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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Pre-Season Friendly
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 Sheffield United
 Brandy 2
Attendance: 1912 (691 from Sheffield United)
Date: 20 July 2013


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium

Mansfield Town were outclassed by a hugely impressive Sheffield United side in the first half of this encounter and could have been more than 1-0 down at the break, the goal coming after just 2 minutes. But in the second half, Mansfield got right into the game and comfortably held their own, which was impressive given the quality of the visitors. The Stags won’t come up against opposition as good as this in the league and this was a useful workout. After the game, manager Cox was happy with the way things are progressing, but continues to realise that he needs a quality striker to come into the squad. Trialists Nathan Arnold and Amari Morgan-Smith played the second half and Paul Cox will continue to consider whether to offer them contracts.

Paul Cox made three changes from the starting XI against Peterborough, with Paul Black coming in for James Jennings who was ill with food poisoning, Murtagh in for McGuire, and Speight in for Stevenson.

Inside the first minute, Mansfield created the first half chance as Rhead sent a weak shot wide of the left post. Straight to the other end and Murphy shot straight at Marriott.

Sheffield United were ahead on 2 minutes. It was a fine move as Westlake was found with a cross field pass, he then crossed into the middle from the right hand side to Fabian Brandy in the 6 yard box who turned and shot underneath Marriott. It was a very good goal.

On 9 minutes, a 20 yard free kick from Murphy was straight at Marriott. Then on 12 minutes, a good run from Brandy and his shot was caught by Marriott above his head. A rare half chance for the Stags on 14 minutes as Beevers crossed from the right and Rhead headed wide of the left post.

Sheffield United were finding space both inside and outside the box and in truth Mansfield were getting a bit of a run around.

On 21 minutes, Tafazolli replaced McCombe. It wasn’t clear whether this was to give the defence extra pace or because McCombe was struggling with an injury.

A brilliant save from Marriott on 29 minutes as he tipped over a shot from Porter after Porter had been found with a good pass from the right. A good break from Sheffield United on 31 minutes and Murphy shot straight at Marriott. Two minutes later, a shot from Murphy was deflected wide. Then from the resulting corner, Porter headed wide. Doyle had a shot from 25 yards which Marriott saved.

On 42 minutes, Daniel was replaced by Meikle. Daniel had received a knock early on, hadn’t played well, possibly as a result and was then booked for a reckless challenge shortly before the substitution. On 43 minutes, Porter headed well over the bar from a Murphy corner. Just before the break, a better move from Mansfield as Rhead tried to play in Speight but Speight mis-controlled.

An impressive half from Sheffield United, totally outplaying the Stags.

Half time 0-1

Mansfield made five changes at the break with Pilkington, Murray, Arnold, Stevenson and Morgan-Smith replacing Black, Murtagh, Clucas, Rhead and Speight. Sheffield United kept the same side.

On 50 minutes, Westlake, who had switched from right back to left midfield, broke down the left and Marriott did well to claim his cross. Tafazolli headed tamely wide from a Beevers throw on 53 minutes. Two minutes later, McDonald fired wide of the left post for Sheffield United in what was now a much more even game. Good defending from Beevers on 56 minutes as he dispossessed Porter in the area.

On 61 minutes, Mansfield made 2 more changes with Sutton on for Beevers, and McGuire on for Howell. The only outfield Stags player left on the pitch who started the game was Dempster.

Mansfield’s best chance of the afternoon so far came on 64 minutes as Arnold squared to McGuire whose shot was tipped behind for a corner. On 66 minutes, Morgan-Smith sent a free kick from 19 yards just over the bar.

The Stags came even closer on 67 minutes. Meikle did really well to get past a defender on the byline and find Stevenson whose shot from point blank range was saved by the keeper.

This was much better from the Stags.

On 71 minutes, Jasper Johns’ shot from 20 yards just wide of the left post. A good chance for the Stags on 76 minutes as Murray’s free kick from the right was met by Dempster who headed over the bar. Arnold sent a snap shot from a tight angle wide on 80 minutes. A minute later, Marriott saved above his head from a shot from Lyle Taylor. Meikle tried to play in Morgan-Smith on 83 minutes but it was just too far ahead of him. There were no more chances for either side as Dempster blocked 2 half chances in 2 minutes.

A much better second half from Mansfield who held their own throughout the 45 minutes.

Man of the match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 7.5 No chance with the goal. One fabulous save to tip over a shot from Porter. Numerous other saves and good handling.
Beevers 7 Solid. One particularly good tackle to deny Porter in the area.
Dempster 6.5 Did ok. Got better as the game wore on. Two particularly good blocks in the space of two minutes late on. The only outfield player to play 90 minutes.
McCombe 6 Part of a defence that was given a bit of a run around early on. Subbed on 21 minutes.
Black 5.5 Given a difficult first half by Brandy and Westlake.
Daniel 5 Kick a Sheff Utd player’s boot early on and hobbled around a bit after that. Looked out of sorts possibly as a result, and was subbed after a reckless challenge.
Murtagh 5.5 Not at his best.
Howell 6 Ok.
Clucas 5 Didn’t get into the game at all, anonymous.
Speight 5.5 Poor touch when in a good position on a couple of occasions.
Rhead 6.5 Won most of his headers, but came to nothing.
Sub Line Up:
Tafazolli (for McCombe, 21) 7 Looked good.
Meikle (for Daniel, 42) 6 One superb run to the byline to set up a chance for Stevenson. Otherwise quiet.
Pilkington (for Black, 46) 7 Didn’t put a foot wrong again. Composed at left back.
Murray (for Murtagh, 46) 7 Provided some leadership and steadied the ship.
Arnold (for Clucas, 46) 6 Not as impressive as in previous game, though did ok.
Stevenson (for Speight, 46) 6 Did ok. One shot from point blank range that was saved.
Morgan-Smith (for Rhead, 46) 6 Looked ok, though not as impressive as at Chester.
Sutton (for Beevers, 61) 6.5 Slotted in at right back nicely.
McGuire (for Howell, 61) 6 Put in some tasty challenges and angered the opposition as a result. Could easily have been red carded in a league game. Finally picked up a yellow card ironically for an innocuous challenge.
Subs not used: Riley, Clements, Hutchinson, Dyer.
Opposition Line Up:
Long, Westlake, Maguire, Collins, Williams, McGinn, Doyle (Whitehouse 81), McDonald, Brandy (McFadzean 76), Murphy (Johns 59), Porter (Taylor 59). Subs not used: Howard, Whitehouse, Hill, McGinty.
Michael Naylor 6 Surprisingly didn’t stronger action against some rough challenges.

Season 13/14 Reports