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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
3 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Whelpdale 3, 83, Lee 5.
Attendance: 2820 (292 from Mansfield)
Date: 27 September 2014


Martin Shaw at the Lamex Stadium, Broadhall Way

Mansfield Town were comfortably beaten 3-0 at Stevenage this afternoon. It was a poor performance from the Stags, who have now conceded three goals on all three visits to Broadhall Way. Stevenage scored twice in the opening 5 minutes in a nightmare start for the Stags, who appeared to be asleep or still on the bus, with sloppy defending. The Stags then played some decent football before half time and created 7 good chances before the break, but failure to take any of them, including Rakish Bingham hitting the post and Matt Rhead missing a sitter, was always going to be costly. The Stags needed to keep it going in the second half, but instead were terrible, creating almost nothing going forward, and being cut open again at the back as Stevenage added a third near the end. Plenty of poor performances today, at the back in the early stages and in the second half, in midfield throughout, up front in the second half, and manager Paul Cox whose half time substitutions failed to work as the Stags went from creating chances in the first half to almost nothing in the second half. Only Rakish Bingham and Reggie Lambe can really be praised on the day as both looked dangerous in the first half, and were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. The Stags missed Chris Clements and Fergus Bell in midfield whose inventiveness and drive going forward had been key in the positive performances against Exeter, Wycombe, Morecambe and first half against Carlisle. Bell should be fit for the game next Saturday. The need for a solid left footed defensive player was again highlighted today and needs to be rectified soon, now that Cox is allowed to bring in another player, and hopefully this can be achieved before the next game. No need to panic with the Stags handily placed in 11th (level on points with a play-off place).

The Stags made two enforced changes from the side that beat Carlisle, with Clements out for up to 4 weeks with a hamstring injury and Bell out with a shoulder injury. In came Heslop, recovered from having stitches in his foot, and Reggie Lambe in for his first start. Heslop was playing against his former club. Dempster returned from injury to the bench, though was still not 100% fit. Stevenage included former Stags striker Chris Beardsley, while former target Calvin Zola was on the bench. It was the Stags first visit to Broadhall Way in the Football League, after two defeats in the Conference, both midweek and both times conceding three goals.

The Stags started positively inside the first minute as Marsden crossed from the right and Rhead and a defender got there at the same time, the ball going behind for a corner.

But Stevenage were ahead on 3 minutes. Tom Pett slid a good ball forward that caught out Tafazolli and Whelpdale got in behind him, into the box on the right, and his low shot was very well saved by Evtimov, but the ball spun away from the keeper, and Whelpdale was able to pounce and lash the ball into the net from 6 yards.

It was 2-0 on 5 minutes. Murray slid in to win the ball on the halfway line but only succeeded in finding Whelpdale, who fed Beardsley on the right wing who’d got away from Tafazolli, Beardsley crossed low into the middle where Charlie Lee got past Marsden too easily before sliding under Evtimov into the net.

The Stags were shell-shocked. It was a disastrous start.

On 12 minutes, Rhead played a good ball to Lambe on the right, Lambe made a good run forward and his shot was cleared off the line.

On 15 minutes, a poor ball forward from Murray with Bingham having a chance to break clear.

On 17 minutes, Parrett crossed and Lee headed straight at Evtimov. On 19 minutes, Bingham had a shot deflected for a corner. At the other end on 21 minutes, Sutton blocked a shot from Pett.

The Stags should have scored on 22 minutes. A high ball forward from Heslop was misjudged by a Stevenage defender leaving Rhead with a free header from a central position but he headed straight at keeper Chris Day. He should have scored.

The Stags came close again on 23 minutes as Bingham fired in a rasping shot from 25 yards which was well saved low to his right by keeper Day. A minute later, Lambe crossed and Tafazolli headed down but the keeper claimed.

The Stags were desperately unlucky not to pull one back on 30 minutes. Lambe fed Bingham on the edge of the box, he turned and fired in a great shot that hit the foot of the right post. The ball rebounded to Rhead who shot straight at the keeper.

At the other end on 33 minutes, a Stevenage shot was blocked from close range. Sloppy play from Heslop on 34 minutes as his pass towards Beevers was intercepted putting Stevenage on the attack but it came to nothing.

Another chance for the Stags on 36 minutes came as Heslop chipped a cross from the right to the left post where Beevers headed wide. On 37 minutes, the referee gave a long lecture to Sutton and Beardsley. On 42 minutes, the Stags broke into the Stevenage box and a clearance hit Lambe and went just wide of the left post.

A minute later, Bingham crossed from the right, from near the corner flag, and Rhead at the far post headed over. On 45 minutes, Lee miscued a cross from the right and Evtimov claimed it above his head and just under the bar.

Another chance for Rhead on 45+3 minutes as Sutton sent a diagonal ball into the box and Rhead headed wide.

So the Stags were 2-0 down at the break after a nightmare start conceding twice in the first 5 minutes. After that, the Stags were mainly on the front foot with Bingham’s shot against the post, another rasping shot saved, Lambe’s shot cleared off the line, Rhead’s 3 chances and Beevers’ header wide.

Half time 2-0

The Stags made a double substitution at the start of the second half with Palmer replacing Lambe, and McGuire replacing Sutton. It was a switch to a 4-3-3 formation with Bingham, Rhead and Palmer up front. The replacement of Lambe was a surprise to me as he had looked lively in the first half though of course he is not match fit yet having played just 15 minutes of competitive football this season.

On 47 minutes, Lee got past Marsden into the box on the left, his cross was deflected up in the air and caught by Evtimov.

Straight to the other end and Palmer got to the edge of the box on the right but sent in a weak shot straight at the keeper. On 48 minutes, Pett shot high and wide.

A good move for the Stags came on 52 minutes as Heslop found Murray who fired wide of the left post. A good chance.

On 56 minutes, there was a good tackle by Tafazolli on Lee who was breaking forward. On 57 minutes, there was a comedy moment as Whelpdale ended up on Beevers’ shoulder and remained there for several seconds.

On 59 minutes, McGuire headed the ball forward, Bingham chested the ball to himself and then acrobatically sent in a shot which was blocked for a corner. This was high class stuff from Bingham.

A minute later, Rhead headed forward to Beevers who pulled the ball back to Murray but Murray sent a poor effort over the bar.

Cox made his final substitution on 60 minutes as Fisher replaced Rhead as the Stags continued with a 4-3-3 formation.

On 64 minutes, Beardsley got into the box and Riley did well to hold him off. But poor play from Riley 3 minutes later when he tried to shepherd the ball out, ?? robbed him, cut inside along the byline and his shot from a tight angle was well-saved by Evtimov.

On 70 minutes, there was a nice touch from Fisher, who got the ball to Heslop, but Heslop’s ball forward towards Bingham was just over hit. Then the Stags had a 3 on 2 situation but Murray couldn’t get past his defender. On 74 minutes, Fisher crossed from the right but it was cleared.

A minute later at the other end, Stevenage got the ball to Whelpdale on the right and he shot past the left post. On 77 minutes, Tafazolli gave the ball away, Stevenage crossed the ball in from the right, Lee headed it back across goal and Calcutt headed over.

Marsden was booked on 80 minutes for a foul 25 yards out. On 82 minutes, an abysmal ball forward from Beevers summed up his afternoon.

Stevenage made it 3-0 on 84 minutes. Deacon beat Marsden for pace on the left, crossed low to Whelpdale on the right who slotted into the net.

On 88 minutes, Murray was booked for a foul. Then a minute later, Heslop gave the ball away, summing up his afternoon.

On 90 minutes, Deacon got past Marsden again, to the byline and his cross hit the post.

A very poor second half performance from the Stags, after playing pretty well in the first half, following the disastrous opening 5 minutes.

Man of the match: Rakish Bingham

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Lamex Stadium, Broadhall Way

Line Up:
Evtimov 6.5 Made a very good save from the original shot for the first goal but couldn’t hold on. Played ok.
Sutton 6 Sacrificed at half time as the Stags went to 4 at the back. Involved in a battle with Beardsley.
Riley 5.5 Poor play when trying to shepherd the ball out and was robbed.
Tafazolli 5 Uncharacteristically not at the races, and caught out of position a few times.
Marsden 5 Poor game, after his joint man of the match display last week. Could have done better with the second goal, and was several times beaten down the Stevenage left.
Beevers 5 Poor game.
Murray 5 Poor. Gave the ball away a couple of times.
Heslop 5 Disappointing return to the side after injury. Several poor passes.
Lambe 7 Lively and involved in a lot of what the Stags did well in the first half. Wrongly subbed in my opinion.
Bingham 7.5 Three good efforts, unluckily striking the post, having a rasping shot well saved, and a super acrobatic effort. He really does look a superb signing.
Rhead 5.5 Three chances to score in the first half, and should have done better with the free header.
Sub Line Up:
Palmer (for Lambe, 46) 5 Didn’t trouble the home defence. One weak shot from the edge of the box. Didn't get much service to be fair.
McGuire (for Sutton, 46) 5 Some rumbustious challenges but didn’t influence the game positively.
Fisher (for Rhead, 60) - One nice touch and one cross, but didn’t really get into the game.
Sub not used: Studer, Dempster, Thomas, Taylor.
Opposition Line Up:
Day, Henry, Charles, Wells, Ashton, Whelpdale, Pett (Deacon 65), Parrett (Conlon 46), Bond, Lee, Beardsley (Calcutt 75) Subs: Reading, Dembele, Zola, Johnson.
Patrick Miller 7 Handled the game well and didn’t let it boil over after the Sutton/Bearsdley confrontation.

Season 14/15 Reports