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Archived News from November 2016

3rd November 2016 20:37

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Stevenage
Hoban 54. Lee 32, McKirdy 57
Attendance: 2716 (100 from Stevenage)

Date: 29 October 2016

Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town slumped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Stevenage this afternoon. Stevenage came into the game one point and one place outside the relegation zone but took all three points from a Mansfield side who lacked quality for most of the afternoon. Manager Adam Murray talked pre match about the plan to get lots of crosses into the Stevenage box and he selected Kevan Hurst and Mal Benning to play as wingers to get behind the Stevenage defence but the plan didn’t work and the quality of crossing was mostly poor. The first half was even but Stevenage took the lead with a header from a free kick as Mansfield’s defence, which has been fairly solid defending set pieces this season, was breached with Charlie Lee heading in. A rare good cross from Hurst created Mansfield’s best chance of the first half as Benning, unmarked with the goal at his mercy, headed over the bar from close range. A bad miss. The other notable moment of the first half was a well-worked short corner between Hurst and Benning but the ball was blocked. Another scoreless first half for Mansfield at home, the 10th time out of 10 in league and cup games this season. The Stags were level on 54 minutes with a great turn and shot in the six-yard box by Pat Hoban. His first goal at the One Call Stadium. But euphoria turned to despair within three minutes as Mansfield, with almost everyone committed forward from a free kick, hit the self-destruct button, with Benning disastrously giving the ball away, and Aston Villa loanee Harry McKirdy running 50 yards before tucking the ball past Scott Shearer. It was a good goal from McKirdy but a terrible error from Benning. Mansfield had plenty of pressure in the remaining half hour but a mixture of inaccurate passing and crossing and a solid defence from Stevenage kept the Stags out. The closest Mansfield came was a header into the side netting by Benning after a great cross from Jack Thomas. Rhys Bennett also fired wide four times. Then with the last touch of the game, Darius Henderson headed just over the bar from a corner. Huge frustration for Mansfield and disappointment at full time. The Stags drop to 13th, 3 points outside the play-offs and 4 points above the relegation zone in a very tight league table, a third of the way through the season.



MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 2 - More home misery for Stags
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Saturday 29 October 2016

Mansfield Town suffered more home misery as Aston Villa loanee Harry McKirdy’s dazzling solo goal secured a 2-1 win for struggling Stevenage this afternoon.

A poor game came to life when Charlie Lee headed the visitors in front on 32 minutes.

Stags wasted good chances to level before Pat Hoban’s first goal at One Call Stadium equalised on 54 minutes.

But parity was only held for three minutes as McKirdy marked his full debut by by bursting clear from his own half and showing electric pace to get into the home box and steer a low finish under Scott Shearer.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/match-report-mansfield-town-1-stevenage-2-more-home-misery-for-stags-1-8208286?

The visitors won few friends with some dramatic rolling around, timewasting and challenges.

But on the day Stags failed to find their fluency and again failed to get the rub of the green as their six game unbeaten run was unceremoniously halted.

The Mansfield side showed just one change with Alex Iacovitti in for Mitch Rose, the Forest loanee in at left back with Mal Benning pushed to left midfield.

Stags were again looking to try to kickstart their home form, with just two home wins all season, against the struggling visitors.

They went straight at the visitors and Bennett scuffed a tame, low shot to keeper Jones in the opening minute after some sublime control from Green to control a long, high ball into the box.

Stags won a free kick to the right of centre after six minutes, a perfect position for Benning’s trusty left foot, but the kick was blocked by the wall.

The home side were forced to play on with 10 men for a while after a clash of heads with Kennedy saw Pearce suffer a cut to his forehead and went down the tunnel for treatment.

The stoppage did seem to spoil their early momentum.

On 16 minutes Stevenage had their first goal attempt as a misdirected header from Green went back towards his own box on the right and Lee tried a snapshot that flew well over.

Stags then won their first corner which saw it taken short for a neat training ground routine of passes which ended with the ball being blocked and cleared.

Hurst came very close on 21 minutes as the ball dropped invitingly for a snapshot that dipped just over the bar.

Mansfield were almost caught on the hop by a counter attack as Kennedy found himself in space on the right, but his cross failed to find a team mate.

The deadlock of what had been a very dour game was finally broken on 32 minutes.

Clements conceded a free kick 25 yards from goal, Cowans floated it into the box and Lee was allowed time to flick an unstoppable header past Shearer.

Wilkinson wiped out Benning with a lunging tackle on 35 minutes to earn a booking.

Two minutes later Benning should have levelled as he got on the end of an excellent Hurst cross from the right, but powered a header over from six yards.

There was fury as Henry rolled around after a Green challenge and a home attack was halted, Stags fans and players making their views known to the referee.

Seconds later Stags had a penalty shout as Benning was pushed in the back by Henry as Benning tried to get a head on the ball, but nothing was given.

Benning and Gorman were having a real battle on the Stags left, Benning getting away with a shove and then Gorman booked for the retaliatory push soon after.

Even deeper into the five added minutes Pearce headed over from a Collins cross.

Within four minutes of the restart Stags sent on Thomas for Iacovitti.

On 52 minutes Shearer was forced into a save as Lee tried to curl a 20 yard shot round him.

But the Stags were level on 54 minutes. Bennett curled a cross over from the right which almost crept under the far angle.

The keeper clawed it downwards where Hoban initially had a shot for a handball but then steered home a low finish on the turn from five yards.

But Stags were only level for three minutes as they were caught on the break.

A loose ball ran kindly towards McKirdy who broke away from inside his own half and raced clear, Collins’ lunge unable to prevent the Villa youngster tucking away a low finish to crown a superb run.

Cowans had a shot charged down on 63 minutes and crashed the follow-up well over the bar.

Two minutes later Henderson came on for Hurst as Stags tried to go for the jugular more.

On 66 minutes goal hero McKirdy was booked for a foul as he tried to get on the end of a cross. Henry was added to the book for a foul on 70 minutes.

Stags’ final change saw Danny Rose on for Hoban up front on 73 minutes and seconds later keeper Jones was booked for time wasting.

Stevenage almost added to their tally on 76 minutes as Liburd forced a save from Shearer with the home side outnumbered in their own box, though a square pass might have a better option with Kennedy free to his left.

On 78 minutes Clements sent the ball in the the far post where Benning powered a header into the sidenetting, some home fans thinking it had gone in.

Kennedy was booked for more Stevenage timewasting on 80 minutes. In six added minutes Pearce was booked for a foul.

Bennett might have had a hat-trick in stoppage time. He curled a decent effort over the far angle, sidefooted another chance over soon after and had a low shot deflect wide.

Henderson also headed over as the sands of time ran out for Mansfield and they left the pitch to boos and jeers from the stands.

STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Collins, Pearce, Clements, Hoban (D. Rose 73), Green, Hurst (Henderson 65), Howkins, Iacovitti (Thomas 49). Subs: Jensen, M. Rose, Hamilton, McGuire.

STEVENAGE: Jones, King, Franks, Wilkinson, McKirkdy (Liburd 71), Kennedy, Gorman (Pett 55), Lee (Wells 79), Cowans, Henry, Ntlhe. Subs: Day, Fox, Hyde, Tongue.

REFEREE: Mark Heywood of West Yorkshire. ATTENDANCE: 2,716 (100 away) CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Collins.


stevenagefc.com, 29th October 2016, by Dave Toyn

Stevenage made it back-to-back league wins on the road with an excellent 2-1 win at Mansfield Town this afternoon.

Charlie Lee gave Boro a first half-lead, heading home a Henry Cowans' free-kick and although Pat Hoban equalised for the Stags in the second half, Aston Villa loanee Harry McKirdy raced away to score a brilliant second goal minutes later to secure a big three points for Stevenage.

Darren Sarll made just the single change to his starting XI with Harry McKirdy handed his first Boro start - and his first in professional football - in place of the injured Matt Godden. Jake Hyde and Rowan Liburd also returned to the bench after missing out last week.

Read more at http://www.stevenagefc.com/news/article/2016-17/match-report-mansfield-stevenage-3388307.aspx#hqq0gAcr84Vv1wuH.99

After an evening first 10 minutes it was Boro who created the first half-chances on goal. Ronnie Henry swung in a dangerous cross on 12 minutes which skimmed off a Mansfield head and a minute later King was inches away from connecting to a long-ball forward but ‘keeper Scott Shearer got there just in time.

Despite being up against experienced, physical defenders McKirdy was looking lively up top for Boro. A great take on the quarter hour saw the Villa loanee turn Pearce and skip past the defender, before crossing for Shearer to parry away and Mansfield cleared.

Stevenage somehow cleared a neatly worked corner from Mansfield just before the 20 minute mark and that served as a reminder of the hosts’ attacking threat. Kevan Hurst then went close with a half-volley from distance, but Jones looked comfortably as it flew over his crossbar.

The game continued with both sides looking to assert themselves and it was Stevenage who went closest on 28 minutes when Dale Gorman clipped a ball into the box. In nipped Jack King, before ‘keeper Shearer, but the midfielder was pushed wide and although he fired in a low cross, neither McKirdy or Kennedy were there to convert.

Just past the half-hour and Stevenage broke the deadlock. Ben Kennedy won a free-kick towards the left-flank, 25 yards out and when Henry Cowans curled the ball in, there was Charlie Lee to power a header home.

Matt Green saw a shot brilliantly blocked by Fraser Franks and Mal Benning headed over with the goal at his mercy as Mansfield pushed for an equaliser before the break, but Boro held firm to lead 1-0 at half-time.

The hosts came out for the second half five minutes early but it was Darren Sarll’s men who came closest to scoring again on 50 minutes. Good play around the edge of the box saw Kennedy play the ball back to Charlie Lee, who saw his shot with the outside of his foot turned over by Shearer.

Just as Stevenage were looking comfortable, Mansfield equalised and through a familiar face. Former loanee Pat Hoban pulled the Stags level on 54 minutes, firing home from closing range after Jamie Jones had turned Rhys Bennett’s cross away with Boro struggling to clear.

Mansfield had their heads up but almost immediately Stevenage retook the lead on 57 minutes. A flick-on from Kennedy on the half-way line released McKirdy and the Villa loanee sprinted the length of the half, outpacing his defender and waiting for the ‘keeper to go down before lifting the ball into the back of the net. A first league goal on his first professional start and what a way to do it.

From that point the Stags really pushed forward, throwing on strikers Danny Rose and Darius Henderson however that merely created space for Boro to counter into. Ben Kennedy whipped in a dangerous cross on the hour which missed everyone and then Henry Cowans - with another mature display in the middle of the pitch - had two efforts moments later but saw one blocked and fired over with the second.

The tiring McKirdy was replaced with 20 minutes remaining but sub Rowan Liburd could have made the points safe five minutes later, but Shearer denied him from close range with a fine save.

Dean Wells came on for Charlie Lee as Boro tightened up at the back with Fraser Franks moving along to left-back and Kgosi Ntlhe offering protection in front of him, as sub Tom Pett was also doing on the right.

Wave after wave of Mansfield crosses came into the box but Boro stood firm with either Jamie Jones collecting with ease or Wilkinson or Wells clearing with towering headers. Even during six minutes of added time the Stags laid siege to Stevenage’s 18 yard box but Darren Sarll’s men repelled everything that came their way to secure a deserved three points.

After a midweek Herts Senior Cup tie against St Margaretsbury, attention will then turn to Saturday’s big FA Cup game at Port Vale. Play like this away from home and Boro will stand a good chance of making it into the second round draw. Tickets for that game can be purchased at http://www.borotickets.co.uk.

Mansfield: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Collins (C), Pearce, Clements, Hoban (Rose 70), Green, Hurst (Henderson 64), Howkins, Iacovitti (Thomas 48)

Subs not used: Jensen, M.Rose, Hamilton, McGuire

Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Wilkinson, Franks, Ntlhe, Gorman (Pett 55), Lee (Wells 80), King, Cowans, Kennedy, McKirdy (Liburd 70)

Subs not used: Day, Fox, Hyde, Tonge

Referee: Mark Heywood

Attendance: 2,716 (100 away)


Young guns on form as Stevenage defeat Mansfield
thecomet.net, 29 October 2016, by Damion Roberts

With the score at 1-1 the on-loan Aston Villa forward, making his first ever start in professional football, ran 50 yards with the ball at his feet before clipping his shot over Scott Shearer as Boro made it back-to-back wins on the road in a victory which moved them up to 17th in the League Two table.

Charlie Lee had earlier put Stevenage ahead through a header from Henry Cowans’ free-kick, the other Villa player in the Boro line-up, before Mansfield hit back through Pat Hoban, whose unsuccessful spell on loan at Stevenage last season lasted all of 71 minutes.


Boro went into the game without the services of in-form Matt Godden who had failed to recover in time from a calf injury, so McKirdy was given the nod following his promising spell off the bench last week against Carlisle.

This meant that Boro’s front two, McKirdy and Ben Kennedy, were 19-year-olds while with Dale Gorman and Cowans, both 20, also in the side a youthful line-up was tasked by boss Darren Sarll to upset the odds against a team boasting the second best defensive record in the league.

And while the hosts may have been disappointed to go into half-time down a goal, Boro’s energy and pace in the final third proved a real handful for Mansfield’s big defensive line all afternoon.

In addition to his goal McKirdy made one fine run which frightened the home defence, only to end with a save from Shearer, while Kennedy won the free-kick which led to the opener and was like a whippet as he chased defenders all game.

It was a sign of the young Northern Irish forward’s enthusiasm and will to win that, despite looking sapped of energy a good 80 minutes into the game, there was still time for him to make a 40-yard charge to close down a clearance deep in injury time as Boro had their backs to the wall.

This wasn’t a perfect display from Stevenage. They look vulnerable at short corners with their decision to have one player marking two. It proved costly last week, in a midweek reserve match against Northampton Town and again here as Mansfield played the ball around them and fashioned a half chance which Boro cleared.

In other chances Kevan Hurst fired just over for the home side before Lee’s opener for Stevenage.

Matt Green forced a block out of Fraser Franks while Malvind Benning also headed over, but at the start of the second half a Mansfield goal came when Rhys Bennett, without doubt the home side’s best player, mis-hit a cross which saw Jamie Jones backpedal to claw clear off the line. When the ball was returned into the box, however, Hoban turned and poked in the equaliser.

Yet parity lasted all of just three minutes, as pushing bodies forward Mansfield left themselves open at the back. It was naïve from the home side who had some 35 or so minutes in which to seek a winning goal, and it proved costly as McKirdy ran the length of their entire half before beating Shearer with a neat finish.

Rowan Liburd forced a save out of Shearer late on while Benning ghosted into the box for the hosts and headed into the side netting when he should have scored.

Bennett then fired off target before another shot was deflected wide as Boro held on for another welcome win on the road.

Mansfield Town: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Collins, Pearce, Hurst (Henderson 65), Howkins, Iacovitti (Thomas 49), Clements, Hoban (D Rose 74), Green. Subs: Jensen, M Rose, Hamilton, McGuire.

Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Ntlhe, Franks, Wilkinson, Gorman (Pett 55), Cowans, Lee (Wells 80), King, McKirdy (Liburd 71), Kennedy. Subs: Day, Fox, Hyde, Tonge.

Att: 2,726 (100 away)



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