10-MAN STAGS SHOW SPIRIT BUT FALL TO ACCRINGTON
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Accrington Stanley
Benning sent off 13. Conneely 60
Attendance: 5053 (543 from Accrington)
Date: 30 March 2018
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at home by Accrington Stanley, who go top of the league by three points with two games in hand and now appear certainties for automatic promotion. For the Stags, it was the second defeat in succession, after only six defeats in the whole of the season prior to that. But this was a much more spirited performance than the atrocious defeat at Forest Green last week. The Stags started on the front foot, but were rocked by a straight red card for Mal Benning after just 13 minutes. Benning fouled former Stag Billy Kee, Benning was high with his left boot, and his studs were showing as he caught Kee. The referee did not see the incident, but sent off Benning on the advice of his linesman. From the video, the decision looks reasonable and there would be no chance of a successful appeal. Manager David Flitcroft agreed with the decision after the game, and said that Benning would be fined for his rash challenge. Accrington were right on top, but Mansfield regrouped for the final 15 minutes of the half, playing some fine football and could have been ahead by the break, with Rhys Bennett heading a great chance towards the roof of the net where it was tipped over by the keeper, that coming after he’d sent another header wide, and Kane Hemmings firing well wide after great play from Lee Angol to set up a chance. Early in the second, Mansfield’s best chance to open the scoring came through a brilliant move down the right, with Alex MacDonald back-heeling to Hayden White, whose cross from the right was knocked wide in front of goal by Hemmings. Accrington had looked dangerous from corners with James Dunne getting in a couple of headers, and they took the lead on 60 minutes, when Sean McConville’s corner from the right was headed home unmarked by Seamus Conneely, giving Conrad Logan no chance. Conneely had lost his marker CJ Hamilton, and it was a costly error. The Stags worked extremely hard in the final 30 minutes to try to find an equaliser but despite getting the ball into the box at regular intervals, couldn’t find the killer touch. The Stags players were given for a good reception by the home fans at the final whistle, the fans appreciated how hard the team worked. However the sending-off of Benning, and the poor marking for the goal, were extremely costly. Mansfield drop out of the play-off positions, one point behind 7th placed Lincoln with 7 games to go. No win in the last 6 games means Mansfield are now 8 points behind 3rd placed Wycombe. The Stags go to high flying Luton on Monday. Then the final 6 games of the season are all against teams in the bottom half of the table. Still all to play for and Mansfield have a great chance of making the play-offs, even if automatic promotion looks very difficult now.
Mansfield’s hoodoo against Accrington stood at 13 games without a win in the league since Accrington reformed as a club. And so it increases to 14 games after today’s game.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Mansfield Town slip out of play-offs after defeat to Accrington Stanley
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Friday 30 March 2018
Accrington Stanley’s amazing jinx over Mansfield Town continued today as the visitors went back to the top of League Two with a 1-0 victory against the 10-men Stags. It was always going to be an uphill afternoon after Mansfield had Mal Benning dismissed after just 13 minutes for a high tackle on ex-Stag Billy Kee. But Rhys Bennett and Kane Hemmings did miss gilt-edged chances before Seamus Conneely popped up unmarked to head home a corner on the hour. That proved enough to win the game and left Stags without a League victory over Accrington in 14 attempts. It was a sixth game without victory for Mansfield and left new boss David Flitcroft without a win in his first five games in charge. Stags showed a lot of passion and endeavour in an exciting and hard-fought clash but losing Benning so early was always going to leave them hamstrung. Stags also had assistant boss Ben Futcher sent off for abuse of the referee on the half-time whistle. Top scorer Danny Rose failed to recover from his ankle injury in time. With skipper Krystian Pearce suspended and Joel Byrom dropped to the bench, that meant Flitcroft made three changes for the big Good Friday clash. In came Zander Diamond, Jacob Mellis and CJ Hamilton as fading Stags looked for a first win in six games. Pre-match fans applauded special guest, Stags legendary goalscorer Ken Wagstaff as he waved from the pitch. Mansfield began in thrilling fashion on the front foot and Stanley were glad to scramble away a dangerous early Hamilton cross coming in low and fast from the left. Then on two minutes Angol sent a vicious shot at Chapman which the keeper had to tip over. But the visitors showed how dangerous they were as Jackson outpaced Bennett down the right and flashed a shot into the sidenetting on six minutes. Two minutes later Logan was forced to turn away a powerful Brown shot after a half-clearance reached him invitingly. The benches clashed and players on the field squared up after a high tackle from Benning on Kee on13 minutes. Once the dust had settled the referee produced a red card and Stags were really up against it. From the eventual free kick Logan fisted McConville’s on-target effort away. There was more danger as Clark fed Jackson for a near post shot that Logan saved and Clark then saw his follow-up deflect wide for a corner. The home fans were roused by a Stags corner which saw Angol head the ball back across and then Bennett nod wide. When play stopped on 32 minutes McConville was booked for a trip on Atkinson earlier in the move. Stags should have been ahead on 33 minutes when a free kick was helped on to Bennett who, from six yards, saw Chapman turn his powerful on-target header over. From the corner Angol volleyed wide. Hemmings and Angol did well with a series of passes between them to get to the edge of the box where Hemmings sliced horribly wide. Mansfield should have closed down Brown as he ran forward but allowed him to slip a pass to Clark who was narrowly wide with a low finish on 41 minutes. Jackson then returned a pass to Brown to set him up for a shot that was always rising over as Accrington continued to probe. Johnson tried to buy a penalty with a blatant dive next to Hemmings but wasn’t even spoken to as play was waved on. Then a home corner was cleared away to White, whose chip caught on the wind and ended up on top of the net. Boss David Flitcroft and assistant Ben Futcher were waiting for the referee at the end of a half in which little had gone the home side’s way on decisions and Futcher was sent to the stand for the second half for his opinions. Stanley began the second half with a corner from which Dunne headed at Logan. But Stags missed a sitter on 50 minutes as White crossed low from the right and Hemmings sidefooted wide from six yards. After Mellis was booked on 58 minutes for a trip on Clark, the home side were made to pay for their misses on the hour mark as McConville put over a corner from the right and an unmarked Conneely was free to bury a close range header to break the deadlock. Kee was wide with a hopeful low shot from 30 yards just before Miller took over from Hemmings in the home attack on 66 minutes. Stags were unlucky when Miller did well on the right to get into the box and reach the by-line, but no one was there to turn in his eventual low cross right in front of goal. Then Conneelly made a great interception in the box as Angol looked to spin on Hamilton’s low cross. Logan kept out an angled Jackson shot with five minutes to go as the home side were almost caught out pushing forward.
STAGS: Logan; White, Diamond, Bennett, Benning; Atkinson, Mellis, MacDonald, Hamilton; Hemmings (Miller 66), Angol. Subs not used: Olejnik, Digby, Anderson, Hunt, Thomas, Byrom.
ACCRINGTON: Chapman, Dunne, Hughes, Richards-Everton, Clark, Brown, Jackson, McConville, Johnson, Conneely, Kee. Subs not used: Maxted, Nolan, Zanzala, Williams, Sousa, Rowan, Rodgers.
REFEREE: Andy Haines of Sunderland. ATTENDANCE: 5,053. CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Zander Diamond.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-slip-out-of-play-offs-after-defeat-to-accrington-stanley-1-9091247
Mansfield 0 Stanley 1 30/03/2018
Captain Seamus Conneely sent Stanley back to the top of the league with the only goal to see off ten-man Mansfield.
It was a feisty affair at the One Call Stadium with Mal Benning sent off in the 13th minute for a high dangerous challenge on Billy Kee.
The game could have gone either way until Conneely’s header secured the three points and extended in-form Stanley’s unbeaten run to 10 games.
John Coleman was forced into one change with Ben Richards-Everton replacing the ill Janoi Donacien at left back.
Play-off chasing Mansfield started at pace with a Kane Hemmings shot blocked while Lee Angol’s strike was turned over the bar by Aaron Chapman.
Stanley grew into the game with Kayden Jackson firing into the side-netting and Scott Brown forcing keeper Conrad Logan into a wonder save.
Mansfield were reduced to 10-men when defender Benning was sent off for his challenge on Kee on the edge of the home team’s penalty area.
Sean McConville’s resulting free kick was kept out by Logan and the Stags keeper also stopped a Jackson effort as Stanley upped the pressure.
However Mansfield had their chances with Chapman producing a superb save to tip over a Rhys Bennett header while Hayden White chipped an effort over the bar to end a lively goalless first half.
Jimmy Dunne headed straight at Logan as Stanley started the second half on the attack but Hemmings should have given Mansfield the lead on 50 minutes. He got the ball unmarked in the area but sidefooted wide.
Conneely then made Stanley’s next chance count on the hour, getting his head to a McConville corner for his second goal of the season - and what could prove to be a pivotal goal.
Mansfield, who had only lost one game at home this season prior to today, then pressed for the equaliser leading to a number of goalmouth scrambles, with some heart-in-the-mouth moments for the large contingent of Stanley fans.
However Jackson could have made it a more comfortable finish for Coleman but, with five minutes to go, his strike was kept out by Logan.
Conneely’s goal proved enough and it’s another win chalked off with the focus now on Notts County at the Wham Stadium on Easter Monday.