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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Tranmere Rovers
Lambe 44. Lambe sent off 90+5
Attendance: 3051 (563 from Tranmere)
Date: 14 April 2015


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town beat Tranmere 1-0 on a night of high emotion at the One Call Stadium to take an enormous step towards league survival. Tranmere came into the game 6 points behind the Stags with 4 games to play and desperate for a win. Mansfield knew that a win would take them 9 points clear of Tranmere and at least 8 ahead of Cheltenham whatever result Cheltenham had, with just 3 to play. The only goal of a tense game came just before half time when Reggie Lambe shot left footed across the goalkeeper into the corner of the net from 12 yards. Lambe has scored some critical goals this season and after the game he told me this was the most important goal of his career. Mansfield had started the game on the front foot and Vadaine Oliver had a double-chance in the opening 15 seconds as firstly his low shot was saved and then he put the rebound wide from 2 yards. And on 3 minutes Junior Brown belted a shot just over the bar. They were Mansfield’s only chances of the first half until the all-important goal. In between, Tranmere went close three times: first a free-kick from George Green from 22 yards that was only a whisker wide, and then a shot from Rory Donnelly that was just wide, and finally Sascha Studer saved well from a low shot. The second half became more and more tense with Mansfield creating few chances to increase the lead, while Tranmere had a lot of possession but had few chances to show for it as Mansfield defended resolutely and with absolute determination not to be breached. Sascha Studer in the Mansfield goal made one good save in that second half and also showed good handling when it was needed, while the defending was superb with ball after ball being headed away, and Michael Raynes and Ryan Tafazolli were superb in the air in central defence, as was Jamie McGuire who played just in front of the back four. Special mention to McGuire and Richie Sutton who both told me afterwards that they played with injuries through the pain barrier and who gave absolutely everything out there. Sutton told me he was in agony after the game. Every club needs characters like these whose determination can drag you over the line. Mansfield should have sealed the game on 89 minutes when Lambe got into a good position and curled a cross-shot that just evaded Oliver at the far post. Referee Darren Drysdale who had unusually not taken centre stage in the opening 90 minutes, then added on 8 minutes of stoppage time when in my opinion it should have been 6. During that injury time, a corner for Tranmere saw keeper Fon-Williams come up for it, but when the ball was cleared, Fon-Williams wrestled Oliver to the ground and was booked, but in the aftermath Matthew Hill and Reggie Lambe tustled to get the ball, and Lambe was shown a second yellow card and hence a red. From the video, I can see why Drysdale gave a yellow to both Hill and Lambe. With further stoppages, Drysdale ended up playing 13 minutes of stoppage time but Mansfield held on and the roof came off Field Mill at the final whistle. After 5 successive defeats, this was I think the most significant Stags victory since returning to the Football League and was a great night for all the fans and everyone associated with the club. A huge well done to the players and to Adam Murray and his assistants Micky Moore and Richard Cooper, for dragging us to the brink of being over the line. Technically Mansfield need two more points to be safe, though wins in all their games for the teams beneath us seem highly unlikely, but it would be very nice to finish the season on a good run, starting at Cambridge on Saturday.

Adam Murray made three changes from the side that lost at Plymouth. Beevers and Riley missed out through muscle strains. In came Sutton and Raynes. Brown returned from suspension to replace Bingham. Pidgeley was still not fully fit, but was on the bench. It was the familiar 4-1-4-1 formation and it was noticeable in the first half that Thomas was pushing forward a lot to support Oliver. Tranmere included Rob Taylor at left back. The referee was Darren Drysdale who needs no introduction to Stags fans after a few horrendous showings in past seasons, though he had favoured Mansfield in the game against Burton this season, sending off a Burton player, a red card that was later rescinded.

It was important for Mansfield to start on the front foot, and they did just that. Inside 15 seconds, a good ball from Brown put Oliver clear in the box and from 12 yards he shot low and keeper Fon-Williams managed to save low down to his left, but could only push the ball out and Oliver had a second chance but fired wide from two yards under a challenge from a defender. What a double-chance so early in the game!

On 3 minutes, a corner from Clements came out to the edge of the area where Brown and Thomas converged on the ball and Brown got there first, shooting just over the bar.

On 9 minutes, what I thought was a good tackle from Elder was penalised by ref Drysdale with a free-kick, 22 yards out, to the right of centre. George Green took it left footed, and it whistled just past the right post, hitting the stanchion behind the goal. Studer was rooted to the spot and watched it go wide. Had it been 6 inches to the left, it would have been in. It reminded me of Plymouth’s first goal on Saturday. Studer should be at least be diving to attempt to save these efforts in my opinion and give himself a chance.

On 13 minutes, Tranmere broke four-on-two but Sutton made a great tackle. Moments later a nasty challenge from Rob Taylor, but referee Drysdale decided it wasn’t even a foul.

On 17 minutes, Tranmere were close again. Myrie-Williams cut back inside Elder on the byline and pulled back to Donnelly who fired just wide of the left post.

A quiet spell in terms of goalmouth action until 32 minutes when a Tranmere corner came out to Cole Stockton whose low shot from 15 yards brought a good low save from Studer, and better still he held on to it. Studer then caught well from a cross, while Raynes did well to head away from a free-kick.

On 44 minutes, Mansfield got the vital goal. Brown made a good break down the right, but in attempting to cross the ball, a defender cleared it back to McGuire, who played the ball forward to Oliver. Oliver got a touch to play in Lambe and Lambe took a couple of touches to create some space and shoot left footed across goalkeeper Fon-Williams into the corner of the net from 12 yards. A good finish from Lambe.

An even half in terms of chances, not a lot of quality on show, but Mansfield had the vital goal to go into the break.

Half time 1-0

On 49 minutes, Brown got into the area on the right and got in a right footed shot that was straight at the keeper.

A minute later at the other end, Donnelly turned and shot from 20 yards but it was tame and straight at Studer. Two minutes after that, Donnelly tried again and his shot was blocked by Raynes.

On 54 minutes, Rhead replaced Thomas.

On 56 minutes, a shot from Jennings was blocked by his own man. Straight to the other end, and McGuire’s high ball forward, Oliver and Fon-Williams went for it, the ball fell for Rhead, whose shot was blocked.

On 60 minutes, a free-kick for the Stags on the edge of the box to the right of centre. Clements took it but fired it straight into the wall.

On 64 minutes, an Elder long throw came out to McGuire 22 yard out, who shot onto the roof of the net.

Tafazolli was booked on 66 minutes for a foul on Hume, 27 yard out. As the free-kick was taken, Odejayi was penalised for a foul on Rhead.

Ravenhill replaced McGuire on 68 minutes. A good ovation for McGuire.

On 69 minutes, Odejayi pulled the ball back from the byline to Myrie-Williams who shot low goalwards, and Studer made a good save, low down.

On 71 minutes, Clements played the ball forward for Oliver on the left, but Oliver tried an impossible chip with the outside of his right boot.

Trouble broke out in the North Stand as some Tranmere fans clashed with police on 74 minutes. It took a few minutes for the police to get the situation under control, but the game carried on.

The Stags were encamped in their own half as Tranmere dominated possession.

On 82 minutes, a ball forward into the Stags box just ran through to Studer.

Lambe was booked for bawling into the linesman’s face on 86 minutes. He was to regret that later.

The Stags should have sealed the game on 89 minutes as Lambe got into a good position and curled a cross-shot that just evaded Oliver at the far post. It was agonisingly close.

Hume had a shot blocked on 90 minutes.

Then the board went up: 8 minutes added on. It should have been no more than 6 in my opinion.

On 90+2, Marsden replaced Brown. A welcome return for Marsden.

On 90+3, Max Power fired wide from the right across Studer and wide of the left post with the aid of a defkection for a corner. Power dropped to his knees as it went wide.

From that corner, Tranmere keeper Fon-Williams came up for it, a shot was blocked and then when the ball was cleared, Fon-Williams wrestled Oliver to the ground and was booked, but in the aftermath Matthew Hill and Reggie Lambe tustled to get the ball, and Lambe was shown a second yellow card and hence a red. From the video, I can see why Drysdale gave a yellow to both Hill and Lambe.

There was a long stoppage. It was clear that further minutes would be added on to the 8.

On 90+8, Oliver was booked (what for? check DVD)

A great tackle from sub Marsden on 90+9. A minute later, a shot from George Green was caught by Studer. Moments later a great catch by Studer from a cross.

Finally, 13 minutes into stoppage time, Drysdale blew the final whistle and the roof came off Field Mill. Cue celebrations from players, management and fans alike. McGuire went along the front of the West Stand high-fiving fans. A great night.

Man of the match: Michael Raynes

Footnote: Following yesterday’s game, these are my average player ratings based on the 49 league+cup games so far this season (top 6 players):
Bingham 6.88, Tafazolli 6.75, Sutton 6.71, Studer 6.60, Riley 6.59, Rhead 6.56.
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 7.44 from 8 starts.
Thanks to Pete Wright for his spreadsheet.

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

Line Up:
Studer 8 Good game and a vital clean sheet. A couple of good saves and very good handling throughout. Got lucky with the free-kick in the first half, cannot be rooted to the spot in these situations.
Sutton 8 Told me after the game he played with two injections and was in agony. Gave everything for the cause. Very solid.
Raynes 9 Headed everything away. Chose a great time for his best performance in a Stags shirt.
Tafazolli 8.5 Plenty of good headers away. Tweeted the day before the game that for many of the players it was the biggest game of their lives, and he produced a fitting performance.
Elder 7 Tricky game against the impressive Myrie-Williams in the first half, but got better as the game wore on.
McGuire 8.5 Played on with injury through the pain barrier until he could go on no longer. Terrific performance. Some great headers.
Brown 6 Started on fire but had a quiet game after that apart from a good run in the build-up to the goal (though he lost the ball).
Clements 7 Worked hard but didn’t create much going forward and set-pieces weren’t the best.
Thomas 7 Started off pushing forward a lot to support Oliver but got deeper later.
Lambe 7 Scored the all-important goal and nearly created a second at the end. Sending off was not costly on this occasion.
Oliver 7 Worked extremely hard at both ends of the pitch. Should have scored in the opening minute.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Thomas, 54) 7 Some good headers away in defence which was what was needed. An ideal man for a backs-to-the-wall shutout.
Ravenhill (for McGuire, 68) - Did well replacing McGuire.
Marsden (for Brown, 90+2) - A welcome return. One great tackle. A youngster who’s never looked out of place previously in the team - I’d like to see him get the last 3 games of the season to allow Sutton to recover from injury.
Subs not used: Pidgeley, Hawkridge, Hearn, Bingham.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Fon Williams; Holmes, Donacien, Ihiekwe, Taylor (Hill 62); Green, Jennings, Power, Myrie-Williams; Stockton (Odejayi 62), Donnelly (Hume 62). Subs not used: Brezovan, Koumas, Laird, Thompson.
Darren Drysdale 7 Generally handled the game well but lost the plot in the final few minutes.

Season 14/15 Reports