STAGS ON THE BEACH TO HAND POINTS TO CHELTENHAM
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Cheltenham Town
Cureton 58, 80.
Attendance: 3586 (134 from Cheltenham)
Date: 21 April 2014
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town turned in a terrible performance to hand three points to a Cheltenham Town side who really didn’t have to earn them. It was as though the Stags players were already on the beach for their summer holidays, having realised that the chance of the play-offs had disappeared with that unjust penalty in stoppage time at Accrington on Friday. It was a poor show in front of a crowd that included 4-500 more home fans than usual, some of whom probably turned up having heard good things about the win over Rochdale and a seven game unbeaten run. They might not be coming back after this. The first half was a poor game, though was fairly even. The second half was just dreadful from the Stags and the fans had a right to expect better. Two goals were gifted to Cheltenham, the first after Anthony Howell gave the ball away 40 yards from goal and the defence stood and watched Harrison feed Cureton who smashed the ball past Lewis Price. And the second when Riley stood and watched a ball forward into the Stags box, thinking that Lewis Price was going to get there but he couldn’t, Cureton nipped in to intercept and score from a tight angle. A howler from Riley who has been so impressive in recent weeks. Few players came out of the game with any credit, in fact most players were poor. Honourable exceptions were Ritchie Sutton (my man of the match), and Tafazolli, who were ok. After the game, Paul Cox was furious with the mindset of his players and rightly so. He was also his own biggest critic taking part of the responsibility for the defeat. Two games left, against two sides that the Stags could send down if we beat them. No time for sentiment, it’s important to finish the season on a high. The Stags have got to do better than this. With 9th placed Plymouth only a point above the Stags, the aim should now be to finish 9th. Come on Mansfield!
An interesting footnote to the first Cheltenham goal was that, with Tafazolli in the side, this was the first goal the Stags had conceded in open play since the Newport game on 8th March (Tafazolli missed the Hartlepool game, the only game since the Newport game when we had conceded anything other than a penalty).
A word on the Stags fans who made a tremendous noise, particularly those in the Quarry Lane stand, despite the poor show.
Man of the match: Ritchie Sutton
Monday, 21st April 2014: Mansfield Town 0, Cheltenham Town 2
A second half brace from veteran Jamie Cureton ended Mansfield Town’s outside play-off hopes for the season at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.
A poor game with few chances saw a tired Stags run out of steam as one point from the two Easter games left them unable to catch the sides in the play-off spots.
It was revenge for the Robins for their 2-1 home defeat by Mansfield just after Christmas and also ensured they will also be playing League Two football again next season.
Mansfield made three changes. Sam Clucas was rewarded for his sparkling cameo in Good Friday’s 1-1 draw at Accrington with a start up front in place of Ollie Palmer.
Anthony Howell took over the attacking midfield role in place of Junior Daniel while Jamie McGuire was recalled alongside Adam Murray in the centre of midfield at the expense of Chris Clements.
Keeper Scott Brown was happy to dive onto a second minute free kick by Murray that bounced in the box after Rhead had been jumped into by defender Troy Brown.
Tafazolli then headed a long Braham-Barrett throw from the left out for a corner a minute later before heading the corner itself clear.
However, it reached taker Richards once more on the right and he floated a long cross to the far post where Harrison headed home from close range only to see an offside flag raised.
Price plucked another long Braham-Barrett throw out of the air soon after.
But the visitors had made the more positive start and forced corner number two on six minutes out on the left, which was hooked clear by McGuire.
On eight minutes Rhead stretched at the far post to head a long Jennings ball into the box back across goal, Scott Brown happy to take the ball out of the air to his right without having to dive.
On 19 minutes the Robins won a third corner on the right and, when Rhead could only half-clear, Stags conceded a fourth flak kick on the left which Elliott hooked goalwards but was hacked clear from inside the six yard box.
A minute later Noble sent a low 20 yard effort wide of the home goal, the game’s first real shot.
On 22 minutes Mansfield earned their first corner on the left. Jennings curled it into the centre and Tafazolli rose to power a header over the top.
Deering’s low 20-yard effort on 27 minutes was tame and easy for Price, then Sutton did well to stay with Harrison just outside the box and get a foot in the way of his eventual shot.
However, on 33 minutes, McGuire’s failure to get the ball clear allowed McGlashan to nip in and cross low in front of goal where from two yards out, Richards must have thought his deft touch would beat Price only to see the keeper dive and then stretch up an arm to block, Sutton hooking the loose ball over the bar.
Mansfield were suddenly living dangerously as they struggled to clear another Robins corner, eventually conceding another, which Rhead twice headed away.
The ball was still not clear and, when Sutton could not get any distance on the third attempted head away, Cureton lifted a hopeful dipping shot over from the right hand corner of the box.
Price got there first as a long kick downfield by Scott Brown reached the other goal, but took a knock as Richards stretched out a late boot, the keeper able to continue without treatment.
Rhead played a decent ball down the right hand touchline to put Westlake into some space, the wing back taking it on before cutting inside and getting too much under his attempted finish, the ball sailing well over.
A half-clearance by the visitors then saw Jennings slice wide of the near post as we reached the 43rd minute.
Stags’ best move of the game so far a minute later saw McGuire pull the strings, swapping passes with Rhead and then and get Jennings into space on the left for a dangerous cross that was put out for a corner.
A disappointing first half ended goalless with very few real scoring opportunities.
Stags went 4-4-2 after the break with Meikle replacing Westlake.
Clucas went wide right, Sutton right back and Howell partnered Rhead up front.
Rhead almost sent Clucas on his way, but Troy Brown came up with an important header to intercept the pass.
Instead it was the Robins who swooped first with the opening goal on 58 minutes.
Harrison ran at the home defence just right of centre and fed a final ball in front of Cureton, who rifled home an unstoppable rising finish from 10 yards.
Stags quickly sent on Palmer up front on place of Howell on the hour.
They soon won a corner on the right, but Tafazolli was too high with his header, under pressure after Jennings had picked him out.
Despite throwing himself forward, Palmer could not quite get his head onto a Sutton cross from the right.
The visitors added another two to their corner tally with no profit.
Murray was given a final warning after taking the legs of Harrison, then the visitors won another corner on the left, which was headed away by the immaculate Tafazolli.
Cureton was wide with an 18-yard snapshot as Stags continued to toil.
With 14 minutes to go, Stags went for broken and sent on Speight for Jennings, going with three at the back and pushing three up front.
Riley was booked for his foul on Cureton on 79 minutes, Murray then getting in the way of Deering’s long range blast after the free kick was worked inside from the right.
But the visitors grabbed their all-important second on 80 minutes.
Riley allowed the ball to run through to keeper Price. But it was never going to get there as Cureton nipped in to take the ball to the keeper’s left and then, with him well off his line, expertly chipped him into the empty net.
An offside flag was raised before Speight ran through to blast past Scott Brown on 84 minutes and two minutes later he was too high from 20 yards.
Gornell replaced goal hero Cureton and quickly found Riley’s head with a high boot that saw him lucky not to be booked.
The referee’s patience ran out with Murray a minute into time added on and his foul on McGlashan earned him the inevitable yellow card.
STAGS: Price; Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli; Westlake (Meikle HT), Murray, Howell (Palmer 60), McGuire, Jennings (Speight 76); Rhead, Clucas. Subs not used: Dempster, Briscoe, Stevenson, Daniel.
CHELTENHAM: S. Brown, T. Brown, Elliott, Cureton (Gornell 87), Deering, Harrison, McGlashan (Vincent 90+2), Richards, Jombati, Braham-Barratt, Noble. Subs not used: Taylor, Gornell, Roberts, Kotwica, Williams, Ihiekwe.?REFEREE: Andy Woolmer of Northampton.
ATTENDANCE: 3,586 (134 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Tafazolli.
Full Time: Mansfield 0, Robins 0
21st April 2014
By James Brown
Read more at http://www.ctfc.com/fixtures-results/match-report/index.aspx?matchid=3633143&tcmuri=924357#xCbgM3EybjxX7rPo.99
Cheltenham Town put in a fantastic shift to disarm a Mansfield side and take home all three points to guarantee Football League safety.
A stale half of football was slightly edged by the visiting Robins but it wasn't until the second half that Jamie Cureton grabbed his 10th goal of the season courtesy of some superb football from Byron Harrison and the veteran striker proved he was still in the mood for goal with a wonderful effort following a Martin Riley mistake to win the game and take all three points.
Finally the fans had something to cheer about after a tough few weeks but the Robins in truth were deserving of the win with Mansfield offering very little in front of their fans.
It's been 8 years since Cheltenham Town were last at Mansfield Town's Field Mill stadium and a repeat of that result would have gone a long way to confirm safety from the drop with the season drawing closer to it's conclusion. It would take a big swing of results for the Robins to be dragged down into the bottom two but nothing was for certain in this league of surprises and shocks. For the Robins just one change with Harry Williams being withdrawn and replaced by Sam Deering on the right of the diamond and McGlashan on the point. Mark Yates warned of a real battle going into this game at Mansfield and Cheltenham certainly needed to show spirit in this one today having previously been bullied by the Stags at Whaddon Road back in December.
From the kick off Cheltenham knew they would be in a fight and an early Mansfield set piece had to be claimed quickly by Scott Brown after bouncing loosely between players just yards from goal. Cheltenham would have been looking for an early advantage in this game and they did have the ball int the back of the net after just four minutes although Harrison's strong header from a Richards cross was ruled out for offside by the linesman. Despite that it had been a good start to the game for the Robins and Mark Yates would have been pleased with his team's endeavour going forward in the opening minutes. A looping header from Matt Rhead threatened little as Mansfield's first effort on goal but the game soon settled back into a contested midfield battle between the teams.
The Stags were buoyed by a good level of noise behind the goal as they looked to take control of proceedings but Cheltenham were the next to register an effort at goal although the wall of yellow defenders was enough to make the block and a later attempt by David Noble did little to threaten Price in the Mansfield goal as Cheltenham looked to shoot from range. Mansfield are a big team and there are none bigger than the man mountain Tafazoli in the back three of the hosts' defence. The big defender had been largely untroubled by Jermaine McGlashan but it was down the other end where he almost made an impact with a thunderous header from the corner but it was safely over the bar. Tame efforts on goal did little to get the supporters out their seats at Field Mill as the game approached the half hour mark although Harrison and Cureton linked up well to offer some hope of goalmouth action on 30 minutes only for Tafazoli to make an important challenge to deny Harrison a route through on goal. The Robins continued to push fater that point and a low cross across the face of goal from McGlashan was met by the boot of Richards but Lewis Price was on hand to make the save.
That spell of pressure was continued with half chances with the Robins with Anthony Howell stealing the ball seconds before Cureton was eyeing up a headed effort at goal and the veteran striker had a wild shot soon after although it was at a heavy angle to offer any real hope of striking the target. Mansfield's first chance of goal for a good 20 minutes came courtesy of Braham-Barrett's slip and Darryl Westlake should really have hit the target only to see his effort high and wide. That was followed up by another wasteful shot from James Jennings but Mansfield's pressure was certainly welcomed by the noisy home crowd and they were much happier come the half time whistle.
Half Time: Mansfield Town 0-0 Cheltenham Town
One change at the break saw Mansfield replace Darryl Westlake with Lindon Meikle for the second half and the Stags were soon on the attack with Anthony Howell charging into the box from the left wing but his knock back into the area was met with just ruby and white shirts. The substitute Meikle had a poor shot at goal ahead of the 50th minute of play to introduce himself into the action as Mansfield started the half well. Cheltenham's midfield had done a good job in the first period but at times during the opening stages of the second half Mansfield were able to sail through the middle of the pitch under little pressure although manager Paul Cox would not have been with happy with the way his team were finishing their opportunities.
Like a shocked boxer Cheltenham were facing a flurry of punches which had them pinned to the ropes and they needed something special to apply pressure themselves. That special something came courtesy of Byron Harrison as he picked up on a loose ball before striding through the heart of defence before slipping a neat pass onto the boots of Cureton and the veteran striker made no mistake with a fine effort into the top corner. 1-0 to the Robins and a blow for the hosts with their initial pressure failing to capitalise.
Cureton's tenth goal of the season certainly gave Cheltenham the shot in the arm they needed but the boisterous display of Mansfield continued and they were certainly not out of this one with Cheltenham's track record in maintaining leads. Still Cheltenham gave their fans every chance to maintain belief with several good waves of pressure and Byron Harrison was unlucky to head wide from a lofted ball into the box although the referee was keen to give a foul for not much at all. Mark Yates' Robins were playing well and Byron Harrison was enjoying himself as he continued to harass the Mansfield defence and it was evident they were growing frustrated. A poor challenge by Martin Riley on Jamie Cureton drew the first yellow card of the game from the referee and deservedly so. The former Robins defender was having a poor game and it got worse for him with 10 minutes to go with a poor pass back to his goalkeeper being stolen by Jamie Cureton and the striker produced a fine chipped effort from an angle to make it 2-0.
The home supporters were growing frustrated and angry with their team's performance as the Robins continued to control the game but it was no more than Mark Yates' side deserved as they seeked a full three points to guarantee safety. Mansfield weren't without their threats in the latter stages of this game and a Speight effort at least offered a shot on goal for the hosts although it ended up in the stand with the supporters. Mark Yates opted to take Jamie Cureton off after 82 minutes having done his job for the day with the travelling Robins applauded noisily and on came Terry Gornell. The striker's first involvement was a high foot into the head of Tafazoli but he escaped a booking although a yellow card was soon out of his pocket and show to Adam Murray fora late challenge on Jermaine McGlashan.
As the game neared it's end McGlashan was withdrawn for Ashley Vincent with Cheltenham cruising to all three points. Mansfield were lacking any of the strength they were showing at the start of the second half and the full time whistle was blown on what was a solid away performance from Cheltenham Town - a win that guaranteed they would not be dragged into relegation peril.
Full Time: Mansfield Town 0-2 Cheltenham Town
Mansfield Town FC (3-5-2): Price (GK), Sutton, Riley, Rhead, Clucas, Tafazolli, Howell (Palmer 60), Jennings (Speight 77), Murray (C), McGuire, Westlake (Meikle 46).
Subs not used: Dempster, Briscoe, Stevenson, Speight, Daniel.
Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2 Diamond): Brown (GK); Jombati, T Brown, Elliott (C), Braham-Barrett; Noble, McGlashan (Vincent 90), Richards, Deering; Harrison, Cureton (Gornell 87)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Ihiekwe, Taylor, Kotwica, Williams
Referee: Mr. Andy Woolmer
Attendance: 3,586 (TBC from Cheltenham)
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