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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 Plymouth Argyle
 Trotman 90+3
Attendance: 3379 (460 from Plymouth)
Date: 26 October 2013


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Despite playing some of their best flowing football of the season, Mansfield Town were once again unable to find the net, and were then beaten by a 93rd minute goal in a smash and grab raid by Plymouth Argyle. The game actually had 0-0 written all over it: Mansfield had previously failed to score in nearly 3 full games (since the 10th minute against Bristol Rovers); at the other end Mansfield had kept 7 clean sheets in the 13 games this season, and Plymouth had failed to score in 5 of their previous 7 games. However for most of this game it was one way traffic. The first half saw a corner count of 8 for Mansfield to nil for Plymouth. And the Stags had played some sublime football from the start with flowing moves involving Blake, Clucas, Hutchinson, Daniel and others. A move on 12 minutes involving Rhead and Beevers and ending with Clucas bringing a brilliant save from the Plymouth keeper from point blank range, wouldn’t have been out of place in a higher division. Yet it typified Mansfield’s day, and indeed last few weeks - the lack of a clinical goalscorer is obvious to everyone connected to the club from the manager to the fans. Mansfield continued to play well into the second half, and at the back the inclusion of Pilkington and McCombe to replace Riley and Dempster hadn’t weakened the solidity of the defence. And Liam Mitchell, replacing the injured Marriott, looked solid. But it looked increasingly likely that the Stags weren’t going to score and Mansfield really only came close to scoring twice in the second half as Sutton sent a bullet header over the bar and Daniel’s fine shot was well saved on 86 minutes. Then in the third minute of stoppage time, a free kick for Plymouth into the box saw Mitchell fatally come for the ball and not get there, and Calvin Andrew switch off for a second and lose his man Trotman who was allowed a free header into the net. Probably the first mistake at the back by the Stags, but punished to the full. Overall this was a good performance from the Stags that lacked the crucial ability to put the ball into the net. After the game, manager Cox told the media that he is chasing a striker from the development squads of premiership and championship clubs and hopes to have a player in within the next couple of weeks.

Plymouth were visiting Field Mill for the first time in over a decade and manager John Sheridan was a man under pressure. Mansfield were without defenders Dempster (suspended), Riley (injured) and Jennings (suspended). In came McCombe (for his first game since the Tranmere cup game), Pilkington (recalled from loan at Forest Green), and Sutton, who formed a central defensive back three. Alan Marriott was out with a back spasm, so Liam Mitchell replaced him for his first Stags game since Dartford away, exactly a year ago to the day. The fifth change was Hutchinson in for Palmer. It was a 3-4-1-2 formation with Beevers and Daniel pushing forward as wing-backs. Hutchinson played behind the front two of Clucas and Rhead.

Stags made a very positive start and earned 3 corners in the opening 3 minutes. On 7 minutes, a cross from Hutchinson was headed down by Rhead but to nobody. A really good move from the Stags on 9 minutes ended with Blake’s shot deflected for a corner.

On 11 minutes, Pilkington sent Clucas away down the left. Clucas cut inside but lost the ball. After the Stags won the ball back, a great move involving Beevers and Rhead with a one-two carved Plymouth open and Beevers’ cross into Clucas saw Clucas fire straight at the goal keeper from 3 yards. It was a brilliant move and deserved a goal.

There was another fine move from Blake to Clucas on 16 minutes which came to nothing. With 17 minutes gone, Liam Mitchell, the Stags reserve goalkeeper, had his first touch of the ball!

On 19 minutes, Hutchinson knocked down to Clucas whose shot was blocked. Then on 24 minutes, a good ball from Blake into Clucas and Clucas turned and shot well over the bar. There was another good move from the Stags a minute later but Blake took too long to get his shot away but did earn a corner. From that corner, taken by Hutchinson, Rhead headed back and Clucas headed over.

Plymouth had their first chance on 28 minutes through route one football which was in quite a contrast to how the Stags had been playing. Good positioning from Mitchell saw him save Boco’s shot. There was another chance for Plymouth on 35 minutes as a free kick was headed across goal and Alessandro headed over.

Hutchinson was booked for a foot up on 38 minutes.

Rhead headed over the bar from a Hutchinson corner as he never got on top of the ball, and it was the same combination on 45+1 as Rhead headed over again. Mitchell saved well a minute later from an Alessandro cross.

A very one-sided half and a fine performance from the Stags and 8 corners to nil reflected the Stags’ superiority. But the goal that the Stags desperately needed just wouldn’t come.

Half time 0-0

On 46 minutes, McCombe blocked a Hourihan shot. Then, a minute later, Boco’s shot was saved by Mitchell. Video evidence later showed that McCombe had got away with a pull on Boco’s shirt.

There was another tremendous move from the Stags on 50 minutes with some wonderful passing football which ended with Daniel mis-cueing a shot at goal from Rhead’s low cross across the 6 yard box.

Rhead was unlucky on 51 minutes when his back header from a Hutchinson free kick brought a good save from the keeper. On 53 minutes, Boco’s low shot was straight at Mitchell.

The Stags nearly found the breakthrough on 55 minutes when Sutton sent a clean header just over the bar from Hutchinson’s free kick from the right. Sutton has still never scored for the Stags but in fairness has rarely gone forward for set pieces.

On 57 minutes, Plymouth striker Reid turned on the edge of the box and his low shot was straight at Mitchell. Stags had a free kick from 28 yards on 61 minutes and, just when you were hoping that Daniel could reproduce his wonder free kick from pre-season, he sent it well over the bar. Rhead headed wide from an impossible angle from a Beevers’ cross on 66 minutes. Then, a minute later, at the other end, Hourihan shot well wide.

Andrew replaced Rhead on 67 minutes. A minute later, Blake was booked for a sliding foul. Pilkington put in a good tackle on 74 minutes as Reid ran towards the Stags goal.

Palmer replaced Clucas on 78 minutes.

A chance for Plymouth on 81 minutes as McCombe blocked a shot from Reid.

Meikle replaced Hutchinson on 82 minutes.

On 86 minutes, the Stags came close as a powerful right footed shot from Daniel was plucked out of the air by the keeper. A great run from Daniel on 88 minutes and his cross into the middle looked good but for some reason, Meikle didn’t make any attempt to get a head on to it.

On 90 minutes, Trotman headed over for Plymouth following a free kick. It was a warning for the Stags.

Four minutes of stoppage time were added on. Daniel had a shot blocked on 90+2. A minute later, a yellow card for McGuire as he committed a foul in his own half. From the resulting free kick into the box Mitchell fatally came for the ball and did not get there, and Calvin Andrew switched off for a second and lost his man Trotman who was allowed a free header into the net.

Man of the match: George Pilkington

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

Line Up:
Mitchell 5.5 Did not touch the ball for the first 17 minutes in his first Stags game for exactly a year. Did well after that and looked comfortable in a quiet game for him, until a crucial error when he came for a free kick and didn’t get there, and the Stags were punished.
Sutton 7 Defended well. Close to scoring with a bullet header following a free kick in a rare chance to get up field this season.
McCombe 7 Looked solid.
Pilkington 7.5 Composed and assured at the back.
Beevers 7 Some good attacking play down the right.
McGuire 7 Got stuck in as usual and did well.
Blake 7 Started superbly and helped Mansfield play some lovely flowing football. Couldn’t keep the flowing football going in the second half.
Daniel 7 Unlucky not to be the hero with a late winner when his fine shot was well-saved. Missed a couple of other chances and needs to practice his finishing inside the box. Some good runs.
Hutchinson 7 Some good set pieces, and good play from open play. A shame that none of today’s chances fell to him. Would like to see him get into goalscoring positions more.
Clucas 6 First touch let him down on occasion today. Should have scored with a chance from 3 yards in the first half.
Rhead 6 Some poor headers at goal, but was a bit unlucky with an attempt with a back-header.
Sub Line Up:
Andrew (for Rhead, 67) - Crucial mistake when he switched off for a second from the Plymouth free kick and lost his man Trotman who was allowed a free header for the goal.
Palmer (for Clucas, 78) -
Meikle (for Hutch, 82) - Impressed in the last 10 minutes.
Subs not used: Black, Murtagh, Howell, Stevenson.
Opposition Line Up:
Luke McCormick; Maxime Blanchard, Neal Trotman, Guy Branston; Durrell Berry, Curtis Nelson, Conor Hourihane, Jamie Reckord (Tyler Harvey, 85 mins); Lewis Alessandra (Paul Hayes, 85 mins), Reuben Reid, Rommy Boco (Andres Gurrieri, 75 mins). Subs not used: Jake Cole (gk), Luke Young, Paul Wotton, Hamza Bencherif.
Gary Sutton 6 Too lenient. But no crucial errors.

Season 13/14 Reports