STAGS GRIND OUT WIN OVER STEVENAGE
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 0 Stevenage
Attendance: 6,863 (384 from Stevenage)
Date: 22 April 2023
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town ground out a hugely important three points with a 1-0 win against Stevenage at the One Call Stadium yesterday. This was a game generally low on quality, but it was all about effort, heart and desire from the Stags players, with so many players still out through injury, roared on by the Stags fans to see them home.
There were very few clearcut chances for either side. The only goal came after 11 minutes and there was a stroke of fortune about it. Callum Johnson cut inside his man from the right, and squared to Lucas Akins. Akins fired in a shot from 17 yards which hit Carl Piergianni on the arm. The referee immediately indicated no penalty. The ball came back to Akins, who squared for Davis Keillor-Dunn who took a touch and fired goalwards from the edge of the area. The shot took a deflection off James Gale, wrong-footing the keeper, as it rolled into the net. A bit of luck because without the deflection it probably wouldn’t have beaten the keeper. James Gale’s goal of course (with an assist for Keillor-Dunn) because it came off Gale last. His second league goal, and second in two games, both of which have been crucial.
Unfortunately Gale had to go off injured after 21 minutes after colliding with the keeper and picking up a head injury. We’ll have to see if it is classed as concussion and rules him out of upcoming games. Every time Mansfield seem to get someone back from injury, someone else gets injured, it’s just incredible.
He was at least replaced by Rhys Oates, who got through 70 minutes, and covered a lot of ground, having only been expected to play a lot fewer minutes than that.
Stevenage relied heavily on set pieces, and even from free kicks from the half way line, threw their big centre halves forward to the edge of the box. But the Stags back line repelled them superbly, with Alfie Kilgour outstanding, heading everything away, and James Perch alongside him equally impressive.
Stevenage should have been reduced to ten men after 5 seconds. Former Stag Danny Rose elbowed Elliott Hewitt on the touchline as Stevenage played the ball out there straight from the kick-off. From the main camera in the Bishop Street, the elbow is not so clear, but Matt the analyst showed me his footage from the West Stand at half time, which was crystal clear. How the linesman and 4th official missed it was incredible. The referee probably didn’t have a good view.
Very few chances for either side in the first half, with the best, other than the goal, falling to another former Stag Jamie Reid whose shot from 20 yards was very well-saved by Christy Pym diving to his left. While Jordan Roberts headed straight at Pym from 12 yards. At the other end, Akins flicked over the bar from close range.
Into the second half, and Max Clark headed straight at Pym from 8 yards after 49 minutes.
After that, despite pumping a lot of balls into the Stags box, Stevenage didn’t create a single chance in the final 41 minutes plus 6 minutes of stoppage time. Mansfield meanwhile had a few chances, with Akins having a shot deflected wide, Keillor-Dunn cutting in and curling a shot just over the bar and onto the roof of the net from the corner of the area on the left. While Oates made some good runs but didn’t have his shooting boots on, firing well wide a couple of times.
The Stags were hanging on at the end under a barrage of balls forward, but cleared everything away. And there was a great atmosphere from the home fans to really roar the team to victory.
Stevenage are managed by former Stags boss Steve Evans of course. He has done a good job of getting his side to third place. He watched the game from the Director’s box and probably escaped being on the end of an even more hostile reception from the Stags fans by doing so, rather than being on the touchline.
The win means Mansfield are unbeaten in 9 games: 4 wins and 5 draws. And 34 points from the last 18 games. Considering the terrible injury list for the last 4 months, that is a very good record.
Salford picked up a remarkable 3-2 win at Walsall, to stay above Mansfield on goal difference (by one goal). But Mansfield have a game in hand. Bradford were held at home, with Oli Hawkins equalising after 90+7, so Mansfield are also level with Bradford on points, again with goal difference just one worse.
Mansfield are at home to Leyton Orient on Tuesday. The ideal scenario for Mansfield was that Orient would be crowned Champions yesterday, but for that to happen, Orient had to win, and Stevenage had to lose or draw. Mansfield carried out their part of the bargain, and Orient won, so Orient will come into Tuesday having completed their aim of winning the league. Fully deserved as they have been out on top all season. That might make Mansfield’s task a little bit easier on Tuesday, but it will still be a very tough game of course.
If Mansfield could pick up a win, and Stevenage were to lose at Swindon, then the Stags would be only one point behind 3rd place with two games left.
Get to the game if you can, and it is now an all-ticket game. But if you can’t, you can watch it with us on iFollow Stags.
DETAILED REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
SAT 22 APR 2023, LEAGUE TWO
Mansfield Town 1-0 Stevenage
Keillor-Dunn (11'minutes) (the goal was actually scored by Gale)
Akins (11'minutes) (the assist was actually Keillor-Dunn)
Match report supplied by PA Media.
Injury-hit Mansfield pulled off a hard-earned home win over visiting promotion rivals Stevenage.
Mansfield took the lead after 11 minutes when Lucas Akins had a shot blocked and then set up Davis Keillor-Dunn to his left for a follow-up that clipped James Gale en route, which left keeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala unable to stop it crossing the line.
It was Gale's second goal in five days, having scored his first EFL goal on Tuesday, but after 21 minutes he had to go off following a bang to the head.
There were few chances in a stop-start first half though the visitors had two late half-chances as Dan Sweeney nodded tamely over from a long throw on 39 minutes and then Jordan Roberts headed straight at Christy Pym from Luther Wildin's cross.
Carl Piergianni sent a far-post header straight at Pym on 49 minutes.
Keillor-Dunn went close on 69 minutes as his curler from the left went just over the far angle.
As Stevenage pushed hard, the Stags broke on 88 minutes and Rhys Oates fired over the bar before the home side successfully soaked up heavy pressure in six added minutes.
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Stevenage
Possession Home 45% Away 55%
Shots Home 12 Away 6
Shots on Target Home 1 Away 3
Corners Home 2 Away 4
Fouls Home 13 Away 7
Magnificent Mansfield Town hang on for crucial win over promotion rivals Stevenage
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Sat 22 April 2023
Magnificent Mansfield Town hung on under severe pressure to pip promotion rivals Stevenage 1-0 on a tense afternoon at the One Call Stadium.
James Gale's second goal of the week proved the difference but injury-hit Stags were forced to defend for their lives against a Stevenage side sat in the top three promotion spots.
Mansfield ended the day still only outside the play-off places on goal difference but, with two more home games to come this week, still only a tantalising four points off the top three.
A first half littered with free kicks saw few chances after Stags had grabbed an 11th minute lead when Davis Keillor-Dunn's shot deflected in off Gale with the keeper wrong-footed.
Either side of the break the visitors sent close range headers straight at Christy Pym.
Stags tired as the second half wore on but were able to keep the back door shut, surviving a late 'kitchen sink' barrage from the visitors.
Stags made one change to the side that beat Newport in midweek as matchwinner James Gale replaced Jordan Bowery up front.
Though still short on match fitness, injured quartet Will Swan, Rhys Oates, Louis Reed and George Maris were named on the Mansfield bench.
The visitors, with former Stags boss Steve Evans again getting a hostile 'welcome back' from the home fans, had two ex-Stags up front in Jamie Reid and Danny Rose.
On their bench for the first time was 16-year-old Academy player Makise Evans.
From the kick-off Rose left something in on his challenge on Hewitt that left the Stags man floored, but the officials saw nothing wrong.
Johnson then clattered into Reid and was spoken to but no card produced.
Mansfield had started brightly and were ahead on 11 minutes.
Some neat passing worked the ball to Akins in the box. His shot was blocked but Keillor-Dunn had the second attempt from Akins' square pass and the ball took a deflection off Gale and Lo-Tutala was unable to stop the ball spinning over the line.
The goal was initially credited to Keillor-Dunn but then changed to Gale.
Scorer Gale was booked two minutes later for sliding in late on Gilbey and on 15 minutes Sweeney joined him for kicking the ball away after the visitors had conceded a free kick.
On the next raid Akins pulled a low pass back for Boateng, but he was wildly off target with his finish.
Gale needed treatment after going up with the keeper for a Quinn cross and taking a blow to the head. The youngster eventually had to be replaced by Oates.
With 10 minutes to go to the break Hewitt also needed lengthy treatment after a blow to the ribs but was able to continue.
On 39 minutes a long Wildon throw was helped on and from close range Sweeney nodded tamely over the home crossbar.
Then Pym came and punched decisively to clear a long Piergianni free kick into the box.
In the 45th minute Reid let fly from 18 yards and Pym did well to turn it round for the first of two corners.
Five minutes were added and in the third of those Wildin put in a good cross from the right and Roberts turned a header on goal from six yards but straight at Pym.
Then from a long Hewitt cross, Akins got a touch near goal but couldn't direct it on target as Mansfield went in with the slender advantage.
Stevenage carved out the first chance of the second half as a cross from the right found Piergianni at the far post but again the header was straight at Pym.
On 52 minutes Oates was booked for kicking the ball away, then we had another stoppage for treatment to a furious Piergianni after he took a knock to the head during pressure on the home goal.
Stags responded with pressure of their own and Akins saw a shot deflect wide for a corner, Oates then too high with a header from the flag kick.
Home fans were furious when the referee got in the way as Stags tried to halt a Stevenage break which thankfully came to nothing.
On 69 minutes Keillor-Dunn tried his luck from the left hand corner of the box, curling an effort narrowly over the far angle.
But the visitors were pushing Mansfield deeper and deeper, Law taking over from Quinn as Stags called on fresh legs.
Oates then raised excitement as he beat his man on the left and began to accelerate only to then blaze well over.
Keillor-Dunn, spotting the keeper off his line, also tried an ambitious dipper from the centre circle, but it didn't gave the legs to get over Lo-Tutala.
Stevenage went three up front for the last three scheduled minutes, but Stags broke on them from Boateng's pass on 88 minutes and Oates fired over from the left.
Stags rang more late changes as they headed for six nervous added minutes with the visitors throwing all they had at them and they hung on magnificently for a deserved ovation.
STAGS: Pym, C. Johnson, Kilgour, Perch, Hewitt, Wallace, Boateng, Quinn (Law 71), Gale (Oates 21, Harbottle 89), Akins, Keillor-Dunn ( Maris 89). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Reed, Swan.
STEVENAGE: Lo-Tutala, Wildin, ( Evans 87) Clark, Reeves, Piergianni, Sweeney, Roberts, Gilbey (Horgan 74), Bostwick (Forster-Caskey HT), Reid, Rose (Taylor 63). SUBS NOT USED: Przybek, Smith, Tomkinson.
REFEREE: James Linington.
ATTENDANCE: 6,863 (384 away).
Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 0 - Deflection costs Boro
thecomet.net, By Neil Metcalfe, Sat 22 April 2023
Stevenage's buffer inside the top three was all but wiped out as a deflected goal sent them to defeat at Mansfield Town.
It was an 11th-minute shot that brought the Stags a 1-0 win, leaving goalkeeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala completely helpless.
And with Carlisle United and Stockport County both winning, it means Boro are now only a point ahead of the two chasers.
The one plus point was a last-minute equaliser preventing Bradford from taking three points.
It focuses the mind even more, six points is needed but there will need to be more quality.
The big team news prior to kick-off was would 16-year-old Makise Evans make a start.
The answer was no but he took a spot on the now full-strength bench.
There were two changes to the starting line-up from the win over Doncaster Rovers in midweek. Jake Reeves and Michael Bostwick came in for Jake Taylor and Jake Forster-Caskey.
Those two moved to the bench where there was one other change apart from Evans, Jonathan Tomkinson coming in for Dean Campbell.
The changes were designed to make life difficult and they restricted Mansfield to very few chances.
However, they found themselves a goal down by the break in very unfortunate circumstances.
There were chances to clear for the visitors, Max Clark was sucked into a challenge that he never got close too and then Bostwick slow to close down Lucas Akins.
However, the shot from Davis Keillor-Dunn was inoffensive, side-footed and bobbling towards Lo-Tutala.
But it clipped off a body in front of the goalkeeper, and was eventually awarded by the PA system to James Gale, taking it away from the Hull man and into an empty net.
Boro then saw Dan Sweeney take a daft yellow card for having a shot well after a foul had been awarded against them.
Mansfield didn't create much more though, a flick from Akins late on which went over the only effort of note.
And Boro had two efforts, Jamie Reid with a shot from the edge that flicked behind for a corner and then Jordan Roberts heading straight at Christy Pym.
A change at half-time signified the Boro boss was not happy with the way things had gone, Forster-Caskey replacing Bostwick, and the opening 10 minutes saw Boro on the front foot.
That soon tailed off though and Pym was relatively untroubled after the break despite some late pressure from the visitors.
Teenager Evans set a record as the youngest ever Boro player when he was sent on with 87 minutes played.
The odd flick was the best he could manage and one header down by Carl Piergianni rolled too close to the goalkeeper.
Mansfield had chances of their own, Rhys Oates twice blazing over while Keillor-Dunn was only inches away with a shot that skimmed the top of the net.
The result was greeted with delight by the Stags fans, as it should have been.
Boro will have to wait for more jubilation this season.
Stevenage: Lo-Tutala, James-Wildin (Evans 87), Clark, Reeves, Piergianni, Sweeney, Roberts, Gilbey (Horgan 74), Bostwick (Forster-Caskey 46), Reid, Rose (Taylor 63).
Subs (not used): Pryzbek, Smith, Tomkinson.
Booked: Sweeney 15
Mansfield Town: Pym, Hewitt, Akins, Johnson, Perch, Quinn (Law 71), Wallace, Gale (Oates 21, Harbottle 89), Kilgour, Keillor-Dunn (Maris 89), Boateng.
Subs (not used): Flinders, Reed, Swan.
Goal: Gale 11
Booked: Keilor-Dunn 14, Oates 52
HT: Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 0
Referee: James Linnington (Isle of Wight)
Report: Mansfield Town 1-0 Stevenage
stevenagefc.com, by Aaron Tebbutt, Sat 22 April 2023
Stevenage go home empty-handed after a battle with Mansfield Town...
Stevenage made the trip to Mansfield to face Nigel Clough’s Stags with just four games remaining in the race for automatic promotion. Steve Evans made two changes from the starting eleven that picked up all three points at home to Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday, as Jake Reeves and Michael Bostwick replaced Jake Taylor and Jake Forster-Caskey in midfield. Sixteen-year-old Makise Evans made the bench.
The opening ten minutes saw little offence from Boro and Mansfield soon took the lead. Davis Keillor-Dunn’s effort was helped on by James Gale as the ball trickled past Thimothee Lo-Tutala and into the back of the net.
The Stags continued to see most of the possession as Stevenage were unable to play their football. A dangerous corner was sent into the Boro box just before the half-hour mark, but the visitors defended well and Lo-Tutala held onto it.
The remainder of the half was exciting for neither team as the goalkeepers were hardly tested. With five minutes to go until the interval, Luther James-Wildin’s long throw-in made its way to Dan Sweeney at the back post who nodded over the bar.
In the closing stages of the half, there was a burst of energy from Stevenage as Jamie Reid carried the ball forward before seeing his powerful effort deflect out for a corner.
Then, minutes later Luther James-Wildin made a darting run down the right wing before finding Jordan Roberts in the box whose header was saved by former Boro keeper Christy Pym.
At half-time, Steve Evans made his first substitution of the afternoon, introducing Jake Forster-Caskey in place of Michael Bostwick in midfield.
Boro looked sharper in the opening stages of the second half as they looked to grab an equaliser. Dan Sweeney’s cross met the head of Max Clark in the area, but his effort fell into the hands of Christy Pym.
Mansfield were applying the pressure on the hour mark and looked to double their advantage. Lucas Akins had a shot on target from inside the area, but it was blocked out for a corner. Minutes later, Jake Taylor was brought on in place of Danny Rose for the final thirty minutes.
The Stags came just inches away from increasing their lead to two, as Davis Keillor-Dunn’s effort from the edge of the area flew just over the bar, to the relief of the Boro supporters.
With over fifteen minutes to play, Stevenage’s third substitution was made as Daryl Horgan replaced Alex Gilbey.
The next substitution to be made was historic as Makise Evans, born in August 2006, became Stevenage Football Club’s youngest-ever player as he was subbed on for Luther James-Wildin in the hopes of grabbing a late equaliser.
Six minutes of additional time were to be played as Stevenage searched for a dramatic equaliser. Jake Taylor’s cross caused problems, but the danger was cleared.
Unfortunately for Boro, it wasn’t to be as the referee blew his final whistle and the hosts earned themselves all three points. Stevenage travel to Swindon on Tuesday with just three enormous games remaining.
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