STAGS OUTCLASSED BY SHEFF U BUT THEN HOLD OWN
STAGS OUTCLASSED BY SHEFF UTD IN 1ST HALF BUT HOLD OWN IN 2ND HALF
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Sheffield United
Attendance: 1912 (691 from Sheffield United)
Date: 20 July 2013
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town were outclassed by a hugely impressive Sheffield United side in the first half of this encounter and could have been more than 1-0 down at the break, the goal coming after just 2 minutes. But in the second half, Mansfield got right into the game and comfortably held their own, which was impressive given the quality of the visitors. The Stags won’t come up against opposition as good as this in the league and this was a useful workout. After the game, manager Cox was happy with the way things are progressing, but continues to realise that he needs a quality striker to come into the squad. Trialists Nathan Arnold and Amari Morgan-Smith played the second half and Paul Cox will continue to consider whether to offer them contracts.
Paul Cox made three changes from the starting XI against Peterborough, with Paul Black coming in for James Jennings who was ill with food poisoning, Murtagh in for McGuire, and Speight in for Stevenson.
Stagsnet report here
Mansfield Town 0 Sheffield United 1 - 20th July 2013
chad.co.uk report by by Stephen Thirkill
LACKLUSTRE Mansfield Town slipped to a 1-0 friendly defeat against Sheffield United on Saturday following a disappointing performance.
A solitary goal from the impressive Febian Brandy was enough to secure the win as the promotion-chasing Blades maintained their unbeaten pre-season.
The visitors bossed the entire first half and looked comfortable throughout as their slick passing and movement proved too much for the unusually flat home side.
Stags, who had enjoyed confidence-boosting wins over Chester and Peterborough United, earlier in the week, never really threatened and can count themselves lucky that the margin of defeat was not bigger.
Murphy, Porter and McDonald all wasted superb chances to extend United’s lead during the second half as the League One side continued to look the most likely to score.
Paul Cox made five changes at half-time and continued to ring the changes throughout the second 45 mins as Stags looked to get back into the game.
Mansfield looked marginally better in the second half, with Murray, Stevenson, Meikle and Morgan-Smith added some much needed creativty and industry.
Stevenson and Morgan-Smith both tested Long in the Blades goal in the closing stages, but it was not enough to earn a share of the spoils.
Mansfield will now be looking for a response when they make the short trip to Rainworth on Tuesday night.
Mansfield started confidently when Matt Rhead turned well to latch on to a Lee Beevers ball before unleashing a shot just wide from 20 yards after just 18 seconds.
The Blades responded well when Jamie Murphy found space on the edge of the box before warming the hands of Alan Marriott with his effort.
The visitors then took the lead after five minutes when Daryl Westlake broke well down the right flank before picking out Febian Brandy.
Brandy then turned Paul Black to create half a yard of space and fire past the helpless Marriott from six yards out.
Sheffield United continued to boss midfield with some slick passing and good movement off the ball.
The lively Murphy was next to threaten after 10 minutes for the League One side with a free-kick from 23 yards which was comfortably held by Alan Marriott.
Marriott had to be alert again after 13 minutes when another well worked move from the Blades ended with goalscorer Brandy firing at the Stags shot-stopper from a narrow angle.
It should have been 2-0 on 30 minutes after McDonald’s long hopeful ball over the top somehow found Chris Porter in acres of space inside the box.
But Marriott superbly turned Porter’s powerful shot over the bar to save the blushes of the sleeping Mansfield defence.
Murphy should have done better a minute later when he galloped down the left flank after United split the backtracking Stags defence.
But Murphy sent a low tame shot into the hands of Marriott when a pass to the free Brandy seemed the best option.
Porter then sprung the offside trap on 35 minutes before picking out the rampant Murphy, who saw his firmly hit drive blocked for a corner as United continued to turn up the heat.
Porter then headed just wide from Westlake’s well worked corner as the home side struggled to hang on.
Michael Doyle was the next to try his luck with a good effort from 30 yards as shots continued to rain down on Marriott’s goal.
Furious boss Paul Cox made five half-time changes, bringing on Murray, Pilkington, Arnold, Morgan-Smith and Lee Stevenson as last season’s BSP champions looked to get back into the game.
But it was Sheffield United who continued where they had left off at the start of the second half with Murphy and Brandy again combining well to cause bother down the left wing after 53 minutes.
United then wasted a glorious chance to double their lead on 57 minutes after Murphy went on a surging run through the middle before teeing up Brandy wide on the right.
Brandy neatly cut the ball back into the path of McDonald who dragged his shot well wide from 12 yards as everyone in the stadium expected to see the net bulge.
Stags registered their first real attempt of the match after 66 minutes when Arnold picked out McGuire who, despite stretching, managed to bring out the best in George Long in the visiting goal.
Mansfield won a free-kick on the edge of the Blades box seconds later after Morgan-Smith was hacked down as the home side finally began to find some much-needed spark.
But Morgan-Smith was unable to keep the free-kick down and fired high over the bar.
Stevenson then saw a close range effort blocked by the legs of Long after Meikle had used his pace and trickery to work an opening.
Subsitute Jasper Johns fired a firmly struck shot a couple of yards wide following a good counter attack by the visitors on 73 minutes.
The game then heated up after a massive scuffle broke out on the Sheffield United bench after a Stags player and a visiting substitute squared up before other players piled in.
John Dempster headed over a pacey Murray free-kick after 78 minutes as Stags pressed for the equaliser.
It was the last real chance for Mansfield as Sheffield United comfortably saw out the game
Mansfield 0-1 Blades - report
Febian Brandy scored his first goal in a Blades shirt to secure another morale-boosting victory for David Weir's team.
Read more at http://www.sufc.co.uk/news/article/20130720-mansfield-report-932441.aspx?#m5dj1y9ehyQ4SDDv.99
Very early into the game, the striker skilfully netted at the near post after controlling Darryl Westlake's right-wing cross.
The victory, attended by 691 Blades fans, also saw Lyle Taylor make his debut, playing the last 30 minutes after replacing Chris Porter.
Unitedites who made the trip to Field Mill saw Long in action for the first time this season, the teenage goalkeeper was given additional holiday time this summer after being part of England's U20s World Cup squad. Additionally, new signing Taylor was amongst the substitutes.
There was a nervous moments for Long within 15 seconds when he watched an effort from Howell drift past a post but the Blades were quickly on the offensive. Murphy had already tested the handling of Marriott before the initiative was seized on three minutes.
McDonald found Westlake on the right and his subsequent purposeful near post cross found BRANDY, who turned away from his marker to make space for a shot, which found the target between the legs of the Mansfield goalkeeper.
Marriott was then called upon to hold a Murphy free-kick and another Brandy shot, whilst the goalkeeper was credited with getting a touch to a Porter effort after the big striker had been expertly found by McDonald's crossfield pass.
Once again Marriott saved from Murphy as the one-sided half continued, whilst a deflection prevented Murphy getting on the scoresheet on 34 minutes and then Porter headed wide a Westlake cross.
Doyle shot at the goalkeeper but Mansfield's only serious forays into United's half was the first and last efforts of the half, the final one saw Williams around to cover to prevent Speight latching on to a Rhead pass.
The Blades were first to show in the second period and an impressive move almost brought a goal when Murphy's run enabled Brandy to lay-off for McDonald to curl just wide, whilst before the hour Taylor was introduced for his debut and Johns was given another chance to shine.
Mansfield, however, hit back with three efforts in four minutes midway through the half. Long tipped away a McGuire shot and Dyer's free-kick flew over the bar. A number of ricochets then presented an opportunity for Stevenson but Long adjusted well to parry away from the danger area.
Substitutes Johns and Taylor both had shots, the latter stinging the palms of Marriott, and although United were not as fluent as the first half, the visitors still held the upper hand.
Late on Long was off his line quickly to deny Dyer but the Blades comfortably held out to maintain the unbeaten pre-season run.
Stags: Marriott, Beevers, Black, Dempster, McCombe, Murtagh, Speight, Clucas, Daniel, Howell, Rhead.
Subs: Riley, McGuire, Dyer, Meikle, Hutchinson, Stevenson, Clements, Pilkington, Sutton, Tafazolli, Murray, Arnold.
Blades: Long, Westlake, Maguire, Collins, Williams, McGinn, Doyle (Whitehouse 81), McDonald, Brandy (McFadzean 76), Murphy (Johns 59), Porter (Taylor 59).
Unused: Howard, Whitehouse, Hill, McGinty.
Attendance: 1,912 (691 away fans)
Latest | July 2013