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An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 Shrewsbury Town
 
 Barnett 50.
Attendance: 3108 (765 from Shrewsbury)
 
Date: 6 April 2015

STAGS BEATEN BY FLUKE GOAL DESPITE GOOD PERFORMANCE

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town put in a very good performance against second-placed Shrewsbury at Field Mill today but were beaten by a lucky goal just after half-time, Shrewsbury’s only scoring chance of the entire afternoon. The Stags more than matched Shrewsbury through the entire game and there were some fine performances throughout the side with Jack Thomas and Jamie McGuire both excellent in midfield and Martin Riley excellent at the back, and they deserved so much more. The first half was fairly even with the Stags more than holding their own without creating many chances. The Stags’ best chances were a couple of shots from Jack Thomas. Shrewsbury created nothing resembling a chance. Shrewsbury went in front on 50 minutes with a fluke. Mark Ellis crossed from the right, it looped up off Reggie Lambe, over Pidgeley to Tyrone Barnett who bundled it in at the far post under pressure from Ritchie Sutton. If I’m going to be hyper-critical, possibly Sutton could have done better against Barnett, but Pidgeley had no chance. It was a bitter pill for the Stags and turned out to be the Shrews’ only chance of the game. On 64 minutes, the Stags should have had a penalty: Vadaine Oliver muscled his way past Grandison into the area, Grandison went to ground and bundled Oliver down making no effort to get the ball. In my opinion, and having looked at it again on the video, it was a penalty but the referee decided it wasn’t. Sutton was booked for protesting. The situation is getting unbelievable now: Mansfield have not had a penalty since November 2013 yet have had several good shouts in recent games. That is 68 league games or 76 league+cup games without a penalty. Mansfield were on top and got lots of balls into the box with Matt Rhead winning headers to create dangerous positions but no-one could get the vital touch. The best chance fell to Rakish Bingham who had a clear sight of goal from a Rhead knock-down by scuffed his shot. Clements also had a good chance but fired wide. At the final whistle, despite the huge disappointment of defeat, most fans stood and applauded a fine performance (at least those around me in the West Stand). The Stags certainly deserved a point and probably deserved all three. The bottom three clubs all lost (Cheltenham and Tranmere as a result of late penalties, so that was at least some good news on the penalty front!), so Mansfield remain 8 points above Cheltenham, 6 ahead of Tranmere, and 5 ahead of Hartlepool, with 5 games to play. The Stags have another difficult game at play-off chasing Plymouth on Saturday. With the same grit as shown here, again keeping errors down to a minimum, and perhaps for a change with a little slice of luck, the Stags can get something from the game. Come on Mansfield!

It was a glorious sunny day in Mansfield. Kick-off had been moved forward to 1pm as police had received intelligence of possible trouble and insisted on the change.

Adam Murray made two changes to the side that lost at Southend 72 hours earlier. Ravenhill was ruled out with an ankle injury and was wearing a protective boot but he told us pre-match that it was just a precaution and he hoped to be fit for next weekend. He was replaced by McGuire. Thomas came in for Heslop. It was a continuation of the 4-1-4-1 formation with McGuire in front of the back four, and Oliver on his own up front. No place for Billy Kee in the 18 and that is the end of his loan spell as he now has to return to Scunthorpe. No place yet for Liam Hearn either - it surely can’t be far away now. The Shrewsbury team looked very familiar from the side that played at Greenhous Meadow in Paul Cox’s last game in charge of Mansfield, so I compared back and they had 8 of the same starting eleven as today. Mansfield only had four of the same starting eleven. This was Liam Lawrence’s second game against Mansfield since he left, and his first at Field Mill. He went on to have a surprisingly average game, creating nothing at all going forward for Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury had not won at Field Mill since 1975 - 14 games for Mansfield without defeat. Sadly that run came to an end today.

Before the game a rousing minute’s applause for Chris Taylor. Chris was a great supporter of the team for many years and his passion for the club was inspirational for so many. I always enjoyed chatting with Chris.

I thought it was important Mansfield got off to a positive start after the pathetic showing at home to York, and they did that in the opening minutes. On 5 minutes, Jack Thomas was lectured by the ref for an over-zealous challenge. Shrewsbury had brought a big following of 765 fans but they were kept very quiet as they rarely were able to get close to the Mansfield goal. I was disappointed on 13 minutes though when the Stags got a throw-in in a dangerous position which Elder hurled in, but Sutton and Riley were not sent forward.

On 20 minutes, a great tackle from Thomas, who then powered down the left wing, and found Hawkridge who found Beevers on the right, but Beevers wasted possession with a poor cross and then another poor cross. On 23 minutes, a corner for Shrewsbury, Lawrence took it, it was headed up and through to Pidgeley.

On 25 minutes, Hawkridge’s free kick from the left was met by Riley but he couldn’t get over it and headed over the bar.

Moments later, a good ball forward from Lambe into the path of Thomas who tried to lob the keeper from 20 yards but it was over the bar.

On 27 minutes, Thomas latched onto a mistake by Ellis, and tried a shot from 20 yards which was blocked.

On 28 minutes, Elder crossed from the left, it was beautifully into the corridor of uncertainty and the Shrewsbury defence hesitantly left it, but no Stags player was near it.

A good header away from Riley, then on 31 minutes a great tackle from McGuire who was injured in the process.

There was nothing in it, which was good from Mansfield against a very good side.

On 33 minutes, Thomas nearly got to a backpass but Shrewsbury keeper Leutwiler just got there first.

On 35 minutes, a Shrewsbury free-kick was headed away by McGuire, the Stags broke quickly, but could only win a corner.

On 39 minutes, a corner from Hawkridge was met by Oliver who got a header in but couldn’t direct it goalwards.

Moments later, a good ball from Clements to Thomas who put in a fine shot from 35 yards that Leutwiler saved, diving away to his left. A great effort from Thomas.

Then a deliberate foul from Grant to stop a Stags break. Ludicrously the referee did not brandish a card for a cynical challenge.

On 44 minutes a long range shot from Woods and McGuire threw himself at it to block it. It summed up a terrific half from McGuire, who along with Thomas also had an excellent half.

The Stags were more than holding their own, albeit without creating clearcut chances. Shrewsbury were limited to nothing at all going forward. Riley was also excellent. Clements also had a very good half. On the negative side, Oliver was isolated up front, with Lambe and Hawkridge not getting forward enough to support him.

Half time 0-0

On 48 minutes, Oliver went down in the area, but he didn’t appeal for a foul and it didn’t look like a penalty.

Shrewsbury went in front on 50 minutes with a fluke. Mark Ellis crossed from the right, it looped up off Reggie Lambe, over Pidgeley to Tyrone Barnett who bundled it in at the far post under pressure from Ritchie Sutton. If I’m going to be hyper-critical, possibly Sutton could have done better against Barnett, but Pidgeley had no chance. It was a bitter pill for the Stags and turned out to be the Shrews’ only chance of the game.

On 54 minutes, the referee went off injured and was replaced by the fourth official.

Rhead replaced Hawkridge on 61 minutes.

On 64 minutes, the Stags should have had a penalty: Vadaine Oliver muscled his way past Grandison into the area, Grandison went to ground and bundled Oliver down making no effort to get the ball. In my opinion, and having looked at it again on the video, it was a penalty but the referee decided it wasn’t. Sutton was booked for protesting. The situation is getting unbelievable now: Mansfield have not had a penalty since November 2013 yet have had several good shouts in recent games. That is 68 league games or 76 league+cup games without a penalty.

On 66 minutes, a good tackle by McGuire on the edge of his own box against Barnett.

Straight to the other end and Rhead nodded down to Lambe, but Lambe couldn’t control it. Then a great tackle and run forward by Elder, but he mistimed his pass to Oliver who was offside.

On 71 minutes, Thomas found Clements on the right, but Clements fired wide. It was a good chance.

On 79 minutes, a free kick from Clements came out to Thomas, 22 yards out, Thomas steadied himself and fired over the bar. It was another good chance.

An escape for Mansfield on 80 minutes as the ball hit Riley in his own area on his arm. The referee waved away the appeals as clearly, in my opinion, it was not deliberate. However it did look quite similar to one given against Tafazolli against AFC Wimbledon a few weeks ago.

Bingham replaced McGuire on 83 minutes. Mansfield switched to 4-3-3 with Oliver, Rhead and Bingham up front.

On 84 minutes, Elder put a good ball into the box, Rhead nodded down, and Bingham scuffed a great chance. I think if Bingham had been on a bit longer and got the pace of the game, he would have had a better chance of scoring.

Fisher replaced Oliver on 85 minutes. Oliver had had a battering from the Shrewsbury defence and battled on through the pain barrier, but probably should have come off a bit earlier as he had been struggling for a few minutes.

Riley did well in his decision-making putting the ball out for a throw-in under pressure from Barnett, having learned his lesson from the Exeter game. At the other end, a poor ball in from Lambe summed up a disappointing game for him.

On 88 minutes, Rhead nodded down but it just ran through to the keeper. Rhead was creating problems for the Shrewsbury defence.

On 90+2, a silly foul by Thomas, and he was booked. During 8 minutes of stoppage time which became nearly 10 minutes, Tyrone Barnett kicked the ball away three times. The first one was missed by the officials, he was booked for the second, and got away with the third. Extraordinary.

Frustration at the final whistle but most fans stood and applauded a fine performance (at least those around me in the West Stand). The Stags certainly deserved a point and probably deserved all three.

The inability to score many goals remains a concern. Mansfield have only scored 33 league goals this season and look set for the fewest goals in a season in the club’s history (the previous lowest is 41 league goals in 1971/72 and 1984/85). That won’t matter a jot though providing Mansfield stay up which is the only target and everyone including all the supporters need to pull together to help achieve that aim. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Jack Thomas/Jamie McGuire


Footnote: Following today’s game, these are my average player ratings based on the 47 league+cup games so far this season (top 4 players):
Bingham 6.94, Tafazolli 6.69, Sutton 6.67, Riley 6.57.
Note: only ratings for players starting a game are included - ie. sub appearances not included.
Minimum appearances: 15, ie. one-third of the games started. If the minimum appearances rule is removed, the top player is: Thomas, average 7.25 from 6 starts.
Thanks to Pete Wright for his spreadsheet.


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



Line Up:
Pidgeley 6 No chance with the goal. Did well claiming some crosses. Some poor kicking.
Beevers 6.5 Defended solidly. Some disappointing crosses.
Sutton 7 Very solid game keeping Shrewsbury quiet, but if I’m going to be hyper-critical, possibly could have done better for the goal.
Riley 8 Very good game.
Elder 7 Some good runs forward. Defended solidly.
McGuire 9 Excellent performance. Some great tackles, blocks, and headers-away. Hurt in the first half and played on through the pain barrier.
Hawkridge 5.5 Would like to see him more involved. Needed to get forward more to support Oliver.
Clements 7.5 Good game, with some good passing.
Thomas 9 Excellent game. Ran at the Shrewsbury defence causing them problems and wasn’t afraid to shoot on sight. Some good tackling and passing. He has 6 bookings in 6 starts+1sub appearance now; luckily for Jack you need 10 for a suspension at this stage of the season.
Lambe 5 Disappointing game. Couldn’t control when presented with a Rhead knock-down. Needed to get forward more to support Oliver.
Oliver 6.5 Took a battering but played on. Deserved a penalty with a strong run into the box. Wasn’t supported nearly enough by Hawkridge and Lambe.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Hawkridge, 61) 7 Some great knock-downs caused Shrewsbury problems.
Bingham (for McGuire, 83) - Scuffed a great chance immediately after coming on when he hadn’t got the pace of the game.
Fisher (for Oliver, 85) -
Subs not used: Studer, Tafazolli, Heslop, Fitzpatrick.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-5-2) Leutwiler; Grandison, Goldson, Ellis; Gayle, Lawrence, Grant (Sharpe 90+5), Woods, Demetriou; Collins (Mangan 76), Akpa Akpro (Barnett 46). Subs not used: Halstead, Vernon, Southern, Mandron.
Referee:
Tim Robinson, replaced by Stephen Wade on 54 minutes: 5 Poor. The failure to award a penalty for the foul on Oliver was a key moment in the game. Ludicrously did not brandish a card for a cynical challenge by Grant in the first half.


Season 14/15 Reports