Attendance: 1,073 (187 from Mansfield)
Date: 18 August 2015
MANSFIELD BEATEN AT ACCRINGTON IN POOR GAME
Martin Shaw at the Wham Stadium, Crown Ground
Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at Accrington tonight in a poor game that was decided by one goal that took a crucial deflection to send it past Brian Jensen in the Stags goal. Mansfield were the better team in the opening 30 minutes without creating good chances in front of goal. But out of the blue on 33 minutes Accrington were in front. A throw-in was signalled Mansfield’s way by the referee inside Mansfield’s half. As the Stags players set up expecting the throw their way, the referee changed his mind, and awarded it to Accrington who took it quickly. Mansfield won the ball back but lost it again as Chapman gave the ball away, and McConville was able to get in a shot from the edge of the box. I was right behind it and a deflection took it away from Jensen and into the bottom right corner of the net. Without the deflection I think it would have gone straight at Jensen. Stags players Hunt and Tafazolli complained to the referee, presumably about the throw-in, but to no avail and in my opinion Mansfield had had time to regroup after the throw-in and won the ball back, so I don’t think we can blame the goal on that decision. The goal changed the momentum of the game though. Mansfield never looked like equalising, even with three substitutions around the hour mark. It was a poor performance from the Stags, to follow on from Friday’s wonderful performance at Notts County. The Stags barely created a chance worthy of the name with the closest being a shot from Nathan Thomas on 55 minutes that the keeper saved low down but from looking at it again on the match DVD seemed to be going just wide anyway.
Four points from the opening three games, of which two were away from home, is certainly a very reasonable start. But performances need to be better than this.
Mansfield made one change from the side than won so impressively ay Notts County. Matt Green was only 99% fit, after his back stiffened up after Friday night, so was rested to be 100% for Saturday against Oxford. Chris Beardsley came in. As on Friday, it was what I can best describe as a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Nathan Thomas pushing forward, and Mitch Rose and Reggie Lambe either side of him, behind the lone striker Beardsley. Adam Chapman and Chris Clements were the deepest of the five midfielders.
Stags team (4-2-3-1):
Nicky Hunt (captain), Krystian Pearce, Ryan Tafazolli, Mal Benning;
Adam Chapman, Chris Clements;
Mitch Rose, Nathan Thomas, Reggie Lambe;
Accrington included Billy Kee in their starting line-up. He of course played for the Stags last season.
The match had been made all ticket by Accrington after trouble here from Stags fans in the past two seasons. Accrington wanted as few Stags fans here as possible. They were pretty successful in that as 187 fans travelled compared to last season’s 537.
On 3 minutes, a shot from Josh Windass from 16 yards was blocked by Tafazolli. On 6 minutes a loose square ball from Nathan Thomas was picked up by Accrington who broke and Kee crossed from the right but they couldn’t capitalise.
On 7 minutes, a great diagonal ball from Clements, from the left to the right nearly put Rose in but it was just cleared.
On 8 minutes, Beardsley laid off to Lambe, who cut inside and sent a right footed shot from 20 yards over the bar via a deflection.
Two minutes later a good flick-on by Beardsley nearly put Lambe in.
On 14 minutes, Beardsley, with his back to goal, was hauled down, 27 yards out. Benning took the free-kick but sent it over the bar, unable to reproduce his heroics against Carlisle.
On 17 minutes a lovely moved by the Stags, started with Hunt sending a long diagonal ball to Benning, and ended with Nathan Thomas in the box but it was just cleared.
On 18 minutes, Accrington keeper Mooney was out of his area on his right, and missed the ball completely in trying to clear near the corner flag, Beardsley got to the ball but a defender held him illegally off stopping him cross. Free kick to Mansfield near the corner flag, but Benning’s kick was cleared.
On 25 minutes, a snapshot from Nathan Thomas, left footed from 28 yards was well wide of the left post.
On 31 minutes, a chance for Clements to shoot, but he passed to Beardsley who passed to Lambe. No-one seemed to want to shoot, but then Beardsley did shoot and it bobbled straight at the keeper.
But out of the blue on 33 minutes Accrington were in front. A throw-in was signalled Mansfield’s way by the referee inside Mansfield’s half. As the Stags players set up expecting the throw their way, the referee changed his mind, and awarded it to Accrington who took it quickly. Mansfield won the ball back but lost it again as Chapman gave the ball away, and McConville was able to get in a shot from the edge of the box. I was right behind it and a deflection took it away from Jensen and into the bottom right corner of the net. Without the deflection I think it would have gone straight at Jensen. Stags players Hunt and Tafazolli complained to the referee, presumably about the throw-in, but to no avail and in my opinion Mansfield had had time to regroup after the throw-in and won the ball back, so I don’t think we can blame the goal on that decision.
On 38 minutes, Kee shot side-footed from 25 yards straight at Jensen.
Pearce was booked on 42 minutes for a trip 28 yards out, left of centre. Windass took the free-kick straight into the wall and the follow-up from Adam Buxton was wide of the post.
On 45+1 minutes, Mingoia squared to Windass, whose shot was blocked for a corner.
So the Stags were behind at the break. The goal had completely changed the momentum of the game as until then the Stags had been the better team, but Accrington scored out of the blue and since then were completely on top.
Half time 1-0
On 46 minutes, a good move from Mansfield, and the ball was swept out to Benning on the left, and his powerful cross looped up off Beardsley to the keeper.
On 49 minutes, Pearce lost the ball inside his own area to McConville and McConville’s shot was very well blocked by Brian Jensen for a corner.
On 51 minutes, Adam Chapman lost the ball just inside the Accrington half, they broke quickly, but the ball was cleared by Hunt.
Billy Kee threw himself to the floor inside the area on 53 minutes but the referee was unimpressed.
A good chance for the home side on 54 minutes. Adam Buxton’s ball over the top put Kee in a 1-on-1 with Jensen, Kee shot at goal, and Jensen crossed his legs quickly to stop the ball going between them. Great save.
A chance for the Stags on 55 minutes as a ball down the left found Nathan Thomas who shot towards goal and the keeper saved low down but from looking at it again on the match DVD it seemed to be going just wide anyway.
A double change for Mansfield on 56 minutes: Jack Thomas replaced Chapman, and Yussuf replaced Nathan Thomas. Neither player replaced had played well.
A final change for Mansfield on 61 minutes: Westcarr replaced Lambe.
It was now what I can best describe as a 4-1-3-2 formation, with Beardsley and Yussuf up front, Rose, Westcarr and Jack Thomas just behind them, and Clements the deepest of the four midfielders.
Stags team (4-1-3-2):
Nicky Hunt (captain), Krystian Pearce, Ryan Tafazolli, Mal Benning;
Mitch Rose, Craig Westcarr, Jack Thomas;
Chris Beardsley, Adi Yussuf.
On 65 minutes, Hunt gave the ball away, then fouled his man to stop a break. He was booked.
On 66 minutes, Clements found Rose who made a surging run forward and was brought down. Free kick from 28 yards out but Clements’s kick was straight into the wall.
On 70 minutes, Tafazolli did well to hold off Windass on the right in the box, but Windass pulled back to Conneely who fired just over the bar. Close. A minute later, a calm clearance by Clements inside his own box.
On 74 minutes, Benning was booked for a foul on the touchline.
Josh Windass was replaced on 76 minutes. He’d been the best player on the pitch and there was disquiet from the home fans.
A brilliant tackle from Clements as McConville broke into the box on the left on 77 minutes.
EDIT (an incident I missed, spotted by other Stags fans. Description added from the match DVD): After 80 minutes, the ball bounced up off the surface and it bounced off Matt Crooks on the elbow just inside the area as he was trying to hold off Adi Yussuf who was also going for the ball. In my opinion, Crooks' elbow was trying to hold off Yussuf. There were four Mansfield players in the vicinity. Only one of them appealed for a penalty (Benning), the other three didn't, including Yussuf who Crooks was trying to hold off. We would have been fortunate to get a penalty in my opinion.
Clements was booked for two quick fouls in a minute on 82 minutes. I thought the one of them wasn’t a foul.
A foot was left in on Hunt on 83 minutes and he stayed down in agony, but soon recovered.
On 87 a good header away by Pearce but the ball eventually came out to Kee who fired just over the bar.
6 minutes of time were added on. You always have some hope as a football fan but it seemed like Mansfield wouldn’t score if we were there all night.
Just into stoppage time, a mass brawl broke out after Jack Thomas went in with a bad challenge on Adam Buxton just outside the home box. After things settled down, the referee booked Jack Thomas for the initial challenge, then Westcarr, then the Accrington keeper Mooney who had gone into the brawl aggressively and finally Brian Jensen who had run the length of the pitch seemingly as peacemaker but then, from the match DVD, seemed to arguing with Mooney. From the footage the booking of Jensen looked harsh.
So Mansfield had now had 7 players booked: Pearce, Hunt, Benning, Clements, Jack Thomas, Westcarr, Jensen. Accrington had had 3 players booked.
On 90+6 minutes a free kick for Mansfield. Clements took it into the box and an effort by Pearce was claimed by the keeper above his head.
On 90+7 minutes, the ball came out to Jack Thomas 30 yards out and his shot was well over the bar.
So defeat for the Stags. I didn’t think we deserved anything from the game. It was a poor performance after Accrington took the lead after we had started the game quite well. Accrington had chances to extend the lead but in the end were very happy to preserve their one goal lead. In truth, it seemed like Mansfield wouldn’t score if we were there all night, there was a lack of quality in the Stags’ play going forward. No doubt that Matt Green was missed hugely even though he hasn’t scored himself this season.
Man of the match: Chris Clements
Report by: Martin Shaw at the Wham Stadium, Crown Ground
Jensen 7.5 Two very good saves, from McConville and Kee. Beaten by the deflection for the goal.
Hunt 6 Did ok. One good clearance. One fine crossfield pass.
Pearce 6.5 Solid enough, apart from giving the ball away once in his own area.
Tafazolli 7 Continued his solid form. One good block.
Benning 6 Ok.
Chapman 5 After his fine game at Notts County, this was poor. Gave the ball away twice in dangerous positions, one of which led to the goal.
Clements 8 Mansfield’s best outfield player with plenty of good defensive work and some neat passing going forward.
Rose 5.5 One excellent surging run but didn’t influence the game enough apart from that.
N.Thomas 5.5 Loose square ball started an Accrington attack. Got into a couple of shooting positions but couldn’t make them count.
Lambe 5.5 One shot over the bar, but not in the game enough.
Beardsley 6.5 Did ok. Got stuck in. Some good lay-offs. Not really suited to playing one up front in my opinion.
Sub Line Up:
J.Thomas (for Chapman, 56) - Yet to recreate his stunning form from the back end of last season. However possibly should start on Saturday with the poor performance of other midfielders here.
Yussuf (for N.Thomas, 56) - Couldn’t get into the game.
Westcarr (for Lambe, 61) - Couldn’t get into the game.
Subs not used: Marsden, McGuire, Fitzpatrick, Caton.
Opposition Line Up:
Mooney, Pearson, Winnard, Davies, Mingoia, Windass (Barry 76), McConville (Bruna 84), Crooks, Buxton, Conneely, Kee. Subs not used: Etheridge, Morgan, Gornell, Wakefield, Wright.
Darren England 6 A few strange decisions. It was very poor to give a throw Mansfield’s way and then change it, but that can’t be an excuse for the goal.