VERY POOR STAGS BEATEN EASILY BY LUTON
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Luton Town
McCourt 7, Ruddock 54
Attendance: 4245 (739 from Luton)
Date: 23 January 2016
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town turned in a very poor performance to lose 2-0 at home to Luton Town this afternoon. The Stags had plenty of possession but did almost nothing with it, gave away two very poor goals at bad times at the start of each half, and created only a couple of good goalscoring chances. In my opinion this was the worst performance of the season from Mansfield, perhaps alongside the 2-0 defeat at home to Exeter. On that occasion Mansfield bounced back a few days later with a fine win at Barnet and the Stags need to go and do that again with a big game at Morecambe on Tuesday night. I think we’re very capable of doing that.
Mansfield actually started the game well in the opening minutes and had shots from Chapman and Clements in the opening 6 minutes. But Luton were in front with their first foray into the Stags’ box, on 7 minutes. Alex Lawless floated a fine ball from the halfway line down the right, over new loan signing Sean Kavanagh at left back, to Pelly Ruddock who pulled the ball back from the byline towards the penalty spot. Krystian Pearce tried to intercept with his heel but couldn’t reach it and Paddy McCourt steamed in, in front of Nicky Hunt, to side-foot a shot under Scott Shearer. Poor defending all round but well-worked from Luton.
It was the 6th time in the last 8 home league games that Mansfield have conceded a goal in the opening 15 minutes, and none of those 6 games have been won. The Stags meanwhile have won the 2 of those 8 games in which they didn’t concede an early goal. Luton had failed to score in their previous 4 games but the goal brought them new-found confidence. They could have been further ahead on 13 minutes when McGeehan broke forward unchallenged and his shot was well-tipped over by Shearer.
Mansfield were showing almost no creativity going forward, and playing with little width in the Luton half, but nearly equalised from their first corner on 45+2 minutes. Chapman’s fine corner was perfectly placed for Krystian Pearce to steam in and power a header just over the bar.
The Stags needed a much better start to the second half but instead conceded a second goal on 54 minutes which in the end was the killer goal from which Mansfield never looked like recovering. Paddy McCourt was not closed down enough by Baxendale and allowed to cross from the left to the far post, where Pelly Ruddock, 12 yards out from goal, showed great strength to turn, beating Kavanagh in the process, and fire into the roof of the net from 8 yards. Fine goal from Ruddock but poor defending from new boy Kavanagh unfortunately, who needs to show more strength in that situation.
The closest the Stags came to pulling a goal back was on 78 minutes when Pearce cleverly headed on Chapman’s long throw giving Yussuf a free header 8 yards from goal in a central position. Yussuf headed over the bar when he really should have scored.
And so Luton very easily held on for their first win at Field Mill in a league game at the 14th attempt. So disappointing from the Stags who need to show real grit and determination to make sure they bounce back at Morecambe on Tuesday. Come on Mansfield!
There was positivity around the One Call Stadium with good news emanating from the club’s AGM on Thursday. It was also third game with kids for a quid and John Radford announced that the next home game (in two weeks against Morecambe) will be as well. I really applaud this. The attendance today of 4,245 with 739 from Luton was good, and 400-500 up in terms of home fans from the previous two home games which were also kids for a quid. This may in part have been down to the attraction of Luton coming to town, as opposed to Stevenage and Accrington. It may also have helped that the weather was much improved, almost a rare home game without rain and a strong wind.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
REPORT: Mansfield Town 0, Luton Town 2
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas, Saturday 23 January 2016
Mansfield Town conceded an early goal for the fifth time in six home games as they crashed 2-0 to struggling Luton Town this afternoon
It was the Hatters’ first ever League win at Mansfield and came despite them making six changes to their side, having won just once in the last nine league outings andwith no goals scored in 360 minutes of football.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/report-mansfield-town-0-luton-town-2-1-7692787#ixzz3y6tBFl88
But they were given a huge boost when they found themselves in front through Paddy McCourt after just six minutes.
Mansfield dominated first-half possession but could not find a way through the Hatters’ rearguard and when Pelly Ruddock smashed home a second nine minutes after the break, the Stags had no way back in a flat second-half.
It was a wasted opportunity to impress the fans for Adam Murray’s men as the game brought in the biggest home crowd of the season.
Mansfield had so much of the ball but lacked a spark and a cutting pass on the day.
The Stags made three changes. New signing Sean Kavanagh, on loan from Fulham, began the game at left-back following the return of loanee Blair Adams to Notts County.
There was a surprise change in goal as Brian Jensen was left out, Adam Murray bringing in Scott Shearer for his first league start since the opening day of the season.
The other change saw midfielder Mitch Rose in for Craig Westcarr.
The West Stand was shrouded in a yellow mist from a flare as the teams came out to the noise of ‘clackers’ supplied by the Stags.
Amid a good atmosphere, the game began at a frantic pace.
Reggie Lambe did well to dribble his way between two defenders on the left of the box to set up Adam Chapman, who scuffed a poor shot goalwards.
Then Matt Green set up Chris Clements for an 18-yard sizzler that warmed Elliott Justham’s hands.
But when Luton created their first chance on six minutes, the visitors swept ahead.
Ruddock got to the right by-line and pulled it back low to McCourt who slotted home a sidefooted finish from eight yards as a helpless Shearer dived the other way.
It was Luton’s first goal in 366 minutes of football.
Mansfield soon won a central free-kick 20 yards out from where Clements has scored in the last two games. But his effort this time hit the wall.
On 13 minutes Luton menaced again as Cameron McGeehan went on a good run which ended with a vicious shot from 18 yards that Shearer did well to tip over.
On 19 minutes Shearer denied the same player with a great block from a 15 yard blast after a neat ball inside from the left by McCourt.
In reply, Green was well over at the other end as play swung from one end to another.
Loose home passing gave the ball away and invited a Luton break that Clements halted with a foul on 28 minutes to take a booking for his team.
Home fans were getting increasingly irate with their side’s lack of penetration as the ball was played back or sideways too often for their liking.
On 43 minutes Mitch Rose set up Lambe for a 20 yard shot that sailed straight to Justham.
But Mansfield were fortunate soon after as Ryan Tafazolli nudged Craig Mackail-Smith in the back in the box and he went down, but the referee felt he went down too easily and no penalty was awarded.
In the two added minutes Mansfield won their first corner of the afternoon from which Chapman’s ball in was headed over by Krystian Pearce from eight yards as Stags went in with work to do.
They had enjoyed the lion’s share of first half possession only to find Luton’s defence rock solid.
The Hatters won a corner within 22 seconds of the restart which came to nothing.
Stags pushed forward again and Kavanagh’s deep cross floated over for a goalkick, then James Baxendale was wide with a powerful low shot from 30 yards.
On 51 minutes Luton took a free -ick quickly to catch Mansfield napping and it took a superb last ditch sliding tackle by Kavanagh to prevent Ruddock testing Shearer.
Disaster then struck for the Stags on 54 minutes as Luton doubled their lead.
McCourt crossed from the left and Ruddock turned Kavanagh superbly to blaze a high finish inside the right post from 12 yards.
Two minutes later Stags sent on Matty Blair for Rose and two minutes on from that Adi Yussuf replaced Lambe.
Alan Sheehan’s time-wasting on 64 minutes earned him a booking as Luton looked to rest on what they had in the bag.
With 12 minutes left, Pearce flicked on a Chapman throw and Yussuf headed over from six yards.
On 83 minutes O’Connor was booked for a trip on Blair and then Jack Thomas took over from Chapman, who took some stick from the crowd as he left the field.
It was announced at the end that Stags’ next home game against Morecambe on February 6 will also be Kids for a Quid, but the hosts left the field to inevitable boos from the home fans at the end of an afternoon to forget ahead of two away fixtures.
STAGS: Shearer, Rose (Blair 56), Pearce, Chapman (Thomas 83), Clements, Green, Tafazolli, Hunt, Lambe (Yussuf 58), Kavanagh, Baxendale. Subs not used: Jensen, Collins, Beardsley, Westcarr.
LUTON: Justham, O’Donnell, Smith, Cuthbert, Lawless, McGeehan, McCourt (Lee 75), Ruddock (Musonda 90+3), Mackail-Smith (Marriott 85), Howells, Sheehan. Subs not used: King, Potts, Benson, O’Brien.
REFEREE: Ben Toner of Lancashire.
ATTENDANCE: 4,245 (739 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Scott Shearer.
Hatters make history as they finally end Stags hoodoo
Luton News, by Mike Simmonds, Saturday 23 January 2016
League Two: Mansfield Town 0 Luton Town 2
Luton Town finally ended their seemingly never-ending 84-year wait for a league victory at Mansfield, and in some style too, with pretty much the perfect away performance this afternoon.
The visitors hadn’t tasted success at either Field Mill or now the newly-named One Call Stadium, since matches between the two sides began in 1932, but the destiny of the points was never in doubt from the moment Paddy McCourt side-footed into the bottom corner on seven minutes.
Read more: http://www.lutontoday.co.uk/sport/luton-town/luton-town-news/hatters-make-history-as-they-finally-end-stags-hoodoo-1-7177466#ixzz3y9MyMhqv
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu then extended Hatters’ lead in superb fashion 10 minutes after the break, thundering an effort into the top corner, as Luton completed a first victory of 2016 and Nathan Jones’ reign to boot.
If this is what Jones has in store for supporters of a Hatters persuasion, then it could, just could, be the start of something special at Kenilworth Road, as the way Hatters went about their victory, was hugely pleasing on the eye.
That’s not to say the visitors didn’t put their foot through the ball when required, but gone is the direct approach of recent times, as time and time again, Luton played the ball out from the back, and with McCourt, Ruddock Mpanzu and Cameron McGeehan going forward, goalscoring chances are never too far away.
Coupled with a new-found defensive solidity too, as new signing Alan Sheehan looked composed and classy alongside Scott Cuthbert, success might well be around the corner.
The new Luton chief had made a hefty six changes to his side for the clash at the One Call Stadium, bringing midfielder Ruddock Mpanzu in for his first start since October 24.
Meanwhile, McCourt, Elliot Justham, Craig Mackail-Smith, Cameron McGeehan and new signing Alan Sheehan came into the Town starting 11, as Danny Green (ankle), Mark Tyler (back) and Ryan Hall (ankle) were injured, while Paul Benson and Jack Marriott dropped to the bench, with Magnus Okuonghae missing out completely.
Justham easily handled Chris Clements’ long ranger early on, before Luton were in front with their first shot on target, ending a four game drought in the process.
Alex Lawless’ dink over the top was perfect for Ruddock Mpanzu whose low cross was side-footed confidently in to the bottom corner by McCourt, for his first goal for the club.
Hatters pressed for a second with McGeehan winning possession back in the home half, driving forward and seeing a fierce shot flipped over by Scott Shearer.
The recalled midfielder then came close on 18 minutes too, wonderfully found by McCourt’s vision, but with time and space, could only fire weakly for Shearer to palm clear.
Stags striker Matt Green spun well to fire over, but he was well contained by a Hatters side utilising the counter-attack to a tee, content to let their hosts have the ball in front of them and bide their time as the home fans’ frustration grew.
Crucially, Luton were always a threat on the break too, with Mackail-Smith’s hanging cross headed at Shearer by Jonathan Smith.
Mansfield had been restricted to efforts from range, Reggie Lambe shooting at Justham, while Town had calls for a penalty rejected on 43 minutes when Mackail-Smith was barged over by Ryan Tafazolli, with a goal kick given.
Stags threatened once more before the interval, Krystian Pearce leaping highest to meet a corner, heading over the top.
In the second period, the main question was whether Luton would look to try and protect their lead, something they had been guilty off too often earlier in the season, or go for a killer second.
An early corner suggested otherwise, before a quick free kick by McGeehan almost saw Ruddock Mpanzu away, but he couldn’t sort out his feet out in time, with the danger cleared.
However, the midfielder did find the net in simply stunning fashion on 54 minutes, taking McCourt’s cross out of the sky, brushing off a defender and rifling beyond Shearer into the roof of the net.
The goal symbolised everything that a fully-fit Ruddock Mpanzu can bring to Luton, as his pace and power is at times unplayable, and the fact he got stronger as the game wore on, will do his confidence wonders too.
Hatters were then happy to soak up the pressure, by keeping their hosts at arms length, as Mansfield were reduced to half chances at best, Green finding the side-netting.
When they did have a clear sight of goal, Lambe could only direct his free header over, as Town might have extended their lead even further, with McGeehan’s determination to cover every blade of grass, another huge positive.
Jones was even able to give young centre half Frankie Musonda his professional debut in the closing stages to put the gloss on what was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
Hatters: Elliot Justham, Stephen O’Donnell, Jake Howells, Scott Cuthbert, Alan Sheehan, Alex Lawless, Jonathan Smith, Paddy McCourt (Olly Lee 75), Cameron McGeehan, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu (Frankie Musonda 90), Craig Mackail-Smith (Jack Marriott 84).
Subs not used: Craig King, Dan Potts, Paul Benson, Mark O’Brien.
Stags: Scott Shearer, Mitchell Rose (Matty Blair 56), Krystian Pearce, Adam Chapman (Jack Thomas 83), Chris Clements, Matt Green, Ryan Tafazolli (C), Nicky Hunt, Reggie Lambe (Adi Yussuf 59), Sean Kavanagh, James Baxendale.
Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Lee Collins, Chris Beardsley, Craig Westcarr.
Booked: Clements 26, Sheehan 65.
Attendance: 4,245 (739 Luton).
Referee: Ben Toner.
Hatters MOM: Paddy McCourt,s
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