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Season 22/23 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 2
 Hartlepool United
Lapslie 52, Harbottle 59.
 
 Umerah 62, 89
Attendance: 6,891 (302 from Hartlepool) (note this it is essentially tickets sold, including season tickets)
 
Date: 30 September 2022

STAGS THROW AWAY VICTORY AGAINST HARTLEPOOL

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town threw away a two-goal lead at home to bottom-of-the-table Hartlepool United last night. It was an extraordinary collapse when the Stags seemed certain to pick up an 18th home league win in 21 games. And a win would have taken the Stags into 3rd place, albeit only for a few hours.

Despite hours of heavy rain during the afternoon, the One Call Stadium pitch, which has had intensive work and investment during the last two summers, played absolutely perfectly. Credit to the groundstaff and of course to John & Carolyn for providing the investment.

The Stags dominated the first half without being able to break the deadlock. The Stags poured forward down both flanks with Gordon and McLaughlin getting in plenty of crosses. After 20 minutes, following a Maris corner, a chance for McLaughlin but he didn’t pull the trigger. McLaughlin went close after 24 minutes, when Maris set him away down the left, into the area and his piledriver was parried wide by keeper Ben Killip. Then from the resulting corner from the left, Harbottle headed down and Akins, with the goal at his mercy from 6 yards, fired over the bar. A very bad miss.

Then on 30 minutes, the Stags went close twice. Akins received the ball from Hewitt, 24 yards out with his back to goal. Akins turned away from his markers and fired in wonderful shot that was arrowing inside the left post, before the keeper pushed it away. A magnificent effort. The rebound fell to McLaughlin who filed in another piledriver from a tight angle, and the keeper pushed it away again.

The Stags had a goal disallowed after 33 minutes. McLaughlin curled a low ball into the box and Quinn turned it into the net. Quinn turned away in celebration but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside. In real time I thought it was onside. The main camera footage was inconclusive. However the analyst’s wide angle footage showed that Quinn was just offside.

Out of the blue, Hartlepool hit the post after 45+3 minutes when defender Euan Murray sent a fine shot against the outside of the left post from 30 yards, via a slight deflection off Hawkins. Without the deflection I think it would have gone further wide without hitting the post.

The Stags finally took a deserved lead after 52 minutes. Akins did very well to get away from former Stag Rollin Menayese on the left. Maris switched the ball to the right, via Hewitt, on to Gordon. Gordon curled in a great ball from the right touchline. It reached Lapslie unmarked 8 yards out, and Lapslie cushioned a shot into the net, for his 4th goal of the season. Lapslie is now leading goalscorer, as well as leading in the number of assists (see below).

Another chance a minute later, as Akins held the ball up well, and the ball was switched to Gordon who fired wide from 20 yards.

It should have been 2-0 after 57 minutes. Gordon played the ball inside from the right touchline to Akins, who held off his marker to set Gordon into space on the right. Gordon crossed low into the middle to Lapslie who swept a first time shot from 7 yards which struck keeper Killip in the face and went wide for a corner. Very good from Akins again, excellent from Gordon, and Lapslie got his first time effort on target, but will feel he should have scored. The keeper was in the right place to block the shot.

For his troubles, the keeper received attention to his face.

But from the resulting corner, the Stags did deservedly make it 2-0. Maris’s corner from the left was headed away to Quinn who knocked it forward, it looped up in the air via a deflection, the keeper went to punch away, couldn’t get enough on it, and Harbottle was in the right place to stab the ball into the net from 3 yards. Harbottle’s 3rd goal of the season.

That should have been game over. The Stags were so dominant that a 3 or 4 goal victory looked to be on the cards.

But the game changed catastrophically after 62 minutes. The Stags suddenly got sloppy. Pym was close to losing the ball to Josh Umerah, striker just on as sub for Hartlepool. Seconds later Hawkins played a loose crossfield pass, intercept by Wes McDonald. McDonald wasted a cross. But from the resulting goal kick, Pym played short to Harbottle, Harbottle turned and tried to slide a pass back to Pym, but Umerah intercepted, rounded Pym, and fired into the net from a tight angle. Quite simply catastrophic play from Harbottle. Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham it was “amateurish” and “unacceptable”. He added to iFollow Stags: “I think it went back, first of all to Christy Pym, then it came to Oli Hawkins who gave a loose pass and Riley Harbottle gave the goal away. It was thirty to sixty seconds of very poor play.”

The Stags had been dominant for 60 minutes. But the goal gave Hartlepool heart and the Stags never regained that dominance. Neither side created a chance of note, but rather than being one-sided, it was now a tight game.

And on 89 minutes, the Stags paid the price. Alex Lacey curled a high ball forward into the Stags half from halfway inside his own half. It went over Harbottle, Umerah got in behind him. Hawkins tried to ease Umerah off the ball as Umerah got into the box, was unable to do so, and as Umerah stumbled he rolled the ball under Pym, and Hewitt swung a boot at the ball but was unable to clear it as it agonisingly rolled in. Very poor indeed from Harbottle allowing Umerah in behind him, Hawkins might have done better, and Hewitt would be disappointed that he couldn’t re-create his heroics at Crewe when he cleared off the line in stoppage time.

And that was that. The Stags were unable to create another chance to win it. Two points literally thrown away. Criminal defending we called it commentary. And a fuming Nigel Clough didn’t mince his words saying "it was disgraceful on our part not to come away with 3 points.”

The One Call Stadium was stunned. How did the Stags not win that? So in control until one catastrophic error. Without that error, I believe the Stags would have won 2-0, 3-0, maybe even 4-0. But the collapse after that goal was also massively disappointing, as the Stags completely lost their way having played so well up until that point.

Riley Harbottle will probably be having nightmares about the evening and will have to put it behind him. He’s a fine player as we’ve seen this season, but he can’t make too many mistakes like here.

For 60 minutes, the Stags were good. Gordon and McLaughlin got forward and tore Hartlepool to pieces. Gordon would have had two assists but for keeper Killip’s face keeping out Lapslie’s shot. Lapslie would have had two goals. Harbottle scored his 3rd goal of the season before his evening turned sour. Akins held the ball up well and was involved in several chances.

A missed opportunity to move into 3rd place albeit for a few hours. It will be very important for Mansfield to bounce back with a result at Barrow on Saturday, and not let this disappointment turn into a bad run. Before that, the Stags are at home to Derby County in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night (7pm kick off). You can watch the game with us on iFollow Stags if you want to. Nigel Clough will probably start all the players who were on the bench against Hartlepool, while Hiram Boateng should get 45 minutes on his return from injury.


During the game, after 54 minutes, there was a minute’s applause for Steve Hartshorn who passed away recently. Steve was simply a top bloke. Steve co-commented on the Stags for many years and I was so proud to have commentated with him many many times, going back to 2004 and for years afterwards. He also put so much effort into his fanzine FTYBR which was a magnificent publication, enjoyed by so many. RIP Steve

And before the game, there was a minute’s applause for former Stags manager Dave Smith who also passed away recently. Smith was one of the greatest managers in MTFC's history. Indeed I wrote in this article (https://stagsnet.net/vintage/reports/manager_records.htm): My opinion is that Dave Smith was our best ever manager.

DETAILED REPORT:

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that started in the win at Crewe.

Hartlepool arrived bottom of the table with just 5 points from 10 games. However they had a new manager in Keith Curle, the former Stags manager, who picked up a point and clean sheet in his first game last weekend, and is likely to improve their fortunes in my opinion.

The Stags dominated the first half without being able to break the deadlock. The Stags poured forward down both flanks with Gordon and McLaughlin getting in plenty of crosses.

Two good early crosses within the opening 2 minutes. The ball nearly fell for Lapslie in the area, but not quite.

Tremendous play from Clarke after 7 minutes, as he turned away from his marker, and sent in a shot from 25 yards, over the bar.

Good defending from Hawkins against Wes McDonald after 8 minutes.

A great break from McLaughlin after 14 minutes, eventually out for a corner.

The Stags were moving the ball really well.

After 20 minutes, following a Maris corner, a chance for McLaughlin but he didn’t pull the trigger.

Mansfield were dominating, opening Hartlepool up, but balls were not quite falling to Stags players in the box.

McLaughlin went close after 24 minutes, when Maris set him away down the left, into the area and his piledriver was parried wide by keeper Ben Killip. Then from the resulting corner from the left, Harbottle headed down and Akins, with the goal at his mercy from 6 yards, fired over the bar. A very bad miss.

A half chance for Hartlepool after 27 minutes as a shot from Sylla was blocked.

Then on 30 minutes, the Stags went close twice. Akins received the ball from Hewitt, 24 yards out with his back to goal. Akins turned away from his markers and fired in wonderful shot that was arrowing inside the left post, before the keeper pushed it away. A magnificent effort. The rebound fell to McLaughlin who filed in another piledriver from a tight angle, and the keeper pushed it away again.

Maris was doing some great passing.

The Stags had a goal disallowed after 33 minutes. McLaughlin curled a low ball into the box and Quinn turned it into the net. Quinn turned away in celebration but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside. In real time I thought it was onside. The main camera footage was inconclusive. However the analyst’s wide angle footage showed that Quinn was just offside.

After 36 minutes, another great run from Gordon, winning another corner. From that corner, McLaughlin had a shot blocked for another corner.

Maris was booked after 37 minutes for deliberately tripping Sylla.

Maris committed another foul 60 seconds later. A free kick 27 yards out, Ferguson sent it well over the bar.

Out of the blue, Hartlepool hit the post after 45+3 minutes when defender Euan Murray sent a fine shot against the outside of the left post from 30 yards, via a slight deflection off Hawkins. Without the deflection I think it would have gone further wide without hitting the post.

Nil nil at the break. The Stags had dominated down the flanks and in midfield. A goal disallowed, a sitter missed by Akins, and some good shots from Akins and McLaughlin, but no breakthrough.

Half time 0-0

The Stags finally took a deserved lead after 52 minutes. Akins did very well to get away from former Stag Rollin Menayese on the left. Maris switched the ball to the right, via Hewitt, on to Gordon. Gordon curled in a great ball from the right touchline. It reached Lapslie unmarked 8 yards out, and Lapslie cushioned a shot into the net, for his 4th goal of the season. Lapslie is now leading goalscorer, as well as leading in the number of assists (see below).

Another chance a minute later, as Akins held the ball up well, and the ball was switched to Gordon who fired wide from 20 yards.

It should have been 2-0 after 57 minutes. Gordon played the ball inside from the right touchline to Akins, who held off his marker to set Gordon into space on the right. Gordon crossed low into the middle to Lapslie who swept a first time shot from 7 yards which struck keeper Killip in the face and went wide for a corner. Very good from Akins again, excellent from Gordon, and Lapslie got his first time effort on target, but will feel he should have scored. The keeper was in the right place to block the shot.

For his troubles, the keeper received attention to his face.

But from the resulting corner, the Stags did deservedly make it 2-0. Maris’s corner from the left was headed away to Quinn who knocked it forward, it looped up in the air via a deflection, the keeper went to punch away, couldn’t get enough on it, and Harbottle was in the right place to stab the ball into the net from 3 yards. Harbottle’s 3rd goal of the season.

That should have been game over. The Stags were so dominant that a 3 or 4 goal victory looked to be on the cards.

But the game changed catastrophically after 62 minutes. The Stags suddenly got sloppy. Pym was close to losing the ball to Josh Umerah, striker just on as sub for Hartlepool. Seconds later Hawkins played a loose crossfield pass, intercept by Wes McDonald. McDonald wasted a cross. But from the resulting goal kick, Pym played short to Harbottle, Harbottle turned and tried to slide a pass back to Pym, but Umerah intercepted, rounded Pym, and fired into the net from a tight angle. Quite simply catastrophic play from Harbottle. Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham it was “amateurish” and “unacceptable”. He added to iFollow Stags: “I think it went back, first of all to Christy Pym, then it came to Oli Hawkins who gave a loose pass and Riley Harbottle gave the goal away. It was thirty to sixty seconds of very poor play.”

The Stags had been dominant for 60 minutes. But the goal gave Hartlepool heart and the Stags never regained that dominance. Neither side created a chance of note, but rather than being one-sided, it was now a tight game.

McLaughlin then gave the ball away as the Stags looked flustered.

On 67 minutes, a corner from Maris, and Pools defenders glanced a header just wide of his own post.

After 80 minutes, a free kick for Pools. Callum Cooke curled it straight to Pym. Then a minute later, Umerah got away from Hawkins, but shot so far wide it was out for a throw in.

Swan replaced Lapslie, and Bowery replaced Gordon after 82 minutes. Bowery was clearly on for his height at the back from set pieces.

Wallace replaced Quinn after 86 minutes.

And on 89 minutes, the Stags paid the price for letting Pools back into the game. Alex Lacey curled a high ball forward into the Stags half from halfway inside his own half. It went over Harbottle, Umerah got in behind him. Hawkins tried to ease Umerah off the ball as Umerah got into the box, was unable to do so, and as Umerah stumbled he rolled the ball under Pym, and Hewitt swung a boot at the ball but was unable to clear it as it agonisingly rolled in. Very poor indeed from Harbottle allowing Umerah in behind him, Hawkins might have done better, and Hewitt would be disappointed that he couldn’t re-create his heroics at Crewe when he cleared off the line in stoppage time.

Law replaced Maris, and Perch replaced Harbottle after 90 minutes.

On 90+6, Law was booked for a foul.

And that was that. The Stags were unable to create any late chances to win it. Two points literally thrown away. Criminal defending we called it commentary. And a fuming Nigel Clough didn’t mince his words saying "it was disgraceful on our part not to come away with 3 points.”

The One Call Stadium was stunned. How did the Stags not win that? So in control until one catastrophic error. Without that error, I believe the Stags would have won 2-0, 3-0, maybe even 4-0. But the collapse after that goal was also massively disappointing, as the Stags completely lost their way having played so well up until that point.

Riley Harbottle will probably be having nightmares about the evening and will have to put it behind him. He’s a fine player as we’ve seen this season, but he can’t make too many mistakes like here.

For 60 minutes, the Stags were good. Gordon and McLaughlin got forward and tore Hartlepool to pieces. Gordon would have had two assists but for keeper Killip’s face keeping out Lapslie’s shot. Lapslie would have had two goals. Harbottle scored his 3rd goal of the season before his evening turned sour. Akins held the ball up well and was involved in several chances.

Man of the match: Kellan Gordon


Footnote: these are my average player ratings based on the 13 league+cup games so far this season (top 12 players) (NOT INCLUDING THE HARTLEPOOL GAME):

Lapslie 7.94, Hawkins 7.86, Hewitt 7.75, Clarke 7.71, Maris 7.44, Hartigan 7.31, Pym 7.23, Akins 7.19, Gordon 7.17, Swan 7.00, Harbottle 6.86, McLaughlin 6.81.

Note: only ratings for players starting a game are included - ie. sub appearances not included. Minimum 5 games started.
Thanks to Pete Wright for his spreadsheet.


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

Goals (league and cup): Lapslie 4, Akins, Harbottle, Hawkins, Swan 3, Clarke, Maris 2, Gale, Oates 1.

Assists (league and cup): Lapslie 5, Maris 3, Gordon, Hartigan 2, Akins, Boateng, Bowery, Clarke, Hewitt, Law, McLaughlin, Wallace 1
(notes on assists: in the case of a penalty, the player who earns the penalty gets an assist, such as Lapslie against AFC Wimbledon. In the case of a solo goal, such as Maris against Newport at home last season, 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, such as Lapslie against Stockport. In the case of an own goal, the player who caused the own goal gets an assist, for example McLaughlin against Newport away last season where his shot was deflected in for an own goal. In the case of a cross that is headed away before the goal is scored, such as Clarke’s goal at Doncaster, nobody gets an assist.)

Yellow cards (league only, alphabetical order): Clarke 3, Harbottle 1, Hawkins 2, Lapslie 2, Law 1, Maris 2, McLaughlin 2, O’Toole 2, Quinn 4.
Red cards (league and cup): Bowery 1.
(note: red cards count across competitions apart from Papa John’s Trophy; yellow cards are competition specific)
(note: 5 yellow cards before the end of the 19th league game will result in a one match ban; 10 yellow cards before the end of the 37th league game will result in a two match ban; 15 yellow cards before the end of the 46th league game will result in a three match ban)

Average home league attendance: 6415 (average away fans: 468, average home fans 5947) (see Tranmere report for explanation of how attendance is calculated: it is essentially tickets sold, including season tickets)


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



Line Up:
(3-5-1-1)
Pym 6 Quiet evening. Conceded two goals and not to blame for either.
Hewitt 7 Would be disappointed that he couldn’t re-create his heroics at Crewe when he cleared off the line in stoppage time and was unable to do so here with the late equaliser.
Hawkins 5.5 A loose crossfield pass just before the first goal, and might have done better easing Umerah off the ball for the second goal.
Harbottle 4 Scored his 3rd goal of the season. Backpass gifted Hartlepool the first goal, and then very poor again for the second goal allowing Umerah in behind him.
Gordon 8 Poured forward at every opportunity. Great assist for the first goal, and more excellent play as Lapslie’s effort hit the keeper in the face.
Clarke 7 The Stags dominated the midfield for 60 minutes. One tremendous piece of play from Clarke early on turning away from his marker, and sending a shot over the bar.
Maris 7.5 Some great passing and set pieces.
Quinn 7 Just offside denying him his first goal of the season.
McLaughlin 7.5 Got forward well. Two piledrivers saved by the keeper. Would have had an assist but for the offside flag on Quinn’s disallowed goal.
Lapslie 7.5 One goal meaning he is now leading goalscorer, as well as leading in the number of assists. Denied another goal by the keeper’s face but will feel he should have scored that too.
Akins 7.5 Missed a sitter. Had one magnificent effort turned away by the keeper. Very good play in the build-up to the first goal. Also very good play in the build-up to Lapslie’s shot that hit the keeper’s face. Held the ball up well and was involved in several chances.
Sub Line Up:
Swan (for Lapslie, 82 mins) -
Bowery (for Gordon, 82 mins) -
Wallace (for Quinn, 86 mins) -
Law (for Maris, 90 mins) -
Perch (for Harbottle, 90 mins) -
Subs not used: Flinders, O'Toole.
Opposition Line Up:
(5-3-1-1): Killip; Tumilty (Paterson 46), Menayese, Murray, Lacey, Ferguson; Shelton (Umerah 62), Sylla (Oduor 89), Crawford; McDonald (Hamilton 75); Ndjoli (Cooke 46). Subs not used: Letheren, Paterson, Grey.
Referee:
Craig Hicks 7 Handled the game well. The officials got the disallowed goal right.


Season 22/23 Reports