Attendance: 3,713 (291 from Mansfield)
Date: 8 October 2022
STAGS GRIND OUT WIN AT BARROW
By Martin Shaw
Mansfield Town ground out a gritty 1-0 win at Barrow on Saturday to rise to fifth place in the table, three points behind third place with a game in hand.
Barrow had started the game one point and one place above the Stags in sixth place.
The win made it six league games unbeaten for Mansfield, and six wins in the last nine league games.
It was the Stags’ fourth straight away win in the league, for the first time since the Conference winning season in 2013, when the Stags won six in a row. The club record is seven, in 1976 and 1991.
The only goal of the game came after 50 minutes when Jordan Bowery headed in after Oli Hawkins’ header from a Stephen Quinn corner was turned onto the bar by the keeper. The Stags came close to doubling the lead after 55 minutes when a George Maris corner from the left, was headed against his own bar by Sam Foley, under pressure from Lucas Akins. Bowery lashed the rebound goalwards, it hit Hawkins on the line and somehow went over the bar. An incredible double chance. In a game of few chances, Barrow came close to equalising after 87 minutes when Christy Pym made a great save, getting down low to turn a bobbling shot from Billy Waters over the bar.
The Stags defended very well all game with Hawkins and Elliott Hewitt in great form, as were substitutes James Perch and John-Joe O’Toole who slotted into the defence in the second half.
On a personal note, I missed the game as my dad Granville Shaw passed away peacefully, comfortably and not in pain at lunchtime on the day of the game, at the age of 90. My brother Neil and I were at his side. Dad would have loved that the Stags got a gritty 1-0 away win at Barrow!
It was the first Stags game I had missed for almost 10 years, since 6 November 2012, when the Stags played at Nuneaton in the Conference. That was the day my mum died.
For completeness of match reports, I have written this report from watching the full match from the main camera pictures.
Mansfield made one change from the last league game, against Hartlepool:
Bowery came in for Gordon at right wing-back. Bowery was fit to play after illness forced him off at half time on Tuesday against Derby in the Papa John’s Trophy. Nigel Clough said after the game: "Kellan Gordon felt his groin in the Hartlepool game. He didn't make the Derby game. And it was too sore for him to travel. He should be in contention for next week.”
Swan and Wallace also didn’t travel. Clough explained after the game:
"Will Swan was ill on Wednesday night, he went to the doctor's who said he's got a virus, so we'll see how he is in the next week or so.
"Kieran Wallace, the head injury, the protocols that he came off with the other night (on Tuesday against Derby).”
With those three injured, plus Oates and Hartigan, the Stags only had five fit outfield players for the bench. So two keepers were named on the bench to make up the numbers: Flinders and academy goalkeeping coach Adam Collin. A reminder that Clough explained after the recent Grimsby game: "Adam only finished playing a year or two ago. We've registered him with Owen Mason out on loan at Farsley."
O’Toole was on the bench after his cut on the head forced him off in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night against Derby.
The first half was one of few chances.
On 6 minutes, Harbottle fouled Robbie Gotts 25 yards from goal, and Ben Whitfield’s free-kick was well-blocked by the Stags’ wall. Then after 20 minutes, Sam Foley half-volleyed well wide from 30 yards.
After 28 minutes, Hewitt crossed from the right after a long throw-in was played back to him on the right by Clarke, and Hawkins looped a volley wide of the left post from 10 yards. Mansfield’s first half-chance of the game.
At the other end on 30 minutes, Harrison Neal fired just wide from 35 yards with Pym diving at full stretch. Then good defending from Hewitt under pressure after 31 minutes.
On 32 minutes, Ollie Clarke was booked for dissent, having continued to argue with the referee over the direction of a throw-in. Nigel Clough said it was a “rather daft” booking, “which will result in a fine”. It was Clarke’s fourth booking of the season, just one away from a suspension if he picks another one up before the end of the 19th league game (see details below).
A minute later, Riley Harbottle was also booked, for a foul on David Moyo near the halfway line. A mistake from Harbottle after he had dwelled on the ball too long and Moyo had nicked it off him.
A really good catch by Pym from a free kick after 37 minutes.
McLaughlin got a whack on his leg after 38 minutes.
Good hold-up play from Akins to win a free kick 35 yards from goal after 39 minutes. The resulting free kick from Maris reached McLaughlin, who teed up Quinn via a deflection, and Quinn hooked a shot goalwards from 15 yards, which was blocked by George Ray for a corner. The resulting corner, Mansfield’s first of the game, from Maris, was headed away.
Then on 43 minutes, Lapslie won a corner. Quinn took it from the right, Harbottle headed it across to Maris, who chested it down and volleyed goalwards from 12 yards, but it was blocked by Josh Gordon for another corner. A good spell of possession from the Stags in and around the box, but no further chances.
Harbottle went down after 45 minutes having received a whack on his right ankle a minute earlier. Then on 45+1 minutes, George Ray bobbled a shot wide from a Patrick Brough cross but the offside flag was up.
Not much entertainment in a first half of few chances.
Half time 0-0
McLaughlin was replaced by Perch at the start of the second half. He had got a whack on his leg after 38 minutes. Nigel Clough said after the game: "Stephen McLaughlin felt his knee a bit after the Derby game, and then he got a whack on the far side (today).” Clough said McLaughlin will be doubtful for next Saturday against Walsall. Perch went into the central defence, as Hewitt switched to left wing back.
After 48 minutes, Clarke turned well 28 yards from goal and sent a left footed piledriver wide of the left post.
Then great movement down the left as Clarke headed down to Akins, who chested down for Lapslie, who set Hewitt away and he won a corner. From Maris’s corner, Clarke won another corner, this time on the right.
And from that corner, after 50 minutes, taken by Quinn, the Stags took the lead. Quinn’s corner found Hawkins, who rose above the defence, and his header from 8 yards was turned onto the underside of the bar by keeper Farman. And as it bounced down, Bowery headed it into the right corner of the net from 2 yards.
Bowery described the goal afterwards: "It was a good ball in. Hawks has leapt up and does what he does best. Their keeper has made a great save and it fell to me. I thought it was going to hit the post but luckily it hit the back of the net."
It was Bowery’s first goal of the season, and his first since the play-off semi-final against Northampton. He also scored in this same fixture last season.
On 53 minutes, a chance for Quinn. Bowery crossed from the right from the edge of the area, it looped up off a defender, and found Quinn at the far post who sliced a volley over the bar from six yards.
Straight to the other end, and Josh Gordon fired a low shot straight at Pym from the edge of the area.
Then a great ball in from the left from Hewitt was put behind for a corner.
And from the corner, after 55 minutes, the Stags went so close to doubling the lead. Maris’s corner from the left, was headed against his own bar by Sam Foley, under pressure from Akins. Bowery lashed the rebound goalwards, it hit Hawkins on the line and went over the bar. An incredible double chance. The referee gave a corner, wrongly thinking it hit Brough on the line, when it actually hit Hawkins.
Then, a minute later, another glorious chance, as Quinn intercepted a Sam Foley square pass just outside the box. Quinn took a touch before firing goalwards from 22 yards, but he fired straight at keeper Farman.
On 63 minutes, a great ball in from the left from Hewitt, and Bowery glanced a header well wide, getting away from his marker Brough, when he needed to get more on his header.
After 64 minutes, Clarke dived into Neal. Clarke led with his arm and caught Neal. It was a risky challenge when already on a yellow card. Fortunately the referee deemed it not worthy of a booking. The Stags got away with that. Barrow manager Pete Wild was apoplectic. After the game, Wild said: "The way the officials have managed the second half, well to say it’s unacceptable is an understatement.” Wild was booked later in the half.
Boateng replaced Clarke within minutes (66 minutes). Clough explained about the substitution after the game: “he made a robust, a typical Ollie Clarke challenge, which they were reacting to, so we didn't take any chances."
Harbottle had to go off, limping down the tunnel after 68 minutes with an ankle injury, picked up right at the end of the first half. He was replaced by O’Toole, wearing a yellow head bandage after the cut on his head on Tuesday night. Clough said Harbottle will be doubtful for next Saturday against Walsall.
O’Toole was booked after 75 minutes for cynically blocking off Ben Whitfield as he tried to break forward from just inside his own half. O’Toole’s third booking of the season.
Great play from Lapslie a minute later as he won the ball on the right touchline, but the keeper was out 40 yards from his goal to clear. Had Lapslie got to the ball before the keeper he would have had a free shot at goal.
After 81 minutes, Whitfield’s curling cross was met by a glancing header from Josh Gordon well over the bar. The home fans were riled already by Mansfield wasting time, and were riled further as Hawkins then tied his boot laces up.
After 82 minutes, Law and Gale replaced Maris and Quinn. Clough said after the game: "George Maris also went off with an ankle injury." Gale went up front, Lapslie dropped back into midfield.
Perch cleared quickly from a Barrow cross after 84 minutes.
Pym made a great save to keep the Stags in front after 87 minutes. Niall Canavan launched a long ball forward to the edge of the Stags area. Josh Gordon headed it down to Billy Waters. Waters sent a bobbling shot towards the left corner of the net, and Pym got down low to turn it over the bar. A wonderful save and such a strong hand to turn it over the bar. Clough described it after the game: “Christy made one great save, down to the right-hand side with a bobbling shot from the edge of the box. He got a good hand on it and I think it actually went over the bar rather than wide.”
A chance for Gale after 88 minutes, as he latched onto O’Toole’s clearance, surged forward, and fired wide from 25 yards. It was an ambitious effort.
Seven minutes of time were added on. Jordan Bowery admitted to BBC Radio Nottingham after the game: "That's our own fault, we time-wasted quite a lot. But you've got to do those things to try to slow the game down."
Lapslie and Gale did well to win a corner after 90+3 minutes, then Akins won another corner, as the Stags wound the clock down very effectively.
Barrow players half-heartedly appealed for a penalty for a handball after 90+6 minutes. The ball did hit Hewitt on the hand as O’Toole cleared against him but it was clearly not a penalty as his hand was down by his side and he knew nothing about it. After the game, Barrow manager Pete Wild feebly bleated: “And we have a blatant penalty shout in the 95th minute and for whatever reason the officials can't see it.” Ridiculous comment. Wild had already lost the plot in the second half.
Barrow pumped numerous balls forward, but the Stags kept dealing with them and the Stags wound the clock down well to preserve the win. After the game, Clough said “we saw it out pretty well.”
A gritty win from the Stags in a game of very little quality. But a very important win after the disappointment of those two points unbelievably dropped against Hartlepool.
The defence was terrific. Hawkins and Hewitt were in great form, as were substitutes Perch and O’Toole who slotted into the defence in the second half. Pym made that one wonderful save, in just about Barrow’s only decent attempt on goal.
No game in midweek for the Stags. The next game is at home to Walsall next Saturday (1pm kick-off). Walsall of course will not be permitted to play leading scorer Danny Johnson, on loan from Mansfield.
Man of the match: Oli Hawkins
Here’s a running tally of various stats this season:
Goals (league and cup): Lapslie 4, Akins, Harbottle, Hawkins, Maris, Swan 3, Clarke 2, Bowery, Gale, Oates 1.
Assists (league and cup): Lapslie 5, Maris 3, Gordon, Hartigan 2, Akins, Boateng, Bowery, Clarke, Hawkins, 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 4, Harbottle 2, Hawkins 2, Lapslie 2, Law 1, Maris 2, McLaughlin 2, O’Toole 3, 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)
Report by: Martin Shaw
Pym 8 Wonderful save from Waters to preserve the points. Good handling and distribution.
Hewitt 8.5 Very good in central defence. Then slotted in very well at left wing back in the second half.
Hawkins 8.5 Very good game, winning so many headers.
Harbottle 7 A couple of mistakes but otherwise solid. Forced off with an ankle injury.
Bowery 7 By his own admission, his performance was “certainly shocking”. However he was the matchwinner, which was absolutely vital.
Clarke 6.5 Booked for dissent, and could have received a second yellow. Otherwise did ok.
Maris 6.5 Some good set pieces.
Quinn 6 His corner led to the goal. A couple of below par shots from chances.
McLaughlin 6 Replaced at half time after a whack on his knee.
Lapslie 6.5 Some good moments, but generally quiet.
Akins 7 Held the ball up well to bring others into play.
Sub Line Up:
Perch (for McLaughlin, 46 mins) 8 Slotted in very well into the defence in the second half.
Boateng (for Clarke, 66 mins) -
O’Toole (for Harbottle, 68 mins) - Did well slotting into the defence.
Law (for Maris, 82 mins) -
Gale (for Quinn, 82 mins) -
Subs not used: Flinders, Adam Collin.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-2-3-1): Farman; Warren, Canavan, Ray, Brough; Neal, Foley (White 72); Josh Gordon, Gotts, Whitfield; Moyo (Waters 58). Subs not used: Lillis, McClelland, Nwabuokei, Kenlock.
Tom Nield 6 Did ok, no major errors. Could have given Clarke a second yellow, but fortunately for Mansfield, he didn’t.