{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from February 2015

18th February 2015 20:42

Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Northampton Town
Oliver 48. Richards pen 90+3
Attendance: 4614 (1210 from Northampton)

Date: 14 February 2015

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town conceded an injury time penalty, converted by Marc Richards, to deny the Stags what would have been three very valuable points. Northampton were down to ten men from 36 minutes after John-Joe O’Toole was given a straight red card for an off the ball incident with Ritchie Sutton in the Stags penalty area. Neither the match DVD nor our pitchside camera give any clarity on the sending-off incident. The Stags took the lead on 48 minutes when a free-kick from Lee Beevers flicked off a defender to Vadaine Oliver, unmarked at the far post, and he fired home from close range, for his sixth goal for the Stags. Disappointingly the Stags were unable to dominate against the ten men and had no good opportunities to extend the lead. Instead it was Northampton who looked the more likely to score. Lenny Pidgeley made a great save from a free-kick on 86 minutes. But in stoppage time, Northampton sub Ivan Toney went over Junior Brown in the box and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. From reviewing the incident on the DVD, you can see why the referee gave the penalty, even though some referees wouldn’t have given it. Stags players and management were incensed but it made no difference. Richards took the spot kick and blasted it down the middle as Pidgeley dived to his left. Disastrous for Mansfield to throw away two points against a team that played for 55 minutes with ten men. In my opinion the Stags should have been more positive against ten men instead of dropping deeper and deeper as the game went on, and as Northampton chucked more players up front there should have been opportunities for Mansfield exploit gaps in the Northampton defence. A devastating result. The Stags are two points above the drop zone. If the unthinkable happens and the Stags go down, I will look back at this game as one that definitely should have been won.

One positive to take from the game was a first start for young Jack Thomas. He had a fine game. He was taken off three minutes after picking up a yellow card, perhaps to protect him from getting a second yellow because of his inexperience. There was a surprise on the bench as Adam Murray named himself as one of the subs, and brought himself on with 4 minutes left to cheers of “Adam Murray’s barmy army”. But he was unable to help the side see the game out in those vital final minutes.



Saturday, 14th February 2015: Mansfield Town 1, Northampton Town 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas

Mansfield Town agonisingly let two crucial points slip away from them today as a controversial Northampton Town penalty three minutes into added time at the end stole a point for the 10-men Cobblers in a 1-1 draw.


The visitors had lost John-Joe O’Tooole for flooring Ritchie Sutton off the ball on 36 minutes in what was an ill-tempered first half.

Vadaine Oliver had then put home noses in front on 48 minutes.

But nervy Mansfield failed to capitalise on that situation as the visitors piled on the pressure, despite their numerical disadvantage, with the bar and Lenny Pidgeley denying them.

The game then had a nasty late twist just when it seemed Stags had clinched three vital points as referee Lee Collins decided Junior Brown had brought down sub Ivan Toney and pointed to the spot.

Marc Richards was cool as a cucumber as he lashed the spot kick down the middle to spark noisy celebrations for their 1,210 army of followers and the draw felt like a defeat for the home side.

With injury problems mounting, boss Adam Murray had to name himself on the bench.

He also took the gamble of pushing Ricky Ravenhill back into the side early after he hurt his hamstring in the warm-up last weekend.

However, Leicester loanee Callum Elder missed out with a calf injury so youngster Jack Thomas was given a full debut as one of four changes and had an immaculate afternoon.

Injured defender Michael Raynes was replaced by Martin Riley.

Out also went Matt Rhead, Jamie McGuire, both dropped to the bench. Recalled on the wing was Brown.

Northampton, playing towards their huge bank of travelling fans, began on the front foot and Horwood had a dangerous early low cross hacked away.

Then Ravenhill did well to hook away a cross by D’Ath from the other flank.

That conceded a corner which Oliver headed clear.

Stags finally got forward and Heslop tested Duke with a powerful low shot from the right of the box.

In attempting to get away a follow-up shot Brown felt his standing leg was taken in the box but no penalty was forthcoming.

Pidgeley had his first save to make on 13 minutes as Holmes advanced down the centre and let fly. The keeper blocked to his right and watch Holmes fire a follow-up into the sidenetting.

On 20 minutes Ravenhill was booked for bringing down Holmes.

Pidgeley then stretched up to safely clutch the free kick.

Riley headed away the Cobblers’ second corner on 24 minutes as the visitors continued to hold the edge.

Good hustling by Mansfield as the visitors tried to clear their lines saw the ball run loose and Heslop had a shot blocked to earn the Stags’ first corner.

When Brown got in his cross from the left by-line at the second attempt Heslop pumped in a shot that hit the ground first and bounced up at Duke who made a comfy safe.

Taylor was booked for bringing down Ravenhill on 29 minutes.

There were huge cheers for youngster Thomas as he slid in to win the ball and then won Stags a free kick just outside the Northampton box on the half-hour.

From 22 yards out Heslop then curled a superb free kick over the wall and saw it hit the top of the bar and go out for a goalkick.

Two minutes later a long Pidgeley clearance made its way through some poor attempts to defend it and rolled invitingly for Oliver to rifle a low shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

The game exploded on 36 minutes as Sutton was floored in the box by O’Toole. Pidgeley was livid and ran at the referee who had already decided on a straight red.

But tempers were boiling as Sutton stayed down and there was a lot of pushing and shoving.

The blood stayed pumping as Richards went in late on Ravenhill, then Sutton and Holmes clashed after another foul on the Stags man, the referee this time booking them both.

Duke came to confidently gather Stags’ second corner as half-time approached.

A minute into the three added Sutton’s square pass found Lambe on the edge of the box who delayed his shot and finally worked enough space to test Duke, who save low to his right.

The Cobblers won a corer in the last minute of the three, but it was over-hit and went straight out for a goalkick as a fractious 45 minutes ended scoreless.

However, Stags swept ahead within three minutes of the restart.

Beevers sent in a long free kick from wide on the right and poor defending allowed it bounce through to Oliver who guided a low finish past Duke at his near post from five yards for his sixth of the season.

The visitors almost had a quick reply as, on 51 minutes, Taylor headed against the home bar from D’Ath’s left wing corner - a real let-off for Murray’s men.

Horwood was lectured for shoving Thomas after the youngster had won another superb sliding tackle.

Thomas then won more applause for a fantastic run down the right which almost set up Lambe.

Cresswell got away with a hand across the face of Tafazolli as they challenged for a free kick.

Byrom’s follow through challenge after Riley had cleared the ball earned him a yellow card on the hour.

Horwood went down holding his face after Lambe had challenged him, though no contact seemed to be made that high. The referee decided to award a free kick only, which Pidgeley punched away.

Ravenhill headed away Northampton’s sixth corner before Thomas was shown a yellow card for a foul on 71 minutes.

Pidgeley superbly smothered a Horwood cross from the by-line as the visitors continued to press.

The Cobblers came close again as D’Ath cut inside Beevers to make space for a finish that was brilliantly blocked by Tafazolli. From the corner, Moloney pulled a low shot wide.

Stags made a change on 74 minutes as Bingham replaced Thomas.

Heslop saw the game’s eighth yellow card on 77 minutes for holding as the home side continued to toil

From a neatly-worked free kick Cresswell saw a six yard header strike team mate Richards in front of goal.

On 84 minutes Riley’s mistimed challenge saw him added to the growing list of names in the book as Northampton’s 10-men gallantly pressed hard.

With four minutes left the alert Pidgeley had to dive to his left to superbly turn away a 25-yard free kick from Horwood.

Five minutes were added on with Stags defending bravely.

But three minutes into that stoppage time, the visitors finally drew level.

Sub Toney turned inside Brown, who seemed to lean out towards him and bring him down.

Stags were livid with the referee, but his mind was made up.

Up stepped the cool head of Richards to drill home his spot kick down the centre and break home hearts.

STAGS: Pidgeley, Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli, Ravenhill, Heslop, Lambe (Murray 86), Beevers, Thomas, Brown, Oliver. Subs not used: Studer, Rhead, Bingham, McGuire, Marsden, Kee.

NORTHAMPTON: Duke, Moloney, Horwood, Collins (Toney 82), Richards, O’Toole, D’Ath, Taylor (Bodin 90+1), Byrom, Holmes (Newey 90+4), Cresswell. Subs not used: Carter, Hackett, Tozer, Snedker.

REFEREE: Lee Collins of Surrey.

ATTENDANCE: 4,614 (1,210 away).



Mansfield Town 1 Northampton Town 1 - Jefferson Lake’s view and player ratings
northamptonchron.co.uk, by Jefferson Lake, jefferson.lake@northantsnews.co.uk

John-Joe O’Toole blotted his copybook with a hands-on approach at Mansfield but it was the Cobblers’ inability to again deal with a physical side which should concern them most.


Mansfield and Hartlepool are both teams who waste no time in getting the ball forward.

The Stags also combine that with a policy of kicking everything that comes their way, and kicking it hard.

Whether that be opposing players or the football itself.

For the first 50 minutes they launched it up to Vadaine Oliver and then, after he had given them a lead, they did the same only with less accuracy.

For the majority of the second half it felt like Ryan Cresswell was permanently heading or passing back to Matt Duke to clear.

It was a poor match and one in which the Cobblers only partially got their game functioning, and only then in the final 20 minutes.

It is a worry that in the past two games they have not been able to get the ball down and play, that both of their wide players have been starved of quality possession and have lacked the penetration they regularly made during the team’s winning streak.

Ricky Holmes and Lawson D’Ath are so important to the way the side plays that when they struggle to get into games then so too does the team.

Several factors are in play there - their opponents have been ones from the wrong end of the table and therefore fighting harder than perhaps mid-table sides, and the pitches have been terrible (Mansfield’s looked like it had had a herd of cows on it on Saturday morning).

Both opposing teams also played the referee much better and were much cuter with their fouls - Junior Brown performed a double pirouette under the merest touch to get Joel Byrom booked and the tally of nine yellow cards in the game tells its own story.

Of course, it helps if you keep a full complement of players on the pitch.

O’Toole on Saturday became the man who turned up to his own wedding drunk and with sick on his trousers.

Video evidence suggests the man he felled, Mansfield defender Ritchie Sutton, was not entirely innocent in the whole affair and there was a strong case for a double sending-off.

It is true, too, that Mansfield players had been getting under O’Toole’s skin right from the start but that is no excuse and he must learn how to control his temper.

Ivan Toney was sent off for a similar incident against Bury on Boxing Day but while Toney’s game is based around his aggression and supreme confidence, O’Toole is at his best when he is cool and calm on the ball.

It could go either way for him at Northampton now, and it was notable that good cop Alan Knill was on post-match press duties at Field Mill; bad cop Chris Wilder might not have been as publicly sympathetic as his number two.

Both coaches will need to talk about John-Joe but their wider concern will be the team’s deficiencies when dealing with direct play.

That’s twice in a week it’s happened now, and it goes without saying that until they learn how to cope with that, then the play-offs with remain a distant dream.

Player ratings


Exposed on the goal and his second half seemed to exist almost entirely of collecting passes back or long balls over the top ...6


Gradually began to get into the game as it progressed to a conclusion but did not start on the front foot as he has done in previous outings ...6


Was all at sea with Collins in the first half and they seemed to get in the way of each other at times ...5


Had some shaky moments in the first 45 minutes and got away with a couple of slips during that period of play ...5


Had a similar game to Moloney - was pinned back in the first hour and unable to give much support to his winger but became more attack-minded ...6


The home side pretty much missed out midfield all afternoon and so the Town two were mainly fighting for second balls ...5


Started to get into the game in the second half and executed a training-ground free-kick to absolute perfection only to see the players attacking it get it wrong ...6


Was an attacking force only in spurts but, as at Hartlepool, he worried the home defence whenever he got on the ball and in his stride ...6


Did little to influence the game in the 32 minutes he was on and although there are mitigating factors, his dismissal was unacceptable and almost very costly ...3


Carried the ball well and was probably the pick of the attacking midfielders. His booking, for a reaction to a foul, was farcical ...7


If only every signing was as reliable as Richards - led the lonely forward line well for an hour and showed glacial nerve to score injury-time penalty ...7 STAR MAN


IVAN TONEY (for Collins 82)

Was the spark of energy and life that got the Cobblers back into the game and produced lovely piece of skill to win the penalty ...7

BILLY BODIN (for Taylor 90)

TOM NEWEY (for Holmes 90)

Not used: Carter, Snedker, Tozer, Hackett


Monday deadline for Cobblers to appeal against O’Toole red card
northamptonchron.co.uk, by Jefferson Lake, jefferson.lake@northantsnews.co.uk

The Cobblers have until 12pm on Monday to decide whether to appeal against John-Joe O’Toole’s sending-off at Mansfield.


The midfielder was dismissed in the 32nd minute of the game and will now serve a three-match suspension for violent conduct.

But video footage of the incident seen by the Chron is inconclusive and could lead the club to make a bid to have the decision, and therefore the ban, overturned.

On the film, it appears Mansfield defender Ritchie Sutton has O’Toole in a headlock and the Northampton midfielder then leans into him as he falls to the ground.

It does not appear any punch is thrown or any stamp aimed at Sutton by O’Toole when he is on the ground.

Meanwhile, the club will take no further action after it was revealed a club official was spat at by a Mansfield supporter in the immediate aftermath of the sending-off.

The incident took place in the Field Mill press area, which is situated in the ground’s main stand.



Latest | February 2015