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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
3 - 0
Riley 71, Rhead 87, Tafazolli 90+1.
Attendance: 3843 (869 from Rochdale)
Date: 12 April 2014


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

Mansfield Town beat Rochdale 3-0 this afternoon to exact complete revenge for the 3-0 defeat at Spotland on Boxing Day. That game on Boxing Day was Mansfield’s worst performance of the season against a side who played superb football on the day, so it was particularly sweet to win by the same margin and turn the tables comprehensively on this morning’s league leaders. Four wins on the trot sees the Stags just six points behind 6th and 7th place, the last two play-off positions. With four games left, a play-off position is genuinely possible. Fantastic considering we went more than 3 months without winning a game!

Today was the 5000th game (league and cup) since the club first started playing league games in 1902 and the result was a fitting way to celebrate it.

Boss Paul Cox was forced to bring in keeper Lewis Price on emergency 7 day loan from Premier League Crystal Palace, with Alan Marriott and Ian Deakin both injured. Lee Beevers, who had an operation on Friday and will miss the rest of the season, and suspended Jamie McGuire also missed out, as did Lee Stevenson who was dropped, with James Jennings returning from suspension, Colin Daniel and Chris Clements replacing them. Daniel played in the attacking midfield role behind the front two. There was a place on the bench for 17 year old Jack Thomas, who has stepped up from the youth team where he is sponsored by your Stagsnet reporter. Rochdale started with 7 of the same team that started the game at Spotland on Boxing Day. Peter Vincenti was in the side, a player who David Holdsworth brought to Mansfield on loan in the Conference days in 2010.

The Stags were on the attack inside the first minute as Daniel won the ball, got to the byline, and crossed low into the middle, but ball evaded Palmer. On 3 minutes, Henderson broke forward and sent a wild shot over the bar. On 4 minutes Lund played the ball to Vincenti, who was allowed too much space, he turned and his shot was well blocked by Clements. On 8 minutes, Rhead nodded a Palmer cross down to Jennings in the box, Jennings went down and was lucky not to be booked for diving. Then a Henderson free kick flicked off a Rochdale head for a goal kick.

On 13 minutes Tafazolli was booked for punching the ball in the centre circle as he went up for a header. On 14 minutes, Palmer had a couple of half chances to get the ball under control in the box but the ball didn’t run for him. Straight to the other end and a great tackle from Tafazolli. Then on 15 minutes, Palmer put a ball across the face of goal from the left and Westlake got something on it to send it over the bar.

On 17 minutes, a nice through ball from Murray and a great break from Daniel showing good pace to get past Rafferty, but he scuffed a shot past the right post. A minute later, Daniel sent a snap shot low straight at keeper Lillis. Straight to the other end and Henderson had a shot blocked by Clements. Straight back to the other end, and from a cross from the left, Rhead headed the ball against a Rochdale defender and it seemed to hit his hand but the referee waved away appeals for a penalty. From the resulting Jennings corner from the right, a header from Tafazolli was cleared off the line, the ball came back to Sutton whose goalbound shot hit the chest of Bennett.

It was a good start from the Stags in an even end-to end game.

On 22 minutes, a Vincenti cross was headed straight into Price’s hands. Then a shot from Hogan was straight at Price.

On 23 minutes, a ball forward to Murray, who chipped a shot goalwards which was an easy save for keeper Lillis.

On 28 minutes, a big lump forward from Rochdale and Hogan took Riley out on the edge of the box. Somehow Hogan escaped a yellow card.

On 29 minutes Palmer was gifted the ball by Oliver Lancashire, in space 6 yards out at an angle on the left with the goal gaping, but he chose not to shoot, instead laying the ball off for Daniel whose shot was deflected up in the air, and Palmer headed the loose ball onto the roof of the net. Palmer should have been more greedy and shot at the gaping goal first time when he had the chance.

On 31 minutes, a good break from the halfway line by Henderson, who slid a superb ball forward for Hogan who was 1-on-1 with keeper Lewis Price. Price was out quickly for a fantastic save to block the shot, which rebounded to Henderson, who clipped it back over Price and against the inside of the post. Superb play from Henderson, a great save from Price, and then a little bit of lady luck for the Stags.

On 34 minutes, a Jennings corner from the right was headed by Tafazolli and seemed to be going just wide as it was headed by a defender who was just off his line. On 36 minutes a great ball from Murray out to the right.

On 37 minutes, a great chance for Rochdale as Vincenti found Henderson on the right in the area, who had time to take aim and fire over the bar. On 41 minutes, a low shot from Lund from 20 yards which Price saved low to his left. On 43 minutes, a Henderson corner came out to Cavanagh, who miscued a shot well over.

On 45+1 a good run from Palmer who sent in a low shot which keeper Lillis saved low to his right.

A good half of football and a fair score at the break. Both sides were looking good and the Stags were looking strong and holding their own against the league leaders.

Half time 0-0

The Stags were robbed from the kick-off in the second half, and then Riley was indecisive with two strikers buzzing around him but got away with it. In this situation, Riley should just have got rid of the ball.

On 49 minutes, Rochdale appealed for a penalty as Rhead barged Lancashire over in the box. Moments later, Hogan went down claiming a foul by a Riley and the Rochdale fans were up in arms again, but there was clearly no foul.

On 51 minutes, a cross-shot from Rhead from the right hand side of the area was straight to Palmer, who couldn’t control it.

On 52 minutes, Clements sent in a free kick and Tafazolli glanced a header wide of the right post. On 54 minutes, Jennings crossed from the left and Rhead looped a header goalwards but it was an easy save for Lillis.

Rochdale were now playing long ball, as their passing game and speed on the breakaway had been completely nullified by the Stags.

On 58 minutes, a Rhead cross towards Palmer was put behind for a corner. On 59 minutes, Jennings may have been fouled in the box, but the ref gave a free kick to Rochdale.

On 61 minutes, a Clements angled free kick from the left from 40 yards glanced off Rhead and just grazed the outside of the post. Two minutes, another free kick from the same position was straight through to keeper Lillis. On 66 minutes, Rhead nodded the ball across to Palmer, who nodded the ball at keeper Lillis.

The Stags were in front on 71 minutes. Clements curled in a corner from the left and Riley glanced his header into the net from 3 yards. It was a great moment for Riley and his first goal of the season, after he should have scored last week; and his second goal in a Mansfield shirt, the first coming at Alfreton two years ago. Riley had a grin wider than the West Stand celebrating the goal and after the game.

On 78 minutes, a Rochdale header was over the bar following a corner.

Clucas replaced Palmer on 80 minutes who went off to a standing ovation for his hard working performance.

On 81 minutes, Daniel’s snap shop was well wide from 25 yards. On 82 minutes, Westlake put in a great cross from the right and Rhead headed wide of the left post. A strange incident on 84 minutes, as a Rochdale miscued shot landed on top of the bar and Murray headed the rebound over the bar for a corner. Bennett headed wide following the resulting corner.

A good move from the Stags on 86 minutes and a cross from Clucas was put behind for a corner. From the resulting corner it was 2-0. Jennings’ corner from the right was headed in by Rhead at the far post.

It was 3-0 on 90+1 as Tafazolli headed in at the far post from a free kick from Clements from the left taken near the corner flag. Tafazolli’s second goal for Mansfield.

There was a great moment for 17 year old Jack Thomas in stoppage time as he replaced Daniel. And he showed a couple of nice touches.

Rochdale seemed unhappy with Mansfield’s physical approach, yet the yellow card count tells its own tale: 5 for Rochdale, 1 for Mansfield (for Tafazolli for handball).

Man of the match: Tafazolli / Murray / Clements / Daniel - this was a real team performance from the Stags

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

Line Up:
Price 7 One great block from Hogan. Neat performance on his debut.
Sutton 7 Very solid, no mistakes.
Riley 7 Great to get his first goal of the season. Generally very solid.
Tafazolli 7.5 Defended really well and scored his second goal of the season and had three other chances. Continues to impress hugely.
Westlake 7 Good game.
Jennings 7 Some good corners including one for Rhead’s goal.
Murray 7.5 Some lovely passes, ran the show in the second half.
Clements 7.5 Lovely set pieces for the first and third goals and created danger from several others.
Daniel 7.5 Caused Rochdale problems running at them in the attacking midfielder role.
Palmer 7 Hard working performance, lacked a killer instinct on a couple of occasions, especially one occasion when he should have shot first time.
Rhead 7 Ran himself into the ground. Won lots of headers and deserved his goal.
Sub Line Up:
Clucas (for Palmer, 80) - A couple of good runs down the right and caused problems.
Thomas (for Daniel, 90+2 mins) - Great to see his debut as a 17 year old and showed some good touches.
Subs not used: Dempster, Briscoe, Stevenson, Speight, Meikle.
Opposition Line Up:
Lillis; Rafferty, Bennett, Lancashire, Done; Vincenti (Cummins 66), Cavanagh (Donnelly 75), Lund (Kennedy 66), Allen; Hogan, Henderson. Subs not used: Eastham, Tomson, Rose, Bunney.
Trevor Kettle 8 Handled the game pretty well and ignored Rochdale’s often ridiculous claims for fouls.

Season 13/14 Reports