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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
The FA Cup - Round Two
Cambridge United  
2 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Chadwick 10, Appiah 90+2.
 Bingham 3, Champion OG 80
Attendance: 3869 (343 from Mansfield)
Date: 6 December 2014


Martin Shaw at the R Costings Abbey Stadium

Mansfield Town were pegged back twice in the FA Cup at Cambridge this afternoon and so this game goes to a replay a week on Tuesday (unless switched for live TV selection). Mansfield, playing in a new third kit of red and white hoops, were out of the traps quickly and ahead inside 3 minutes with Rakish Bingham heading home a superb Rob Taylor cross. Cambridge were level on 10 minutes, punished for Simon Heslop messing around with the ball at the back, as Tom Champion fed Luke Chadwick who slotted home. Bingham should have scored again when he had another free header in front of goal and after the game he told me he really should have got it on target. An even first half which was exciting. The second half was quieter with few chances for either side until the Stags regained the lead on 80 minutes as Rob Taylor’s floated curling free kick was headed into his own net by Tom Champion. Fergus Bell nearly sealed it for the Stags with a great effort tipped over the bar. Sascha Studer preserved the lead with a great diving save on 90 minutes but Mansfield couldn’t hold on, and Kwesi Appiah equalised on 90+2 minutes brilliantly controlling a free kick and firing past Studer in an instant. In truth a draw was a fair result but it was so frustrating for the Stags to be denied in stoppage time. A good performance from Mansfield against a good side in Cambridge and it will clearly take another good performance if the Stags are to progress into Round 3. By then of course we’ll know the opponents and if it happens to be a Premier League club, then the stakes will become very high indeed.

Adam Murray was appointed as the youngest manager in the Football League yesterday, until the end of the season, and was generally a popular appointment with the fans, including me. Murray made two changes to the side that lost at Luton. Out went loanee Kieron Freeman (not allowed by Derby to play) and Jamie Sendles-White. Ritchie Sutton made a very welcome return from his fractured jaw, and Bingham also returned to the starting line-up. Vadaine Oliver was allowed to play by Crewe with Crewe already out of the Cup. It was a 4-4-2 formation with Sutton at right back and Beevers at left back. Lambe and Taylor were on the right and left side of midfield, while Oliver and Bingham were up front. On the bench, there was a place for youth team striker Dan Fletcher, fresh from signing professional terms yesterday and fresh from his hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup against Northampton 11 days ago. Jamie McGuire was also back from injury. Dimi Evtimov was not allowed to play by parent club Nottingham Forest, and so Adam Murray had desperately tried to find another goalkeeper on emergency loan with Sascha Studer having been nursing a slight leg injury all week but had been unable to do so with clubs reluctant to let keepers get cup-tied for just a one-off game.

With Cambridge, and indeed Burton, playing in kits too similar to both Mansfield’s amber home kit and black away kit, the Stags have produced a third kit of red and white hoops with red shorts. Any similarity to Doncaster Rovers’ kit, with even the same sponsor logo on the front, is purely coincidental! The kit apparently will not be on sale but the shirts used by the players will be auctioned off later in the season. I quite liked it actually.

It was a bitterly cold afternoon, by far the coldest of the season. When I arrived at the ground, one patch of frost had been in the shade of the stand behind the goal and looked like it might be a problem, but by kick-off time the grass in that area had returned to green.

Mansfield were ahead inside 3 minutes. Taylor picked up the ball, headed left and towards the byline and floated a perfect cross on to the head of Bingham who was unmarked and headed home past the keeper into the left of the net.

Cambridge’s first chance came on 5 minutes as Bird headed well wide from a Greg Taylor free kick from the left.

On 8 minutes, Rob Taylor did well to get to the byline on the right but his cross was over everyone.

Disaster for the Stags on 10 minutes as Cambridge were level and it was of the Stags’ own making. Heslop tried a short pass on the edge if his own area and gifted the ball to Tom Champion who fed Luke Chadwick who slotted home low past Studer just inside the right post. I like the Mansfield passing game that Adam Murray has instilled into the team but you have to play in the right areas and messing about on the edge of your own area is definitely not the right area. So frustrating.

On 15 minutes good defending by Riley to head back to Studer under pressure. On 21 minutes, Chadwick played a ball forward for Appiah whose low shot was saved by Studer with his legs.

On 22 minutes, Taylor embarked on a fine run to the byline on the left and he fired in a cross which skimmed off the top of Bingham’s head. Beevers picked it up on the same side, also got to the byline and crossed and a defender just got there ahead of Oliver to head behind for a corner.

On 28 minutes, Kaikai took a free-kick from the left and a good header away by Tafazolli. A minute later, Bingham tried to play the ball out of defence just outside his own area, gave the ball away and Beevers was forced to concede a free kick, 26 yard out. Another example of not playing the right ball in the right areas. Kaikai took the free kick which was going wide but got a deflection for a corner.

On 33 minutes a Cambridge ball into the Stags box was miscued by a Stags defender straight to Appiah who fired wide from a good position.

The Stags should have been back in front on 35 minutes. A lovely ball by Bingham out to the right where Lambe crossed the ball back giving Bingham a free header but he put it over the bar. It really was a golden opportunity.

A minute later, a ball in to the Rob Taylor, he flicked the ball up and sent a left footed shot straight at the keeper from 22 yards. On 37 minutes, Kaikai shot from the edge of the box and it deflected for a corner. From the corner, Coulson headed wide.

On 38 minutes, Lambe crossed from the right, Oliver headed goalwards and it was sliced wide of his own goal by a defender. On 40 minutes, Beevers crossed from the left, Oliver tried to head, it came off his shoulder and the keeper saved easily. On 44 minutes a good block by Tafazolli as Bird shot from the edge of the area. On 45+1, Beevers was done like a kipper by Chadwick who fed Appiah, but Appiah’s cross-cum-shot was wide of the left post.

An even half that was pretty exciting to watch. It was frustrating for the Stags to concede a goal somewhat of their own making after such a great start. After that both teams had chances to go in front.

Half time 1-1

On 49 minutes, Tafazolli did well to head away a corner, eventually the ball came to Chadwick who fired into the side-netting. On 52 minutes, Kaikai cut inside from the left and sent in a right footed shot low straight at Studer from 17 yards. On 56 minutes, a Hughes corner from the left and Champion header over under pressure from Heslop.

Palmer replaced Bingham on 56 minutes, and went up front alongside Oliver.

Tafazolli was booked for a foul on Appiah on the byline. It looked a harsh decision.

On 61 minutes the Stags eventually cleared a scramble on the line following a Cambridge corner.

Bell replaced Oliver on 62 minutes. Bell played behind Palmer in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

On 63 minutes Clements played a nice little ball forward with the outside of his right boot, and the keeper just got there ahead of Palmer. On 69 minutes, a Cambridge corner from the left, Nelson looped the ball up and Studer caught it under his crossbar.

Mansfield’s final change on 72 minutes as McGuire replaced Clements.

On 79 minutes, Taylor got the ball onto his right foot, but his shot was blocked on the edge of the box.

The Stags regained the lead on 80 minutes. Rob Taylor’s floated curling free kick from 33 yards just to the right of centre, was headed into his own net by Tom Champion, under pressure from Tafazolli. The ball would not have gone in on its own so has to be credited as an own goal. The Stags players didn’t know who to celebrate with so ran to Rob Taylor.

On 86 minutes, the Stags nearly sealed the game. A ball forward to Lambe, whose shot was blocked. The ball came back to Fergus Bell who sent in a great effort that was tipped over the bar.

On 88 minutes, a shot was Appiah hit Riley who was already in the ground, then another shot was deflected through to Studer.

Sascha Studer preserved the lead with a great diving save on 90 minutes from a shot from Appiah from 8 yards.

Rob Taylor was booked for a foul on the halfway line. And from that free kick Cambridge were level. Kwesi Appiah brilliantly controlled the free kick that was headed on, before firing past Studer in an instant, left footed. Some Stags players claimed offside but it certainly was not offside.

On 90+4, Ryan Donaldson shot from the edge of the box and it deflected just over the bar.

Honours even then and back to the One Call Stadium next week. Meanwhile the draw for the third round is on BBC TV on Monday night at 7pm.

The Stags are next in action next Saturday with the visit of Cheltenham. Entrance is just £7 if you buy your ticket up to and including Friday. If you haven’t been down to Field Mill for a while, come on down and cheer Adam Murray’s boys on.

Man of the match: Rob Taylor

Report by: Martin Shaw at the R Costings Abbey Stadium

Line Up:
Studer 6.5 Decent game. Great save just before the second goal. Came for a cross in the first half that he didn’t get.
Sutton 6.5 A solid return from his fractured jaw.
Riley 6.5 Mostly did well.
Tafazolli 6.5 Just about the pick of the defence but lost out on a header in the build-up to the second goal.
Beevers 6.5 Did well going forward. Caught out once at the back.
Lambe 7 Great ball in for Bingham’s header that he missed. Some good movement.
Clements 6.5 Good first half. Went missing in the second and was subbed.
Heslop 6 Bad error for the first goal. Did ok after that.
Taylor 7.5 Fine game, with some great crosses. Involved in both goals.
Bingham 7 Back on the scoring trial with his first headed goal for the Stags. Should have got his second header on target.
Oliver 6 A bit too quiet and replaced after 62 minutes.
Sub Line Up:
Palmer (for Bingham, 56) -
Bell (for Oliver, 62) - One good effort tipped over the bar.
McGuire (for Clements, 72) -
Subs not used: Marsden, Waterfall, Rhead, Fletcher.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2) Dunn; Tait, Coulson, Nelson, Greg Taylor; Kaikai (Blair 53), Chadwick (Donaldson 67), Champion, Hughes; Appiah, Bird (Simpson 75). Subs not used: Norris, Atkinson, B.Taylor, Tom Naylor.
Darren Bond 7 Good game

Season 14/15 Reports