{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 4
 Hartlepool United
Clucas pen 75.
 Monkhouse 7, Compton 44, 49, Poole 78.
Attendance: 3457 (273 from Hartlepool)
Date: 5 October 2013


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 4-1 at home by Hartlepool United this afternoon. It was the Stags first home defeat since Kidderminster on January 12th and the first time we’ve conceded 4 at home since the 4-3 defeat by Newport in the first game of last season. It was a shock to the system after the tremendous run that had seen the Stags rise to third in the table with an 8 game unbeaten run culminating in a win at top of the table Chesterfield. There are similarities to draw with that defeat against Kidderminster in that both games came after the euphoria of a high profile game the week before: in January it was a stunning performance against Liverpool, and this time it was the win at Chesterfield. Optimists will hope that the Stags can embark on a run of similar proportions to that following the Kidderminster game where the Stags won 20 games out of 23. Back to today’s game and the Stags have to concede that Hartlepool played well and deserved their victory, with some classy goals, all four of which were shots from outside the area. But Mansfield were never at their game today, failing to close Hartlepool down, giving them more space than they have done to any other team this season. The Stags conceded two goals in the first half, and then two more in the second, and that is the first time that the defence has been breached in the second half of any game so far this season. There were no positives to draw from the performances of the players and we even have difficulty finding a man of the match. If anybody needed reminding, there are no poor teams in this league.

Manager Paul Cox made no changes to the 18 from the Chesterfield game, no surprises there. Beevers and Jennings were to push forward as wing-backs unlike last week when they were genuine full backs.

Inside the first minute, Howell was booked after a crunching foul in front of the Hartlepool dugout.

On 4 minutes, Hutchinson knocked back to McGuire, who ballooned well over the bar.

The Stags were unlucky on 5 minutes as Tafazolli rattled the woodwork. From a Jennings free kick, Dempster headed back across goal, and Tafazolli headed against the post, and then fired the rebound wide.

On 6 minutes, McGuire knocked the ball into the area, and Andrew headed wide of the right post. If was a good effort from a difficult position.

Hartlepool took the lead out of the blue on 7 minutes. Andy Monkhouse found himself in space 25 yards from goal and sent a brilliant left footed shot into the right corner of the net, giving Marriott no chance.

On 11 minutes, McGuire fired wide on the half-volley from 20 yards.

A superb cross from Hutchinson on 15 minutes, and Jennings nodded wide at the far post.

There was a controversial moment on 20 minutes as Luke James went down in the area, apparently under a challenge from Howell. The referee adjudged it as a dive and booked James. Had he adjudged it as a penalty, Howell would surely have picked up a second yellow card. From review of the match DVD it looks like Howell got the man and the ball at the same time, so probably not a penalty but also not a booking for James.

A minute later, the Stags themselves had claims for a penalty turned down as it looked like Austin controlled the ball with his arm in the area. Clucas who was close to the incident was adamant that it was a penalty. From review of the match DVD, it’s hard to tell as the camera is on the wrong side to get a good angle on it.

Straight to the other end and a great effort by Jack Compton who cut inside from the right and curled a fine shot towards the top left corner, and Marriott pulled off a great save diving to his right.

Cox made a tactical change on 23 minutes as he reverted to 4-4-2, bringing off Tafazolli, and bringing on Meikle. Hutchinson and Meikle moved to right and left wing respectively.

Jennings picked up a yellow card on 25 minutes for handball.

Controversy on 33 minutes as the ball clearly went out for a Mansfield goal kick and was brought back into play by a Hartlepool player. The officials allowed play to continue and Monkhouse should have scored from 6 yards out but got the ball stuck under his feet.

On 34 minutes, a great block by Beevers from James, on the edge of the area. A rare piece of defending reminiscent of the performance against Chesterfield.

A cross from Duckworth on 39 minutes, found Compton unmarked near the penalty spot, and he volleyed over the bar. On 42 minutes, a Hartlepool free kick from the right by Walton, came off Andrew’s knee into Marriott’s arms.

Hartlepool made it 2-0 on 44 minutes. Compton cut inside from the right, and his fine left footed shot from 20 yards beat Marriott at his near post. Marriott would be disappointed to be beaten at his near post. The goal came after the Stags lost the ball in the Hartlepool half.

On 45 minutes, Andrew flicked on and Clucas fired wide.

Hartlepool played well in the first half and the first goal was a tremendous shot. The second was down to disappointing goalkeeping.

Half time 0-2

Cox made two more changes at the break, bringing on Rhead and Palmer for Andrew and Hutchinson. Rhead and Palmer went up front, and Clucas and Meikle were on the wings. It seemed a gamble given that Howell was walking a tightrope.

A great effort from Clucas on 46 minutes. A superb first touch to control the ball, and then with his second touch he toe-poked it just wide of the left post.

Hartlepool made it 3-0 on 49 minutes. Howell clipped the heels of Duckworth 22 yards from goal just to right of centre. Howell, already on a booking, was fortunate not to be spoken to. Compton took the resulting free kick, left footed, and clipped it over the wall into the right of the net. Marriott couldn’t keep it out. Maybe he could have done better with his position and that of the wall. Nevertheless Hartlepool’s shooting had been outstanding.

On 54 minutes, Monkhouse’s right foot shot spun wide.

On 66 minutes, a shot on the turn from Clucas was charged down. From the resulting corner, McGuire shot from 20 yards and the keeper held on to it at his near post.

On 67, Compton cut inside Jennings and his low left footed shot was straight at Marriott. On 70 minutes, Walton had half a chance but was not quick enough to the ball 12 yards out. At the other, McGuire had another decent effort, from 22 yards, just over.

The Stags pulled on back on 75 minutes, from the penalty spot after Rhead knocked the ball on and it hit a Hartlepool hand. There were no complaints. Clucas stepped up and drove the ball low and hard past the keeper.

If the Stags’ hopes were momentarily raised, they were dashed within three minutes, as Hartlepool made it 4-1. Compton played the ball inside to James Poole who sent a great shot into the bottom right corner, giving Marriott no chance. The Stags defence stood off and watched and Marriott was furious with them.

The game was up. On 89 minutes, a shot from Poole was saved by Marriott.

Then on 90 minutes, Palmer knocked to Clucas and he chipped over the bar right footed.

A very disappointing defeat after a great run. Four goals conceded, all from outside the box, that doesn’t happen very often. The Stags need to bounce back quickly and will be hoping to do so against Chesterfield in the Football League Trophy and against Bristol Rovers in the league.

One small consolation: My girlfriend will be pleased that the beard will be off in the morning. Hopefully I’ll still have time with another unbeaten run to look like Santa Claus by Christmas. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Sam Clucas

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 5 After heroics of recent games, he was beaten at the near post for the second goal, and would possibly be disappointed to be beaten by the free kick also at his near post. One great save tipping over a shot from Compton in the first half.
Sutton 5 After superb defending of recent weeks, today the defence just didn’t close the opposition down.
Dempster 5 As for Sutton. Good header to set up Tafazolli’s early chance.
Tafazolli 6 Unfortunate to be victim of a tactical change so early. Was very unlucky with a header against the woodwork.
Beevers 5 Part of a poor defensive unit.
Jennings 4 Given a roasting by the outstanding Compton on the right wing. Like the whole defence back down to earth with a real bump.
Howell 4 Booked after just a minute and walked a tightrope all afternoon. May have been fortunate when the ref didn’t award Hartlepool a penalty and instead booked Hartlepool’s James for diving. Gave away unnecessary free kick which led to the third goal. Very poor game after some good performances replacing Clements.
McGuire 6 Started well but got worse in the second half.
Hutchinson 5 Subbed at half time. Out of sorts after a good run of form.
Clucas 6 Struggled with little support or service. Regularly cried out for balls on the floor. Took the penalty well for his fifth goal of the season.
Andrew 5 Again subbed at half time. One good effort from a difficult position.
Sub Line Up:
Meikle (for Tafazolli, 23) 5 Needs to have the ball to his feet to do anything and it didn’t happen.
Rhead (for Andrew, 46) 5 Didn’t cause the defence any problems.
Palmer (for Hutchinson, 46) 5 Like Rhead, was toothless up front today.
Subs not used: Daniel, Murtagh, Stevenson, Speight.
Opposition Line Up:
Flinders; Duckworth, Collins, Burgess, Austin; Compton (Franks 79), Baldwin, Walton, Monkhouse (Richards 79); Poole, James. Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Sweeney, Holden, Rodney, Walker.
Graham Horwood 7 Probably got the penalty decisions about right.

Season 13/14 Reports