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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 2
 Scunthorpe United
 Hayes 9, 74.
Attendance: 4115 (1211 from Scunthorpe)
Date: 11 January 2014


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

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-0 at home by leaders Scunthorpe United in a game which highlighted clearly that the Stags are desperately missing a clinical goalscorer. The Stags had three good chances in the opening 7 minutes of the game and wasted them, only for Scunthorpe to take the lead on 9 minutes with a goal from 30 yards by Paul Hayes at a time when Scunthorpe had not had a single player enter the Stags’ penalty area. By half-time, Mansfield had had 6 good chances in an impressive performance while Scunthorpe had barely threatened other than their wonder-goal. Scunthorpe looked more dangerous in the second half but in a half of few chances for either side, they made it 2-0 on 74 minutes as Anthony Howell was outjumped at the far post, the ball was nodded across and no-one was marking Hayes who scored from close range. A rare moment of poor marking in the game from Mansfield. After that, there was no way back and the damage was done in the first half with the missed chances. Overall there was little between the Stags and the top side in the league but goals from striker Paul Hayes proved the difference. Scunthorpe could even afford to leave big money signing Paddy Madden, the top scorer in league one last season, on the bench until the last few minutes. If the Stags are unable to add a quality goalscorer to the squad (a Lee Hughes, Matt Tubbs, Marlon King type of player, or Andre Gray from the Conference), it looks like this could continue to be a relegation-threatened season.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that won at Exeter, and the bench was unchanged as well. The formation remained as three central defenders, Westlake and Jennings as wing-backs, Clements and Howell in central midfield, and Stevenson behind Rhead and Palmer. Scunthorpe had League Two top scorer Sam Winnall in their side, along with the experienced Paul Hayes, and could leave big money signing Paddy Madden, the top scorer in League One last season, on the bench. Former Stags loanee Sean McAllister started for Scunthorpe.

The Stags were nearly in front on 3 minutes. A good interception by Howell and a great set-up for Rhead whose low shot across the goalkeeper Slocombe was tipped wide by the keeper. It was a decent effort from Rhead and a great save.

From the resulting corner, the ball was played back in by Jennings, and Rhead back-headed it goalwards and the keeper saved. Another very good opportunity.

An even better chance on 7 minutes. Palmer flicked the ball on to Rhead, who nodded down to Stevenson, who had a free shot from 10 yards which he put over the bar. Stevenson certainly should have got it on target.

It was an impressive start from the Stags, and I wrote on my notepad “need to take these chances”.

Scunthorpe were ahead on 9 minutes despite not having had a single player enter the Mansfield penalty area during the game. Out of nowhere, Paul Hayes rattled a shot from 30 yards into the top right corner. There was nothing anyone could have done about it.

On 14 minutes, Dempster did well to block a Winnall shot. Straight to the other end and a ball forward from Clements for Stevenson just clipped defender Mirfin and took it away from Stevenson and through to the keeper.

On 15 minutes, a Rhead shot from a tight angle on the left was wide. Scunthorpe had a half-chance on 21 minutes as Williams got passed Westlake on the left and blasted into the side-netting. It was always going wide despite the “oohs” from the Scunthorpe fans behind the goal. A good tackle by Dempster on 23 minutes. On 25 minutes, good defending by Sutton was from a Williams crossed that was aimed for Winnall and Sutton headed behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, former Stags loanee McAlliser put a shot over the North Stand. On 27 minutes, a shot from Winnall with no power was straight at Marriott. Soon afterwards, two good tackles by Westlake.

On 36 minutes, Rhead received a through ball, catching the defence flat-footed, and had a chance to run at goal from 40 yards with a two yard headstart. But Rhead was easily outpaced within the first few yards and dispossessed. It’s a shame it didn’t fall for Palmer who would have had the pace to be through on goal. It was a tremendous opportunity, yet no goalscoring chance came of it. A minute later, Rhead nodded down to Stevenson who couldn’t control it and it was cleared. On 38 minutes, at the other end, Canavan headed over following a Scunthorpe corner.

Another glorious opportunity for the Stags on 39 minutes. A beautifully weighted free-kick from 45 yards from Clements was straight onto the head of Rhead, and Rhead headed onto the roof of the net.

On 41 minutes another good situation for the Stags which didn’t develop into a chance. A great ball forward from Howell set Palmer off down the right. Palmer showed good pace but went too far to the right and with no-one else up with him blasted the ball aimlessly across the area. It showed a lack of experience under pressure. He should have cut back inside onto his left foot into the area (giving the additional possibility of a penalty) or held the ball up until someone else got forward.

On 43 minutes, a good move from the Stags ended with a Jennings shot straight at the keeper.

Then on 45 minutes, a Jennings free-kick from the halfway line was nodded down by Rhead to Stevenson who fired over.

A good round of applause from many Stags fans at the break appreciating a good performance lacking the finishing touch and desperately highlighting the lack of a goalscorer. 6 good chances plus other good situations that didn’t develop into chances while Scunthorpe created far less yet had the lead.

Half time 0-1

Scunthorpe came out of the traps better in the second half, probably on the end of a rollicking from their manager who realised they had been outplayed in the first 45 minutes. On 46 minutes, Winnall shot wide, across Marriott, from a very tight angle on the left. He was never going to score from that angle.

On 48 minutes, another good run from Palmer down the right, but with no-one getting forward alongside him, he put a cross behind for a goal-kick anyway.

A rare good chance for Scunthorpe on 51 minutes as Ribeiro crossed from the right and Syers flicked just wide. A good effort.

On 57 minutes, a good move from the Stags, and eventually Clements put the ball to Rhead, on the edge of the area, and Rhead shot straight at the keeper. Straight to the other end and a cross from the left was headed back across and Winnall headed straight at Marriott. Then another good run from Palmer came to nothing.

Cox made a double substitution on 63 minutes, with Briscoe and Daniel replacing Palmer and Stevenson. Daniel went up front alongside Rhead, with Briscoe playing behind them.

On 65 minutes, a Jennings corner from the left, and Dempster’s header was cleared off the line.

The Stags fans were getting behind their side, and Mansfield just desperately needed a goal that they deserved.

But on 74 minutes, Scunthorpe made it 2-0 with a piece of slack marking from the Stags that was rare in this game. Jennings brought down Hawkridge 26 yards out. Hawkridge took the free-kick himself, straight into the wall, but eventually the ball was recycled and Williams put in a high-hanging cross from the left to beyond the far post, where Howell was outjumped and the ball was headed back to the unmarked Hayes, 3 yards out who knocked the ball into the net. Sutton, Dempster and Tafazolli were all just standing on the goal-line.

On 80 minutes, a Clements ball into Daniel who clipped it over the bar. Daniel and Rhead were playing too far apart to be an effective combination.

On 90+1 minutes, a long throw by Jennings was headed on by Rhead and eventually cleared.

At the final whistle there were a few boos and some applause. As the players came off, they were applauded for their effort, but as Paul Cox came off there were a number of boos.

Man of the match: Anthony Howell

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

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Didn’t have a difficult save to make and couldn’t be blamed for the goals.
Westlake 6.5 Solid game.
Sutton 7 Defended well. One particularly good header away.
Dempster 7 Defended well. One particularly good block and a good tackle.
Tafazolli 7 Defended well. But collectively the back three were too stationary for the second goal.
Jennings 7 Generally solid and got forward quite a lot.
Howell 7 Played well and set up some good situations including a great ball forward for Palmer and good play to set up Rhead’s chance on 3 minutes. Was outjumped at the far post in the build-up to the second goal.
Clements 7 Some good passes to set up chances, including two for Rhead.
Stevenson 5 Missed some good chances in the first half.
Palmer 6 Some great running but showed inexperience with end product. Good play in the build-up to Stevenson’s glorious opportunity.
Rhead 6 One good shot early on that was tipped wide. Won plenty of headers. Easily outpaced when most strikers would have had a 1-on-1. Should have been replaced by Dyer in the second half as he ran out of puff.
Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Palmer, 63) 5 Did not get into the game at all. Needs game-time in the reserves to get some sharpness.
Daniel (for Stevenson, 63) 6 Played up front, but too far from Rhead. One good run.
Subs not used: Deakin, Beevers, Murray, Meikle, Dyer.
Opposition Line Up:
Slocombe; Nolan, Mirfin, Canavan, Ribeiro; Williams (Adelakun, 79), McAllister, Syers (Collins, 75), Hawkridge; Hayes, Winnall (Madden, 87). Subs not used: Severn, Sparrow, Esajas, Waterfall.
Nigel Miller 7 Handled a game of no controversy pretty well.

Season 13/14 Reports