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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
 Burton Albion
Attendance: 3266 (729 from Burton)
Date: 1 January 2014


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town ground out a deserved draw against Burton Albion, who were equal top (apart from goal difference) at the start of the day and on a very good run of form, having kept 10 clean sheets in 15 games. Following on from the tremendous win at Cheltenham on Sunday, this represented a creditable point, and Mansfield are hopefully starting to turn the corner after the terrible run of form from October into December. On a statistical note, it was Mansfield’s first ever point against Burton, at the fourth attempt. Overall, it was a very good defensive display, but the Stags need to do more going forward. The game was played in a strong wind, on a wet pitch, with lashing rain through much of it. That the game went ahead at all is a credit to groundsman Mez Merriman and his team, especially as the pitch played pretty well in the conditions. Chances were at a premium in a game low on entertainment, indeed the Stags really only had two chances of note: Ollie Palmer going just wide with a shot and Anthony Howell heading just wide. Burton had only three chances of note: Ritchie Sutton deflected a Edwards shot wide in the first half, Hussey headed against the foot of the post in the second half, and finally Ryan Tafazolli did enough to force Cansdell-Sheriff’s close range header over the bar. Aside from that, Burton had plenty of long range efforts, none of which went anywhere near Alan Marriott’s goal. Indeed neither goalkeeper had a serious save to make in the 90 minutes. What has changed for the Stags in the last few weeks (the Rochdale game, the last 30 minutes of the Oldham replay, and the last few minutes of the Accrington game, aside) is that Mansfield are starting look much more difficult to beat, working exceptionally hard throughout the side, and looking tight at the back. It was especially pleasing today to see another fine performance from Ryan Tafazolli in central defence, following on from his showing at Cheltenham. It remains clear though that the Stags really need to add some quality in the January transfer window, that won’t come cheap and manager Cox will also need to get some players out. We’ll see what happens. Come on Mansfield!

Paul Cox made one change from the side that one at Cheltenham, and it was an enforced one as Murray replaced the injured McGuire. There was no change in formation, with 3 central defenders, 2 wing-backs, and Howell playing behind the front two. Micky Moore said after the game that Mansfield need to find some stability in the starting 11 and can’t keep making lots of changes; though he agreed that if the game at Exeter is played on a heavy pitch and with Exeter not having played today, some fresh legs might be needed on Saturday.

The game was played in a strong wind which was behind the Stags in the first half. There was also driving rain.

On 3 minutes, Sutton tried to shepherd the ball out but it was kept in play by Kee who cut back inside and sent a cross-shot across the face of goal from a tight angle which Marriott punched away. On 7 minutes, a good tackle by Riley to dispossess McGurk. Straight to the other end and a ball forward for Rhead but the wind took it through to the keeper. On 8 minutes, McGurk shot well wide from outside the box. A minute later, a good trap and a run by Howell but eventually he overran the ball. On 13 minutes, McGurk again tried his luck, this time he was well over the bar from 22 yards.

On 29 minutes, a long throw for Burton and a shot from Edwards deflected off Riley and went wide. From the resulting corner, the ball came back to MacDonald whose shot was deflected wide. A free kick for the Stags 32 yards out on 34 minutes. Jennings took it but it was over everyone. Assistant manager Murray berated Jennings.

On 40 minutes, MacDonald shot wide from 20 yards. On 43 minutes, good play from Clements, who found Murray and his ball forward found Palmer who lost control. On 44 minutes, a good block from Sutton from a shot by Kee. On 45 minutes, a free kick from Westlake from the halfway line was over everyone again.

A dreadful first half in terrible conditions. Burton played the better football having one good chance which was deflected wide. Otherwise, nothing of note from either side. Mansfield did not create a single worthwhile chance. There was too much panicking from Mansfield and enough of the bravery that Micky Moore had talked about in his evening with the Fans.

Half time 0-0

The rain had stopped by now and Burton had the wind behind them in the second half.

Just 9 seconds into the second half, Kee shot well wide.

On 49 minutes, Dempster replaced Riley who went off with an injury.

On 51 minutes, Jennings played a ball through to Rhead who fired well wide from 25 yards. It was the Stags first effort of the game.

On 54 minutes, McCrory shot from 28 yards and it was deflected for a corner. On 60 minutes, good play from the Stags and a great run from Palmer who made 40 yards and won a throw. On 64 minutes, a cross from the right from Burton was headed down, Marriott couldn’t take it cleanly and it slid through his hands for a corner. Then a good header away by Tafazolli.

On 66 minutes, the Stags came so close to taking the lead. A free kick from 35 yards by Jennings, the ball was played to Palmer who shot just past the right post. He banged the turf in frustration.

On 68 minutes, Murray was booked for an accumulation of fouls (mostly during the first half).

Danger for the Stags on 69 minutes when M. Palmer’s free kick from 40 yards curled in and Marriott did well to save and hold it on his line.

On 73 minutes, the Stags came close again. A good spell of pressure and finally Murray crossed to the far post where Howell headed wide.

On 75 minutes, Burton came very close to scoring. A cross was stood up from the right by Phillips, and Hussey headed it down against the foot of the left post. On 76 minutes, Kee shot straight at Marriott who saved it above his head. A minute later at the other end, Palmer nearly got past his defender. The Stags were getting better.

On 79 minutes, Hussey’s corner from the left and Tafazolli did enough to force Cansdell-Sheriff’s close range header over the bar. The resulting corner was cleared by Tafazolli.

On 82 minutes, Palmer got into a position to cross but there was no one there. Indicative of not getting enough players forward.

Howell was booked for dissent on 84 minutes. On 85 minutes, Rhead nodded down, Palmer got a boot on it and the keeper saved. On 86 minutes, a Burton free kick from the half way line found Kee 7 yards out but his header was nearer the corner flag then the goal.

Dyer replaced Rhead on 87 minutes. On 90 minutes, Edwards fired well wide from 30 yards.

Moments later, Palmer was booked for not retreating from a free kick.

Palmer won a free kick in the final of 4 minutes of stoppage time. Jennings sent it straight into the keeper’s arms. Very disappointing end to the game. But a decent point for the Stags.

Man of the match: Ryan Tafazolli

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

Line Up:
Marriott 6.5 Had a very quiet game but handling was generally good in very wet conditions when the ball was like a bar of soap. On one occasion he couldn’t hold on to a header which slipped behind for a corner.
Westlake 6.5 Solid defensively but didn’t get forward enough and was told at half time to get forward more. One free-kick over everyone was very wasteful.
Sutton 7 Solid again. Good block from a first half shot. One mistake when he tried to shepherd the ball out and failed and Marriott had to punch away the cross.
Riley 7 Good game, very solid. Good tackle to dispossess McGurk early on. Went off injured early in the second half.
Tafazolli 8 Very good performance. Some good headers away and crucially did enough to force Cansdell-Sheriff’s close range header over the bar. Confirmed to me that he is under contract having signed a new one, as fans have been worried that he might be out of contract now we have passed the end of December.
Jennings 7 Solid defensively, and tried to push forward. A couple of terrible free-kicks (one in the dying seconds), over everyone, was wasteful on a day of few chances.
Murray 6 Decent first half, faded in the second. Good cross for Howell header.
Clements 5.5 A bit too quiet and didn’t produce enough of the quality that we know he has. One good ball forward for Palmer.
Howell 5.5 Close with a header. Didn’t show enough quality in the attacking midfielder role.
Palmer 7 Went close with one shot. Worked like a Trojan again, typified by a 40 yard run to win a throw.
Rhead 6 A couple of nod-downs.
Sub Line Up:
Dempster (for Riley, 49) 7 Slotted back in to the central defence well.
Dyer (for Rhead, 87) -
Subs not used: Deakin, Beevers, Daniel, Meikle, Stevenson.
Opposition Line Up:
Lyness; Edwards, Sharps, Cansdell-Sheriff (Diamond 82), McCrory; MacDonald (Hussey 65), Weir, M.Palmer, Phillips; McGurk (Howe 65), Kee. Subs not used: Siegrist, Bell, Knowles, Holness.
Trevor Kettle 6 Missed an obvious handball in the second half. But otherwise was not too bad. No major decisions to make.

Season 13/14 Reports