DRAW AT DONCASTER OVERSHADOWED BY KILGOUR INJURY
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Doncaster Rovers 2 - 2 Mansfield Town
Nixon 20, Ironside 76. Reed 42, Maris 80
Attendance: 7,793 (2200 from Mansfield)
Date: 15 August 2023
Martin Shaw at the Keepmoat Stadium (Eco-Power Stadium)
Mansfield Town drew 2-2 at Doncaster Rovers last night. Mansfield were much the better side throughout but twice had to come from behind to get a point. However the game was overshadowed by a terrible injury to Alfie Kilgour, who ruptured his Achilles and will be out for the rest of the season. Devastating news for Alfie who has been so impressive since joining the club in January. And dreadful for the Stags to lose a player of such high class. Best wishes to Alfie for his recovery. Nigel Clough said he will look to bring in another defender on loan.
Mansfield should have been ahead after 12 minutes when Kilgour headed against the post from a fine Aden Flint cross. He should have scored.
Kilgour was then stretchered off, with Flint taking over as captain, and Cargill partnering him in central defence.
Doncaster took the lead after 20 minutes with a real bolt from the blue, a screamer of a shot from Tom Nixon from 28 yards that flew into the roof of the net. It was hit with such power that I don’t think Christy Pym was to blame for not saving it.
Mansfield equalised after 42 minutes. Hiram Boateng did brilliantly to nick the ball off Jack Senior on the right touchline, Rhys Oates powered forward to the byline and put in a perfect cross to the far post where Louis Reed headed into the net, for his first Stags goal.
The Stags were and remained much the better side but fell behind after 76 minutes as Tommy Rowe’s shot was pushed away by Pym, and Joe Ironside turned in the rebound. Poor defending all round as Mansfield gave the ball away, failed to take other chances to clear, and then Pym should have done better with the save. As Nigel Clough described after the game: “We don’t clear our lines between Jordan (Bowery) and Baily (Cargill) near the corner flag from our throw-in, they are trying to play out, wrong decision, wrong time. It should have been cleared up the pitch to Rhys Oates and Will Swan to challenge for it. I thought Christy should have done better with the save, he should have either held it or pushed it to the side.”
The Stags were level at 2-2 after 80 minutes as George Maris sent a beautiful left-footed shot into the bottom left corner of the net from 20 yards, following a move from back to front containing 26 passes, and ended with Stephen Quinn teeing up Maris. Indeed all the Stags players were involved in the move apart from Cargill and Swan. Beautiful goal.
Mansfield continued to throw the kitchen sink at Doncaster but were unable to force the victory.
Worse still on the injury front, Callum Johnson went off with a hamstring strain, Aaron Lewis with a calf strain, and Hiram Boateng with a groin strain. They will also have scans in the next 48 hours but could be out for 4-6 weeks, pending the news from the scans.
Mansfield haven’t had many muscle injuries in the past year prior to this. Most of the injuries last season were impact injuries. Interestingly Doncaster manager Grant McCann talked about injuries after the game including of his own players: "We have seven or eight of them injured at the moment. You can see tonight Mansfield had some lads go down injured, I think all managers are expecting this this season, with the amount of minutes etc. And how quickly the games come, particularly the early part of the season. It was always the worry from my point of view that the amount of games and the amount of minutes that's being played in these games, that this could happen."
So Mansfield will surely be without Hewitt, McLaughlin, Kilgour, Johnson, Lewis, Boateng, Gale, O’Toole, Williams, for Saturday at Grimsby. At least George Williams “won’t be long” in returning, according to Clough. Calum Macdonald will return from suspension at Grimsby. He will slot in at left back of course, with Akins or Bowery slotting in at right back.
This was another good performance, in the face of adversity, as the injuries, especially to Kilgour must have affected the players. Mansfield had 21 shots to Doncaster’s 11, and as Clough described it: “the second half was an onslaught at times.”
Mansfield have started the season four games unbeaten and have been miles better than each of their opponents Crewe, Grimsby, Morecambe and Doncaster. The games have also been tremendous entertainment. The next game is against Grimsby, again, at Blundell Park on Saturday. Grimsby will have a slightly stronger side out than in the League Cup game and had a morale-boosting win against Salford last night.
DETAILED REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
TUE 15 AUG 2023, LEAGUE TWO
Doncaster Rovers 2-2 Mansfield Town
Nixon (20'minutes), Ironside (76'minutes)
Reed (42'minutes), Maris (80'minutes)
Oates (42'minutes), Quinn (80'minutes)
Match report supplied by PA Media.
Mansfield Town twice came from behind to continue their unbeaten start to the League Two season with a draw at Doncaster Rovers.
Nigel Clough's side arguably had the better of the attacking play throughout but were forced to fight back in an entertaining clash.
Tom Nixon and Joe Ironside struck for Rovers either side of Louis Reed's equaliser before George Maris salvaged the Stags a point late on.
Doncaster took the lead with a stunning strike from debutant Nixon. The Hull loanee chested down a half clearance and smashed home on the volley in the 20th minute.
Mansfield equalised after 42 minutes as Reed headed home a cross from Rhys Oates at the back post.
The visitors were the more threatening side in the early stages of the second half, with substitute Will Swan twice going close.
But it was hosts Doncaster who re-took the lead when Ironside reacted quickest to Tommy Rowe's blocked shot and fired past Christy Pym in the 76th minute.
Mansfield took just four minutes to find their second equaliser as space opened up for substitute Maris to fire in low from 20 yards.
Home Team Doncaster Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 33% Away 67%
Shots Home 11 Away 21
Shots on Target Home 5 Away 8
Corners Home 3 Away 7
Fouls Home 8 Away 10
Battling Mansfield Town take hard-earned point at Doncaster Rovers after injury jinx hits them again
chad.co.uk, Tues 15 Aug 2023
Gutsy Mansfield Town twice hit back from behind for a richly deserved 2-2 draw at Doncaster Rovers tonight after last season's injury jinx returned to haunt them once more.
Stags lost skipper Alfie Kilgour with a serious ankle injury when he was stretchered off after 17 minutes, then Callum Johnson, who like Kilgour, went down with no one near him, limped off five minutes later with what seemed to be a hamstring injury while Aaron Lewis could not come back out for the second half
Even sub 23rd minute sub Hiram Boateng limped off on 58 minutes, but Stags refused to go under and earned a deserved point in a game they largely dominated to keep their unbeaten start going before an appreciative army of 2,200 away fans.
Summer signings Thomas Nixon and Joe Ironside twice put the hosts ahead at the Keepmoat.
But Maris earned the Stags a point after Louis Reed had equalised earlier in the night.
Nigel Clough had named an unchanged side and there were welcome returns on the bench for Will Swan and Maris, Swan from injury and Maris after his partner gave birth on Sunday.
Stags flew out of the blocks and looked full of confidence.
And it was captain Kilgour who went closest to opening the scoring early on as he thundered a header, from Aden Flint’s cross, against the left post.
But Stags faced a nervy wait before seeing the centre-back stretchered off after just 17 minutes after lengthy treatment
After being deflated by seeing their team-mate hauled off with what is believed tp be a snapped Achilles tendon, the visitors conceded shortly after as Hull City loanee Nixon unleashed a vicious, rising 30-yard volley, after bringing the ball down with his chest, in the 20th minute after Stephen Quinn had blocked Broadbent's initial shot.
To make matters worse Clough was forced into a second change as Johnson came off injured three minutes later.
Stags’ stopper Christy Pym did well to deny the hosts a second as he kept out Tommy Rowe from close range at the back post on 23 minutes from a far post cross.
Down the other end, Lucas Akins forced Ian Lawlor into a good low save at his near post after catching Doncaster on the break.
But Mansfield grabbed the equaliser in the 42nd minute as Reed headed home after Rhys Oates powered his way to the byline on the right before crossing to the far post.
It was almost two in the blink of an eye as Davis Keillor-Dunn, who has already scored three league goals this term, was frustrated by Lawlor moments after racing onto a ball over the top.
Akins moved to right back at the break with Swan thrown up front in a thrilling, largely one-sided second half.
Oates was a constant danger and another cross caused problems as Lawlor parried to substitute Maris, who saw his rebound well blocked by Wood from close range in a huge scramble on the hour.
Clough’s charges looked the more likely to grab a late winner heading into the final 15 minutes.
But they were caught against the run of play as Ironside restored the hosts’ lead with a thunderous effort in the 76th minute after Rowe’s strike was parried by Pym.
The chance stemmed from a poor pass from Jordan Bowery that left Baily Cargill in trouble near the corner flag.
But Stags continued to press and after Quinn had headed over a good chance form close range from an Oates cross, Maris grabbed a share of the spoils on 80 minutes as he drilled into the bottom corner from 22 yards from Quinn's low pull-back.
Stags pushed hard for a winner in stoppage time but had to settle for a very hard-earned point.
DONCASTER: Lawlor, Nixon, Olowu, Anderson (Wood, 42), Senior, Broadbent, Bailey, Rowe, Molyneux (Roberts, 76), Ironside (Sotona, 89) , Westbrook (Falle, 69).
Unused subs: Brown, Maxwell, Jones.
STAGS: Pym, Johnson (Boateng, 23; Maris, 58), Kilgour (Bowery, 17), Flint, Cargill, Reed, Lewis (Swan, 45), Quinn (Clarke, 88), Keillor-Dunn, Oates, Akins.
Unused subs: Flinders, Cooper.
REFEREE: Lewis Smith
ATTENDANCE: 7,793 (2,200 away).
REPORT - Rovers 2 Mansfield Town 2
Rovers got off the mark for the season in Sky Bet League Two with an enthralling 2-2 draw against Mansfield Town.
Tom Nixon and Joe Ironside netted their first goals for the club as Rovers twice led, with Mansfield fighting back with strikes from Louis Reed and George Maris.
Grant McCann made six changes to the side that started at Newport County four days earlier with Tom Anderson, Tommy Rowe, Nixon, Ironside, Jack Senior and Zain Westbrooke coming into the team.
Mansfield started the brighter with skipper Alfie Kilgour heading an Aden Flint cross off the postin the early stages.
Rovers took the lead on 20 minutes in spectacular fashion. George Broadbent saw a shot blocked on the edge of the box but it ricocheted back to Nixon who took a touch and smashed a shot high over Christy Pym from 25 yards.
Rovers were close to a second midway through the half. Nixon powered in a cross to the back post which was met by Rowe, who side-footed on goal first time only to see Pym bat the effort away.
Mansfield responded well and it took a great save from Ian Lawlor at his near post to keep out a good effort from Lucas Akins.
Luke Molyneux was on the hunt for a goal and surged forward from half way before seeing a low strike deflected out for a corner on the half hour.
And moments later he cut in off the right and drilled low for the near post, with Pym getting behind the effort.
Mansfield found the equaliser on 42 minutes. Rhys Oates powered to the byline and clipped in a cross which Reed headed home at the back post.
Lawlor kept the scores level heading into the break as he made an excellent save from David Keillor-Dunn who had raced onto a ball over the top.
Molyneux fired over the bar at the end of an excellent flowing move as the game ticked into ten added minutes at the end of the first half.
Lawlor punched away a cross from Keillor-Dunn with Akins lurking in the centre before holding an effort from substitute Hiram Boateng just before the half time whistle.
Ironside curled narrowly wide in the early stages of the second half after meeting a brilliant long diagonal pass from Broadbent.
Richard Wood - who replaced Anderson in the first half following a clash of heads - made a superb challenge as Will Swan looked to fire home following a parry from Lawlor.
The Rovers keeper made a smart reaction save as Swan struck first time at the end of a crisp passing move from the visitors.
Rovers went back in front on 76 minutes. Rowe saw a shot blocked but Ironside raced in to drill home from 15 yards.
The lead would last only four minutes however as substitute Maris smashed home a low strike from 20 yards.
Oates was close to edging Mansfield in front moments later as he fired narrowly wide from the corner of the box.
Both sides pushed in the dying moments but clear cut chances were hard to come by.
Rovers: Lawlor, Nixon, Olowu, Anderson (Wood 41), Senior, Bailey, Broadbent, Rowe, Westbrooke (Faal 69), Molyneux (Roberts 75), Ironside (Sotona 89). Subs not used: Jones, Maxwell, Straughan-Brown.
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