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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Accrington Stanley  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Naismith pen 90+5.
 
 Speight 75.
Attendance: 2092 (662 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 18 April 2014

STAGS DENIED VICTORY BY DODGY PENALTY IN 95TH MINUTE

Martin Shaw at the Crown Ground

Mansfield Town were denied a fifth consecutive victory by a dodgy penalty in the 95th minute at Accrington this afternoon. The Stags had taken the lead on 75 minutes with a superb goal as magical play from Sam Clucas in beating two men, set up Jake Speight to slam home his first goal of the season from 10 yards, in front of the fabulous travelling support of 662 Mansfield fans. Speight had been denied a goal by an offside flag just two minutes earlier. The Stags looked like holding on for a deserved victory and were within 6 inches of a second goal in the 93rd minute when a goalkeeping clearance from Marcus Bettinelli struck Speight on the backside and ricocheted towards the goal. Just as it looked like it would go in, it hit the base of the post and somehow stayed out. Speight told me afterwards that he thought that if there hadn’t been a bobble in the pitch, it would have gone in. 22 seconds later, Accrington were awarded a penalty. A ball was flicked into the Stags box by Aldred, and Gray and Riley went for the ball, and Gray went down. The referee pointed to the spot. From my position it did not look like a foul by Riley, and having looked at the match DVD, I still think it did not look like a foul. Stags players thought that Gray was offside as well as it not being a foul, but the footage from the match DVD suggests it was onside. Kal Naismith took the penalty and sent it low to the left of Stags keeper Lewis Price who nearly got there. It was the first goal the Stags had conceded for more than 360 minutes. It was desperately disappointing to concede a late equaliser, and one that the Stags did not deserve on the day. Unbelievably that’s the second time Accrington have left the Stags shell-shocked this season, following the game at the One Call Stadium where Mansfield led 2-1 in 93rd minute and managed to lose, having gifted Accrington goals in the 94th and 95th minute. The Stags are 7 points behind the play-offs with 3 games to play and getting into the play-offs looks a very tall order now. Nevertheless while there’s a chance there’s still much to play for against Cheltenham on Easter Monday, and it would certainly be pleasing anyway to attain a top 10 finish. Plenty of good performances from Stags players with the back three of Tafazolli, Riley and Sutton continuing to impress hugely.

On the plus side, the Stags keep up their record on not having lost away from home to a team outside the top 8 positions. But on the negative side, the Stags have dropped 8 points in injury time against Accrington and Plymouth!

On a sunny day in Lancashire, the Stags were roared on by a tremendous following of 662.

Paul Cox named an unchanged side from that which beat title-chasing Rochdale 3-0, in the same 3-2-2-1-2 formation.

The Stags were nearly in front on 3 minutes. A free-kick from the right by Jennings was met by Riley at the left stick with his right leg but he put it over the bar.

On 9 minutes, there was a good header away by Riley from an Accrington cross. A bizarre moment on 11 minutes, right in front of us in the press box. Hunt and Jennings both went down near the touchline and Hunt held on to Jennings and just wouldn’t let go of him. The referee awarded a free kick against Hunt for holding Jennings down. Clements wasted the free kick.

On 16 minutes, a good ball from Daniel out to Rhead on the right but his lay-off towards Palmer went through to the keeper. On 19 minutes, a Stags throw-in led to a quick break for Accrington, and Westlake got back to make a tremendous tackle. On 24 minutes, a Stags free kick was punched out by Bettinelli, straight to Daniel whose snapshot from 28 yards went wide with the keeper still on the ground. On 27 minutes, a Stags throw-in was headed on by Rhead, and Jennings sent an overhead kick straight at the keeper from a tight angle.

On 31 minutes, a good header down by Rhead but Palmer couldn’t get on the end of it as his shirt was being tugged in the area (not spotted by the officials).

On 32 minutes, McCartan got past two Stags defenders, and his shot was superbly saved by the legs of Lewis Price.

On 33 minutes, good play from Palmer as he shot towards the bottom left hand corner and the keeper made a fine save to tip it wide. On 35 minutes, Daniel flicked the ball on to Murray whose low shot nearly deflected into the path of Palmer but the keeper just got there.

Daniel was booked for a late tackle on Hunt on 37 minutes.

A minute later, Daniel was within a whisker of putting the Stags in front when his blockbuster from 14 yards was somehow palmed away by the keeper. On 40 minutes, a cross from Jennings was sliced up by a defender and claimed by the keeper. Straight to the other end and an Accrington cross hit Jennings. There were weak claims for a handball which were waved away.

On 42 minutes, a great turn by Peter Murphy outside the box and his powerful left-footed shot was heading into the roof of the net before it was brilliantly tipped over by Lewis Price. From the resulting corner, Odejayi tried a cheeky back-heel towards goal which was cleared away.

No goals at the break and a very even first half. Palmer went very close for the Stags and Accrington keeper Bettinelli somehow saved a Daniel blockbuster. At the other end, two super saves from Lewis Price.

Half-time 0-0

As the players left the pitch at half-time, Riley was limping but he was okay to continue in the second half.

On 47 minutes, the ball span through to Murray in the area on the left and he shot wide of the right post. A minute later, at the other end, a low shot from a tight angle by Hatfield bobbled in front of Price who made a good save to push it away. Almost immediately, Jennings miscued a clearance and another shot from Hatfield bobbled through to Price.

Westlake was booked for stopping a quick free-kick on 49 minutes.

The Stags were so close to taking the lead on 52 minutes. A Jennings corner on the right came back to Clements who crossed into the middle and Riley powered a header inches wide from a great position.

Clucas replaced Palmer on 53 minutes. Clucas joined Rhead up front in the same 3-2-2-1-2 formation.

On 55 minutes, Price did well to come out quickly to clear danger. On 58 minutes, a corner by Naismith, and McCartan glanced a header well over the bar. On 59 minutes, a nice one-two between Clucas and Rhead, Clucas got into the box on the right and shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

Meikle replaced Westlake on 60 minutes. The Stags switched to 4-4-2 with Sutton at right-back, Daniel on the right of midfield, and Meikle on the left, and Clucas still up front. On 63 minutes, there was a good ball from Murray to Daniel on the right. Daniel’s first touch was good, he cut inside, but shot well wide from distance. On 65 minutes, Clucas appeared to be brought down just outside the box but no free kick was given. On 67 minutes, Accrington were awarded a free kick and the hapless referee allowed them to take it several yards closer to the goal than it should have been. It didn’t matter as the shot was blocked by the wall and the follow-up easily saved by Lewis Price.

Speight replaced Daniel on 69 minutes. Speight went up front, and Clucas dropped back to the right side of midfield.

On 71 minutes, a good move from the Stags, Clucas crossed from the left, and Clements sent an acrobatic volley over the bar from the right. It was a great chance, but Clements was going for a champagne finish. At the other end, strong defending by Tafazolli against Gray.

The Stags had a goal disallowed on 73 minutes. Good play from Meikle, who found Jennings on the left and his fine cross was turned into the net by Speight at the right post. Speight said afterwards that he probably was just offside, but if he hadn’t gone at that moment, he wouldn’t have had a chance of getting there. At the other end, great tracking back by Clucas.

The Stags took the lead on 75 minutes. There was magnificent play by Clucas as he beat two players on the right and laid the ball back to Speight to crash the ball into the roof of the net from 10 yards and send the travelling Stags fans into raptures. It was great moment for Speight to score his first goal of an injury and illness-ravaged season.

On 78 minutes a scramble in the Accrington box was cleared. On 80 minutes, Murray made a great last-ditch tackle as the ball was pumped into the Stags box. From the resulting corner, Lewis Price made a great catch. A minute later, a free kick was given against Riley 30 yards out, clearly wrongly in my opinion. Joyce sent the resulting free kick just past the left post though Lewis Price had it covered. On 83 minutes, a cross from the right into the Stags box was nodded down and there was brave keeping from Lewis Price to grab hold of the ball. On 85 minutes, a snapshot from Naismith was blocked by Riley. A minute later, a good catch by Lewis Price from a looping header from Aldred, following a throw-in. A minute after that, Lewis Price made a good punch from a corner.

On 89 minutes, Jennings gave away an unnecessary foul on the edge of the area on the right. He was booked. From the free kick, the ball was back to Naismith who fired wide.

The Stags looked like holding on for a deserved victory and were within 6 inches of a second goal on 90+3 minutes when a goalkeeping clearance from Marcus Bettinelli struck Speight on the backside and ricocheted towards the goal. Just as it looked like it would go in, it hit the base of the post and somehow stayed out. Speight told me afterwards that he thought that if there hadn’t been a bobble in the pitch, it would have gone in.

22 seconds later, Accrington were awarded a penalty. A ball was flicked into the Stags box by Aldred, and Gray and Riley went for the ball, and Gray went down. The referee pointed to the spot. From my position it did not look like a foul by Riley, and having looked at the match DVD, I still think it did not look like a foul. Stags players thought that Gray was offside as well as it not being a foul, but the footage from the match DVD suggests it was onside. Kal Naismith took the penalty and sent it low to the left of Stags keeper Lewis Price who nearly got there.

On 90+7, a long Jennings throw into the box was headed on by Rhead, and Speight headed straight at Bettinelli.

The final whistle brought real frustration for Stags players and fans. Two points dropped when the Stags deserved all three. Stags let their frustrations out on the hapless referee. Nevertheless another decent performance from Mansfield. On to Easter Monday and the visit of Cheltenham. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Ryan Tafazolli

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Crown Ground



Line Up:
Price 8 A couple of terrific saves in the first half, and fine handling throughout. Couldn’t quite get to the penalty.
Sutton 7.5 Solid as a rock.
Riley 7.5 Really good game. Unlucky in my opinion to concede the penalty. Should have scored from a couple of chances.
Tafazolli 8 Very good, commanding and assured performance.
Westlake 7 Good game. One tremendous tackle in the first half.
Jennings 7 Some good crosses. Generally defended well, apart from an unnecessary free kick conceded and a miscued clearance.
Murray 7 One great tackle. Decent game.
Clements 6.5 Did ok.
Daniel 7 Plenty of good play. One blockbuster was well saved.
Palmer 6.5 Went close with one shot.
Rhead 6.5 His knock-downs didn’t fall kindly. Some very good defensive headers.
Sub Line Up:
Clucas (for Palmer, 53) 8 Caused plenty of problems, and his play for the goal was outstanding.
Meikle (for Westlake, 60) 7 Lively.
Speight (for Daniel, 69) 8 Scored a good goal, hit the post (due to persistence chasing down a lost cause), and had a goal disallowed.
Subs not used: Dempster, Briscoe, Howell, Stevenson.
Opposition Line Up:
Bettinelli; Hunt, Aldred, Winnard, Liddle; Hatfield (Naismith 78), Murphy, Joyce, Molyneux (Mingoia 78); McCartan (Gray 65), Odejayi. Subs not used: Webber, Windass, Buxton, Atkinson.
Referee:
Richard Clark 5 The same referee who wrongly sent off Matt Green in the play-off semi-final at York, made another poor decision today in my opinion to gift Accrington a lifeline. Some other poor decisions.


Season 13/14 Reports