JOY & RELIEF FOR STAGS WITH HOME WIN AT LAST
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 1 Southend United
Clucas 35, Jennings 64. Leonard 90+5.
Attendance: 3055 (484 from Southend)
Date: 8 February 2014
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town won a game at home for the first time in 4.5 months thanks to goals from Sam Clucas and James Jennings against promotion-chasing Southend. The Stags had been without a win in 9 home league games, which was just two short of the club record of 11, set in 1959. Mansfield have been denied points several times in injury time this season and fought their way into a two goal lead on this occasion, which proved crucial when Southend scored 5 minutes into injury time. But with only seconds to play after that goal, victory was assured and well-deserved too after what was a good performance in difficult conditions. Clucas put the Stags in front on 35 minutes as he brilliantly controlled a Riley clearance 25 yards from goal, made progress down the left and fired under the keeper from 10 yards. Mansfield had two other good chances in the first half as Clucas volleyed at the keeper from a brilliant Westlake cross on 12 minutes and Tafazolli headed over from a corner on 45+1. The Stags got a deserved second goal on 64 minutes as a corner from Clements from the left was headed goalwards by Matt Rhead, it was blocked by the keeper and Jennings was there to stab the ball home from close range. Joy for Jennings at his first goal for the club. Southend hit the bar on 72 minutes and then were reduced to ten men on 80 minutes as substitute Conor Clifford went straight through Rhead in front of the dugout and was immediately shown a red card. With almost the last kick of the game, Southend pulled a goal back as Leonard’s daisycutter from 20 yards somehow nestled into the bottom left corner. With only 10 seconds to play, it mattered not and the Stags deservedly had the points. Despite the windy conditions, this was an entertaining performance from the Stags who continued to play the ball on the floor as they have been doing in recent weeks.
Stagsnet report here
Saturday, 8th February 2014: Mansfield Town 2 Southend United 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Mansfield Town ended their home misery at last with a gutsy 2-1 victory over promotion-chasing Southend United in strong, swirling winds at One Call Stadium.
Goals in each half from Sam Clucas and James Jennings sealed their first home win in 12 outings, United also having sub Conor Clifford sent off 10 minutes from time before they grabbed a late consolation through Ryan Leonard with almost the final kick.
Stags had not won at home since 21st September while Southend arrived eight unbeaten and only one loss in 15 League outings.
The game’s quality was never going to be high in those conditions, but Stags again played some good football at times and gained their just desserts in the end.
Ryan Tafazolli had a superb game in defence while Anthony Howell and Matt Rhead were also up there in the man of the match chase.
United did hit the woodwork twice and also had a couple of decent penalty shouts turned down. But they could have few complaints over 90 minutes in the end as they looked a pale shadow of the side that beat Stags 3-0 at Roots Hall earlier in the season in a game in which they had a man sent off and Stags finished with nine men.
Stags have now lost just once in eight games and now face another home game on Tuesday with Bury the visitors.
Mansfield’s starting XI was unchanged. But, with Lee Beevers out with a dislocated shoulder, he was replaced on the bench by Ben Hutchinson, who is fit again after injury.
Stags began the afternoon playing with the strong wind though it swirled badly, neither side threatening until the eighth minute when Rhead was caught offside as he tried to latch onto a Stevenson through ball.
But Clucas almost grabbed Stags a 12th minute lead. He sneaked through a square defence and, onside and with only Bentley to beat from five yards, saw the keeper beat away his first time finish from Westlake’s right wing cross.
The visitors hit back with a couple of corners, which were defended, and Marriott was then out of his box well to kick clear before Hurst could reach a flick-on.
On 19 minutes Corr went shoulder to shoulder with Riley chasing a long through ball down the centre and Corr finally went down under the defender’s challenge in the box, no penalty awarded.
Seconds later the ball caught on the wind in favour of Leonard who shaped to test Marriott from six yards only for Tafazolli to stretch out a leg and nick it away from him.
Phillips was relieved when his clearance, that struck the blocking Stevenson, flew straight to Bentley.
Rhead then shot straight at the keeper from 16 yards after a long Jennings free kick dropped for him.
Neither side was able to get a grip on proceedings in the conditions, Stevenson next to try his luck on 32 minutes but bundling a 20-yard shot well over.
But a poor game sprang to life on 35 minutes as Mansfield went ahead.
Riley hooked a long ball forward from his own half and Clucas gave chase, outpacing two defenders and, despite a tight angle on the left, managed to slot a firm, low finish underneath Bentley’s dive for his 12th of the season.
Barnard screamed hopefully for a penalty on 40 minutes as he went down in a melee in the home box, but nothing was given and frustrated skipper White then hacked down Clucas to earn a yellow card.
A Clements free kick was headed out for Mansfield’s first corner of the game on 44 minutes. That was headed towards goal by Tafazolli, Coker just able to clear for a second corner almost on the goal line.
Clements needed three attempts to steady the ball for a free kick as it blew away in the wind. When it finally went in it was headed away for a corner.
That was sent in by Jennings in the one minute of added time and Tafazolli was offered a free header seven yards from goal which he went over the bar.
It was a cushion Stags desperately needed on a foul afternoon and a chance you hoped they wouldn’t come to rue later on.
United came back out on the front foot, Stags having to defend a couple of corners.
The Shrimpers also threatened on a breakaway which saw Leonard show superb pace only to see his final ball float harmlessly behind for a goal kick.
Stags were furious when Clucas was twice given offside inside 60 seconds, both looking very dubious decisions.
Jennings then brought down Leonard on 55 minutes on the right to earn a booking.
The free kick was pulled back low into the box, Corr dummied and let it run to Barnard who swept a low first time finish wide from almost on the penalty spot
It was the visitors’ first attempt on goal in the game and came after 56 minutes.
Barnard followed through with his challenge on Riley after the defender had cleared the ball on 62 minutes which saw the game’s third yellow card produced.
The visitors made a double change on 63 minutes, but a minute later Mansfield doubled their advantage.
Clements curled in a left wing corner which Rhead headed at goal. Bentley was in the way but failed to hold it and Jennings was on hand to ram the loose ball high into the net from point blank range for his first goal for the club.
The home fans were now loudly behind their side and Clements zipped a powerful shot over from 25 yards.
United almost pulled one back on 72 minutes as Marriott left his line to punch a cross clear and Clifford tried to lob the retreating keeper only to see it come back off the bar.
Eastwood headed tamely at Marriott soon after as the desperate visitors threw everything forward.
Howell was booked for a foul on 74 minutes, but Coker skied the free kick well over the top.
Stevenson was screaming for a penalty as his near post cross struck a hand, but nothing was given.
Southend’s frustration boiled over on 80 minutes as sub Clifford dived into a studs-showing tackle on Rhead to earn a red card, some unpleasant scenes unfolding as players squared up in front of the dug-outs.
United called for another penalty as the 10 men poured forward, but the referee decided it was ball to hand and Tafazolli was not guilty.
Shrimpers keeper Bentley was booked for dissent as we entered the last three minutes.
Corr hit the Stags post with a low shot five minutes into stoppage time and seconds later Leonard finally found a way past Marriott with a low 18 yard shot, but it was too late for them.
STAGS: Marriott; Dempster, Tafazolli, Riley; Westlake, Clements, Stevenson, Howell, Jennings; Rhead, Clucas. Subs not used: Sutton, Dyer, Hutchinson, Meikle, McGuire, Daniel, Palmer.
SOUTHEND UNITED: Bentley, White (Eastwood 62), Coker, Phillips, Timlin (Clifford 62), Corr, Atkinson, Hurst (Laird 83), Leonard, Thompson, Barnard. Subs not used: Smith, Straker, Payne, Gomis.?REFEREE: Simon Hooper of Wiltshire.
ATTENDANCE: 3,055 (484 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Tafazolli.
Mansfield Town 2 Southend United 1: Match report
Nottingham Post report by Sarah Clapson
A DREADFUL home run which had stretched right the way back to September was finally brought to an end as Mansfield Town won for the first time in 11 games at the One Call Stadium.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Mansfield-Town-2-Southend-United-1-Match-report/story-20590606-detail/story.html#ixzz2suUZSeLt
Sam Clucas gave them the lead in the first half against Southend United and they survived a period of pressure after the break before James Jennings made sure of the three points.
The visitors were reduced to ten men in the final minutes following a red card for substitute Conor Clifford but staged a late rally and bagged a consolation through Ryan Leonard.
On the back of a third successive stalemate at Plymouth last weekend, manager Paul Cox opted to stick with the same starting XI for the visit of the promotion-chasing Shrimpers.
There was however, a change on the substitutes’ bench, with Ben Hutchinson included after making a goalscoring return for the reserves in midweek following a hamstring injury. Lee Beevers was the man to miss out having dislocated his shoulder in the final minutes at Home Park.
An intense, swirling wind made things difficult for both teams and chances were limited in the opening 45 minutes.
The home side though, looked to get the ball down and play whenever possible and worked the conditions in their favour late on, with Southend struggling to get out of their half in the last ten minutes before the break.
By then, Cox’s side were deservedly ahead having had the edge throughout, if not quite being able to fully control the game.
Alan Marriott barely had a save to make, and though his opposite number wasn’t especially busy, he was certainly the more active of the two keepers.
Clucas warmed the Southend stopper’s hands with 12 minutes gone. It was a decent chance for the front man as he latched on to a lovely long ball from Darryl Westlake, but his poked volley from a few yards out was saved by Bentley.
And the keeper was on hand again midway through the first period to deny Matt Rhead. James Jennings’ punt forward found the Stags striker 20 yards from goal, though his low shot was no match for Bentley.
A flat game left the crowd eager for a spark on the pitch and they urged Lee Stevenson to shoot on the half hour mark.
A neat lay-off from Clucas had left the midfielder with time and space in which to work, but instead he launched a wild effort which flew well over the bar.
The Shrimpers had struggled to conjure up a clearcut opening, with Martin Riley crowding out Barry Corr in their best breakthrough early on.
And the Stags ensured they had the edge on the scoreboard as well as in terms of possession with 35 minutes gone.
Clucas latched on to a long ball from defence, raced forward and coolly slotted the ball past Bentley from inside the box to put his team ahead.
It could have been 2-0 just before the break, but Ryan Tafazolli headed Jennings’ corner over the bar when well placed.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start to the second half, though they still struggled to find a way past a determined Town back line.
Southend’s best chance came from a well-worked free-kick on the right hand side which reached Lee Barnard, who slotted the ball wide from a few yards out.
It was as close as Phil Brown’s side came however, as the hosts extended their lead with 64 minutes gone.
Rhead’s header from a free-kick on the left was stopped by Bentley, but Jennings was lurking at the far post to tap home the rebound.
Chris Clements tried to keep the pressure on Southend shortly afterwards but his fierce strike was well off target.
United threw everything at their opponents in an attempt to get back into the game with 20 minutes remaining. And they went dangerously close.
Clifford struck the bar with a delightful chipped effort as he looked to catch Marriott off his line, while Eastwood’s header was well caught by the Stags goalie.
Ten minutes from time, the visitors’ task was made all the harder when they were reduced to ten men.
A sometimes tetchy affair had seen several yellow cards for late challenges, and a particularly nasty one from Clifford on Rhead saw him receive his marching orders.
Southend nevertheless, refused to lie down and put their hosts under pressure in the closing stages.
The woodwork came to Mansfield’s rescue when Barry Corr fired against the post, but the Shrimpers’ efforts were finally rewarded at the death when Leonard drilled the ball home.
The final whistle seconds later meant that was as far as their fightback went, with the Stags left to celebrate three precious points.
MANSFIELD: Marriott; Riley, Dempster, Tafazolli, Westlake, Howell, Clements, Stevenson, Jennings, Clucas, Rhead. Subs not used: Sutton, Dyer, Hutchinson, Meikle, McGuire, Daniel, Palmer.
SOUTHEND: Bentley; White (Clifford, 64), Phillips, Thompson, Coker, Hurst, Leonard, Timlin (Eastwood, 64), Atkinson, Barnard, Corr. Subs not used: Smith, Laird, Straker, Payne, Gomis.
ATTENDANCE: 3,055 (484 away)
Mansfield Town hold their nerve to end long wait for win at One Call
Nottingham Post considered report by Sarah Clapson
WHEN you've waited four and a half months, even ten seconds can feel like a lifetime.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Mansfield-hold-nerve-end-long-wait-home-win/story-20594824-detail/story.html#ixzz2suW7OqqZ
A pretty nervy one at that when you have a horrible habit of conceding crucial late goals.
But as the One Call Stadium held its breath, Mansfield Town held their nerve.
Eleven games, 1,000 or so minutes and countless chewed fingernails later, they had finally, defiantly, won a game at home.
The sigh of relief that followed was somewhat swallowed up in the swirling wind which had made this game a challenge for both teams, but the air-punches told their own story.
Manager Paul Cox had admitted to sounding like a broken record when it came to reiterating the importance of sorting out his team's form at the One Call.
So poor has it been this season, the Stags very nearly broke a record of their own.
Saturday's success over Southend United meant their miserable run stopped at nine league matches without victory on their own territory, just two short of making it the joint-worst sequence in the club's history.
That would have been an unwanted, and very much unwarranted, tag given Mansfield's endeavours.
More often than not, they have huffed and puffed without being able to blow teams down.
Mother Nature almost did that for them this time.
Fifth in the table prior to kick-off, the Shrimpers are no pushovers. And though they did not adapt as well to the conditions, when they pulled a goal back deep into stoppage time, you half feared a second would follow, such has been the Stags' luck in those matters.
That it didn't, gives Cox's squad very real hope of pulling off a survival mission. Now six points clear of the bottom two, it's not just what that result has done for their points tally, but also the effect it can have on their confidence.
"I thought we deserved it against what I would class as a very, very good side," said the manager. "They are probably one of the better sides to have come to the One Call Stadium.
"I'm over the moon for the boys.
"We've broke the back now, we need to push on."
That is exactly what his side did on Saturday, having the edge for much of the game.
Sensibly avoiding the temptation to hit and hope in the style they have become renowned for, as at Plymouth Argyle last week, Mansfield tried to keep the ball on the deck.
It works for them. They put together some nice moves and looked a threat. They could do with employing that tactic more often.
The return of Sam Clucas has been a big plus for Town going into the final straight, and he could have opened the scoring inside 12 minutes.
A lovely cross from Darryl Westlake was volleyed goalwards by the former Hereford United winger from close range, only to be met by Daniel Bentley.
Clucas though, brings with him a spark and an energy. He also brings goals, something his team desperately need. And in a first half where chances were thin on the ground, he took his second.
A Martin Riley ball was hunted down, superbly controlled and expertly slotted into the net from a tight angle on 35 minutes for his 12th of the season.
Ryan Tafazolli should have followed suit just before the break when presented with a free header at James Jennings' corner. It was the only side of his game which let him down all afternoon, with the defender's effort failing to even hit the target.
Southend had barely stirred in the first half. For a team which thumped their opponents 3-0 at Roots Hall and who have designs on the play-offs, they looked lacklustre and short of ideas.
Certainly no danger of a goal spree this time around.
Nevertheless, the visitors sounded a note of caution when they emerged after the break with Phil Brown's team-talk ringing in their ears. Conducting it on the pitch wasn't quite necessary, as on that memorable occasion with Hull City, but you get the feeling some choice words were said.
Lee Barnard showed he, at least, had been paying attention, slotting a free-kick inches wide of the post.
Still, that was about as far as the revival went, and ten minutes later Mansfield were further in front.
Chris Clements' corner was met by Rhead, whose header was blocked by Bentley, but Jennings was on hand to fire home the rebound and get his Stags account off the mark.
What a time to do it, too. A single goal advantage never feels comfortable when you're scrapping at the wrong end of the table, and so it proved.
The second acted as something of a wake-up call for the Shrimpers and they began to apply the pressure.
In the space of barely ten minutes, Conor Clifford went from almost giving his team a lifeline to actually handing them an uphill battle.
Having struck the bar while attempting to catch Alan Marriott off his line, he then left his mark on Rhead and found himself heading for an early bath.
Still Southend refused to give in.
Barry Corr smacked a shot against the post and the Mansfield back line eventually cracked in the final minute of added time as Ryan Leonard's drive found the net.
Surely that was time up? You learn not to count your chickens before the referee has counted his minutes in these parts. Doesn't pay to get your hopes up too much.
But when the final whistle did go and the Stags sat in 17th place, it was difficult not to
Mansfield Town 2, Southend United 1
Southend Echo: By Chris Phillips
A BELOW par Southend United sunk to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at a windy Mansfield Town this afternoon.
Goals from Sam Clucas and James Jennings secured the Stags their first home success since September before Ryan Leonard’s late consolation for Phil Brown’s side.
And Blues also had to play the final nine minutes with 10 men after substitute Conor Clifford was sent off for a poorly timed challenge.
Before that late drama, Mansfield had been on top and came close to opening the scoring when Clucas’ close range volley was impressively pushed to safety by Shrimpers shot-stopper Daniel Bentley.
The Stags’ Matt Rhead then fired straight at Bentley from the edge of the penalty area before the home-side went in front in the 36th minute, with Clucas on target.
The Mansfield winger superbly latched on a cross-field ball from Martin Riley and charged in to the left hand side of the penalty before drilling home a low, left footed shot from 12 yards.
With the Stags staying on top, Blues defender Ben Coker did well to divert a downward header from Ryan Tafazolli across the crossbar but Tafazolli then wasted a clearer chance to score on the stroke of half-time when he nodded over James Jennings’ left wing corner from six yards.
Southend stepped things up at the start of the second half and should have equalised in the 56th minute when a well-worked Ben Coker free-kick was dummied by Barry Corr to tee up Lee Barnard.
But the Shrimpers striker could only scuff a 10 yard shot wide of the right post when he should have done better.
In a bid to create further chances, Blues made a double change in the 63rd minute as Conor Clifford replaced Michael Timlin and Freddy Eastwood came on for John White.
However, within seconds of the substitutions, Mansfield made it 2-0 when Rhead’s downward header from Chris Clements’ left wing corner was pushed out by Bentley, enabling Jennings to prod the ball home from close range.
Southend almost got back in to the game when Clifford sent a cushioned chip against the crossbar but the midfielder then caught the eye for all the wrong reasons in the 81st minute when he was sent off for a two footed challenge.
Blues responded by bringing Marc Laird on for Kevan Hurst and almost got back in to the game when Barry Corr fired against the outside of the left post after being teed up by Adam Thompson.
Moments later, Leonard did get Blues on the score-sheet when he fired home from 25 yards.
But by then the damage had already been done as the Shrimpers’ suffered their first league defeat of 2014
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