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STAGS DESERVEDLY BEATEN AT PORT VALE
13th March 2019 12:58


English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Port Vale 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Miller 50, 52. Ajose 61. Ajose missed pen 18
Attendance: 5231 (1430 from Mansfield)

Date: 9 March 2019

Martin Shaw at Vale Park

Mansfield Town turned in a sloppy performance at Vale Park this afternoon to fall to a damaging 2-1 defeat. It’s become clear that it will probably be three of the top four sides to go up automatically, and while Mansfield lost here, Lincoln, Bury and MK Dons all won this weekend to see the Stags drop down to fourth, one point behind MK Dons, while 6 and 8 points behind Bury and Lincoln respectively (with a game in hand on Bury). Port Vale had lost 6 successive home games, one short of a club record, not won at home since October, and scored just one goal in their last 8 games, but put up a spirited performance here and deservedly claimed all three points. Striker Tom Pope was out injured for Vale and that let former Stag Ricky Miller into the side. I worried when I saw the teams announced an hour before kick off and Miller duly punished Mansfield with two goals and nearly claimed a hat-trick. But the Stags brought this defeat upon themselves in truth, giving the ball away far too frequently throughout the game, starting as early as the first five seconds of the game, and committing the cardinal sin of missing a penalty at 0-0 in the first half.

The Stags started the game slowly but should have been ahead on 18 minutes. Mal Benning laid a brilliant ball forward which CJ Hamilton ran on to in the box, Hamilton took a touch past defender Leon Legge who tripped Hamilton for a blatant penalty. With Tyler Walker suspended, Nicky Ajose stepped up and sent his penalty towards the right corner of the net but it was at the perfect height for a keeper, and Scott Brown tipped it wide for a corner. The wrong height from Ajose and such a costly miss.

Five minutes into the second half, Vale were in front. Ricky Miller found himself ten yards clear of the Stags defence in a 1-on-1 with Jordan Smith, he expertly took it round the keeper and fired into the empty net. Miller got free of the Stags defence after Mal Benning gave the ball away in the Vale half, and then because Ryan Sweeney was down, feeling the effects of an earlier knock on the head. After the game Stags boss David Flitcroft was furious with Sweeney saying that it was unprofessional that Sweeney had not let the management know how he was feeling. You could feel a release of tension among the home players and fans, having gone so long without a win, and within two minutes, Ricky Miller scored again, and again Mansfield had themselves to blame. Kyle Hannant crossed from the left, and Ben Turner, who had now replaced Sweeney, smashed a clearance straight at Krystian Pearce, and the ball fell to Ricky Miller to stroke into the net from 6 yards. Calamitous defending.

The Stags got a lifeline on 61 minutes when sub Otis Khan delivered a beautiful cross from the right onto the head of Ajose who had found a yard of space in the six-yard box to head home. The calamitous defending from Mansfield wasn’t over though as Will Atkinson attempted a ludicrous backpass from 40 yards which was intercepted by Miller. Miller was again through 1-on-1 with Jordan Smith, but Smith saved, and Krystian Pearce blocked a follow-up shot from Tom Conlon on the line. Then Ben Turner headed against the back of Benning to present another chance to Miller, and then a minute after that Benning gave the ball away to Miller, whose shot was blocked. The Stags were unable to fashion an equaliser, the closest chance falling to Ben Turner who headed wide Jorge Grant’s free kick.

A big win for Vale, celebrated massively at the final whistle, as they had every right to do. But for the Stags, too many unforced errors in a poor performance and a big response is needed on Tuesday at Crawley. The Stags have lost three on the trot away from home with poor performances at Newport, Notts County and Port Vale, and cannot afford another at Crawley. And all this after going unbeaten in the first 12 away games of the season (and a club record 15 unbeaten away games if you include the end of last season). Mansfield missed Tyler Walker hugely today. He will return from suspension at Crawley. It could have been very different had he played today as he has not looked like missing the penalties he’s taken this season. Whether Matt Preston will be fit to return from injury is unclear, manager Flitcroft said it will be assessed on Sunday. Ryan Sweeney must be a doubt as well, having come off with that knock on the head. Mansfield will come up against Ollie Palmer on Tuesday and they will have to deal with him better than they dealt with Ricky Miller today.

The Stags made one change from the side that beat Cheltenham. Will Atkinson replaced Gethin Jones at right wing-back. Atkinson had replaced Jones at half time last week, and had a good half including scoring of course. The Stags started with a 3-4-2-1 formation with Pearce, Sweeney and Benning in central defence; Hamilton at left wing back, and Mellis and Grant behind Ajose. The Stags switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation during the first half, with Benning at left back, and Grant, Mellis and Hamilton behind Ajose. Matt Preston was still out with that knee problem. Tyler Walker sat out the second game of his two game ban.

Port Vale made one change to the side that drew at Notts County, in a game they should have won. Tom Pope missed out through injury and in came Ricky Miller. Former Stags loanee Kyle Howkins was on the bench but did not come on.

Vale fans staged a peaceful protest against owner Norman Smurthwaite, holding up red cards before the game and at half time, and urging fans not to use the food kiosks.

FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE

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REPORT: Port Vale 2-1 Mansfield Town - Stags’ automatic promotion aspirations take a blow
chad.co.uk, by SPORTS REPORTER (AGency), Saturday 09 March 2019

Mansfield Town’s League Two automatic promotion aspirations took a blow as Ricky Miller’s second-half brace earned struggling Port Vale a 2-1 win at Vale Park. Miller’s brace, which he struck twice inside a minute after half-time in Staffordshire saw Mansfield drop down to fourth with defeat, as MK Dons leapfrogged them in to third position in the fourth-tier. Early in the contest, Mansfield were pinned in to their own half of the pitch, as David Worrall twice went close for John Askey’s Valiants. Firstly, the forward drove a fierce shot from the right just over the crossbar before he forced Stags stopper Jordan Smith in to a low save at his near post. Business bank accounts Choosing a business bank account is a long term decision that can have significant implications for your business Promoted by Yorkshire Bank Having dealt with early pressure from the relegation-threatened hosts, David Flitcroft’s side were awarded a penalty on 17 minutes after CJ Hamilton was tripped in the box by centre-back Leon Legge. Forward Nicky Ajose assumed responsibility for the resulting spot-kick, however he was fruitless from 12-yards, seeing Vale goalkeeper Scott Brown equal to his effort, dropping down to his left to tip the ball around the post and out for a corner. But two quick-fire strikes from Miller within the space of a minutes left Town with a mountain to climb. Miller was played through by Manny Oyeleke with 50 minutes played, and the midfielder kept his cool to round Smith and tap in, before doubling his tally a minute later, smashing in from very close-range following a defensive lapse in concentration. But the Stags were back in it on the hour when Ajose made amends for his penalty miss by heading in Otis Khan’s cross from the right. Town pushed for a leveller that never came in the dying embers as they dropped down to fourth, a point behind MK Dons, in the automatic promotion race.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/report-port-vale-2-1-mansfield-town-stags-automatic-promotion-aspirations-take-a-blow-1-9640455

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REPORT: Vale 2-1 Mansfield Town
by Matty Roper
https://www.port-vale.co.uk/news/2019/march/report-vale-v-mansfield-town/

Ricky Miller marked his return to the starting line-up with a brace that lifted Vale to victory over promotion-chasing Mansfield Town, and Scott Brown's penalty save in the first half also proved to be a key moment as the hosts came out 2-1 winners at Vale Park.

Vale took just seven seconds to register their first attempt on goal as David Worrall carried the ball forward straight from kick-off, but his distant effort flew just wide. Tom Conlon saw an effort blocked inside the first minute as well as the hosts looked to put their stamp on proceedings early on.

The Valiants continued to play with real intensity following that move, and they almost profited on a lapse in concentration by the Mansfield defence on 10 minutes, only for Jordan Smith to keep Worrall’s chip out with his fingertips.

Against the run of play, Mansfield broke away and won themselves a penalty as Leon Legge brought down Nicky Ajose inside the area after 18 minutes. The striker then stepped up to take the spot kick himself, but Scott Brown came to the rescue with a superb save to ensure the game remained level.

Midway through the first half, Vale had another chance to pull themselves ahead after the ball fell to Worrall in a dangerous position, but his curled strike dropped just wide of the far post with Smith scrambling. Conlon then tried his luck from 30 yards after stealing possession in the 27thminute, but his shot rose over the bar.

Mansfield did look more threatening in the latter stages of the first half and they won a succession of corners five minutes before the break, but Vale’s rear guard stood firm to soak up the pressure and keep the visitors at bay.

Following the restart, both teams looked to attack and find a breakthrough, but it was Vale who got it after 50 minutes as Miller raced onto a through ball to round the goalkeeper and score. It then got better for John Askey’s men just two minutes later as Miller doubled his tally, getting on the end of a Luke Hannant cross to slide a finish home.

That quick-fire double sparked euphoric scenes amongst the home supporters, and they were almost left celebrating a third goal just before the hour mark as Hannant closed in on goal, but his effort drifted narrowly wide from a tight angle.

It was the travelling contingent who were cheering on 61 minutes as their side reduced the deficit to just one goal. Substitute Otis Khan provided the assist with a pinpoint cross from the right, and it was Nicky Ajose who got the finishing touch with a header that nestled into the top corner.

The action didn’t stop there, and Miller was presented with a golden opportunity to complete his hat-trick on 68 minutes as he intercepted a loose pass before bearing down on goal, but he saw two efforts saved. Conlon then rocketed the rebound towards goal, but Krystian Pearce managed to block it on the line.

As the away side probed for a leveller late on, the Valiants were forced to defend as a unit, but they showed great determination and resillience to clear several balls into the box. There were a few nervy moments in there for the home supporters, but the full-time whistle was sounded and a chorus of cheers echoed around Vale Park.

Line-Ups

Port Vale: Scott Brown, Adam Crookes, Nathan Smith, Leon Legge ©, Mitch Clark, Luke Joyce, Tom Conlon, Manny Oyeleke (Antony Kay 82’), Luke Hannant (Cristian Montano 87'), David Worrall, Ricky Miller (Ben Whitfield 81’).

Unused Substitutes: Sam Hornby, James Gibbons, Mark Harris, Kyle Howkins.

Mansfield Town: Jordan Smith, Mal Benning, Krystian Pearce, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis (Alex MacDonald 66’), Will Atkinson, Willem Tomlinson (Otis Khan 56’), Ryan Sweeney (Ben Turner 51’), Nicky Ajose, CJ Hamilton, Jorge Grant.

Unused Substitutes: Conrad Logan, Gethin Jones, Alistair Smith, Zayn Hakeem.

Attendance: 5,231 (1,430 away).

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Port Vale fans stage red-card demonstration against Norman Smurthwaite
By Michael Baggaley

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/port-vale-fans-stage-red-2627864

Port Vale supporters staged a red-card demonstration against club owner Norman Smurthwaite at this afternoon's home game with Mansfield Town.

Fans distributed 3,000 red cards to supporters before the game. Fans then held them up before kick off and again at half time as they also chanted for Smurthwaite to 'get out of our club'.

The protest was organised by the Vale Supporters' Club and the Black and Gold Group who asked fans to take part but also urged them to respect the views of those who didn't wish to protest.

The red cards issued were complete with a message on the back making clear to fans that the protests were against Smurthwaite and the running of the club rather than manager John Askey or his players.

Protestors want Smurthwaite to sell the club. The owner last week rejected a £3.5m biid from Kevin and Carol Shanahan, the owners of Burslem data firm Synectics Solutions.

Vale went into this afternoon's game third from bottom of the Football League, facing a Mansfield side who are third top.

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