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Season 23/24 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Crewe Alexandra  
2 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Demetriou 32, Adebisi 60.
 
 Keillor-Dunn 22, 26. Macdonald sent off 58
Attendance: 5,574 (1,660 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 5 August 2023

STAGS PEGGED BACK AFTER SENDING OFF

Martin Shaw at Gresty Road (Mornflake Stadium)

Mansfield Town drew 2-2 at Crewe Alexandra in the opening game of the season this afternoon. The Stags started the game strongly and had good early chances to take the lead as Rhys Oates fired wide and Davis Keillor-Dunn fired straight at the keeper. The Stags were dominant and deservedly took the lead after 22 minutes as Oates squared to Keillor-Dunn 20 yards out with his back to goal. Keillor-Dunn turned away from two defenders and quickly fired through the legs of Mickey Demetriou into the bottom left corner of the net from 15 yards. And Keillor-Dunn made it 2-0 four minutes later, as Stephen Quinn picked up a loose clearance, fed Keillor-Dunn on the edge of the area, he side-stepped a defender to create a yard of space and fired left-footed into the bottom right corner of the net. Two great finishes. It could have been 3-0 after 29 minutes as Keillor-Dunn fired straight at the keeper, with Lucas Akins in space to his right, and then a minute after that, Akins sent a low shot straight at the keeper. A brilliant opening half an hour from the Stags to start the season, and they should have been 3-0 ahead.

But Crewe pulled a goal back after 32 minutes. Callum Johnson conceded an unnecessary corner. And from it, the ball bounced off Oates and fell kindly for Demetriou to turn and score into the right corner of the net from 7 yards. The goal brought Crewe right back into it and they were nearly level after 45+2 minutes as Chris Long’s shot from 16 yards deflected off Calum Macdonald, looped up over Christy Pym and onto the top of the bar.

The Stags were unlucky not to made it 3-1 after 49 minutes, as Keillor-Dunn hit the inside of the post from Quinn’s low cross. But the game changed course after 58 minutes as Macdonald clattered into Rio Adebisi with a high challenge near the halfway line. In my opinion, it was a very unwise challenge, in a position where he didn’t need to make such a rash challenge. The referee immediately produced a red card. After the game, Nigel Clough said they would be considering whether to appeal the red card. No chance of over-turning it in my opinion.

Mansfield re-grouped, switched to the three at the back, bringing on new signing Aden Flint, and switching Johnson and Akins to wing-back. Crewe equalised from the resulting free-kick, as Jack Powell crossed from the right and Adebisi headed in from 6 yards, catching the new look defence cold and getting in front of Flint.

It looked to be a tall order for the Stags now down to ten men, but in the final half hour plus stoppage time the Stags were the better side and created much the better chances as Akins cut in from the left, fired goalwards and his shot was blocked on the line by his own man Oates! Then Oates got the better of two defenders and fired goalwards but the ball deflected off the keeper’s thigh taking it just wide of the post. So close. And in the final minute of stoppage time, sub James Gale was so nearly through on goal for a 1-on-1 but it didn’t quite fall for him. Crewe were restricted to virtually nothing in that final half hour plus stoppage time.

Overall I thought this was a very encouraging performance from Mansfield, who should have won the game comfortably but shot themselves in the foot especially with the red card, and despite that, could still have won even down to ten men. It was also hugely entertaining. The Stags were brilliant in the first 30 minutes, and really good when down to ten men for the last 30 minutes. Plenty of impressive performances from the likes of Keillor-Dunn, Akins, Quinn, Reed, Kilgour, Cargill, and others. New signing Flint looked dominant after Crewe’s equaliser and will be a huge signing for the Stags I think. You just can’t afford to have players sent off though and without that, I’m pretty certain the Stags would have won. Before the sending-off I thought Macdonald was having a good game. He’ll now miss the next three games.

The next game is at home to Grimsby in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday (kick off 7.30pm). Note that Carabao Cup games cannot be streamed live on iFollow, in the UK or overseas, so it will be commentary only on iFollow.

DETAILED REPORT:

Nigel Clough named the side that was expected (exactly the side that started at Hearts) based on recent pre-season games.
team (4-4-2, diamond in midfield):
Christy Pym;
Callum Johnson, Alfie Kilgour, Baily Cargill (new signing from Forest Green), Calum Macdonald (new signing, previously with Tranmere among other clubs);
Louis Reed,
Aaron Lewis (new signing from Newport), Stephen Quinn,
Davis Keillor-Dunn;
Lucas Akins, Rhys Oates.

Stags debuts for Calum Macdonald, Baily Cargill, Aaron Lewis. And then for Aden Flint from the bench.
Stephen Quinn was playing his 100th EFL game for Mansfield (stat from Paul Taylor).
Not involved in the squad: Clarke and Swan (still injured), Williams (probably eased out of the 18 by Flint, signed this week), plus longer term injured Hewitt and McLaughlin.

The weather was not as bad as forecast, with the expected heavy rain not really arriving.

The Stags were backed by a sellout following of over 1,600.

After 2 minutes, good play from Cargill, to Keillor-Dunn, to Oates, but Oates blasted wide. Then on 8 minutes, Quinn slid the ball forward to Keillor-Dunn, who turned away from a defender, and shot low straight at the keeper. A glorious chance. The Stags were totally dominant and there was obvious disquiet among the home fans.

Cargill gave the ball away after 14 minutes but immediately redeemed himself.

Lewis played to the overlapping Callum Johnson after 16 minutes and his cross-shot was blocked. A minute later at the other end, good defending from Johnson as Shilow Tracey broke forward on the left. Then Long shot wide after a run to the edge of the area.

Reed fouled Adebisi 27 yards out after 21 minutes. The wall did its job, blocked the free kick from Jack Powell.

The Stags had been dominant and deservedly took the lead after 22 minutes as Oates squared to Keillor-Dunn 20 yards out with his back to goal. Keillor-Dunn turned away from two defenders and quickly fired through the legs of Mickey Demetriou into the bottom left corner of the net from 15 yards.

Akins had the shirt pulled off his back in the area after 24 minutes but the referee wasn’t interested.

Keillor-Dunn made it 2-0 after 26 minutes, as Quinn picked up a loose clearance, fed Keillor-Dunn on the edge of the area, he side-stepped a defender to create a yard of space and fired left-footed into the bottom right corner of the net. Two great finishes for the two goals.

A great tackle by Johnson on Tracey on the halfway line after 28 minutes.

It could have been 3-0 after 29 minutes as Reed slid in to win the ball, Oates fed Keillor-Dunn, and Keillor-Dunn fired straight at the keeper, with Lucas Akins in space to his right.

Then a minute after that, Akins sent a low shot straight at the keeper.

A brilliant opening half an hour from the Stags to start the season, and they should have been 3-0 ahead.

But Crewe pulled a goal back after 32 minutes. Callum Johnson conceded an unnecessary corner. And from it, the ball bounced off Oates and fell kindly for Demetriou to turn and score into the right corner of the net from 7 yards.

The goal brought Crewe right back into it. After 34 minutes, Quinn was penalised for a foul, and Joe Tabiner sent a free kick from 22 yards over the bar.

At the other end, a cross shot from Macdonald was blocked, and then Oates got into the area on the right and had a shot blocked after 36 minutes. After 38 minutes, Keillor-Dunn headed wide at the near post from a Macdonald free kick from the left.

Eight minutes was added on at the end of the first half. There were very few stoppages, but time would have been added on for the 3 goal celebrations under the new rules.

After 45+1 minutes, Kilgour blocked a shot and Pym pushed the deflection wide.

Crewe were nearly level after 45+2 minutes as Chris Long’s shot from 16 yards deflected off Macdonald, looped up over Pym and onto the top of the bar.

The Stags 2-1 up at the break. Mansfield had been brilliant and completely dominant for 30 minutes, going 2-0 ahead and should have been further ahead. But a needless corner conceded saw Crewe pull a goal back, and then they were right back in it, hitting the bar at the end of the half.

Half time 1-2

The Stags were unlucky not to made it 3-1 after 49 minutes, as Keillor-Dunn hit the inside of the post from Quinn’s low cross.

Four minutes later, Akins played inside to Reed but he fired a weak shot straight at the keeper. Then after 55 minutes, a free kick from the halfway line from Reed was headed across by Kilgour to Akins, who chested down and teed up Kilgour who fired wide from 12 yards. A good chance.

Keillor-Dunn was booked for kicking the ball away after 58 minutes.

The game changed course after 58 minutes as Macdonald clattered into Rio Adebisi with a high challenge near the halfway line. In my opinion, it was a very unwise challenge, in a position where he didn’t need to make such a rash challenge. The referee immediately produced a red card. After the game, Nigel Clough said they would be considering whether to appeal the red card. No chance of over-turning it in my opinion.

In the aftermath, Kilgour was booked. It cannot be seen on the video, so I don’t know what that was for, but presumably for some sort of dissent.

Mansfield re-grouped, switched to the three at the back, bringing on new signing Aden Flint (for Keillor-Dunn, who was sacrificed), and switching Johnson and Akins to wing-back.

Crewe equalised from the resulting free-kick, as Jack Powell crossed from the right and Adebisi headed in from 6 yards, catching the new look defence cold and getting in front of Flint.

Quinn was booked after 63 minutes, for dissent (moaning at the referee).

It looked to be a tall order for the Stags now down to ten men, but in the final half hour plus stoppage time the Stags were the better side and created much the better chances.

After 68 minutes, Quinn put in a good cross and Oates sent a flying header over the bar. At the other end after 74 minutes, Long chipped forward for Tracey who hacked a wile shot wide.

A double change for the Stags after 75 minutes: Maris replaced Lewis, Boateng replaced Quinn.

Boateng was immediately into the action with a shot blocked at source after 77 minutes. Then two minutes later, Boateng curled another shot straight at the keeper from 25 yards.

The Stags went so close on 80 minutes as Akins cut inside from the left past Adebise, fired goalwards and his shot was blocked on the line by his own man Oates! Brilliant play from Akins to create the shooting chance.

On 83 minutes, a long ball forward from Kilgour for Oates to chase. Oates got the better of two defenders and fired goalwards but the ball deflected off the keeper’s thigh taking it just wide of the post. So close and a good effort from Oates.

Great defending from Flint after 85 minutes with a challenge in the area.

Reed was booked for a foul after 87 minutes.

Nine minutes of stoppage time was added on. I expected more given the 8 minutes in the first half. There were plenty more long stoppages in the second half than the first half. However, there were 3 goals in the first half and only 1 in the second.

Gale replaced Oates after 90+3 minutes.

Johnson put in a great challenge, stormed forward, and won a corner after 90+6 minutes. At the other end, Pym caught a corner after 90+8 minutes.

Then in the final minute of stoppage time, sub James Gale was so nearly through on goal for a 1-on-1 but it didn’t quite fall for him.

Crewe were restricted to virtually nothing in that final half hour plus stoppage time. It almost looked like it was the Stags with 11 men and Crewe with 10 men for that final half hour plus 9 minutes stoppage time. The Stags should have gone home with 3 points, but had to settle for one.

Man of the match: Keillor-Dunn

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

Goals (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 2.

Assists (league and cup): Oates, Quinn 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 last season. In the case of a solo goal, such as Maris against Newport at home two seasons ago, 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 last season. In the case of an own goal, the player who caused the own goal gets an assist, for example McLaughlin against Newport away two seasons ago 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 last season, nobody gets an assist.)

Yellow cards (league only, alphabetical order): Keillor-Dunn 1, Kilgour 1, Quinn 1, Reed 1.
Red cards (league and cup): Macdonald 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 at Gresty Road (Mornflake Stadium)



Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Pym 7 Did ok. No chance with the two goals.
Johnson 7 Some very good defending, though conceded an unnecessary corner which led to the first Crewe goal.
Kilgour 7.5 Good game in central defence.
Cargill 7 Good solid debut.
Macdonald 5 Sent off for a very unwise challenge, in a position where he didn’t need to make such a rash challenge in my opinion. Before the sending-off, I thought he was having a good game on his debut. He’ll now miss the next three games.
Reed 8 Fine game in front of the back four.
Lewis 7 Had a decent debut.
Quinn 8 Set up three chances for Keillor-Dunn including one goal and the shot against the post.
Keillor-Dunn 9 Two fine goals and hit the inside of the post.
Akins 8 Led the line well, then switched seamlessly to left wing-back. Great play to create his own chance which was blocked by his own man Oates.
Oates 7 Went so close when he got the better of two defenders and fired goalwards but the ball deflected off the keeper’s thigh taking it just wide of the post. Inadvertently blocked a shot from Akins. In his own area, the ball bounced off him and led to the first Crewe goal, I think that was just unlucky for him.
Sub Line Up:
Flint (for Keillor-Dunn, 60 mins) - Looked dominant after Crewe’s equaliser and will be a huge signing for the Stags I think.
Maris (for Lewis, 75 mins) -
Boateng (for Quinn, 75 mins) -
Gale (for Oates, 90+3 mins) -
Subs not used: Flinders, Bowery, Hartigan.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-3-3): Davies; Adebisi, Offord, Demetriou, Williams (Cooney, 81); Thomas, Tabiner, Powell (Holicek, 81); Long, Nevitt (Baker-Richardson, 70), Tracey. Subs not used: Booth, O’Riordan, Lunt, Billington.
Referee:
Ben Atkinson 6 I think the red card was a reasonable decision. Booking of Kilgour was a poor decision.


Season 23/24 Reports