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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 3
 Exeter City
Kee 57, Oliver 68.
 
 Tom Nichols 37, Bennett 77, Alex Nicholls pen 83.
Attendance: 3881 (267 from Exeter)
 
Date: 17 January 2015

TERRIBLE DEFENDING COSTS STAGS AGAIN

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Just a week after poor defending cost Mansfield dearly in a 2-1 defeat at Burton, the Stags were at it again with more calamitous defending to gift Exeter a 3-2 victory at Field Mill. Mansfield played some fine stuff going forward and had a total of six efforts cleared off the line by defenders, not to mention some great saves from the Exeter keeper. Having been a goal down at the break, Mansfield were level when Billy Kee headed in from a Chris Clements corner on 57 minutes on his home debut. 11 minutes later, Mansfield were in front when Vadaine Oliver fired home from 12 yards to raise the roof at Field Mill in front of the biggest crowd of the season. It should have been enough to earn the Stags victory but dreadful defending was so costly. Exeter had taken the lead on 37 minutes when Tom Nichols got in front of his marker Michael Raynes to head home a cross. This came just a minute after slack marking from Martin Riley who allowed Moore-Taylor a free header from a corner. And after Mansfield had forced their way in front, two personal disasters for Riley gave the points away. On 77 minutes, an Exeter corner was flicked home at the near post as Bennett lost his marker Riley. Then even worse on 83 minutes as Riley was messing around at the back when under pressure and instead of putting the ball out of the ground, he tried a pass to keeper Adam Smith and Smith attempted to clear and only brought down Wheeler. No blame attached to Smith. It was a clear penalty and Alex Nicholls scored, though Smith was very unlucky not to save it, diving the right way and would have saved it if the ball hadn’t bounced over his outstretched hand. Smith actually had a good home debut making a good save with his legs in the first half, and a brilliant diving save in the second half, and no chance with the goals. Plenty of positives going forward for Mansfield with so many near misses, but it’s points the Stags need, and the gap to the relegation zone is now down to a single point. Fabulous entertainment today for the neutral and one of the best games of the season but the defensive errors need to be eliminated now, or Mansfield will soon be favourites to join Hartlepool for the drop. Five defensive errors in two games have seen six points given away. Unbelievable, and hard to stomach.

Mansfield were unchanged from the team which lost at Burton which meant that 5 players were making their home debuts. This week’s new signing, Matty Blair was on the bench. Alex Fisher was also on the bench, his first game back from that injury at Tranmere. Ryan Tafazolli was out, the virus which kept him out of the Burton game had knocked him back during the week and left him too weak to be considered for the squad.

The frost covers which had been on since Wednesday had done their job and the pitch was in good condition. It was a sunny but cold day in Mansfield.

Mansfield started positively. On 3 minutes, great play from Brown who beat two defenders and squared for Kee who got the ball on to his right foot and fired wide of the right post. On 7 minutes, a Brown snap shot was blocked and eventually put out for a throw. The throw was taken long by Elder, a back header from Raynes hit Arron Davies and ended up in the side netting. Clements took the resulting corner from the left to Riley deep beyond the far post who headed goalwards and it was cleared off the line by a defender. On 10 minutes, a diagonal ball from deep from the left by Elder was met by Oliver who got there in front of the keeper and headed wide. On 12 minutes, Riley blocked a shot from Harley. Lambe broke to the far end and a shot from Clements was blocked.

Ravenhill was booked for a bad challenge on 13 minutes. On 15 minutes, Lambe showed good pace to get to the byline and pulled the ball back but Brown couldn’t get on the end of it. Five minutes later, Brown got to the byline and crossed across goal but no one was there.

On 22 minutes, the first chance for Exeter came as Sercombe shot from 25 yards and Smith held it. Three minutes later, Sercombe had another effort, this time from 20 yards into the side netting as Smith watched it all the way. On 26 minutes, good control from Nichols who chested down and chipped over Smith and over the bar.

The Stags came within a whisker of taking the lead on 28 minutes. Clements took a free kick from 45 yards, Oliver headed over the keeper and against the post and, from the rebound, Kee’s shot was blocked on the line by a defender. Oliver was booked for a late challenge on 31 minutes.

On 33 minutes, there was a great save from Smith with his legs as Arron Davies was put in space just inside the area for a low shot. A minute later, good defending by Riley against Nichols. Exeter were having a good spell and should have gone ahead on 36 minutes. A corner from the left was met with a free header by Moore-Taylor who lost his marker Riley and Moore-Taylor sent the free header wide from 6 yards.

Mansfield did not learn the lesson from this poor marking and, a minute later, Exeter were in front. Great play by Davies on the right as he got in a cross from the byline and Nichols got in front of Raynes to head into the left corner of the net giving Smith no chance. This was such bad marking by Mansfield.

On 43 minutes, Elder crossed from the left and Brown headed straight at the keeper. A minute later, at the other end, there was good keeping by Smith as he was quickly off his line to claim the ball.

On 45 minutes, a Clements’ corner from the left found Raynes who headed into the ground and it was pushed away by the keeper off the line to Riley who headed back across goal and Kee’s header was cleared off the line by a defender. The defender was standing behind the line but stooping forward and footage from the DVD suggests that the ball didn’t cross the line.

On 45+1 minutes, an Oliver snap shot from the right was easily saved.

The Stags were unfortunate to be behind at the break but poor defending had been costly, while at the front, chances had been missed.

Half time 0-1

On 47 minutes, an ambitious effort from Oliver from 30 yards was deflected for a corner. A minute later, Brown’s corner from the right was headed at goal by Riley, cleared off the line by a defender, played back in and Sutton’s shot was blocked. On 50 minutes, an Exeter corner was taken short and a cross was headed straight to Smith. At the other end a minute later, Oliver played in Kee on the right. Kee got there just before the keeper and the keeper blocked Kee’s sliding shot. A minute after that, Elder’s long throw from the right was headed down to Lambe and his snap shot was just over.

On 55 minutes, a good cross from Brown, and Oliver’s header was cleared off the lin. Then Brown got to the byline and Kee had two bites at the cherry. His first effort was blocked by the keeper on the line then he scooped the rebound over the bar.

Mansfield were deservedly level on 57 minutes. A corner from Clements on the left was met by Kee who glanced a header into the net from three yards. It was a great moment for Kee who had been frustrated by numerous other efforts.

On 58 minutes, great play by Brown who played a one-two with Kee, and then Brown beat one man to create some space and fire in a shot which was blocked by a defender, with the keeper beaten. It was great play by the Stags and unlucky for Brown. On 60 minutes, a corner from Brown on the right, Raynes headed back across goal and Oliver headed downwards straight at the keeper.

The Stags had been pinning Exeter back but a rare chance came for Exeter on 62 minutes with a free kick from 28 yards but Harley’s kick was straight at Smith who caught it comfortably. Straight to the other end and a cross from Brown was straight through everyone.

Blair came on for his debut on 63 minutes replacing Lambe. Good keeping from Smith on 65 minutes as he was out quickly to claim the ball ahead of a striker. My brother noted on commentary that it was a very similar incident to the Accrington game where Studer came out and fouled his man to concede a penalty.

The Stags were deservedly ahead on 68 minutes. A long ball forward from Raynes from 10 yards inside his own half was towards Kee but a defender sent a misplaced header into the path of Oliver who fired under the keeper from 12 yards. A good confident finish from Oliver for his 4th Stags goal of the season.

Mansfield made a change before the restart with McGuire replacing Ravenhill.

Smith was called upon to make a magnificent save on 75 minutes to keep the Stags in front. Wheeler went on a superb run on the left across the box and fired in a great shot which Smith somehow tipped over the bar. A minute later, a shot from Sercombe deflected off Raynes wide of the right post.

But disaster came for Mansfield on 77 minutes as Exeter were level and it was down to more poor marking. A corner from the right to the near post and Bennett got there first before Riley to flick into the net with his right foot.

On 78 minutes, a ball forward from Blair but Oliver couldn’t quite get there. A minute later, Kee beat one man and his cross was blocked for a corner.

From the corner from the left by Clements, Raynes got in a great header towards the top left corner of the net but the keeper saved it brilliantly. On 80 minutes, Kee went down in the area but no foul was given and it didn’t look like a penalty to me.

Exeter were in front on 83 minutes in farcical circumstances. Riley was messing around at the back when under pressure and instead of putting the ball out of the ground, he tried a pass to keeper Adam Smith and Smith attempted to clear and only brought down Wheeler. No blame attached to Smith. It was a clear penalty and Alex Nicholls scored, though Smith was very unlucky not to save it, diving the right way and would have saved it if the ball hadn’t bounced over his outstretched hand.

In an attempt to get back into the game, Murray brought on Rhead for Sutton on 85 minutes. On 86 minutes, a Clements’ free kick was headed by Raynes into the path of Oliver whose header at goal brought at good save. Mansfield couldn’t fashion any more chances and went down to a very frustrating defeat.

Man of the match: Oliver/Brown


Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill



Line Up:
Smith 7 Good home debut making a good save with his legs in the first half, and a brilliant diving save in the second half, and no chance with the goals.
Sutton 6.5 Solid performance.
Raynes 5 Lost his man for Exeter’s first goal. Dangerous in Exeter’s box at the other end.
Riley 4 Personal disaster for the 2nd and 3rd goals. Actually was playing well before the 2nd goal.
Elder 7 Looked lively and created danger going forward.
Lambe 6.5 Had a few good runs.
Ravenhill 6.5 Decent game in the middle.
Clements 7 Numerous good set pieces.
Brown 7.5 Caused Exeter plenty of problems with good runs and crosses. Some good corners.
Kee 7 Deserved his goal on his home debut. Unlucky with several other efforts blocked and saved on the line.
Oliver 7.5 His physical presence troubled Exeter all game.
Sub Line Up:
Blair (for Lambe, 63) -
McGuire (for Ravenhill, 68) -
Rhead (for Sutton, 85) -
Subs not used: Studer, Beevers, Heslop, Fisher.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-2-2-1-2) Hamon; Bennett, Oakley, Moore-Taylor; Davies, Woodman; Sercombe, Noble; Harley; Nichols (Nicholls 76), Morrison (Wheeler 31, Cummins 89). Subs not used Butterfield, Keohane, Tillson, Pym.
Referee:
Nicholas Kinseley 7 I think he got most things right.


Season 14/15 Reports