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Season 17/18 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Crawley Town  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
McNerney 63, Meite 90+2
Attendance: 1791 (229 from Mansfield)
Date: 9 December 2017


Martin Shaw at Broadfield Stadium

Mansfield Town’s 12 match unbeaten run in all competitions is over with a 2-0 defeat at Crawley this afternoon. The Stags lacked any sort of quality going forward and rarely looked like scoring after a terrible miss just 3 minutes into the game by CJ Hamilton having gone around the goalkeeper. Crawley provided a rare moment of quality in the game to take the lead on 63 minutes as Jordan Roberts, who showed real quality against us last season, put in a wonderful cross and Joe McNerney powered home a great header. The Stags pushed more and more bodies forward as the game wore on, but without any quality to create goalscoring chances, and kept getting caught on the break by Crawley who missed several opportunities to extend the lead outnumbering Mansfield as they broke forward. It came as no surprise when Crawley added a second goal 2 minutes into stoppage time with another break as sub Ibrahim Meite rounded Conrad Logan to score. Mansfield did have a goal disallowed on 90+5 minutes, I haven’t seen the video yet to understand why it was disallowed, but it was too little too late anyway. Mansfield badly missed the injured Joel Byrom (who according to Stags boss Steve Evans during the week should be fit for next Saturday) in midfield, and Jacob Mellis too. In hindsight, it would have been better not to play Mellis at Blackpool in the Checkatrade Trophy and keep him fresh for this game instead, (Evans has previously said that 2 games in 3 days is too much for Mellis). Mansfield are also missing Kane Hemmings, who was really hitting form before he got injured. Hemmings would have played here but felt his calf in training on Friday. Steve Evans pulled no punches after the game saying that Crawley deserved to win and his team didn’t show up. The Stags are outside the play-offs on goal difference, and 5 points outside the top 3. Mansfield have back to back home games against Yeovil and Morecambe coming up and need to bounce back from this disappointing result. I’m expecting Mansfield to win those games and be inside the play-off zone at Christmas.

Steve Evans named the same side and formation that beat Guiseley in the FA Cup last weekend. Evans said that Kane Hemmings would have played here but felt his calf in training on Friday. He presumably would have replaced Jimmy Spencer, who despite his hat-trick against Guiseley, was poor at Blackpool on Wednesday in the Checkatrade Trophy, twice gifting chances to Blackpool with poor marking, one of which was converted.

Steve Evans was leading his Mansfield side for the third time against his former side Crawley, where he had so much success raising them from the Conference to the verge of League One.

There was a minute’s applause before the game for Dermot Drummy, who died recently. Drummy was the Crawley manager last season for Steve Evans’ first game as Mansfield manager.

It was a cold day in West Sussex, but with none of the snow that had fallen further north. From pitchside, it was noticeable how long the grass had been left by the groundsman.

Mansfield were off to a fast start, pinning Crawley back.

Mansfield should have been ahead after 3 minutes. Johnny Hunt slid a good ball forward to Jimmy Spencer with his back to goal, 25 yards out. Spencer turned and played a great ball to Hamilton who nicked the ball past the keeper, but from the corner of the six yard box on the right, he rolled a shot goalwards so softly that defender Mark Connolly had time to get back and clear off the line. Hamilton was probably slightly off balance as he shot, but he really should have scored.

On 6 minutes, a MacDonald corner from the right and time stood still with the ball on the edge of the six yard box waiting for someone to strike it. Bennett was the closest Stags player to it, but it was actually behind him and he didn’t know where it was until it had been cleared.

The Crawley defence was at 6’s and 7’s.

Crawley started to get a slight foothold in the game, without creating any danger for the Stags.

On 18 minutes, a really good cross from MacDonald into a great area, but the keeper grabbed it with Spencer unable to get there.

On 19 minutes, a first chance for Crawley as Jordan Roberts sent a right footed shot over the stand, as Hunt did well to challenge and put him off.

Crawley claimed a penalty on 20 minutes. Atkinson had his pocket picked, Crawley pushed forward into the area, and Atkinson was chasing back and was behind Mark Randall as he went down in the area. Stags fan John Peers, who was close to the incident, texted in to the commentary that it wasn’t a penalty and Randall was looking to go down. From the video, it looks like Randall was indeed looking to go down and there was no contact.

Atkinson gave the ball away again on 24 minutes, but was got out of jail as Diamond was fouled.

On 26 minutes, White went down in the area as Payne left his leg there. It didn’t look like a penalty and the referee waved play on. From the video, there was no contact and it was a dive by White.

A minute later at the other end, a quick free kick from former Woking midfielder Josh Payne to Roberts, who sent a low shot well wide.

On 31 minutes, MacDonald’s long throw from the right was flicked on and just wide of the far post for a corner. At the other end on 33 minutes, Randall shot over the bar and over the stand.

On 37 minutes, Jordan Roberts tried his luck wither yet another shot, this time from 25 yards, and this time he was only just over the bar. Logan was unhappy with his defence for letting Roberts get another shot in. He scored with a great goal against us last season.

A strange moment on 38 minutes. Jordan Roberts slid a ball forward down the left for Boldewijn. In real time, Boldewijn appeared to be just offside. The video shows it was a fraction offside. The linesman flagged for offside from the far side. Roberts fell over Diamond’s leg as the ball went forward. The referee waved away the linesman’s flag, and allowed play to carry on as Boldewijn carried on into the area, cut inside White and shot goalwards from 9 yards. Logan did well to turn the shot wide and immediately pointed to the linesman’s flag. But the referee, instead of pulling it back for offside, pulled play back and gave Crawley a free kick for what he believed was a foul by Diamond.

On 43 minutes, Anderson put in a good ball from the right, and the keeper Morris made a wonderful catch.

Level at the break, and a fair scoreline. Crawley’s defence had been at 6’s and 7’s early on but Mansfield failed to capitalise. Mansfield didn’t do enough after that period and Crawley had come right into the game.

Half time 0-0

On 47 minutes, Josh Payne’s shot from 30 yards was blocked.

Spencer gave away an unnecessary free kick 30 yards from his own goal on 48 minutes. Payne sent the free kick over the bar.

MacDonald whipped across a dangerous ball across the six yard box on 50 minutes, but no-one was there.

It was MacDonald’s turn to give away an unnecessary free kick on 53 minutes, level with the penalty spot of his own area on Crawley’s right. MacDonald was booked. Randall laid a clever square ball into the box where Payne ran towards the ball and fired only just over the bar from 12 yards. That was close, and a clever free kick.

A rare half chance for the Stags on 56 minutes, as Rose crossed from the right and Hamilton tried a half-volley at the far post but missed his kick. Poor from Hamilton.

Angol replaced Spencer on 59 minutes. Spencer played a good ball to Hamilton after 3 minutes but had been quite poor after that.

Good defending by Bennett on 62 minutes as he tackled Roberts as Roberts attacked down the left.

Crawley took the lead after 63 minutes. Jordan Roberts’ corner from the right, was played back to him by Randall, Roberts whipped in a fabulous cross which was attacked by Joe McNerney who powered home a great header. McNerney got away from his marker Rhys Bennett. I’ve seen McNerney do that many times for Woking in the past and he is a master at ghosting in and powering home headers. McNerney had come on as sub at half time for the injured centre half Connolly which really worked in Crawley’s favour.

On 66 minutes, a poor clearance from Logan was nearly charged down but he got away with it.

Anderson made a great break down the right on 68 minutes but his cross didn’t beat the first man.

Butcher replaced Hamilton on 69 minutes. Hamilton is very much a “confidence player”. I suspect the 3rd minute miss affected him. I would have taken him off at half time. He had a poor game today.

On 71 minutes, good defending by Diamond inside his own half.

Mansfield were having plenty of possession but doing nothing creative with it.

Payne was wide and over the bar from 30 yards on 73 minutes.

On 74 minutes, MacDonald pushed forward and shot goalwards from 28 yards but it was straight at the keeper.

Pearce replaced Hunt on 75 minutes. Mansfield switched to 3 at the back, as White moved to right wing back, and MacDonald surprisingly to left wing back.

On 80 minutes, a MacDonald throw into the area and Stags players appealed for handball in the Crawley penalty area but the referee played on. From the video, the ball hit Jimmy Smith on the arm, but he couldn’t have known anything about it and no penalty was the correct decision.

At the other end on 82 minutes, Roberts turned and shot well wide.

By now, Diamond was operating up front for Mansfield.

A rare chance for the Stags on 85 minutes. White’s ball in from the right, was cleared by McNerney as far as Pearce, 12 yards out on the right. Pearce’s powerful shot hit McNerney and rebounded away.

Payne shot from 25 yards straight at Logan on 86 minutes. Payne and Roberts had been firing in shots all afternoon from long distance.

Crawley were regularly catching Mansfield on the break by now, and on 87 minutes, from another break, a great tackle by Pearce as Crawley had players over. Then on 89 minutes, another break as Young crossed in and Atkinson got back to put behind for a corner.

It came as no surprise when Crawley added a second goal 2 minutes into stoppage time. White gave the ball away on the halfway line, and Randall slid a good ball forward for sub Ibrahim Meite to run onto and round Conrad Logan to score.

Mansfield did have a goal disallowed on 90+5 minutes. MacDonald’s free kick from 38 yards into the box was headed in to his own net by Yorwerth under pressure from Angol. Looking at the video, there was some grappling off the ball between White and Young, and from where the referee insisted the resulting free kick was taken right on the edge of the box, that appears to be the reason that the referee disallowed it. But it was too little too late anyway.

Pearce made a good tackle on Roberts on 90+6, but got injured in the process.

A really disappointing result and performance for Mansfield (not the worst performance of the season, we were worse against Cheltenham and Swindon for sure). There just wasn’t enough quality from the Stags. If we can get Byrom and Mellis back in the team next Saturday, with Hemmings up front with Rose, I would expect much more quality.

Man of the match: Alex MacDonald

Report by: Martin Shaw at Broadfield Stadium

Line Up:
Logan 6 One good save. Not at fault for either goal in my opinion.
White 5.5 Gave the ball away as Crawley scored the second goal.
Diamond 6 Did ok.
Bennett 5.5 McNerney got away from him to score the first goal. Some good defending.
Hunt 6.5 Good ball in the build-up to Hamilton’s miss. Good challenge on Roberts as he was about to shoot.
Anderson 5.5 A couple of good runs down the right, one good cross, one bad cross.
Atkinson 5 Gave the ball away twice in dangerous areas in the first half.
MacDonald 7 Some good crosses. The most likely source of something creative.
Hamilton 5 Very much a “confidence player”. I suspect the 3rd minute miss affected him. He had a poor game today.
Spencer 5.5 Played a good ball to Hamilton after 3 minutes but was quite poor after that.
Rose 5.5 Worked hard but contributed little.
Sub Line Up:
Angol (for Spencer, 59 mins) - Didn’t get into the game at all.
Butcher (for Hamilton, 69 mins) -
Pearce (for Hunt, 75 mins) -
Subs not used: Olejnik, Digby, Mellis, Sterling-James.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Morris; Lelan, Yorwerth, Connolly (McNerney, 46), Evina; Young, Payne, Smith, Randall (Bulman 90+1); Boldewijn (Meite, 87); Roberts. Subs not used: Mersin, Lewis, Doherty, Verheydt.
Gavin Ward 6 Made a pig’s ear of the incident where Boldewijn was flagged offside, but otherwise had a reasonable game.

Season 17/18 Reports