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Season 20/21 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 Harrogate Town
 Miller 26
Attendance: behind closed doors
Date: 24 November 2020


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town put in a very poor performance at home to Harrogate Town this evening and were deservedly beaten 1-0, a result which leaves the Stags level on points with second bottom Scunthorpe United, who have 2 games in hand.
The Stags created just one shot on target in the entire 90 minutes, and that was an easy save for the keeper. Only once did Mansfield go close to scoring as Nicky Maynard headed wide from a good cross from Kellan Gordon half way through the second half. The lack of creativity from the Stags was extremely disappointing with the entire midfield of Harry Charsley, Ollie Clarke, George Lapslie and Stephen McLaughlin having really poor games.
The first 25 minutes of the game had been quite even, but Harrogate took the lead after 26 minutes as Jack Muldoon outmuscled McLaughlin on the right, and crossed low across the six yard box and Calvin Miller bundled into the net from close range.
Harrogate gained in confidence from the goal and were the better side for the rest of the game.
The Stags had several set pieces but the quality of delivery from McLaughlin and Charsley was terrible, while from open play almost nothing was created for Maynard and Jordan Bowery to feed off. It was obvious that things were not working long before Nigel Clough made changes, bringing on Andy Cook for Maynard after 68 minutes, Jamie Reid for Charsley after 78 minutes, and Tyrese Sinclair for McLaughlin after 89 minutes.
It was a worrying performance, but to keep it in context it was a first defeat in seven games since Richard Cooper took over as caretaker manager and then handed over the reins to Nigel Clough. The Stags do though remain perilously placed near the bottom of the table. Hardly anyone came out the game with any credit for Mansfield, with James Perch and Kellan Gordon the pick of the bunch in my opinion.
Harrogate were well-organised and workmanlike, and were worthy winners in the first ever meeting between the two clubs. They put Mansfield under pressure with numerous long throws from Dan Jones, they were very direct, and pressed the Stags very effectively. Former Mansfield youngster Warren Burrell, who played one game for the club, as substitute in the defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge after we had already been relegated to the Conference in 2008, played very well for Harrogate at the heart of their defence.
A break from the league now with the visit of Dagenham & Redbridge on Sunday (1.30pm kick) in the FA Cup with a place in the 3rd Round up for grabs. The game is available to watch free on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app (not the BBC red button) for viewers in the UK only. Meanwhile we will provide commentary as always for iFollow subscribers in the UK and overseas.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that drew with Colchester. The bench was also unchanged. The formation was also the same with a flat 4 in midfield, though later in the game Ollie Clarke moved to a more defensive midfield role. It was Nicky Maynard’s 50th appearance for the club in all competitions (he’s scored 17 goals in those 50 games).

Harrogate were promoted from the National League last season, beating Notts County in the play-off final. They started this season well, but a run of two points from the previous six games, following three successive wins, had seen them drop into mid-table. Manager Simon Weaver had been self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 but had returned to the club the day before the game.

This was the first ever meeting between the two clubs. The Stags did play Harrogate Railway in the FA Cup a few years back, a game shown live on BBC1, but that is a different club.

After 3 minutes, Maynard sent a shot from 25 yards way over the bar. He looked accusingly at the pitch. It was to signify a night of wayward shooting from distance from the Stags.

At the other end after 5 minutes, Dan Jones played a one-two with Muldoon and fired well wide of the right post from 22 yards.

A poor clearance from Stech after 10 minutes reached Thomson. Thomson fired in a low shot which was straight at Stech.

A good surging run forward by Ollie Clarke after 12 minutes. After 16 minutes, great play by Gordon, with a run to the byline and a great cross into a good area which was cleared off the line for a throw-in.

Nearly a chance for the Stags after 21 minutes as Bowery headed on Stech’s long kick, then McLaughlin headed towards Maynard in the area but Fallowfield cleared away for a throw-in before Maynard could get there. From the resulting throw-in, Charsley slightly mis-hit a shot towards the near post and the keeper got down to save easily. It was to be the only shot on target of the evening for the Stags.

The first 25 minutes of the game had been quite even, but Harrogate took the lead after 26 minutes as Jack Muldoon outmuscled McLaughlin on the right, and crossed low across the six yard box and Calvin Miller bundled into the net from close range. Gordon was marking Miller but Miller got to the ball first.

After 28 minutes, McLaughlin’s free kick from the left level with the edge of the area was headed back by Rawson to Lapslie, whose goalbound shot was blocked by Burrell.

Stech saved well after 30 minutes as Beck headed down a long free kick from the keeper, forward to Muldoon, and Muldoon’s low left footed shot on the turn from 12 yards was pushed away by Stech low to his left.

After 32 minutes, a free kick taken by Charsley reached Rawson who headed well wide. At the other end two minutes later, a free kick from the halfway line by Thomson was glanced just wide by the head of Hall from just inside the area.

A couple of good pieces of defending by Perch in quick succession. Then after 41 minutes, Dan Jones, who had been hurling in some monster long throws, showed he could get on the end of set pieces too when he headed a corner just over the bar, it might have even clipped the top of the bar it was hard to judge.

Just before half time, some great play by Bowery who showed brute strength on the left to get to the byline and force his way along it before his low ball into a good area was put behind for a corner.

Harrogate ahead at the break and they had undoubtedly been the better side since taking the lead, after an even opening.

Half time 0-1

The Stags made a good break after 48 minutes, and the ball was played inside to Clarke whose shot was deflected wide for a corner. Charsley wasted the corner putting it behind for a goalkick.

A minute later, Benning did well to block a Thomson shot. Straight to the other end and Benning himself had a shot blocked.

After 53 minutes, McLaughlin’s free kick from level with the edge of the area, didn’t beat the first man.

An important challenge by Gordon on Lloyd Kerry as Harrogate broke on 58 minutes. But a minute later at the other end, a cross from Gordon was over everyone for a goal kick.

Harrogate could have added to their lead after 60 minutes. Jones crossed from the left, it bounced in front of Perch who missed it, the ball hit Beck, bounced up, and Beck had a free header at goal, but sent it wide of the left post. A minute after that, Beck shot wide on the volley from inside the D. After 64 minutes, a good break from Harrogate by Beck, but the Stags were just able to clear.

Mansfield’s best chance of the game came on 65 minutes as Nicky Maynard headed wide from a good cross from Gordon.

Changes were overdue for Mansfield as things clearly weren’t working. Andy Cook came on for Maynard after 68 minutes.

After 70 minutes, a great clearance by Gordon from a Muldoon cross as Thomson would have had a tap-in.

Good play by Andy Cook to create space for himself for a shot from 25 yards after 71 minutes, but he fired just off target. Not a bad effort. After 75 minutes, a free kick from McLaughlin came out to Charsley for a free shot but he hammered it well over the bar.

Jamie Reid replaced Charsley after 78 minutes.

A better move from the Stags after 80 minutes, and finally Clarke shot over the bar from inside the D. At the other end a minute later, Stech saved a full stretch from Muldoon’s low shot.

After 83 minutes, finally a bit of pressure from the Stags. Benning had a shot blocked from the edge of the area. Moments later, good play from Clarke, he found Bowery with his back to goal. Bowery turned and his shot from 12 yards was blocked, Cook picked up the loose ball and found Gordon who was fouled outside the area on the right, 26 yards from goal. McLaughlin went for goal from the free kick and put it just over the bar.

A final change for the Stags after 89 minutes as Tyrese Sinclair came on for McLaughlin.

Four minutes of stoppage time were added on. Harrogate’s game management was excellent as the Stags only got the ball into their half for about 10 seconds of those 4 minutes.

The first defeat in seven games since Graham Coughlan left. A really poor night for the Stags.

Man of the match: James Perch

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

Line Up:
(4-4-2, flat midfield)
Stech 6 Not at fault for the goal. One good save. Poor clearance early on, though he saved the resulting shot. Little else to do.
Gordon 6.5 One or two good runs. Good cross for Maynard’s free header. A couple of good clearances. But could have done better for the goal, as he was marking Miller who beat him to it.
Rawson 6 Ok.
Perch 6.5 Several pieces of good defending. But missed the cross when Beck headed wide.
Benning 6 One good block. Had a couple of shots blocked himself. Essentially the defence and goalkeeper were not the reason for this defeat.
Charsley 4.5 Very poor. Quality of set pieces was terrible including a corner straight out for a goal-kick.
O.Clarke 5 Poor. A couple of shots off target.
Lapslie 5 Fell well below the standard he’s set himself since joining on loan.
McLaughlin 4 Terrible. Outmuscled for the goal. Poor quality of set pieces.
Maynard 5 Headed wide from a great chance. Otherwise fed off scraps.
Bowery 5 Great play when he showed brute strength to get to the byline and put a low ball into a good area. Otherwise too quiet.
Sub Line Up:
Cook (for Maynard, 68 mins) - Good play to set up a long range shot for himself which was just off target.
Reid (for Charsley, 78 mins) -
Sinclair (for McLaughlin, 89 mins) -
Subs not used: Stone, Sweeney, O’Driscoll, O'Keeffe.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Belshaw; Fallowfield (Lawlor 88), Burrell, Hall, Jones; Thomson, Falkingham, Kerry, Miller (Kiernan 67); Muldoon (Martin 82), Beck. Subs not used: Cracknell, Kirby, Walker.
Carl Boyeson 7 Handled the game well.

Season 20/21 Reports