DEFEAT HIGHLIGHTS LACK OF GOALSCORER
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Scunthorpe United
Hayes 9, 74.
Attendance: 4115 (1211 from Scunthorpe)
Date: 11 January 2014
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town were beaten 2-0 at home by leaders Scunthorpe United in a game which highlighted clearly that the Stags are desperately missing a clinical goalscorer. The Stags had three good chances in the opening 7 minutes of the game and wasted them, only for Scunthorpe to take the lead on 9 minutes with a goal from 30 yards by Paul Hayes at a time when Scunthorpe had not had a single player enter the Stags’ penalty area. By half-time, Mansfield had had 6 good chances in an impressive performance while Scunthorpe had barely threatened other than their wonder-goal. Scunthorpe looked more dangerous in the second half but in a half of few chances for either side, they made it 2-0 on 74 minutes as Anthony Howell was outjumped at the far post, the ball was nodded across and no-one was marking Hayes who scored from close range. A rare moment of poor marking in the game from Mansfield. After that, there was no way back and the damage was done in the first half with the missed chances. Overall there was little between the Stags and the top side in the league but goals from striker Paul Hayes proved the difference. Scunthorpe could even afford to leave big money signing Paddy Madden, the top scorer in league one last season, on the bench until the last few minutes. If the Stags are unable to add a quality goalscorer to the squad (a Lee Hughes, Matt Tubbs, Marlon King type of player, or Andre Gray from the Conference), it looks like this could continue to be a relegation-threatened season.
Stagsnet report here
Saturday, 11th January 2014: Mansfield Town 0, Scunthorpe United 2
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Mansfield Town’s mini-revival was halted by a goal in each half by League Two leaders Scunthorpe United as Stags were once again booed from the field after a 10th game without a win at One Call Stadium today.
Unchanged Stags did have their moments in an exciting first half, but trailed at the break to a wonder strike from Paul Hayes on nine minutes.
Mansfield rarely looked like they would come back in a less frenetic second half in which Hayes poached his second from close range to kill off home hopes on 74 minutes.
The game once again underlined exactly what Paul Cox needs to bring into the club in the transfer window, particularly up front.
The in-form Iron had won six and lost two of their previous eight games and brought an army of around 1,200 fans to cheer them on.
Mansfield, meanwhile, were looking to build on their improved form of seven points from the last nine available.
The last times the sides met at Mansfield was back in February 2005 when an Adam Murray goal was all that was needed for a 1-0 win that knocked leaders Scunthorpe off top spot. So Stags were hoping that lighting might twice.
Mansfield might have grabbed a third minute lead from a break down the right by Howell. He laid his final pass perfectly into the path of Rhead to his left and the big striker’s low finish was perfectly placed, low and firm, and brought the best out of Slocombe as he dived full length to his right to tip it round the post.
That brought a corner which was half-cleared. But, as it was lifted back in by Stevenson, Rhead jumped well to divert a header towards the same corner, and again Slocombe was there to make the save.
On seven minutes Stags were close again. This time Rhead nodded down a high Sutton ball into the box and, from on the penalty spot, Mirfin’s challenge was just enough to force Stevenson to blaze a rising shot over the top.
It was a good start by the home side, so it was a shock when the visitors made their first attack on nine minutes and scored an absolute pearler.
A clearance reached Hayes outside the box and he unleashed a memorable, fierce dipping half-volley which soared over Marriott and under the right angle from 25 yards.
The thrills continued as Dempster made a good block on a Hayes shot and then a superb through ball by Clements almost put Stevenson away, the ball rolling through to Slocombe, before Rhead lashed wide from left of goal.
Williams’ run into the left of the home box in 21 minutes saw him evade a lunge from Clements before blazing into the sidenetting.
A Tafazolli tackle saw the ball run the way of Scunthorpe, Sutton happy to head the eventual right wing cross out for the first Scunthorpe corner.
That was cleared to McAllister whose volley from the edge of the box flew high into the stand.
On 27 minutes a Hayes pass put Winnall in down the centre, prodding a finish straight at Marriott as defenders closed in on both sides of him.
Rhead didn’t have the pace to get away from his defender down the centre and, seconds later, he nodded down a great far post Clements cross only to see the ball bounce past Stevenson when the crowd expected the midfielder to shoot.
Ribeiro’s far post cross in 38 minutes almost crept under the far angle, Marriott forced to tip over at the last minute.
When Stags failed to clear properly, Canavan headed onto the top of the net.
A minute later Rhead was only just over with a header from a Jennings free kick.
Clements then set up Jennings for a shot on 43 minutes that was on target but lacked power and was easy for Slocombe.
On 45 minutes Stevenson again had a chance as Rhead and Tafazolli both headed on a Jennings free kick only to see Stevenson snatch at the chance and shoot over the near angle.
A slip by Dempster let in Winnall with only 19 seconds of the second half played, but the striker had run wide on the left and the angle was always against him as he shot across Marriott and wide of the far post.
On 51 minutes the Iron again came close to a killer second as Hawkridge put the ball in from the right and Syers applied the deftest of touches only to see it pass narrowly the wrong side of the post with Marriott beaten.
Stags’ best move of the game saw a string of passes end with Clements finding the feet of Rhead, who controlled well and fired a low shot at Slocombe on 58 minutes.
A minute later a short corner was launched to Mirfin at the far post where his header to Winnall saw the striker head straight at Marriott from eight yards.
On 63 minutes Stags made a double change, bringing off Stevenson and Palmer and sending on Daniel and forgotten man Briscoe.
Stags quickly forced two corners, Dempster seeing a header blocked just in front of the post from the first and the second easily cleared.
Winnall’s 25-yard free kick was straight at the home wall.
But the ball wasn’t cleared and a long cross was launched from the left to the far post where Winnall did well to head the ball back across goal where Hayes buried the bouncing ball from close range.
Clements tried to set up Daniel on the edge of the box, but he was well over with his finish as sections of the home crowd began to vent their anger once again.
STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Dempster, Tafazolli; Westlake, Clements, Stevenson (Daniel 63), Howell, Jennings; Rhead, Palmer (Briscoe 63). Subs: Deakin, Dyer, Beevers, Meikle, Murray.
SCUNTHORPE: Slocombe, Ribeiro, McAllister, Mirfin, Canavan, Hawkridge, Nolan, Syers (Collins 75), Winnall (Madden 88), Williams (Adelakun 79), Hayes. Subs: Sparrow, Esajas, Severn, Waterfall.
REFEREE: Nigel Miller of County Durham.
ATTENDANCE: 4,115 (1,211).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Chris Clements.
Mansfield Town chief must back boss Paul Cox after defeat to league leaders Scunthorpe
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
IF Mansfield truly have a budget that is the third biggest in League, then now is the time for chairman John Radford to back up his words by giving his manager the cash to prove it.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Mansfield-Town-chief-boss-Paul-Cox-defeat-league/story-20434754-detail/story.html#ixzz2qGhGIUG3
The man at the top claimed in the lead up to their clash with top of the table Scunthorpe that the Stags have the kind of money to compete with the best in the division - a claim that raised eyebrows given the absence of any big name signings in the summer.
The incredulity among many hasn't lessened since then either, having observed what has happened during the early days of the January transfer window. While other clubs have been signing players left, right and centre, it's been all quiet on the Western Front at the One Call Stadium.
A quick glance through the teams in League Two shows Accrington have signed Craig Roddan on loan from Liverpool, Bury have agreed deals with no less than four players and extended the loan of goalscorer Daniel Nardiello and Plymouth have captured Jason Banton.
Newport have signed Rene Howe, Northampton have brought in Matty Blair and Sean McGinty on loans, Portsmouth have drafted in strikers Jake Jervis and Ryan Taylor while Oxford have taken on Nicky Wroe and Jonathan Henly.
The list does not stop there by any means, such has been the intensity of activity, with it easier to find those who have not added to their squad than those who have.
But while Mansfield have trimmed their wage bill by releasing Calvin Andrew and John McCombe, extending the loan of Keiran Murtagh at Woking and letting Godfrey Poku join Alfreton on a similar deal, their only transfer dealing is the extension of Darryl Westlake's loan until the end of the season.
You can be sure that manager Paul Cox has been working day and night to try and put in place the right deals for the club. He'll be doing his utmost to secure those two or three players that can really make a difference.
But what he really needs more than anything is for Radford to loosen the purse strings a little to make something happen before Mansfield find themselves sucked into a relegation battle for the remainder of the season.
That's no more so than when it comes to attracting a potent striker to north Nottinghamshire, the like of which has not been seen at the club since Matt Green's summer departure.
All season, this division has been one of fine margins with the teams very closely matched, but it has been that little bit extra in both boxes that has allowed a handful of teams to rise above the others.
Scunthorpe provided a first-hand example of that.
At the start of the season they spent big to bring in the likes of Chris Iwelumo, Deon Burton and Sam Winnall and, on the first day of the season their superior finishing proved pivotal in a 2-0 triumph.
Since then, Paul Hayes, goalscoring midfielder David Syers and Paddy Madden - reportedly signed for a figure close to £300,000 - have been acquired to keep the momentum going, which you suspect will be to great effect come May.
Certainly at the weekend, it was a similar story to the meeting at Glanford Park. Until the visitors scored their killer second to inflict another 2-0 defeat on the Stags, it was just about honours even in terms of opportunities.
But Mansfield were denied by a fine save from Matt Rhead's strike and missed a good chance in the opening seven minutes through Lee Stevenson, while Hayes scored a belter from 25 yards out from absolutely nothing from Scunthorpe's first attack soon after.
The extra notch up in quality told.
Even after that, the Stags looked capable, but Stevenson blazed over and Rhead shot too close to Sam Slocombe before, at the other end, Scunthorpe doubled their advantage to seal victory when Winnall teed up strike partner Hayes for his second.
Of course, it isn't just a striker that Cox's men need to reinvigorate their season. A capable left-sided player should also be high up on the shopping list, and so should another goalkeeper to offer stronger competition to Alan Marriott, as well as a classy central midfielder.
But, for now, it's one step at a time and finding that predatory goal poacher - whether an old head or young starlet - could quickly help to alleviate some of the other problems within the team.
Towards full-time, with Scunthorpe on cruise control and Mansfield having no answers, the crowd had time to digest a tenth home game in all competitions without a win and another display where effort and endeavour outweighed excellence.
There were a few boos at full-time, and a handful of fans made it clear they were not happy that Cox has been told by Radford that his position is safe until the end of the season.
But now's the time for the chairman to back up the moral support he's given to his manager with some practical tools.
And when you're talking about strengthening a football team, that boils down to showing the colour of your money.
REPORT: MANSFIELD 0-2 IRON
Read more at http://www.scunthorpe-united.co.uk/news/article/report-mansfield-0-2-iron-1288050.aspx#gLLZOhhqB0GBuQQX.99
by James Baldwin
The Iron maintained their three point lead at the top of League Two as a Paul Hayes brace gave them a 2-0 win over Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium.
Hayes, who was making his third debut for the club, netted a spectacular opener in the first 10 minutes before adding his second in the closing stages as United registered their third win in succession.
The visiting side displayed a sense of resilience which is beginning to underline their season once again, as they nullified any danger the physical Stags side looked likely to pose while also demonstrating their clinical edge in front of goal when it mattered most.
Russ Wilcox made just one change from the side who beat Rochdale 3-0 on New Year’s Day, Deon Burton’s absence with a calf injury seeing Hayes chosen to partner Sam Winnall in attack.
That meant both Dave Syers and Marcus Williams retained their respective places in the starting line-up, having each completed permanent moves to the club earlier this week following successful loan spells. The Iron bench also featured a potential debutant, with Paddy Madden included in the match-day squad fresh from completing his switch from Championship outfit Yeovil Town on Friday.
Meanwhile, Mansfield manager Paul Cox stuck with the same side which completed a 1-0 victory at Exeter City last weekend as the Stags looked to secure back-to-back league wins for the first time since September.
The hosts started positively, and threatened first in the third minute when Williams was dispossessed by Anthony Howell. The Stags midfielder burst into the penalty-area before slipping the ball inside to Matt Rhead, whose low drive was tipped wide at full-stretch by Slocombe for the first corner of the game - with Slocombe also equal to a headed attempt from Rhead from set-piece.
United found themselves under further pressure four minutes later, with the home side going close to taking the lead once more; a seemingly innocuous high cross into the area caused United problems, and the ball eventually fell to Chris Clements who blazed over from the penalty-spot.
Despite their sluggish start, it would be United who went in front on nine minutes, and it was the returning Hayes who broke the deadlock in stunning style. A long clearance from the Iron saw Sam Winnall use his physicality superbly to chest the ball down to his strike-partner 25 yards from goal. That still left Hayes with much to do, but the forward instinctively turned to strike an emphatic first-time volley into the top-corner beyond the reach of Mansfield goalkeeper Alan Marriot to put United ahead.
Buoyed by that goal, the away side began to push forward with greater confidence as Ribeiro and Nolan looked to support the midfield in wide positions. Such attacking intent would almost be to the Iron’s detriment with quarter of an hour gone however, when Rhead fired a left-footed volley over from just inside the area after the Stags had countered on the visitors.
The United full-backs continued to get forward at every opportunity, and Williams progressed well into the penalty-area following excellent interplay with Hayes in the 23rd minute. Having jinked past a couple of trailing defenders, Williams tried his luck at goal but could only lash into the side-netting from a narrow angle as the Iron looked to increase their early advantage.
The Iron were now enjoying the better of the chances, and three minutes later combative play from Syers won possession in midfield before he cleverly slipped the ball to the advancing Hayes on the right. Hayes carried the ball to the by-line before floating a cross into the area in search of Winnall, only to see it headed behind by the Mansfield defence. From the resultant corner, the ball fell to McAllister 30 yards from goal but his ambitious volleyed effort sliced well over.
Having arguably taken the lead against the run of play, the Iron maintained their sense of authority in the game leading up to the half-hour mark as they won a succession of 50-50 duels in midfield to negate any offensive threat from Mansfield. Such control of the midfield was allowing the likes of Syers and Hawkridge to support Iron attacks, and a cross from the latter on 32 minutes was only just cleared by the Stags back-line.
The attacking adventure of the away side almost came to their cost once again on 36 minutes, when miscommunication between Syers and Canavan on halfway appeared to put Rhead through on goal. Mansfield’s physical target-man had a head-start on the retreating Ribeiro, but United’s right-back responded superbly to race around his opponent and get goal-side to clear the danger.
That did little to deter the Iron from making further pushes forward, with Hawkridge and Winnall each winning a corner within a matter of minutes as half-time loomed. The second set-piece was delivered loosely from the right, allowing Ollie Palmer to carry the ball away for Mansfield. Palmer did brilliantly to work his way onto the brink of the United penalty-area, but a lack of support prevented him from creating a meaningful chance for his side.
They would create a clearer opportunity on 44 minutes, when Jennings’ ball into the area worked its way to Lee Stevenson in the air, who collected on the run before volley over as the hosts tried to get themselves level before the interval. That would be their last opportunity to do so however, with referee Nigel Miller bringing the first-half to an end soon after.
United almost began the second period in dream fashion when Winnall raced onto a through-ball by Syers barely seconds after the resumption of play. Having seen his marker lose his footing as Winnall advanced, the Iron top-scorer found himself suddenly in a one-on-one situation with Marriot, but could only send his left-footed shot wide of the far post from an acute angle.
The home side looked to respond, and in the 50th minute were almost presented with an opportunity when Canavan sliced a clearance up in the air and behind him. It looked to be a situation of real danger for the Iron, but Williams reacted quickly to mop up after his colleague and hammer away.
A minute later, and it was United going close once more; Syers almost doubling their advantage as his flicked effort on the volley skidded narrowly wide as the game began to take on a growing end-to-end theme.
The intensity of the match was giving the Iron back-line little respite, with David Mirfin being forced to keep a keen eye on the dangerous Rhead who was the target of a number of long diagonals launched from the Stags defence. It was Rhead once again who was picked out by his colleagues on 57 minutes - bringing the ball down expertly before firing straight at Slocombe.
United responded, and forced a cheap corner sixty seconds later; the quickly-taken set-piece seeing Hawkridge and McAllister play a swift one-two before the former delivered deep towards the back-post. The cross found the advanced Mirfin, whose header back across goal could only be nodded into the chest of Marriott by an unmarked Winnall from close-range.
Just after the hour mark, Mansfield manager Paul Cox played his hand by introducing Louis Briscoe and Colin Daniel in place of Ollie Palmer and Lee Stevenson in an attempt to manoeuvre a way back into the game for his side. The changes helped make an immediate impact, with James Jennings earning a corner down the left - with Mirfin on hand to head off the line after the set-piece had been met by a Stags attacker deep in the area.
The home side were starting to press deeper and deeper into Iron territory as the game moved past 65 minutes, and Canavan had to be at his best twice in a matter of moments to first head clear a swirling cross before alertly clearing the next delivery from wide. The increase in pressure on the United defence was down largely to the tactical alterations made by Cox, with the Stags beginning to see more of the ball in the final third.
However, the away side still possessed the necessary quality to ride that storm while still posing a danger themselves and on 72 minutes that threat looked likely to come to fruition when a neat passing move culminated in Hawkridge being felled illegally 25 yards from goal.
Winnall’s low free-kick went straight into the wall, but eventually bounced out to Williams on the left. The wide midfielder sent a looping cross to the back-post where Winnall headed back across to the area to Hayes. The front-man swivelled smartly in a packed penalty-area to poke the ball past Marriott from close-range and double United’s lead with his second of the afternoon with just 15 minutes remaining.
Having doubled their advantage, the Iron then looked to immediately consolidate their lead by bringing on Michael Collins in place of the excellent Syers. Next to leave the field for United was the equally impressive Williams, who was replaced by Hakeeb Adelakun on 79 minutes.
Although not simply content to sit back and protect their lead, United struggled to create any clear opportunities in the next 5 minutes, with the home side themselves also finding it difficult to navigate a potential way back into the game. The Stags best opportunity came on 86 minutes when they looked to take advantage of a temporarily stricken McAllister by launching an attack - only to see the central midfielder show typical tenacity to recover to make a crucial tackle.
The following break in play gave Iron boss Russ Wilcox the chance to unleash his latest signing for the final three minutes, as Paddy Madden took to the field in place of Winnall. The recruit from Yeovil would have little time to make his mark however, with United seeing out the remaining time with ease to secure another three points.
The victory sees the Iron continue their incredible run of form under Russ Wilcox, having taken 23 points from a possible 27 since he took charge of first team affairs in mid-November.
Mansfield Town: Marriott; Westlake, Jennings, Tafazolli, Dempster (capt.) Sutton; Clements, Howell, Stevenson (Daniel, 63); Palmer (Briscoe, 63), Read.
Substitutes not used: Deakin, Dyer, Beevers, Meikle, Murray.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe (capt.); Nolan, Mirfin, Canavan, Ribeiro; Williams (Adelakun, 79), McAllister, Syers (Collins, 75), Hawkridge; Hayes, Winnall (Madden, 87).
Substitutes not used: Severn, Sparrow, Esajas, Waterfall.
Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham).
Attendance: 4,115 (1,211 away).
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