{ match reports }
 
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 23/24 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
AFC Wimbledon  
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Bugiel 45+2, Curtis 90+6.
 
 Swan 62. Bowery sent off 20, Quinn sent off 90+3.
Attendance: 8,114 (990 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 27 January 2024

STAGS LOSE AT WIMBLEDON

Martin Shaw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium (Plough Lane)

Mansfield Town lost 2-1 at AFC Wimbledon this afternoon. But the scoreline doesn’t tell half the story.

There was dreadful news in the first half as captain and centre half colossus Aden Flint went off with a shoulder injury after two bad fouls from Josh Davison. To my untrained eye, it looked like it might be a dislocated shoulder. If it is dislocated, he will be out for quite a while.
After the game Nigel Clough said: “We are not sure of the seriousness or extent of it, so we will have to wait and see this week.”
Anyone who has followed the Stags this season will know what a huge blow this could be.

By the way, Davison wasn’t booked for either challenge when he should have been. The first, after just 5 seconds, was an elbow into Flint which was a blatant yellow card at least. Had he been booked for that, the subsequent foul and injury when Davison wrestled Flint to the ground, probably wouldn’t have happened.

The Stags had Jordan Bowery sent off after 21 minutes and had to play the last 70+ minutes with ten men. Bowery brought Josh Davison down 45 yards from goal and was the last defender. Referee Will Finnie produced a red card. It was a foul. A question mark whether Davison was offside from the long ball forward, it looks like he was from the video but it’s not conclusive evidence.
But then there is the question of consistency, because Keillor-Dunn was brought down on Tuesday night against Sutton in a pretty much identical situation in the first half and Joe Kizzi only received a yellow card.
Huge decisions in both games.

Wimbledon went ahead in first half stoppage time as Omar Bugiel smashed a great shot from 17 yards past Pym into the left corner of the net.

Not a bad first half performance from the Stags but I commented at half time that everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong, with Flint’s injury, the red card, and then goal just before the break.

The Stags needed to stay in the game and did so.

And the Stags equalised after 62 minutes with a great goal from Will Swan. Swan laid off to Quinn outside the area on the left. Quinn crossed into the area. It was chested away by Lee Brown, but Swan nicked it off him, got past another defender and slammed a left footed shot past the keeper just inside his near post from 11 yards. This was the Will Swan we remember from last season, a great goal and hopefully a great confidence booster for him. It was a great moment in front of the 990 travelling Stags fans.

After that, the game could have gone either way. The Stags had stayed in the game, and now you couldn’t tell which was the side with ten men.

Keillor-Dunn came on as substitute. He hadn’t started the game, Nigel Clough explaining after that he "had a tight hamstring this week which is why he didn’t start.”

Keillor-Dunn was looking sharp. After 85 minutes he went on a brilliant jinking run and his cross-shot went wide off a defender.

And then the game exploded in controversy after 90+2 minutes. Keillor-Dunn picked the ball up 45 yards from goal, surged to the edge of the area. He was partially tackled, and the ball fell for Reed 25 yards from goal. Reed slid the ball forward to Keillor-Dunn a yard inside the area with his back to goal. Keillor-Dunn turned beautifully away from his marker Brown who clearly tugged him down. It was as blatant a stonewall penalty as you could wish to see. Referee Will Finnie waved it away. Astonishing. Nigel Clough told me the Wimbledon management agreed it was a penalty. The Wimbledon commentators thought it was a penalty. It was an utterly disgraceful decision from the referee.
Nigel Clough said after the game: “You won’t see a more blatant penalty than that this season. He’s turned the lad lovely and about to get his shot off and has been dragged to the floor. The only thought is, was it a red card or not, that was our only thought.”

The Stags players and bench were incensed. Quinn, who had been subbed, and booked earlier, harshly for an accidental challenge, was shown a second yellow card. The Stags had only had one red card all season (Macdonald on the opening day of the season), but now had two in one game.

The Stags still had another chance to win it as another sub John-Joe O’Toole had a free header from a Keillor-Dunn corner but sent it over the bar.

But in the cruellest of fashion Wimbledon went straight to the other end and won it. Armani Little curled a ball down the line behind McLaughlin, sub Ryan McLean got to the byline on the right, and pulled it back into the middle where another sub Ronan Curtis controlled it and poked past Pym from 6 yards. A good goal. Of course the defending could have been better.

What a sickener.

An unbelievably costly day for the Stags.
Flint out for what could be a long time.
It should have been three points if the Stags had converted the stoppage time penalty that they should have had. Instead it turned into no points.
And Bowery and Quinn now both suspended for the next game, against Notts County next Saturday.

But this was a really good battling performance from Mansfield, against all the odds. What spirit shown by the players, which was well-appreciated by the travelling fans.

After the game, Nigel Clough said: “I am unbelievably proud of the lads. To play with 10 men for 70 minutes and come out the stronger team, get an equaliser after going behind and then to look to try to win it in the manner we did says an awful lot about the spirit in the camp. With 15 minutes to go there was only one team you could see winning it, and if the officials do their jobs correctly I think we do.”

Meanwhile Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson told BBC London: “It becomes more difficult sometimes against 10 men. They became less expansive, tried to stay in the game, wait for a moment. And I thought they did it really well. We lost our way a little bit. They got a goal, and they had a couple of moments where the game was in the balance. But we managed to produce a real bit of quality at the end there and got the winner."

Transfer deadline day this week. As well as striking options, the Stags might well have to bring in another defender now with Flint, Kilgour, Johnson, Macdonald and Hewitt all out.

Then attention will turn to the local derby against Notts County next Saturday. Always a big game, and bigger than ever in the face of adversity. Let’s get behind the team like the magnificent fans did away today.

DETAILED REPORT :

Mansfield made two changes from the side that drew with Sutton:
Clarke came in for Lewis.
Swan came in for Keillor-Dunn.
Nigel Clough said that Keillor-Dunn "had a tight hamstring this week which is why he didn’t start.”
It was Swan’s first start in the league since the reverse fixture against Wimbledon at the beginning of October.
Maris was fit having limped off against Sutton and been rated 50:50 for the game by Clough.
No Williams in the squad. Nigel Clough said: "George Williams was ill overnight down at the hotel. Woke up with a little bit of flu and virus. So we sent him straight home.

The Stags re-jigged the back four. Brunt joined Flint at centre half. Bowery switched to right back, Cargill to left back. Swan was up front with Akins.

Wimbledon welcomed back former Sutton striker Omar Bugiel from the Asia Cup. Ali Al-Hamadi was still away at the Asia Cup. Two defenders were suspended after being sent off at MK Dons on Tuesday.

Conditions were good after they were so bad on Tuesday. No wind at all, and the pitch was in very good condition.

After just 5 seconds, Josh Davison put in an elbow on Flint. The referee started the game as he would finish it with a dreadful decision, no yellow card. It was a blatant yellow card offence.

A good run from James Tilley after 5 minutes, he cut inside and his shot was blocked. Two minutes later, Jack Currie crossed from the left, Bugiel headed the ball up and Pym caught it.

At the other end after 8 minutes, a free kick from Reed found Brunt in the right in space, but he put in a poor cross.

Good keeping from Pym after 9 minutes as Armani Little got into the area and shot from a tight angle. Pym narrowed the angle well. Then Tilley volleyed over the stand after 11 minutes from 25 yards. A great run from Bugiel after 13 minutes, past Reed, to the edge of the D, he got in a low shot which was an easy save for Pym.

After 17 minutes, a high cross from Flint, Swan pressed the keeper, Quinn shot wide, but the whistle had already gone.

The Stags had Jordan Bowery sent off after 21 minutes and had to play the last 70+ minutes with ten men. Bowery brought Josh Davison down 45 yards from goal and was the last defender. Referee Will Finnie produced a red card. It was a foul. A question mark whether Davison was offside from the long ball forward, it looks like he was from the video but it’s not conclusive evidence.
But then there is the question of consistency, because Keillor-Dunn was brought down on Tuesday night against Sutton in a pretty much identical situation in the first half and Joe Kizzi only received a yellow card.
Huge decisions in both games.

Akins initially switched to right back.

From the resulting free kick, a goalbound shot from Tilley and a brilliant block by Cargill.

Davison fouled Flint again after 28 minutes. Flint had to go off with a shoulder injury.
By the way, Davison wasn’t booked for either challenge when he should have been. Had he been booked for that, the subsequent foul and injury when Davison wrestled Flint to the ground, probably wouldn’t have happened.

McLaughlin came on for Flint. The Stags were to toggle between a back 3 and a back 4. The back 3 formation was:
Akins (RWB), Brunt/Cargill/McLaughlin (back 3), Quinn (LWB).

After 37 minutes, a Stags free kick came out to Clarke who fired high and wide from 18 yards.

At the other end on 39 minutes, a blatant dive by John-Kymani Gordon in or just outside the area. No yellow card.

Cargill blocked two shots in quick succession at the start of stoppage time.

Reed was booked for an earlier foul as the referee initially played advantage, after 45+1 minutes.
A yellow card for Andy Garner too.

Wimbledon went ahead after 45+2 minutes as Omar Bugiel smashed a great shot from 17 yards past Pym into the left corner of the net.

After 45+5 minutes, Cargill sent a looping header wide following a free kick from the left from McLaughlin.

Not a bad first half performance from the Stags but I commented at half time that everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong, with Flint’s injury, the red card, and then goal just before the break.

Half time 1-0

A lovely catch by Pym from a Gordon cross after 47 minutes. A minute later, Cargill blocked a shot from Dons half time sub Harry Pell, who had replaced Bugiel. Then on 51 minutes, Pell flicked on a corner, and Davison fired wide from an impossible angle. Two minutes after that, Little fired high over the bar from 35 yards. And on 55 minutes, Jake Reeves was high and wide from 22 yards.

The Stags were struggling to get possession in the Wimbledon half.

Brunt was booked for a foul on Gordon on the byline after 58 minutes.

Pym caught the resulting free kick. On 61 minutes, Tilley headed wide from beyond the far post.

The Stags had needed to stay in the game and done so.

And the Stags equalised after 62 minutes with a great goal from Will Swan. Swan laid off to Quinn outside the area on the left. Quinn crossed into the area. It was chested away by Lee Brown, but Swan nicked it off him, got past another defender and slammed a left footed shot past the keeper just inside his near post from 11 yards. This was the Will Swan we remember from last season, a great goal and hopefully a great confidence booster for him. It was a great moment in front of the 990 travelling Stags fans.

The Stags had been about to bring on Keillor-Dunn, Lewis and O’Toole, all ready on the touchline. They sat down again after the goal.

After that, the game could have gone either way. The Stags had stayed in the game, and now you couldn’t tell which was the side with ten men.

Great defending by McLaughlin after 65 minutes.

The Stags did make a double change after 71 minutes: Lewis for Clarke. Keillor-Dunn for Swan. Clarke handed the captain’s armband to McLaughlin. Lewis went to left midfield.
Keillor-Dunn hadn’t started the game, Nigel Clough explaining after that he "had a tight hamstring this week which is why he didn’t start.”

Quinn was booked for an accidental high challenge after 82 minutes. Harsh.

Another double change after 84 minutes: Boateng for Quinn. O’Toole for Maris. A great shift from Quinn and Maris.
It was O’Toole’s second sub appearance of the season in the league.

The formation was now: Akins (RWB), Brunt/O’Toole/Cargill (back 3), McLaughlin (LWB).

Keillor-Dunn was looking sharp. After 85 minutes he went on a brilliant jinking run and his cross-shot went wide off a defender.

More good defending by McLaughlin on 86 minutes as Wimbledon broke forward. Brunt blocked a shot that was already going wide after 89 minutes. Then a cross-shot from sub Aron Sasu was deflected wide.

Six minutes of stoppage time was added on.

The game exploded in controversy after 90+2 minutes. Keillor-Dunn picked the ball up 45 yards from goal, surged to the edge of the area. He was partially tackled, and the ball fell for Reed 25 yards from goal. Reed slid the ball forward to Keillor-Dunn a yard inside the area with his back to goal. Keillor-Dunn turned beautifully away from his marker Brown who clearly tugged him down. It was as blatant a stonewall penalty as you could wish to see. Referee Will Finnie waved it away. Astonishing. Nigel Clough told me the Wimbledon management agreed it was a penalty. The Wimbledon commentators thought it was a penalty. It was an utterly disgraceful decision from the referee.
Nigel Clough said after the game: “You won’t see a more blatant penalty than that this season. He’s turned the lad lovely and about to get his shot off and has been dragged to the floor. The only thought is, was it a red card or not, that was our only thought.”

The Stags players and bench were incensed. Quinn, who had been subbed, and booked earlier, harshly for an accidental challenge, was shown a second yellow card. The Stags had only had one red card all season (Macdonald on the opening day of the season), but now had two in one game.

Reed nearly got a shot away after 90+4 minutes.

The Stags still had another chance to win it as another sub John-Joe O’Toole had a free header from a Keillor-Dunn corner but sent it over the bar on 90+6 minutes.

But in the cruellest of fashion Wimbledon went straight to the other end and won it. Armani Little curled a ball down the line behind McLaughlin, sub Ryan McLean got to the byline on the right, and pulled it back into the middle where another sub Ronan Curtis controlled it and poked past Pym from 6 yards. A good goal. Of course the defending could have been better.

Sub Boateng was booked for a foul near the touchline after 90+9 minutes. Keillor-Dunn was then booked for something he said.

The final whistle soon came. What a sickener. The Wimbledon players did a lap of honour in front of their fans. I suppose we would have done the same if the situation was reversed.

Man of the match: Will Swan


Later updates:
twitter FASpokesperson, 31 Jan 2024. Regulations and discipline update:
Nigel Clough has been charged with misconduct following Mansfield Town's EFL League Two game against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday 27 January. The manager allegedly used improper and/or insulting words and/or questioned the integrity of a match official in or around their changing room after the final whistle.

twitter FASpokesperson, 1 Feb 2024. Mansfield Town’s director, Paul Brown, and coach, Andy Garner, have been charged following their EFL League Two game on Saturday 27 January. It’s alleged that the behaviour of Paul Brown and Andy Garner at full time in the directors’ box and around the tunnel entrance respectively was improper.


Running tally of various stats this season:

Goals (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 14, Akins 9, Maris 8, Oates 5, Cargill 3, Swan 3, Bowery 2, Flint 2, Gale 2, Johnson 2, Reed 2, Brunt 1, Clarke 1, Cooper 1, Lewis 1, Quinn 1.

Assists (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 9, Quinn 7, Maris 6, Clarke 5, Oates 5, Flint 4, Swan 4, Akins 2, Bowery 2, Gale 2, Johnson 2, Lewis 2, Macdonald 1, McLaughlin 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 cleared away before the goal is scored, such as Keillor-Dunn’s first goal against Newport, nobody gets an assist.)

Injuries (including quotes from Nigel Clough):
Kilgour (ruptured Achilles, return July),
Hewitt (ACL, Clough said after the Doncaster home game he is on track to be back in training end of January),
Oates (cruciate ligament injury, out for 9 months),
Johnson (“out for 10 weeks with his hamstring”, injury picked up vs Stockport),
Macdonald (had a scan on his calf, after going off at Morecambe, out for 4-6 weeks),
Gale (out until towards end of January, from injury in the Burton EFL Trophy game),
Flint (shoulder injury vs AFC Wimbledon, awaiting news of severity).
Williams (“ill with a little bit of flu and virus” before AFC Wimbledon game).

Yellow cards (league only, alphabetical order): Boateng 3, Bowery 1, Brunt 5, Cargill 5, Clarke 5, Flint 1, Gale 2, Johnson 3, Keillor-Dunn 4, Kilgour 1, Lewis 2, Macdonald 5, Maris 4, McLaughlin 1, Oates 1, Pym 1, Quinn 3, Reed 7, Swan 2.
Red cards (league and cup): Bowery 1, Macdonald 1, Quinn 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)
(note: a player sent off for two yellow cards in one game counts as 1 red card and 1 yellow card)

Average away following (league games): 1,151 (more than 900 in 9 of 15 away league games)


Report by: Martin Shaw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium (Plough Lane)



Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Pym 7 Not at fault for the two goals. Some good catches.
Bowery 5.5 Rather caught out for the red card.
Flint - Went off with a shoulder injury. Stags fans will anxiously await news of the severity of his injury.
Brunt 6.5 Did ok. One poor cross.
Cargill 7.5 Multiple good blocks
Reed 6.5 Ok.
Clarke 6.5 Worked hard.
Quinn 6.5 Put in a great shift. Harshly booked, but then shown a second yellow card on the sub’s bench in a moment of indiscipline, and will miss the Notts County game.
Maris 7 Also put in a great shift.
Akins 6.5 Switched to right wing back when the Stags were down to ten men.
Swan 7.5 This was the Will Swan we remember from last season, a great goal and hopefully a great confidence booster for him.
Sub Line Up:
McLaughlin (for Flint, 30) 7 Some good defending. Though could have done better for the winning goal as Little curled a ball down the line behind him.
Lewis (for Clarke, 71) -
Keillor-Dunn (for Swan, 71) - Should have been the hero earning a penalty giving the opportunity to win the game, denied by the referee.
Boateng (for Quinn, 84) -
O’Toole (for Maris, 84) - Had a chance to win the game with a free header. Hissecond sub appearance of the season in the league.
Subs not used: Flinders, Cooper.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-3-3): Bass; Ogundere, Joe Lewis, Brown, Currie; Tilley (McLean, 87), Reeves, Little; Bugiel (Pell, 46), Davison (Sasu, 68), Gordon (Curtis, 67). Subs not used: Tzanev, Ball, Sutcliffe.
Referee:
Will Finnie 4 Appalling decision not to award the penalty in stoppage time.


Season 23/24 Reports