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Season 20/21 Stagsnet Match Report
Pre-Season Friendly
Mansfield Town  
0 - 3
 Rotherham United
 Mattock 50, Smith 62, Miller 88
Attendance: behind closed doors
Date: 22 August 2020

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 3-0 by Rotherham United in their fourth pre-season friendly of the 2020/21 season. It was the first match played at the One Call Stadium in more than six months, since the Stags beat Newport on February 15. Rotherham arrived preparing for a season in the Championship after their promotion from League One.

The Stags played really well in the first half, creating several gilt-edged chances, though unable to convert any of them, and it was a hugely encouraging 45 minutes. The second half was a completely different matter though as Rotherham showed their quality and deserved their three goals as Mansfield didn’t look so impressive. Overall the Stags could feel hard-done-by with the 3-0 scoreline.

Mansfield now have their first competitive fixture of the season in just a week’s time as they visit another Championship side in Preston North End in the Carabao Cup. Stags boss Graham Coughlan revealed after the game that the Preston game comes earlier than he would have liked, with it having been moved forward by the EFL.

Mansfield’s starting XI looked like it might be somewhere near the starting XI for a competitive fixture:

team (3-5-2):
Marek Stech (new signing);
Rollin Menayese (new signing, right side of back 3), Farrend Rawson (new signing), Ryan Sweeney (left side of back 3);
Corey O’Keeffe (new signing, right wing-back), Harry Charsley, James Perch (new signing), George Maris (new signing), Mal Benning (left wing-back);
Andy Cook, Jordan Bowery (new signing).

Subs used: Tyrese Sinclair, Kellan Gordon, James Clarke, Aaron O’Driscoll (new signing), Danny Rose, Jamie Reid (new signing).

Coughlan explained after the game that Ollie Clarke (the only new signing not involved today) is now training on grass after his injury but wasn’t risked today and probably won’t be at Preston, as Coughlan wants him ready for the opening league game against Tranmere on September 12. Coughlan did not give an update on Will Tomlinson, who has been suspended by the club. However photographic evidence shows that Tomlinson played for Accrington Stanley today in a pre-season friendly against Bolton Wanderers, presumably as a trialist.

The opening 30 minutes saw the Stags completely on top. After 5 minutes, Cook was pulled back to earn the Stags a free kick 25 yards out. Maris took it and fired just over the bar. Two minutes later, the Stags went even closer as Benning took a short corner to Charsley whose left footed curling shot from the right was tipped onto the bar by the Rotherham keeper. A minute later, another short corner, this time from the right by Maris, to Benning who turned brilliantly to get away from defenders before firing over the bar. This was a fast start from the Stags with three chances in quick succession.

Good defending by Benning at the other end after 9 minutes to tidy up. Then a great tackle by Sweeney after 14 minutes, and great tracking back by Maris after 18 minutes.

A terrific move from the Stags after 22 minutes which ended with O’Keeffe’s low ball in from the right and Benning found himself unmarked in the six-yard box but somehow put the ball over the bar. Benning looked towards the linesman for a flag to spare his blushes but it didn’t come. A great ball in from O’Keeffe.

Rotherham created their first chance after 31 minutes as a good ball found Trevor Clarke who fizzed an effort from outside the box just over the bar. Moments later Matt Crooks embarked on a good run forward and sidefooted a shot straight at Stech in the Stags goal. Then on 34 minutes, Adam Thompson shot straight at Stech from 22 yards.

More good defending from Sweeney after 38 minutes.

The Stags went very close again after 41 minutes. A low ball in from the left fell for Maris 6 yards out, but his low shot was cleared off the line by a defender.

Rotherham ended the half on the attack as Crooks starting to exert some authority on the game with a great ball out to Trevor Clarke on the left and his low ball went through everyone in the middle.

So a really encouraging first 45 minutes for Mansfield. Several gilt-edged chances with Benning missing a sitter, Charsley having a shot tipped onto the bar, and Maris having one cleared off the line by a defender, while Benning and Maris also sent other efforts just over the bar. Charsley looked excellent in midfield and Maris also impressed. The defence looked solid with Sweeney in particularly good form, and it looked a promising trio with new signings Menayese and Rawson. Rotherham came into it in the final 15 minutes of the half, but the Stags should have been a couple of goals ahead.

Half time 0-0

Another glorious chance for the Stags after 47 minutes. Charsley went on a good run and his low ball in was in front of Cook who, having to stretch, put it wide from 5 yards.

But Rotherham took the lead after 50 minutes. Sweeney gave the ball away, Menayese seemed to do well to win it back but the referee gave a free kick to Rotherham. It looked a poor decision from the referee. Joe Mattock, on as a half time substitute, took the free kick from 27 yards and buried it right into the right corner of the net. A wonderful free kick and sometimes you just have to hold your hand up and say good goal.

After 53 minutes, Bowery was through on goal, albeit nearly 40 yards from goal and was tripped from behind. In a league game that would have been a card, yellow or red, but no card here in a friendly. The free kick was no reward for the Stags as Rotherham pulled everyone back, and the free kick was wasted anyway.

The Stags might have had a bit of luck after 55 minutes as Benning tripped Ben Wiles right on the edge of the area on the Rotherham right. It was very close to being a penalty but the referee gave a free kick just out. Mattock took it and curled it towards the top left corner where Stech clawed it away.

The Stags made their first changes on 60 minutes as Tyrese Sinclair and Kellan Gordon replaced Perch and O’Keeffe.

Rotherham made it 2-0 after 62 minutes. Chiedozie Ogbene put in a low ball from the right and striker Michael Smith back-heeled it into the net from 6 yards, despite Stech getting a hand on it at full stretch. Because the back-heel was from close range I don’t think Stech was at fault, but the Stags, and Benning in particular, could have done better stopping the cross come in. A clever improvised finish from Smith.

After 64 minutes, Menayese did really well to dive in a block a shot with Stech out of his goal. A minute later, Menayese missed the ball, and Mattock put in a good cross but no Rotherham striker got on the end of it. Another good free kick from Mattock after 68 minutes which Jamie Proctor headed wide.

James Clarke came on for Benning after 69 minutes. Gordon switched from right wing-back to the left.

After 70 minutes, a cross from the left and Ogbene headed down softly enabling Stech to save on his line.

Rotherham were completely dominating and their quality was shining through.

After 75 minutes a ball from the right floated over James Clarke to Mattock who chested it down, into the area and his cross-shot was pushed away by Stech.

A free kick for the Stags 33 yards out after 77 minutes. Sinclair floated it to the far post where Rawson pulled it back but it cleared for a corner. Clever free kick though. Moments later, Rawson volleyed well wide from 18 yards.

Three more changes for Mansfield after 79 minutes. Aaron O’Driscoll replaced Maris and went into midfield (not defence where have seen him before), Danny Rose replaced Bowery, and Jamie Reid replaced Cook.

Super defending by Gordon after 84 minutes against Ogbene.

Another free kick for the Stags after 85 minutes as Sinclair was bundled over 22 yards from goal to the left of centre. Sinclair took the free kick himself and the keeper had to tip it over the bar. A great effort from Sinclair who is terrific from dead ball situations and will surely get his chance this season.

Rotherham made it 3-0 after 88 minutes. Ogbene got the better of Gordon to win a free kick on the right. A great free kick from Mattock into the middle and Mickel Miller headed it in. Poor defending all round from the Stags as Stech came to punch clear and didn’t get there and no defender headed away either allowing the diminutive Miller to head in.

So a disappointing second half from Mansfield after all the encouragement of the first half. Rotherham looked good in the second half. Joe Mattock’s quality from set pieces changed the game, and new signing Wes Harding combined very well with Chiedozie Ogbene down their right. Rotherham’s management team including former Mansfield trio Paul Warne, Richie Barker and Matt Hamshaw will have been pleased with what they saw in the second half, indeed I heard manager Warne on the phone to his chairman after the game enthusing about the performances of Harding and Ogbene.

Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Line Up:
(3-5-2): Marek Stech (new signing);
Rollin Menayese (new signing, right side of back 3), Farrend Rawson (new signing), Ryan Sweeney (left side of back 3);
Corey O’Keeffe (new signing, right wing-back), Harry Charsley, James Perch (new signing), George Maris (new signing), Mal Benning (left wing-back);
Andy Cook, Jordan Bowery (new signing).
Sub Line Up:
Tyrese Sinclair (for Perch), 60 mins.
Kellan Gordon (for O’Keeffe), 60 mins.
James Clarke (for Benning), 69 mins.
Aaron O’Driscoll (for Maris), 79 mins.
Danny Rose (for Bowery), 79 mins.
Jamie Reid (for Cook), 79 mins.
Subs not used: Aidan Stone, Aiden Walker, Jimmy Knowles, Josh Scott.
Opposition Line Up:
Trialist goalkeeper, Jones (Harding 59’), Robertson (Scott 79’), Wood (Lindsay 46’), Thompson (A. MacDonald 59’), Miller, Wiles (Hull 79’), S. MacDonald (Greaves 79’), Clarke (Mattock 46’), Crooks (Ogbene 59’), Smith (Proctor 68’).

Season 20/21 Reports