WINNING RUN ENDS AS SUTTON UNITED WIN AT ONE CALL
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 3 Sutton United
Goodliffe OG 78, Longstaff 90+7 Bugiel 9, Ajiboye 49, Bennett 80
Attendance: 6,134 (173 from Sutton)
Date: 15 April 2022
WINNING RUN ENDS AS SUTTON UNITED WIN AT ONE CALL STADIUM
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town’s astonishing run of 11 home wins on the trot, a club record in the Football League, came to an end this afternoon as play-off chasing Sutton United won 3-2 to put a big dent in the Stags’ promotion hopes. Sutton, in their first ever game at Mansfield, deserved the win but were given a helping hand by a horrendous mistake after 9 minutes from Farrend Rawson to gift them a goal and the set the tone for a poor performance from the Stags characterised by too many unforced errors and a general lack of quality going forward.
It was a very damaging defeat which, coupled with Port Vale’s win at Hartlepool, sees the Stags now 6 points outside the top 3. To make the top 3, the Stags would need 4 wins out of 5, and even that might not be enough now, we might need to win 5 out of 5. That looks very difficult.
Mansfield made one change from the side that won at Scunthorpe. Stephen McLaughlin missed out with a hamstring strain. Oli Hawkins returned to the starting XI as I predicted last week in my report of the Scunthorpe game. The back four remained Hewitt (right back), O’Toole and Rawson, Perch (left back). Hawkins went up front. Jamie Murphy returned from injury to the bench but was not considered for starting with Nigel Clough saying after the game: “We didn’t want to risk Jamie Murphy, he’s done half a training session coming back from a hamstring injury.”
Rhys Oates remained out with a thigh injury and won’t be back before next weekend at the earliest. Ollie Clarke also remained out having had a small procedure on his groin. It’s hoped that Clarke will be back before the end of the season.
Sutton started the game two points outside the play-off positions with a game in hand. They are having a very good first season in the Football League. Former Stag Alistair Smith was injured and not in the squad, though he had travelled to the game.
Sutton had done their homework and kicked towards the North Stand in the first half so that Mansfield were unusually kicking towards the North Stand in the second half. Just something to break Mansfield’s routine in the long winning run.
The Stags were behind after 9 minutes. Farrend Rawson received from the ball from Nathan Bishop just outside his own area, took a couple of paces forward before turning and try to play back to his keeper but left his backpass woefully short. Omar Bugiel picked up the loose ball, rounded Bishop and rolled the ball into the empty net. A calamitous error.
Enzio Boldewijn might have been booked for a deliberate foul after 13 minutes, but just received a warning.
The referee was consistent 3 minutes later when a deliberate foul by Hewitt on Boldewijn also just drew a warning.
It was nearly 2-0 after 19 minutes. Rawson’s chip forward was headed away by Harry Beautyman to Enzio Boldewijn who ran forward from the halfway line, passed Rawson who simply watched him run past him, and Boldewijn shot tamely straight at Bishop. It was shocking defending, and had Rawson been substituted immediately, he could not have complained.
The Stags were within a whisker of equalising a minute later. Good play by Jordan Bowery on the left, then good play by Lucas Akins who turned and his cross-shot was turned wide at the far post by a stretching Oli Hawkins.
Those turned out to be the best chances of a first half that wasn’t easy on the eye, with a lack of quality from both sides and with the visitors resorting to time-wasting with fully 70 minutes to play. To be fair to the referee he spotted the time-wasting and pointed to his watch several times in the game.
After 25 minutes, Goodliffe fired well over the bar from 35 yards.
On the half-hour, a corner from Longstaff from the left reached Hawkins beyond the far post but he didn’t get a good connection on his header and it went down into the ground and wide.
Two minutes later, Stirk’s free kick from 45 yards into the area was headed down by Hawkins and Quinn’s volley from 20 yards was blocked by Eastmond.
The Stags were guilty of giving the ball away far too much. On 39 minutes, O’Toole gave the ball away then brought his man down for a free kick just outside the Stags area on the right. Bishop punched away the free kick.
After 45 minutes, Longstaff fed Akins who fired in a shot from the right which was blocked. The Stags recycled the ball, Quinn crossed from the left and Hewitt headed well wide.
After 45+2 minutes, Milsom crossed and Ajiboye headed wide under pressure from Perch.
A disappointing first half for Mansfield who were rattled by the early goal gifted to Sutton. Sutton had done a job on Mansfield in that first half, after getting the early goal, breaking play up, wasting time, while Mansfield were making far too many errors. I said in my summary at half time: if there’s one team in the league you don’t want to gift a goal to give them the lead, it’s Sutton United.
Half time 0-1
No changes at half time. With the Stags lacking pace up front, I would have made a change at the break bringing on Danny Johnson, and putting Ollie Hawkins back to centre half in place of Farrend Rawson who was having a very poor game and looked like he was affected by that early mistake. Probably the reason the change wasn’t made is the worry that Hawkins is more likely to pick up a yellow card at centre half which would move him so close to a three match ban.
Sutton increased their lead on 49 minutes with fine play by Boldewijn on the left. Boldewijn received the ball from Rob Milsom, feigned to cut inside Elliott Hewitt, then cut outside him to the byline, and chipped a great cross to the far post where David Ajiboye was left unmarked to volley into the net from 5 yards, with Jordan Bowery stood watching him. A fine goal with great play from Boldewijn. Hewitt and Bowery could have done better.
Ajiboye embarked on a couple of excellent runs of his own down the right, having a shot deflected wide after 54 minutes, and a minute later getting to the byline but his cross was cleared.
After 57 minutes, a corner from Quinn from the left was cleared back to him. He surged into the area and went down with Isaac Olaofe close to him. The Stags appealed for a penalty, but the referee booked Quinn for diving. From the video replay, Olaofe did not put in a challenge and Quinn went down too easily. The referee got this one right.
Perch did well to win a free kick on the hour. Quinn took the free kick, from level with the edge of the area on the left, to the far post. O’Toole leapt well, but headed over the bar.
The Stags were still unable to find that bit of quality to up their game. But the Stags fans were giving great support to their side.
After 62 minutes, Olaofe got into the Stags area on the left but his low shot was saved by Bishop at his near post.
Quinn laid off to Stirk after 65 minutes, Stirk chipped the ball straight at the keeper.
Danny Johnson was brought on after 66 minutes in place of Quinn. Quinn was showing signs of frustration, and was already on a yellow card. Clough clarified after the game: "Quinn's carrying knocks and you saw him get a whack so it was important that he's available for Monday.”
Good play from Bowery on the left after 68 minutes and his cross was cleared to Akins 8 yards from goal, and Akins’ shot was blocked on the line by Louis John. That was close.
A poor header from O’Toole after 71 minutes, and Bishop did well to put the ball out for a throw-in.
Great control from Hawkins after 72 minutes, and a good run from Bowery to win a corner. A minute later, Bowery played the ball inside to Stirk who turned and his shot was blocked.
George Maris replaced Stirk after 74 minutes. Not Stirk’s day at all. Clough said after the game: "Stirky wasn't brilliant today”. Maris has had surprisingly little game time since returning from injury.
Then on 75 minutes, Akins chested down to Danny Johnson who shot straight at the keeper.
Maris had only been on a couple of minutes when he made an unforced error. It seemed to be infectious from his teammates.
Out of the blue, the Stags pulled a goal back after 78 minutes. A free kick from Bishop from halfway inside his own half was headed on by Hawkins outside the box, and defender Ben Goodliffe, trying to head the ball away, could only head the ball over his own keeper and into the net. A lifeline for the Stags.
But Mansfield couldn’t capitalise and Sutton restored their two goal advantage two minutes later. Ajiboye lifted the ball forward from 5 yards inside his own half for sub Richie Bennett to run on to. Stags players claimed offside but Bennett had come from an onside position. Bennett ran through on goal and fired past Bishop with a clinical finish. No sooner had the Stags been given a lifeline with the own goal, than Sutton had taken it away from them again.
Incidentally from the main camera video replay, you cannot tell if Bennett was onside or offside. But from analyst Matt Ash’s wide angle video, Bennett was onside. Nigel Clough talked after the game about “Perchy unusually giving it away” in the build-up to the goal, though Mansfield had won the ball back well before the goal was conceded. Clough added: “I don't think he was offside, I think he timed his run very well.”
Kieran Wallace replaced Perch after 85 minutes. Wallace went in at left back.
Wallace was straight into the action. A good move from the Stags down the left, Wallace burst forward, found Johnson and his shot was on target but Milsom deflected it wide.
Into stoppage time. On 90+2 minutes, O’Toole tried his luck from 35 yards, but his shot was straight at the keeper.
The Stags scored a consolation to make it 3-2 with virtually the last kick of the game after 90+7 minutes. Hewitt’s free kick from halfway inside his own half was headed down by Hawkins, it was half-cleared by Goodliffe to sub George Maris who teed up Matty Longstaff for a shot from 22 yards. Longstaff took aim and his shot was deflected by Louis John, wrong-footing the keeper and sending it into the net. Longstaff’s shot was on-target so it was his goal, but it probably wouldn’t have gone in without the deflection.
A bitterly disappointing performance and result from Mansfield. A lack of pace and quality going forward, coupled with critical errors. Rhys Oates might have caused Sutton plenty of problems but remains out injured, and won't be available until next weekend at the earliest. Stephen McLaughlin was also missed going forward on the left. Nigel Clough commented after the game: “We looked a little bit disjointed, with injuries catching us up. We especially missed McLaughlin’s driving force at left back. Perchy did well but he’s a different sort of full back. We missed a little bit of creativity at times today.”
Credit to Sutton for stopping Mansfield playing. They are very good at what they do, it’s not pretty, but very effective. They slowed the game down, were very solid defensively, and in Boldewijn and Ajiboye had two dangerous wingers. We know from Boldewijn’s time at Notts County he’s incredibly inconsistent, but he was effective today.
The Stags need to bounce back quickly, with a visit to Carlisle on Monday afternoon. Oates, McLaughlin and the suspended Lapslie will not be available. With those players out, options for team selection are limited, but I would probably be looking to get Wallace, Maris, Johnson and possibly Law into the starting line up to freshen things up. If you’re not travelling to the game, you can watch it with us on iFollow Stags.
FRI 15 APR 2022, LEAGUE TWO
Mansfield Town 2-3 Sutton United
Goodliffe (78'minutes og), M Longstaff (90'+7minutes)
Bugiel (9'minutes), Ajiboye (49'minutes), Bennett (80'minutes)
Boldewijn (49'minutes), Ajiboye (80'minutes)
Mansfield's impressive club-record run of 11 successive home league wins was halted by promotions rivals Sutton who pulled off a deserved 3-2 League Two victory.
With Port Vale winning, sixth-placed Stags now have a six-point gap between them and the third automatic promotion place, although they still have a game in hand.
Sutton, meanwhile, climbed up to seventh with the win as they took advantage of Newport and Tranmere dropping points.
Mansfield gifted their opponent a ninth-minute lead following an error by defender Farrend Rawson.
After having the ball rolled to him on the edge of the box by keeper Nathan Bishop, Rawson was dispossessed by Omar Bugiel who rounded Bishop and calmly netted.
The hosts were then rocked by a second Sutton goal four minutes into the second half as David Ajiboye was allowed to turn home his eighth goal of the season from six yards, tucking away Enzio Boldewijn's cross from the left by-line.
Stags were handed a lifeline in the 78th minute as a long John-Joe O'Toole ball forward saw Sutton defender Ben Goodliffe loop a header over his own keeper.
But United were 3-1 up two minutes later as substitute Richie Bennett raced clear to slot past Bishop with Stags screaming for an offside flag.
Mansfield pulled another goal back in the seventh of added time when Matty Longstaff saw his low 18-yard shot deflect home but it was nothing more than a consolation.
Match report supplied by PA Media.
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Sutton United
Possession Home 64% Away 36%
Shots Home 14 Away 8
Shots on Target Home 5 Away 5
Corners Home 6 Away 7
Fouls Home 12 Away 14
Sutton United setback rocks Mansfield Town automatic promotion dream
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Friday 15th April 2022
Mansfield Town's automatic promotion chase suffered a huge blow when they were beaten 3-2 at home by rivals Sutton United at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.
The result also ended Stags' proud club record run of 11 successive home league wins.
An early error by Farrend Rawson gifted Sutton the lead and they never really looked like letting go of what they had.
The visitors were big and powerful and refused to let Stags cut them open with their usual passing game.
Nigel Clough had warned how hard Sutton are to break down when ahead and so it proved.
Trailing 2-0, Mansfield had a glimmer of hope when an own goal halved the deficit with 10 minutes to go, but United added a killer third just two minutes later, Matty Longstaff pulling another back at the death but too late to change the outcome.
To make matters worse, Stags' main rivals for automatic promotion, Port Vale, won to open a six-point gap, though Stags have a game in hand and are quickly back in action at Carlisle United on Easter Monday.
The Mansfield side to showed just one change with injured defender Stephen McLaughlin replaced by Oli Hawkins.
The versatile Hawkins, who was rested last weekend, was utilised up front rather than his recent outings at centre half.
Jamie Murphy was back from injury to take a place on the bench, which was once again a man short.
But there was no return for top scorer Rhys Oates, who is trying to shake off a thigh strain.
Neither keeper was tested in a scrappy opening, but on nine minutes Stags gifted the visitors a shock opener.
Bishop rolled the ball to Rawson on the edge of the box to start playing out from the back.
But Rawson failed to control and allowed the lurking Bugiel to pick his pocket and run on to round Bishop and find the empty net.
Stags were looking nervy and some of the passing was loose with several decisions going against them too.
On 20 minutes Boldewijn ran at the home defence and ghosted inside Rawson, but his low shot was easy for Bishop.
Stags broke upfield and finally fashioned a chance as Akins crossed low from the left by-line and Hawkins slid in at the far post but just too late to turn the ball home.
Sutton were already frustrating home fans with their time-wasting tactics and were also giving Stags no time to get the ball down and play.
From a clearance on 25 minutes Goodliffe ambitiously tried to lift the ball over Bishop from 40 yards but was too high.
Stags' best move so far on the half-hour earned a corner and got the home fans' noise level rising. But Hawkins headed Longstaff's kick tamely wide at the back post.
A dangerous far post cross by Perch saw Hawkins head it goalwards, but it was cleared and it took a fine tackle by Hewitt to halt a dangerous Sutton break.
Bowery needed treatment after taking Goodliffe's elbow in his face, but the referee deemed it to not be a foul. Bowery returned with his head bandaged.
On 40 minutes O'Toole conceded a free kick wide on the right and Milson whipped it in, Bishop choosing to punch it away.
In the three added minutes Ajiboye failed to keep a header down from a Milson cross as Stags went in with work to do.
However, within four minutes of the restart it was Sutton who had doubled their advantage.
Boldewijn got the left by-line and pulled back a cross that Ajiboye was able to turn home from six yards unchallenged.
Stags were then grateful to see an Ajiboye shot deflect wide for a corner after he had made a fine run down the middle.
Quinn went down under a challenge in the box on 57 minutes but the referee decided he had taken a dive and booked the Stags man.
On the hour Quinn sent a good free kick to the far post where O'Toole rose to power his header over the top.
Two minutes later Olaofe easily ran past Rawson into the left of the box but Bishop saved with his legs at the near post.
Desperate for a lifeline, Stags threw on Johnson for Quinn on 66 minutes.
Two minutes later Bowery put a good ball into the box where, amid a scramble, Akins had a shot blocked almost on the line.
Maris replaced Stirk and two minutes later Akins chested down a Maris pass for Johnson to blast straight at Bouzanis.
However, Stags were given a lifeline on 78 minutes when a long ball forward from O'Toole was headed back over his keeper by Goodliffe into his own net.
But two minutes later Stags were left staring at the linesman as a through ball to Sutton sub Bennett left him racing clear and, with no expected offside flag, he slotted expertly past Bishop.
Wallace replaced Perch and quickly went on a great run to set up Johnson for a shot that deflected just wide.
In added time O'Toole warmed Bouzanis' hands, but the keeper denied him.
In the seventh added minute Longstaff grabbed a consolation as he saw a low 18 yard shot deflect past the keeper but it was too late to save the day.
STAGS: Bishop, Hewitt, O'Toole, Rawson, Perch (Wallace 85), Stirk (Maris 73), Quinn (Johnson 66), Longstaff, Bowery, Hawkins, Akins. SUBS NOT USED: Stech, Law, Murphy.
SUTTON: Bouzanis, Kizzi, John, Goodliffe, Milsom, Ajiboye, Eastmond, Beautyman (90+2), Boldewijn, Bugiel (Bennett 68), Olaofe (Wilson 76). SUBS NOT USED: House, Rowe, Wyatt, Korboa.
REFEREE: Neil Hair.
ATTENDANCE: 6,134 (173 away).
Match report for Mansfield Town 2 Sutton United 3
Sutton confirmed the lack of any Wembley hangover with arguably the best result of a league season in which there have been quite a few candidates, ending Mansfield's run of eleven consecutive home wins and launching U's back in to the play-off zone.
The result lifted Sutton back in to the top seven at the expense of Newport, Monday's visitors to the VBS Community Stadium, and while it is still extremely tight, with five points separating Northampton in 4th and Salford in 11th, if Sutton maintain this level of performance for the remaining five games then there is every reason to think that the season may be extended and a return to Wembley could remain a possibility.
Ahead early on after Omar Bugiel's opportunist goal, and with David Ajiboye adding a second just after half time, U's always had themselves in front, and responded to Ben Goodliffe's own goal with twelve minutes to go with a superb strike from substitute Richie Bennett before Mansfield could take advantage, Matty Longstaff's deflected shot deep in to injury time giving the scoreline a closer look than U's deserved.
Goodliffe was fit to return to the back four in the only change from the side that beat Orient, while Mansfield were still missing striker Rhys Oates and the suspended George Lapslie, but their home form over the last five months has been the best in the EFL and for U's to strike early was a huge boost. The blow was partially self inflicted as Farrand Rawson dallied on the ball after receiving it from goalkeeper Nathan Bishop, but Bugiel's pressure was as much responsible for the error and the striker dispossessed Rawson, swerved round Bishop and rolled the ball in to the empty net.
For much of the first half U's were in control, and Enzio Boldewijn raced down the left but then shot straight at Bishop when better options might have been available. Mansfield went to the other end, and after a patient build-up Jordan Bowery's low cross found Oliver Hawkins sliding in at the far post but unable to get his shot on target. That was the home side's only serious threat, though, and if they were hoping to put U's under more pressure in the second half they were rocked within four minutes as Rob Milsom came forward on the left to collect Harry Beautyman's pass and laid the ball wide to Boldewijn, who turned Elliott Hewitt inside out before chipping a cross to the far post where Ajiboye arrived to volley home.
Mansfield did exert more pressure as the half went on, Dean Bouzanis making one fine close range save from Lucas Akins after a goalmouth scramble, and U's surviving a penalty claim when Stephen Quinn went over under Isaac Olaofe's challenge, referee Neil Hair booking the Mansfield player for a dive when other officials might easily have taken the opposing view. There was also a superb block by Milsom to divert a shot from substitute Danny Johnson, who also saw a deflected shot saved by Bouzanis.
U's seemed to be on course for a comfortable win until, with twelve minutes to go Hawkins headed on a long free kick from Bishop and Goodliffe, stretching to try and prevent the ball reaching Bowery, looped a header over Bouzanis and in to his own net. It threatened to set up a grandstand finish, but within two minutes Ajiboye's superb crossfield pass sent Bennett away on the left, and with Mansfield hoping for an offside flag that never came, Bennett went on to drill a shot across Bishop and in to the far corner.
There was still pressure to survive for U's but they rarely looked like giving up the points and although, with stoppage time almost completed another long free kick fell to Longstaff, whose shot deflected past Bouzanis off the luckless Goodliffe, it was too little too late for the home side as U's celebrated another superb victory.
Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Eastmond, B Goodliffe, L John, D Ajiboye, I Olaofe(sub D Wilson 76), O Bugiel(sub R Bennett 68), H Beautyman(sub K Davis 90+2), E Boldewijn. Subs n/u B House, B Wyatt, C Rowe, R Korboa.
Mansfield: N Bishop, E Hewitt, J Perch(sub K Wallace 84), R Stirk(sub G Maris 74), J-J O'Toole, F Rawson, S Quinn(sub D Johnson 66), M Longstaff, J Bowery, O Hawkins, L Akins. Subs n/u J Murphy, M Stech, J Law. Booked: Quinn.
Referee: Neil Hair
Attendance: 6,134 (173 away)
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