STAGS DRAW FIRST GAME OF COUGHLAN ERA
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Northampton Town
Cook 74. Smith 84
Attendance: 4496 (474 from Northampton)
Date: 21 December 2019
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town drew 1-1 with 7th placed Northampton Town at the One Call Stadium this afternoon in the first game under new manager Graham Coughlan. The first half was even and very competitive though Northampton had the better chances as Sam Hoskins rattled the Stags crossbar after just 18 seconds and Bobby Olejnik saved well on his line from Nicky Adams after 12 minutes.
But in the second half, Mansfield got on top and deservedly took the lead after 74 minutes. Andy Cook received a throw-in from Mal Benning, chested it down on the left, held off his defender and fired into the net, low and hard at the near post, from 23 yards. It was a great strike from Cook, though the keeper should have done better. The Stags had enough golden chances in the second half to have won comfortably. After 57 minutes, Matt Preston slid an excellent free kick from Mal Benning agonisingly wide when it seemed a certain goal. Then after 61 minutes, a magnificent run from CJ Hamilton who cut inside his defender Harriman from the right touchline to the edge of the area and fired a low shot inches wide of the right post. Then after Cook’s goal, Nicky Maynard was wide from the edge of the box as Cook laid off to him, and Maynard was a fraction too slow to shoot, allowing Charlie Goode to get a get a toe on the ball and it squirmed wide. And then after 83 minutes, just a minute before Northampton equalised, Hamilton should have made it 2-0 when he sliced his shot wide from 7 yards when he was unmarked. It was a glorious chance for Hamilton.
Northampton were level after 84 minutes with their only good chance of the entire second half, as Nicky Adams floated in a cross from the right, and Harry Smith got away from his marker Preston to loop a header from 15 yards over Olejnik who was three yards off his line and the ball landed in the net.
The goal took the wind out of the Stags’ sails and Northampton finished the game stronger, albeit without creating any further chances.
Overall, there were plenty of promising aspects of this performance from Mansfield. There was a real intensity, passion and workrate about the performance, particularly in the second half, and it just needed that second goal to finish the game.
With Coughlan in charge, we’re confident Mansfield will climb the table, but reaching the play-offs looks like it might be too much of a tall order this season.
Graham Coughlan was appointed manager on Tuesday after John Dempster was sacked on Saturday night. Coughlan is an excellent appointment having dramatically turned around fortunes in his year as manager of Bristol Rovers where he took them from the relegation zone in League One to safety last season, and then to 4th place this season, with an impressive win ratio of 45%. Coughlan’s assistant at Bristol Rovers, Joe Dunne, joined him as assistant at Mansfield on Friday.
The pre-match warm-ups were taken by Lee Glover and Andy Burgess, who remain at the club. Drewe Broughton left the club soon after Dempster.
Coughlan made two changes to the side that drew at Crewe in John Dempster’s last game. Conor Shaughnessy was out with a hamstring strain and was replaced by Will Tomlinson. Nicky Maynard was dropped (for the first time this season) after missing 5 chances at Crewe, and was replaced by Danny Rose. Craig Davies returned to the bench after more than 12 months out with injury. No place in the 18 for Jacob Mellis. Well before the game, at about 1.30pm, Mellis, along with Hayden White, Sterling-James and Afoloyan were running round and round the pitch and so it was clear they would not be in the 18. Whether Mellis was not included in the 18 because of his appearance in court on Friday or for some other reason was not clear.
The Stags lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, as at Crewe, though Hamilton played the majority of the game on the right and MacDonald on the left.
Northampton, managed by former Stags boss Keith Curle, included two former Stags players, Vadaine Oliver up front, and Paul Anderson in an attacking midfield role. Oliver, incidentally, scored Mansfield’s winner in the first game of manager Adam Murray’s era (against Plymouth).
Northampton started the game in 7th place, 12 points above Mansfield. And ended it in exactly the same position.
There was a buzz around the ground before kick-off. Even the scoreboard was back working!
Graham Coughlan was given a rousing reception as he came out from the tunnel before the game.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: Late goal spoils first game in charge for Graham Coughlan as Mansfield Town are held by Northampton Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 21 December 2019
Harry Smith spoiled Graham Coughlan's first game as Mansfield Town manager with an 84th minute equaliser in an exciting 1-1 home draw with Northampton Town this afternoon.
But the Stags were much improved on recent outings, showing far more bite and urgency and the home fans responded accordingly with a superb wall of noise.
It seemed Andy Cook might be their hero when he lashed Mansfield in front on 74 minutes.
But, after CJ Hamilton has wasted a chance to double the lead when he crashed an inviting loose ball over the bar on 82 minutes, Smith stole in to grab a point for the Cobblers and leave Stags without a win in seven games but full of renewed heart and vigour.
The new boss made two changes with Rose in up front in place of Maynard and Tomlinson in for the injured Shaughnessy in midfield.
There was also the welcome and unexpected sight of Davies on the subs bench after a year of ankle problems.
Stags stayed in last week's 4-4-2 formation but with MacDonald on the left and Hamilton on the right.
The Cobblers, managed by former Mansfield boss Keith Curle, included a couple of familiar faces in ex-Stags Oliver and Anderson.
Mansfield almost conceded a shock opener after only 15 seconds as the visitors strode immediately forward and Hoskins smashed a 15-yard shot against the home crossbar.
Wharton and Sweeney both needed treatment after a challenge but both were fit to continue after a lengthy break.
Mansfield began to find their feet and get the home crowd behind them and a spell of pressure ended with Tomlinson whipping a 25 yard volley just wide on eight minutes.
The Cobblers threatened again on 12 minutes as Anderson floated the ball to the far post from the right and Adams saw Olejnik beat away his vicious finish.
Hamilton tried to set Stags on an immediate counter but was tripped by McCormack to earn the Northampton man a booking.
On 18 minutes Cook helped on a MacDonald ball into the box and Rose sent an overhead kick straight at Cornell.
Then on 24 minutes Watson saw a low shot deflect wide from a poor clearance and, from Adams' corner, Wharton sent a header just over the bar.
Soon after Watson lifted a ball in towards the far post which Olejnik had to claw from under his own bar as the visitors continued to have the edge.
A fast Stags break down the right from Tomlinson's accurate pass sent Hamilton away with Cook heading over from his eventual cross.
Tempers flared on 35 minutes as Clarke slid into a tackle on Adams with a yellow card eventually shown after things calmed down.
Turnbull left a foot in on Hamilton three minutes later to get his name added to the book.
A minute from the break Cook again flicked on for Rose but his scuffed finish was easy for the keeper as the half ended goalless.
Bishop had a low shot blocked early in the second half before Anderson was booked for wiping out Hamilton in a late, sliding challenge on 57 minutes.
That brought a free kick which Benning curled in front of goal and Preston poked narrowly wide from close range.
Mansfield were suddenly buzzing again and MacDonald fired over from distance as the home fans began to turn up the volume.
Clearing a corner, Stags broke well on 61 minutes, Clarke finding Hamilton, who cut inside Harriman before firing narrowly wide.
Maynard took over from Rose up front on 68 minutes.
Turnbull had hold of Cook and pulled his shirt right in front of a linesman on 72 minutes. But nothing was given and Cook was booked for protesting.
However, Cook was all smiles two minutes later as he received a Benning throw from the left, turned and slammed home a low shot between keeper and near post from 25 yards.
Maynard was too high from Benning's ball in soon after with the noise from the stands deafening.
Smith sent a tame header at Olejnik as the Cobblers looked for a reply while Preston headed a Benning free kick over the top, MacDonald headed wide from a Hamilton cross and Hamilton blazed a loose ball over as Northampton clung on.
But there was a sting in the tail on 84 minutes as Adams sent a high ball into the box and Smith sent a looping header over Olejnik and under the bar.
Seven minutes were added at the end in which Bishop and Preston were booked for halting Northampton breaks.
STAGS: Olejnik; Clarke, Preston, Sweeney, Benning; MacDonald, Tomlinson (Smith 80), Bishop, Hamilton; Rose (Maynard 68), Cook (Davies 82). Subs not used: Logan, Pearce, Khan, Knowles.
NORTHAMPTON: Cornell, McCormack (Williams 62), Goode, Turnbull, Hoskins, Watson, Adams, Wharton, Oliver, Harriman (Martin 80), Anderson (Smith 62). Subs not used: Arnold, Hall-Johnson, McWilliams, Warburton.
REFEREE: Alan Young of Cambridgeshire.
ATTENDANCE: 4,496 (474 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Andy Cook.
Super sub Smith salvages a point for Cobblers with late header at Mansfield Town
by JAMES HENEGHAN, northamptonchron.co.uk, Saturday 21 December 2019
Harry Smith came off the bench to rescue a point for the Cobblers as his late header pegged Mansfield Town back to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Andy Cook's long-range drive midway through the second-half put the Stags on track for only their first win in seven games, but Smith had other ideas and his looping header found the bottom corner to ensure Town left Field Mill with a point.
The visitors created several chances in the first 45 minutes but Sam Hoskins hit the crossbar after just 18 seconds and that would be the closest they came to scoring in a goalless half.
Mansfield improved after half-time although Cook's goal still came out of nothing, however Smith's perfectly-placed header was enough to keep Cobblers in the play-off places at Christmas.
Chris Lines was struggling with illness so missed out, replaced by the returning Alan McCormack, as manager Keith Curle made just the one change.
The visitors were almost ahead with just 18 seconds gone in a dramatic start at Field Mill when Sam Hoskins gathered Vadaine Oliver's flick and drove into the penalty box before smashing against the crossbar.
That was symbolic of a strong start by the visitors and they carved out an equally good opportunity 10 minutes later, this time Nicky Adams volleying Paul Anderson's cross straight at home stopper Bobby Olejnik
Mansfield gradually improved and went close on a couple of occasions, but Town continued to carry the greater threat as Ryan Watson's shot deflected wide before Scott Wharton glanced over from the subsequent corner.
Watson's high cross forced Olejnik to back-peddle and claw away from under his own crossbar while at the other end, Danny Rose was unable to generate the power to trouble David Cornell with a couple of half chances.
The busy Watson was also just a fraction away from getting his head on Michael Harriman's teasing cross but the game was to remain goalless at half-time.
Somehow Mansfield didn't take the lead 10 minutes into the second-half when Mal Benning's free-kick looked for all the world to have been turned home by Matt Preston, but the ball dribbled wide of the post.
CJ Hamilton missed the same post by a similar amount after skipping past Harriman and Curle then rolled the dice, sending on strikers Andy Williams and Smith and going to three big men up front.
But that backfired with 16 minutes to go when Mansfield hit the front. In similar vein to Exeter's opener two weeks ago, Cook cut inside and squeezed a shot inside the near post from 20 yards.
Nicky Maynard nearly put the game to bed when shooting wide five minutes later and the hosts then had a series of chances as Cobblers struggled to clear, Hamilton eventually blazing over the crossbar.
And those opportunities came back to bite Mansfield who, seconds later, were picking the ball out of their own net. There were only six minutes to go when Adams, once again the architect, saw his cross headed over Olejnik and into the bottom corner by Smith.
Cobblers looked the likelier to score an even later winner in the remaining time, which included seven minutes of added time, but in the end a draw was a fair outcome after what had been a game of two halves.
Mansfield: Olejnik, Benning, Preston, Bishop, MacDonald, Tomlinson (Smith 80), Sweeney (c), Cook (Davies 82), Clarke, Hamilton, Rose (Maynard 69)
Subs not used: Logan, Khan, Maynard, Knowles
Cobblers: Cornell, Goode (c), Turnbull, Wharton, Harriman (Martin 80), McCormack (Williams 63), Watson, Anderson (Smith 63), Adams, Hoskins, Oliver
Subs not used: Arnold, Hall-Johnson, McWilliams, Warburton
Referee: Alan Young
Cobblers fans: 474
Latest | December 2019