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Season 16/17 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League Trophy - Checkatrade Trophy
Port Vale  
0 - 1
 Mansfield Town
 
 Green 66
Attendance: 1025 (61 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 4 October 2016

STAGS PICK UP CONFIDENCE BOOSTING WIN IN EFL TROPHY

Martin Shaw at Vale Park

Mansfield Town picked up a confidence boosting win at Vale Park this evening with Matt Green’s goal on 66 minutes enough to beat Port Vale in the second game of the Checkatrade Trophy group stages. Vale are currently in the play-off positions in League One. Green had looked low on confidence since his winner at Leyton Orient in August but came off the bench here on 63 minutes and with his third touch he had the ball in the back of the net. He won a header with his first touch, he set up a chance with his second touch for Tom Marriott who had a shot blocked. He scored with his third touch. Jamie McGuire won the ball on the halfway line and knocked the ball over the top and down the line on the left for Mal Benning, Benning crossed low into the middle, the ball shanked off centre half Calvin Macintosch who tried to clear and deflected the ball perfectly into the path of Green who slotted into the net from 7 yards. Dare I say that the deflection off Macintosch perfectly into the path of Green was the little bit of luck that the Stags haven’t been getting in front of goal all season. Mansfield never really looked like being breached after that and saw the game out for a relatively comfortable 1-0 win. The first half was pretty even. Two notable chances for either side. For Port Vale Rigino Cicilia was through on goal on the left after Krystian Pearce gave the ball away and brought a good save from Scott Shearer tipping away. Then a rare mistake by Lee Collins, playing against his former club for whom he made 160 appearances, caught in possession on the halfway line, Cicilia broke forward and Collins was got out of jail by great defending from Krystian Pearce. At the other end two glorious chances for the Stags, both created by Mal Benning, who had another good game here. First Benning’s great cross found CJ Hamilton in the middle, Hamilton’s first touch was terrific to set up a chance for himself, but he blazed over with his second touch. Then Benning crossed in again, another great cross, on a plate for Darius Henderson who headed wide from 4 yards when he certainly should have got it on target. So a third good away performance from Mansfield in 7 days, this time picking up a win rather than a draw and perhaps just getting that bit of lady luck not available previously, though in my opinion this was a deserved victory. Mansfield pick up £10,000 in prize money for the victory, not to be sniffed at. But the biggest plus of the evening was undoubtedly Matt Green who scored and then played excellently, looking a confident man, winning headers and always in control of the ball. Overall plenty of players did well, the defence always looked in control, apart from a couple of isolated errors in the first half. Oscar Gobern played very well in central midfield alongside Chris Clements including several good headers away from set pieces, and showed bits of class on the ball, Hemmings and Hamilton had better games than previously. 17 year old Tom Marriott made his debut for Mansfield, playing the first 70 minutes, in an offensive role on the right, and he did really well. I had been impressed with him in pre-season (including that great free kick to set up a goal at Carlton) and was again here. So the Stags go into the huge local derby with Notts County on Saturday lunchtime in good spirits after 3 good away performances. One funny moment I have to mention. Scott Shearer came out of his area to clear the ball into touch in the second half, the ball came straight into the press box, and Stags media & communications assistant Matt Joule, who runs the club twitter feed on a matchday, and who joined me for full match commentary of the away game at Plymouth, rose from his seat to head the ball back into play. Absolutely priceless and such a shame that it was out of view of the video camera from the TV gantry. I recall we had a similar incident in the game at Exeter last season when Stags fan Jake Allsop headed the ball back into play from the terrace and fortunately we did get that on video.

It was Mansfield’s first visit to Port Vale for 14 seasons, just as it was at Crewe on Saturday.

Mansfield made 5 changes from the side that drew at Crewe in the league. The goalkeeper, defence and midfielder Chris Clements stayed in the team. Then in came Gobern, Hemmings, Hamilton, Henderson and young Tom Marriott. Hamilton joined Henderson up front, with Marriott on the right wing and Hemmings on the left. Alex Iacovitti was away for this game by the way, and also for the Notts County game on Saturday, with the Scotland U21 squad. Corbin Shires is back from his loan at Bradford Park Avenue, as a new manager came in, the loathsome Mark Bower (who disgraced himself as manager of Guiseley last season in a game against Braintree), and Bower brought in some of his own players, thus jettisoning Shires. Shires was on the bench here.

Port Vale made 6 changes from the side that lost to Coventry on Saturday.

It was a small crowd, as expected, given the general dissatisfaction with the tournament. It will be astonishing if the format is the same next year. Before the first game in the EFL Trophy against Doncaster Rovers, I wrote extensively on Stagsnet and in the CHAD why I thought the whole idea of the EFL Trophy this season is flawed, but why I thought we will not see Premier League U23 sides in the Football League in the future. Subsequently, the EFL has indeed confirmed that it has completely ruled out the possibility of including Premier League U23 teams in the Football League as part of its Whole Game Solution. The EFL though is still considering restructuring to 4 divisions of 20 clubs because the clubs are playing too many games. That’s utter nonsense in my opinion especially given the ludicrous inclusion of extra games in the EFL Trophy this season.

It was a pleasant evening in Burslem, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms. Slightly cooler than of late. The pitch is massive at Port Vale. I haven’t checked dimensions but it must be as big as any anywhere, including Wembley.

The Stags started the game on the front foot. Inside the first 2 minutes, Hemmings got forward down the left, then Benning got forward down the left. On 6 minutes, good vision from Clements with a ball forward to Henderson. Henderson was just offside and fired the ball into the empty stand anyway.

Moments later, Hamilton showed his tremendous pace beating his defender despite the defender having a 5 yard start, but the ball just skipped through to the keeper.

Gobern was booked on 8 minutes. He got caught in possession on the halfway line and fouled his man to stop him getting away.

A chance for Port Vale on 9 minutes. Rigino Cicilia was through on goal on the left after Krystian Pearce gave the ball away and Cicilia brought a good save from Shearer tipping away to his left with his fingertips for a corner. At least a corner was given, but on review of the video, Shearer did not actually get a touch to it!

On 12 minutes, Tavares fired over the bar from 25 yards.

Another chance for Vale on 16 minutes. A rare mistake by Lee Collins, playing against his former club for whom he made 160 appearances, caught in possession on the halfway line, Cicilia broke forward and Collins was got out of jail by great defending from Krystian Pearce who held Cicilia off and shepherded out for a goalkick.

On 24 minutes, Benning crossed from the left, Marriott was free at the right post, but the keeper intercepted. Then a minute later, Henderson nodded down and Gobern fired just over the bar from 25 yards.

A glorious chance for the Stags on 29 minutes. Benning’s great cross found CJ Hamilton in the middle, Hamilton’s first touch was terrific to set up a chance for himself, but he blazed over with his second touch.

On 38 minutes, Collins did well to close the tricky winger Kiko down on the edge of the area.

Another glorious chance for the Stags on 42 minutes. Great play from Benning on the left, he crossed in, another great cross, on a plate for Darius Henderson who headed wide from 4 yards when he certainly should have got it on target.

On 45+1 minutes, Benning was 25 yards from goal, but instead of shooting, he tried to tee up Henderson and the chance was gone. You’d love to see Benning shooting from there.

An even half, two good chances for each side, Mansfield’s the better chances, and Mansfield more than holding their own against a League One team in the play-off zone, albeit with both teams having changed half of their side from the weekend.

Half time 0-0

On 47 minutes, a free kick for Vale 27 yards out, to the left of centre, taken by Pereira, and Shearer pushed it away low to his right.

On 50 minutes, Benning took a free kick short to Clements whose shot from 30 yards was blocked. Then moments later, Clements crossed in from the right, it hit a defender and bounced luckily straight to the keeper.

Shearer was out of his area on the left on 51 minutes, heading into touch!

On 57 minutes, Hemmings gave the ball away, and sub Shalaj cut in from the right and fired a foot over the bar. On 59 minutes, Cicilia got into the area, turned inside and Bennett blocked his shot.

McGuire replaced Clements on 61 minutes.

On 62 minutes, Hamilton got down the left, but his cross was deflected to the keeper. At the other end a minute later, a high ball into the Stags box, Cicilia couldn’t quite get to it.

Green replaced Henderson on 63 minutes. He won a header with his first touch. On 66 minutes, he set up a chance with his second touch, pulling the ball back for Tom Marriott who had a shot blocked.

Green scored with his third touch. Jamie McGuire won the ball on the halfway line and knocked the ball over the top and down the line on the left for Mal Benning, Benning crossed low into the middle, the ball shanked off centre half Calvin Macintosch who tried to clear and deflected the ball perfectly into the path of Green who slotted into the net from 7 yards. Dare I say that the deflection off Macintosch perfectly into the path of Green was the little bit of luck that the Stags haven’t been getting in front of goal all season.

On 69 minutes, Green won a free kick about 6 inches outside the area on the left. Benning tried to take the free kick inside the area but the referee was having none of it! Benning took the free kick but it was well over the bar.

Mitch Rose replaced Tom Marriott on 70 minutes. He had not looked out of place.

Then on 70 minutes that funny moment I mentioned. Scott Shearer came out of his area to clear the ball into touch, the ball came straight into the press box, and Stags media & communications assistant Matt Joule, who runs the club twitter feed on a matchday, and who joined me for full match commentary of the away game at Plymouth, rose from his seat to head the ball back into play. Absolutely priceless and such a shame that it was out of view of the video camera from the TV gantry.

On 71 minutes, a free kick on the right for Vale, an excellent inswinging delivery from Kiko, but Pearce stretched out a leg to hook the ball away brilliantly.

Gobern headed away twice from set pieces in quick succession.

On 80 minutes, Hamilton had space on the left but wasted it with a poor cross. At the other end on 84 minutes, Collins brilliantly shepherded out for a goal kick.

Green was looking in top form, winning all his headers and on 86 minutes more great play from him, as he won a free kick down the left.

Gobern was walking a tightrope on 88 minutes. Already booked in the first half, he was late with a tackle on 88 minutes. The referee gave him a final warning. Moments later, Hart shot well wide from 30 yards.

A silly booking for Hemmings on 90+1 minutes, kicking the ball away after a free kick was given.

Then Pearce and Bennett respectively cleared away two crosses.

The Stags had a deserved victory.

Mansfield’s final game in the group stage of this competition is at Pride Park against Derby County U23 next month. I notice Derby had a few first teamers playing last night against Doncaster.

Man of the match: Mal Benning

Report by: Martin Shaw at Vale Park



Line Up:
(4-4-2)
Shearer 7 Good save from Pereira just after half time. Out of his box quickly twice to clear.
Bennett 7 Defended well, with good clearances and blocks.
Pearce 7 Bad error giving the ball away early on leading to a chance. But several pieces of great defending after that.
Collins 7 Bad mistake in the first half allowing Cicilia to break forward, but very good other than that.
Benning 8 Defended well, and some great crosses especially in the first half.
Marriott 7 Impressive debut from the 17 year old. One shot that was on target and blocked. Won several free kicks.
Gobern 8 Played very well in central midfield including several good headers away from set pieces, and showed bits of class on the ball.
Clements 7 Quieter than recent games, but did well. Good vision early on to put Henderson through though Henderson was offside.
Hemmings 6.5 Good game. One bad mistake giving the ball away allowing a chance for Shalaj.
Hamilton 7 Showed good pace on several occasions. One good chance when his first touch was terrific to set up a chance for himself, but he blazed over with his second touch.
Henderson 6 Won some good headers. Missed a great chance put on a plate for him by Benning.
Sub Line Up:
McGuire (for Clements, 61 mins) -
Green (for Henderson, 63 mins) -
M.Rose (for Marriott, 70 mins) -
Subs not used: Jensen, Shires, Hurst, D.Rose.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Santos; Purkiss, MacIntosch, Smith, Hart; Tavares (Shalaj, 46), Amoros, Pereira, Kiko (Mbamba, 85); Jones, Cicilia. Subs not used: Pickering, Dennis, Brown, Haughton, Ferguson.
Referee:
Michael Salisbury 7 Good game, rarely noticed.


Season 16/17 Reports