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Season 23/24 Stagsnet Match Report
The Emirates FA Cup - Round One
Mansfield Town  
1 - 2
Oates 60.
 Dalby 23, Mullin 58.
Attendance: 6,158 (560 from Wrexham)
Date: 4 November 2023


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 by Wrexham at the One Call Stadium on Saturday night to exit the FA Cup at the 1st round stage. Having gone 20 games unbeaten in all competitions (including the last game of last season) equalling the club record set in 1976, Mansfield have now lost twice in 4 days to go out of the League Cup and FA Cup. The Stags of course remain unbeaten in the league and all focus now switches to that and the next game at Salford on Saturday. Before that though there will be a chance for players who haven’t been starting regularly to impress in the newly named Bristol Street Motors Trophy against Everton U21 on Tuesday night.

This was an entertaining game with plenty of chances for either side, 25 shots from Mansfield, 17 from Wrexham, and the difference between the two sides on the night was the quality of the shooting. Wrexham scored twice with two good finishes, from Sam Dalby and Paul Mullin, and brought a number of super saves from Christy Pym, including turning a shot from Dalby onto the bar, and Pym earned the sponsors’ man of the match. Mansfield were wasteful with shooting, too many shots blazed high or wide. One big positive for the night was the return from injury to the starting XI of Rhys Oates, who had a good game, and he scored a great goal to bring Mansfield back into the game at 2-1. He also brought a good save from Wrexham keeper Arthur Okonkwo early in the game.

Rain all day, and for days previously as well, made the pitch heavy. Indeed in front of the West Stand it was muddy, with the ball sometimes getting stuck. With Mansfield having had a tough game on Tuesday for a place in the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup while Wrexham had a free week, the heavy pitch in my opinion gave Wrexham an advantage. There was no lack of effort from Mansfield, far from it, but players like Keillor-Dunn were out on their feet by the end of the game.

Wrexham shaded it in the first half and deservedly led at the break with Pym keeping Mansfield in it. Mansfield though were the better side in the second half but the finishing wasn’t good enough, apart from Oates’ goal. Overall Wrexham won the game with the better quality of their finishing.

The game kicked off at an unusual time of 7.45pm on Saturday for live coverage on Welsh TV channel S4C and on the BBC iPlayer.

So on to Tuesday night and the game against Everton U21 at the One Call Stadium (kick off 7.00pm). Mansfield will surely start the likes of Flinders, Johnson, McLaughlin (back from injury for his first start), Cooper, Swan and Gale. Swan and Gale could do with confidence boosting games. If you’re not going to the game you can watch it with us on iFollow. Incidentally the following game in the competition, against Burton, will now be moved from the following Tuesday because Burton have an FA Cup replay which takes precedence.


Mansfield were once again without Lucas Akins, a big miss. Nigel Clough told me after the game he will have an operation on a small fracture just below his eye on Monday, he will miss the Salford game and there is a chance he will be back for the Newport game the Saturday after.

Three changes from the side that lost to Port Vale: Callum Johnson, Baily Cargill and Rhys Oates replaced Macdonald, Maris and Swan. Jordan Bowery went up front. A first start for Oates since injury. Cargill at left back, Johnson at right back.

Williams was not in the squad, I’m not sure why, and I forgot to ask Nigel Clough after the game.

Hiram Boateng was announced on the bench, but was replaced by McKeal Abdullah before kick off.

Clough explained the changes post match: “We wanted Jordan back up top just because I thought we missed that against Port Vale, so Callum Johnson came in. Rhys wasn’t going to play actually. Hiram was going to play but Hiram pulled out. He felt it this morning and then tried it in the warm up, but he was no good. So, we thought that Oatesy was going to play on Tuesday against Everton so we might as well get him out tonight. He lasted much longer than we thought, scored a wonderful goal and it’s good to have him back.”

Wrexham made only one change from their win at Notts County in the league a week earlier: Anthony Forde replaced Jacob Mendy. Boss Phil Parkinson had talked pre-match about utilising his squad. But when it came to it, he was clearly desperate for a win in front of the Welsh TV cameras and named his strongest side.

Before the game, The Last Post was performed beautifully followed by minute’s silence to remember the fallen. The club had put up banners on the West Stand hoardings with poppies on them and “Lest we forget” written on them. You’d like to think it would be perfectly respected but one idiot in the Wrexham end was shouting something. Mansfield Police later tweeted “there was some inappropriate chants during the last post in the away end which has resulted in a male being arrested for public order”

The pitch was heavy as I noted above, but credit to the groundstaff for getting the game on. Paul Mullin said post match: "The pitch was really difficult tonight, we knew that going into it, it looked a little bit waterlogged, looked like we were going swimming at times.”

The first chance of the night came after two minutes when Andy Cannon shot just wide from 23 yards.

The Stags went close after 3 minutes. Keillor-Dunn threaded a fantastic ball forward for Oates to run on to in the area. Oates hit a shot towards the bottom right corner of the net and keeper Okonkwo made a great one-handed save to push it away, and then push it further away for a corner before Oates could get to the rebound. On 6 minutes, Keillor-Dunn cut in from the left and his shot was blocked. Then a great run from Oates after 8 minutes, his shot was blocked, out to Keillor-Dunn who showed good footwork, and his left-footed shot was just wide from 22 yards. On 14 minutes, Keillor-Dunn shot straight at the keeper from 25 yards. After 17 minutes, a great ball to Oates who got to the byline, put in a good cross, and Bowery, stretching, just missed it in the middle.

A pretty good opening 17 minutes from Mansfield with plenty of shots.

After 18 minutes, a great save from Pym as Dalby burst past Reed into the area on the right, and Pym saved with his legs. Two minutes later, a good header away by Lewis from a cross.

At the other end, Clarke’s shot from 25 yards was deflected over the bar. The referee, unbelievably, gave a goal kick.

Wrexham took the lead after 23 minutes. Cannon slid a great ball forward for Dalby to run on to in the area and Dalby fired into the top right corner of the net from 16 yards. A good finish from Dalby. To be ultra-critical, perhaps Flint could have got closer to Dalby to prevent a free shot.

Great play from Cargill after 26 minutes, cutting inside and teeing up Reed for a shot from 20 yards, which he fired wide. Then Oates was high and wide from 25 yards a minute later. And on 29 minutes a good shot from Lewis from 25 yards, just wide, after an air shot from Brunt.

Pym made a great save again after 30 minutes turning a shot from Dalby against the bar. Elliott Lee and had found Dalby in the area on the left, in a similar position to where he scored from. Brilliant from Pym. A minute later, Forde crossed in and Mullin headed harmlessly wide.

At the other end, Cargill shot wide on 31 minutes, after Johnson had sent Bowery to the byline and Bowery’s cross reached the far post. A free kick for the Stags after 33 minutes, 26 yards out. Keillor-Dunn chipped it into the area and it was cleared. Wasted.

Clarke had to go off after 40 minutes. Clough said after the game: “Ollie felt his thigh after about 35 minutes and you can't take a chance with things like that. Normally if he got a kick you'd try to get through to half-time. But we will see how he is in the next few days.” He was replaced by Maris.

Reed gifted possession to Wrexham after 42 minutes, they broke forward and Lee brought a great save from Pym with a shot from the edge of the box, that Pym parried away. It rebounded to Dalby and his shot was brilliantly saved by Pym again. Superb double save. Very sloppy from Reed.

Pym was in action again a minute later. Mullin played a 1-2 with Dalby and his shot from 14 yards was parried away by Pym. Another great save.

Wrexham should have had a penalty after 42 minutes. A shot from James Jones from the edge of the box following a corner, was blocked by Flint, and replays showed it hit his elbow which he moved towards the ball as it approached. It certainly would have been a penalty under VAR.

Wrexham finishing the half very much on top and deservedly ahead with Pym keeping the score down to 1-0. Mansfield had started the game well with plenty of chances in the opening 17 minutes. The Stags midfield including Reed and Lewis were not at their best.

Half time 0-1

After 47 minutes, Brunt misjudged a high ball but recovered well.

After 48 minutes, a good move from the Stags, Bowery played out to Johnson, who pulled the ball back to Reed and his side-footed shot from 15 yards was pushed around the post by keeper Okonkwo. Two minutes later, a great ball from Keillor-Dunn set Oates away in the area, and Oates shot straight at the keeper. On 51 minutes, a cross-shot from Maris drifted over the keeper and only a foot wide. Close, though would have been a fluke. Then two minutes after that, Johnson found the overlapping Keillor-Dunn who crossed in and Bowery volleyed just wide from 4 yards. Close again. After 54 minutes, Reed played a bad ball behind Cargill as the Stags pushed forward on the left.

After 55 minutes, an incredible escape for Wrexham. Johnson crossed from the right, it was deflected up to the far post where Oates pulled it back across the six yard box and Keillor-Dunn missed a sitter somehow from 3 yards, the ball going between his legs rather than the back of the net. Within seconds, Johnson won the ball on the edge of the area and was pulled down by Lee. It was right on the edge of the area and the referee decided it was outside rather than a penalty. From the replay, it was fractionally outside the area. Keillor-Dunn fired into the side netting from the free kick. On 57 minutes, Lewis teed up Bowery who shot well over the bar from 22 yards.

Wrexham made it 2-0 against the run of play after 58 minutes after the Stags had been completely on top. And it was a bit of bad luck for the Stags that set the goal up. Johnson cleared the ball forward, it ricocheted off Flint kindly for Dalby, who put Mullin in and from just inside the area, Mullin side-footed a shot past Pym into the bottom right corner of the area. A typical clinical finish from Mullin.

The Stags pulled a goal back almost straight from the restart. Pym’s long kick forward was flicked on by Bowery to Oates who got past George Evans before firing a left footed rocket into the left corner of the net from the edge of the box. A fabulous goal from Oates, a screamer.

After 61 minutes, Oates turned Evans again, steamed forward down the left and put in a brilliant cross which Bowery volleyed over the bar. Brilliant from Oates.

Two minutes later, Maris fired in a low shot, a pearoller, straight at the keeper. Then Cargill sent a cross-shot straight at the keeper. Straight to the other end and Dalby pulled back to Cannon who sent a low shot from 22 yards just wide.

A double change from the Stags after 65 minutes: Swan and McLaughlin replaced Johnson and Cargill. Bowery went from up front to right back, McLaughlin to left back.

Reed was booked for a sliding challenge on Cannon after 68 minutes. It was a poor challenge. Some referees might have given a red. It was one of those between a yellow and a red in my opinion. Cannon was injured and had to be replaced. Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson said after the game it was a red card challenge.

Great play from Oates again after 77 minutes, he pulled across to Reed who fired miles over the bar from 25 yards. You could almost hear Andy Garner and Nigel Clough telling him to keep his shot down from the upper tier of the West Stand.

After 81 minutes, Lewis fired in a powerful shot from the corner of the area on the right which was blocked by Tozer on the edge of the six yard box. It came out to Bowery whose shot was also blocked, by the sliding Lee. Dalby cleared the ball forward to Mullin who cut in from the left to the corner of the area and his shot was parried by Pym.

Wrexham brought on Ollie Palmer after 82 minutes.

A double change for Mansfield after 84 minutes: Gale and Macdonald replaced Oates and Lewis. Macdonald went to left back, McLaughlin moved into left midfield.

After 86 minutes, a great run down the right from Swan, but he then lost the ball.

On 90 minutes, good play from Swan on the right, he got past O’Connor, he pulled it across to Keillor-Dunn, slightly behind him, Keillor-Dunn turned and in one movement fired inches wide of the left post. So close to an equaliser.

8 minutes of stoppage time was added on. Flint was sent up front, Bowery moved to centre half, Maris to right back.

On 90+4, a cross from the left from McLaughlin and Gale headed well wide.

The Stags couldn’t create any more chances. They had enough in the game to have won but the finishing was poor. Great entertainment from both sides with more than 40 chances in the game, but ultimately very frustrating for the Stags. Wrexham move on in the cup, Mansfield are left to concentrate on the league.

Man of the match: Christy Pym, with Rhys Oates second

Running tally of various stats this season:

Goals (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 8, Akins 7, Maris 4, Oates 4, Flint 2, Gale 2, Reed 2, Bowery 1, Brunt 1, Cargill, Clarke 1, Johnson 1, Lewis 1, Swan 1.

Assists (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 8, Oates 4, Quinn 4, Swan 4, Flint 3, Bowery 2, Clarke 2, Maris 2, Gale 2, Akins 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, “on schedule for February time"), Quinn (nicked a ligament in side of knee, expected to be out until December), 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". No recent update), Akins (will have an operation on a small fracture just below his eye on Monday, he will miss the Salford game and there is a chance he will be back for the Newport game the Saturday after), Clarke (thigh injury against Wrexham in FA Cup, no further details).

yellow cards are competition specific, so not listed here.

Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Pym 9 Five great saves in the first half.
Johnson 7.5 Good game at right back, with some good attacking.
Flint 6 Could have got closer to Dalby for the first goal. Lucky not to concede a penalty.
Brunt 7 Generally played well.
Cargill 7 Did ok at left back.
Reed 5.5 Poor game perhaps due to tiredness having played a lot of minutes lately. Some sloppy passing and might have been sent off. Will be rested for the EFL Trophy game, hopefully refreshed for next Saturday.
Lewis 6 Not at his best.
Clarke 7 Had to go off after 40 minutes having felt his thigh.
Keillor-Dunn 7.5 Some great approach play. Missed some chances.
Oates 8 His first start back after injury and looked sharp. Fabulous goal, a screamer. Some great runs and crosses.
Bowery 6.5 Played up front. Good flick on for Oates’ goal. Missed a few chances. Moved into defence later on.
Sub Line Up:
Maris (for Clarke, 40) 6 Not his best game.
Swan (for Johnson, 65) -
McLaughlin (for Cargill, 65) -
Gale (for Oates, 84) -
Macdonald (for Lewis, 84) -
Subs not used: Flinders, Cooper, Flanagan, Abdullah.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-5-2): Okonkwo; Evans, Tozer, O’Connor; Forde (Mendy 66’), Jones, Cannon (Young 71’) , Lee (J.Davies 82’), McClean; Dalby (Palmer 82’), Mullin. Subs not used: Howard (GK), Hosannah, Boyle, Bickerstaff, Cleworth.
Ed Duckworth 7 Decent game. Might have sent Reed off. One bad error when he gave a goal kick that should have been a corner.

Season 23/24 Reports