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STAGS BEATEN AT LUTON DESPITE PLAYING WELL
8th April 2018 10:36


English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Luton Town 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Collins 61, Rea 70. Hemmings 34
Attendance: 9592 (725 from Mansfield)

Date: 2 April 2018

Martin Shaw at Kenilworth Road

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 at Kenilworth Road by a Luton Town side that now look almost certainties for automatic promotion. The Stags meanwhile remain outside the play-off spots. It was the second time this season that Mansfield somehow came away from a game with Luton that they should have got more from. Mansfield could have had the game sewn up by half time. The Stags took the lead on 34 minutes, when Conrad Logan’s long ball forward was superbly controlled by Kane Hemmings, who turned away from his marker Scott Cuthbert on the edge of the area, before firing left footed under keeper James Shea and into the net from 16 yards. A clinical finish from Hemmings, and an assist for Logan, who celebrated in front of the Stags fans. The Stags had a quadruple chance to increase the lead on 38 minutes as Alex MacDonald missed his kick with a clear sight of goal from 8 yards, but he got a second chance as his shot was blocked by the keeper, the ball came out to Jacob Mellis whose shot was also blocked by the keeper, MacDonald then recycled the ball to Zander Diamond whose shot from 13 yards was deflected over the bar by the head of Alan Sheehan, who knew little about it, as it looked destined for the net. A minute later, Hemmings did superbly from 20 yards to get himself into a shooting position and his excellent left footed shot was millimetres wide of the right post; it may have even hit the outside of the right post, I can’t tell from the video. The Stags went even closer on 45+1 minutes as Jacob Mellis picked up a clearance 32 yards from goal, took a couple of paces forward, and his shot took a slight deflection off Alan McCormack before looping onto the bar, with the keeper completely beaten and unmoved. Earlier in the half, Zander Diamond had sent a clean header over the bar from a corner. At the other end, Logan made a good save with his body, coming out quickly to deny Elliot Lee, and later saved from James Collins, who had looked offside but the flag didn’t go up. So a tremendous first half from Mansfield who ended it 1-0 ahead, but could easily have been 2 or 3 ahead and out of sight. Into the second half, and Logan made a great save, tipping away Elliot Lee’s shot from 20 yards on 53 minutes. Then Rea’s cross hit the top of the bar, though Logan had it covered. The Stags had two chances in a minute to make it 2-0 on 59 minutes. Firstly, outstanding play from Jacob Mellis, who won the ball inside his own half, embarked on a brilliant run and laid the ball off to Hemmings, whose left-footed shot was deflected for a corner, when he should have scored. Then Mellis squared to Hemmings whose shot from inside the D was wide. But within a minute, Luton were level. The impressive Pelly Ruddock got to the byline on the right, and his low cross found James Collins, who got away from his marker Rhys Bennett, to knock into the net. Poor marking from Bennett. But the Stags should have been back in front on 66 minutes. A cross from Hemmings from the right was expertly headed down by Diamond to give Angol a shot at goal from 9 yards. He seemed certain to score, but somehow his shot was deflected wide by James Collins. Angol really should have scored. Three minutes later on 69 minutes, Mellis had another shot from the edge of the area blocked, Luton broke away and Hemmings brought Collins down from behind to pick up a booking. But from the resulting free kick, 30 yards out, Alan Sheehan’s kick bounced just in front of Logan who couldn’t hold onto the ball, and it came out to Glenn Rea who knocked into the net from 5 yards. A disaster for Logan (who otherwise made some good saves), but also no Stags defenders were alert enough to get to the loose ball before Rea. The Stags were shell-shocked, having had so many glorious chances to put the game to bed, and now found themselves behind. The Stags could not force an equaliser in the final 20 minutes as Luton wound the clock down efficiently. Indeed it was Luton who came closer to scoring in the final few minutes as Logan saved well from Ruddock. Luton celebrated massively at the final whistle. It was absolutely gutting. So another defeat for Mansfield, the third on the trot, and the seventh game without a win. And that is just three points from the six games played under new manager David Flitcroft. However, another encouraging display after the spirited defeat against Accrington. I think it’s fair to say if Mansfield play as well as they have against the top two sides in the last two games, against the 6 teams in the bottom half of the table in the final 6 games of the season, they should win 4 or 5 of those games which will probably be enough to get into the play-offs. However that relies on playing as well as they have here! Anything less is likely to lead to a miserable end to the season. The game against Crewe on Saturday will be very important for Mansfield to get back on the winning trail, and the Stags will need the supporters right behind them once again. Come on Mansfield!

Mansfield made one change from the side that lost to Accrington. Mal Benning is suspended for three games, so in came Johnny Hunt at left back. It was a 4-4-2 formation, rather than the 4-3-3 in the last away game, with MacDonald on the right of midfield, and Mellis and Atkinson in central midfield. Pearce returned from suspension to the subs bench. Potter returned from injury to the subs bench. Danny Rose is still out injured. Incidentally, it appears that fitness coach Lee Taylor has left the club, and Daryl Taylor who was fitness coach when Adam Murray was manager (Murray always referred to him as DT) was back in that role today and on Friday.

FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE

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Terrible run goes on as Mansfield Town are beaten at Luton Town
chad.co.uk, by Agency (SPORTS REPORTER), Monday 02 April 2018

Mansfield Town missed the chance to move back into the League Two play-off places after losing 2-1 at Luton Town on Easter Monday. Kane Hemmings gave the Stags an early lead at Kenilworth Road, but second-half strikes from James Collins and Glen Rea condemned Mansfield to defeat and extended their winless run to seven. Mansfield remain eighth two points behind Coventry City who occupy the last play-off place despite being beaten 6-2 by Yeovil Town. Boss David Flitcroft made one change to the team that lost to Accrington Stanley on Good Friday, with Johnny Hunt replacing the suspended Malvind Benning and the visitors started strongly. CJ Hamilton was particularly lively on the left flank and, after making inroads into the Luton area, had a big appeal for a penalty which was ignored by referee Kevin Johnson. Luton left-back Dan Potts thought he had opened the scoring on 26 minutes but Rhys Bennett produced a magnificent block to deny him. Visiting goalkeeper Conrad Logan then had to be alert to deny Elliot Lee from close range after the attacker had been sent clear down the right. Just after the half hour, Mansfield made the breakthrough when Hemmings turned and fired in a low, left-footed shot. Mansfield were forced back early in the second half, with Logan making a spectacular save from Lee before Rea’s long-range effort clipped the crossbar Luton’s pressure eventually told when Pelly-Ruddock Mpenzu burst forward before cutting it back for Collins to turn home from close range. Lee Angol then saw his effort deflected just wide after pinball in the Luton box. On 68 minutes, Hemmings cynically halted a Luton counter, and when Logan spilled Alan Sheehan’s free kick, Rea was quickest to turn home the loose ball. Mpenzu forced another fine save from Logan, with seconds left, and James Justin’s follow-up ricocheted just wide.

Luton Town (4-3-3): Shea; Stacey, Cuthbert (Rea 44), Sheehan, Potts; O Lee, McCormack, Mpanzu; Collins, Hylton (Jervis 70), E Lee (Justin 83) Substitutes not used: Stech, Cornick, Downes, Gambin

Mansfield (4-4-2): Logan; White (Miller 89), Diamond, Bennett, Hunt (Anderson 89); MacDonald, Mellis, Atkinson (Potter 71), Hamilton; Hemmings, Angol Substitutes not used: Digby, Pearce, Olejnik, Byrom

Referee: Kevin Johnson Attendance: 9,592

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/terrible-run-goes-on-as-mansfield-town-are-beaten-at-luton-town-1-9094294

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Hatters hit back to seal vital win over Stags
by MIKE SIMMONDS, dunstabletoday.co.uk

League Two: Luton Town 2 Mansfield Town 1

A marvellous second half turnaround saw Luton gain an absolutely vital victory over Mansfield in their quest to go up this term. Trailing 1-0 at the break, it had looked like the Hatters would be in for a nervy second half, with results elsewhere finally going against them and their lead over the chasing pack in danger of disintegrating. But the hosts came out and gave a true declaration of their promotion credentials with a marvellous display, goals from James Collins and Glen Rea's first of the season enough to seal a much-needed three points. Prior to kick-off, Town boss Nathan Jones made four changes to his side, the most noticeable being Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu in for his first league start since the 4-0 defeat at Port Vale on December 30. He was well and truly vindicated by the decision as Mpanzu went on to show just what a fine player he can be at this level, keeping things simple as he grew into the game, then taking the bull by the horns after the break with a fearsome display of pace and power. Alan McCormack, Elliot Lee and Jack Stacey were back as well, with Luke Berry injured, James Justin and Andrew Shinnie paying the price for indifferent displays at Colchester, Rea missing out too. Neither side could really establish a clear foothold early on, Town's best offerings coming from two Dan Potts crosses that they couldn't make the most of, while Danny Hylton's highly ambitious cross-shot from near enough the corner flag flying wide. The hosts had their best moment midway through the half, with Potts again the architect. He escaped on the left, and when his cross was blocked, Luton kept the ball alive, Collins shooting over from 20 yards. Mansfield had a rare chance on the half hour, Zander Diamond heading a good opportunity from a corner into the stands. Luton showed their class on 32 minutes, Mpanzu doing superbly to start a move, firing into Collins who laid off for Olly Lee, his ball sending brother Elliot through on goal, only to be denied by the hefty frame of Conrad Logan. Referee Kevin Johnson saw a foul as Town tried to bundle the loose ball in and from the free kick which was pumped downfield by Logan, the Stags led, Scott Cuthbert buffeted off far too easily by Kane Hemmings, who left one-on-one with Shea, finished through the keepers legs. The visitors should have had a second, Alex MacDonald missing his kick with the goal gaping, his second attempt saved by Shea, who also parried Will Atkinson's rebound, Sheehan throwing himself in the way of the third attempt. Hemmings was a whisker away from 20 yards as Town started to lose their cool somewhat, Sheehan booked for a rash challenge, while Cuthbert was then replaced by Rea after pulling up with what looked like a recurrence of his groin injury. The visitors almost capped a fine end to the first period by doubling their advantage, Sheehan's clearance going straight to Jacob Mellis, whose long ranger took a nick, leaving Shea stranded, clipping the bar on its way over. Hatters came close to levelling on the stroke of half time though, Elliot Lee's ball finding Collins onside and in the clear, Logan sticking out a leg to divert his snapshot away. Any thoughts that Luton would start the second half in a nervy manner were soon shelved as the hosts began positively, Collins teeing up Olly Lee to curl off target. Displaying a real sense of adventure, Logan then kept his side in front, with a wonderful flying save from Elliot Lee's instinctive volley, finger-tipping it behind for a corner. With Luton having plenty of the ball in front of their opposition's defence, they needed someone to make that driving run in behind and boy did it happen on 61 minutes thanks to Mpanzu. He burst forward bravely, committing his opponents, going on the outside of Stags' back-line and delivering a perfect low cross that was gleefully slammed home by Collins for his 20th of the season. The striker then went to the dug out and got Berry's shirt, holding it up to all corners of the ground for his injured team-mate in a real show of unity within the squad. The game opened up immeasurably from there, with Mansfield needing a victory to keep their slim automatic promotion hopes alive, Hemmings' shot cleared away by Rea. Collins was to have a massive few minutes midway through the half, somehow managing to stand his ground and deflect former Luton striker Lee Angol's effort from eight yards, which looked destined to put the Stags back in front. Town's leading scorer then led a charge forward from a Stags attack that broke down, and when about to spring Mpanzu clear, was crudely and cynically taken out by Hemmings. However, Luton got the justice they deserved as Sheehan's free kick was spilled by Logan with Rea of all people the first to react, coolly slotting home for his first goal of the season and first since Yeovil away in March of last year. Mpanzu was now running the show offensively for the hosts, with Mansfield needing two men on him at all times, the midfielder sending another drive that Logan comfortably stopped. Town didn't sit back and try to defend either, Jake Jervis replacing Hylton and making sure the ball stuck upfront, winning a number of intelligent and pressure relieving free kicks to boot. Stags got desperate, Angol volleying wastefully over from 25 yards, as if anything, Luton finished the stronger, almost adding a third when Mpanzu's blast was repelled by Logan's legs, James Justin's follow up deflected behind. The final whistle was met with scenes of real joy around the ground as Berry's shirt was once again hoisted aloft, Town's players and supporters knowing full well the significance of this result in their aims to be a League One side next term, moving eight points clear of fourth with just five games to go.

Hatters: James Shea, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert (C Glen Rea 43), Alan Sheehan, Alan McCormack, Olly Lee, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Elliot Lee (James Justin 83), James Collins, Danny Hylton (Jake Jervis 70). Subs not used: Marek Stech, Harry Cornick, Flynn Downes, Luke Gambin.

Stags: Conrad Logan, Rhys Bennett, Zander Diamond (C), Alex MacDonald, Jacob Mellis, Will Atkinson (Alfie Potter 71), Hayden White (Ricky Miller 89), Johnny Hunt (Paul Anderson 89), CJ Hamilton, Kane Hemmings. Subs not used: Paul Digby, Krystian Pearce, Robert Olejnik, Joel Byrom. Referee: Kevin Johnson. Booked: Angol 37, Sheehan 37, Hemmings 69, Mellis 72, White 86, Shea 90.

Attendance: 9,592 (725 away).

Hatters MOM: Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu - star turn from the recalled midfielder.

Read more at: https://www.lutontoday.co.uk/sport/football/luton-town/hatters-hit-back-to-seal-vital-win-over-stags-1-8441905

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