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Season 21/22 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Carlisle United  
1 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Patrick 56
Attendance: 5,496 (634 from Mansfield)
Date: 18 April 2022


Martin Shaw at Brunton Park

Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at Carlisle United this afternoon in a game defined by two critical errors from the same linesman. In the first half, Jamie Murphy’s shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced down over the line and should have been given as a goal, but was not signalled as a goal by the linesman. Then in the second half the winning goal for Carlisle, scored by Omari Patrick, should have been ruled out for offside, but again the offside was missed by the same linesman.

Murphy’s shot bounces down over the line:

Patrick, far left, is offside as the ball is played to him, as he goes on to score:

The defeat was extremely damaging to Mansfield’s chances of promotion, as was Friday’s defeat to Sutton of course. Mansfield drop out of the play-off places, level with Tranmere (with a slightly worse goal difference) with a game in hand, and one point behind Sutton with the same games played. Port Vale lost to Bristol Rovers, so Mansfield remain 6 points behind third place with a game in hand. The Stags have 4 games left, 3 at home, 1 away.

Mansfield made two changes from the side that lost to Sutton as they welcomed back Stephen McLaughlin and Jamie Murphy from injury. McLaughlin had also been ill so could only last 80 minutes.
But John-Joe O’Toole was injured and dropped out of the side, Clough explaining he "had a hip problem after the game on Friday and was injured today. He could have done 10 minutes at the end if we needed him."
Farrend Rawson was dropped after his poor game against Sutton.
George Maris would have started but had also been ill so was on the bench. So Ryan Stirk started again after Clough said he "wasn't brilliant” against Sutton.
George Lapslie served the last of his three game ban. With Rhys Oates still out through injury, Lucas Akins started up front on his own, with Bowery (right), Quinn (middle) and Murphy (left) behind him. Longstaff and Stirk were behind them in front of the back four of Hewitt (right back), McLaughlin (left back), Hawkins and Perch (centre halves).
Nigel Clough said that he hopes Oates will be fit to face Crawley next Saturday: “We hope so, we’ll just see how he is and try and get him out there as soon as we can.” Oates, Mansfield’s best striker, was missed again today.

UPDATE ON ILLNESS: Nigel Clough revealed the day after the game: “We had Stephen McLaughlin starting yesterday and he had Covid. He hasn't trained. Him and George Maris have got Covid at the moment. They travelled up to Carlisle on their own in the car, isolated in a room and we took food up to them. They didn't get changed in the changing room. They stayed away from everybody. We did all the things we could do. Stephen McLaughlin then played for 70 (80) minutes with Covid. Both of them felt breathing problems. George Maris came on for the last 10/15 minutes and did the same. The players can't do any more and we get frustrated when they miss a chance or a ball across the face of goal isn't good enough or whatever.”

Carlisle had pulled themselves well clear of the relegation zone since manager Paul Simpson was appointed in late February, with 6 wins, including at home to Northampton and Bristol Rovers. However they hadn’t won in 4 games: 3 defeats and a draw.

It was a sunny day.
A bit windy, with the wind behind Mansfield in the first half. It had little impact on the game and was only really noticeable on goal-kicks.

The Stags took the game to Carlisle in the first half and played some terrific football, creating a host of good chances. After just 65 seconds, Hewitt played a 1-2 with Bowery, got to the edge of the area and pulled the ball across to Quinn whose low shot was just wide of the right post.

Good tracking back by Bowery after 4 minutes to put the ball out for a corner. Then a minute after that, Dickenson broke forward and Hawkins did well to put the ball behind for a corner.

After 9 minutes, a good move from the Stags culminated in Stirk’s low shot on target but a deflection took the sting out of it and the keeper saved comfortably albeit at full stretch. A minute later, a short corner to Murphy who chipped into the middle and Hawkins headed straight at the keeper.

The Stags were close to taking the lead after 12 minutes. Hewitt crossed low from the right, Bowery, with his back to goal 8 yards out, turned well and smashed a shot towards the roof of the net, but keeper Howard stuck his arms up and saved superbly. A minute after that, a good move on the left, Quinn’s cross was beyond the far post and reached Hewitt who fired into the side netting.

A rare chance for Carlisle at the other end after 15 minutes as Jack Armer chipped the ball from 45 yards into the Stags area. Bishop punched it away as far as Lewis Alessandra on the edge of the box. He headed it forward, Dynel Simeu flicked in on, over Bishop, and McLaughlin did well to clear it off the line.

The chances for the Stags kept on coming. After 21 minutes, Murphy laid a super ball forward for McLaughlin to run on to, McLaughlin got to the edge of the box and with the keeper coming out, tried to chip the ball over him, but he chipped it over the bar as well. At the other end 3 minutes later, a great tackle by McLaughlin.

On 25 minutes, good play between Akins and Bowery, Bowery sent in a low shot goalbound, but it was blocked. At the other end two minutes later, Jordan Gibson chipped wide of the right post after a corner from the left came straight back to him.

On 28 minutes, Murphy 30 yards out slid the ball forward for Longstaff but it just evaded him otherwise it would have been a glorious chance. A minute later, a great run by Akins down the left but it didn’t come to anything. Then on 32 minutes, Longstaff fed Bowery on the edge of the area, but he dragged his low shot wide of the right post.

On 35 minutes, a good catch from Bishop under pressure, from Armer’s cross. Then a clumsy foul by Stirk after 38 minutes. The resulting free kick, 30 yards out, right of centre, was chipped in by Gibson, straight out for a goal-kick.

The first huge moment of controversy came after 41 minutes. Hewitt’s long throw down the line was missed by Jon Mellish. Akins picked up the ball, pushed forward to about the edge of the area on the right, level with the penalty spot, and slid a precision ball across to Murphy who escaped his marker Simeu to thunder a shot against the underside of the bar. The ball bounced down over the line and then out. Murphy and Akins celebrated the goal. The hapless linesman didn’t give it. Carlisle couldn’t believe their luck. After the game, Carlisle boss Paul Simpson conceded “we got away with one, it was over the line.”
Great play from Akins and Murphy. It should have been Murphy’s first goal for Mansfield and Akins’ second assist.

McLaughlin did well to block a Gibson shot on 45 minutes, then Hewitt did well to clear.

A sickening feeling at half time that the Stags had been robbed of a goal. The second time this season, after Sinclair’s shot at Swindon that was also over the line and not given. Some fine football from Mansfield in that first half, and plenty more chances went begging. Nigel Clough said to me after the game that Jordan Bowery could have had a hat-trick in the first half. Lucas Akins had a very good first half, as did Stephen McLaughlin, and others too in an impressive performance that had the home media commenting what a good side Mansfield are.

Half time 0-0

The Stags started the second half as they played most of the first half, creating more good chances. After 46 minutes, great control from Akins, Hewitt got in a shot, and then McLaughlin dragged his shot wide. Three times though in quick succession, crossing let the Stags down as Quinn’s cross was too close to the keeper, then McLaughlin, and then Murphy’s cross was ahead of Akins.

Another awful decision from the same linesman after 51 minutes as the ball had clearly gone out for a Stags goalkick before Patrick pulled it back against Hawkins and out again. The hapless linesman gave a corner. Quick shocking. Brennan Dickenson wasted the corner.

The Stags went close again after 54 minutes. Longstaff’s corner from the right was cleared to Quinn on the edge of the area. His shot was deflected to Murphy who sent in a piledriver from 12 yards that was magnificently saved by Howard. A fantastic shot and a fantastic save.

It had been a dominant performance from Mansfield for 54 minutes. 12 shots to Carlisle’s 2. But nothing to show for it.

And the game then changed again with another terrible decision from the linesman as Carlisle took the lead. Danny Devine chipped the ball from the halfway line out to Patrick on the left. Patrick was standing in an offside position but it was missed by the linesman. Patrick collected the ball, surged into the area on the left, and as he shot from about 8 yards, Hewitt slid in with a challenge that deflected it. Bishop got a hand on it but couldn’t keep it out of the net. Initially I said in commentary that Bishop could have done better. Given that it took a deflection, which was not obvious from my angle, but was more obvious from a camera on the other side, it might be a little harsh to blame Bishop. Whether it would have gone in without the deflection is hard to say. However, it should have been ruled out for offside anyway.

From that moment, the game completely changed. The Stags had played good football and dominated. But the goal gave Carlisle huge confidence and completely changed the momentum of the game.

Hewitt and Perch changed places, Perch to right back, Hewitt to centre half.

Devine volleyed wide for Carlisle after 58 minutes, after Perch conceded a free kick level with the edge of the area, and the free kick was cleared to Devine. A minute later, a wonderful run from Joe Riley and a goal-saving block from Perch. Brilliant defending. What a run from Riley too. From the resulting corner from the right, Morgan Feeney flicked it towards the roof of the net, and Bishop made a magnificent save turning it onto the bar. The rebound came out for Simeu who headed over the bar. On 62 minutes, a long throw came out to Gibson who volleyed wide from 25 yards. Three minutes after that, a great ball out to Riley on the right, he got to the byline, crossed in and Gibson headed over the bar.

Kieran Wallace replaced Stirk after 68 minutes.

Chances kept coming for Carlisle. It was incredible how the game had changed. Good play from Patrick after 72 minutes, he played inside to Gibson whose shot was deflected wide. From the resulting corner from the right, Simeu headed against the left post, having got away from his marker Perch.

A ridiculous mistake from Hawkins after 74 minutes, losing the ball and he was rescued by a great tackle from Hewitt.

Danny Johnson replaced Bowery after 75 minutes. The Stags were now three at the back, Perch, Hawkins and McLaughlin. With Hewitt and Quinn as wing-backs.

A brilliant tackle from Perch after 77 minutes for a corner. The corner from the left was missed by Bishop, giving Mellish a free header at the far post. He headed it goalwards, and Hewitt did superbly to stretch and get his toe on it to turn it against the post and out into Bishop’s grateful arms. Poor goalkeeping from Bishop.

George Maris replaced McLaughlin after 80 minutes. Wallace dropped back to the left side centre half in the back three.

After 81 minutes, Quinn crossed in, Longstaff steadied himself but shot well wide.

The Stags were leaving gaps at the back now, throwing bodies forward. After 82 minutes, Carlisle broke and sub Mitch Roberts shot well wide.

Murphy had a shot blocked after 85 minutes with the Stags pouring bodies forward.

Carlisle had a goal disallowed after 87 minutes. The ball was slid forward for Patrick, but the video from the camera on the other side showed he was just offside as the ball was played. Patrick slotted the ball into the net with the offside flag already up. The first tight decision that the linesman actually got right.

5 minutes of stoppage time was added on. After 90+1 minutes, a low shot from Maris from 20 yards gave the keeper an easy save. Bishop nearly got himself into a mess after 90+4 minutes but got away with it. Then on 90+5 minutes, Quinn crossed in and the keeper made a great catch.

Enormous frustration for Mansfield. With correct decisions from the linesman, the Stags might well have won the game. In my opinion, they would have done, but of course we’ll never know.

The Stags were dominant and played really well for 54 minutes. 12 shots to Carlisle’s 2 in that time, including of course that goal that didn’t stand. But after Carlisle took the lead, Carlisle played very well, buoyed by the goal, they hit the woodwork twice and could have won by more goals. It was an extraordinary change in the game after the goal.

Mansfield will also rue those missed chances, along with too much poor crossing from good positions both from open play and from set pieces. And the performance after Carlisle took the lead was disappointing. Akins for example who was very good in the first half, was poor in the second half, and the Stags rather fell away.

A bitter pill to swallow. Four games left, the Stags need to bounce back and beat Crawley on Saturday at the One Call Stadium. Get yourself to the game if you can and get behind the side. As it is on a Saturday afternoon, the game will not be available to watch for UK viewers on iFollow Stags.

Man of the match: Elliott Hewitt and Jamie Murphy

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, Longstaff 4, Maris, O’Toole 3, Charsley, Stirk 2, Caine, Forrester, Hewitt, Perch, Quinn, Rawson, Sinclair 1. 3 OG

Assists (league and cup): McLaughlin 12, Oates 8, Bowery, Quinn 5, Charsley, O.Clarke, Hawkins, Johnson, Longstaff, Maris, Sinclair 3, Lapslie, 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 Brunton Park

Line Up:
Bishop 6 Initially I said in commentary that he could have done better with the goal. However given that it took a deflection, which was not obvious from my angle, but was more obvious from a camera on the other side, it might be a little harsh to blame Bishop. One magnificent save onto the bar. Poor goalkeeping when he missed a corner and Hewitt had to clear off the line.
Hewitt 8 Got forward well in the first 54 minutes. Defended well in the second half, including a brilliant clearance off the line, and a great tackle after a mistake by Hawkins.
Hawkins 6.5 Defended well until one bad mistake after 74 minutes.
Perch 7.5 Wonderful goal-saving block after a brilliant run from Riley, and another brilliant tackle. Did allow Simeu to get away from him and head against the post.
McLaughlin 7.5 Defended very well in the first half including a clearance off the line, another good tackle and a good block. Turned out that he played despite having Covid demonstrating his commitment.
Longstaff 5.5 Corners were disappointing. Clough said after the game: “I have told Matty Longstaff if he takes set pieces do not put the ball in the goalkeeper's hands. But he does that today and 15 seconds later it's in the back of our net.”
Stirk 6 Not at his best.
Bowery 7 Clough said “I thought Jordan Bowery could have had a hat-trick in the first half”. He could have done, and was once denied by a superb save.
Quinn 6 Not at his best, some poor crossing.
Murphy 8 So unlucky to be denied his first goal by the linesman. Also denied by a magnificent save from the keeper from his piledriver of a shot. Good game.
Akins 7 Very good for the first 54 minutes, including what would have been an assist for a goal if it hadn’t been for the linesman’s poor decision. But he was poor in the second half, as the Stags rather fell away. Rating of 8 for the first 54 minutes and 5 for the rest of the game, overall 7.
Sub Line Up:
Wallace (for Stirk, 68 mins) -
Johnson (for Bowery, 75 mins) -
Maris (for McLaughlin, 80 mins) -
Subs not used: Stech, Rawson, O’Toole, Law.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-5-2) Howard; Simeu, Feeney, Mellish; Riley, Devine, Dickenson, Gibson, Armer (Roberts 71); Patrick, Alessandra (Sho-Silva 86). Subs not used: Norman, Mellor, McDonald, Omotoye, Dennis.
Ross Joyce 4 Rating for the officials (mostly one linesman), who failed to spot Murphy’s shot being over the line, and failed to spot Patrick being offside for the winning goal. That linesman made other errors too.

Season 21/22 Reports