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An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 18/19 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Forest Green Rovers
Mills OG 69. Walker sent off 90+7.
 
 
Attendance: 5256 (171 from Forest Green)
 
Date: 23 February 2019

STAGS BOUNCE BACK WITH VITAL WIN OVER FOREST GREEN

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

Mansfield Town bounced back from bitterly disappointing defeats at Newport and Notts County with a vital 1-0 win against Forest Green Rovers in a tense game at the One Call Stadium. The only goal of the game came on 69 minutes when Tyler Walker slid the ball forward to CJ Hamilton in the area. Hamilton might have been offside but no flag went up, he turned and fired goalwards, keeper Lewis Ward parried his shot up in the air. Walker rose for the ball with the keeper, the keeper flapped at the ball knocking it on to Walker’s head, the ball ricocheted off Walker’s head and was going well wide of the goal until defender Joseph Mills, in trying to head the ball over his own bar, only succeeded in headed into his own net off the underside of the bar. After the game, Forest Green boss Mark Cooper didn’t feel it was a foul on the keeper and his keeper should have done better. From the video, Hamilton appears to be just onside as the ball is played to him by Walker, so it was a good decision from the officials to allow the goal. The Stags had been the better side in the first half going close on six occasions, with Tyler Walker forcing a great save from the keeper with a superb shot from outside the box, while Forest Green only went close once when Jordan Smith pushed a Junior Mondal shot wide. The Stags started the second half well, with Tyler Walker going close again forcing the keeper to save with his legs and Gethin Jones then heading just over the bar. But after the Stags took the lead, it was Forest Green who went close on three occasions in the final 10 minutes, with Doidge heading wide, Mondal shooting wide, and Doidge knocking just over the bar from close range from a Mills shot. The Stags hung on to the victory as four minutes of stoppage time was added on, which became seven minutes with Tyler Walker shown a straight red card in the 7th minute of stoppage time. Walker showed his middle finger to the linesman in a foul and abusive gesture which will earn him a two game suspension. It was incredibly stupid from Walker that was not costly in this match, but will leave the Stags without him against Cheltenham and Port Vale. The stupidity of the sending-off took a little of the gloss off the victory. A nervy and battling win from Mansfield, which was deserved overall, with the defence in good form, including Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce and Mal Benning, Benning slotting in very well into central defence and making one magnificent goal-saving tackle on George Williams in the first half, as did Preston on Williams in the second half. Willem Tomlinson also impressed with a fine performance in midfield in his first start for the club, playing alongside Neal Bishop, while CJ Hamilton was much improved at left wing back causing Forest Green several problems. So Mansfield keep their 100% home record against Forest Green in league games (now 7 wins out of 7). The four top sides all won, so Mansfield remain two points above 4th placed MK Dons. Cheltenham are the visitors to the One Call Stadium next Saturday in another game which is free for under 18’s.

It was 3rd vs 5th, with Forest Green four points behind the Stags at the start of play.

Mansfield made one change to the side that lost at Notts County, Willem Tomlinson coming in for his first start in place of Ben Turner. Turner had played the first half at Notts County in central defence and looked off the pace. Tomlinson partnered Neal Bishop in central midfield in front of the back three which included Mal Benning on the left, together with Matt Preston and Krystian Pearce. CJ Hamilton was at left wing back. Jorge Grant and Jacob Mellis were in attacking midfield roles behind the lone striker of Tyler Walker in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Ryan Sweeney was serving the second game of his two-game suspension.

With Matt Preston booked today, he joins Neal Bishop on 9 yellow cards, and both are one booking away from a two game suspension. However if they can avoid being booked in the next 3 games, they will avoid a suspension (the cut-off for suspension is 37 games).

Forest Green were unchanged from the side that beat Yeovil 3-0 last week. Former Stags Paul Digby and Lee Collins were in midfield. Reuben Reid, who changed the game when he came on as substitute in the reverse fixture 3.5 weeks ago, was again on the bench, and inexplicably not used today. It was a baffling omission, much to the Stags advantage. Goalkeeper James Montgomery, who picked up that terrible facial injury in the reverse fixture, was back in the Forest Green Rovers squad today, on the bench.

The Stags were off to a fast start, with Grant playing Hamilton away down the left side inside the first 30 seconds, Hamilton’s low cross nearly reached Jones but was cleared away.

Super football from the Stags on 6 minutes, as Grant controlled brilliantly, and again played Hamilton in on the left, Hamilton got into the area and his low shot was saved by the keeper, with Walker in space on the right.

A minute later, a good crossfield ball from Tomlinson was brilliantly controlled by Hamilton and he went on to win a corner. From the corner from the left taken by Grant, Bishop headed back across goal from the far post and Pearce knocked just wide of the right post. That was close.

On 9 minutes, a magnificent tackle by Benning in his own area as Williams was about to shoot.

On 11 minutes, Pearce went down in the area under a challenge from Rawson following a Grant corner, but the referee wasn’t interested. From the video, Pearce was wrestled to the ground by Rawson and it probably should have been a penalty.

Straight to the far end, and Mondal was in space in the Stags box on the right and his low shot was pushed wide by Jordan Smith.

On 18 minutes, Hamilton got the byline on the left, he crossed to the far post where Walker headed it back, but it was cleared.

David Flitcroft raised a cheer on 19 minutes as he controlled a ball that went out of play.

Tomlinson gave the ball away on 22 minutes, but did well to track back, win the ball, and win a free kick.

The Stags went close on 28 minutes, in a fast break, as Hamilton’s low ball from the left was put inches wide of his own post by Gunning for a corner.

Preston was booked for a sliding challenge on Winchester on 29 minutes. With his booking today, he joins Neal Bishop on 9 yellow cards, and both are one booking away from a two game suspension. However if they can avoid being booked in the next 3 games, they will avoid a suspension (the cut-off for suspension is 37 games).

Benning was booked on 31 minutes for a soft foul on the halfway line. That looked a harsh booking.

On 35 minutes, a quick free kick to Hamilton who got into the area on the left, but his cross was poor.

On 36 minutes, a great move, Hamilton crossed low from the left into the middle, and Jones fired just wide of the left post.

The Stags were close to a lucky goal on 39 minutes, as Benning shot from 25 yards, it deflected off Gunning, wrong-footing the keeper, and rolling wide of the left post.

On 42 minutes, Walker did well to find a yard of space 23 yards from goal, and he fired in a great shot which the keeper tipped over the bar.

Bishop put in a fine tackle on 44 minutes after Tomlinson lost the ball.

On 45 minutes, a shot from Digby was going wide, but Smith couldn’t take any chances and tipped it further wide.

Half time 0-0 and the Stags with the majority of the chances, going close 6 times compared to Forest Green who went close only once. Both keepers made one good save, Lewis Ward tipping over Walker’s shot, and Jordan Smith pushing wide Mondal’s shot. The Stags had been winning more of the midfield battle than they had at Notts County, with Tomlinson and Bishop proving a good pairing.

Half time 0-0

The Stags continued on top in the early stages of the second half.

On 47 minutes, Walker turned in the area and his low shot was saved by the keeper’s legs. Moments later, Grant crossed in from the left, and Jones headed just over the angle of bar and post.

Grant broke forward on 48 minutes, but mishit a shot straight to the keeper.

On 55 minutes, George Williams fired in a free kick from 35 yards which swerved in the air and was just missed at the far post by Digby. Williams took most of his set pieces with his instep, a la Cristiano Ronaldo or David Luiz, giving the ball pace and swerve.

On 59 minutes, a brilliant block by Matt Preston on Williams in the area.

On 61 minutes, Walker laid off to Tomlinson who fired a left footed shot well wide. A minute later, Mellis laid a ball forward for Grant to charge after but the keeper just got there first.

On 63 minutes, Doidge laid off to Brown whose low shot was straight at Smith. Then on 68 minutes, Mondal cut inside and his low shot was easily saved by Smith but was going wide anyway.

The only goal of the game came on 69 minutes when Tyler Walker slid the ball forward to CJ Hamilton in the area. Hamilton might have been offside but no flag went up, he turned and fired goalwards, keeper Lewis Ward parried his shot up in the air. Walker rose for the ball with the keeper, the keeper flapped at the ball knocking it on to Walker’s head, the ball ricocheted off Walker’s head and was going well wide of the goal until defender Joseph Mills, in trying to head the ball over his own bar, only succeeded in headed into his own net off the underside of the bar. After the game, Forest Green boss Mark Cooper didn’t feel it was a foul on the keeper and his keeper should have done better. From the video, Hamilton appears to be just onside as the ball is played to him by Walker, so it was a good decision from the officials to allow the goal.

As the attendance was announced, over 5000 Stags fans, the fans chanted “One Johnny Radford”, Radford applauding the fans back.

No incident of note for a 15 minute period after the goal.

On 84 minutes, a great block by Tomlinson on Williams for a corner. From the corner, Doidge sent a free header wide.

A minute later, a long throw from Mills came out to Mondal who shot wide from a good position.

Forest Green came within a whisker of equalising on 89 minutes. Mondal laid back to Mills whose low shot was deflected two inches over the bar by Doidge. It was so close.

Four minutes of time was added on.

Tomlinson was booked on 90+2 minutes, attempting a deliberate foul. He hurt himself in the process and was substituted by Ben Turner before play restarted.

Williams tried another shot from a free kick from 35 yards, but it was easily pouched by Jordan Smith.

With more time added on in stoppage time due to the Tomlinson injury and another injury, the game reached 90+7 minutes, when Tyler Walker showed his middle finger to the linesman in a foul and abusive gesture, when a throw-in decision went against him. It was incredibly stupid from Walker that was not costly in this match, but will leave the Stags without him against Cheltenham and Port Vale. Walker knew exactly what he’d done straight away, putting his shirt over his head as the linesman called the referee over. Nicky Ajose will surely get his chance up front next week and it will be up to him to make the most of it.

The full time whistle went almost immediately and the Stags had three vital points, which were deserved.

Man of the match: Mal Benning/Matt Preston


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



Line Up:
(3-4-2-1)
Smith 7 Good save from Mondal in the first half. Safe handling, no other difficult saves to make.
Preston 8 Brilliant block on Williams in the area. Very good game. With his booking today, he joins Bishop on 9 yellow cards, and both are one booking away from a two game suspension. However if they can avoid being booked in the next 3 games, they will avoid a suspension (the cut-off for suspension is 37 games).
Pearce 7 Solid game.
Benning 8 Slotted in very well into central defence and made one magnificent goal-saving tackle on George Williams in the first half.
Jones 7 Went close twice with a shot just wide and a header just over.
Bishop 7 Battled well and made a good pairing with Tomlinson.
Tomlinson 7.5 Impressed with a fine performance in midfield in his first start for the club.
Hamilton 7 Much improved at left wing back causing Forest Green several problems.
Mellis 6.5 Wasn’t heavily involved.
Grant 7 Played Hamilton away down the left a few times. One fine corner in the first half. Good cross for Jones’ header just over.
Walker 7 Rose well for the goal. Forced two good saves from the keeper with a shot tipped over and another saved by the keeper’s legs. Let himself down with his stupid sending-off.
Sub Line Up:
Turner (for Tomlinson, 90+3 mins) -
Subs not used: Logan, Atkinson, Alistair Smith, MacDonald, Khan, Ajose.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-2-3-1) Ward; Winchester, Rawson, Gunning (McGinley 81), Mills; Digby (McCoulsky 81), Collins (Godwin-Malife 88); Mondal, Brown, Williams; Doidge. Subs not used: Montgomery, James, Liddle, Reid.
Referee:
Matt Donohue 7 Excellent decision by the referee and his linesman to allow the goal despite a close call on the offside and the possible foul on the keeper. It would have been easy to disallow but they made the correct decisions, as accepted by Forest Green boss Mark Cooper. On the sending-off of Walker, they also made the correct decision. Most of the bookings were reasonable though the Benning one was soft.


Season 18/19 Reports