Mugabi 17, Zoko pen 57.
Angol 49, 76, Hemmings pen 70.
Attendance: 3500 (338 from Mansfield)
Date: 28 April 2018
ANGOL INSPIRES STAGS COMEBACK AS HOPES REMAIN ALIVE
Martin Shaw at Huish Park
Mansfield Town came from behind twice to win 3-2 at Yeovil Town in an epic second half in which substitute Lee Angol was the Stags hero. The Stags trailed 1-0 at half time as Bevis Mugabi headed home from a corner, and with Coventry romping to victory at Cheltenham, the Stags’ season was heading towards a limp end after a poor half from Mansfield. The goal had come as Mugabi escaped from his marker Kane Hemmings. But incredible drama followed in one of the most exciting halves of football of the season. On 46 minutes, Mal Benning crossed from the left and Danny Rose somehow ballooned over the bar with the whole goal gaping in front of him. A terrible miss. On 49 minutes, the Stags were level. Good play from Hemmings getting down the left, his cross into the middle squirmed up into the air off keeper Krysiak under pressure from Rose, and Lee Angol knocked into the net from 6 yards despite not getting a clean connection on it and despite a defender attempting to clear off the line. The Stags had the momentum but Yeovil were back in front on 57 minutes, as referee Charles Breakspear awarded Yeovil a penalty as Krystian Pearce knocked Omar Sowunmi over from a corner. From the video, it looks like Pearce deliberately barged Sowunmi over without attempting to get to the ball so we can have few complaints. Francois Zoko sent Conrad Logan the wrong way from the spot. On 64 minutes, Rose was wide again, this time a more difficult chance volleying wide of the left post from the right. Mansfield were level on 70 minutes. Alex MacDonald was fouled 26 yards from the goal. Angol took the resulting free kick and his shot was blocked by the arm of Lewis Wing, whose arm was in front of his face as he jumped into the air. Referee Breakspear correctly awarded a penalty. Hemmings showed nerves of steel to fire into the bottom left corner of the net despite Krysiak diving the right way. On 76 minutes, the Stags were ahead. CJ Hamilton was fouled just outside the box to the left of centre. Angol again took the free kick and this time smacked a magnificent shot into the net off the underside of the bar. It was Mansfield’s first goal direct from a free kick outside the box since early last season (at Accrington, September 2016, by Chris Clements, BEFORE Steve Evans took over). On 88 minutes Yeovil wanted a penalty when Zoko went down in the area, but Breakspear was unmoved. Yeovil manager Darren Wey was unhappy afterwards that it wasn’t given. I’ve studied our pitchside video footage, albeit from the far end of the pitch: Zoko appeared to put his arms around Paul Digby and fall to the ground. So a good decision from the referee. During 9 minutes of added time, which became more than 10 minutes, Yeovil were reduced to 10 men when Sowunmi was sent off. He’d been booked earlier and then he was lucky to escape a second yellow card on 89 minutes as he brought down Danny Rose when Rose would have had a run on goal albeit from the half way line. Generosity from the referee on that occasion, but the referee had no choice but to send Sowunmi off on 90+7 minutes when he fouled Angol. So a great performance from Mansfield in the second half with Lee Angol making all the difference scoring twice and earning a penalty, but overall there was determination from the Stags to force victory and more of the same will be needed next week against Crawley, hopefully for 90 minutes on this occasion rather than 45 minutes. Results elsewhere, with Coventry romping to victory at Cheltenham, while Lincoln lost at Accrington, mean that Mansfield are three points behind both Coventry and Lincoln going into the final match of the season. If Mansfield beat Crawley, then we will reach the play-offs if EITHER Coventry lose at home to Morecambe OR Lincoln lose at home to Yeovil. You’d have to say that Coventry and Lincoln will be expected to pick up at least a point each, but strange things can happen under the pressure of the final day of the season, and the Stags have kept themselves in it with this exciting victory which was appreciated by the travelling Stags fans who enjoyed the second half comeback.
There’s an unfortunate irony in the sending-off of Sowunmi. He is a big unit at centre half, and will miss the game against Lincoln, which could give Lincoln a big advantage as they will no doubt be pumping high balls up to Matt Rhead and maybe Ollie Palmer as well, plus Luke Waterfall from set pieces.
Mansfield made one change to the side that drew with Port Vale. CJ Hamilton dropped to the bench, and in came Jacob Mellis. Slightly surprising for Hamilton to be dropped, with news this week that he had signed a new two year contract and having been one of the better attacking players last week. MacDonald moved to the left side of midfield, with Atkinson and Mellis in the middle, and Potter on the right. Paul Digby continued at right back having done well there last week before surprisingly being subbed. There was one change in the 18 man squad with Byrom coming in for Anderson. Both Anderson and Byrom however are clearly out of favour with the new manager. White and Miller were still out injured. Young Jordan Graham continued on the bench.
Yeovil included former Stags striker Alex Fisher up front. It was the first time he had played against Mansfield since leaving. A nicer bloke you could not meet and I caught up with him after the game. Oscar Gobern, who played briefly at Mansfield under Adam Murray, was on the bench.
It was a nice sunny day in Somerset.
The Stags following of 338 including 40 Stags fans who were celebrating the life of Chris Taylor, the legendary Stags fan who organised away travel for many years and who is sadly no longer with us.
In the first 45 seconds, the Stags were on the attack and space opened up for MacDonald, who shot wide from 28 yards.
On 4 minutes a chance for the Stags. Benning’s corner from the right to the near post was met by the head of Digby and he sent his header into the side netting. So poor have Mansfield’s set pieces been in recent times that this was much more encouraging.
Alex Fisher was booked for a foul on Mellis on the halfway line on 9 minutes. Digby took the resulting free kick high into the area and Rose headed tamely wide. At the other end a minute later, Mellis put in a great tackle on the edge of his own area.
It had been a good start from Mansfield in the opening 10 minutes, but it was to go downhill for the rest of the half.
On 15 minutes, Zoko got past Bennett too easily but Pearce got back well to clear the danger.
The Stags were behind on 17 minutes. A corner from the left from Otis Khan was met by Bevis Mugabi who headed home from 5 yards. Mugabi had escaped from his marker Kane Hemmings. Poor from the Stags and there was an inquest amongst the players.
On 21 minutes, Benning’s free kick into the box was headed forward by Pearce, but Bennett was offside as he knocked the ball over the bar anyway.
A moment that summed up hapless Mansfield’s first half on 22 minutes as Atkinson and MacDonald got in each other’s way.
More dreadful stuff on 26 minutes. The Stags were on the attack, MacDonald lost the ball putting Yeovil on the attack, MacDonald chased back and fouled Zoko from behind, picking up an inevitable booking.
Rose went down with a head injury and was treated for some considerable time, but was eventually able to play on.
Hamilton replaced Potter on 34 minutes. A tactical change as Flitcroft explained later, with Potter not really getting into the game and Flitcroft realising he should have started Hamilton.
On 45 minutes the Stags gave away a needless throw-in. Frustration from the players at their own performance was summed up as Mellis booted the ball into the advertising hoardings.
Finally a good move from the Stags on 45+2 minutes, between Hamilton and Hemmings on the left, and a shot from Hemmings from blocked.
So 1-0 to Yeovil at the break and between the 10th minute and stoppage time Mansfield had not been good enough. John and Carolyn had asked for the players to play as if their lives depended on it. They hadn’t, although it was not a lack of effort, it was a lack of quality.
Half time 1-0
Lee Angol replaced Will Atkinson at the start of the second half. The Stags switched to three up front, with Hemmings on the left and Rose on the right.
On 46 minutes, Benning crossed from the left and Danny Rose somehow ballooned over the bar with the whole goal gaping in front of him. A terrible miss. Rose hasn’t scored since Evans left and has missed some good chances in that period.
On 49 minutes, the Stags were level. A great tackle from MacDonald, who fed Hemmings. Good play from Hemmings getting down the left, his cross into the middle squirmed up into the air off keeper Krysiak under pressure from Rose, and Lee Angol knocked into the net from 6 yards despite not getting a clean connection on it and despite a defender attempting to clear off the line.
Benning was booked for a foul on Zoko on 55 minutes.
The Stags had the momentum but Yeovil were back in front on 57 minutes. It stemmed from a low free kick 35 yards out from Tom James, which Logan spilled and Benning did superbly to clear for a corner before any Yeovil player could knock in the rebound. Much better defending from the Stags than we saw in a similar incident at Luton. But from the corner, referee Charles Breakspear awarded Yeovil a penalty as Pearce knocked Sowunmi over. From the video, it looks like Pearce deliberately barged Sowunmi over without attempting to get to the ball so we can have few complaints. Zoko sent Logan the wrong way from the spot. Pearce was booked in the aftermath.
On 61 minutes, Fisher dragged a shot well wide from 35 yards.
On 63 minutes, Benning crossed from the left, it came out to MacDonald with all the time in the world and 25 yards out, but he fired well wide.
On 64 minutes, Rose was wide again, this time a more difficult chance volleying wide of the left post from the right. That came after Bennett headed on a corner, the corner having been won by Hamilton after a good move.
At the other end a minute later, Khan’s corner was headed away by Pearce, and Wing fired well wide.
Mansfield were level on 70 minutes. MacDonald was fouled 26 yards from goal, by Surridge. Angol took the resulting free kick and his shot was blocked by the arm of Wing, whose arm was in front of his face as he jumped into the air. Referee Breakspear correctly awarded a penalty. Hemmings showed nerves of steel to fire into the bottom left corner of the net despite Krysiak diving the right way.
More poor keeping from Logan on 71 minutes. Another shot from James was parried by Logan and it was Bennett this time who cleared before any Yeovil player could pick up the pieces.
A minute later at the other end, Hemmings crossed from the left, and Angol should have scored at the right post but miscued wide. A bad miss by Angol.
On 76 minutes, the Stags were ahead. Hamilton was fouled just outside the box to the left of centre. Angol again took the free kick and this time smacked a magnificent shot into the net off the underside of the bar. It was Mansfield’s first goal direct from a free kick outside the box since early last season (at Accrington, September 2016, by Chris Clements, BEFORE Steve Evans took over).
On 79 minutes, Hemmings on the right found Hamilton whose sweet volley was blocked. At the other end, Benning did well to deflect a shot from sub Rhys Browne over the bar. Then on 81 minutes, Wing shot well wide of the right post.
It was frantic stuff.
On 82 minutes, Hemmings crossed in and it was cleared. At the other end, a shot from Surridge was tame and Logan saved easily.
A good ball forward from Rose on 84 minutes nearly put Angol in but the keeper was out quickly to claim. Then Wing crossed in high and Surridge headed well wide of the right post.
On 88 minutes Yeovil wanted a penalty when Zoko went down in the area, but Breakspear was unmoved. Yeovil manager Darren Wey was unhappy afterwards that it wasn’t given. I’ve studied our pitchside video footage, albeit from the far end of the pitch: Zoko appeared to put his arms around Paul Digby and fall to the ground. So a good decision from the referee.
During 9 minutes of added time, which became more than 10 minutes, Yeovil were reduced to 10 men when Sowunmi was sent off. He’d been booked earlier and then he was lucky to escape a second yellow card on 89 minutes as he brought down Danny Rose when Rose would have had a run on goal albeit from the half way line. Generosity from the referee on that occasion, but the referee had no choice but to send Sowunmi off on 90+7 minutes when he fouled Angol.
Earlier in stoppage time, King had replaced the limping Digby on 90+1 minutes. Angol was booked on 90+4 minutes.
Two half chances for Yeovil on 90+5 and 90+6 minutes. First Wing headed well wide from Khan’s free kick, then Khan headed well over from Mugabi’s high ball pumped into the box.
So the Stags ran out deserved winners and some good scenes at the end as players and fans celebrated the win. A great second half performance from Mansfield. One more game to go: another win needed at home to Crawley when hopefully Stags fans will turn out in numbers, and some help needed from either Morecambe or Yeovil.
Man of the match: Lee Angol
FOOTNOTE: PLAYER OF THE SEASON SO FAR
Following this game, and with just one game to go during the regular season, these are my average player ratings based on the 54 league+cup games so far this season (top 9 players):
Mellis 6.94, MacDonald 6.88, Potter 6.83, Diamond 6.83, Hamilton 6.80, Benning 6.80, Logan 6.75, Pearce 6.74, Rose 6.73.
Note: only ratings for players starting a game are included - ie. sub appearances not included.
Minimum appearances: 15.
Mellis has started fewer than half of Mansfield’s games this season (26 out of the 54 games played). He has been consistent in that he has had a rating higher than 6 in 20 of his 26 games started.
MacDonald has been a player who has covered every blade of grass on the pitch. His form tailed off after Evans left (he is not alone in that). His goal return of just 3, including the memorable one away to Coventry, is disappointing, while his set pieces have also been disappointing. From open play, he has been very good.
It may be a bit of a surprise to see Potter towards the top of the list (he’s also at the top of the list for fans’ average ratings, see below). However he has only started 20 games out of the 54 played this season, and of those 20 games, Mansfield won 12. That suggests he should have started more.
Diamond, the club captain, has also started fewer than half of Mansfield’s games this season (21 out of the 54 games played). Had a stinker at home to Crewe (he wasn’t alone) when he was subbed early but otherwise has been good in the games he’s played.
Hamilton has come on leaps and bounds this season, creating shed-loads of chances from his pacey runs down the left. Still room for improvement in his final product, but it has got so much better this season. I still believe he may earn the club a lot of money one day and I’ll be looking for my cut :-)
Benning lost his place during the season a couple of times to Hunt, but has mostly been consistent and is ending the season in top form, with a memorable winner at Chesterfield.
Logan has saved Mansfield on many occasions this season with fabulous saves. Kicking has been excellent too. Some costly errors started to creep into his game towards the end of the season.
Pearce has been commanding in the air and good on the floor and a rock in central defence. Like his central defensive partner Bennett, his goal return of just 2 for the season has been disappointing.
Rose is the top scorer with 17 goals, but his season stalled after Evans left not scoring under Flitcroft. Good in the air, with lots of goals from headers and with both feet too.
As an interesting aside, my average player ratings just for the 43 league+cup games played under Steve Evans were (top 9 players):
Potter 7.19, MacDonald 7.15, Mellis 7.00, Diamond 7.00, Rose 6.97, Hamilton 6.92, Pearce 6.85, Benning 6.83, Logan 6.81.
Thanks to Pete Wright for his spreadsheet.
On the Stagsnet messageboard, throughout the season, fans have been giving their player ratings for each game. Eggy has been working hard to collect this data and Pete Wright has summarised. Up to the Luton away game, the top 4 players were: Potter 7.30, MacDonald 7.12, Pearce 7.06, Diamond 7.05.
Many thanks to Eggy and Pete for their hard work on this, and to all the fans who have entered their ratings. This data will be updated by Pete and Eggy shortly as we reach the end of the season.
Report by: Martin Shaw at Huish Park
Logan 5.5 Spilled two shots and his defence rescued him.
Digby 7 Solid game at right back. Unlucky with a header into the side netting.
Pearce 5.5 Gave away the penalty with a deliberate barge on Sowunmi. Otherwise defended well.
Bennett 6 One good clearance. Rescued by Pearce on one occasion.
Benning 7.5 Superb clearance to rescue Logan. One good block. Some good crosses from open play and set pieces.
Potter 5 Didn’t get into the game and subbed after 34 minutes.
Atkinson 5.5 Quiet first half. Subbed at half time.
Mellis 7.5 Fine game, even in the first half. One fine tackle tracking back.
MacDonald 6.5 Poor first half. But good second half, winning the ball in the build-up to the first goal, and winning that foul that led to the penalty.
Rose 5 One terrible miss and one bad miss. Hasn’t scored since Evans left and has missed some good chances in that period.
Hemmings 7 Excellent penalty out of the keeper’s reach. Good play in the build-up to the first goal. But he lost his man for Yeovil’s first goal.
Sub Line Up:
Hamilton (for Potter, 34 mins) 7 Perked things up when he came on as sub creating a chance with Hemmings. Won the free-kick which led to the winner.
Angol (for Atkinson, 46 mins) 9 What an impact, two goals, the winner being absolutely magnificent, and won the penalty as well.
King (for Digby, 90+1 mins) -
Subs not used: Olejnik, Hunt, Byrom, Jordan Graham.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Krysiak; Mugabi, Donnellan, Sowunmi, James; Green (Browne 63), Connor Smith (Bird 80), Wing, Khan; Zoko, Fisher (Surridge 67). Subs not used: Phillips, Nathan Smith, Gobern, Seager.
Charles Breakspear 8 Got both penalties right in my opinion, and correctly turned down a late penalty for Yeovil. Also correctly gave the two free kicks just outside the area which were taken by Angol. So you’d have to say he had a fine game, despite the post-match comments from Yeovil manager Darren Wey.