INEPT STAGS BEATEN AT HOME BY CREWE
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Crewe Alexandra
Pearce 90+2. Ainley 71, 84.
Attendance: 4675 (247 from Crewe)
Date: 23 March 2019
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 at home by Crewe this afternoon in a performance that manager David Flitcroft described afterwards as “inept” and “almost like a testimonial game”. It was 0-0 in an even first half that featured little in the way of goalmouth action. There was a possible penalty for the Stags after 23 minutes as Matt Preston volleyed in a shot from a Jorge Grant corner. It was going wide when it hit Paul Green on the arm and rebounded away. From studying the incident from our pitchside camera, Green’s arm was tucked into his side as the ball hit him and hence it would have been harsh to give a penalty. At half time, it felt like the Stags needed to go up a gear, and they should have gone in front just after the break with great play from Jorge Grant to put a ball down the line for Tyler Walker who put in a great cross from the right for half time substitute Nicky Ajose, who had a free header and with the whole goal to aim at, inexplicably dived under the ball and completely missed it. Instead of going up a gear, the Stags got worse as Crewe got on top and they scored twice with uncharacteristic poor defending from Mansfield. First on 71 minutes, Crewe substitute Callum Ainley was given far too much time in the box to turn and fire under Jordan Smith, as the Stags missed chances to clear the ball. Then on 84 minutes, more calamitous defending as Krystian Pearce lost the ball, Crewe broke forward and Ainley scored again. In between the two goals, Jacob Mellis had a glorious challenge to equalise with a free shot inside the box but he slipped as he shot and put the ball well over the bar. Mansfield pulled a goal back two minutes into stoppage time as Pearce bundled the ball into the net in a scramble following a corner, but it was too little too late. The Stags simply didn’t play well enough to warrant anything from the game and got worse as the game went on, with Crewe getting better and they ending up deserved winners. With MK Dons beating Yeovil, the Stags drop out of the top three, three points behind MK Dons with 7 games to go. In addition, Tranmere also won, away to Colchester, and are now just two points behind Mansfield with a game in hand. The Stags have picked a really bad time to go on a bad run of 2 wins, 2 draws and 4 defeats in the last 8 games. Mansfield go to Exeter next week, and must bounce back.
Mansfield made just one change to the side that drew with Lincoln on Monday, and that was in goal where Jordan Smith returned in place of Conrad Logan. Logan missed out after his mistake in conceding the penalty against Lincoln. No other changes in the Mansfield 18.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town 1-2 Crewe Alexandra - Stags slip out of automatic promotion places in League Two
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 23 March 2019
Crewe Alexandra sub Callum Ainley sent Mansfield Town tumbling out of the top three promotion places with a second half brace as Stags suffered an ill-timed 2-1 home defeat this afternoon. Ainley struck on 71 and 84 minutes with Krystian Pearce’s stoppage time reply coming too late to save the day. Crewe’s away form has been much improved of late and with nothing to play for but pride, they proved more than a match for Mansfield, who failed to seriously test keeper Ben Garratt all afternoon. Mansfield did have a couple of efforts cleared off the line in the first half. But serious chances were few and far between in a cagey, tense affair. With rivals MK Dons and Tranmere Rovers both winning, the tension is raised for the final seven game run-in. The Mansfield side showed just one change from Monday’s home draw with leaders Lincoln City with Jordan Smith back in goal in place of Conrad Logan. With key centre half and skipper George Ray suspended, Crewe made two changes from the side that beat Crawley 6-1 last weekend with Aaron Taylor-Sinclair making his full debut in place of the injured Harry Pickering and James Jones replacing Charlie Kirk, who drops to the bench. The Crewe side included ex-Stags defender Nicky Hunt. Mansfield dominated the early possession with some nice flowing passing but were unable to get into the Crewe box at the end of it. It took 12 minutes for either goal to be threatened as an Ng cross curled dangerously wide of the home far post. The first corner came on 15 minutes as Benning floated it to the far post where Bishop nodded it back into the mix and keeper Garratt safely smothered. Stags looked to break from the visitors’ first corner four minutes later and had Grant’s crossfield pass been more accurate Hamilton would have been clean through. Stags had a big shout for a penalty from their second corner on 24 minutes as Grant’s kick was cleared to Sutton whose shot was blocked by Green, home players claiming handball, but the referee played on.
The first save of the game came on 29 minutes as Porter’s clever flick gave Bowery sight of goal 18 yards out, but Smith was comfortably down to grab his shot. Ng saw the game’s first booking on 34 minutes after halting a Stags break by felling Mellis. On 37 minutes a low Hamilton cross was just out of the reach of the incoming Walker and, seconds later, Crewe suffered the same fate as Green drilled low and wide of the far post with Porter sliding in too late to make contact. Another raid on the Crewe goal saw Hamilton’s shot hooked off the line by Nolan and a Mellis volley blocked as a tight half ended goalless. Mansfield made a switch for the second half with Ajose on for Jones and Hamilton dropping back to right back. And Ajose almost made an immediate impact but failed to make contact with an attempt at a diving header from a Walker cross. On 49 minutes tempers flared as Bishop and Green clashed with Bishop ending up being knocked over. Players piled in and as the dust settled both players were shown a yellow card. A neat Stags move down the right ended up with Hamilton firing well over the far angle. Preston was booked for bringing down Porter on 57 minutes and, seconds later, Nolan’s rugby tackle on Walker saw the card produced again and Benning curl his free kick wide. Within two minutes Pearce was also booked for bringing down Porter as he skipped pat him. Bowery found himself in space on the left on 62 minutes with Stags looking for an offside flag, but he curled his finish well wide of the far post. MacDonald replaced Grant in the home midfield on 62 minutes. Ajose was too high on a home break on 64 minutes as Garratt remained untested. A hack at Ajose saw Taylor-Sinclair become the fourth Crewe man in the book on 67 minutes. Crewe then stunned the Stags as they grabbed a 71st minute lead. Sub Ainley, only on the pitch for nine minutes, had his back to goal eight yards out surrounded by defenders but managed to turn and make space to steer a low finish under Smith. On 75 minutes Mellis slipped at the vital moment to fire over from 18 yards from Bishop’s pulled back pass. With Stags desperate for a goal, Benning was sacrificed to bring on Khan on 76 minutes. But a mistake by Pearce on 84 minutes saw Crewe double their lead. Pearce lost the ball to Lowery, who raced forward and fed Ainley to his right for a low finish inside the far post. In the first of six added minutes Bishop poked the ball goalwards but Garratt easily gathered. But on 92 minutes Pearce managed to force the ball over the line from a scramble after a corner to raise faint hopes of a point, keeper Garratt booked for then holding on to the ball as the afternoon ended in bitter disappointment.
STAGS: J. Smith; Preston, Pearce, Sweeney; Jones (Ajose HT), Bishop, Grant (MacDonald 62), Mellis, Benning (Khan 76); Walker, Hamilton. Subs not used: Logan, Tomlinson, Turner, A. Smith.
CREWE: Garratt, Ng, Porter, Jones (Ainley 62), Bowery (Miller 81), Nolan, Wintle, Green, Finney (Lowery 81), Hunt, Taylor-Sinclair. Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Nicholls, Dale, Kirk.
REFEREE: Thomas Bramall of Sheffield. ATTENDANCE: 4,675 (247 away). CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Preston.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/match-report-mansfield-town-1-2-crewe-alexandra-stags-slip-out-of-automatic-promotion-places-in-league-two-1-9668471
Mansfield Town 1 Crewe Alex 2: A brilliant win on the road
Sports editor PETER MORSE reports from Field Mill
23 MAR 2019
Two goals from sub Callum Ainley earned Crewe Alex a super away win for Crewe Alex at Mansfield Town on Saturday.
The attacker came off the bench in the second half for the Railwaymen and got both goals in their third away win of the season.
Mansfield bundled a late consolation home through skipper Krystian Pearce in injury time, but they went down to just a third home loss of the season.
The victory has lifted Crewe to 12th in the table, and made it just one defeat in seven games on the road.
There were two changes to the Crewe Alex team to face Mansfield Town.
One of them was enforced, as Harry Pickering missed out through injury and was replaced at left-back by loan man Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who made his full debut.
The other switch saw James Jones come back into the starting team at the expense of Charlie Kirk.
The average age of the Alex side was 27.5 - surely the oldest for a long time!
As expected, keeper Will Jaaskelainen was among the subs - but was the only defender of any description!
The rest of the subs had a distinctly attacking look about them, in Alex Nicholls, Callum Ainley, Shaun Miller, Owen Dale, Kirk and Tom Lowery.
The Stags made one change, with keeper Jordan Smith being recalled in place of Conrad Logan.
There was nothing to choose between the sides in an intriguing first half.
A tactical chess match ensued early on, as the Alex's 4-4-2 tried to get to grips with the home side's 5-2-3.
Neither keeper had a great deal to do, although Paul Green had to hack off the line at one stage and there were a couple of alarming moments as Ben Garratt had to come and punch clear, while at the other end Jordan Bowery forced a decent save from Smith and Paul Green's cross0-shot was only inches from being turned in at the far post by Porter.
It was slightly scrappy on a poor-quality surface, but there was plenty of evidence to suggest the Alex could put a spoke in the works of the Stags' promotion bid.
It was an even start to the second half, although Town sub Nicky Ajose went close to an immediate impact only to slip when the goal gaped.
The hosts had changed their formation to match Crewe's, and the sides cancelled each other out for a time.
But that changed when Ainley came on after the hour mark. He added pace and purpose, and made the breakthrough on 71 minutes after a great move involving Biowery, Taylor-Sinclair, Green and Oliver Finney ended with the ball at his feet, and his shot on the turn beat Smith from close in.
The game opened up as Town looked for a way back, but it was 2-0 on 84 minutes.
A Stags attack broke down and sub Tom Lowery powered down the middle before releasing a perfectly timed pass for Ainley who drilled it across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
That took the wind out of Mansfield sails as their supporters headed for the exits.
Pearce forced the ball home from close range after Garratt had made a great save from a corner, but it was academic.
Mansfield (5-2-3): Smith; Preston , Pearce, Sweeney; Jones (Ajose 46 mins), Bishop,; Mellis, Grant (MacDonald 63mins); Benning (Khan 76 mins), Hamilton, Walker.
Subs not used: Logan, Tomlinson, Turner, Smith.
Crewe (4-3-1-2): Garratt; Ng, Nolan, Hunt, Taylor-Sinclair; Wintle; Finney (Lowey 81 mins), Green; Jones (Ainley 64 mins); Bowery (Miller 81 mins), Porter.
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Nicholls, Dale, Kirk.
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Latest | March 2019