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Season 16/17 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League Cup - Round 1
Mansfield Town  
1 - 3
 Blackburn Rovers
M.Rose 48.
 Stokes 29, 55, Duffy 53.
Attendance: 2885 (566 from Blackburn)
Date: 9 August 2016


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town put in a good performance in the first round of the League Cup at home to Championship side Blackburn Rovers, but were beaten 3-1 as two goals in 2 minutes in the second half killed the Stags off just after Mitch Rose had deservedly drawn the Stags level. Blackburn led in the first half through a fortunate shot from Anthony Stokes that would have been straight at Scott Shearer but for a deflection of Lee Collins.

Anyone who watched Adam Murray’s video interview on Monday on StagsPlayerHD would have been left in no doubt that he was prioritising the league over the league cup, and I expected more than the 4 changes he made for yesterday’s game. Rested were Saturday’s three goalscorers Green, Danny Rose and Hurst. With Pat Hoban out injured, Murray started with no recognised strikers, and instead played CJ Hamilton up front, with Hemmings and Baxendale either side and just behind. In some respects it worked well and Mansfield played some good football, but they undoubtedly missed a cutting edge in attack. Hamilton showed great pace up front and created two excellent chances for himself in the opening 15 minutes, but fired wide on both occasions. Mansfield also went close in the first half through Chris Clements with two long range shots and a header, and a crisp strike from Mal Benning. Mansfield’s football was pleasing on the eye in the first half, and Shearer just had one save to make, getting down low to save from the impressive Stokes, who also scored the goal, though it wouldn’t have beaten Shearer without a deflection from Collins. Stokes, the former Hibs striker, oozed Championship class, as did the much travelled Danny Graham, and Ben Marshall, but the Stags matched them. After Mitch Rose had levelled for Mansfield heading in from a Benning cross that was headed on by Hamilton, Blackburn went up the gears and scored twice in two minutes, on 53 and 55 minutes to seal the game. Mansfield generally defended well through the game, but these two goals were disappointing with a header from a corner then a header from a cross. Murray brought on Green and Danny Rose for the final 20 minutes but the Stags were unable to get back into the game.

Adam Murray made 4 changes to the side that won at Newport. With Saturday/Tuesday/Saturday/Tuesday matches, Murray wanted to keep some players fresh and elected to make 4 changes. Taft, Hurst, Danny Rose and Green dropped to the bench. In came Kyle Howkins, for his first start, on loan from West Brom, at centre half, Baxendale, Hemmings and Hamilton. Hamilton played up front, with Hemmings and Baxendale either side and just behind. Pearce and Jack Thomas remain injured, Hoban joined them on the injury list, and Henderson is a couple of weeks away from match fitness. Blackburn made 5 changes from the side that lost to Norwich in the Championship in Saturday.

Mansfield made a positive start. On 2 minutes, Hamilton showed great pace down the left and got into a shooting position, but completely miscued wide of the left post. Shearer was called into action on 6 minutes, Chapman gave the ball away, and Marshall sent in a low shot from the right, Shearer made a great save low down. On 9 minutes a 25 yard shot from Leniham was straight at Shearer. Then on 10 minutes, a Blackburn cross, and a great header away by Howkins.

On 13 minutes, Clements tried his luck from 26 yards and was just wide of the left post, a decent effort which he caught cleanly.

Another great chance for the Stags on 14 minutes, Hamilton cut inside from the right, onto his left foot, but pulled his shot wide. Three minutes later, Hamilton had a shot blocked, out to Baxendale, whose shot was also blocked, after Blackburn had given the ball away.

On 18 minutes, Benning won a free kick 27 yards from goal, to the left of centre. Clements curled the free kick just wide of the left post.

The Stags were playing some nice football.

On 23 minutes, a rare mistake from Bennett as he tried to play back to Shearer and it was only just cleared by Shearer.

On 24 minutes, Benning was well wide from long range.

Out of the blue and against the run of play, Blackburn took the lead on 29 minutes. Anthony Stokes got into the area, following a Stags throw-in, and fired straight towards Shearer, but it took a deflection off Lee Collins, which took it into the right corner of the net. Fortunate for Stokes as Shearer would surely have saved it.

On 30 minutes, Bennett floated to the far post, and Clements glanced a flying header wide.

The Stags were still passing it nicely, despite the blow of the goal.

On 39 minutes, Benning curled wide of the right post from the left, it was only a yard or so wide.

Good applause for the Stags at the break, for a good performance. The Stags had created several chances, and the football was pleasing on the eye. Blackburn scored a fluke, with a rare chance, and Shearer had made one good save.

Half time 0-1

On 47 minutes, Lenihan was well wide from 30 yards.

Mansfield were deservedly level on 48 minutes. Nice play from Clements, to find Baxendale on the left. Baxendale played back to Benning, who stood up a cross to the far post, headed on by Hamilton, and Mitch Rose looped a header into the top right corner of the net from 8 yards.

On 52 minutes, Danny Graham miscued wide of the right post, after Bennett gave the ball away.

But Blackburn went up the gears and scored twice in two minutes.

On 53 minutes, Graham chested down to Stokes whose shot was deflected wide of the right post. From the resulting corner from the right by Conway, Shane Duffy lost his marker Howkins to powerfully head home from 8 yards.

And on 55 minutes, it was 3-1. Marshall crossed from the right, and Stokes got away from his marker Collins and ahead of Shearer, to head home from 4 yards at the near post. I initially thought that Shearer might have come for it but from studying the video from two angles, I don’t think he could reasonably have done so as the cross hadn’t even reached the near post when it was headed in.

On 59 minutes, Marshall cut inside from the right, fired in a left footed shot, which Shearer parried up in the air and then caught.

A good passage of play from the Stags on 64 minutes, ended with Baxendale firing over from 25 yards. Blackburn broke to the far end, Graham played back to Marshall, whose low shot was straight at Shearer. On 69 minutes, Chapman was wide of the right post from 25 yards.

Green and Danny Rose replaced Hamilton and Baxendale on 70 minutes.

Benning was wide from 30 yards on 74 minutes, he struck it well after he been teed up by Clements.

Hakeem replaced Clements on 75 minutes.

On 86 minutes, a Blackburn clearance came out to Chapman who hit a sweet shot from distance but it was wide.

On 88 minutes, Benning fired a free kick from 25 yards out, right of centre, straight at the keeper. Straight to the other end, and great play from Stokes, turning one way then the other, and firing a shot that was deflected onto the underside of the bar, and back down into Shearer’s arms. On 90+2, Byrne to Feeney, whose low shot was well saved by Shearer.

On 90+3 minutes, Danny Rose got into the area on the left, and his right foot shot was deflected for a corner. But the full time whistle went before the corner was taken.

The Stags had matched Blackburn for most of the game, and the team got a good ovation at the final whistle for a good performance. If the Stags had played Green and Danny Rose in the first half, who knows, the result may have been different with the chances that were created. In the end Blackburn deserved their win having gone up through the gears in the second half. Back to the league on Saturday, and the visit of Cheltenham, relegated two years ago, and promoted back at the first attempt.

Man of the match: Mitch Rose

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

Line Up:
Shearer 6.5 Two good saves low down. I initially thought he could have come for the third goal but from studying the video from two angles, I don’t think he could reasonably have done so as the cross hadn’t even reached the near post when it was headed in. Basically no chance with the goals.
Bennett 6.5 One good cross for a Clements header. One dangerous back-pass and gave the ball away on another occasion leading to a chance for Graham.
Howkins 6.5 One good early header to clear danger. Lost his man Duffy for the second goal. Sponsors’ man of the match.
Collins 6.5 Lost his man Stokes for the third goal. Unlucky with the deflection off him for the first goal.
Benning 6.5 Good cross for the goal. Tried his luck with several crisp shots.
Chapman 6.5 Some good defensive work and clearances. Gave the ball away leading to a chance for Marshall.
Baxendale 6 Some nice touches.
M.Rose 7 Scored with a good header.
Clements 7 Went close with two long range shots and a header.
Hemmings 7 Decent game.
Hamilton 7 Played out of position up front. Showed great pace and created two excellent chances for himself, but fired wide on both occasions.
Sub Line Up:
Green (for Hamilton, 70 mins) -
D.Rose (for Baxendale, 70 mins) -
Hakeem (for Clements, 75 mins) -
Subs not used: Jensen, Taft, McGuire, Hurst.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Steele; Lowe, Duffy, Greer, Hendrie (Henley 72); Marshall, Lenihan, Byrne, Conway (Feeney 68); Graham (Mahoney 80), Stokes. Subs not used: Raya, Akpan, Guthrie, Wharton.
Stephen Martin 7 Handled the game well.

Season 16/17 Reports