DEFENCE ALL AT SEA AS STAGS BEATEN AT MORECAMBE
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Morecambe 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Mullin 17, Ellison 24. Heslop 27
Attendance: 1,156 (83 from Mansfield)
Date: 10 February 2015
Martin Shaw at the Globe Arena
A horrendous first half defensive showing from Mansfield Town was the reason for defeat at Morecambe this evening. It was the worst 45 minutes of defending from a Mansfield Town team that I can remember for a very long time; absolutely abysmal. Morecambe scored twice in the opening 24 minutes, and looked like scoring almost every time they went forward. Stags keeper Lenny Pidgeley made some good saves to keep Morecambe down to 2 when they could easily have had 4 or 5 by the break. The goals came when a Morecambe corner found Beeley totally unmarked on the edge of the box to sweep in a ball that Paul Mullin turned home from close range on 17 minutes. Seven minutes later, a long ball forward cut the Stags open as Mullen found Kevin Ellison who cut inside from the right and fired past Pidgeley. A superb free kick from Simon Heslop brought the Stags back into the game on 27 minutes. The second half was a completely different affair. Morecambe created very little and Mansfield had lots of possession in Morecambe’s half and had a few good chances to equalise, with McGuire’s curling shot bringing a good save and Junior Brown had a great chance on 85 minutes but his low shot was saved on the line. Morecambe held on and deserved their victory on the basis that Mansfield were so abysmal in the first half. A thoroughly depressing night for Mansfield, whose defending on Saturday gave real encouragement, only to be shot down tonight. More injuries won’t help the Stags’ cause. Raynes went off with a hamstring problem in the second half. Clements wasn’t available with a bad gash on his leg. Mansfield will have to dig really deep with two extremely difficult home games coming up in the next 7 days against in-form Northampton and high-flying Luton. The Stags are two points above the drop zone.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
10th February 2015: Morecambe 2 Mansfield Town 1
chad.co.uk report by Matt Halfpenny
Poor first half defending saw Mansfield Town succumb to a fourth consecutive away loss as they slid back into relegation trouble at the bottom end of League Two with defeat at Morecambe.
The Stags had given themselves some much-needed breathing space with a morale-boosting home victory over Stevenage at the weekend.
But as other struggling teams picked up points, the concession of two goals inside the first 25 minutes from strikers Paul Mullin and Kevin Ellison ultimately cost them dearly.
Simon Heslop’s first goal for the club since netting at Portsmouth in October gave Adam Murray’s side some hope - especially as it came with two-thirds of the game still to play.
Yet while Mansfield did firm things up at the back in the second half, they were unable to force a leveller, allowing the Shrimps to arrest their own recent dip in form by running out victors.
The defeat, Mansfield’s 10th on the road in League Two this season, leaves them just two points clear of the relegation zone, with only Cheltenham, York and Hartlepool below them.
The Stags made two changes at the Globe Arena to the side which recorded a first victory in seven league games with the 1-0 win over Stevenage.
Having gone through the pain barrier to continue with a gashed leg against Graham Westley’s men, Chris Clements missed out and was replaced in the centre of midfield by Heslop.
The other change saw Saturday match-winner Reggie Lambe come in for Billy Kee - the switch manager Murray had made at half-time against Stevenage.
Youngsters Jack Thomas and Joe Fitzpatrick were named on the bench.
Inside the first minute, Lenny Pidgeley was forced to turn a shot on the turn from Mullin around his left-hand post after Ellison had flicked on Shaun Beeley’s thrown-in from the right flank.
Mullin had a clear sight of goal soon after - when Ellison took advantage of getting away with a push to put him into space - only to shoot straight at Pidgeley, who grabbed the ball at the second attempt.
As Mansfield threatened for the first time, Heslop’s up-and-under caused confusion in the Shrimps defence, but Lee Beevers had both a first drive from the edge of the box and an instantaneous follow-up well blocked.
The Stags almost went in front after a slick move that split Morecambe wide open.
Vadaine Oliver laid off Ryan Tafazolli’s ball forward to Simon Heslop on the halfway line and he released Beevers scampering down the right.
His low, first-time cross was met by Lambe on the edge of the six-yard box, whose low finish was superbly blocked by the diving Andreas Arstidou.
Back came the hosts in what was a lively start to the game with an effort from Mullin into the side-netting when he stretched but could not wrap his foot fully around the ball.
In the 14th minute, Ellison almost latched onto a long ball forward only for Pidgeley to get their first after racing off his line.
Beeley’s far post cross then found its way through to Laurence Wilson whose first-time snapshot was always rising over the top.
Alan Goodall, who played for Mansfield during the Paul Cox era one pre-season prior to a move to Fleetwood, was left holding his head in his hands moments later when his long range drive bound for the left-hand corner was brilliantly turned aside by Pidgeley.
However, from the resulting flag-kick, Morecambe went ahead with a 17th minute opener as Mansfield switched off.
A short corner from the right pulled back to Beeley allowed the wing-back to whip in a dangerous low ball that left Mullin with the simple task of re-directing the ball home from close range.
Mansfield tried to bounce back quickly but Oliver’s volley was blocked after Michael Raynes had nodded a Lee Beevers left-wing corner back into the danger zone.
Oliver was in the thick of the action again when he rose highest for another corner, this time from the right, but could only find the arms of Arestidou.
The Shrimps took a firm hold on the game by doubling their lead in the 25th minute - and it was another goal Mansfield would have been hugely disappointed to concede.
Mullin won the flick-on to a long punt forward far easily to release Ellison and, as he cut inside, Tafazolli slipped, allowing the striker to run on and plant his finish just inside the right-hand post from just inside the box.
Realistically, the Stags needed a quick response - and got it in the shape of a fantastic strike from Simon Heslop.
Lambe was brought down just outside the box and Heslop stepped up to curl an inch-perfect 27th minute strike just inside the left-hand post, giving Arestidou no chance.
That good work, though, was almost undone straight away as first Goodall flashed wide of the left-hand post when well placed and then Ellison’s powerful header from another Beeley centre was turned aside by the busy Pidgeley.
There was finally a hiatus in the non-stop action as the break approached when Matt Rhead required treatment as he went down under a heavy challenge that some of the Mansfield players felt was two-footed, but was not deemed even to be a free-kick.
Morecambe bossed the closing stages of the first half without proving as incisive as they has earlier in the match, but Murray would have simply been relieved the half-time damage was not even worse.
Suitably stung, the Stags boss made two changes for the second period, with Rhead and Beevers making way for Junior Brown and the 17-year-old Fitzpatrick, who was making his senior debut.
It saw Mansfield revert back to what appeared to be a 4-5-1 formation, with the teenager sitting just in front of the back four.
In the early stages, at least, it seemed to work as Tafazolli’s miscued shot following a Raynes header was blocked and Jamie McGuire’s rising drive was pushed over Arestidou.
Mansfield’s players and fans were aggrieved just after the hour as Simon Heslop was booked when they felt he was the one on the end of a late Morecambe challenge.
The Stags almost fashioned an opening when Callum Elder - who has extended his loan from Leicester City by a month - crossed to the far post for Oliver, whose header into the six-yard box dropped just out of the reach of a Mansfield team-mate.
The visitors were forced into their final change in the 71st minute when Raynes limped off and was replaced by Martin Riley.
And as they continued to search for an equaliser, Lambe blazed high and not so handsome while Oliver flashed across the face of goal from the tightest of angles.
A better opening presented itself with just five minutes left as Sutton’s miscued shot straight into the path of Brown whose effort from 10 yards lacked the power to beat Arestidou when he might well have scored.
A minimum of six minutes were added at the end of the game and, during that, Heslop cut in from the right flank to blast too high.
That was as close as Mansfield came as Brown wasted a good opportunity to put in a dangerous ball from a short corner in the dying seconds.
Morecambe (3-1-4-2): Arestidou; Hughes, Edwards, Parrish; Devitt (Amond 77), Beeley, Goodall, Fleming (Kenyon 66), Wilson; Ellison, Mullin (Redshaw 66). Subs not used: Jones, Sampson, McGowan, Doyle.
Mansfield (3-4-1-2): Pidgley; Sutton, Tafazolli, Raynes (Riley 71); Beevers (Brown 46), McGuire, Heslop, Elder; Lambe; Oliver, Rhead (Fitzpatrick 46). Subs not used: Studer, Riley, Bingham, Thomas, Kee.
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).
Attendance: 1,156 (86 visitors).
Mansfield’s man of the match: Simon Heslop.
Morecambe 2 Mansfield 1
Morecambe record their first win of 2015 with victory over Mansfield Town
Read more at http://www.morecambefc.com/news/article/morecambe-2-mansfield-1-2262321.aspx#ogCJKQ3E8o6BDYAM.99
Morecambe produced one of their best first half performances to lay the platform for their first win of 2015.
The Shrimps began the game on top and took the lead through Paul Mullin’s close range effort on 17 minutes before Kevin Ellison fired in eight minutes later.
Mansflied responded with a Simon Heslop free kick soon after but, despite the visitors taking control in the second half, the hosts held out for a hard-earned three points.
Jim Bentley made two changes from Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Northampton with Kevin Ellison and Paul Mullin replacing Jack Redshaw and Padraig Amond.
The Shrimps began the game brightly and could have taken the lead after just 39 seconds but Lenny Pidgeley saved well from Mullin.
In what proved to be an end-to-end start to the game, Mullin fired wide soon after before Mark Hughes produced an excellent double block on the edge of the area to prevent Mansfield taking the lead.
The visitors grew into the game and had another chance on ten minutes but Andreas Arestidou was on hand to produce a fine save after a close range effort before Ryan Edwards did well to stop the follow up from Matt Rhead.
But it was Morecambe to took the lead through Paul Mullin on 17 minutes. After Alan Goodall forced a corner with a piledriver from long range, Mullin was on hand to tap in from well-worked set piece involving Lawrence Wilson.
A goal straight from the training ground to the delight of Jim Bentley.
The home side grew in confidence and started to take change of possession - it wasn’t long before the Shrimps doubled their lead.
Kevin Ellison made it 2-0 on 25 minutes, producing a fine first touch before cutting inside his marker and smashing the ball home, but Mansfield responded almost immediately - Simon Heslop reducing the arrears with a 25 yard free kick which fizzed to the left of Arestidou to make it 2-1.
The game settled down as the half hour mark approached with Morecambe enjoying the majority of possession going into half time as the chances dried up.
That left the score at 2-1 to the Shrimps at the break.
Mansfield made two changes at half time with Junior Brown and Joe Fitzpatrick replacing Matt Rhead and Lee Beevers - the visitors’ performance notably improved.
They produced the first real chance of the half on 54 minutes with Jamie McGuire shooting from range but Arestidou was well placed to tip it over the bar.
Despite Town’s dominance the Shrimps defence stood firm and chances for the men in yellow continued to be at a premium.
Jack Redshaw, Alex Kenyon and Padraig Amond came on to add some extra energy to the Shrimps line-up and it paid off as the hosts hung on for a crucial three points.
Morecambe v Mansfield
Morecambe: Arestidou; Parrish, Edwards, Hughes; Beeley, Fleming (Kenyon 67), Goodall, Wilson; Ellison, Mullin (Redshaw 67), Devitt. Subs: Jones, Kenyon, Redshaw, Sampson, Mcgowan, Doyle, Amond.
Mansfield: Pidgeley, Sutton, Tafazolli, Rhead (Brown 45), McGuire, Heslop, Lambe, Beevers (Fitzpatrick 45), Oliver, Elder, Raynes (Riley 72). Subs: Studer, Riley, Bingham, Thomas, Brown, Kee, Fitzpatrick.
Bookings: McGuire, Heslop
Red Cards: None
MotM: Shaun Beeley
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