STAGS BEATEN IN PULSATING 9 GOAL THRILLER
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Fleetwood Town 5 - 4 Mansfield Town
Evans 20 secs, 66 mins, Sarcevic pen 35, 64, pen 90+5. Clements 9, Howell 13, Clucas 76, Dyer 88.
Attendance: 2831 (306 from Mansfield)
Date: 23 November 2013
Martin Shaw at Highbury
Mansfield Town were beaten again this afternoon, and have now taken just three points from the last 8 winless matches. This was an extraordinary game at Highbury. The Stags were 1-0 down after just 20 seconds, then rallied superbly to lead 2-1 after 13 minutes, with a first ever Stags goal for Chris Clements and one for Anthony Howell. Fleetwood were level with the first of two penalties conceded with silly lunges. Mansfield were very unlucky not to be in front as Daniel rattled the crossbar midway through the second half, and then Fleetwood took the lead straight away and added another within two minutes to lead 4-2. Back game the Stags to pull one back through a Clucas header, and the Stags were deservedly level on 88 minutes through Ross Dyer. But, unbelievably, more poor defending from the Stags gifted Fleetwood a winner on 90+5 minutes through a penalty unnecessarily given away by the hapless Jennings. Sarcevic converted to leave the Stags fans, players and management stunned and feeling sick as anything.
Mansfield matched one of the title favourites toe for toe and there were some tremendous performances from the Stags players, including Clements, Clucas and Ollie Palmer. Fleetwood’s highly rated Antoni Sarcevic was outstanding as expected, and so was Gareth Evans and Steven Schumacher. But the defending of both sides left a huge amount to be desired. And for the Stags, boss Paul Cox has some tough decisions to make ahead of the trip to Burton on Tuesday. For example, James Jennings, dropped for this game after a poor display against Oxford, came on as sub after an hour and had a horrendous thirty minutes and surely cannot be recalled on Tuesday. The left back spot is a problem with Pilkington having looked very out of place when he played there, and Paul Black not favoured by the manager after his poor pre-season performances. Best option to me would appear to be Daniel in a back five. And Anthony Howell had another poor game, despite his goal, after his poor display against Oxford and surely has to be dropped.
Cox made three changes from the side that lost to Oxford: out went Jennings (dropped), McGuire (suspended) and Speight (knee injury). In came Martin Riley, Clements and Palmer, all back from injury. Clements was back for his first game since his bad injury sustained at York. It was a 5-2-1-2 formation, with Beevers and Daniel at right and left wingbacks pushing forward when the Stags attacked, and Sutton, Dempster and Riley in central defence. Clements and Howell were in the middle, with Stevenson playing behind Clucas and Palmer. Ross Dyer was back from loan at Hereford where he scored four goals and was on the bench, as was Tafazolli, who was back from injury. Hutchinson told me before the game that he is back fit, but probably missed out on the subs bench having not played in the reserves friendly in midweek. Jamie McGuire was gutted to be missing out against his former Fleetwood teammates, and evidently had been a very popular player at Highbury, with everyone seemingly wanting to talk to him. Fleetwood were without Jamille Matt and David Ball and so brought in striker Nathan Tyson on loan, believed to be on at least twice the top earner at Mansfield.
Stagsnet report here
Man of the match: Chris Clements
Saturday, 23rd November 2013: Fleetwood Town 5 Mansfield Town 4
CHAD.co.uk report by John Lomas
A winning penalty kick five minutes into stoppage time that completed Antoni Sarcevic’s hat-trick was a real kick in the teeth for Mansfield Town after they they rediscovered their goal touch in this electric nine-goal thriller at Fleetwood.
The Stags twice came from behind and led at one stage in a see-saw contest, but, ultimately, despite playing such a great part in an afternoon to remember, left Highbury with nothing to show for their goals and went an eight League game without victory.
It was title-chasing Fleetwood’s fifth win in six games, but they knew they had been in a game as Mansfield, for once, kept 11 men on the field and turned in a fine, never-say-die display.
With Chris Clements back from injury, he pulled the strings in central midfield and got Paul Cox’s men passing again, showing how much he had been missed.
An Anthony Howell error in the first 20 seconds gifted Gareth Evans the first of his brace.
Stags had never scored at Highbury before but bounced back with two goals in four minutes as Clements levelled on nine minutes and then Howell made it 2-1 on 15 minutes.
Sarcevic made it 2-2 from the spot on 35 minutes.
The home side seemed to take a grip after the break after Junior Daniel had rattled the home bar and two quickfire goals on 64 minutes and 66 minutes seemed to have put the game beyond Mansfield.
However, Sam Clucas kept Mansfield hopes alive with his 10th goal of the season on 76 minutes and, when sub Ross Dyer marked his return with the equaliser on 89 minutes, it seemed Stags had done the unthinkable and rescued an unlikely point.
But, cruelly, Fleetwood won it with 95 minutes on the watch as Sarcevic completed his hat-trick from the spot after James Jennings had brought down fellow sub Matty Blair.
Martin Riley and Clements made much-welcomed returns from lengthy injury lay-offs.
There was also a return up front for Ollie Palmer, who missed last weekend’s home defeat by Oxford with a hamstring injury.
The home side included former Forest star Nathan Tyson, who has joined on loan from neighbours Blackpool this week.
Disaster struck for Stags after just 20 seconds.
Howell misplaced a pass that gifted the ball to Sarcevic.
He tried to get Tyson away, who was thwarted by a combination of Marriott and Sutton, but the ball ran loose as the keeper was unable to smother it for Evans to sweep home a finish from eight yards.
It was almost 2-0 on five minutes as Sarcevic again played a neat ball in for Tyson, who whipped a half-volley powerfully across the face of goal.
Stags’ luck appeared to be well out when they looked to have won a penalty kick on eight minutes as Clucas was impeded by McLaughlin as he raced into the box to reach a Stevenson pass.
The referee decided to award a free kick just outside the box instead.
But Mansfield made full use of it as Clements picked up the bottom corner of the net with a crisp, low finish, just inside the right hand post to level.
Amazingly the game was turned on its head completely four minutes later as Howell made amends for his early costly error with a goal.
The goal was a gift from home skipper Cresswell as he failed to clear a long cross from the left and allowed the ball to roll invitingly for Howell to tuck away a low finish from six yards.
Cresswell almost made his own amends on 17 minutes, only to see his powerful header from the game’s first corner sail just wide.
Marriott then did well to dive to his left and punch away a superb 30-yard free kick from Schumacher.
An exciting end-to-end opening continued as a long far post Beevers cross reached Stevenson, who controlled the ball but was well over with his finish.
Tyson stretched into a tackle on Howell on 24 minutes to earn a booking, but on the strength of some of the tame recent red cards Stags have been shown, they had a case for feeling a little hard done by that Tyson was only shown yellow.
Riley tested home keeper Davies from 20 yards on 25 minutes and the keeper managed to grab the ball at the second attempt after juggling it above his head almost on his goalline.
Davies’ jitters continued as he then fumbled a Daniel ball into the box, but no opponent was able to punish him.
Hughes put Evans into space on the right and it took a good interception from Dempster to concede a corner as his low cross sped in.
But the game was all square again on 35 minutes as Fleetwood levelled from the spot.
The skilful Hughes found Sarcevic, who shrugged off Howell before bursting into the box and attracting a risky, lunging and poorly timed tackle from Riley, who took both his legs.
Sarcevic stepped up and drilled the ball home low down the centre.
He almost bagged another two minutes later only to see Marriott again throw himself to his left to beat the ball away.
Clements almost put Stags back ahead a minute from the break with a superbly-struck 30-yard free kick that Davies managed to reach under the angle, high to his right.
In stoppage time Tyson saw a header deflect just wide for the first of two corners on the trot.
Then Taylor was just wide from distance with Marriott scrambling as the home side ended the half on the offensive but unable to breach the Stags’ defence again.
Two minutes after the break Murdoch warmed Marriott’s hands with a shot from outside the box that the keeper beat away for a corner.
When Marriott couldn’t hold onto that under pressure, the ball came out to Pond who fired it back goalwards and Tyson tried to force it just inside the post from close range only to be denied by Beevers on the line.
Daniel was booked for a foul on Evans on 49 minutes.
Clucas looked to be blatantly blocked on reaching the by-line, but the referee gave nothing and the home side almost capitalised on the break as Evans got into the box and flashed in a powerful near post shot that Marriott could only parry, Sutton hooking clear for a corner as the ball ran loose.
Stags, under pressure in their own half for the first 15 minutes of the second half, made a switch on the hour with Jennings replacing Beevers and Daniel pushed into a more attacking role.
On 63 minutes Daniel caught Fleetwood on the hop with a rocket shot from 25 yards that saw Davies stretch out an arm and see the ball shoot up from his hand and against the crossbar.
Stags’ agony at seeing the ball stay out was increased within a minute as Fleetwood took the lead.
Sarcevic sent in a low 20-yard shot from right of centre and the ball took a deflection off Jennings which was enough to see it find the net past a deceived Marriott.
Stags threatened again from a left wing corner as Dempster headed Clements’ kick back across and Palmer looped a header towards the far angle which Davies was up to grab.
Instead, a minute later, Fleetwood grabbed the all-important next goal on 66 minutes, and it was another goal that keeper Marriott will not want to see again.
Evans hit a rising drive from outside the box that the keeper seemed to have covered only to see the power in the shot take the ball between his hands and high into the net.
Poke came on for a rare outing in place of Stevenson on 67 minutes.
Daniel drilled a 25-yard free kick high into the Percy Ronson Stand as Stags stared down the barrel of another defeat.
But Clucas offered them a lifeline on 76 minutes.
Daniel did well on the left to poke a pass inside to Palmer in the box. His shot was deflected up in front of goal and Clucas was well-placed to guide a header beyond Davies for his 10th goal of the season.
Dyer, back from a loan spell at Hereford, was thrown on for Howell for the last 12 minutes as Mansfield went for it.
Another home corner ended with Pond heading wide, then Murdoch sliced a shot well wide as Fleetwood tried to put the game to bed.
Palmer forced a good save from Davies from 25 yards on 83 minutes, the keeper turning his shot away to his left for a corner.
Stags were almost caught on the counter, but Sutton produced a perfectly-timed tackle as Sarcevic broke into the box, the ball bouncing off the Fleetwood man for a goal kick.
Sub Dyer then proved to be the hero a minute from time as he made it 4-4.
Clucas began the move, romping through acres of space on the right before threading a pass down the line to Palmer.
He got in a cross which Clucas met with a firm shot that beat Davies but was blocked on the line by a defender, only to see Dyer ram the loose ball home from close range.
In the last minutes Dieseruvwe tested Marriott from 20 yards, the keeper showing safe hands this time.
Stags looked to have safely negotiated the four minutes of stoppage time and earned a fantastic point.
But the high-scoring afternoon had a final sting in the tail as we entered a fifth minute of added time as the Cod Army stole victory.
As Fleetwood broke down the right, Blair strode into the box and invited a tackle from Jennings.
The defender slid in and, even though his foot reached the ball, he had already brought down Blair and the referee had no doubt it was a penalty.
Sarcevic took the chance to complete his treble and joyfully lashed home a kick inside Marriott’s right hand post to leave Stags with nothing to show for their efforts in a thrilling advert for this division.
FLEETWOOD: Davies, Murdoch, Pond, Evans (Blair 87), Schumacher, Hughes, McLaughlin, Cresswell, Sarcevic, Taylor, Tyson (Dieseruvwe 85). Subs not used: Roberts, Parkin, Hogan, Carr, Lucas.
STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Dempster, Riley; Beevers (Jennings 60), Howell (Dyer 78), Clements, Daniel; Stevenson (Poku 67); Clucas, Palmer. Subs not used: Rhead, Tafazolli, Meikle, Deakin.
REFEREE: Scott Mathieson of Cheshire.
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Chris Clements.
Fleetwood Town 5 Mansfield Town 4: Match report
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
IT's a good job the Mansfield team bus didn't take a wrong turn on the way home on Saturday night and end up on Blackpool sea front, because Paul Cox might just have been tempted to fling himself off one of the resort's famous piers.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Fleetwood-Town-5-Mansfield-Town-4-Match-report/story-20171262-detail/story.html#ixzz2le9581GH
The Stags boss said he was as devastated as he ever had been since becoming a boss as he emerged from the dressing room post-match - and it was easy to understand why.
Having seen his side fight back improbably from 4-2 down to level at 4-4 and apparently take a share of the spoils, he then suffered the agony of seeing Fleetwood snatch a winner in the fifth minute of added time.
Some would say his charges were desperately unlucky to fall to a fourth straight defeat at Highbury - having lost 3-0, 5-0 and 2-0 on previous visits.
Cox's knee-jerk response, however, was far more damning as he lambasted his side's defending, typified by substitute James Jennings' rash tackle on Matty Blair that led to Antoni Sarcevic's penalty spot winner.
That mistake was endemic of Mansfield's defensive play all afternoon, meaning they were never far away from trouble against a home side with plenty of firepower.
No wonder Cox was so utterly dejected and frustrated. An eighth game without a win in the league and a fourth reverse on the spin only intensifies the pressure on him.
Not only that, but it also masks what, in an attacking sense, was an excellent performance.
With Ollie Palmer back alongside Sam Clucas in attack, the Stags had a focal point as the former Havant and Waterlooville man led the line admirably. It was a display that should give the young striker considerable confidence moving forward.
But by far the most influential player in the Mansfield team was Chris Clements, playing for the first time since sustaining a knee injury at York.
Not only did he score the Stags' first goal within nine minutes of his return with a terrific low free-kick, but be made the team tick with his intricate passing. There was none of the long ball stuff that blighted the game against Oxford.
Around that, Clucas was his usual busy self and Colin Daniel looked a threat too. If Mansfield can keep that aforementioned quartet fit and firing, then they shouldn't have any further goal droughts during the rest of the campaign.
All the problems now seem to be at the other end of the field. Martin Riley - the third change along with Palmer and Clements - looked a yard off the pace, which is to be expected after such a long lay-off.
But other players did not cover themselves in glory in their defensive duties either, meaning Cox insisted he will ring the changes, which looks likely to include new personnel.
A sign of things to come came after just 20 seconds when Anthony Howell gifted the ball to the Cod Army star performer Sarcevic and he fed Blackpool loanee Nathan Tyson.
Although the former Forest man was headed off, Alan Marriott was unable to collect the loose ball and Gareth Evans gleefully fired home.
The lead was short-lived as Clements found the bottom left-hand corner after Clucas had been brought down and in the 13th minute it was unlucky for Ryan Cresswell as he miskicked in his own box and Howell calmly stroked home.
That settled Mansfield and they even threatened to increase their lead, only for Riley to then clatter into Sarcevic in the 35th minute, who picked himself up to score from the spot and level things up at the break.
There was no let-up in intensity after interval and the game appeared set to hinge on incidents within 30 seconds of each other.
First, Daniel's thumping shot cannoned off Scott Davies onto the bar and then Sarcevic's low drive squeezed beyond Marriott after taking a touch off Jennings.
The Stags' task was made that much harder two minutes later as Evans' shot went straight through Marriott's dive, a shot he clearly felt he should have stopped.
However, Mansfield gathered themselves and with Godfrey Poku's introduction ensuring better protection of the back four, Clucas nodded in his 10th goal of the season to set up a grandstand finish.
That ending looked as if it would be a fairytale one for forgotten man Ross Dyer who, returning from a loan spell at Hereford, prodded in his first ever Football League goal after Clucas' low drive had been blocked on the line.
But in a game that ebbed and flowed so much, it was no surprise to witness a final twist. The completing of Sarcevic's hat-trick was just not the one the Stags had hoped for.
For the neutral, there can hardly have been many games involving the Stags that have served up better entertainment.
Try telling that to Cox right now, though. He'd love a boring 1-0 win with a goal going in off someone's backside - preferably in tomorrow night's game at Burton.
By Tom Bestwick
Fleetwood 4-3 Mansfield
Antoni Sarcevic scored his first football league hat trick as Fleetwood Town edged a pulsating game 5-4 against Mansfield Town at Highbury Stadium.
The young attacking midfielder struck deep into injury-time to steal all three points for Town after Mansfield had twice fought back over the course of the game.
Gareth Evans also scored a brace, but goals from Chris Clements and Anthony Howell to put Mansfield in front and then Sam Clucas and Ross Dyer to bring the score back to 4-4 before Sarcevic scored in the last minute of the game from the penalty spot.
Nathan Tyson, who played 85 minutes on his debut, became the fiftieth player to play for Fleetwood since the club made their Football League debut and was Graham Alexander’s only change for the game after David Ball sustained a shoulder injury in the defeat to Northampton town last week.
Mansfield, however, made three changes to their line-up in a bid to pick up their first league win since the end of September. Jamie McGuire, who left Fleetwood in the summer to join Paul Cox’s side, missed his return to the Fylde Coast after his sending off last week whilst Mansfield welcomed back Martin Riley, Chris Clements and Ollie Palmer back to their starting line-up.
Within 18 seconds Fleetwood had taken the lead. A misplaced pass by Howell in the middle park set Tyson on his through on goal. The on loan striker his lost his balance but Evans came in off the right side to slot the ball into the empty net to give Town the best possible start.
Fleetwood did not sit back as they looked to put the confidence stricken Stags further on the back foot. Tyson twice could have doubled Town’s lead, firstly, narrowly missing a header from an excellent cross from the left before directing a right foot effort just wide of Marriott’s far post.
Despite Town controlling the early stages, though, Mansfield equalised in the ninth minute. Chris Clements, back from a spell out injured, curled in a free kick on the edge of the box and past Scott Davies after Sam Clucas had been brought down by McLaughlin.
Three minutes later and Mansfield had turned the game upside down after a miss kick from Ryan Cresswell on the edge of the six-yard box fell to Anthony Howell and the midfielder calmed slotted the ball past Davies to atone for his error that had led to the Fleetwood opener.
The frantic first 15 minutes showed no signs of letting up. Cresswell nearly equalised within minutes of his error leading to Mansfield’s second and Steven Schumacher crashed a long-range free kick goal wards that was saved well by Marriott.
The visitors, though, continued to apply pressure. Martin Riley tried an ambitious left foot effort from all of 20-yards out that Davies saved at the second attempt after spilling the initial effort and a cross from the left caused all sorts of problems for Davies and the defense before Town eventually cleared their lines.
Four minutes after the half hour mark Fleetwood levelled the game once more. Antoni Sarcevic was brought down by a rash tackle by Riley in the penalty area and the attacking midfielder continued his fine form and scored the penalty himself to make it 2-2 heading towards the break.
Sarcevic stunk the palms of Marriott moments later and at the other end Clucas whipped a dangerous free kick into the box that Cresswell dealt with in the six-yard box before Clements tested Davies again with another free kick, which Town’s number one was equal to on this occasion.
Tyson had a goal bound header deflected for a corner from Schumacher’s free kick and Charlie Taylor drove a long range effort narrowly wide of Marriott’s near post in what was the last of the chances in what was a pulsating first half.
Second half started in the same vain as the first ended. First Murdoch tested Marriott from long range and Pond’s from the consequent corner was deflected onto Tyson’s chest, which was blocked on the line.
The game threatened to boil over in the early stages with Paul Cox receiving a word of warning from the referee Scott Mathieson and before Colin Daniel was booked for a late foul on Evans on the right hand side.
That man Evans again tested Marriott when put through on goal by Stewart Murdoch, but the keeper pulled off another fine save to keep the scores level after 50 minutes.
After a 10 minute spell of Fleetwood controlling possession whilst not creating much with it, the game sprung back to life with its fifth goal. First Colin Daniel cracked the woodwork from all of 25 yards before Fleetwood went up the other end and Sarcevic ran the length of the pitch to slide the left wing cross past Marriott for his second of the game to restore Fleetwood’s lead.
Moments later, again following a failed Mansfield attack from their corner, Fleetwood broke with pace and power and the ball was worked to Evans on the right and the winger rifled a right foot effort from just outside the area over the head of Marriott to give Fleetwood a two goal cushion just after the hour mark.
Fifteen minutes from the end and back came Mansfield again after Clucas converted his header past Davies from eight-yards out following a deflected shot from Ollie Palmer that had spun in the air as the Stags set up a grandstand finish.
Murdoch continued to exploit the spaces in midfield and shot wide after linking up with Sarcevic as Fleetwood tried to restore their two goal cushion, but two minutes from the end Mansfield struck the game’s eighth goal to send the visiting fans into raptures.
Clucas started the move, and following an exchange of passes, the striker drilled a shot goal bound that was blocked on the line by Pond but substitute Ross Dyer reacted quickest to slam home the equaliser.
There was still to be one final twist though. Matty Blair was put through on goal in the dying embers of injury time and was brought down by substitute Jennings as Mathieson pointed to the spot to give Fleetwood the chance to steal all three points.
Up stepped Sarcevic and the midfielder struck hard and low past Marriott to complete his football league hat trick as Fleetwood made it 5-4 with almost the last kick of the game.
FLEETWOOD TOWN: Davies, McLaughlin, Pond, Cresswell ©, Taylor, Evans (Blair, 86), Murdoch, Schumacher, Sarcevic, Tyson (Dieseruvwe, 85)
SUBSTITUTES: Roberts, Parkin, Hogan, Blair, Dieseruvwe, Carr, Lucas
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott, Sutton, Dempster, Riley, Beevers (Jennings, 59), Clements, Daniel, Howell (Dyer, 78), Stevenson (Poku, 67), Palmer, Clucas
SUBSTITUTES: Rhead, Tafazolli, Dyer, Jennings, Meikle, Deakin, Poku
Fleetwood Town 5 Mansfield Town 4
by Rob Stocks
An injury time penalty rounded off a spectacular afternoon of football at Highbury
Fleetwood were ahead after just 18 seconds, a determined Antoni Sarcevic stealing it from the feet of Alan Marriott to set up Gareth Evans.
But Mansfield hit back within ten minutes - a free kick conceded on the edge of the box Chris Clements firing low into the far corner.
A howler from Ryan Cresswell then handed the Stags the lead, his mis-kick teeing up Anthony Howell to smash the ball home.
It was end to end stuff and Fleetwood were able to pull it back to all square before the break, Sarcevic taking a tumble under Martin Riley’s challenge, the midfielder converting from the penalty spot.
Fleetwood found their way back in front early in the second half, a superb run from Sarcevic ending on the edge of the box, his shot taking a deflection on the way to the bottom corner.
Evans grabbed his second two minutes later, the home side breaking quickly from a Mansfield corner, the winger with a 20 yard curling effort.
Sam Clucas ensured the Stags were still in it, stabbing home a loose ball to give the visitors hope.
And Ross Dyer produced an incredible late leveller, in the right place at the right time to turn home after Conor McLaughlin could only half scramble Sam Clucas’s effort away.
But there was more drama to come, Matty Blair brought down by James Jennings, a second penalty, Antoni Sarcevic cool as a cucumber to seal his hat-trick and victory for Town
Latest | November 2013