STAGS FIGHT BACK FOR POINT, IN REPEAT OF LAST WEEK
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 2 Morecambe
Maynard 39, Rose 72. Preston sent off 82. Lavelle 5, Alessandra 21.
Attendance: 4465 (110 from Morecambe)
Date: 10 August 2019
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
In the first home league game of the new season, Mansfield Town put in a terrible first 35 minutes to find themselves 2 goals down to Morecambe this afternoon, before coming back to draw level at 2-2 and look favourites to win the game, but then a red card took the wind out of the Stags’ sails, and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it followed exactly the same pattern as the draw at Newport 7 days ago! A truly extraordinary start to the season.
Mansfield’s performance in the opening 35 minutes was a big worry. Last season Mansfield had the best defensive record in League Two, but cracks had been beginning to appear in pre-season with a catalogue of uncharacteristic defensive errors. And that has continued into the league season. It is no exaggeration to say that the Stags could have been 5-0 down here against Morecambe after 35 minutes. Lewis Alessandra had already shot inches wide of the right post (from the video, it was actually well-saved by Logan with his legs), before Morecambe took the lead after 5 minutes as John O’Sullivan crossed from the right to the far post where Sam Lavelle headed in, unmarked. Maybe the Stags were slightly unlucky there, as Krystian Pearce had been felled having been hit on the head by a powerful shot from Adam Buxton, and was still not back on his feet as the cross came in. After 19 minutes, the evergreen Kevin Ellison had a low shot from the edge of the box tipped around the post by Conrad Logan. After 21 minutes, Morecambe made it 2-0. Ellison curled a high ball from the halfway line on the left touchline into the middle where it bounced up and Alessandra headed over Logan from the edge of the area. In my opinion, no blame attached to Logan who was correctly positioned, but Pearce should have done better, allowing Alessandra to get in the header.
Last week at Newport, the Stags had started with a 3-5-2 formation and switched to 4-4-2 when they went 2-0 down. Here, the Stags started with a 4-4-2 formation and switched to 3-5-2 when they went 2-0 down.
The Stags nearly conceded again after 28 minutes when Adam Buxton tried an audacious shot from more than 60 yards, with a free kick from the edge of the centre circle in his own half, which crashed against the bar with Logan watching it all the way. A stroke of luck for Logan and the Stags. Magnificent effort from Adam Buxton.
The fightback after started after 39 minutes, when a good shot from Alex MacDonald from the edge of the D was parried by Morecambe veteran keeper Barry Roche against defender Steven Old and fell nicely for Nicky Maynard to tuck into the net from 5 yards. Maynard in the right place at the right time for his first Stags goal in a competitive game. Maynard could have equalised after 44 minutes when his shot from the left was deflected wide by the keeper. Into the second half, and Pearce sent a free header over the bar from a good corner from Otis Khan, then Benning had two efforts from more good Khan corners, firstly having a shot blocked then heading wide. Morecambe had a chance to increase the lead after 70 minutes as Stockton headed against the post and Logan did well to save the follow-up from Aaron Wildig.
The Stags were level after 72 minutes when MacDonald curled in a delightful cross from the left and Danny Rose thumped a header downwards and past the keeper into the net, for his second goal in two games. Rose was close to scoring again when headed onto the roof of the net after 79 minutes after Khan cut inside and his shot was blocked and looped up, and then seconds later Rose went close again with a magnificent piece of play, winning the ball, powering forward to the edge of the area and hitting the outside of the post with a great effort. This was the Rose of two years ago, a man possessed and it looked like he could win the game on his own.
But the wind was taken out of the Stags sails by a red card. Matt Preston, who had been booked in the first half for a lunging challenge, was over the top in a sliding challenge on Alessandra after 82 minutes and was given a straight red card. It was a ridiculous challenge, in a non-dangerous position on the touchline, especially given that he was already on a yellow card. Maynard had to be sacrificed, to bring on another defender in Sweeney. And later Rose, who looked Mansfield’s possible matchwinner, was very surprisingly taken off, with Andy Cook coming on. Cook had claims for a penalty in stoppage time, as MacDonald crossed from the right. From the pitchside video, it does appear that Cook’s shirt was pulled by Buxton, so Morecambe got away with one there.
So, another 2-2 draw. The Stags have to defend better than the shambolic defending of the first 35 minutes here and last week at Newport, and have to stop getting red cards. Then we’ll be in a position to start putting wins on the board.
On to Tuesday, and another game against Morecambe in the Carabao Cup. Just a note on Morecambe: always tipped to be near the bottom of the table, but today they were very impressive for long spells of the game.
John Dempster started with a 4-4-2 formation. He explained that the side had done well having switched from 3-5-2 when they went 2-0 down at Newport. Kellan Gordon started his first game, in place of Ryan Sweeney. Otis Khan came in for the suspended Mellis. Hayden White returned to the bench after his injury in pre-season.
Dempster got a good reception from the home fans for his first home league game as manager.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: 10 man Mansfield Town again have to battle back from two goals down for a draw against Morecambe
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 10 August 2019
Gutsy Mansfield Town again had to come back from 2-0 down for a 2-2 draw and again had a man sent off as they were held at home by a battling Morecambe this afternoon.
In another thriller similar to the 2-2 draw at Newport last week, the visitors came out on the front foot and after Sam Lavelle had headed them into a fourth minute lead, Lewis Alessandra made it 2-0 on 21 minutes while Adam Buxton also hit the home bar from his own half.
Nicky Maynard finally put the rattled Stags back in the game on 39 minutes and, after Morecambe had hit a post, Danny Rose hauled them deservedly level on 72 minutes.
But Stags’ fruitless late push for a winner was hampered by a needless red card for Matt Preston on 82 minutes.
The Mansfield side showed two changes and a tweak in formation for the opening home League Two fixture of the season.
Making his competitive home debut as a manager, John Dempster elected to go 4-4-2.
That saw Kellan Gordon in at right back with Ryan Sweeney dropped to the bench and Otis Khan came into the midfield in place of the suspended Jacob Mellis.
White had shaken off his hamstring injury enough to take a place on the bench.
Morecambe had former Stags defender Ritchie Sutton on the bench.
A minute’s silence was held before the kick-off in memory of Mansfield teenager Ryan Peters, who was fatally stabbed last week.
Stags started well and, after Rose had won a header to help the ball on, Khan saw a shot deflect wide in the opening minute.
The visitors replied with a corner of their own on four minutes which saw Alessandra’s low shot from a tight angle on the left deflect wide of the target.
But a few seconds later the Shrimps were ahead as O’Sullivan floated a tempting cross to the far post where Lavelle was able to power in a close range header.
Stags were struggling to get their game going and the visitors came close again on 19 minutes.
O’Sullivan cut inside from the right and angled a fine pass down the centre to Ellison and the veteran’s low finish had to turned round by Logan’s fingertips.
But the warning was not heeded and two minutes later it was 2-0.
Hamilton lost the ball on the right and Ellison looked up and curled a superb long ball into the box where Alessandra stole in to get his head to the ball before the advancing Logan and find the empty net.
Stockton fired over from 25 yards as the visitors continued to come forward.
Buxton almost made it 3-0 with a sensational effort from his own half. A free kick was rolled to him in the centre circle and he lashed it upfield and over Logan only to see it rattle the crossbar.
Preston was booked for bringing down Wildig as the visitors tried to execute a breakaway on 36 minutes as the visitors continued to impress.
Stags needed a foothold in the game and it finally came on 39 minutes from the home side’s first shot on target.
A clearance reached MacDonald 20 yards out and his powerful shot was blocked by Roche only to see Maynard on hand to tuck away the loose ball from five yards as it ricocheted towards him.
A minute from the break a long Logan clearance found Maynard whose goalwards flick saw Roche get enough of a touch to make sure it bobbled wide.
Pearce almost levelled within four minute of the restart. Maynard’s skill saw him win a corner from which Pearce headed just over the near angle.
Buxton was booked for halting Hamilton in full flight on 50 minutes.
A minute later a Khan free kick saw Bishop guide his header just over too.
Bishop then sent Khan to the left by-line, but no one was there to put away his low cross.
A great move on 69 minutes saw Maynard feed Gordon on the right and his dangerous low first time cross cut by Lavelle out before it could reach Rose.
A minute later poor defending allowed the ball to reach Stockton who headed against the post - a let-off for the home side.
Instead it was 2-2 on 72 minutes. MacDonald put over a superb cross from the right and Rose buried an unstoppable header from six yards.
Mansfield began to look for a winner and Maynard sent a close range header straight at Roche from Bishop’s cross.
A deflected Khan cross then sailed temptingly towards Rose, whose header finished on top of the net.
Great work from Rose saw him win the ball, make space and lash a low shot just wide on 80 minutes.
With eight minutes left Stags were again down to 10 men for the second game in a row as Preston was shown a straight red card.
Already in the book, he launched into a needless lunge on Alessandra which merited a straight red.
Maynard was sacrificed for defender Sweeney while the excellent Rose was replaced by Cook for a last push.
In the four added minutes Cook had his shirt tugged in the box, but no penalty was given and Cook was booked for his protests as the points were shared in the end.
MANSFIELD: Logan; Gordon, Pearce, Preston, Benning; Hamilton, Bishop, MacDonald, Khan; Maynard (Sweeney 84), Rose (Cook 87). Subs: Stone, White, Donohue, Sterling-James, Smith.
MORECAMBE: Roche, Buxton, Conlan, Old, Tutte (Kenyon 75), O’Sullivan (Cranston 67), Alessandra, Stockton (Miller 75), Ellison, Wildig, Lavelle. Subs: Halstead, Sutton, Oates, Brownsworld.
REFEREE: Christopher Pollard of Bury St Edmunds.
ATTENDANCE: 4,465 (110 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Rose.
Morecambe squandered two-goal advantage at Mansfield Town
thevisitor.co.uk, by DEREK QUINN
Mansfield Town 2 Morecambe 2
The Shrimps secured their first point of the season with a battling display at Mansfield Town.
Jim Bentley’s side produced a much better performance than they did in the opening-day defeat against Grimsby.
The only disappointment for the Shrimps was the fact they failed to hold on to an early two-goal lead, although they did have some misfortune as they hit the woodwork twice as they looked a force going forward.
Morecambe started the game on the front foot with Sam Lavelle heading them into a fourth minute lead and Lewis Alessandra making it 2-0 on 21 minutes.
Adam Buxton then hit the home bar with an amazing effort from his own half which could have killed the game off, before Mansfield hit back with a Nicky Maynard goal just before the break and a 72nd-minute header from Danny Rose to level proceedings.
Mansfield started brightly with Otis Khan trying his luck from the edge of the box but it was Morecambe who struck early when John O’Sullivan put in a superb cross from the right and Lavelle beat his marker to head past Conrad Logan from about six yards out.
Morecambe always looked dangerous on the break and added a second two minutes later.
Kevin Ellison was in the thick of things again with a tempting crossfield ball that caused confusion for Logan and central defender Krystian Pearce and as they hesitated Alessandra nipped in between the two to head into the empty net.
After Buxton hit the bar, Mansfield made the most of it, pulling one back six minutes from the break.
The ball landed at the feet of Alex MacDonald and, despite his effort being palmed away by keeper Barry Roche, it rebounded towards poacher Maynard, who was in the right place at the right time to score from close range.
In the second half, the Shrimps were denied by the woodwork again on 71 minutes with the unlucky Cole Stockton heading against the foot of the post.
As so often happens in football the opponents made the most of their good fortune and levelled on 72 minutes through as Rose with a fine heade.
Mansfield looked to be on the front foot but ill discipline cost them as Matt Preston was shown a straight red card for a reckless, and needless, challenge on Alessandra with eight minutes to go.
MANSFIELD: Logan, Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop, MacDonald, Khan, Maynard (Sweeney 84), Gordon, Hamilton, Rose (Cook 88). Unused Subs: Stone, White, Donohue, Sterling-James, Smith.
MORECAMBE: Roche, Buxton, Conlan, Old, Tutte (Kenyon 76), O’Sullivan (Cranston 67), Alessandra, Stockton (Miller 76’), Ellison, Wildig, Lavelle. Unused subs: Halstead (GK), Sutton, Oates, Brownsword.
REFEREE: Chris Pollard.