{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from March 2024

18th March 2024 18:26

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Tranmere Rovers 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Hendry 12, Apter 56. Swan 39
Attendance: 5,488 (544 from Mansfield)

Date: 12 March 2024

Martin Shaw at Prenton Park

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 at Tranmere Rovers last night. It was just Mansfield's 6th defeat of the season, but 3rd in the last 6 games. However Mansfield have won 6 of the last 9 games, and 18 points from 9 games is a very good return.

Tranmere are resurgent under manager Nigel Adkins, who took over as permanent manager in November. Adkins himself noted post match that since he took over, Tranmere are third in the form table. This was their 11th home win of the season, more than Mansfield, and only Wrexham and MK Dons have won more at home. They had beaten Stockport 4-0 here last month.

Mansfield remain top despite the defeat. Nine games left. Mansfield are 5 points clear of MK Dons, who are outside the top 3 and who only have 8 games left. The unexpected defeat for MK Dons at Grimsby last night was a bonus. Crewe won though and moved above MK Dons into 4th place on goal difference, also 5 points behind Mansfield, with 9 games left. MK Dons play Crewe on Saturday. Mansfield travel to Bradford. Bradford's pitch is in terrible condition and if there is much rain before Saturday the game might be in doubt.

Wrexham are second, two points behind after drawing with Harrogate. Stockport play on Thursday night, on TV against Salford. They are three points behind Mansfield with two games in hand.

The Stags made three changes from the side that started against Swindon. Lewis replaced Boateng, Maris replaced Quinn, Swan replaced Keillor-Dunn. The changes were just a matter of resting legs through a busy period of 5 games in 2 weeks.

Clarke missed out after a whack on the knee against Swindon having come on as sub. I think he would have started this game, probably in place of Nichols, who started both games.
Clarke was replaced in the 18 by Gale, returning from injury.
Hewitt travelled with the squad as the 19th man after his long injury lay off. Great to see him back involved.

Mansfield started with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Maris alongside Reed in front of the back four. Lewis, right, Nichols, middle, Akins, left, behind Swan. However the formation was later changed with Nichols in the attacking midfield role behind Swan and Akins.

Akins was playing against his former club from 12 years ago.

Tranmere made two changes from their draw at Gillingham on Saturday. Star man Rob Apter, on loan from Blackpool, who scored a great goal in the 2-2 draw at Mansfield in late November, was on the right of midfield. Incidentally, only two changes in the Tranmere side from the side that played at Mansfield despite the new manager coming in. So the new manager has essentially got the same players playing a lot better than they were before he joined.

Mansfield had a chance to take the lead after 7 minutes. Lewis put in a good cross from the right and Swan headed over from six yards.

Tranmere took the lead after 12 minutes. Regan Hendry received the ball via a flick following a throw in from the left. He stepped past Maris on the edge of the area and slammed a wonderful left shot into the bottom corner of the net. I was right behind it and as soon as he hit it I knew it was going in. Pym had no chance. Maris could perhaps have done better but sometimes you just have to admire the quality of the strike. It was about the first time Tranmere had been in the final third of the pitch.

Hendry scored a tremendous goal with a long range strike on Saturday too, at Gillingham.

After 15 minutes, Nichols was brought down just outside the corner of the area on the left by Walker. From the free kick, a shot from Maris was blocked, it came to Lewis whose shot was blocked, then Maris again who had another shot blocked.

After 25 minutes, Rob Apter was fouled by Williams, 26 yards out. From the free kick, Brad Walker's powerful shot was pushed away by Pym.

Then two minutes later, Maris tried to dribble his way out if his own box, 10 yards from his own goal, lost the ball, and Kieron Morris turned and fired wide of the left post. Really poor play from Maris, who needed to just clear the ball.

Good play by Cargill on the left after 33 minutes getting to the byline and Nichols couldn't turn in his low cross at the far post as he slid in on it. If he hadn’t slid, it might have been a tap in. At the other end a minute late, a 20 yard shot from Apter which was saved by Pym and he did well to hold it with Harvey Saunders waiting to pounce if he spilled it.

The Stags should have equalised after 35 minutes. A good move on the right, starting with Swan, then Lewis pulled the ball across, and Maris had a free shot from 13 yards. With two defenders on the line plus the keeper, Maris side footed it goalwards, it beat the keeper but was blocked on the line by a defender.

It was 1-1 after 39 minutes. Reed dinked a wonderful pass from the halfway line. Swan timed his run perfectly from an onside position to get behind the defence, controlled the ball superbly over his shoulder, took another touch, and slotted the ball past the keeper. A high quality goal. Swan’s 7th goal in his last 9 games, in a great return to form, and his 9th goal of the season.

After 41 minutes, Apter embarked on a great run all the way into the area evading various efforts to pull him down as the referee played advantage. Eventually the ball was out for a corner. Maris was one who tried to pull him and down and failed. I thought Maris should have been booked and I asked Nigel Clough about it after the game. He told me he has been told that unless it's dangerous play, then unless the referee stops the game for a foul, he can't go back and book the player. From the resulting corner, another long range shot from Hendry was blocked.

After 45 minutes, Flint headed over the bar from Lewis's diagonal cross.

All square at the break, Mansfield coming from behind, and a fair scoreline.

Half time 1-1

Maris was booked for an accumulation of fouls after 46 minutes, though this one didn't even look a foul.

On 47 minutes, Walker got into the area on the right, and his low ball across just evaded Saunders.

Apter shot high and wide from 20 yards after 50 minutes. A minute later, he curled a shot just high and wide from 28 yards. Two sighters and he was getting closer.

Reed was booked for chopping down Apter 24 yards from goal. It was his 9th booking of the season, but the 37th game has now passed, so he is not in danger of a suspension for accumulation of yellow cards, unless he picks up six more in the next 8 games.

Before the free kick was taken, Maris was replaced by Boateng. Maris hadn't had a good game, but he was taken off because of the booking.

The resulting free kick was taken to Apter whose shot from 24 yards was blocked.

Tranmere made it 2-1 after 56 minutes. Having had those sighters, it was Apter who scored from 22 yards. Apter stepped inside Cargill from the right touchline. He's heavily left footed and you need to stop him stepping inside but Mansfield didn't. He got to 22 yards from goal and shot goalwards. The ball nestled in the bottom right corner of the net. In real time I thought it was another brilliant strike. However it actually took a deflection off Reed when the ball was heading towards Pym, which gave Pym no chance. Unlucky for Mansfield, the second Tuesday running a winning goal has been a deflected shot. That said, more could have been done to stop him getting in the shot.

Williams was booked for a foul on the halfway line after 59 minutes.

Williams was replaced, as was Lewis, after 62 minutes, by Bowery and Keillor-Dunn. Bowery went in at right back.
Top scorer Keillor-Dunn had been rested having played most games recently.

Keillor-Dunn was straight into the action as Nichols played a good ball to him, he ran to the edge of the area and his shot was saved by the keeper. Then on 64 minutes, Akins squared to Keillor-Dunn on the edge of the area and his low shot was blocked by Joe Yarney.

After 69 minutes, Saunders went down, play seemed to stand still awaiting whether it was a foul or not, but Apter carried on and his shot from a tight angle was saved by Pym.

The Stags were very close to equalising after 71 minutes. Nichols sent Swan away into the area with a good ball. Swan created a yard of space for a shot, but his slid his left footed effort just past the right post. So close.

Great play from Brunt stepping forward after 73 minutes, to Cargill, and Nichols went down just outside the area but there was no free kick and no appeals either.

After 76 minutes, a shot from Reed from 28 yards was blocked.

McLaughlin replaced Cargill and Quinn replaced Nichols after 81 minutes.

Pym saved from sub Luke Norris after 83 minutes.

The Stags went close after 84 minutes. Good play from Swan on the right, he crossed low across the box to beyond the far post where Quinn fired towards the top corner of the net from 10 yards, but the keeper made a good save to push it away. From the resulting corner, the ball came to Keillor-Dunn on the volley but his effort ended up further away from goal than it started.

Quinn was booked for protesting when Akins was penalised for a foul when it looked like Akins had been fouled.

Six minutes of stoppage time was added on. After 90+5, Keillor-Dunn pulled the ball across to Flint but it hit Flint and went behind for a goal kick. Flint stayed up front for the final couple of minutes but to no avail.

So defeat for the Stags. Tranmere had very few clearcut chances despite playing well. Really only the chance for Morris, gifted to him by Maris, was clearcut. The rest were shots from distance including the two goals. Mansfield weren’t quite at it but still created several clearcut chances. The first half was very even. In the end, the difference between the two sides was the deflected goal from Apter, that without the deflection would have been an easy save. Two Tuesdays running Mansfield have been unlucky to concede a deflected winner.

Incidentally Mansfield continued their record of scoring in every away game this season.

On to Bradford, where Mansfield need to bounce back.


Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Mansfield Town
Hendry (12'minutes), Apter (56'minutes)
Swan (39'minutes)
Morris (12'minutes), O'Connor (56'minutes)
Reed (39'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media

Tranmere extended their unbeaten run to three games with a 2-1 win over League Two leaders Mansfield at Prenton Park.

The Stags enjoyed much of the early possession and were almost rewarded when Will Swan headed over from six yards.

However, it was the home side who took the lead after 12 minutes when Regan Hendry fired home from the edge of the area with Christy Pym helpless in the Stags goal.

Rovers could have extended their lead with Brad Walker seeing a free-kick parried by Pym before Kieron Morris fired wide from a narrow angle.

And they were made to pay six minutes before half-time when Swan found himself free at the far post to stab the ball past Luke McGee from Louis Reed's through ball.

Rovers were ahead once again after 57 minutes when Rob Apter's 18-yard effort squeezed inside the post with Pym helpless.

Town's best chances to level fell to substitute Davis Keillor-Dunn and skipper Aden Flint who were both denied by McGee, but Rovers held on to take the points.

Match Stats
Home Team Tranmere Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 48% Away 52%
Shots Home 16 Away 13
Shots on Target Home 7 Away 4
Corners Home 6 Away 5
Fouls Home 10 Away 15


Defeat for Mansfield Town at Tranmere Rovers, but Stags stay top
chad.co.uk, Tues 12 Mar 2024

Mansfield Town remained on top of the League Two table, despite suffering a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park tonight.

Goals from Regan Hendry and a deflected winner by Rob Apter were the difference as the Stags suffered their second loss in three games with Nigel Clough’s side now just two points clear of second-placed Wrexham, who were held at home by Harrogate.

Town started the game brightly and their dominance was almost rewarded after just seven minutes when Will Swan rose unmarked on the six-yard line to meet an Aaron Lewis centre only to head the ball over with just Luke McGee to beat.


But in the 12th minute, Regan Hendry found himself in space at the other end to fire the ball home with his left foot from the corner of the area to open the scoring for Rovers.

Nigel Adkins’ side appeared to grow in confidence as Brad Walker’s free kick from 20-yards out was pushed around the post by Christy Pym while Kieron Morris fired narrowly wide from a tight angle.

George Maris perhaps should have levelled in the 35th minute but his low drive from 10 yards was blocked on the line by McGee.

However, Nigel Clough’s side were on even terms six minutes before half-time when Swan found himself free at the far post to steer the ball home after superbly controlling a perfectly-lofted through-ball from Louis Reed.

But 10 minutes into the second half Tranmere were ahead once more when Rob Apter’s 18-yard yard effort took a deflection and squeezed between Pym’s hand and the post after his jinking run, cutting in from the right.

Mansfield once again went in search of an equaliser and could have pulled level through chances for Davis Keillor-Dunn and Lewis Brunt, who were both denied by McGee saves on a disappointing night for the Stags.

Wrexham's draw along with a defeat for MK Dons at Grimsby and Barrow and Crewe drawing at least meant the loss had not been overly damaging.

Stockport do not play until Thursday when they face Salford.

Stags will now lick their wounds and prepare for Saturday's game at Bradford City.

TRANMERE: McGee, O’Connor, Walker, Turnbull, Morris (Dennis 82), Hendry, Jennings , Saunders (Norris 82), Yarney, Apter (Pike 93), Wood. UNUSED SUBS: Murphy, Hawkes, McAlear, BeleHouan.

STAGS: Pym, Cargill (McLaughlin 82), Akins, Maris (Boateng 55), Flint, Lewis (Keillor-Dunn 62), Nichols (Quinn 82), Williams (Bowery 62), Brunt, Reed, Swan. UNUSED SUBS: Gale, Flinders.


Match Report: Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Mansfield Town

Tranmere Rovers defeated league leaders Mansfield Town at Prenton Park on Tuesday evening thanks to goals from Regan Hendry and Rob Apter.

Mansfield had the first chance of the game seven minutes in when Will Swan had a free header in the centre of the six-yard box but nodded over.

However, Rovers grabbed the first goal after 12 minutes, when Hendry struck from the left edge of the penalty area past Christy Pym in the visitors’ net following a smart flick from Kieron Morris to set him up.


Rovers went close to a second on 25 minutes when Brad Walker drilled a free kick at Pym who could only palm it behind for a corner.

Tranmere had another chance two minutes later when a deflection fell kindly to Kieron Morris in the Mansfield box, but his effort at goal drifted wide.

Mansfield almost levelled on 33 minutes when Swan went diving in to meet a ball at the back post, but Connor Wood had it covered on the line before the referee pulled play back for a free kick anyway.

The visitors did in fact level on 39 minutes through Swan who met a cross to tip home and equalise to take us in for half time at 1-1.

Tranmere came out of the blocks well in the second period and put a smart move together on the right, leading to a Walker cross which only just evaded the Rovers front line.

Apter had a couple of chances when cutting inside onto that left foot, once being fouled on the edge of the box to win Rovers a free kick in a promising position, but a training ground routine was well dealt with by Mansfield.

Rovers retook the lead through that man Apter on 56 minutes when the winger fired a shot past Pym and into the bottom corner.

The league leaders fought back and substitute Davis Keillor-Dunn forced a smart save down low from Luke McGee shortly after the hour mark.

A second equaliser almost came the way of the visitors on 71 minutes when Swan looked to beat McGee again with a low shot into the corner, but the keeper had it covered as the effort went wide.

McGee produced an excellent save to prevent Mansfield substitute Stephen Quinn as we approached the final five minutes of the game, shortly after Tranmere substitute Dennis had tested Pym at the other end.

Tranmere ultimately held out to record a fantastic win over the league leaders.

Tranmere Rovers: Luke McGee, Lee O’Connor, Joe Yarney, Jordan Turnbull, Connor Wood, Rob Apter (Dan Pike, 90+3), Regan Hendry, Brad Walker, Kieron Morris (Luke Norris, 82), Harvey Saunders (Kristian Dennis, 82), Connor Jennings (C).

Unused subs: Joe Murphy, Josh Hawkes, Reece McAlear, Jean Belehouan.

Mansfield Town: Christy Pym, Baily Cargill (Stephen McLaughlin, 82), Lucas Akins, George Maris (Hiram Boateng, 55), Aden Flint (C), Aaron Lewis (Davis Keillor-Dunn, 62), Tom Nichols (Stephen Quinn, 82), George Williams (Jordan Bowery, 62), Lewis Brunt, Louis Reed, Will Swan.

Unused subs: James Gale, Scott Flinders.



Latest | March 2024