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Season 20/21 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 4
 Barrow
Perch 35, Charsley 89. O’Driscoll sent off 51.
 
 Barry 10, Brough 23, Kay 61, Biggins 89
Attendance: behind closed doors
 
Date: 27 October 2020

COUGHLAN SACKED AS STAGS OUTPLAYED BY BARROW

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Manager Graham Coughlan was sacked last night after Mansfield Town were beaten 4-2 at home by Barrow. Both the Stags and Barrow came into the game without a win in their opening eight games of the season, and the ease with which Barrow swept the Stags aside made it inevitable that the manager would have to go.
It was a massive game for both clubs and the Stags were completely outplayed by Barrow, who could easily have had 6 or 7 goals on the night, such was the ease with which they repeatedly cut the through the Stags side. It was Barrow’s first win back in the Football League, and thus their first win in the Football League since 1972.
The Stags pulled two consolation goals back, one towards the end of the first half at 2-0 down, through James Perch after the Barrow keeper dropped the ball, and one through Harry Charsley in the last minute of the game at 4-1 down. There was really only one moment of quality from the Stags that threatened to ignite a genuine comeback and that was when Nicky Maynard hit a magnificent shot from 30 yards that was heading for the top left corner of the net and was brilliantly tipped onto the bar by the Barrow keeper with the score at 2-1 after 49 minutes. Within two minutes of that, the Stags had been reduced to ten men as Aaron O’Driscoll, on his league debut was sent off for a second bookable offence, and any chance of a comeback was gone. It was the second miserable home game in succession where a player had been sent off on his Stags league debut, after George Lapslie against Bradford.
Barrow repeatedly waltzed through the Stags defence, especially down the left with Josh Kay and Luke James particularly impressive, and the scoreline could have been more humiliating. Barrow were good, but the Stags made them look like Barcelona.

I found Graham Coughlan to be very pleasant and respectful and it is very sad to see him sacked. However football is a results business and his results simply weren’t good enough. Nine games this season without a win, and four wins from 15 games last season.
CEO David Sharpe will lead the process to find a new manager. There are some managers out of work who would make an excellent replacement, though some of course might not be prepared to take a job at a club currently towards the foot of League Two, the likes of Paul Cook, Danny Cowley, Nigel Clough, Keith Hill, and Graham Alexander. Any of these would be a welcome appointment. As a club, we remain very fortunate to have owners in John and Carolyn Radford who will fund the appointment and continue to look after the finances of the club in such difficult times. Thank you John and Carolyn.


Mansfield made two changes to the side that played well in gaining a decent draw at Cheltenham on Saturday. Nicky Maynard came into the side to partner Andy Cook up front, with George Maris dropping to the bench. While Ryan Sweeney missed out after developing COVID-19 symptoms and is awaiting the results of his COVID test. I hope he is going to be ok. In came Aaron O’Driscoll for his league debut. The club have followed the Football League COVID protocol to the letter but in my opinion the protocol should have required that the full squad was tested following the positive test for Mal Benning last week. Should Sweeney’s test come back positive, and hopefully it won’t, then any players who are judged to have been in close contact with him will presumably also have to self-isolate, as Corey O’Keeffe is having to do. Sweeney does arrive for matches on his own so hopefully no other player would fall under that category.
With Sweeney absent, Andy Cook was the captain, against the club where he did very well in the past.

Before the game there was a minute’s silence for Chris Wood, the club’s longest serving volunteer, who has passed away. Woody was a member of the groundstaff for 33 years. RIP Woody.


The Stags made a positive start. After just 15 seconds there was a chance for Maynard for shot wide. The fast start in the opening minute was to prove a false dawn.

After 9 minutes, Barrow created a half chance as Bradley Barry, nephew of Gareth Barry, headed back across goal but it was cleared.

Barrow took the lead after 10 minutes. Luke James did well on the left, played inside to Josh Kay, whose cross-shot across the six-yard box was turned into the net from a tight angle on the right by Bradley Barry. Menayese, Rawson and McLaughlin could all have done better in the defending.

A minute later at the other end, Maynard headed down, and Cook’s low shot was on target but an easy save for Joel Dixon in the Barrow goal.

After 12 minutes, Kay’s free kick from 32 yards was deflected for a corner. Two minutes later, a great cross from the right and the diving Sam Hird just missed it in the middle. Then on 17 minutes, Biggins fired well over the bar from 25 yards.

Stech did well to beat away a shot by James on 20 minutes after Biggins slipped him in on the edge of the box.

O’Driscoll was booked after 21 minutes, as he took one for the team, bringing down James who was on a bursting run through midfield. The resulting free kick, from Biggins from 27 yards, was straight into the wall.

Barrow deservedly added a second goal after 23 minutes. Patrick Brough was left in acres of space 35 yards from goal, left of centre. He took a couple of touches before firing a shot like an arrow low and into the bottom right corner of the net from 25 yards as no-one got close to closing him down.

The chances kept on coming for Barrow. After 24 minutes, Kay’s low shot from the edge of the area was straight at Stech. A minute later, a low ball in from the left from James to Angus who flicked goalwards and Stech saved at his near post low down.

The Stags switched sides for O’Driscoll and Menayese, O’Driscoll moving to the right of the central defensive three, and Menayese to the left.

Barrow were completely on top.

Out of the blue, the Stags pulled a goal back. McLaughlin’s free kick from 30 yards was dinked into the box, Platt cleared straight up in the air, keeper Dixon tried to catch it and dropped it, and Perch was able to smash into the roof of the net from 5 yards.

No more chances for either side before the break. Was the goal a lifeline for the Stags? Barrow could have been 4-0 ahead, they were excellent down their left. But the Stags were back in it at 1-2, despite having played nowhere near well enough.

Half time 1-2

There was really only one moment of quality from the Stags that threatened to ignite a genuine comeback and that was after 49 minutes when Nicky Maynard hit a magnificent shot from 30 yards that was heading for the top left corner of the net and was brilliantly tipped onto the bar by the Barrow keeper. What a goal that would have been!

A minute later, from McLaughlin’s high ball in, Cook headed down to the keeper.

After 51 minutes, the Stags were reduced to ten men as Aaron O’Driscoll, on his league debut, was sent off for a second bookable offence, and any chance of a comeback was gone. O’Driscoll mistimed his tackle on James in the middle of the park in a non-dangerous area of the pitch. It was the second miserable home game in succession where a player had been sent off on his Stags league debut, after George Lapslie against Bradford.

The Stags went to 4 at the back.

Stech made a good save from Angus on 57 minutes. Stech made another good save, this time from James, a minute later as Barrow continued to cut Mansfield apart.

Barrow got the third goal they deserved after 61 minutes. James got away from Rawson and Lapslie 40 yards from goal, he surged forward and fed Kay just inside the area on the left, Kay took aim and curled a shot wide of Stech into the right corner of the net. A good move and a good goal. Rawson, Lapslie and Menayese could all have done better.

After 67 minutes, Angus fired a low shot straight at Stech.

Mansfield made a double change after 68 minutes as Reid replaced Maynard, and Maris replaced Perch.

Gordon put in a good cross after 75 minutes, which was put behind for a corner.

Barrow made it 4-1 after 79 minutes. Barry laid off to Biggins, in acres of space to fire a low shot into the bottom right corner of the net from 22 yards.

After 81 minutes, from a Lapslie corner, Jamie Reid turned and got in a low shot which the keeper just kept out. From the resulting corner, a shot from Charsley was blocked and then a shot from McLaughlin was blocked.

After 86 minutes, Barrow sub Jayden Reid squared the ball to another sub Chris Taylor who shot wide from the edge of the area.

The Stags scored a consolation goal after 89 minutes to make it 2-4. Gordon pulled a low ball across the area and an unmarked Charsley side-footed home into the bottom left corner of the net from about 8 yards.

After 90+2 minutes, Lapslie’s low shot was straight at the keeper. Two minutes later, Gordon got to the edge of the area and his shot was blocked for a corner. It was far too little too late.

The gulf between the two sides had been wider than the 4-2 scoreline suggested.

It marked the end for Coughlan, who left the club on a sad note, and his win record of 4 wins in 24 games (16.7%) is the worst of any Stags manager. (For the full list see here).

Man of the match: Kellan Gordon


Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill



Line Up:
(3-5-2)
Stech 6 Not at fault for any of the four goals in my opinion. Made two good saves.
Menayese 4 Could have done better for the first and third goals.
Rawson 4 Also could have done better for the first and third goals.
O’Driscoll 5 Sent off on his league debut.
Gordon 6.5 A couple of good crosses including an assist for Charsley’s goal.
Perch 6 Opportunist goal, his first for the club.
Lapslie 5 Could have done better for the third goal.
Charsley 6 Scored his second goal in a week. Also had a shot blocked.
McLaughlin 5 Could have done better for the first goal. Had a shot blocked.
Maynard 6 Magnificent shot from 30 yards that was heading for the top left corner and was brilliantly tipped onto the bar.
Cook 5.5 Captain, against his former club. A couple of efforts on target, but easy saves.
Sub Line Up:
Reid (for Maynard, 68 mins) -
Maris (for Perch, 68 mins) -
Subs not used: Stone, J.Clarke, Sinclair, Smith, Bowery.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-4-1-2): Dixon; Hird, Platt, Brough; Barry, M Jones, J Taylor (C Taylor 78), Kay; Biggins; Angus (Jayden Reid 81), James. Subs not used: Moloney, Brown, Zouma, Gribbin.
Referee:
Keith Stroud 7 Handled the game well. Stags can’t complain about the sending off.


Season 20/21 Reports