STAGS MISS CHANCES AGAIN AND MISS OUT ON PLAY-OFFS
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Crawley Town
Hemmings 64. Ahearne-Grant 7.
Attendance: 4734 (135 from Crawley)
Date: 5 May 2018
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Crawley Town in the final match of the season this afternoon to miss out on the play-offs. Desperately disappointing. The Stags needed to win and hope that either EITHER Coventry lost at home to Morecambe OR Lincoln lost at home to Yeovil. As it happened the other two games also ended in draws, and so Mansfield finished three points behind 6th and 7th place. The Stags were poor in the first half and were behind at the break to a goal on 7 minutes by Karlan Ahearne-Grant. The goal started with Will Atkinson giving the ball away in the middle of the park, Josh Payne played the ball out to the left, where Panutche Camara crossed into the middle for Ahearne-Grant to head home from six yards. A really poor goal all round to concede by Mansfield. Right back Paul Digby stood off Camara allowing him an easy cross rather than trying to close him down, and Krystian Pearce and Rhys Bennett stood watching as Ahearne-Grant headed in, with MacDonald chasing down Ahearne-Grant from behind. The Stags created very little in the first half, though Lee Angol, who had a poor game overall following his outstanding match-winning performance at Yeovil last week, should have put the Stags in front inside two minutes but his shot from close range brought a good save from Crawley keeper Yusuf Mersin. At half time, with Lincoln losing to Yeovil, the Stags knew they had to up their game massively, and did just that with a terrific 30 minute spell from 46 minutes to 75 minutes putting Crawley under enormous pressure and creating an absolute glut of golden chances. Only one of those chances was taken, on 64 minutes, when Mal Benning put in a great cross from the left and Kane Hemmings knocked the ball into the net with his right boot from 7 yards. Prior to the goal, there was a catalogue of golden chances: CJ Hamilton cut inside and his low shot was saved, Hemmings flashed a shot wide of the right post after great set-up play by Hamilton, Pearce’s flick towards the bottom right of the net was brilliantly tipped round the post by keeper Mersin, Hemmings flicked wide after great play by Alfie Potter on the right, Potter laid off to Bennett who side-footed wide, and Angol somehow fired over the bar from 8 yards. After the equaliser, with Lincoln still losing, and Mansfield needing just one goal to head into the play-off positions in the live league table, the golden chances kept on coming: great play on the edge of the area from the Stags and a shot from Hemmings brought a great save from keeper Mersin, then Pearce’s shot was blocked into the path of Hayden White whose shot into the ground was bouncing up into the roof of the net before it was brilliantly blocked on the line by left back Josh Doherty. Mansfield did get the ball in the net on 75 minutes when Angol played the ball forward and Hemmings fired in off the left post but the flag was up for offside. Then news came through that Lincoln had equalised against Yeovil. The crowd, who had created a truly fabulous atmosphere, backing the Stags superbly up until that point, went flat, completely understandably, and the side seemed to completely lose the momentum in the final 15 minutes. Indeed the Stags didn’t create another chance until 90+4 minutes, when, with what turned out to be the final kick of the game, Mal Benning fired over the bar from 16 yards following a corner. So a flat end to the season and another draw, Mansfield’s 18th of the season, more than any other club in League Two. Too many draws has cost Mansfield dear, as has the number of games where Mansfield have missed a glut of golden chances. I think people have started to get sick of me creating a video for the club youtube channel of “Mansfield miss chances” time and time again this season. And those chances have come from midfielders and defenders as well as strikers, we certainly can’t just blame the strikers. All desperately disappointing. I wrote extensively about where it all went wrong this season, in my opinion, in my report of the Port Vale game two weeks ago. I won’t repeat all that here (it’s http://stagsnet.net/match/reports/viewreport.php?matchid=924">here if you didn’t see it). A poor end to the season under new manager David Flitcroft: no wins in the six home games under him (4 draws, 2 defeats) was not good enough, while the wins at Chesterfield and Yeovil were enjoyable and kept the season alive, but he will be here next season with a chance to mould his side in pre-season and try to mount another promotion challenge. You have to feel desperately sorry for John and Carolyn Radford, http://stagsnet.net/match/reports/viewreport.php?matchid=924"> as I wrote two weeks ago, but it was at least fitting that they received acclaim with huge applause and chanting from the Stags fans after the game for what they have done for the club and continue to do for the club. We lick our wounds and go again next season.
REPORT: Mansfield Town 1-1 Crawley Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 05 May 2018
Mansfield Town's promotion dream ended in heartbreak today as they were held 1-1 at home by Crawley Town. Stags needed to win and hope one of their rivals, Coventry City and Lincoln City, lost. Lincoln did trail for much of their home clash with Yeovil, but in the end they got the 1-1 draw they needed while Coventry and Morecambe fought out a 0-0 draw that saw the Sky Blues through too. Stags battled magnificently and played some superb football, creating a wealth of chances which they failed to take, apart from Kane Hemmings' 64th minute equaliser. Crawley were always dangerous on the break and had gone ahead when Karlan Ahearne-Grant had headed past Conrad Logan on seven minutes. Logan did have to make some good stops to deny Crawley on breakways, but it was mostly Mansfield pressure and the visitors defended magnificently with Josh Yorwerth outstanding. Keeper Yusuf Mersin made a string of good saves and Josh Doherty a goal line clearance to help thwart Mansfield, though a win would not have been enough in the end with how the other games finished. Stags at least ended 2017/18 on a five game unbeaten run and playing well, but it is scant consolation at the end of a season that promised so much. Mansfield were without top scorer Danny Rose after he suffered a recurrence of a toe injury - he was replaced by Lee Angol, who scored twice in last weekend's win at Yeovil. The only other change was Alfie Potter being replaced by CJ Hamilton out wide. The game kicked off in bright sunshine and a carnival atmosphere with plenty of noise from the hopeful home fans. And Stags almost took a second minute lead after a succession of superb passes got the ball to Hemmings in the box. He squared it to Angol who saw his low finish pushed away by keeper Mersin. Instead, disaster struck on seven minutes. Atkinson lost the ball in the middle of his own half and Crawley profited quickly as Camara crossed from the left and Ahearne-Grant was on hand to flick a header past Logan at the near post. Stags pushed forward for an equaliser but were vulnerable to a break, and on 15 minutes Logan had to make a save as Camara broke down the middle and found Boldewijn to his right who forced to keeper to block an on-target finish. Two minutes later clever play from Angol saw him swap passes with Hemmings and get a shot away on goal, though it was straight at Mersin. Mansfield were clearly struggling to get on top of a Crawley side, enjoying their afternoon, and on 27 minutes Flitcroft made a bold double change. He hauled off Atkinson and Digby and replaced them with Potter and White. MacDonald was inches wide from 20 yards on 34 minutes with the keeper rooted to the spot as the home side continued to press. Then Mellis was too high from a similar distance when a clearance reached him as Crawley saw out the first half and three added minutes. Mansfield began the second half well and Hemmings sent a tame header at the keeper before Hamilton cut inside after a great run by White to force a save. On 49 minutes Hemmings sent a powerful shot across the face of goal as the Stags cranked up the pressure. From a corner scramble, Pearce saw a close range flick saved for another corner. On 53 minutes Potter curled in a tempting low cross from the right and Hemmings somehow placed it wide from four yards when he looked certain to score. A minute later the visitors again caught Stags out pushing forward and Logan had to deny Smith after he had gone clear. Bennett was next to miss, poking the ball wide from 12 yards after taking it off Potter's toes. On 61 minutes Crawley struggled to clear a corner and this time it was Angol who blazed over from 12 yards. The agony was finally over on 64 minutes as Stags deservedly levelled the game. Benning swung over a great cross from the left to the near post where Hemmings guided it home on the volley from close range. Mersin saved superbly from Hemmings' shot on the turn from 20 yards as the home fans turned up the volume. Pearce had a shot blocked and White looked certain to score from close range until Doherty superbly headed off the line and over the bar on 67 minutes. A rare Crawley break ended with Ahearne-Grant forcing Logan down for a save. After Potter had seen a penalty appeal turned down, another Crawley break saw Logan deny the same player as Mansfield pushed evermore forwards. In added time Logan even went up for two corners, but Benning sent the final shot of the season over the bar as Stags were rightly applauded off for a gutsy, battling display.
STAGS: Logan, Digby (White 27), Bennett, Pearce, Benning, MacDonald, Mellis, Atkinson (Potter 27), Hamilton, Angol, Hemmings. Subs not used: Olejnik, Sterling-James, King, Byrom, Graham.
CRAWLEY: Mersin, Young, Doherty, Payne (Tajbakhsh 59), Connolly, Boldewijn, Smith, Ahearne-Grant, Yorwerth, Bulman, Camara. Subs not used: Moore, McNerny, Djalo, Evina, Sanoh. REFEREE: Ben Toner of Lancashire. ATTENDANCE: 4,734 (135 away). CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jacob Mellis.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/report-mansfield-town-1-1-crawley-town-1-9151662
REPORT: MANSFIELD TOWN 1 REDS 1
Ahearne-Grant finishes loan spell with ninth goal as Reds hold play-off hopefuls
Reds finished the League 2 campaign with a hard-fought point at the One Call Stadium which punctured Mansfield’s hopes of reaching the play-offs.
The visitors were the more fluent side in the first half and led through an early header from Karlan Ahearne-Grant, the ninth goal in the last game of his spell on loan from Charlton.
Mansfield improved after the break and equalised through Kane Hemmings in the 64th minute, but Crawley stood firm thereafter with Yusuf Mersin making some fine saves in what was only his second League start of the season. Crawley finished the campaign in 14th place, their highest finish since relegation to League 2 in 2015.
Glenn Morris was rested to the bench but Reds were without the injured Thomas Verheydt, Jordan Roberts, Mark Randall, Cedric Evina and Josh Lelan through injury and could only name six subs.
Mersin was called into action after just two minutes when he plunged to his right to make a superb save to deny Lee Angol, who had been put through by fellow striker Hemmings.
But if Stags fans anxiously monitoring events at play-off rivals Coventry and Lincoln while watching their own side thought that was a sign of things to come they were very much mistaken.
In the seventh minute Josh Payne’s pass picked out Panutche Camara on the left and he showed great awareness to find Ahearne-Grant with a lovely dinked cross which the striker headed home from six yards.
Camara’s pace and trickery caused Mansfield plenty of problems. Another centre teed up Enzio Boldewijn for a shot saved at the near post by Conrad Logan and the striker then picked out skipper Jimmy Smith on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked.
Mansfield boss David Flitcroft had seen enough. In the 27th minute, with his side struggling to create much, he made a double change with Will Atkinson and Paul Digby replaced by Alfie Potter and Hayden White.
Alex McDonald dragged a shot wide and on the stroke of half-time Angol hit the side netting but Reds, who had used the ball far better, were good value for their lead.
Mansfield needed to respond and they were much more of a threat in the second half as news filtered through that neither of their play-off rivals were winning.
Mersin made two good saves in the space of four minutes just after the re-start to keep out headers from Hemmings and Krystian Pearce as the hosts responded to their fans and began to quicken the pace.
Reds were increasingly restricted to counter-attacks but they nearly doubled their lead from one raid when Logan came out quickly to deny Smith.
But that was a rare moment of concern in the second half for Mansfield. McDonald and Bennett both dragged shots wide from good positions before the hosts deservedly drew level on 63 minutes when Hemmings headed home from close range.
The striker nearly scored again three minutes later but the impressive Mersin pushed away his shot. Then, when the keeper was beaten by White’s half-volley, Josh Doherty headed off the line.
Mansfield continued to huff and puff but that was their last chance of note. At the other end Enzio Boldewijn dragged a late effort wide but Reds defended diligently to ensure the season ended with a hard-earned but deserved point.
Crawley: Mersin; Young, Connolly, Yorwerth, Doherty; Boldewijn, Bulman, Payne (Tajbakhsh 63), Ahearne-Grant; Smith; Camara. Unused subs: Morris, Djalo, Evina, McNerney, Sanoh.