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Season 19/20 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Oldham Athletic  
3 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Smith 23, Hamer 43, Nepomuceno 58.
 Khan 90+3
Attendance: 2961 (395 from Mansfield)
Date: 28 January 2020


Martin Shaw at Boundary Park

Mansfield Town were beaten 3-1 at Oldham Athletic last night to follow up Saturday’s magnificent performance with a terrible performance. The Stags were second best in every single department. Defensively Mansfield were terrible with two awful pieces of marking gifting two Oldham goals in the first half. In midfield and up front, the Stags lacked energy, intensity, pace and quality. Mansfield were chasing shadows for much of the evening, and barely created a chance, while Oldham had plenty of efforts at goal.

Gevaro Nepomuceno terrorised Mansfield last season with two goals and a terrific performance at Boundary Park, and he once again he put in a super performance on the right of midfield, capping it with a fine goal in the second half to put the icing on the cake for Oldham and make it 3-0.

The Stags scored a consolation goal with almost the last kick of the game as substitute Otis Khan scored from 8 yards after a cross from Joe Riley. For Khan, signed by David Flitcroft to be a goalscoring midfielder, it was his first goal in the league since scoring twice on his debut against Newport County 18 months ago.

So why were Mansfield so lacking in energy and intensity, unable to press Oldham, and chasing shadows all evening? I think it comes down to having put so much into Saturday’s performance against Bradford. Graham Coughlan has talked a lot about improving fitness levels since he’s come in to enable his players to play the pressing game that he wants. It requires very high fitness levels. The players’ fitness has clearly improved and as a result they were able to keep going for 90 minutes on Saturday, whereas they hadn’t been able to keep going for 90 minutes against Forest Green. But they haven’t reached a level where they can do it for 90 minutes twice in 3 days yet. That’s not trying to provide excuses, I’m just trying to explain why I think it happened. The simple fact of the matter is that Oldham were much better in every department and deserved their win, possibly by a more convincing scoreline than 3-1. Huge credit to Oldham, who were very impressive, with Christopher Missilou, Mo Sylla and Jonny Smith particularly catching the eye in midfield along with Nepomuceno. Oldham made five changes to their starting line-up last night, whereas Mansfield made only one, resting Neal Bishop. Did this contribute? Possibly. Certainly I had expected Coughlan to freshen the side up more than he did last night, given where the fitness levels are currently.

Mansfield are down to 21st place. An uncomfortable position. With Morecambe winning last night, the gap to 23rd place is down to just four points. But of course only one team goes down this season, and the gap to bottom place Stevenage is 8 points. The Stags need to bounce back on Saturday at home to Carlisle, who picked up a surprise 4-1 win at Forest Green last night.

The signing of Kelland Watts, on loan from Newcastle United until the end of the season, was announced a couple of hours before kick-off. Watts played the first half of the season on loan at Stevenage and indeed was signed by then-Stevenage manager Dino Maamria, who is now manager of Oldham. Primarily a centre half, Watts can also play in midfield, left back, and even played up front for Stevenage. He played in central defence for Stevenage against Mansfield earlier in the season as Stevenage played out a 0-0 draw at the One Call Stadium. Watts came straight into the starting line-up last night, in midfield, in place of the rested Bishop. But Watts had a night to forget, as did the rest of the side. With Watts coming into the side, Bishop was on the bench, and Clarke dropped out of the 18.

The start of the game lacked quality from either side. But slowly Oldham took charge. Nepomuceno got into the area on the right and his shot was deflected by Hamilton for a corner.

Then after 16 minutes, Nepomuceno had a free shot from the edge of the box which was well saved by Olejnik, after Smith’s initial cross was cleared to Nepomuceno.
The referee booked Riley for an earlier foul in the build-up to that chance having waved play on. Soon afterwards Oldham keeper de la Paz caught a Stags free kick and immediately bowled the ball out to Jonny Smith who embarked on a run but his eventual cross was across the face of goal.

After 21 minutes, a low ball in from Hamer and Wheater turned it goalwards but it was an easy save for Olejnik.

At the other end, a chance for Charsley for the Stags but he completely missed his kick with an attempted volley.

Oldham took the lead after 23 minutes. Nepomuceno chipped a cross from the right, it flicked off Riley and reached Jonny Smith beyond the far post. Smith took a touch to make a yard of space and fired across Olejnik low into the right corner of the net. Poor defending by Riley who should have blocked the shot.

After 25 minutes, an effort off target from the Stags. MacDonald’s corner from the right was met by debutant Watts who rose well and was unmarked by headed over and wide.

A minute later at the other end, Danny Rowe was allowed a free shot from 25 yards which was low and just wide of the left post. That is Danny Rowe’s area as anyone who has watched all his goals in the Conference over the years would know, and he should not have been allowed a free shot. It wasn’t the last time it happened in the evening.

Charsley teed up MacDonald for a shot from 28 yards after 27 minutes. It was deflected for a corner.

At last, a decent move from the Stags after 31 minutes. A great ball forward from Watts, Hamilton got on to it and pulled a low ball across but Maynard couldn’t get a shot away after a poor first touch. Maynard then fouled his man trying to get the ball back.

The Stags were lacking any sort of quality, including from set pieces where a MacDonald corner didn’t beat the first man and Benning put a free kick over everyone.

After 38 minutes, Piergianni headed over the bar from a corner. A good header away by Riley for a corner after 41 minutes. A minute later, a Dearnley did well to hang on to the ball and fire in a shot, straight at Olejnik. A minute after that, a good tackle by Riley for a corner.

But from that corner, Oldham made it 2-0 and it was shocking defending. Smith’s corner from the left was attacked by a late run from Hamer and he flicked the ball with the outside of his right boot into the net off the right post as the static Mansfield defence stood and watched. It was new boy Watts who should have been picking up Hamer but didn’t follow his run.

Seconds earlier I had noticed Coughlan looking forlorn in his technical area. He will have felt a lot worse after seeing that goal.

Oldham were all over Mansfield. After 44 minutes, Smith played inside to Rowe whose left foot shot was wide of the right post from 20 yards. Then after 45+2 minutes, Dearnley’s low shot from 25 yards was straight at Olejnik.

Oldham deservedly 2-0 ahead at the break. Poor defending for both goals. The Stags lacked energy and quality. Nepomuceno had given Benning the run around, while Smith had given Riley the run around. According to the OPTA stats, Mansfield’s passing accuracy was just 51% in the first half, ridiculously low (Oldham’s was 69%).

Half time 2-0

After 49 minutes, a terrible ball from Rose, Nepomuceno intercepted, ran to the edge of the area and his low shot was saved by Olejnik. Rose held his hand up to apologise.

Mansfield’s second decent move of the match after 50 minutes. Riley and MacDonald involved and then Maynard crossed a low ball across the edge of the 6 yards box but it was just in front of Hamilton. Maynard apologised for the cross.

Tomlinson replaced Charsley, and Cook replaced Maynard after 51 minutes.

After 54 minutes, a great ball in from Nepomuceno and Dearnley headed wide.

The rain was now hammering down.

Nepomuceno capped his performance with a fine goal after 58 minutes to put the icing on the cake for Oldham and make it 3-0. Missilou played the ball out to him on the right touchline, halfway inside the Stags half. He moved forward before cutting inside Benning and Hamilton and firing across Olejnik into the left corner of the net. A terrific goal. But once again, poor defending as he should have been closed down.

Good play from Watts after 60 minutes as he sent Hamilton away to the byline on the left. Hamilton chipped in a cross but it was too close to the keeper.

A free kick for Oldham after 68 minutes. Rowe blasted it into the wall, and Sylla who volleyed the rebound well wide.

Pearce was booked after 69 minutes for a foul. It looked very harsh, and not even a foul.

After 71 minutes, Smith’s free kick was cleared to Missilou who fired over the bar from the edge of the box.

Khan replaced Rose after 71 minutes. A rare opportunity for Khan under Coughlan.

After 73 minutes, Wheater headed over the bar from a Hamer long throw. Four minutes later, another Hamer long throw was poorly defended and eventually out for a corner.

There was no hint of a comeback from Mansfield.

A better move from the Stags after 82 minutes and Cook was nearly through 1-on-1 but the keeper was out quickly and bravely. After 85 minutes, Riley played a low ball in from the right, but Khan couldn’t turn it goalwards. Then after 87 minutes, a good left foot shot from Watts from 30 yards was caught by the keeper above his head.

The Stags scored a consolation goal with almost the last kick of the game (90+3 minutes) as Khan scored from 8 yards after a cross from Riley. For Khan, signed by David Flitcroft to be a goalscoring midfielder, it was his first goal in the league since scoring twice on his debut against Newport County 18 months ago.

As good as the Stags were on Saturday, they were poor here. Simply no positives at all.

Man of the match: nobody came out of the game with credit

Report by: Martin Shaw at Boundary Park

Line Up:
Olejnik 6 Not at fault for the goals in my opinion. Five saves, mostly straightforward, including one good save.
Riley 4.5 Poor defending by Riley for the first goal, he should have blocked the shot. Given the run around by Jonny Smith. Did improve in the game and an assist for Khan’s goal in stoppage time.
Pearce 6 Did ok.
Sweeney 5 Below par.
Benning 4.5 Poor game against Nepomuceno.
MacDonald 5 Lacked any of the energy he showed on Saturday.
Watts 4.5 A debut to forget. Should have been picking up Hamer but didn’t follow his run for Oldham’s second goal. One or two decent bits of play.
Charsley 5 Poor game.
Hamilton 5 Attempted to make things happen, but nothing came off apart from setting up one chance for Maynard.
Maynard 4.5 One chance when he couldn’t get a shot away after a poor first touch after a set-up by Hamilton. Poor cross when Hamilton was in the middle.
Rose 5 Poor.
Sub Line Up:
Tomlinson (for Charsley, 51 mins) - Gave the ball away too often.
Cook (for Maynard, 51 mins) -
Khan (for Rose, 71 mins) - His first league goal since his debut.
Subs not used: Stone, Preston, Bishop, Knowles.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): de La Paz; Hamer, Wheater, Piergianni, Borthwick-Jackson; Nepomuceno (Branger, 87), Sylla, Missilou (N’Guessan, 84), Smith; Rowe, Dearnley (Maouche, 63). Subs not used: Allen, Mills, Azankpo, Wilson.
Michael Salisbury 7 Harshly booked Pearce. Otherwise a competent game.

Season 19/20 Reports