Atkinson sent off 42
Attendance: 6208 (320 from Mansfield)
Date: 20 October 2018
TEN MAN STAGS EARN BATTLING POINT AT SWINDON
Martin Shaw at the County Ground
Mansfield Town fought hard to earn a battling and deserved draw at Swindon Town this afternoon after going down to 10 men on 42 minutes when Will Atkinson was sent off for two yellow cards, the second of which was a poor decision from the referee. It was Mansfield’s first sending-off this season. Atkinson had already been booked for a late tackle on Matt Taylor on 31 minutes, the correct decision from the referee. On 42 minutes, Atkinson and Keshi Anderson battled for the ball near the touchline in the Swindon half. There was the slightest of touches by Atkinson on Anderson, a foul but no more than that, and a ludicrous decision from referee Antony Coggins to produce a yellow then red card. The referee was to litter the game with more execrable decisions, none more so than on 88 minutes when he stopped play for a foul by a Mansfield player when Swindon sub Iandolo was clean through 1-on-1 with Bobby Olejnik. And then on 90+4 minutes, CJ Hamilton was fouled as he ran at goal, he stayed on his feet but lost a bit of momentum and was well-tackled by keeper Vigouroux. But rather than pull the play back for the foul, the referee allowed play to continue, Swindon broke straight to the other end and Bobby Olejnik was forced to make a good save from Keshi Anderson. Referee Coggins has now refereed two Stags games and sent Stags players off in each game (the other being Pearce at Forest Green last season, though no argument over that decision).
The Stags had started the game much the better for the opening 30 minutes, creating four chances to Swindon’s none, including Rose forcing the keeper into a good save with a diving header. Swindon created their first chance on 36 minutes, as Olejnik saved by Adebayo’s downward header, then Olejnik blocked Keshi Anderson’s shot when through 1-on-1. The Stags switched to a 4-3-2 formation and it was effective in keeping the Stags in the game, such that you wouldn’t have known which side was a man down. The Stags went close to going in front on 67 minutes when sub Tyler Walker curled a shot wide via a deflection off a Swindon defender though the hapless referee gave a goal-kick. At the other end on 69 minutes, a great chance for Swindon as Adebayo knocked wide at the far post after a great cross from Jermaine McGlashan. The ever-impressive Matt Taylor nearly scored from a free kick from 26 yards on 82 minutes, as he fired towards the near post, and Olejnik did well to get down and push it on to the post and behind for a corner. Well it should have been a corner, but the referee gave a goalkick. The game finished with that foul on Hamilton and the save from Olejnik at the other end on 90+4 minutes.
So a sixth consecutive away draw for Mansfield, setting a new club record, beating five set twice previously in 1949 and 2011. The five draws at Yeovil, Tranmere, Macclesfield, Cambridge and Bury felt disappointing though and felt like points dropped. This one felt like a fine battling point from a difficult situation.
If we add in the two wins and a draw in the final three games of last season, the Stags are unbeaten away from home for 9 games, which is a club record in the Football League (though one less than the 10 games unbeaten away in the Conference in 2011).
Mansfield have now gone 11 games without a win at Swindon. The last win at Swindon was all the way back in 1977, the season we were promoted to the second tier of England football, with a single goal from Colin Foster.
For the second away game running, David Flitcroft was back at his old club where he was previously manager. Probably the first time that has happened to a Stags manager (two away games running), though it would be a very long night if one was to attempt to check that! A section of Swindon fans chanted “Stand up if you hate Flitcroft”. I couldn’t see many Swindon supporters stand up. Jake Garner from Radio Nottingham told me he saw about 20 stand up. To put it in context, Timi Elsnik was also booed by a section of Swindon fans. Elsnik was on loan at Swindon last season. Swindon manager Phil Brown elected not to take Elsnik back on loan for this season. Why would you boo a young player in that situation?
Update: I studied the footage from both cameras of when the group of Swindon fans chanted "stand up if you hate Flitcroft". As the camera pans around, almost nobody stands up. A classic case of the noisy 50 not representing the 6,000 fans in the ground.
The Stags made two changes from the side that drew at Bury in the last league game. Neal Bishop was suspended for one game. Tyler Walker was dropped for the first time in a league game. In came Will Atkinson and Jacob Mellis. It was a 3-4-2-1 formation. Atkinson at right wing-back. Hamilton and Khan either side of and just behind Danny Rose up front. Craig Davies and Alex MacDonald remained out through injury. Hayden White, who had made his comeback from injury in the Checkatrade Trophy against Wolves U21, was out with a different injury, this time a slight quad injury, though he could be back very soon. Both Matt Preston and Timi Elsnik were returning to the side they played for last season.
The Stags move on to Morecambe on Tuesday, and have to start winning. A draw at Morecambe would certainly feel like a defeat.
As an aside, I realised yesterday that it’s just over 20 years since I started doing match reports on Stagsnet. Almost every game for the past 18 years. Every game for the past 6 years. Thank you for reading.
Thanks to Paul Taylor for today’s historical stats plus stats on the referee.
It was a lovely sunny day in Wiltshire.
On 2 minutes, Swindon keeper Vigouroux kicked the ball from his hands, it hit Rose who was standing in front of him and didn’t move. The referee gave a free kick. The first of many poor decisions that were to follow.
The first chance of the game came on 9 minutes. A good run by Hamilton to the byline on the right, and his cross was put behind for a corner. Khan’s corner came out to Preston, who fired goalwards from 17 yards with a good connection but it was straight at the keeper.
Great play by Elsnik on 14 minutes as he pushed forward, lifted the ball to Rose, who headed inside to Hamilton. Hamilton’s first touch was good putting him into a shooting position just inside the area, but he fired well over the bar. A super move spoiled by a poor finish.
On 23 minutes, a great turn by Rose on the left, he laid off to Benning, who in turn found Khan who squared to Mellis, who shot well wide.
A fourth chance for Mansfield on 25 minutes, and the best of the lot. The Stags had been good going forward and on another run by Elsnik, he was tripped. Diagouraga was booked. Khan took the resulting free kick, from 35 yards out, dinked it into the box, and Rose got in a diving header that was goalbound but tipped over by the keeper. A super save, a good header and a good free kick from Khan.
Atkinson, having earlier been clattered by Marc Richards with a dreadful challenge that saw Richards booked, committed a similarly bad late challenge on Matt Taylor, on 31 minutes. Atkinson was rightly booked.
The Stags had completely bossed the game up til now. But on 36 minutes, Swindon created their first chance. Matt Taylor’s free kick from 45 yards was dinked into the box, Adebayo headed down and Olejnik saved on his line. Then on 37 minutes, Olejnik blocked Keshi Anderson’s shot when through 1-on-1. More good alert keeping from Olejnik.
A good tackle by Preston on 40 minutes.
Then on 42 minutes came that execrable red card decision. Atkinson and Keshi Anderson battled for the ball near the touchline in the Swindon half. There was the slightest of touches by Atkinson on Anderson, a foul but no more than that, and a ludicrous decision from referee Antony Coggins to produce a yellow then red card.
On 44 minutes, Matt Taylor crossed from the left, and Alzate flicked wide of the near post. A great tackle by Sweeney on 45+1 minutes.
No goals the break. The Stags had been on top for 30 minutes, creating 4 chances to Swindon’s none. Swindon then created a couple of chances before that game-changing red card.
Half time 0-0
Tyler Walker replaced Khan for the second half. The Stags switched to a 4-3-2 formation and it was effective in keeping the Stags in the game, such that you wouldn’t have known which side was a man down. Preston was at right back. Hamilton was in right midfield, with Elsnik and Mellis also in midfield. Walker joined Rose up front.
On 47 minutes, Abebayo got to the byline, pulled the ball back and Anderson fired wide via a deflection. Good defending from Benning to prevent him getting in a clean shot.
A great break by Hamilton on 49 minutes down the right. He cut inside and his left footed shot was blocked out to Rose, who fired over the bar from 30 yards.
On 51 minutes, Elsnik’s low corner reached Preston who knocked an effort well wide.
Preston was booked for a foul on Adebayo on 56 minutes as Adebayo tried to cut inside.
Pearce was fouled 26 yards from the Swindon goal on 59 minutes. Mellis took the resulting free kick but fired over the bar.
On 60 minutes, another great cross from Matt Taylor, and Richards headed straight at Olejnik though the offside flag was already up.
Nelson was booked for Swindon on 61 minutes, another harsh yellow card. Following the resulting free kick, Rose crossed from the left and Taylor headed just over his own bar.
Sweeney was booked on 64 minutes, for a foul on Anderson.
The Stags went close to going in front on 67 minutes when sub Walker curled a shot wide from 18 yards via a deflection off a Swindon defender though the hapless referee gave a goal-kick. The chance came after Benning found Rose with a throw-in and Rose laid off to Walker. Rose was warned for protesting against the goal-kick.
Moments later, a good tackle by Preston,
On 68 minutes, a soft shot by Woolery straight at Olejnik. Then on 69 minutes, a great chance for Swindon as Adebayo knocked wide at the far post after a great cross from Jermaine McGlashan.
Mellis was booked for booting the ball away on 72 minutes. In a game where yellows were mounting up and the referee appeared capable of anything, that was silly from Mellis.
Hamilton made another great run on 75 minutes and was clearly fouled, blocked off by Lancashire. The referee said no foul.
A great cross from Matt Taylor on 76 minutes into the corridor of uncertainty, and Anderson just missed it at the far post.
Butcher replaced Elsnik on 79 minutes.
Good play by Walker on 80 minutes as he found Hamilton, who got to the byline on the right and put in a high cross to the far post where Rose headed back but it was cleared.
The ever-impressive Matt Taylor nearly scored from a free kick from 26 yards on 82 minutes, as he fired towards the near post, and Olejnik did well to get down and push it on to the post and behind for a corner. Well it should have been a corner, but the referee gave a goalkick.
On 83 minutes, a low shot from Alzate from 22 yards was comfortably pouched by Olejnik.
Olejnik punched a powerful cross over his own bar on 86 minutes. Safety first and sensible keeping.
The referee was littering the game with execrable decisions, none more so than on 88 minutes when he stopped play for a foul by a Mansfield player when Swindon sub Iandolo was clean through 1-on-1 with Olejnik.
From the resulting free kick by Taylor, Nelson headed just wide. That was close.
Butcher was booked for a bad foul on 90 minutes.
On 90+4 minutes, Hamilton powered forward. He was fouled as he ran at goal, he stayed on his feet but lost a bit of momentum and was well-tackled by keeper Vigouroux as he came out of his area. Rather than pull the play back for the foul, the referee allowed play to continue, Swindon broke straight to the other end and Olejnik was forced to make a good save from Keshi Anderson’s low shot.
The game finished with a chorus of boos from the Swindon fans.
Matt Taylor was Swindon’s best player and was named man of the match. He was good, though not as outstanding as he was twice against us last season.
Man of the match: CJ Hamilton
Report by: Martin Shaw at the County Ground
Olejnik 7.5 Good save from Anderson in the first half blocking with his body, and then another good low save from the same player in stoppage time. Did well to turn Taylor’s free kick onto the post.
Preston 7.5 Some good tackles, and solid at the back, including when he moved to right back after the sending-off. Crisp shot that was straight at the keeper. Playing against his former club, he was harshly jeered when he made a misplaced pass.
Pearce 7 Solid. One marauding run forward. Won one free kick in a great position.
Sweeney 7 One great tackle. Solid.
Atkinson 6 His first league start of the season. Clattered early by Marc Richards with a dreadful challenge that saw Richards booked. Then dished out similar treatment of his own to Matt Taylor and was rightly booked. Ludicrously booked again and sent off by the hapless referee when he made the slightest of touches on Anderson, a foul but no more than that. Will miss the game at Morecambe.
Elsnik 7 Good game against the side where he was on loan last season. Some fine surging runs in the first half. Booed by a section of Swindon fans. Swindon manager Phil Brown elected not to take Elsnik back on loan for this season. Why would you boo a young player in that situation?
Mellis 7 One shot wide and a free kick over the bar. Did well in open play. Unnecessary booking.
Benning 7 Decent game, going forward in the first half, then more defensively after the sending-off.
Hamilton 7.5 Five good runs forward. Could have been the hero with that stoppage time run forward. Got himself into a great position with a super first touch in the first half but spoiled it with a poor shot.
Khan 6.5 Delightful free kick for Rose’s header. Sacrificed at half time with the Stags down to ten men.
Rose 7 Good diving header that was saved. Involved in setting up chances for Hamilton, Mellis and Walker.
Sub Line Up:
Walker (for Khan, 46 mins) 6.5 Curled a shot wide from 18 yards. Good play to set up Hamilton for a cross.
Butcher (for Elsnik, 79 mins) -
Subs not used: Logan, Gibbens, Sterling-James, Graham, Jason Law.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2). Vigouroux; Knoyle, Lancashire, Nelson, Taylor; Keshi Anderson, Diagouraga (McGlashan 59), Doughty, Alzate; Richards (Woolery 65), Adebayo (Iandolo 75). Subs not used: McCormick, Dunne, Twine, Woolfenden.
Antony Coggins 4 A rating of 4=stinker hardly does justice to his poor performance.