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Archived News from January 2023

12th January 2023 23:38

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 3 Barrow
McLaughlin 9, Quinn 25. Waters 45+1, Josh Gordon 49, Hawkins OG 77
Attendance: 6,081 (148 from Barrow) (note this it is essentially tickets sold, including season tickets)

Date: 7 January 2023

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town threw away a two goal lead to lose 3-2 to Barrow at the One Call Stadium yesterday. For 45 minutes, the Stags were very good, racing into a 2-0 lead, and producing perhaps the best first half performance of the season. Indeed remarkably it was the first time the Stags had led at half time at home this season, and only the second time home or away (the other being at Gillingham). However Barrow pulled a goal back after 45+1 minutes, a goal which was to change the momentum of the game. In the second half the Stags were terrible, and Barrow turned it round to score twice more and complete a fantastic recovery. Barrow by contrast to Mansfield, were terrible in the first half, but much better in the second half, even though their victory was completed with only 6 shots in the entire game, to Mansfield’s 12.

The win for Barrow took them above Mansfield and into the play-off positions. Mansfield dropped down to 9th, one point behind 4th place, and 8 points behind 3rd place. Remarkably just 5 points separate 4th place from 15th place, in a very congested league table.

The league table also highlights quite clearly Mansfield’s shortcomings. The Stags have conceded 34 goals, plenty more than anyone else in the top 8. Also more than one or two clubs at the bottom of the league such as Gillingham (28) and Colchester (32). While at the other end, the Stags have scored 35 goals, the same as second placed Stevenage, and just one fewer than Leyton Orient who are top. Indeed only Orient (36), Northampton (40) and Carlisle (37) have scored more.

I wrote in my report of last week’s game at Walsall that the Stags need to strengthen in January in central defence, and add a high quality wing-back/full-back too. The concession of 3 goals to Barrow really highlighted that further.

Mansfield made 2 changes from the side that lost at Walsall:
Hewitt returned from illness, and Maris returned from not being fit enough to start at Walsall.
Out went Hartigan, who dislocated his shoulder and after seeing the specialist will now need an operation that will effectively keep him out for the rest of the season. Good luck to him with the operation.
And Lapslie dropped to the bench. After the game Clough said “He was offered a new deal a week or so before Christmas. His representative actually didn't even acknowledge the deal, an improved offer, for in excess of a week. Then he came back and said no interest at that level. He didn't suggest any further negotiations. So I would think we could be open to offers in January. He is available for us and that wasn't the reason he didn't start today. I didn't think he played very well at Walsall last week and I wanted the three up top today.”
Lapslie would of course be a very big loss if he was to leave in January or at the end of the season.

Hawkins was up front in a 4-3-3/4-4-2 formation:
Gordon, Hewitt, Perch, McLaughlin;
Boateng, Maris (in front of the back 4), Quinn;
Oates, Hawkins, Swan.
Oates was some of the time on the right of a front 3, and sometimes on the right of midfield.

Clarke and Harbottle were still out with injury and will be back by the end of January according to Clough.
Akins and Wallace were also still out and should be back for next Saturday.

Jimmy Knowles came on to the bench, fresh from signing a contract until the end of the season. It was his first game for 11 months since getting injured for Greenock Morton on loan last season. He was on loan at Notts County the season before, and so when he came on here in the second half, it was his first Stags appearance for nearly 2.5 years (an EFL Trophy game against Manchester City U21 in September 2020).

Barrow arrived at Mansfield having not won since 19 November, and already having been beaten twice by Mansfield this season, in League and FA Cup. Despite that, Barrow started the game just two points behind Mansfield, having had that brilliant start to the season. For 45 minutes, Mansfield looked more than odds-on to make it a treble for the season.

It was a fairly bright afternoon in Mansfield after plenty of morning rain. The pitch looked in very good condition.

The Stags were on the front foot from the start. In the second minute Oates made a super run but ran it out for a goal kick. Then great play down the left involving McLaughlin, from inside his own half, to Quinn, to Hawkins, to McLaughlin again who moved forward to just about the edge of the area. He fired in a powerful shot which keeper Paul Farman couldn’t hold, it came to Swan who sent the rebound straight back at the keeper. In the 3rd minute, Kellan Gordon sent over a good cross from the right which was put behind for a corner. The corner from Maris was just over Hawkins at the far post. Then good play down the left between Quinn and McLaughlin, with Quinn tenacious in the tackle, but a ball forward from Maris had just too much on it for McLaughlin to get to the byline and whip in a cross.

A really positive start.

And after 9 minutes, Mansfield took the lead. Quinn, who was looking lively, curled a cross into the box. It was headed clear to Maris, who chested the ball down and lifted it back into the box but was fouled as he did so by Harrison Neal. The free kick was 24 yards out, just to the left of centre. McLaughlin took it, straight through the wall and into the right of the net, with keeper Farman getting a touch on it. Poor from the Barrow wall which parted, and the keeper should have done better. McLaughlin’s first goal of the season, and first since his goal in the play-off semi-final second leg at Northampton, which had come soon after his brace at Salford which included a free kick from outside the box. How we have missed an in-form McLaughlin this season.

Quinn tried to set McLaughlin away to the byline, but put too much on his pass. Then on 23 minutes, Boateng played a nice ball forward to Hawkins in the area on the right. Hawkins had Quinn and Swan to aim for as he pulled the ball across but couldn’t find either of them.

The Stags made it 2-0 after 25 minutes. George Ray dallied on the ball halfway inside his own half. Quinn put him under pressure and nicked the ball away from him, surged forward to the edge of the area and slid his shot under the keeper who had advanced to try to narrow the angle. Quinn’s first goal of the season also. It was great pressing from Quinn. Terrible defending of course from Ray.

Barrow’s only shot in the first 45 minutes came after 32 minutes. A corner came out to Richie Bennett, who miscued his kick, but still had time for another go and sent a shot over the bar from 12 yards. Poor defending from the Stags from the corner to leave Bennett unmarked.

Plenty of good football by the Stags in the Barrow half. Gordon got forward again and put in a dangerous cross that was cleared.

Barrow had put in a number of rough looking challenges. And the referee finally produced a yellow card after Robbie Gotts fouled Quinn on 35 minutes. Two minutes later, an appalling decision from the referee as he penalised Quinn for a foul on Tom White. Laughable refereeing as it was clearly not a foul.

The Stags were in total control and were close to making it 3-0 after 41 minutes. Gordon moved forward and laid the ball off to Oates on the right. Oates cut inside Patrick Brough and fired in a good shot from 20 yards which Farman got down to and pushed away at his near post.

But Barrow pulled a goal back completely out of the blue after 45+1 minutes. Perch headed away a long ball forward, to Maris. Maris tried to head the ball forward to Boateng halfway inside his own half, but only headed it straight to Tom White. White found Gotts who played out to Billy Waters in the area on the left. Waters tried to cross first time, it was blocked by Kellan Gordon, straight back to Waters, who smashed a cross-shot as hard as he could from a tight angle on the left. It flew straight past 5 Stags players including keeper Pym into the net just inside the far post. I think he just blasted it as hard as he could and somehow it went straight in. A mistake by Maris to give the ball away. After that I don’t think the defending was too bad and it was a bit of a freak that the shot from Waters somehow missed 5 Stags players between him and the goal from such a tight angle, albeit he struck the cross-shot very sweetly. I think Pym was unsighted by the 4 players between him and Waters.

So only 2-1 to Mansfield at half time, after such a good first half performance. The Stags had been on the front foot for 45 minutes and looking in complete control. But it was a great time for Barrow to score. Had it been 2-0 at half time, I think its unlikely Barrow would have come back into the game in the second half. Nevertheless, it was the first time the Stags had led at half time at home this season.

Quinn and McLaughlin were very good on the left, so were Gordon and Oates on the right. Maris was good until his error. Hewitt was the pick of the defence with a very good first half.

Half time 2-1

After 49 minutes, Barrow were level. The Stags conceded just before half time and just after half time at Walsall last week, and did it again here. Josh Gordon, on as a half time substitute, swept a good ball from the left out to another half time sub Ben Whitfield, on the right touchline. Whitfield lifted the ball forward over McLaughlin for Tyrell Warren to run on to in the area. Warren lifted the ball across the edge of the six yard box and Josh Gordon got away from Kellan Gordon to head into the net unmarked. A great goal, but the marking in the box was terrible.

After 55 minutes, a long throw from Kellan Gordon was flicked on by Hawkins to Quinn who chested it down and got to the byline on the right, and his low cross-shot was put behind for a corner by the keeper. Two minutes later, a ball forward to Swan who got into the area and his shot from an angle was blocked for a corner. The corner came out to Boateng who shot well wide.

On 63 minutes, Oates made a good run down the right, his cross beyond the far post was headed back by Swan, to Quinn, who crossed back into the middle but it was headed away.

Maris was booked for bringing down Josh Gordon in the centre circle after 64 minutes.

Pym took a goal kick quickly after 65 minutes and sent it straight to Josh Gordon just 25 yards from goal. Josh Gordon controlled it, got into the area and fired a low shot goalwards which Pym saved with his legs, sparing his own blushes. Terrible distribution from Pym.

Barrow were playing very much better now. Good defending from Hewitt after 67 minutes, and then a great tackle from Perch.

At the other end after 69 minutes, Swan fired well wide from 25 yards.

Whitfield curled a cross just over the bar after 71 minutes.

More good defending from Hewitt as he blocked a Elliott Newby cross after 73 minutes.

Mansfield made a double change after 75 minutes. Lapslie and Bowery replaced Quinn and Swan. Hawkins went back to centre half in a 3 man central defence. Bowery went up front with Oates.

And disaster struck after 77 minutes as Barrow went in front at 3-2. Newby’s cross from the left was cleared by Hawkins, as far as Waters. Waters fed Warren in yards of space in the area on the right. Warren’s ball to the near post was turned into his own net by Hawkins. I wouldn’t blame Hawkins, he had to try to clear it with Josh Gordon just behind him. But Warren was in far too much space.


After 81 minutes, McLaughlin played inside to Boateng whose cross-shot was deflected over the bar. The resulting corner from Maris came off Hawkins just wide of the post.

After 85 minutes, McLaughlin limped off and was replaced at left wing back by Law. McLaughlin had just taken a knock and wasn’t badly injured.

Then on 87 minutes, Knowles replaced Kellan Gordon. His first Stags appearance for nearly 2.5 years (see above). Knowles went up front. Hewitt went to right back as the Stags switched to 4 at the back to get another body forward. Hawkins went back up front. Bowery went to centre half, presumably for the extra pace back there rather than just having Hawkins and Perch.

After 90 minutes, a cross from Boateng was too close to the keeper. Then on 90+2 minutes, Boateng’s shot from just outside the area was blocked.

No more chances for the Stags to rescue a point as Waters fired over the bar for Barrow after 90+6 minutes.

Barrow rightly celebrated their win at the end. But the Stags were shell-shocked. The Stags were very good for 45 minutes, but then let Barrow back into the game and credit to them for turning it around. The Stags simply need to defend better and cannot be conceding so many goals

The January transfer window is crucial for Nigel Clough.

The next game is at home to Crewe next Saturday.


Mansfield Town 2-3 Barrow
McLaughlin (9'minutes), Quinn (25'minutes)
Waters (45'+1minutes), Gordon (49'minutes), Hawkins (77'minutes og)
Warren (49'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media.

Barrow battled back superbly from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at promotion rivals Mansfield and replace them in the play-off spots.

Stephen McLaughlin put the Stags ahead on nine minutes. Harrison Neal brought down George Maris almost 25 yards out and McLaughlin's free-kick found a way off a defender through the wall and, although he got a hand to it, goalkeeper Paul Farman was unable to keep it out.

On 25 minutes, the home side doubled that advantage as George Ray was caught in possession by Stephen Quinn some 30 yards out and, robbing him of the ball, the veteran midfielder sped clear to slot home low under Farman.

But, against the run of play in the first added minute, Billy Waters had a cross blocked wide on the left but then curled the follow-up round everyone and inside the far post from a tight angle to halve the arrears.

Interval sub Josh Gordon then made a quick impact as he levelled with a close-ranger header on 49 minutes from Tyrell Warren's cross from the right.

The comeback was complete on 77 minutes as Warren's firm cross from the right was turned into his own net by Oli Hawkins at the near post to seal Barrow's first win in six attempts.

Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Barrow
Possession Home 57% Away 43%
Shots Home 12 Away 6
Shots on Target Home 6 Away 3
Corners Home 4 Away 3
Fouls Home 12 Away 15


More home misery as Mansfield Town are sunk by Barrow fightback
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Sat 7 Jan 2023

More precious home points slipped away as Mansfield Town allowed visiting rivals Barrow to hit back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at a stunned One Call Stadium this afternoon.

It left Stags with only one home win in six outings and this was Barrow's first win in six as Nigel Clough's men slipped out of the play-off places and Barrow jumped back into them.

Stags were excellent for most of the first half and in firm control, but lost their grip after being rocked by replies either side of the interval.

A 10th minute Stephen McLaughlin free kick and a solo effort from Stephen Quinn on 25 minutes had Mansfield firmly in command.


But Billy Waters pulled one back against the run of play in first half stoppage time before interval sub Josh Gordon, the visitors' top scorer, levelled within four minutes of coming on to stun the Stags.

Worse was to come as Oli Hawkins turned a low cross into his own net on 77 minutes as the visitors produced a very different second half display of attacking menace and solid defending.

The Stags side showed two changes with George Maris and Elliott Hewitt coming in for George Lapslie and the injured Anthony Hartigan with Stags playing a 4-3-3 formation and pushing versatile Hawkins up front from his recent role in the centre of defence.

There was also the welcome return on the bench of young striker Jimmy Knowles after recovering from a serious long term knee injury.

Mansfield started brightly and on three minutes McLaughlin warmed Farman's hands from distance, the ball falling towards Swan who could only poke the follow-up tamely to the keeper's hands.

The home pressure continued and Neal flattened Maris 25 yards out on 10 minutes - and from the free kick the home side were ahead.

McLaughlin curled the free kick through the wall, clipping a defender on the way, and, although Farman got a hand to it, the ball ended up nestling inside the keeper's left post.

Great work by Boateng put Hawkins into space on the right of the box but, with two team mates to his left, his pull back found neither.

But Stags were two to the good on 25 minutes thanks to the battling of Quinn. He dispossessed a dithering Ray 30 yards out and then ran clear to calmly slot under a helpless Farman.

Barrow finally threatened on 32 minutes after winning a corner on the left.

It reached Bennett who miscued his first shot but was still able to get a second bite at it, shooting high into the Quarry Lane Stand.

A nasty tackle from behind on Quinn by Gotts saw the first yellow card produced on 35 minutes.

Farman had to get down at his near post to stop a speculative 20 yard blast from Oates on 41 minutes.

But in the first of two added minutes the visitors pulled back a goal against the run of play.

Waters had a cross blocked by Gordon on the left of the box. But when the ball came back to him, he caught everyone napping by whipping in a curling shot across everyone and inside the far post from a tight angle.

The visitors made a double change at the break, one of which was sending on their leading scorer Gordon.

And within four minutes he had levelled the match as he met a Warren cross from the right with a close range header for his 11th goal of the season.

A low Swan shot was deflected away for a home corner as Stags sought to regain control and, when that was half-cleared, Boateng was wide with his first time shot.

Ray was booked on 58 minutes as he brought down Hawkins to prevent him breaking clear on the left, a second card shown to a member of the visiting bench for protesting too vociferously.

Gordon threatened to break away down the middle on 64 minutes, Maris taking one for the team to halt him with a foul and being shown a yellow.

A minute later Pym's poor goal kick went straight to Gordon who forced the keeper to save with his legs.

Swan screwed a shot wide from 25 yards as the home side kept up the pressure.

Foley was added to the book for hacking down Gordon on 75 minutes.

Stags made a double change, but Barrow took the lead for the first time on 77 minutes as Warren drilled in a firm cross from the right and Hawkins could only turn the ball into his own net at the near post.

With three minutes left Knowles made his return to action in place of Gordon.

Seven added minutes offered Stags some hope, but Barrow held out and Waters sent a rising drive over as they looked for a fourth on a miserable afternoon for Mansfield which ended in boos from the stands.

STAGS: Pym, Gordon (Knowles 87), Hewitt, Hawkins, Perch, Quinn (Lapslie 75), McLaughlin (Law 85), Maris, Boateng, Swan (Bowery 75), Oates. SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, O'Toole, Anderson.

BARROW: Farman, Brown (Whitfield HT), Brough, Canavan, Waters, White (Foley 71), Neal, Gotts (Newby 71), Warren, Ray, Bennett (Gordon HT). SUBS NOT USED: Maloney, Stevens.

REFEREE: Neil Hair.

ATTENDANCE: 6,081 (148 away).


Bluebirds Second Half Blitz Slays Stags

The cliche of ‘a game of two halves’ might never have been more true, as a fantastic second half showing from The Bluebirds helps overturn a 2 goal deficit to secure all three points at the One Call Stadium.

Mansfield started the game the more lively, with returning Bluebirds goalkeeper Paul Farman called into action after just a couple of minutes.

Farman, starting his first game since 17th December, blocked Stephen McLaughlin’s low driven shot and managed to snuff out the rebound at his near post.

The hosts broke the deadlock just 7 minutes later, when Stephen McLaughlin’s free kick found its way through the Barrow wall, and past Farman. The Barrow ‘keeper’s outstretched hand wasn’t enough to keep out the well-hit strike.

The Bluebirds launched a couple of attacks, but couldn’t find a way to produce anything to challenge Christy Pym in the Mansfield goal.

Nigel Clough’s side doubled their lead with 25 minutes on the clock, when Stephen Quinn beat George Ray to set up a one-on-one with Paul Farman; Quinn slotting a ball underneath Farman to grab the hosts’ 2nd of the afternoon.

Barrow thought they’d earned a way back into the game, when Billy Waters was brought down inside the area, but referee Neil Hair disagreed with Waters’ cries.

Billy Waters injected some life into the affair in first half injury time though, when he unleashed a skilful strike to find a way past Christy Pym, from a tight angle.

A double change at the break for Pete Wild, and a reversion to the usual formation, saw Josh Gordon head home an equaliser just three minutes into the second half. Tyrell Warren’s pinpoint cross found the head of the Barrow forward, leaving the One Call Stadium stunned, as a two goal lead had been taken away.

The 76th minute, some fantastic attacking play from Elliot Newby and Josh Gordon resulted in Billy Waters come antagonisingly close to firing his side into the lead. A ball from Josh Gordon fell just behind Waters.

That didn't matter though, as just a few moments later, Mansfield’s Ollie Hawkins got an unfortunate (or fortunate!) touch on another well placed ball into the box from Tyrell Warren to put Barrow into the lead.

Strong defending from the Barrow back four ensured the hosts never really got an opportunity to get back into the match.

Full Time: Mansfield Town 2-3 Barrow
Attendance: 6,081 (148 away)

Mansfield Town: Pym, Gordon (Knowles 87’), Hewitt, Perch, McLaughlin (Law 85’), Maris, Boateng, Quinn (Lapslie 75’), Oates, Hawkins, Swan (Bowery 75’)

Unused Subs: Flinders, O'Toole, Anderson.

Barrow: Farman, Warren, Brown (Whitfield 46’), Ray, Canavan, Brough, Neal, White (Foley 71), Gotts (Newby 71’), Waters, Bennett (Gordon 46’).

Unused Subs: Moloney, Stevens.



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