STAGS BEATEN BY BRADFORD IN THRILLING GAME
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 3 Bradford City
Hawkins 37, 52. O’Connor 19, Vernam 61, Cook 87.
Attendance: 6,058 (1589 from Bradford)
Date: 21 August 2021
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town were beaten for the first time in the league this season, a 3-2 defeat at home to Bradford City. The sides started the day in second and third place in the league, and played out a high quality and thrilling topsy-turvy game which saw Bradford take the lead, Mansfield equalise and take the lead, before Bradford equalised and ultimately won it three minutes from time.
In my opinion, even at this early stage of the season, this looked like a game between two good sides who could well both be in the top 7 at the end of the season.
In another raucous atmosphere with fans from both sides in full voice, Rhys Oates made a great run from the edge of his own area all the way to the edge of the Bradford penalty area after 5 minutes, but it came to nothing. After 10 minutes, another wonderful run, this time from Stephen McLaughlin down the left wing getting past three Bradford players and whipping in a cross which keeper Richard O’Donnell couldn’t hold. As the ball spilled away from him, Oli Hawkins got to it first, knocked it past the keeper, and went down under the slightest of touches from the keeper. The referee said no penalty and it my opinion that was the correct decision as there wasn’t enough contact. Hawkins was not booked for diving. It wasn’t a penalty but it was as much a penalty as the rancid decision to gift Colchester a penalty in stoppage time on Tuesday and rob Mansfield of victory!
Bradford took the lead after 19 minutes. Callum Cooke’s corner from the right found centre half Paudie O’Connor completely unmarked, running in to head home from 8 yards. Just dreadful marking. In real time, and having studied the video, I have no idea who should have been marking him. Oates and Maris were not marking anybody. It was the first time Mansfield had gone behind in the league this season.
After 23 minutes, Charles Vernam cut inside from the left and had a shot deflected for a corner. That was a sign of things to come in the second half.
After 25 minutes, Quinn crossed from the left and keeper O’Donnell made a mess of it again, dropping the ball, but Hawkins was not quite alert enough to react and turn the loose ball into the empty net.
After 35 minutes, Bradford should have been reduced to ten men. Finn Cousin-Dawson and Maris went in for a 50:50 ball and Maris came out worse. Mansfield analyst Matt Ash showed me the video of the incident in slow-motion at half time and Cousin-Dawson was fractionally late on the ball and his studs crashed into Maris’s leg half way up, on his knee. With VAR, this would have been a stonewall red card. The referee didn’t even give a free kick.
The Stags were level after 37 minutes. Danny Johnson set Ollie Clarke away down the left. He got to the byline and curled in a wonderful cross into the middle where Hawkins rose high above Niall Canavan to head into the right corner of the net. A towering header from Hawkins and a fabulous goal.
Another wonderful move from the Stags after 40 minutes involving McLaughlin, Johnson and Quinn, and McLaughlin’s cross just evaded Hawkins in the middle.
Nathan Bishop was called into action on 43 minutes as Callum Cooke’s low shot was straight at him but he did well not to spill it.
A fair scoreline of 1-1 at the break. Some good moves from Mansfield down the left, and deservedly level from Ollie Clarke’s wonderful cross and Hawkins towering header, after dreadful marking allowed Bradford to go ahead with a free header from a corner.
The Stags should have been ahead 20 seconds into the second half. Another great run from Rhys Oates, into the area, and his low cross-shot was ahead of the incoming Danny Johnson and wide of the left post.
Maris had tried to play on after that challenge which should have seen a red card in the first half, but had to go off after 49 minutes, to be replaced by Ryan Stirk. He was a big loss to the Stags for the rest of the game.
There was another warning shot for the Stags as Andy Cook and Callum Cooke set up Charles Vernam for a shot from inside the area on the left, but he fired high and wide. Far too much space for Vernam though.
Mansfield took the lead after 52 minutes. Stephen Quinn fed a great ball forward for Oates to pick up on the byline on the left. Oates chipped a great ball back into the middle where Hawkins volleyed it left footed from near the penalty spot into the right corner of the net. A great assist from Oates and a great finish from Hawkins.
But Bradford were level after 61 minutes. Ollie Clarke allowed Callum Cooke to get away from him 35 yards from goal. Hewitt, who should have been marking Charles Vernam, went towards Callum Cooke, that left Vernam in too much space on the left and Callum Cooke was able to find Vernam who had all the time in the world to sidefoot a great finish past Bishop into the net from 14 yards out on the left hand side. Poor defending from Hewitt but Ollie Clarke at fault in my opinion as well.
Four minutes later, Vernam did well again on the left, and pulled the ball back to Andy Cook, who had a good chance but miscued his shot and Bishop was able to save easily.
The Stags had a chance as Ollie Clarke’s shot was blocked after 70 minutes following a melee in the area. A minute later, a 30 yard shot from McLaughlin was blocked. Lapslie replaced Oates after 72 minutes and three minutes later he did well to break into the area on the left and set up Ollie Clarke for a goalbound shot which was blocked.
The Stags were very close to regaining the lead after 86 minutes. McLaughlin lifted a high cross from the left to beyond the far post where Hewitt got up well to head goalwards and keeper O’Donnell made a terrific reaction save to push it away. Hewitt close to his second headed goal in two games.
But within a minute, on 87 minutes, disaster struck at the other end for Mansfield. Vernam received the ball 25 yards out just in from the left touchline. He cut inside Hewitt too easily and curled a shot towards the far post from the edge of the area. Bishop saved a full stretch, but could only parry straight to Andy Cook, unmarked six yards out, and Cook gratefully turned it in to the net. Andy Cook had contributed very little all the game, but was in the right place to turn the ball into the net for what was to be the late winner and a very sweet moment for him. Several players could have done better on the goal. Hewitt could have stopped Vernam’s shot coming in. I also think Bishop could have done better by parrying the ball away rather than straight back into the path of Andy Cook. That may be slightly harsh as it was still a good save, but to be a top keeper he does need to parry it away from goal. Finally McLaughlin was not alert enough in the box and simply stood and watched Cook turn the ball into the net.
Tyrese Sinclair replaced Ollie Clarke after 88 minutes. And within a couple of minutes, he found a yard of space on the edge of the box for a shot was fired well over the bar.
Hawkins had a chance to equalise and complete his hat-trick after 90+3 minutes. Sinclair did well to cut inside from the right, and squared to Hawkins, who turned away from his marker expertly, but lifted his shot just over the bar from 16 yards.
Then on 90+4 minutes, a chance for Lapslie as his low shot from the edge of the area was too soft and straight at the keeper.
So a hugely disappointing defeat. Nigel Clough fumed after the game: “Two goals was enough in the previous two games which we won, but not today as we defended so ineptly, especially down the right hand side with Hewitt and Rawson. That's where all the problems came from. People just didn't do their jobs and I am angry.” He added: “I probably picked the wrong team today. I should have played Kellan Gordon (at right back) being at home. That was a mistake on my part. I think Elliott Hewitt played at Grimsby with the lad (Charles Vernam) that scored (the second) and made the third goal, and they are obviously very good friends as he's not tackled him all game!”
Certainly not the first time Clough has called out his defenders after a disappointing defeat, such as last season at Crawley where he said: "We failed to defend a run-of-the-mill throw-in. They got between Gordon and Rawson and then it's beaten Marek at his near post. I think all three of them are culpable really." And at Harrogate last season where he said: “The goal we gave away is absolutely criminal and you’re not going to get anything from matches if you give goals away like that. Ten seconds after half-time, from the kick-off, we haven’t been disappointed that much in the last three months. The centre halves (Rawson and Sweeney) have both failed to do their jobs and clear the ball.”
Meanwhile Clough is still attempting to bring in another defender before the transfer window shuts in ten days. It looks like it will be an important signing which he needs to get right. The Stags are certainly light in defence.
On the plus side, the Stags played some good stuff going forward. It might have been a defeat but the Stags fans are seeing really good attacking flowing football, from the likes of McLaughlin, Quinn, Ollie Clarke and Oates. And Hawkins’ finishing today was excellent, such a shame that it didn’t earn at least a point.
No midweek game this week, and the Stags visit Swindon next Saturday. Swindon sit level with Mansfield on 7 points from 4 games. Hopefully Maris will be back fit. The Stags missed him in the final 40 minutes.
DETAILED REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
SAT 21 AUG 2021, LEAGUE TWO
Mansfield Town 2-3 Bradford City
Hawkins (37'minutes, 52'minutes)
O'Connor (19'minutes), Vernam (61'minutes), Cook (87'minutes)
O Clarke (37'minutes), Oates (52'minutes)
Cooke (19'minutes, 61'minutes)
Match report supplied by PA Media.
Former Mansfield striker Andy Cook grabbed a late winner at his old club as Bradford edged home 3-2 in a see-saw thriller between two previously unbeaten sides.
A tight first half saw the Stags have the edge and they were unlucky to find themselves behind to Bradford's first real threat on goal after 19 minutes.
Callum Cooke sent over a right-wing corner and Paudie O'Connor was unchallenged to bury a far-post header.
But Mansfield continued to probe and were finally level in the 37th minute when Ollie Clarke crossed from the left byline and Oli Hawkins was there to send a header high into the right of the net.
Mansfield roared ahead after 52 minutes when Stephen Quinn sent Rhys Oates to the left byline and his pull-back was expertly volleyed into the bottom-right corner by Hawkins.
City were level nine minutes later as Cooke attacked the home box and set up Charles Vernam to his left, who tucked home an unstoppable finish across goalkeeper Nathan Bishop.
With four minutes to go Richard O'Donnell did well to keep out a far-post Elliott Hewitt header from Stephen McLaughlin's cross.
And within a minute Bradford stole it as Bishop saved a low Vernam effort but was helpless as Cook tucked away the loose ball.
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Bradford
Possession Home 57% Away 43%
Shots Home 15 Away 11
Shots on Target Home 5 Away 6
Corners Home 5 Away 5
Fouls Home 4 Away 13
Andy Cook comes back to haunt former club as Bradford City win five-goal thriller at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 21st August 2021
Andy Cook came back to haunt his old club with a late winner for Bradford City as the Bantams won 3-2 in a thriller between the two previously unbeaten sides at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.
Stags had come from behind to lead against their expected promotion rivals with two goals by Oli Hawkins to thrill a big home crowd.
But City quickly levelled before Cook broke home hearts with a late tap-in with Stags more than deserving of a share of the spoils on the day from a full-blooded encounter.
The Mansfield side saw one change with Hawkins back in up front and Oates dropping back to the tip of the midfield diamond, with Lapslie dropping to the bench.
Former Stag Lee Angol missed out for Bradford with injury with Songo'o coming in for his first Bantams start.
Stags started well and one run from Oates from inside his own half into the Bradford penalty area on five minutes had home fans excited, though the move came to nothing.
On eight minutes O'Donnell had to push away a fierce effort from Quinn from the left.
McLaughlin then went on a superb run down the left and whipped in a cross, Hawkins went down after contact with O'Donnell but it never looked likely to be given as a penalty.
The early stages were all Stags though Bishop comfortably gathered a low Vernam cross on 15 minutes and Rawson had to come up with a timely tackle as Cook tried to break clear two minutes later.
But City were ahead from a 19th minute corner. Cooek sent it over from the right and O'Connor was unchallenged as he powered in a far post header.
On 23 minutes Vernam had an angled shot deflect wide for a corner while at the other end O'Donnell had to leave his box to prevent Johnson reaching Clarke's forward ball.
O'Donnell was then fortunate to grab the ball at the second attempt after spilling a Quinn cross.
On the half-hour Maris got away a shot at the second attempt that forced O'Donnell down to his left to grab.
Maris needed treatment after feeling the full force of a Cooke tackle but was able to continue.
Mansfield were deservedly level on 37 minutes. Clarke swung over a superb cross from the left by-line and Hawkins rose to guide a header into the top right hand corner.
On 43 minutes Vernam squared a pass for Cooke to fire a low shot goalwards where it was safely smothered by Bishop.
On the restart Oates burst down the right to the edge of the box but sent the ball skidding across the face of goal with Johnson unable to reach to turn it home.
Cook then set up Watt off his chest on 49 minutes but the City man volleyed well over.
Maris was obviously still feeling the effects of the first half tackle and on 49 minutes was replaced by Stirk.
Vernam miscued a shot from the left on 51 minutes to the jeers of the home fans.
But Stags were in front for the first time on 52 minutes.
Quinn's superb pass down the left saw Oates get to the by-line and pull back a cross which Hawkins shaped up for and volleyed into the bottom right corner.
Cooke was booked on 59 minutes for his reaction after a tackle that left Quinn on the floor.
But Bradford were level on 61 minutes. Cooke ran at the centre of defence and slipped a pass to Vernam to his left who placed home a superb finish across Bishop.
They might have gone ahead on 65 minutes as Vernam sent in a low cross after Clarke had lost the ball, but Cook miscued his close range attempt and Bishop had an easy catch.
City were now enjoying their best spell of the game as Stags struggled to regain their rhythm.
Clarke had a first time effort blocked after being set up by sub Lapslie, who had just replaced Oates.
Perch needed treatment after he got his head in the way of a long range Cooke effort as the City man tried to find the empty net after a poor Bishop clearance.
On 86 minutes O'Donnell had to keep out a far post header from Hewitt from a left wing cross by McLaughlin.
Play swung straight upfield and Bradford were ahead again.
This time Bishop did well to get down and block a low curling Vernam effort, but Cook was on hand for a simple tap-in.
In six added minutes Hawkins was too high on the turn after a pass from sub Sinclair while Lapslie also had a low drive easily saved as Bradford took home the spoils.
STAGS: Bishop, McLaughlin, Hewitt, Rawson, Clarke (Sinclair 88), Maris (Stirk 49), Johnson, Hawkins, Perch, Quinn, Oates(Lapslie 72). SUBS NOT USED: Shelvey, Gordon, Bowery, Burke, Stirk.
BRADFORD CITY: O'Donnell, Ridehalgh, O'Connor, Canavan, Song'o, Cooke (Crankshaw 83), Cook, Gillead, Vernam, Watt (Evans 67), Cousin-Dawson. SUBS NOT USED: Hornby, Foulds, Kelleher, Scales, Lavery.
REFEREE: Scott Oldham.
ATTENDANCE: 6,058 (1,589 away).
MANSFIELD v BANTAMS: Match stats and marks out of 10
By Simon Parker ParkerTandA
CITY made it three wins on the bounce with a gutsy comeback at Mansfield.
T&A chief sports writer SIMON PARKER was at the One Call Stadium and provides the match stats and player ratings from a memorable afternoon.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Charles Vernam took a while to get into his stride but then ripped Mansfield to shreds with a devastating second-half display with one stunning goal and playing a huge part in the other.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
It just had to be Andy Cook with the winner didn’t it? And the scenes afterwards behind the goal were marvellous.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
City did not get tight enough in the build-up to both Mansfield goals.
With Lee Angol injured, City reverted to a 4-2-3-1 set-up with Yann Songo’o making his first start in central midfield alongside Elliot Watt.
REFEREE: Scott Oldham
BOOKING: Cooke (City)
SHOTS ON TARGET: Mansfield 5 City 6
SHOTS OFF TARGET: Mansfield 10 City 5
CORNERS: Mansfield 5 City 5
FOULS: Mansfield 4 City 13
MANSFIELD: Bishop 7, Hewitt 5, Rawson 6, Perch 6, McLaughlin 7, Maris 6 (Stirk 49min, 6), Clarke 7, Quinn 7, Oates 7 (Lapslie 72min), Hawkins 8, Johnson 5. Subs (not used): Gordon, Bowery, Burke, Sinclair, Shelvey.
CITY: O’Donnell 6, Cousin-Dawson 5, O’Connor 7, Canavan 7, Ridehalgh 6, Watt 6 (Evans 67min), Songo’o 7, Gilliead 7, Cooke 7 (Crankshaw 83min), Vernam 8, Cook 6. Subs (not used): Scales, Lavery, Foulds, Kelleher, Hornby.
Latest | August 2021