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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Plymouth Argyle  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Alessandra 90+6.
 
 Rhead 73.
Attendance: 6,248 (211 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 1 February 2014

STAGS DENIED DESERVED VICTORY IN 96th MINUTE

Martin Shaw at Home Park

Mansfield Town were denied a deserved victory by an equaliser 6 minutes into stoppage time at Plymouth Argyle this afternoon. Mansfield had the better chances of the game before finally taking the lead. Sam Clucas missed two good chances and Matt Rhead missed a good chance before it was Rhead who scored on 73 minutes. Dempster fed Jennings on the left, Jennings’ cross was missed in the air by Stevenson and a defender, and Rhead was on hand to poke the loose ball under the keeper for a neat finish. The Stags looked relatively comfortable after that and held on to the ball well in the closing minutes and well into the 6 minutes of added time. But then Lee Stevenson, who had had a good game, gave the ball away on the halfway line, which gave Plymouth momentum to attack down the left. Plymouth kept the ball in the final third, and even though the Stags were able to half-clear the ball a couple of times, it was played out to Thomas on the right. Thomas tricked his was past substitute Beevers too easily, Beevers going down and putting his shoulder out in the process, Thomas slid the ball into Alessandra, who drilled a low shot past Marriott from 12 yards. It was another gutting moment for the Stags who have picked up such a nasty habit of conceding late goals this season after the opposite was true last season: twice now against Plymouth when neither was deserved by the opposition. Seven points have been lost this season due to injury time goals (Plymouth home 1 point, and away 2 points; Accrington 3 points, and Fleetwood 1 point). Mansfield could not be accused of sitting too deep and were holding on to the ball well, but the slip by Beevers was very costly after Stevenson had earlier given the ball away needlessly. In an incredibly tight league, the Stags are just three points above the drop zone having played a game more, yet also just three points behind 13th place. All this after another traumatic week at the club in which Mansfield were unable to make a much-needed signing during the transfer window and it emerged that John Radford’s One Call financial input into the club is reducing drastically. And another confusing development emerged before kick-off as Paul Cox announced that he may be able to bring in a loan player after all, having previously been told he could not.

Mansfield made two changes to the side that drew with Wycombe, as Riley came in for Sutton who dropped to the bench, and Clucas, having come on as substitute against Wycombe, started in the place of Dyer. The formation was unchanged with three central defenders, Westlake and Jennings pushing forward as wing backs, and Stevenson playing behind the front two of Rhead and Clucas.

It was just as well that Plymouth have a fibrelastic pitch that cost half a million pounds that was laid for a failed World Cup bid in 2010 with its incredible drainage, because otherwise, torrential rain all day on Friday would surely have seen the game postponed.

A swirling wind made playing conditions difficult and credit should go to the 200 Stags fans who made the longest journey of the season and really got behind the team.

On 3 minutes, Alessandra got past Riley and shot straight at Marriott. Then straight to the other end and Stevenson shot wide from 18 yards though the offside flag was already up. Good play from Clements on 7 minutes as he was back and in the right place to thwart a Plymouth attack. Moments later, Reuben Reid’s shot was blocked after Tafazolli missed a cross.

On 9 minutes, Rhead and Clucas set up Stevenson who shot wide of the left post from 22 yards. Dempster was booked for a body check on Banton after 13 minutes after Tafazolli had let the ball run forward. The resulting free kick from 30 yards by Hourihane was watched all the way by Marriott as it sailed past the right post. On 16 minutes, Tafazolli gave away an unnecessary free kick 27 yards out and Young’s free kick was held by Marriott.

On 17 minutes, Clucas was fouled on the right. The resulting free kick by Jennings was spilled by keeper McCormick but cleared by the defence and Jennings sent a follow-up shot from the edge of the area that was blocked.

A good spell from the Stags on 21 minutes and they should have been in front. Jennings took a short corner to Clements, Clements shot from a tight angle and it was blocked for another corner. Clements took the resulting corner from the left to Rhead beyond the far post, Rhead headed the ball back across the goal to Clucas at the left post and Clucas, unmarked, headed into the side netting. He should certainly have got it on target.

On 23 minutes, a Jennings corner from the right, Rhead got his head on to it and it went straight up in the air as the whistle went for a foul anyway. On 25 minutes, Westlake cut in from the right and curled a left footed shot straight at the keeper.

The Stags were now right on top.

On 28 minutes, Clements won the ball in the centre and slid a ball forward for Clucas which split the defence right open but the ball just ran through to the keeper. On 34 minutes, Young crossed from the right and Reuben Reid sliced well over.

On 42 minutes, Matt Rhead knocked the ball down to Stevenson as Stevenson broke into the box. Stevenson went down under a challenge and appealed for penalty but the referee rightly waved the appeals away. On 44 minutes, Jennings conceded a free kick for hand ball. Hourihane curled in the resulting free kick and Trotman headed over.

On 45 minutes, a glorious chance for the Stags. A Clements free kick from the half-way line, Tafazolli headed it down and Rhead volleyed wide with his left foot. It was a glorious chance.

On 45+1, a Plymouth corner was headed up in the air and Marriott had to push it over his own bar. The resulting corner was played back to Banton who powered a shot wide of the right post.

A fairly poor half of football in a difficult wind which was fairly even after Plymouth had started strongly and the Stags had been on top for large parts but the Stags should have been in front with the chances for Clucas and Rhead.

Half time 0-0

On 47 minutes, another glorious chance for the Stags went begging. Marriott cleared a back pass well into the Plymouth half and Rhead did well to put Clucas clean through on goal one-on-one. Instead of going round the keeper, Clucas elected to chip it over him and chipped it on to the roof of the net. Probably a match-fit Clucas would have taken this chance which was similar to one of his goals at St. Albans.

On 49 minutes, Clements broke forward but his shot was blocked. Straight to the other end and Plymouth had calls for a penalty as Alessandra went half-down under challenges from Howell and Tafazolli but the referee gave a goal-kick (his signal initially looked like he was pointing to the penalty spot). Video footage from the match DVD shows it was the correct decision. On 50 minutes, a corner from Clements on the right, Rhead headed the ball back from the far post but there was no one in the middle. On 52 minutes, a Plymouth free kick from 35 yards and Alessandra had a free header 6 yards out but he headed it into the ground and wide. On 60 minutes, Jennings put in a corner from the right and the keeper just punched the ball away as it looked as though Rhead would get on the end of it.

On 61 minutes, Jennings’ cross from the left was dropped by keeper McCormick and just collected it before Clucas got there. It sparked a bizarre incident as Trotman and keeper McCormick started pushing each other and both were subsequently booked by the referee. After the game, Plymouth manager Sheridan said he didn’t see anything strange in the incident to the amazement of the BBC Devon reporter. After a long stoppage, keeper McCormick had to be substituted, possibly because of an injury picked up as Clucas challenged him. Substitute goalkeeper Cole replaced him.

During the stoppage, a Stags fan was ejected from behind the goal for what I know not. Another Stags was ejected a few minutes later.

On 65 minutes, Reuben Reid got past Riley but Tafazolli cleared his cross. On 70 minutes, Marriott punched away a corner. Moments later, Clucas did well to track back. Then in the next Plymouth break, Reuben Reid had a chance to put Alessandra away through the middle but fluffed his pass as the locals were getting increasingly restless.

The Stags were ahead on 73 minutes. Dempster fed Jennings on the left, Jennings’ cross was missed in the air by Stevenson and a defender, and Rhead was on hand to poke the loose ball under the keeper into the left corner of the net for a neat finish.

On 81 minutes, a powerful cross-shot from Tyler Harvey was palmed away by Marriott. A minute later, Marriott made a great save from Reuben Reid’s shot and Tafazolli cleared away a following cross. On 84 minutes, Young sent a poor effort wide from a free kick 28 yards out.

On 85 minutes, Stevenson played a square ball for Clucas whose low shot was easily saved.

On 86 minutes, Beevers replaced Jennings presumably due to injury (not confirmed, I did not ask the manager about this). On 87 minutes, a deflection fell to Reuben Reid who blazed wide.

Dyer replaced the tiring Rhead on 88 minutes (Rhead was bizarrely pronounced as “Arr Head” by the public address announcer!)

On 89 minutes, some good skills by Howell to keep control of the ball.

Six minutes of stoppage time was added on. I’d hoped we might get away with five with the injury to the Plymouth goalkeeper taking a couple of minutes. The extra minute was to prove so crucial.

The Stags held on to the ball very well during stoppage time as Plymouth couldn’t get the ball into the Stags half. On 90+3, Clements played a fine ball to Clucas whose cross was wayward.

Disaster struck with just 30 seconds of the 6 minutes left to go. Stevenson gave the ball away on the halfway line, which gave Plymouth momentum to attack down the left. Plymouth kept the ball in the final third, and even though the Stags were able to half-clear the ball a couple of times, it was played out to Thomas on the right. Thomas tricked his was past substitute Beevers too easily, Beevers going down in a spin and putting his shoulder out in the process, Thomas slid the ball into Alessandra, who drilled a low shot past Marriott from 12 yards.

Beevers couldn’t continue and in fact had to be taken to hospital by ambulance after the game, Daniel replaced him on 90+8.

So an undeserved point for Plymouth which was a real sickener especially after their undeserved winner at Field Mill earlier in the season when the Stags had played some of their best flowing football of the season.

Two games at the One Call Stadium now coming up, against Southend and Bury, and Mansfield need to find that elusive home win. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Chris Clements


Report by: Martin Shaw at Home Park



Line Up:
Marriott 7 Great save on 81 minutes and good punching and handling.
Westlake 7 Good game. Got forward well and defended solidly.
Riley 6 Looked a little rusty early on, but will improve with match sharpness.
Dempster 7 Good ball in the build-up to the Stags goal. Defended solidly.
Tafazolli 6 Started poorly but got back to his best form as the game wore on. Good header down for Rhead’s first half chance.
Jennings 7 Got forward a lot and involved in a lot.
Howell 7.5 Had a fine game, breaking play up and pushing forward.
Clements 7.5 Another good game, creative going forward and getting back well.
Stevenson 7 Had a good game throughout, but then gave the ball away unnecessarily allowing Plymouth to exert some pressure from which they scored. Boss Cox said he was upset with himself after the game for this.
Clucas 7 Caused Plymouth problems, but missed two great chances.
Rhead 7 Good game and deserved his goal.
Sub Line Up:
Beevers (for Jennings, 86) - Didn’t get to the pace of the game and crucially was beaten as he was put into a spin as Thomas pulled the ball back for the goal. Went to hospital with shoulder injury.
Dyer (for Rhead, 88) -
Daniel (for Beevers, 90+8) -
Subs not used: Sutton, Meikle, McGuire, Palmer.
Opposition Line Up:
Luke McCormick (Jake Cole 64 mins); Maxime Blanchard, Neal Trotman, Curtis Nelson, Ben Purrington (Nathan Thomas 81 mins); Luke Young, Dominic Blizzard (Tyler Harvey 64 mins), Conor Hourihane; Jason Banton, Reuben Reid, Lewis Alessandra. Subs not used: Rommy Boco, Paul Wotton, Jamie Richards, Isaac Vassell.
Referee:
Peter Bankes 7 Handled the game well.


Season 13/14 Reports