STAGS SOUNDLY BEATEN AT PLYMOUTH
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Plymouth Argyle 3 - 0 Mansfield Town
Wylde 33, Brunt 36 pen, 84
Attendance: 7,494 (190 from Mansfield)
Date: 13 February 2016
Martin Shaw at Home Park
Mansfield Town were soundly beaten 3-0 at second placed Plymouth Argyle this afternoon, in a game in which the home side demonstrated the class that has seen them in the top 3 all season. Mansfield came into the game on the back of three straight wins followed by an excellent point at third placed Oxford on Tuesday night that had seen them risen to fourth in the table. But it was always a concern that Mansfield had played two tough games in 7 days while Plymouth hadn’t played any, and after the opening 15 minutes in which Plymouth shook off their rustiness, it was the home side who looked fresher and at times pulled a jaded-looking Stags apart, with the trio of Graham Carey, Ryan Brunt and Greg Wylde absolutely outstanding. Plymouth’s recent home form hasn’t been great and the home fans can apparently turn on their team if they don’t start well, so it was probably important for Mansfield to score the first goal here if they were going to take anything from the game. The best chance Mansfield had for an early lead was a great run forward from Mal Benning to the edge of the D and a shot just over the angle. Plymouth started to cause the Stags problems down the left wing with the excellent Gregg Wylde having a field day against right back Lee Collins. Wylde put in good crosses on 29 and 33 minutes, the latter bringing a save from Scott Shearer who pushed behind from Ryan Brunt for a corner. From the resulting corner, Plymouth took the lead, but it was Shearer who should have done better to prevent the goal. The corner came out to Wylde who fired goalwards low from 25 yards. Shearer got a strong hand on it but it still ended up in the bottom right corner of the net. And within 3 minutes, on 36 minutes, it was 2-0 through a penalty, Plymouth’s first for 39 games. Plymouth fans thought this was a long run, though of course it was nothing compared to Mansfield’s run of 85 league and cup games without a penalty awarded, which came to an end in August! I initially thought the penalty was awarded for Pearce pulling down Hartley and my view was that there was no foul, so I thought it was a poor decision. However after the game the two managers revealed that they had been told by the officials that it was a foul by Beardsley in the middle, which I did not see. From the video, it appears that Beardsley pulled his man Brunt down so a penalty was probably the right decision. Brunt buried the penalty into the left of the net. The home side’s confidence was up and the crowd was now right behind them. It was hard to see a way back which in the end proved right. The Stags had two real chances to get back into the game as Ryan Tafazolli headed against the woodwork twice. Firstly on 43 minutes he headed down and the ball rolled against the post and out. Then on 52 minutes he looped a header towards the roof of the net but somehow Brunt headed the ball from on the line against the underside of the bar and away. Unlucky for Tafazolli. In truth, Plymouth could have added several more goals but for some fine saves from Scott Shearer, who went some way to atoning for his error for the first goal. Plymouth did add a third on 84 minutes when right back Jervis crossed from the right and Brunt got ahead of Collins, now playing in central defence, to sweep home. Very disappointing for the Stags but no doubt that Plymouth were much the better side. Ryan Tafazolli and Jamie McGuire were in my opinion Mansfield’s best outfield players, and Scott Shearer made some fine saves, but he had made a rare error for Plymouth’s first goal. The Stags drop from 4th to 7th, and of course have been in the top 7 for more than half of the season. It’s Dagenham next Saturday at the One Call Stadium. The Stags should be refreshed by then and a chance to bounce back. Come on Mansfield!
Adam Murray made one change from the side that drew at Oxford, with Chris Beardsley returning in place of Reggie Lambe. The Stags started with a 4-1-3-2 formation, with McGuire in front of the back four, and Blair, Baxendale and Clements behind Green and Beardsley. The formation changed at the start of the second half to three central defenders, with sub Daniel Alfei and Mal Benning as wingbacks. Plymouth dropped Reuben Reid and Jake Jervis, with 17 goals between them this season, to the bench. But they welcomed influential midfielder Graham Carey back from injury.
Murray had to serve a one match touchline ban, and spent the 90 minutes in the directors’ box, in phone contact with his coaches on the bench. Before the game, he joked with the officials about where he could sit.
He was allowed on the pitch in the warm-up, and in the changing rooms before the game, at half time, and full time.
The Home Park pitch, previously so good and laid at a cost of £1million for a failed World Cup bid, is now in poor condition. It became covered in an algae early in the winter and the algae had to be scraped off leaving it looking like a scarified paddy field. Mansfield had not won in 10 previous attempts at Home Park, indeed our only win here in 16 attempts was in 1978. Today was to get no better.
Full report in the match centre
Man of the match: Ryan Tafazolli
Match report: Mansfield Town’s unbeaten run comes to abrupt halt at high-flying Plymouth Argyle
chad.co.uk report by Sportsbeat agency, Saturday 13 February 2016
Mansfield Town’s four-game unbeaten run came to an abrupt end against high-flying Plymouth.
Gregg Wylde and Ryan Brunt struck in three first-half minutes while the latter added another late on to sentence The Stags to their first defeat since they lost at home to Luton on January 23.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/match-report-mansfield-town-s-unbeaten-run-comes-to-abrupt-halt-at-high-flying-plymouth-argyle-1-7731248#ixzz405JbGU2z
Mansfield’s rise up to fourth in the table had been built on an impressive away record but this defeat - only their fifth away from home this term - saw Adam Murray’s side slip to seventh.
With manager Murray sitting in the stands after being hit with a one-match touchline ban following an FA misconduct charge, Mansfield went for broke after the break.
Daniel Alfei was summoned after half-time and the visitors switched to three at the back but by then the damage had been done.
Earlier Brunt wasted a decent opening chance after heading high and wide following an inviting cross by Gary Sawyer.
Mansfield keeper Scott Shearer plunged to his right to tip Craig Tanner’s shot around the post before Argyle took the lead on 33 minutes from the resulting corner.
Mansfield could only partially clear and Curtis Nelson rolled the ball into the path of Wylde to score.
Argyle doubled their lead three minutes later after Peter Hartley was wrestled to the floor by Krystian Pearce and the referee pointed to the spot and Brunt fired into the bottom left corner.
Plymouth piled on the pressure and Jordan Forster headed Graham Carey’s cross against the post.
Ryan Tafazolli, who had earlier hit the post, watched on as his 53rd minute header appeared to be going in until Brunt diverted the ball on to the crossbar.
Shearer prevented further damage after racing off his line to deny Oscar Threlkeld and the Mansfield keeper pulled off a stunning save from Wylde.
But he was powerless as Brunt poured further salt into Mansfield wounds when he tapped home in the 84th minute.
Plymouth Argyle 3 Mansfield Town 0: Match report
By Chris Errington, plymouthherald.co.uk
RECALLED striker Ryan Brunt netted twice and wing wizard Gregg Wylde was also on target as Argyle stormed to a thoroughly impressive victory over Mansfield at Home Park.
One of Brunt's goals was a penalty as the Pilgrims were finally awarded their first spot kick of the season.
It was among Argyle's most dominant displays of the campaign and Wylde set them on their way with a low shot in the 33rd minute.
Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Plymouth-Argyle-3-Mansfield-Town-0-Match-report/story-28728904-detail/story.html#ixzz404rUpokB
Brunt then converted a 36th minute penalty after centre-back Peter Hartley was fouled.
Argyle dominated the second half and Mansfield 'keeper Scott Shearer had to make a series of excellent saves.
In the end, though, Brunt made it 3-0 in the 84th minute when he slid in to convert a low cross from substitute Jake Jervis.
The Pilgrims now hold a 10-point lead over fourth-placed Wycombe Wanderers as they try to secure one of the three automatic promotion positions.
Argyle gave a debut to on-loan Hibernian defender Jordon Forster, who replaced ever present Kelvin Mellor at right-back.
Forster had been an unused substitute in the previous three matches since completing his move to the Pilgrims last month.
Brunt and midfield playmaker Graham Carey were also brought into the team by boss Derek Adams.
Dropping down to the substitutes' bench were the trio of Mellor, striker Reuben Reid and 11-goal leading scorer Jervis.
It was Carey's first start since he suffered a knee injury in the 1-1 draw at Dagenham and Redbridge on November 28.
Brunt had the first chance of the contest in the eighth minute when the ball broke to him in the box and he dragged a shot across the face of goal.
Craig Tanner then fired wide from 20 yards as Argyle made a purposeful start to the match.
Mansfield showed their threat on the counter attack for the first time in the 13th minute when left-back Malvind Benning sped forward and sent a 25-yard strike narrowly over the crossbar.
Argyle midfielder Carl McHugh then made a good block when Mansfield's top scorer Matt Green had a shot on the turn.
Brunt had another good opportunity for the Pilgrims in the 25th minute but headed wide after a good cross from Wylde.
Carey then opened up the Mansfield defence with a superb pass for Wylde to run onto and he tried to pick out Brunt with a cross.
Brunt slid in but was beaten to the ball by centre-back Ryan Tafazolli, who conceded a corner.
The deadlock was broken in the 33rd minute when Wylde fired home his sixth goal of the season from 20 yards after the ball was passed inside to him by Curtis Nelson.
Nelson had gone forward for a corner which was conceded by Mansfield after Tanner's low shot was pushed wide by Shearer.
Argyle doubled their lead in the 36th minute when they were awarded - and converted - their first penalty of the season.
Hartley was fouled by Mansfield centre-back Krystian Pearce and referee Brendan Malone pointed to the spot, on the say-so of his assistant Mark Pottage.
Brunt slotted the spot kick confidently past the dive of Shearer and into the net for his eighth goal of the campaign.
It was almost 3-0 to Argyle in the 40th minute when Forster headed the ball against the right post after a Carey cross.
The drama continued as Mansfield almost cut the deficit on the stroke of half-time with a header from Tafazolli which hit an upright.
Mansfield changed tactics from 4-1-3-2 to 3-5-2 at the start of the second half, with Daniel Alfei sent on for James Baxendale.
Argyle had an early chance to extend their lead but midfielder Oscar Threlkeld fired wide after a pass from the lively Wylde.
Brunt then came to the rescue for the Pilgrims in the 52nd minute with a vital goal-line clearance following a Mansfield corner.
Tafazolli sent a looping header over 'keeper Luke McCormick but Brunt got a touch onto it and the ball hit the underside of the bar and bounced out.
Mansfield used up their three permitted substitutes by the 56th minute as Adi Yussuf and Jack Thomas replaced Chris Beardsley and Matty Blair respectively.
Argyle could have gone further ahead shortly after the hour mark after a superb defence-splitting pass from McHugh for Threlkeld to run onto.
The on-loan Bolton Wanderers midfielder got in a first-time shot but it was kicked away by Shearer.
That was a crucial save as had Threlkeld scored then the Pilgrims would surely have wrapped up the game with almost half an hour remaining.
Jervis was a 65th minute substitute for Tanner in a straight swap before Brunt had a glancing header from Forster's cross saved by Shearer.
The Mansfield 'keeper then made a magnificent stop in the 74th minute to push Wylde's shot wide of the left post for a corner.
Wylde was a threat all afternoon, with some excellent runs and he also got into plenty of goalscoring positions.
Shearer made another terrific save, this time from Carey's low 20-yard drive, as he continued to thwart the Pilgrims.
Carey went close again with a curling free-kick from distance when the ball went narrowly wide of Shearer's left post.
Argyle finally got the third goal their display deserved in the 84th minute and it was a well-worked one finished off by Brunt.
McHugh showed good control of the ball before passing it outside to Jervis and his excellent low cross was slid into the net by Brunt.
Brunt almost completed a hat-trick soon afterwards when he got on the end of a cross from Wylde but, sliding in, he directed the ball wide of the far post.
Before play restarted, Brunt was taken off and replaced by Reid, with the two-goal striker receiving a loud ovation from the Green Army.
It was an excellent team performance from Argyle and a big boost to their promotion prospects.
Plymouth Argyle 3 Mansfield Town 0: Match stats
By Chris Errington, plymouthherald.co.uk
Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Plymouth-Argyle-3-Mansfield-Town-0-Match-stats/story-28728920-detail/story.html#ixzz404rbDWLz
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE (4-2-3-1)
23 Luke McCormick 6
28 Jordon Forster 7
5 Curtis Nelson 7
6 Peter Hartley 7
3 Gary Sawyer 7
26 Oscar Threlkeld 7
4 Carl McHugh 8
27 Craig Tanner 7
10 Graham Carey 8
11 Gregg Wylde 8
17 Ryan Brunt 9
2 Kelvin Mellor
7 Daniel Nardiello
9 Reuben Reid (for Brunt 89 mins)
14 Jake Jervis (for Tanner 65 mins) 7
16 Ben Purrington (for Wylde 85 mins)
21 James Bittner
24 Louis Rooney
MANSFIELD TOWN (4-1-3-2)
Scott Shearer; Lee Collins, Krystian Pearce, Ryan Tafazolli, Malvind Benning; Jamie McGuire; Chris Clements, James Baxendale (Daniel Alfei h/t), Matty Blair (Jack Thomas 56 mins); Chris Beardsley (Adi Yussuf 53 mins), Matt Green.
Substitutes: Brian Jensen, Adam Chapman, Sean Kavanagh, Reggie Lambe.
REFEREE: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire) 6
ATTENDANCE: 7,494 (190)
GOALS - Argyle: Wylde 33 mins, Brunt (pen) 36, 84 mins; Mansfield: None
YELLOW CARDS - Argyle: Hartley 45 +3 mins, Carey 81 mins; Mansfield: Clements 79 mins
MATCH RATING: 4 out of 5
ARGYLE STAR MAN - Ryan Brunt: Two goals, a couple of near misses and a goal-line clearance from the hard-working Pilgrims' striker
NEXT MATCH: Saturday, away to Crawley Town, League Two (3pm)
Plymouth 3 - 0 Mansfield
Sat 13 Feb
by Rob McNichol
ARGYLE took a huge leap towards Sky Bet League 2 promotion with a richly-deserved 3-0 victory against Mansfield Town. In fact, one could say the Pilgrims leapt like a proverbial Stag.
Read more at http://www.pafc.co.uk/fixtures-results/match-report/index.aspx?matchid=3834074&tcmuri=2516351#riI7sZwwtuosTMPm.99
Mansfield arrived at Home Park in very fine fettle, but their fearsome antlers were soon shed, as the Pilgrims produced a dominant performance to stamp their class on this game. Any talk of ruts looked extremely premature.
The excellent Gregg Wylde put Argyle into a lead just after the half hour mark, before Ryan Brunt doubled the lead from the spot minutes later. Brunt's second in the closing stages gave Argyle a third goal, and sealed three points they craved, worked for, and achieved.
The inclusion of Graham Carey and Jordon Forster were the main pre-match talking topics. Carey had made a couple of substitute appearances since being injured in Argyle's draw at Dagenham at the end of November, but this was the number 10's first start since his knee injury sustained in that trip to Essex.
Forster, a loan signing from Hibernian, had waited patiently as a substitute for several weeks, and now had his chance to impress from the start, coming in for Kelvin Mellor at right-back.
Notable by their absence were Reuben Reid and Jake Jervis, who were both on the bench. Ryan Brunt led the line from the outset, with Gregg Wylde and Craig Tanner either side of Carey in support.
As one might expect from a game involving two of the league's top four, the game started rather cagily, but Argyle were nudging the territorial battle, and carving out a chance or two. Gary Sawyer's deep cross was dealt with poorly by the Stags defence, and Brunt pulled his shot just wide of the post, before Tanner had a sighter from 25 yards that flew not far wide of Scott Shearer's post, though the Mansfield goalkeeper had it covered.
At the other end, Malvind Benning, Mansfield's left-back, sauntered forward, and with Argyle's defence occupied by the visitors' attacking players, had a decent effort from 20 yards that went not too far over Luke McCormick's crossbar.
Benning was suddenly at the heart of the action, and not in a good way for the full-back. First, he provided a moment of light relief, as when retrieving a ball so his side could take a free-kick he skewed the ball miles past his intended target, delaying the game more. ("Are you Wycombe in disguise?" enquired the wags in the Devonport end.) Next, Benning's attempted clearance clattered into Tanner, who then won the footrace for the loose ball, drawing a sliding foul by Benning, who was perhaps fortunate to avoid incurring the game's first caution.
After neat footwork from Tanner, Sawyer and Brunt teamed up again, around the 25-minute mark, with this time Sawyer's dinked cross finding Brunt's head, but he could not angle the ball on goal.
Brunt so nearly got on the end of another cross from the left, this time from Wylde, after a smashing Argyle breakaway move. Tanner tracked back to win the ball before McHugh and then Carey set Wylde away. His square ball was the right ball, but defender Ryan Tafazolli's outstretched leg did enough to prevent the tap in.
Argyle kept on coming, and were having great joy on that flank. Wylde raced away again, and this time had two options in the centre. As Brunt darted to the near post, Tanner pulled off to give the angle. His shot was well saved by Shearer, and Argyle had a corner.
The long cross by Carey was partially cleared by Mansfield, but only to Nelson, hovering. He squared to Wylde, some 20 yards from goal. His first touch was not his best, but his second a belter. A low drive through a crowd suddenly emerged heading for goal, too late to Shearer to reach and get more than a flick on it.
Argyle had their lead, as well as a ton of momentum. Chances continued to come frequently, nearly always down Mansfield's harassed right side. Yet another corner down that flank yielded Argyle's second, deserved goal.
Carey's low corner was sent back to him to try again, and when the ball eventually reached the far post, Peter Hartley went down under pressure from Krystian Pearce. As the assistant referee waved his flag, you could sense the disbelief enveloping Home Park. Could it be true? Had Argyle actually been given a penalty?
Before the pain in the Green Army's arms - sustained by continual pinching - had subsided, Brunt had grabbed the ball and cracked it past Shearer's outstretched right arm. It was Argyle's first penalty since Reuben Reid scored against Tranmere on April 25, 2015 - some 294 days previous.
Chances to rain in on Mansfield's besieged goal. Forster nearly sealed a perfect debut with a short-range header that slammed against a post, and after a goalmouth scramble that seemed to take forever, Carl McHugh nearly contrasted the uncultured ground battle with a beautiful backheeled effort, but it was blocked.
Mansfield has rarely threatened, but in nearly getting a goal back almost scored the most comical goal in Home Park history. After McCormick had fumbled a cross which led to a corner, chaos reigned. As one Argyle player flew Superman-like through the air while being fouled, Tafazolli met the ball smartly. However, it managed to evade a pair of Argyle defenders doing an 'After you, Claude' routine, before another took a complete airshot - all of this taking place in what felt like slow-motion as the ball splodged through the mud. It struck a post and felt into the grateful hands of McCormick. It would have been a tremendous shame for a superb first half to have been blotted by a needless comedy goal.
Fortunately, it was not, and the applause that rang around Home Park when the half-time whistle sounded was entirely deserved.
Mansfield's reaction was to replace midfielder James Baxendale with full-back Dan Alfei, with Lee Collins switching from full-back to central defence, and the Stags reverting to a variation on a 3-5-2 formation.
Argyel started the second hald as brightly as they had concluded it, but from a rare Mansfield foray forward they nearly got themselves back in the game. The second of two consecutive corners saw Tafazolli's header loop goalwards, but Brunt, defending the corner from the goal-line, made a superb headed intervention.
After 11 minutes of the second half, Mansfield had used all their substitutes in an effort to change their fortunes. In fairness, it was showing some signs of paying off, as one replacement, Adi Yussef, engineered a good position before firing high into the stand, then it took an excellent retreating challenge by McHugh as another sub, Jack Thomas, looked about to try one from the edge of the area.
There was no way the Stag's new attacking approach would not leave some gaps, though, and with Wylde in irresistible form, Argyle looked a huge threat on the counter attack. Wylde's ball, cut inside to Oscar Threlkeld, gave the on-loan Bolton a chance to add to the lead, but after a great first touch, he shot just wide with his left foot.
Moments later, Tanner's perfect through-pass left Oscar one-on-one with Shearer, who made a very good stop to keep his side in with any sort of chance.
Argyle had the luxury of introducing their top goalscorer into this mix, with Jervis replacing Tanner with 25 minutes to go. He was soon in the action, crossing for Brunt, who headed on target, but Shearer pouched.
A move, with about quarter of an hour remaining, nearly gave Argyle a glorious third goal. The conclusion saw Forster cross from the right, Brunt flick on and Wylde strike first time, only to see the ball deflected wide.
Carey, who had been quietly effective during his return match, showed his fitness by coming into the game in the closing stages. A shot from the edge of the area forced a smart save from Shearer, before Carey was fouled after skipping two defenders. He took the free-kick he earned, and placed it just wide.
The game was finally put to bed, if such a statement were needed, with five minutes to go, as Jervis' measured cross was knocked home by the hugely-deserving Brunt.
With two minutes to go, Brunt came so close to grabbing his hat-trick, but his header from Carey's glorious cross was a little too deft. Seconds later, Brunt was replaced by Reid to a rapturous reception. What luxury to be able to make such a replacement.
And what luxury to look at a table that sees a gap between Argyle and fourth place measuring double figures.
Argyle (4-2-3-1): 23 Luke McCormick; 28 Jordon Forster, 5 Curtis Nelson (capt), 6 Peter Hartley, 3 Gary Sawyer; 4 Carl McHugh, 26 Oscar Threlkeld; 27 Craig Tanner (14 Jake Jervis 65), 10 Graham Carey, 11 Gregg Wylde (16 Ben Purrington 85); 17 Ryan Brunt (9 Reuben Reid 89).Substitutes: 2 Kelvin Mellor, 7 Daniel Nardiello, 21 James Bittner (gk), 24 Louis Rooney.
Booked: Hartley 45, Carey 81.
Mansfield (4-4-2): 1 Scott Shearer; 6 Lee Collins (capt), 5 Krystian Pearce, 15 Ryan Tafazolli, 3 Malv Benning; 8 Chris Clements, 24 Jamie McGuire, 31 James Baxendale (27 Dan Alfei half-time), 17 Matt Blair (20 Jack Thomas 56); 9 Chris Beardsley (18 Adi Yussuf 53), 10 Matt Green. Substitutes: 7 Adam Chapman, 12 Brian Jensen (gk), 19 Reggie Lambe, 23 Sean Kavanagh.
Booked: Clements 79.
Referee: Brendan Malone.
Attendance: 7,494 (190 away).
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