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Season 15/16 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 2
 Wycombe Wanderers
 O’Nien 8, Holloway 90+4
Attendance: 3165 (345 from Wycombe)
Date: 31 October 2015


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten at home by Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon. Wycombe took the lead after 8 minutes with a rare moment of quality after a great cross from the right by Michael Harriman was headed back across goal by Garry Thompson and then headed home by Luke O’Nien. Wycombe rarely looked like threatening the Mansfield goal again until Mansfield left big gaps at the back in stoppage time at the end and Wycombe capitalised on 90+4 minutes with a goal by Aaron Holloway to give the scoreline a flattering look. Mansfield had lots of possession during the 90 minutes, with plenty of good moves, but all too often the Stags’ play broke down in the final third. Wycombe defended superbly throughout and can take much credit for Mansfield’s moves breaking down. The Stags didn’t play poorly today but needed more quality in the final third to break Wycombe down. It made for a frustrating afternoon for the home fans. A word on the Wycombe fans who gave their team great support throughout the game, a bit like the Stags fans did at Portsmouth last week. But I was surprised that following the excellent haul of 4 points from those trips to Yeovil and Portsmouth and with the Stags sitting 5th in the table, the number of home fans was 529 down today from the last home game.

So, as we take a break for the FA Cup next weekend, we’re more than a third of the way through the season. The Stags have played eight teams in the top half of the table and eight teams in the bottom half. The Stags are inside the play-off places, and just two points behind the automatic promotion places. The defensive record is impressive, with only Plymouth having conceded fewer goals. At the other end, Mansfield have had 11 different scorers this season and it’s been great to watch so far, exceeding my own expectations overall.

Adam Murray made two changes from the side that drew at Portsmouth. Matty Blair, having impressed as substitute at Portsmouth, came in for his first start since his long absence due to injury, in place of Mitch Rose. Jamie McGuire came in for Chris Clements. Blair Adams was making his home debut, on loan from Notts County, after good performances at Yeovil and Portsmouth. Lee Collins continued in central defence after his fine performances at Yeovil and Portsmouth, with Krystian Pearce still suspended. It was originally thought that Pearce would be suspended for 3 games, so would be available for the FA Cup game, but he will actually be suspended for a 4th game next week, the extra punishment being for not leaving the pitch quickly enough after his sending off. So he will not be available until the Northampton game in a fortnight. With Collins playing so well alongside Tafazolli, it’s unlikely Pearce would have started next week anyway.

It was a 4-4-1-1 formation with Blair and Lambe on the right and left of midfield, and Westcarr just behind Green.

Mansfield started the game well. On 4 minutes, Adams fed Green, who laid off to Chapman, 25 yards from goal. Chapman’s low hard shot was saved by Matt Ingram diving low to his left. Two minutes later, a throw-in from Chapman, some good movement by the Stags and Tafazolli laid off to Green, whose low hard shot was straight at Ingram.

On 7 minutes, Wycombe midfielder Luke O’Nien dived comically in the Stags box trying to win a penalty. The referee inexplicably didn’t book O’Nien. That was to become significant 24 minutes later when O’Nien was booked for a bad challenge.

Wycombe were ahead on 8 minutes. Harriman, who was a regular for Luton last season, crossed deep from the right to beyond the far post, where it was headed back by Garry Thompson and then headed home by Luke O’Nien. My co-commentator on StagsPlayer commentary, Steve Hartshorn thought that Jensen should have come for the cross. I disagreed during commentary. Having looked at it again, I wouldn’t blame Jensen as the cross was beyond the far post, but I would blame the defence for allowing two free headers in the area, from Thompson and O’Nien. Good quality from Wycombe but poor defending from Mansfield.

On 18 minutes, following another Stags throw-in, more good build-up from Mansfield, and Green laid off to Westcarr, who curled a shot over the bar.

Wycombe were annoyed on 19 minutes when the ball went out of play, and Wycombe were looking at that ball that was out of play as another ball was used for the throw-in. Mansfield quickly found Adams in space on the left, but he fired over the bar.

On 31 minutes, O’Nien was booked for a bad challenge on Lambe. He should have been booked earlier and would have been off.

On 33 minutes, a good surging run by Tafazolli but Wycombe were able to clear.

The Mansfield crowd had been quiet but came to life on 34 minutes as Westcarr’s powerful shot from 22 yards was blocked. Two minutes later, a Stags free kick from the byline, just in from the corner flag, was cleared to McGuire who volleyed so far over the bar that it hit the roof of the North Stand.

Another good move from the Stags on 40 minutes, following a free-kick, Adams crossed low and hard from the left and Westcarr was just unable to reach it at the far post.

Nothing had been seen of Wycombe going forward apart from the goal, but they had a chance on 43 minutes as Jacobson’s free-kick from the left was met by McCarthy who flicked wide of the right post with the Stags defence asleep.

A good move from Mansfield on 45+4 minutes. From a Wycombe corner, Lambe broke well to the far end, Westcarr played the ball inside to Blair and Blair’s low shot was saved, though the offside flag was up anyway.

The Stags one goal down at the break. Mansfield had had most of the possession, and several shots from just outside the box that were saved or blocked, but the final ball was often letting Mansfield down in the final third. Wycombe scored a good goal from a rare moment of quality, albeit poorly defended by the Stags, and had only one other chance apart from that.

Half time 0-1

Adi Yussuf replaced Matty Blair at the start of the second half. Yussuf joined Green up front, Westcarr switched to right midfield, in a 4-4-2 formation.

The Stags were very nearly level inside the first minute of the second half. Chapman’s corner from the right was met by a clean header from Collins and Ingram clawed the ball away stretching to his right. Collins put his head in his hands. It looked a goal all the way.

On 48 minutes, a cross from the right by O’Nien floated over Hunt and Wood headed well wide. Two minutes later, Thompson was through in a 1-on-1 with Jensen, Jensen was out to make himself big, Thompson tried lift the ball over Jensen but Jensen got a vital touch on it which took enough pace off the ball allowing Collins to get back to head away. Good defending and good goalkeeping.

Clements replaced McGuire on 53 minutes.

On 55 minutes, a good header away by Collins, it came out to Jacobson whose shot was blocked for a corner.

A good move from the Stags on 57 minutes, the ball came to Westcarr in the area and his shot was blocked through to the keeper, with the block taking all the sting out of it. Another good team move on 60 minutes from the Stags, and the ball came into the middle but there was a foul by Green.

A great run by Green on 62 minutes, powering past defenders and his shot was deflected for a corner. From the corner, taken by Chapman, Tafazolli headed well wide.

On 66 minutes, good play by Adams down the left, he played the ball forward to Yussuf who turned and his left footed shot was blocked for a corner.

Nathan Thomas replaced Lambe on 68 minutes.

On 70 minutes, some pinball in the Stags box after a Wycombe free-kick from the right.

A minute later at the other end, a good ball from Adams and a chance for Green from 17 yards to the right of centre who fired over the bar. A real chance for Green who held his head in his hands.

Nathan Thomas cut inside from the left and his low shot was saved by the keeper’s legs on 79 minutes. Good play from the substitute.

On 81 minutes, a good turn by Westcarr, and the keeper turned his shot past the post, though the shot was probably going wide already. From the resulting corner, taken by Chapman, Tafazolli headed down and straight to the keeper.

It was all Mansfield.

On 88 minutes, Westcarr crossed from the right and Green headed wide.

4 minutes of time was added on. Mansfield had committed men forward and Tafazolli was now playing up front.
Wycombe capitalised on the spaces at the back and made it 2-0 on 90+4 minutes. O’Nien flicked a nice ball forward into the path of substitute Aaron Holloway who advanced and fired past Jensen from 12 yards to give the scoreline a flattering look.

It capped a frustrating afternoon for Mansfield who gave it everything and had loads of possession, with some good moves, but just lacked some quality in the final third. None of the Stags players played badly, but no-one was outstanding either and as Adam Murray said afterwards we missed an X-factor.

Man of the match: Blair Adams

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

Line Up:
Jensen 7 I wouldn’t blame him for the first goal. One fine save where he came out and made himself big and got a vital touch.
Hunt 6.5 Got forward a lot. Caught out by one cross that he missed and was headed wide.
Collins 7 One fine clearance off the line, while at the other end his header was kept out by a fine save. Generally very solid, apart from collectively and uncharacteristically poor defending for the first goal.
Tafazolli 7 Good lay-off for a chance for Green. Generally very solid, apart from collectively and uncharacteristically poor defending for the first goal.
Adams 7 Plenty of good play down the left on his home debut.
Blair 6 After his encouraging sub appearance at Portsmouth, I’d like to see him get involved more. Did ok though. Subbed at half time.
McGuire 6 Did ok but we needed more creativity to break Wycombe down, so was sacrificed to bring on Clements.
Chapman 6.5 Several good corners.
Lambe 6 One great run that eventually set up a chance for Blair. Otherwise though I’d like to see him get involved more.
Westcarr 6.5 Several efforts on goal and involved in some good moves.
Green 6 One very good run and his shot was deflected wide. A couple of other shots, one on target, one over the bar. As always, worked very hard for the team. Fans need to keep the faith in him, he’s had runs of not scoring goals before, as most strikers do.
Sub Line Up:
Yussuf (for Blair, 46) 6 Half time substitute. One good turn and shot. Didn’t get much chance apart from that.
Clements (for McGuire, 53) 6 Unable to get right into the game and create chances.
N.Thomas (for Lambe, 68) - Good play to cut inside and have his shot saved by the keeper’s legs.
Subs not used: Shearer, Rose, J.Thomas, Beardsley.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Ingram; Jombati, McCarthy, Pierre, Jacobson; Harriman, O’Nien, Bean, Wood (Bloomfield 87); Hayes (Ugwu 82), Thompson (Amadi-Holloway 68). Unused subs: Lynch, Sellers, Bloomfield, McGinn, Kretzschmar.
Seb Stockbridge 7 Handled the game well, though should have booked O’Nien for diving.

Season 15/16 Reports