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An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 23/24 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Notts County
Keillor-Dunn 8
 
 
Attendance: 8,667 (1659 from Notts County) (see footnote *)
 
Date: 3 February 2024

STAGS COMPLETE DOUBLE OVER NOTTS COUNTY

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town beat Notts County 1-0 at the One Call Stadium yesterday in a fabulous atmosphere to complete the double. Both sides had had a difficult few weeks, Mansfield not winning in their last 4 games, Notts County not winning in their last 3 games. The Stags were feeling sore after the controversial defeat at AFC Wimbledon and this victory provided the perfect tonic. The win takes Mansfield 10 points ahead of Notts County. The Stags returned to second place in the table.

This was Mansfield’s sixth consecutive win against Notts County at home.

The game was a complete sell-out of home and away fans, the second this season after the Wrexham league game. (see footnote *)

It was the team that had conceded the fewest goals in League Two against the team that had scored the most goals (equal with Stockport).

A big part of Mansfield’s defensive solidity this season has been Aden Flint, and there was a huge boost for the Stags with Flint fit to start. He had gone off at Wimbledon with a partially dislocated shoulder amid fears that he would be out for a prolonged period. Nigel Clough said after the game: “I think 90 per cent of players would not have played today.” But Flint was desperate to play.

With Jordan Bowery and Stephen Quinn suspended for one game after their red cards at Wimbledon, in came George Williams at right back, his second league start of the season, while Davis Keillor-Dunn also started after he hadn’t been fit enough to start at Wimbledon.

New signing Tom Nichols was on the bench. Nichols is a great signing in my opinion. He was superb at Crawley, including playing so well against the Stags. He joined Gillingham a year ago and played a major part in dragging them away from the relegation zone, before he had a slow start to this season, culminating in his move away. Over the past three seasons, Nichols scored/created 61 goals or assists in 132 appearances.

Nigel Clough was serving a one match touchline ban following the Wimbledon game. Andy Garner was also banned from the touchline following his yellow card at Wimbledon. Garner may get a further touchline ban as he has until Monday to provide his response to alleged “improper behaviour” at Wimbledon. Clough and Garner both watched the game from the back of the Quarry Lane stand. Clough told me it actually proved useful as it gave him a better perspective than from being at pitch level and enabled him to tweak a couple of things at half time. He also told me it gave him more time to check on his dog Bobbie, who was in his office which is in the stand!

Goalkeeper coach Adam Collin and strength and conditioning coach David Waldie represented Clough and Garner in the technical area.

The Stags took the lead after just 8 minutes. And what a goal it was. Cargill fed Keillor-Dunn just outside the area, back to goal. Keillor-Dunn turned and curled a wonderful shot just inside the right post past former Stags keeper Aidan Stone from 20 yards. From our position in the West Stand, we knew it was in as soon as he hit it. A fabulous goal. His 15th goal of the season.

The goal came after a period of pressure when Clarke set Swan away down the left and he tried to cross for Akins in the middle rather than shoot, and the ball was cleared. Clarke recycled the ball into the middle, it was cleared to Reed who was about to shoot when the ball was taken off his toe, and then finally Cargill played forward to Keillor-Dunn.

The Stags rode their luck a little in the first half as County struck the woodwork twice, first from a cross that evaded everyone and then a corner that flicked off the head of Aden Flint and came down off the underside of the bar.
On 28 minutes, Jodi Jones crossed left footed from the right, Langstaff and Brunt rose to try and get a head on it, but neither did, and the ball crashed off the left post with Pym stranded.
Then on 32 minutes, a corner from the left from Nemane flicked off the head of Flint against the underside of the bar and bounced down and away. In real time I was not sure if the ball crossed the line. From the footage from the main camera, the ball is obscured by players as it hits the ground. However I have now seen footage from the analyst’s camera from the West Stand side, and frame by frame, the ball bounces down smack onto the middle of the line. So a good decision by the linesman.

Earlier than that, after only two minutes, Nemane got past Williams down the left, crossed into the middle, it reached Jones whose shot was blocked by Brunt, out to McGoldrick, and his shot was blocked on the line by Williams, and then Robertson knocked the second follow-up wide. Video evidence shows it did not cross the line when Williams blocked it, indeed there weren’t even any appeals that it did.

The Stags best chances in the first half, other than the goal, came when Flint headed straight at the keeper from a Maris free kick after 43 minutes, and Swan turned the ball goalwards from a good cross from Williams after 26 minutes and it was blocked. That was definitely goalbound from Swan.

The Stags ahead at the break with that screamer from Keillor-Dunn, but the Stags had ridden their luck as well with the Jones cross striking the post and Flint’s header against his own bar, plus a block by Williams on his line.

As the players left the pitch at half time, Jodi Jones grabbed his crotch and shook it at Stags fans in the West Stand, a totally inappropriate gesture, and he’s a lucky person that there’s no video camera on that side of the ground or he’d probably now be facing an FA charge.

It looked like it might be a long second half for the Stags but Mansfield were superb in the second half, and limited Notts County to just one good chance. That came from a rare mistake in the game as sub Aaron Lewis gave the ball away after 69 minutes, Jodi Jones surged forward and curled a shot over the bar.

Pym pushed a cross-shot from McGoldrick behind for a corner after 49 minutes.

Notts County had a shout for a penalty after 85 minutes. McGoldrick surged forward to the edge of the D, and slid a ball into the area for Langstaff. As the ball is played, the video shows that Langstaff was just offside, but the flag stayed down. Langstaff was goalside of Cargill, Cargill put an arm on Langstaff’s shoulder, and Langstaff went down very easily. From the video, I would say there was not enough contact to justify Langstaff going down. The officials got the decision not to award a penalty correct.
After the game, new Notts County manager Stuart Maynard said: "It's so hard for me to have an opinion on that from where I'm standing on the touchline. We're all going to appeal for a penalty when you see your player get pulled to the ground but until we watch it back on the video I can't really comment to say whether it was or it wasn't."

It was the Stags who had much the better chances to score in the second half.

The Stags hit the post after 56 minutes. Swan’s persistence won a corner on the left. Keillor-Dunn took it. It was headed away by Baldwin to the far post where Cargill headed it back across goal and it hit the left post.

Then on 68 minutes, Keillor-Dunn put Akins in behind the defence on the right. Akins slid his cross across the 18 yard box and Keillor-Dunn ran on to it to slam a shot goalwards from 13 yards which keeper Stone parried away. It came out to Reed who sent a sweetly struck shot straight at Stone from 22 yards.

Clarke fired in a piledriver from 22 yards after 72 minutes which Stone tipped over the bar.

Then on 84 minutes, Swan came close to sealing it. Great defending at the other end from Brunt sniffing the danger of McGoldrick. Brunt cleared down the line to Swan, Swan played inside to Keillor-Dunn and set off down the wing. Keillor-Dunn lifted a ball down the line, Swan controlled it with his head superbly at full pace, got into the box on the left, and his low shot from a tight angle from 6 yards out was well-saved by Stone with his legs. Great play from Swan.

The Stags held out for a narrow victory. The game at Meadow Lane was quite a thrashing. This was completely different. It could have gone either way. The Stags rode their luck in the first half but had much the better chances in the second half.

The win was achieved with a superb all-round solid display. Notts County are a very dangerous side going forward but were limited to relatively few chances. Both sides had 13 shots. But while Mansfield had 7 shots on target, Notts County had just 1 on target according to the OPTA match stats (which bizarrely do not include shots blocked).

The Stags defence was outstanding. Williams came in for just his second league start and was brilliant at right back. He was outpaced by Nemane in just the second minute as Notts County created a triple chance, but after that he didn’t put a foot wrong. Cargill also performed superbly at left back. They were up against the creative Jones and Nemane and gave them very little. In the centre, Flint and Brunt were also excellent. Brunt marked Langstaff out of the game. What can we say about Flint? Playing just a week after a partial dislocation of his shoulder and performing so well, what a warrior, a colossus.
The midfield was very good with a terrific shift, Clarke, Maris, Reed. Keillor-Dunn provided the moment of magic with his goal, and nearly had another when his piledriver was saved.
Akins was excellent up front, some of his hold-up play was outstanding, controlling balls forward to him. Akins had to move to right back late on when Williams got cramp, and he was just as at home there. And Swan built on his performance and goal at Wimbledon, with two good efforts at goal on target. He looked lively all game.
Tom Nichols came on as sub for the last 10 minutes and slotted in very well, helping to manage the game well, winning throw-ins and corners.

Notts County are a good side going forward. They were certainly good in the first half. McGoldrick, like Flint, is arguably too good for League Two. But he was partially blunted, and League Two’s top scorer Langstaff barely had a kick all game. Jodi Jones, who has created more assists than anyone else in League Two, was kept relatively quiet by the excellent full backs.

This was such an important win for Mansfield. Now we need to build on it against Forest Green next Saturday. Forest Green with a new manager and new signings such as Christian Doidge will be a different proposition to the side that has done so poorly in the first half of the season, but the Stags will look to go there and pick up another win.

DETAILED REPORT:

Stags team news is at the top of the report. It was a 4-4-2 formation with Williams and Cargill the full backs. Keillor-Dunn was just behind Akins (right) and Swan (left). With Quinn and Bowery out of the 18 through a one match suspension, Cooper and Abdullah were on the bench.

Notts County’s new manager Stuart Maynard is an interesting appointment. He was assistant manager when Wealdstone were promoted to the National League and subsequently took over as manager. He’s never played or managed outside of non league. Indeed until the appointment a few weeks ago he was only part time, also working as a BT engineer. Now he is managing players like David McGoldrick who has played in the Premier League. At least previous manager Luke Williams had been involved at big clubs like Swansea. It looks like a poor appointment to me, but time will tell of course.

County included former Stags keeper Aidan Stone in goal. He didn’t play in the return fixture. He played against the Stags for Port Vale in the play-off final at Wembley of course.

Notts County’s defence has been very poor this season, having not strengthened since the National League. They needed to get in an experienced centre half in the January transfer window and didn’t do it, bringing in only a youngster on loan from Norwich: Jaden Warner. Poor recruitment which might cost them a shot at promotion this season.
Warner came into the side in place of Richard Brindley.

Their strength of course is going forward and they did at least hang on to Macauley Langstaff in January.

The pitch is still in poor condition as it has been since the Wrexham FA Cup game in November played live on TV after days of heavy rain.

After only two minutes, Nemane got past Williams down the left, crossed into the middle, it reached Jones whose shot was blocked by Brunt, out to McGoldrick, and his shot was blocked on the line by Williams, and then Robertson knocked the second follow-up wide. Video evidence shows it did not cross the line when Williams blocked it, indeed there weren’t even any appeals that it did.

On 3 minutes, a foul on Clarke. A free kick into the area, Cargill headed across and Flint tried to shoot at goal but only managed an air-shot. Brunt then got away with a square pass at the back after 5 minutes. He needs to cut those out.

The Stags took the lead after just 8 minutes. And what a goal it was. Cargill fed Keillor-Dunn just outside the area, back to goal. Keillor-Dunn turned and curled a wonderful shot just inside the right post past former Stags keeper Aidan Stone from 20 yards. From our position in the West Stand, we knew it was in as soon as he hit it. A fabulous goal. His 15th goal of the season.

The goal came after a period of pressure when Clarke set Swan away down the left and he tried to cross for Akins in the middle rather than shoot, and the ball was cleared. Clarke recycled the ball into the middle, it was cleared to Reed who was about to shoot when the ball was taken off his toe, and then finally Cargill played forward to Keillor-Dunn.

A good block by Flint from a McGoldrick shot after County had won the ball on the halfway line. Then on 19 minutes a good turn by McGoldrick who shot just wide of the right post from 20 yards.

Several pieces of great control from Akins. Then Swan turned the ball goalwards from a good cross from Williams after 26 minutes and it was blocked. That was definitely goalbound from Swan.

A short spell of pressure from the Stags ended as Maris wasn’t able to get a shot away in the area.

Good defending from Williams after 27 minutes dispossessing McGoldrick on the halfway line.

The Stags rode their luck a little as County struck the woodwork twice, first from a cross that evaded everyone and then a corner that flicked off the head of Aden Flint and came down off the underside of the bar.
On 28 minutes, Jodi Jones crossed left footed from the right, Langstaff and Brunt rose to try and get a head on it, but neither did, and the ball crashed off the left post with Pym stranded.
Then on 32 minutes, a corner for Notts after Langstaff turned and his shot was blocked wide. The corner from the left from Nemane flicked off the head of Flint against the underside of the bar and bounced down and away. In real time I was not sure if the ball crossed the line. From the footage from the main camera, the ball is obscured by players as it hits the ground. However I have now seen footage from the analyst’s camera from the West Stand side, and frame by frame, the ball bounces down smack onto the middle of the line. So a good decision by the linesman.

In between those two chances, a shot from Baldwin from 35 yards hit Reed and went for a corner. Also a great tackle by Clarke but the referee gave a free kick.

Notts County were looking dangerous.

Then on 33 minutes, a foul on Clarke was not given.

After 35 minutes, Swan pushed forward into the area after great hold up play from Akins. And moments later, a cross from Williams and Maris miscued wide.

Clarke sent a shot from 22 yards just over the bar after 38 minutes. After 42 minutes, Swan won the ball, surged to the edge of the area but couldn’t keep control of the ball.

Flint headed straight at the keeper from a Maris free kick after 43 minutes.

The Stags ahead at the break with that screamer from Keillor-Dunn, but the Stags had ridden their luck as well with the Jones cross striking the post and Flint’s header against his own bar, plus a block by Williams on his line.

As the players left the pitch at half time, Jodi Jones grabbed his crotch and shook it at Stags fans in the West Stand, a totally inappropriate gesture, and he’s a lucky person that there’s no video camera on that side of the ground or he’d probably now be facing an FA charge.

Half time 1-0

After 47 minutes, Akins attempted to catch Stone off his line with a lob from 40 yards, but it was an easy catch for Stone. Moments later Cargill was lucky to escape a yellow card for pulling back Jones.

Pym pushed a cross-shot from McGoldrick behind for a corner after 49 minutes. From the resulting corner, McGoldrick shot well wide from 25 yards.

Keillor-Dunn was booked for a foul on Jones after 50 minutes.

On 53 minutes, Langstaff got into the area on the right, but Brunt did well to put the ball out for a corner.

The Stags hit the post after 56 minutes. Swan’s persistence won a corner on the left. Keillor-Dunn took it. It was headed away by Baldwin to the far post where Cargill headed it back across goal and it hit the left post.

Pym was out to claim a low cross after 58 minutes.

Clarke was booked for an accumulation of fouls after 59 minutes.

Keillor-Dunn played forward to Akins to run into the area after 59 minutes, he went down, but the referee correctly didn’t give a penalty.

Lewis replaced Maris after 61 minutes. Maris had had a good game. Nigel Clough said after the game that Maris “came off with breathing issues. He was struggling to get his breath second half. We've had this flu, a nasty virus, going through the camp in the last couple of weeks so it could be the start of that or a little trace of that".

A great run down the left from Swan after 61 minutes, he found Akins who crossed to Keillor-Dunn who volleyed wide.

Then on 68 minutes, Keillor-Dunn put Akins in behind the defence on the right. Akins slid his cross across the 18 yard box and Keillor-Dunn ran on to it to slam a shot goalwards from 13 yards which keeper Stone parried away. It came out to Reed who sent a sweetly struck shot straight at Stone from 22 yards.

Notts County had just one good chance in the second half. That came from a rare mistake in the game as sub Lewis gave the ball away after 69 minutes, Jodi Jones surged forward and curled a shot over the bar.

Clarke fired in a piledriver from 22 yards after 72 minutes which Stone tipped over the bar, following a good run from Keillor-Dunn.

A shot from Lewis from 20 yards looked to be on target, but was blocked after 78 minutes.

Williams had to go off with cramp after 80 minutes. On came new signing Nichols. He went up front. Akins switched to right back.

Then on 84 minutes, Swan came close to sealing it. Great defending at the other end from Brunt sniffing the danger of McGoldrick. Brunt cleared down the line to Swan, Swan played inside to Keillor-Dunn and set off down the wing. Keillor-Dunn lifted a ball down the line, Swan controlled it with his head superbly at full pace, got into the box on the left, and his low shot from a tight angle from 6 yards out was well-saved by Stone with his legs. Great play from Swan.

Notts County had a shout for a penalty after 85 minutes. McGoldrick surged forward to the edge of the D, and slid a ball into the area for Langstaff. As the ball is played, the video shows that Langstaff was just offside, but the flag stayed down. Langstaff was goalside of Cargill, Cargill put an arm on Langstaff’s shoulder, and Langstaff went down very easily. From the video, I would say there was not enough contact to justify Langstaff going down. The officials got the decision not to award a penalty correct.
After the game, new Notts County manager Stuart Maynard said: "It's so hard for me to have an opinion on that from where I'm standing on the touchline. We're all going to appeal for a penalty when you see your player get pulled to the ground but until we watch it back on the video I can't really comment to say whether it was or it wasn't."

Flint was booked for a foul on McGoldrick after 86 minutes. Only his second booking of the season.

Boateng replaced Swan, and McLaughlin replaced Clarke after 87 minutes.

Langstaff flicked a weak effort harmlessly wide after 88 minutes. A minute later, great defending by Cargill against Nemane.

Six minutes of stoppage time was added on. In the first of those Boateng looked lively getting to the byline but his cross was cleared.

Boateng was booked for a foul after 90+5 minutes.

The Stags held out for a narrow victory. The game at Meadow Lane was quite a thrashing. This was completely different. It could have gone either way. The Stags rode their luck in the first half but had much the better chances in the second half.
Both sides had 13 shots. But while Mansfield had 7 shots on target, Notts County had just 1 on target according to the OPTA match stats (which bizarrely do not include shots blocked).

Man of the match: you could pretty much pick any of the 10 outfield players, but my man of the match goes jointly to Williams for a great display at right back on just his second league start, and Flint for his sheer bravery.


Running tally of various stats this season:

Goals (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 15, 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, Cargill 1, 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),
Oates (cruciate ligament injury, out for 9 months),
Hewitt (ACL, Clough 2nd Feb: “he'll be joining in in a couple of weeks training with us, and should be available if all goes well before the end of February"),
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 (setback in recovery, back “probably towards the end of Feb with a bit of luck”).
Maris (“came off with breathing issues against Notts Co. He was struggling to get his breath second half. We've had this flu, a nasty virus, going through the camp in the last couple of weeks so it could be the start of that or a little trace of that").

Yellow cards (league only, alphabetical order): Boateng 4, Bowery 1, Brunt 5, Cargill 5, Clarke 6, Flint 2, Gale 2, Johnson 3, Keillor-Dunn 5, 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 home league attendance: 7450 (average away fans: 752, average home fans 6698) (remember the attendance is calculated as tickets sold, including season tickets. There are 5171 season ticket holders this season.)

* footnote on attendance:
There were 55 more tickets sold for the Notts County game than the Wrexham game. That could have been something to do with a different number of disabled tickets, or carers, or such like. Also different matches might have different sterile areas or seats not sold for crowd management purposes. So a "sell out" for one match may not be the same number of seats sold as for another.
Whilst the total attendance is the number of tickets sold (and not the number actually inside the ground), the away attendance announced is the number passing through the turnstile. It is an unfortunate discrepancy (slightly irritating for a statistician like me!) which leads to difficulty when calculating the number of home fans. The home capacity is actually about 6950. The Notts County game wasn't a 7000 home attendance.
The exact number of tickets sent to away clubs in the North Stand is 1689+10wheelchair+12accessible=1711. So what has happened is that 30 to 50 away fans with tickets have not turned up. Hence the actual home attendance was actually about 6960.



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



Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Pym 7 Just one save in the match, a cross-shot from McGoldrick. Handling was good.
Williams 9 My joint man of the match for a great display at right back on just his second league start. One clearance off the line plus five interceptions.
Flint 9 My joint man of the match for his sheer bravery and a rock solid display. All this after he had gone off at Wimbledon with a partially dislocated shoulder amid fears that he would be out for a prolonged period.
Brunt 9 Excellent. Marked Langstaff out of the game.
Cargill 9 Superb at left back against the dangerous Jones and then Nemane. Hit the post with a header. Also got an assist for the goal, though of course the goal was all about the magic of Keillor-Dunn.
Reed 8 Good game.
Maris 8 Had a good game. Put in a good shift and then came off with breathing issues after an hour due to a flu virus.
Clarke 8.5 A tremendous shift. Had a piledriver tipped over the bar.
Keillor-Dunn 9 Provided the moment of magic with his goal, his 15th of the season, and nearly had another when his piledriver was saved.
Akins 8.5 Excellent up front, some of his hold-up play was outstanding, controlling balls forward to him. He had to move to right back late on when Williams got cramp, and he was just as at home there.
Swan 8 Built on his performance and goal at Wimbledon, with two good efforts at goal on target. He looked lively all game.
Sub Line Up:
Lewis (for Maris, 61) - Gifted a chance to Jones.
Nichols (for Williams, 80) - Slotted in very well on his debut, helping to manage the game well, winning throw-ins and corners.
Boateng (for Swan, 87) -
McLaughlin (for Clarke, 87) -
Subs not used: Flinders, Cooper, Abdullah.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-4-2-1): Stone; Warner, Baldwin, Cameron; Jones, Bostock, Robertson (Austin 86), Nemane; Crowley, McGoldrick; Langstaff. Subs not used: Ashby-Hammond, Rawlinson, O'Brien, Randall, Adebayo-Rowling, Macari.
Referee:
Thomas Kirk 7 Had a good game.


Season 23/24 Reports