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An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
AFC Wimbledon  
0 - 1
 Mansfield Town
 
 Oliver 47. Taylor sent off 31
Attendance: 3790 (178 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 20 December 2014

MAGNIFICENT MANSFIELD WIN WITH 10 MEN FOR AN HOUR

Martin Shaw at Kingsmeadow

Mansfield Town won at AFC Wimbledon this afternoon despite playing for over an hour with ten men after Rob Taylor was sent off. It was a magnificent performance of skill, guts, determination, spirit, superb defending and an outstanding goalkeeping display from Dimi Evtimov. The Stags started well and were on top for the opening 30 minutes with Matt Rhead hitting the post and other chances going begging. But on 31 minutes, Rob Taylor dived in with a lunging challenge on Sammy Moore and Barry Fuller, Taylor making contact with his studs, and it was little surprise that referee Darren Deadman pulled out a red card. A very poor challenge from Taylor and one that left his teammates right up against it for an hour. (sidenote: from my angle it looked a clear red card. The match DVD was filmed from behind me and looked the same. Alex Fisher was sitting a yard from me and thought it was a red card. The camera angle shown on Football League Show is from the other side of the ground and with the different angle, looks a bit different.) For the rest of the half, the Stags were no longer on top as the game was more even with the Stags digging in. Two minutes into the second half, Mansfield were deservedly in front, as centre half Jake Goodman made a hash of trying to head Luke Waterfall’s long ball back to his keeper, and only succeeded in heading it into the path of Vadaine Oliver who shrugged off Goodman’s attempt to bring him down before firing underneath keeper James Shea from the right hand side of the area. A clinical finish from Oliver. The Stags had two glorious chances to extend the lead just after the hour as keeper Shea superbly turned away Rhead’s downward header and then from the resulting corner Shea made an even better save somehow tipping over Luke Waterfall’s superb header. It had me remembering the goalkeeping performance from Ross Worner for Wimbledon last season here that denied the Stags a victory. But this time it wasn’t to be a Wimbledon keeper taking all the headlines, it was the Stags’s Dimi Evtimov who went on to produce a string of great saves, including three saves in one attack in stoppage time. In front of Evtimov, the defence were superb, with Luke Waterfall outstanding at centre half. Whilst Evtimov and the defence were superb, there was no luck about this victory, it was thoroughly deserved. The win, with ten men for over an hour, was probably only topped in recent history of wins of this kind by the win with nine men at Cambridge in 2003 and the feeling at the end of the game was similar to what I remember that day. Sensational. The Stags do need to follow this up though with victory over bottom placed Hartlepool on Boxing Day, which of course won’t be easy with Hartlepool having just appointed a new manager. The Stags go to Christmas Day 7 points above the relegation zone and 8 points behind the play-offs.

Adam Murray made five changes from the side that lost in the FA Cup on Tuesday: Evtimov came in for Studer in goal, Studer still not 100% fit having played with a slight injury on Tuesday when Evtimov was not allowed to play. Freeman came in for Beevers, McGuire for Heslop, Brown for Bingham, and Rhead for Palmer. It was also three changes from the last league last Saturday with Taylor for Lambe, McGuire for Heslop, and Rhead for Bell. For the first time at the start of a game since Paul Cox left, it was a three-at-the-back formation with Sutton, Waterfall and Tafazolli in central defence, Freeman and Taylor as wing-backs, Heslop and Clements in central midfield, and Brown as an attacking midfielder behind Oliver and Rhead, in a 3-2-2-1-2 formation. AFC Wimbledon included Adam Barrett in central defence, having player for the Stags 15 years ago.

AFC Wimbledon have a formidable strikeforce for League Two with Matt Tubbs and Adebayo Akinfenwa. The partnership was broken as Akinfenwa had to hobble after an injury in the first minute. From a Georg Francomb free-kick from the left, Evtimov punched away under pressure from Akinfenwa. The offside flag was up as Goodman headed goalwards. Akinfenwa stayed down with a leg injury and soon had to hobble off.

No more goalmouth action until 14 minutes when the Stags went so close to taking the lead. A quick free-kick from Clements from 28 yards to Taylor in the box on the left, Taylor crossed to Rhead at the far post who was in acres of space and side-footed against the outside of the right post.

On 15 minutes, Rhead got past a defender but sent an ambitious shot from 20 yards well wide. In a rare Wimbledon break on 19 minutes, Tafazolli did well to head back to Evtimov. A minute later, at the other end, Taylor sent a dipping powerful shot from 20 yards just over. A minute after that, Clements’ free-kick into the box from the left was headed down by Taylor but cleared.

On 23 minutes, a superb run from Taylor from inside his own half all the way to the edge of the area on the right but instead of shooting with his right foot, he tried to square to Rhead who hadn’t anticipated his ball.

The Stags had started very well and were very much on top.

On 31 minutes, a Stags long throw from Taylor was headed on by Rhead and Oliver flicked a header goalwards but it was easily saved.

But moments later, Taylor dived in with a lunging challenge on Sammy Moore and Barry Fuller, Taylor making contact with his studs, and it was little surprise that referee Darren Deadman pulled out a red card. A very poor challenge from Taylor and one that left his teammates right up against. Taylor had been injured a couple of minutes earlier but had not got a foul, and perhaps his challenge was borne out of frustration. (sidenote: from my angle it looked a clear red card. The match DVD was filmed from behind me and looked the same. Alex Fisher was sitting a yard from me and thought it was a red card. The camera angle shown on Football League Show is from the other side of the ground and with the different angle, looks a bit different. The ref and ref’s assessor will have received the match DVD, not the Football League Show footage).

Brown moved to left wing-back in a 3-2-2-2 formation.

On 38 minutes, Rhead set up Oliver who was about to shoot and seemed to be fouled from behind, but the referee incensed the Stags by not even giving a foul. Review of the DVD suggests it wasn’t a foul actually.

Tafazolli was booked on 39 minutes for a late challenge 35 yards from his own goal.

8 minutes of stoppage time were added for the injuries to Akinfenwa and the sending-off incident. On 45+5, a Clements free-kick and Waterfall headed across the area but it was cleared. Oliver was harshly booked for charging down a cross with his hands raised. From the resulting free-kick, Clements did well to block a shot from the edge of the area, then Francomb curled a shot wide.

Frustration for Mansfield at the break, having been on top for 30 minutes, but the sending-off was a massive blow.

Half time 0-0

Two minutes into the second half, Mansfield were deservedly in front, as centre half Jake Goodman made a hash of trying to head Luke Waterfall’s long ball back to his keeper, and only succeeded in heading it into the path of Vadaine Oliver who shrugged off Goodman’s attempt to bring him down before firing underneath keeper James Shea from the right hand side of the area. A clinical finish from Oliver.

A minute later a ball forward for Oliver on the left, Oliver tried a shot left footed but it was weak. But worse than that, Oliver seemed to have pulled something. He was able to play on, but not for long.

On 51 minutes, Tubbs, anonymous thus far, sent a shot well wide of the left post from 25 yards.

On 53 minutes, Bulman fired in a cracking shot from 20 yards and Evtimov tipped it over for a terrific save. From the resulting corner, claims for a handball against Waterfall were correctly turned down. Then a cross flicked off Waterfall and Evtimov made a terrific save.

A rare moment of fortune for the Stags moments later as Tafazolli fouled his man, and somehow escaped a second booking, having been booked in the first half.

A good block by Tafazolli on 55 minutes from a Tubbs shot from 12 yards.

Oliver couldn’t continue following his earlier injury and was replaced by Bingham on 56 minutes. I spoke to Oliver after the game and he told me he would certainly be fit for Boxing Day.

Brown was booked for a late foul on 58 minutes.

The Stags had two glorious chances to extend the lead on 61 minutes as keeper Shea superbly turned away Rhead’s downward header following a great cross from Freeman floated into the middle. Then from the resulting corner, Shea made an even better save somehow tipping over Luke Waterfall’s superb header.

On 63 minutes, Barrett headed wide from a Francomb corner. Moments later a great tackle by Rhead as Francomb was running at goal.

On 66 minutes, a low shot from 30 yards from Sammy Moore which Evtimov saved and held on to. Then on 67 minutes, Tubbs to Francomb who shot from 20 yards and Evtimov pushed it away. A minute later, a great tackle from Waterfall on Sammy Moore.

A Stags corner on 73 minutes. Keeper Shea raced 30 yards to place the ball for the Stags corner. A petty and petulant action, when the Stags had not even been wasting time. From the corner, Waterfall headed over.

The Stags switched to a 4-4-1 formation, with Sutton at right back, Freeman at left back, Bingham on the right of midfield and Brown on the left of midfield.

On 77 minutes, a cross from Barry Fuller and a strong punch away from Evtimov under pressure from Tubbs.

On 80 minutes, following a corner, a low Sammy Moore shot and Evtimov pushed it onto the post. A good save from Evtimov, and just that little bit of luck to go with it. Then on 82 minutes, Moore crossed and Goodman touched it wide. The Stags had a chance for a dangerous attack on 83 minutes but Rhead couldn’t find Bingham as Bingham powered forward.

Heslop replaced Clements on 84 minutes. Clements had put in a terrific shift, with great tracking back, strong challenges and he’d been everywhere on the pitch.

On 85 minutes, a cross from the left was headed across the area and Tafazolli cleared away.

Freeman was booked for kicking the ball away following a free kick on 86 minutes.

Palmer replaced Rhead, who had picked up a knock, on 87 minutes.

A minute later, Tubbs headed just wide from a Francomb free-kick from the right.

6 minutes of stoppage time were added on.

On 90+1, the Stags got the ball where they wanted it, down by the corner flag at the far end. Sutton did very well to get along the byline and get in a low shot that the keeper could only push behind for a corner.

On 90+2, Rigg fed Tubbs with his back to goal, Tubbs turned and his low shot was well saved by Evtimov, the ball bounced around and Evtimov made two more fantastic saves, first from sub Oakley and then somehow tipping a close range shot from Pell over the bar. On 90+6, Pell headed wide from a cross from the left, and with that the referee blew the final whistle to signal celebrations for a wonderful victory.

Man of the match: Dimi Evtimov


Report by: Martin Shaw at Kingsmeadow



Line Up:
Evtimov 10 Eight fine saves and super handling. Rightly earned the plaudits of the travelling fans.
Sutton 8 Super solid defending as usual from Mr Dependable at the back.
Waterfall 9 Excellent at the back, kept heading the ball away and the ball wasn’t getting past him. Unlucky not to score too.
Tafazolli 8 Very good. Had a bit of luck not receiving a second yellow card.
Freeman 8 Got forward well, and defended well in the later stages.
Taylor 5 Started the game well with a super cross for Rhead and a wonderful run from which he should have shot but didn’t seem to trust his right foot. Put his team in serious trouble with the red card in the first half.
Clements 8.5 Put in a terrific shift, with great tracking back, strong challenges and he’d been everywhere on the pitch.
McGuire 8 Responsible captain’s performance. Not booked. If he can maintain this level of responsibility, he may be the leader Murray is looking for.
Brown 9 Excellent, with some good running, great tracking back and tackling. Loads of skill too.
Oliver 8 Fine goal. Told me after the game he would certainly be fit for Boxing Day.
Rhead 8 Back to his best and showed the doubters he is very much worth a place in the squad. Caused Wimbledon plenty of problems.
Sub Line Up:
Bingham (for Oliver, 56) 8 Worked hard in the cause, and put in some good defensive work near the end.
Heslop (for Clements, 84) -
Palmer (for Rhead, 87) - .
Subs not used: Studer, Riley, Bell, Lambe.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2) Shea; Fuller, Goodman, Barrett, Kennedy; Francomb, Moore (Pell), Bulman, Rigg; Akinfenwa (Azeez (Oakley)), Tubbs. Subs not used: McDonnell, Harrison, Nightingale, Sutherland.
Referee:
Darren Deadman 6 Got the red card right from my angle. Was generous to Tafazolli not giving him second yellow.


Season 14/15 Reports