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Season 21/22 Stagsnet Match Report
Pre-Season Friendly
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Coventry City
Lapslie 49
Attendance: 2,539 (368 from Coventry)
Date: 27 July 2021

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield beat Coventry City 1-0 in the latest pre-season friendly, with a goal from George Lapslie after 49 minutes. This was a really good performance from the Stags against a young Coventry City side and the Stags could have won by more goals.

It was a special night for the Stags though as it was the first time since February 2020 that fans had been allowed in at the One Call Stadium. The last game was a 1-0 win over Newport with a goal from Danny Rose.

And of course it was the first time that Nigel Clough had managed the Stags in front of fans at home.

It was also the first time that the entire 11 Stags players who started the game had played in front of their own fans at home.

The first half saw the Stags right on top with an impressive performance. The Stags had the bulk of the chances in the half, including five for Danny Johnson. The returning Tyler Walker had a couple of efforts for Coventry but that was about it.
Into the second half and the goal Mansfield deserved came after 49 minutes. Stephen McLaughlin played it to Danny Johnson who got to the byline on the left and pulled back for Lapslie to fire low into the net. The first goal for the Stags fans to cheer at home for 17 months. There were plenty of other chances for the Stags to score, with Quinn volleying just over the bar, Lapslie going very close twice more and several other shots.
Overall a really impressive performance. The Stags midfield of Maris, Ollie Clarke, Quinn and Lapslie looked tremendous. The defence was assured. Stephen McLaughlin was very good coming forward down the left and linking well with Stephen Quinn. Nathan Bishop was in goal for the first time in a Stags shirt. He’s on loan from Man Utd for the season but had been with Man Utd for pre-season until now. He had had a fairly quiet night but looked confident.

A word on the pitch. It looked magnificent, and with the excellent work done during the close season should be so much better than last season.

The Stags players and management were given a rousing reception before the game.

Mansfield were without Kellan Gordon who picked up a knock in training (he collided with Rhys Oates). Elliott Hewitt returned from illness, fortunately just a bug and not Covid-related, and he slotted in at right back, a position he played against the Stags last season for Grimsby, rather than in central defence which should be his normal position this season. Farrend Rawson partnered James Perch in central defence, with McLaughlin at left back. The midfield was Mansfield’s regular midfield from last season of Maris, Ollie Clarke, Quinn and Lapslie. Lapslie was returning from injury. Hawkins and Johnson were up front. Nathan Bishop was in goal for the first time in a Stags shirt. He’s on loan from Man Utd for the season but had been with Man Utd for pre-season until now.

Coventry started with just 4 or 5 players who could be considered first team players according to their analyst. Up front was Tyler Walker, who was on loan for the Stags in the play-off season under David Flitcroft.

The first half was played in rain that was blowing straight into the TV gantry soaking me and my notes, so once again apologies if I get anything wrong from my smudged notes.

An impressive performance in the first half with the Stags having most of the chances.

Inside the first minute, a free kick from Jodi Jones was headed wide by Trialist A.

After 5 minutes, a long throw from Elliott Hewitt (the first time we have seen that deployed from him in pre-season) was flicked on by Hawkins and Johnson was just wide with a shot on the turn.

Nathan Bishop was out quickly at the other end to clear before Tyler Walker could reach a long ball forward after 9 minutes. Then on 12 minutes a low shot from Walker was straight at Bishop.

After 15 minutes, a corner from McLaughlin was met by Hawkins but his header into the ground bounced up and into the keeper’s arms. Hewitt blocked a shot from Jodi Jones after 18 minutes.

Danny Johnson went close again after 27 minutes. A fine high cross from McLaughlin was turned goalwards by Johnson and saved on his line by the keeper.

A good move from the Stags after 29 minutes involving McLaughlin, Johnson and Lapslie, and eventually McLaughlin’s acrobatic effort was well wide.

A minute later a low shot was Maris was blocked by Howley for a corner.

From the resulting corner, Johnson went close for a third time. The corner by McLaughlin was taken short to Hewitt who chipped in a good cross and Johnson headed just over the bar.

On 33 minutes, another enterprising move from Mansfield, and finally Hewitt sent a shot just high and wide from 30 yards.

A fourth chance for Johnson after 34 minutes. A clever free kick from the Stags, Ollie Clarke played forward to Johnson and he slid his first-time shot wide of the left post from the edge of the area.

Tyler Walker turned and curled a shot over the bar from 23 yards after 35 minutes.

A free kick for the Stags 27 yards after 41 minutes. McLaughlin connected well but sent it straight at the keeper.

After 42 minutes, McLaughlin slid Johnson in and his effort was blocked. A minute later at the other end, Jodi Jones was well wide of the left from 22 yards. On the stroke of half time, good defending by Perch as Walker broke into the area.

A very good reception from Stags fans at the break for an impressive first half performance from Mansfield. The Stags with the bulk of the chances, including five for Danny Johnson. The midfield looked good and the defence assured. McLaughlin was very good coming forward down the left and linking well with Quinn.

Half time 0-0

The second half continued with the Stags creating chances.

After 47 minutes, Hewitt put in a great cross and Quinn sent it just over the bar on the volley from 8 yards. Cracking effort.

Finally the Stags had the goal they deserved after 49 minutes. McLaughlin curled a lovely ball down the line to Johnson who got to the byline on the left and pulled back for Lapslie to fire low into the net left-footed from 7 yards. The first goal for the Stags fans to cheer at home for 17 months.

After 51 minutes McLaughlin fired well wide from 24 yards after the ball sat up nicely for him.

Lovely play from Ollie Clarke and Lapslie after 53 minutes before Clarke was penalised for a foul in the box. Great play though.

Another delightful move from the Stags two minutes later ended with a cross from Maris across the face of goal but with no-one on the end of it.

After 56 minutes, Ollie Clarke chipped into the middle from the byline and Lapslie fired just over the bar from 12 yards.

The Stags were playing superbly.

Julien Dacosta got into the area along the byline, and Maris did well to put behind. From the resulting corner by Jones, Walker headed well wide.

The first change for Mansfield after 61 minutes as Ryan Stirk, a midfielder signed earlier in the day on loan from Birmingham for the season, replaced the excellent Quinn, on the left side of midfield of the midfield diamond.

Coventry also made a change. Trialist A and Trialist B had started the game. Now they brought on Trialist C. The Sky Blues fans chanted “Trialist C, he’s one of our own”. Bravo for one of the best chants of all time.

Stirk was straight into the action after 65 minutes but giving away a free kick 27 yards out, fouling Coventry sub Enobakhare. Ben Sheaf sent the free kick into the Stags wall which did its job.

A minute later, Enobakhare showed great skill on the byline getting past Lapslie and Maris into the area on the left and his shot was deflected over the bar by Rawson.

McLaughlin sent over a great cross after 67 minutes which Lapslie headed just over the bar.

More changes for Mansfield after 68 minutes. James Clarke replaced Hewitt at right back, Rhys Oates replaces Lapslie in an attacking midfield position. A standing ovation for goalscorer Lapslie.

On 71 minutes, Perch crossed from the left and Hawkins headed well wide. Then Maris got past a defender in the box and his shot was saved comfortably by the keeper at his near post.

Three more changes for Mansfield after 75 minutes. Ryan Burke replaced Maris, Tyrese Sinclair replaced Johnson, Jordan Bowery replaced Hawkins. Bowery and Oates went up front, Sinclair just behind them, Burke to left back, McLaughlin into midfield in front of the back four.

Great play from Sinclair after 77 minutes, he found Oates whose cross was across the face of goal.

It was good to hear decisive calling from Nathan Bishop after 78 minutes calling for his ball. He had had a fairly quite night but looked confident.

A snap shot from Oates from the edge of the area was saved by the keeper after 83 minutes.

A good tackle from James Clarke in front of the West Stand brought good applause from the crowd after 85 minutes. Sinclair forced his way into the box but his cross was blocked. Sinclair was already looking dangerous since coming on.

Ollie Clarke found Bowery whose low shot deflected off a trialist Coventry defender and was saved on the line by the keeper after 86 minutes.

That was the last meaningful action. A standing ovation for the side at full time. Another really impressive performance from the Stags who are looking good with a week and a half until the first league game.

A young side including the likes of Nathan Caine, Jimmy Knowles, Keaton Ward, Jason Law (back from injury) will play at Basford United on Wednesday night to make sure all of the squad are getting minutes ahead of the new season. Then the first team will play Nottingham Forest under 23 at the RH Academy behind closed doors on Saturday.

You’ll be able to watch the full match replay of the Coventry game with commentary on Wednesday on iFollow Stags. And you’ll be able to watch Saturday’s game in full on Sunday.

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

Line Up:
Hewitt, Rawson, Perch, McLaughlin;
Maris, O.Clarke, Quinn, Lapslie;
Hawkins, Johnson.
Sub Line Up:
Stirk (for Quinn, 61 minutes)
J.Clarke (for Hewitt, 68 minutes)
Oates (for Lapslie, 68 minutes)
Burke (for Maris, 75 minutes)
Sinclair (for Johnson, 75 minutes)
Bowery (for Hawkins, 75 minutes)
Sub not used: Stech.
Opposition Line Up:
Ben Wilson (GK) (C); Julien Dacosta (Tavares 62’), Declan Drysdale (Trialist C 62’), Trialist A, Josh Reid, Trialist B (Rowe 62’); Ben Sheaf (Evans-Harriott 75’), Ryan Howley, Jodi Jones (Enobakhare 62’), Will Bapaga (Rus 75’); Tyler Walker (Nee 75’). Subs: Simon Moore (GK), Blaine Rowe, Trialist C, Marco Rus, Aaron Evans-Harriott, Bright Enobakhare, Harrison Nee, Fabio Tavares.
David Webb

Season 21/22 Reports