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Season 17/18 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Cheltenham Town  
3 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Graham 51, Morrell 70, Wright 88
Attendance: 2480 (204 from Mansfield)
Date: 26 September 2017


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Whaddon Road

Mansfield were well-beaten 3-0 at Cheltenham this evening. The Stags had played well for 30 minutes in the first half, creating a number of chances, mostly thanks to excellent play from Jacob Mellis. But Cheltenham were unlucky not to take the lead on 43 minutes hitting the post and having a goal disallowed seconds later. And the second half was a horror show from the Stags with Cheltenham scoring 3 and it could have been more, as they also hit the post again, Logan made saves and there were clearances off the line. There was controversy when the home side made it 2-0 on 70 minutes as Stags sub Sterling-James appeared to be fouled 30 yards from his own goal. The referee didn’t give a foul, the Stags players stopped expecting the free kick, meanwhile Morrell simply swept a shot low into the bottom right corner from 25 yards, with Logan watching it. I thought it should have been a free kick for the Stags, but that does not excuse the Stags who stopped playing and allowing the free shot into the net. Poor from the Stags who should have known better and played to the whistle. Schoolboy error. Steve Evans was sent to the stands soon afterwards, and several Stags players were booked on the night. A very bad night at the office for Mansfield after a promising first half, but we move on. Saturday is another day as Notts County come to Mansfield for the big local derby, and the Stags will be looking for an improved performance. Credit to Cheltenham, who produced an outstanding second 45 minutes and final 5 minutes of the first half.

Mansfield made five changes from the side that beat Cambridge. Hayden White had a slight knee injury. Steve Evans was hopeful he will be recovered in time for Saturday. In came Rhys Bennett. Up front, Lee Angol not surprisingly came in for Kane Hemmings. Jacob Mellis started in place of Butcher, after Mellis’s impressive display as sub on Saturday. Will Atkinson replaced MacDonald on the wing, in Steve Evans’ words to freshen things up. Paul Anderson came in for Potter. Anderson played on the right, and Atkinson on the left, in contrast to the sides they have normally played this season.

The pitch at Whaddon Road was like a bowling green, in stark contrast to last season. It was a pleasant evening in Gloucestershire.

Cheltenham started the brighter in the first couple of minutes.

On 5 minutes, a shot from Angol took a deflection for a corner, after Mellis had done well to win the ball.

On 6 minutes, Mirfin made a mess of a clearance, Mo Eisa got the ball on the left to Graham who chipped over the bar from the left as Logan came out to narrow the angle.

On 8 minutes, a free kick for the Stags 35 yards out. Mellis wasted it with a poor kick out for a goal kick.

The Stags should have been ahead on 11 minutes. Mellis won the ball in his own half, and broke into the Cheltenham half with a wonderful run, before feeding Angol on the edge of the area with a perfect pass. Angol had a great chance but his shot was deflected just wide for a corner by Pell who slid in with a great challenge. Superb play from Mellis to set up the chance.

A good tackle by Pearce on 14 minutes. Or so it seemed to us. But the referee gave a free kick. 29 yards from goal from the Stags goal. Morrell’s chipped the free kick to Eisa on the left in the area, who got in a shot but it was blocked.

Another magnificent run by Mellis on 18 minutes, and another good ball to Angol to the right of centre. Angol cut onto his left foot then right foot and his shot was blocked. Again superb from Mellis.

Another chance for the Stags on 24 minutes. Angol chested down to Rose, who sent a low shot from 22 yards, just wide of the left post. A minute later at the other end, Morrell’s freekick from 35 yards, was toe-poked just wide in a scramble but the offside flag was up.

Another chance for Rose on 27 minutes as Mellis played the ball forward to Rose, who sent a low shot across the keeper and just wide of the left post on the turn. More fine play from Mellis.

A great challenge by Atkinson to put the ball behind for a corner on 30 minutes.

Angol created a half chance for himself on 32 minutes, as he won the ball then got to the edge of the area and his shot was blocked.

A double chance for Mansfield on 35 minutes. Angol drove forward into the box and had a shot blocked, Anderson’s cross back in was then headed out to Mellis whose shot was blocked.

On 37 minutes, Mellis’s corner was cleared out to Anderson who sent a 40 yard dipping shot on to the roof of the net.

Mansfield had been on top for half an hour with some promising play and several chances, but Cheltenham nearly took the lead on 43 minutes. Dawson’s free kick from just inside the Mansfield half was headed against the post by O’Shaughnessy, the rebound was flicked back across the goal and knocked over the line from a yard out by Grimes, but the linesman’s flag was up for offside against Grimes. Lucky for Mansfield.

On 45+2 minutes, a good header away by Bennett. Bennett and Mirfin had done several good headers away in the first half. Two minutes later, a risky challenge by Pearce on Pell in the area, but the referee gave a goal kick.

Digby was booked for a foul on Eisa on the halfway line on 45+4 minutes.

0-0 at the break. The Stags had the better of the half, including being right on top for 30 minutes, with Mellis superbly creating four chances, two for Angol and one for Rose. Cheltenham finished the half strongly and were unlucky not to take the lead after hitting the post and then immediately having a goal ruled out for offside on 43 minutes.

Half time 0-0

Not at all bad from the Stags in the first half, but no Stags fan could have expected the dreadful performance that was to follow in the second half.

On 50 minutes, Digby fouled Eisa 22 yards out on the left hand side. Digby had already been booked in the first half and needed to be careful.

From the resulting free kick, Cheltenham were in front on 51 minutes. A great delivery in from Morrell, and Brian Graham headed in.

On 54 minutes, Eisa played the ball across the goal to Winchester, who side-stepped Hunt, and fired over from a tight angle.

Digby committed a second foul since his yellow card on 56 minutes, and was now walking a tightrope. Then Logan was booked for an off-the-ball incident spotted by the linesman.

A double change for the Stags on 58 minutes, as MacDonald and Butcher replaced Anderson and Digby. Digby was walking a tightrope.

Cheltenham were now right on top.

On 63 minutes, Logan saved very well from Morrell, before Hunt cleared off the line from Dawson’s header.

On 65 minutes, a brilliant half-volley from Pell from 25 yards thundered against the Stags post. So unlucky for Cheltenham.

The Stags were hanging on.

Omari-Sterling-James replaced Angol on 68 minutes.

Soon afterwards, Logan saved with his boot from Eisa.

Cheltenham made it 2-0 on 70 minutes in controversial circumstances. Sterling-James appeared to be fouled 30 yards from his own goal. The referee didn’t give a foul, the Stags players stopped expecting the free kick, meanwhile Morrell simply swept a shot low into the bottom right corner from 25 yards, with Logan watching it. The referee gave the goal. Stags players were furious. Sterling-James was so annoyed he seemed to push the referee and was immediately booked, and another Stags player was booked by the referee (I couldn’t tell who it was, but apparently it was Rose). I thought it should have been a free kick for the Stags, but that does not excuse the Stags who stopping playing and allowing the free shot into the net. Poor from the Stags who should have known better and played to the whistle. Schoolboy error.

On 73 minutes, MacDonald to Sterling-James back to MacDonald who sent a terrible shot miles high and wide.

Steve Evans was sent to the stand on 75 minutes, presumably incensed by the second goal. He had been spoken to by the ref in the first half.

On 77 minutes, Storer played a great ball across the Stags six yard box through everyone and out for a goal kick.

On 83 minutes, Bennett slipped inside his own area, presenting a chance to sub Danny Wright but the ball bounced off Wright and straight at Logan.

The Stags at last created a chance in the second half on 85 minutes, as Mellis teed up Rose inside the box, and he side-footed wide of the left post.

It was 3-0 on 88 minutes. Sub Sellars played the ball to Wright, who was onside, and slid his shot under Logan into the net after Logan had tried to narrow the angle.

On 89 minutes, Rose flicked on to Sterling-James who got to the edge of the area, and fired in a good low shot, but the keeper saved at full stretch. Rose got to the rebound to stab goalwards but the keeper saved from close range.

On 90+1 minutes, Pell shot just wide of the right post from 20 yards, as Logan didn’t move.

A great save from Logan on 90+2 minutes to push Sellars’ deflected shot wide for a corner. From the corner, Wright headed down and Logan pushed away.

Full time and the Stags were beaten 3-0. After the whistle, Mellis was booked for pushing a Cheltenham player. The Stags had lost their composure on a really bad night.

On to Saturday and the big local derby with Notts County. I expect a good performance on Saturday from Mansfield: after the last defeat (at Accrington) we came back with a really good performance against Luton.

Footnote: Having watched the game back again 24 hours on, what a Jekyll & Hyde performance that was. There was some really good stuff in the first half with Mellis very good in creating four first half chances (and he created a fifth in the second half).
The second half was just so abysmal from Mansfield. I hope I don't see us play that badly again this season. But credit to Cheltenham who played some outstanding stuff.

Man of the match: Jacob Mellis, created five chances

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Whaddon Road

Line Up:
Logan 6 Three good saves. But like the rest of the team, stopped playing for the 2nd goal which was simply a schoolboy error.
Bennett 5 Good first half with some good headers away. Poor error in the 2nd half when he gifted Wright a chance as he slipped. Lost his man and let him get a header back in which was half cleared in the build up to the 2nd goal.
Pearce 5 Poor game.
Mirfin 5 Appealed for offside rather than try to get back to deny Wright for the 3rd goal. Made a mess of a first half clearance which led to a chance for Graham. Some good headers away in the first half.
Hunt 6 One good clearance off the line.
Digby 6 Booked at the end of the 1st half and walked a tightrope as he committed 2 more fouls. He was actually subbed before the team performance dropped to abysmal levels.
Anderson 5 Did not affect the game enough.
Mellis 8 Created five chances, four in an excellent first half performance.
Atkinson 5 One great challenge, but aside from that he was anonymous.
Angol 5 Had some good chances. Had he taken one, things could have been so different.
Rose 5 Two difficult chances in the first half. Also fired wide in the second half.
Sub Line Up:
MacDonald (for Anderson, 58 mins) 5 One terrible shot.
Butcher (for Digby, 58 mins) 5 After his wonderful debut at Carlisle, he is taking a long time to get back up to speed, considering the CV he came with.
Sterling-James (for Angol, 68 mins) - One pretty good shot.
Subs not used: Olejnik, Potter, Spencer, Hemmings.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-3-3): Flinders; Winchester, Moore, Grimes, O’Shaughnessy; Pell, Storer, Morrell; Dawson (Hinds, 87), Graham (Wright, 79), Eisa (Sellers, 87). Subs not used: Flatt, Atangana, Boyle, Davey.
Brett Huxtable 5 Missed the clear foul on Sterling-James which directly led to the second goal, though the Stags should not have stopped.

Season 17/18 Reports