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Archived News from September 2022

10th September 2022 11:45

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Doncaster Rovers 1 - 3 Mansfield Town
Tomlin pen 45+2. Clarke 15, Maris 56, Akins pen 71
Attendance: 8,978 (2826 from Mansfield)

Date: 3 September 2022

Martin Shaw at the Keepmoat Stadium (Eco-Power Stadium)

Mansfield Town picked up their first away win of the season with a magnificent performance to outplay previously unbeaten Doncaster Rovers in a 3-1 victory at the Eco-Power Stadium.

The Stags were simply outstanding, with Lucas Akins fabulous up front, along with George Lapslie, playing just off him, and the energy and quality of Ollie Clarke, George Maris, and Anthony Hartigan in midfield continually ripping the home side to pieces.

Home manager Gary McSheffrey conceded “We take that on the chin. They were better than us. They won their battles individually and collectively and they were braver than us. They got on the ball and their front two, Akins and Lapslie caused us all sorts of problems.”

The Stags had won 3 out of 3 at home, and lost 3 out of 3 away, but the fantastic 2,826 noisy Stags fans gave the side the sort of backing they get at home and spurred them on to victory. The fans were superb throughout.

Mansfield made three changes from the last league game: O’Toole was out with a foot injury, Quinn and Swan dropped to the bench. In came Bowery, Clarke and Maris. Akins moved up front. Bowery went in at right wing back. Hawkins switched back to centre half, with Harbottle (right) and Perch (left) either side. Hawkins had missed the midweek Papa John’s Trophy win over Manchester City U21 with a bug but was ok to return. Boateng remained out with his hamstring still not quite right.
There was a very late change to the side: Hewitt had been named on the team sheet but was sick in the toilet in the changing room and so Harbottle stepped in at the last minute. Talking about the original selection, first team coach Andy Garner said after the game: “We had gone with Elliott (Hewitt) for a bit more pace (than Harbottle), but there was nothing in it, it was a toss of a coin really.”

Injured pair Rhys Oates and Jason Law travelled with the squad. Oates is due to be back running in 6 weeks and be back playing by the end of November. Law told me he is out for another 4 weeks or so, he is back running but not ready to kick a ball yet.

Doncaster were unbeaten so far with 4 wins and 2 draws out of 6 games, including 3 wins out of 3 at home. They included George Miller up front, who played well against the Stags for Walsall last season, and Lee Tomlin in midfield, who is a very good player at League Two level or indeed higher.

The Stags took the lead after 15 minutes. Lapslie found a yard of space after a 1-2 with Hartigan, to curl a nice ball into the box. Ro-Shaun Williams headed away under pressure from Akins, as far as Clarke in the D, 20 yards from goal. Clarke steadied himself, waited for the ball to come down, and volleyed left footed into the top right corner of the net. What a goal! It might turn out to be goal of the season. As sweet a volley as you will see.
Clarke said afterwards: “I don't think I have ever scored a better goal than that to be quite honest. I have hit a couple of nice strikes before in my career but never a volley from the edge of the box. Obviously I caught it sweet and it found the top corner, which is always a nice sight to see.”

It could have been 2-0 after 30 minutes. Hartigan crossed and Hawkins, unmarked, headed straight at the keeper from 10 yards.

A minute later at the other end, Pym made a sensational save. Kyle Knoyle crossed from the right and Miller got up well to head goalwards from 7 yards. Pym somehow turned it over the bar with his outstretched left hand. Probably the save of the season for the Stags.

A glorious opportunity for the Stags after 37 minutes. McLaughlin crossed, Akins chested it down perfectly into the path of Lapslie, 14 yards out, and Lapslie blazed over the bar. Lapslie beat the turf in frustration.

Two minutes later, great play from Perch on the left, then Bowery teed up Maris for a shot which was blocked for a corner.

Then McLaughlin got to the byline and pulled back to Akins whose shot was also blocked for a corner.

Then on 42 minutes an extraordinary let-off for Doncaster. Maris played inside to Lapslie near the penalty spot. Lapslie got away from Ro-Shaun Williams, tried to go around the keeper. The ball spilled to Hawkins, whose shot from 7 yards hit the only player between him and the goal, Knoyle, in the face and cannoned on to the post. The ball then cannoned off Harrison Biggins, hit Knoyle again, on his back, and hit the post again, before the keeper fell on the ball on the line. Lapslie then knocked the ball into the net, but the referee gave a free kick against Lapslie as the keeper had the ball by that point. Quite incredible how that did not go in after hitting the post twice. Astonishing.

The Stags should have already been out of sight, but Doncaster equalised after 45+2 minutes. Kyle Hurst fired a ball into the box from 40 yards out, towards Harrison Biggins. Perch got up, right behind Biggins, tried to head away and was adjudged to have fouled Biggins for a penalty. It was soft, but Perch gave the referee a decision to make. Lee Tomlin stepped up and sent Pym the wrong way, putting the ball into the left corner of the net.
After the game Ollie Clarke said: “The penalty was a bit dubious. It came just before the stroke of half-time, which can turn a game on its head. But I think we stayed focused and knew our game plan.”

What a boost for Doncaster to come in at half time level. Home manager Gary McSheffrey said: "They missed some good chances to be fair. We know we got lucky coming it at half time at 1-1.”

Nigel Clough told me after the game that it was important that the players weren’t down at half time, having outplayed Doncaster but just conceded the penalty, so he told them just to continue how they were playing. And they certainly did that.

Half time 1-1

Doncaster hit the post after 49 minutes on a counter attack, as Kyle Hurst fired against the outside of the left post.

Two minutes later at the other end, lovely play by Clarke to get himself into a shooting position after he was found by Akins, but he fired well wide.

Mansfield deservedly regained the lead after 56 minutes. Good strength from Harbottle to ease his man off the ball inside his own half. Moments later, Harbottle slid the ball down the line on the right for Akins to run on to. Great play from Akins to turn away from Bobby Faulkner, cross perfectly to Lapslie, next to the penalty spot. Lapslie controlled the ball and teed up Maris who side-footed into the top right corner of the net from 17 yards. Another fantastic goal. First team coach Andy Garner said after the game: “It’s the type of thing that we do in training quite a lot.”

Doncaster wanted another penalty after 67 minutes when Tomlin went down over Perch’s leg. The referee correctly decided that Tomlin was looking for it and booked him for diving.

The Stags made it 3-1 after 71 minutes. Bowery took a throw-in from level with edge of the area on the right, into the area. Lapslie chested it down, heading for the byline, and went down in a coming together with substitute James Maxwell. The referee immediately pointed to the spot. Certainly no question of a dive from Lapslie, but like the Perch incident at the end of the first half, it was soft. However at least the referee was consistent in giving a soft penalty for either side! Arguably neither should have been given. With McLaughlin having missed his last penalty (at Orient), and Mansfield having scored their last penalty through the now-injured Oates, up stepped Akins. He fired into the right corner of the net and even though the keeper went the right way, he couldn’t get to it.
Nigel Clough told me after the game that Akins used to take penalties for Burton and had a good record.

More great football from the Stags to create an opportunity after 82 minutes. Great play from Akins down the right, to Lapslie, who teed up Maris, whose shot was blocked.

Lapslie was booked for a foul and then kicking the ball away after 83 minutes. Two minutes later, he was late with a tackle and might have received a second yellow but fortunately didn’t.

The Stags comfortably held on for a terrific victory. Celebrations at the end of the game between the fans and the players and management.

What a performance this was. I’ve already talked about how good the forward line and midfield were. But the rest of the side were terrific as well. Christy Pym made a truly outstanding save, Oli Hawkins headed a lot away especially in the second half, Riley Harbottle stepped in to the side at the last minute and played very well, James Perch did well at the back too apart from conceding the penalty.

Mansfield move up into the play-off positions, in 7th place.



Doncaster Rovers 1-3 Mansfield Town
Tomlin (45'+2minutes pen)
O Clarke (15'minutes), Maris (56'minutes), Akins (71'minutes pen)
Lapslie (56'minutes)

Report supplied by PA Media.

Mansfield picked up their first away points of the League Two season with a thrilling win at Doncaster.

Ollie Clarke, George Maris and Lucas Akins were all on target as the Stags ended the hosts' unbeaten start in emphatic style despite Lee Tomlin's first-half equaliser from the spot.

The visitors forged ahead in spectacular style on the quarter-hour mark when a cross from the right by George Lapslie was headed out by Rovers defender Ro-Shaun Williams, only for Clarke's fierce edge-of-the-box volley to rocket into Jonathan Mitchell's top-left corner.

Just past the half-hour mark, George Miller's header was brilliantly tipped over by Mansfield keeper Christy Pym before the hosts drew level in first-half stoppage time after James Perch was penalised following a collision with Harrison Biggins in the box.

The experienced Tomlin made no mistake from the spot, finding Pym's bottom-right corner as the visitors' number one dived the opposite way.

After Kyle Hurst rattled an upright for Doncaster, Maris nudged the visitors back in front after 56 minutes when he side-footed in from 15 yards after Lapslie's lay-off.

The lively Lapslie was then brought down close to the byline by home sub James Maxwell and Akins sealed victory when he aimed a well-struck, 71st-minute penalty to Mitchell's left.

Match Stats
Home Team Doncaster Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 47% Away 53%
Shots Home 9 Away 16
Shots on Target Home 5 Away 5
Corners Home 3 Away 4
Fouls Home 10 Away 18


Mansfield Town roar to first away win of the season at Doncaster Rovers
chad.co.uk, Saturday 3rd September 2022

Mansfield Town deservedly claimed their first away league win of the season with a fine 3-1 victory against Doncaster Rovers at the Eco-Power Stadium this afternoon.

Goals from Ollie Clarke and George Maris, and a penalty from Lucas Akins, did the damage as the on-song Stags ended an unwanted run of three away league losses.

And with victory, Nigel Clough’s battling side also ended Rovers’ perfect home record and six-game unbeaten league run this term.

Stags had won 3-2 at then League One Doncaster in the FA Cup last season and once again emerged triumphant in what is the closest they have to a local derby against relegated Rovers this season.


Midfielder Clarke spectacularly rifled the visitors into a welcome 15th minute lead with his second goal in as many league games.

But experienced striker Lee Tomlin levelled for the hosts on the stroke of half-time from the penalty spot after James Perch had been adjudged to have shoved Biggins in the back.

Tomlin made no mistake from the spot, bagging his first goal of the season with a powerful strike, sending Pym the wrong way.

Stags roared back and George Maris smashed into the top right corner in the 56th minute, for his second goal of the season, to restore their lead.

And then Akins sealed the deal with his clinical penalty strike with 19 minutes left, his second goal in as many games.

Stags boss Nigel Clough made four changes pre-match but then saw Elliott Hewitt take ill during the warm-up and Riley Harbottle had to be quickly restored into the back three before kick-off.

Forward Jordan Bowery (comment by Martin, he was playing at right wing back) had a good early chance to fire the Stags in front, but his goalbound strike was blocked superbly by midfielder Tommy Rowe.

But the opener was just around the corner - and what a strike it was.

A George Lapslie cross was half-headed clear and Clarke steadied himself before unleashing a sweet left-foot volley past helpless Doncaster keeper Jonathan Mitchell.

Rovers midfielder Luke Molyneux tried his luck but Peterborough loan shot-stopper Christy Pym saved easily.

Oli Hawkins also fired a shot straight at Mitchell (comment by Martin-it was a header) as the chances kept coming in an entertaining half, before Pym pulled off a stunning save to turn George Miller’s powerful header away on 31 minutes - his only real save of the contest.

Irish midfielder Stephen McLaughlin was the provider of the next chance with a pinpoint cross, but George Lapslie frustratingly fired over for the Stags.

Akins also had a shot deflected wide as the visitors kept pushing for a second goal, before Bowery’s shot deflected off Rovers defender Kyle Knoyle and struck a post in a goalmouth melee just before the break.

However, Rovers were level in stoppage time with their spot kick and could have been ahead four minutes after the break when, on a quick counter attack, Hurst hit the post.

Goalscorer Clarke fired over from distance for the visitors before Stags' best move of the game saw Akins slip the ball to Lapslie, who turned and set up Maris for a rising first time finish to give them the lead for a second time.

Mansfield were now firmly in charge to the delight of over 2,800 away fans. And when James Maxwell felled Lapslie in the box, Akins slotted home from the spot to secure three welcome points.

DONCASTER: Mitchell; Knoyle, Williams, Faulkner, Rowe; Clayton, Biggins (Maxwell 64); Hurst, Tomlin (Agard 77), Molyneux (Taylor 54); Miller. SUBS NOT USED: Jones, Long, Woltman, Kuleya.

STAGS: Pym; Harbottle, Hawkins, Perch (Wallace 73); Bowery, Clarke (Quinn 87), Hartigan, Maris, McLaughlin (Gordon 87); Lapsile (Swan 90+3), Akins. SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Gale.

REFEREE: Thomas Kirk.



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