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Season 19/20 Stagsnet Match Report
Pre-Season Friendly
Mansfield Town  
1 - 3
 Blackburn Rovers
Sweeney 53.
 
 Magloire 10, Buckley 52, Armstrong 85.
Attendance: 1701 (247 from Blackburn)
 
Date: 17 July 2019

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 3-1 by Blackburn Rovers in the first home pre-season friendly. It was John Dempster’s first game as manager at the One Call Stadium. Championship club Blackburn played a side blended with experienced first team players and youngsters but had enough quality on show to cause Mansfield problems on the night. It was a mixed night for the Stags with some encouraging signs mixed with some less impressive moments including some poor defending for some of the goals conceded. Players who caught the eye for the Stags included Conrad Logan with three fine saves with his legs and body in the first half, Matt Preston and Krystian Pearce at the back. Pearce had a mixed night with some great defending, but a calamitous moment when he gifted the second goal to Blackburn. He then went straight to the other end within a minute and slammed a shot into the net from 14 yards following a corner, though technically because it deflected in off Ryan Sweeney, it has to be recorded as Sweeney’s goal. Pearce also had a header tipped wide by the Blackburn keeper. Alex MacDonald had some good moments in midfield, now fully recovered from the injury that brought him home early from Portugal for a scan which proved clear. It was great to see Hayden White back at the One Call stadium and adding 45 minutes to the 30 minutes he played at Bradford Park Avenue. Otis Khan had a really good 45 minutes, including hitting the post with a free kick and forcing another good save from the keeper, and Danny Rose fired in a super shot that was tipped onto the bar and just hinted at a return to the form of two seasons ago when he regularly fired in fine shots from distance and showed that his confidence is up. The first 45 minutes was the first time that new striker signings Nicky Maynard and Andy Cook had combined. In truth that pairing didn’t immediately catch the eye, but Cook did win plenty of headers, and there’s probably more chances in the next two games for them to link up, first up against Hull City at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.


LATER UPDATE ON TRIALISTS:
The trialists were later named (once the club were not following up on them) as:
Jak Hickman - right back
Arthur Gnahoua - attacking midfielder
Jose Baxter - trialist striker


This was Mansfield Town team for each half:

1st half team (3-5-2):
Conrad Logan;
Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce, Ryan Sweeney;
Trialist right wing back, Alex MacDonald, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis, CJ Hamilton;
Nicky Maynard (new signing from Bury), Andy Cook (new signing from Walsall).

2nd half team (3-5-2):
Conrad Logan;
Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce, Ryan Sweeney;
Hayden White, Willem Tomlinson, Trialist attacking midfielder, Otis Khan, Mal Benning;
Danny Rose, Trialist striker.

Subs:
Omari Sterling-James (for Tomlinson, 76 mins)
Alistair Smith (for Sweeney, 78 mins)
Lewis Gibbens (for Preston, 78 mins)
Aidan Stone (new young keeper, to be understudy to Logan, until Olejnik fit) (for Logan, 78 mins)
Sub not used:
James Clarke (young right wingback signed from Burnley)

Did not play: Bobby Olejnik (injured, hopefully back October), Jordan Graham (injured), Craig Davies (injured), Dion Donohue (new signing from Portsmouth, not yet fit, but should be within two weeks), Jamie Chisholm (from last season’s youth team), Noah Stokes (picked up a bad knee injury at Bradford PA), Jason Law (was ill prior to Alfreton game), Tyrese Sinclair (from last season’s youth team), Tom Fielding, Jimmy Knowles (from last season’s youth team, just signed pro deal).


There were three trialists on show. Clearly it would be much easier from a reporting point of view to name them, but just to re-iterate, I’m not naming the trialists as we were requested not to by manager John Dempster and I want to respect that. The trialist right wing back was the same player as the trialist right back against Alfreton. The trialist attacking midfielder was the same player who played against Alfreton. The trialist striker had not played for the Stags before. For completeness and future reference, once the players have either been named by Dempster, or have left, I will update the match report with their names. (UPDATE - DONE ABOVE)


Willem Tomlinson was playing against his former club (in the second half). Former Stags left back Amari’i Bell was out injured for Blackburn.

Blackburn took the lead after 10 minutes. A quick free kick to Dan Butterworth who got to the byline on the right and his powerful low cross was knocked into the net at the far post by a combination of Tyler Magloire and Stags defender Matt Preston. Update: from the video, the ball actually went in off Preston, so it was a Preston own goal.

A minute later it was nearly 2-0 but for a good save from Conrad Logan. A great run straight down the middle from Butterworth and his shot was saved by the feet of Logan.

The first half-chance for the Stags came on 14 minutes as Mellis tried to find time for a shot from the edge of the box, but he was closed down as he shot and he could only fire well over the bar and against the roof of the Quarry Lane stand.

Good strong defending from Preston on 15 minutes as he shepherded the ball out for a goal-kick.

A terrific move from the Stags after 19 minutes involving Cook and Maynard as Hamilton crossed from the left and Maynard teed up MacDonald for a goalbound shot that was blocked.

The Stags were growing into the game with some good passing. On 22 minutes a great ball from MacDonald out to Hamilton who won a corner.

On 26 minutes, a fine break from Blackburn split the Stags open and a shot from former Nottingham Forest striker Ben Brereton was again saved by Logan with his legs.

Good defending from Pearce on 28 minutes as a Blackburn player forced his way into the area.

A great save from Logan after 31 minutes as he slid across to stop a shot from just inside the area from Buckley after another good move from Blackburn involving Rankin-Costello and Travis. It was the third time Logan had used his legs or body to save. He is starting this pre-season in the excellent form that he ended last season.

On 35 minutes, a snap shot was well wide from Neal Bishop.

Then after 38 minutes, MacDonald won a free kick near the corner flag on the right. The resulting free kick from Mellis more or less hit Andy Cook after a defender missed it, and went wide.

After 43 minutes, the trialist right wing back cut inside nicely but sliced his left footed shot out for a throw-in. He needed to impress, and in truth for the second game running, he didn’t.

Masterful defending after 45 minutes by Pearce to win the ball and come away with it. Moments later a good shoulder-charge by Preston as a Blackburn player tried to get through on goal.

Half time 0-1

The Stags changed the midfield 5 (including wing-backs) and front 2 at half time.

Hayden White burst forward after 50 minutes, played a nice one-two with trialist attacking midfielder.

It was 2-0 to Blackburn after 52 minutes and a personal calamity for Krystian Pearce, who been excellent up until that point. Pearce dallied on the ball in his own area and was closed down by Buckley who was able to easily slot the ball past Logan. An absolute gift.

Within a minute, Pearce had gone straight to the other end and made amends. Following a corner from the left, the ball came out to Pearce, who slammed a shot into the net from 12 yards. The shot deflected in off Ryan Sweeney, so technically it has to be recorded as Sweeney’s goal, not that it counts for much in pre-season.

On 57 minutes, great play by Rose, to Khan who was brought down from behind. Khan took the resulting free kick from 26 yards towards the near post where keeper Fisher tipped it wide. The corner from the left was a good one taken by trialist striker and Pearce headed wide. A decent chance for Pearce.

A great shot from Danny Rose after 60 minutes, it was powerful and arrowing into the roof of the net before the keeper tipped it onto the top of the bar. Great to see Rose’s confidence up and hinted at a return to the form of two seasons ago when he regularly fired in fine shots from distance. Rose’s effort was teed up by the trialist striker, who was showing some pleasing moments.

The trialist attacking midfielder shot poorly wide after 62 minutes, with White in space on his right. This trialist had impressed for 20 minutes at Alfreton but was less impressive here.

A good move from the Stags after 68 minutes switching play and eventually White’s cross was deflected through to the keeper.

A stroke of luck for the Stags and Ryan Sweeney in particular after 70 minutes. Sweeney was stretching and headed an attempted clearance over Logan and into his own net, but the offside flag was up!

Stewart Downing had come on for Blackburn. After 74 minutes, his free kick was straight into the Stags wall, and follow-up shot was straight into Sweeney’s face. The referee stopped play because it was a potential head injury but Sweeney seemed to be fine.

The Stags were unlucky not to equalise after 75 minutes. Rose was fouled just outside the area on the left. Otis Khan’s free kick came back off the left post.

Tomlinson had to come off due to injury after 76 minutes, to be replaced by Sterling-James. Tomlinson had played well. Three further changes after 78 minutes with Alistair Smith, Lewis Gibbens and Aidan Stone replacing Sweeney, Preston, and Logan. White moved from right wing-back to the right side of the central defensive three, with Pearce in the middle, and Gibbens on the left of the three. Sterling-James was at right wing-back.

The Stags were again nearly level after 80 minutes. Khan’s diagonal free kick from 40 yards into the area was headed by Pearce towards the left corner of the net and tipped wide by the keeper. A good save. Three minutes later, a low cross in from Benning bobbed around but wouldn’t fall kindly for a Stags player.

After 84 minutes, Sterling-James and White combined to find trialist attacking midfielder but the trialist’s scuffed shot was blocked.

Blackburn made it 3-1 after 85 minutes. Hesitant defending allowed Lewis Travis to find Adam Armstrong who slotted past Aidan Stone. The defence had not gelled after the changes 7 minutes earlier.

After 88 minutes, sub Alistair Smith gave the ball away, Butterworth and shot off target. Smith held his hand up to apologise.

The Stags had produced some good attacking moments in the second half but some poor defending had led to the 3-1 defeat.


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



Line Up:
1st half team (3-5-2):
Conrad Logan;
Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce, Ryan Sweeney;
Trialist right wing back, Alex MacDonald, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis, CJ Hamilton;
Nicky Maynard (new signing from Bury), Andy Cook (new signing from Walsall).

2nd half team (3-5-2):
Conrad Logan;
Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce, Ryan Sweeney;
Hayden White, Willem Tomlinson, Trialist attacking midfielder, Otis Khan, Mal Benning;
Danny Rose, Trialist striker.

Sub Line Up:
Omari Sterling-James (for Tomlinson, 76 mins)
Alistair Smith (for Sweeney, 78 mins)
Lewis Gibbens (for Preston, 78 mins)
Aidan Stone (new young keeper, to be understudy to Logan, until Olejnik fit) (for Logan, 78 mins)
Sub not used:
James Clarke (young right wingback signed from Burnley)
Opposition Line Up:
Fisher, Rankin-Costello, Magloire, Grayson, Hart, Smallwood (Downing, 64), Travis, Butterworth, Rothwell (Armstrong, 64), Buckley, Brereton. Subs not used: Leutwiler, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Johnson, Dack.
Referee:
John Brooks


Season 19/20 Reports