Grant OG 16, McLaughlin 32, Stirk 38, Quinn 46
Attendance: 4,015 (2028 from Mansfield)
Date: 9 April 2022
STAGS CRUISE TO 4-0 WIN AT SCUNTHORPE
Martin Shaw at Glanford Park (the Sands Venue Stadium)
Mansfield Town won 4-0 at League Two bottom club Scunthorpe United this afternoon, to bounce back from defeat at leaders Forest Green on Tuesday, and move into 4th place in the table.
Had the Stags won by another goal, it would have been a record away win in the Football League. As it was, this was the 13th time the Stags have won by 4 goals away from home (stats from Paul Taylor), with the record away wins being 6-2 at Lincoln in 1963 and Wigan in 1995.
This was however Mansfield’s 400th away win the Football League (another stat from Paul Taylor) (400 away wins out of 1778 away games).
It was a great afternoon for the Stags’ sellout away following of 2,028, who made up more than half of the crowd at Glanford Park, gave their side very loud backing throughout, and stayed behind long after the final whistle to enjoy the result with the players. What a reception for the players after the game and what a noise!
Not such a good day for the home fans, who face relegation to the National League, though results elsewhere gave them a stay of execution until next weekend. Indeed so poor were Scunthorpe that unless there an infusion of better players into their squad, they look like they will be bottom half in the National League to me.
For the Stags, it was a shame that 2nd placed Exeter picked up a late winner at Carlisle, while 3rd placed Port Vale edged out Oldham 3-2 at home, so that the Stags did not close the gap on the top 3.
The Stags were 3-0 up by half time, and added a 4th just six seconds into the second half after a brilliant run and shot from Stephen Quinn, who had an excellent game overall. The Stags could have added more after that with plenty of chances, but momentum was rather halted by a 4 minute stoppage due to a protest by home fans who threw tennis balls onto the pitch and then invaded the pitch (a protest against the owner), and later a 7 minute stoppage for repairs to the net. Only 9 minutes of stoppage time was played, when it should have been 4 plus 7 plus 3 minutes for substitutions = 14 minutes. I asked Nigel Clough after the game whether he was happy that the game was 5 minutes short and he told me that both managers agreed to that, Clough being worried that several of his players such as Perch were out on their feet and he was concerned that being tired they might pick up an unnecessary injury. Fair enough. There was a similar situation away to Walsall last season when both managers, Clough and Darrell Clarke, agreed with the referee not to play any stoppage time at all as the pitch was freezing up and they were both worried about injuries.
Mansfield made three changes from the side that lost at Forest Green. George Lapslie was suspended after his red card at Forest Green. Mansfield’s appeal was rejected on Friday. He misses three games. Kieran Wallace and Oli Hawkins also dropped to the bench. In came Ryan Stirk, James Perch and Farrend Rawson. Perch was captain. The Stags started with a 4-4-2 formation, with Hewitt at right back, Rawson and O’Toole at centre half, and Perch at left back. Then in midfield, from right to left: Longstaff, Stirk, Quinn, McLaughlin. Bowery and Akins up front.
Rhys Oates (thigh), Jamie Murphy (hamstring) and Ollie Clarke (groin) remained out.
Clough said after the game “I would think Rhys Oates is more doubtful [to feature in the Easter weekend fixtures] than Jamie Murphy.”
On Rhys Oates Instagram account this morning he posted that he had treatment in a cryochamber yesterday, and the place where he had the treatment wished him “good luck with the rehab”. It would seem that the earliest Oates could possibly return is the Crawley game on the 23rd.
A reminder that Nigel Clough told me on Tuesday that Ollie Clarke had just had a minor operation on his groin, and hopefully would be back before the end of the season.
One new injury added to the list today: Stephen McLaughlin went off in the first half with a tight hamstring. Clough said after the game: “we’re not sure of the extent of it at this stage.”
Scunthorpe with without Tyrese Sinclair, on loan from Mansfield of course and not allowed to play against his parent club. Sinclair has been doing well at Scunthorpe, and even ended their previous game as captain.
They were also without former Stag George Taft.
There were plenty of youngsters in the Scunthorpe side with a sprinkling of experienced players like Liam Feeney and Anthony Grant.
Scunthorpe were bottom, hadn’t won for 2 months and had lost their last 5 games.
But Scunthorpe started the game well. They won a corner inside the first minute, and from it, taken from the right by Feeney, centre forward Joe Nuttall escaped from his marker Rawson to send a free header wide at the near post. Scunthorpe won another corner in the second minute, but this was cleared.
A great chance for the Stags after 6 minutes, as McLaughlin, playing on the left side of midfield today, sent in a brilliant cross and Bowery headed wide from 6 yards having done well to escape from his marker. What a chance. Bowery should have got it on target.
Quinn was brought down by a cynical foul from Feeney after 10 minutes. Feeney was booked.
The Stags took the lead after 16 minutes. Good play from McLaughlin to win a corner on the left. Longstaff took the corner short to McLaughlin who curled in a cross. It hit midfielder Anthony Grant on the edge of the six yard box and went into the bottom right corner of the net. A slightly fortunate own goal. I’m giving McLaughlin an assist for the goal.
Good defending by Stirk after 20 minutes clearing a Feeney cross.
A chance for McLaughlin after 25 minutes. Quinn sent McLaughlin away with a run forward to the edge of the area, he wasn’t closed down, and he fired wide of the right post.
Two good pieces of defending by Perch around the half hour mark, starting with a good header away.
Longstaff gave the ball away after 31 minutes, Harry Lewis pushed forward on the left but put in a poor cross. Longstaff apologised to his teammates.
The Stags made it 2-0 after 32 minutes. Bishop’s long kick forward was nicely brought down by Akins, to Bowery 35 yards from goal. Bowery cut past Grant, took a few steps forward and from 25 yards fired in a powerful shot that the keeper couldn’t hold. Akins was first to the loose ball getting a toe on it, and McLaughlin stabbed the ball into the net from 4 yards. Good play from Akins (twice), a shot from Bowery that was too hot to handle, and good poaching from McLaughlin. McLaughlin’s 5th goal of the season. A first assist for Akins.
And it was 3-0 after 38 minutes. Quinn played the ball inside from the left touchline to McLaughlin. McLaughlin turned away from his marker and squared to Stirk, 30 yards from goal. Stirk ran forward past a couple of defenders, including showing great strength to get past Jai Rowe who tried to block him off, and from 10 yards out on the left, he fired across the keeper and wide of him into the bottom right corner of the net. A super goal from Stirk. His second of the season. McLaughlin’s second assist of the game and his 12th of the season, 4 more than any other player.
A rare chance for Scunthorpe after 42 minutes. Feeney got to the byline on the right and ran along it, pulled back to Hayden Hackney who was under pressure from Hewitt and he fired well over the bar.
A tricky run from Bowery after 45 minutes and he was brought down right on the edge of the area. It might have been inside the area, but the referee gave a free kick a foot outside the area. It certainly wasn’t as far as a foot outside.
Before the free kick was taken, McLaughlin had to go off with a tight hamstring. Clough said after the game: “we’re not sure of the extent of it at this stage.” On came Danny Johnson who went up front.
Quinn took the resulting free kick, straight into the wall. It rebounded to Longstaff, whose shot was also blocked.
The Stags 3-0 ahead at the break. In truth, Scunthorpe looked very weak in defence and midfield. The Stags hadn’t been outstanding, but were comfortably ahead and could have been further ahead.
Half time 0-3
The Stags added a 4th just six seconds into the second half. Quinn picked up the ball 40 yards from goal after Scunthorpe midfielder Fin Shrimpton headed it up in the air. Quinn forced his way past Shrimpton, and from 25 yards sent in a brilliant low shot. The keeper got his fingertips to it, but it went in off the right post. A terrific shot from Quinn, his first goal of the season. It was right in front of the 2,000 travelling Stags fans and a great moment. Quinn had been inches away from a goal on Tuesday with another super shot.
It was very nearly 5-0 after 48 minutes. Stirk cleared the ball forward from just outside his own area, into the Scunthorpe half for sub Danny Johnson to chase. Johnson ran forward to the edge of the area, under pressure from defender Ryan Delaney. Johnson tried to dink a shot over the keeper who was half way inside his area, but the keeper was able to stretch up and just get enough of his hands on it to knock it up in the air.
Four minutes later, Longstaff had a shot blocked after Akins pulled the ball back to him. A minute after that, a long throw from Hewitt from the right, was nicely headed on by Bowery to Akins who fired wide from 5 yards. A glorious chance for Akins. Then on 58 minutes, Longstaff teed the ball up for Hewitt whose shot was blocked. After 63 minutes, Bowery got past his marker and along the byline but his dangerous cross was cleared.
After 64 minutes, great play by Akins down the left. But the ball was cleared, and Akins then deliberately fouled his man half way inside the Scunthorpe half. Akins was booked. Probably a bit of frustration for Akins, despite him having a very good game today.
The Stags were rampant and more goals seemed inevitable.
But Mansfield’s momentum was rather halted by a 4 minute stoppage on 73 minutes due to a protest by home fans who threw about 50 tennis balls onto the pitch and then about 50 fans invaded the pitch, in a protest against their owner.
When play was about to restart, after 77 minutes, George Maris replaced Stirk.
Bowery made a great run to the edge of the area after 80 minutes, but his shot was blocked.
After 81 minutes, a Longstaff free kick into the area was headed out to Quinn who fired over the bar from 18 yards.
Then on 82 minutes, good play from Quinn to Akins, inside to Johnson, who with his back to goal, turned and fired into the side netting.
We then had a 7 minute stoppage for repairs to the net, after it looked like it had come off the back stanchion following that shot from Johnson. The Scunthorpe groundsman was cheered by the Stags fans when he finally repaired the net.
Jason Law replaced Quinn after 90 minutes.
All momentum and intensity had gone with the stoppages, and there were no further Stags chances to score in the 9 minutes of stoppage time played.
A professional performance from Mansfield. It finished 4-0. It could easily have been a lot more than that. Far from Mansfield’s best performance of the season though. Nowhere near it actually. But it didn’t need to be against a Scunthorpe that was very weak, as weak as any I have ever seen in League Two.
With a few injuries, and having played two games a week for the past month, it’s good that the Stags don’t have a midweek game. The next game is against Sutton United at the One Call Stadium on Good Friday (3pm). It should be a big crowd and another cracking atmosphere. Get yourself there if you can. If you can’t, you can watch the match with us on iFollow Stags. You can also watch the match at Carlisle on Easter Monday with us on iFollow Stags.
The Stags will be looking for a 12th home win on the trot, to extend the club record in the Football League. The Stags will also be looking to get one over Sutton United, to avenge their win at Gander Green Lane in November. Sutton are strong in the air from set pieces, so expect to see Oli Hawkins back in the side.
Man of the match: Stephen Quinn
Here’s a running tally of various stats this season:
Goals (league and cup): Oates 11, Hawkins 8, Bowery, Johnson 7, Lapslie 6, McLaughlin 5, O.Clarke 4, Longstaff, Maris, O’Toole 3, Charsley, Stirk 2, Caine, Forrester, Hewitt, Perch, Quinn, Rawson, Sinclair 1. 2 OG
Assists (league and cup): McLaughlin 12, Oates 8, Bowery, Quinn 5, Charsley, O.Clarke, Johnson, Longstaff, Sinclair 3, Hawkins, Lapslie, Maris, Murphy, Rawson, Stirk 2, Akins, J.Clarke, Gale, Hewitt, Law, Wallace 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 at home, 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. In the case of an own goal, the player who caused the own goal gets an assist, for example McLaughlin against Newport away where his shot was deflected in for an own goal.)
Report by: Martin Shaw at Glanford Park (the Sands Venue Stadium)
Bishop 7 Didn’t have any saves to make.
Hewitt 7 Very solid at right back. Some good defending when needed. Had one shot blocked.
Rawson 7 Sloppy start when he allowed his man Joe Nuttall to escape from a corner in the first minute and get in a header. Very solid after that.
O’Toole 7 Very solid.
Perch 8 Very good at left back. Several good pieces of defending including a good header away.
Longstaff 6.5 Gave the ball away in the first half but Scunthorpe wasted it with a poor cross.
Stirk 7 Super goal, his second of the season. One good piece of defending in the first half. Didn’t have the best first half other than that, with Nigel Clough saying "I thought he was a little bit lethargic in the first half.”
Quinn 9 Had an excellent game capped by a terrific goal, his first of the season. Nigel Clough described him after the game as “the driving force, a shining example of what we wanted to do today.”
McLaughlin 9 Good poaching for his 5th goal of the season. Two assists to take him to 12 for the season, 4 more than any other player. Excellent cross for a Bowery header. All in 45 minutes! Had to go off with a tight hamstring. Clough said after the game “we’re not sure of the extent of it at this stage.”
Bowery 8 Fine shot that led to the second goal. Might have had a penalty in the first half when a free kick was awarded outside the box. Some other good runs. Headed wide from a good position when he should have got it on target.
Akins 8 Good play and an assist for the second goal. Had a good game. Missed a great chance when Bowery flicked on a long throw from Hewitt.
Sub Line Up:
Johnson (for McLaughlin, 45 mins) 7.5 Went close a couple of times, as the keeper saved his chip and then he fired into the side netting. Did well.
Maris (for Stirk, 77 mins) -
Law (for Quinn, 90 mins) -
Subs not used: Stech, Wallace, Hawkins.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-5-2) Watson; Rowe, Gallimore, Delaney; Feeney, Shrimpton (Moore-Billam, 56), Hackney, Grant (Beestin, 68), Lewis (Young, 61); Nuttall, Burns. Subs not used: Collins, Bunn, Pyke, Hallam.
John Busby 7 Handled the game well, and sensibly, including the stoppages and not booking Quinn for celebrating in with the fans.