Attendance: 2,501 (235 from Mansfield)
Date: 5 November 2022
STAGS WIN AT BARROW IN THE FA CUP
Martin Shaw at Holker Street (SO Legal Stadium)
Mansfield Town progressed to the Second Round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at Barrow yesterday. The only goal of the game came after 39 minutes when Oli Hawkins swept the ball home from 6 yards following a George Maris free kick. The Stags were good value for the win, earned through gritty defending, and good goalkeeping from Christy Pym, in muddy, wet conditions.
Rain all morning left the pitch very wet in places. And there were some comedy moments as the ball got stuck in water, mostly along the touchlines. However there wouldn’t have been much comedy if conditions had got worse and the game had been abandoned. Fortunately the rain stopped about 15 minutes into the game, and conditions slowly improved, with the sun making an appearance in the second half.
It was Mansfield’s second visit to Holker Street in four weeks. Not the FA Cup draw the Stags wanted. Mansfield had won the league game, but Barrow’s home record was excellent, having won 7 league games out of 9, just losing to the Stags and Leyton Orient.
Mansfield made three changes from the side that lost 5-2 to Swindon: Boateng was suspended, while O’Toole and Swan dropped to the bench. In came Hartigan, Perch (back from suspension) and Akins. It was a 3-5-1-1 formation with Lapslie playing just behind Akins up front. Harbottle was back on the bench after his head injury at Crawley. Clarke didn’t start because, according to Clough: “his knee has been a bit sore this week.” He was on the bench.
Barrow created the first chance of the game, on 2 minutes. Josh Gordon created half a yard of space on the right and crossed low into the middle where Billy Waters created a yard of space and fired left footed towards goal from 16 yards. Pym made a great save low to his right, turning it round the post.
The Stags went close at the other end after 4 minutes. From a throw-in, Quinn found Maris. His low shot was on target but blocked. It came out to Hewitt who sent a 20 yard shot just wide of the left post. A good effort from Hewitt.
There was standing water on the pitch in a few patches, and the ball got stuck a few times.
After 15 minutes, a shot from Josh Kay from the corner of the area on the left gave Pym a comfortable save.
After 21 minutes, Barrow had half-hearted appeals for a penalty when a corner from the left from Kay floated high over everyone and out for a goal-kick, but George Ray went down at the far post after a tussle with Perch. From the video replay, there is not enough in it for a penalty in my opinion. There was little appealing from the Barrow players, apart from Ray who hopefully put his arms out and looked at the linesman.
Barrow boss Pete Wild said afterwards “I’ve got to be honest, there’s one if not two pens in there. There’s a pen first half and a pen second half and that’s what’s winding me up at the end of the game.”
Nonsense as usual from Wild (see my report of the league game 4 weeks ago, where I wrote: 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. )
Hewitt had to be alert after 26 minutes to knock the ball away in the six yard box.
The Stags could have been ahead after 27 minutes. Hartigan sent Quinn away on the right with a terrific pass. Quinn surged to the edge of the area, and squared a perfect pass for Akins to run on to. Akins though put his left-footed shot well over the bar from 14 yards and then slid across the turf. It looked like he slipped as he took the shot on the wet surface. Nevertheless he should have done better.
Barrow could have been ahead after 33 minutes. Hawkins won the ball from David Moyo in the penalty area. But he tried to turn on the wet surface, and was dispossessed by Josh Gordon, who chipped a cross from the byline on the right to Kay who was unmarked 6 yards out at the far post. Kay headed the ball down but Pym saved with his boot on the goalline. A terrific save from Pym. It was Hawkins’ only mistake of the game.
Hawkins said after the game: "It was tough conditions out there. Everyone w as shouting at me for giving the ball away. It was a silly mistake from me, I couldn't get the ball out from my feet, and it was like that everywhere, the ball kept on stopping and starting and I'm glad they didn't capitalise."
Hartigan was booked for a late challenge after 36 minutes.
The Stags made it 1-0 after 39 minutes. Kellan Gordon won a free kick 32 yards from goal, just in from the right touchline, after a push in the back from Kay. Maris curled the free kick into the area. Hawkins, Ray and Niall Canavan rose to try to head it. Nobody got their head on it. The ball dropped to the ground, and Hawkins was quickest to react, swinging a boot at it and firing into the right of the net from 6 yards.
After the game, Hawkins described the goal: “I jumped up with a couple of their players. Neither of us got our head on it. I read that it was going to bounce and reacted quickest and was able to kick the ball towards goal as I was falling to the ground, shut my eyes and hoped to hear the net rustle. Luckily it did.”
Hawkins moves on to 4 goals this season (third behind Lapslie and Swan). Maris moves on to 4 assists (second behind Lapslie). See details below.
That was the last meaningful action of the first half.
The Stags ahead at the break. Two good chances for Barrow and two very good saves from Pym. At the other end, Akins might have put the Stags ahead, but Hawkins did.
Half time 0-1
A double change at the break: Clarke replaced Hartigan, Wallace replaced Quinn.
Clough explained after the game:
“Anthony Hartigan had been booked and was on a yellow card; we’d gone down to ten men in the previous two games. We didn’t want any problems again in that area. With the conditions today, it’s one slip or mistimed challenge and he could find himself with a second yellow.”
“Stephen Quinn was injured. He got a whack on the back of the knee so he couldn’t continue. I would think he’d be a doubt for Tuesday.”
“Ollie Clarke didn’t start because his knee has been a bit sore this week.”
The weather was much brighter now.
After 48 minutes, Kay got to the byline on the left and blasted a cross across the 6 yard box but no-one was on the end of it. At the other end after 52 minutes, Ollie Clarke sent in a low shot from 22 yards which was an easy save for Paul Farman. Then on 56 minutes, good play from Kellan Gordon and Maris on the attack, who both had shots blocked at source. At the other end a minute later, Kay’s shot was blocked by Hawkins. And on 60 minutes, Myles Kenlock got along the byline on the left and Hawkins did well to block the cross.
The Stags had a golden opportunity on the break after 61 minutes but wasted it. Lapslie broke clear, clean through. He had Akins available on his right, Maris on his left, and elected to pass to Akins but it was a terrible pass and the opportunity was gone.
A third change for the Stags after 63 minutes: Bowery came on for Kellan Gordon. Gordon was coming back from injury on a heavy pitch. Bowery slotted in at right wing-back.
Maris had a 25 yard shot well-blocked by the keeper after 67 minutes. Maris had been teed up by McLaughlin.
Barrow went close after 71 minutes. Warren crossed across the 6 yard box from the right and found Canavan at the far post who volleyed wide. A let off for the Stags.
Perch was booked for a foul on Sam Foley after 73 minutes as Foley threatened to get away. It was similar to his second yellow against Newport.
Josh Gordon was well over the bar with an overhead kick from the edge of the box after 76 minutes.
Barrow went close after 77 minutes. Warren crossed from the right, Hewitt headed away, and sub Ben Whitfield volleyed just wide from 22 yards. As with Hewitt’s shot in the first half which also whistled just wide, the keeper would have stood no chance.
O’Toole replaced McLaughlin after 78 minutes. I asked Nigel Clough about this after the game and he said McLaughlin was injured. Hewitt moved to left back, O’Toole went to the right side in the back three.
Hewitt was booked as Josh Gordon tried to get away from him after 81 minutes. Hewitt has been booked in all three cup competitions this season but not in the league. Whitfield took the resulting free kick, 32 yards from goal, and fired well wide.
Harbottle replaced Perch after 83 minutes. Mansfield’s fifth and final sub. Perch had been booked and this was again probably the reason for the change.
In the remaining minutes including six minutes of stoppage time, no further shots from Barrow, but Pym made some fine punches clear, not attempting to catch the wet ball, and there were plenty of clearances as Barrow launched balls straight into the box from the keeper and centre halves and long throws from sub Richie Bennett.
The second Barrow penalty shout of the game came after 90+1 minutes as Kay forced his way into the area past Bowery on the left near the byline, but he ran into O’Toole. From the video, O’Toole got the ball.
See Pete Wild’s comments earlier about the two penalty shouts. He was fooling no-one, including the BBC Cumbria commentator and co-commentator, who dismissed his comments about the penalty claims, and the local newspaper reporter who wrote on the first penalty shout: “George Ray went down under pressure in the box, but tame shouts for a penalty were waved away by Andy Haines”, while not even mentioning the second penalty shout.
So the Stags hung on for the victory and can look forward to Monday’s second round draw. This was an excellent defensive display overall, and the Stags deserved the win.
Hawkins, Hewitt and Perch all played very well, as did subs O’Toole and Harbottle.
Hawkins especially was in his element with so many headers away, clearances and tackles. Hawkins said after the game: “It’s my type of game; balls in the box, try and head it as much as you can, winning tackles, defending and keeping a clean sheet. Today I loved it.”
Pym was also very good indeed with two fine saves in the first half, no saves needed in the second half, but plenty of good punches away in the wet conditions.
Hawkins gave an interesting comment comparing it to the Swindon game, he said: "It was my type of game, balls in the box, try and head as much as I can and clear it. I suppose you see in the Swindon game where they had a lot of ball-players, and quick players in and out and in behind, maybe not my kind of game, and it shows a little bit."
The Stags are back in action on Tuesday night, at home to Bradford City. It’s a big game as the Stags look to get the league form back on track after one point from three games. If you can’t make it to the One Call Stadium, you can watch it with us on iFollow Stags.
Man of the match: Oli Hawkins
Here’s a running tally of various stats this season:
Goals (league and cup): Lapslie 6, Swan 5, Hawkins 4, Akins, Harbottle, Maris 3, Bowery, Clarke 2, Gale, Gordon, Oates 1.
Assists (league and cup): Lapslie 6, Maris 4, Akins, Gordon, Hartigan, Hewitt, McLaughlin 2, Boateng, Bowery, Clarke, Hawkins, Law, Quinn, 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 (FA Cup only, alphabetical order): Hartigan 1, Hewitt 1, Perch 1.
(note: red cards count across competitions apart from Papa John’s Trophy; yellow cards are competition specific)
Report by: Martin Shaw at Holker Street (SO Legal Stadium)
Pym 9 Two great saves in the first half, no saves needed in the second half, but plenty of good punches away in the wet conditions.
Hewitt 8 Very good game in defence. Close to his first goal of the season.
Hawkins 9 In his element with so many headers away, clearances and tackles. Got the all-important goal. One mistake in the first half when he was dispossessed and then rescued by Pym.
Perch 7.5 Good game in defence.
Gordon 7 Won the free kick that led to the goal. Did well.
Maris 7.5 An assist for the goal, his 4th assist of the season. One good shot in the second half.
Hartigan 7 Terrific pass to set Quinn away for the Akins chance. Booked in the first half and subbed at half time as a result.
Quinn 7.5 Great play to set up the chance for Akins. Had to go off at half time after he got a whack on the back of his knee.
McLaughlin 7 Teed up Maris for a shot. Had to go off injured in the second half.
Lapslie 6.5 Wasted a golden opportunity on the break with a terrible pass to Akins.
Akins 6 Shot well over the bar in the first half. It looked like he slipped as he took the shot on the wet surface. Nevertheless he should have done better. Worked hard as always.
Sub Line Up:
Clarke (for Hartigan, 46 mins) 7 Very solid second half. Didn’t start because his knee had been a bit sore according to Clough.
Wallace (for Quinn, 46 mins) 7 Solid second half, as the Stags defended well as a team.
Bowery (for Gordon, 63 mins) -
O’Toole (for McLaughlin, 78 mins) -
Harbottle (for Perch, 83 mins) -
Subs not used: Flinders, Law, Gale, Swan.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-2-3-1) Farman; Warren, Ray (Bennett, 74), Canavan, Kenlock (Brough, 63); White (Foley, 63), Neal (Nwaboukei, 78); Josh Gordon, Waters (Whitfield, 63), Kay, Mojo. Subs not used: Lillis, Brown, Taylor, Smales-Braithwaite.
Andy Haines 7 Got the big calls right, including turning down two weak penalty claims from Barrow, and the bookings in general.