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Season 15/16 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Carlisle United
Benning 29.
 Ibehre 45+2.
Attendance: 4146 (722 from Carlisle)
Date: 8 August 2015


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Adam Murray’s new look Mansfield Town side drew their first league game 1-1 with Carlisle United at Field Mill this afternoon. The Stags only included 3 players in the side who were here last season. Mansfield took the lead after 29 minutes as full back Mal Benning fired home a thunderous free-kick from 29 yards into the right corner of the net. Out of the blue Carlisle equalised in stoppage time at the end of the first team and the Stags’ defence failed to take opportunities to clear and Jabo Ibehre fired into the bottom right corner of the net from just inside in the box. The Stags had the better of the second half but couldn’t force victory with Chris Clements twice going close from the edge of the box, and Adi Yussuf just wide in the closing minutes. Overall this was better fayre than last season and clear signs that the Stags are heading in the right direction despite some frustration at not winning. Plenty of promising performances in the Stags side: Scott Shearer looked solid in goal, Nicky Hunt impressed at right back, Krystian Pearce had a fine game in central defence and was my man of the match, Mitch Rose showed flashes of his excellent form against Leicester, Matt Green continued to look strong and sharp up front though without enough service.

Mansfield only included 3 players in the side who were here last season: Tafazolli, Clements and Lambe. Of the 8 players who started who were making their debuts, two players were on their second debuts having played for us in the Conference (Chapman and Matt Green).

Stags team (4-1-4-1):
Scott Shearer;
Nicky Hunt (captain), Krystian Pearce, Ryan Tafazolli, Mal Benning;
Adam Chapman;
Nathan Thomas, Chris Clements, Mitch Rose, Reggie Lambe;
Matt Green.

This was the same starting XI and formation as played against Leicester a fortnight ago with one exception: Lee Collins was missing through injury and was replaced by Ryan Tafazolli.

There were 5 more new signings on the bench, including Chris Beardsley also back at the club after previous spells. Jack Thomas had to settle for a place on the bench, despite being by far the best player at the end of last season, after not quite reaching the same levels of performance in pre-season. Also on the bench was new loan signing James Caton, a winger from Shrewbsury, who played on trial in the pre-season game at Solihull Moors alongside Mansfield’s youthful side on that occasion.

Carlisle manager Keith Curle, the former Stags Manager, included two former Stags in his side: Michael Raynes and Derek Asamoah.

On a sunny afternoon, there was a good crowd, expectant from a promising pre-season.

And on the roof of the Quarry Lane stand: “One Call Stadium: the oldest professional football ground in the world”. Almost exactly a year after Sheffield United irritated us by making the claim when we visited them in the League Cup game, sparking us into life to promote our own history through an article on the club website, then the matchday programme, then on Sky Sports News, and finally on the roof of a stand.

Mansfield’s last win on the opening day of the season was against Forest Green Rovers in August 2010.

The Stags emerged to a rapturous reception.

On 3 minutes, Scott Shearer was out of his goal quickly and played the ball off Asamoah for a throw-in.

The first chance of the game on 8 minutes, and a good chance for Carlisle as Brough, in the area, miscued over the bar.

Not the best start from the Stags with several misplaced passes.

On 11 minutes, Mansfield’s first chance. A good crossfield pass from Chapman to Lambe, who chested down, and shot on target but it was soft and straight at the keeper.

On 16 minutes, a shot from Nathan Thomas deflected just over the bar for a corner. From that corner, Chapman slid the ball directly to Lambe who shot on target, but it was blocked for another corner. A good corner routine that was tried at Tamworth. From the next corner, this time taken by Benning, Tafazolli got in a shot, on target, and blocked by the keeper’s legs, but the referee had already blown for a foul by Tafazolli.

On 19 minutes, Mitch Rose tried his luck from 35 yards and fired just wide of the right post.

At the other end on 23 minutes, Miller’s close-range shot was soft and straight at Shearer. Then on 26 minutes a good break from Asamoah, but good defending from Nicky Hunt.

It was 1-0 to Mansfield on 29 minutes. Great play from Rose to earn a free-kick, 29 yards from goal. Mal Benning took it, to the right of centre, and fired home a thunderous shot into the right corner of the net. A wonderful goal.

On 31 minutes, Matt Green got into the area on the right, cut onto his left foot, and got in a low shot that nearly caught out keeper Gillespie, who saved at full stretch. A good effort from Green.

On 35 minutes, Kennedy shot from 25 yards, and Shearer palmed away. A minute later Ibehre turned in the box and lobbed onto the roof of the net. On 42 minutes, a Carlisle cross from the left and Kennedy headed over under pressure from Benning.

Green ran at the Carlisle defence on 45+1 and was cynically bundled over by Raynes. A yellow card for Raynes was hardly suitable reward for Mansfield or Green. Benning took the free kick again, further to the right and a few yards nearer the goal, about 25 yards out. Benning this time sent the kick well over the bar.

But Carlisle were level on 45+2 minutes in very disappointing fashion. Tafazolli went for a header on the halfway line which he was beaten to, putting Asamoah in a run on goal at the Stags defence, he played the ball to Ibehre. Ibehre tried to play the ball back to Asamoah and the Stags defence had a couple of chance to clear, but presented Ibehre with a chance to shoot from the just inside the box and he found the bottom right corner of the net.

The Stags were shell-shocked and should have been ahead at the break, but had given away the lead.

Half time 1-1

On 54 minutes, Chapman played a crossfield ball to Lambe on the right, Lambe cut back onto his left foot and fired well wide of the left post. Three minutes later a great break from Matt Green, earning a free-kick.

On 61 minutes, a Carlisle cross from the left, and Asamoah bundled wide at the far post, though he was offside anyway.

On 68 minutes, Clements fired in a shot from 25 yards that took a deflection off a defender and flew just over the bar. Incredibly the referee gave a goal-kick. At the other end on 70 minutes, a Carlisle corner from the right by the impressive Hery, and Miller headed over.

Another chance for Clements on 72 minutes. Chapman’s corner came out to Clements, on the edge of the area, and his shot was just over the bar.

Mansfield’s first change on 74 minutes as Adi Yussuf replaced Nathan Thomas. Yussuf went up front with Green, with Rose on the right wing and Lambe on the left in a 4-4-2 formation.

On 75 minutes, a break from Carlisle, and Clements did well to get back and intercept as Ibehre tried to find Asamoah.

On 81 minutes, Hunt’s quick free to Benning on the left and Benning tried a volley from a tight angle which he skewed well wide. Marco Van Basten might have scored from there but not many others.

On 83 minutes, Yussuf played it inside to Clements and his shot hit Raynes. Then a good run by Green down the right, his cross was just over Yussuf, the ball was played back to Lambe, whose shot was saved.

Westcarr replaced Lambe on 85 minutes.

Rose was lucky to escape with a yellow card on 85 minutes for raising his hand and pushing Grainger to the floor. Some referees would have produced a red card for that.

On 87 minutes, a shot from Osei trickled through to Shearer. Then a minute later, good defending from Pearce near his own byline.

Rose was taken off by Murray on 90 minutes, probably to ensure he didn’t get a second yellow. On came Jack Thomas.

On 90+1 minutes, Ibehre turned and fired well over the bar.

A chance for Mansfield to win it on 90+2 minutes, as Westcarr slid the ball forward to Yussuf, who turned and shot wide of the left post, left footed, from 8 yards.

On 90+4 minutes, a brilliant run from Jack Thomas down the left to win a corner. If he’s going to play like that, then Jack Thomas needs to be straight back in the team. Westcarr’s corner was straight through everyone.

Full time and a bit of frustration at not winning, but a reasonable start and a definite improvement on last season. Not enough service to Matt Green up front though.

Man of the match: Krystian Pearce

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

Line Up:
Shearer 7 Solid in goal.
Hunt 7 Captain. Impressed at right back with one or two good tackles.
Pearce 8 Fine game in central defence. My man of the match.
Tafazolli 6.5 Ok.
Benning 7 Wonderful goal. Other set pieces were less impressive.
Chapman 6 One good corner routine and a couple of good crossfield passes. Guilty of giving the ball away too much though.
N.Thomas 6 Didn’t hit the form of pre-season games.
Rose 7 Very good first half, tigerish and good run to earn free-kick that led to the goal. Slightly drifted out of the game and frustration could have seen him red-carded.
Clements 6.5 Quiet game apart from 2 decent shots. Some good back-tracking.
Lambe 6 Got into some good positions and didn’t make the most of them.
Green 7.5 Continued to look strong and sharp up front though without enough service.
Sub Line Up:
Yussuf (for N.Thomas, 74) - Looked sharp. One good chance which he put wide.
Westcarr (for Lambe, 85) - Good ball to set up a chance for Yussuf.
J.Thomas (for Rose, 90) - A brilliant run in injury time. If he’s going to play like that, then he needs to be straight back in the team.
Subs not used: Jensen, McGuire, Beardsley, Caton.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Gillespie; Miller, Atkinson, Raynes, Grainger; Hery (Dicker 87), Joyce, Kennedy, Brough (Balanta 71); Ibehre, Asamoah (Osei, 79). Subs not used: Hanford, Wyke, Archibald-Henville, McQueen.
Lee Swabey 7 Handled the game well. One howler giving a goal kick when Clements’ shot was so clearly deflected over the bar.

Season 15/16 Reports