidents evened themselves out. The Wycombe keeper Scott Brown came up for the next corner, but there was a header well wide. On 90+4 minutes, an 80 yard ball forward from Jacobson straight into the box, Akinfenwa flicked on but wide of the right post, and Mansfield had the victory. An incredible second half recovery, and the result of the season in my opinion, considering the high flying opposition who had won 6 on the trot at home, considering how Mansfield had been bullied out of it in the first half, and considering how Mansfield coped with losing the spine of the team: Danny Rose and Zander Diamond forced off with injury on 18 minutes, and Conrad Logan out ill with a virus, plus other players affected by the virus. Some super performances, Mal Benning was terrific going forward (on as substitute), Paul Anderson played very well at right wing-back then at right back, Bobby Olejnik made three good saves, Alex MacDonald worked so hard throughout, Alfie Potter recovered from poor defending for Wycombe’s goal to have an outstanding second half going forward, and Lee Angol gave Wycombe plenty of problems culminating in that wonderful goal. There is little time to enjoy this victory and recover, as the Stags are in action again in less than 48 hours at home to Carlisle. If it’s anything like this game, you won’t want to miss it. Come on Mansfield!
Steve Evans was forced into changes from the draw at Grimsby due to a virus in the camp. Conrad Logan was not 100% and sat out the game on the bench, with Bobby Olejnik coming in for his first league start. Hayden White was also suffering from the illness and did not travel. There were others too including 2 or 3 who started the game though they were not named. Steve Evans also noted to me that not all players tell the truth about whether they are feeling ill for fear of not getting their place back if they lose it. I predicted that Mansfield would revert to 3 at the back as they had won here with this formation last season, and indeed Steve Evans did do this. Paul Anderson filled in at right wing back, CJ Hamilton was at left wing back in a very attacking formation. Mellis and MacDonald were behind Potter in midfield in a 3-4-1-2 formation. Steve Evans told me before the game that we had drawn too many games and it was time to be bold with an attacking formation, we needed to win more, even if it meant sometimes losing.
Wycombe were unchanged from the side that beat Newport on Boxing Day. They had won 6 home games in a row in all competitions.
It was a windy day in Bucks. Wycombe had the wind behind them in the first half, Mansfield had it in the second half.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: Wycombe Wanderers lose to Mansfield Town 2-1 in feisty game at Adams Park
Wycombe Wanderers finished 2017 in a low note as they lost 2-1 against Mansfield Town in a fiery encounter at Adams Park.
Lee Angol got the winner for The Stags on 80 minutes when he flicked CJ Hamilton's low cross with aplomb past Scott Brown.
The winner was tinged with controversy with Angol lucky to be on the pitch after lashing out at Dan Scarr midway through the second half.
Wanderers got off to the dream start on six minutes when Dominic Gape got free down the right and played in the perfect cross for Adebayo Akinfenwa to head home brilliantly past Bobby Olejnik.
However, Mansfield started like a train in the second half and Alife Potter slotted past Brown on 51 minutes to equalise for Steve Evans' side before Angol's late winner.
The Blues were on top from the get-go, putting the Mansfield defence under severe pressure.
Akinfenwa almost made it two on nine minutes when he met Joe Jacobson’s corner with a firm header which was superbly tipped away by Olejnik.
Mansfield’s afternoon got worse as they were forced into a double change after just 17 minutes, with Zander Diamond and Danny Rose being forced off through injury.
The Stags were trying to get a foothold in the game but Wycombe were proving well drilled in the opening half-hour.
After a quiet spell, Akinfenwa had another opportunity with his head on 37 minutes thanks to a devilish cross from Nathan Tyson but his effort went wide.
Wanderers looked a huge threat on the break with Tyson’s pace and the jet-heeled forward got in behind on 42 minutes and laid the ball to Paris Cowan-Hall, who shot wide.
Mansfield started to cause a few issues from the Wycombe defence and Angol stabbed the ball at goal just before the break which Brown smothered well.
The Chairboys came so close to making it two seconds before the interval when the ball found Akinfenwa in the box. His classy effort came back off the post with the rebound falling to Tyson, who’s thumping effort was brilliantly saved by Olejnik.
From the resulting corner, Akinfenwa’s bullet header went agonisingly wide.
The visitors came out of the traps well in the second half and Brown produced a brave save to deny Angol on 49 minutes after superb play by CJ Hamilton down the left.
Potter’s goal buoyed the visitors who were playing some slick football and Angol had the next chance on 54 minutes but he fired over from 15 yards when well placed.
Brown then produced a magnificent save to deny the lively Angol one-on-one after the striker got in behind the Wycombe backline on 58 minutes.
The game was turning into a feisty encounter with Angol, already on a booking, lucky not to get another yellow card after wrapping his arm round Scarr's neck.
Wanderers were grafting but Mansfield were still looking a real danger to the home side.
Approaching the last 10 minutes, the pendulum was swinging back in the Blues’ favour with Tyson causing problems down the left.
After Angol's goal, Scarr has a great opportunity to equalise for the hosts but he headed straight at Olejnik on 83 minutes after a wonderful cross from Tyson.
Substitute Nick Freeman almost saw his cross drop in with moments remaining before a huge shout for handball at the death for Wanderers was turned down by referee Christopher Sarginson.
Akinfenwa had one final opportunity to grab a point but his header drifted just wide with Olejnik beaten.
Wanderers dropped to fifth in League Two, but still cemented in the play-offs as they face Forest Green on New Year's Day.
WYCOMBE WANDERERS: Brown, Gape (sub: Freeman, 87), Jombati, Scarr, Jacobson, O’Nien, Saunders, Eze (sub: Bloomfield, 73), CowanHall (sub: Mackail-Smith, 46), Akinfenwa, Tyson. Subs: Ma-Kalambay, Southwell, De Havilland, Williams.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Olejnik, Bennett, Pearce, Diamond (sub: Benning, 17), MacDonald, Mellis, Anderson, Potter, Hamilton, Hemmings (sub: Sterling-James, 79), Rose (sub: Angol, 17). Subs: Logan, Digby, Atkinson, Butcher.
REFEREE: Christopher Sarginson