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Season 15/16 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
 Plymouth Argyle
Attendance: 3185 (463 from Plymouth)
Date: 26 September 2015


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town drew 0-0 with high flying Plymouth Argyle at Field Mill this afternoon. It was a satisfactory point for the Stags who started the game slowly as the Pilgrims could have been three up in the first 20 minutes. First the talented Reuben Reid volleyed a magnificent effort from 15 yards against the crossbar, then Brian Jensen produced a good save from Graham Carey, and then Ryan Brunt headed wide from 3 yards after losing his marker Krystian Pearce. That was a rare error from Pearce who otherwise put in a top class display. In the second half, the Stags really got into the game and went close twice in three minutes midway through the half as first Mitch Rose’s shot was squeezed wide by keeper Luke McCormick, and then Matt Green clipped over the keeper onto the roof of the net. Both chances were provided by fine balls from Adam Chapman. At the other end, Jensen saved at the near post from two free kicks from Graham Carey and did very well to come out quickly at the feet of Jake Jervis to claim bravely. There was a very welcome return to the pitch for Matty Blair for the final 10 minutes following his 8 month absence through injury. Blair nearly had a dream start as his run to the byline and cross nearly provided a goal for Adi Yussuf who was wide from a difficult angle at the near post. As well as the return for Blair, Scott Shearer was back from illness and back on the bench. But on the negative side, Mitch Rose picked up his 5th yellow card of the season and will be suspended for the trip to Stevenage on Tuesday night. Good applause for Mansfield at the final whistle for claiming a decent point against a good side, very much earned by a good display across the back line including the keeper Jensen after a slow start to the game. The Stags have conceded only 6 goals in 9 games this season (with only Wycombe having conceded fewer in League Two), and are a point outside the play-off zone. The Stags have visits to Stevenage and Dagenham this week, two grounds where we have poor records. Time to put that right. Come on Mansfield!

Stags boss Adam Murray made two changes to the side that lost at Luton: Lee Collins came in at right back for Nicky Hunt (suspended for one game). Collins took over the captain’s armband from Hunt. Jack Thomas came in for Chris Clements, who is out for at least two weeks with a groin injury. Mansfield started with a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Westcarr just behind Green, and with Rose on the right and Nathan Thomas on the left of midfield. The formation was to change during the first half though after Mansfield got off to a slow start.

It was a lovely day with the pitch half bathed in sunshine.

Mansfield were off to a slow start, in contrast to the last home game against Crawley. There was a good block by Jack Thomas early on, but on 4 minutes Plymouth were unlucky not to be ahead. Reuben Reid volleyed a cross from the left by Hartley against the crossbar from 15 yards. It was a magnificent effort that deserved a goal.

On 10 minutes, Jack Thomas tried an ambitious volley from 40 yards, missed the ball completely, and then committed a cynical foul to pull back the Plymouth player who got away from him. He was lucky not to be booked.

On 12 minutes, Benning curled in a free kick from 35 yards, and Collins headed wide.

Another chance for Plymouth on 15 minutes, Collins’ miscued attempted clearance allowed Carey in and his low shot was well saved by Jensen with his legs narrowing the angle.

On 16 minutes, Rose won the ball, and Chapman tried a 1-2 but it went out for a throw-in. Then a long throw-in from Chapman was headed up by Pearce, and Tafazolli’s overhead kick was wide. (my fellow commentator though there might be a possible foul on Green in the area, but I checked the footage and there wasn’t).

On 18 minutes, Jervis tried a shot from a tight angle, and Benning deflected for a corner.

Plymouth missed another golden chance to take the lead on 20 minutes. Sawyer crossed from near the corner flag on the left and Ryan Brunt headed wide from 3 yards after losing his marker Krystian Pearce.

A mistake by Collins a minute later, and a Plymouth cross from the left fell for Jensen. Collins was having a poor start to the game, looking rusty.

Plymouth were well on top in the opening quarter of the game, looking after the ball better than Mansfield.

The Stags had switched to a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Chapman in front of the back four, Westcarr on the right of midfield, and Rose in the middle.

On 25 minutes, good play by Nathan Thomas and Jack Thomas just inside the Plymouth half, and Nathan Thomas’s shot from 25 yards was blocked.

On 31 minutes, a long throw from Chapman was back out to Jack Thomas, but he overhit the ball back into the mixer.

A great run by Nathan Thomas on 33 minutes and a fine cross that was headed away, brought the home crowd to life.

The Stags best chance of the half came on 37 minutes. Green did well to keep the ball in on the byline on the left, played it back to Nathan Thomas, who sent a low left footed shot fizzing wide of the right post.

On 40 minutes, Collins allowed the ball to drop over him on the left and Jervis fired wide from a tight angle.

Two minutes later at the other end, a ball forward for Nathan Thomas who went down but there was no foul. Seconds later, the referee did give a free kick, 30 yards out on the left, but Benning’s free kick was headed up and away.

On 45+1 minutes, Jack Thomas did well to win the ball and laid off to Westcarr 30 yards out, Westcarr’s left footed shot was wide.

Goalless at the break, Plymouth had been the better side with three good chances, but Mansfield had slowly got into the game as the half wore on. Lee Collins looked very rusty at right back. Nathan Thomas had looked one of Mansfield’s better players going forward against his former club.

Half time 0-0

In the early seconds of the second half, Green won the ball, as he did in the opening seconds of the first half against Crawley, to hopefully signal that Mansfield would be quicker out of the blocks this time.

On 50 minutes, a free kick for Plymouth 12 yards from the byline on the right. Carey took it and Jensen pushed it away, low by his near post.

A minute later at the other end, Green turned 25 yards out and fired in a left footed shot which McCormick saved. Moments later a good block from Tafazolli on Hiram Boateng.

Adi Yussuf replaced Westcarr on 52 minutes. Yussuf went up front alongside Green in a 4-4-2 formation.

On 55 minutes, another free kick for Plymouth on the right, this time from a tighter angle. Carey tried to beat Jensen again at the near pot, and Jensen pushed away.

Reggie Lambe replaced Jack Thomas on 57 minutes. Nathan Thomas switched from the left to the right, Lambe went in on the left.

Mansfield’s best chance came on 64 minutes. Chapman played a great ball forward to Mitch Rose in the area on the right, Rose’s shot was heading for the left corner of the net, McCormick got something on it and squeezed it wide of the left post.

From the resulting corner from the left by Benning, Tafazolli headed wide.

On 65 minutes at the other end Plymouth came close as Reid laid back to Carey in a good position and Carey fired wide of the right post.

On 67 minutes, another good chance for Mansfield, Chapman played another good ball forward, a defender missed it, allowing Matt Green to get goal side of him, and Green clipped over the keeper and just over the angle of post and crossbar.

On 70 minutes another good save by Jensen. Jervis got past Collins but Jensen was out quickly to claim. Great goalkeeping.

On 72 minutes, a quick free kick into the Stags box, and Pearce did well to clear. Then a good block by Collins on the edge of the box. On 76 minutes, Rose and Nathan Thomas both won the ball well. Both players were working hard.

A great moment on 79 minutes with a very welcome return to the pitch for Matty Blair following his 8 month absence through injury, as he replaced Nathan Thomas. It had been a long road back for Blair following that horrific day at Carlisle where he was stretchered off to the sound of Carlisle fans booing and shouting “cheat, cheat, cheat”. I’d never heard anything like it, before or since.

Rose was booked on 80 minutes for a sliding challenge even though he didn’t make contact. It was his 5th booking of the season so he will be suspended for the Stevenage game. Carey took the resulting free kick, 28 yards out on the right, lifting it onto the roof of the net though Jensen had it covered.

On 85 minutes, a good move and Blair nearly had a dream start as he was fed by Green, and Blair’s run to the byline and low cross nearly provided a goal for Adi Yussuf who was wide from a difficult angle at the near post.

A minute later, Green cut inside from the left and fired over the bar.

Plymouth appealed for a penalty on 88 minutes as a cross from the byline by Simpson hit Rose on the arm from close range as Rose raised his arms. The referee waved away appeals. We’ve seen them given in the past.

A great block from Benning on the edge of the area on 89 minutes.

On 90+4 minutes, Lambe played inside to Rose, 30 yards out and his left footed shot was over and wide.

Good applause from the home fans at the final whistle for a decent point against a good side.

Man of the match: Krystian Pearce/Brian Jensen

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

Line Up:
Jensen 8 Four decent saves including one brave claim at a striker’s feet. Continues to look assured, and has barely made any kind of mistake all season. I’ve been told in the past I’m too harsh on keepers but it’s hard to find fault with this keeper.
Collins 5 Looked very rusty in the first half with several errors, but improved greatly in the second half.
Pearce 8 Top class display with one rare error when he allowed Brunt a free header.
Tafazolli 7.5 Very solid and having a very consistent season.
Benning 7 Mostly solid.
Rose 7 Good game, worked hard, could have been the hero with his shot that was saved. Booked and misses the next game.
Chapman 7 Two very fine balls to set up chances for Rose and Green.
J.Thomas 7 Signs that he might be starting to find the form of last season, though still a little way to go.
N.Thomas 7.5 Good game against his former club.
Westcarr 5.5 One shot that was wide but otherwise a little bit anonymous.
Green 7 Good movement and helped set up a couple of chances. Frustrated at missing his chance for a chip over the keeper and showed it by booting the advertising hoarding.
Sub Line Up:
Yussuf (for Westcarr, 52) - Still looked a little rusty but less so than at Luton and got into a good position for Blair’s cross. Fans need to show a little patience in my opinion.
Lambe (for J.Thomas, 57) - Showed some nice touches.
Blair (for N.Thomas, 79) - So pleased to see him back on the pitch.
Subs not used: Shearer, Marsden, McGuire, Fitzpatrick.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-2-3-1): Luke McCormick; Kelvin Mellor, Curtis Nelson, Peter Hartley, Gary Sawyer; Josh Simpson, Hiram Boateng; Jake Jervis (Gregg Wylde 72 mins), Graham Carey (Oscar Threlkeld 87 mins), Ryan Brunt; Reuben Reid (Craig Tanner 66 mins). Subs (not used): Lee Cox, Tyler Harvey, Ben Purrington, Cory Harvey (gk).
Mark Brown 6 One or two poor decisions but overall handled the game ok.

Season 15/16 Reports