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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Portsmouth  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Robinson 70.
 
 Heslop 46.
Attendance: 15,585 (397 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 11 October 2014

STAGS HELD BY POMPEY AT FRATTON PARK

Martin Shaw at Fratton Park

Mansfield Town put in a good performance at Fratton Park this afternoon but were denied victory by an incredible fingertips save from Paul Jones to keep out Rakish Bingham. The Stags had deservedly taken the lead 58 seconds after half-time with a fine goal from Simon Heslop, his first for the club, shooting home from 20 yards. Mansfield had been the better side in the first half, creating the better chances, winning most of the 50:50 balls and putting together some fine moves mostly involving Bingham and Fergus Bell, to silence the home fans. Indeed Portsmouth’s first shot on 26 minutes brought ironic applause from the home fans. The Stags continued to push forward after taking the lead and created more chances other than Bingham’s that was superbly saved. Had Bingham’s effort gone in, the Stags would probably have won it. But the game changed with Portsmouth’s introduction of substitutes Nigel Atangana and Patrick Agyemang on 68 minutes. Suddenly these two caused the Stags all sorts of problems with some outstanding play and Pompey were level within two minutes, as Atangana crossed low from the byline and Paul Robinson slotted home underneath Stags keeper Sascha Studer from 7 yards. Could Studer have saved it? Yes he could. Should he have saved it? Hard to say, though it would have been a good save if he had done. After that the home fans roared Pompey on, in an incredible level of noise, but the Stags kept them out with Studer making one very fine save from Danny Hollands. Overall a satisfying point for the Stags, the first draw of the season, and some really good performances throughout the team. Bingham terrorised the home defence with tremendous pace and an eye for goal. I spoke to him afterwards and he couldn’t believe how the keeper had tipped his shot around the post. Rhead played well up top before being forced off with a tight hamstring to a standing ovation from the travelling fans, though not so the home fans who hadn’t taken to him, it would be fair to say, after he was involved in an incident with home captain Johnny Ertl! Bell, playing just behind the front two was very good and involved of most of the Stags inventive forward play. I spoke to Bell after the game. He got a bang on the head and didn't remember anything of the second half. But he had been told by the doctor that he did not need to go to hospital. I told him he played very well even if he couldn't remember it! He laughed heartily. He should be fine. Heslop scored his first goal and looked more like the rampaging midfielder we saw in pre-season. There was a debut for central defender Jamie Sendles-White, signed on loan from QPR, and he put in a terrific, dominant performance, not giving the attackers anything; he looked such a strong and powerful player for a 20 year old. Sutton and Riley didn’t put a foot wrong alongside him. Kieron Freeman started the game sloppily, caught out of position, but then played extremely well, with a number of surging forward runs. He played a much more offensive game than we saw last week.

All very heartening and great entertainment for the 397 travelling Stags fans who were buoyant throughout and gave the team a standing ovation at the final whistle. The Stags are still three points behind the play-offs and six points above the relegation zone.

The Stags made two changes to the side that lost to Accrington. Jamie Sendles-White came in for his debut in place of Tafazolli, who will be out for 4 weeks. Heslop came in for Murray, who is suspended for 3 games. McGuire replaced Murray as captain. There was a big boost with Clements returning to the bench following his injury, one week ahead of schedule. Clements will play 45 minutes for the reserves on Tuesday.

Both teams set up with 3 at the back and two wing-backs, and two up front.

Goalkeeper Adam Bishop travelled with the squad to pick up experience (though was not named on the bench), with Dimi Evtimov still out injured with a groin strain. Bishop is 16 years and 4 months old and will be the youngest ever Stags goalkeeper (*) if he plays this season. The current youngest goalkeeper in the Stags history was Terence Statham who was 16 years and 335 days when he made his debut in 1957.
(* excluding games in the Nottinghamshire County Cup, where Chris Ogden played one game at the age of 16 years and 89 days in the County Cup as keeper in 1969, but he never played a league game).

The Stags had prepared well, travelling down on Friday morning and training at Havant & Waterlooville on Friday afternoon. Before kick-off there was a good vibe around Fratton Park, with Portsmouth finally out of debt. And this was the first home league game since that announcement.

It was an even start to the game. Sendles-White cleared away an early free kick. Then at the other end, on 3 minutes, a Bingham snapshot was blocked.

On 7 minutes, there was a good move from the Stags - Beevers to Bingham, inside to Bell who shot wide of the left post. A free-kick to Portsmouth on 8 minutes for a foul by Heslop; the ball in from Hollands was blocked by Sendles-White and behind for a corner. Studer clawed away that corner.

Straight to the other end and a great run from Bingham from the half-way line and despite the attention of 3 defenders, he got to the edge of the box and his low shot was saved.

On 10 minutes, Bingham squared to Bell who advanced to 22 yards from goal and chipped just over the bar.

On 14 minutes, Bingham headed straight at the keeper from a cross.

On 18 minutes, there was a comedy moment as two Portsmouth players ran into each other. On 20 minutes, there was powerful defending from Sendles-White against Drennan as Portsmouth broke forward.

Then 2 minutes later at the other end, there was a good move from the Stags which started with a 50 yard run with the ball from Bingham and ended with Bell squaring to McGuire who got it all wrong as he skyed over the bar.

On 26 minutes, there was ironic applause from the home fans for their first shot as Taylor’s effort dribbled through to Studer. A minute later, Heslop did well to throw himself in front of a Ryan Taylor shot.

On 29 minutes, a good move from the Stags culminated with a lovely back heel from Rhead to Bell who tried to thread in Bingham but his forward pass was intercepted. Straight to the other end and McGuire threw himself in front of a long range shot to block it. On 30 minutes, Wynter shot on the turn and Freeman did well to block it for a corner. On 33 minutes, Rhead knocked down to Bingham who couldn’t control it at the vital moment.

A minute later, Bell made another surging run but his shot from a distance was wide. On 36 minutes, Rhead nodded down a long free kick from Studer to Bingham who got on to it but it was put behind for a corner.

Another good move from the Stags came on 38 minutes as Sutton won the ball on the halfway line, Beevers slid the ball into Bingham who shot wide from an angle.

A minute later, there was a great move from the Stags ending with Bingham curling a shot goalwards which was saved by the keeper.

Controversy on 40 minutes came as Ertl tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick and Rhead tried to get the ball off him. Ertl ended up crashing into the advertising hoardings and the referee booked Rhead. Ertl was okay to play on.

Mansfield were the better side in the first half, creating the better chances, winning most of the 50:50 balls and putting together some fine moves mostly involving Bingham and Fergus Bell, to silence the home fans. Indeed Portsmouth’s first shot on 26 minutes brought ironic applause from the home fans. Bingham was impressive with his running at the defence while Sendles-White had made a dominant start. There were several good interceptions from Sutton. Freeman was certainly playing in a more advanced role than we saw against Accrington.

Half time 0-0

The Stags were in front 58 seconds after the re-start. A long throw from Freeman was headed up in the air by a defender under pressure from Rhead, and Bell slipped the ball into the path of Heslop who slotted a low shot into the bottom left corner from the inside the D. It was Heslop’s first goal for the Stags.

On 56 minutes, excellent play from Bingham, receiving the ball from Bell and going on a good run, then finding Beevers but Beevers’ ball was wasted.

The Stags were forced into a change on 58 minutes. Rhead, now the pantomime villain for the home fans, had gone down injured minutes earlier and went off with a tight hamstring. He received a standing ovation from the Stags fans. Ollie Palmer replaced him.

On 59 minutes, good play from Freeman to win the ball, go on a good run and find Bingham whose shot was saved.

Moments later, Bingham was in again. He sent in a great shot from the right, perfectly placed heading just inside the post but keeper Paul Jones brilliantly finger tipped it around the post. Incredibly the officials gave a goal kick.

There was more controversy on 62 minutes as a free kick was given against McGuire. The referee went over to see how the Portsmouth player was and, while he was doing so, Portsmouth took the free kick. The Stags had clearly stopped including Riley but Portsmouth carried on and put in a cross from the right which fortunately Studer claimed. Appalling refereeing. Moment later, Ryan Taylor turned and shot over the bar.

On 64 minutes, good play by Freeman on the left who squared to Heslop but Heslop’s shot, which looked to be on target, hit Palmer. Three minutes later, Heslop tried his luck again, this time from 35 yards but it was straight at the keeper. There was good defending from Sutton moments later as Wallace crossed from the right and Sutton did enough to prevent a proper header on goal.

The Stags were totally in control but on 68 minutes, Portsmouth made a double change with the introduction of substitutes Nigel Atangana and Patrick Agyemang and got themselves back into the game.

Pompey were level on 70 minutes, as Atangana crossed low from the byline and Paul Robinson slotted home underneath Stags keeper Sascha Studer from 7 yards. Could Studer have saved it? Yes he could. Should he have saved it? Hard to say, though it would have been a good save if he had done.

On 73 minutes, the Stags created a scramble in the Pompey box and I thought there might have been a possible hand ball but there were no appeals from the Stags players (edit: on review of the match DVD, it hit a Pompey player’s chest). On 75 minutes, a great tackle by Riley as Ryan Taylor broke into the box. A minute later, Freeman’s ball forward was brilliantly controlled by Palmer but, having controlled it, he couldn’t get in a shot.

Then another great move from the Stags ended with a shot from Bingham which was well saved again by Paul Jones. It was end to end stuff and Hollands broke into the Stags box and drilled a low shot which Studer saved.

Bell was forced off on 79 minutes, holding his face. He was replaced by Rob Taylor.

A mistake by Heslop on 81 minutes as he gave the ball away on his own byline but a low cross through the 6 yard box evaded everybody.

On 84 minutes, a very fine save from Studer as he tipped a shot from Hollands over the bar. A minute later, Riley did well to block a shot from Agyemang.

A third Stags player was forced off injured on 87 minutes as Heslop went off with an injured foot which swelled up. He’d had a good game. Good news though as Clements came on to replace him.

On 88 minutes, a good tackle from Beevers who won the ball in his own box. A minute later, Palmer did well to read a back pass but was unlucky as keeper Jones’ clearance hit him and went out for a goal kick.

Six minutes of stoppage time was added. On 90+1, Atangana broke into the box on the right and from a tight angle, shot straight at Studer. On 90+4, more controversy came as Riley was booked for a challenge which wasn’t even a foul in my opinion. Fortunately for the Stags, the free kick, from 26 yards, went well over the bar. With the six minutes of stoppage time already played, the Stags won a corner. Surprisingly, none of the Stags three central defenders went up for the corner which I thought was overly negative but it made no difference as the referee blew the full time whistle before the kick was taken! After the game, Micky Moore explained that, with the Stags record of conceding late goals away from home last season, they didn’t want to risk a quick breakaway.

There was a standing ovation for the Stags at full time. Having reflected on the game, I think it was a game that the Stags deserved to win but the performance was a real consolation to only taking home a point.

Man of the match: Rakish Bingham


Report by: Martin Shaw at Fratton Park



Line Up:
Studer 6.5 Very fine save on 84 minutes tipping over Hollands’ shot. Could he have done better with the goal? Hard to say, though it would have been a good save if he had done. Otherwise, looked solid.
Sutton 8 Very good. Several good interceptions and tackles.
Sendles-White 8.5 A terrific, dominant debut, not giving the attackers anything; he looked such a strong and powerful player for a 20 year old.
Riley 7.5 Good game, with tackles and blocks.
Beevers 7 Involved in some good moves. Solid defensively.
Freeman 7.5 Started the game sloppily, caught out of position, but then played extremely well, with a number of surging forward runs. He played a much more offensive game than we saw last week.
McGuire 7 Played the defensive midfield role well.
Heslop 8 Scored his first Stags goal and looked more like the rampaging midfielder we saw in pre-season. Also did well defensively, apart from one bad mistake on the byline
Bell 8 Very good, playing just behind the front two and was involved of most of the Stags inventive forward play.
Bingham 8.5 Terrorised the home defence with tremendous pace and an eye for goal, denied twice by good saves.
Rhead 7 Good game. Went off with a tight hamstring, to a standing ovation from the Stags fans.
Sub Line Up:
Palmer (for Rhead, 58) - One great piece of control, and one good chase down on the keeper. Didn’t hold the ball up as well as expected.
Taylor (for Bell, 79) -
Clements (for Heslop, 87) - A big boost to have him back, a week ahead of schedule.
Sub not used: Marsden, Thomas, Lambe, Fisher.
Opposition Line Up:
Jones; Devera, Robinson, Ertl (Atangana 68); Wynter, Wallace, Dunne, Hollands, Shorey; Drennan (Agyemang 68), Taylor (Storey 85). Subs not used: Poke, Butler, Holmes, Westcarr.
Referee:
Stuart Attwell 5 Some poor decisions and poor handling of the game.


Season 14/15 Reports