{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 18/19 Stagsnet Match Report
The Emirates FA Cup - Round One
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Charlton Athletic
Hamilton 45.
 Stevenson 73
Attendance: 3240 (492 from Charlton)
Date: 11 November 2018


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town put in a terrific display against League One Charlton Athletic in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup at the One Call Stadium at lunchtime today but were unable to force what would have been a deserved victory to go through to Round Two. Instead the two teams will meet again at The Valley a week on Tuesday (20 November), which will become Mansfield’s fifth consecutive Tuesday game (with a sixth to follow the Tuesday after that against Crawley). Leading 1-0 at half time, the Stags were denied by an equaliser from Toby Stevenson on 73 minutes which TV pictures appeared to show should have been ruled out for offside. Indeed BBC TV Match of the Day pundits later concluded it was offside. The Stags took the lead on the stroke of half time with a wonderful goal by CJ Hamilton. A trademark run down the left by Hamilton into the area, and he unleashed a fabulous shot that crashed into the net off the right post. An earlier effort from Hamilton on 6 minutes had smashed against the left post and behind for a goal kick. Then, on 31 minutes, his shot, again from the left, was deflected into the side netting by defender Nabi Sarr. And on 47 minutes, Hamilton went close yet again running from the halfway line into the area on the left and forcing the keeper to tip his shot wide for a corner. There were plenty of other near misses from the Stags. Neal Bishop had a powerful shot blocked on the line by the keeper on 15 minutes. And Krystian Pearce’s goalbound header was deflected wide by Darren Pratley with the keeper out of position on 24 minutes. Then, with the score at 1-1 on 77 minutes, the Stags were denied by the woodwork for a second time in the game when Jacob Mellis fired in a shot from 22 yards which deflected off Mal Benning and agonisingly hit the right post with the keeper wrong-footed.

Charlton had chances of their own with George Lapslie side-footing wide from close range, Karlan Grant firing wide from a good position, and Nicky Ajose being denied by a brilliant save from Bobby Olejnik in a 1-on-1. But the Stags had by far the better of the chances in my opinion, with 6 near-misses compared to Charlton’s 3. Not difficult to choose a man of the match with CJ Hamilton terrorising the Charlton defence and Charlton boss Lee Bowyer picking him out for praise after the game. Mal Benning also played extremely well at left wing-back, Neal Bishop had a super game in midfield and the back three of Preston, Pearce and Sweeney played well, with Pearce in outstanding form.

This was a really good game of football between two sides who like play attractive football, and I’d expect the replay to be another entertaining game.

The game had unfortunately been moved to Sunday lunchtime on the day of the Armistice Centenary, not good timing but completely out of the control of the two clubs, for overseas TV coverage. The clubs made the best of it. Before the game, The Last Post was performed beautifully followed by minute’s silence to remember the fallen. The club had produced a commemorative poppy on a sheet of A4 card with both club badges on it, one poppy for every seat in the stadium, and every fan held theirs up as the Bugler played. It looked superb.

It was Charlton’s first visit to Mansfield for 40 years, and reduced their travelling support to under 500, from what would probably have been around 1500 I’m told. The £12,500 that the clubs got for TV coverage was scant reward for the reduced attendance.

As an aside, the game was the 31st time Mansfield Town have been shown live on TV (full list here).

Next up, the Stags play League One Scunthorpe United in just 48 hours time on Tuesday night in the Checkatrade Trophy where youngsters like Lewis Gibbens, Alistair Smith, and Jordan Graham are sure to get a game. The Stags are already through of course, and will top the group to earn a home tie in the next round with anything other than a 2 or more goal defeat.

The Stags made two changes from the side that beat Grimsby. Craig Davies and Hayden White, who were part of the team in the second half against Grimsby that turned the game around, came into the starting XI. Out went Danny Rose who dropped to the bench, and Timi Elsnik who missed out with a knock. The Stags played a 3-4-3 formation, with White at right wing-back, and a front three of Walker (right), Davies (centre), Hamilton (left). Alex MacDonald and Otis Khan remained out through injury. Charlton made nine changes to the side that beat Walsall and according to my counterparts from the Charlton commentary team, they essentially played the side that beat Stevenage 8-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy. Up front they had Karlan Grant, who had a great season for Crawley Town last season and played well against the Stags then, and Nicky Ajose, a player who Paul Cox wanted to sign when the Stags were promoted to League Two but his wage demands were way out of the league of a League Two club. Behind the front two was Northern Ireland international Jamie Ward.

It was a lovely day, mild with sunshine.

On 5 minutes, Karlan Grant did well on the left and crossed into the middle where Lapslie couldn’t get in a shot.

The Stags hit the woodwork on 6 minutes. Great play from Pearce pushing forward and knocking the ball forward to Hamilton who smashed a shot against the left post and behind for a goal kick.

Straight to the other end and Lapslie fired just over the bar from 25 yards.

On 8 minutes, White crossed from the right and Benning got in a header which was on target but an easy save for the keeper. A minute later, Mellis fired well over the bar from 30 yards and, a minute after that at the other end, Ward fired similarly well over the bar from 30 yards. On 12 minutes, a Charlton corner from the left and Pratley headed well wide.

Charlton went close on 14 minutes. Great play on the left by Grant getting past White and his low ball in was side-footed wide by Lapslie from 6 yards.

The Stags went close on 15 minutes. A corner from Mellis came out to Bishop whose powerful low shot was blocked on the line by the keeper. Straight to the other end and Grant got past Hamilton and Bishop to fire a low shot wide of the right shot.

On 18 minutes, Marshall cut inside from the right and his shot from 25 yards was well over the bar. Good interplay between Benning and Walker on 19 minutes culminated in Walker shooting from 25 yards but it was high and wide.

The Stags went close again on 24 minutes. A corner from Mellis from the left was punched up in the air by the keeper and headed goalwards by Pearce with the keeper still on the ground but Pratley deflected it wide of his own post. From the resulting corner, Preston headed well wide.

A good clearance by Pearce on 27 minutes.

The Stags went close again on 31 minutes. A good move as Mellis played the ball forward to Hamilton whose low shot from the left was deflected into the side netting by Sarr. From the resulting corner, Mellis found Benning who whipped in a fabulous cross into the danger zone but nobody was on the end of it. On 33 minutes, a corner from Mellis was knocked up in the air, Pearce turned well and volleyed over the bar.

This was really entertaining stuff.

On 36 minutes, good play on the left by Ajose and his low ball in was knocked well wide by Grant. On 40 minutes, a good run from Benning to the byline and pulled the ball back to Davies who had a chance to shoot but didn’t. Then Benning sent an ambitious shot well wide.

A good run from Hamilton on 43 minutes. He pulled the ball back to Walker who fired a first time left footed shot from 12 yards just over the bar.

The Stags were deservedly ahead on 45 minutes with a wonderful goal by CJ Hamilton. A trademark run down the left by Hamilton into the area, and he unleashed a fabulous shot that crashed into the net off the right post.

On 45+2 minutes, Hamilton pushed forward again and his shot was blocked.

The Stags ahead at the break and what a half of football it had been between two sides wanting to play attractive football. Exhilarating stuff.

Half time 1-0

On 47 minutes, Olejnik bowled the ball out to Hamilton who turned well and ran from the half way line into the area firing a low shot that was heading inside the far post before the keeper tipped it wide. Wow, stunning from Hamilton who was on fire.

Great play from Pearce on 53 minutes winning the ball and surging forward.

A brilliant run from Benning on 58 minutes from inside his own half. He found Walker who probably should have shot but instead, put in a poor cross.

Another great tackle from Pearce on 60 minutes.

Rose replaced Davies on 61 minutes.

Seconds later following a corner, Bishop got in a shot in target which was blocked.

On 64 minutes, Benning whipped in a superb free kick from the right 30 yards from goal. It curled towards the far post and just past the far post with no one able to get a touch on it.

Hamilton did well to get back and block a quick Charlton break for a corner on 67 minutes. Yet another great tackle from Pearce on 71 minutes, and a good clearance by White a minute later.

Charlton were level on 73 minutes in controversial circumstances. A cross from the left from Ajose reached Fosu beyond the far post, he knocked the ball back in and Stevenson turned it into the net from close range. Olejnik and Bishop were furious, claiming Stevenson was offside. TV footage showed it was indeed offside, a point confirmed by the pundits on BBC TV Match of the Day. Despite it being offside, it was still poor marking from the Stags at the far post allowing Fosu to have so much space. It looks like Mellis should have tracked Fosu.

Within a minute, Charlton could have been in front. Ajose was through one-on-one with Olejnik but Olejnik was out quickly to block his shot for a brilliant save. Moments later, Fosu shot straight at Olejnik.

The Stags hit the woodwork for the second time in the game on 77 minutes. Great play from Benning who found Mellis and Mellis fired in a shot from 22 yards which deflected off Benning, wrong-footing the keeper and agonisingly hitting the right post with the keeper nowhere.

Butcher replaced Benning on 78 minutes. Benning had had a super game and was still causing Charlton problems down the left so it was a surprising substitution.

Good defending by Preston on Grant on 79 minutes.

On 83 minutes, Walker shot from a distance which was blocked.

On 87 minutes, an outrageous challenge by sub Billy Clarke on Hamilton. Hamilton showed his pace to sail past Clarke who cynically dragged him down from behind. According to the rules, the referee correctly showed a yellow card but the rules in this case are an ass in my opinion. Mellis floated the resulting free kick too close to the keeper.

On 89 minutes, Rose crossed in, it flicked off Walker just out of the reach of Hamilton. Fosu shot well wide from 30 yards on 90 minutes.

I don’t think the ball has ever come into the commentary box since the ground was re-developed in 2000 but it very nearly did on 90+1 minutes, booted high into the stand!

Graham replaced Walker on 90+3 minutes.

Two minutes later, Graham had a chance when his shot from 20 yards was deflected just over the bar. The corner was cleared and the referee blew for full time.

A great performance from the Stags and a super game in front of the TV cameras. No justice really with the Stags denied twice by the woodwork, and the equaliser which should have been ruled out.

Man of the match: CJ Hamilton

Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Line Up:
Olejnik 7 Brilliant save to deny Ajose. No chance with the goal and no other saves to make.
Preston 7.5 Defended well.
Pearce 8.5 Outstanding game with at least four great tackles.
Sweeney 7.5 Good game.
White 7 Decent game at right wing back. Allowed Grant to get past him on one occasion.
Mellis 7 Involved in some good moves, and provided some good corners. Unlucky when his shot deflected onto the post. Should have tracked Fosu for the Charlton goal.
Bishop 7.5 Super game. A couple of shots blocked.
Benning 8.5 Several great runs and good crosses. Brilliant game on the left, with Hamilton.
Walker 6 One shot just over the bar. Not his best game.
Davies 6 Some good hold up play but otherwise not at his best.
Hamilton 9.5 Sensational game, terrorising the Charlton defence and Charlton boss Lee Bowyer picked him out for praise after the game. Scored one of the FA Cup goals of the round, hit the post, had a shot deflected into the side netting, and drew a great save from the keeper. Set up a chance for Walker. And some good defensive work.
Sub Line Up:
Rose (for Davies, 61 mins) -
Butcher (for Benning, 78 mins) -
Graham (for Walker, 90+3 mins) -
Subs not used: Logan, Gibbens, Atkinson, Alistair Smith.
Opposition Line Up:
Phillips, Dijksteel, Pratley, Sarr, Stevenson, Lapslie, Maloney (Clarke 69), Marshall, Ward (Fosu 56), Ajose (Hackett-Fairchild 76), Grant. Subs not used: Steer, Morgan.
Ollie Yates 5 Got the bookings of the Charlton players right. But unfortunately for the Stags, with his assistant, he incorrectly allowed the Charlton equaliser to stand.

Season 18/19 Reports