Smith 90+5. Hoskins sent off 11
Rose (pen) 12, Tomlinson 74
Attendance: 5666 (767 from Mansfield)
Date: 7 March 2020
STAGS WIN FEISTY ENCOUNTER AT NORTHAMPTON
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the PTS Academy Stadium, Sixfields
Mansfield Town won 2-1 at play-off chasing Northampton Town this afternoon in a feisty, incident-packed and exciting game. In truth, the Stags should have won more comfortably after missing a succession of golden chances in the second half to kill off the game.
Mansfield took the lead after just 12 minutes following a Northampton corner when Harry Charsley charged down an attempted ball forward from Sam Hoskins on the halfway line, Charsley surged forward and was through on goal, one-on-one with the keeper when he was deliberately pushed over by Hoskins from behind. The contact from Hoskins started outside the area but continued inside the area. It was a clear penalty and Hoskins was correctly shown the red card as he made no attempt to win the ball. Danny Rose stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way. Northampton should have been reduced to 9 men after 38 minutes, when captain Charlie Goode, already on a yellow card, deliberately and cynically brought Nicky Maynard down from behind. The referee gave the free kick but bottled his decision to show a second yellow card, presumably in fear of further inciting the angry home fans. Then in stoppage time at the end of the first half, Goode bundled Maynard over again, and incredibly the referee gave him a final warning.
At half time, Northampton switched to a bold 3-3-3 formation in an attempt to get back into the game, and created a couple of chances as substitute Harry Smith headed just wide and just over the bar. But the formation switch gave Mansfield plenty of room to attack the home side and the Stags created a number of chances where they outnumbered the Northampton defence. Will Tomlinson was in space in the box but somehow fired over the bar from 6 yards after Watts and Hamilton set him away in the area, and then CJ Hamilton and Maynard broke from a Northampton corner and Hamilton lashed the ball wide from close range.
But the Stags did make the game safe after 74 minutes when a Northampton long throw into the Stags box from Goode was headed away by Tomlinson, Hamilton cleared the ball towards the halfway line, where Maynard held it up, turned and laid the ball into the path of Tomlinson who was clear of the last Northampton defender but still inside his own half so not offside, Tomlinson charged forward and slid his shot low past the keeper into the bottom right corner of the net. Great play from Tomlinson who ran the length of the pitch to score. Credit also to Maynard for the assist.
Northampton didn’t look like coming back after that but out of the blue pulled a consolation goal back with a minute left of stoppage time as a high ball forward from Nicky Adams into the area was headed over Aidan Stone by Harry Smith, who got away from the static Hayden White, on as a late substitute for Kelland Watts. A poor goal to concede, which had some similarities to Smith’s equaliser in the game between the sides earlier in the season.
The Stags were deserved winners, with the back three of Ryan Sweeney, Krystian Pearce and Kelland Watts defending well. Northampton launched long throw after long throw into the Stags box and mostly these were dealt with well. Behind them, keeper Aidan Stone had a good game with a couple of good saves, and some decisive punches away. In midfield Harry Charsley, Will Tomlinson and Neal Bishop had their best game together as a unit. Up front, Nicky Maynard had a good game, leading the line well, strong and decisive, and laying off some quality passes.
A morale boost for Mansfield and any lingering fears of relegation surely removed with a 16 point gap and vastly superior goal difference to bottom club Stevenage.
Mansfield made one change to the side that lost at Cheltenham in the last game two weeks ago. Joe Riley returned to the side in place of Hayden White. Manager Coughlan explained pre-match that Riley had got himself back fit and he was looking for one of Riley, White and James Clarke to nail down the shirt. No Bobby Olejnik on the bench, with Coughlan explaining that Olejnik had had a problem in training this week and had not been quite right. So 16 year old youth team keeper Maison Campbell came into the matchday squad. Tyrese Sinclair also came on to the bench, in place of Clarke. Sinclair is back from loan spells at Radcliffe Borough and Basford United. Sinclair had come on as substitute earlier in the season in the Leasing.com Trophy game against Everton U21.
Northampton were unchanged from their side which had won at Grimsby last week. Former Stag Vadaine Oliver was up front, while Paul Anderson was an unused substitute. Northampton had conceded the fewest goals at home in League Two before today (just 12 in 18 games). Mansfield by the way, had conceded the equal most before today (29 in 17 games).
It was a mild temperature at Sixfields, but yet again, it was windy, though not as windy as some previous weeks. The wind was behind Mansfield in the first half.
Northampton were on top in the early stages without creating chances. A good punch away from Stone from an early corner. Then after 8 minutes a needless push by Maynard gave Northampton a free kick 24 yards from goal in a central position. Nicky Adams’ shot was well saved by Stone, tipping it over the bar.
Mansfield took the lead after just 12 minutes following a Northampton corner when Harry Charsley charged down an attempted ball forward from Sam Hoskins on the halfway line, Charsley surged forward and was through on goal, one-on-one with the keeper when he was deliberately pushed over by Hoskins from behind. The contact from Hoskins started outside the area but continued inside the area. It was a clear penalty and Hoskins was correctly shown the red card as he made no attempt to win the ball. Danny Rose stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way. In the aftermath of the goal, there was some pushing and shoving involving Charlie Goode, Alan McCormack, Rose and Bishop.
After 17 minutes, Tomlinson’s corner from the right came out to Rose whose shot into the ground bounced up to Watts who headed over the bar. A minute later, a high cross from Hamilton from the left, Rose headed goalwards and down, and the keeper grabbed it at the second attempt. A minute after that, a great run from Maynard from well inside his own half but with players either side to lay it off too, he tried to shoot and missed his kick as he was crowded out.
On 24 minutes, Watts tried an ambitious shot from 30 yards which was straight at the keeper along the ground.
Tempers were already rising and on 27 minutes McCormack clearly fouled Rose right in front of the Stags dugout. Coughlan himself put the ball down for a free kick to be taken, but the referee who was fast losing control insisted it was a throw-in.
After 31 minutes, a good punch out from Stone. Moments later, with Stone on the ground and play stopped, McCormack booted the ball against Stone. It started a melee with Goode and Tomlinson in each others’ faces after Goode pushed Tomlinson in the back. Goode and Tomlinson were booked, but McCormack got away with it.
After 34 minutes, following a throw-in from Riley, the ball came to Charsley who toe-poked it goalwards but it lacked power and was an easy save for the keeper.
Charsley went closer on 36 minutes as Hamilton crossed in and Charsley had a free header from 13 yards which flashed past the left post.
Northampton should have been reduced to 9 men after 38 minutes, when captain Goode, already on a yellow card, deliberately and cynically brought Maynard down from behind. The referee gave the free kick but bottled his decision to show a second yellow card, presumably in fear of further inciting the angry home fans.
A free kick from Adams to the far post was headed down and Stone did well to clutch it on the ground.
A double chance for the Stags after 43 minutes as Rose's shot from a tight angle on the right was saved by the keeper with his legs, and Charsley’s follow-up header effort was saved again by the keeper who was on the ground, and then the loose ball was headed off the line by Goode.
Great skill from Vadaine Oliver after 45+1 minutes as he fired a brilliant overhead kick just wide of the right post. Two minutes later, Adams fired well over the bar from the edge of the area, hitting the roof of the stand, following yet another Goode long throw-in which was headed away by Rose.
Moments later, Goode bundled Maynard over again, as Maynard powered goalwards. Incredibly the referee gave Goode a final warning. It had to be seen to be believed.
The resulting free kick was 24 yards out in a central position. Joe Riley fired it over the bar.
So the Stags led 1-0 at half time and were good value for the lead. The talking point at half time was how on earth the Cobblers were not down to nine men, with the home media in agreement that it was astonishing that Goode had not received a second yellow on two occasions.
Half time 0-1
Northampton switched to a bold 3-3-3 formation in an attempt to get back into the game. Harry Smith came on and went up front with Oliver and impressive young striker Callum Morton, on loan from West Brom.
After 49 minutes, there were calls for a penalty from the home fans as Scott Wharton went down in the area following yet another Goode long throw-in. From the video, Bishop rose for the ball with Wharton and caught Wharton with his arm but it was plainly accidental.
After 52 minutes, Adams put in a great cross and Smith headed just wide of the right post.
The Stags should have extended the lead after 55 minutes, as Tomlinson was in space in the box for a one-on-one with the keeper but somehow fired over the bar from 6 yards, after Watts found Hamilton on the left and Hamilton set him away in the area.
The referee’s performance was going from bad to worse as for the third time in the game he failed to play an advantage as Mansfield came away with the ball following a foul, this time it was Bishop who came away with the ball.
Harry Smith went close again after 64 minutes, as following a long free kick from the back, Oliver header down and Smith lobbed over the bar. Two minutes later, a long throw from Goode was headed out by Rose as far as Lloyd Jones whose header was tipped over the bar by Stone. From the resulting corner from Adams, Wharton flicked the ball towards the bottom corner, but Stone comfortably pushed it wide.
The formation switch by Northampton had given Mansfield plenty of room to attack the home side, and again the Stags outnumbered the Northampton defence after 70 minutes as Hamilton and Maynard broke from a Northampton corner in a two-on-one break, and Hamilton lashed the ball wide from close range. He should have got his shot on target.
But the Stags did make the game safe after 74 minutes when yet another Northampton long throw from Goode into the Stags box was headed away by Tomlinson, Hamilton cleared the ball towards the halfway line, where Maynard held it up, turned and laid the ball into the path of Tomlinson who was clear of the last Northampton defender but still inside his own half so not offside, Tomlinson charged forward and slid his shot low past the keeper into the bottom right corner of the net. Great play from Tomlinson who ran the length of the pitch to score. It was Tomlinson’s first goal for Mansfield and first senior professional goal. Credit also to Maynard for the assist.
Adams put in another decent cross on 78 minutes, which Oliver headed well wide. I recall Steve Evans telling me, when he was the Stags manager, that Adams is the best crosser of the ball in League Two. He was right.
Charsley was through on goal after 82 minutes but he checked back and lost the chance to score as Goode tackled him.
Davies replaced Maynard after 82 minutes. After the game, Coughlan explained that he wanted more height on to counteract Northampton having brought on more height from the subs bench.
After 87 minutes, Goode sent a weak shot well wide from 30 yards.
Watts went down injured after 87 minutes. It didn’t appear to be too serious. He was replaced by White.
After 89 minutes, Goode’s long throw was headed down by Oliver to Stone for a routine save.
Unbelievably the referee failed to play advantage for Mansfield for a fourth time as Davies had a chance to run through and the referee brought it back for a foul.
Northampton hadn’t looked like coming back after Tomlinson’s goal, but out of the blue on 90+5 minutes, pulled a consolation goal back as a high ball forward from Adams into the area was headed over Stone by Smith, who got away from the static Hayden White. A poor goal to concede, which had some similarities to Smith’s equaliser in the game between the sides earlier in the season. Smith also scored against the Stags for Macclesfield last season.
Once play restarted, only 30 more seconds was played and the Stags were deserved winners.
Man of the match: Will Tomlinson
Footnote: because of the Coronavirus pandemic, this turned out to be the final match of the season.
These are my average player ratings based on the league+cup games this season for the players who started at least 20 games:
Logan 6.72, Maynard 6.61, Rose 6.59, Hamilton 6.55, Gordon 6.48, MacDonald 6.41, Pearce 6.38, Sweeney 6.30, Benning 6.24, Bishop 6.16, Preston 5.80.
Note: only ratings for players starting a game are included - ie. sub appearances not included.
Minimum appearances (starts): 20.
Thanks to Pete Wright for his spreadsheet.
Goalscorers (league and cup) for the season: Maynard 15, Rose 12, Cook 7, Sterling-James 4, Hamilton, Pearce 3, Knowles, Sweeney 2, Afolayan, Gordon, Khan, MacDonald, Preston, Riley, Tomlinson, Watts 1. 1 OG
Maynard was the second top scorer in League Two, behind Eoin Doyle.
Average league attendance at the One Call Stadium: 4418 (down from 4897 last season)
includes average away following at the One Call Stadium: 447 (up from 401 last season)
(note 2406 season ticket holders)
Mansfield took more than 1000 to only 1 away game (down from 7 last season).
Mansfield’s average away following: 465 (down from 983 last season)
Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Sixfields
Stone 7.5 Good game with a couple of good saves, and some decisive punches away.
Sweeney 7 Defended well.
Pearce 7 Strong and composed.
Watts 7 Good game. Had a header over the bar and a shot from long range.
Riley 7 Good game. One free kick over the bar.
Bishop 8 Very good game in central midfield.
Tomlinson 8 Scored his first goal for Mansfield after running the length the pitch starting with heading the ball away in his own box. Missed another one-on-one chance. Man of the match.
Charsley 8 Won the penalty after he charged a ball down and surged forward. Sent a free header wide. Did well as the midfield three had their best game together as a unit.
Hamilton 7 Two good crosses, for headers from Rose and Charsley. Set Tomlinson away for a one-on-one. Missed a great chance in a one-on-one of his own.
Rose 7.5 Cool penalty. Played a big role in defending against the set piece barrage with at least five headers away in his own box from long throw-ins and corners.
Maynard 8 Really good game, leading the line well, strong and decisive, and laying off some quality passes.
Sub Line Up:
Davies (for Maynard, 82 mins) -
White (for Watts, 87 mins) - Caught cold when on as a late substitute he was static allowing Harry Smith to head in.
Subs not used: Maison Campbell, Benning, Evans, Sinclair, Knowles.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-5-2) Arnold; Goode, Wharton, Turnbull; Marshall (Smith 46), McCormack (Jones 65), Watson, Hoskins, Adams; Morton (Pollock 68), Oliver. Subs not used: Cornell, Harriman, Lines, Anderson.
Peter Wright 4 Got the red card right (there was no attempt to win the ball) and the penalty right (the push started outside the area, but on the last point of contact, Charsley's head was inside the box). After that, he got too many decisions wrong including twice failing to show Goode a second yellow card for blatant yellow card offences. His performance went from bad to worse as four times he failed to play an advantage as Mansfield came away with the ball but he pulled play back for a free kick.