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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
Lambe 52
Attendance: 2436 (160 from Stevenage)
Date: 7 February 2015


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town picked up a much-needed victory in a tight game with Stevenage this afternoon. The Stags had been guilty of shipping too many soft goals in recent games and so manager Adam Murray shored up the defence with a return to three central defenders and two wing-backs and dispensed with his wingers. The tactic worked as Mansfield prevented Stevenage from having a shot on target in the game whilst the Stags were able to carve out a goal at the other end with a trademark header from Matt Rhead to sub Reggie Lambe who volleyed home from 6 yards. It was a game of few chances played on a pitch that the weather has left in poor condition and that will not lend itself to passing football. Plenty of solid performances throughout the Stags team with all three central defenders doing well, and both wing-backs looking solid albeit not getting forward much. In midfield Clements battled on despite a nasty deep cut on his ankle in the first half, while McGuire provided leadership and grit for the cause. Matt Rhead returned to the side and gave everything, including setting up the winning goal. The Stags are out of the relegation zone and head for Morecambe on Tuesday night in what is sure to be another bruising encounter.

Murray made five changes to the side that lost at Carlisle, and a change to the formation. Lenny Pidgeley made his debut in goal in place of Adam Smith who has returned to Leicester. Clements returned from illness to replace Heslop. Billy Kee came for the unlucky Matty Blair who is out for the season. And Rhead and Beevers came in for the wingers Lambe and Brown. It was a return to the 3-2-2-1-2 formation with Sutton, Raynes and Tafazolli in central defence, Beevers and Elder as wing-backs, McGuire and Clements in central midfield, and Kee playing behind the front two of Oliver and Rhead. The Stags were therefore set up to be strong while defending set pieces, and have plenty of firepower from their own set pieces. McGuire had not been named in the starting eleven, but came in at the last minute for Ravenhill who pulled his hamstring in the warm-up. Bingham, recalled from Hartlepool this week, was on the bench. Stevenage arrived having lost their last two games but having had a good run prior to that.

Mansfield made a positive start in the opening minute as Rhead got the ball in the box but his weak shot on the turn was blocked.

On 7 minutes, a ricochet off Tafazolli and Johnson ended up just two yards wide of the Stags right post and could have gone anywhere. A minute later, a terrible challenge by Dembele on Beevers brought a free kick but ridiculously no yellow card. Unbelievable. On 10 minutes, Andrade fired well over from 25 yards.

On 13 minutes, a great flick down by Rhead to Oliver who took a good first touch but just as he shot Wells put in a great block for a corner.

On 26 minutes, Dembele headed well wide from a cross from the left.

McGuire was booked for an accumulation of offences on 32 minutes, the last being a needless handball.

On 35 minutes, the Stags won a free kick in a central position 32 yards from goal. Clements curled it towards the left corner of the net and keeper Day tipped it past the post for a corner. From the resulting corner, Beevers volleyed wide.

On 38 minutes, a long throw from Elder was headed on by Rhead, and Tafazolli tried to find a position for a shot but couldn’t manage it and the chance was gone.

Stevenage had a chance to take the lead on 39 minutes as Kee’s pass took a deflection off a Stags player to put Andrade clear in the box and he pulled a shot wide of the right post from a great position.

On the stroke of half time, Clements drove in a corner from the right and Tafazolli’s header at the near post brought a brilliant diving one-handed save from keeper Day, diving to his right. Stevenage broke straight to the other end and good defending from Sutton prevented a chance.

A dour first half with the surface was heavily cut up and it wasn’t great entertainment. But the Stags fans knew it was all about trying to stay in the game and get the result.

Half time 0-0

Lambe replaced Kee at the start of the second half, to play behind the front two. Kee hadn’t looked comfortable in that role.

The second half started scrappily.

But Mansfield roared into the lead on 52 minutes. Clements played a lovely ball from the centre circle out to Beevers on the right, who sent a lovely ball to the left of the area where Rhead headed into the path of Lambe who volleyed into the roof of the net from 6 yards. It was a very well-worked goal.

On 57 minutes, Dembele committed a terrible foul on Rhead and the hapless referee didn’t even give a free kick. So Dembele escaped without a yellow card when he should have picked up two in the game.

On 59 minutes, a snap-shot from Johnson into the side netting was a scare for Mansfield. At the other end a minute later, keeper Day miscued a clearance from a Charles back-pass but got away with it.

On 66 minutes, an Elder long throw came out to McGuire who volleyed into the side-netting. A minute later, Lambe pulled the ball back from the byline and Day pushed it away to safety as Clements nearly picked up the scraps.

Stevenage’s Charlie Lee fired over the bar and over the North Stand on 70 minutes. Quite a feat.

On 74 minutes, Kennedy shot from the edge of the area was blocked by Raynes.

On 78 minutes, Sutton was booked after being fouled himself and it can only have been for something he said.

On 81 minutes, Whelpdale’s long throw came back to him and he shot miles wide.

Brown replaced Rhead on 84 minutes. Rhead went off to a good reception for putting in a good shift.

Mansfield wasted possession when Lambe volleyed wide from an impossible position.

Controversy on 90+2 minutes as Pidgeley bowled the ball into touch to allow Lambe to get attention from the physio. The Stags were incensed when play resumed and Stevenage didn’t return the ball.

Beevers was booked for kicking the ball away on 90+4 minutes. And the Stags wound the clock down with Stevenage not creating a goalscoring opportunity after 81 minutes.

So Mansfield got one over the odious Graham Westley, only our second ever victory over one of his teams. Sweet! Well done Adam Murray for getting his tactics spot on.

Man of the match: Sutton/Tafazolli/Beevers/McGuire/Rhead/Lambe - team performance

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

Line Up:
Pidgeley 6.5 Solid handling from crosses. Didn’t have a shot to save. Spent a lot of time barking orders at his defenders, which will have pleased Murray.
Sutton 7.5 Very solid with nothing given away in central defence.
Raynes 7 Good game.
Tafazolli 7.5 Commanding game. Good header at the end of the first half which brought a great save.
Beevers 7.5 Great cross in the build-up to the goal. Defended solidly.
Elder 7 Played his part in a very solid back 5.
McGuire 7.5 A very good game and provided leadership and grit for the cause. Unnecessary booking.
Clements 7 Some good set pieces. Great credit for battling on despite a nasty deep cut on his ankle in the first half.
Kee 6 Looked a bit lost playing behind the front two.
Oliver 6.5 Did ok. Just had one chance that was blocked.
Rhead 7.5 Provided the all-important header to set up the winning goal. Put in a great shift and gave the defenders something to think about.
Sub Line Up:
Lambe (for Kee, 46) 7.5 Took his goal well. Lively.
Brown (for Rhead, 84) -
Subs not used: Studer, Riley, Heslop, Bingham, Fitzpatrick.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2) Day; Henry, Wells, Charles, Dembele (N’Guessan 65); Andrade, Lee, McAllister (Walton 67), Whelpdale; Kennedy, Johnson (Beardsley 79). Subs not used: Sam Beasant, Ashton, Millard, Storer.
Oliver Langford 5 Poor game. Not booking Dembele for two terrible challenges was unbelievable.

Season 14/15 Reports