LATE LINCOLN EQUALISER SPOILS FLITCROFT’S 1ST GAME
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Lincoln City
Byrom 49. Bennett sent off 90+2. Palmer 90. Waterfall sent off 90+1
Attendance: 6091 (1680 from Lincoln)
Date: 6 March 2018
Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town drew 1-1 with Lincoln City at the One Call Stadium this evening in the first game under new manager David Flitcroft. Lincoln shaded a goalless first half. The Stags took the lead after 49 minutes through a fine header from half time substitute Joel Byrom, his first goal for the club, after a great cross from Hayden White. The Stags were put under a barrage of pressure from high balls into the box aimed at former Stags striker Matt Rhead, who won nearly every header, and finally the pressure paid off for Lincoln in the 90th minute when Rhead headed down a high ball to another former Stag Ollie Palmer who hooked into the net from close range despite Conrad Logan getting a hand to it. In the aftermath of the goal, Lincoln centre half Luke Waterfall, another former Stags player, was sent off for throwing a water bottle back into the crowd in the West Stand. The bottle had been thrown towards Palmer, who was celebrating in front of the Stags fans. After the game, Lincoln boss Danny Cowley said it was the correct decision to send off Waterfall. Just a minute later, Mansfield were also down to ten men when Rhys Bennett, earlier booked for time wasting, picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Palmer. So it finished as a draw, which was gutting for Mansfield after leading until the 90th minute. However Lincoln certainly deserved their point, with Mansfield not at their best going forward, and conceding too much possession to Lincoln who were allowed to put long ball after long ball into the Stags box. With Rhead winning almost everything, it was not surprising that they finally scored from such an opportunity. Ollie Palmer had been taunted by the Stags fans when he came on after 80 minutes, and once again made the Stags pay, as he had previously for Leyton Orient and for Lincoln this season in the Checkatrade Trophy. It wasn’t a pleasing style of football from Lincoln, but they were certainly very effective at it. Accrington’s win tonight moves them just a point behind leaders Luton. Notts County drew tonight, so Mansfield are one point behind Notts County and Wycombe, who are in 3rd and 4th place. Mansfield have a game in hand over Notts County and have played the same games as Wycombe. It’s very tight for that 3rd automatic spot. Mansfield remain 7 points above Coventry and Lincoln, who are in 8th and 9th place (though Coventry have a game in hand). On to Saturday, and another home game, the third on the trot, this time against Colchester.
It was the first game of the David Flitcroft era. Since the last match, against Coventry, ten day ago, Steve Evans had resigned and been appointed manager at Peterborough United. Then Mansfield had approached Swindon for permission to talk to their manager David Flitcroft. Permission was granted and after discussions, Flitcroft came in as the new Stags manager, bringing assistant Ben Futcher with him. Futcher had played on loan for Mansfield in 2011. Flitcroft had taken over at Swindon in the summer and guided Swindon into the play-off positions, three points behind Mansfield. Swindon had done the double over Mansfield this season, and indeed Mansfield had never beaten a Flitcroft side, whether at Swindon or Bury. The appointment of Flitcroft was, in my opinion, a good one. With Mansfield in with a chance of automatic promotion and just 12 games to go before tonight, the requirement was for someone who can carry on this season, get us over the line and achieve promotion, and who is a quality manager. I think Flitcroft ticked those boxes, knowing the league well and opposition well, plus knowing about our players, and he should have been able to hit the ground running.
The resignation of Steve Evans was a shock. It was gutting. The timing was particularly disappointing with just 12 games left in the season. He had done something similar before of course, leaving Crawley for Rotherham with six games left of the season. However to me there was a big difference. At Crawley he left with one promotion under his belt and hence would remain a hero there. At Mansfield, Evans actually achieved nothing. From his own words, nothing is achieved until you actually are promoted. Had Evans stayed until the end of the season and got the Stags promoted, he could have left as a hero. What Evans did leave of course was a good squad of players, thanks to tremendous backing from John and Carolyn Radford. He left after a great run of form: just two defeats in his last 21 games, and second in the form table over last 12 games. The same form over the final 12 games of the season would surely have led to promotion. Hopefully it still will under David Flitcroft.
The episode was a stark reminder of the complete lack of loyalty in the football business, apart from fans of course.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: Palmer has last laugh as Flitcroft opener ends up in a draw
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS,Tuesday 06 March 2018
Former Mansfield Town striker Ollie Palmer had the last laugh as he stole a last minute equaliser for Lincoln City to spoil David Flitcroft’s first game in charge of the home side as a thriller ended 1-1. Palmer was mocked by home fans as he came on as a sub 10 minutes from time but was on hand to put away Matt Rhead’s flick on 90 minutes. Mansfield Town v Lincoln City'Former Stag Matt Rhead in defensensive duty for Lincoln on Tuesday night. On 49 minutes interval sub Joel Byrom’s first goal for the club had put Mansfield in charge and, despite City’s efforts, looked to be enough until the death. In the five added minutes City had ex-Stags loanee Luke Waterfall sent off for throwing a plastic bottle with home defender Rhys Bennett following him for a second bookable offence. Pressing high and hard, energetic Lincoln had the best of a tight first half in which neither keeper had a serious save to make. Mansfield looked to have taken control with the goal, but Lincoln threw everything plus the kitchen sink forward, mostly towards ex-Stag Rhead, and got their just desserts in the end.
New boss Flitcroft was forced into making one change. With Alfie Potter nursing a slight knock, Hayden White was brought back in at right back with Paul Anderson pushed forward to right wing. Potter was said to be 70 per cent fit and could be okay to play by the weekend. That change was the first in four games after three unchanged. Mansfield Town v Lincoln City'Joel Byrom celebrates his second half goal with CJ Hamilton and Danny Rose. Flitcroft took over as manager last Thursday following the shock departure of Steve Evans, who resigned last Tuesday. The new manager’s first game in charge was due to be away at Stevenage last weekend but the fixture was postponed due to the bad weather. Over 6,000 tickets were sold for the all-ticket fixture between two sides going for promotion with Lincoln’s squad including four ex-Stags in Matt Green, Matt Rhead, Ollie Palmer and Luke Waterfall. City were looking to bounce straight back from a shock 4-1 home defeat by Crewe last time out. After a frenetic first five minutes Lincoln threatened first as Rhead got in a back post header from a tight angle from Eardley’s long cross only to find Logan perfectly positioned to grab. King was late in the tackle on Woodyard on 11 minutes, but with the away fans screaming for a red card, the referee pulled out a yellow. When Stags struggled to clear the free kick, Rhead hooked the ball goalwards and, although it went past Logan, it lacked pace and Benning was easily able to block and clear. King’s challenge on Williams made sure the City man fired well over in the visitors’ next raid as Lincoln remained on top. Waterfall guided a header wide from a long cross soon afterwards as Mansfield continued to weather the early onslaught. It took Stags 18 minutes to fashion a chance as Anderson crossed from the right and Rose controlled before lashing well over. Eardley got in a vital block to a low Hamilton cross after Anderson had led a Stags breakaway on 20 minutes. Seconds later the winger set up a low 20 yard drive by MacDonald that wasn’t too far wide as the home side finally began to warm to their task. Frecklington was booked for bringing down MacDonald on 22 minutes, having already been warned. Stags cranked the pressure up with two corners, but City were still dangerous and Williams saw his shot on the turn deflect for a corner from a Rhead flick on 28 minutes. A minute later Green set up Frecklington on the edge of the box with a low on-target shot that Logan was down to gather. Hemmings and Hamilton fed the ball to Rose inside the City box on 32 minutes, the the top scorer’s finish was always rising over. Williams looked set to be booked for bringing down MacDonald in full flight, but the referee decided the Stags man had dived and awarded a Lincoln free kick instead. On 36 minutes Bostwell was too high from 25 yards after Logan had decided to punch a cross away rather than catch. Williams forced Logan to save another good shot on the turn on 39 minutes. Logan was relieved to see a ricochet off Green fall to him with the striker ready to pounce as Stags went in happy to be on level terms after a trying half. Byrom replaced King in the home midfield for the second half. The midfielder made an immediate impact as he broke the deadlock within four minutes. White sent a curling cross over from the right after good hold-up play by Hemmings and Byrom was there to glance a close range header out of the keeper’s reach. Lincoln came so close to levelling on 57 minutes as Green hooked an acrobatic overhead kick over the bar from six yards from a corner. Bostwick flattened Rose from behind on 69 minutes to earn a caution. Then a great turn and break down the left saw Hamilton hit full speed before cutting inside and sending a disappointing shot at the keeper. Rhead’s protests at a challenge saw him added to the book on 74 minutes. With Lincoln again pressing hard Stags threw on Spencer up front to hold the ball up in place of Hemmings for the last 14 minutes. Atkinson replaced Anderson for the last 10 minutes while Palmer was booed as he replaced Green. Soon after Bennett was yellow-carded for kicking the ball away as we entered the last eight nervous minutes. But Palmer had the perfect answer to the boo boys with a last minute equaliser. Rhead headed the ball on to the far post where Palmer shaped to drill home from close range. Before we kicked off again Waterfall was sent off for apparently throwing a plastic bottle hurled from the stand back towards the fans. Bennett, already booked, was then red-carded on 90+3 for a second bookable offence to even it up again as a thrilling evening ended honours even.
STAGS: Logan; White, Bennett, Pearce, Benning; P. Anderson (Atkinson 80), King (Byrom HT), MacDonald, Hamilton; Rose, Hemmings (Spencer 76). Subs not used: Olejnik, Diamond, Mellis, Angol.
LINCOLN: Allsop, Habergham, Waterfall, Wharton, Rhead, Green (Palmer 80), Williams (Rowe 64), Bostwick, Frecklington (H. Anderson 67), Eardley, Woodyard. Subs not used: Farman, Long, Whitehouse, Pett.
REFEREE: Graham Salisbury of Lancashire.
ATTENDANCE: 6,091 (no away figure announced).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Hayden White.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/match-report-palmer-has-last-laugh-as-flitcroft-opener-ends-up-in-a-draw-1-9050623
Report: Mansfield Town 1 Lincoln City 1
City avoid third consecutive defeat at the death
lincolnshirelive.co.uk, By Alan Johnson, 6 MAR 2018
Ollie Palmer came off the bench to grab a last gasp equaliser as the Imps earned a deserved point at the One Call Stadium.
Palmer was on hand with a fine finish with 90 minutes on the clock to cancel out fellow substitute Joel Byrom's opener.
Luke Waterfall and the Stags' Rhys Bennett, menawhile both received red cards in injury time.
A dour opening came to life in the 10 minute, which saw the game’s first caution. Adam King received a yellow card following a poor challenge on Alex Woodyard just inside the centre circle.
The resulting free kick from Neal Eardley was cleared to Sam Habergham on the left, and his deep cross was parried to Lee Frecklington. The midfielder’s strike caused panic in the box and the ball eventually fell to Matt Rhead, whose effort was hacked clear off the goal line.
After a spell of City being on top, Mansfield finally had their first chance in the 18 minute, meanwhile, but Danny Rose volleyed well over.
Moments later Eardley got back brilliantly to deny CJ Hamilton who was closing in on goal after being freed by Rose down the left.
Frecklington was the first Imp to be cautioned after a foul on Alex MacDonald on the halfway line in the 22 minute.
Matt Green conceded the game’s first corner after 26 minutes, but Mal Benning’s flag kick was hacked away by Wharton. Moments later the Stags had another, but again City cleared their lines.
Two minutes later Jordan Williams won City’s first corner after his turn and shot was deflected wide. Habergham’s corner found Luke Waterfall unmarked, but his header was cleared by Rhys Bennett. As City continued to press, a long ball forward was controlled by Matt Rhead into the path of Waterfall, who was still up-field, but his venomous 20 yard strike was straight at the goalkeeper.
The home fans were up in arms in the 34 minute following a refereeing decision that saw City win a free kick. MacDonald went down under the challenge of Williams, but referee Graham Salisbury awarded a free kick to the Imps, and warned MacDonald for diving rather than following the law and brandishing a yellow card.
Some unorthodox goalkeeping by Conrad Logan on the stroke half time saw an unnecessary punch fall to Michael Bostwick, but his first time strike flew over.
Following two minutes of added time, the Imps went in at the break the happier of the two sides.
Mansfield made one change at the interval with Joel Byrom replacing Adam King, as City emerged and kicked off through Matt Green.
The substitution paid immediate dividends as Hayden White found space down the right wing and his low cross found Byrom, who stooped to glance a perfect header past Allsop.
At the other end City had their first chance of the second period in the 57 minute. Green reacted quickest to a Rhead header and won a corner, which was taken by Haberham on the left. The out-swinging set piece found Bostwick and his header was flicked on by Rhead, but Green could only divert the ball over from a spectacular overhead kick.
Danny Cowley made his first substitution in the 64 minute replacing the impressive Jordan Williams with fellow winger Danny Rowe.
Three minutes later it was Danny Rowe’s turn to join the action as he replaced Lee Frecklington. Almost immediately afterwards, Bostwick was booked for a high challenge on Rose that left the striker on the floor.
City pressed for an equaliser and Anderson did well to earn a free kick on the left in a dangerous position. Habergham sent the ball into the box but after spotting Hayden White on the floor for the hosts, the referee awarded a free kick. Rhead was subsequently booked for dissent after complaining against the decision.
City made their final change with ten minutes to go with Ollie Palmer replacing Matt Green, meanwhile the Stags introduced Will Atkinson in place of Paul Anderson.
And it was Palmer, the man the Stags fans love to hate who grabbed the equaliser in the 90 minute after reacting a left wing cross before firing home on the turn. There was drama to follow though as Luke Waterfall was sent off presumably for his part in the wild celebrations that followed.
A minute later though it was 10 vs 10 as Rhys Bennett was also given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Full time: Stags 1 Imps 1
City: Ryan Allsop, Neal Eardley, Scott Wharton, Luke Waterfall, Sam Habergham, Alex Woodyard, Michael Bostwick, Lee Frecklington (Harry Anderson 67), Matt Green (Ollie Palmer 80), Matt Rhead, Jordan Williams (Danny Rowe 64).
Subs: Paul Farman, Sean Long, Elliott Whitehouse, Tom Pett.
'It was out of character' - Danny Cowley defends Luke Waterfall as he accepts defender's ban
By Mark Whiley, 8 MAR 2018
Danny Cowley says Luke Waterfall regrets the “crazy moment” which led to his dismissal against Mansfield and subsequent suspension.
The Lincoln City skipper will sit out the next three games, starting at Chesterfield on Saturday, after receiving a straight red card in the aftermath of Ollie Palmer’s last-gasp equaliser.
Waterfall was dismissed after hurling a bottle, which had been thrown by a Stags supporter, back towards the stand.
Speaking ahead of the game against Chesterfield, Cowley said the incident was out of character for the popular defender.
“We have to accept the punishment,” said Cowley. “When you score in the dying moments against your local rivals, emotions can get the better of you. We’re human beings and none of us are infallible.
“Luke regrets the incident and we have to live and learn. Fortunately no-one got hurt, we have to accept the three-match ban and move forward.
“It’s not ideal to lose our captain for three games and with two local derbies coming up.
“Luke’s as disappointed as anyone but I’m not into kicking people when they’re down.
“It was so out of character for Luke. He’s a lovely boy and is a credit to this football club. It was just a crazy moment and he’ll never do it again, that’s for sure.”