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Season 21/22 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 0
 Leyton Orient
Bowery 44, O.Clarke 72
Attendance: 5,851 (381 from Leyton Orient)
Date: 29 January 2022


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town beat Leyton Orient 2-0 at the One Call Stadium this afternoon despite terrible conditions. The win is Mansfield’s 8th in a row in the league, setting a new club record for wins in a row in the Football League (*). And it’s an incredible 11 wins from the last 12 league games.
(* though we did win 12 in a row in the Conference in 2013, and also 12 in a row in 1924-25 in the Midland Counties League)

The conditions were terrible. A swirling wind, Storm Malik, made playing good football very difficult. I have yet to see a good game of football played in a strong wind in my life.

The Stags made one change from the side that started at Barrow. Ollie Clarke returned from injury as captain in place of Farrend Rawson who is suspended for two games. There was great news with the return of James Perch to the bench. Perch suffered a fractured skull and was expected to be out for the season, and possibly the end of his career. It’s so good to see him back, especially for him, and certainly for the club too. He got quite the standing ovation when he came on in the 90th minute. New signing Kieran Wallace, signed from Burton on Friday was also on the bench. No George Lapslie on the bench, injured, felt his thigh this week. Nigel Clough told me after the game he has a chance of being back for the Colchester game.
Harry Charsley had joined Port Vale on Friday and will be missed. His chances had been limited this season, but his two goals in the last home game, against Walsall were critical. He had dropped down the pecking order in midfield and wasn’t going to be a first team regular, so he had asked to leave, and Nigel Clough thought it was only fair to let him go.

Leyton Orient were on a poor run of form, with one point from their last 4 league games. I watched them play in midweek on iFollow, and they were very poor against Newport. They made five changes here to freshen things up. Former Stag Otis Khan played at right wing-back, his second game for the club.

Orient won the toss and elected to have the wind against them in the first half, and hence behind them in the second half. I asked Nigel Clough after the game if he would have done the same. He said he didn’t mind, but that he actually thought it was easier to play against the wind today so that the ball held up as you pushed forward, rather than just running straight out for a goalkick or to the keeper.

The Stags created the first chance of the game. A corner from George Maris on 9 minutes reached John-Joe O’Toole at the far post, but it more or less hit his leg and ran straight through to the keeper. Then after 15 minutes, Ollie Clarke fashioned a yard for a shot and from 25 yards his rasping low drive was straight at the keeper.

The ball was running away from the Stags often going forward, as the wind carried the ball away through to the keeper or out of play.

After 21 minutes, a rare attack from Orient as a long throw from Paul Smyth came out to Jordan Brown, and the young midfielder signed from Derby, on his second appearance, sent a shot high and wide from 22 yards. Five minutes later, a cross from Theo Archibald was well cleared by O’Toole.

Rhys Oates did well after 31 minutes, turning 28 yards from goal and sending a left-footed shot wide with plenty of power. Oates had had a difficult half, in conditions that didn’t suit him, running the ball out of play on three occasions.

Another shot from distance from Orient after 38 minutes as Ruel Sotiriou sent a shot from 25 yards well wide of the right post.

Elliott Hewitt was booked after 41 minutes for two fouls in the space of 5 seconds, firstly on Archibald and then on Paul Smyth.

The Stags took the lead after 44 minutes in very fortunate circumstances. Oates made a good run from left to right across the edge of the box, and chipped the ball forward into the area to Jordan Bowery. Bowery controlled the ball with his left arm to bring it down, and then fired with the outside of his right boot into the right corner of the net from 6 yards, as five Orient players stood with their arms in the air to claim the free kick. Astonishingly the linesman and referee both failed to see the handball, and gave the goal. It seems that both were unsighted. An extraordinary stroke of luck for the Stags. The referee Sam Allison was the same referee who gave the last minute penalty to Colchester earlier this season which was never a penalty and which denied Mansfield two points, so a bit of evening things out there in terms of luck with decisions. Bowery has now scored a crucial goal in 4 of the last 5 league games.

The Stags ahead at the break, and a great time to take the lead with that massive stroke of fortune. Incidentally, as if to highlight the dreadful nature of the game, four balls had gone clean out of the ground in that first half. By the end of the game, three more would be stuck on the roof of the Bishop Street stand.

Half time 1-0

Into the second half and in the opening seconds, Oates won a free kick with a good run. McLaughlin’s free kick from the left was into a good area and no-one could get on the end of it. After 51 minutes, Maris played a good one-two with Bowery and Maris’s shot from a tight angle was caught by the keeper.

A great tackle by McLaughlin on Sotiriou after 61 minutes. Meanwhile Orient were overhitting ball after ball forward.

The Stags made it 2-0 after 72 minutes. Good play from Bowery to win a corner. The corner was out for another corner and from that, the Stags scored. Quinn’s corner from the right was headed straight up in the air by Otis Khan. As the ball came down, McLaughlin tried to control it and it ran back to Ollie Clarke who hit a sweet half-volley from 17 yards left footed that fizzed into the net with the keeper motionless. A cracking finish from Ollie Clarke, for his fourth goal of the season. After the game Clarke said: “I think Macca is trying to claim he tried to bring it down for me, but it bobbled off his foot to the left onto my left foot and I just struck it cleanly.” Nevertheless I will give McLaughlin an assist for the goal and he and Oates (who also got one today), are out in front with 6 assists each this season in my stats (see below).

Orient weren’t out of it though and had their best spell immediately following the goal. Firstly a half chance for Archibald as his shot from the edge of the area was well-blocked by Hewitt, and then moments later sub Hector Kyprianou slid a superb ball forward, in behind McLaughlin, for another sub Aaron Drinon to run on to in the Stags box, and with just Bishop to beat, he fired against the outside of the right post. It was a sitter for Drinon and a dreadful miss though much credit to Bishop for making himself big.

And Drinon hit the woodwork again after 78 minutes. A corner from the left was partially headed away by Ryan Stirk, Dan Happe lifted the ball goalwards and from almost under the bar, Drinon somehow headed against the bar!

Surely it was going to be the Stags’ day now, and indeed it was as Orient didn’t create any further efforts at goal.

Lucas Akins came on for his second substitute appearance after 80 minutes, replacing Oates. Akins is not quite 100% fit at the moment which was one reason he didn’t start.

Good play from Bowery after 86 minutes to win a corner, as the Stags wound the clock down.

A standing ovation for James Perch as he came on as substitute after 90 minutes, in place of Quinn. Perch went into midfield, and was wearing a protective headband. Then Kieran Wallace came on for his debut, replacing Maris after 90+1 minutes.

A great punch away from a corner by Bishop after 90+3 minutes. Then in the final minute of stoppage time, Bowery got back well into his own area to stop Archibald getting in a shot.

At full time, more great celebrations as we have seen so often recently. The Stags crowd are loving what they are seeing, and there is a real togetherness with the players. It’s a great time to be a Stags fan, with this record-breaking 8 wins of the trot, and incidentally there were 500 more Stags fans at the game than at any home league game this season.

It was all about grinding out the result today with incredible hard work in those terrible conditions. Whilst the Stags certainly deserved the win in my opinion, we also had the luck that was going when Bowery’s goal should have been disallowed, and then after going 2-0 up, Orient through sub Drinon, somehow hit the woodwork twice when he should have scored.

The whole side worked extremely hard. None more so that Jordan Bowery and Ollie Clarke, the two goalscorers, and I can’t separate them for my man of the match. O’Toole and Hawkins were outstanding at centre half. Stirk had a terrific game in front of the back four, Quinn and Maris were also very good in midfield. Hewitt and McLaughlin did well at full back.

On to Harrogate on Tuesday. Fair to say the Stags owe Harrogate one. If you can’t get to the game, you can watch it with us on iFollow Stags. The Stags are now 11 points ahead of Harrogate. Harrogate had gone top of the league when they beat us in September, and the Stags had Ollie Clarke and Quinn sent off at the same time (with Quinn then banned for 6 games).

More importantly, the Stags are three points behind 3rd placed Newport and 4th place Sutton, with 2 and 1 games in hand respectively, and 1 point behind 5th placed Northampton. All 4 of these sides won today.

Man of the Match: Jordan Bowery and Ollie Clarke

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

Goals (league and cup): Johnson, Oates 7, Hawkins 6, Bowery 5, O.Clarke, Lapslie, McLaughlin 4, Maris, O’Toole 3, Charsley 2, Caine, Forrester, Hewitt, Quinn, Sinclair, Stirk 1

Assists (league and cup): McLaughlin, Oates 6, Quinn 5, Bowery 4, Charsley, Johnson, Sinclair 3, O.Clarke, Hawkins, Maris, Rawson, Stirk 2, J.Clarke, Gale, Hewitt, Lapslie, Law 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. In the case of the scorer scoring from the rebound after a shot is saved or blocked, the player who had the shot saved gets an assist.)

Average home league attendance: 4791 (average away fans: 561, average home fans 4230)

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

Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Bishop 7 Credit to him for making himself big as Drinan hit the post. One great punch away from a corner.
Hewitt 7 Did well at full back. One good block on an Archibald shot just after the Stags had gone 2-0 up.
Hawkins 8.5 Outstanding at centre half. Won the majority of his headers against Harry Smith.
O’Toole 8.5 Also outstanding at centre half.
McLaughlin 7.5 An assist for Ollie Clarke’s goal. One great tackle. Did allow Drinan to get in behind him for his shot against the post.
Stirk 8 Terrific game in front of the back four.
O.Clarke 9 My joint man of the match. Cracking finish for his goal. As Nigel Clough said: “It was the perfect game for him to come back into. It was a heading, tackling, running, closing down, sort of game in difficult conditions.”
Quinn 7.5 Very good game.
Maris 7.5 Very good game.
Bowery 9 All action display. Got lucky that his handball was missed before converting his goal, and he has now scored a crucial goal in 4 of the last 5 league games. Won a few corners with good play. Tracked back well.
Oates 6.5 Got an assist for the first goal. Otherwise not quite his day, in conditions that didn’t suit him, running the ball out of play on three occasions in the first half.
Sub Line Up:
Akins (for Oates, 80 mins) - Not quite 100% fit at the moment which was one reason he didn’t start.
Perch (for Quinn, 90 mins) - He was expected to be out for the season, and possibly the end of his career. It’s so good to see him back, especially for him, and certainly for the club too. He got quite the standing ovation when he came on in the 90th minute.
Wallace (for Maris, 90+1 mins) - On for his debut.
Subs not used: Stech, Nartey, Law, Johnson.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-4-1-2): Vigouroux; Mitchell, Beckles, Happe; Khan, Coleman, Brown (Kyprianou 64), Archibald; Sotiriou (Drinan 64); Harry Smith, Paul Smyth (Young 46). Subs not used: Sargeant, Thompson, Kemp, Moss.
Sam Allison 5 The officials missed the clear handball by Bowery for the Stags’ first goal, much to our delight, but it was quite a howler. The same referee who gave the last minute penalty to Colchester earlier this season which was never a penalty and which denied Mansfield two points, so a bit of evening things out there in terms of luck with decisions.

Season 21/22 Reports