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BAD NIGHT AT THE OFFICE AS STAGS LOSE TO EXETER
27th November 2015 17:37


Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Exeter City
Grant 6, Holmes 41
Attendance: 2435 (140 from Exeter)

Date: 24 November 2015

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were comfortably beaten by Exeter City at the One Call Stadium tonight. Mansfield had played so well on Saturday in beating Hartlepool on Saturday but the contrast tonight couldn’t have been more striking. Most notably, the wingplay from the Stags on Saturday through Nathan Thomas and also to a lesser extent from others, had been quite outstanding. Tonight Mansfield’s crossing was abysmal with almost every cross from open play failing to get past the first defender. Exeter took the lead after just six minutes as Holmes crossed from the left and Joel Grant knocked in from 6 yards. Poor defending from the Stags and an inquest followed the goal between the defenders. Mansfield grew into the game and were on top for about 25 minutes without creating many clearcut chances. The best chance fell to Krystian Pearce, who headed inches wide from a corner. That was on 35 minutes, and if it had gone in, the game might have panned out differently. But Exeter increased their lead on 41 minutes as Grant got past Rose on the left far too easily and squared to Holmes who stroked home left footed into the bottom right corner of the net. In the second half, the Stags rarely looked like getting back into the game and Exeter comfortably held on for a fine victory. One similarity from Saturday was that non-full-backs playing at full back were exploited by the opposition. On Saturday, it was the Stags who took advantage of Hartlepool having to play Harrison, not a full-back, at right back. Tonight it was Exeter, who exploited that Mansfield played Mitch Rose at right back. Credit to Exeter for a high quality away performance, breaking with purpose and defending very solidly. A great three days for Exeter after they won at leaders Plymouth on Saturday.

A bad night at the office for Mansfield, and that’s all it was I think. The Stags drop to 8th place, one point and one point outside the play-off zone. Still a great position to be in. On to Barnet on Saturday and our first ever visit to The Hive. Barnet are struggling away from home and lost 4-2 at Notts County tonight but they have a good home record having won 5 times, so it will be difficult. But Mansfield have a good record against teams in the bottom half of the table are well-capable of bouncing back from tonight. Come on Mansfield!

This was Mansfield’s 8th night match of the season, but only the first at home incredibly. Barring postponements, we only have two more night matches this season: one at home and one away, so will probably end the season with just two home night matches. Remarkable.

FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE

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The Sun, 25Nov15


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Tuesday, 24th November 2015: Mansfield Town 0, Exeter City 2
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas

A disappointing Mansfield Town were comfortably beaten 2-0 at home in a very below-par display against Exeter City tonight.

The Stags conceded two poor first half goals and never looked like getting back in the contest after the break with visiting keeper Bobby Olejnik without a major save to make all night.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/tuesday-24th-november-2015-mansfield-town-0-exeter-city-2-1-7588618

Stags thought they had solved their goalscoring problems with Saturday’s 3-1 win over Hartlepool.

But they looked toothless once again tonight as they ended a sixth game in seven without a goal to show for their efforts.

It was also a third home defeat in four League outings for Adam Murray’s men and saw them booed at the end by some of the frustrated home fans.

The Grecians did their hard work in the first half with the two goals and then got men behind the ball to easily snuff out all Mansfield had to throw at them.

A poor first half by the home side saw them have plenty of possession but find themselves trailing 2-0.

Joel Grant and Lee Holmes were their chief tormentors as both scored one and made one.

On six minutes Grant was allowed to turn home a low Holmes cross into the net from close range after an Exeter counter-attack.

And the home defence were caught flatflooted on 41 minutes as Grant zipped past three challenges before setting up Mansfield-born Holmes for the second from 10 yards.

Mansfield made two changes with midfielders Chris Clements and Craig Westcarr were rested to the bench with a busy period ahead and Jamie McGuire and Jack Thomas given places in the starting XI.

On the home bench, there was a place for the first time for 16-year-old youth striker Zayn Hakeem.

Stags were looking to build on Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Hartlepool while City were still on a high after winning 2-1 away against local rivals and League Two leaders Plymouth Argyle.

Bizarrely, this was Stags’ first home midweek game of the season after seven away so far.

Jack Thomas bobbled the first shot of the game well wide in the fourth minute as Mansfield made a confident start.

However, the visitors grabbed the lead with their first serious raid.

They caught Mansfield on the hop with a counter-attack down the left as Holmes sped away and, with Exeter players outnumbering Stags players in the box, his low cross was swept home high into the net from six yards by Grant for his third goal of the season.

On 12 minutes Noble carelessly gave the ball away with a backheel to no one, Green in there quickly to get off a low shot that was easy for Olejnik.

On 19 minutes Exeter had the ball in the net again, but the whistle had gone well before Grant chose to slot low past Jensen with an offside flag raised.

Two minutes later Stags might have had a penalty as Brown pulled hard on Tafazolli’s shirt from a Chapman corner, but the offence went unpunished.

More good Mansfield pressure saw Lambe have a shot blocked and Jack Thomas decide not to fire a follow-up goalwards and, when Rose’s cross was caught by Olejnik, the moment was gone.

On 25 minutes we had the first yellow card of the night after Pearce slid in clumsily on Nichols.

On the half-hour Nathan Thomas saw his shot take a wicked deflection. But, with the keeper rooted, the ball flew wide for a corner.

That was cleared back to Chapman who found McGuire at the near post who sent a looping header across goal and wide of the far post.

City were rarely getting forward, but on 34 minutes Grant broke well down the right and crossed towards Nichols at the far post where Pearce managed to get a crucial touch for a corner.

Two minutes later Stags were almost level as, from a left wing Chapman corner, Rose powered a header wide of the left post by mere inches.

Instead it was the visitors who doubled their advantage on 41 minutes - and it was far too easy for them to do so.

Grant burst his way past three opponents on a good run before squaring a perfect ball to an unmarked Holmes who slotted home a low finish from 10 yards.

It was very un-Mansfield Town defending and left Stags with a mountain to climb.

Two minutes were added on in which McGuire conceded a free kick 25 yards from goal from which Nichols wasn’t too far wide as the home side went in with much work to do.

Inevitably there were changes at the break with Clements coming on for McGuire and Nathan Thomas replaced by Yussuf, Stags going 4-4-2.

Early in the half Green sent a tame header wide from a long Adams cross, then he saw a long range shot deflect wide for a corner. But still Olejnik was without a save to make.

Blair took over from Lambe on 56 minutes as Stags made their final change early.

But a poor backpass from Rose on 67 minutes put Stags in trouble, Grant helping set up Harley for a low shot that Jensen had to get down to block.

Stags rallied and the home fans tried their best to lift them.

Three home corners in succession were won, the second seeing a brief shooting chance falling to Yussuf, who failed to get hold of it properly.

Another home corner saw Pearce guide a header on target, but it proved an easy catch for Olejnik.

In the last minute Jensen was down well again to keep out a low Wheeler shot from the right of the box as the night ended in the inevitable boos from the stands.

MANSFIELD TOWN: Jensen, Rose, Pearce, Chapman, Green, N. Thomas (Yussuf HT), Tafazolli, Lambe (Blair 56), N. Thomas, McGuire (Clements HT), Adams. Subs not used:

EXETER CITY: Olejnik, Noble, Ribeiro, Harley, Holmes (Reid 65), Davies, Nicholls, Moore-Taylor, Nichols (Wheeler 56), Grant (Woodman 77), Brown. Subs not used: Oakley, Morrison, Harmon, Tillson.

REFEREE: Oliver Langford of West Midlands.

ATTENDANCE: 2,435 (140 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Blair Adams.

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Mansfield Town 0 Exeter City 2: Match report
report from Exeter Express and Echo, November 24, 2015

SUPERB performances from Lee Holmes and Joel Grant gave Exeter City back-to-back wins for only the second time this season as they moved up to 10th in the League Two table with victory over Mansfield Town.

Holmes, who was returning to the starting line-up from injury, set up Grant for the opening goal in the sixth minute and then Grant turned provider midway through the half as he passed to Holmes to score the second.

Read more: http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Mansfield-Town-0-Exeter-City-2-Match-report/story-28235162-detail/story.html#ixzz3sWvsEQRd

It was a comfortable victory for the Grecians, who were rarely troubled by a Mansfield Town side who have struggled for goals of late.

City manager Paul Tisdale made five changes to the side that started the 2-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle last time out. In came Tom Nichols, Lee Holmes, Alex Nicholls, Joel Grant and Christian Ribeiro. They replaced the injured Jamie McAllister and Danny Butterfield, along with Ollie Watkins, Jamie Reid and David Wheeler. Wheeler and Reid took their place on the substitutes' bench.

City put in a superb performance in the first half to lead 2-0 at the break. The returning Holmes, who has not played for City since a 1-0 victory at home to Cambridge United in late October, was at the heart of the action as he broke down the left side of the pitch and delivered a pin-point cross for Grant to side foot home from eight yards after six minutes.

Mansfield responded by sending long balls up to former Torquay United striker Matt Green throughout the first half, but with little success. They had to wait until the 23rd minute for their first shot on target, from Reggie Lambe, but that was comfortably blocked by Jordan Moore-Taylor.

Captain Adam Chapman had another looping header wide and Krystain Pearce also nodded off target on the half hour, but it was a poor performance up to the break from the Stags who were booed off when the referee Oliver Langford blew his whistle on 45 minutes.

At that stage the home side were 2-0 down - as the impressive Grant produced step-over and accurate pass to find Holmes, in the 41st minute, and the Mansfield-born midfielder side footed the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the area.

Mansfield manager Adam Murray made two changes at half-time bringing on Adi Yussuf for Nathan Thomas and Chris Clements for Jamie McGuire. He was clearly not happy with his side's first half performance and no doubt sent his players out for the second-half with a rollicking in their ears.

The y responded snapping into challenges, but they were still struggling to create chances against a superb City defence led by Christian Ribeiro who was getting his head to numerous long balls being sent forward.

Mitchell Rose and Matt Green both had efforts wide of goal in the before the hour mark, but it was City who were to create the first telling chance after the break when patient build-up from Grant and David Noble ended with Ryan Harley striking an effort straight at former Burnley keeper Brian Jensen from inside the box.

Mansfield continued to have the majority of play in the second-half, as City playing on the counter, looked to soak up the pressure and defend their two-goal advantage.

But the direct approach needed something to drop for them in the box and when it did substitute Adi Yussuf hit a poor weakly struck shot from seven yards, which was easily blocked by Noble.

Jack Thomas had another shot blocked by Troy Brown with 15 minutes to play, but City keeper Bobby Olejnik wasn't really troubled throughout the 90 minutes only having to save a looping header from Pearce in the closing stages.

Mansfield Town (4-4-2): Jensen; Rose, Pearce, Tafazolli, Adams; N Thomas (Yussuf, 45), Chapman, McGuire (Clements, 45), Lambe (Blair, 57); J Thomas, Green. Subs not used: Shearer, Collins, Westcarr, Hakeem. Booked: Pearce.

Exeter City (4-4-2): Olejnik; Davies, Brown, Ribeiro, Moore-Taylor; Noble, Holmes (Oakley, 65), Harley, Nicholls; Nichols (Wheeler, 55), Grant (Woodman, 75). Subs not used: Morrison, Woodman, Reid, Wheeler, Hamon, Tillson.

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