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17th November 2020 0:19

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Forest Green Rovers 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Bailey 85. Lapslie 5, Charsley 35.
Attendance: behind closed doors

Date: 14 November 2020

Martin Shaw at The innocent New Lawn

Mansfield Town got their first league win of the season at the twelfth attempt this afternoon with a 2-1 success at high-flying Forest Green Rovers.
Since Nigel Clough was appointed as manager just over a week ago to the enormous excitement of Stags fans, the Stags had won at Sunderland in the FA Cup, under the caretaker stewardship of Richard Cooper with Clough in the stands, and won at Scunthorpe in the EFL Trophy, but it was league wins that were so desperately needed with the Stags perilously placed in the bottom three.
And the Stags, looking a transformed side from that which made Barrow look like Barcelona just two and a half weeks ago, raced into a 2-0 lead here by half time with a superb first half performance, and despite conceding an 85th goal, hung on for a deserved victory.
The Stags were ahead after just 5 minutes as Stephen McLaughlin won the ball on the left 15 yards inside the Forest Green half, made a good run forward and from just inside the area on the left, pulled a great ball across to George Lapslie whose first time shot goalwards from 12 yards was parried by keeper Luke McGee straight back to Lapslie who knocked in the rebound. Lapslie’s third goal in successive games and taking to the attacking midfield role like a duck to water. Actually the conditions would have been well-suited to ducks, with heavy rain most of the morning and at lunchtime leaving the pitch very wet, and then the rain even more torrential from the end of the first half, through half-time and through most of the second half, but credit to the groundstaff as the pitch stood up to the deluge remarkably well, better than I expected given the abandonment just under two years ago.
The Stags nearly increased the lead after 34 minutes, as a great cross from Lapslie just evaded Nicky Maynard, but McLaughlin recycled the ball from the left and his cross was beautifully controlled by Maynard on his knee, before Maynard sent a brilliant acrobatic effort just over the bar. Brilliant improvisation from Maynard.
The Stags did increase the lead moments later, after 35 minutes, and it was a gift from the home side. Ebou Adams won a free kick 25 yards from his own goal. Inexplicably, Adams got up and took a quick free kick back to the edge of his own area straight to Jordan Bowery. Bowery controlled the ball and found space to slide a perfect ball across the edge of the area to Harry Charsley who took one touch before firing into the bottom left corner of the net from 14 yards. I suggested in commentary that Ebou Adams might not be looking forward to seeing his manager Mark Cooper at half time. Cooper said after the game that Adams could be colour blind and they would have to get his eyes tested!
A great first half from Mansfield, deservedly 2-0 ahead.
The second half saw Forest Green put the Stags under some pressure but it should have been 3-0 to Mansfield after 73 minutes, as Mal Benning’s free kick was met on the volley on the middle by Maynard who knocked into the net but the offside flag went up. From the video, Maynard appeared to have timed his run perfectly and was onside. It was one of a large number of mistakes from the officials, albeit this was the only one that had a material effect on the game.
Forest Green pulled a goal back after 85 minutes in the lashing rain as a corner from the left by Nicky Cadden bounced off the side of James Perch’s head and then ricocheted off Jordan Bowery into the path of Odin Bailey who tucked the loose ball under Marek Stech from close range.
With five minutes to go, it was hard not to think back to the Leyton Orient game and fear the worst but the Stags clung on to victory with guts and determination despite being pushed back and under pressure.
Celebrations at the end of the game as Nigel Clough congratulated each one of his players.
So many good performances throughout the side. Lapslie was immense in the first half with another all-action display, a classic box to box performance, and another goal. Charsley also worked hard in midfield and took his goal in clinical fashion. Up front, Maynard was unlucky to see his goal ruled out and had another brilliant acrobatic effort just over the bar, while Bowery worked incredibly hard, set up the second goal, was a real nuisance for the home defence, and got back well to help his defence out when the side was under pressure in the second half.
At the back, James Perch gave a captain’s performance (*), so composed on the ball, was unlucky when the ball came off him and then Bowery to set up Forest Green’s goal, and got lucky when the ball bounced off his head and landed on the top of the bar, and overall he was outstanding. Enormous credit goes to Richard Cooper for moving him back into central defence from midfield two weeks ago. Alongside Perch, Farrend Rawson had a great game against his former club. Behind the defence, Marek Stech put in an immaculate performance with a number of fine saves and great handling. After some costly mistakes earlier in the season, he now looks like the commanding goalkeeper we thought we had signed, and credit to him for bouncing back with fine performances.
Overall, the team looks very well balanced and if the Stags keep performing as they have during this unbeaten run of five league and cup games, with three league and cup wins on the bounce, we will surely rise up the table and into a position of mid-table safety. For now though, the Stags are still in the bottom four.
No midweek game this week after four consecutive Tuesday games. The next game is on Friday night as Colchester visit the One Call Stadium (kick off 7pm, join us from 6.50pm on iFollow Stags). Colchester have won four of their last five league games and sit in the play-off positions with a game in hand.

(*) Ollie Clarke took over the captaincy from Perch when he came on as substitute.

For Nigel Clough’s first league game in charge, he named the same side that won at Sunderland last Saturday in the FA Cup. It was the same diamond formation, with Lapslie in the attacking midfield role, and Maris in the defensive midfield position. Maris was to go off after a bash in the ribs after 31 minutes and he was replaced by Ollie Clarke, who had returned from injury to play 15 minutes in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.
There were two changes on the bench, with Ollie Clarke replacing Tyrese Sinclair, a little unlucky to lose his place on the bench after a great performance on Tuesday, and Ryan Sweeney in for Rollin Menayese. Sweeney’s brother Dan Sweeney was on the bench for Forest Green, though neither of them was to get on.
Forest Green started the day in third place, the Stags third bottom.

It was a foul day, with wind and heavy rain. The wind was behind Forest Green in the first half. Unusually, both teams played better against the wind as the Stags had the better of the first half and Forest Green the second half.



Clough effect continues as Mansfield Town claim first league win of season at Forest Green Rovers
chad.co.uk, Saturday 14th November 2020

The Nigel Clough effect has struck again as rapidly improving Mansfield notched their first League Two win of the season at the 12th attempt.

The Stags triumphed at Forest Green to register their third straight success in all competitions since Clough took the managerial reins.

The Stags, fielding an unchanged starting line-up from the one which triumphed brilliantly at Sunderland in the FA Cup, got off to a dream start at the New Lawn.


Only six minutes had passed when Stephen McLaughlin crossed into the box aiming for George Lapslie.

The midfielder fired in an initial effort which was saved point-blank by Luke McGee, but Lapslie was on hand to joyfully ram home the rebound.

Shortly after it was Lapslie who was in the thick of the action again, teeing up Nicky Maynard as he lashed a shot narrowly off target.

In the 20th minute, Mark Cooper's hosts went close to a leveller.

The Stags had 'keeper Marek Stech to thank for a terrific save as he kept out Odin Bailey's precise strike.

Rovers then threatened again as Ebou Adams nodded inches wide as he leapt superbly to meet Jake Young's cross.

Those misses were punished by the confidence-fuelled Stags in the 35th minute.

Harry Charsley guided a shot sweetly into the corner after being picked out by Jordan Bowery.

Rovers went close with the first opportunity of the second period when Young forced Stech into another decent stop.

At the other end Maynard charged in to meet Kellan Gordon's cross, only to then head straight at McGee.

Maynard then thought he'd notched a third for the Stags, but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Bailey halved Rovers' deficit with five minutes to go as he slotted crisply past Stech, but the Stags comfortably held on for their precious victory.

Forest Green: McGee, Godwin-Malife, Wilson (Collins, 46), Kitching, Adams, Winchester, Cadden, Moore-Taylor (Stevens, 76), Bailey, Young, Matt (Richardson, 76). Subs not used: Thomas, Sweeney, Stokes, Whitehouse.

Stags: Stech, Gordon, Rawson, Perch, Benning, Maris (O Clarke, 31), Lapslie, Charsley, McLaughlin, Bowery, Maynard (O'Keeffe, 82). Subs not used: Stone, Sweeney, Cook, O'Driscoll, Reid.

Referee: Brett Huxtable.


REPORT - Forest Green Rovers 1 Mansfield Town 2
Noah Dougherty, Saturday 14 November 2020

A valiant Forest Green Rovers effort yielded nothing, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Mansfield Town.

The Stags, under the charge of Nigel Clough for the first time in League Two, raced into a 2-0 lead as George Lapslie and Harry Charsley both capitalised to find the net

The second half was dominated almost entirely by the hosts, but it took until the 84th minute for any sort of reward to show itself, Odin Bailey prodding home after a set-piece.

Despite a late barrage, Rovers simply couldn’t break through the wall of navy blue to earn a point.

Mark Cooper opted for a strike-partnership of Jake Young and Jamille Matt with Odin Bailey in behind.

It took just five minutes for Mansfield to find themselves in front as Lapslie made space in the box to direct a cross goalwards. Luke McGee did well to get down to his right to deny the first effort, but the Charlton Athletic loanee made no mistake on the follow-up.

Rovers tried to force their way back into the encounter after 18 minutes through Kane Wilson, but his lofted cross into the area was well claimed by the Stags’ stopper.

Shortly after the half-hour mark, Nicky Maynard went close to doubling the visitors’ advantage with an acrobatic effort, but his over-head kick dropped just over the bar.

Just one minute later, Mansfield did get a second.

A mistake from a quick free-kick saw Rovers give the ball away on the edge of their area and Nigel Clough’s men made no mistake in capitalising, Charsley finding the corner.

A flurry of chances right at the end of the half could have provided Rovers with an all important goal.

Jamille Matt latched on to Cadden’s cut-back but couldn’t get the better of Marek Stech who pulled off a great save.

From the resulting corner, Jake Young’s corner almost snuck in at the back post, but Rovers’ misfortune continued.

Rovers came out of the tunnel after the break with a renewed determination.

Young had the first chance of the second period, cutting in from the left and testing the keeper’s catching ability.

With the hour mark rapidly approaching, Rovers couldn’t have got much closer to pulling one back. Former Rovers man Farrend Rawson tried to nod the ball clear, but instead looped a header over his own keeper and onto the top of the bar.

A quickly taken free-kick from the left looked to have handed Mansfield a third as Maynard nipped in to finish, but the linesman’s offside flag cut short the celebrations.

A Bailey effort after 75 minutes proved a further test for Stech, but he was equal to it once more.

The best chance of the second half came through a combination of substitutes, as Matty Stevens slid in to turn Jayden Richardson’s cross over.

Bailey provided the hosts with a glimmer of hope after 85 minutes as he turned home after a Cadden corner dropped for him, but it wasn't enough

Referee: Brett Huxtable

Forest Green XI: McGee, Wilson (Collins 46’), Kitching, Winchester (c), Adams, Cadden, Matt (Richardson 76’), Moore-Taylor (Stevens 76’), Bailey, Young, Godwin-Malife

Unused subs: Thomas, Sweeney, Stokes

Mansfield XI: Stech, Benning, Rawson, Charsley, Bowery, Maris (Clarke 30’), Gordon, Perch (c), McLoughlin, Maynard (O’Keefe 83’), Lapslie

Unused subs: Stone, Sweeney, Coock, O’Driscoll, Reid

Match Sponsor: Bio Circle

Man of the Match: Jake Young


PA Media report, by Ash Loveridge

Nigel Clough marked his first league game in charge of Mansfield with a 2-1 victory at promotion-chasing Forest Green.

Mark Cooper's side were caught cold after five minutes when Stephen McLaughlin skipped beyond Udoka Godwin-Malife and laid a ball across the box.

George Lapsley's strike was parried by Luke McGhee, but the Mansfield midfielder reacted quickest to rifle the free ball home.

Harry Charsley made it two for the Stags on 34 minutes. Rovers' Ebou Adams made a hash of his free-kick for Jordan Bowery to pick his pocket and find Charsley to plant a sweet finish beyond McGhee.

Only a stunning Marek Stech reflex parry after 44 minutes denied Rovers' Jamille Matt after neat footwork from Jake Young presented the opportunity. Seconds later Stech was at it again - beating down a Kane Wilson shot.

Rovers were quickly out of the blocks in the second-half - Young inducing two blocks from Stech and Farren Rawson headed against his own bar.

Rovers were given a lifeline when Odin Bailey stabbed home for Rovers with six minutes to go from a Nicky Cadden corner, but Clough's side held out.


Forest Green Rovers suffer first home defeat of League Two season to Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town
gloucestershirelive.co.uk, By Laurie Martin

Forest Green Rovers fell to their first home league defeat of the season as they were beaten 2-1 by Mansfield Town at the innocent New Lawn.

It was always going to be a tough game for Rovers. Boosted by the appointment of the experienced Nigel Clough - who won his first game in charge of the Stags at Scunthorpe in the Papa John’s Trophy in midweek - this Mansfield side were never going to be as poor as their 22nd position in the table suggested.

This was the first time Mark Cooper had faced Clough in the dugout since the 2015 League One play-off semi-finals, when Cooper’s Swindon side pipped Sheffield United to a 7-6 aggregate victory, culminating in a chaotic 5-5 draw in the second-leg at the County Ground.

This game wasn’t quite as pulsating, although there were still plenty of talking points.


The visitors started brightly and took the lead after just five minutes. Stephen McLaughlin nicked the ball off of Udoka Godwin-Malife and cut the ball back to George Lapslie who saw his first shot saved by Luke McGee, but he made no mistake from the follow-up.

Lapslie’s goal was the sixth time Rovers have conceded in the first 20 minutes of games so far this season, the worst record in the EFL according to Cooper.

He said: “We’ve conceded the most goals in the Football League in the first 20 minutes. That’s a stat. Something has to change.

“We’ve been through scenarios of looking at the clock. Come on, let’s get to five minutes, 10, 15, 20. It’s usually no coincidence that when we do score first, we win.”

Most of the stats suggest that Forest Green are one of the outstanding sides in the division, but they are falling behind in games too often. By contrast, Cheltenham have only conceded the first goal in one of their games this season.

The visitors doubled their lead on 34 minutes. Ebou Adams made a meal of a quick free-kick and passed it straight to Jordan Bowery who played in Harry Charsley to arrow a finish past McGee.

It was a poor error from Adams who has struggled to hit the heights that he set last season, when his consistent performances saw him widely regarded as one of the best players in League Two.

For all of their second-half domination, Rovers simply gave themselves too much to do to get back into the game.

They did get a goal back with six minutes to play when Odin Bailey scrambled home from a corner. Forest Green have now scored six goals from set-pieces this season which must be hugely pleasing for assistant head coach Richard Dryden, who has been working hard to make Rovers more effective from dead ball situations since arriving in the summer.

Matty Stevens had a golden chance to equalise from a header inside the six-yard box but he couldn’t make a solid connection, as Forest Green dropped down to fifth in the table.

Rovers ended up having 22 shots on Marek Stech’s goal, but not for the first time this season, a combination of poor finishing and decent goalkeeping let Forest Green down.

Rovers have had the most shots in League Two, but their shots on target percentage and conversion rate is amongst the worst. The forward players need to step up and be more clinical if they are going to maintain a promotion push this year.

However, it was a very professional performance from Mansfield. The Rovers back three struggled to deal with the physicality and vast experience of Bowery and Nicky Maynard, whilst ex-Forest Green defender Farrend Rawson put in one of his trademark no-nonsense performances at the back which made him a fans favourite during his two and a half years in Nailsworth.

Back-to-back away trips to Barrow and Southend (who have only won just three times between them this season) represents a good opportunity for Forest Green to get back on the winning trail.

Rovers haven’t won in their last three games in all competitions, and some fans will be getting some bad flashbacks from this time last year, where they only accumulated 18 points from their final 20 games of the season.

Forest Green are still performing well, so such a dramatic drop off this year seems unlikely, but Cooper will really want his side to return to winning ways in Cumbria next weekend.

Forest Green Rovers (3-4-2-1): McGee; Godwin-Malife, Moore-Taylor (Stevens 76), Kitching; Wilson (Collins 45), Winchester, Adams, Cadden; Bailey, Young; Matt (Richardson 76). Subs not used: Thomas, Sweeney, Stokes, Whitehouse.

Mansfield Town (4-3-3): Stech; Gordon, Rawson, Perch, Benning; Maris (Clarke 30), Lapslie, Charsley, McLaughlin; Bowery, Maynard (O’Keefe 81). Subs not used: Stone, Sweeney, Cook, O’Driscoll, Reid.

Referee: Brett Huxtable.

Star man: Jake Young.