STAGS MISS GOLDEN CHANCES AND LOSE AT CHELTENHAM
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Cheltenham Town 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 3274 (281 from Mansfield)
Date: 22 February 2020
Martin Shaw at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, Whaddon Road
Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at Cheltenham Town this afternoon thanks to a headed goal after 65 minutes from substitute Reuben Reid, so often a thorn in the Stags’ side over the years. It was a rare moment of quality from Cheltenham in the game and indeed was their first effort on target.
But Mansfield should have been ahead before then having missed several golden chances. As early as the first minute, Stags players had their heads in their hands as Harry Charsley’s left footed shot was heading for the top corner of the net before it was deflected wide. Then after 15 minutes, Mansfield had their first one-on-one chance of the game as Nicky Maynard was through with just the keeper to beat. Maynard tried to take the ball around keeper Owen Evans but the keeper did superbly to get a hand on the ball and nick it away from danger. Then after 35 minutes, a long throw from CJ Hamilton was headed on by Danny Rose to Maynard, Maynard took a great first touch to give him a yard of space but then shot inches wide of the left post from 6 yards. Into the second half and after 51 minutes a second one-on-one chance for Mansfield as Charsley did well to win the ball and Will Tomlinson was through with just keeper Evans to beat but his low shot was well saved again by the keeper, who was rightly named the home side’s man of the match. Then after 59 minutes, after Rose did well to win the ball off Ben Tozer, Charsley curled a shot just over the bar from 17 yards.
After Cheltenham scored on 65 minutes, Mansfield rarely looked like equalising despite having a few half-chances.
Cheltenham created little. In the first half, Alfie May cut inside from the right and fired over the bar, and Luke Varney fired over the bar from the edge of the area. In the second half, Tom Nichols crossed from the left and May headed a good chance over the bar. Cheltenham had a goal disallowed for offside after 69 minutes as Chris Hussey’s wayward shot from 35 yards turned into a cross and May turned it into the net, but May was offside.
The goal itself came after Hamilton played a loose ball forward to Tomlinson on the halfway line. Tomlinson couldn’t control it, Conor Thomas capitalised and played the ball out to Ryan Broom on the right and Broom sent in a fabulous cross which Reuben Reid powerfully headed into the net from 5 yards having beaten Ryan Sweeney to the ball.
It gave Cheltenham their 5th straight win at home and kept them firmly in the play-off places. Cheltenham have the best defensive record in League Two but they should have been breached here. Cheltenham manager Michael Duff said that it was an even game and Mansfield would feel hard done by to lose. But the Stags only had themselves to blame by missing golden chances including two one-on-ones plus Nicky Maynard’s shot wide from 5 yards, while at the other end allowing substitute Reuben Reid a free header in the box in what was the home side’s first effort on target.
Huge frustration for the Stags. At the bottom of the table, Stevenage were beaten again and Mansfield remain 13 points clear of them with 11 games to go.
Mansfield were unchanged from the side that beat Newport County. No surprise there. There was one change on the bench as Matt Preston had picked up an injury on training, and he was replaced by Joe Riley who was returning from injury and considered fit enough for the bench though not fit enough to start. No centre half on the bench though if need be White or Benning could have filled in or the Stags could have switched to 4 at the back. The formation was 3-5-2 as last week.
Cheltenham brought in Chris Clements and Tom Nichols into their starting XI from their last match. Clements of course had several years at Mansfield. Nichols was at Bristol Rovers under Graham Coughlan and has joined Cheltenham on loan for the second half of the season.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Wasteful Mansfield Town beaten for 16th time
chad.co.uk, By Sports Reporter (Agency), Saturday, 22nd February 2020
MANSFIELD Town slipped to a frustrating 1-0 defeat at promotion-chasing Cheltenham Town.
Supersub Reuben Reid grabbed the only goal of the game in the 65th minute to condemn the Stags to their 16th league loss of the campaign.
Once again Graham Coughlan’s side squandered a host of chances on a frustrating afternoon.
He named an unchanged line up as the Stags chased back-to-back league wins for the first time this season and both sides had early chances at Whaddon Road.
Harry Charsley saw an early left-footed volley deflected wide, while at the other end Alfie May did well to cut inside before firing over the bar.
Nicky Maynard squandered a great chance for the visitors as Owen Evans kept him out when trying to go around the keeper in the 15th minute.
And Maynard missed another glorious opportunity 20 minutes later when he lashed wide of the target.
The Stags continued to pile on the pressure after the break.
Willem Tomlinson was well kept out by Evans one-on-one after being found by Charsley.
Michael Duff then made a triple substitution just before the hour.
But Charsley could have given Coughlan’s charges the lead when he curled an effort wide.
And substitute Reid made the wasteful Stags pay as he headed home Ryan Broom’s pin-point cross.
May thought he had doubled the advantage four minutes later before being judged offside.
The Stags struggled to keep up with the hosts’ fresh legs and Reid found May only for the latter to blast over the bar.
Stags’ shot-stopper Aidan Stones produced a fine low save to keep out Conor Thomas, while at the other end Krystian Pearce nodded Tomlinson’s corner straight at Evans as the visitors pushed for a late leveller.
Cheltenham: Evans, Raglan, Tozer, Boyle, Broom, Clements (Thomas, 57), Doyle-Hayes, Hussey, Nichols (Addai, 57), May, Varney (Reid, 57).
Unused subs: Lovett, Long, Greaves, Sheaf.
Mansfield: Stone, Sweeney, Pearce, Watts (Davies, 86), White, Tomlinson, Bishop, Hamilton, Charsley (Benning, 71), Rose, Maynard.
Unused subs: Olejnik, Evans, Riley, Clarke, Knowles.
Referee: John Busby.
Attendance: 3,274 (281).
Five straight home wins, outstanding display from loanee and triple substitution pays off - verdict on Cheltenham Town's home win over Mansfield Town
gloucestershirelive.co.uk, By Jon Palmer, 22 FEB 2020
Five straight home wins
Not since the spring of 2013 have Cheltenham Town registered five successive home wins in League Two.
On that occasion, they defeated Wimbledon, Chesterfield, Rotherham, Northampton and Gillingham on their way to a fifth-placed finish under Mark Yates.
The club has not finished in the top half of the division since, but the current crop of players have put themselves in a strong position to challenge for a first promotion to League One in 14 years.
This narrow victory over an expensively-assembled Mansfield Town side was far from convincing, but Michael Duff's team still found a way to come out on top.
They have not given many goals away this season, conceding only 26 in 33 games to boast the joint meanest defence in the Football League, along with Sunderland.
Outstanding display from loan goalkeeper
They did, however, present Mansfield with some clear chances to take the lead at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, with Nicky Maynard guilty of missing two of them in the first half.
He was denied by Owen Evans' alert goalkeeping after quarter of an hour and the experienced forward shot wide after a long throw was flicked on by strike partner Danny Rose 10 minutes before half-time.
Will Tomlinson also raced through one-on-one in the 51st minute, but Evans saved well with his feet to preserve his second clean sheet in eight appearances since joining on loan from Wigan Athletic.
Alfie May then nodded a cross from full debutant Tom Nichols over the bar from a tight angle before Luke Varney had to kick away a header from Ryan Sweeney.
Duff had seen enough and made the bold decision of making all three substitutions with more than half an hour remaining, explaining after the final whistle that "draws are no good to us now".
On went Conor Thomas, Alex Addai and Reuben Reid, with Chris Clements, Nichols and Varney making way, as 3-5-2 became 4-3-3.
Almost immediately, Addai made a run down the left and won a corner, lifting the atmosphere around the ground.
Thomas was in good form before suffering a rib injury and he also made a positive impact after joining the action, but it was Reid once again who stole the show.
Just as he had been a week earlier against Leyton Orient, Ryan Broom was the provider, delivering another sumptuous cross from the right in the 65th minute.
Reid met it with a booming close-range header to take his personal tally from the last three games to three winning goals, securing nine points that have kept Cheltenham's automatic promotion bid very much alive.
Mansfield did apply some pressure late on, but Cheltenham rediscovered their organisation and resilience to shut them out, missing several opportunities to make it 2-0 on the break.
May had the ball in the net after a low cross to the far post from Chris Hussey, but the offside flag was raised as the forward's run of scoring in every home appearance finally came to an end despite another indefatigable display.
At full-time Duff went onto the pitch to thank the supporters and crossed paths with Reid, who made it clear to the manager that he was not satisfied despite his decisive strike.
He felt Cheltenham should have added to their goal tally in the closing stages and it is that sort of attitude that will serve Cheltenham well during the run-in.
They have done exceptionally well up to this point, but they must have that desire for more if they are to achieve something special.
The next three games will go a long way towards deciding not only Cheltenham's top three hopes but also their play-off credentials as they take on the teams currently lying sixth, seventh and eighth in that order.
They host Northampton Town on Tuesday night before visiting Colchester United on Saturday and then Port Vale come to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium on March 7.
Cheltenham Town (3-5-2): O Evans; C Raglan, B Tozer, W Boyle; R Broom, C Clements (C Thomas 57), J Doyle-Hayes, T Nichols (A Addai 57), C Hussey; L Varney (R Reid 57), A May. Subs not used: R Lovett, J Greaves, M Sheaf, S Long.
Mansfield Town (3-5-2): A Stone; R Sweeney, K Pearce, K Watts (C Davies 86); H White, W Tomlinson, H Charsley (M Benning 71), N Bishop, C Hamilton; D Rose, N Maynard. Subs not used: B Olejnik, J Evans, J Riley, J Clarke, J Knowles.
Referee: John Busby.
Attendance: 3,274 (281 away).
Star Man: Owen Evans.
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