ST VALENTINE’S DAYS MASSACRE AT CARLISLE
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Carlisle United 0 - 4 Mansfield Town
Clarke 14, Kilgour 25, Akins pen 29, Hewitt 38
Attendance: 4,645 (212 from Mansfield)
Date: 14 February 2023
Martin Shaw at Brunton Park
“ST VALENTINE’S DAYS MASSACRE
Carlisle on the end of a 4-0 pasting by Mansfield”
That was the headline on the front of the local newspaper, The News & Star.
And it perfectly summed up a remarkable Stags performance in Cumbria last night.
The Stags started the day six points behind Carlisle, who were in third place, with a game in hand. It was obviously a big game at the top of League Two.
And within 38 minutes, the Stags were 4-0 up. A quite astonishing first half from Mansfield, with brilliant football and brilliant finishing.
In the second half, the Stags comfortably held Carlisle at bay, and were so close to adding further goals. Indeed, had Will Swan's shot against the post after 88 minutes gone in to make it 5-0, it would have been the club's record away win in the football league. As it was, the Stags had to settle for equalling the record of margin of victory away from home in the football league (by 4 goals, done 14 times). The Stags have won by bigger margins away in non-league days.
An honest assessment from Carlisle manager Paul Simpson after the game: “There's no excuses. We got turned over. I’m not surprised at how well Mansfield played, because I think they’re a good side, but what surprised me was how badly we played. I can’t think of anything we did right. There were unforced errors from everybody when we were in possession and the amount of times we put the ball out of play was incredible.”
The first half performance from Mansfield was as good as anything we’ve seen in recent times, blowing away a top 3 side.
Lucas Akins had already fired in a couple of shots, one blocked and one saved, before Mansfield took the lead after 14 minutes. Stephen Quinn crossed in from the left and Ollie Clarke rose to send a thumping header into the left corner of the net from 7 yards. Clarke normally scores great goals with powerful shots, such as against Gillingham and Doncaster this season, and this was a rare headed goal. He had a header from a similar position on Saturday and sent it closer to the corner flag than the net, but here his header was perfect.
It was 2-0 after 25 minutes. Riley Harbottle’s cross-shot was tipped over the bar by 6 feet 9 inch goalkeeper Tomas Holy. Did Harbottle mean it as a shot? If it was a cross it was terrible with no Stags player near it. If it was a shot it was a brilliant effort. He was applauded by Lucas Akins so that suggests that maybe it was an attempt at goal. From the resulting corner from the left taken by Davis Keillor-Dunn to the far post, Alfie Kilgour thumped a header downwards and into the net from 8 yards. A great set piece delivery from Keillor-Dunn. And another powerful header from Kilgour. His third goal in 4 starts for Mansfield. Good from Akins on the goal-line, holding off defender Morgan Feeney to stop him getting a proper clearance on it and preventing the keeper making an attempt to save it.
And 60 seconds after the restart, the Stags had won a penalty to make it 3-0. Jordan Bowery, having a super game at left wing-back, and having teed up Quinn for the cross for the first goal, teed up Kieran Wallace to cross from the left. The cross was in to Keillor-Dunn, just inside the area. Keillor-Dunn rose for a header and was wiped out by an arm from Morgan Feeney as he did so. The referee immediately pointed to the spot. After the game, Carlisle boss Paul Simpson said: “The penalty is a penalty, Morgan got himself frustrated and I’m not sure he’d have made that challenge if it was 0-0, he’d have just let the lad head it up into the air.”
After treatment to Keillor-Dunn, Akins stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot, firing into the left corner of the net. The opposite way to his penalty on Saturday. Another expert finish from the spot, for his 7th goal of the season.
Incredibly it was 4-0 after 38 minutes. Keillor-Dunn controlled the ball on the edge of the area on the right. He played a fabulous pass inside to Elliott Hewitt, who stroked the ball into the top left corner of the net from 10 yards. A rare goal for Hewitt, his second for the club, after his header at Colchester early last season.
Carlisle had a chance to pull a goal back after 45+2 minutes. Kristian Dennis played a through-ball in behind Kilgour and Harbottle for Jon Mellish to run on to. Mellish was through 1-on-1 with Christy Pym, but Pym made a brilliant save getting his right hand down to Mellish’s shot and squeezing it away from goal. An important save just before half time, not giving Carlisle any sniff of a way back into the game.
The Stags were 4-0 ahead at half time. The biggest lead at half time in the club’s history is 6-0 (stat from Paul Taylor). Another memorable half time score was 5-0 at home to Port Vale in 1981 (match report https://stagsnet.net/vintage/reports/portvale81.htm ">here). And a memorable second half was 6 goals against Tranmere in 2002 (video from the lockdown series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzfDyvPwny8">here).
Into the second half. The Stags didn’t give Carlisle any serious chances to get back into the game. Pym comfortably turned a free kick from 26 yards from Owen Moxon over the bar. And it was the Stags who came much closer to scoring and increasing the lead. Bowery had a shot deflected just wide, Kilgour had a header from a corner blocked and smashed the rebound over the bar, Quinn had a fine shot blocked.
But the Stags could have made it 5-0 after 88 minutes. Swan did well to knock the ball back to Jason Law on the halfway line, and Law played a super ball forward to set Swan away with a run on goal. Swan cut inside Mellish in the area and from 14 yards curled a shot from the left against the right post. A great effort from Swan, and a super trademark ball forward from Law.
What a night for the 212 travelling Stags fans. It’s quite a trip to Carlisle on a Tuesday night and that was a great following. They were rewarded on Valentine’s night with a stunning display.
The entire Stags team was excellent. Three assists for Keillor-Dunn, if you include winning the penalty (which I do, see my stats below) makes him my man of the match. But everyone was tremendous, a real team performance. A performance to remember for a long time. And a debut for young right back Taylor Anderson in the final few minutes of the game. A proud moment for him.
Not long to savour it though. The Stags are back in action at Tranmere Rovers on Saturday. Tranmere are 8 points behind Mansfield, having played a game more.
The Stags are up to 5th, 3 points between Carlisle (3rd) and Northampton (4th), with a game in hand on Carlisle.
DETAILED REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
TUE 14 FEB 2023, LEAGUE TWO
Carlisle United 0-4 Mansfield Town
O Clarke (14'minutes), Kilgour (25'minutes), Akins (29'minutes pen), Hewitt (38'minutes)
Quinn (14'minutes), Keillor-Dunn (25'minutes, 38'minutes)
Match report supplied by PA Media.
Mansfield fired themselves towards the League Two automatic promotion places with an emphatic 4-0 win at woeful Carlisle.
Goals from captain Ollie Clarke, Alfie Kilgour, Lucas Akins and Elliott Hewitt condemned Paul Simpson's men to back-to-back home defeats for the first time in a year at Brunton Park.
Nigel Clough's in-form side - now unbeaten in five games - cut the gap between themselves and the third-placed Cumbrians to just three points with a potentially-vital game in hand.
Stags' skipper Clarke started the rout in the 14th minute as he powered home a header, his second goal in as many games, from Stephen Quinn's cross.
Kilgour bagged his third goal in four games as he thundered home a header from Davis Keillor-Dunn's 25th-minute corner.
Keillor-Davis was at the forefront of the third goal as well as he was fouled by Morgan Feeney to earn the visitors a penalty.
Akins duly obliged and sent hapless Carlisle goalkeeper Tom Holy the wrong way to score his seventh goal of the season - and third from the spot - on the half-hour mark.
Hewitt curled home a fourth before the break to compound Carlisle's misery.
It could have been even worse for the home side, as Will Swan hit the post late on for the visitors.
Home Team Carlisle Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 61% Away 39%
Shots Home 12 Away 16
Shots on Target Home 3 Away 6
Corners Home 5 Away 4
Fouls Home 8 Away 13
Mansfield Town hammer Carlisle United to close in on automatic promotion places
chad.co.uk, Tues 14 Feb 2023
Mansfield Town fired themselves one step closer to the League Two automatic promotion places with an emphatic 4-0 victory at Carlisle United.
Nigel Clough’s super Stags had the points wrapped up before half-time as they ran riot at Brunton Park.
Goals from captain Ollie Clarke, Alfie Kilgour, Lucas Akins and Elliott Hewitt did the damage on a Valentine’s night to remember for the travelling fans.
Clough’s charges cut the gap between themselves and third-placed Carlisle to just three points with their biggest win of the season and Stags have a game in hand over their promotion rivals.
Stags’ skipper Clarke got them up and running in the 14th minute as he met Stephen Quinn’s cross and powered home an unstoppable header.
Kilgour cannot stop scoring and he continued his fine form with a third goal in four games.
The January signing thundered home a header from Davis Keillor-Dunn’s pin-point corner in the 25th minute.
Scot Keillor-Dunn was the focal point for the visitor’s third as he earned a penalty when he was brought down by Morgan Feeney inside the box.
Akins duly stepped up and dispatched his seventh goal of the season, and third from the spot, as he sent hapless Tom Holy the wrong way on the half-hour mark.
Everything the Stags touched turned to gold and Elliott Hewitt bagged a fourth before the break with a curling effort.
The Cumbrians tried to force their way back into the contest, but it was too little too late.
Christy Pym ensured he kept a ninth clean sheet of the season when he tipped over Owen Moxon’s free-kick.
And Feeney nodded wide of the mark from the resulting corner as the hosts’ hopes dwindled away.
Will Swan rattled the post late on as he missed out on reaching double figures for the campaign.
Carlisle: Holy, Senior (Harris, 45), Feeney, Huntington (Garner, 45), Mellish, Armer, Moxon, Guy, Gibson (Patrick, 45), Dennis (Robinson, 76), Gordon.
Unused subs: Kelly, Whelan, McCalmont.
Mansfield: Pym, Harbottle, Kilgour, Perch, Hewitt (Anderson 88), Clarke (Boateng, 45), Wallace (O’Toole, 69), Quinn (Law, 75), Bowery, Keillor-Dunn (Swan, 74), Akins.
Unused subs: Flinders, Johnson.
Referee: Ben Toner
The News and Star:
February 15, 2023
Carlisle United 0-4 Mansfield Town: Dismal Blues thrashed by Stags
newsandstar.co.uk, By Jon Colman, Tues 14 Feb 2023
Carlisle United 0 Mansfield Town 4: A first-half horror show saw Carlisle United suffer a Valentine's Day massacre at the hands of impressive Mansfield at Brunton Park.
The Blues conceded four times in the opening 38 minutes as Nigel Clough's visitors ran riot.
Paul Simpson's Cumbrians had no reply and were miles off the promotion-chasing standards they have shown for most of the season so far.
United held onto third place on goal difference despite having failed to score in three successive games for the first time in more than a year - but it was otherwise an alarming and miserable night.
Ollie Clarke headed the Stags in front after 14 minutes before Alfie Kilgour added a second.
Lukas Akins' penalty and an Elliott Hewitt strike further stunned a 4,645 crowd.
It was the first time since October 2014 that the Blues had conceded four at home in the first 45 minutes of a league game.
They had no reply, Jon Mellish denied with their best chance of a token consolation, and sub Will Swan hitting the post for Mansfield late on.
Blues boss Simpson made one change to his line-up, recalling John-Kymani Gordon to the attack at the expense of Joe Garner.
There was a change on the bench too, with Jayden Harris stepping into the squad and Jamie Devitt sidelined with a calf injury.
Mansfield's Clough, meanwhile, made two changes to his XI, Christy Pym and Jordan Bowery coming back into the side with Scott Flinders dropping to the bench and George Maris not involved.
Carlisle looked to make a positive start, Owen Moxon denied early on while at the other end Paul Huntington slid to block a counter-attack effort from Davis Keillor-Dunn.
But then Mansfield set about imposing their superiority, experienced frontman Akins a regular thorn in the side of Simpson's defenders and forcing a save from Tomas Holy on 13 minutes.
Moments later, Stephen Quinn picked out Clarke to head the Stags' opener, and things went from bad to worse from there for United.
Quinn volleyed over from a good position before Riley Harbottle forced a backpedalling Holy to tip over the bar.
The resulting corner then saw Keillor-Dunn cross for Kilgour to head home.
That was on 24 minutes - and five minutes later it was three, Morgan Feeney penalised for his challenge on Keillor-Dunn at a looping cross, and Akins sending Holy the wrong way from the spot.
And Mansfield then added a fourth on 38 minutes when Hewitt fired into the top corner, capping a miserable spell from Simpson's side.
Carlisle's own attacking was paltry and unconvincing, other than an injury-time move which saw Kristian Dennis play Mellish clean through - but keeper Pym saved his shot.
Simpson made a triple change at the break, Omari Patrick, Harris and Garner all coming on, but United could not find any way back.
Bowery came close for Mansfield early in the second half before Moxon tested Pym with a free-kick.
Carlisle applied late pressure without success, Simpson handing a 76th-minute debut to Jack Robinson who replaced Dennis, before sub Swan hit the woodwork for the Stags.
Gordon and Robinson could not convert added-time chances on a night to forget for the Cumbrians.
United: Holy, Feeney, Huntington (Harris 46), Mellish, Senior (Patrick 46), Armer, Guy, Moxon, Gibson (Garner 46), Gordon, Dennis (Robinson 76). Not used: Kelly, Whelan, McCalmont.
Booked: Gordon, Garner, Harris.
Mansfield: Pym, Hewitt (Anderson 87), Harbottle, Kilgour, Wallace (O’Toole 68), Perch, Quinn (Law 75), Clarke (Boateng 46), Bowery, Akins, Keillor-Dunn (Swan 75). Not used: Flinders, Johnson.
Goals: Clarke 14, Kilgour 24, Akins 29pen, Hewitt 38.
Ref: Ben Toner.
Crowd: 4,645 (212 Mansfield fans).
MATCH REPORT: United 0 - 4 Stags
by Andy Hall
It was the first of two home games in the space of four days when Mansfield visited Brunton Park on Tuesday evening.
There was one change from the Saturday away draw at Wimbledon with John-Kymani Gordon in for Joe Garner.
Carlisle looked menacing early on as they attacked the Waterworks End and Gordon did well to wriggle into space tight by the corner flag. A backheel allowed Armer to overlap and cross, but Kilgour dived low to clear.
The Stags suddenly found interest when Keillor-Dunn was played through on the angle of the 18-yard box. Huntington moved across to block the shot, and Mellish helped out as the rebound ran free.
United passed the ball around on 10 minutes, with the back three staying patient as they waited for a gap. Gibson pulled wide to take over and he nutmegged his man before clipping it in. Moxon tried to feed the ricochet towards the bottom corner but his effort was blocked.
Senior was accurate as he floated a pass to Gordon, with the hosts still looking settled, and the first touch set the striker on a run. He crossed, but it was met by Perch when he committed himself to the challenge.
But it was the away team who celebrated when Bowery popped a short throw to Quinn on the left hand touchline. They moved it back and forwards, and Quinn's delivery fell nicely for Ollie Clarke, who made no mistake with a bullet of a header that nestled in the corner of the target.
Away tails were up and Hewitt had options as he found space to deliver. Quinn threw his boot at it, from 18-yards out, but he miscued and it flew high into the sky.
The United passing game was good to watch, with Feeney well advanced on 22 minutes to play his part. Senior and Moxon had touches, but the cross from Gibson was too close to Pym and he plucked it out of the air.
Holy was almost caught out when Harbottle sent the ball high from deep at the other end. It arrowed towards the roof of the net and the stopper had to scamper to tip it over the bar.
It was a short-lived reprieve as Keillor-Dunn flighted another good corner into the mix. Kilgour jumped highest and the header landed over the line.
The night got worse on 27 minutes when Feeney was judged to have jumped through Keillor-Dunn when Wallace whipped a rushed pass into the mix. The referee immediately pointed to the spot, and Lucas Akins did the rest with a rasping penalty kick.
Mansfield carved a way through again on 39 minutes when the dangerous Keillor-Dunn made his way to the byeline. A cheeky cut back with the instep was perfect for Elliott as he swept it past the stranded keeper.
An inswinging corner from Moxon needed just a touch on the stroke of half time, but it fell beyond everyone as it skidded its way beyond the back stick.
And there was a great chance for Mellish in time added on for the period when Dennis lofted a lovely ball through a static back line. Pym spread himself as the shot came and he made the save with his boot.
The resulting corner from Armer spun out of a clearance for Gibson to volley, but another block left the Blues with nothing to show from what was a disappointing first half.
Boss Paul Simpson made a triple substitution for the second half, with Harris, Garner and Patrick on for Huntington, Gibson and Senior, so it was a very attack minded group that approached the 45 minutes.
The crowd looked to do their bit, cheering every touch, and Garner clipped a great ball into the box as he tried to lift spirits. Dennis went for an overhead kick, but he couldn't make the connection.
Room for Bowery at the other end saw him pull wide and aim for the top corner. Feeney got enough of a block on it to divert it to safety.
Akins then bullied his way through, as he twisted with his back to goal, but another block from Feeney took the sting out of the effort.
A foul on Gordon by Harbottle gave Moxon the chance to deliver, but Pym watched it all the way into his hands.
There was another good passage of play from the home team when Moxon skipped down the right hand touchline. He beat one to find Dennis, who deftly touched it to Harris. He had to stretch to shoot and he couldn't keep it down.
Holy was in action twice as Boateng caused problems, with low driven volleys that had to be stopped before others could get there.
Moxon brought the best out of Pym with a 25-yard free kick that had to be tipped into the Warwick, and there was a mix up at the back post as Patrick and Feeney challenged for the corner.
Half chances to create were spurned by the Cumbrians as the spark eluded them, but Armer gave a moment of hope when he lunged to send a Guy pass back into the box. Moxon was again on corner duty, but it was another that Pym came to claim.
Mellish headed over from a Patrick cross late in day, after Guy had recycled a cleared set piece, and Feeney did the same when he leaped to greet a Moxon free kick wth his forehead.
Will Swan was denied a goal when he struck the upright after being played clean through with two minutes left on the clock, and possibly the move of the game from the Blues ended in a block after one-touch passing appeared to give Gordon the time he needed. Two yellow shirts came across to smother.
The last chance of the night fell to Robinson, from a Feeney nod down, which was thundered just over the bar from just inside the area.
Match Sponsor - Stanwix Holiday Park
Associate Sponsor - NFU
Match Ball Sponsor - Warwick Road Bed Centre
Mansfield Town - Clarke (14), Kilgour (25), Akins (29 pen), Hewitt (39)
Carlisle United - Gordon (43), Garner (58), Harris (70)
Mansfield Town - Harbottle (55)
Carlisle United - Holy, Feeney (c), Huntington (Harris 46), Mellish, Senior (Patrick 46), Gibson (Garner 46), Guy, Moxon, Armer, Dennis (Robinson 76), Gordon. Subs - Kelly (gk), Whelan, McCalmont.
Mansfield Town - Pym, Hewitt (Anderson 88), Harbottle, Akins, Clarke (c) (Boateng 46), Bowery, Perch, Quinn (Law 75), Wallace (O'Toole 68), Kilgour, Keillor-Dunn (Swan 75). Subs - Flinders (gk), Johnson.
Referee - Ben Toner
Assistant Referee 1 - Paul Newhouse
Assistant Referee 2 - Ivan Stankovic
Fourth Official - Andrew Kitchen
Observer - Andrew Himsworth
Attendance - 4,645 (212)
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