Holmes 87. Wilson sent off 90+3
Attendance: 3608 (360 from Exeter)
Date: 28 October 2017
STAGS LEFT FRUSTRATED BY DRAW WITH EXETER
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town were denied victory by an 86th minute Exeter equaliser in a one-side game at the One Call Stadium this afternoon. Mansfield played some of their best football of the season, with Jacob Mellis, Joel Byrom, Alex MacDonald and CJ Hamilton responsible for plenty of outstanding approach play The Stags led after 18 minutes when Kane Hemmings side-footed home after a terrific run down the left and slide-rule ball in from the excellent Mellis. The Stags had so many gilt-edged chances to bury Exeter, who were completely on the rack for a large part of the second half. Great play by Hamilton set up a chance for Mellis which was cleared off the line, then fine play by Alex MacDonald put Hemmings through 1-1 with the keeper, but his shot was half-saved by the keeper and then cleared off the line by a defender. And Rhys Bennett’s header from a corner was also cleared off the line. Conrad Logan nearly scored a remarkable goal from 75 yards, seeing the keeper off his line, his free kick was tipped over the bar by the back-peddling goalkeeper. The Stags needed that second goal but just couldn’t find it and Exeter, having been battered for so long, found an undeserved equaliser on 87 minutes when sub Liam McAlinden’s shot was well saved by Logan, but fellow sub Lee Holmes swept the rebound into the net from 14 yards. The Stags were left so deflated and it was Exeter who remarkably nearly won the game on 90+4 minutes when a free kick from the right was knocked goalwards at the far post by sub Jordan Storey and Logan did well to push wide for a corner. So frustrating for Mansfield who played so well but failure to convert a host of chances was very costly. A miserable October in the league for Mansfield with just 3 points from 5 games, yet today’s performances shows that if Mansfield can be more clinical in front of goal, they are capable of mounting a promotion challenge. Exeter somehow continue their remarkable record of losing just 1 of their last 15 games at Mansfield.
Five players who impressed in Mansfield’s free flowing win in the Checkatrade Trophy at Notts County came in to the side that drew at Newport: Anderson at right back, Benning at left back, Byrom and Mellis in central midfield, Hamilton on the left wing. One or two players were ruled out of contention with slight illness including Potter. Rose and Hemmings continued up front from the team that played at Newport, as did MacDonald in midfield.
Mansfield’s recent record at home against Exeter was terrible, with the Stags winning just 1 of the last 14 games here. Exeter arrived having been in the top two for most of the season, but having dropped to 4th after two defeats and a draw in their last 3 games.
It was a windy but fine day. Exeter had the wind behind them in the first half, and it picked up more in the second half when Mansfield had the wind behind them. It’s rare to see a good game football played in the wind, but this was one.
The Stags were off to a positive start and created a chance inside the opening 19 seconds. A great move down the left involving Hamilton and Mellis, who played in to Rose who turned the ball into the side netting.
On 4 minutes, MacDonald crossed in from the right, to Hamilton who laid off to Mellis whose low shot from 18 yards was straight at the keeper.
Logan did well on 7 minutes. Firstly he pushed away a cross from the right with Edwards waiting to head in at the far post, then he saved with his legs from Edwards’s low shot.
Great play from Mansfield on 9 minutes, a wonderful crossfield ball from Mellis, to Anderson, who put in a fine cross, but it was headed out for a corner.
On 11 minutes, Rose was fouled ten yards outside the area on the right hand side. Byrom’s free kick was flicked on and cleared for a throw-in. Benning’s long throw was flicked on by Rose, wide of the right post.
On 13 minutes, Reid’s low shot from 30 yards was easily saved by Logan.
On 16 minutes, MacDonald crossed from the right, and Bennett’s header was deflected for a corner. The resulting corner was taken short by MacDonald to Byrom, back to MacDonald, to Benning, who curled a shot wide of the right post.
The Stags were in front on 18 minutes. Rose was fouled on the halfway line, but the referee played an advantage as Hemmings found Mellis who made a great run down the left, and sent in a sliderule pass back to Hemmings who side-footed in from 6 yards. Hemmings’s first goal at home. Great play by Mellis. A great advantage by the referee.
On 27 minutes, another good move from the Stags, MacDonald played the ball to his right for Hamilton who had a chance to shoot at goal from the edge of the area but took it wider on the right, then played across goal and it was cleared.
On 30 minutes, Lloyd James fired a shot from 25 yards straight at Logan.
Mellis put in a good challenge inside his own half on 32 minutes.
Kane Wilson was booked for an elbow in Rose’s face on 37 minutes. That could have been a straight red. Just two minutes later, Wilson fouled Hamilton and escaped again as the referee didn’t produce a second yellow card.
Yet another good move from the Stags on 42 minutes, with Mellis on the right finding MacDonald but his cross was too close to the keeper. On 45 minutes, another great move from the Stags as Benning burst into the area but didn’t get a shot in, laid off to Mellis and the ball was cleared.
A terrific first half from Mansfield, with Mellis, Byrom and Hamilton in fine form, and a great reception from the fans at half time.
Half time 1-0
On 49 minutes, Logan did well to dive at the feet of Edwards as he forced his way into the area.
Another great move from Mansfield on 50 minutes, Benning to Mellis, back to Benning, who won a corner.
On 53 minutes, Rose tried an effort from a tight angle but it was blocked for throw-in.
More great play from Mansfield on 54 minutes, Hamilton to Benning back to Hamilton, who tried to find Rose but it didn’t quite reach him.
Rose was booked for a sliding tackle on 55 minutes, where he won the ball. Great tackle. Bad decision.
The Stags nearly made it 2-0 on 58 minutes. Great play from Hamilton on the left as he got to the byline and pulled back to Mellis, who side-footed shot from 12 yards was brilliantly cleared off the line by Moxey with the keeper beaten. So close but Mellis should have scored.
MacDonald put in a good tackle from behind, winning the ball, and the referee again gave a foul, but this time he didn’t book MacDonald. The referee came over to talk to an angry Steve Evans as Raynor made a signal of the ball to show the referee that MacDonald won the ball, as had Rose earlier.
The Stags again should have made it 2-0 on 62 minutes. Great play from MacDonald to win the ball with brute strength, and he slid a wonderful ball forward to put Hemmings clean through in a 1-on-1 with the keeper. Hemmings shot, the keeper half-saved allowing enough time for a defender to clear off the line. Hemmings said after the game that he made the wrong decision and should have gone around the keeper.
A minute later, a long throw from Anderson, Rose flicked on, and defender Troy Brown headed over his own bar. From the resulting corner, Hamilton headed up, and Mellis shot wide of the left post.
Exeter were completely on the rack, and all at sea.
On 66 minutes, Hamilton got past two defenders on the left into the area, but couldn’t get a shot in. A minute later, Rose fired in a great shot from 30 yards, and the keeper pushed wide of the left post.
Another clearance off the line on 68 minutes, as Bennett headed down from MacDonald’s cross from the left, and Troy Brown hacked away.
It was clear that the Stags needed that second goal, but it just wouldn’t come. The Stags were camped in Exeter’s half.
On 70 minutes, Exeter sub Holmes got into the area and Logan made a fine save. It was the first time Exeter had been out of their half for 20 minutes.
On 71 minutes, Hamilton did well on the left, and the Exeter clearance then nearly gifted the ball to Rose, but not quite.
Rose had a shot at goal after the whistle for offside, unwise when he was already on a booking, but he got away with it. Then Hemmings was booked on 71 minutes for kicking the ball away.
On 74 minutes, Hamilton shot from 30 yards and it was deflected for a corner. MacDonald put in a great corner which the keeper claimed on his line.
Spencer replaced Hemmings on 78 minutes.
MacDonald cleared away a shot from Moore-Taylor following an Exeter corner on 81 minutes. Suddenly from nowhere, Exeter had a second wind and looked capable of threatening the Stags goal.
Mansfield almost had an unlikely goal hero on 82 minutes, as Logan nearly scored a remarkable goal from 75 yards, seeing the keeper off his line, his free kick was tipped over the bar by the back-peddling goalkeeper.
Atkinson replaced Mellis on 83 minutes. Mellis got a great reception for a wonderful performance and he limped off with a slight injury.
Byrom was booked for kicking the ball away on 83 minutes.
The Stags had needed that second goal but just couldn’t find it and Exeter, having been battered for so long, found an undeserved equaliser on 87 minutes when sub McAlinden’s curling shot from 18 yards was well saved by Logan, but fellow sub Holmes swept the rebound into the net from 17 yards.
Angol replaced Rose on 87 minutes.
Kane Wilson was sent off on 90+3 minutes for a second yellow card for kicking the ball away after a foul on Spencer. He should have been sent off in the first half.
The Stags were left so deflated and it was Exeter who remarkably nearly won the game on 90+4 minutes when a free kick from the right by Holmes was headed goalwards at the far post by sub Jordan Storey and Logan did well to push wide for a corner.
So frustrating for Mansfield who played so well but failure to convert a host of chances was very costly. Plenty of applause from desperately frustrated Stags fans at the final whistle, who appreciated the excellent football.
So what changed in the latter stages of the game? Well, Exeter's best player Lee Holmes came off the bench in the last half hour as he was returning from injury. Whilst Byrom and Mellis got tired and injured respectively. In almost every game of football you ever see, even if a team is completely outplayed, that team will have a spell during the game. Exeter's was the final few minutes. The game should have been sewn up by then. It wasn't. That's the main reason why we didn't win.
Man of the match: Jacob Mellis
Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
(4-4-2, diamond formation in midfield):
Logan 7 Good double save in the first half, and good save in stoppage to preserve a point. Nearly scored a remarkable goal from 75 yards with quick and clever thinking. For the goal, he made a good save, but pushed it back into the danger area where Holmes fired in from 17 yards.
Anderson 7 Some good crosses. Defended well when he had to.
Pearce 7 Solid.
Bennett 7 Solid.
Benning 6.5 Some good play going forward. But Exeter got around him on their right in the last 10 minutes. The dilemma continues, should we play Hunt as the better defender, or Benning who’s better going forward?
Byrom 8 As at Notts County, showed again what we’ve missed whilst he’s been out.
MacDonald 8 Great play to set up the Hemmings 1-on-1. Involved in plenty of great approach play.
Hamilton 8 Several outstanding pieces of play, including setting up the chance for Mellis which was cleared off the line.
Mellis 8 Great assist for the goal. Some outstanding approach play. Should have scored when his side-footed shot was cleared off the line.
Rose 7 Good shot from 30 yards pushed away by the keeper. Battled hard.
Hemmings 7.5 Took his goal well. Should have scored when through 1-on-1 with the keeper. Good game otherwise.
Sub Line Up:
Spencer (for Hemmings, 78 mins) -
Atkinson (for Mellis, 83 mins) -
Angol (for Rose, 87 mins).
Subs not used: Olejnik, Digby, Butcher, Sterling-James.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Pym; Wilson, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Moxey; James (McAlinden, 71), Boateng, Taylor, Edwards; Reid (Storey, 90) Stockley (Holmes, 63). Subs not used: Hamon, Jay, Byrne, Sparkes
Anthony Backhouse 5.5 Great advantage played for the Mansfield goal. Plenty of poor decisions after that including the booking of Rose.