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Archived News from May 2023

4th May 2023 18:30

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Harrogate Town
Swan 67. Kilgour OG 27, Daly 39
Attendance: 7,086 (191 from Harrogate)

Date: 29 April 2023

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 by Harrogate Town at the One Call Stadium yesterday. It was a disastrous result. After losing to Leyton Orient on Tuesday, the Stags really needed a win to keep hopes high of getting into the play-offs. But the Stags were beaten, losing yet again to bogey side Harrogate, Harrogate’s 6th win (plus a draw) in the 7 games the two sides have played. Two home defeats on the trot after the Stags had gone unbeaten for 9 games, and just a week ago still retained hopes of a top 3 position.

Now Mansfield need something approaching a miracle next Monday when they travel to Colchester in order to make it into the top 7:

Mansfield are three points behind Salford with one game left. Salford play their final game at home to Gillingham. Mansfield need a 4 or 5 goal swing in goal difference:
For example a 3-0 win for Mansfield and a 1-0 defeat for Salford, would be enough.
But a 2-0 win for Mansfield and a 2-0 defeat for Salford, would not be enough.
So a 2-0 win for Mansfield would need a 3-0 defeat for Salford.

Bradford are also three points ahead of Mansfield, but with two games left. If there were lose their game in hand on Wednesday at Crewe, then Mansfield could still overtake them on goal difference in the final game (Bradford are at home to Leyton Orient). Bradford however will have their eyes on 3rd place still, which they could achieve with two wins.

Carlisle are also three points ahead of Mansfield, but that would require an 8 goal swing for Mansfield to overtake them.

So, the Stags really need to go to Colchester next Monday with the aim of a 3 goal victory and let’s see what happens.

Mansfield made two changes from the side that started against Orient: Harbottle replaced the injured Hewitt, Reed came in for Wallace. This was therefore the team that started the second half against Orient. It was a 4-3-3 formation. Up front, Oates was on the right, with Akins in the middle. Though they were to switch places in the first half. Bowery was back from his tight hamstring on the bench. Gale was back his head injury on the bench. Law dropped off the bench.

The news on Hewitt’s injury was devastating, for the player himself, and for the club: he picked up an anterior cruciate ligament injury on Tuesday. He will need an operation once the swelling goes down, and then it is typically 9 months to recovery from that time. So he’s going to miss the majority of next season. Good luck for your recovery Elliott, gutted for you.

The irony of the news of Hewitt’s injury coming on the day he completed a clean sweep of Player of the Season awards was terrible. Hewitt was the Shirebrook Stags, Ollerton Stags, Stags Supporters Association, and CHAD Readers’ Player of the Season, and he hobbled on crutches to receive them before the game.

John Radford gave a rallying call to the fans to get behind the team before the game.

The Stags started positively in the opening 15 minutes. From a Keillor-Dunn cross, Harbottle’s header was deflected over the bar. Then a great run from Akins, but he was crowded out on the edge of the area. After 14 minutes, Oates got to the byline and crossed in for Perch who missed his kick but got another go and then shanked his effort over the bar.

Harrogate fired a warning shot after 16 minutes as Kazeem Olaigbe, on loan from Southampton, twisted and turned past Callum Johnson, cut inside from the left and fired just wide of the left post.

Straight to the other end and Oates made a great run into the area and thought he’d won a corner but the referee changed his mind and gave a goal kick after initially giving a corner.

Quinn had a shot blocked from the edge of the area after 19 minutes. Then great play from Akins, as he chested the ball down to himself, got to the corner of the area on the right, and played inside to Boateng who fired just over the bar from the edge of the area.

But the Stags fell behind in incredibly unlucky fashion after 27 minutes. Sam Folarin squared to Matty Daly, Daly played the ball forward into the box for Folarin who had continued his run. Folarin tried to control it, didn’t control it, it deflected off his toe, and Kilgour stuck out a leg to clear it, but he just deflected it agonisingly wide of Pym into the net. Simply bad luck.

It was nearly 2-0 after 30 minutes as the Stags were shell-shocked by the goal, Olaigbe cut in from the left and his shot was deflected just wide of the post, after a bad touch by Harbottle.

A minute later, brilliant play by Akins at the other end, with a super turn and run, but his shot was blocked.

Harrogate struck a hammer blow with a second goal after 39 minutes, with some poor defending from the Stags. Olaigbe got past Reed too easily 40 yards from goal, pushed forward, left Harbottle in no-man’s land and Daly was left unmarked to slot past Pym into the right corner of the net.

More bad defending from Mansfield after 42 minutes, as Toby Sims got in behind the defence to the byline on the right, pulled back into the middle, and Luke Armstrong was first to the cross, beating Kilgour to it, and sliding a good effort inches wide of the left post.

After 45+1 minutes, a Keillor-Dunn cross from the left and Oates sent a back header just wide.

An awful first half defensively from Mansfield. Just 4 attacks from Harrogate, but they scored one (lucky) goal, scored another (good) goal, and went very close twice. Callum Johnson, Harbottle, Kilgour (unusually) and Perch had a half to forget.

Half time 0-2

Nigel Clough made four changes at the break: Bowery replaced Perch at left back, Clarke replaced Boateng, Maris replaced Keillor-Dunn, Swan replaced Oates. All four coming on were coming back from injury and couldn’t have played 90 minutes. It was now a diamond in midfield, with Reed in front of the back four, and Maris behind the front two of Akins and Swan.

The second half was one way traffic, complete domination from Mansfield, and a barrage of chances. And ultimately massive frustration that the Stags couldn’t take more of the 31 chances they created in the game.

Quinn headed straight at the keeper from Callum Johnson’s cross after 46 minutes. Then Maris set Swan away into the box, Swan seemed to do everything right but slid his shot inches wide of the left post. Clarke pushed forward and had a shot blocked. Then Harbottle headed wide from Maris’s corner after 52 minutes. Swan fired wide of the left post. Then great play after 60 minutes from Swan as he squared to Clarke on the edge of the area, and his shot from 18 yards was somehow deflected onto the roof of the net by Matty Foulds. Clarke threw his hands up in disbelief. From the resulting corner by Maris, Callum Johnson hooked the ball agonisingly just wide of the left post.

Mansfield finally scored after 67 minutes. Akins crossed from the right, Maris couldn’t turn the ball into the net from 3 yards. Seconds later, Callum Johnson pulled back to Swan who turned into the net from 8 yards. Swan’s 10th goal of the season. A long time coming, after his injury lay-off. Mansfield missed him greatly during his lay-off.

After 71 minutes, Bowery fired in a 20 yard shot that was goalbound, but blocked.

Meanwhile Harrogate keeper Oxley was driving Stags fans mad by taking an eternity over every goalkick, but it was the hapless referee at fault, taking no action.

After 75 minutes, from Quinn’s corner from the right, Akins headed towards the roof of the net and keeper Oxley made an incredible save, turning it over the bar when it seemed to be past him. Akins couldn’t believe it. Nigel Clough said afterwards that Quinn, who had a perfect view along the byline, said it was an unbelievable save as the ball seemed to be past the keeper. From the resulting corner from the right by Maris, Harbottle headed down, it deflected off Akins but was cleared away.

After 80 minutes, brilliant play by Clarke getting along the byline on the right, and pulling back to Akins, who fired just over the bar from 12 yards. Two minutes later, Quinn got forward down the left, and crossed to Akins who turned it wide.

Then after 85 minutes, Bowery played into the area from the left to Akins back to goal. Akins turned and his shot was blocked. Akins then teed up Clarke who took a touch and fired in a low shot from 14 yards that keeper Oxley got down to his left to save one-handed. Another incredible save.

Gale replaced Quinn after 87 minutes.

After 90 minutes, Swan got to the byline on the right, he pulled back into the middle, Gale couldn’t turn it goalwards, the ball ran loose to Akins, and his thunderous shot from 12 yards was blocked.

After 90+5 minutes, Maris crossed in and Kilgour headed well wide.

The full time whistle brought incredible frustration for Mansfield.

31 shots from Mansfield. An incredible number, the highest of the season, beating 27 against Crawley. In my opinion, Mansfield were unlucky to lose, through credit to the Harrogate keeper for some unbelievable saves, and the defenders for some fantastic blocks. But bad luck or good luck counts for nothing at this stage of the season, and it’s all about results. This result was a disaster.

After the final whistle, the players returned for a lap of appreciation with the fans who had stayed. The players have worked incredibly hard, due to injuries to others, sometimes playing with injuries, and deserved the appreciation. Even if it looks like the team will come up short.

Injuries of course have played a part in the team coming up short. 23 different injuries this season is a large number. The majority have been impact injuries, some have been injuries when players have had to play more minutes than they should due to injuries to others (such as Bowery at Newport). Only two of the 23 injuries have occurred in training.

The Stagsnet messageboard and facebook have been dominated since the end of the game with debate about whether manager Nigel Clough should be offered another contract (his contract expires this summer). Plenty of discussion. On the Mansfield Town followers facebook page, there is a poll about whether he should stay: 570 supporters have voted, 70% want him to stay.

So, one final league game, next Monday at Colchester (12.30pm kick off, you can watch on iFollow by buying a match pass if you don’t want to travel). All the Stags can do now is go to Colchester to try and win by 3 goals. You just never know, but anything is possible even though getting into the top 7 is probably a 100-1 shot. The Stags have of course won 11 away games so far, and one more win will be a club record in the Football League. Let’s see.


Mansfield Town 1-2 Harrogate Town
Swan (67'minutes)
Kilgour (27'minutes og), Daly (39'minutes)
Johnson (67'minutes)
Olaigbe (39'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media.

Bogey side Harrogate dealt Mansfield's play-off bid a massive blow with victory at the One Call Stadium.

The Stags, who have never beaten Harrogate in their seven meetings, are now three points short of the top seven with one match remaining.

A poor first half from Mansfield saw them trailing 2-0 at the break.

Alfie Kilgour turned the ball inside a post for an own goal as he stretched to cut out Matty Daly's low ball across the six-yard box in the 27th minute.

And 12 minutes later it was 2-0 as Kazeem Olaigbe sent Daly into the box on the left and he sent a finish across Christy Pym.

It could have been worse as Olaigbe twice went close, while Luke Armstrong also put a chance wide from close range.

The Stags rarely threatened, Hiram Boateng firing the best chance over as they were booed off.

Mansfield made four changes at the break and Will Swan shot narrowly wide of the far post within a minute.

And in the 67th minute Swan swept home a low Callum Johnson cross from the right to ignite the contest at last.

Mark Oxley then made a superb save high to his right to keep out a Lucas Akins header from a corner in the 75th minute, and he was soon diving down low to block Ollie Clarke's goalbound finish.

Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Harrogate
Possession Home 65% Away 35%
Shots Home 31 Away 9
Shots on Target Home 5 Away 2
Corners Home 7 Away 1
Fouls Home 10 Away 5


Play-off dream almost over for Mansfield Town after home defeat by bogey side Harrogate Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Sat 29 Apr 2023

Mansfield Town's play-off hopes were dealt another huge blow as they lost 2-1 at home to bogey side Harrogate Town this afternoon.

The sides have met seven times and Stags have never won and this second home defeat in five days left them three points outside the play-offs with one game to go but with a poorer goal difference to Salford and Bradford with the Yorkshire club having a game in hand too.

Harrogate arrived safe from relegation after their midweek win at Newport and had only lost once in eight outings.

Mansfield did make the early running, but the visitors were handed the lead through an Alfie Kilgour own goal and, rattled, the home side conceded a second on 39 minutes as sub Matty Daly buried a finish.


It could have been worse as the visitors kept it tight at the back while creating further chances and the flat atmosphere around the ground turned to boos at the break.

Stags then went for it with four interval changes but could only muster a single reply from Will Swan.

Nigel Clough made two changes as midfielder Louis Reed came in for his second home start for the club after returning from injury, replacing Kieran Wallace.

Defender Riley Harbottle also took over in defence for the injured Elliott Hewitt, who pre-match hobbled to the dug-outs on crutches to be presented with four Player of the Year awards, including Chad Readers' Player of the Year before kick-off.

Chairman John Radford also took to the pitch pre-match to say how proud he was of the club and to rally the crowd to get behind the manager and players for the final hurdles of the promotion push.

Oxley grabbed a teasing Johnson cross at the second attempt in the first minute with yellow shirts all around him trying to capitalise.

Stags then forced a couple of early corners, which were scrambled away, as the home side pressed.

After a hold-up for an injury to Thomson, which saw him replaced, Oates burst to the right by-line on 14 minutes and squared for Perch, who completely missed his kick and then ballooned the ball over at the second attempt.

The visitors made their first real attack on 16 minutes as Olaigbe ran at Johnson down the left and cut inside him to pull a low shot into the near side netting.

Quinn had a shot blocked as the home side resumed their offensive, then good work by Akins set up Boateng for a shot he fizzed over from 18 yards.

However, the visitors edged in front on 28 minutes through an own goal by Kilgour.

Daly ran at the defence on the left and sent a low ball into the six yard box. With opponents around him, Kilgour stretched to intercept but saw the ball find its way just inside the post.

Three minutes later it was almost 2-0 as Olaigbe again cut in from the left and saw his finish deflect inches over the far angle.

Mattock saw the day's first yellow card for a late tackle on Johnson on the right touchline.

Stags' day went from bad to worse as the Sulphurites doubled their advantage on 39 minutes.

Olaigbe provided the assist with a fine pass to put Daly into the left of the box and he picked his spot with a low finish across Pym inside the right post.

On 42 minutes the visitors again went close as Sims sent in a low ball from the right and Armstrong turned it inches wide of the far post as some boos began to ring out from the frustrated home fans.

In the first of seven added minute Oates flicked a header wide from a left wing cross as Stags probed for a way back.

But the interval whistle brought a chorus of boos for a poor first half showing.

Desperate to kickstart their afternoon Clough made four changes for the second half as Swan, Clarke, Bowery and Maris replaced Perch, Keillor-Dunn, Oates and Boateng.

Within a minute Quinn had headed tamely at Oxley and a minute later Swan burst into the box on the right but was inches wide of the far post with his low finish.

Olaigbe shot tamely at Pym on 57 minutes while Swan was wide at the other end soon after.

On the hour Swan set up Clarke for a shot that deflected over and then Clarke put a great ball across the face of goal that on one was able to turn home.

Finally Stags were back in the contest on 67 minutes as Johnson put in a low ball from the right and Swan swept it home from inside the six yard box.

A Harrogate break then saw sub Muldoon blaze over from the right before a stoppage for an injury to Maris.

Stags came so close to levelling on 75 minutes as Oxley produced a magnificent save high to his right to keep out an Akins header from a corner.

Akins was too high with his next attempt after Clarke had got to the right by-line as Mansfield pressed hard.

Oxley again did well to get down and block a low Clarke shot five minutes from time.

In five added minutes Gale was booked for a foul as the afternoon ended in heartbreak.

STAGS: Pym, Harbottle, Kilgour, Perch (Maris HT), C. Johnson, Reed, Boateng (Swan HT), Quinn (Gale 87), Keillor-Dunn (Clarke HT), Akins, Oates (Bowery HT). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Wallace, Clarke, Maris, Bowery, Swan.

HARROGATE: Oxley, Mattock, Falkingham, Thomson (Daly 13), Olaigbe (Ramsay 85), Folarin (Muldoon 63), Sims, Sutton, Armstrong, Foulds, Eastman. SUBS NOT USED: Jameson, Angus, McArdle, Horbury.

REFEREE: David Rock.

ATTENDANCE: 7,086 (191 away).




Harrogate Town continued their strong end to the season with a 2-1 win away at Play-Off chasing Mansfield Town.

An Alfie Kilgour own goal and Matty Daly finish put Town in full control at the break, with Will Swan's second half effort giving his side hope of a comeback, though Town held firm to claim a sixth win in seven over The Stags.

Simon Weaver made two changes from Tuesday night's win in Newport as Joe Mattock and Levi Sutton replaced Anthony O'Connor and Warren Burrell, with Mattock making his first appearance in three months.

Elsewhere Kayne Ramsay returned to the squad for the first time since suffering a fractured eye socket, cheek bone and jaw in February, while Luke Armstrong made his 100th Town appearance.

The early stages of the contest saw the hosts have plenty of set pieces, though Town were able to deal with everything thrown their way, but were dealt an early blow when George Thomson was forced off with a serious looking ankle injury thirteen minutes in.

The hosts threatened through efforts from James Perch and Hiram Boateng, though neither could find the target, while Kazeem Olaigbe's solo run and near post attempt almost opened the scoring at the other end.

Town took the lead in the 27th minute when Daly's clever disguised pass was touched by Sam Folarin onto the foot of the recovering Kilgour, who could on'y put the ball past Christy Pym and into his own net.

Olaigbe went close again with a deflected effort that nearly found the top corner, before turning provider and setting up Town's second in the 39th minute.

The Southampton loanee turned expertly away from Louis Reed before picking out Daly to finish and double his side's lead.

The final chance of the half fell to Luke Armstrong after Toby Sims had got forward from right back and pulled it back to his teammate, but Town's top scorer couldn't quite find the bottom corner.

Mansfield made four changes at the break and it was one of those introduced that had the best chance to halve the deficit early in the second half, Wiill Swan's first touch getting him past Mattock, but his finish not finding the target.

Swan would eventually get the breakthrough for his side in the 67th minute, his low finish making it's way past the Town bodies looking to keep it out.

Town had Mark Oxley to thank for keeping their lead in tact eight minutes later as Lucas Akins' header looked set to hit the back of the net, though Town's number one was able to tip the effort wide at full stretch.

Oxley was at it again in the 85th minute, diving to his left to deny Ollie Clarke, moments before Tom Eastman and Toby Sims followed their keeper's example, making key blocks to ensure Town left with all three points.

The final few minutes also saw Ramsay enter the pitch, marking his return from injury by helping his side to a win on their final away trip of the season.

Town: Oxley, Mattock, Falkingham, Thomson (Daly 13), Olaigbe (Ramsay 86), Folarin (Muldoon 62), Sims, Sutton, Armstrong, Foulds, Eastman

Subs not used: Jameson, Angus, McArdle, Horbury

Goals: Kilgour OG 27, Daly 39

Booked: Mattock

Mansfield: Pym, Harbottle, Kilgour, Perch (Bowery 45), Johnson, Reed, Boateng (Clarke 45), Quinn (Gale 87), Oates (Swan 45), Akins, Keillor-Dunn (Maris 45)

Subs not used: Flinders, Wallace

Goals: Swan 67

Booked: Gale

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 7,088 (191)


Mansfield Town 1 Harrogate Town 2: Sulphurites sink promotion-chasing Stags
harrogateadvertiser.co.uk, By Rhys Howell, Sat 29 Apr 2023

Harrogate Town recorded back-to-back away wins for the first time this season as they upset promotion-chasing Mansfield at Field Mill.

The Sulphurites headed into Saturday’s fixture having secured their League Two status courtesy of a 3-2 victory at Newport County in midweek and picked up where they left off in South Wales.

Two goals to the good at the interval following an impressive first-half showing, Simon Weaver’s men came under serious pressure after the break, but just about did enough to leave Nottinghamshire with their lead intact.

In need of points in order to force their way into the play-off places, it was Nigel Clough’s Mansfield who made the better start to proceedings, asking some early questions of the Town back-line.

But, expertly marshalled by the returning Joe Mattock on his first appearance in three months, Harrogate prevented the Stags from creating anything resembling a clear-cut scoring opportunity.


Indeed the first decent chance came at the other end on 16 minutes after Mattock’s intelligent pass found Kazeem Olaigbe, who cut in off the left and fired into the side-netting.

Four minutes later, Hiram Boateng fired over the top for Mansfield, however that was about as good as it would get for the home side during the opening period.

With 27 minutes on the clock, the visitors broke the deadlock, Sam Folarin cutting the ball out in the middle of the pitch and driving forward before slipping it left to substitute Matty Daly.

His return pass would have left the former Middlesbrough winger one-on-one with Christy Pym had he been able to control it, but, fortunately for Town, the sliding Alfie Kilgour diverted the ball into his own net as he attempted to intercept.

Town went close to adding a second soon afterwards, Olaigbe again drifting inside from the left flank and unleashing a right-footed effort which was deflected narrowly past the far post by Callum Johnson.

They would however double their advantage six minutes before half-time, Daly curling a lovely finish across Pym and into the bottom corner from the left-hand side of the box having been played through on goal by Olaigbe.

And it was almost three before the interval, Luke Armstrong meeting Toby Sims’ low right-wing cross first-time at the near post and steering an effort beyond Pym but narrowly wide.

The second half was a completely different story, with Mansfield bossing proceedings having made four changes at the break.

They very nearly halved the deficit within two minutes of the resumption, George Maris playing in fellow substitute Will Swan down the right, though his finish across the face of goal flashed past the back stick.

With Harrogate seemingly outnumbered whenever the Stags came forwards, they struggled to escape their own half and needed a brave block by Matty Foulds to divert Ollie Clarke’s shot over the cross-bar.

A goal looked very much on the cards, however, and eventually arrived in the 67th minute.

The Sulphurites were unable to clear their lines as a spell of pinball played out inside their penalty area and the ball was eventually pulled back by Johnson for Swan to slot beyond Oxley from close range.

Mansfield continued to turn the screw, Toby Sims and Mattock winning crucial headers in their own six-yard box before Oxley produced a sensational save, diving at full stretch to his right to keep out Lucas Akins’ header from a right-wing corner.

Oxley made another important stop late on, getting down well to push away Clarke’s low strike, then Sims and Tom Eastman popped up with perfectly-timed last-ditch challenges to prevent the hosts from levelling matters.

Saturday’s result saw Weaver and his men complete their first league double of the campaign and means they have now won six and drawn one of their seven Football League meetings with the Stags.

It also lifts them up one place to 19th in the table with one fixture left to play this term.



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