STAGS LOSE AT CARLISLE
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Carlisle United 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 2000 (home supporters only, capacity according to COVID-19 guidelines)
Date: 15 December 2020
Martin Shaw at Brunton Park
Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at high-flying Carlisle United this evening. It was only the Stags second defeat away from home this season, but with only two wins in 18 games, the Stags remain precariously placed, just three points above the relegation zone.
An even first half saw Carlisle take the lead after 39 minutes when the dangerous Omari Patrick controlled a cross from the right by Jack Armer and with his second touch fired past Marek Stech on the volley from 9 yards. Kellan Gordon perhaps could have put in a challenge to make it more difficult for Patrick, but it was a tremendous finish. The Stags gave as good as they got in the first half going close to opening the scoring twice, as Ollie Clarke fired wide from 16 yards after a good run into the box, and George Lapslie volleyed a tremendous effort from wide on the right, just in from the touchline, that was heading for the roof of the net until keeper Paul Farman superbly tipped it over the bar. At the other end, Carlisle, who had won 7 of their 8 home league games this season, also went close on two or three occasions, as Gordon put in a great block on a shot from Josh Kayode from 14 yards, then Ryan Sweeney put in an even better block on a shot from Joe Riley that seemed destined to go in. Superb from Sweeney. Patrick also had three shots at goal before he finally broke the deadlock.
Despite being behind at the break, it wasn’t a bad performance from the Stags in the first half.
But the second half was a massive disappointment as the Stags failed to produce any quality at all and did nowhere near enough to look like troubling the home side who cruised to a very comfortable 1-0 victory. It was very frustrating to watch as the Stags were outplayed, and on the few occasions that they had a chance to put a ball into the Carlisle box, the quality of crossing was woeful, from a number of different players. Carlisle had chances to win by a bigger margin as Joe Riley was again denied by a great block, this time from Lapslie, Riley had another shot deflected for a corner, and he also drew a save at his near post from Stech, while Stech saved at point bank range from former Stags defender Rhys Bennett.
The Stags generally defended well, with several good blocks, while Sweeney and Rawson were solid in central defence, but the Stags’ lack of quality in the final third was alarming in the second half, with so many terrible crosses and final balls letting the side down.
With things tight at the bottom of the table, the Stags have a critical game at home to bottom club Southend United on Saturday. Southend, who picked up only six points from their first 15 games, have suddenly picked up six more points from their last two games, and are now just four points behind Mansfield with a game in hand. The Stags are still looking for that elusive first home win in the league this season, and will be hoping to achieve it on Saturday.
The Stags were unchanged from the side that drew at Cambridge. Nicky Maynard was unavailable due to injury, a dead leg, picked up at Grimsby, and he remains a doubt for Saturday. Andy Cook was on the bench, against the club where he started as a youngster in the youth team, and incredibly he had never played against Carlisle until he came on in the second half this evening. Aaron O’Driscoll came into the 18 in place of Maynard.
Carlisle, already on a run of three straight wins coming into the game, and with 7 wins from 8 at home, were full of confidence. Former Stag Rhys Bennett joined Carlisle only a few weeks after being without a club, and started in central defence.
With Carlisle in tier 2 of Government restrictions, 2,000 fans were allowed in to support the home side.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Mansfield Town slip to defeat at Carlisle United
chad.co.uk, Tuesday 15th December 2020
Stags boss Nigel Clough suffered just his second defeat since taking over after slipping to a 1-0 defeat at high-fliers Carlisle United.
Omari Patrick scored his first goal since September to end the Stags’ three-game unbeaten run in the league - their longest without a loss this season.
Clough’s charges remained just three points above the relegation zone in their bid to retain their Football League status.
Chris Beech’s side extended their winning streak to four games and have impressively won eight of their nine league home games at Brunton Park this season.
Experienced manager Nigel Clough name an unchanged starting line-up after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town.
Striker Nicky Maynard, who scored the equalising penalty at the weekend, was replaced on the bench by Aaron O’Driscoll.
The Stags started brightly as Ollie Clarke fired wide from the edge of the box with the first real chance of the evening.
The high-flying Cumbrians started to up the ante as they found their feet midway through the first half.
Down the other end Ryan Sweeney produced a superb piece of last-ditch defending to claw Joe Riley’s goal-bound effort off the line in the 15th minute.
George Lapslie forced shot-stopper Paul Farman into a super stop to tip his effort over the bar.
The Stags were broken down as Patrick opened the scoring six minutes before the break.
The striker did well to bring down Jack Armer’s cross before squeezing his finish beneath Marek Stech for only his second goal of the campaign.
After the restart Lapslie saw an early effort blocked before Jordan Bowery’s strike was also thwarted by the hosts’ defence.
Just before the hour former Luton Town keeper Stech easily kept out Riley’s low drive.
Tempers boiled over as both sets of players came together after Clarke chopped down Josh Kayode.
Patrick came close to a second after he opened up onto his right foot.
Carlisle: Farman, Anderton, Hayden, Armer, Bennett, Riley (Furman, 89), Guy, Mellish, Alessandra (Reilly, 90+4), Patrick (Toure, 79), Kayode.
Unused subs: Obiero, Hunt, Dixon, Dewhurst.
Mansfield: Stech, Benning, Sweeney, Rawson, Gordon, Clarke, Maris (Cook, 68), Lapslie, Charsley, Bowery, Reid (Sinclair, 79).
Unused subs: Stone, O'Keeffe, Menayese, McLaughlin, O'Driscoll.
Referee: Peter Wright (Lancashire)
Carlisle United 1 Mansfield Town 0: Patrick earns fourth straight win
newsandstar.co.uk, By Jon Colman, Tuesday 15th December 2020
Omari Patrick sent Carlisle United up to second in League Two with a fine finish to seal a fourth straight win against Mansfield.
The forward got his second goal of the season in the 39th minute when he controlled the ball from Jack Armer's pass and, in one movement, shot neatly past keeper Marek Stech from the right.
It proved enough for Chris Beech's high-flying side to see home their latest win.
It is now four league victories on the spin for the first time in two years, while Carlisle also claimed a third consecutive clean sheet.
The in-form Cumbrians are just two points off top spot.
Ollie Clarke had gone close early on for the Stags before United - featuring two changes - hit back.
Armer and Joe Riley came into the starting XI for the injured George Tanner and Danny Devine respectively, and United threatened through Joshua Kayode whose sixth-minute attempt was deflected wide.
Patrick almost set up Jon Mellish from the left before the overlapping Riley was denied by a brilliant goalline clearance by Ryan Sweeney when set up by Lewis Alessandra in the 17th minute.
At the other end, George Lapslie tested Paul Farman with a dipping effort from the right touhline before Carlisle upped their pressure, Patrick thwarted with a number of attempts and Callum Guy shooting narrowly wide before Patrick finally opened the scoring in style from right-back Armer's assist.
After the break, Lapslie saw a shot deflect behind while Riley was denied by a block after good work from Mellish as Carlisle pressed well.
Jordan Bowery then saw a shot on the turn blocked as the visitors searched for a leveller.
United, though, enjoyed a further spell of dominance while there was a flashpoint when Clarke appeared to stamp on Kayode after a foul, a melee resulting which saw Rhys Bennett booked.
The officials came in for further criticism from home fans as more Blues players saw yellow, including keeper Farman for taking too long over a free-kick, while Riley was denied after good work from Guy and Mellish.
Mansfield brought on ex-Blues striker Andy Cook for the last 20 minutes but chances for the visitors remained scarce as United held on for the points.
Right-back Tanner was ruled out after suffering a shoulder injury in the closing stages of Saturday's 4-0 win over Stevenage.
Beech did not put a timescale on the defender's lay-off but said "it's not great news".
Midfielder Devine was also sidelined with a knee problem which will see the ex-Bradford man see a specialist this week.
United: Farman, Armer, Anderton, Hayden, Bennett, Guy, Riley (Furman 88), Mellish, Patrick (Toure 79), Alessandra (Reilly 90), Kayode. Not used: Dewhurst, Hunt, Dixon, Toure, Obiero.
Goal: Patrick 39.
Booked: Hayden, Bennett, Guy, Farman, Riley.
Mansfield: Stech, Gordon, Benning, Rawson, Sweeney, Maris (Cook 69), Lapslie, Clarke, Charsley, Bowery, Reid (Sinclair 79). Not used: Stone, O'Keefe, Menayese, O'Driscoll, McLaughlin.
Ref: Peter Wright.
Match verdict and gallery: Carlisle United show why they're flying high in win over Mansfield Town
newsandstar.co.uk, By Jon Colman, Tuesday 15th December 2020
Carlisle United 1 Mansfield Town 0: Carlisle had to settle for just the one goal this time, but won’t have too many complaints about that. It is now four wins from four and, in all honesty, they were significantly better than Mansfield here, the only credible winners of this low-scoring game, the side who looked like they should be riding high in the table - and, happily, are.
The Stags were more stubborn than Stevenage had been three days earlier - not that that’s saying much - but Omari Patrick’s attractively-taken goal did the trick, and from United there was more of the forceful play which reminded you why Chris Beech’s side remain extremely well-placed in League Two as Christmas approaches.
The last home game before the festive run also saw a third consecutive clean sheet, which Beech will gladly bank in the absence of his star right-back, George Tanner. Jack Armer stepped in gamely on his full league debut and though Carlisle’s inability to find a second goal kept Mansfield interested, United still played most of this game on the front foot, like a team who know why they are at the top end of the table and wish to stay there.
Patrick’s goal, in the 39th minute, was the decisive moment, and there was certainly match-winning quality in the forward’s finish as he controlled and dispatched the ball across Marek Stech in one fluent movement. Joe Riley, who buzzed around effectively in midfield all game, could have had more, and, really, the only blots on the night came from referee Peter Wright, who saw several things the 2,000 fans didn’t and made it a more interrupted and agitated game than it needed to be.
No matter. The Blues are now in their best winning form for two years and that’s a very useful place to be as the standard of opposition now increases.
The adaptability shown here is a quality they will need against higher-calibre rivals (such as Forest Green, Saturday's hosts). Tanner's shoulder injury has presented the first real challenge to Carlisle’s confident cruise into the top three and while Armer did himself plenty of credit in his stead, losing League Two's form right-back for a solid spell will still test Carlisle.
The good news is that this appears a team and squad with options and a keenness to overcome such setbacks. The same goes for the way Riley put together an excellent, busy midfield display in Danny Devine's knee-injury absence, and all this supported the now familiar attacking efforts which eventually pinned Mansfield back here.
The Stags, who have stemmed their early-season defeats since the appointment of Nigel Clough, were always likely to be less friendly opposition than Stevenage, and so it proved in an end-to-end start where Mansfield’s counter-attacking appetite went up against Carlisle’s usual style of getting the ball up the pitch and trying to cause maximum danger as close to goal as possible.
Mansfield had hunger and occasional, elusive zip down the middle, as shown when Ollie Clarke bustled onto an Aaron Hayden clearance and shot narrowly wide in the fifth minute. This was already closer than Stevenage had come in 90, but Carlisle made this a sharp and evenly-competitive first period, Joshua Kayode having a shot deflected wide and both sides exchanging set-pieces in the attacking thirds.
United were most dangerous when Lewis Alessandra dropped into pockets and allowed his high-quality control and distribution to connect first-half attacks. In one such moment, he worked a Riley pass out to Patrick, whose cross for Jon Mellish was cleared. With another, he ought to have claimed an assist as he controlled, turned and picked out the overlapping Riley, but the inevitable goal was denied when Ryan Sweeney kept out Riley’s finish with a brilliant goalline block.
This was to Mansfield's defensive credit and told Carlisle they would have to keep going to overcome their stubbornness. This, thankfully, is an attitude that seems to come naturally, Paul Farman’s huge kicks a regular weapon in their recurring bid to force the visitors back.
The keeper was engaged on 22 minutes, tipping over a George Lapslie cross from the right touchline, while upfield the ever-determined Patrick often threatened to cut through without yet applying the clinical finish.
Callum Guy came closer, fizzing an effort narrowly wide after stealing back the ball, and this territory seemed to suit Carlisle as Mansfield’s dogged attacks became less frequent.
Armer was sticking gamely to his task against Jordan Bowery, the normally left-sided defender's selection designed to help United match Mansfield physically in all areas, while United also felt they were competing against the officials, ref Wright ignoring a series of appeals for fouls and a handball, and making more contentious calls.
Thankfully, Carlisle took all that out of the equation when they finally went ahead, and you would not have known it was only his second goal of the season in the way Patrick controlled and finished so smoothly after a ball in from Armer.
This capped a half which Carlisle had ended well, winning more ball in the 50-50 areas and using it with the right intent, while in the second half they saw off occasional squalls and embarked on more persuasive attacks.
At the back, Rhys Bennett was by and large in imperious command, while Riley, arriving from midfield, came close for Carlisle more than once, after more good pressing and Mellish's determined running, which helped United overload and overwhelm Clough's team at times.
Mansfield briefly built a better presence in front of United’s box, Bowery seeing a shot on the turn repelled, but the Blues remained the likelier scorers, Patrick almost benefiting from a deflection in another spell where the officials came in for criticism, an apparent stamp by Clarke on Kayode leading to a minor melee which had Bennett involved.
The defender was one of five United players booked on the night, which seemed excessive on the evidence presented (one was Mellish, who will now miss the Forest Green trip). Clough sent on Andy Cook to face his former club but the game's descent into regular fouls and set-pieces only really threatened to benefit Carlisle. Guy's deliveries were often on the mark, and the only fear amid this latest dominance was that Mansfield (or the officials) remained one random moment away from checking it.
A second goal would have killed it stone dead, but truthfully there were not many jitters at Carlisle's end, and the Blues’ forward momentum clearly remains.
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