DEFENSIVE LAPSES AGAIN AS STAGS BEATEN BYHARROGATE
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 3 Harrogate Town
Oates 3. O.Clarke sent off 73, Quinn sent off 74. Armstrong 5, Muldoon 45+2, Thomson 81.
Attendance: 4,599 (155 from Harrogate)
Date: 4 September 2021
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town were beaten 3-1 at home by Harrogate Town this afternoon thanks to some terrible defending once again. And all that after the Stags made the perfect start going ahead in the third minute with a goal from Rhys Oates. To make matters worse, the Stags had two players sent off, Ollie Clarke for bringing down Jack Diamond and denying a goalscoring opportunity as the last man, and Stephen Quinn for an off-the-ball incident seconds later, when according to the linesman, he kicked out at a Harrogate player. Clarke will be suspended for one game, and Quinn for three games.
The Stags took the lead after 3 minutes. Stephen McLaughlin curled a free kick from left, 38 yards out, into the box and Rhys Oates met it on the volley on the corner of the six-yard box to send it into the left corner of the net. A great finish from Oates for his first goal for the club, and a terrific free kick from McLaughlin.
But within 90 seconds Harrogate were level. George Thomson’s corner from the left was headed into the net by the dangerous Luke Armstrong, unmarked, from 5 yards out at the near post. Ollie Clarke was marking Armstrong at the corner, but let him go.
Harrogate took the lead after 45+2 minutes. Another Thomson corner from the left was headed away by Oli Hawkins. George Maris should have got the ball further away but only played the ball against Alex Pattison. Pattison then turned and got past Maris before crossing in from the right, into the middle where Jack Muldoon got away from his marker Elliott Hewitt to turn the ball into the net from 7 yards. A double mistake from Maris, and then poor defending from Hewitt.
In between the goals, the first half was very even, with Nathan Bishop saving well with his boot from Pattison’s shot from 12 yards, while at the other end McLaughlin’s free kick from 23 yards towards the top left corner of the net was parried over the bar by the Harrogate keeper.
The Stags had a chance to take the lead after 59 minutes as Ollie Clarke found Kellan Gordon in space in the box with a chance to shoot, but he dallied too long and by the time he did shoot, there were defenders in his way and it was blocked. Harrogate had chances as Armstrong’s shot was deflected wide and Muldoon miscued a shot straight at Bishop.
The game exploded on 73 minutes. Following Stephen Quinn’s corner from the right, the ball came back to Quinn just inside the area, he got his toe to the ball first and went down as he was caught by Pattison. My immediate reaction was that it was a penalty, and having the studied the video, it certainly should have been a penalty in my opinion. The referee waved play on. Jack Diamond broke forward into the Stags half chased by Ollie Clarke. Diamond got past debutant Richard Nartey and was then pulled down by Clarke who had his arm on Diamond’s shoulder. The referee decided that Clarke was the last man and it was a goalscoring opportunity, and showed Clarke a red card. In my opinion, the referee’s decision to show Clarke a red card was correct as Clarke was certainly the last man. Worse was to follow as Stephen Quinn was then shown a red card. It was off the ball, off camera while Clarke was being shown the red card, and I didn’t see it. The referee didn’t see it either, and was informed by his linesman. Nigel Clough said afterwards that according to the linesman it was for a kick on Josh Falkingham. Clough said if that was the case it was inexcusable from Quinn.
So the Stags were reduced to nine men and the game was as good as over. Whilst I think the red card for Clarke was the right decision, it should never have been necessary because the Stags should have had the penalty at the other end seconds earlier and the result of the game could well have been completely different. Nigel Clough talked afterwards of possibly appealing the Clarke red card. There would be no chance of success in my opinion. Clarke will be suspended for one game. Quinn will be suspended for three.
Bishop made a great one-handed save after 78 minutes, from Muldoon.
Hewitt, now in midfield, made a great run forward after 79 minutes into the area and went around the keeper. But he didn’t get a shot in. Had he been able to manufacture a penalty or a red card or a goal the Stags would have been back in it. But he couldn’t.
Bishop made another great save after 81 minutes, saving with his legs after Pattison got past Nartey into the area.
But Harrogate made it 3-1 moments later. It came from another corner, this time from the right taken by Page. With a two-man advantage, the Stags couldn’t mark everyone and focussed on marking the big men, leaving the smallest man on the pitch George Thomson a free run and a free header into the net at the near post.
The Stags at least didn’t concede any further goals after that.
Nigel Clough admitted afterwards that “we still have a problem at centre half without a doubt, and we will have one until James Perch is back on the pitch”. Perch was on Mansfield 103.2 radio today with Mark Stevenson, reporting on the game. Perch said he is "waiting to hear what the medical people say" with no further news on a timescale for return or details of the injury.
A dreadful day for the Stags. And Harrogate complete their 4th win in the first ever 4 games between the clubs.
Full credit to Harrogate. They go to the top of the table and have played a game fewer than most clubs. They played well today and deserved their victory overall. They are strong and solid. Excellent from set pieces. Luke Armstrong looks to be one of the best strikers in the division. I watched them play Leyton Orient 11 days ago and they were very impressive in that game too. They also have some strength in depth as we saw on Tuesday. They already look a good bet for promotion.
Are the Stags a good bet for promotion? With defending like this and at home to Bradford in the last home game, the answer would have to be no. The Stags have still not kept a clean sheet in 8 league and cup games this season. The Stags must improve defensively very quickly. If they can, then the attacking play from midfield and up front is good enough to be in the top 7 in my opinion.
The Stags drop down to 14th place, 2 points below 7th place. The next game is away to Walsall next Saturday. Walsall are two points behind Mansfield. The Stags need to bounce back.
DETAILED REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
SAT 04 SEPT 2021, LEAGUE TWO
Mansfield Town 1-3 Harrogate Town
Oates (3'minutes), O Clarke (Dismissed at73'minutes), Quinn (Dismissed at74'minutes)
Armstrong (5'minutes), Muldoon (45'+2minutes), Thomson (81'minutes)
Thomson (5'minutes), Armstrong (45'+2minutes), Page (81'minutes)
Unbeaten Harrogate stormed to the top of League Two with a 3-1 win at Mansfield where the home side had both Ollie Clarke and Stephen Quinn sent off.
Both red cards came in the 73rd minute, with Harrogate 2-1 ahead, as Clarke went for a foul as last man and Quinn was dismissed for striking an opponent.
An exciting first-half exploded into life with two early goals.
On three minutes Stephen McLaughlin sent a free-kick to the far post where Rhys Oates steered home a perfect finish across keeper Mark Oxley to put Mansfield ahead.
But the visitors were level within two minutes as Luke Armstrong headed home from a George Thomson corner.
Nathan Bishop's legs denied Alex Pattison on 25 minutes when a corner was cleared to him while, at the other end, Oxley tipped over a goalbound McLaughlin free-kick.
But two minutes into added time Pattison crossed from the right, Armstrong flicked on in the middle and Jack Muldoon was there to apply the finish at the far post.
In an explosive 73rd minute, the Stags were reduced to nine men as Clarke was sent off for bringing down Jack Diamond and, as players squared up, Quinn was also dismissed as the referee decided he had felled Josh Falkingham.
Bishop saved superbly to deny Muldoon and Armstrong but the nine men conceded a third on 81 minutes as Thomson headed home from close range from a Lewis Page corner.
Match report supplied by PA Media.
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Harrogate
Possession Home 47% Away 53%
Shots Home 11 Away 14
Shots on Target Home 2 Away 8
Corners Home 7 Away 9
Fouls Home 15 Away 9
Nine-men Mansfield Town sunk at home by high-flying Harrogate Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 4th September 2021
Mansfield Town ended a miserable afternoon with nine men and a 3-1 home defeat by unbeaten Harrogate Town today.
It was a second defeat by the Yorkshire club four days after Tuesday's Papa John's Trophy loss and meant Stags had lost all four clashes with Harrogate, who went top with this victory.
In contrast it was a third League Two defeat in a row for Nigel Clough's men and also their worst performance so far this season.
Stags simply failed to get into gear all afternoon against the high-pressing visitors, failing to capitalise on taking a third minute lead.
Trailing 2-1, they then lost skipper Ollie Clarke and midfielder Stephen Quinn after a 73rd minute decision when Clarke was adjudged to have been the last man as he brought down the excellent Jack Diamond, Quinn also dismissed after allegedly felling Josh Falkingham in the ensuing melee.
But the visitors thoroughly deserved the points and the score could have been worse were it not for three fine saves by Nathan Bishop.
Mansfield made two changes from the defeat at Swindon with Burnley loanee Richard Nartey coming in for an immediate debut in place of Farrend Rawson while Danny Johnson was replaced up front by Rhys Oates.
Oates and Stags made a dream start with a goal after just three minutes.
McLaughlin floated in a free kick towards the far post where Oates expertly steered home a pinpoint finish across the keeper.
But within two minutes the game was all square again as Thomson's left wing corner found McArdle who powered home a header from six yards.
McLaughlin played a fine one-two with Hawkins in a promising burst down the left, but Oxley was down quickly to smother the dangerous low cross.
Nartey marked his debut with a booking after only nine minutes after he was late with his challenge on Thomson.
In Stags' next raid Hawkins set up a shooting chance for Lapslie 20 yards out, but his finish was always rising well over.
Bishop had his first save to make on 25 minutes as a half-cleared corner reached Pattison whose low drive was blocked by the keeper's legs.
Harrogate then struggled to clear a teasing Gordon cross, but when the ball broke for Quinn he was well over with his snapshot.
Gordon went down under a challenge in the box on 36 minutes but the referee was unimpressed and decided it was a dive and booked the Stags man.
Lapslie was added to the book two minutes later for persistent fouling after his late block on Falkingham.
Page caught Maris late on 41 minutes to also draw a card from the referee.
On 42 minutes McLaughlin sent in a fine 24 yard free kick that Oxley did well to tip over the bar.
Stags were furious when the ball appeared well out for a home throw but play was waved on and Clough's men had to defend two successive corners instead.
As we entered the second of three added minutes the visitors grabbed the lead as Armstrong helped on a right wing cross by Pattison and Muldoon was there to tuck the ball home from eight yards.
Clarke whistled an early 20-yarder well over the angle after the break.
On 50 minutes Thomson sent a free kick into the home wall and when the ball spun towards Armstrong, an offside flag was up as he headed home.
Hawkins then saw a looping header from Stags' second corner of the half drop onto the roof of the net.
Oates then set up Gordon on the right, but he delayed his shot and finally saw it blocked for a corner.
Hawkins sent a header wide from a McLaughlin cross on the hour as Mansfield continued to probe for the equaliser.
Muldoon almost profited from a flick-on into the box, but Nartey did well to stick with him and force him into a soft shot straight to Bishop.
Ex-Stag Burrell was booked for his 66th minute foul on Oates, but Mansfield were unhappy play had been continued with no obvious advantage.
Johnson replaced Lapslie and seconds later McLaughlin headed over from Gordon's long free kick.
Falkingham tripped Oates on 70 minutes to become the afternoon's sixth booking.
The game exploded on 73 minutes as Diamond tried to race past Clarke and was fouled. He was well outside the box but the referee decided Clarke was the last man and sent him off.
That sparked a melee in which Falkingham went down and after the dust settled, the referee sent off Quinn as well.
On the resumption Thomson sent the free kick straight at Bishop.
Bishop also did well to turn away a Muldoon finish as the Harrogate man tried to chip him with no expected offside flag.
At the other end Hawkins was wide from a McLaughlin cross.
On 81 minutes Bishop again saved superbly, his legs denying Armstrong from close range.
But it was game, set and match seconds later as Thomson headed home Page's corner from close range at the near post.
Diamond was booked for a foul on 89 minutes, Maris added for his trip in the fifth of six added minutes.
STAGS: Bishop, Gordon, Nartey, Hewitt, McLaughlin, Maris, O. Clarke, Quinn, Lapslie (Johnson 68), Oates (Rawson 76), Hawkins (Bowery 82). SUBS NOT USED: Shelvey, Burke, Sinclair, Stirk.
HARROGATE: Oxley, Page, Falkingham (Kerry 76), Burrell, Thomson, Pattison (Power 84), Muldoon (Orsi 87), Hall, Diamond, McArdle, Armstrong. SUBS NOT USED: Cracknell, Fallowfield, Martin.
REFEREE: Paul Howard.
ATTENDANCE: 4,599 (155 away).
MANSFIELD 1-3 TOWN - TOWN MOVE TOP OF LEAGUE TWO WITH WIN AT MANSFIELD
Harrogate Town moved top of SkyBet League Two after coming from behind to beat Mansfield 3-1 at the One Call Stadium.
In a frantic opening five minutes, Town fell behind to Rhys Oates, but a powerful Luke Armstrong header soon got them back on level terms.
Jack Muldoon put Town ahead in first half stoppage time, with the hosts reduced to nine men midway through the second half as both Ollie Clarke and Stephen Quinn were shown straight red cards.
George Thomson claimed Town's third to put the result beyond doubt and secure a second 3-1 win over the Stags in a week.
Simon Weaver made eight changes from Tuesday night's Papa John's Trophy win as Jack Diamond went straight into the starting XI following his Deadline Day arrival.
There were changes aplenty in the home ranks too, with Nigel Clough making ten changes from midweek, including a debut for Richard Nartey.
Despite the changes, the contest saw the same attacking intent shown by both sides from the off with two goals in the opening five minutes.
First, Rhys Oates claimed his fourth of the season to put the hosts ahead, sweeping in at the back post to finish Stephen Mclaughlin's deep free kick.
The lead lasted just two minutes though with Armstrong also netting for the fourth time this campaign as the centre forward powered in a header from George Thomson's corner.
The hoists responded well to seeing their lead evaporate, but couldn't get themselves back in front despite a few attempts from distance.
The next chance of the game fell Town's way in the 25th minute with Lewis Page's corner falling to Alex Pattison just inside the area, but his finish was kept out by the legs of Nathan Bishop.
Armstrong went close for Town, while Mark Oxley did well to keep out McLaughlin's free kick as the tie looked to be heading into the interval all square, until two minutes into first half stoppage time...
Alex Pattison beat his man on the right wing before crossing towards Armstrong, whose flick was pounced upon by strike partner Muldoon and diverted past the helpless keeper.
Armstrong continued to be heavily involved at the start of the second half, before Town were forced into some defending, Page making an important block from Kellan Gordon.
After a spell of Mansfield pressure, Town hit on the break with Diamond carrying the ball down the left, beating one, before being dragged to the ground by last man Ollie Clarke, who was rightly given his marching orders.
Mansfield were reduced to nine men in the aftermath of the goal with Stephen Quinn lashing out at a Town player, having been lucky to escape action for a stamp on Warren Burrell earlier on.
Now with a two man advantage, Town were creating chances, but found Mansfield stopper Bishop in fine form to deny Muldoon and Armstrong a second of the afternoon.
Bishop couldn't stop Town getting a third in the 82nd minute though, Thomson getting in on the act to turn Page's corner in at the near post and put the result beyond doubt.
The result put Town top of the SkyBet League Two table, with a game in hand on those around them.
Town: Oxley, Page, Falkingham (Kerry 76), Burrell, Thomson, Pattison (Power 84), Muldoon (Orsi 87), Hall, Diamond, McArdle, Armstrong
Subs not used: Cracknell, Fallowfield, Martin, Power
Goals: Armstrong 5, Muldoon 45+2, Thomson 82
Booked: Page, Burrell, Falkingham, Diamond
Mansfield: Bishop, Gordon, Nartey, Hewitt, Mclaughlin, Maris, O. Clarke, Quinn, Lapslie (Johnson 68), Oates (Rawson 76), Hawkins (Bowery 82)
Subs not used: Shelvey, Burke, Sinclair, Stirk
Goals: Oates 3
Booked: Nartey, Gordon, Lapslie, Maris
Sent off: Clarke, Quinn
Referee: P Howard
Attendance: 4,599 (155 away)