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3rd September 2020 0:30

Carabao Cup (English Football League Cup) - Round 1
Preston North End 4-0 Mansfield Town
Barkhuizen 14, Maguire 22, Bauer 28, Harrop 65
Attendance: behind closed doors

Date: 29 August 2020

Martin Shaw at Deepdale

Mansfield Town were beaten 4-0 by Preston North End in the first round of the Carabao Cup at Deepdale this afternoon, in the Stags’ first competitive game of the new season and first competitive game for 5.5 months. The scoreline reflected the superiority of Preston whose obvious quality was there to see. For the Stags, the game came too early as warned by manager Graham Coughlan in recent interviews with the EFL insisting the game was moved forward by a week, disrupting Mansfield’s pre-season plans. Preston, on the other hand, just a few weeks ago finished the Championship season only four points outside the play-offs for a place in the Premier League. The gulf in class here was obvious, and in addition it was not surprising that Preston looked better prepared in terms of match readiness. With all that said, it was disappointing to see the Stags gifting Preston some goals with poor defending and sometimes giving the ball away too cheaply, and that is something that Coughlan will be looking to iron out before the league campaign starts in two weeks.

The game being played behind closed doors was particularly disappointing as it was Mansfield’s first visit to Preston since 1998, and with the ground now developed into an excellent stadium fit for the Premier League, it would have attracted a large following in excess of a thousand fans from the Stags I think. The Stags have played Preston once since then, also in the League Cup, in 2004 at Field Mill, a game in which current Preston manager Alex Neill played for the Stags. That is two weeks running that the Stags have come up against former players as the opposition manager, with last week’s opponents Rotherham having a management team of three former Stags players in Paul Warne, Richie Barker and Matt Hamshaw.

Mansfield game full debuts to six of their new signings: Marek Stech, Rollin Menayese, Farrend Rawson, Corey O’Keeffe, James Perch and George Maris. Two more were on the bench and came on as substitutes: Aaron O’Driscoll and Jamie Reid. Of the other new signings, Ollie Clarke was not ready for a place in the 18 having had an injury during pre-season, but manager Coughlan hopes he will be ready for the first league game. And Jordan Bowery was not in the 18 as he suffered a bit of tightness. Indeed, Bowery being replaced by Danny Rose was the only change in the starting XI from the game against Rotherham a week ago. The final new signing, the 11th of pre-season, was the re-signing of Nicky Maynard, who is behind most of the squad having not been part of pre-season training. The only other unexpected omission from the 18 was Kellan Gordon who was doing some light training on the pitch in the warm up, with the other younger players who weren't in the 18.

This was the starting XI, (3-5-2):
Marek Stech (new signing);
Rollin Menayese (new signing, right side of back 3), Farrend Rawson (new signing), Ryan Sweeney (left side of back 3);
Corey O’Keeffe (new signing, right wing-back), Harry Charsley, James Perch (new signing), George Maris (new signing), Mal Benning (left wing-back);
Andy Cook, Danny Rose.

Squad numbers were announced a couple of hours before kick off and the only player omitted was Will Tomlinson who remains suspended pending further investigation, but as explained by Coughlan in the press conference on Thursday, was allowed to play on trial for Accrington Stanley and is free to leave the club.

Stech was in action after 3 minutes pushing away a header from Sean Maguire.

However it was the Stags who were making the stronger start and on 8 minutes a chance for Charsley but he was falling over as he tried to shoot from the edge of the area.

The Stags were desperately unlucky not to take the lead after 11 minutes with a good move. A nice ball forward from O’Keeffe for Rose to chase on the right, Rose played a good ball inside to Cook, who escaped his marker Bauer and fired against the inside of the post, the ball rebounding to Bauer who put it behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, Charsley had a shot blocked for a corner.

But Preston took the lead after 14 minutes. A long ball forward from the keeper sailed over Rawson and Preston centre forward Maguire to fall for Brad Potts. Potts laid it off to the right to Tom Barkhuizen who fired a rocket shot across Stech and into the left corner of the net. Rawson could have done better but this was a great shot from former Morecambe man Barkhuizen. It was a blow for Mansfield having made such a positive start to be behind.

Preston made it 2-0 after 22 minutes. Maris lost the ball just inside the Preston half and fouled his man tried to get it back, the referee played advantage and Harrop laid a fantastic ball into the path of Sean Maguire who was through on goal and slid his shot past Stech. A clinical finish from Maguire, who scored his first goal for the Republic of Ireland in November.

Perch was booked for a late tackle after 24 minutes.

Great play from O’Keeffe after 25 minutes as he crossed superbly from the right but Cook couldn’t quite get to it.

Preston scored a third after 28 minutes and this was very poor defending from Mansfield. A corner from the left went through a crowd of players to the far post where centre half Patrick Bauer had got away from Rawson to knock in from close range. Poor marking from Rawson.

A chance for the Stags after 32 minutes. O’Keeffe’s free kick from the left was met by a glancing header from Sweeney which drifted wide of the right post. At the other end on 36 minutes, Harrop’s shot from the edge of the area gave a routine save for Stech.

In the latter stages of the half, Preston kept the ball for long stretches with Mansfield chasing shadows.

After 45+2 minutes, Rawson did well to throw himself in front of a shot from Josh Earl to partially redeem his earlier error.

So Preston 3-0 ahead at half time. Some of the defending had been disappointing, but there had been promising moments for the Stags too with Cook unlucky to hit the inside of the post and O’Keeffe really impressing on the right.

Half time 3-0

The Stags started the second half well, as they had started the first.

After 46 minutes, a good opportunity for Cook but smashed a shot from just inside the area over the bar.

Then following a free kick after 48 minutes, Rose found Sweeney but he tried to lay off again rather than shooting and the chance was gone. The Stags guilty of overplaying in the box.

On 51 minutes, a free kick from Benning from the right bounced off Cook at the near post and wide for a goal kick.

At the other end after 52 minutes, Stech produced a brilliant save as a shot from Tom Bayliss, who played against us for Coventry, was deflected and Stech reacted quickly with his left boot as he was going the wrong way.

Benning was visibly frustrated with himself after 59 minutes as he overhit a diagonal ball forward. He wasn’t having a good game.

The Stags made a double changed after 63 minutes. Tyrese Sinclair replaced Perch, while Aaron O’Driscoll replaced Rawson for his debut. Sinclair went into an attacking midfield role, where Perch had played in a defensive midfield role.

There was more poor defending from Mansfield as Preston made it 4-0 after 65 minutes. Potts had far too much space to come forward and lay off to Barkhuizen on the right, who was also in far too much space where Benning should have been. Barkhuizen’s low ball in found Harrop in acres of space 9 yards from goal, with time to take a touch and fire past Stech.

Poor marking again from Mansfield after 71 minutes as a free kick from Preston sub Ledson found Barkhuizen unmarked and he headed wide.

Mansfield made their final change after 76 minutes as Jamie Reid replaced Rose for his debut.

After 77 minutes a clearance from Menayese only reached Potts who fired over the bar from the edge of the area.

Great play from Jamie Reid after 82 minutes as he played the ball inside Huntington and would have been past him but Huntington deliberately handled and picked up a yellow card. The resulting free kick was taken by Benning whose kick was straight into the wall. When Sinclair is on the pitch he should be taking these set pieces in my opinion.

Menayese made a good block on the edge of his area on 84 minutes.

The Stags finished the game on the front foot as Tyrese Sinclair’s goalbound shot after 90 minutes was blocked on the line and the Stags had a couple of corners in stoppage time but they came to nothing.

So Preston ran out resounding winners and deservedly so. They were far too good for Mansfield and so impressive in possession, which they had for long spells. No lack of effort from the Stags but understandably they did not look ready for this game against a side of the quality of Preston. The defending needs to improve and the manager will know that. On the positive side, O’Keeffe had a really impressive game with some good crosses and passing. Jamie Reid looks sharp when he came on and caused the defence some problems, while Tyrese Sinclair impressed as substitute too. And especially important was that it didn’t appear that the Stags picked up any injuries. I think the midfield will be strengthened by the inclusion of Ollie Clarke when he is ready after injury and up front the Stags will be hoping that Nicky Maynard can again be in the top two scorers in the league this season, as he was last season. Meanwhile on this showing, I wouldn’t be surprised if Preston are there or thereabouts fighting for promotion to the Premier League.

For the Stags, the next game is an EFL Trophy game against Manchester City U21 on Tuesday 8 September (kick off 6pm, match pass available on iFollow Stags), before the first league game on 12 September. Coughlan will also probably organise a friendly next Saturday if he can find some suitable opposition.

Man of the Match: Corey O’Keeffe


Preston North End 4 Mansfield Town 0

A thoroughly professional performance from Alex Neil’s side saw the PNE overcome Mansfield Town at Deepdale by four goals to nil in the opening game of the Carabao Cup.

Tom Barkhuizen, Sean Maguire and Patrick Bauer gave them a comfortable half-time lead and Josh Harrop - fresh from his new contract - added a fourth 20 minutes into the second half to put the Lilywhites in the hat for round two.

Tom Bayliss got the 2020/21 season underway at Deepdale and it was a positive start from the home side as Barkhuizen delivered a superb ball into the penalty area from the right-hand side, with Maguire forcing a save from Marek Stech in the Stags goal with a flicked header.

Graham Coughlan’s men had not come just to lie down, however, with a 3-5-2 formation and brave press, going man to man with the front six and they were almost rewarded with the opener on 12 minutes when the ball was cut back to the edge of the box and Andy Cook took a touch to his right and drilled an effort off the foot of the inside of the left-hand upright.

This provided the spark that North End needed and they were in front less than 90 seconds later. Maguire won a flick on, collected by Brad Potts, who sent a smart ball out to Barkhuizen on the right, with the No.29 firing a bullet like effort back across goal and just inside the post, into the far corner, doing what Cook had been unable to at the other end.

It was two before the mid-point of the first half. This time it was Harrop who was the provider, sending a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Irish international forward Maguire, who collected, controlled and calmly slotted past Stech into the Bill Shankly Kop end goal.

Potts went close with a header from another arkhuizen cross, but it was from PNE’s first corner of the day that they made it three, just before the half hour mark.

Harrop provided the cross from the left, deftly flicked on by captain Alan Browne - playing the game at right back - with the ball going all the way through to the back post to Bauer, the German sliding home from a very tight angle, almost apologetically.

There were chances to further extend the lead before half-time, with Stech saving from Harrop and then Josh Earl, making his first start for the Lilywhites since April 2019’s trip to West Brom, seeing a shot blocked by visiting skipper Ryan Sweeney.

The Stags started the second half brightly, with Cook blazing over with a left-footed shot and Connor Ripley, between the sticks for PNE, needing to make a good punch to clear Corey O’Keefe’s dangerous cross.

But the hosts came to life again quickly, with the quick feet of Harrop almost presenting himself with an opportunity, the ball eventually falling at the feet of Bayliss, whose deflected shot flat-footed Stech, but he flung out a leg to keep the ball out.

Harrop, after being involved in goals two and three, was not to be denied on 65 minutes, celebrating his contract extension with the fourth goal. Potts was bearing down on the penalty area before putting the ball out wide to Barkhuizen. The scorer of the opener turned provider, drilling the ball into the path of the No.10, who took a touch and fired hard into the top right corner from 12 yards out.

With a place in the bag for the next round already secured, possession was now the name of the game, with Alex Neil’s side having long spells of keeping the ball, frustrating their League Two opponents.

They could have further added to their advantage; Potts firing over from 20 yards out, after a nice build-up and substitutes Scott Sinclair and Joe Rafferty both having goalbound efforts deflected, but like the first round last year - away at Bradford, where Barkhuizen and Harrop were again amongst the scorers - as well as the last time we met Mansfield, in the same competition, back in 2004, the game ended 4-0.

PNE line-up: Ripley, Browne (c), Earl, Pearson (Ledson, 70), Bauer, Huntington, Barkhuizen, Bayliss (Rafferty, 70), Maguire (Sinclair, 74), Potts, Harrop. Subs not used: Hudson, Davies, Stockley, Bodin.

Mansfield Town line-up: Stech, O’Keeffe, Benning, Menayese, Sweeney (c), Rawson (O’Driscoll, 64), Charsley, Maris, Cook, Perch (T Sinclair, 64), Rose (Reid, 76). Subs not used: Stone, Clark, Knowles, Smith.

Referee: Mr R Joyce


By Tom Sandells, Saturday, 29th August 2020

Far from a traditional curtain raiser, North End were forced to play the first round of the cup behind closed doors and weeks before the start to their league campaign due to a combination of the coronavirus and international matches.

The Lilywhites were in control throughout and goals from Tom Barkhuizen, Sean Maguire, Patrick Bauer and Josh Harrop

Maguire had the first chance of the game four minutes in, an inviting cross from Barkhuizen headed towards goal well by the Irishman and Marek Stech beat it away.

Mansfield hit the post after 12 minutes, Andy Cook capitalising on a defensive error and a good cross in to strike towards goal, beating Conor Ripley and clattering the far post, the ball almost coming straight back to him.

In the 14th minute North End would break the deadlock, a long ball forward from Ripley was headed on by Maguire and Brad Potts played it into Barkhuizen's path first time on the turn with the winger finishing with aplomb.

Maguire would then have the finishing touch in the 23rd minute, receiving a well-weighted through ball from Josh Harrop to play him in behind before calmly finishing on his left foot into the far corner.

James Perch picked up the first booking of the game, sliding in late on Tom Bayliss as he came forward from midfield.

Potts would be the next to shy an effort towards the Mansfield net, neat work between Barkhuizen and Maguire left the former with the chance to cross but North End's no.44 couldn't keep the header down.

The home side would extend their lead after 28 minutes, Harrop's corner just evading Alan Browne at the near post but not Bauer at the far post, the German slotting the ball home.

Ben Pearson wasted no time in picking up his first yellow card of the season, just over half an hour in the midfielder was in the book for a foul on half way.

There was a rare chance at the North End goal as a result of the free kick, Town skipper Ryan Sweeney glancing a header past the far post, with Ripley seeing it all the way.

In stoppage time of the first half, Josh Earl found himself in the Mansfield area, picking up a loose ball from a slide tackle on Harrop, but his strike was blocked - keeping the score at 3-0 going into the break.

Just seconds into the second half the visitors carved out a chance, a cross in from the right landed at the feet of Cook who struck on the volley but his effort was always rising.

Seven minutes into the second half Preston nearly made it four, Harrop setting off into the Mansfield box, beating several defenders before running out of room and the ball eventually presenting itself to Bayliss. His side footed shot seemed to take a bit of a deflection and Marek Stech just about managed to correct a dive into the corner to save with his legs.

As the game slowed down Mansfield made a double change, Perch and Farrend Rawson making way for Aaron O'Driscoll and Tyrese Sinclair, moments later the pair would have even more work to do.

A nice flowing move from the Lilywhites in the 65th minute saw Potts feed the ball wide to Barkhuizen and his low cross was collected then dispatched into the back of the net by Josh Harrop, extending the lead to four.

Preston made their own changes in the 70th minute, Ben Pearson and Tom Bayliss making way for Ryan Ledson and Joe Rafferty, with the former almost immediately having an impact.

Ledson's pass from midfield found a run from Barkhuizen who nodded towards goal but missed the target from the centre of the area, where he could have easily made it five.

With seventeen minutes to go, Alex Neil withdrew goalscorer Maguire after a very productive afternoon, in his place Scott Sinclair occupied the number nine postition.

John Dempster (?!?) made his final change in the 77th minute, Rose making way for Jamie Reid.

Shortly after, Potts tried to extend North End's lead to five but he couldn't keep the ball down from the edge of the area.

Paul Huntington joined Pearson in the referee's book in the 83rd minute, handballing on the edge of the box to prevent Mansfield coming forward down the right.

Mansfield almost had a consolation in the final minute of the game, North End failing to deal with a cross into the box and Ripley punching as far as Sincalir but his effort was cleared away by Huntington behind the 'keeper.

A flurry of corners for the visitors followed in stoppage time but they couldn't find a goal.

PNE Starting XI: Ripley, Browne, Huntington, Bauer, Earl, Pearson (Rafferty, 70'), Bayliss (Ledson, 70'), Barkhuizen, Potts, Harrop, Maguire (Sinclair, 74').

PNE Subs not used: Hudson, Davies, Stockley, Bodin.

Mansfield Starting XI: Stech, Menayese, Rawson (O'Driscoll, 64'), Sweeney, O'Keeffe, Perch (Sinclair, 64'), Maris, Charsley, Benning, Rose (Reid, 76'), Cook.

Mansfield Subs not used: Stone, Clark, Knowles, Smith.