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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Oxford United
Tafazolli 39, Murray 88.
 Hylton pen 79
Attendance: 3042 (405 from Oxford)
Date: 16 August 2014


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

Mansfield Town picked up the first win of the season with a goal after 88 minutes from assistant manager Adam Murray who fired home from 10 yards to send a relieved Field Mill into raptures. The Stags put in a good performance in the first half and deserved to lead at the break as Ryan Tafazolli headed in after a fine free kick from Chris Clements was tipped onto the post. Tafazolli had a chance to increase the lead just before the break when he headed wide from another fine Clements’ set piece. The Stags failed to capitalise on the lead in the second half as both sides made plenty of mistakes, but Oxford hadn’t looked like equalising until they were given a soft penalty on 79 minutes as sub Danny Hylton and Tafazolli tangled legs near the byline and inept referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot. The ref had given a similar spot kick against the Stags at Accrington last season. I spoke with Tafazolli after the game and he told me he was desperately trying not to touch Hylton but there was a tangle of legs. Hylton converted the penalty. The goal gave Oxford heart and they upped their game and could have won it when Sascha Studer made a fine save from Junior Brown on 86 minutes. Two minutes later the Stags got the winner as a poor clearing header fell into the path of Murray 12 yards out and he buried it. After the game, Murray told me as the ball fell to him he was thinking of his miss against Northampton and was overjoyed to find the back of the net. It was a wonderful moment for the assistant manager. At the end of the game, scenes of celebration including a fist-pumping Paul Cox. Newport are the next opponents on Tuesday night. The Stags will have Matt Rhead back from suspension and he will surely come straight back into the side. Today’s strike pairing of Fisher and Clucas caused Oxford far too few problems, and coming after the lunchtime news that Liam Hearn will be out until Christmas. With such a small squad and so few striking options, a loan striker signing would seem to be a necessity.

There was a depressed mood amongst supporters before the game with news that Hearn is out until Christmas. There were two changes from the side that started against Sheffield United as Dempster replaced the injured Riley, and Clucas came in up front for Hearn. Home league debuts for Studer, Taylor, Heslop and Fisher. Paul Cox told me before the game that 3 of his subs were not 100% fit.

The first chance of the game came on 5 minutes as McGuire had a shot which was going wide and was deflected even further wide. From the resulting corner, Dempster headed back across goal but it came to nothing.

On 14 minutes, Beevers did well to win the ball, and Clements played a great crossfield ball to Fisher who couldn’t quite control it. On 16 minutes, good play by Tafazolli, Taylor and Clucas but again it didn’t come to anything. A half chance for the Stags on 18 minutes, as Oxford keeper Long made a hash of bowling the ball out, Sutton intercepted and tried to loop the ball back into the empty net over the keeper but couldn’t get it on target. On 23 minutes, Clucas crossed from the left but there was no-one in the middle and it was symptomatic that the Stags were not getting enough bodies in the box.

On 28 minutes, a half chance for Fisher from 25 yards, as he tried to chip the keeper but it was blocked, after a good ball forward from Clements. Then a minute later, Beevers put a ball in to Clements, who flicked on to Clucas, who looped a poor effort up and over the bar.

A good move from the Stags on 35 minutes, and then Beevers did well to win the ball.

Heslop picked up the first yellow card on 36 minutes, for a foul that was not as bad as some that had gone unpunished.

On 37 minutes, another good move but the Stags were looking toothless up front.

It was 1-0 on 39 minutes. Clements took a free kick from 30 yards in a central position. Keeper Long tipped against the inside of the left post, and it bounced up across the face of goal for Tafazolli to head into the empty net. Alert play from Tafazolli to be in the right place at the right time.

On 42 minutes, inept referee Richard Clark didn’t give Junior Brown a yellow card after poleaxing McGuire and having made no attempt to get the ball.

Oxford had their first half chance on 44 minutes as Junior Brown shot from a tight angle and Studer saved at the near post. It was probably going wide anyway.

Tafazolli made a good challenge at the back on 45 minutes, and earned a goal kick from it.

On 45+1 minutes, it should have been 2-0. Clements took a free kick from the left, and Tafazolli headed wide of the left post from a good position. It looked close from our position in the West Stand, but Tafazolli told me it was well wide and he was surprised at the “oohs” from the crowd.

The Stags were full value for the lead at half time having had most of the possession. But it was clear we are missing some firepower up front. Oxford were dreadful.

Half time 1-0

On 48 minutes, Clucas picked up on a poor backpass to keeper Long but could only put it out for a goal-kick.

A rare chance for Oxford on 53 minutes as Junior Brown ran forward and shot over the bar from 20 yards.

On 54 minutes Oxford keeper Long kicked the ball from well outside his box and the officials just waved play on.

On 56 minutes, McGuire nicked the ball off a defender, and looked like he was going to power towards goal like he did at Hartlepool last season, but he lost his footing.

On 58 minutes, a good run down the right from Clucas, he played a one-two with McGuire, and shot just wide of the left post via a deflection. Inept referee Richard Clark gave a goal-kick and then booked Clucas for protesting. Nevertheless excellent play from Clucas.

On 64 minutes, Jakubiak had a shot blocked for Oxford. Then Studer punched away decisively from a corner. A minute later, Fisher had a chance to get through on goal, but couldn’t manage it. On 68 minutes, Morris, on the left, put in a cross-shot across the face of goal, which finally Tafazolli cleared.

Palmer replaced Fisher on 69 minutes. A quick return from his injury at Northampton.

On 72 minutes, Taylor’s free-kick from the right, was headed on by Tafazolli, and Dempster flicked wide at the far post, but the offside flag was already up. On 74 minutes, Beevers had a chance to run at goal and shoot but instead tried to find Clucas and didn’t do so.

Studer claimed well from a corner on 76 minutes.

But disaster on 79 minutes as Oxford were level out of the blue. Substitute Danny Hylton, formerly of Aldershot, was heading for the byline inside the area on the right, with Tafazolli tracking him back. There was a tangle of legs as Hylton put his legs backwards into Tafazolli and both players went down. Inept referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot. Hylton took the kick himself and fired into the bottom left corner, Studer went the right way but couldn’t quite get down to it. It was sickening for the Stags who had not looked like conceding.

On 80 minutes, a Clements shot was blocked on the edge of the area. A minute later at the other end, Jakubiak’s shot dribbled through to Studer. Good defending from Beevers a minute later to dispossess Hylton.

A final role of the dice from Paul Cox on 85 minutes as Fergus Bell replaced Clements, and Murray replaced McGuire.

On 86 minutes, a great save from Studer from Junior Brown. Oxford were suddenly looking the more likely winners.

But on 88 minutes, joy for the Stags as Adam Murray won it. A high ball into the middle from the left from Rob Taylor was headed away by Oxford centre-half Jake Wright, straight to an unmarked Murray who fired home into the bottom left corner from 12 yards. Murray was booked for celebrating with the home fans, though inept referee Richard Clark managed to pull out the red card before realising his mistake.

Oxford had several attacks but were unable to create any clearcut chances as Mansfield nervously saw out the game, several times giving the ball away instead of running the clock down, notably when Beevers crossed in the final minute instead of trying to get a corner or throw-in.

Relief at the final whistle, including a fist-pumping Paul Cox.

Man of the match: McGuire/Tafazolli/Clements

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

Line Up:
Studer 7 Not much to do but dealt well with two corners, and crucial save on 86 minutes.
Sutton 7 Defensively very solid, apart from one unnecessary corner given away.
Dempster 6.5 Did ok at the back. Missed one good chance but was given offside.
Tafazolli 7 Good game, deserved his goal, made some timely challenges. Unlucky to concede the penalty.
Beevers 7 Defended well with some good challenges. A couple of good balls forward, though also frustrated by giving the ball away.
Taylor 6 Quiet game.
McGuire 7 Really good first half, constantly harrying the opposition and winning lost causes. Lively.
Heslop 6.5 Unlucky to be booked. Decent game.
Clements 7 Two fine free-kicks at the end of the first half led to a goal and a near-miss. Did some tracking back but still could more. Went missing for some parts of the game but showed some quality.
Clucas 5.5 One excellent piece of play where he shot wide. But disappointing otherwise, looking off the pace.
Fisher 5.5 Disappointing after his performance on Wednesday. Got muscled off the ball too much.
Sub Line Up:
Palmer (for Fisher, 69) - Won a few headers.
Fergus Bell (for Clementss, 85) -
Murray (for McGuire, 85) - Wonderful moment when he scored the winner.
Sub not used:, Amari’i Bell, Marsden, Jones, Thomas.
Opposition Line Up:
Long; Hunt (Jakubiak 60), Mullins, Wright, Newey; Collins, Meades (Ruffels 71), Riley, Potter (Hylton 76); Brown, Morris. Unused subs: Crocombe, Raynes, Rose, O'Dowda.
Richard Clark 5 Inept. Again. After Accrington last season, and wrongly sending off Matt Green in the play-off semi-final at York.

Season 14/15 Reports