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Season 15/16 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
Clements 42, Baxendale 65.
 Gnanduillet 90+5
Attendance: 3126 (112 from Stevenage)
Date: 9 January 2016


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town roared back to winning ways with two very well-taken goals, from Chris Clements and new loan signing James Baxendale. The game was already won when Stevenage scored a consolation in the 5th minute of stoppage time. The Stags were back looking solid with return of Nicky Hunt and Ryan Tafazolli in defence, and thus a return to three-quarters of the defence that started the season so well. There was also a strengthening of the squad with the loan signing of Baxendale from Walsall which was announced 90 minutes before kick off. Stevenage had been the better side in the opening 25 minutes, with Michael Tonge hitting the post from a 22 yard free kick. But the Stags had gradually worked their way into the game and took the lead on 42 minutes when Clements was brought down by Franks on the edge of the area right in front of goal. Video evidence shows the foul was actually on the line, so the referee made the correct call. Clements took the free kick himself and fired into the top left corner, his second goal from a free-kick in consecutive games. Another superb goal. The goal gave the Stags confidence and they doubled the lead on 65 minutes when James Baxendale, whose loan signing from Walsall was announced 90 minutes before kick off, curled a wonderful shot into the bottom right corner from 20 yards after a lay-off from Matt Green. The Stags had chances to score more, but with four minutes of stoppage time signalled, Gnanduillet scored a consolation for Stevenage on 90+5 minutes when he fired home from close range after Jensen had saved his first effort. So an important win for Mansfield after three draws and a defeat in the past 4 games, and we’re back up to 8th, one point behind the play-offs.

Mansfield made four changes from the side that lost to Accrington. James Baxendale, who joined during the week from Walsall on loan for a month with a view to a permanent move, and whose move was announced 90 minutes before kick-off, came straight into the side to play in an attacking midfield role. Before the game, manager Adam Murray described his new signing as a player who opens doors and can glide past defenders. Baxendale replaced Lambe. Nicky Hunt returned from injury at right back, where he has been hugely missed especially in recent games with players playing out of position. Rose dropped to the bench. Tafazolli also returned to the side in place of Collins, who had had a poor couple of games. Two crucial players returning to the side. Finally Westcarr started in place of Nathan Thomas who dropped out of the 18. The Stags lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Jack Thomas (right), Baxendale (centre) and Westcarr (left) just behind Green, and Chapman and Clements behind the three attacking midfielders. Adi Yussuf is out injured for 3 weeks and dropped out of the 18. Stevenage were unchanged from the wide that drew with Leyton Orient, with Jamie McCombe, brother of John McCombe, in central defence; former Sheffield United and Leeds player Michael Tonge in midfield, and Jamille Matt, who used to play for Kidderminster up front. Chesterfield loanee Armand Gnanduillet was on the bench.

Before the game, a rallying call from manager Adam Murray in a pre-recorded message broadcast over the tannoy, that seemed to received well by most. listen to it here.

Stevenage started the game better. On 7 minutes, the first passage of good play from Mansfield as Baxendale fed Adams on the left and his cross was cleared. Then on 10 minutes Baxendale broke into the area and his soft shot was straight at the keeper.

A free kick for Stevenage on 12 minutes as Charlie Lee was fouled by Pearce 22 yards from goal just to the left of centre. Michael Tonge took the kick and crashed a fine effort against the right post with Jensen beaten. Hard luck for the visitors and a let-off for the Stags, though of course the Stags themselves have hit the woodwork several times in recent games. Moments later, a Stevenage shot looked to hit Pearce’s hand in the box, with Pearce looking the other way and the shot blasted at him from close range. Nevertheless his arm was raised and we’ve seen them given, though it would have been a very harsh decision to give a penalty.

On 14 minutes, Jack Thomas lost the ball, but did well to immediately win it back. A minute later, half a chance for the Stags as a loose ball in the Stevenage box was cleared just before Green got there and with the keeper out of position.

Great play by Green on 17 minutes with a fine run forward, and a powerful left footed shot which went straight into the keeper’s midriff.

On 18 minutes, McFadzean went down just inside the area, claiming a penalty. The referee gave a free kick for diving, yet bizarrely didn’t produce a yellow card. On 21 minutes, a good run by Gordon into the area, and Stevenage had a man over in a 2-on-1 situation, but Adams did brilliantly to hold him off. Gordon then went down with a dive. A minute later, Henry crossed high from the right and Lee headed well over. Moments later, Lee found McFadzean whose low shot was saved by Jensen. On 25 minutes, Gordon burst down the right again and more good work by Adams who blocked his cross.

A chance for the Stags on 26 minutes, as Chapman dinked a lovely cross into the box and Clements headed towards the roof of the net where the keeper tipped it over.

The Stags could have scored on 27 minutes. Baxendale squared to Westcarr who was about to shoot when the ball was brilliantly taken off his toe. A minute later, Adams cut in from the left and sent a right-footed shot over the bar.

On 30 minutes, Tonge crossed a free kick from the right and Jensen did well to punch away.

Good defending by Pearce on 33 minutes as Jamille Matt broke down the left.

On 38 minutes, Franks went down in the Stags area holding his face. The referee gave him a long lecture for play-acting but didn’t produce a card.

The Stags had gradually worked their way into the game and took the lead on 42 minutes. Clements was brought down by Franks on the edge of the area right in front of goal. Video evidence shows the foul was actually on the line, so the referee made the correct call. Clements took the free kick himself and fired into the top left corner, his second goal from a free-kick in consecutive games. Another superb goal. Worth noting that the Stevenage players complained that the wall was pushed too far back. Looking at the video: the kick was taken from the edge of the box, and the wall was a yard outside the six yard box, so the wall was indeed pushed 11 yards back instead of 10.

A minute later at the other end a great tackle by Clements, tracking back.

So the Stags in front at the break, and a great time to score.

Half time 1-0

The Stags made a change at half time with Reggie Lambe replacing Jack Thomas. Lambe had played very well in the previous two games, and was probably unlucky not to have started the game.

On 48 minutes, the hapless Gordon fired over the stand at the Quarry Lane end following a corner. He had a dreadful game.

On 50 minutes, a short throw from Adams was back to him, and he fired in a low shot which was partially blocked taking all the sting out of it, and through to the keeper. Good play by Baxendale on 52 minutes, which ended with a cross from the right which was chested down and cleared by the defence.

The Stags could have increased the lead on 54 minutes. Green robbed McCombe on the left, cut along the byline and tried to shoot from an acute angle, with the keeper saving with his legs at the near post. It looked impossible for Green to score from that angle, and with Lambe and Baxendale in space, a pull-back would have been a better option, but Green probably had on his mind last week’s game when he tried to square to Lambe from a similar position and his pass was intercepted.

The Stags came very close again on 56 minutes, following a Chapman corner as Westcarr’s fine shot was blocked for another corner. Following that next corner, Lambe sent a left-footed shot just over the bar, a good effort.

Stevenage reminded the Stags they were still in the game going close themselves on 59 minutes as a cross from the right by Gordon was headed wide at the far post by Franks.

Westcarr should have scored on 60 minutes when he broke into the area in a 1-on-1 situation directly in front of goal, after Green flicked on a Jensen goalkick, but somehow he couldn’t beat the keeper, who saved his shot from close range.

Clements was booked for a foul on the Stevenage left. Tonge fired the resulting free-kick straight at Jensen from 25 yards.

A catalogue of chances for the Stags on 62 minutes with players failing to pull the trigger. Pearce beat his man a couple of times but couldn’t get in a shot. Moments later Baxendale made a great break, passed to Green who fed Clements, unmarked on the edge of the box and inexplicably Clements didn’t shoot. It was on a plate for him.

On 65 minutes, more good play from Baxendale, who fed Westcarr on the byline, Westcarr crossed, Green was unmarked and got in a header which was cleared.

A rare Stevenage break, and Pett broke forward and shot wide.

Mansfield doubled the lead on 65 minutes. Baxendale curled a wonderful shot into the bottom right corner from 20 yards after a lay-off from Matt Green. That’s how to announce yourself on your debut!

On 67 minutes, a ball over the top for Green but he couldn’t make anything of it, though did win a throw-in. A minute later, Westcarr crossed from the right, but the Stags couldn’t get in a header.

Rose replaced Westcarr on 69 minutes.

On 73 minutes, another free-kick for Stevenage from the left and Jensen got in a good punch away.

On 74 minutes, Stevenage sub Gnanduillet sent a powerful shot straight at Jensen. A minute later, Charlie Lee shot high and wide from a difficult position on the left.

The Stags nearly made it 3-0 on 78 minutes. Adams crossed superbly from the left and Rose had a free header at the far post which he powered at the keeper who made a reflex save from point blank range to deny him. Rose couldn’t force the rebound home as it was blocked by a defender.

Yet another Stevenage free-kick from the left was headed away on 80 minutes.

At the other end on 81 minutes Rose played the ball down the line on the right to Green, who chipped over the keeper and over the bar from a tight angle.

A chance for Stevenage to pull a goal back on 87 minutes as a shot was blocked and then Conlon curled just over the bar.

Baxendale came off on 87 minutes to a standing ovation, to be replaced by Blair.

Good play by Rose on the right and a good run down the right wing by Green on 90 minutes, he cut inside and fired in a fine left footed shot on target which the keeper palmed away.

Four minutes of stoppage time was signalled. The Stags were awarded a corner in the 4th minute, but elected not to play it into the middle and instead run the clock down. The Stags lost the ball, Stevenage broke to the far end. From the resulting pressure, and with 90+5 minutes now played, Gnanduillet scored a consolation as he fired home from close range after Jensen had saved his first effort.

So the Stags complete the double over Stevenage. Stevenage looked an improved side from the side we beat earlier in the season and the result could have been different today if the first half free-kick had given them the lead. A welcome home win for the Stags, which on the balance of play was certainly deserved. Onwards to Wimbledon next week, and high time we beat a team in the top half of the table. But for now, we can just enjoy being back right on the edge of the play-offs.

Man of the match: James Baxendale

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

Line Up:
Jensen 7 Some decisive punches from crosses and solid shot-stopping.
Hunt 7.5 Made such a difference to the side. Solid. Some good distribution, and read the game very well.
Pearce 7 Some good defending, and looked solid.
Tafazolli 7 Great to see him back, and continuing the partnership with Pearce. Solid performance.
Adams 7.5 Did well, plenty of good defending, and some good crosses.
Chapman 6.5 One or two good pieces of play. Gave nothing away in a position that would put the opposition on the front foot.
Clements 7.5 Wonderful goal from a free-kick which he won.
Jack Thomas 6 Quiet first half. Subbed at half time.
Baxendale 8 Great goal on his debut, and plenty of other good pieces play to set up half-chances.
Westcarr 6 One good shot that was blocked, but two good openings that he didn’t make the most of.
Green 7 Two good efforts that he created for himself and fired at the keeper. Pass for Baxendale for his goal. Caught offside too often.
Sub Line Up:
Lambe (for J.Thomas, 46) 6.5 Good shot just over the bar.
Rose (for Westcarr, 69) - Should have scored with header at the far post.
Blair (for Baxendale, 87) -
Subs not used: Shearer, Collins, McGuire, Beardsley.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Day; Henry, McCombe, Franks, Ogilvie; Gordon (Conlon 69'), Tonge, Pett, McFadzean (Gnanduillet); Lee, Matt. Subs not used: Crowe, Hughes, Johnson, Gorman, Akinyemi.
David Webb 6 Very generous in not booking McFadzean and Franks.

Season 15/16 Reports