COOK DOUBLE RESCUES DRAW AT FOREST GREEN
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Forest Green Rovers 2 - 2 Mansfield Town
Collins 30, Aitchison 62. Cook 63, 75.
Attendance: 2276 (309 from Mansfield)
Date: 19 October 2019
Martin Shaw at The New Lawn
Mansfield Town rescued a point in a 2-2 draw at Forest Green Rovers this afternoon thanks to two goals from substitute Andy Cook, his first goals for the club. For the first hour of this game, Forest Green were very good while the Stags were terrible.
The first half was particularly one-sided. The Stags came nowhere near close to troubling Forest Green keeper Lewis Thomas, while Conrad Logan was forced into three fine saves. But Logan was beaten after 30 minutes as Aaron Collins let fly with a left-footed drive from 25 yards and the ball seemed to swerve markedly away from Logan and into the bottom left corner of the net. After the game Stags boss John Dempster, who would have been right behind it, explained that it had actually taken a deflection.
After that dreadful first half, with too many players off their game, the Stags brought on Andy Cook at half time as a partner for Nicky Maynard. But after Logan had made his fourth save of the game, Forest Green deservedly made it 2-0 after 62 minutes with Jack Aitchison turning and shooting from the edge of the D into the bottom left corner of the net.
The game seemed up but Andy Cook had other ideas. Just a minute later, Mal Benning sent a great ball over the top down the left for Otis Khan to run on to, Khan controlled the ball on the byline and chipped a fabulous ball into the middle for Cook who rose highest and headed down into the net from 4 yards. Mansfield were at last in the game. Nicky Maynard volleyed over the bar after 67 minutes. And the Stags were level after 75 minutes. Neal Bishop knocked the ball forward to the edge of the area where Cook showed brute strength to hold off defender Farrend Rawson and get in a shot which somehow squirmed through keeper Thomas and trickled over the line. A goalkeeping howler but reward for Cook doing well to get the shot in.
2-2 and it was anyone’s game now. Both sides had a chance to win it. After 79 minutes, Forest Green sub Elliott Freer had a clear sight of goal inside the area but sent his shot well off target. Then on 85 minutes, Cook nearly had an extraordinary hat-trick as Conor Shaughnessy headed the ball forward to him just outside the area, Cook chested down and on the turn volleyed left-footed towards the bottom right corner of the net. It took a slight deflection and the keeper just got down to it and pushed it wide. That was a superb effort from Cook.
In truth that would have been an outrageous case of daylight robbery had the Stags stolen it. But great character nonetheless from the Stags to come back from two goals down to rescue a point. Forest Green were impressive, knocking the ball around very well, and will bemoan how they let the 3 points slip due to that goalkeeping howler. The point for Mansfield meanwhile keeps the mini-run going, 7 points from 3 games, and they will look for 3 more points at home to Salford City on Tuesday night at the One Call Stadium.
Mansfield were forced into three changes from the side that beat Oldham 6-1. Ryan Sweeney was suspended for picking up his fifth booking of the season. Back came Matt Preston to replace him after a four game suspension. Danny Rose and Alex MacDonald missed out through injury. Rose had gone off injured against Oldham but returned to training on Thursday, a training session in which he rolled his ankle and he will now be out for 4-6 weeks. Very bad news for Rose, who’s had a really good season albeit having tailed off a little in recent matches. Bad news for Mansfield too of course, though the news is tempered slightly by the excellent performance of Andy Cook today as substitute. Also out through injury was Alex MacDonald, with a hip injury. MacDonald is expected to return to training on Monday so should not be out for long. MacDonald has been in fine form in recent weeks and was a big miss today. Rose and MacDonald were replaced by CJ Hamilton and Willem Tomlinson. During the first half commentary I mentioned that I was surprised that John Dempster hadn’t simply gone for a like-for-like replacement of Rose with Cook to start the game. After the game, Cook admitted he was not match fit, but you only get match fit by playing games. Dempster had in fact set out with a 4-3-3 formation with Hamilton and Khan either side of Maynard up front, the intention being to press Forest Green high. But it turned out that Maynard was isolated up front in the first half and in essence it was more of a 4-5-1 formation which didn’t work at all, hence a change at half time bringing on Andy Cook and switching to 4-4-2. In the first half, the midfield three for the Stags was Shaughnessy, Bishop and Tomlinson. The Stags bench had a youthful look to it, including Jimmy Knowles, Alistair Smith, and James Clarke. Omari- Sterling-James returned to the 18 after international duty. Jacob Mellis remained out with a hamstring injury that forced him off in the EFL Trophy game against Crewe, though it is hoped he will be back training within a week.
MATCH REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: Andy Cook off the mark with crucial brace as Mansfield Town fight back for battling draw at Forest Green Rovers
chad.co.uk, by Agency, Saturday 19 October 2019
Sub Andy Cook picked the perfect time to open his Mansfield Town goals account with a brilliant brace as the battling Stags fought back from two behind to snatch a fine 2-2 away draw at high-flying Forest Green Rovers this afternoon.
Aaron Collins stunning 30th minute strike and Jack Aitchison’s goal just after the hour back looked to have condemned the Stags to a fifth league defeat of the campaign at the New Lawn.
But forward Cook had other ideas as he scored twice in the space of 11 crazy second half minutes as the visitors stretched their promising unbeaten run to three games.
On-song keeper Conrad Logan pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep the visitors in the contest as John Dempster’s side backed up fine wins over Grimsby and Oldham in their last two league outings.
Dempster made three changes to his side that hammered the Latics 6-1 in their last league outing.
Defender Matt Preston made a welcome return to the starting line-up having served his four-match suspension.
He replaced Ryan Sweeney in the heart of the defence with his fellow centre-back suspended having accumulated five yellow cards.
Wing-back Hayden White also missed out through suspension.
Top scorer Danny Rose was also missing after suffering an ankle injury in training on Thursday, with winger CJ Hamilton handed the chance to shine away from home.
The other change was midfielder Alex MacDonald, who has a hip injury, replaced by Willem Tomlinson as the visitors looked to keep their promising unbeaten run going.
Rovers started brightly and forward Matt Stevens rifled a long-distance shot past Logan’s post before a minute later the keeper denied goalscorer Collins with a smart block.
But then Collins found the back of the net with a thunderous long-range rocket which left Logan no chance. It was the 22-year-old Welshman’s third goal in five games.
Defender Dominic Bernard headed into the side netting as the hosts pushed for a second goal, then Logan denied Liam Shephard with a fine save 10 minutes before the break.
However, Aitchison rifled home from 25 yards to double the lead on 61 minutes to seemingly leave the Stags with a mountain to climb.
But Cook, who had replaced Tomlinson at half-time, valiantly came to their rescue to finally open his account for the club.
His first was a lovely header from Otis Khan’s pinpoint cross just two minutes after the hosts had extended their advantage.
Then his second was a sweetly-taken volley which squirmed under keeper Lewis Thomas on 74 minutes to grab a deserved share of the spoils.
Cook might even have won it with a hat-trick but saw Thomas scramble across his line to save his 85th minute shot on the turn.
MANSFIELD: Logan, Gordon, Pearce, Preston, Benning, Shaughnessy, Bishop, Tomlinson (Cook 45), Hamilton (Afolyan 58), Maynard (Knowles 90+3), Khan. SUBS NOT USED: Olejnik, Clarke, Sterling-James, Smith.
REFEREE: Ollie Yates
ATTENDANCE: 2,276 (309 away).
MATCH REPORT | Forest Green Rovers 2 Mansfield Town 2
Saturday 19 October 2019
Forest Green Rovers let slip a two-goal lead as they shared the spoils with Mansfield Town at The New Lawn.
Aaron Collins gave Rovers the lead after half an hour before Jack Aitchison doubled the lead shortly after the hour mark, but two quick-fire goals from substitute Andy Cooke levelled things up.
There was one change to the starting XI for Mark Cooper’s side as Liam Shephard returned to the side from injury, with Udoka Godwin-Malife dropping to the bench.
Joining him among the substitutes was Friday signing Elliott Frear, returning to The New Lawn for his second spell at the club after leaving to join Motherwell in January 2017.
Joseph Mills could have given Rovers the perfect the start as he got down the left-hand side before cutting the ball back, but his low cross fell jut behind the Rovers strikers and Mansfield were able to clear.
The left flank was proving fruitful for the hosts and Matty Stevens was almost able to profit after latching onto Aitchison’s clever ball inside, but he was quickly crowded out.
After a spell of dangerous attacking football, it was the hosts who made a deserved breakthrough.
Some quick passing around the edge of the Stags’ 18-yard box saw the ball at the feet of Aaron Collins, and the in-form striker made no mistake as he powered a vicious left-footed strike inside the far post from 25-yards.
Less than a minute after the Mansfield restart, the hosts were going forward again. Collins picked full-back Mal Benning’s pocket before looking to cross, only to see his low ball well blocked.
Liam Shephard, clearly eager to notch his first goal of the season, tried his luck from range as he galloped forward, Conrad Logan getting a firm hand to it to palm away along the floor.
The was no let up in intensity from Rovers as the second half got underway, Ebou Adams appealing for a penalty as he went to ground while turning his man in the area. His claims were waved away by the man in the middle.
Carl Winchester could have netted himself a wondergoal with 54 minutes on the clock, as he took the ball from his own half before seeing a powerful effort saved from the edge of the area.
Mansfield couldn’t keep the Nailsworth side out for long though, loanee Aitchison doubling their lead after 61 minutes.
The youngster’s strike was a fantastic one, driving a low shot into the far bottom corner from 25 yards.
Rovers weren’t out of sight yet though, and Mansfield pulled one back just moments later as Cooke got up highest in the area to nod home Otis Khan’s lobbed cross.
With 15 minutes of the encounter left, the Stags levelled things up, Cook drilling an effort under the glove of Lewis Thomas from the edge of the area.
Frear could have been the hero on his Rovers return as the ball dropped kindly for him in the area, but his effort skewed wide of the mark.
Spurred on by six minutes of added time, Rovers launched a late offensive push, but they couldn’t carve out the golden chance to claim back all three points.
Forest Green XI: Thomas, Shephard, Bernard (Mondal 83’), Rawson, Winchester, Stevens, Collins (Frear 70’), Adams (Morton 90’), Kitching, Mills (c), Aitchison
Unused subs: Wollacott, Allen, Godwin-Malife, Taylor
Mansfield XI: Logan, Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop, Khan, Maynard (Knowles 90+3’), Shaughnessy, Tomlinson (Cooke 46’), Gordon, Hamilton (Afolayan 58’)
Unused subs: Olejnik, Clarke, Sterling-James, Smith
Referee: Ollie Yates
Man of the match: Carl Winchester
Attendance: 2,276 (309 away)
Match sponsor: First Base
Ball sponsor: EESI Group Services
ON THE WHISTLE: Forest Green 2 Mansfield Town 2 Rovers surrender two-goal lead as Cook bags a brace
Andy Cook made a stunning impact as the Mansfield Town substitute bagged a second-half brace to earn his side a point at promotion-chasing Forest Green Rovers.
Cook was introduced at the start of the second period with the Stags trailing to a sumptuous 30th-minute Aaron Collins’ opener for Rovers, his third in four games to hand Rovers the lead at the break in a fractious first-half which featured four bookings.
Mark Cooper’s side made it 2-0 on 61 minutes. Midfielder Ebou Adams burst forward and slipped in Celtic loanne Jack Aitchison, who picked his spot with a sweet finish to beat the sprawling Conrad Logan all ends up.
Rovers’ lead lasted barely a minute as substitute Cook planted a free header beyond Lewis Thomas from an Otis Khan delivery.
And Rovers pressed the self-destruct button again. Cook was on the spot again as his 74th minute strike squirmed through the gloves of Thomas to net parity.
Cook was denied his hat-trick with five minutes to go - Thomas getting enough on the ball to deny the red-hot striker.
Fresh from an anaemic loss at League Two title rivals Exeter City, Forest Green head coach Mark Cooper made one change. Fit again Liam Shephard came in for Udoka Godwin-Malife.
Free agent Elliott Frear, signed until January following his summer departure from Scottish Premiership Motherwell, started on the bench in his second spell at the New Lawn.
Nathan McGinley missed out due to injury and joined Matt Mills, Dayle Grubb, Kevin Dawson and George Williams on the treatment table.
From the get-go, and inside thirty seconds, Dom Bernard picked up a booking for a rash challenge on Mal Benning.
The game was stop-start in the opening 10 minutes with the shrill of the whistle putting the brakes on as both teams traded fouls - Aitchison for Rovers and Willem Tomlinson fortunate to avoid cards for over exuberance.
The match continued to lack cohesion. Mansfield’s Connor Shaughnessy incurred a yellow on 18 minutes - the Leeds United loanne ending a lung-busting Ebou Adams run.
Rovers were turning the screw and carved the best chance on 24 minutes. Instinctive feet from impish Aitchison and Shephard allowed Matt Stevens and eye on goal as he arrowed a strike into the body of Conrad Logan. Moments later Collins picked the pocket of Krystian Pearce but Logan rushed out to block.
The card count ticked on - Kellan Gordon going into the book on 28 minutes for clipping Aitchison.
Two minutes later and Rovers nosed ahead. In a scintillating move of free-flowing football the ball fell to Collins who picked his spot from the edge of the box with a sumptuous strike into the bottom corner and beyond Logan for his third goal in four games.
Adams became the fourth booking on 35 minutes as the combative Rovers’ midfielder caught Benning on the touchline.
Logan kept Mansfield in it, showing a strong glove to deny a Shephard fizzer.
Rovers started the second half as they finished the first. The ever-willing Stevens nodding wide from a Shephard cross and then a Carl Winchester driving run ended by another smart save from Logan.
Rovers made it 2-0 on 61 minutes. Adams burst forward and slipped in Aitchison, who picked his spot with a sweet finish to beat the sprawling Logan all ends up.
Rovers’ lead last barely a minute as substitute Cook planted a free header beyond Thomas from an Otis Khan cross.
Cooper ushered on Frear for Collins with 20 minutes to go, the Rovers’ winger back for a second spell.
Rovers pressed the self-destruct button again. Cook was on the spot again as his 74th minute strike squirmed through the gloves of Thomas to net parity.
Forest Green Rovers: Thomas, Bernard (Mondal 82), Shephard, Kitching, Rawson, J Mills, Winchester, Adams (Morton 90), Aitchison, Stevens, Collins ( Frear 70)
Subs not used: Wollacott, Allen, Godwin-Malife, Taylor Bookings: Bernard 1, Adams 34, J Mills 85
Mansfield Town: Logan, Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop, Khan, Maynard (Knowles 91), Shaughnessy, Tomlinson (Cook 45) , Gordon, Hamilton (Afolayan 58)
Subs not used:Sterling-James, Olejnik, Clarke ,Smith
Bookings: Shaughnessy 18, Gordon 28 ,Benning 72, Pearce 93
Star Man: Carl Winchester
Mansfield fans: 309
Referee: Ollie Yates
Latest | October 2019