MAYNARD HAT-TRICK SEALS FIRST WIN UNDER COUGHLAN
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Cambridge United 2 - 3 Mansfield Town
Knibbs 3, Taylor 44. Lambe sent off 59. Maynard 36, 71, 81
Attendance: 3848 (347 from Mansfield)
Date: 1 January 2020
Martin Shaw at the Abbey Stadium
A hat-trick from Nicky Maynard sealed Mansfield Town’s first win under new manager Graham Coughlan, and the first win in the league since October, as the Stags came from 1-0 down and 2-1 down to win 3-2 in an entertaining game at Cambridge United.
The Stags deserved the win having once again had the lion’s share of the play as they did at Bradford, but this time the difference was that Mansfield created plenty of golden chances and managed to take three of them.
Mansfield started poorly though. Cambridge were ahead after just 3 minutes. Jack Roles laid the ball off to the overlapping Harrison Dunk on the left, Dunk chipped the ball into the middle from the byline and Harvey Knibbs nipped in to head into the net unmarked from 6 yards, with Matt Preston and Neal Bishop giving him too much space. Sleepy defending.
Cambridge were close to making it 2-0 after 13 minutes but great goalkeeping from Conrad Logan kept them out. The returning Hayden White gave the ball away to Knibbs who squared the ball inside to Sam Smith who shot underneath Logan from 15 yards, but Logan, who’d made himself big, got enough on it to prevent the ball going in as it hit the inside of the right post and Preston was able to clear. Excellent from Logan. White apologised and we’ll excuse that as he was bound to be rusty after returning to the side following three months out with injury.
The Stags got themselves into the game after that. On 21 minutes, Nicky Maynard’s acrobatic effort was saved by the keeper. A minute later, excellent play from CJ Hamilton who ran to the edge of the area on the right, cutting inside and firing a powerful shot that was pushed away by the keeper. Then on 35 minutes, great skill from Maynard to get past his man and his early shot was saved at full stretch by the keeper.
Mansfield were knocking on the door and equalised after 36 minutes. Mal Benning put in a super cross from the left into a great area, it bounced up and rebounded off Danny Rose in the six yard box to Maynard who was in the right place to head into the net from 4 yards. A great cross from Benning and predatory instinct from Maynard.
Cambridge then regained the lead after some abysmal refereeing on 44 minutes. Maynard was penalised for a foul on Roles 32 yards from goal. Cambridge put the ball down to take the free kick from 26 yards and the referee and his assistant didn’t spot that it was in completely the wrong place. Roles, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur has real quality from set pieces and this was a perfect distance for him to get in a dangerous shot, which it would not have been if it had been taken from more than 30 yards out. Roles duly curled a brilliant free kick against the inside of the left post, it rebounded out and former Stag Greg Taylor was left in yards of space to knock into the empty net from 6 yards. Who was supposed to be marking Taylor? Was it Preston or was it Hamilton, I can’t tell from the video? But there were three Cambridge players goalside of the Stags defence waiting to pounce on anything that fell loose. Dreadfully sleepy defending, which manager Coughlan needs to get a handle on.
Into the second half, and Mansfield started to get Hayden White in the game down the right side in the Cambridge half. This is what we’ve been missing for so long. Mansfield were getting on top in the opening 10 minutes of the half as Benning’s shot was saved in front of his face by the keeper, Hamilton put in a cross that almost took the keeper out of the game but was just claimed by the keeper, and Rose headed down a dangerous MacDonald cross.
After 57 minutes former Stags midfielder Reggie Lambe was booked for a foul on Mellis in the middle of the park. I haven’t had a chance to watch it back but in real time I thought Lambe was unlucky and the foul was the other way. And within two minutes, Lambe picked up a second yellow card and this time it was daft from Reggie as he bundled over the marauding White on the Stags right. This was a clear yellow card and Lambe had to go.
So the Stags had half an hour against ten men. Last time Mansfield were in this position they made a pig’s ear of having the extra man at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup. Could they take advantage this time? The answer was yes, by getting men forward, stretching the oppostition, and putting the home side under pressure.
From the resulting free kick, another great delivery from Benning and Preston headed just wide of the left post. A coat of paint wide, it was that close.
Five minutes later, the Stags went close again as good play from Hamilton gave Rose a chance and he fired a low shot just wide of the left post into the side netting. Moments later, a cross from Hamilton was deflected up and the keeper had to tip over his own bar at full stretch.
This was how to play against ten men, stretch them with wide play.
And on 71 minutes, the Stags were level. Hamilton brilliantly controlled the ball on the left and he squared a beautiful ball into the middle across the edge of the six yard box for Maynard, who had ghosted in front of his marker George Taft, to slide under the keeper and into the net.
Within a minute, Benning crossed in and Rose did well to turn it goalwards but the keeper saved at full stretch.
Andy Cook had come on as sub to give an extra striker against the ten men. He did well to win a corner after 80 minutes and from it Mansfield claimed the winner. MacDonald’s high corner from the right was headed goalwards by Cook from the penalty spot, it was headed up in the air by Greg Taylor, Pearce made the loose ball his and headed goalwards again, Taylor headed it up in the air again, Pearce again made it his and headed across goal and Maynard headed into the net from 2 yards. In celebrating the goal, Maynard was accidentally caught in the face by George Taft and there was a delay before the game restarted. So much credit to the determination of Pearce for the goal. This was of course captain Pearce’s first start under the new manager.
The Stags continued to make chances. Hamilton half-volleyed just over the bar with venom after 88 minutes.
Six minutes of stoppage time was added on. Logan punched away well under pressure. Then good defending by Hamilton and MacDonald putting their bodies on the line to stop ball coming in.
Cook should have got a 4th goal after 90+5 minutes. He benefitted from a mis-hit backpass from Taylor to put him 1-on-1 with the keeper. The keeper saved it initially as Cook tried to go around him, but then Cook got the ball back, took another touch and only had to chip the ball over the keeper into the gaping net, but managed to chip wide. It was a bad miss but was not costly as the final whistle soon went.
Great celebrations at the end from the players and management in front of the travelling Stags fans. This was thoroughly deserved win and a fine performance aside from some ropey defending in the first half. The Stags have been dogged by poor defending all season and really must improve in that area. But there were some really good performances going forward. Hamilton was a nightmare for the defence, Benning put in some fine crosses, White reminded us what we’ve been missing for so long. And Nicky Maynard scored a hat-trick, all of them from inside the six yard box. His missed a hatful of chances against Crewe, but this was predatory stuff.
The Stags of course, now need to build on this with a home win against Grimsby on Saturday. Play like this going forward, and cut out the defensive mistakes, and they surely will do.
Mansfield made five changes from the side that lost at Bradford. Sweeney was out with a twisted ankle he picked up in the first half at Bradford. Pearce came in for his first start under Coughlan. Tomlinson was also out with an injury (unspecified what it was) he picked up at Bradford. Mellis came in for Tomlinson. Coughlan explained that he thought Mansfield went long too early at Bradford and so he wanted Mellis to play, to get Hamilton into the game, and go and press the defence. White was back from injury for his first game for 3 months, he came in for James Clarke. White’s a big player for the Stags of course, and his injury last season saw a dip in the Stags form which arguably cost us promotion. Bishop came in for Khan in midfield as MacDonald moved out to the wing. Finally Maynard came in for Cook. Coughlan explained that Cook has played a lot of minutes lately and he wanted to try a different pairing up front just to freshen things up. Coughlan hinted that he wants to keep things fresh so we can probably expect more freshening up against Grimsby by rotating the squad. He also said he wants to give players a chance to show what they can do. Once again, it was a 4-4-2 formation. No place for Sterling-James and Afolayan in the squad again, which would hint that they don’t feature in the manager’s plans, barring injuries that we’re unaware of.
Once again, pre-match, Coughlan mentioned that the players are not as fit as he’d like them to be and he said this is a “work in progress”. He mentioned Mellis in particular as a player whose fitness levels need to improve. Mellis does of course, in my opinion, give a quality of passing that we don’t have elsewhere in the squad.
Cambridge included three former Stags players in the side: George Taft and Greg Taylor in central defence, and Reggie Lambe in midfield.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Nicky Maynard hits hat-trick as Mansfield Town start 2020 with Graham Coughlan's first win
chad.co.uk, by Agency (SPORTS REPORTER), Wednesday 01 January 2020
MANSFIELD kicked off the new decade with a fine 3-2 fightback win at ten-man Cambridge United.
New boss Graham Coughlan clinched his first win since taking the helm courtesy of Nicky Maynard’s second hat-trick of the season.
Harvey Knibbs and Greg Taylor scored for the hosts, who had Reggie Lambe sent off at the Abbey Stadium.
Coughlan made five changes to the side which lost 2-0 to two James Vaughan penalties at Bradford last time out.
Hayden White, Krystian Pearce, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis and Maynard were the quintet to come in as James Clarke, Ryan Sweeney, Willem Tomlinson, Otis Khan and Andy Cook missed out.
The Stags saw an early chance go begging when CJ Hamilton blasted over.
And they were made to pay in the third minute as Knibbs headed home the U’s first goal of the year to take the lead.
The visitors almost found themselves two behind after confusion inside the box.
But shot-stopper Conrad Logan came to the rescue to tip Sam Smith’s strike on to the post.
Hamilton dazzled his way into space to force Callum Burton into a top stop, before the hosts’ keeper kept out Maynard as the Stags threatened to equalise.
But Maynard made no mistake second time round as he converted Danny Rose’s knock down nine minutes before the break.
Coughlan’s charges found themselves behind once again going into the break as Greg Taylor tapped in after Jack Roles’ free-kick hit the post.
Lambe was sent off just before the hour after two yellow cards in as many minutes.
First he brought down Mellis before pulling down White to leave the U’s a man light for 31 minutes.
The Stags upped the ante with the extra man with Matt Preston heading wide before Rose fired into the side netting.
Hamilton almost found a fortunate equaliser as his deflected effort troubled Burton.
With 19 minutes left Maynard drilled home Hamilton’s fizzed cross to level for a second time.
Moments later Rose timed his run to perfection before being kept out by Burton.
But Maynard completed a fine comeback win in the 81st minute when he headed home his third.
Cambridge: Burton, Darling, Taylor, Taft (Dallas, 90), Dunk, Hannant (Maris, 65), Lambe, Lewis, Roles, Knibbs (Jones, 70), Smith.
Unused subs: Mitov, Norville-Williams, Richard, O’Neil.
Mansfield: Logan, White (Clarke, 79), Pearce, Preston, Benning, MacDonald, Bishop (Cook, 79), Mellis, Hamilton, Rose, Maynard.
Unused subs: Olejnik, Knowles, Smith, Khan, Davies.
Referee: Neil Hair
Attendance: 3,848 (347)
Cambridge United start 2020 with defeat to Mansfield Town in League Two
cambridge-news.co.uk, By Andrew Georgeson, 1 JAN 2020
Cambridge United threw away their lead twice during a 3-2 defeat to Mansfield Town in League Two.
Ultimately, Cambridge only have themselves to blame.
From a position of relative comfort, a silly red card and some poor defending from crosses has left United on the end of a defeat from a game, like against Leyton Orient, that many would have expected them to win.
It’s even more disappointing as it was an electric start to the New Year for the U’s, which saw Harvey Knibbs nod home Harrison Dunk’s ball after just three minutes. Indeed, the early stages of the game made you feel that it could be a comfortable afternoon at the Abbey against an out-of-sorts Stags team.
One of the most promising things was the partnership between striker Sam Smith and Knibbs, which was as fluent a front two as we’ve seen this season.
And it was nearly 2-0 when a perfectly weighted pass from the former Villa youngster picked out Smith, whose first-time effort took a slight deflection off keeper Conrad Logan and came back off the inside of the post.
The duo linked again later in the half, with Smith sending a defender the wrong way before being closed down.
Yet for all their early work, United lost momentum half way through the opening period and Mansfield were well worth their equaliser.
Callum Burton, who kept hold of the number one shirt after making his EFL debut for the club against Morecambe, made a couple of handy saves before then though, the first from Nicky Maynard and the second from CJ Hamilton.
Greg Taylor also had to be on hand to nick the ball off Krystian Pearce’s toes as he was winding up to shoot. But the goal when it came was of the highest quality, with Mal Benning’s cross being headed across goal by Danny Rose and scrambled home by Nicky Maynard.
The U’s responded well and would go in leading when Greg Taylor was on hand to tap the ball home after Jack Roles’ free kick smacked off the bottom of the post.
The second half started with some handling practice for Burton, who gratefully clutched a few crosses.
But the game was turned on its head when Reggie Lambe was sent off for the second time in his past two starts, receiving two yellow cards within the space of two minutes.
At first, Mansfield didn’t make the extra man count, but soon enough the chances started to flow.
The best probably came for Rose, who dragged his shot wide from inside the area, before Burton was on hand again to punch away Hamilton’s deflected cross.
The one criticism you could make of the Knibbs-Smith partnership was that the ball wasn’t sticking when they were under pressure, and Colin Calderwood tried to shore things up by introducing Dan Jones in place of the goalscorer.
Minutes later Mansfield were level though, with Hamilton pouncing on a poor Harry Darling header and teeing up Maynard. Burton then kept out Rose’s effort as Mansfield really started to turn the screw.
Ten minutes later the turnaround was complete, with United failing to clear Benning’s corner for Maynard to nod home his hat-trick.
In the end it should have been four, and Burton did incredibly well to atone for Taylor’s error which allowed Andy Cook through, but the substitute kept possession and tried to dink a shot, which ultimately sailed wide.
MATCH REPORT - CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2 MANSFIELD TOWN 3
Ten man Cambridge United suffered a second half fightback against Mansfield Town who took the spoils 2-3 at the Abbey on New Year’s Day.
United had led at the break through Harvey Knibbs and Greg Taylor, but the game turned when Reggie Lambe was given his marching orders and Nicky Maynard went on to complete a hat-trick for the Stags.
United made four changes with Harrison Dunk, Luke Hannant, Harvey Knibbs and Reggie Lambe returning to the starting eleven.
The U’s got 2020 off to the perfect start when Harrison Dunk cut a cross expertly into the path of Knibbs who made no mistake from six yards with a header past Conrad Logan inside three minutes.
A combination of the Stags keeper and the post denied United a second goal inside ten minutes, after Knibbs had harried well enough to rob possession high upfield and lay a pass into strike partner Smith, who saw his side foot shot pushed against the woodwork.
Callum Burton did well in his first piece of action on 21 minutes as the keeper got both gloves to a well struck CJ Hamilton strike from 18 yards, which Burton palmed away from goal. An airshot from George Taft allowed Nicky Maynard to run into a shooting position ten minutes before half time, but Burton was equal to the striker’s shot.
However, the keeper was helpless to Mansfield’s equaliser shortly after when a sublime delivery by Mal Benning from the left hit Danny Rose at the back post and landed on the head of Maynard one yard out.
But Colin Calderwood’s men dug their heels in before the break and when Jack Roles excellent free kick struck the woodwork once more, Greg Taylor was in prime position to slot in his first of the season into an empty net to restore the U’s first half lead.
United’s task of holding on to an advantage became tougher on the hour mark when Reggie Lambe was shown a pair of yellow cards, the second of which looked harsh on the Bermudan.
CJ Hamilton pulled a cross back to Stags striker Danny Rose shortly after but he fired wide of the near post which Burton looked to have covered anyway. The U’s keeper did very well soon after to watch a Hamilton shot that deflected wildly off the boot of Harry Darling and required a clever tip over the top by Burton.
The Stags equalised somewhat inevitably on 71 mins when a ball over Darling’s head found Hamilton who calmly squared for the unmarked Maynard to register his second from close range.
And United fell behind in the game for the first time with ten minutes to play, as Krystian Pearce caused carnage in the U’s box winning three headers from a set piece with the final one finding Maynard who completed his hat-trick with his head again from close range.
Burton stopped the Stags extending their lead late on, diving at the feet of Andy Cook to dislodge the ball from the striker’s stride and United weren’t able to muster a leveller with a series of set pieces in stoppage time.
Cambridge United: Burton, Darling, Taylor, Taft (Dallas, 88 mins), Dunk, Hannant (Maris, 64 mins), Lambe, Lewis, Roles, Knibbs (Jones, 67 mins), Smith
Bookings: Lambe (RED), Roles
Mansfield Town: Logan, White (Clarke, 77 mins), Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop (Cook, 77 mins), MacDonald, Mellis, Maynard, Hamilton, Rose
Attendance: 3,848 (347)
Jackson & Fire Security Man of the Match: Jack Roles