STAGS IN MID-TABLE 0-0 DRAW AT CRISIS CLUB MACC
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Macclesfield Town 0 - 0 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 2055 (734 from Mansfield)
Date: 16 November 2019
Martin Shaw at Moss Rose
Mansfield Town drew 0-0 at Macclesfield Town this afternoon in a game which had 0-0 written all over it from the first minute to the last. It was a game that looked like it was between two lower-mid-table sides, which was exactly what it was.
Mansfield and Macclesfield were locked together on the same number of points before the game, though Macclesfield had a game in hand. But the expectations of the two clubs are poles apart. Mansfield have a stated expectation of promotion, while Macclesfield are a club in crisis. Macclesfield’s players had been on strike a week ago refusing to play in the FA Cup tie with Kingstonian. The players returned to work to play in the Leasing.com trophy on Wednesday, but threatened to refuse to play in this league game, and for much of Thursday and Friday it looked like the game might not go ahead. It wasn’t until 9.15pm on Friday night that it finally became clear that the game would go ahead.
The first half was competitive and very even with few chances for either side. The Stags had two chances as Will Tomlinson’s shot was deflected straight through to the keeper, and Nicky Maynard got in a shot from just outside the area that the keeper just about pushed away. The first chance for Macclesfield came with the last kick of the first half as Arthur Gnahoua’s powerful shot was palmed away by Conrad Logan with strong hands.
The Stags went close in the first minute of the second half as Kellan’s Gordon’s great cross from the right across the edge of the six yard box was missed by the home defence and sort of hit Maynard and trickled wide. Maynard had the best chance of the game on 60 minutes as Alex MacDonald laid a great ball forward for him to run on to, he got to the edge of the box but in a 1-on-1 with the keeper, Maynard slid his shot agonisingly just wide of the right post. And that was pretty much it in terms of chances for either side, although Maynard put in a great cross after 79 minutes, across the six yard box for sub Danny Rose who slid in on it and missed it though he was offside anyway.
The Stags had to play the last 7 minutes plus stoppage time with ten men as Danny Rose limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury, dreadful news if it is confirmed to be correct after Rose’s injury problems.
It was encouraging to see the Stags defence in solid form, with Krystian Pearce returning from injury and putting in several good tackles, while Matt Preston and Ryan Sweeney did well either side of him.
But there was a distinct lack of creativity in midfield. On Tuesday night in that hugely impressive win at near-full-strength Burton, Alistair Smith and Jacob Mellis provided much-needed creativity in a terrific midfield display. Either or both should have started here in my opinion, but neither did. It suggested that Mansfield were prioritising not losing over the chance of winning. But the clearly stated aim is promotion, and from the league position Mansfield find themselves in, below mid-table, it is victories that will get Mansfield into the promotion picture, draws just aren’t going to do it. That’s not to say that a draw at top-of-the-table Swindon next week wouldn’t be a good result, of course it would. But at Macclesfield, a win should have been targeted.
October was a good month for Mansfield in the league, but November has started badly in the league, with just one point from two games. In those two games, Mansfield have looked no more than a lower-mid-table side, and absolutely nowhere near the promotion side that chairman John Radford is expecting to see.
Mansfield made two changes to the side that beat Chorley in the FA Cup. Bishop and Khan missed out through injury. In came Pearce and Shaughnessy. Bishop had a slight back problem, Khan had a slight groin problem picked up against Chorley. Pearce was returning from injury. Knowles was given the weekend off after playing 120 minutes in the exciting FA Youth Cup win on Wednesday night. I said in commentary before the game that I thought Mellis and Smith were unfortunate not to earn starting places from their performances at Burton on Tuesday in the Leasing.com Trophy. Boss Dempster understandably stuck with three at the back, a system that worked well at Burton, with Shaughnessy switching from the back three to midfield, replaced by Pearce.
Macclesfield’s players and staff have repeatedly been paid late. The game was in doubt until late on Friday night as already mentioned. Macclesfield’s players reportedly didn’t train this week. But they played 90 minutes on Wednesday night in the Leasing.com Trophy so it would have been pretty much only recovery since then anyway, which their players as professionals would have done anyway on their own. We know from Bury last season that teams can still perform to a high standard in this situation, so no-one should have expected Macclesfield to be a pushover or to tire. Macclesfield included two players who have been on trial at Mansfield: Arthur Gnahoua who played against Alfreton and Blackburn in pre-season under John Dempster, and Nathan Cameron, who was on trial a year earlier under David Flitcroft.
We’ve become used to seeing matches played on pitches like bowling greens recently. Not today at Moss Rose though. This was the worst pitch I’ve seen for a while, even down to non-league step 4. With staff being paid late, presumably the groundsman hasn’t been tending to it as you would expect at other clubs.
The weather forecast was for a dry day, but it rained all afternoon. I don’t think the rain affected the game, but the half of the 734 travelling Stags fans who were on the terrace got very wet.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
REPORT: Macclesfield 0-0 Mansfield Town - Stags extend unbeaten away run
chad.co.uk, by Agency, Saturday 16 November 2019
Mansfield Town extended their unbeaten away league run to five games after a dour goalless draw at troubled Macclesfield.
The Silkmen’s striking players returned for the clash at Moss Rose after the club used six players from the local college side in the FA Cup last weekend.
Both sides struggled to create many meaningful chances with the rain lashing down in Cheshire.
And the football on display did nothing to warm up the frozen fans on a bitterly cold afternoon.
Mansfield manager John Dempster made two changes to the side which beat non-league Chorley in the FA Cup last weekend.
Captain Krystian Pearce returned from injury, whilst Conor Shaughnessy also came into the side.
Neal Bishop and Otis Khan missed out with back and groin niggles respectively.
The Stags’ first real chance fell to Willem Tomlinson, who could only fire straight at Owen Evans.
Just after the half an hour mark Andy Cook’s header was simply saved by Evans.
Dempster’s side upped the ante just before the break with Nicky Maynard seeing the best chance of the half palmed away by Evans.
Down the other end Conrad Logan ensured it was level at half time with a good stop to keep out Arthur Gnahoua.
Seconds after the restart Maynard squandered a good chance to put Kellan Gordon’s cross wide.
The Stags had to defend resolutely to block a host of Silkmen efforts as the home side looked to break the deadlock.
After the hour another chance went begging for Maynard as he lashed wide.
Dempster brought on striker Danny Rose as he pushed hard for a winner against the troubled club.
But he only lasted ten minutes before hobbling off with a hamstring injury, after Dempster had made all three substitutions, to leave the Stags to play the last few minutes with ten men.
Macclesfield: Evans, Cameron, Kelleher, Vassell, Welch-Hayes, Kirby, Harris, Fitzpatrick, Gnahoua, Stephens (Blyth, 90+4), Archibald (Ironside, 48). Unused subs: Charles-Cook, Horsfall, Ntambwe, Rose.
Mansfield: Logan, Preston, Pearce, Sweeney, Gordon, Shaughnessy, Tomlinson (Mellis, 62), Benning, MacDonald, Cook (Rose, 75), Maynard (Hamilton, 80). Unused subs: Olejnik, Smith, Afolayan, Sterling-James.
Referee: Chris Sarginson.
Match Report: Macclesfield Town 0-0 Mansfield Town
Macclesfield Town ended their four-match losing run after they were held to a 0-0 draw against Mansfield Town at Moss Rose this afternoon.
Daryl McMahon’s side had chances but were unable to break down a compact Mansfield defence in wet conditions in Cheshire.
Macclesfield started the game on the front foot and retained possession well in the stages. However, it was the visitors who had the first clear-cut chance of the game. In the 14th minute, Willem Tomlinson found half-a-yard of space on the edge of the box and he fired an effort which was comfortably saved by ‘keeper Owen Evans.
As the half wore on, The Silkmen played some good football without creating too many opportunities. Just before the half-hour mark, Arthur Gnahoua tried his luck from long range, but it flew well wide of target.
Nicky Maynard came close to open the scoring, four minutes before the break as his low drive was well kept out by Evans and Macclesfield eventually cleared the ball away from danger.
Then moments later, Theo Archibald’s lay-off found Gnahoua, who’s powerful attempt was palmed away by Conrad Logan, as the sides went into the half-time break level.
Mansfield began the second-half the brighter of the two sides and they created a superb chance to take the lead within the opening two minutes of the restart. Kellan Gordon whipped a dangerous cross towards the back post and it was met by Maynard, but he was unable to get the required connection on the shot.
The Silkmen grew into the half, and started to dominate proceedings. In the 56th minute, Miles Welch-Hayes and Jay Harris had shots at goal, but both were excellently blocked and cleared away.
Maynard then had a superb opportunity to open the scoring when he has played in on-goal, but his poked effort rolled inches past Evans’ left-hand post.
Harris unleashed an ambitious shot from distance with just 18 minutes to go, but it whistled just wide via a deflection.
Macclesfield pushed in an attempt to grab that elusive first goal, but they were unable to do so as Daryl’s side picked up their first point since the one-nil victory over Oldham Athletic back in mid-October.
Macclesfield: Evans, Kelleher, Vassell, Gnahoua, Harris, Stephens (Blyth 90+4’), Archibald (Ironside 47’), Welch-Hayes, Kirby, Fitzpatrick, Cameron
Unused subs: Charles-Cook, Horsfall, Ntambwe, Rose