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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Luton Town
Bingham 32
Attendance: 2998 (801 from Luton)
Date: 17 February 2015


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town produced a very solid display to deservedly beat Luton Town 1-0 at the One Call Stadium in a game of few chances. The only goal of the game came on 32 minutes with a high quality move as Junior Brown clipped the ball down the left touchline to Jack Thomas who fired a superb crossfield pass perfectly for Rakish Bingham who fired first time past Mark Tyler in the Luton goal. Every win is precious when you are at the wrong end of the table and beating fierce rivals Luton made the victory doubly-sweet. Luton were unbeaten for 10 games and had only lost 5 times all season. But the Stags defence was rock solid with Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli and Elder all in fine form and limiting Luton to only a couple of good chances. The Stags move five points clear of the relegation zone and up to 18th place, ahead of Oxford United who Mansfield visit on Saturday.

Adam Murray made one change to the side that drew with Northampton, with Callum Elder returning from injury in place of Lee Beevers at left back. Ravenhill again played in front of the back four, and Oliver was on his own up front in the 4-1-4-1 formation. Murray said pre-match that he wanted other players to get up and support Oliver more than they did against Northampton. Chris Clements was back on the bench after his badly gashed leg injury. Luton had three players suspended, including larger than life centre half McNulty, and another couple out through injury in a list of players missing long enough to rival that of Mansfield.

Luton have never won a league game at Field Mill and there have been some epic encounters between the two clubs over the past couple of decades.

A tremendous turnout of over 800 Luton fans on a Tuesday night, on the back of their fine form. But they were given little to cheer about and were very quiet most of the evening.

Mansfield started well. On 6 minutes, from Elder’s cross from the left, Oliver headed at the keeper. Moments later, a good move and Heslop got in a shot from the left corner of the area, but it was soft and straight at the keeper.

The first free kick of the game didn’t arrive until 10 minutes. Very unusual.

On 11 minutes, a great ball over the top from Robinson, for Cullen, but fine defending from Tafazolli to snuff out any danger.

On 12 minutes, a good positive run forward from Jack Thomas but he miscued a drive at goal. Moments later at the other end, good defending from Sutton. On 15 minutes, a great ball from Sutton to Oliver, and from Oliver out to the left to Lambe, but Lambe’s shot was blocked.

This was a good solid start from the Stags, giving Luton nothing.

Reggie Lambe went off injured on 19 minutes. He was replaced by Bingham.

On 26 minutes, Bingham gave the ball away, and Luton got the ball high into the Stags area, but Pidgeley claimed.

On 32 minutes, Smith sent in a low shot from 22 yards which Pidgeley pushed wide of the left post.

From the resulting corner for Luton, Mansfield broke and took the lead. The corner was headed away by Heslop, to Brown who turned and clipped the ball down the left touchline to Jack Thomas who fired a superb crossfield pass perfectly for Rakish Bingham who fired first time past Mark Tyler in the Luton goal. It was a superb goal.

On 35 minutes, a great tackle by Thomas, and then Heslop fired wide of the left post.

On 40 minutes, a great move from the Stags, Thomas to Bingham, who played a good ball to Brown, Brown’s shot was blocked, the ball came back to Thomas whose shot was going wide and then hit Brown, who was offside.

On 45 minutes, Heslop shot goalwards but couldn’t get any power in it and it was straight at Tyler.

Luton’s best chance of the half came on 45+2 minutes. A cross from the right by Andy Drury, and Jake Howells at the far post got above Sutton and headed just wide.

The Stags were worth the lead at the break, having looked very solid and had some good moves going forward. Luton’s best chance had come in stoppage time at the end of the half.

Half time 1-0

Luton made a double change at half time, probably reflecting that John Still wasn’t happy with the first half. One of the changes was the introduction of winger Shaun Whalley, who had scored twice in the game at Kenilworth Road and played a blinder. But he was to be totally anonymous in the second half, first on the right and then on the left, a big credit to the two full backs Elder and Sutton.

Luton went up a gear in the early stages of the second half. On 47 minutes, Pidgeley punched away from a free kick.

Almost a freak goal for the Stags on 49 minutes as Thomas crossed from the right, and Tyler misjudged it and allowed it to hit his own bar and bounce away to safety.

On 52 minutes, a good run from Thomas, and a backheel from Oliver nearly put Thomas through on goal, but not quite.

On 58 minutes, a long throw from Elder fell for Thomas, who fired well wide. Then on 60 minutes, Bingham’s left footed shot from 22 yards was deflected for a corner.

An awkward moment for Pidgeley on 67 minutes as Cullen’s shot after a good one-two bobbled in front of him but the keeper did well to still save it.

Clements replaced Heslop on 68 minutes.

Luton came within a whisker of equalising on 74 minutes. A long throw came to Cullen, who flicked the ball over his shoulder with Tafazolli unable to stop him, and only had Pidgeley to beat from close range, but somehow fired wide. A real let-off for the Stags.

Luton were now on top, with the Stags unable to hold on to the ball and looking a bit scruffy.

On 80 minutes, Brown cut inside from the left and fired well wide.

Rhead replaced Oliver on 85 minutes.

The Stags got a corner, and it was surprising that Riley was not sent forward. It represented the Stags best chance of making the game safe.

On 89 minutes, Bingham got forward but was surrounded by 5 defenders and isolated by his teammates.

A chance for Luton on 90+2 with first a possible penalty shout as Guttridge pushed the ball past Riley and ran straight into it, the referee ignored it, and then the ball came across goal and Smith fired wide from a tight angle.

Thomas was booked for a foul on 90+3 minutes.

The final whistle brought joy and relief that there was no repeat of the Northampton game.

Man of the match: Jack Thomas

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

Line Up:
Pidgeley 7 Two competent saves and some good punches. Commanded his area.
Sutton 8 Solid as a rock, apart from the header when Howells leapt above him and headed wide.
Riley 8 Very good. Told me afterwards that when he had a situation similar to the Exeter game he just put the ball into touch - exactly the right thing to do. Looks to me like he’s starting to hit a run of form as he has done previously. If he can do, with Tafazolli, it could be crucial for the team.
Tafazolli 8 Dominant performance. One moment when he was caught out by brilliance from Cullen, but otherwise terrific.
Elder 8 Dealt well with the dangerous Whalley who terrorised us at Kenilworth Road. Very good game.
Ravenhill 8 Protected the back four very well. Battled on even when he seemed to be struggling with injury leading Murray to describe him as a monster as he recently returned from a hamstring injury in 5 days when the scan suggested several weeks.
Lambe - Went off injured. No news on his injury.
Thomas 8.5 Excellent performance. Stunning crossfield pass for the goal. Good runs, good tackles, several shots, and nearly scored when his cross hit the bar.
Heslop 7 Three shots at goal but didn’t have his shooting boots on. Decent game.
Brown 7 Caught in possession a few times. Some good defensive work and worked very hard. Good ball out of defence in the build-up to the goal.
Oliver 7 Did ok. Some good lay-offs. Not as many attempts on goal as usual. Worked very hard as always.
Sub Line Up:
Bingham (for Lambe, 19) 8 Took his goal superbly, the key being to hit it early before the keeper could set himself. A fine game on the right of midfield where Murray asked him to play. Has come back from Hartlepool a better player and told me he picked up some good tips from Ronnie Moore. Excellent use of the loan system by Adam Murray.
Clements (for Heslop, 68) - Good to see him back. Kept the ball well. Had to be re-stitched after the game and hopefully will not be out again.
Rhead (for Oliver, 85) - On to provide height at the back, and hold the ball up.
Subs not used: Studer, Beevers, McGuire, Kee.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Tyler, Drury, Franks, Lacey, Harriman; Griffiths, Smith, Robinson (Whalley 46), Howells (Oduwa 46); Stockley (Guttridge 69), Cullen. Subs not used: Justham, Parry, Layayette, Hall.
Kevin Johnson 9 Excellent game.

Season 14/15 Reports