STAGS BEATEN AT WALSALL IN FRUSTRATING GAME
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Walsall 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
James-Taylor 43, Kinsella 47. Oates 82.
Attendance: 6,199 (1,090 from Mansfield)
Date: 1 January 2023
Martin Shaw at Bescot Stadium (Poundland Bescot Stadium)
Mansfield Town lost 2-1 at Walsall in the first game of 2023 amid great frustration for the Stags players, management and over 1,000 travelling fans. The Stags had 18 shots to Walsall’s 11 and should not have lost the game, but went down to goals either side of half time, after having been much the better side in the opening 43 minutes. The Stags pulled a goal back through Rhys Oates after 82 minutes and put the Walsall goal under pressure in the final 20 minutes but were unable to find an equaliser. Walsall were only on top in this game for the final two minutes of the first half and about 20 minutes at the start of the second half, but that turned out to be enough to secure the 3 points.
Mansfield’s squad was stretched to the limit with injuries to Clarke, Maris, Akins and Wallace (all picked up at Hartlepool), Harbottle (already out for 3 weeks), and Hewitt (ill). Maris was at least fit enough to be on the bench, and things got worse when Hartigan was injured and had to be helped off the pitch clearly very upset, with another shoulder injury, and he’s sadly going to be out for quite a while again.
With the January transfer window now open, the Stags are in need of strengthening in central defence, with a pacey defender a priority, as Nigel Clough has recently commented on the lack of pace of O’Toole and Perch, and a high quality wing-back/full-back.
Mansfield have 3 home games out of the next 4, against Barrow, Crewe and Doncaster this month, and will be looking for a big haul of points.
The Stags should have been well ahead by half time. After 5 minutes, Hawkins volleyed straight to the keeper from a Hartigan free kick. After 9 minutes, a great break down the right by Oates, he laid off to Gordon whose low ball in was flicked by Swan and was inches behind Lapslie who agonisingly couldn’t turn the ball into an empty net. After 15 minutes, Swan’s low ball across came to Lapslie, who sent a shot just wide of the right post from the edge of the area. After 41 minutes, a Maris shot from 20 yards was parried by the keeper, and Lapslie fired the rebound wide. And after 45+5 minutes, after a great run by Oates, Maris fired just over the bar from 18 yards.
Walsall had created very little, apart from multiple long throws into the box from Tom Knowles, and one great run down the right from Knowles who then cut in and his shot was blocked by Perch.
But completely against the run of play, Walsall took the lead after 43 minutes. Andy Williams cut inside McLaughlin, who had a poor game, and tried to feed Jacob Maddox. Maris intercepted the pass and sent it towards his own goal, it deflected off Hawkins, perfectly into the path of Douglas James-Taylor, who turned and fired past Pym into the corner of the net. It felt like a fortunate goal for Walsall.
Walsall increased their lead 2 minutes into the second half. A corner well beyond the back post and very deep found Liam Kinsella completely unmarked, he looped a header goalwards from 12 yards out and it ended up in the back of the net. Kinsella stayed back for the rest of Walsall’s corners, and normally does so, according to the assistant manager after the game, so this probably caught out Mansfield’s marking plans.
Walsall were then on top for about 20 minutes, missing chances to go 3-0 ahead, including James-Taylor stabbing wide from a corner, and O’Toole slicing a clearance just wide of his own goal from a dangerous Liam Gordon cross.
The Stags then put Walsall under pressure for the rest of the game, with Boateng firing well over the bar, Bowery firing just over the bar, and Hawkins stabbing a half-volley over the bar from a good free kick from Boateng.
Then a glorious chance after 79 minutes as Maris made a fine run forward and found Oates in the box, but as Oates turned to try and shoot he missed his kick in front of goal.
The Stags finally pulled a goal back after 82 minutes as Kellan Gordon chipped in a cross from the right and Oates headed into the corner of the net from 8 yards.
The referee, who’d had a good game for 80 minutes, then lost the plot giving three free kicks against Hawkins all for fouls on Manny Monthe, all of which were plainly six of one and half a dozen of the other.
But despite keeping up the pressure, the Stags couldn’t find the quality to create another golden chance and there was real frustration at the end of the game at the defeat.
Nevertheless, Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for reading and listening during 2022.
DETAILED REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
SUN 01 JAN 2023, LEAGUE TWO
Walsall 2-1 Mansfield Town
James-Taylor (43'minutes), Kinsella (47'minutes)
Match report supplied by PA Media.
Douglas James-Taylor's maiden English Football League goal and Liam Kinsella's first for more than seven years earned Walsall a 2-1 win over League Two play-off rivals Mansfield.
Stoke loanee James-Taylor's finish on the turn and Kinsella's header gave the Saddlers a sixth victory in eight league games despite Rhys Oates' late consolation.
Mansfield created the best early chances but Oli Hawkins volleyed straight at Walsall goalkeeper Owen Evans before George Lapslie steered wide from 18 yards.
George Maris stung Evans' palms from the edge of the area before Walsall took a 43rd-minute lead with their first real chance.
There was an element of fortune about it as Jacob Maddox's pass ricocheted off two defenders but James-Taylor swivelled superbly to sweep a cool strike into the bottom corner.
Walsall doubled their lead in the 47th minute as Kinsella looped a brilliant header back across goal and over keeper Christy Pym from Isaac Hutchinson's deep corner.
Oates rose well to head home Kellan Gordon's 82nd-minute cross but Walsall held out under late pressure to move up to ninth, two points off the play-offs, while Mansfield slipped to seventh.
Home Team Walsall Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 42% Away 58%
Shots Home 11 Away 18
Shots on Target Home 3 Away 2
Corners Home 5 Away 4
Fouls Home 8 Away 10
Injury list grows as depleted Mansfield Town lose at Walsall
Depleted Mansfield Town suffered a disappointing start to 2023 with a 2-1 defeat at Walsall and yet another injury this afternoon.
Goals from Douglas James-Taylor and Liam Kinsella either side of half-time did the damage as the Stags’ four-game unbeaten run came to an abrupt halt at the Bescot Stadium.
And they also lost midfielder Anthony Hartigan on 28 minutes with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder on a day when injuries left them naming two keepers and a youth team player to fill the bench.
Stags were by far the better side in the first half but suffered a double blow as the hosts grabbed goals within four minutes either side of the break.
Rhys Oates provided some late drama with his late header, but the Stags slipped to defeat.
Nigel Clough named another much-changed line-up after beating Hartlepool United on Thursday night.
This time it was five as injuries took their toll.
Kellan Gordon, Hartigan, Hiram Boateng, Stephen Quinn and George Lapslie replaced Elliott Hewitt, George Maris, Ollie Clarke, Kieran Wallace and Lucas Akins with only Maris named on the bench.
The Stags started brightly in the Midlands as captain Oli Hawkins fired an early volley at Owen Evans.
Clough’s visitors were unlucky not to go ahead when Kellan Gordon’s flashed ball across the face of goal only just missed Will Swan and George Lapslie.
The pair later combined as Lapslie lashed just wide after Swan did well to get find him from the left-hand side.
But those missed chances came back to haunt the Stags as Walsall took the lead two minutes before the break and against the run of play.
It came out of nothing as Jacob Maddox’s ball was inadvertently directed into the path of Stoke loanee James-Taylor by George Maris and James-Taylor calmly slotted home his first league goal for the club.
Clough’s half-time team talk was straight out of the window as the Saddlers made it two just two minutes after the restart.
Isaac Hutchinson’s corner found Irish defender Kinsella unmarked in acres of space at the back post, and he made no mistake as his bullet header rattled the back of the net inside the far post to leave Mansfield a mountain to climb.
Walsall tails were suddenly up and substitute John-Joe O’Toole almost turned Liam Gordon’s cross into his own net as the Stags survived.
But, after Oates had miskicked seven yards out on 79 minutes when he looked a certain scorer from Maris' pass, Oates grabbed one back with his second goal in as many games when he nodded home Gordon’s cross from similar range on 82 minutes to set up a thrilling finish.
Mansfield threw everything forward in the six added minutes, but the Saddlers held firm for a deserved three points.
WALSALL: Evans, McEntee, Daniels, Monthe, Knowles, Kinsella, Hutchinson, Gordon, Maddox (Cowley 78), James-Taylor (Earring 87), Williams (Wilkinson 73). SUBS NOT USED: Cashman, Allen, Maher, Barrett.
STAGS: Pym, Gordon, Hawkins, Perch, McLaughlin (O'Toole 63), Hartigan (Maris 33), Boateng, Quinn (Bowery 63), Lapslie, Oates, Swan (Law 78). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Collin, Maris, Anderson.
REFEREE: Charles Breakspear
Match Report: Walsall 2-1 Mansfield Town
Walsall started 2023 on a positive note as a rare goal from Liam Kinsella helped secure three points against Mansfield Town.
Douglas James-Taylor opened the scoring late in the first half before Kinsella netted his first goal since November 2019, first league goal since 2015, to double the hosts' lead.
Mansfield pulled one back in the final 10 minutes through Rhys Oates but it wasn’t enough as the Saddlers held on.
Michael Flynn made four changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Stockport County on Thursday.
Oisin McEntee came in for his first ever start while Andy Williams, James-Taylor and Jacob Maddox were all restored to the starting XI.
Liam Bennett dropped out as he was recalled by Cambridge United, Danny Johnson was ineligible to face his parent club while Jack Earing dropped to the bench and Hayden White was missing.
The visitors started well and had a decent chance on 12 minutes when George Lapslie arrowed in a shot from the edge of the area but it just whistled past the post.
Walsall’s first meaningful attempt on goal came after 34 minutes when Maddox found James-Taylor in the box who took a touch and got a shot away but it was comfortably saved by Christy Pym.
Tom Knowles looked bright in the right wing-back position and had a good chance when he drove forward, cut inside and got a shot away but his effort took a deflection and went behind.
Owen Evans was called upon for the first time four minutes before half time as he got down well to push away substitute George Maris’ powerful strike.
The Saddlers opened the scoring two minutes later after some good work by Williams to find Maddox in space. The midfielder’s ball found it’s way to James-Taylor via a ricochet but the striker stayed cool to control the ball and guide it into the bottom corner and Flynn’s men went into the half time interval ahead.
Walsall started the second half like they finished the first and doubled their lead on 46 minutes when a corner was met by Kinsella at the back post whose bullet header flew into the net.
The Saddlers had their tales up and had further opportunities through Liam Gordon and Williams.
Mansfield still posed a threat and Maris looked dangerous with his shots from distance but Flynn’s men were equal to them.
Flynn’s first substitution came on 72 minutes when Conor Wilkinson replaced Williams.
Mansfield began to apply late pressure in the final 15 minutes and they made it count on 82 minutes when Oates headed in from close range to set up a nervy finish for the hosts.
The pressure continued to come after the goal but Walsall stood firm and returned to winning ways.
Evans; Knowles, McEntee, Daniels, Monthé, Gordon, Kinsella, Maddox (Comley 78’), Hutchinson, Williams (Wilkinson 72’), James-Taylor (Earing 87’)
Subs: Barrett, Cashman, Allen, Maher
Attendance: 6199 (1090 away)
Latest | January 2023