STAGS DRAW IN EFL TROPHY BUT LOSE SHOOT-OUT
English Football League Trophy - Leasing.com Trophy
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Crewe Alexandra Crewe win penalty shoot-out 4-3 for an extra point
Knowles 18. Finney 45.
Attendance: 800 (39 from Crewe)
Date: 8 October 2019
KNOWLES STUNNING GOAL AS STAGS DRAW IN EFL TROPHY BUT LOSE SHOOT-OUT
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town drew 1-1 with Crewe Alexandra at the One Call Stadium in the group stages of the EFL Trophy (now named Leasing.com Trophy, formerly Checkatrade Trophy). There was then a penalty shoot-out for an extra point, which Crewe won 4-3, so Crewe came away from the game with two points and Mansfield one point. Mansfield play at Burton in the remaining game in the group stages where a win in 90 minutes will ensure Mansfield progress to the next round (see note * below).
Both sides made wholesale changes from their last league game, Mansfield made ten changes from Saturday’s win at Grimsby, while Crewe made 8 changes.
The Stags took the lead after 18 minutes when 17 year old Stags youth team striker Jimmy Knowles was gifted the ball on the edge of the area by a stray square ball from Crewe’s Owen Dale, Knowles took a couple of touches to steady himself and slammed a wonderful shot past the keeper into the net. It was a stunning strike from Knowles for his first goal in first team football.
Crewe were level in bizarre fashion after 45 minutes. Callum Ainley on the left wing played the ball inside to Oli Finney. Finney, from just inside the area on the left, only a couple of yards from the byline, smashed a cross-shot between Bobby Olejnik and the near post and into the net from an incredibly tight angle. From my position in the West Stand, I thought it had gone into the side netting, and I was just trying to work out if the officials would give a goal-kick or a corner. There was general confusion, and for example the Crewe official twitter feed immediately tweeted that the ball had gone into the side netting. The referee and his assistant seemed unsure what had happened, and the assistant signalled a goal kick, but they eventually gave the goal, correctly. I was grateful for chairman John Radford, watching the game live on iFollow Stags, as he always does when he and Carolyn are not at the game in person, for sending me the video of the goal at half time to clear up my utter confusion. Aside from the confusion, Olejnik on his return to the side, will be disappointed to be beaten at his near post.
Other than the two goals, the best chance of the half fell to Mansfield, as Alistair Smith sprayed a great ball out to the right to James Clarke, Clarke’s low ball into the middle found Knowles who turned and shot, the keeper parried his shot up in the air, it was headed out by defender Travis Johnson to Andy Cook who blasted a volley goalwards from 8 yards and it was somehow turned over the bar by the keeper. Cook so close to his first goal for the Stags.
Crewe passed the ball around nicely, but only provided Olejnik with a couple of easy saves.
Into the second half, and the Stags were so close to regaining the lead after 56 minutes when Smith did well to hold off Paul Green on the halfway line and slid a superb defence-splitting ball forward into the path of Knowles who took a touch to go around the keeper but as he did the ball ricocheted off his other foot and away from him for a goal kick with the empty goal gaping. Such a shame for Knowles who looked as though he couldn’t believe it.
After that, neither side came close to winning it until the very last kick of the game when Crewe sub Charlie Kirk curled a shot wide from a tight angle on the left. A flat second half, and 1-1 was a fair result.
On to the penalty shoot out for an extra point. Olejnik saved Crewe’s first kick, from Perry Ng. But Andy Cook smashed his penalty straight down the middle against the keeper’s legs and away, and Alistair Smith hit the left post, as Crewe scored their remaining kicks to win the shoot out 4-3 and claim the extra point. The Stags have now lost all three penalty shoot outs this season, all at home, and four on the trot at home, if you count the play-off semi-final from the end of last season.
The main positives for the Stags were the performance and goal of Knowles, a strong defensive display from the back three of Matt Preston, Conor Shaughnessy and Ryan Sweeney, and the return from injury after 10 months out for Bobby Olejnik. The Stags return to the league on Saturday as Oldham visit the One Call Stadium. It’s so important that Mansfield build on that morale-boosting last gasp win at Grimsby and put together back-to-back victories.
A couple of statistical notes, the attendance of 800 was the equal lowest at Field Mill for any competitive Stags first team game, equalling the 800 against Torquay United in the football league in March 1939.
And Jimmy Knowles, at 17 years, 256 days, became the Stags' youngest goal scorer in the EFL Trophy, and the sixth youngest in any first team game in the club’s history. Ian Stringfellow was the youngest player to score a first team goal for the Stags, at 17 years 145 days, in 1986 against Gillingham (goalscoring stat from Paul Taylor).
(note *) That is because if Mansfield win at Burton in 90 minutes, they will have 5 points. If Crewe beat Everton U21, Crewe and Everton U21 will also have 5 points. However Mansfield will be guaranteed to have a better goal difference than one of them. If Crewe don’t beat Everton U21, then Mansfield would be second in the group on points behind Everton U21. If Mansfield don’t beat Burton, they will go out.
Mansfield made ten changes from the side that won at Grimsby. Ryan Sweeney was the only starter from Saturday. Matt Preston was available in the EFL Trophy despite being still suspended for one more game in the league. Preston was installed as captain. Bobby Olejnik returned to the side after being out for 10 months, which was great news. Jacob Mellis was on the bench, having not started since the Crawley game. Mellis though had to go off, a precaution with a tight hamstring having come on as sub. Young Kian Sketchley, a left back from last season’s youth team, was an unused sub. He played in the first team pre-season friendly at Alfreton. Omari Sterling-James was not available as he is on international duty for Saint Kitts and Nevis this weekend.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town again lose Trophy penalties shoot-out after draw with Crewe
CHAD.CO.UK, JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 08 October 2019
Mansfield Town once again lost a penalty shoot-out after drawing 1-1 in the Leasing.com Trophy as Crewe Alexandra came away from the One Call Stadium with the extra point from tonight’s group game.
Stags had done exactly the same in their opening group game with Everton U21s.
Crewe, playing their usual attractive passing game, were the better side over 90 minutes, though there were few chances in a poor second half for either side.
Teenage striker Jimmy Knowles certainly enjoyed his night with a spectacular first senior goal for the Stags to put them ahead on 18 minutes, only for a deflected Oli Finney cross to somehow creep in just before the break with both sides and the fans initially believing it has hit the sidenetting in a truly surreal moment.
In the end, penalty misses by Andy Cook and Alistair Smith left Stags needing a win in the final group game at Burton to hope they can stay in the competition.
It was still a useful work-out for a mostly second string Stags with defenders Matt Preston and Ryan Sweeney rock solid and striker Dapo Afolayan having a very impressive first half.
The attendance of 800 equalled the lowest ever gate at Field Mill for any competitive Stags game, which had been the 800 who watched Torquay United’s visit in the Football League on 8th March 1939.
Goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik, at least made his long-awaited return among 10 changes.
Olejnik had been sidelined since December with an serious knee injury, and more recently a dislocated finger.
Despite being suspended for league matters, defender Preston was eligible to start the match at centre half.
Young defender James Clarke was at right wing back, with Smith and Willem Tomlinson the central midfielders.
Forwards Afolayan, Cook and Knowles led the line for the Stags with Afolayan making his full debut.
Crewe, managed by ex-Stags defender Dave Artell, also made eight changes for the game.
Ainley was too high from distance and Olejnik was down safely to clutch a low 18-yard shot from Finney on five minutes as the visitors started positively.
Olejnik then had to scramble across to turn a low 30-yard effort by Wintle round the post.
Clarke was on target for Mansfield but shot tamely to Richards while Anene headed straight at Okejnik from an Adebisi cross.
But a Crewe mistake gifted young Knowles an opening that he buried for his first senior Mansfield goal on 18 minutes.
Dale’s misplaced pass reached Knowles 14 yards and central and he looked up and simply buried an unstoppable blast past a helpless Richards.
Ainley’s shot from distance on 20 minutes was easy for Olejnik who was then more fortunate when some pinball after a Crewe corner ended up with the ball in his hands off Anene.
Finney then started and almost finished a powerful surge forward, his shot on the turn deflected just over.
On 25 minutes a lovely ball out wide from Smith got Stags on the move again and Crewe were fortunate as both Knowles and Cook had goalbound blasts blocked after Clarke had whipped the ball in low.
Cook’s challenge on Nolan on 27 minutes left the defender holding his face and the Stags man shown a yellow card.
Johnson joined him three minutes later for his foul on Hamilton.
Preston made a crucial block on Anene’s attempted finish on 33 minutes.
Crewe were suddenly level on 45 minutes in the most bizarre of circumstances.
Finney was on the left of the box and saw his attempted cross seem to deflect off a defender towards the sidenetting. No one reacted from either side as the ball suddenly bounced inside the goal and everyone assumed it had somehow got through the sidenetting.
But the referee spoke with his assistant and finally confirmed it had squeezed in legally and the goal was given to the home side’s bemusement.
After a scrappy start to the second half Mellis was sent on for Tomlinson on 52 minutes.
Three minutes later Knowles might have doubled his tally when sent clean through by Smith’s fine pass, but after sidestepping the keeper he lost control of the ball and it rolled harmlessly out of play.
Mellis needed treatment after a knock after, after trying to run it off, was replaced by Benning on 71 minutes after only 19 minutes on the pitch.
Khan then took over from Knowles for the last seven minutes with the game having gone flat and seemingly heading for penalties.
NG tried his luck from distance with four to go but was too high.
On 87 minutes Finney tumbled in the box under the challenge of Sweeney but was booked for the dive as he looked for an unlikely penalty.
Smith sent Hamilton away in added time but Johnson did well to slide in and rob him for a corner that Sweeney nodded over.
The final act of the game was Kirk going narrowly wide of the far post after a neat move on the break which left us with penalties.
Hamilton took the first and stroked it home down the centre with Olejnik guessing right to keep out Ng’s low effort to give Stags an early advantage.
However, Cook then blazed his straight at Richards’ legs and Jones was able to level, sending Olejnik the wrong way.
Afolayan made it 2-1 to Stags, sending Richards the wrong way before Pickering did the same to Olejnik for 2-2.
Smith’s spot kick then hit the post before Finney only just beat Olejkin’s fingertips to put Crewe ahead.
Benning calmly kept Stags in it with a cool finish, but Kirk’s was equally as impressive as he rolled it inside the right post to seal a 4-3 shoot-out win.
STAGS: Olejnik, Preston, Shaughnessy, Sweeney, Clarke, Tomlinson (Mellis 52, Benning 71), Smith, Hamilton, Afolayan, Cook, Knowles (Khan 83). SUBS NOT USED: Stone, Maynard, Gordon, Sketchley.
CREWE: Richards, Ng, Wintle, Nolan, Ainley, Green (Jones 76), Finney, Anene (Kirk 83), Dale (Pickering 83)), Johnson, Adebisi. SUBS NOT USED: Booth, Porter, Hunt, Lundstram.
REFEREE: James Oldham of Derbyshire.
ATTENDANCE: 800 (39 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: RYAN SWEENEY.
Mansfield Town 1 Crewe Alex 1: Railwaymen win 4-3 on pens
By Peter Morse, 8 OCT 2019
Crewe Alex kept their hopes of progressing in the Leasing.com Trophy alive with a penalties win at Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.
The game ended 1-1 after normal time, after Oliver Finney's first for the club cancelled out a Jimmy Knowles opener.
And when it went to spot-kicks, sub Charlie Kirk kept his nerve to give the Alex a 4-3 success and keep them in contention in Northern Group E.
It leaves Crewe on two points after two games, and they will need to beat Everton under 21s in the final game at Gresty Road if they are to reach the knockout stages.
David Artell made eight changes to his side to face Mansfield Town tonight.
Eddie Nolan, Ryan Wintle and Owen Dale were the only trio to survive the cull, as Dave Richards, Rio Adebisi, Paul Green, Perry Ng, Oliver Finney, Callum Ainley and Chuma Anene came in.
Last, but not least, was 19-year-old Travis Johnson, who made his debut for the club.
The home side trumped the Alex by making 10 changes, with defender Ryan Sweeney the only Stags player to stay in the side from their league game on Saturday.
Ex-Alex favourite Nicky Maynard was amongst the subs.
Crewe started the brighter side, with Ainley in particular looking a threat. But a lapse in concentration from Dale on 17 minutes gifted the Stags the opener.
He passed the ball across the face of his own goal and Knowles intercepted before rattling past Richards.
There were half-chances at both ends, with Andy Cook going close for the home side and Anene threatening for the visitors.
But Crewe got level in bizarre circumstances on the stroke of half time when Ainley played Finney in down the left, he beat a man and then looked to have hit the side netting with a shot.
However, as the players stood looking confused and the referee consulted with an assistant, it turned out to be a keeping error from Bobby Olejnik and the shot had flown in.
Chances were even fewer and further between in the second half. Mansfield bossed the opening stages but rarely truly threatened Richards' goal, and when they did get through late on a brilliant recovery tackle from Johnson stopped CJ Hamilton in his tracks.
At the other end subs Pickering and Kirk made a big difference and Kirk almost won it with the final kick. But he floated it wide and it went to spot-kicks.
Ng missed, but James Jones, Finney, Pickering and Kirk were successful, with Richards making one save and another hitting the post to give Crewe a 4-3 win.
Mansfield (3-4-3): Olejnik; Preston, Shaughnessy, Sweeney; Clarke, Tomlinson (Mellis 51 mins (Benning 71 mins)), Smith, Hamilton; Cook, Afolayan, Knowles (Khan 83 mins).
Subs not used: Stone, Maynard, Gordon, Sketchley.
Crewe (4-3-3): Richards; Johnson, Ng, Nolan, Adebisi (Pickering 83 mins); Green (Jones 76 mins), Wintle, Finney; Dale (Kirk 83 mins), Anene, Ainley.
Subs not used: Booth, Porter, Hunt, Lundstram.
Referee: James Oldham.