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Archived News from December 2021

11th December 2021 0:41

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 0 Carlisle United
McLaughlin 6
Attendance: 3,695 (133 from Carlisle)

Date: 7 December 2021

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town continued their excellent run of results with an 8th win in 9 league and cup games last night after a 1-0 success over Carlisle United at the One Call Stadium. It takes the Stags into the top half of the table (albeit with some teams below them having a game in hand), and the gap to the play-off places is down to 5 points.

Mansfield were without Oli Hawkins (suspended, but also with a bit of flu), Rhys Oates (with a dead leg) and Ollie Clarke (with a calf injury), as well as Danny Johnson. So Jordan Bowery, who so good at left wing-back at Doncaster in the FA Cup on Saturday, was moved up front on his own, and Harry Charsley came into the midfield. Stephen McLaughlin was fit to start having gone off at half time on Saturday.

The Stags started the game very well, continuing with the excellent one touch football played at Doncaster. The only goal of the game came after just 6 minutes, with McLaughlin heading home his first goal of the season. It came on the end of a move involving 17 passes lasting fully 46 seconds without Carlisle touching the ball. Brilliant stuff. The 17 passes were Stirk, O’Toole, Forrester, Stirk, McLaughlin, Maris, Hewitt, Lapslie, Maris, Lapslie, Stirk, McLaughlin, Stirk, Forrester, Maris with a nice ball out to Charsley on the right, back to Hewitt, who chipped a delightful cross from the right to the far post where McLaughlin headed down into the left corner of the net. What a fine goal.

The celebrations led straight into a minute’s applause on 6 minutes for 6 year old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes who was horrifically killed by his father and stepmother last year.

Charsley and Maris could have added to the lead after 25 minutes. Great play by Charsley to nick the ball off Rod McDonald 40 yards from goal, and find Bowery. Bowery slid the ball forward to Charsley who continued his run forward and from 18 yards Charsley tried to find the bottom left corner of the net with a low shot but keeper Mark Howard tipped it away with his fingertips. The ball ran loose and as Maris tried to turn it into the net, McDonald recovered to slide in and deflect his shot over the bar.

The Stags played some good football in the first half and following one good move, Stirk shot well wide from the edge of the area on 29 minutes.

But the Stags were also guilty of being sloppy on several occasions and Carlisle nearly profited. On 9 minutes, Tristan Abrahams robbed Forrester on the right touchline, cut inside and curled a shot goalwards which Bishop saved comfortably. After 42 minutes, Maris gave the ball away with a loose pass, Brad Young surged forward to the edge of the area trying to tee up a shot for himself but Hewitt slid in with a brilliant tackle. The ball ran free to Abrahams who shot straight at Bishop from 20 yards.

Carlisle went close on two other occasions in the first half. After 35 minutes, Brennan Dickenson’s corner from the right was headed up in the air by Charsley, Bishop tried to tip it over his own bar, but only succeeded in tipping it onto the top of the bar, it bounced down onto the goalline and there was no Carlisle player to turn it home as the relieved Bishop claimed it again. Then after 44 minutes, a short corner from Callum Guy, he received the ball back, cut across the edge of the area, and his low shot from 22 yards deflected off Forrester and rolled wide of the left post with Bishop on the floor having dived the other way.

The Stags ahead at the break. The wind had been fairly light in the first half, and the Stags had elected to have it behind them in that first half. But it was to get a lot stronger in the second half and allow Carlisle to pin the Stags back on occasions. I asked Nigel Clough about this after the game. He told me that he usually thinks it’s best to have whatever wind there is behind you in the first half because it might drop later on. On this occasion it picked up! The wind wasn’t all bad for the Stags though because Carlisle frequently played balls forward that were overhit and ran out for a goalkick or through to Bishop.

After 57 minutes, the Stags were forced into a change as Forrester limped off. Forrester had just kicked the ball forward, and went down with no-one else near him. I asked Nigel Clough about his injury after the game. Clough said he felt his ankle, but they were not sure how serious it was.

The second half was one of few chances until the final minutes.

After 64 minutes, Maris did well to win the ball inside the Carlisle half with a great tackle, then some great football followed with Quinn backheeling the ball to Stirk, who found McLaughlin on the left. McLaughlin played a great 1-2 with Quinn, getting to the byline and pulling the ball back. It was just behind Bowery, but Hewitt found Bowery with the loose ball and Bowery’s shot from 12 yards was blocked. McLaughlin played another great 1-2 with Quinn on the left after 74 minutes, and he fired a fabulous low ball across the edge of the six yard box but it was just in front of Lapslie sliding in.

However it was Carlisle with the better chances in the second half. After 71 minutes, Dickenson curled a corner from the right into towards the goal, with wind assistance and it was headed off the line. I thought in real time that it was Hewitt who headed it away, but from the replay it looks like it was Morgan Feeney who headed it away from goal after Carlisle sub Sam Fishburn had flicked it on! Then a minute later, another Carlisle sub Kelvin Mellor fired in a shot from 25 yards that was going wide before Dickenson turned it over the bar with his knee from six yards.

Into the last few minutes, Charsley shot wide after 88 minutes for the Stags.

Five minutes were added on. The Stags were on the back foot with the wind now very strong in their faces, but the superb Stags fans were doing their best to drag the side over the line.

A minute into stoppage time, a scramble in the Stags box and Rawson did really well to block Fishburn’s shot from 10 yards. At the other end, Stags sub Sinclair’s cross-shot from a tight angle went wide.

Within seconds at the other end, Jordan Gibson turned away from Hewitt and unleashed a magnificent shot from 25 yards that crashed against the Stags bar. Wow, what a moment of fortune for Mansfield. The drama wasn’t over. With the five minutes of stoppage time played, O’Toole clumsily brought Jon Mellish down just outside the area on the right, pretty much on the corner of the area. Dickenson, who normally has good delivery from set pieces, curled his free kick straight at Bishop. And with that, the Stags had held on.

The Stags certainly had the luck in the final few minutes with that shot against the bar, to grind out the victory.

Indeed in this run of victories, the Stags have had the luck with them, as Sunderland, Stevenage, Crawley, and now Carlisle have each been denied by the woodwork. During the Stags’ run of 14 games without a win, the Stags were not getting the rub of the green, but they are now.

This was a battling performance from Mansfield. The win at Doncaster had taken a lot out of the players it seemed. Hewitt and O’Toole stood out in defence while McLaughlin scored the only goal (from Hewitt’s cross), and combined well with Quinn on the left on a few occasions to put in some decent crosses.

The Stags will be back in action on Saturday as Salford come to the One Call Stadium. Salford are playing at Barrow this evening so the Stags should arguably be the fresher of the sides on Saturday. Salford will welcome back their best player (in my opinion) Ash Hunter from a three game suspension on Saturday. Mansfield will be hoping that Hawkins and Oates are fit, however neither are certain to be so.



Mansfield Town 1-0 Carlisle United
McLaughlin (6'minutes)
Hewitt (6'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media.

Mansfield were made to work hard for their win over struggling Carlisle.

The home side, who have now won five of their last six league games, roared out of the traps with some flowing football and were ahead after six minutes.

Some neat passes saw the ball worked to Elliott Hewitt on the right who curled a cross to the far post where Stephen McLaughlin could hardly miss with his header from six yards.

It could have been 2-0 on 26 minutes after a mistake from Rod McDonald let in Jordan Bowery to set up Harry Charsley, but Mark Howard made the save and McDonald got a foot in to stop George Maris burying the follow-up.

In a low-key second half, Carlisle twice came close to equalising within two minutes.

Nathan Bishop kept out a Sam Fishburn header and then Brennan Dickenson lifted a finish over from seven yards from Kelvin Mellor's low ball in.

The visitors came even closer in added time, but Jordan Gibson hit the bar with an effort from 25 yards.

Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Carlisle
Possession Home 51% Away 49%
Shots Home 8 Away 12
Shots on Target Home 2 Away 5
Corners Home 1 Away 8
Fouls Home 13 Away 6


Hard work, but Mansfield Town pip Carlisle United for eighth win in nine games
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 7th December 2021

Mansfield Town pulled off the archetypal 'scruffy 1-0 win' over struggling Carlisle United amid the swirling wind of Storm Barra at the One Call Stadium tonight.

Stags began like an express train and grabbed an early lead through Stephen McLaughlin.

But as conditions worsened and Stags' big FA Cup win at the weekend began to catch up with them, the Cumbrians put up a brave fight and made the home side work hard for the three vital points as Stags made it eight wins in nine games.

The Stags side showed two changes with Rhys Oates and Ollie Clarke missing out with injuries, Jordan Bowery and Harry Charsley their replacements.


Striker Oli Hawkins, who missed Saturday's game with illness, was forced to sit out the game with a one game ban.

Defender Richard Nartey returned to the bench for the first time since he was injured in September.

Mansfield began the game in top gear, playing some neat, high-tempo, passing football and leaving Carlisle chasing shadows.

And it paid dividends as soon as the sixth minutes as a string of passes saw Hewitt whip in a cross to the far post from the right which placed it right on the head of McLaughlin, who made no mistake in burying his header.

Maris was wide with a hopeful effort from almost 40 yards on 10 minutes.

United replied with a corner and then on 13 minutes Abrahams came inside from the right and fired at goal, but Bishop was always behind it.

A mistake by McDonald on 26 minutes let Stags in as Bowery slotted Charsley down the middle. But Howard got down to keep out his finish and McDonald made amends as he made sure Maris' follow-up went out for a corner with a timely block.

United earned some respite with a couple of corners and were almost gifted an equaliser on 34 minutes as Charsley headed upwards at the far post and the ball almost drifted under his own bar on the wind, Bishop saving his bacon by tipping over.

Stags were playing keep-ball at the back on 40 minutes but lost control and allowed Abrahams another shot which again was straight at Bishop.

Hewitt then made a crucial sliding tackle to turn away a low cross with two opponents racing in behind him.

More Carlisle pressure saw a low Guy shot take a deflection but pass wide for a corner with Bishop helpless as the visitors ended the half with their best spell so far and Stags glad to hear the whistle.

There was concern for Stags 10 minutes into the second half as Forrester stayed down after trying to play a through ball.

He was eventually replaced by Rawson.

On 64 minutes, after more home pressure, Stags were almost caught on the break, Bowery taking a yellow card for the team to halt Guy's menacing progress.

O'Toole joined him in the book for some afters after he had tackled Dickenson on 70 minutes.

A minute later from a Carlisle corner Hewitt had to clear a Fishburn header off the line.

Seconds later Mellor drilled a low ball in from the right and Dickenson turned it over from seven yards.

Charsley pulled a tired shot wide near the end.

In the five added minutes O'Toole came up with two superb interventions in the home box as Carlisle pushed hard.

And in the second of those minutes Stags had a huge let-off as Gibson's dipping 25-yarder came back off the home bar.

Bishop then safely held a last gasp Dickenson free kick to the huge relief of the home fans.

STAGS: Bishop, Hewitt, O'Toole, Forrester (Rawson 57), McLaughlin, Charsley, Stirk, Maris (Sinclair 86), Lapslie, Quinn, Bowery. SUBS NOT USED: Shelvey, Nartey, Burke, Law, Gale.

CARLISLE: Howard, Armer, McDonald, Guy (Mellor 64), Dickenson, Mellish, Abrahams (Fishburn 64), Feeney, Whelan, Gibson, Young (Devine 78). SUBS NOT USED: Norman, Dinzeyi, Charters, Mampala.

REFEREE: Neil Hair.

ATTENDANCE: 3, 695 (133 away).


Mansfield Town 1 Carlisle United 0: Early McLaughlin goal sinks Blues
Carlisle News and Star, By Jon Colman, Tuesday 7th December 2021

Mansfield Town 1 Carlisle United 0: Stephen McLaughlin's early goal for Mansfield sent struggling Carlisle United to another defeat.

The left-back was allowed a free header as he put away Elliott Hewitt's cross after just six minutes.

And that proved enough against the Cumbrians, who hit the bar twice but saw their goals shortage go on at the One Call Stadium.


Jordan Gibson hit the woodwork in added time, after keeper Nathan Bishop had tipped a defensive header onto the bar in the first half.

Sub Sam Fishburn also came close but United once again came up short in front of goal as they remained third bottom in League Two - with just 13 goals from 20 games.

They also lost skipper Callum Guy to a groin injust midway through the second half.

In front of 133 travelling fans who braved Storm Barra, manager Keith Millen made two changes to the side that started Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Shrewsbury.

Jon Mellish, back from suspension, returned to the line-up while Gibson was also recalled, Corey Whelan starting at right-back in place of Kelvin Mellor, who dropped to the bench while Zach Clough, who was also subbed in Saturday's first half, missed out.

Keeper Magnus Norman returned from injury and was among the subs as United faced a Mansfield side also featuring two changes - Jordan Bowery and Harry Charsley promoted to the team by manager Clough.

And it took the hosts just six minutes to take the lead.

After working the ball well through midfield and to the right, it was laid off for Elliott Hewitt, whose deep cross found McLaughlin in acres of space, and he made no mistake in converting the free header.

It was a serious defensive malfunction from the Blues, who tried to fight back through Tristan Abrahams, who had a shot saved by Nathan Bishop after battling infield from the right.

Further good chances were scarce until the 26th minute, when Rod McDonald lost the ball deep in United territory and Charsley went through.

Mark Howard saved his shot, and McDonald then slid in to deny George Maris from the rebound.

Carlisle were short of chances and struggled to put together anything of note in a poor first half hour, but a tactical adjustment saw them eventually enjoy a spell of pressure.

They almost got a fortunate leveller when Brennan Dickenson, who Millen moved infield from the left wing, saw his corner met by Charsley, whose defensive header looped towards goal and was touched onto the crossbar by Bishop.

United threatened again when Brad Young pounced on a loose pass but after he was tackled, Abrahams failed to steer his shot past the home keeper.

The Blues finished the half in the ascendancy, Guy seeing a shot deflected wide and United forcing a series of corners, but the Cumbrians' familiar inability to score remained.

Mansfield lost defender Will Forrester to injury on 57 minutes, Farrend Rawson taking his place, and then Guy suffered a groin injury, the captain continuing after treatment but then being replaced by Mellor, Fishburn also coming off the bench for Abrahams.

A spell of Blues pressure saw them come close to an equaliser when Fishburn glanced a Dickenson cross towards goal, only to be denied his first senior goal by a goalline clearance.

Dickenson then sent a Mellor drive over the bar.

At the other end, Mansfield flashed a cross through the six-yard box to no avail, before Millen sent on Danny Devine for Young in United's final change and sent Mellish up front alongside Fishburn.

A late chance broke for Fishburn in the box at the start of five added minutes, but he was smothered by defenders - and then Gibson was agonisingly close to a dramatic equaliser when he hit the bar from outside the box.

Mansfield were anxious in protection of their lead, but the Blues could not find the goal they needed, remaining third bottom after the night's results in League Two.

Mansfield: Bishop, Hewitt, O’Toole, Forrester (Rawson 57), McLaughlin, Charsley, Stirk, Maris (Sinclair 86), Lapslie, Quinn, Bowery. Not used: Shelvey, Nartey, Burke, Law, Gale.

Goal: McLaughlin 6.

Booked: O’Toole.

United: Howard, Whelan, Armer, McDonald, Feeney, Guy (Mellor 64), Mellish, Dickenson, Gibson, Abrahams (Fishburn 64), Young (Devine 78). Not used: Norman, Dinzeyi, Charters, Mampala.

Booked: Mellish.

Ref: Neil Hair.

Crowd: 3,695 (133 United fans)


Mansfield Town v Carlisle United verdict: a goalscoring crisis that only signings can resolve
Carlisle News and Star, By Jon Colman, Tuesday 7th December 2021

Mansfield Town 1 Carlisle United 0: Water is wet, night follows day, the sky is blue, Carlisle can’t score. In which case, probably best not to give free headers to opposition left-backs in the sixth minute.

That is where the real truth of things lies, however hard United tried last night, however close they came on a couple of occasions, however skittish Mansfield grew in protection of their one-goal lead.

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