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Season 20/21 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Morecambe  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Phillips 3.
 
 Charsley 26
Attendance: behind closed doors
 
Date: 20 October 2020

STAGS DRAW AT MORECAMBE

Martin Shaw at the Mazuma Stadium (formerly Globe Arena)

Mansfield Town drew 1-1 at Morecambe last night and are still looking for the first victory of the season. This was an improved performance from the Stags following that terrible showing against Bradford on Saturday and the Stags deserved this point against a Morecambe side who have started the season well and were surprisingly even top of the table before Saturday’s round of matches.
One particularly disappointing aspect of Saturday’s defeat was that the players looked a beaten side early in the game. But at Morecambe, despite conceding another early goal, the players showed a battling spirit throughout.
The Stags were behind after just 3 minutes. The ball bounced off James Perch in the area to Cole Stockton who was able to find enough space to turn away from Ryan Sweeney and cross a low ball from the right to where Adam Phillips nipped in ahead of Farrend Rawson to stab past Marek Stech from 6 yards. A crushing blow so early in the game and both Sweeney and Rawson could have done better to prevent it.
The Stags should have been level after 10 minutes. Stephen McLaughlin’s corner to the far post was headed back across goal by Andy Cook and Sweeney headed over the bar from 3 yards. Sweeney should have scored. A good corner from McLaughlin and a great header back across goal by Cook.
The Stags were playing a lot of square balls across the back line in the early part of the game and were nearly made to pay when a square ball from Rollin Menayese was intercepted by Songo’o, and eventually Stockton fired over the bar from 25 yards.
With a change in shape to 4 at the back in this game, the Stags were playing with two full backs and two wide midfield players. There was an effort to make more use of the wings and less use of lumping the ball forward. And the Stags equalised on 26 minutes with Kellan Gordon on the right wing getting in a good low cross. The move started on the left with good interplay between George Maris and McLaughlin. Maris played a delightful crossfield pass out to Gordon on the right. Gordon found space to get in a good low cross for Harry Charsley who back-flicked the ball superbly into the bottom left corner of the net from 8 yards. It was a lovely goal, Charsley’s first in senior football.
The Stags had a moment of fortune after 29 minutes as McLaughlin made a reckless challenge on John O’Sullivan in the middle of the pitch, making contact with O’Sullivan’s chest with a very high boot. It should have been a red card, but the Stags were lucky that the referee only produced a yellow.
Morecambe had a chance to go back in front after 33 minutes as Sweeney missed getting a header away and allowed Stockton to get down the right. Stockton’s low ball across the six yard box was just in front of Aaron Wildig charging in towards goal. As was the case for the Morecambe goal, Sweeney should have done better.
All square at the break.
After 51 minutes, McLaughlin was fouled 27 yards from goal. He took the resulting free kick himself and curled it towards the bottom left corner of the net where the keeper made a very good save turning it around the post.
At the other end 4 minutes later, Marek Stech made a truly outstanding save justifying his selection in the side. Wildig crossed from the left, and Stockton got away from Sweeney to power a firm header towards the top left corner of the net. Stech somehow reached it with a strong right hand to push it away. Incredible save. Morecambe wanted a penalty after 56 minutes as Stockton went down under a challenge from Menayese in the area. From the video it is inconclusive. The referee wasn’t interested anyway. A minute after that, Phillips had a free shot from the edge of the area which was over the bar. The Stags were under pressure but survived that 5 minutes spell.
Tyrese Sinclair replaced McLaughlin after 70 minutes and started to make things happen. After 81 minutes he won a free kick on the right. O’Keeffe took it and curled a high ball beyond the far post. Rawson won the header and headed down into the net but the referee blew for a foul by Rawson to disallow the goal. The Stags were furious. From the replay, I think the goal was harshly ruled out. Sinclair won another free kick after 88 minutes. O’Keeffe found Rawson again with his kick but this time Rawson headed wide.
A fair result with the points shared.
So the Stags are still without a win after 7 league games. Football is a results business and manager Graham Coughlan clearly needs wins quickly. If the Stags are in or around the relegation zone with about 10 games gone, the time at which the league table really starts to take shape, owners John and Carolyn Radford with CEO David Sharpe may decide that action needs to be taken, even though John and Carolyn are well-known for wanting to give managers every chance to succeed. Coughlan probably needs a couple of wins in the next 3 games or so.

Mansfield came into the game with just 3 points from 6 games, the club’s worst start to a season for nearly 50 years since 1971 when the Stags had just 1 point after 6 games. However Mansfield had a good record at the Globe Arena (now renamed Mazuma Stadium), and had won 5 of the 7 games between the sides here since returning to the Football League.
Morecambe had had a surprisingly good start to the season. Before Saturday’s defeat at Crawley they were top of the League Two, though bizarrely with a negative goal difference, and they were the first team to top any of the 4 English top tiers with a negative goal difference for nearly 30 years.

The Stags made three changes to the side that lost to Bradford. Gordon, Charsley and Cook came in for Lapslie (suspended), Bowery and Maynard. It was a 4-5-1 formation with Menayese at right back, O’Keeffe at left back, Gordon in right midfield, McLaughlin in left midfield, Perch in front of the back four, with Charsley and Maris behind Cook up front.
Mal Benning was left out of the squad as a precaution advised by the club doctor. In the current Covid-19 pandemic, there was no indication whether this precaution related to Covid or not, but either way, hopefully Mal will be feeling better very soon.
Coughlan explained that they had worked on this formation on Sunday and Monday and that Benning would have played. Coughlan added that he had to play a centre half at right back and a right back at left back. I conclude from this that Benning would have played at left back, O’Keeffe would have played at right back, and one of the centre backs would have dropped out (most likely Rawson or Menayese).
Marek Stech kept his place in the side despite a catastrophic error against Bradford and in truth, he has made too many errors this season. It was a brave call to keep him in the side, but Stech repaid the manager with a good performance and one truly outstanding save.
Ollie Clarke remained out through injury.

Regularly the Stags’ visits to Morecambe in recent seasons have seen poor weather. But this time it had been a lovely sunny day, and it was a pleasant, mild evening with no wind. Perfect conditions for football.


The Stags were behind after just 3 minutes. The ball bounced off James Perch in the area to Cole Stockton who was able to find enough space to turn away from Ryan Sweeney and cross a low ball from the right to where Adam Phillips nipped in ahead of Farrend Rawson to stab past Marek Stech from 6 yards. A crushing blow so early in the game and both Sweeney and Rawson could have done better to prevent it.

After 7 minutes a good tackle by O’Keeffe on Stockton, with O’Sullivan in space.

The Stags should have been level after 10 minutes. Stephen McLaughlin’s corner to the far post was headed back across goal by Andy Cook and Sweeney headed over the bar from 3 yards. Sweeney should have scored. A good corner from McLaughlin and a great header back across goal by Cook.

The Stags were playing a lot of square balls across the back line in the early part of the game and were nearly made to pay when a square ball from Rollin Menayese was intercepted by Songo’o, and eventually Stockton fired over the bar from 25 yards.

With a change in shape to 4 at the back in this game, the Stags were playing with two full backs and two wide midfield players. There was an effort to make more use of the wings and less use of lumping the ball forward. And the Stags equalised on 26 minutes with Kellan Gordon on the right wing getting in a good low cross. The move started on the left with good interplay between George Maris and McLaughlin. Maris played a delightful crossfield pass out to Gordon on the right. Gordon found space to get in a good low cross for Harry Charsley who back-flicked the ball superbly into the bottom left corner of the net from 8 yards. It was a lovely goal, Charsley’s first in senior football.

The Stags had a moment of fortune after 29 minutes as McLaughlin made a reckless challenge on John O’Sullivan in the middle of the pitch, making contact with O’Sullivan’s chest with a very high boot. It should have been a red card, but the Stags were lucky that the referee only produced a yellow.

Morecambe had a chance to go back in front after 33 minutes as Sweeney missed getting a header away and allowed Stockton to get down the right. Stockton’s low ball across the six yard box was just in front of Aaron Wildig charging in towards goal. As was the case for the Morecambe goal, Sweeney should have done better.

Another good cross from Gordon after 36 minutes though it came to nothing. Then on 45+1 minutes, McLaughlin shot high and wide.

All square at the break which was a fair reflection of the game.

Half time 1-1

After 51 minutes, McLaughlin was fouled 27 yards from goal. He took the resulting free kick himself and curled it towards the bottom left corner of the net where the keeper made a very good save turning it around the post.

At the other end 4 minutes later, Marek Stech made a truly outstanding save justifying his selection in the side. Wildig crossed from the left, and Stockton got away from Sweeney to power a firm header towards the top left corner of the net. Stech somehow reached it with a strong right hand to push it away. Incredible save. Morecambe wanted a penalty after 56 minutes as Stockton went down under a challenge from Menayese in the area. From the video it is inconclusive. The referee wasn’t interested anyway. A minute after that, Phillips had a free shot from the edge of the area which was over the bar. The Stags were under pressure but survived that 5 minutes spell.

After 61 minutes, McLaughlin crossed and Cook headed over the bar. Three minutes later at the other end, Stockton shot straight at Stech.

Tyrese Sinclair replaced McLaughlin after 70 minutes

Cooney shot high and wide after 26 minutes.

Bowery replaced Cook after 73 minutes.

A good catch by Stech from a free kick after 77 minutes. Two minutes later, O’Keeffe did well to block a Wildig shot.

Sinclair was starting to make things happen. After 81 minutes he won a free kick on the right. O’Keeffe took it and curled a high ball beyond the far post. Rawson won the header and headed down into the net but the referee blew for a foul by Rawson to disallow the goal. The Stags were furious. From the replay, I think the goal was harshly ruled out.

Sinclair won another free kick after 88 minutes. O’Keeffe found Rawson again with his kick but this time Rawson headed wide.

A fair result with the points shared.

The Stags visit Whaddon Road on Saturday. Cheltenham have picked up 15 points from their opening seven games, in contrast to Mansfield’s 4 points. It is Cheltenham's best-ever start to a Football League season.

Man of the match: Kellan Gordon


Report by: Martin Shaw at the Mazuma Stadium (formerly Globe Arena)



Line Up:
(4-5-1)
Stech 8 Made a truly outstanding save justifying his selection in the side. A couple of good catches.
Menayese 6 Played at right back. One bad error that led to a chance for Stockton.
Rawson 6 Allowed Phillips to nip in ahead of him to stab in the Morecambe goal. Could have been the hero but the referee wrongly (in my opinion) ruled out his late goal.
Sweeney 5 Could have done better for the Morecambe goal. Allowed Stockton to get away from him again in the first half. Then allowed Stockton to get away from him again in the second half and get in a header which Stech saved superbly. Should have scored with a header from 3 yards.
O'Keeffe 7 Played at left back. One good tackle. A couple of good set pieces late on.
Gordon 8 In his first league start since November, he had a fine game on the right wing including setting up the equaliser.
Perch 7 Decent game in front of the back four.
Charsley 7 Scored a lovely goal, his first in senior football.
Maris 7 Good ball in the lead up to the goal. Good game.
McLaughlin 7 A couple of good crosses. Decent free kick tipped wide by the keeper. Reckless challenge on O’Sullivan that he was lucky to only get a yellow card for.
Cook 7 Played on his own up front. Great header to set up Sweeney’s header. Won many of his headers.
Sub Line Up:
Sinclair (for McLaughlin, 70 mins) - Started to make things happen including winning a couple of free kicks in good positions.
Bowery (for Cook, 73 mins) - Won only one header, and lost numerous. A poor substitute for Cook.
Subs not used: Stone, O'Driscoll, Smith, Maynard, Reid.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-2-3-1): Turner; Cooney (Hendrie 85), Knight-Percival, Lavelle, Gibson (Mellor 60); Songo’o, Diagouraga; O’Sullivan, Phillips (Slew 76), Wildig; Stockton. Subs not used: Halstead, Leitch-Smith, Pringle, McAlinden.
Referee:
Marc Edwards 4 Should have sent McLaughlin off though the Stags were grateful he didn’t. Should not have disallowed Rawson’s goal.


Season 20/21 Reports