COMPLETE AWAY PERFORMANCE TO SEE OFF STEVENAGE
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Stevenage 0 - 2 Mansfield Town
Tafazolli 47, J.Thomas 49
Attendance: 2,509 (163 from Mansfield)
Date: 29 September 2015
Martin Shaw at The Lamex Stadium, Broadhall Way
Mansfield Town produced a complete away performance last night to pull off a terrific and thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory at Stevenage. The Stags passed the ball around nicely in the first half, hit Stevenage with two goals in the first four minutes of the second half, then were rock solid allowing no way back for the home side, while could have gone on to score more. The goals came from Ryan Tafazolli with a header from a corner, his third goal of the season, and then from Jack Thomas who gleefully thumped home from 7 yards after being set up by Craig Westcarr following a quickly taken free-kick. Stevenage fans and players claimed that Westcarr was offside but video footage shows he certainly wasn’t. There were so many fine performances throughout the Stags side. At the back, Pearce and Tafazolli continued their outstanding partnership with both in top class form, Jensen produced a superb save very early on, just when it was needed. In midfield Chapman instigated some lovely passing. McGuire came in for his first start in the league of the season and was very good, playing thoroughly responsibly after a first half booking and straight back into the excellent form he showed in the second half of last season. Jack Thomas was played in a more offensive role with the comfort of Chapman and McGuire behind him, and was excellent. I thought I saw signs on Saturday that he might be starting to find the form of last season and last night he was right back on it, capped off by his second league goal. The Stags are back up into the play-off zone, and have still conceded just six goals in 10 games this season, and only Wycombe and Middlesbrough in the entire Football League have conceded fewer.
This was Mansfield’s first victory at Stevenage, after defeats in each of the previous three meetings at Broadhall Way. On to Dagenham on Saturday, another ground where Mansfield have not yet won. Come on Mansfield!
Mansfield made three changes from the side that drew with Plymouth. Hunt came back from suspension to replace Collins at right back, McGuire came in for his first league start of the season in place of the suspended Rose, and Lambe came in for Nathan Thomas. There was a return on the bench for Beardsley, back from his shin injury and at his former club from last season. Mansfield lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with McGuire and Chapman in front of the back four. Lambe, Jack Thomas and Westcarr were in a three behind Green.
Stevenage included Tom Hitchcock, son of Stags legend Kevin Hitchcock, up front. Hitchcock is on loan from MK Dons and Stevenage is the 8th league club he has played for (mostly just a few appearances on loan). Stevenage also included centre half Mark Hughes, who will be remembered by Stags fans for his battles for Morecambe against Matt Rhead including scratching his fingers down Rhead’s back. Up front for Borough was Brett Williams who led the line for Aldershot last season. Stevenage’s best player, young Ben Kennedy, is on his way back from injury and could only be named on the bench. Charlie Lee, another of Stevenage’s better players was also out injured. Stevenage are of course managed by England legend Teddy Sheringham this season, but he hasn’t got them off to a good start.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Tuesday, 29th September 2015: Stevenage 0, Mansfield Town 2
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas,
Two goals in three minutes early in the second half and a third clean sheet in four games saw Mansfield Town leap back into the League two play-off spots with a magnificent 2-0 victory at Stevenage tonight.
Mansfield had the edge in a tight first half before Ryan Tafazolli headed them in front on 47 minutes.
Two minutes later Jack Thomas smashed home a second and the home side were beaten and have now not won in four games.
Jack Thomas gave his best display of the season yet, but the back four were also magnificent on a night of many top drawer performances.
Mansfield made three changes. Mitch Rose is serving a one-game ban while Lee Collins and Nathan Thomas are left out from the side that drew 1-1 with Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
Into midfield came Jamie McGuire and Reggie Lambe while skipper Nicky Hunt returned to his right back slot after a one-game suspension.
Chris Beardsley returned from a shin injury to be on the Mansfield bench at his former club.
Stags almost made the perfect start as Lambe turned his man on the left wing and got in a low cross that the home side failed to clear, the ball falling for Green, who sliced wide.
But on two minutes it was the home side who almost repeated their feat of an early lead from last season as Conlon powered in a header from a right wing Henry cross, forcing Jensen into a magnificent late tip-over.
On 15 minutes Pearce battled superbly with Williams, driving him to the touchline before robbing him, beating him and clearing, the Stevenage man, clearly annoyed at losing it, diving into a late tackle and lucky to only see a yellow card.
On 28 minutes McGuire was lucky not to be booked too as he slid into a challenge on Hitchcock, his studs going into the Stevenage man’s chest and sparking a pushing contest.
Mansfield were enjoying the lion’s share of possession, but chances were few,
Five minutes from the break Jack Thomas got down the right and tried to thunder a shot past Fulham loanee Joronen at his near post, the keeper conceding a corner.
Two minutes later Westcarr also tested Joronen from 20 yards, the Finnish keeper turning it away for another corner.
This was much better from the visitors and a minute later it took two superb blocks from defenders throwing themselves in the way of the ball in the box to stop Lambe and Benning finishes, Benning then too high with his follow-up as the ball ran back to him.
However, as the game entered two minutes of stoppage time, Stevenage might have stolen the lead themselves.
Breaking quickly, Whelpdale took a long crossfield pass in his stride on the right and cut inside Benning before firing in a low shot that Tafazoli blocked just in front of Jensen.
The home fans decided to boo their side off on the whistle.
Smith replaced Jebb for the start of the second half.
But it was Mansfield who drew first blood inside two minutes.
Chapman floated in a corner from the left and Tafazolli rose to power home a firm header inside the right post for his third goal of the season.
On 49 minutes it was 2-0 at Stags caught the home side napping with a quickly-taken free kick by Benning from deep on the left.
It sent Westcarr through but he chose not to shoot, drawing the keeper before squaring a low pass just when it seemed to moment was gone and Jack Thomas was there to his right to thunder in a finish from 12 yards.
Smith tried to reply for the home side from outside the box two minutes later, the ball flying not too far wide.
Chapman then went into the book on 54 minutes for time wasting at a free kick as Stags tried to kill the game a little.
On 61 minutes tempers again flared as Hitchcock caught Hunt very late, leaving the Stags skipper on the floor in agony.
Hitchcock was booked for the foul as was Lambe for a retaliatory push.
Jack Thomas showed great persistence on the right to win the ball back and cross, Green helping it on and Benning rifling a low shot across goal.
Pearce was then added to the book on 66 minutes for putting his hands up to stop a quick throw being taken. The subsequent free kick was too long and high and had home fans again booing their side’s failings.
There were more boos for Sheringham as he made his final change on 73 minutes, sending on Akinyeli for Conlon.
It should have been all over on 77 minutes as Hughes allowed the ball to bounce off and put Green in one on one with Joronen.
But the usually deadly striker failed to net as the keeper spread himself well and got his body in the way.
With five minutes to go Akinyemi had a shot blocked from a tight angle on the right and then sent a follow-up through a crowd of players and wide of the far post for the increasingly desperate home side.
Green was booked on 87 minutes for rounding the keeper and netting after an offside whistle.
A minute from time Stags sent on Collins for Westcarr as an extra defender and a minute into the added five Beardsley replaced Green, coming on to a warm welcome from his old fans.
It was all they had left to cheer as Stags saw out the remaining minutes without drama for an excellent win.
STEVENAGE: Joronen, McCombe, Hughes, Whelpdale (Kennedy 60), Schumacher, Williams, Hitchcock, Jebb (Smith HT), Henry, Johnson, Conlon (Akinyemi 73). Subs not used: Day, Franks, Pett, Wells.
STAGS: Jensen, Hunt, Pearce, Tafazolli, Benning, Chapman, Lambe, McGuire, Jack Thomas, Westcarr (Collins 89), Green (Beardsley 90+1). Subs not used: Shearer, Marsden, Nathan Thomas, Blair, Yussuf.?REFEREE: Trevor Kettle of Rutland.
ATTENDANCE: 2,509 (163 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jack Thomas.
MATCH REPORT: STEVENAGE 0, MANSFIELD TOWN 2
stevenagefc.com, 29th September 2015
by Dave Toyn
Stevenage fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Mansfield Town in a disappointing night at The Lamex Stadium.
After a first half saw defences on top and both goalkeepers making good saves, the second half saw the Stags strike twice in a matter of minutes just after the break to take a commanding lead. Teddy Sheringham threw on Ben Kennedy and Dipo Akinyemi in an attempt to change the game but Mansfield stood firm to register a good away win.
Stevenage made two changes from the weekend’s last-gasp defeat at Cambridge with Charlie Lee missing through injury and Tom Pett dropping to the bench. In their places came Brett Williams up top and Tom Conlon, with Ben Kennedy named among the subs for the first time this season after surgery over the summer.
Read more at http://www.stevenagefc.com/news/article/match-report-stevenage-0-mansfield-town-2-2718129.aspx#m0reYlqL8dVdXmGx.99
In a half of few clear-cut chances but plenty of endeavour, both sides actually carved out opportunities in the opening minutes. After Matt Green had sliced wide inside 60 seconds, good work by Henry and Whelpdale created Boro’s first chance of the half moments later when Tom Conlon’s diving header was superbly turned out by Brian Jensen.
The visitors enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first half and regularly probed the Boro back line but Stevenage stood firm. With the hosts unable to get any meaningful possession up top, despite the constant harassing by Tom Hitchcock, the ball continued to come straight back at them and eventually the chances came.
Indeed the Stags will be disappointed not to have gone into the half-time break ahead after being presented with two glorious opportunities in the minutes approaching half-time. First Jesse Joronen was called into action, saving from Craig Westcarr after a poor pass from Jebb was latched onto by the striker. Then moments later, with Boro failing to clear after pinball in the box, Benning blasted over.
Two minutes of injury time were signalled in which Chris Whelpdale created a chance for himself, only to fire straight at Jensen after cutting inside from the right flank.
Connor Smith replaced Jebb at the break but within minutes Boro were behind as Mansfield took the lead. A corner from the left saw the ball swung in and Ryan Tafazolli rose highest to power a header home for 1-0.
Before Boro could react properly they conceded once again. This time a quick free-kick saw Westcarr get behind the static defence, giving the striker time to square for the incoming Jack Thomas to slam home to double the lead and leave Stevenage with a real mountain to climb.
Smith went close with a low drive of his own before the crowd rose to their feet to welcome back Ben Kennedy on the hour - the youngster returning from summer surgery to replace Chris Whelpdale.
Tom Hitchcock and Reggie Lambe both saw yellow as the latter overacted to a late challenge from the former, with referee Kettle on hand to prevent things boiling over.
Benning again went close for the Stags with a low drive before a wayward touch from Hughes let in Green with 18 minutes remaining, but there again was Joronen to save and Hughes got back to clear.
After showing some neat touches on his return, Kennedy almost turned provider for sub Dipo Akinyemi courtesy of a lovely ball over the top on 83 minutes, but the youngster fired wide at the second attempt and you sensed the chance for the comeback was perhaps gone for the day.
Schumacher fired over from 20 yards as the fourth official signalled five minutes of injury time which Mansfield, helped by returning former striker Chris Beardsley, saw out well with a couple of subs to claim a good away win.
After enjoying an unbeaten run of four games at the start of the month, Stevenage’s fortunes have changed in the past three weeks with three successive defeats. However with two home games within the next week there is plenty of opportunity for the men in white and red to turn performances around in front of a boisterous home support and really kick-start Boro’s season.
Tickets for Saturday’s game against Carlisle and our Football for a Fiver offer v Dagenham in next Wednesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie can be bought now at http://www.borotickets.co.uk.
Stevenage: Joronen, Henry, McCombe, Hughes, Johnson, Whelpdale (Kennedy 59), Schumacher, Jebb (Smith 46), Conlon (Akinyemi 72), Hitchcock, Williams
Subs not used: Day, Franks, Pett, Wells
Mansfield: Jensen, Benning, Pearce, Chapman, Green (Beardsley 91), Westcarr (Collins 89), Tafazolli, Hunt, Lambe, Thomas, McGuire
Subs not used: Shearer, Marsden, Thomas, Blair, Yussuf
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Attendance: 2,509 (163 away)
Player ratings: Stevenage v Mansfield Town
by Damion Roberts
Boro lost 2-0 to Mansfield on Tuesday. Here’s how players on both sides got on
1. Jesse Joronen. Good low save from Craig Westcarr following a Mansfield break and was lucky when Matt Green got through on goal in the second half, with the striker taking an extra touch. Communication with defenders needs to improve. 6
4. Jamie McCombe. Struggled at times against the wriggling Westcarr while Green’s movement also caused him problems. Gave away little in the air. 6
6. Mark Hughes. Almost gifted Mansfield a third late on when his didn’t connect properly with a back pass and Green got in. Like his central defensive partner McCombe he was pulled out of position a few times by the Mansfield attack. 5
27. Ryan Johnson. Was targeted in the first half by Mansfield’s wide players, but often showed composure. Was ruffled late on following Chris Beardsley’s introduction. There’s talent there, no doubt, but that will improve with more exposure to first-team football. 6
25. Ronnie Henry. Superb cross in the second minute to pick out Tom Conlon for a diving header. Great block from Malvind Benning late in first half to keep things level. An experienced performance, and Boro’s best player. 7
7. Chris Whelpdale. Quiet first half, but then burst into life on the stroke of half-time and surged into the box only to see his shot blocked by Tafazolli. Was taken off on the hour for Kennedy. 6
8. Steven Schumacher. Was not able to impose himself in the centre of midfield in either half as Mansfield switched play out wide. Hit one or two passes too long and straight out of play. 5
24. Jack Jebb. Had very little impact on the game, except to hand Mansfield a great chance with a pass straight to Matt Green. Taken off at the break. 4
32. Tom Conlon. Boro fans have been clamouring for him to get more game time, and he almost made a sensational impact on his return to the first side only for Brian Jensen to save his early header. Didn’t do too much wrong before being replaced by Dipo Akinyemi. 6
9. Brett Williams. Another tough night for the striker. Scored 15 goals last season for Aldershot, but yet to show that form for Boro. Like striker partner Hitchcock, wasn’t able to hold the ball up allowing Mansfield to ramp up the pressure on Boro’s defence. 4
15. Tom Hitchcock. Was busy in the first half as Boro pressed high up the pitch, but was unable to offer a goal threat. He’s a better player than he showed against the Stags. 4
28. Connor Smith. On at half-time for Jebb. By the time he was able to impose himself onto the game, Boro had already conceded twice. 6
33. Ben Kennedy. Came off the bench on the hour mark for Whelpdale and drifted around looking for the ball. Boro’s best player in the final 20 minutes. 6
20. Dipo Akinyemi. Came on with just over 15 minutes to go in place of Conlon. One shot off target. 6
12. Brian Jensen. Superb stop to deny Conlon in the opening minutes but in truth did not have to dirty his gloves too much. A fairly comfortable night for the former Burnley goalkeeper. 6
3. Malvind Benning. Had a chance late in the first half to put Mansfield ahead, but Ronnie Henry got in his way. Got forward plenty of times to help out his midfield. 6
5. Krystian Pearce. Along with fellow Stags centre-half Ryan Tafazolli kept Brett Williams and Tom Hitchcock quiet for much of the game. Was given more of a test when Dipo Akinyemi came off the bench, but a good, solid game. 6
15. Ryan Tafazolli. Good block to deny Chris Whelpdale in what was the last action of the first half. A minute after the break he headed his side in front. 7
16. Nicky Hunt. With Tom Conlon playing on the left for Boro and not getting forward down the wing too often, Hunt was able to push on. Supported Reggie Lambe in attack and rarely troubled in defence. 6
7. Adam Chapman. Along with Jamie McGuire helped to control much of the play in the first half, before unleashing his wide men. Kept his passing simple, and rarely gave the ball away. 7
24. Jamie McGuire. A solid game from the midfielder. Kept Jack Jebb and Steven Schumacher quiet in the first half. Superb sliding tackle to deny Hitchcock a run on goal just before the hour mark. 6
19. Reggie Lambe. Was told to get forward as often as he could, and did just that. Became more influential as the game went on. 6
11. Craig Westcarr. Should have scored when put in by Matt Green following Jack Jebb’s mistake, but Joronen saved. A thorn in Boro’s defence; they didn’t know how to deal with his movement off the ball. 7
20. Jack Thomas. Scored his side’s second goal, but that aside had a fairly quiet game. 6
10. Matt Green. Played in Craig Westcarr who should have put visitors ahead, but Joronen saved. Operated with plenty of freedom at times and should have scored late on when Hughes handed him the ball, but wasn’t able to beat the keeper. 7
6 Lee Collins. Came on for Craig Westcarr with a minute to go. 6
9. Chris Beardsley. On for Matt Green in injury time. 6
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