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BRADFORD 2-0 MANSFIELD
2nd January 2020 18:59


English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Bradford City 2 - 0 Mansfield Town
Vaughan pen 13, pen 83
Attendance: 15197 (1141 from Mansfield)

Date: 29 December 2019

Before I start I’d like pay my respects to the Stags fan who tragically died of a heart attack on the way home from the game at Bradford. He was well known to dear friends of mine. Rest in Peace.


Martin Shaw at Valley Parade

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-0 at fifth placed Bradford City this afternoon in the first away game under new manager Graham Coughlan. It was a very frustrating game for the Stags who dominated the game yet came away with nothing as they made two mistakes to concede two penalties, and despite all the possession didn't create any golden chances.
In front of a wonderful travelling support of 1100, Mansfield were on the front foot from the start, taking the game to Bradford as Alex MacDonald shot straight at the keeper from outside the box, CJ Hamilton played a good ball across to Andy Cook who couldn’t get the ball from under his feet on the edge of the six yard box, and Cook hooked a shot wide of the target from 18 yards inside the opening 7 minutes.
But Bradford took the lead from the first time they entered the Stags box, after 13 minutes. Alex MacDonald clumsily brought down Matty Palmer in the box for a clear penalty after Dylan Connolly had cut inside Mal Benning on the right of the area to pull the ball back. MacDonald admitted after the game that he’d made a mistake. It was a costly one. James Vaughan stepped up and sent an unstoppable penalty with power into the top right corner of the net.
In the opening minutes, the home fans had already been starting to get on the home side’s back, but in an instant, the atmosphere changed.
During the rest of the half, the Stags continued to have most of the play, but there was a lack of quality to create clearcut chances, while Bradford rarely got into the Stags’ final third.
Into the second half, and Mansfield again started it well. A good run from Hamilton with pace earned a free kick just outside the area on the left in front of the Stags fans. Otis Khan’s free kick was glanced just over his own bar by the head of a Bradford defender. Then after 50 minutes three shots were blocked in quick succession from in and around the Bradford box as Danny Rose, twice, and Otis Khan saw shots blocked.
Home fans were again starting to get on the back of the home side again with some boos. Mansfield remained the better side but still were unable to create more clearcut chances with the final ball lacking. MacDonald hooked a cross across the face of goal but there was no-one near it.
As in the first half, Bradford rarely had the ball in the Stags’ final third and created absolutely nothing but were gifted another penalty after 83 minutes. James Vaughan slid a low ball forward from the halfway line for Dylan Connolly to chase after. Connolly was heading for the byline and really going nowhere but Matt Preston clumsily bundled him over just inside the area on the right for a penalty. It was dreadful from Preston and so needless, and in truth he has been guilty of so many costly mistakes this season after a wonderful season last season.
Again Vaughan stepped up and confidently dispatched the penalty into the left corner, sending Conrad Logan the wrong way.
It sealed the game and at the end of the game, the home fans gave their side a standing ovation, having spent much of it turning on their side.
Bitterly disappointing and so frustrating for the Stags and the wonderful travelling support. This game should have ended 0-0, which would have at least been a hard-earned point away to a side in the top 5, but thanks to two clumsy challenges, Bradford won it 2-0. Bradford offered nothing going forward, rarely getting the ball into the Stags’ final third, but they defended well, while the Stags had so much of the ball but where it really mattered, they didn’t show enough quality to create enough golden chances.
I’m not going to say Mansfield were unlucky, because they weren’t. This defeat was self-inflicted.

On to Cambridge on New Year’s Day. Mansfield should be really fired up to exact revenge on Cambridge for that 4-0 defeat in September. Let’s see if they can, and produce a first win for Graham Coughlan.


This was Mansfield’s first visit to Valley Parade for almost 12 years, when Nathan Arnold and Micky Boulding scored as Mansfield won 2-1 in the relegation season.

Graham Coughlan made two changes from the side that drew with Port Vale. Conrad Logan came in for Bobby Olejnik in goal. Coughlan explained that he wanted the experienced Logan to command the young back 4 (without Pearce) a bit better, and also that Logan is a big kicker on a big pitch. Otis Khan came in for Neal Bishop. Coughlan explained that he wanted to go for a more attack minded side by adding Khan, who would play on the wing, with Hamilton on the other wing, and MacDonald moving into the middle. Coughlan thought Mansfield could exploit spaces down the wing and stretch the home side. Coughlan said that Bishop tailed off against Port Vale so needed a bit of a rest but could come back into the thinking for the Cambridge game. Shaughnessy remained out with a hamstring strain. White and Gordon also remained out with injury, though White might be available soon. No place in the squad again for Sterling-James and Afolayan. Once again, it was a 4-4-2 formation.

In front of a wonderful travelling support of 1100, Mansfield were on the front foot from the start, taking the game to Bradford as Alex MacDonald shot straight at the keeper from outside the box, CJ Hamilton played a good ball across to Andy Cook who couldn’t get the ball from under his feet on the edge of the six yard box, and Cook hooked a shot wide of the target from 18 yards inside the opening 7 minutes.
But Bradford took the lead from the first time they entered the Stags box, after 13 minutes. Alex MacDonald clumsily brought down Matty Palmer in the box for a clear penalty after Dylan Connolly had cut inside Mal Benning on the right of the area to pull the ball back. MacDonald admitted after the game that he’d made a mistake. It was a costly one. James Vaughan stepped up and sent an unstoppable penalty with power into the top right corner of the net.
In the opening minutes, the home fans had already been starting to get on the home side’s back, but in an instant, the atmosphere changed.
During the rest of the half, the Stags continued to have most of the play, but there was a lack of quality to create clearcut chances, while Bradford rarely got into the Stags’ final third.
Into the second half, and Mansfield again started it well. A good run from Hamilton with pace earned a free kick just outside the area on the left in front of the Stags fans. Otis Khan’s free kick was glanced just over his own bar by the head of a Bradford defender. Then after 50 minutes three shots were blocked in quick succession from in and around the Bradford box as Danny Rose, twice, and Otis Khan saw shots blocked.
Home fans were again starting to get on the back of the home side again with some boos. Mansfield remained the better side but still were unable to create more clearcut chances with the final ball lacking. MacDonald hooked a cross across the face of goal but there was no-one near it.
As in the first half, Bradford rarely had the ball in the Stags’ final third and created absolutely nothing but were gifted another penalty after 83 minutes. James Vaughan slid a low ball forward from the halfway line for Dylan Connolly to chase after. Connolly was heading for the byline and really going nowhere but Matt Preston clumsily bundled him over just inside the area on the right for a penalty. It was dreadful from Preston and so needless, and in truth he has been guilty of so many costly mistakes this season after a wonderful season last season.
Again Vaughan stepped up and confidently dispatched the penalty into the left corner, sending Conrad Logan the wrong way.
It sealed the game and at the end of the game, the home fans gave their side a standing ovation, having spent much of it turning on their side.
Bitterly disappointing and so frustrating for the Stags and the wonderful travelling support. This game should have ended 0-0, which would have at least been a hard-earned point away to a side in the top 5, but thanks to two clumsy challenges, Bradford won it 2-0. Bradford offered nothing going forward, rarely getting the ball into the Stags’ final third, but they defended well, while the Stags had so much of the ball but where it really mattered, they didn’t show enough quality to create enough golden chances.
I’m not going to say Mansfield were unlucky, because they weren’t. This defeat was self-inflicted.

FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE

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Wait goes on for Graham Coughlan as Mansfield Town lose at Bradford City
chad.co.uk, by SPORTS REPORTER (Agency), Sunday 29 December 2019

Graham Coughlan’s wait for a first win as Mansfield manager went on after losing 2-0 at promotion-chasing Bradford City.

James Vaughan scored a penalty in each half to separate the two sides at Valley Parade as the struggling Stags’ worrying winless league run stretched to eight games.

Defeat for Coughlan’s charges leaves them just six points clear of the relegation zone.

Coughlan made two changes to the side which made a courageous comeback to clinch a welcome point against Port Vale last time out.

Conrad Logan replaced Bobby Olejnik in goal, whilst Otis Khan came in for Neal Bishop.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/wait-goes-on-for-graham-coughlan-as-mansfield-town-lose-at-bradford-city-1-10174593

The Stags made a promising start with Alex MacDonald testing Richard O’Donnell early on.

Visiting Mansfield conceded their first penalty when Matthew Palmer was bundled over inside the box with Vaughan making no mistake from 12 yards.

Coughlan was forced into a change before half-time when Ryan Sweeney went off injured.

Danny Rose headed wide in first-half stoppage time with the best chance to equalise before the break.

The Stags started the second half brightly as Andy Cook nodded wide.

But chances were limited for both sides as the encounter went scrappy.

Just after the hour Dylan Connolly was booked for diving by referee Ross Joyce.

The Stags struggled the break down the battling Bantams, who frustrated the visitors by throwing themselves in the way of a handful of efforts.

Mal Benning fired wide before Callum Cooke did the same down the other end for the hosts.

With seven minutes left Preston felled Connolly to give away the second penalty, and Vaughan fired into the bottom corner to put the result beyond doubt.

Late on, MacDonald’s tame effort was easily claimed by O’Donnell as the Stags’ wait for a win continued.

Bradford: O’Donnell, O’Connor, O’Connor, Richards-Everton, Henley, Reeves (Cooke, 74), Palmer, Wood, McCartan (Taylor, 65), Connolly, Vaughan (Oteh, 87).

Unused subs: Sykes-Kenworthy, Gibson, Anderson, Ismail.

Mansfield: Logan, Clarke, Preston, Sweeney (Pearce, 39), Benning, Hamilton, Tomlinson, MacDonald, Khan (Mellis, 61), Cook, Rose (Maynard, 72).

Unused subs: Olejnik, Knowles, Bishop, Davies.

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 15,197 (1,141)

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SIMON PARKER'S VERDICT: Vaughan spot on as City grind out vital victory
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker, Chief Sports Writer

CITY 2 MANSFIELD 0

GARY Bowyer had lamented after the Salford game that there would be afternoons when City would play far worse and win.

Eight days on and this was exactly what he was talking about.

The Bantams signed off 2019 with a much-needed home win to send them into the new year very well placed in their bid for an instant return to League One.

But it was hardly a swashbuckling showing to suggest they are poised to take the division by storm over the second half of the season.

https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/sport/18127438.simon-parkers-verdict-vaughan-spot-city-grind-vital-victory/

Instead it was a case of getting the job done - and hats off to a defence who claimed a fourth clean sheet in five games from a generally underwhelming team display.

But after the proliferation of draws of late, these were three big points going into another home date to see in 2020 on Wednesday against Morecambe.

Father Christmas could not have delivered a kinder list of festive fixtures. In the last month, City have been paired against a succession of teams in absolutely no form whatsoever.

From Macclesfield onwards, not one of the six opponents had won for at least four games going into their meeting with the Bantams.

Forget the talk of no easy games, it has been a run that offered up a potential feast of points to take into the new year promotion push.

Another win on Wednesday would make it 13 points from seven and ease worries of the recent stalemates coming back to bite them on the bum. Crisis, what crisis?

Mansfield’s form going into their first Valley Parade visit in 11 years mirrored that of City’s other December foes.

They last won in the league on October 26 - a flimsy record that saw John Dempster replaced by former Bristol Rovers boss Graham Coughlan the week before Christmas.

Bowyer had made four changes from the Boxing Day stalemate at Carlisle, including a start for Shay McCartan - his first in the league in City colours since May 2018.

James Vaughan had recovered sufficiently from the sickness bug to take his place up front and Jake Reeves was fit enough to return in midfield as Aramide Oteh and Callum Cooke dropped to the bench.

Kelvin Mellor was out altogether, after suffering an injury in training yesterday, so Adam Henley was recalled.

City needed to make a fast start after the crowd discontent of Brunton Park but it was the visitors first out the blocks with Alex MacDonald testing Richard O’Donnell from 20 yards.

CJ Hamilton then looked to tee up Andy Cook in the box but the ball stuck under the striker’s feet.

But having been under the cosh in the opening skirmishes, it was City who struck the first blow on 14 minutes.

Dylan Connolly cut inside Mal Benning and laid a pass back for Matty Palmer, who was bundled over from behind by MacDonald. Ref Ross Joyce pointed straight to the spot - and Vaughan slammed an emphatic spot-kick into the roof of the net.

It had come against the run of play but helped settle Valley Parade before any grumbles could surface.

Mansfield’s travelling support remained vocal as their team continued to push, although the home fans were shouting for a second penalty as Ben Richards-Everton had his shirt tugged from Connor Wood’s cross - but the flag was up for offside.

The Stags could feel hard done by with the score line having camped in City territory for most of the opening half hour of a scrappy encounter.

The pitch was showing signs of wear and tear which did not make for easy-on-the-eye football.

Defensively, City were looking solid with Richards-Everton weighing in with a couple of key interceptions to prevent Mansfield getting a sniff.

Connolly’s pace was the most effective attacking outlet and he latched on to a Vaughan flick-on to take on three teal shirts in the box before Willem Tomlinson made a sliding block from the cross.

The visitors lost skipper Ryan Sweeney to injury seven minutes before the break. But that did not check their momentum and Henley had to be alert to intercept Otis Khan’s pass as Cook prepared to pull the trigger from 10 yards out.

Bowyer had urged the crowd to get behind the team in their “hour of need” and the response at half-time was a positive one.

City had spent much of the half on the back foot as Mansfield continued to have a go. The quality of the game was summed up with the Opta stats saying there had been 52 aerial duels - a figure usually for a full game.

At least the Bantams went in ahead and, given the recent run of draws, that was all that mattered.

But Mansfield came back out with the same determination and subject the hosts to a spell of heavy pressure.

Danny Rose angled a header narrowly over before seeing his shot and then another by Khan blocked by a busy backline.

A chorus of “attack, attack, attack” broke out from the Kop but it was Mansfield who were still looking to have a go.

Reeves was crowded out with his back to goal in the box but the threat to keeper Conrad Logan remained minimal. Vaughan’s biggest contribution since the break was clearing a Mansfield free-kick from his own penalty area.

Connolly lifted the crowd as he led a City charge deep into Mansfield territory. Swapping passes with Henley, the winger went down in the box - and was yellow-carded for diving.

There looked to be a slight clip on him but the exaggerated way the Wimbledon man went down convinced the official to point the other way.

McCartan had not really made an impression in his role behind the front two and was replaced by Chris Taylor midway through the half.

Still the game was played predominantly towards City’s end making it a grim watch for the fans. Their team could not keep hold of the ball and offer anything going forward.

At least the defence stood firm mopping up pretty much everything that Mansfield could throw into the box.

City needed a break to avoid an uncomfortable finish - and got it seven minutes from the end when Joyce pointed once again to the spot.

This time the contact on Connolly from Matt Preston was without doubt in the official’s eyes. Once more up stepped Vaughan to blast the penalty one way as Logan was sent the other.

It was the first time since November 2 that City had scored twice in a game, even if both had come from the spot. Stodgy stuff but a win’s a win.

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Bradford City 2 Mansfield Town 0: Game guide and player ratings
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker, Chief Sports Writer

https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/sport/18127497.bradford-city-2-mansfield-town-0-game-guide-player-ratings/

BRADFORD City finally had some festive cheer after they beat Mansfield Town 2-0 at Valley Parade.

This was the perfect way to see out 2019, and the decade, as the Bantams signed off with this home success over the Stags.

Here's T&A reporter Simon Parker's game guide and player ratings.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Dylan Connolly’s speed was arguably City’s only attacking avenue and he was at the heart of the moves leading up to both penalties.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

James Vaughan dispatched his spot-kicks with real venom - and the second eased any nerves in front of the Kop.

MOAN OF THE MATCH

City’s general performance was a poor one and not a patch on the way they played against Salford or even at Carlisle.

TACTICS

City made four changes from Boxing Day with Shay McCartan making his first league start of the season. James Vaughan also returned as well as Jake Reeves and Adam Henley. Gary Bowyer kept the three centre-half formation.

REFEREE: Ross Joyce (Middlesbrough)

BOOKINGS: Henley, Connolly, Vaughan (City); Sweeney, Rose, Pearce, Tomlinson, Clarke (Mansfield)

ATTENDANCE: 15,197

SHOTS ON TARGET: City 3, Mansfield 2

SHOTS OFF TARGET: City 4, Mansfield 12

CORNERS: City 2, Mansfield 5

FOULS COMMITTED: City 15, Mansfield 17

PLAYER RATINGS

CITY: O’Donnell 6, Henley 7, A O’Connor 7, P O’Connor 7, Richards-Everton 7, Wood 7, Reeves 6 (Cooke 74min), Palmer 6, McCartan 6 (Taylor 66min), Vaughan 7 (Oteh 87min), Connolly 7. Subs (not used): Ismail, Gibson, Anderson, Oteh, Sykes-Kenworthy.

MANSFIELD: Logan 6, Clarke 6, Preston 6, Sweeney 6 (Pearce 38min, 7), Benning 7, MacDonald 6, Tomlinson 6, Khan 6 (Mellis 61min, 6), Hamilton 7, Rose 6 (Maynard 72min), Cook 6. Subs (not used): Bishop, Davies, Knowles, Olejnik.

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