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Season 18/19 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 0
 Notts County
Hamilton 37, 63
Attendance: 6604 (1140 from Notts County)
Date: 8 December 2018


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town beat Notts County 2-0 at the One Call Stadium this afternoon with two goals from CJ Hamilton. The win extended Mansfield’s unbeaten record (home and away) to 13 games, the club’s best since a 20 game unbeaten run in 1976. In addition, it was Mansfield’s fifth win on the trot against Notts County in the league at the One Call Stadium, scoring 15 and conceding just 2 in the process, and Mansfield are 12 games unbeaten against Notts County in the league, with the last league defeat back in 2005. The Stags were comfortable winners today. After an even opening 35 minutes, the Stags went in front as Mal Benning whipped in a lovely cross from the left and Hamilton got away from his marker Dan Jones to meet it on the half-volley at the right post to knock into the net from 4 yards. Hamilton’s second goal came on 63 minutes when Jacob Mellis slid a nice ball forward to him in the area on the right, he cut inside Dan Jones onto his left foot and fired into the net from 12 yards. Hamilton could have had a hat-trick as in between the two goals he sent a blistering shot from a tight angle against the bar. The Stags could have had other goals in the second half, but it was comfortable in the end. Notts County made a game of it in the opening 35 minutes with former Stag Nathan Thomas causing the Stags some headaches with four shots at goal. After that, Mansfield were in control. Some fine performances through the team. Bobby Olejnik made some good saves, the central defence was solid, Mal Benning was very good at left wing-back, Jacob Mellis put some beautifully weighted balls through, Neal Bishop was commanding in midfield and Tyler Walker made some good runs up front. But man of the match has to be CJ Hamilton for his goals, unlucky to also hit the bar and his fine all round performance. It was a great atmosphere created by the Stags fans. Meanwhile the current disillusionment of the Notts County fans was reflected in just 1140 away fans being present.

Mansfield made two changes from the side that played the last league game, against Lincoln two weeks ago. White started in place of Atkinson. And Elsnik came in for Rose. Pearce was fit to start after being taken off as a precaution in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday. It was a 3-5-2 formation with Hamilton up front alongside Walker. On the bench was Jason Law as the club’s home developed player, while Calum Butcher dropped out of the 18.

Notts County, with Neal Ardley as their third manager of the season, taking control for his first league game, started with Nathan Thomas on the wing. Krystian Dennis, who was relegated with Chesterfield two seasons ago, and Chesterfield again last season, and going for an unusual hat-trick with Notts County this season, dropped to the bench, as Kane Hemmings joined him on the bench returning from injury. Jon Stead started up front on his own.

Before the game a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” was sung for John Radford. Happy birthday John.

The game started in sunshine but clouded over with some light drizzle in the second half.

The first action of the game came inside 2 minutes when Hamilton was chopped down cynically by Ward. Ward should have received a yellow card, but didn’t. From the resulting free kick, Benning slipped as he took it and it was wasted.

On 10 minutes, a clumsy foul by Sweeney on Stead inside the D. Patching’s free kick was blocked by the wall which did its job. A minute later, it looked like Preston fouled Patching near the byline, but the referee just gave a goal-kick. From the video it was a definite foul.

The first chance of the afternoon came on 13 minutes as Nathan Thomas cut inside from the right, and his powerful shot was punched away by Olejnik who was equal to it. Good save albeit unorthodox.

At the other end a minute later, County keeper Fitzsimons cleared under pressure straight to Benning who was 40 yards out from goal, and with the keeper nowhere near his goal, Benning attempted to shoot but was well off-target.

Another chance for Nathan Thomas on 19 minutes, as Patching played the ball inside to him, and with time and space he fired just over the bar from 19 yards.

On 21 minutes, Hamilton cut inside onto his left foot and his powerful shot was blocked with some shouts for a penalty for handball. From the video, it struck the arm of defender but his arm was by his side and he didn’t move it.

A good opportunity for the Stags on 23 minutes. Hamilton made a good run, found Mellis on his right. Mellis crossed to Benning, who sent a low shot wide from 16 yards.

A minute later, Mellis played forward to Walker, who showed great control to slip his marker, but then shot wide from 18 yards.

More good play from Nathan Thomas on 26 minutes as he got into the area and fired in a low shot which Olejnik saved with his legs. A minute after that, Thomas tried his luck again with a long range shot straight at Olejnik.

Elsnik gave the ball away on 29 minutes, and Patching had a chance to shoot at goal from 25 yards but fired a poor effort over the bar.

The Stags should have taken the lead on 35 minutes. Bishop made a good run to find himself clean though on goal with only the keeper to beat, but fired straight at the keeper. Bishop had been put through by a superb ball forward from Mellis. On 36 minutes, Walker curled a shot straight at the keeper from 20 yards.

The Stags made a mess at the back with an inadvertent back-pass from Bishop allowing Patching through on goal but Olejnik made a great save diving to his left.

The One Call Stadium erupted as the Stags went in front on 37 minutes. Mal Benning whipped in a lovely cross from the left and Hamilton got away from his marker Dan Jones to meet it on the half-volley at the right post to knock into the net from 4 yards.

There was a chorus of “Sacked in the morning” to Neal Ardley from the jubilant Stags fans. It was 37 minutes into Ardley’s first league game.

Nathan Thomas created another chance for himself on 40 minutes as he cut in from the right and shot over the angle from 19 yards.

At the other end on 41 minutes, Walker made a run down the left and then along the byline and his shot from a tight angle was blocked for a corner.

On 45 minutes, County keeper Fitzsimons cleared straight to Hamilton who was 45 yards from goal. As with Benning’s similar chance earlier, Hamilton shot wide of empty net. Where’s David Beckham or Chris Greenacre when you need them?

A very even first half, but the Stags getting their noses in front with Hamilton’s goal and finishing the half the stronger. Notts County’s threat had come through Nathan Thomas.

Half time 1-0

Elsnik gave the ball away again just after half time. He had done that several times.

Hamilton hit the bar on 52 minutes. Walker played him in on the left, and Hamilton sent a blistering shot from a tight angle against the bar. A great effort. From the video, keeper Fitzsimons made a super save turning it onto the bar. The officials gave the resulting throw-in to Notts County and from the video we can see Hamilton says to the ref “He saved it” and the keeper grins widely.

On 55 minutes, White fired towards the near post from the right, it was well saved by the keeper onto the post but the hapless officials gave a goal-kick.

A super piece of play by Benning on 57 minutes as he found White who won a corner.

Former Stags loanee Kane Hemmings came on after 58 minutes as County went two up front.

Hamilton found Walker in the area after 59 minutes, but Walker couldn’t get a shot in.

Elsnik was booked for a sliding challenge on Vaughan on 62 minutes.

Hamilton’s second goal, to double Mansfield’s lead, came after 63 minutes when Jacob Mellis slid a nice ball forward to him in the area on the right, he cut inside Dan Jones onto his left foot and fired into the net from 12 yards. A really composed finish from a player whose end product is getting better and better. Testament to the behind the scenes work from the player and coaching staff.

Walker picked up a loose ball from Turley on 66 minutes and sent a low shot across the keeper and wide of the right post.

A good save from Olejnik on 68 minutes as pushed a shot wide from Ward.

On 72 minutes, it should have been 3-0. Hamilton played a ball across from the left to Walker, whose shot was saved when he should have scored.

Mellis was booked on 72 minutes, despite winning the ball. That looked harsh.

A free kick for Mansfield on 75 minutes from wide on the left. Mellis tried a shot and was well wide. At the other end a minute later, yet another shot from Nathan Thomas which blocked through to Olejnik.

County brought on former Spireite Krystian Dennis after 80 minutes to a chorus of boos.

Khan replaced Elsnik on 81 minutes.

Then Rose replaced Walker on 85 minutes.

A half chance for County on 87 minutes after the Stags didn’t clear but a shot was blocked.

As the clock wound down, Stags fans in good voice, taunted Notts County fans with “County’s going down” and “Alan Hardy, he’s taking you down”.

Dennis was booked for a late challenge on 88 minutes.

On 89 minutes, David Flitcroft was shown a yellow card. The reason wasn’t clear to me and wasn’t clear from the video, however from supporters in that area it was apparently for continuing to protest to the fourth official and linesman that a ball had clearly gone out of play for a throw-in.

Neal Bishop went down after an aerial challenge. It initially looked like concussion, but it then appeared that he had hurt his shoulder. After the game, manager Flitcroft joked that Bishop would have to use his other arm tonight to drink his beer at the players’ Christmas Party in London. Later in the evening Bishop confirmed on twitter that he’s fine and will be ready to go next week.

Bishop was replaced by Atkinson (90+2 minutes).

On 90+4 minutes, Hamilton found Rose whose low shot from a tight angle was saved.

Atkinson was booked for a poor challenge on 90+6 minutes.

The full time whistle brought a huge roar and standing ovation from the Stags faithful.

The Stags moved back into the top 3 briefly before dropping back to fifth after the 3pm kick-offs. Notts County remained in the bottom two.

The Stags are back in action next Saturday with a tough trip to Forest Green Rovers. Meanwhile on Wednesday, the Stags youth team will play Premier League Bournemouth’s youth team at the Vitality Stadium Dean Court. I’ll be there to bring you a report. I think it will be the first time a Stags side has played at a Premier League ground since the FA Cup tie at Newcastle in 2006.

Man of the match: CJ Hamilton

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

Line Up:
Olejnik 8 Made four good saves.
Preston 7 Solid.
Pearce 7 Solid. Dominant in the second half.
Sweeney 7 Clumsy foul early inside the D. Good after that.
White 7 Good game particularly in the second half.
Mellis 8 Some beautifully weighted balls through, including an assist for the second goal.
Bishop 7.5 Commanding in midfield. Missed a great chance when through 1-on-1. Went off with shoulder injury but confirmed on twitter that he’s fine and will be ready to go next week.
Elsnik 6 Gave the ball away several times. Not his best game.
Benning 8 Very good game. Superb cross for the first goal. Showed some lovely control.
Walker 7 Made some good runs up front. Set up Hamilton’s shot against the bar.
Hamilton 9.5 Two very well taken goals and unlucky to hit the bar as well as being a danger throughout.
Sub Line Up:
Khan (for Elsnik, 81 mins) -
Rose (for Walker, 85 mins) -
Atkinson (for Bishop, 90+2 mins) -
Subs not used: Logan, Law, Davies, Graham.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-5-1) Fitzsimons; Turley, Ward, Brisley (Crawford 58), Jones; Hewitt, Vaughan, Milson, Patching (Hemmings 58), Thomas; Stead (Dennis 80). Subs not used: Pindroch, Duffy, Evina, Campbell.
Jeremy Simpson 5 The officials made a bit of a Horlicks of a number of decisions.

Season 18/19 Reports