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Season 23/24 Stagsnet Match Report
Pre-Season Friendly
Oldham Athletic  
0 - 3
 Mansfield Town
 Akins 34, 53, Oates 58
Attendance: 2,425 (213 from Mansfield)
Date: 29 July 2023

by Martin Shaw at Boundary Park

Mansfield Town won 3-0 at Oldham Athletic on Saturday. The Stags scored three good goals, and could have had more, though Oldham could have had a goal or two as well. Lucas Akins, who is looking very good pre-season, scored twice, and missed a glorious chance of a hat-trick when he sent a free header over the bar. Rhys Oates scored the third goal with a screamer cutting in from the left on to his right foot and firing him from the edge of the box.

Despite the 3-0 win, Nigel Clough wanted more from his side, saying after the game: “We scored three good goals though didn't get an awful lot more out of it apart from a little more game time. But there was nowhere near the intensity we played with at Hearts on Tuesday or that we're going to need next Saturday. Maybe we were a little big leggy with the journey up to Scotland and back this week. But the intent and urgency we showed on Tuesday wasn't there today. We could have scored more, but they could have scored goals as well and I thought they should have been 2-0 ahead before we even stirred. We looked a bit lethargic.”

Mansfield made two changes in the starting XI from that which started at Hearts on Tuesday, Jordan Bowery replaced Baily Cargill at centre half, George Maris replaced Stephen Quinn in midfield:

team (4-4-2, diamond in midfield):

Christy Pym;
Callum Johnson, Alfie Kilgour, Jordan Bowery, Calum Macdonald (new signing, previously with Tranmere among other clubs);
Louis Reed,
Aaron Lewis (new signing from Newport), George Maris,
Davis Keillor-Dunn;
Lucas Akins, Rhys Oates.

Hiram Boateng (for Maris, 46 minutes)
Anthony Hartigan (for Reed, 78 minutes)
George Cooper (for Bowery, 88 minutes)
Sub not used:
Louie Turner

Bowery started at centre half because he needed game time and that was the only place to slot him in (with Cargill, Williams, O’Toole, Perch not available). George Cooper, a more natural centre half, will be going out on loan to a high end Conference North side, so from Mansfield’s point of view, it was less vital for him to get game time. He will instead get it at Matlock on Tuesday.

Nigel Clough went through the injury situation after the game:
“Stephen Quinn has a chest infection and Baily Cargill had a back spasm in training yesterday, should be ok, we won't risk them this week.”
“Ollie Clarke is still missing with his calf and Will Swan with his groin and JJ (O'Toole) is out for a couple of months with his ankle. Ollie has now not done anything for three weeks so I would not think he will be involved next weekend. We are looking for him to train maybe towards the end of the week.
“George Williams will hopefully play at Matlock on Tuesday, as will James Gale.
“Certainly George Cooper and Anthony Hartigan will play there too.
“George Maris only did 45 minutes today. His wife is imminently giving birth so he played 45 minutes and shot off back home.”
“We are still talking to James Perch and hopefully he will make his mind up this week.
“We've also had a couple of enquiries about one of our players though nothing firm to act upon as yet. But if one does go out we would be looking to bring a replacement in.”
“Clarke, plus Hewitt and McLaughlin are the only ones ruled out for next Saturday.”

Davis Keillor-Dunn was playing against his former side.

The pitch was looking fantastic. One million pounds has been spent on it, with a grant from the local council. Oldham rugby league will also be playing there. Spirits are much higher at Oldham than a year ago when we visited in pre-season due to new ownership. The Joe Royle stand, opposite the main stand, was open for the first time that I’ve seen, it has previously been closed due to ownership issues, but now the whole ground is now under the new ownership.

The game was played in North-West sunshine that England cricket would have wanted a week ago!

Oldham started the game on the front foot. After 3 minutes, a shot from Mike Fondop was pushed away by Pym to Joe Nuttall who turned the rebound wide. Pym would have wanted to push it away from the onrushing striker. Two minutes later, Macdonald was caught out at the back, and an Oldham shot was deflected for a corner. From that corner, Liam Hogan blasted wide from 9 yards, after Charlie Raglan headed on.

The Stags’ first chance came after 10 minutes. Keillor-Dunn intercepted a loose pass, got into the area and squared for Maris, whose shot was well-saved by keeper Magnus Norman. The ball came back to Keillor-Dunn whose follow-up shot was blasted wide from 12 yards. Then another opportunity as Akins turned and his effort was cleared as Oates tried to follow up.

Oldham had a chance after 12 minutes, as Fondop headed down into the ground and it bounced up over the bar from a cross from the left. And on 18 minutes, good play from the lively Devarn Green down the right to the byline, his cross was beyond the far post and Dan Ward headed over the bar. Then stand-in centre half Bowery (see above for why he was playing there) gave the ball away, Nuttall found Ward in the area, Callum Johnson might have had a little tug at his shirt, but the referee wasn’t interested in a penalty and his shot was well wide.

Super football from Mansfield after 28 minutes. Keillor-Dunn escaped from his marker and sent a great throughball forward for Oates who just over-ran the ball to the keeper. Then 5 minutes later, both Louis Reed and Callum Johnson had shots blocked from outside the area following more good football.

The Stags took the lead after 34 minutes. Maris lifted a lovely ball from the left out to the right touchline for Johnson who took the ball down nicely, got past Ward to the byline and pulled back and across to Akins 12 yards from goal who turned it first time into the right corner of the net. A good finish from Akins, a good assist from Johnson.

Louis Reed blocked a shot from Green following a corner after 41 minutes.

The Stags 1-0 ahead at the break. Chances for both sides, Oldham close on a few occasions, and could have been ahead early on. Some good moves from Mansfield, but one or two overhit passes. Oldham sat back quite a lot, and Mansfield sometimes didn’t have quite the tempo to break them down. A good goal from Akins though from Johnson’s assist to have the Stags in front.

Half time 0-1

Hiram Boateng replaced Maris at half time (explanation above).

Alfie Kilgour headed away a cross from Kitching. On 52 minutes, a poor ball from Oates to the overlapping Boateng was out of play. From the resulting goal kick, a massive punt downfield bounced over Kilgour, and as Kilgour followed the ball back and it dropped down it might have hit his hand accidentally. The home fans behind the goal wanted a penalty, but I think the referee and linesman were probably unsighted.

The Stags made it 2-0 after 53 minutes. Keillor-Dunn played out to Oates on the left, Oates got to the byline and his crossed was cleared for a throw-in on the left. From the resulting throw-in, Reed slid the ball forward down the left for Boateng who curled a beautiful low ball across the edge of the six-yard box and Akins nipped in between two defenders to turn it into the net from 5 yards. What a ball from Boateng, and a poacher’s goal from Akins.

It was 3-0 after 58 minutes. Keillor-Dunn, 35 yards out, laid off to Oates on the edge of the area on the left. Oates cut inside Shaun Hobson onto his right foot and blasted a screamer into the right corner of the net. Classic Oates, something we haven’t seen too much of lately but hopefully he will be back to his best this season after a disappointing injury-ravaged season last season.

It should have been 4-0 and a hat-trick for Akins after 60 minutes. Macdonald fed Boateng on the left just outside the area. Boateng found a yard of space to cross despite being under pressure and Akins had a free header from 4 yards that he put over the bar. What a cross from Boateng. What a chance for Akins to get a hat-trick.

After 63 minutes, Kilgour did brilliantly to win the ball, the Stags broke straight to the other end, and an Oates ball across the face of goal just evaded Akins. Akins retrieved the ball and his left-footed shot was saved by the keeper.

A good tackle by Macdonald after 65 minutes. Then a minute later, Pym pushed away a powerful shot from Dan Ward but straight to substitute Alex Reid who put the rebound over the bar. As in the first half, Pym would have wanted to push it away from the onrushing striker, and Nigel Clough told me afterwards he didn’t think it was great keeping. Really good keeping from Pym though after 71 minutes as he was out quickly with Ward nearly through on goal.

Good play from Oates to get to the byline on the left after 74 minutes, and his pull-back was cleared before Akins could turn it in.

Hartigan replaced Reed after 78 minutes.

Good play on the right from the Stags after 79 minutes, Keillor-Dunn to Akins, Akins cut it back to Keillor-Dunn, and Keillor-Dunn curled a shot wide of the right post. On 84 minutes, Keillor-Dunn squared to Aaron Lewis 35 yards from goal. Lewis took a couple of touches to the edge of the D, where he smashed in a shot that was blocked, straight back to him, he got into the area and fired in another low shot, which the keeper Norman got down well to save.

A chance for Oldham after 86 minutes, Devarn Green got to the byline, and pulled across to Alex Reid who sliced a shot wide.

George Cooper replaced Bowery after 88 minutes. Bowery left the field to good applause from the 213 Stags fans.

A 3-0 win for the Stags. For the team who started here, that will be their last friendly before the big kick-off at Crewe. Many of the rest will start at Matlock (see Nigel Clough’s comments above). I think the team is looking in good shape, the performance at Hearts for example gives much cause for optimism. I expect the Stags to finish in the top 7.

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the Oldham game in full, and will be able to watch the Matlock game in full the day after the game. When it comes to the league and cup games, the arrangements for iFollow coverage are the same as last season.

Report by: by Martin Shaw at Boundary Park

Line Up:
team (4-4-2, diamond in midfield):
Christy Pym;
Callum Johnson, Alfie Kilgour, Jordan Bowery, Calum Macdonald (new signing, previously with Tranmere among other clubs);
Louis Reed,
Aaron Lewis (new signing from Newport), George Maris,
Davis Keillor-Dunn;
Lucas Akins, Rhys Oates.
Sub Line Up:
Hiram Boateng (for Maris, 46 minutes)
Anthony Hartigan (for Reed, 78 minutes)
George Cooper (for Bowery, 88 minutes)
Sub not used:
Louie Turner
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2) Norman; Hobson, Hogan, Raglan, Kitching; Green, Shelton, Sheron, Ward; Fondop (Reid 46) Nuttall (Willoughby 77). Subs not used: Hudson, Tollitt, Gardner, Hope, Sutton, Couto.
Ben Wyatt

Season 23/24 Reports