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Archived News from July 2022

24th July 2022 0:22

Pre-Season Friendly
Mansfield Town 3 - 0 Sheffield United
Boateng 65, 84, Oates 71.
Attendance: behind closed doors

Date: 19 July 2022

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town beat Sheffield United 3-0 in a behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly at the One Call Stadium last night. This was a pretty much full-strength Sheffield United side, a side that lost in the play-offs to Nottingham Forest for a place in the Premier League last season. So even though the scoreline flattered the Stags slightly, it was nevertheless a very impressive result and performance, and a very useful workout on the hottest day ever in England!

It was Mansfield’s fourth game out of five of pre-season. Two wins against non-league opposition, followed by a draw and a win against Championship sides, confirms a strong pre-season, though of course the real stuff doesn’t begin until a week on Saturday at Salford.

Sheffield United missed some chances and were denied by saves from Christy Pym in the opening hour of the game, but goals from Hiram Boateng after 65 minutes from a fine James Gale cross, from Rhys Oates from another Gale cross after 71 minutes, and then another from Boateng after 84 minutes, this time a beauty curled in off the left post from the edge of the area, gave the Stags the victory.

What a shame the fans were not allowed in to watch it. As Nigel Clough said to me after the game to sum the evening up: “the only thing missing tonight was the fans!” I won’t express my frustration again about why the fans weren’t allowed in, see my Rotherham report if you want to read that.

Nigel Clough changed his side every 30 minutes, given the extreme weather conditions. The kick-off had been moved back from 7pm to 8pm to allow the game to start in slightly cooler conditions. It did indeed cool significantly by 8pm, but was still well over 30 degrees, with temperatures having reached 40 degrees or near 40 degrees for the first time ever around England earlier in the day.

First 30 minutes:
Stags team (3-5-2):
Christy Pym;
John-Joe O’Toole, Oli Hawkins, Riley Harbottle;
Kellan Gordon (right wing-back), Hiram Boateng, George Maris, Stephen Quinn, Jordan Bowery (left wing-back);
Rhys Oates, Lucas Akins.

30-60 minutes:
Stags team (3-5-2):
Christy Pym;
John-Joe O’Toole, Jordan Bowery (central defence), George Cooper;
Kellan Gordon (right wing-back), George Lapslie, Jason Law, Ollie Clarke, Lucas Akins (left wing-back);
James Gale, Danny Johnson.

60-90 minutes:
Stags team (3-5-2):
Scott Flinders;
Ollie Clarke (right side of central defence), Oli Hawkins, Riley Harbottle;
George Lapslie (right wing-back), Hiram Boateng, George Maris, Stephen Quinn, Jason Law (left wing-back);
Rhys Oates, James Gale.
Danny Johnson (for Gale, 82)

Absent for Mansfield were:
Will Swan: Clough said he felt a tight groin in the afternoon of the game, and added “Hopefully Will will be alright for Saturday”.
Stephen McLaughlin: Clough said he had a “tight Achilles in training yesterday so missed out”, adding “pitches are very hard at the moment”.
James Perch: Clough said “James had a scan on his calf and is going to be a few weeks. I think only Perch and Kieran Wallace will be missing for the Salford game at the moment.”
Kieran Wallace and Elliott Hewitt (with those knocks picked up at the training camp in Scotland). Clough said “Wallace is out for a few weeks with his knee”.

Jordan Bowery played at left wing-back and then in central defence. I joked with Nigel Clough after the game that he was trying to put Bowery in every position in pre-season. He laughed.

The late absence of Swan, meant Clough called up Danny Johnson to play. Clough said the late absence “messed the plans up a little bit, but Danny Johnson came in and did 40-odd minutes which helped us out”. After the game, Clough talked about Johnson saying that a deal for him to be transferred “looks like it will happen”. He added “We are trying to get to the finer details of a deal for him. I don't think we're too far away so we're hopeful something might get done this week. I think it will be best for everybody. Danny has never been a problem for a minute while he has been here. It's just sometimes in football it sometimes doesn't quite work out.”

The formation was 3-5-2 for the fourth game out of four. A reminder that Nigel Clough said after the first pre-season friendly: “We’re going to look at one or two things in the next few friendlies and see which one settles. We think we’ve got the players to carry it out (3-5-2). I think we’ve got ideal wing-backs, I think the centre halves we’ve got can adapt to it, I think Oli Hawkins is perfect in the middle of a three, and it gets us two up top which is important as well. We’ll see how it goes.”

After the game here, Clough clarified: “The 3-5-2 system is working well at the moment, but certainly not set in stone.”

Sheffield United sent out their first team.

Sheffield United had most of the ball in the opening stages. Keeper Wes Foderingham didn’t touch the ball until the 6th minute.

After 8 minutes, Ben Osborn fired over the bar from 18 yards.

A brilliant turn by Oates in the centre circle after 11 minutes, and a good run but he just lost control of the ball outside the area.

Hawkins headed a cross from Sander Burge behind for a corner after 13 minutes.

At the other end after 18 minutes, Boateng set Gordon away and he won a corner after a dangerous cross.

Hawkins eased Brewster off the ball in the area after 23 minutes as both players went to ground. No penalty said the referee.

A fine save by Pym after 27 minutes. Berge sent Iliman Ndiaye away for a shot from the edge of the area, but Pym did well to turn it past the post. Following the resulting corner, Baldock’s curling cross was met by Anel Ahmedhodzic who headed wide.

Another cross from Kellan Gordon after 29 minutes, to the far post. Oates got his boot on it but couldn’t turn it back across goal from a tight angle. Moments later, Gordon won a corner.

The Stags changed their team after 31 minutes (see above for team).

Rhian Brewster set Ndiaye away for another run to the edge of the area after 38 minutes and a 1-on-1. Pym was out to narrow the angle and saved Ndiaye‘s shot. The ball looped up towards the net and, before Ollie Norwood could turn it in, George Cooper cleared off the line.

On 45 minutes, Ciaran Clarke headed well wide from an Osborn free kick from the left.

Nil nil at half time but plenty of chances for the Blades and a couple of fine saves from the impressive Christy Pym.

Half time 0-0

After 48 minutes, Norwood crossed low from the right. The ball got stuck under Bowery’s feet and Ndiaye could only get a soft shot on it from 5 yards to give Pym an easy save.

On 52 minutes at the other end, a good cross from Kellan Gordon, Akins turned it goalwards but straight at the keeper.

A bad challenge by Lapslie after 55 minutes which would have been a yellow in a league game.

The Stags changed the side again after 60 minutes (see details above).

Good control from Oates on the right to take a throw-in in his stride after 63 minutes, and from a tight angle he smashed a shot goalwards which the keeper palmed away. The ball rebounded to Gale who headed well wide.

The Stags took the lead after 65 minutes. Quinn slid a super ball forward to Gale to run on to, to the byline on the left. The Blades’ defence claimed for offside and it was close, but the flag stayed down. Gale took the ball along the byline on the left before crossing low to the edge of the six yard box where Boateng slid in to beat the defence and turn it into the net. Fine play from Quinn and especially from young Gale, and a poacher’s finish from Boateng.

Sheffield United had the ball in the net after 68 minutes but the flag was up well before the ball was in the net. Baldock was offside before he took the ball to the byline and crossed to Brewster who headed in. Two minutes later, Brewster’s deflected shot from the edge of the area was straight at Flinders in the Stags goal.

The Stags made it 2-0 after 71 minutes. Quinn set Gale away down the left, Gale slid a magnificent ball across the edge of the six yard box, and Oates was first to it in the middle to turn it past the keeper. Brilliant from Gale, and a poacher’s finish this time from Oates.

Great play again from Gale after 74 minutes, finding Boateng on the halfway line, Boateng then set Oates away but he was just offside.

Good defending from Hawkins blocking a Jebbison cross after 78 minutes.

Johnson returned after 82 minutes to replace the impressive Gale.

It was 3-0 after 84 minutes. Oates shot from a tight angle on the byline, it was blocked by the keeper. Oates retrieved the ball, and found Boateng. Boateng to Lapslie, to Oates, to Lapslie, along the edge of the area to Boateng again. Boateng took one touch and from the edge of the area, on the right, curled a magnificent left footed shot in off the left post. What a beauty!

After 86 minutes, good defending by Lapslie blocking a cross from Norrington-Davies.

So a 3-0 win for Mansfield. Lots of impressive performances. Boateng continued to look excellent in midfield, capped by his two goals, the second of which was a stunner. What a left foot he has! Oates looked sharp up front and took his goal well. James Gale was brilliant with two wonderful assists. He will probably go out on loan this season but is a big prospect. Christy Pym in goal also really caught the eye with some good saves. Kellan Gordon had a good game at right wing back, getting forward well with some dangerous crosses. Hawkins had a good game at centre half.

By the way, to correct one piece of info I gave in an earlier report: Hawkins will not be banned for the first league game (at Salford), as it turns out the play-offs are considered a standalone tournament, so he isn't banned following his red card at Wembley.

The final pre-season game is on Saturday, at Oldham Athletic. We will not have live coverage on iFollow Stags but the full match replay will be available on iFollow Stags on Sunday.

Ref: Declan Bourne
Sheffield United: (5-3-2) Foderingham; Baldock, Kyron Gordon (Egan 76′), Ahmedhodzic, Ciaran Clark (Robinson 76’), Stevens (Norrington-Davies 46’); Norwood (Arblaster 76’), Berge (Fleck 76’), Osborn (Coulibaly 76’); Ndiaye, Brewster (Jebbison 76’). Subs not used: Amissah, Osula, Gomis.


Mansfield Town see off Championship neighbours Sheffield United 3-0 in fine pre-season friendly victory
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 19th July 2022

Mansfield Town comfortably shot down Championship neighbours Sheffield United 3-0 in an excellent display behind-closed-doors at the One Call Stadium tonight.

Goals by Hiram Boateng (65 minutes) and Rhys Oates (71), both set up by young striker James Gale, had Stags in charge before a stunning finish by Boateng on 84 minutes put the icing on the cake against a very strong Blades side.

After Saturday's 1-1 draw with another Championship side, Rotherham United, this was another excellent work-out for Nigel Clough's squad with all fit members of the squad given plenty of minutes and most coming off and going back on again for a second spell over the 90 minutes.

That was important as, despite the powerful sunshine dying down, this was still an extremely sticky evening for football on the day the UK recorded its record highest temperature of over 40 degrees.


Oli Hawkins clears the ball against Sheffield United. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media

Oli Hawkins clears the ball against Sheffield United. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media

Kick-off had been put back to 8pm, but it was still very uncomfortable on the field for Clough's meeting with his old club.

The game was played with no fans in the stadium. The club had stayed tight-lipped on the reason but it was widely believed to be a directive from the police.

Stephen McLaughlin missed out with a knock and Will Swan was also absent, presumably for the same reason.

Transfer-listed Danny Johnson was given some time up front, but had little opportunity to shine against the expensive Championship back line.

There was also the sight of the versatile Jordan Bowery showing he could be another option at centre half.

It needed a good block from Harbottle to deny Berge on three minutes as the referee played on when it seemed Akins had been tripped.

The passing by both sides was fast and neat in the early stages.

On eight minutes Maris failed to control on the edge of his own box and Osborne fired over.

Stags were back on the attack after a 15th minute drinks break and a good move down the right saw Gordon curl a tempting, low ball into the six yard box from which United conceded a corner.

Brewster had shouts for a penalty waved away, then Pym had his first save on 27 minutes as Berge's cutting pass down the middle sent Ndiaye through only to see the keeper block low to his left.

The corner was then worked short for a cross that Ahmedhodzic headed wide from close range.

On 32 minutes Stags made six changes with Bowery given a try as a centre half alongside youngster Cooper and O'Toole and Akins moved to right wing back.

Cooper produced a superb goal line clearance on 29 minutes after Ndiaye had again been sent down the middle and tried to send a clever flick over Pym.

A minute from the break Clark was up well to meet a free kick but sent his downward header wide of the near post as the sides went in all square.

Stags survived an early scramble in the six yard box with Pym dropping safely on the ball at the feet of Ndiaye after Baldock had drilled it in hard and low.

Gordon put a good cross to the far post on 52 minutes which Akins could only guide straight to the keeper.

On 59 minutes Stags made more wholesale changes with most of the players who went off in the first half returning for more minutes.

Oates forced Foderingham to block a powerful near post shot from a tight angle on 63 minutes.

Two minutes later Stags broke the deadlock through Boateng.

Gale got away and sent in a powerful low ball from the left by-line, and Stags' summer signing made no mistake in diverting it first time past the keeper from five yards.

An offside flag was raised well before Brewster headed home on a break and the same player bundled an 18-yard effort at Pym.

Instead the home side doubled their lead on 71 minutes.

Gale was again the provider from the left as he sent another tempting, low cross in and Oates was on hand to finish first time from close range.

With 14 minutes to and another drinks break, United also made a raft of changes.

On 84 minutes Oates latched onto a poor back pass but could not beat Foderingham on his near post.

But seconds later Boateng picked up the ball from Lapslie’s pass 18 yards from goal and curled a simply delightful finish that found the net off the inside of the far post, giving the keeper no chance to crown a fine night for the Stags.


Sheffield United: What we learned from this 'friendly' defeat at Mansfield Town
Sheffield Star, By James Shield

Sheffield United were beaten 3-0 by Mansfield Town at Field Mill tonight, with Rhys Oates’ second-half effort sandwiched in between two strikes from Hiram Boateng.

Other than the fact Paul Heckingbottom’s side need to sharpen up at the back before next month’s Championship opener at Watford, here’s what else we learned from the game.

United’s young front two could be lively: Okay, this could hardly be described as a classic. Or even vaguely entertaining, with both sides seemingly more intent on getting minutes into their legs rather than honing their touch and skills.

But amid the general torpor, until Boateng gave Mansfield the lead, United’s coaching staff will have been encouraged to see Rhian Brewster and Iliman Ndiaye linking up well. Both aged 22, the duo already look like being crucial to United’s hopes of making an impression towards the top of the Championship next term. Particularly if they fail to tidy up their defending.


Enda needs an arm around the shoulder: Maybe it was the shock of being called ‘Edna’ on the pre-match team sheet. Or perhaps it was the heat.

But Enda Stevens, United’s left wing-back, does appear to have lost some of his old pizazz.

There was a moment, midway through a dour first-half memorable only for those attempts by Ndiaye, when the Republic of Ireland international picked the ball up on the half way line, looked up and discovered there was acres of space in front of him. Not so long ago, Stevens’ would have got his head down and charged into it, before whipping the ball across the opposition box.

Here, his first instinct appeared to be to play it safe or square.

Rhys Norrington-Davies replaced Stevens at the break, which might suggest a lack of fitness. But it wouldn’t do any harm for someone to encourage him to get back to doing what he does best.

It’s not the people’s game anymore: Signs displaying some of football’s most famous quotes adorn the walls of the corridors inside Field Mill’s West Stand. They include one attributed to the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich who, when he wasn’t busy writing symphonies and the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, declared the game to be the “Ballet of the Masses”.

It might have been in his day. It isn’t anymore. Otherwise this fixture, which should have been a money spinner for the hosts and an opportunity for visiting fans to see some of their club’s new signings in action, wouldn’t have taken place behind closed doors.

Apparently, some people in authority feared there could be trouble following events at the end of May’s Championship play-off semi-final between United and Nottingham Forest. Which, if true, is utterly bizarre. Heckingbottom’s squad were facing Mansfield, not renewing their rivalry with Steve Cooper’s side.

Defending needs to improve: All three of the goals United conceded during last weekend’s 3-2 defeat by Scuthorpe were avoidable. The same goes for two they let in here, with Boateng presented with a simple finish following James Gale’s cross before the Mansfield substitute provided another assist, this time for Rhys Oates. If pre-season is about developing habits, United need to kick this one. Fast. But there was nothing they could do about Boateng’s second, though.


Report and Hecky’s reaction to 3-0 defeat

United were beaten by Mansfield on Tuesday night after conceding 3 goals in back-to-back pre-season games.

Both sets of players had to suffer in the extreme weather conditions on Tuesday night. United were the better team in the first half but couldn’t finish any of their chances that they carved out in the evening’s extreme humidity.

The deadlock was broken in the 65th minute as Hiram Boateng tapped home from five yards out, as he latched onto a driven cross from James Gale.

Mansfield doubled their advantage with Rhys Oates in the 72nd minute. Gale grabbed his second assist of the evening as he set the ball back to the striker whose effort proved too much for Sheffield United’s goalkeeper, thumping the ball into the back of the net in the Quarry Lane end.

Boateng secured Mansfield’s third goal with a tremendous curling effort. The powerhouse midfielder whipped a superb strike into the top left corner from the edge of the box to extend the Stags’ lead to three goals, in which United had no reply to as they suffered a 3-0 defeat behind-closed-doors.

Paul Heckingbottom spoke about another United defeat after the game:

“The goals were terrible but it’s another reminder. Whilst we haven’t been stressing performances too much, you can’t turn a blind eye to the goals we’ve conceded when you consider who’ll start against Watford. It’s about defending better, it’s poor defending. A bit of laziness and everything we pride ourselves on last year, the goals were the opposite of that.” [Via BBC Radio Sheffield]

The Blades have two more friendlies to sort out sloppy errors at the back, before the season kicks off, with a game on Friday night vs Burton Albion, and the following day against Barnsley.

STAGS XI: Pym, Gordon (Maris 59’), O’Toole (Harbottle 59’), Hawkins (Gale 30’ (Johnson 83’), Harbottle (Cooper 30’), (Hawkins 59’), Bowery, Boateng (Lapslie 30’), Maris (Law 30’), Quinn (Clarke 30’ (Boateng 76’), Akins (Quinn 59’) Oates (Johnson 30’).

BlADES XI: Foderingham, Baldock, Ahmedhodžić, Gordon (Egan 76′), Clark (Robinson 76’), Stevens (Norrington-Davies 46’), Norwood (Arblaster 76’), Berge (Fleck 76’), Osborn (Coulibaly 76’), Ndiaye, Brewster (Jebbison 76’).

UNUSED SUBS: Amissah, Osula, Gomis.



The concession of three second half goals inflicted a second consecutive pre-season loss on the Blades on Tuesday night.

Hiram Boateng bagged a brace, either side of a goal from Rhys Oates, as United failed to capitilise on a number of good chances in the first period.

Foderingham returned between the posts for the behind closed doors encounter at Field Mill, whilst Brewster and Ndiaye were partnered in attack following their goals at Scunthorpe.

After something of a quiet opening, understandable given the heat perhaps, Berge won the Blades their first corner of the game but ultimately it came to nothing. The rest of the first period was very much United creating the better chances though.

On 23 minutes, Brewster got the wrong side of Hawkins who appeared to pull the striker down, but the referee was uninterested in awarding a penalty. Four minutes later, after Brewster had won the ball back in his own half, Ndiaye was set clear on the angle by Berge, but Pym was down smartly to deny him at the expense of a corner, from which Ahmedhodžić headed wide from Baldock's inviting centre.

The best chance of the opening 45 minutes, which included a flurry of changes for the Stags and a couple of timely drinks breaks, went United's way, but Pym again saved from the advancing Ndiaye before a retreating defender cleared the loose ball as Norwood looked to force the rebound home.

Like in the first half, United were the side forcing the issue, but from close-range Ndiaye failed to make a clear contact as he attempted to poke the ball beyond Pym, who claimed at the second attempt. At the other end, Gordon's cross was inviting but Akins could only volley straight at Foderingham.

Gordon, who had early caught a stray elbow to the face was replaced on the hour, with Robinson also introduced at the expense of Clark, but it was the home side who too the lead on the hour, moments after Foderingham had beaten away a powerful effort from Oates. Gale broke the offside trap down United's right and his low cross was tucked in by BOATENG.

The Blades response was instant, but the assistant referee denied them an equaliser, judging Baldock offside from Berge's pass prior to him crossing for Brewster to head home. And on 71 minutes, Town took full advantage of that reprieve by doubling their lead as OATES got across Robinson and tucked an effort past the outstretched arm of Foderingham.

The evening got even worse in the final ten minutes as BOATENG curled home a third late on after Baldock had limped off following a challenge with Maris.

Blades: Foderingham, Baldock (Broadbent 81), Stevens (Norrington-Davies 45), Brewster (Jebbison 77), Berge (Coulibaly 77), Ahmedhodžić, Norwood (Arblaster 77), Osborn (Fleck 77), Clark (Robinson 60), Ndiaye, Gordon (Egan 60).
Unused: Amissah, Osula, Gomis.



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