Attendance: 8,612 (1,684 from Wrexham, see note *)
Date: 3 October 2023
STAGS DRAW 0-0 WITH WREXHAM DESPITE EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town drew 0-0 with Wrexham at the One Call Stadium last night. It was an excellent performance from the Stags, who were vastly superior to highly fancied Wrexham but unable to force the victory they deserved.
Mansfield hit the post twice in the first half. Davis Keillor-Dunn fired a piledriver against the left post from the edge of the area with the keeper Arthur Okonkwo beaten after 30 minutes, and Ollie Clarke unleashed a great shot from 28 yards which the keeper tipped onto the right post after 36 minutes. Aaron Lewis swept a first time shot, unmarked, from 14 yards over the bar from a good low cross from Macdonald after 33 minutes. Keillor-Dunn should have done better when he sent a free header from a good Macdonald cross straight at the keeper from 8 yards after 25 minutes. Keeper Okonkwo also saved well from a shot from 22 yards from Lewis after 17 minutes. A very one-sided first half and Mansfield so much better than Wrexham.
Into the second half and things were more even. Mansfield twice went so close to scoring. After 65 minutes, a shot from Lewis from 15 yards following a corner was heading in past the keeper when it hit his own teammate Baily Cargill. The keeper would have had no chance. And on the stroke of 90 minutes, Keillor-Dunn had Stags fans off their feet thinking he had notched a spectacular winner when, 40 yards out, he went on a brilliant run with three Wrexham players unable to stop him, and from 25 yards out curled a shot inches past the right post. That could have been the winner the Stags deserved, but it wasn’t to be. Wrexham did have three chances in the second half: after 52 minutes, former Stag Ollie Palmer glanced a header just wide from a James McClean free kick. Aaron Hayden headed straight at Christy Pym from a corner after 72 minutes. And after 86 minutes, McClean skewed a shot over the bar from 7 yards at the back post after a cross from the right from sub Andy Cannon looped up via a deflection to him.
So, another draw. The Stags were excellent though. Keep playing like this and in my opinion plenty of wins will certainly come.
Mansfield are now 11 league games unbeaten this season and that is a new club record for the longest unbeaten start to a league season (stat from Paul Taylor) (see club records here). It is not the best start to a season in terms of points, as 7 of the 11 games have been draws.
Mansfield remain unbeaten in league and cup (14 games), and are now the only EFL or Premier League club to be unbeaten this season in all competitions.
Mansfield have also conceded the fewest goals in League Two (9 goals in 11 games).
Mansfield are in 7th place, one point behind second placed AFC Wimbledon, who are the next visitors to the One Call Stadium on Saturday. Wimbledon have won three on the trot and look to be a much-improved side from last season.
* Note on attendance: The game was a sell-out at the One Call Stadium.
The Bradford game a few weeks ago was a near sell-out with only around 50 tickets left unsold for home fans.
This time all tickets were sold (8,612) (around 6,900 for home fans and around 1,700 for away fans).
As I said in my report for the Bradford game, that was the biggest attendance since the play-off semi-final against Northampton in May 2004, which was 9,243, and which was the last time the Bishop Street stand was used for spectators.
So this game just surpassed the Bradford game.
Remember that the attendance quoted now includes all tickets sold including season ticket holders who don’t actually attend.
Note on the number of away fans: it was erroneously announced on the night as 1,484. This must have been a typo, Wrexham were given an allocation of 1,721 and sold out, though maybe not all disabled places would have sold. It cannot possibly have been 1,484. So I think the away attendance was probably 1,684 and simply a typo along the line. I will endeavour to confirm that, but will take as 1,684 for now.
Update: director Steve Hymas has confirmed the away attendance was approx 1700.
As after every game, you can find the average home attendance along with other running tallies of stats and latest injury news at the bottom of the report.
DETAILED REPORT :
Mansfield made one change from the side that drew at Gillingham: Cargill came in at centre half for Brunt. Brunt had made mistakes at Gillingham and Colchester that led to goals conceded. Clough said after the game: “We brought Baily Cargill back in as we thought Lewis Brunt needed a breather”. Keillor-Dunn remained up front with Akins with Maris in the attacking midfield role.
Highly fancied Wrexham had former Stag Ollie Palmer up front with the prolific Paul Mullin, who is just returning from injury. Palmer always gets plenty of stick from Stags fans, and has generally played well against Mansfield since leaving. Palmer said in a podcast a few months ago that he “hated” Mansfield Town, and “hated being at Mansfield”. He has forged an impressive career since leaving Mansfield, and was to have another fine game here, indeed Wrexham’s best player on the night.
This was the first game between the two clubs since that memorable day 10 years ago when Mansfield sealed promotion back to the Football League from the Conference with Matt Green’s penalty at the One Call Stadium (report here).
There was a great atmosphere.
After a minute, Akins laid off to Lewis, whose shot was blocked for a corner. On 4 minutes, a shot from Clarke was blocked for another corner. Then after 10 minutes, a great turn of pace from Akins, he got to the byline, played inside to Lewis, who didn’t pull the trigger to shoot quick enough and the chance was gone. After 13 minutes, a Stags corner from the right was partially cleared to Flint who volleyed goalwards and it was blocked.
It was all Mansfield. A very strong start.
Wrexham keeper Arthur Okonkwo saved well from a shot from 22 yards from Lewis after 17 minutes.
Clarke was booked for kicking the ball out of the keeper’s hands as he tried to kick forward, after 18 minutes.
Cargill was then booked after 19 minutes for hauling down Palmer 30 yards from goal. His third booking of the season, see stats below.
Keillor-Dunn should have done better when he sent a free header from a good Macdonald cross straight at the keeper from 8 yards after 25 minutes. That came after a great move.
Keillor-Dunn fired a piledriver against the left post from the edge of the area with the keeper Okonkwo beaten after 30 minutes. That came after Akins had found Keillor-Dunn.
Lewis swept a first time shot, unmarked, from 14 yards over the bar from a good low cross from Macdonald after 33 minutes.
Ollie Clarke unleashed a great shot from 28 yards which the keeper tipped onto the right post after 36 minutes.
A rare shot for Wrexham after 40 minutes as Evans fired miles over the bar from 20 yards after Mullin had headed down and Cargill partially cleared.
Two super bits of play by Clarke, as he won the ball and then moments later more great play to win a corner.
A very one-sided first half, Mansfield were excellent and so much better than Wrexham. The Stags should have been ahead, having hit the post twice, and plenty of other chances.
Half time 0-0
Into the second half and things were more even.
After 47 minutes, Keillor-Dunn shot from 35 yards, it was deflected and nearly fell for Maris but ran through to the keeper.
Great defending from Bowery after 49 minutes as he beat Mullin for pace tracking back. Soon afterwards, Bowery headed away a corner.
After 52 minutes, Ollie Palmer glanced a header just wide from a James McClean free kick.
On the hour, Elliott Lee volleyed over the North Stand. Quite an achievement. A bit like Ogie for Gillingham on Saturday at Priestfield.
Gale replaced Clarke after 63 minutes. Clarke was exhausted, remember he missed pre-season, and started at Gillingham on Saturday. Clough explained that he brought on Gale rather than Swan as they were losing Clarke’s presence in the box defending set pieces, and preferred Gale’s height. The only threat from Wrexham was set pieces (Tozer long throws plus corners/free kicks).
Gale went up front, Keillor-Dunn dropped back to attacking midfield, Maris moved to left midfield.
Gale was straight into the action with a fierce shot from the right towards the near post and the keeper pushed it behind for a corner.
Mansfield went close to scoring after 65 minutes, a shot from Lewis from 15 yards following a corner was heading in past the keeper when it hit his own teammate Baily Cargill. The keeper would have had no chance. Then from a Bowery cross, Keillor-Dunn miscued straight at the keeper. A good run from Keillor-Dunn after 66 minutes, he got onto his left foot and fired over the bar from 20 yards.
Akins had been having his shirt pulled all night, steadfastly ignored by the referee. Unbelievably, Akins was then penalised for a shirt pull on 68 minutes. Really taking the mickey here was the referee. Laughable.
A good block by Cargill after 70 minutes from a shot by Lee.
Good play by Mullin, turning and shooting, but Flint blocked it over the bar after 72 minutes. Flint had the better of Mullin all night. Hayden headed straight at Christy Pym from the resulting corner.
Lewis played inside to Maris, who fired over the bar from 24 yards after 73 minutes.
Boateng replaced Maris after 76 minutes.
Great play from Keillor-Dunn who squared to Gale in the area after 77 minutes. Cannon put his hand on Gale’s back and Gale went down in the area. Far too soft to be a penalty, and the referee rightly wasn’t interested. Tellingly Gale made no appeal whatsoever.
Palmer was subbed by Wrexham after 85 minutes to boos from home fans. He had been Wrexham’s best player.
After 86 minutes, McClean skewed a shot over the bar from 7 yards at the back post after a cross from the right from Cannon looped up via a deflection to him. Then great defending by Cargill against Mullin.
On the stroke of 90 minutes, Keillor-Dunn had Stags fans off their feet thinking he had notched a spectacular winner when, 40 yards out, he went on a brilliant run with three Wrexham players unable to stop him, and from 25 yards out curled a shot inches past the right post. That could have been the winner the Stags deserved, but it wasn’t to be.
Pym claimed a Tozer long throw-in after 90+1 minutes.
One final half-chance on 90+4 as a clearance came out to Louis Reed who sent a shot from 25 yards over the bar.
Frustration at the final whistle. The Stags did everything but score and certainly deserved to win.
My man of the match was Flint who handled Mullin superbly. Lewis also played very well, as did Bowery, Flint and Reed. Macdonald put in some better crosses. Keillor-Dunn and Clarke were both unlucky to hit the post, and Keillor-Dunn was inches away from a last minute winner. No-one had a bad game.
On to the Wimbledon game on Saturday.
Man of the match: Aden Flint
Here’s a running tally of various stats this season:
Goals (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 8, Akins 4, Maris 3, Oates 3, Clarke 1, Lewis 1, Reed 1, Swan 1.
Assists (league and cup): Oates 4, Quinn 4, Keillor-Dunn 3, Swan 2, Bowery 1, Clarke, Gale 1, Flint 1, Maris 1, Macdonald 1, Reed 1.
(notes on assists: in the case of a penalty, the player who earns the penalty gets an assist. 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. 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.)
Injuries (including quotes from Nigel Clough): Kilgour (ruptured Achilles, return July), Hewitt (ACL, “we're hoping February/March time we might get him back"), Quinn (nicked a ligament in side of knee, “still probably another couple of months away" as at 26Sep), Oates (ruptured ankle ligaments, “still probably another couple of months away" as at 26Sep), McLaughlin (knee, "we're going to take our time with him, we're hopefully looking sometime in November"), O’Toole ("had a scan and it was worse than we feared, he got a whack on the side of the calf against Notts County U21's on 14 Sept. Six weeks from the injury so that rules him out for most of October").
Yellow cards (league only, alphabetical order): Boateng 1, Cargill 3, Clarke 2, Gale 1, Johnson 1, Keillor-Dunn 2, Kilgour 1, Lewis 2, Macdonald 3, Maris 1, Quinn 1, Reed 3, Swan 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)
Average home league attendance: 7598 (average away fans: 934, average home fans 6663) (remember the attendance is calculated as tickets sold, including season tickets. There are 5171 season ticket holders this season.)
Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Pym 7 No difficult saves to make. Good handling.
Bowery 8 Some very good defending using his pace to good effect, and good headers away.
Flint 8.5 My man of the match, he handled Mullin superbly.
Cargill 7.5 Defended well.
Macdonald 7.5 Put in some good crosses.
Reed 8 Good game, controlling the midfield.
Lewis 8 Played very well. Plenty of shots, some good, some poor.
Clarke 8 Great shot turned against the post by the keeper. Dynamic as usual, but came off exhausted after 63 minutes having also started at Gillingham.
Maris 7 Did ok.
Keillor-Dunn 7.5 So unlucky to hit the post with a piledriver, and was inches away from a last minute winner with another great effort.
Akins 7 Some good lay-offs.
Sub Line Up:
Gale (for Clarke, 63) - One fierce shot from the right towards the near post which the keeper pushed behind for a corner.
Boateng (for Maris, 76) -
Subs not used: Flinders, Brunt, Johnson, Williams, Swan.
Opposition Line Up:
(5-3-2): Okonkwo; Mendy, Hayden, Tozer, O'Connor, McClean; Jones (Cannon 71), Evans, Lee; Mullin (Dalby 90), Palmer (Fletcher 85). Subs not used: Howard, Tunnicliffe, O'Connell, Davies.
Adam Herczeg 6 Steadfastly ignored Akins having his shirt pulled all night. Unbelievably, Akins was then penalised for a shirt pull on 68 minutes. Really taking the mickey here was the referee. Laughable. Otherwise ok.