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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Lowe 40, Mayor 77.
Attendance: 3196 (276 from Mansfield)
Date: 28 December 2014


Martin Shaw at the JD Stadium, Gigg Lane

Mansfield Town put in a poor performance at Bury this afternoon to end the year on a low. Bury were the better side in all departments and the Stags can have no complaints at the result. The Stags barely created a chance in the first half as Bury dominated possession and Mansfield were behind at the break due to a rare error by keeper Dimitar Evtimov on 40 minutes as he failed to hold a shot from Hallam Hope, and Ryan Lowe knocked in the rebound. The Stags started the second half more positively and Heslop missed a great chance to equalise. Later in the half Junior Brown also came close to equalising, but Bury deservedly made it 2-0 on 77 minutes as Danny Mayor brushed past Jamie McGuire far too easily to rifle home a fine goal and seal the victory. In the closing minutes, Mansfield started to cause Bury some problems through the impressive Brown and sub Matt Rhead, but it was too little too late.

It was disappointing that individual errors were costly today even though Bury deserved their win. To set Evtimov’s error in context, it was the first goal the Stags have conceded this season where Evtimov could have done better, in his 11th game. To compare with Sascha Studer, there have been four goals conceded this season where Studer could have done better (Accrington, Portsmouth, York, Luton) in 18 games. Meanwhile McGuire’s error for the second goal was disappointing, and Adam Murray has a decision to make about whether McGuire will be his leader on the field for the second half of the season.

So the Stags reach the halfway point in the season in 17th place, with 27 points, 5 points above the relegation zone. The Stags have 2 points more than the same stage last season.

Mansfield have no game for a fortnight until the game at Burton, but it is an important 2 weeks for new boss Adam Murray who would like to be busy in the transfer window. Murray has a meeting with John Radford this week to discuss the transfer window and it will be key that the Stags owner backs his new man to enable him to bring in some players that he would like, as indeed John Radford would have had to have done had he appointed a manager from outside the club. An improvement in the playing squad is needed if the Stags are to comfortably move away from the relegation zone in my opinion. As a bare minimum, Murray needs to bring in a quality left sided defender, a leader on the field in central midfield if he feels McGuire is not consistent enough, and a goalpoacher. Of the current loanees, I would definitely like to see Brown, Oliver and Evtimov here for the rest of the season. Freeman and Waterfall have not let anyone down and Murray will have to assess them against other options available to him. Loan players who have already been with the club for 3 months, can only be signed on loan until the end of the season or permanently (so cannot be signed on loan for a further month for example). You can have a maximum of 12 loan players during a season. We have had 8 so far.

Murray made four changes from the side that drew with Hartlepool 48 hours ago: one change was enforced with Riley replacing the suspended Tafazolli. In addition, Beevers, Heslop and Bingham came in for Lambe, Clements and Rhead. As against Hartlepool and Wimbledon, it was three central defenders, in a 3-2-2-1-2 formation. Freeman was at right wing-back and Beevers at left wing-back. Brown was the furthest forward of the three midfielders, while Bingham was up front alongside Oliver.

It was a sunny day, and Bury had escaped the snowfall of Boxing Day evening that fell further east. There was a little bit of frost on the pitch on the half of the pitch in shadow from one stand, even though the pitch had been covered, but the pitch was certainly very playable.

Inside the first minute, Nathan Cameron went down injured. There was a five minute stoppage as he was attended to by doctor and physio and the stretcher was also brought on for him but at the end of the stoppage, he skipped off the pitch and was ok to continue.

On 11 minutes, there was a good punch from Evtimov from a corner. A minute later, Beevers was beaten for pace by Adams, and Riley did well to clear the cross.

It was a poor start from the Stags who were giving Bury too much space.

On 20 minutes, Hallam Hope made a good run to the byline past Waterfall, but Riley cleared his cross then Lowe got past Beevers and sent a powerful right footed shot straight at Evtimov. The Stags defence was looking flat-footed.

On 23 minutes, McGuire gave the ball away under no pressure but Bury wasted the attack. On 27 minutes, a ball forward flicked off Freeman into the path of Lowe, goalside of the defence, and he toe-poked a shot straight at Evtimov. On 30 minutes, a cross from Mayor which Evtimov caught then dropped, and Waterfall cleared.

Bury were dominating possession but had only created two chances.

On 32 minutes, Tom Soares cleaned out Brown but unbelievably ref Clark let him off without a yellow card.

On 33 minutes, the Stags first effort at goal as a shot from Beevers from 25 yards was blocked. A minute later at the other end, a good tackle by Freeman on Mayor.

Bury were nearly in front on 39 minutes as a shot from Mayor was blocked by Riley. It came out to Tutte who sent a screamer from 25 yards just past the right post.

But on 40 minutes, Bury were in front. Hallam Hope fired straight at Evtimov from 20 yards. The Stags keeper parried it straight to Lowe who knocked in the rebound from 8 yards. Evtimov immediately put his head in his hands knowing that his error had cost the goal.

On 42 minutes, Bingham knocked the ball past a defender just outside the box and was brought down, but the referee decided it was no foul which looked a bad decision. On 45+5 minutes, the Stags had their second chance of the half as a cross was cleared as far as McGuire who sent a volley goalwards. It looked on target and was deflected for a corner.
McGuire held his head in his hands. A minute later, Bury keeper Lainton came for a corner and didn’t get there but the defence cleared. It was virtually the first time in the half he’d had to do anything. Mansfield simply hadn’t put him under any pressure at all.

Bury had dominated possession the first half and deserved their lead.

Half time 1-0

The Stags needed to come out in the second half with a more positive attitude and that’s what they did, making a good start to the half. On 47 minutes, Bingham fed Brown on the left, Brown’s first cross was blocked, but his second cross was perfect for Heslop who skied a left footed shot from 8 yards. It was a glorious chance.

A minute later, Freeman crossed from the right and it seemed to be heading for Oliver until a great clearance from Nathan Cameron. On 52 minutes, Soares took out Brown again and was still not cautioned. It was outrageously lenient refereeing and even the Bury members of the press thought it was ridiculous.

It was a good start to the half from the Stags who were pressing Bury back.

On 55 minutes, Tutte and Adams beat Beevers and Riley near the corner flag and one of them whipped in a good cross which was put behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, Waterfall took the ball off Hope’s toe as he was about to shoot. A minute later at the other end, McGuire tried a shot from 30 yards which was blocked.

Lambe replaced the ineffective Bingham on 60 minutes.

On 62 minutes, Oliver did well to set Brown away but Soares did well to hold him off for a goal-kick.

McGuire was booked for bringing down Adams with his arm around him on 63 minutes. It was a stupid challenge and gave the referee, who had been overly lenient until this point, no option but to book McGuire.

On 66 minutes, a good challenge from Riley as a ball came in to Ryan Lowe in the box.

Rhead replaced Beevers on 66 minutes. Beevers had had a poor game. The Stags switched to a 4-4-2 formation with Sutton at right back, Freeman at left back, and Lambe and Brown on the right and left wing respectively.

On 69 minutes, McGuire went down in the box but it wasn’t a foul, then Oliver had a shot blocked from the edge of the area. Rhead was straight into the action on 70 minutes flicking on a long throw from Freeman, and Brown volleyed over the bar. It was the Stags second glorious opportunity to equalise after Heslop’s earlier.

The Stags were now looking much better going forward.

At the other end on 72 minutes, Danny Rose went down in the box on the left but there was clearly no foul. Then Tutte got to the byline and pulled back for Lowe whose shot was screwed so wide that it went out for a throw.

On 75 minutes, a corner from Freeman was terrible and straight to the keeper.

Bury made it 2-0 on 77 minutes. Mayor cut past McGuire on the byline, cut inside and fired right footed into the right of the net from 6 yards giving Evtimov no chance. It was a mistake by McGuire and his team mates let him know it.

Palmer replaced Oliver on 78 minutes. Oliver had had a quiet game although not getting much service.

On 81 minutes, Palmer had a chance to run at goal but was pushed off the ball too easily by Adam El-Abd. On 83 minutes, a great header by Rhead forward to Palmer who challenged for the ball with the keeper as the keeper came out, the keeper punched the ball straight into Palmer’s head and the ball rebounded away but luckily for Bury, it didn’t rebound goalwards.

On 86 minutes, good play by Rhead by the corner flag to win a throw in. Rhead was really making a difference getting stuck in as well as winning every header.

On 87 minutes, a brilliant run by Brown from the left into the box and he sent a great effort goalwards which was deflected by El-Abd into the side netting. Unlucky for Brown. From the resulting corner, Rhead nodded it down but no one got on the end of it.

On 89 minutes, a great ball from Freeman got Brown behind Soares on the left and his hard low cross deflected inches past the right post. From the resulting corner by Freeman, Waterfall headed wide. This was so much better from Mansfield with Brown and Rhead making the difference but it was too little too late.

Bury had the last chance of the game on 90+4 minutes as Mayor shot from 20 yards wide of the right post.

A disappointing result and performance.

Man of the match: Junior Brown

Report by: Martin Shaw at the JD Stadium, Gigg Lane

Line Up:
Evtimov 5 His mistake for the first goal. No chance with the second goal.
Sutton 6 Ok. Solid.
Waterfall 6.5 The pick of the defence. Some good clearances.
Riley 6 Some good blocks and challenges.
Freeman 6 Crosses and corners were of variable quality. Defended ok.
Beevers 5 Poor game. Beaten several times.
McGuire 5 At fault for the second goal. Silly booking. Unlucky with a goalbound shot blocked.
Heslop 6 Had a glorious chance to equalise and skied it horribly. Didn’t get a grip of the midfield.
Brown 7 Several good runs and crosses.
Bingham 5 Largely ineffective.
Oliver 5 Quiet game though didn’t get much service.
Sub Line Up:
Lambe (for Bingham, 60) - Didn’t really get into the game.
Rhead (for Beevers, 66) - Made a difference getting stuck and winning every header, to set up goalscoring opportunities.
Palmer (for Oliver, 78) - One run where he was pushed off the ball too easily, then another where he got into a good position and he forced a clearance that hit him and could have gone anywhere.
Subs not used: Studer, Bell, Clements, Fletcher.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2) Lainton; Soares, Cameron (McNulty 74), El-Abd, Hussey; Adams, Tutte, Etuhu, Mayor; Hope (Rose 60), Lowe. Subs not used: Jones, Sedgwick, Burgess, Ruddy, Dudley.
Richard Clark 5 Absurdly lenient not booking Soares for cleaning out Junior Brown twice. Had few controversial moments to handle.

Season 14/15 Reports