UNLUCKY STAGS KNOCKED OUT OF FA CUP BY LATE GOAL
FA Cup Round 1
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Torquay United
Attendance: 2179 (201 from Torquay)
Date: 6 November 2010
by eggy95 at Field Mill
The Stags were unlucky to bow out of the FA Cup to an unimpressive Torquay side today, going down 1-0 to a late Elliot Benyon goal.
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre
Evening Post report: Mansfield Town 0 Torquay 1
A CLINICAL strike three minutes from the end of regulation time by Elliot Benyon saw gallant Mansfield Town knocked out of the FA Cup first round at the hands of League Two Torquay United this afternoon.
The Stags gave a good account of themselves at Field Mill and for much of the game were the equal of their opponents.
But just as the game looked to be heading for a replay at Plainmoor on Tuesday week, United swept the length of the pitch to seal their passage into round two.
The result was a second consecutive home defeat for the Stags, who have now won just one of their last eight matches.
Torquay had the first clear sight of goal in the seventh minute when Benyon got away through the middle but was denied by Kevin Pilkington, who spread himself well.
But the Stags responded as Kyle Nix whipped over a near post free-kick from the right that saw Steve Cook near narrowly wide of the right-hand upright with visiting keeper Scott Bevan caught in no man's land.
It might have been 1-0 to Mansfield in the 14th minute when Louis Briscoe's inviting cross was missed by Mark Ellis but Peter Vincenti did not anticipate that would happen and the opening went begging.
Torquay were forced into a change when Ramone Rose, who came off in their midweek victory over Oxford, was injured and replaced by Billy Kee.
Moments later, a relieved Pilkington grabbed a ricochet off Paul Stonehouse as Simon Grand attempted to clear Chris Zebroski's cross.
Mansfield went close to opening the scoring when Grand steered a low Briscoe centre goalwards, only for Bevan to pull off an excellent reaction stop, diving to his left.
Pilkington made an important interception when he raced off his line to nick the ball off substitute Kee.
And the Stags keeper did well away to beat away a right-foot Kee shot from the edge of the area after he had cut in from the left.
Mansfield's fourth corner saw another opportunity go begging as Nix's perfect delivery saw Grand get in only a glancing header at close quarters when a firm one would have seen the net bulge.
Kyle Nix then failed to truly test Bevan as he did not get the requisite power on his shot from a half-cleared Briscoe cross.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Keigan Parker was desperately unlucky not to put the hosts in front when his free-kick from all 30 yards smacked against the bar with Bevan beaten.
Soon after the restart, Kevin Nicholson had a dip from long range, but Pikington was equal to it.
Three minutes in, Gary Silk was forced off with injury, meaning Steve Foster came on and Steve Cook moved across from the centre to right-back.
Paul Stonehouse was not too far away for Mansfield when he advanced from the half-way line to shoot past the right-hand post from 20 yards.
But the left-back then gave the ball away to Nicky Wroe, meaning he was happy to see the midfielder blast well over the top.
Back came the Stags and Bevan had to tip away a powerful Grand header from Cook's long, near post throw.
And Grand was not too far away with another header flashing past the post from Nix's right-wing corner.
Next to try his luck was Adam Smith whose shot squirmed out of the reach of Bevan, only for Rob Duffy to be adjudged offside from the follow-up.
But Mansfield's hearts were broken when Torquay broke for substitute Darren Stevens to tee up Benyon and he made no mistake with an angled drive into the left-hand corner.
There was still time for Mansfield to hit back in the four minutes of stoppage time added, but the closest they came was a low drive from Briscoe that was gobbled up by Bevan.
Mansfield: Pilkington, Silk, Grand, Cook, Stonehouse, Briscoe, Nix, Murray, Smith, Vincenti, Parker. Subs: Collett, Sandwith, Foster, Thompson, Duffy, Istead, Medley.
Torquay: Bevan, Robertson, Ellis, Charnock, Nicholson, Rose, Mansell, Wroe, Oastler, Zebroski, Benyon. Subs: Potter, Rowe-Turner, Kee, O'Kane, Stevens, Gritton, Hemmings.
Referee: Michael Naylor.
Benyon knocks Stags out of Cup
CHAD report by John Lomas
LUCK continues to elude Mansfield Town as they matched League Two high-flyers Torquay United for much of this home FA Cup first round clash but were undone by a late breakaway goal from Elliott Benyon.
Keigan Parker had rattled the Gulls' crossbar and Simon Grand and Peter Vincenti failed to put away other good chances in a game from which Mansfield at least deserved a replay.
That looked certain with just three minutes to go until Parker gave the ball away on the attack and saw the Gulls break quickly to snatch a win and keep up a fine away record this season in which they have only lost once on the road.
Despite their plucky display, a section of fans again had a go at boss David Holdsworth at the end as their current run extended to one win in eight – a reaction which the manager described as 'unfair' at the end.
The Mansfield side showed four changes from last week's home defeat by Crawley with Rhys Day starting his three game ban for his red card and fellow defender and skipper Steve Foster dropped along with midfielder Tyrone Thompson while striker Paul Connor missed a game for the first time this season through injury.
Simon Grand returned to the side to provide yet another central defensive partnership, this time with fellow loanee Steve Cook, who was passed fit after injury, with Gary Silk back in at right back, Kyle Nix restored to central midfield and Keigan Parker back up front.
Mansfield had the first goal attempt on four minutes as Grand rose well to head wide from Cook's long throw from the right.
Mansell then lashed a headed clearance over the home bar from 20 yards.
Good work from Parker then gave Vincenti a chance to run and he curled an inviting ball across the six yard box to no one.
Pilkington was the first keeper in action on seven minutes getting his body behind a thumping 15-yard effort from Benyon.
Parker then won Stags a free kick near the right corner flag which Nix curled towards the near post and Cook flicked just the wrong side of it.
A minute later Brsicoe crossed in from the right, Hennessy missed his clearance and Vincenti, not expecting the ball to get past the defender, failed to get a touch right in front of goal.
Play continued after Rose stayed down injured 10 yards inside the Mansfield half but, when the ball finally went for a corner, on came the stretcher to take off the stricken forward and on came sub Kee.
Pilkington was back in action soon after to block a ricochet off his own defender after Grand had tried to clear a Zebroski cross but saw it strike his fellow defender and zip back towards goal.
Nix saw the first booking of the game on 23 minutes for a late tackle on Wroe.
United were lucky not to concede a penalty when a defender clearly hauled at Vincenti's shirt in the box but play went on.
Zebroski joined Nix in the book for bringing down Smith.
Then Bevan made a good reaction save on 28 minutes as Briscoe crossed hard and low, Grand turned the ball at goal and it deflected off a defender, forcing Bevan to readjust and flick out and arm to his left.
A long Nicholson throw from the left caused problems as it was allowed to bounce in front of goal before Vincenti headed away.
On 32 minutes Kee tried to sprint clear onto a through ball but Pilkington left his box to narrowly win the race and clear.
Kee caused more problems as he got goalside of Grand and, despite Grand's attempts to retrieve the situation, got away a good low shot that forced Pilkington full length to his left to turn away for a corner.
Grand should have given Stags a 35th minute lead as he rose perfectly for a free header from Nix's left wing corner but got no real purchase on it as the ball skimmed his forehead and didn't even go for a goalkick.
It was the first real chance in a game of half-chances and tight defending.
Nix stabbed a first time effort at Bevan after Parker's cross was only half-cleared and then Kee was twice wide from over 35 yards and then 30 yards at the other end.
Parker came so close two minutes from the break. Taking a free kick centrally from 30 yards, he curled the ball towards the top right hand corner only to hit the crossbar.
Nicholson warmed Pilkington's hands from 30 yards a minute after the restart.
And, before play could restart, Stags suffered a blow as Silk limped off, Foster coming on to play centre half and Cook moved across to right back.
Vincenti had the chance to send Parker away on a counter-attack but delayed too long and was tackled.
Then Stonehouse was a couple of feet wide with a low 30 yard effort.
Stonehouse gave the ball away to set Wroe on a run but he sliced it well over from 25 yards.
Wroe tested Pilkington from 20 yards after connecting with a right wing corner at the second attempt.
Then Grand forced Bevan to save high to his left with a header from a Cook throw a minute later.
Robertson headed just wide from a corner at the near post as the game continued to ebb and flow.
Duffy replaced Vincenti on 65 minutes and immediately Stonehouse had to kick clear a dangerous low Zebroski ball after a menacing run into the left of the home box.
Grand again rose well but was to high with a header from Nix's 73rd minute corner.
Stags then replaced the injured Nix with ex-Torquay midfielder Thompson for the last 16 minutes.
On 80 minutes Smith had a low 25 yard shot parried but, as the bal ran loose, an offside flag halted Duffy as he ran towards it with the goal gaping.
Stevens came on as sub for the Gulls and within seconds was brought down by Cook to earn the Stags loanee a booking.
Encouraged by a slip from Cook, sub Stevens then cut inside the lash a low, skidding shot at goal which Pilkington fumbled round for a corner but was always behind.
But the visitors snatched victory three minutes from the end on a swift counter-attack.
Parker lost the ball high up the field which allowed Wroe to race away. He found Stevens who drew the defence before finding Benyon unmarked to his right and he struck home a superb finish past a helpless Pilkington, also beating a stretching Thompson on the goal line.
Two minutes later another counter-attack saw Pilkington save well from Kee as the Gulls again engineered a spare man in the box.
Grand was added to the book in the last minute for his foul on Zebroski.
Four extra minutes were added on during which Bevan had to get down to cut out a dangerous low Briscoe cross.
But time ran out as Stags' hopes of an FA Cup run ended at the second hurdle, despite a rave showing.
STAGS: Pilkington; Silk (Foster 48), Cook, Grand; Briscoe, Nix (Thompson 74), Murray, A. Smith; Parker, Vincenti (Duffy 65). Subs not used: Collett, Sandwith, Istead, Medley.
TORQUAY: Bevan; Robertson, Ellis, Charnock (O'Kane 83), Nicholson; Wroe, Oastler (Stevens 80), Mansell; Rose (Kee 17), Benyon, Zebroski. Subs not used: Potter, Rowe-Turner, Gritton, Hemmings.
REFEREE: Michael Naylor of Sheffield 8/10.
ATTENDANCE: 2,179 (201 away)
Stags getting there but can ill-afford to take too much longer to hit the right notes
Evening Post considered report by Matt Halfpenny
THERE is undoubted credence to the arguments presented by Mansfield Town's players post-match that they are not too far from getting it right.
But the simple fact is they can ill-afford to take too much longer hitting the right notes if they want to salvage the Stags' faltering season – and keep their manager David Holdsworth in a job.
As has been the case in other matches during this nadir, the Stags failed to take their chances against visitors Torquay United before a late error was seized upon to be punished up the other end.
Right now, at key moments, the team are not delivering, in stark contrast to the early stages of their campaign.
And that is something that must change sooner rather than later if 2010-11 is not to meander along to the same disappointing conclusion as 2009-10.
No wonder Holdsworth is cutting something of a frustrated, irritated and annoyed figure. He knows his squad is capable of much better.
The manager himself explains it as the need to be a little more 'streetwise', as well as to show a little more composure when needed.
Whatever the language used, there is no doubt Mansfield are missing the X-factor that saw them demolish York City 5-0 and Eastbourne 4-0 inside five days not so long ago, while hardly breaking sweat.
At a time when clubs chop and change their managers at the drop of a hat, new chairman John Radford has sensibly refused to follow suit.
Instead, he has re-iterated his intention to keep faith with the man who was in charge when he took over.
Yet having stated his desire to regain a top-five place by Christmas, the clock is ticking, without doubt.
Although in many ways there was no disgrace in losing to a team from League Two, it should be remembered that is exactly what Mansfield are aspiring to become next May.
Looking at it from that point of view, the Stags again came up short, as they did against the likes of AFC Wimbledon and Crawley.
The players protest it is not much to make up, a slice of luck here, a piece of brilliance there.
But it is happening too regularly in their high-profile matches that they are on the wrong side of such margins. If they want to stick around during the Radford revolution, the time is nigh to show they, too, can take games firmly by the scruff of the neck.
One thing the Stags personnel could rightly point to that is not aiding their cause is a spate of players being unavailable.
Having beaten FC Halifax Town 1-0 in the fourth qualifying round, Mansfield went into this one without top scorer Paul Connor (hamstring) and the suspended Rhys Day.
And before the 90 minutes were out, Gary Silk, Peter Vincenti and Kyle Nix were all due for a visit to the treatment table that may or may not prohibit them travelling to Rockingham Road, Kettering tomorrow night.
Mansfield had already faced up to the Gulls with a side showing four changes from that beaten 4-1 by Blue Square Bet Premeir leaders Crawley the previous week.
Out went regular skipper Steve Foster, Tyrone Thompson, Connor and Day and in came Simon Grand, Silk, Nix and Keigan Parker.
The opening exchanges suggested an even and compelling contest – and the first period lived up to that billing.
Grand twice went close for Mansfield, bringing a smart save from Scott Bevan and then missing what appeared to be the simplest of headers.
Peter Vincenti also might have done better from a Louis Briscoe cross, while Parker was desperately unlucky to crash a free-kick from distance against the bar.
For their part, Elliot Benyon and early substitute Billy Kee both had good efforts for Torquay that well saved by Stags' keeper Kevin Pilkington.
After the restart, the visitors stepped up their performance and enjoyed a greater amount of possession.
But Mansfield were still a threat too, with Grand, again, and Adam Smith both denied by Bevan.
United, though, were looking increasingly dangerous on the break, as Kevin Nicholson and Nicky Wroe were among those to keep Pikington on his toes.
But it was the introduction of Danny Stevens that really seemed to spark the Gulls – and he was a central figure in Torquay's late winner.
After Parker had been caught in possession, the substitute was set free down the left channel and cut across the box before threading through for Benyon.
The striker took his time before rifling an angled shot from the right-hand side of the area just inside the left-hand post.
Come the full-time whistle, it was Holdsworth who was once more getting it in the neck as Mansfield fell to their third home defeat in four matches and their run stretched to just one win in eight games.
Yet the former Sheffield United man can no longer lace up his boots and put things right himself.
Now he needs a bit of help from those he sends out to represent him.
Match facts: Mansfield Town v Torquay United
Mansfield: Pilkington, Silk (Foster 48), Grand, Cook, Stonehouse, Briscoe, Nix (Thompson 74), Murray, Smith, Vincenti (Duffy 65), Parker. Subs not used: Collett, Sandwith, Istead, Medley.
Torquay: Bevan, Robertson, Ellis, Charnock (O'Kane 83), Nicholson, Rose (Kee 17), Mansell, Wroe, Oastler (Stevens 80), Zebroski, Benyon. Subs not used: Potter, Rowe-Turner, Gritton, Hemmings.
Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).
Goals: Torquay: Benyon (87).
Attendance: 2,179 (201 visitors)
Shots on target: Mansfield 5 Torquay 8.
Shots off target: Mansfield 5 Torquay 6.
Fouls: Mansfield 7 Torquay 4.
Corners: Mansfield 7 Torquay 5.
Offsides: Mansfield 3 Torquay 2.
Bookings: Mansfield 3 (Nix, 23, foul on Wroe; Cook, 82, foul on Stevens; Grand, 90, foul on Zebroski) Torquay 1 (Zebroski, 26, foul on Smith).
Sendings off: Mansfield 0 Torquay 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Simon Grand. There were eye-catching performances from the likes of Paul Stonehouse and Louis Briscoe, but Grand pushed his claims for a regular berth in the centre of defence with a solid showing after being recalled for the suspended Rhys Day.
Late Benyon strike produces lucrative outcome for United
Torquay Herald, By david thomas email@example.com
BANANA SKIN — what banana skin? Elliot Benyon's eighth goal of the season finished off Conference hopefuls Mansfield Town and carried Torquay United into the Second Round of the FA Cup with the minimum of fuss as the first chill of winter hit Field Mill on Saturday.
Benyon's winner, in the 87th minute, crowned an incisive 80-yard counter-attack between Gulls substitutes Eunan O'Kane and Danny Stevens.
It was that quality from the 'bench' which proved the all-important, and lucrative, difference between the sides.
On the day, with prizemoney and their share of the receipts, United should have cleared £25,000.
And although they've lost next week's Sky Sports game against Barnet (TV fee £30,000) — the Bees are unavailable now because of their replay at Charlton — this was the second-best outcome that the weekend had on offer.
Round Two prizemoney of £27,000 is not to be sniffed at, plus the gate money.
You can seldom win a cup-tie like this one in the first half, but you can certainly lose it.
So, faced with a Mansfield side full of ex-League players still hopeful of regaining the club's former status in the near future, United manager Paul Buckle set his team up 4-5-1.
Kieran Charnock and Chris Robertson were both recalled to the back-four. Guy Branston (calf) and Lloyd Macklin (suspended) dropped out.
The orders were to give nothing away in defence and midfield, with wingers Romone Rose and Chris Zebroski encouraged to support lone striker Benyon as best they could.
Of course, an early goal would have been ideal, and Benyon nearly grabbed it in the seventh minute.
Running onto a Zebroski flick, United's leading scorer shook off defender Steve Cook, bore down on Kevin Pilkington, only for the veteran goalie to come off his line and parry the shot.
As expected, the Stags were visibly up for it, on loan Stevenage forward Peter Vincenti and experienced striker Keigan Parker full of threat.
But United were holding their own in a surprisingly open tie when they were forced to change things as early as the 16th minute.
On-loan winger Romone Rose had a bright start cut short in the midweek league win at Oxford, when he was sacrificed in the wake of Macklin's early dismissal.
On Saturday he was unceremoniously dumped after 12 minutes.
Rose gamely tried to run off a painful ankle knock before admitting defeat four minutes later. He was stretchered off.
Buckle sent on striker Billy Kee, he joined Benyon up front and 4-5-1 became 4-4-2.
It may have been a case of Plan B, but Kee's arrival did give Mansfield's back-four a bit more to think about.
Kee, keen to follow up his first goal for the club in midweek, certainly put himself about.
He was prepared to shoot almost on sight and, in the 33rd minute, nearly scored from a left-wing move between Benyon, Kevin Nicholson and Nicky Wroe.
Kee cut in from the left touchline, past two defenders, and unleashed a 20-yard shot which Pilkington just tipped round the post.
The combination of Kee and Benyon may have given United added threat up front, but the loss of Rose unbalanced their midfield for a while.
Zebroski, Wroe, Lee Mansell and Joe Oastler are all right-footers, and Wroe had to be pressed into service as a 'left winger'. Understandably, he was a pretty conservative one.
For the last 15 minutes of the first half Mansfield turned up the heat.
Scott Bevan, who had another fine match in United's goal, pulled off an outstanding close-range save from Parker on a Louis Briscoe cross. Mansell completed the clearance.
Stags defender Simon Grand headed a good chance wide from a Kyle Nix corner.
And in the 43rd minute, after a Wroe foul on Adam Smith, Parker curled a 30-yard free-kick over the Gulls' wall, against the bar and away.
At the interval Mansfield must have fancied their chances, if they could put United on the back foot early in the second half, and keep them there.
Instead, to their credit, it was Torquay who moved up a gear.
In the 47th minute Pilkington had to adjust at the last moment to hold a swerving 30-yard free-kick by Nicholson.
Town had to reshuffle at the back, with evergreen centre half Steve Foster on for the injured Gary Silk.
And moments later Wroe put in a good break through the middle, cut back on his right foot and fired over with Kee, Benyon and Zebroski all calling for the ball.
It may have been a missed opportunity — Wroe did have another effort saved in the 55th minute — but it certainly sent out the right messages.
United were not playing for a replay.
Benyon had a goalbound header deflected behind on Nicholson's free-kick, and Robertson headed a Nicholson corner just wide of the near post.
The tackles started flying in as both teams realised that the tie was well and truly on the line, Oastler and former United midfielder Adam Murray having a decent scrap in midfield.
Grand headed a Nix corner wide for Town, but there was no doubt which side was on top.
United looked increasingly secure in defence, where Charnock had made a no-nonsense return, and they started to dominate in midfield.
Mansfield sent on striker Rob Duffy for Vincenti and then ex-Gull Tyrone Thompson for Nix, but it was Buckle who was able to make two match-winning substitutions in the 80th and 82nd minutes.
Oastler had worked hard, especially good in the air, but Stevens took over from him, going to the left wing and allowing Wroe to join Mansell in the middle.
Charnock had been feeling effect of his first senior match for some time, trying to stretch off his calves at every break in play, so Buckle then took him off, sent on O'Kane in midfield, switched right-back Robertson into the middle with Mark Ellis and Mansell to right-back.
Five minutes from time Wroe slipped Stevens away with a pass inside the full-back, Stevens cut back to beat Cook, let fly and Pilkington pushed his shot round his near post.
In the 87th minute United won the match, and in some style.
They cleared a Mansfield corner, O'Kane picking up the ball deep in his own half.
The young Ulsterman quickly realised that Mansfield had left themselves short at the back and the break was on.
Stevens was available on the left, but O'Kane drove down the middle of the pitch and drew a retreating defender before releasing the ball to him.
Stevens cut back into the middle, decided that a pass to Benyon on the right was a better option than a shot, and delivered.
Benyon's first touch actually narrowed the angle more than he might have liked. But, with Pilkington trying desperately to close him down, the United striker finished with a firm, low right-foot shot under the goalie…1-0.
It was a smart finish to a high-class move.
In stoppage time Kee nearly made it 2-0, Pilkington parrying his full-blooded shot.
Mansfield were beaten, and they knew it.
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