{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Mullin 17, Ellison 24.
 Heslop 27
Attendance: 1,156 (83 from Mansfield)
Date: 10 February 2015


Martin Shaw at the Globe Arena

A horrendous first half defensive showing from Mansfield Town was the reason for defeat at Morecambe this evening. It was the worst 45 minutes of defending from a Mansfield Town team that I can remember for a very long time; absolutely abysmal. Morecambe scored twice in the opening 24 minutes, and looked like scoring almost every time they went forward. Stags keeper Lenny Pidgeley made some good saves to keep Morecambe down to 2 when they could easily have had 4 or 5 by the break. The goals came when a Morecambe corner found Beeley totally unmarked on the edge of the box to sweep in a ball that Paul Mullin turned home from close range on 17 minutes. Seven minutes later, a long ball forward cut the Stags open as Mullen found Kevin Ellison who cut inside from the right and fired past Pidgeley. A superb free kick from Simon Heslop brought the Stags back into the game on 27 minutes. The second half was a completely different affair. Morecambe created very little and Mansfield had lots of possession in Morecambe’s half and had a few good chances to equalise, with McGuire’s curling shot bringing a good save and Junior Brown had a great chance on 85 minutes but his low shot was saved on the line. Morecambe held on and deserved their victory on the basis that Mansfield were so abysmal in the first half. A thoroughly depressing night for Mansfield, whose defending on Saturday gave real encouragement, only to be shot down tonight. More injuries won’t help the Stags’ cause. Raynes went off with a hamstring problem in the second half. Clements wasn’t available with a bad gash on his leg. Mansfield will have to dig really deep with two extremely difficult home games coming up in the next 7 days against in-form Northampton and high-flying Luton. The Stags are two points above the drop zone.

Adam Murray made two changes to the side that beat Stevenage. Heslop replaced the injured Clements. Lambe replaced Kee, as he had done at half time on Saturday. It was the same 3-2-2-1-2 formation of three central defenders (Sutton, Raynes and Tafazolli), two wing-backs (Beevers and Elder), two central midfielders (McGuire and Heslop), and an attacking midfielder (Lambe) behind the front two (Oliver and Rhead). At half time, Murray switched to a 4-5-1 formation, taking off Beevers and Rhead, and bringing on 17 year old Joe Fitzpatrick for his debut, and Junior Brown. Sutton moved to right back, Lambe to right wing. Brown went to left wing. Fitzpatrick played just behind McGuire and Heslop. Oliver was on his own up front. The plan was to bring on Kee or Bingham in the final 15 minutes to really go for it, but the injury to Raynes on 71 minutes, meant that all three subs were used up and Murray could no longer do that. Jack Thomas had been recalled from Hednesford and was on the bench. Fisher and Marsden had travelled with the squad, but were not in the 18.

There was a very small crowd at the Globe Arena, just 1,156. The Stags away following of 83 was the lowest since 80 saw the Stags win at Southport in our Conference promotion season.

The Stags were off to a slow start. Inside 38 seconds Morecambe could have been ahead. A long throw was flicked on, Mullin shot goalwards at the near post and Pidgeley did well to push it wide. From the resulting corner, a header from Hughes was headed away by Tafazolli.

On 4 minutes, a quick break by Morecambe, though the referee missed a clear foul by Ellison on McGuire in the build-up. Ellison got to the edge of the box and despite stumbling, he still found Mullin, whose shot was straight at Pidgeley.

A chance for the Stags on 6 minutes. A high ball into the Morecambe box by Heslop, Rhead knocked it down and it eventually came to Raynes, whose shot was blocked, and then had another shot blocked. A minute later, a shot from McGuire from 25 yards was scuffed well wide.

A good move from the Stags on 10 minutes and a great chance for the lead. Oliver found Heslop, who swept out to Beevers on the right. Beevers put in a great low ball and Lambe’s first time shot was blocked by the keeper. A move every bit as delicious as the Stags goal against Stevenage but without the killer finish.

On 11 minutes. A chip over the top to Mullin, who found space away from Tafazolli and fired into the side netting. Two minutes later, another ball over the top of the Stags defence, and Pidgeley was out quickly to grab in front of Ellison. At the other end on 15 minutes, Rhead got in a half-volley on the turn, but it was an easy save for the keeper.

On 16 minutes, a great left footed shot from former Stags trialist Alan Goodall and a superb save by Pidgeley to tip it wide.

From the resulting corner, Morecambe were in front, and it had been coming. The corner was pulled back to the edge of the box, where Beeley was in yards of space to sweep the ball low goalwards and Mullin nipped in with Beevers and Tafazolli static around him and turn into the net. Terrible defending. Who was supposed to be picking up Beeley? Probably Lambe.

On 19 minutes, a Beevers corner from the left, Raynes nodded down, and Oliver’s shot was blocked. A minute later, a Beevers corner from the right, and Oliver headed straight at the keeper.

It was 2-0 on 24 minutes. A long ball forward down the right was headed on as Raynes was outjumped, and Ellison stepped inside Sutton before firing low left-footed past Pidgeley into the right corner of the net. The defence was all over the place. It was horrible to watch.

On 27 minutes, a free kick for the Stags 22 yards out, to the left of centre. Heslop stepped up and fired a beauty into the right corner of the net around the wall, with the keeper unsighted by the wall. Brilliant from Heslop. The Stags unexpectedly straight back in the game. I say unexpectedly, but as Heslop was about to step up, Charlie Slater turned to me and said: “this is going in, I’m sure of it”. If you need lottery tickets for Saturday, then be sure to get the numbers off Charlie (...shame you can’t be so accurate with the weather forecast Charlie ... only kidding).

On 28 minutes, Ellison slipped in Goodall who fired across Pidgeley and just wide. The defence was getting ripped apart constantly.

Another brilliant save by Pidgeley on 29 minutes. Beeley crossed from the right, Ellison leapt well and his header was brilliantly tipped away by Pidgeley. I was running out of adjectives for the defence. Horrendous.

On 30 minutes, Sutton crossed and Oliver headed straight at the keeper.

Morecambe were getting so much space in the area it was ridiculous. As Morecambe got into the Stags box again but no chance was created, I saw Adam Murray turn around and shake his head in disbelief.

On 37 minutes, McGuire was booked for a foul on Ellison. McGuire was convinced it was a dive. To be honest I couldn’t tell, and I don’t have the benefit of the match DVD yet as Morecambe’s copying equipment failed. (Update: from the DVD, it looked like a foul).

A good Stags move on 39 minutes, as Lambe got into the box on the right, but he couldn’t find Oliver in the middle. Something similar happened in the closing stages at Carlisle and it was frustrating.

All hell broke loose on 42 minutes as Rhead was felled with a hefty tackle that went straight through him. It looked overly vicious to me and worthy of a yellow card or worse, but the referee deemed it fair. There was huge tension between the two dugouts as tempers flared. After a long stoppage, Rhead was able to continue. He didn’t return for the second half, but Murray assured me afterwards it was tactical rather than an injury.

On 45 minutes, Beeley got into the box on the right and at last good defending from the Stags as Tafazolli blocked it for a corner. From the corner, a good head away by Beevers.

I cannot remember being as depressed at half time in a game as this. Horrible to watch with Morecambe looking like they could score with ease every time they came forward. Some good saves from Pidgeley and some near misses kept the score down. At the other end, the Stags hadn’t done badly at all and could have had a couple of goals.

Half time 2-1

At half time, Murray switched to a 4-5-1 formation, taking off Beevers and Rhead, and bringing on 17 year old Joe Fitzpatrick for his debut, and Junior Brown. Sutton moved to right back, Lambe to right wing. Brown went to left wing. Fitzpatrick played just behind McGuire and Heslop. Was this the right environment to bring on a 17 year old for his debut? I would say no, but Murray’s hand was partially forced as he had to do something, and injuries to other midfielders were limiting his options.

On 47 minutes, Ellison cut through the defence but over-ran the ball through to Pidgeley.

On 53 minutes, Fitzpatrick took a free-kick from the left but over-hit it put it into the terrace behind the goal.

A double-chance for the Stags on 54 minutes. A misplaced header from the Morecambe defence went straight to Tafazolli in the box but his shot was blocked. Moments later a curling shot from McGuire was tipped over by the keeper. A fine effort from McGuire, and a great save.

A minute later, good tracking-back by Lambe as Morecambe broke forward.

On 59 minutes, a Sutton throw along the byline to Heslop who cross was somehow cleared.

Heslop was felled by a terrible challenge on 60 minutes by former Stags loanee Laurence Wilson. In one of the worst refereeing decisions ever, the referee booked Heslop and gave the free kick to Morecambe.

On 64 minutes, an Elder long throw was nodded down by Tafazolli, and Oliver headed straight at the keeper.

A good tackle by Sutton on 65 minutes, stretching to clear a cross.

On 67 minutes, Elder crossed deep to the far post, Oliver headed back across, but it was cleared. A minute later, Lambe put in a powerful cross, McGuire threw himself at it but couldn’t quite get on the end of it.

On 70 minutes, a good break from Morecambe, and a good last ditch challenge from Elder. The Stags were defending so much better now.

More bad luck for the Stags on the injury front on 71 minutes as Raynes went down and limped off with a hamstring injury. Riley replaced him.

A real chance for the Stags to equalise on 74 minutes. Heslop found Oliver, who played a little square ball to McGuire with a clear sight of goal from the edge of the box but on his left foot. He sliced wide. It fell to the wrong man on his wrong foot.

On 78 minutes, Oliver laid off to Lambe who fired over from 22 yards. Then on 80 minutes, Elder’s long cross from the left and Oliver tried a shot from a tight angle which was wide.

Brown went down in the area on 82 minutes but the referee said no foul. I’ve not had the benefit of seeing it again yet. (Update: on review of the DVD, it does not look like a foul).

A glorious chance for the Stags to equalise on 85 minutes. Fitzpatrick did well to fid Heslop, Heslop crossed, Sutton miscued a shot at goal, and Brown had time for a free shot from 8 yards but his low shot was saved on the line by the keeper.

Six minutes of injury time. The Stags threw Tafazolli up front. On 90+1, Pidgeley was forced to head away just outside his area. On 90+4, Brown to Heslop on the right, he cut inside onto his left foot and shot well over. If it had been on his right foot it would have been a great chance for him.

Then on 90+5, Fitzpatrick to Lambe whose shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide. Pidgeley came up for the resulting corner. The corner was cleared and Morecambe got over the halfway line with Pidgeley out of his goal, but Sutton did well to block a long range shot.

It was soon all over. Huge disappointment at the end. The Stags were given too much to do by the first half defending. But there were enough chances to rescue something in the second half. The defending simply must be sorted out before the crucial games coming up against Northampton and Luton. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Lenny Pidgeley

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Globe Arena

Line Up:
Pidgeley 8 Made two excellent saves and otherwise played very well. No chance with the goals.
Sutton 5 Beaten by Ellison for the second goal. Very poor first half, but the stand-out defender in the second half.
Raynes 4 Very poor game. Outjumped in the build-up to the second goal. Went off with a hamstring injury in the second half.
Tafazolli 4 After such a good game on Saturday, this was a very poor performance. Watched on as Mullin nipped in to score the first. Also gave the ball away a few times.
Beevers 4 Static as Mullin nipped in to score the first goal. One great cross to create a chance for Lambe, and took a couple of good corners.
Elder 4 His loan was extended before the game, and he’s had a good month. But he was very poor in this game. Given a torrid night by Beeley.
McGuire 6 Did quite well going forward. Unlucky with one good effort.
Heslop 7 Terrific free-kick. The pick of the Stags’ outfield players.
Lambe 6 Possibly at fault for allowing Beeley too much time in the build-up to the first goal. Finishing product wasn’t quite there after getting into some good positions.
Oliver 6 Did ok with lay-offs. Had several headers at goal but not enough power or direction to beat the keeper.
Rhead 6 Very little service.
Sub Line Up:
Fitzpatrick (for Rhead, 46) 6 Debut for the 17 year old who impressed me enormously in the FA Youth cup game against Stoke. Huge congratulations to him on making his debut. Far from an ideal game to come into here. Started slowly with poor set pieces and passes, but grew into the game. Hopefully will have a big future.
Brown (for Beevers, 46) 6 A real chance to equalise but didn’t bury it.
Riley (for Raynes, 71) 6 Defended ok.
Subs not used: Studer, Jack Thomas, Bingham, Kee.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-2-3-2): Arestidou; Hughes, Edwards, Parrish; Beeley, Wilson; Devitt (Amond 77), Goodall, Fleming (Kenyon 66); Ellison, Mullin (Redshaw 66). Subs not used: Jones, Sampson, McGowan, Doyle.
Darren Bond 5 The decision to book Heslop for a terrible foul on him was terrible.

Season 14/15 Reports