STAGS BEATEN IN TIGHT GAME AT BRISTOL ROVERS
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Bristol Rovers 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 7847 (241 from Mansfield)
Date: 12 March 2016
Martin Shaw at the Memorial Ground
Mansfield Town lost a third straight game 1-0 this afternoon, going down to Bristol Rovers, the first time they have lost 3 games on the trot this season. And like the previous two, this was a tight affair which had 0-0 written all over it for the first hour. It was a game of very few chances. The Stags were solid in the first half, with Tafazolli dominant and Pearce playing well alongside him, and Collins looking good in a new role in front of the back four. Neither side created a chance of any note until the 45th minute when Chris Lines fired wide from 8 yards. Scott Shearer was called into action on 55 minutes as he pushed away a shot from Billy Bodin. Two minutes later, Reggie Lambe fired just over the bar from 16 yards. But on 60 minutes, Rovers were in front with a strange goal as Cristian Montano’s volleyed shot from the left was heading well wide but fell perfectly for Matty Taylor who side-footed in from close range. The Stags defence seemed to have stood still, in a rare lapse. Mansfield committed more bodies forward, but still there were almost no chances for either side. On 86 minutes, Mansfield came close to an equaliser as Collins burst forward from the halfway line into the area and fired a fine right footed shot that keeper Mildenhall brilliantly tipped onto the roof of the net. That was as close as the Stags came and Rovers held on for victory. Gutting to lose a tight game yet again, with hardly any good chances for either side (three for Rovers including the goal, to two to Mansfield). The Stags were disappointing going forward and need to improve a lot in that regard: too many players didn’t offer enough today including Clements, Blair, Lambe, Rose, Green, and then subs Daniel and Beardsley. Rose disappointed as he started the game so promisingly with a couple of surging runs, and then barely made another in the rest of the game. At the back Tafazolli and Pearce generally impressed, though Lee Collins was my man of the match, and nearly capped it with a brilliant goal. The Stags have been in or around the play-offs all season, hardly ever more than two points outside them, but have now dropped five points adrift with three 1-0 defeats. Adam Murray is desperate to bolster his attacking options before the next game, at home to Portsmouth next week. The Stags will certainly need to be better going forward to pick up three points that are needed if a chance of reaching the play-offs is to be maintained.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Bristol Rovers beat Mansfield for fourth win in 12 days to keep up promotion rush
theguardian.com, Jeremy Alexander at the Memorial Stadium
A Gas explosion is rocking not only the city of Bristol but League Two. Late last month Rovers changed hands, bought by a Jordanian banker, Wael al-Qadi. On Saturday the team beat Mansfield Town 1-0 at the Memorial Stadium, a fourth win in 12 days, to go fourth above Portsmouth and within three points of Oxford United and Plymouth Argyle, all of whom lost. “The supporters have had hell here for a long time,” said their manager, Darrell Clarke, “and I’m pleased if I’ve sent them home happy and they are getting excited.”
The hell has been personal, too. Two years ago he was given eight games to save them from relegation. On the last day, having won at Wycombe Wanderers the previous weekend, they needed a point to make other results, including Wycombe’s, irrelevant. Rovers, at home to Mansfield, lost 1-0 and went down. Clarke, a son of Mansfield who started a lower League career there, admitted to being haunted ever since. Colin Daniel, who scored the fateful goal, was booed when he came on as a substitute on Saturday. Six minutes later, just beyond the hour, Matty Taylor scored the goal that may have laid the ghost.
This is Clarke’s first League post after a successful spell with Salisbury City, then understudying John Ward at Rovers. A big turnover of players brought them straight back from the Conference through the play-offs. Saturday marked his 100th match and 50th victory and Taylor’s 20th goal in 40 appearances this season. The striker was one of last season’s intake, bought from Forest Green Rovers and scorer against them in both play-off legs. Shortly after his goal here, his fifth in four games after a lean spell, he met a through-ball with a flying backheeled volley pass to a team-mate. That is what confidence does. But as a team, of course, Rovers “are keeping their feet on the ground”.
Mansfield were obstinate opponents, strong in defence but venturing little in attack to support Matt Green (11 goals), who was superbly contained by Tom Lockyer. They tried to sign Oliver McBurnie, a Swansea striker, on loan but Rovers beat them there, too. Mansfield have not beaten a top-12 side all season yet, even after this third defeat running, they are in the top half themselves and looking to join the play-off scramble.
Neither side fired a shot in anger until the fourth official was fetching his board for first-half added time. Clarke said it “wasn’t a great game on the eye” and told his men “to be better with the ball”. They had made little penetration except down the left, prompted by Lee Brown and carried on by Cristian Montaño, and those two had a part in the goal, the ball reaching Montaño from Brown’s blocked shot and Taylor tapping in the cross.
Until the closing minutes, when Mansfield’s midfield shield, Lee Collins, surged forward for a shot that Steve Mildenhall palmed upwards and saw plop on to the roof of his net, the Stags seemed distracted, maybe mystified by Friday’s FA ruling that a team-mate, Adi Yussuf, a substitute at Plymouth last month, had been banned for five games and fined £700 under Rule E3 for peeing behind a stand “in or around the 30th and 53rd minute”. Apart from Yussuf being directed there by Argyle staff the timing points to a lack of witnesses. No judge would accept “30 slash 53”.
If Mansfield are feeling penny foolish, Rovers look pound wise. Qadi, a football man playing like a fan into his forties, has come, seen and conquered with more than a chequebook. “It’s not all about throwing cash,” he said. “It is about growing the club organically, step by step.” The ground move to a university site is back on the cards, “with a capacity of 21,700 or more”. Saturday’s 7,847 was 1,500 up on two years ago. “The progress is there for all to see,” said Clarke. Steve Hamer, formerly at Swansea, is a reassuring presence as chairman.
“On Jordan’s bank the baptist’s cry announces that the Lord is nigh,” says the Advent hymn. And the spirit is wholly behind Clarke. “They’re an honest bunch of lads doing me proud,” he said. “We’re in a challenging position.”
MATCH REPORT: Bristol Rovers 1, Mansfield Town 0
chad.co.uk, by Sports reporter (Agency)
Mansfield Town’s hopes of reaching the League Two play-offs were further dented by Matt Taylor’s 20th goal of the season at the Memorial Stadium as they were beaten 1-0 by Bristol Rovers.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/match-report-bristol-rovers-1-mansfield-town-0-1-7793542#ixzz42ilnyFAG
The striker was presented with a simple tap-in at the far post by Cristian Montano’s 61st-minute cross from the left.
But it took a brilliant late save from Steve Mildenhall, who stuck out a left hand to keep out Lee Collins’ 87th-minute shot, to give Rovers a fourth successive win.
Stags are now down to 11th, five points short of the play-off places, with 10 games to go.
Krystian Pearce made an immediate return to the side.
Pearce had missed two games with suspension and also felt ill during the week, but was declared fit to play today as one of three changes.
Adam Chapman, who had an operation on his broken nose in midweek, was dropped to the bench while Junior Daniel was replaced by a fit-again Matty Blair, after illness last weekend, and Mitch Rose was given a start in midfield in place of James Baxendale.
Adi Yussuf began a five-game ban after being found guilty of urinating in public at Plymouth by the FA.
Mansfield lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with skipper Collins used just in front of the back-four and Matt Green playing as a lone striker.
For an hour it proved hugely effective in subduing a Rovers side who had netted nine goals in winning their previous three home games.
The home team were totally frustrated in a first half almost devoid of goalmouth action and a large crowd of 7,847, including 241 Stags fans, were kept quiet for long periods.
Jermaine Easter threatened for Rovers on 15 minutes when accepting a Montano pass inside the box, but Ryan Tafazolli executed a perfectly timed tackle to avert the danger.
The first half ended with Billy Bodin slicing wide of the Mansfield goal from the only worthwhile chance created by either side.
The second period began in more exciting fashion with Montano shooting straight at Mansfield keeper Scott Shearer, making a return to one of his former clubs.
Junior Daniel received a predictably hot reception from Rovers fans when introduced as a 54th-minute substitute for Matt Blair, having scored the goal that relegated the Pirates to the National League at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Shortly after the change Lambe fired over with the Stags’ first meaningful goal attempt following a good run by Chris Clements.
After Taylor’s goal, Mansfield sent on Chris Beardsley in place of Lambe to partner Green up front.
Beardsley had two half-chances from headers, but Mansfield ended up empty-handed.
ROVERS: (4-4-2): Mildenhall, J Clarke, Lockyer, McChrystal, Brown, Bodin, Lines (O Clarke 84), Mansell, Montano, Taylor (Harrison 88) Easter (McBurnie 62). Subs not used: Puddy, Leadbitter, Parkes, Broom.
STAGS: (4-1-4-1): Shearer, Alfei, Pearce, Tafozolli, Benning, Collins, Blair (Daniel 54), Rose (Thomas 89), Clements, Lambe (Beardsley 63), Green. Subs not used: Jensen, Chapman, McGuire, Baxendale.
REFEREE: Dean Whitestone of Northamptonshire.
ATTENDANCE: 7,847 (241 away).
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Collins.
Bristol Rovers 1 Mansfield Town 0 MATCH REPORT: Matty Taylor hits 20-mark to boost Pirates promotion chances
By James McNamara, bristolpost.co.uk
Matty Taylor’s second-half strike proved decisive as Bristol Rovers boosted their League Two promotion bid with a victory over Mansfield Town at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
Taylor scored his 20th goal of the season on the hour mark to break down a Mansfield Town side, who had clearly arrived to frustrate, to secure a fourth successive victory.
The striker, who has now scored five goals in his last four games, was on hand to supply the simplest of tap-ins after Cristian Montano, who had returned to the starting line-up, had volleyed a Chris Lines pass back across the face of goal.
Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-Rovers-v-Mansfield-Town-MATCH-REPORT/story-28910013-detail/story.html#ixzz42iyk8Oti
Rovers had been made were made to work hard for their success, but were boosted at full-time when it emerged that Oxford United, Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth had all lost to offer Darrell Clarke’s side the opportunity to move to within three points of the automatic promotion spots.
Even more impressive was the fact that Clarke had managed to mastermind victory in his 100th game in charge with a host of injury and illness concerns.
Widemen Montano and Billy Bodin had returned to a starting line-up that showed three changes from the one that kicked off against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.
Skipper Mark McChrystal also returned as Darrell Clarke opted to start with a back four in a 4-4-2 formation. As a result, Tom Parkes dropped to the bench and was joined by Ollie Clarke and Daniel Leadbitter. Ollie McBurnie had succumbed to the virus that had swept through the camp in recent days and was on the bench having yet still to train with his new team-mates.
To describe the opening period as anything other than slow would have been an understatement. Chances were at a premium at either end as Mansfield set up in a bid to give very little away. Both goalkeepers were virtually redundant until Billy Bodin spurned a gilt-edged opportunity by slicing a shot from inside the penalty area after being teed up nicely by Mansell on 43 minutes.
The most interesting thing that emerged from a less-than-inspiring opening 45 minutes was the battle than ensued by between eventual man-of-the-match Tom Lockyer and Mansfield striker Matt Green.
It was a battle in which Lockyer came out on top of and he also found time to try and start several attacks off by playing long and raking passes out towards either flank.
Rovers returned from the changing room with a renewed attacking intent and within seconds Montano raised an expectant gasp from inside the Memorial Stadium stands by shooting straight at goalkeeper Scott Shearer.
Shearer did well soon after to scoop away Bodin’s deflected shot, while Mansell also flashed a volley wide from the edge of the penalty area after a corner had been cleared before Taylor arrived to bring some relief to the situation by making the breakthrough.
It immediately injected a boost of confidence into Rovers’ attacking play and both Montano and Lee Brown were left holding their head in their hands over a failure of anyone to read a couple of tantalising deliveries to the far post.
McBurnie arrived from the bench soon after and showcased a boundless enthusiasm to both chase the ball and to get involved in the play, while some minutes later Colin Daniel, who scored the goal that confirmed Rovers’ relegation in 2014, arrived from the Mansfield bench to a muted chorus of jeers.
Whilst Rovers retained control of the game over the remainder, there was always the concern that Mansfield might plunder a goal on the break. Reggie Lambe shot wide on one such occasion before former Rovers loanee Chris Beardsley headed over a Lee Collins cross.
As important as Taylor’s strike, meanwhile, was a fine one-handed save from Mildenhall that denied midfielder Collins an equaliser after he had evaded two challenges and let fly from the edge of the penalty area as time was running out.
Bristol Rovers: (4-4-2): Mildenhall; J Clarke, Lockyer, McChrystal, Brown; Bodin, Mansell, Lines (O Clarke, 85), Montano; Taylor (Harrison, 83) Easter (McBurnie, 52). Subs: Puddy, O Clarke, Broom, Parkes.
Mansfield Town (4-4-2): Shearer, Alfei, Pearce, Tafozolli, Benning, Collins, Blair (Daniel 54), Rose (Thomas 89), Clements, Lambe (Beardsley 63), Green. Subs not used: Jensen, Chapman, McGuire, Baxendale.
Att: 7847 (241)
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Man-of-the-match - Tom Lockyer - Didn’t allow a striker with Championship experience in the shape of Matt Green to bully him at all. Was dominant in the air and was responsible for starting a lot of Rovers’ attacks when playing ball out to either flank.
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