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Season 21/22 Stagsnet Match Report
Papa John’s Trophy (English Football League Trophy)
Mansfield Town  
6 - 3
 Newcastle United U21
Johnson 16, 53, pen 70, O'Toole 45+2, Sinclair pen 78, Caine 90+2.
 Stephenson 5, White 23, Ndiweni 90
Attendance: 805 (44 from Newcastle)
Date: 9 October 2021


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town bowed out of this season’s Papa John’s Trophy with a remarkable 6-3 victory over Newcastle United U21 at the One Call Stadium last night.

It was excellent entertainment for the supporters and there were plenty of positives as the Stags head into a crucial run of league games.
Danny Johnson scored a hat-trick, including a superb turn and shot from the edge of the box, he also got an assist and hit the inside of the post. He limped off after completing his hat-trick but was fine after the game and is not injured.
Alongside him up front was young James Gale, on his debut, who was immensely impressive, demonstrating a wonderful first touch and is definitely one to watch. Indeed I wouldn’t be surprised if he forces his way into the league side later this season much as Jason Law and Tyrese Sinclair did last season. I asked Nigel Clough about him after the game and the manager said that what we saw in the game and his performances in training are the reason why he has been on the bench in the league several times recently.
Will Forrester made his long awaited first start in a Stags shirt and although he started poorly and could have done much better for the visitors’ second goal, he grew into the game. With Farrend Rawson alongside him putting in another good performance, having returned to the side after missing out at Sunderland with his partner about to give birth to their baby, the Stags suddenly have plenty of options at centre half giving the manager the right sort of headache, wondering who to leave out rather than who he can put in that position.

The Stags fell behind twice in the first half with good goals from the Newcastle U21 side, though the defending should have been better. But the Stags equalised twice as Johnson volleyed in a great cross from Gale, and John-Joe O’Toole, playing in midfield rather than central defence, side-footed home from Johnson’s lay-off.

The Stags ran riot in the second half scoring four times and missing a whole host of other glorious chances. Johnson curled in a beauty from the edge of the box, on the turn. Then he converted a penalty after he was brought down by the keeper, just seconds after he hit the inside of the post, with the ball running along the goalline and hitting the other post! Tyrese Sinclair then converted another penalty, after he had also been brought down by the keeper. After Newcastle had pulled back a goal on the stroke of 90 minutes, the Stags added a sixth in stoppage time as Sinclair’s shot was parried by the keeper and young striker Nathan Caine turned home the rebound for his first professional goal.

It was enjoyable to watch.

So, the Stags pick up £10,000 for the victory but don’t go through to the second round.

A few statistics from the game:

The crowd of 805 was 5 more than the lowest attendance at Field Mill in the club’s history, which was 800 set against Crewe in this competition two years ago, and also against Torquay in the league in 1939. The Stags fans were all housed in the West Stand lower tier, while there were 40 (forty) scouts in the upper tier.

9 goals was the most goals in a Stags game since losing 5-4 at Fleetwood in November 2013. Amazingly earlier the same month, there was also 9 goals in a game as the Stags won 8-1 at St Albans in the FA Cup.

Some other stats on the EFL Trophy (now Papa John’s Trophy, previously Checkatrade Trophy, Freight Rover Trophy etc) courtesy of Paul Taylor:
The Stags have never before scored 6 goals in a match in the EFL Trophy.
A three-goal margin of victory equals the club’s biggest win in this competition.
Danny Johnson is the first Stag to score a hat trick in this competition.


Mansfield made ten changes from the side that won at Sunderland in the FA Cup. John-Joe O’Toole was the player to start who also started at Sunderland, though he switched from central defence to midfield. Will Forrester made his first start, after coming on as a late sub at Sunderland. He was alongside Farrend Rawson. Congratulations to Faz on becoming a father at the weekend. With Ryan Burke suspended having been booked in the previous two games against Harrogate and Sheffield Wednesday, Jason Law slotted in at left back. James Gale was up front for his debut, alongside Danny Johnson. Gale signed for the club from Long Eaton United at the end of August. Nigel Clough reminisced after the game that the last striker he could recall to come from Long Eaton United, Garry Birtles, wasn’t too bad! James Clarke, at right back, was once again named captain. There was good news on the bench with the return from injury of Ryan Stirk.
Newcastle U21 included Cameron Ferguson up front, son of Duncan Ferguson.

The Stags had the first chance of the game after 3 minutes as Johnson and Bowery combined and Johnson’s low shot was deflected over the bar.

Newcastle U21 took the lead after 5 minutes. Lucas De Bolle slid an incisive ball forward from the edge of the centre circle which Dylan Stephenson ran on to from the right, stealing a march on Jason Law, taking a couple of touches and firing under George Shelvey from just inside the area. Shelvey got something on it but I wouldn’t blame him for not saving it. It was a brilliant pass from De Bolle.

After 10 minutes, good play from Gale, the ball ricocheted to Sinclair who got into the area on the right but fired well over the bar with his left foot. Three minutes later, following a Stags corner, Law crossed in and Forrester controlled the ball and fired wide from 10 yards.

The Stags equalised after 16 minutes. Jason Law won a tackle on the left near the corner flag, the ball fell for Gale who curled in a great cross to the near post which Johnson volleyed into the roof of the net from 3 yards. A good finish from Johnson and a great assist for Gale so early on his debut.

Gale fired over the bar from 22 yards on 18 minutes after picking the ball up from a Newcastle mistake at the back.

Newcastle U21 regained the lead after 23 minutes, and it was a fine solo goal from Joe White, their standout player on the night. He cut in from the right touchline, dancing past Keaton Ward, and then Forrester, before firing left footed past Shelvey from a tight angle and from close range. Shelvey again got something on it, as he did with the first goal, and the deflection off the Stags keeper took it past James Clarke on the line. Weak defending from the Stags while recognising that it was a fine individual goal. As with the first goal, I wouldn’t blame Shelvey as the shot was from close range albeit from a tight angle.

After 30 minutes, Rawson’s header from a set piece provided an easy save for the keeper. Three minutes later, good play on the left between Sinclair and Law, and Law’s cross was cleared. Then on 36 minutes, Sinclair miskicked a shot well wide of the right post from 25 yards.

A great tackle by James Clarke after 37 minutes under considerable pressure and he even won a free kick.

Ward was booked after 41 minutes, taking one for the team after Bowery had given the ball away and Newcastle threatened to break. A reminder that bookings in this competition do not count towards the tallying up for suspensions in the league.

Sinclair’s low shot from 18 yards was straight at the keeper after 42 minutes. A minute later, Gale curled a shot just wide from 20 yards. Then good play from Gale on the right and James Clarke won a corner.

The Stags equalised again after 45+2 minutes. Gale slid in to the win the ball well on the left touchline and find Sinclair who played the ball inside to Johnson level with the penalty spot on the left of the area. Johnson showed great vision to pull the ball back into the path of O’Toole who ran on to it and side-footed into the bottom right corner of the net from 15 yards. Good play from Gale, also from Sinclair, a great assist from Johnson, and a cool finish from O’Toole.

That was the last action of an entertaining first half. Gale and Johnson had particularly impressed. Each had an assist, and Johnson a volleyed goal. Gale’s footwork and first touch was impressive. The Stags had had a large number of corners. But Newcastle U21 had scored two good goals.

Half time 2-2

O’Toole, who had played the full game at Sunderland, was replaced at half time, and it was great to see Ryan Stirk, returning from injury, replace him.

After 49 minutes, good play from Stirk winning a free kick 35 yards out. Sinclair took the free kick short to Law, got the ball back and fired in a shot which was blocked.

The Stags made it 3-2 after 53 minutes, taking the lead for the first time. James Clarke played a good ball from the right touchline into Johnson, back to goal on the edge of the area. Johnson turned and fired into the left corner of the net from the edge of the box. A quite superb goal from Johnson. James Clarke gets an assist, though most of the work was Johnson’s.

Rawson was booked for a foul 24 yards out after 58 minutes.

Joe White took the resulting free kick and sent a cracking drive against the bar with Shelvey nowhere near it. Two minutes later, Matt Bondswell got into the area on the left and fired straight into Shelvey’s midriff. On 63 minutes, great defending from Rawson to clear.

Bowery got to the byline on the left after 65 minutes, and pulled back to Ward, whose side-footed shot was on target and blocked for a corner. Following the corner, Sinclair fired wide.

Brilliant play from Johnson after 66 minutes, teeing up Sinclair who got into the area with just the keeper to beat but fired wide.

A minute later, Sinclair shot straight at the keeper, it came out to Bowery who fired wide. The chances were racking up for Sinclair.

Mansfield made it 4-2 after 70 minutes. Gale played a good 1-2 with Johnson to get into the area on the right. Gale went down under a challenge from Nathan Carlyon. Carlyon got the ball. The ball ran loose to Johnson who fired against the inside of the left post from 8 yards. The ball ran along the goalline and hit the other post before coming out! Sinclair recycled the ball into the middle, De Bolle who was on the ground tried to clear, but only sent the ball back towards the byline where Johnson, who would have been offside if the ball had been played forward by a Stags player, got to it just before the keeper and was upended for a clear penalty. A rash challenge from keeper Dan Langley. A crazy passage of play. Johnson, who had missed from the spot in the last home game against Tranmere, stepped up and coolly converted into the left corner of the net for his hat-trick. Johnson immediately limped off after completing his hat-trick but was fine after the game and is not injured.

Young Nathan Caine came on to replace Johnson.

Caine was booked within 60 seconds of coming on for a late tackle.

It was 5-2 after 78 minutes. Forrester won the ball 45 yards from goal and slid a lovely ball forward for Sinclair to get into the area. Sinclair turned inside Charlie Wiggett before going past the keeper who brought him down for another clear penalty. Another rash challenge by keeper Langley. Sinclair had also missed his last penalty, at the end of last season, but stepped up and coolly converted, also into the left corner of the net, for his first goal of the season. It was a relief for Sinclair who had missed a number of chances in the game, but had been lively and involved in a lot.

George Cooper replaced Rawson after 80 minutes. Cooper had really impressed in the last game in this competition, against Sheffield Wednesday before picking up an injury, and it was good to see him back.

After 84 minutes, Gale’s shot from 12 yards was blocked by Bondswell, Stirk recycled the ball to Sinclair who was 1-on-1 with the keeper from 8 yards. Sinclair rather than shooting, tried to lay off to Bowery but as he tried to shoot, the ball was cleared.

At the other end a minute later, a good block from Forrester from a corner.

Newcastle U21 pulled a goal back to make it 5-3 after 90 minutes. Great play from Dylan Stephenson on the right touchline just inside the Stags half forcing his way past Law and putting in a great cross from level with the edge of the area into the middle where sub Michael Ndiweni had escaped from his marker Cooper to sweep a shot past Shelvey from 7 yards.

But Mansfield went straight to the other end and made it 6-3 after 90+2 minutes. Sinclair played a 1-2 with Law on the left, then played a 1-2 with Bowery who was inside, to get to the edge of the area, cut inside and fire goalwards. The keeper could only parry his shot away into the path of Nathan Caine who tucked the ball into the empty net from 6 yards. A great moment for Caine for his first goal for the first team. And superb play from Sinclair who gets an assist.

That was the end of the scoring. A great game for the fans who turned out or watched at home on iFollow Stags.

A word on Newcastle U21. Whilst they provided some good moments going forward, overall they were extremely poor for a Premier League U21 side. According to their local newspaper reporter who I spoke to they have now lost 10 consecutive games in the EFL Trophy. Joe White was their standout player, with that fine solo goal, and a super free kick against the bar.

The Stags are back in action on Saturday at Stevenage in a huge game towards the bottom of the table. At last with players coming back from injury, Nigel Clough has selection headaches of who to leave out from the side, rather than who to include. You will be able to watch the game on iFollow Stags with a match pass because it is an international weekend.

Man of the match: Danny Johnson, superb with a hat-trick and an assist for O’Toole’s goal, but young James Gale on his debut not far behind.

Here’s a running tally of various stats this season:

Goals: Johnson 7, Hawkins 4, Oates 3, Lapslie 2, Caine, O.Clarke, Hewitt, Maris, O’Toole, Quinn, Sinclair 1

Assists: Johnson, Oates, Quinn, Sinclair 3, O.Clarke, McLaughlin, 2, Bowery, Charsley, J.Clarke, Gale, Hawkins, Rawson 1
(note: in the case of a penalty, the player who earns the penalty gets an assist. In the case of a solo goal, such as Maris against Newport, nobody gets an assist.)

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

Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Shelvey 6 I wouldn’t blame him for the first two goals even though he got something on both. He could have done with a good save in the game for his confidence.
J.Clarke 7 Good game.
Forrester 6 His first start. Started poorly and could have done much better for the visitors’ second goal, then grew into the game.
Rawson 7 Another good performance, having returned to the side after missing out at Sunderland with his partner about to give birth to their baby.
Law 6.5 Out of position at left back (even though he has played there before). Did well going forward. Could have done better with the first goal, but otherwise did well defensively.
Ward 6.5 Could have done better for the visitors’ second goal. Otherwise did well.
O’Toole 7 Good first half including coolly taken goal.
Bowery 5.5 Disappointing. Gave the ball away leading to Ward’s booking.
Sinclair 7 Missed seven chances, before winning and converting the penalty, and then excellent play leading up to Caine’s goal. Those were a relief for him, but he had been lively and involved in a lot.
Gale 8.5 On his debut, he was immensely impressive, demonstrating a wonderful first touch and is definitely one to watch. An assist for the first goal.
Johnson 9.5 Scored a hat-trick, including a superb turn and shot from the edge of the box, he also got an assist and hit the inside of the post. Also brilliant play to set up a chance for Sinclair.
Sub Line Up:
Stirk (for O’Toole, 46 mins) 7 Great to see him returning from injury. Did well.
Caine (for Johnson, 71 mins) - His first professional goal.
Cooper (for Rawson, 80 mins) -
Subs not used: Stech, Maris, Charsley.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-2-3-1): Langley; Barrett, Wiggett, Brookwell (Carlyon 55), Bondswell; Young, De Bolle; Stephenson, White, Scott (Crossley 61); Ferguson (Ndiweni 73). Subs not used: Thompson, Thomson, Barclay, Miley.
Alan Young 7 Got both penalties right, though produced too many yellow cards in my opinion. Nigel Clough said that the referee said he had to produce the yellow cards because the assessor in the stand would have marked him down otherwise.

Season 21/22 Reports