{ match reports }
 
Stagsnet wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Season 19/20 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Port Vale  
2 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Cullen 45+4, Smith 90+4.
 
 Gordon 14, Rose pen 75
Attendance: 5109 (679 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 21 September 2019

STAGS DENIED VICTORY IN STOPPAGE TIME AT VALE PARK

Martin Shaw at Vale Park

Mansfield Town put in their best performance of the season at Port Vale this afternoon and should have come away with all three points but were denied by an equaliser 4 minutes into stoppage time to make it 2-2, having also conceded an equaliser 4 minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half. It was gut-wrenching for the 679 travelling Stags fans who nonetheless gave their side a standing ovation at the end of the game. The Stags played plenty of incisive football with CJ Hamilton terrorising the home defence, and linking up well with the impressive Kellan Gordon down the right hand side, while Mal Benning put in some dangerous set pieces and Otis Khan, on a rare start, had a good game on the left. Port Vale were limited to very few chances yet still managed to score twice as the Stags’ biggest weakness this season, conceding too many goals, continued to manifest itself.
The Stags had already gone close twice as Mal Benning’s excellent free kick was glanced goalwards by Krystian Pearce and the keeper pushed it wide, and then from the resulting corner also from Benning, Conor Shaughnessy glanced a header just wide, before deservedly taking the lead after 14 minutes. Shaughnessy laid a nice ball forward for Hamilton who switched the ball beautifully from his right foot to his left foot, his shot from the edge of the area was parried away by the keeper and Gordon was quickest to react sliding a low shot under the keeper from the right for his first goal in a Stags shirt. Soon afterwards, Ryan Sweeney curled in a lovely cross and Danny Rose headed over the bar. Port Vale had barely threatened but equalised in stoppage at the end of the half. Hayden White went to ground and allowed Tom Pope to get away from him on the right to the byline, Pope dinked a ball across to the edge of the six yard box and Shaughnessy wasn’t quick enough to stop or block Mark Cullen getting in a shot which bounced into the ground and into the roof of the net.
For the first 30 minutes of the second half, the Stags were knocking on the door again without being able to find a second goal. Great play from Gordon, White and Hamilton set up a good chance for Benning, but he fired over the bar, then Khan shot just wide and Hamilton had a shot blocked. But the Stags were deservedly ahead after 75 minutes. Pearce embarked on a good run forward, and laid off to Rose who got to the ball just before Leon Legge just inside the area and was wiped out by Legge who barged him to the ground. With Rose getting to the ball first, it was a foul anywhere on the pitch, and as it was just inside the area, it had to be a penalty. Rose took the penalty himself and smashed it down the middle as the keeper dived to his right. Rose’s 7th goal of the season. The Stags were the better side by a very wide margin and were close to a 3rd goal as Benning’s fine free kick just needed a touch to divert it in as it curled past the post. Vale had not threatened at all but it was a slender lead and the Stags were punished in the 4th minute of stoppage time. Tom Pope crossed from the right, Ritchie Bennett miscontrolled beyond the far post and the ball seemed to be going out for a goal-kick but Gordon didn’t want to take a chance and smashed it out for a corner. In hindsight that was a mistake from Gordon. Worrall’s corner from the left was into a packed six-yard box, Sweeney rose to head it away but missed it, Logan tried punch it away but couldn’t, and the ball ricocheted to Nathan Smith who swept it into the net from 2 yards. A goalmouth scramble that broke the Stags hearts. After the game, boss John Dempster said he wanted his defenders to head the ball away and his goalkeeper to punch it away. Neither happened and I think the defence and keeper has to take collective responsibility for that.
Mansfield dominated this game and completely outplayed Port Vale, who had taken 10 points from their opening 4 games at home, but failed to win the game due to a couple of bits of poor defending. The Stags have to get tighter at the back.

On Thursday, the Stags released three backroom staff and replaced them with Drewe Broughton who came in as full time Performance Coach, to work on players’ fitness both physically and psychologically. Drewe Broughton’s opening interview with iFollow Stags was certainly impressive as anyone who has watched it will testify. Drewe Broughton said he expected to make an immediate impact to performances on the pitch.

After the 4-0 defeat to Cambridge on Tuesday I wrote that “No-one could be surprised if this result leads to a similar outcome” (to the sacking of manager Billy Dearden after the last time the Stags lost 4-0 at home), and I also wrote that “It would seem therefore that only a big performance in the 10th game of the season, at Port Vale on Saturday, can prevent manager John Dempster from being relieved of his first team managerial duties and perhaps a return to a position in the Academy from where he came.” The best performance of the season today at Port Vale coupled with bringing in Drewe Broughton suggests that Dempster will get more time to turn things around and I think that is the right approach. However it remains the case that results need to pick up very quickly.

Mansfield made two changes to the side that lost so shockingly to Cambridge. Hayden White returned from injury and it was great to see him back as he’s a big player for the club. He replaced Matt Preston, suspended for 4 games after his second irresponsible sending off of the season. Otis Khan came in for Omari Sterling-James. Khan has been unlucky not to play more games this season. It was a 3-4-3 formation with Hamilton (right) and Khan (left) either side of Rose.
Changes on the field and changes off it, with Dan Ashby (video analyst) and Ian Pledger (goalkeeping coach) being released from the club on Thursday. Andy Burgess, who joined the club as head of recruitment in July, will lead the video analysis, while Conrad Logan will lead the goalkeepers. Daryl Taylor (fitness coach) was also released and was replaced by Drewe Broughton in a full time role.

For Vale, veteran Tom Pope was playing his 500th league game.

It was a beautiful warm sunny day in the Potteries. The Stags were backed by 679 supporters, fewer than half that travelled to this game last season. However they were in great voice through the game.

The first chance of the game fell to Vale with a snap shot from Cullen out of the blue with Logan palmed away.

The Stags went close twice after 11 minutes Mal Benning’s excellent free kick was glanced goalwards by Krystian Pearce and the keeper pushed it wide, and then from the resulting corner also from Benning, Conor Shaughnessy glanced a header just wide of the far post. Straight to the other end and Logan had to be out of his area quickly to knock the ball away.

The Stags deservedly took the lead after 14 minutes. Shaughnessy laid a nice ball forward for Hamilton who switched the ball beautifully from his right foot to his left foot, his shot from the edge of the area was parried away by the keeper and Gordon was quickest to react sliding a low shot under the keeper from the right for his first goal in a Stags shirt.

Soon afterwards, on 17 minutes, Ryan Sweeney curled in a lovely cross and Danny Rose headed over the bar.

Good play from Rose at the other end a minute later as he headed a Vale free kick behind for a corner.

After 23 minutes, Bishop played out to Gordon on the right, Gordon curled a high ball into the area, Rose headed down and Bishop volleyed well over the bar.

Shaughnessy had the opportunity to set Hamilton away after 31 minutes but put too much on his pass.

Rose was booked for leaving a boot in on James Gibbons after 33 minutes.

After 36 minutes a low shot from Bishop from the edge of the area but the keeper saved easily.

Loose defending from Pearce after 38 minutes and Logan did well to knock the ball away under pressure from Pope. If he had got his timing wrong, Logan could have conceded a penalty.

Rose pulled back from the left byline to Khan a minute later, Khan tried to find a yard for a shot, bur curled his effort comfortably wide of the right post.

Pearce was at fault again after 41 minutes as he missed Legge low long ball forward and Logan was out well to gather at the feet of Pope.

Port Vale had barely threatened but equalised in stoppage at the end of the half. Hayden White went to ground and allowed Tom Pope to get away from him on the right to the byline, Pope dinked a ball across to the edge of the six yard box and Shaughnessy wasn’t quick enough to stop or block Mark Cullen getting in a shot which bounced into the ground and into the roof of the net.

It was a disappointing end to the first half, though nothing compared to what was to come at the end of the second half. The Stags had played very well, and been very good value for the lead. Hamilton, among several others, had had a good half. Vale offered very little and the home fans were frustrated.

Half time 1-1

After 49 minutes a great run from Hamilton to the byline, he pulled back to Rose but Rose’s shot was blocked, though the referee blew for a handball against Rose anyway.

Scott Brown, the Vale keeper, had to tip a cross from Gordon over his bar after 51 minutes.

After 53 minutes, great play from Gordon, White, with a surging run, and Hamilton, who pulled the ball back, set up a good chance for Benning, but he fired over the bar.

A corner for Mansfield after 56 minutes from the left. As Khan was getting ready to take it, Bishop and Pearce were chatting. Khan’s corner reached Bishop who headed back toward Pearce. It looked like Pearce would get a shot at goal, but a defender cleared in the nick of the time.

After 62 minutes, Khan shot just wide of the post from the edge of the area after clever play from Hamilton, laying the ball off to him.

The Stags were knocking on the door, and the Stags fans were appreciating the performance.

Benning was booked for bringing down Worrall after 66 minutes.

After 68 minutes, Hamilton had a shot blocked after a great turn and getting away from his marker on the right.

The Stags were deservedly ahead after 75 minutes. Pearce embarked on a good run forward, and laid off to Rose who got to the ball just before Leon Legge just inside the area and was wiped out by Legge who barged him to the ground. With Rose getting to the ball first, it was a foul anywhere on the pitch, and as it was just inside the area, it had to be a penalty. Rose took the penalty himself and smashed it down the middle as the keeper dived to his right. Rose’s 7th goal of the season.

The Stags were the better side by a very wide margin and were close to a 3rd goal after 83 minutes as Benning’s fine free kick just needed a touch to divert it in as it curled past the post.

MacDonald replaced Khan after 85 minutes.

White was booked for wasting time before a free kick was taken after 87 minutes.

Hamilton cut inside from the right and his left footed shot was straight at the keeper after 89 minutes.

Vale had not threatened at all but it was a slender lead and the Stags were punished in the 4th minute of stoppage time. Tom Pope crossed from the right, Ritchie Bennett miscontrolled beyond the far post and the ball seemed to be going out for a goal-kick but Gordon didn’t want to take a chance and smashed it out for a corner. In hindsight that was a mistake from Gordon. Worrall’s corner from the left was into a packed six-yard box, Sweeney rose to head it away but missed it, Logan tried punch it away but couldn’t, and the ball ricocheted to Nathan Smith who swept it into the net from 2 yards. A goalmouth scramble that broke the Stags hearts. After the game, boss John Dempster said he wanted his defenders to head the ball away and his goalkeeper to punch it away. Neither happened and I think the defence and keeper has to take collective responsibility for that.

The Stags played so very well here and I think I called it gut-wrenching in commentary to be denied at the end. A standing ovation from the Stags fans at the end was well-deserved. On to the game against Plymouth next Saturday.

Man of the match: CJ Hamilton


Report by: Martin Shaw at Vale Park



Line Up:
(3-4-3)
Logan 5.5 Partially responsible for the late equaliser. Tried punch it away but couldn’t. Twice bailed Pearce out of trouble.
White 6 Went to ground and allowed Tom Pope to get away from him in the build-up to the first Vale goal. Great to see him back as he’s a big player for the club.
Pearce 5.5 Good run forward in the build-up to the penalty. Two bits of loose defending which were rescued by Logan.
Sweeney 5.5 Rose to head away the corner from which Vale scored the late equaliser and missed it. One great cross to set up a chance for Rose.
Gordon 7.5 Scored his first goal in a Stags shirt. Impressive going forward down the right hand side. In hindsight, conceding the corner from which Vale scored the late equaliser was a mistake.
Shaughnessy 6.5 Laid a nice ball forward for Hamilton in the build-up to the first goal. Wasn’t quick enough to stop or block Mark Cullen getting in a shot for the first Vale equaliser.
Bishop 6.5 Decent game.
Benning 7 Put in some dangerous set pieces.
Hamilton 8 Terrorised the home defence. His shot led to the first goal.
Rose 7 Won and converted the penalty for his 7th goal of the season.
Khan 7 On a rare start, had a good game on the left.
Sub Line Up:
MacDonald (for Khan, 85 mins) -
Subs not used: Stone, Smith, Mellis, Afolayan, Cook, Sterling-James.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Scott Brown, Gibbons, Legge, Smith, Crookes, Worrall, Joyce, Taylor, Montano (Lloyd 14 mins, Bennett 82 mins); Cullen, Pope. Subs not used: Maddison, Pugh, Burgess, Brisley, Kennedy.
Referee:
Josh Smith 7 Correctly awarded the penalty. Had a good game.


Season 19/20 Reports