SOLID STAGS PICK UP MUCH-NEEDED WIN
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Attendance: 2436 (160 from Stevenage)
Date: 7 February 2015
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town picked up a much-needed victory in a tight game with Stevenage this afternoon. The Stags had been guilty of shipping too many soft goals in recent games and so manager Adam Murray shored up the defence with a return to three central defenders and two wing-backs and dispensed with his wingers. The tactic worked as Mansfield prevented Stevenage from having a shot on target in the game whilst the Stags were able to carve out a goal at the other end with a trademark header from Matt Rhead to sub Reggie Lambe who volleyed home from 6 yards. It was a game of few chances played on a pitch that the weather has left in poor condition and that will not lend itself to passing football. Plenty of solid performances throughout the Stags team with all three central defenders doing well, and both wing-backs looking solid albeit not getting forward much. In midfield Clements battled on despite a nasty deep cut on his ankle in the first half, while McGuire provided leadership and grit for the cause. Matt Rhead returned to the side and gave everything, including setting up the winning goal. The Stags are out of the relegation zone and head for Morecambe on Tuesday night in what is sure to be another bruising encounter.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Saturday, 7th February 2015: Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 0
chad.co.uk report by firstname.lastname@example.org
Sub Reggie Lambe was the Mansfield Town hero as his second half strike saw Stags beat visiting Stevenage 1-0 to drag themselves out of the relegation zone this afternoon.
Lambe, on as a half-time substitute, volleyed home a Matt Rhead header on 52 minutes to earn Adam Murray’s men their first win in seven games.
Much needed it was, seeing the Stags leapfrog Tranmere, Cheltenham and York in one fell swoop as well as condemning Stevenage to a third defeat in a row.
On an awful surface and up against physical opposition, pretty football was always going to be difficult.
So Stags set up without wingers and reverted back to their more direct game of Paul Cox days - and on the day it paid handsome dividends.
It was also a clean sheet for debut-making loanee keeper Lenny Pidgeley on his 31st birthday.
Stags suffered a pre-match blow when skipper Ricky Ravenhill pulled a hamstring in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Jamie McGuire, who also took over the armband.
Newport keeper was one of the five pre-match changes to Murray’s side as he went with wing backs and Billy Kee in the hole up front.
Lee Beevers came back into the defence with Chris Clements, back from illness, in the midfield.
Murray also brought back Kee and Matt Rhead into the three man strike force alongside Vadaine Oliver, who had also shaken off illness. Rhead was in, despite worries over a calf injury in midweek.
Last week’s keeper, loanee Adam Smith, has returned to Leicester City while Matty Blair was stretchered off injured and is out for the season.
Left out were Simon Heslop, Reggie Lambe, Junior Brown, all dropped to the bench.
Mansfield went forward from the off, getting the ball into the Stevenage box on three or four occasions without troubling the keeper.
The visitors went upfield and won themselves a corner on five minutes, but when it was half-cleared and put back in again, Pidgeley confidently claimed it.
Tafazolli’s attempted clearance cannoned back off Whelpdale and deflected out for a second corner which again Pidgeley grabbed with ease.
Dembele was given only a warning for hacking down Beevers, keeper Day lucky to get away with a poor punch from Clements’ free kick, the ball hitting a defender and bouncing back into his arms.
The game’s first shot came on 10 minutes when Andrade was well over from 25 yards from a square ball from Kennedy’s free kick on the right.
On 13 minutes Rhead headed the ball on to Oliver who controlled in the box and got away a low shot that saw Wells get in a block for the home side’s first corner, which came to nothing.
Pidgeley was easily down to gather a poor, low shot from Kennedy after Sutton had lost a header out on the right.
A lofted ball forwards from Beevers was just too hard for Oliver to get there as Day came to the edge of his box to get there first.
Dembele glanced a header well wide from a short corner routine for the visitors as we waited for a poor, scrappy game to burst into life.
Johnson drilled in a low cross that Pidgeley held onto.
McGuire then saw the game’s first yellow card on 32 minutes for am innocuous foul on Lee.
On 36 minutes Day finally had some work to do as he threw himself to his right to turn aside a curling Clements free kick from 30 yards.
When the corner was cleared Beevers sidefooted a volley back towards goal from 18 yards that drifted wide.
Rhead then headed on a long Elder throw and Wells did well to stop Tafazolli getting a shot away.
But Mansfield were caught on the hop on 39 minutes after Kee gave the ball away and Kennedy quickly fed Andrade, who stepped inside the last defender before pulling a low finish side of the near post.
In the final minute of the half Day got down well to block a Tafazolli header from a right wing corner.
Lambe replaced Kee for the second half for Mansfield.
And he was the hero within seven minutes as he broke the deadlock.
Clements spread play wide to the right with a good ball from central midfield to put Beevers in space. He curled a long cross to the far post where Rhead headed back in front of goal to find an unmarked Lambe who volleyed high into the net from six yards.
On 59 minutes Stags failed to deal with a free kick from the right and Johnson quickly whipped a snapshot into the sidenetting.
Stags replied with two successive corners, but were unable to test Day from either.
McGuire found the Stevenage sidenetting with a rasping 20 yard volley from a half cleared throw from the left on 67 minutes.
More home pressure followed with a Lambe cross from the right cleared from almost on the line.
Lee was jeered for a wild shot from 35 yards that cleared the North Stand roof and found the car park.
Haynes got himself in the way of a Johnson finish after some neat passing by the visitors which earned only a corner.
McGuire headed away another flag kick as the visitors pressed.
Lee and Sutton were booked on 78 minutes after a tackle that left Oliver on the floor, Sutton booked for something he said.
Ex-Stag Beardsley joined the action for the last 11 minutes to boos from the stand as the visitors made their final change.
Whelpdale was hugely wide of the target to more jeers as we reached the 81st minute and Pidgeley still without a serious save to make.
Desperate Stevenage applied more pressure and won a sixth corner, headed clear by Tafazolli.
Brown was sent on for Rhead with six minutes to go.
He sent over a cross soon after which Lambe volleyed wide at the far post.
Five minutes were added on in which Stevenage elected not to throw the ball back to Stags after Pidgeley had rolled it out for an injury which incensed the home crowd.
Beevers was booked for kicking the ball away on 90+5 as the home fans’ fingernails began to take a shredding.
But in the end the Stags held on for what they thoroughly deserved.
STAGS: Pidgeley, Sutton, Beevers, Tafazolli, Raynes, Elder, McGuire, Clements, Kee (Lambe HT), Rhead (Brown 84), Oliver. Subs not used: Studer, Riley, Bingham, Heslop.
STEVENAGE: Day, Dembele (N’Guessan 65), Whelpdale, Charles, McAllister (Walton 68), Wells, Lee, Johnson (Beardsley 79), Henry, Kennedy, Andrade. Subs not used: Beasant, Ashton, Millard, Storer.
REFEREE: Oliver Langford of West Midlands.
ATTENDANCE: 2,436 (160 away)
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Chris Clements.
MATCH REPORT: MANSFIELD 1, STEVENAGE 0
stevenagefc.com, by Dave Toyn
Stevenage suffered defeat on the road with a 1-0 reverse at Mansfield this afternoon in Sky Bet League 2.
Read more at http://www.stevenagefc.com/news/article/match-report-mansfield-1-stevenage-0-2253737.aspx#dgxY8PktTisCMR7q.99
Graham Westley’s men took the game to the Stags in the first half and created the best of the chances through Bruno Andrade and Danny Johnson but will rue not taking those chances. Mansfield improved in the second half and took all three points courtesy of sub Reggie Lambe’s 52nd minute volley.
Stevenage made five changes from the side that lost against Oxford with Bira Dembele and Chris Whelpdale returning, Ben Kennedy handed his first start and both Bruno Andrade and Danny Johnson making their first appearances since arriving on loan. Scholars Ross Millard and Jack Storer were also named on the bench.
Mansfield themselves made a number of alterations themselves and with a change of formation took time to get into this game, leaving Stevenage to control much of the opening exchanges and win a couple of corners after probing play forward.
Bruno Andrade looked keen to impress on his return to Stevenage and he went close to hitting the target 9 minutes in when Kennedy found the winger short from a free-kick, but after shifting the ball onto his left foot could only fire over.
The Stags’ first half chance came on 13 minutes when a long ball forward saw target man Rhead knock-down for Oliver, but in came Wells with a last ditch tackle behind before the striker could pull the trigger.
Stevenage continued to look the more solid, having most of the possession and territorial advantage. All that was lacking was clear chances on goal, with Boro restricted to half-chances through Kennedy and Johnson.
With 10 minutes remaining of the half Mansfield won a free-kick when Kennedy was penalised for a foul. Clements curled his 30-yard effort up and over the wall but there was Day to parry behind. The resulting corner came out to Lee Beevers lurking on the edge of the box but fortunately his volleyed effort flew wide.
Stevenage’s best chance of the half came three minutes later when a Mansfield clearance deflected right into Andrade’s path in space. The winger raced towards goal and went past one defender with ease, only to drag his shot agonisingly wide of Pidgeley’s near post, with Johnson screaming for the ball in space.
Both teams had a great chance to take a lead into the break with action at both ends just prior to half-time. From a Mansfield corner Tafazoli powered a header at goal, only for Day to produce a great save. Boro broke through Andrade, who found Johnson in space but he was eventually crowded out inside the box and the chance was gone.
Mansfield made a sub at the start of the second half, bring on Reggie Lamb and the winger was to break the deadlock just seven minutes after the restart in the first real moment of quality from the hosts in the game.
Under pressure from Boro’s midfield Chris Clements played a lovely ball out wide for Lee Beevers, earning applause from the home faithful. His cross-field ball into Rhead saw the striker head across goal for Lambe to volley home into the roof of the net for 1-0.
Stevenage came close to an equaliser just prior to the hour when a long ball found its way through the home defence but Johnson could only find the side netting with a first-time effort. It was to be Boro’s only real chance on goal until the final stages as, buoyed by that lead, Mansfield enjoyed much more possession than in the first half.
N’Guessan replaced Dembele with 25 minutes remaining as Boro went to a back three in an attempt to get back in the game. To an extent it worked as Mansfield dropped deeper in the closing stages and allowed Boro to approach the Stags area, but all too often the final ball failed to find its target and the moves fizzled out.
Lee volleyed over the bar, Kennedy saw a shot deflect behind and Whelpdale sliced a shot wide as chances came and went , but in truth home ‘keeper Lenny Pidgeley didn’t have too much to do in the half, which will disappoint Graham Westley.
A first win for Mansfield since December sees the Stags rise the table but for Boro it’s a quick turnaround as Bury visit The Lamex this Tuesday night. Midweek games under the lights at home often provide great entertainment and you can find ticket news here.
Mansfield: Pidgeley, Beevers, Sutton, Tafazolli, Raynes, Elder, Clements, Ravenhill, Oliver, Rhead (Brown 84), Kee (Lambe 46)
(comment by Martin - team incorrect)
Subs not used: Studer, Riley, Bingham, McGuire, Heslop
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Wells, Charles, Dembele (N’Guessan 65), Andrade, Lee, McAllister (Walton 67), Whelpdale, Kennedy, Johnson (Beardsley 79)
Subs not used: Beasant, Ashton, Millard, Storer
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 2,436 (160 away)
Latest | February 2015