Conneely 47, Gornell 71.
Attendance: 1921 (537 from Mansfield)
Date: 2 May 2015
STAGS BEATEN AT ACCRINGTON IN FINAL GAME OF SEASON
Martin Shaw at the Crown Ground
Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 at Accrington in the final game of the season. The Stags put in a very good first half performance, dominating the game, playing some nice football, and could have led by more than Jamie McGuire’s dipping volley at the break. But the second half was totally different as Accrington were quick out of the blocks equalising on 47 minutes after Lenny Pidgeley saved well from a header but the Stags defence were asleep as Conneely was allowed to knock in the rebound. The Stags were unfortunate on 71 minutes when Martin Riley went down with a hamstring injury allowing Gornell a free run at goal to beat Pidgeley in a 1-on-1. Corbin Shires, himself carrying an injury picked up in midweek, immediately replaced Riley for his league debut and acquitted himself well, alongside Beevers in central defence, who had earlier replaced the injured Tafazolli. With Mansfield having already used their three substitutes, Matt Rhead had to finish the last 10 minutes of the game with a groin injury. Accrington were the better side in the second half and overall a draw would have been a fair result. A disappointing end to the season. Adam Murray confirmed after the game that he will be talking to the players on Tuesday with decisions of who is leaving and who he would like to keep, and he will announce the news later on Tuesday or possibly on Wednesday.
A few quick stats of the season:
Mansfield finished 21st, with 48 points, 7 points clear of the relegation zone. That was 6 points more than when we were relegated to the Conference 7 years ago. The Stags ended the season with 8 defeats out of 9 games.
Mansfield’s goal tally of 38 in the league was the lowest in League Two and was the fewest goals scored in the club’s history (lower than the previous lowest of 41 set in 1971/72 and 1984/85). The Stags did not win a single game by more than one goal.
Mansfield ended the season with the worst away record in League 2: just 3 wins and a total of 13 points. That total of 13 points is the fewest the club have achieved under 3 points for a win. The Stags stayed up thanks to those crucial 10 wins at the One Call Stadium. Indeed 73% of Mansfield’s points were earned at home, that was the highest percentage across the entire Football League (League Two, League One, Championship).
Mansfield were not awarded a penalty all season, and indeed for the past 81 league and cup matches, since November 2013.
Today’s terrific away following of 537 took the average Stags away following at league games to 324, with the highest 1033 and the lowest 65. Meanwhile, the average league attendance at the One Call Stadium was 3021 (with 429 away fans; so 2591 Stags fans).
My player of the season, based on my ratings from every game (for players who started at least 15 games) is Rakish Bingham, followed by Tafazolli and Sutton (more details further down). If the minimum appearances rule is removed, my player of the season is Jack Thomas.
Adam Murray made four changes from the side that lost to Portsmouth. Martin Riley came in for the suspended Ritchie Sutton. Riley was not fully fit, but neither was young Corbin Shires who was on the bench, while Michael Raynes was still out with injury. McGuire came in for Joe Fitzpatrick. Lambe replaced Bingham. And Oliver returned in place of Rhead. It was a 4-4-2 formation, with Oliver and Lambe up front, Thomas and Brown behind them, and McGuire and Clements in central midfield.
It was windy, wet and miserable in Accrington. It was also cold and Radio Nottingham’s Stags correspondent Charlie Slater, not realising it was going to be cold, had to borrow a Stags coat from Adam Murray.
About 20 Stags fans, in the terrific away following of 537, had dressed up in fancy dress as bananas for the final game of the season.
The Stags were on the attack from the start. After a minute, a long throw from Elder came out to Jack Thomas, who hit a crisp low left footed shot that was blocked, though it was already going wide.
On 9 minutes, Sean Maguire crossed for Accrington and Gornell headed well wide.
The Stags had a great chance for the lead on 11 minutes. Oliver flicked on Pidgeley’s huge free-kick to Lambe who knocked the ball onto the roof of the net. Lambe really should have scored and he knew it as he put his head in his hands.
On 14 minutes, a corner from Clements was cleared to Brown, just outside the box, who curled a shot wide.
A minute later, Jack Thomas’s low shot was 35 yards lacked power and was straight at the keeper.
The Stags were knocking it around well with good football.
On 18 minutes, a Clements corner from the right was low, through to Tafazolli who knocked it well wide of the goal with his right foot.
On 20 minutes, Thomas got the ball on the edge of the area, but delayed just too long for a shot and the chance was gone. But Clements moments later won a fortunate free kick 28 yards out. Clements wasted the resulting free kick, crossing into the box and it was cleared when he should have shot. The ball came back out to Thomas whose low shot was saved.
On 24 minutes a chance for Clements who mis-kicked wide from the edge of the box.
On 26 minutes, Elder’s long throw was headed on by Tafazolli but straight to the keeper.
Tafazolli had to have a bandage around a cut on his head on 31 minutes.
The Stags domination was rewarded on 39 minutes with the first goal of the game. Brown’s square ball was deflected into the path of Jamie McGuire who sent a dipping volley over keeper Scott Davies from the edge of the area for a great finish. It was McGuire’s first goal of the season, a season in which he has got better as it went on.
Accrington had not been in the game at all but nearly equalised from their first corner on 45+1 minutes. From the corner, a header goalwards from Joyce flicked off Tafazolli’s head and was cleared off the line by Jack Thomas.
A very good performance in the first half from Mansfield, dominating the game and playing some nice football. The lead was totally deserved. Accrington had offered nothing until stoppage time.
Half time 0-1
Having been totally outplayed in the first half, you could have expected Accrington to come out all guns blazing in the second half and the Stags would need to be resolute at the back.
Sadly the Stags weren’t resolute as Accrington equalised on 47 minutes. Pidgeley made a great save from Windass’s header but the defence was asleep as Conneely was allowed to fire in the rebound from close range.
On 48 minutes, a free kick from Clements from 25 yards was well-saved by Accrington keeper Scott Davies, pushing it away. Straight to the other end, and Conneely fired over.
Rhead replaced Brown on 52 minutes, and joined Oliver up front.
On 56 minutes, McGuire gave the ball away on the halfway line, Accrington got to the byline, the ball was cleared. Then Tafazolli put in a great block as Winnard was about to shoot. It was a rare error from McGuire who put in a decent display.
On 58 minutes, an Accrington free-kick was well-headed away by McGuire. Moments later, Gornell fired over and hit the roof of the stand from 20 yards.
On 60 minutes, Rhead headed on a long throw, and Thomas sent a left footed volley straight at the keeper.
Tafazolli was no longer able to carry on following his head injury on 61 minutes. He was replaced by Beevers who slotted in at centre-half.
On 65 minutes, McGuire was unfortunate to be penalised for a foul on the edge of his own area. Windass fired the resulting free-kick just over the bar. Windass appealed to the referee for a handball in the wall.
On 67 minutes, Rhead headed on an Elder long throw, it came out to McGuire who volleyed well wide. Moments later Lambe worked his way to the edge of the Accrington area, but couldn’t break through.
Accrington took the lead on 71 minutes in unfortunate circumstances for Mansfield. 30 yards out, on the Accrington left, Riley went down with a hamstring injury, allowing Gornell a free run at goal, and he slotted the ball under Pidgeley. Hard luck on Riley and hard luck on Mansfield.
Riley had to be replaced by Corbin Shires, himself not fully fit following an injury during the week, on for his league debut.
Marsden deliberately brought down Windass outside his own box on the left and was booked. Windass took the free-kick himself and sent it well over the bar.
Oliver was booked on 80 minutes for lunging in on keeper Davies to try to reach a knock-down from Rhead.
On 81 minutes, a good challenge from Shires to put the ball out for a throw-in.
The Stags had a free kick in a good position 28 yards out on 84 minutes. But Clements sent it too close to the keeper.
On 88 minutes, a shot from Clements from 20 yards was blocked.
The Stags had a goal disallowed on 90 minutes. Rhead headed the ball forward, Oliver ran on to it and cleverly flicked the ball past keeper Davies into the net but was ruled offside. From the DVD, it is inconclusive as Accrington right back Nicky Hunt is off picture, but it was certainly very tight.
On 90+1 minutes, Mingoia dispossessed Beevers on the right, crossed to Joyce, who headed over.
A minute later, a good tackle from Thomas just outside his own box. Moments after that Lambe was booked for a silly foul on the halfway line. Then on 90+3 minutes, a good block from McGuire as Gornell was about to shoot.
So a disappointing way to end the season, with an 8th defeat from 9 games.
After the game, Adam Murray bemoaned the inconsistency of a good first half performance followed by a poor second half:
Photo: Corbin Shires comes on for his debut:
Man of the match: Jamie McGuire
Footnote: Following today’s game, these are my average player ratings based on the 52 league+cup games this season (top 7 players):
Bingham 6.89, Tafazolli 6.70, Sutton 6.69, Rhead 6.58, Riley 6.57, McGuire 6.50, Studer 6.48.
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 relaxed to 5 appearances, the top player is: Thomas, average 7.55 from 11 starts.
Thanks to Pete Wright for his spreadsheet.
Report by: Martin Shaw at the Crown Ground
Pidgeley 7 Made a great save for the first goal but was let down by his defence who allowed the rebound to be slotted in. Good handling. Otherwise a fairly quiet game.
Marsden 6.5 Did ok. Booked for deliberate foul.
Riley 6 Had to play despite not being fully fit. Hard luck to be struck down with hamstring injury allowing Accrington to stride forward and score the winner. Could have done better with the first goal.
Tafazolli 6 Defended ok and battled on with cut head.
Elder 6.5 Defended ok.
Clements 5.5 Set pieces were mostly disappointing.
McGuire 7.5 One mistake giving the ball away but otherwise did well and deserved his first goal of the season.
Brown 6 Didn’t get into the game enough. Curled one shot wide.
Thomas 7.5 Another good game, getting in some shots, clearing one off the line at the other end and some good tackles. One area for improvement in his game is closing down on the edge of his own area.
Oliver 7 Good finish for disallowed goal. Good assist for Lambe’s missed chance.
Lambe 6.5 Should have scored early on from a great position. Did ok generally.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Brown, 52) 7 Some very good knock-downs including for the disallowed goal.
Beevers (for Tafazolli, 61) 6 Slotted in at centre half and did ok.
Shires (for Riley, 73) - Great to see him get his debut. One good challenge. Didn’t look out of place.
Subs not used: Studer, Fitzpatrick, Hearn, Bingham.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Davies, Hunt, Joyce, Jones, Winnard, Windass, Mingoia, Maguire, Atkinson, Gornell, Conneely. Subs not used: Warner, Buxton, McCartan, Naismith, Goulding, Barry, Crooks.
Chris Foy 7 Had a decent game. The first game involving Mansfield he has ever refereed, as he approaches retirement.