{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Carlisle United  
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Wyke 72, Dempsey 79.
 Oliver 45
Attendance: 3827 (192 from Mansfield)
Date: 31 January 2015


Martin Shaw at Brunton Park

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 in a fractious relegation six-pointer at Carlisle this afternoon and dropped into the League Two relegation zone for the first time since promotion from the Conference. The Stags took the lead on 45 minutes when Vadaine Oliver headed home from a Reggie Lambe cross. The home players, management and fans were furious thinking that Matty Blair was offside in the build-up but review of the match DVD clearly shows that he was not. Carlisle thought they should have had a penalty on 55 minutes, but review of the DVD suggests the officials got it right again. It seemed to me that from that point the referee gave decisions to appear to even things up, with a series of bad decisions against Mansfield, one of which was to become critical on 72 minutes as Tafazolli was penalised for a clean tackle with a free-kick. Carlisle scored from the set-piece but the Stags defending was very disappointing. Carlisle then took the lead after 79 minutes with a break from a Stags free-kick outside the Carlisle box as Lambe was muscled off the ball too easily and Carlisle swept the ball into the Stags box and into the net. The Stags were unable to claw their way back and fell to a disastrous defeat. In my opinion, the Stags didn’t do enough to deserve victory and the current run of results is very worrying, four defeats and a draw from the last five games. No panic but the Stags need to pick up results soon. Starting next Saturday Mansfield have four games in 10 days, 3 of them at home. It will be a critical period. Come on Mansfield!

The game went ahead after volunteers turned up at 8am to clear the pitch of snow. A great effort. It turned out to be a lovely sunny day, albeit bitterly cold and the pitch was in near-perfect condition. .

It was over 9 years since Mansfield had travelled to Brunton Park, and in that last game Adam Murray had played for Carlisle in a 1-0 win for the Cumbrians.

The Stags had stayed overnight and had previously had a good record this season when staying overnight. But that was to change here. Youth teamer Joe Fitzpatrick was added to the squad and was on the bench following his recent display against Stoke in the FA Youth Cup, watched by Adam Murray of course, and apparently a very fine subsequent game for the reserves. Murray made two changes from the side that drew with Wycombe. Heslop came in for Clements who had not trained all week and had been ill with a virus. Heslop had also been ill and travelled up separately to the rest of the squad to Carlisle but was pronounced well enough to play. The other change was a big surprise to me as Reggie Lambe replaced Billy Kee. Kee was the “wow” signing of the transfer window in my opinion and needs games to get up to full speed. It was a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Heslop and Ravenhill in central midfield, and the three wingers Lambe, Brown and Blair to provide more mobility behind Vadaine Oliver up front, on one of the largest pitches in the lower leagues. Keith Curle is the Carlisle manager of course, having taken over just before the reverse fixture at the One Call Stadium.

The Stags could have been ahead on 40 seconds as Lambe crossed from the right and Oliver climbed well and headed just over. On 10 minutes, a Carlisle cross from the left and Ravenhill did well to block a header for a corner. There was a scare for Mansfield on 18 minutes as Rigg drilled the ball across the face of goal from the right just missing everyone. It was close.

A minute later at the other end, a good run by Blair down the right, he cut inside the left back but just ran the ball out of play.

Good defending by Tafazolli on 21 minutes. But on 23 minutes, he gave the ball away as he tried to dribble the ball out of defence, and Carlisle got the ball in the net only to have the “goal” disallowed. Grainger floated a ball in from the left, Wyke gave Tafazolli a little push in the middle, the whistle went immediately for a foul, the ball came off Heslop’s hand straight to Rigg who fired home from 14 yards. It was the correct decision to give the foul though some referees might not have given the foul on Tafazolli, and it could also have been a penalty against Heslop had the foul not already been given.

On 24 minutes, Meppen-Walter got into space on the right but his weak shot gave Smith an easy save. On 25 minutes, Oliver nodded down to Lambe who miscued a tame effort wide from the edge of the box. On 27 minutes, Grainger was in space on the left 25 yards from goal but he shot high and wide.

On 30 minutes, a free kick for the Stags 32 yards out. Heslop’s low shot provided a comfortable save for Gillespie.

On 32 minutes, a free kick for Carlisle from the right which Grainger curled towards the far post. It looked to be heading in and Smith did well to tip it around the far post. It was great delivery from Grainger. On 34 minutes, Blair got into the area on the right and got to the byline and tried to find Brown but his pass was cleared. On 36 minutes, a cross from Grainger on the right was headed wide by O’Hanlon at the far post. On 39 minutes, Oliver found Brown who cut inside from the left on to his right foot and fired well wide from 22 yards.

A chance for Carlisle came on 44 minutes as a Dempsey corner from the right dropped to Archibald-Henville who fired over from close range.

The Stags took the lead on 45 minutes. Heslop play a ball down the line for Blair, near the corner flag, who pulled it back to Lambe, the ball then came off Anthony Griffiths back to Blair. I initially thought Blair was a yard offside but he wasn’t because it was the Carlisle man who played the ball to him. Blair played the ball back to Lambe who got the ball onto his right foot before floating a delightful ball to the far post, where Oliver climbed superbly above his marker Young to head in off the left post. Carlisle’s players and management fumed that Blair was offside in the build-up, and Curle continued getting in the officials’ ears at half time. The home fans hurled abuse at the officials as they came off at half time and it was a huge boost for Mansfield to go in ahead at the break.

Half time 0-1

On 46 minutes, a bizarre corner routine from Carlisle. A corner from the right was played all the way back to the centre circle and then fired all the way back to the right where a good shot brought at good save from Smith. The corner back to the centre circle had brought groans from the home crowd but it turned out to be well worked.

On 50 minutes, a good break from Carlisle as Dempsey found Rigg who found Potts who sent a fizzing shot inches over.

On 55 minutes, a Carlisle free-kick from the halfway line into the Stags box was initially headed away by Oliver, but then headed back into the box by Griffiths, nodded on by Archibald-Henville, Wyke tried to flick the ball past Adam Smith, didn’t get anything on it, it clipped off onrushing keeper Smith and behind for a corner. Carlisle players surrounded the referee for a penalty, and again Carlisle’s management were incandescent with rage. But the officials again the got the decision right. The home fans were going mad with rage. There is no doubt in my mind from what I witnessed that after that the referee gave decisions to appear to even things up, with a series of bad decisions against Mansfield, one of which was to become critical.

From the resulting corner, Archibald-Henville headed the ball up and Smith claimed.

On 60 minutes, a long throw from Elder was flicked on by Oliver and Lambe miscued a volley well over. At the other end on 63 minutes, Dempsey fired well over from 20 yards. Two minutes later, Young cut inside and fired well wide from 25 yards.

Heslop was booked for a late tackle on 66 minutes.

The next turning point of the game came on 67 minutes, Blair went down with what looked like a nasty injury after a clash which was not a foul. Home fans started chanting “cheat, cheat, cheat” at Blair suggesting he was faking injury. It became fractious between the two sets of coaching staff near the tunnel. After some attention for Blair, he was stretchered off with a large majority of home fans still chanting “cheat, cheat, cheat” at him. It was the most disgraceful display I have possibly ever witnessed from a home crowd. Blair has to go for a scan on a possibly very serious ankle injury. Kee replaced him straight away on 69 minutes.

Incredibly the incident had brought the home fans into full voice getting behind their team. And within 3 minutes, on 72 minutes, Carlisle were level. Tafazolli won the ball fairly by the Carlisle right touchline but the referee somehow saw it as a foul. Grainger’s free-kick flicked off Archibald-Henville and Wyke slid the ball past Smith close range. Very disappointing defending to concede from a set piece but the Stags players were rightly aggrieved that the free-kick was given in the first place.

On 74 minutes, Kee flicked to Oliver who had a chance of a volley from the edge of the box but the ball was taken off his toe.

A chance for the Stags to retake the lead came on 76 minutes as Lambe got to the byline and with Oliver free at the far post, Lambe put his cross behind him.

Banners were unveiled behind the goal protesting about the home Board such as “Bored of the Board”. Rather than distract the home players, they instead went in front, though that was probably just coincidence.

On 79 minutes, Carlisle went in front, and it stemmed from a Mansfield free-kick on the edge of the Carlisle box. Brown’s free-kick from the right was headed away, Lambe was muscled off the ball too easily as Carlisle broke, Heslop tried to foul his man but the referee played advantage. As Amoo broke to 10 yards outside the area, turned and squared for Wyke who looked like he would shoot, wrong-footing keeper Smith, but instead set up Dempsey who fired home low from 12 yards past Elder on the line. As an aside, a Carlisle fan sitting in front of Charlie Slater and me turned around to us and was deliberately shouting into Charlie’s broadcast including obscenities, and he tried to remove my hat. Charlie interrupted his broadcast and told him to stop. It was unsavoury and summed up a large portion of the Carlisle fans.

Heslop had cynically tried to foul his man during the build-up to the goal, and was lucky to escape a second yellow card.

Rhead replaced Brown on 85 minutes.

On 88 minutes, Kee’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected for a corner. From the resulting corner, a header by Raynes was heading in, until it was brilliantly tipped over. On 89 minutes, Lambe crossed but Tafazolli’s header gave an easy save for the keeper.

On 90+5 minutes, Lambe curled a shot goalwards from 25 yards but it gave an easy save.

The Stags were unable to claw their way back and fell to a disastrous defeat.

Man of the match: Vadaine Oliver

Report by: Martin Shaw at Brunton Park

Line Up:
Smith 6.5 Two good saves, and no chance with the goals.
Sutton 6.5 Solid defensively.
Raynes 6.5 Solid defensively. Forced a great save from the keeper on 88 minutes.
Tafazolli 5.5 Unlucky with clean tackle punished with free-kick from which Carlisle equalised. Possibly could have done better as the ball came in from that free-kick. Gave ball away in lead up to disallowed goal.
Elder 6 Did ok.
Ravenhill 5.5 Didn’t stamp his authority on the game.
Heslop 5 Poor game. He had been ill so possibly shouldn’t have played.
Lambe 6 Two good crosses in the first half for Oliver, the second creating the goal. But out-muscled for Carlisle’s second goal, and terrible cross when had a chance to create an equaliser for Oliver.
Blair 5.5 Full of energy without end product. Could be out with a long term injury, pending news of scan.
Brown 5.5 Too quiet.
Oliver 7 Good goal. Decent game.
Sub Line Up:
Kee (for Blair, 69) - One good flick, and a shot deflected wide.
Rhead (for Brown, 85) -
Subs not used: Studer, Marsden, Riley, McGuire, Fitzpatrick.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2) Gillespie; Young, Archibald-Henville, O'Hanlon, Grainger; Potts (Amoo 69), Meppen-Walter, Griffith, Dempsey; Rigg (Asamoah 78), Wyke (Sweeney 90). Subs not used: Hanford, Kearns, Beck, Brough.
Mark Haywood 7 In a difficult game to referee, he actually got most things right (from looking at the match DVD). One crucial error: giving a foul against Tafazolli that led to the first Carlisle goal.

Season 14/15 Reports