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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Fleetwood Town  
5 - 4
 Mansfield Town
Evans 20 secs, 66 mins, Sarcevic pen 35, 64, pen 90+5.
 Clements 9, Howell 13, Clucas 76, Dyer 88.
Attendance: 2831 (306 from Mansfield)
Date: 23 November 2013


Martin Shaw at Highbury

Mansfield Town were beaten again this afternoon, and have now taken just three points from the last 8 winless matches. This was an extraordinary game at Highbury. The Stags were 1-0 down after just 20 seconds, then rallied superbly to lead 2-1 after 13 minutes, with a first ever Stags goal for Chris Clements and one for Anthony Howell. Fleetwood were level with the first of two penalties conceded with silly lunges. Mansfield were very unlucky not to be in front as Daniel rattled the crossbar midway through the second half, and then Fleetwood took the lead straight away and added another within two minutes to lead 4-2. Back game the Stags to pull one back through a Clucas header, and the Stags were deservedly level on 88 minutes through Ross Dyer. But, unbelievably, more poor defending from the Stags gifted Fleetwood a winner on 90+5 minutes through a penalty unnecessarily given away by the hapless Jennings. Sarcevic converted to leave the Stags fans, players and management stunned and feeling sick as anything.

Mansfield matched one of the title favourites toe for toe and there were some tremendous performances from the Stags players, including Clements, Clucas and Ollie Palmer. Fleetwood’s highly rated Antoni Sarcevic was outstanding as expected, and so was Gareth Evans and Steven Schumacher. But the defending of both sides left a huge amount to be desired. And for the Stags, boss Paul Cox has some tough decisions to make ahead of the trip to Burton on Tuesday. For example, James Jennings, dropped for this game after a poor display against Oxford, came on as sub after an hour and had a horrendous thirty minutes and surely cannot be recalled on Tuesday. The left back spot is a problem with Pilkington having looked very out of place when he played there, and Paul Black not favoured by the manager after his poor pre-season performances. Best option to me would appear to be Daniel in a back five. And Anthony Howell had another poor game, despite his goal, after his poor display against Oxford and surely has to be dropped.

Cox made three changes from the side that lost to Oxford: out went Jennings (dropped), McGuire (suspended) and Speight (knee injury). In came Martin Riley, Clements and Palmer, all back from injury. Clements was back for his first game since his bad injury sustained at York. It was a 5-2-1-2 formation, with Beevers and Daniel at right and left wingbacks pushing forward when the Stags attacked, and Sutton, Dempster and Riley in central defence. Clements and Howell were in the middle, with Stevenson playing behind Clucas and Palmer. Ross Dyer was back from loan at Hereford where he scored four goals and was on the bench, as was Tafazolli, who was back from injury. Hutchinson told me before the game that he is back fit, but probably missed out on the subs bench having not played in the reserves friendly in midweek. Jamie McGuire was gutted to be missing out against his former Fleetwood teammates, and evidently had been a very popular player at Highbury, with everyone seemingly wanting to talk to him. Fleetwood were without Jamille Matt and David Ball and so brought in striker Nathan Tyson on loan, believed to be on at least twice the top earner at Mansfield.

Fleetwood were ahead after just 20 seconds. Howell gave the ball away, Sarcevic broke into the box, Sutton made a good challenge, the ball ran free, Marriott and Howell got tangled up so Marriott couldn’t claim the ball, allowing Evans to fire the loose ball under Marriott and into the net.

On 5 minutes, Tyson received the ball on the edge of the box and his first time shot was just past the left post.

The Stags were level on 9 minutes. Clucas was brought down on the edge of the box, the referee awarded a free kick just outside the area, though the DVD showed it should have been a penalty. Fleetwood, who had shown a replay of their goal on the big screen didn’t show this incident! Clucas’s protest that it should have been a penalty was ignored by the referee. Clements took the resulting free kick, low and straight into the bottom right corner of the net. Justice was done and Clements had his first goal since leaving Hednesford where he was a regular scorer.

The Stags were ahead on 13 minutes. A ball in from the left from Daniel was headed up in the air by Howell. Cresswell had a chance to clear it but totally miscued allowing Howell a free shot at goal which he gratefully accepted, firing right footed into the left of the net.

On 17 minutes, a Fleetwood corner from the right gave Cresswell a free header but he sent his powerful header wide. On 19 minutes, Marriott saved well low to his left, palming the ball away from Schumacher’s 30 yard free kick. Straight to the other end and on 20 minutes, Beevers’ cross from the right went through several bodies out to Stevenson on the left. He had time to compose himself but, leaning back, his right footed shot was over the bar. Nearly a collector’s item on 25 minutes as Riley’s left footed shot from 30 yards was on target. The keeper palmed the ball up in the air, looked behind him and was grateful to catch it rather than see it go over the line. A good move from the Stags on 26 minutes and, from Daniel’s cross from the left, the keeper dropped it but escaped.

A very impressive opening 30 minutes from the Stags.

But on 35 minutes, Fleetwood made it 2-2. Sarcevic got past Howell into the box and was brought down by a silly lunge from Riley. A clear penalty. Sarcevic sent his spot kick low, straight down the middle as Marriott dived to his left.

On 37 minutes, Marriott palmed away Sarcevic’s piledriver from 30 yards. On 44 minutes, a free kick for the Stags from 30 yards. Clements took it again and struck it well and keeper Davis did well to tip it away. On 45+1, a Fleetwood free kick from the right by Schumacher was headed goalwards by Tyson and Marriott pushed it behind for a corner.

A fine first half from the Stags. Clements was impressive, making a big difference with his creativity.

Half time 2-2

On 47 minutes, a rocket shot from Murdoch from 30 yards was palmed away by Marriott. From the resulting corner, Pond sidefooted goalwards, it took a deflection and Beevers cleared off the line. On 49 minutes, Daniel was booked for a stupid challenge on the touch line. On 52 minutes, Evans broke into the box on the right and his powerful shot was pushed away by Marriott.

On 60 minutes, the Stags were forced into a change. Beevers came off and was given some pills by Simon Murphy presumably for a headache. Jennings replaced him as the Stags switched to a 4-4-1-1 formation. Sutton moved to right back, Daniel to left midfield, Clucas to right midfield and Stevenson just behind Palmer.

The Stags were desperately unlucky not to take the lead on 63 minutes. Good play by Clucas and Stevenson set up Daniel who fired in a thunderbolt from 25 yards. It more or less hit the keeper and crashed on to the crossbar.

Within a minute, on 64 minutes, it was 3-2 to Fleetwood. A brilliant run from Sarcevic from the halfway line, he got past Clements and Riley, and his low shot was deflected off Jennings and past Marriott.

Two minutes later, Fleetwood made it 4-2 and it started from a Stags’ attack. From a corner by Clements, Dempster headed back across goal and Palmer’s header was claimed by the keeper. The keeper bowled the ball out, Evans picked it up on the halfway line, got past Sutton and thrashed a pile driver past Marriott. Hard to be too critical of Marriott but I think it could have been saved by a keeper at the top of his game; it was struck from outside the box on the right, so from about 20 yards, and went straight over Marriott’s right shoulder so was very close to him. It was very powerfully struck though.

Poku replaced Stevenson on 67 minutes from the restart.

On 73 minutes, a free kick from Daniel from 28 yards was just over the bar.

On 76 minutes, the Stags pulled a goal back to make it 4-3. Daniel’s cross from the left was deflected through to Palmer whose shot was deflected up and Clucas nodded the ball past the keeper.

Dyer replaced Howell on 78 minutes. On 81 minutes, Murdoch shot high and wide from 25 yards. On 82 minutes, a fine header from Dyer into the path of Palmer and his great effort from 30 yards was palmed away by the keeper. On 84 minutes, Sarcevic broke into the box and went down but it was clearly no penalty.

On 87 minutes, Fleetwood brought on Matty Blair for Evans. Blair of course whose goal it was for York had beaten the Stags in the play offs.

Incredibly it was 4-4 on 88 minutes. A great tackle from Poku started it. Clucas made good progress over the halfway line and fed Palmer on the right. Palmer crossed it into the middle, Pond cleared as far as Clucas whose shot was blocked but only as far as Dyer who poked in from close range.

On 90 minutes, Dieseruvwe shot straight at Marriott from 30 yards, while at the other end, 3 minutes into stoppage time, Poku’s volley from 30 yards nearly hit the corner flag.

But ridiculously the Stags were beaten 5 minutes into stoppage time. Jennings gave the ball away with a poor header on the halfway line, and within a few seconds Blair broke towards goal and into the area where Jennings brought him down with a stupid challenge. Sarcevic knocked the resulting penalty into the left corner of the net to complete his hat-trick and send the Stags home stunned and dejected.

Man of the match: Chris Clements

Report by: Martin Shaw at Highbury

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Made some good saves from long range shots but could have done better with the 4th goal.
Beevers 6 Went off ill after an hour (presumably, as he was given some tablets by Simon Murphy).
Sutton 5 Evans glided past him too easily for the 4th goal.
Dempster 5.5 Part of a poor defence.
Riley 5 Ill-judged lunge to concede the penalty for the 2nd goal. At the other end nearly had a spectacular goal with a 30 yard left-footed shot! Will get better with game time.
Daniel 7.5 So unlucky with a thunderbolt that bounced off the keeper and thundered against the bar. Created some good positions from the left
Howell 4 Very poor, despite his goal. Gave the ball away inside the opening few seconds in the build-up to the 1st goal.
Clements 9 Excellent in his first game back from injury and showed what we’ve been missing. Cultured and creative. Scored his first goal in a Mansfield shirt.
Stevenson 6 Missed a good chance at 2-1 to the Stags.
Clucas 7 Won free kick for Clements goal (which should have been a penalty). Scored his 10th goal of the season and caused Fleetwood other problems.
Palmer 8 Very good game.
Sub Line Up:
Jennings (for Beevers, 60) 4 Terrible. Only just on as sub, the 3rd and 4th goals came down his side, and then for the 5th goal he gave away the ball with a sloppy header and then chased back and recklessly conceded the penalty.
Poku (for Stevenson, 67) 7 Did well. Fine tackle started the build-up to the Stags 4th goal. Probably did enough to deserve a start at Burton with McGuire still suspended.
Dyer (for Howell, 78) 8 Good header to set up a chance for Palmer and then in the right place to score the 4th.
Subs not used: Deakin, Tafazolli, Meikle, Rhead.
Opposition Line Up:
Davies; McLaughlin, Pond, Cresswell, Taylor; Evans (Blair, 86), Murdoch, Schumacher, Hughes; Sarcevic, Tyson (Dieseruvwe, 85). Subs not used: Lucas, Roberts, Parkin, Hogan, Carr.
Scott Mathieson 5 Poor. No argument on the two penalties but gave a foul on Clucas outside the box that was just inside the area. General handling of the game was poor.

Season 13/14 Reports