{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 18/19 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
4 - 0
Mellis 30, Pearce 70, Hamilton 73, Benning 85.
Attendance: 5177 (107 from Morecambe)
Date: 19 April 2019


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

Mansfield Town produced a terrific performance to thrash Morecambe 4-0 at the One Call Stadium and move back into second place in the table. The Stags dominated throughout and could certainly have won by more goals. Jacob Mellis put Mansfield ahead with a low shot into the bottom left corner after 30 minutes and that it was only 1-0 at the break was due to some incredible goalkeeping from veteran Barry Roche in the Morecambe goal. One save, in stoppage time at the end of the first half, was a la Gordon Banks as Gethin Jones headed towards the bottom right corner of the net and Roche somehow got down to turn it round the post. Roche also saved well from another shot from Mellis, and another header from Jones, and just managed to keep out a shot from Jorge Grant which he saved and then had to save again as it span behind him. In a one-sided first half the Stags were also denied a goal as Mellis shot from 14 yards and it was somehow deflected inches wide, and shouts for a penalty were turned down as Tyler Walker seemed to be shoved over in the area.

It remained 1-0 until 70 minutes when Krystian Pearce shimmied in the box and fired a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net from 12 yards. And just 3 minutes, CJ Hamilton added a third goal as he controlled beautifully and cut inside from the right to fire through the keeper’s legs, after Mellis did very well to turn away from Fleming and play it forward to him. Mansfield added some icing on to the cake with a fourth goal, which gave the scoreline a more realistic look, in the 85th minute as Mal Benning fired a low shot across Roche into the right corner of the net from 22 yards. A great performance and a confidence booster for players and fans ahead of the trip to Oldham on Easter Monday. The Stags are up to second place, a point ahead of 3rd placed MK Dons, two points ahead of 4th placed Bury, and five points ahead of Tranmere. And this victory has helped the Stags improve their goal difference compared to the other clubs. With MK Dons at home to Port Vale, and Bury at home to Northampton on Monday, the Stags will probably need three points at Oldham to maintain their current position.

Plenty of great performances throughout the Stags side, in fact everyone played well. Jacob Mellis was a catalyst for the victory with the critical first goal, and great play to set up Hamilton for the third. Krystian Pearce capped a fine display at the back with a well-taken goal. Neal Bishop mopped up everything in a defensive midfield role. Mal Benning was at his best with numerous marauding runs and his second goal in successive games. Gethin Jones caused Morecambe problems and was unfortunate not to score, denied by keeper Roche.

Mansfield made two changes to the side that drew at Northampton. Jacob Mellis and Jorge Grant came into the side. Grant had missed the last three games, having had an ankle problem which he’d been carrying for several weeks. Out went Tomlinson and MacDonald. Mellis and Grant were back in to add creativity that was lacking at Northampton. On the bench, a return to Ben Turner, ahead of schedule following his injury.

Morecambe brought in former Stag Ritchie Sutton into their starting line up. Sutton is of course a legend from the Stags Conference winning season. Vadaine Oliver was on the bench and came on late on. Kevin Ellison was on the bench but not used, being saved for their game on Easter Monday. Morecambe had already done enough to effectively stay up, but results elsewhere today meant they were mathematically safe.

It was glorious weather in Mansfield, warm and sunny. And another good crowd turned out to cheer Mansfield on, over 5000 home fans who created a great atmosphere.

Morecambe had the first shot at goal as Liam Mandeville tried his luck from 22 yards, but it was weak and straight at Logan after 3 minutes.

On 5 minutes, a brilliant cross from Benning, Gethin Jones met it with a powerful header towards the roof of the net, and keeper Barry Roche made a good save to push it over the bar. It was a fine header from Jones.

A minute later, Mellis fired in a powerful shot from 25 yards, which was parried away by Roche.

Bishop played a good forward after 8 minutes for Hamilton to run on to, but Roche was out quickly to save at his feet.

Grant cleverly back-flicked to Jones after 11 minutes, and Jones shot into the side netting from a tight angle on the right.

It was a fast start from Mansfield, taking the game to Morecambe.

A chance for Morecambe after 15 minutes as a shot from Fleming from 16 yards deflected off Pearce into the side netting.

Tyler Walker was unlucky after 17 minutes when his shot from 16 yards seemed to heading into the corner of the net but deflected into the keeper’s arms.

A mistake by Ritchie Sutton on 21 minutes as he slipped over, allowing Walker to run to the byline, Walker’s cross was blocked out to Hamilton who shot wide.

Poor refereeing after 23 minutes as Hamilton would have been away on a run on the left, and referee Kettle pulled it back for a free kick to the Stags when he should have played advantage.

The Stags had a shout for a penalty after 24 minutes as Walker appeared to be shoved down in the area. From the video though, it wasn’t a penalty as the defender Steven Old just got up higher to head the ball away and clattered Walker in the process.

Moments later, Jorge Grant fired in a shot from the right, which was half-saved by Roche, the ball span behind him and he saved again, clawing it off the line. A good effort from Grant.

A good tackle by Pearce after 26 minutes.

A free kick for Mansfield 32 yards from goal after 28 minutes as Grant was fouled. Benning fired the free kick just wide of the right post.

The Stags deservedly took the lead after 30 minutes. Benning slid a perfect ball across to Mellis on the edge of the area and Mellis fired a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net, for his 4th goal of the season.

Grant tried his luck from 28 yards after 33 minutes and fired well over the bar.

Grant went closer on 37 minutes. Bishop was fouled 25 yards from goal, to the right of centre. Grant took the free kick and fired onto the roof of the net.

A great move from the Stags after 40 minutes as Benning found Mellis who had time to pick his spot from 14 yards and his shot had goal written all over it but it deflected inches wide of the right post.

Good tracking back from Preston to shepherd out for a goal kick after 42 minutes.

Pearce was booked for a foul on Collins after 45 minutes.

The Stags were so close to making it 2-0 on 45+2 minutes. Hamilton crossed from the left and Gethin Jones headed towards the bottom right corner of the net. Keeper Roche somehow got down to turn it round the post, a la Gordon Banks. An incredible save from a brilliant header from Jones.

The Stags 1-0 ahead at the break then, and this had been a very good performance with several effects having goal written all over them, but keeper Roche had kept the score down. Mellis and Grant had been pulling the strings for Mansfield in midfield, with Bishop mopping up behind them.

Half time 1-0

Morecambe changed shape at half time, taking off Ritchie Sutton and reverting to 4 at the back.

After 48 minutes, Grant turned well in the area and his low shot was saved by Roche with his feet.

Zak Mills was lucky to be only shown a yellow card for a challenge on Benning after 50 minutes.

On 53 minutes, a brilliant charge down by Mellis, but he unlucky that the ball span away from him and out of play. Moments later a surging run forward by Benning and he ran into too many defenders in the D and the ball was cleared, as the referee correctly waved appeals for a foul.

Sweeney was booked for a foul after 54 minutes. It was similar to the challenge by Zak Mills just 4 minutes earlier and the referee showed consistency in awarding a yellow card.

On 56 minutes, a brilliant run by Hamilton to the byline, he cut inside and laid the ball back to Grant who miscued a shot and the ball was cleared. Outstanding from Hamilton.

On 57 minutes, a corner from Benning came to Walker who shot wide from the left.

After 60 minutes, Mellis played the ball forward, Grant was well offside but fired over the bat anyway.

A rare save for Conrad Logan after 66 minutes as he got down well by the post as Steven Old headed down from Mandeville’s corner. Logan was angry as he got up, claiming he was kicked in the face by Fleming. It’s hard to tell from the video. From the video, it appears that referee Kettle tells Logan he will study it on video later. After the game, when we congratulated Conrad on his performance, we could see he had a cut on his face.

A half chance for Morecambe after 69 minutes as Cranston chipped over the bar from 28 yards.

The Stags got the vital second goal to calm nerves after 70 minutes. Pearce shimmied in area and fired into the bottom left corner of the net from 12 yards. After the game, Pearce described himself as a fox in the box and this was certainly a cool finish! The goal came after Pearce trapped a volley forward from Bishop after Grant’s free kick was cleared to Bishop.

MacDonald replaced Grant after 71 minutes.

The Stags made the game safe after 73 minutes. Mellis won the ball inside the Morecambe half, turned Fleming brilliantly and played a great ball forward to Hamilton who turned and cut inside from the right to fire left-footed into the net through Roche’s legs. This was classic Hamilton at his best. And terrific from Mellis too.

Danny Rose replaced Walker after 77 minutes. Walker had worked very hard.

Logan was in the wars again after 79 minutes as he cleaned out by Vadaine Oliver, as Logan was out quickly to clear a weak backpass.

Tomlinson replaced Bishop after 83 minutes.

Mal Benning scored his second goal in a week after 85 minutes, as he fired a low shot across Roche into the right corner of the net from 22 yards. I initially thought the keeper should have done better with this one, but it actually swerved away from him, right into the corner of the net. A crisp finish for Benning for his 4th goal of the season, and a goal he deserved.

No more chances after that. A great performance from Mansfield. On to Oldham on Monday, where we hope the Stags can deliver more of this creative high-tempo attacking football.

Man of the match: Jacob Mellis.

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

Line Up:
Logan 7 Two brave saves, both of which he got injured from. Little else to do.
Preston 7 Solid performance.
Pearce 8 Capped a fine display at the back with a well-taken goal.
Sweeney 7 Solid.
Jones 8 Caused Morecambe problems and was unfortunate not to score, denied by an incredible save from keeper Roche.
Mellis 9 A catalyst for the victory with the critical first goal, and great play to set up Hamilton for the third.
Bishop 8.5 Mopped up everything in a defensive midfield role.
Benning 8 At his best with numerous marauding runs and his second goal in successive games.
Grant 7.5 Pulled strings with Mellis in midfield.
Walker 7.5 Worked very hard.
Hamilton 8 His goal was goal was classic CJ Hamilton, controlling, cutting inside and firing into the net. One outstanding run to set up a chance for Grant.
Sub Line Up:
MacDonald (for Grant, 71 mins) -
Rose (for Walker, 77 mins) -
Tomlinson (for Bishop, 83 mins) -
Subs not used: J.Smith, Atkinson, Turner, Hakeem.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-4-1-2) Roche; Old, Ritchie Sutton (Mingoia 46), Lavelle; Mills, Kenyon (Conlan 46), Fleming, Cranston; Mandeville; Bennett, Collins (Vadaine Oliver 72). Subs not used: Halstead, Ellison, Hedley, McKay.
Trevor Kettle 5 Overall didn’t have a good game. One poor example of failing to play advantage. However, on review of the video, he correctly turned down Mansfield’s appeal for a penalty.

Season 18/19 Reports