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Archived News from September 2022

22nd September 2022 0:25

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Gillingham 0 - 2 Mansfield Town
Akins 17, Lapslie 33. Akins missed pen 29
Attendance: 4,195 (404 from Mansfield)

Date: 17 September 2022

Martin Shaw at Priestfield Stadium

Mansfield Town comprehensively outplayed Gillingham for a 2-0 victory at Priestfield this afternoon. In the first game between the two clubs for 26 years, the Stags scored twice in the first half, also had a penalty saved, and missed a hatful of glorious opportunities. Gillingham created next to nothing in the entire game and a scoreline of 5-0 would have been a better reflection of the difference between the two sides.

Mansfield move up one place to 7th, 4 points behind 3rd placed Northampton. Gillingham meanwhile remain 3rd bottom with 6 points from 9 games, having scored just 2 goals, and on the evidence of today, look every bit as weak as Scunthorpe were last season. Gillingham will be hoping that Hartlepool and Rochdale remain worse than them.

On a beautiful sunny day in Kent, the Stags were on the front foot from the start with a corner and a free kick in the opening two minutes, which were cleared. Then on 10 minutes a good cross from Maris was just over Lapslie.

The Stags went close after 11 minutes. A goal kick from Gills keeper Glenn Morris was headed forward from just inside his own half by Clarke to set Akins away with a surging run. Akins went to the right before cutting back inside on to his left foot and curling a fine shot just over the bar from 17 yards. It was so close to the left corner and Morris wouldn’t have got near it.

Mansfield were in front after 17 minutes. Gordon whipped in a good cross from the right to find Akins who leapt and hooked a volley into the left corner of the net from 10 yards while still fully off the ground. An absolutely brilliant acrobatic finish from Akins.

It should have been 2-0 after 29 minutes. A long goal kick from Pym bounced into the Gillingham area with no-one touching it. Lapslie got between Gills right back Haji Mnoga and keeper Morris and got his boot to the ball first before being clattered to the ground by Morris. Clumsy goalkeeping and a clear penalty despite the boos of the home fans. Akins took the penalty and sent it towards the right of the net as he did at Doncaster two weeks ago. But keeper Morris made a brilliant save to redeem himself. Not the worst penalty from Akins but he could have done with getting it a fraction higher to stop the keeper getting to it.

Three minutes later the Stags had another glorious chance to make it 2-0. A short corner from the right from Hartigan to Akins who teed up Clarke for a shot from 9 yards but he sent it over the bar. A very clever corner routine.

But the Stags finally did make it 2-0 after 33 minutes. A goal kick from Gills keeper Morris was again headed forward from just inside his own half by Clarke. Akins headed it back to Hartigan who threaded a magnificent ball forward from the edge of the centre circle for Lapslie to run on to. Lapslie got goalside of Max Ehmer, rounded Morris and slid his shot into the net. A clinical finish from Lapslie. Lapslie celebrated and put his lips to his mouth in front of the home fans in the Rainham End. I’m not sure if that was because he was getting stick for winning the penalty or because he was getting stick for being a former Charlton player. What a ball forward from Hartigan though!

It was nearly 3-0 after 42 minutes. Clarke slid in to win the ball just inside his own half. Lapslie squared the ball to Maris in the centre circle, and Maris played a perfect ball forward for McLaughlin to run on to in the area. But with just the keeper to beat from an angle, McLaughlin fired across Morris and inches wide of the right post.

A minute later, the Stags went close again as Gordon crossed from the right and Lapslie got in front of the keeper to the cross but headed wide.

2-0 to the Stags at half time. An excellent performance, winning the ball all over the pitch, surging forward and forcing Gillingham into mistakes. Gillingham also made mistakes without being forced into them though with numerous balls booted into touch when not under pressure. It should have been at least 4-0 by this stage, with several chances going begging and Gillingham having not looked like creating anything of note.

Into the second half. On 53 minutes, McLaughlin sent a cross-shot from the left wide of the far post. A minute later, Gillingham gifted the ball to Gordon who surged forward but when he got to the edge of the area he could have set up Lapslie for a shot but wasted the ball. On 69 minutes Clarke crossed from the right and McLaughlin fired over the bar.

On 70 minutes, Ben Reeves sent a shot straight at Pym from 30 yards. Applause from the home fans. I thought it must be ironic applause for getting in a shot until we saw home manager Neil Harris joining in! It turned out to be a minute’s applause for Her Majesty the Queen to mark the length of her reign. I hadn’t realised that would be happening, it didn’t at Mansfield on Tuesday.

Another good chance for the Stags after 76 minutes. McLaughlin whipped in a great cross from the left to Akins who headed over the bar from 8 yards.

On 86 minutes, a free header for Hawkins from a corner: Hartigan’s corner from the right, Hawkins was left in acres of space, but headed over the bar. Under no pressure, he would have expected to get that on target.

Gillingham’s best chance of the game, indeed their only decent chance, came on 90+3 minutes. Former Stag Alex MacDonald, on as a substitute for the last 15 minutes, curled in a great free kick which Elkan Baggott header over the bar. I spoke to Macca after the game and told him I thought he produced more quality in stoppage time than his teammates did in 90 minutes. He told me he had been injured last season but is quite frustrated not to be starting now. MacDonald had received applause from the Stags fans when he came on as substitute. He was a popular player at Mansfield.

Boos from home fans at full time and a few supporters to my right were calling for manager Neil Harris to be sacked.

The 400 travelling Stags fans though enjoyed this comprehensive victory. Every Stags player played very well and won their individual battle. Akins and Lapslie up front were superb, both involved in such a lot. Akins’ goal was quite brilliant, though he would be disappointed to miss the penalty of course. He also went close with another super effort. Lapslie was also superb, taking his goal in clinical fashion, as well as winning the penalty. The midfield totally outclassed Gillingham. Clarke was tremendous, winning everything, while Hartigan and Maris provided some excellent passing. Hartigan’s ball forward for Lapslie’s goal was magnificent. Both wingbacks got forward very well, with Gordon getting a fine assist for Akins’ goal. At the back, Hawkins was dominant, while Hewitt and Harbottle either side also won virtually everything. Pym in goal had a very quiet afternoon, but as usual his distribution was impressive.

It was the first game between the clubs for 26 years. Gillingham won the last game at Priestfield, 2-0 in 1996, when the two managers were Tony Pulis and Andy King. The Stags’ last game at Priestfield was actually against Brighton & Hove Albion, when Brighton were without a ground and before they moved to Withdean. The Stags won that game 3-1 in 1998.

Mansfield made one change from the side that drew with Carlisle on Tuesday. Kellan Gordon came in at right wing back for Bowery. Bowery dropped to the bench. Clough explained after the game: “Jordan Bowery had been a little below par for the last couple of games so we decided to give Kel a run today.” Perch returned from the knee injury he picked up at Doncaster to the bench. Swan remained out of the squad with a chest infection. Clough said that Boateng is still not ready to return from his hamstring injury, and won’t be ready for Tuesday in the Papa John’s Trophy at Grimsby, but will hopefully train by the end of the week.

Gillingham made a couple of changes from their midweek draw at Grimsby, when they netted only their second goal of the season. Lewis Walker, younger brother of Tyler Walker, came in for Scott Kashket up front. Haji Mnoga came in for Ryan Law at full back. Mnoga had been sent off on his debut and this was his second game. He only lasted 45 minutes here, hooked off at half time after a poor first half. Alex MacDonald was on the bench.



Gillingham 0-2 Mansfield Town
Akins (17'minutes), Lapslie (33'minutes)
Assists Gordon (17'minutes), Hartigan (33'minutes)
Pens Missed Akins (29'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media

A dominant Mansfield moved into the League Two play-off places and heaped further pressure on struggling Gillingham.

Lucas Akins' volley opened the scoring and although he missed a spot-kick minutes later, the visitors went into the break with a two-goal lead thanks to George Lapslie's effort.

After a minute's silence and the national anthem, Nigel Clough's team began an onslaught on the Gillingham goal.

Sustained Mansfield pressure led to Akins' 17th-minute opener, which he converted from a Kellan Gordon cross.

The striker could have doubled his tally on the half-hour mark, but Glenn Morris palmed his spot-kick to safety.

However, Morris was left stranded three minutes later when Lapslie - felled for the penalty - latched onto a header from deep before rounding the goalkeeper and finishing into an empty net.

Gillingham threatened little in the second period, hardly testing the Mansfield defence - and there were boos from home supporters at full-time.

Match Stats
Home Team Gillingham Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 47% Away 53%
Shots Home 6 Away 14
Shots on Target Home 2 Away 3
Corners Home 5 Away 10
Fouls Home 13 Away 10


Gillingham 0 Mansfield Town 2: Lucas Akins and George Lapslie on target for the Stags at Priestfield in League 2 clash
kentonline.co.uk, by Luke Cawdell, 17 September 2022

Gillingham were unable to build on their recent promising signs as they were comfortably beaten at home by Mansfield Town.

The Gills were booed off at Priestfield, enduring a torrid opening half which saw Lucas Akins score one and have a penalty saved before George Lapslie put the visitors 2-0 infront. Mansfield were happy to see out the second half with the job done in the first 45 minutes.

Manager Neil Harris handed Haji Mnoga a place back in the starting eleven after his return from suspension, but it was another tough afternoon for the Portsmouth loanee. He had been sent off nine minutes into his debut and was replaced at the break on Saturday.

Striker Lewis Walker was also involved from the off after Scott Kashket was ruled out with injury.

The Gills were hoping to build on positive performances in their previous two, with draws against Swindon Town and Grimsby Town, but the first 45 minutes were hugely disappointing.

Gillingham were on the back foot early on and with 17 minutes played Akins was allowed too much room inside the box as he volleyed home Kellan Gordon’s right-sided cross.

Set-piece opportunities for the Gills were wasted and Akins had the chance to score a second from the penalty spot after keeper Morris and Mnoga had combined to bring Mansfield’s Lapslie down in the box. Morris redeemed himself as he went the right way to deny the striker.

Mansfield continued to have chances, however. A well-worked corner led to a shot from Ollie Clarke that wasn’t far off and moments later the visitors had their second.

A ball through the middle picked out the run of Lapslie, he skipped past keeper Morris and squeezed the ball in from a tight angle as Ehmer tried desperately to get back.

The Stags had chances to extend the lead, Stephen McLaughlin going close and Morris doing just enough to put Lapslie off as he looked to convert a cross at the near post.

Mnoga was replaced at the break by Ryan Law, as the hosts reverted to 4-4-2, and the Gills did offer some threat at the start of the second half. With an hour gone more changes came as Harris looked to make that pressure count. Jordan Green and teen striker Joe Gbode - recalled from his loan at Hastings - were both introduced.

With a 2-0 lead, Mansfield had a cushion with which to sit back on in the second half, soaking up the Gills’ attacking play and keeping them at arm’s length.

Ben Reeves had a shot from distance that Mansfield keeper Christy Pym comfortably dealt with. It was his last action as Alex MacDonald replaced him with 20 minutes left.

Gillingham offered little goal threat in the second half as Mansfield deservedly left with all three points.

Gillingham: Morris, Adelakun (Green 61mins), McKenzie, Mnoga (Law 46mins), Ehmer, Baggott, Williams, O’Keefe, Reeves (MacDonald 72mins), Mandron, Walker (Gbode 61mins). Subs not used: Turner, Alexander, Wright.

Mansfield: Pym, Gordon (Bowery 80mins), Hewitt, Hawkins, HArbottle, McLaughlin, Clarke, Hartigan, Maris, Lapslie, Akins. Subs not used: Flinders, O’Toole, Perch, Wallace, Quinn, Gale.

Referee: Tom Reeves

Attendance: 4,195 (404 away)


Report | Gillingham 0-2 Mansfield Town

Mansfield take all three points from Priestfield.

Gills fell to a 2-0 defeat against Mansfield Town at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon with the visitors netting both of their goals in the first-half.

Neil Harris made two changes following the draw at Grimsby in midweek. Haji Mnoga returned to the starting XI, having served his suspension, while Lewis Walker led the line with Mikael Mandron. Scott Kashket missed out due to injury, while Ryan Law dropped to the bench.

Lucas Akins had the first chance of note in the 11th minute. He managed to latch onto a long ball forward and made his way towards the Gillingham penalty area. He cut back onto his left foot before firing his effort across the goal. Fortunately for the hosts, it was high and wide of the target.

Akins gave Mansfield the lead six minutes later. Kellan Gordon curled the ball into the box, and Akins did well to direct the ball into the bottom corner beyond the reach of Glenn Morris.

Elkan Baggott forced Christy Pym into a save in the 26th minute. Shaun Williams floated a corner towards the penalty spot, where Baggott managed to direct his header goalward. However, Pym caught the effort.

The visitors were awarded a penalty after a mix-up between Morris and Mnoga as a Mansfield player managed to get in between the two. There was a coming together between the three players, and the referee pointed to the spot.

Akins took the penalty but was denied by a good save from Morris. The Mansfield forward aimed for Morris’ bottom left corner, but the Gills keeper did well to get down and palm it away.

George Lapslie made up for the penalty miss as he doubled Mansfield’s lead. He managed to go between two Gillingham defenders and made his way towards the penalty area. He rounded the oncoming Morris before slotting the ball into an empty net.

Stephen McLaughlin came inches away from making it three. The ball was played to the wing back in acres of space on the left side of the penalty area. He aimed his shot towards the far corner as it beat Morris, but it also went beyond the post by a few inches.

HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-2 Mansfield Town

After a quiet start to the half, Ben Reeves had Gills first opportunity to test Pym in the 70th minute. His curling effort from 20 yards was at a comfortable height for the goalkeeper who comfortably dealt with the shot.

Akins had a good chance to get his second as he got on the end of McLaughlin’s cross into the box. He had a free header but could not keep it down as it went over the crossbar.

FULL-TIME: Gillingham 0-2 Mansfield Town

Gillingham: Morris, Mnoga (Law 46’), Ehmer, Baggott, McKenzie, O’Keefe, Williams, Adelakun (Green 61’), Reeves (MacDonald 72’), Walker (Gbode 61’), Mandron

Unused Substitutes: Turner, Alexander, Wright

Mansfield Town: Pym, Hewitt, Hawkins, Harbottle (Perch 73’), Gordon (Bowery 80’), Clarke, Hartigan, Lapslie, McLaughlin, Maris, Akins

Unused Substitutes: Flinders, Quinn, Wallace, Gale, O’Toole

Referee: Tom Reeves

Attendance: 4195 (404 away supporters)



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