STAGS DRAW IN SUPERB GAME AT FOREST GREEN
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Forest Green Rovers 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Reid 70. Grant 14
Attendance: 2128 (204 from Mansfield)
Date: 29 January 2019
Martin Shaw at the New Lawn
Mansfield Town drew 1-1 in a superb game at Forest Green Rovers last night. The game was 4th vs 2nd, with Forest Green two places and four points behind the Stags, and the result meant that the Stags maintained that gap. Mansfield’s performance oozed quality in the first half and the Stags could easily have been 3-0 ahead at half time. They had to settle for 1-0 at the break though, with Jorge Grant scoring an excellent goal after 14 minutes, firing a precision shot in off the left post from 23 yards. But Mansfield were unfortunate as Nicky Ajose headed against the inside of the post from a great cross from Grant on 33 minutes, and Tyler Walker fired a thunderbolt shot from 19 yards against the underside of the bar via the fingertips of keeper Montgomery after 40 minutes. Mansfield should also have had a penalty when Grant nicked the ball away from Farrend Rawson and was tripped from behind by the defender but the referee gave nothing. Forest Green had plenty of the ball in the first half but never looked like scoring. Forest Green still hadn’t looked like scoring when they equalised out of the blue after 70 minutes as sub Reuben Reid headed in from 6 yards having got in between Ryan Sweeney and Krystian Pearce. After that, the home side finished the game strongly putting the Stags under pressure in the final minutes. Reid had a good chance when he lobbed over the bar with only Jordan Smith to beat, and Reece Brown fired inches wide via a small deflection in the 4th minute of stoppage time. Yet despite being under pressure the Stags always had the quality to create more chances and Grant fired over from a great position after superb play on the left by CJ Hamilton. And then Grant fired a free kick over the bar from a similar position to where he scored from on Saturday. Overall, this was a great game that on chances alone, the Stags were unfortunate not to win, however Forest Green fought back strongly and certainly could have won it at the end, so perhaps a draw was just about the right result. It was certainly a game when both sides showed they were worthy promotion contenders, and it’s likely to be another exciting game when the two sides meet again in 3.5 weeks at the One Call Stadium. Next up for Mansfield, it’s the visit of Macclesfield to the One Call Stadium on Saturday. Don’t forget that under 18’s will get free admission, so let’s get a great atmosphere going for the visit of Sol Campbell’s improving side. Nathan Cameron, who did well in pre-season at Mansfield on trial before getting injured, will be available for Macclesfield after his red card on Saturday against Cheltenham was rescinded and he has been playing very well for them so will be tough opponent.
A word on the great Stags following at Forest Green. The weather had been atrocious for the original game that was abandoned at half time, and there was every chance that it could be the same again here with the forecast of rain and snow. Fortunately the bad weather stopped around 4.30pm and the game was eventually played in good conditions but massive credit to all the Stags fans who travelled and were rewarded with what was mostly a good performance and a superb game.
Before the game at Forest Green, there was great news that Ryan Sweeney, who’s had such a good season, has signed on a permanent 2.5 year deal on a free transfer from Stoke. And right wing-back Gethin Jones signed on loan from Fleetwood for the rest of the season on Monday, following the terrible news just over a week ago that Hayden White will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg. There was bad news as well before the game that young striker Jordan Graham will be out for the rest of the season. I had noted in my report on Saturday that he was missing from the 18 having picked up an injury in the reserve game at Wigan last Tuesday just one day after he signed a new extended contract. Then he posted on instagram “Season done but I’ll be back”. Terrible news, get well soon Jordan.
The Stags team was unchanged from the win over Tranmere with CJ Hamilton at right wing back in a 3-4-1-2 formation. Gethin Jones therefore had to be content with a place on the bench. Both Neal Bishop and Tyler Walker were fit to play after David Flitcroft had revealed on Saturday that they had been struggling with a back injury and neck spasm respectively.
Forest Green included former Stag Paul Digby who was suspended for the original game in November.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Mansfield Town held to 1-1 draw at Forest Green Rovers
chad.co.uk, by SPORTS REPORTER (AGency), Tuesday 29 January 2019
Mansfield continued their unbeaten run after being held to a 1-1 draw at Forest Green Rovers. The super Stags, who had won three on the bounce, hit the woodwork twice as they were forced to settle for a point at the New Lawn. Jorge Grant continued his super start for the club with his third goal in four games before Reuben Reid’s second-half equaliser shared the spoils.
Boss David Flitcroft expectedly named an unchanged line-up after hammering Tranmere Rovers 3-0 at the weekend.
Gethin Jones made his debut when he came on in the second half. The in-form Stags were unlucky not to be further ahead at the break after being denied twice by the woodwork. The hosts had the first chance of the game as Carl Winchester lashed off target. Nottingham Forest loanee Grant fired home his third in two games from the edge of the box in the 14th minute. Referee Chris Sarginson waved away claims for two Mansfield penalties with Nicky Ajose and Grant both going down inside the box. And the two loanees linked up as Ajose headed Grant’s fizzing cross against the post. Jordan Smith’s first test came with George Williams’ tame volley being hit straight at the young stopper. Down the other end Tyler Walker unleashed a cracking strike which was only kept out by the underside of the hosts’ bar. Forest Green hitman Christian Doidge, who returned to the club earlier this month after issues with his summer move to Bolton Wanderers, scuffed an effort wide as Mark Cooper’s men searched for an equaliser. Ryan Sweeney joins Mansfield Town on free transfer from Stoke City Moments later Paul Digby directed an header off target for the hosts. Minutes after coming on Jones couldn’t quite beat James Montgomery at the back post which would have marked the perfect debut. And that was the last action for Montgomery who was forced off just after the hour mark. The pressure told with 20 minutes to go as substitute Reid found the equaliser. Liam Shephard’s cross was expertly headed home by Reid on the edge of the box. Grant squandered a great chance late on when he curled wide before Reid fluffed his lines down the other end by lobbing his effort over when through on goal.
Forest Green: Montgomery (Ward, 61), Rawson, Gunning, McGinley (James, 45), Shephard, Digby, Brown, Winchester, Mills, Williams (Reid, 59), Doidge. Unused subs: Collins, McCoulsky, Scoble, Campbell.
Mansfield: Smith, Preston, Pearce, Sweeney, Hamilton, Bishop, Mellis, Benning, Grant, Walker, Ajose (Jones, 56). Unused subs: Logan, Law, Jones, Khan, Atkinson, Rose.
Attendance: 2,128 (204) Referee: Chris Sarginson
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-held-to-1-1-draw-at-forest-green-rovers-1-9564470
FULL-TIME: Forest Green 1 Mansfield Town 1 Spoils shared as Reid pounces in captivating clash
By Ashley Loveridge AshLoveridgeSNJ
Forest Green and Mansfield Town shared the spoils in a captivating promotion-chasing clash.
Mansfield opened their account on 14 minutes - Nottingham Forest loanee Jorge Grant breaking the deadlock as he pulled the trigger from Nicky Ajose’s assist before substitute Reuben Reid netted parity for Rovers with 20 minutes to go.
On the pitch, it was a high-octane opening - fifth-placed Rovers were quickly out of the blocks - Carl Winchester spanking over from 25 yards.
Rovers had bossed the opening exchanges, but Mansfield opened their account on 14 minutes - Nottingham Forest loanee Jorge Grant broke the deadlock as he pulled the trigger from a Nicky Ajose assist - his third in a week.
Rovers responded and upped the ante, but survived a 32nd minute reprieve. Grant arrowed over a cross for the unmarked Ajose to glance his free header against the post with James Montgomery rooted to his line.
George Williams’ powder puff volley from Gavin Gunning’s raking pass seven minutes from the break remined Mansfield that Rovers were still in the game.
Mansfield struck the woodwork for the second time in the match - Tyler Walker’s 25-yard howitzer clipping the underside of the bar on 39 minutes.
Cooper hooked Nathan McGinley at the break, ushering on midfield dynamo LIoyd James.
Rovers were quickly out of the traps - Christian Doidge skewing wide and Paul Digby arching over.
Rovers were forced into a goalkeeping change on the hour - Montgomery sustaining a facial injury when smothering at the feet of Mansfield substitute Gethin Jones catching the Rovers’ keeper in the face.
Rovers levelled it on 70 minutes - substitute Reuben Reid coming in from the cold to flick home a header from a Liam Shephard standing up a delivery for Reid’s seventh of the season.
Sub Rovers’ keeper Lewis Ward was quick out of the blocks to pinch the ball off the advancing Grant as the game swung from end-to-end in the last quarter of the game.
Doidge and Winchester traded passes with Winchester firing over.
Grant failed to find the top corner when CJ Hamilton teed him up with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The game was up for grabs - Reid scooped over the bar with just Jordan Smith to beat with six minutes to go and Smith got a touch to a stoppage time strike from Reece Brown.
Forest Green (3-5-2) Montgomery (Ward 60); McGinley (James 45), Gunning, Rawson; Mills, Digby, Brown, Winchester, Shephard; Williams (Reid 58), Doidge Subs not used: McClousky, Collins, Campbell, Mondal
Mansfield Town: (3-4-2-1) Smith; Pearce, Sweeney, Preston; Benning, Bishop, Mellis, Hamilton; Walker, Grant; Ajose (Jones 56)
Subs not used: Logan
Star Man: Gavin Gunning
Referee: C Sarginson
Five talking points from Forest Green's draw with Mansfield
FOREST Green earned a credible draw against Mansfield Town on Tuesday night after Reuben Reid's header cancelled out Jorge Grant's first half strike.
It was an entertaining affair between two promotion chasing clubs as they both showed why they are fighting for a place in League One.
Here are five talking points from the match at the New Lawn.
Fair play James Montgomery
James Montgomery played a crucial part in helping Rovers earn a point but in doing so, he's lost three teeth and part of his lip missing.
He put his head in where it hurts after Gavin Gunning miscued a cross and the ball bobbled into the path of Gethin Jones but Montgomery managed to push the ball away before Mansfield's new signing caught him in the face with his boot.
The former Gateshead stopper was brave and that moment ensured Mansfield didn't go 2-0 up and kept Rovers alive.
Lewis Ward did look like a good replacement as he came on for his Rovers debut but here's to a speedy recovery for Montgomery.
Cooper's tweaks gave Rovers a foothold
Mansfield were the better team in the first half. They were excellent in transition and seemed to get quite a lot of joy on Forest Green's left side.
Forest Green didn't see as much of the ball as they would have liked so Cooper switched to a back four and sacrificed McGinley for Lloyd James and Rovers had more control in the middle and created a lot more chances.
Cooper's second substitution wasn't bad either, Reuben Reid replaced George Williams early in the second half and he scored the equaliser.
Mansfield capable of title charge
Mansfield really looked the part at the New Lawn, particularly in the first half.
January signings Jorge Grant and Nicky Ajose were excellent and really showed their class.
The Stags were also very well organised and made life difficult for Rovers. They broke very quickly and it was clear to see why they are second in the league.
They are just four points behind Lincoln so they should not be ruled out of the title race.
Rovers top three contenders
If there was any question marks about Forest Green's automatic promotion credentials before the game then there certainly shouldn't be now.
In terms of performances, they've never been outplayed by any of the divisions leading lights and more than matched a team who have lost just three games all season.
Rovers are two points off third and just four behind Mansfield in second. They've lost just one of their last 10 games.
Top three is on which would be a remarkable achievement.
While their run of clean sheets came to an end, Rovers were still pretty solid defensively.
They rode their luck on a couple of occasions as Mansfield struck the woodwork twice but to concede just the once against an attacking quarter of Grant, Ajose, Tyler Walker and CJ Hamilton wasn't too bad.
Forest Green have the third best defensive record in League Two and concede an average 0.93 goals per game.