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Season 20/21 Stagsnet Match Report
The Emirates FA Cup - Round One
Sunderland  
0 - 1
 Mansfield Town
 
 Lapslie 49
Attendance: behind closed doors
 
Date: 7 November 2020

SUPER STAGS WIN AT SUNDERLAND IN THE FA CUP

Martin Shaw at the Stadium of Light

Mansfield Town produced a fantastic performance to deservedly win 1-0 at Sunderland this afternoon in the First Round of the FA Cup. It was the Stags’ first win of the season at the fifteenth attempt!
Eleven days ago, the Stags were so bad that they made Barrow look like Barcelona in a 4-2 defeat. The contrast in the space of those eleven days has been quite stunning. And what a lot has happened in that time. Manager Graham Coughlan was sacked, academy manager Richard Cooper stepped up as caretaker manager and has done a fine job in steadying the ship with a draw in a much-improved performance against Walsall, followed by a good performance at Bolton which deserved a victory only to be pegged back in the final minute for another draw, and then finally that long-awaited victory today and what a place to do at the magnificent Stadium of Light. And of course yesterday a new manager was appointed, and a fantastic appointment it was as Nigel Clough came in to take over, which looks like a tremendous coup for the club.
Credit for this victory has to go to Cooper and his assistants Mike Whitlow, Jamie McGuire, Sam Collins and Sam Wilson, along with the players who battled so hard and showed plenty of quality.
Sunderland are flying high in League One with six league wins already from their first ten games, and although they made eight changes to their side today, still put out a side packed full with high quality players. But even though Sunderland hit the woodwork twice in the opening ten minutes, the Stags were certainly good value for the victory overall.
The only goal of the game came four minutes after half time as Kellan Gordon whipped in a wonderful cross from the right and George Lapslie thundered a great header into the right corner of the net from 9 yards. It was Lapslie’s second goal in four days and his desire to get his head on the end of the cross typified another whole-hearted performance from the on-loan player.
For the second game running, Mansfield were playing at a stadium they have not played at before, and the Stags started the game brightly with three chances in the opening 7 minutes, two for Nicky Maynard and one for James Perch, though Perch didn’t know much about his as a punched clearance from keeper hit him and went wide. Sunderland then hit the woodwork twice in a couple of minutes as much-travelled striker Danny Graham struck the left post with a shot and then headed against the bar from close range. Still in the first half, Mal Benning fired a good low shot just wide of the right post, and then George Maris put in a great cross for Jordan Bowery who volleyed over the bar from 8 yards. At the other end, Marek Stech made a very good save from Callum McFadzean.
An exciting first half was surprisingly goalless at the break, and the Stags were deservedly on level terms, showing no fear and really going for it.
In the first minute of the second half, a good shot from Stephen McLaughlin was saved by the home keeper who was down quickly. Then the Stags took the lead with that great goal.
Buoyed by the goal, the Stags were on top as a shot from Maris took a couple of deflections before going wide, Charsley fired over the bar, and Maynard shot wide.
Sunderland were creating little as Mansfield maintained a good shape, though on 69 minutes, Jack Diamond who played so well for Harrogate last season, especially in the play-off final which consigned Notts County to another season in the National League, found space in the box on the right and fired into the side netting.
The Stags were pushed back in the final five minutes but held on for victory with Stech pushing away a header from Charlie Wyke late on, and no-one could argue that they didn’t deserve it after a fantastic display. Lapslie will get the plaudits for his goal and an all-action display, but there were plenty of excellent performances, with Jordan Bowery absolutely immense both in attack and back in defence from Sunderland set pieces. George Maris had his best game in a Stags shirt, Harry Charsley had a fine game, and at the back James Perch and Farrend Rawson provided a very solid central defensive partnership. All eleven Stags players put in a heroic performance though, and victory was sweet after such a terrible start to the season.

Mansfield of course must build on this, and need to pick up some league wins urgently to push away from the bottom three of the table. Before that, we can enjoy the FA Cup Second Round draw at 7pm on Monday, and then an EFL Trophy game at Scunthorpe at 7pm on Tuesday. The Scunthorpe game is a dead rubber, but £10,000 is at stake for the winner, and it will be the first game with Nigel Clough in the dugout which still makes it one to look forward to.
Clough watched from the stands today and then was able to join in with the celebrations at the side of the pitch at the end of the game.


The appointment of Nigel Clough on Friday was a real coup for the club and a fantastic appointment. Hopefully he will bring us some short, medium and long term success. I think he is as safe a pair of hands as you could get at this level, which is important with the club precariously placed in the League Two table. Thank you as always to owners John and Carolyn Radford for financing the appointment and financing the club in general, especially in these difficult times with a lack of funds coming into the club.

The Stags were unchanged from the side that was so close to victory at Bolton. It was the same diamond formation in midfield with Maris in front of the back four and Lapslie behind the front two.

It was the first game between the two clubs for 17 years. The clubs had only played each other five times before, with Sunderland winning all five of them. The Stags picked a good time to break that sequence.
Sunderland are managed by Phil Parkinson and he is assisted by former Stags manager Steve Parkin.


The Stags started the game brightly with three chances in the opening 7 minutes. After 4 minutes, Maynard’s shot was blocked by Flanagan for a corner. From that corner, taken by Maris, a punched clearance from keeper Remi Matthews hit Perch and went wide of the left post. It could have gone anywhere, including into the net. Then after 7 minutes, Maynard fired a pot-shot wide from 25 yards. A good positive start though.

Sunderland then hit the woodwork twice in a couple of minutes. First on 8 minutes, Callum McFadzean’s cross from the left was knocked down by Will Grigg to Danny Graham who scooped a shot which struck the left post. Then after 10 minutes, McFadzean chipped a delightful cross from the left which floated over Stech and Graham headed against the bar from about a yard out.

After 13 minutes, Stephen McLaughlin laid off to Mal Benning who took a couple of paces forward and fired a good low shot just wide of the right post from 25 yards. It was similar to his effort at Bolton on Tuesday which earned the corner which led to the goal.

Great play from Lapslie after 22 minutes as he showed battling qualities to win a free kick.

The Stags came close to opening the scoring after 24 minutes. Lapslie laid off to Maris who put in a great cross from the right for Jordan Bowery who volleyed over the bar from 8 yards. Bowery put his head in his hands.

More battling play from Lapslie then to win another free kick.

After 32 minutes, a great challenge at the back by Maris to concede a corner. Stech punched away the corner.

Maris was booked for a late challenge after 33 minutes.

Great play by McFadzean after 34 minutes as he forced his way into the area, twisting and turning and shot low across Stech. Stech got down quickly and made a very good save pushing it away and importantly not into the path of the waiting Danny Graham.

McFadzean shanked a shot wide after 43 minutes. At the other end on 45+1 minutes, a decent ball in from Charsley was out behind for a corner.

An exciting first half was surprisingly goalless at the break, and the Stags were deservedly on level terms, showing no fear and really going for it. The Stags had started well with three early chances, then Sunderland hit the woodwork twice in a couple of minutes, before Mansfield went close through Bowery and Benning. Stech produced a good save near the end of the half from the impressive McFadzean, who was easily Sunderland’s best player. The Stags were keeping their defensive shape well.

Half time 0-0

In the first minute of the second half, a good low shot from Stephen McLaughlin was saved by the home keeper who was down quickly.

The only goal of the game came four minutes after half time as Gordon whipped in a wonderful cross from the right and Lapslie thundered a great header into the right corner of the net from 9 yards. It was Lapslie’s second goal in four days and his desire to get his head on the end of the cross typified another whole-hearted performance from the on-loan player. The goal came at the end of some nice crisp play from the Stags in a good move.

Buoyed by the goal, the Stags really got on top. After 52 minutes, good play from Charsley to win a corner. From the corner, Maynard headed down, and Perch teed up Maris whose shot from the edge of the box took a couple of deflections before going wide.

Benning was booked for a late tackle after 54 minutes.

After 58 minutes, Charsley fired over the bar from 30 yards. At the other end, a low ball in from Sanderson, and Grigg stooped to head goalwards but it provided an easy save for Stech.

After 66 minutes, a lay off from Bowery to Maynard who shot wide. Three minutes later, brilliant from Bowery who found Maynard and Maynard’s low ball in was dangerous but was just cleared.

Sunderland were creating little as Mansfield maintained a good shape, though on 69 minutes, Charlie Wyke found Diamond in space in the box on the right and Diamond fired into the side netting from a tight angle.

O’Keeffe replaced Maynard after 81 minutes.

After 85 minutes, Stech pushed away a header from Charlie Wyke from an Embleton cross, it was a good save. On 89 minutes, Stech caught a ball that was up in the air on his line. A minute later, Stech punched away from a cross by O’Brien. In the final minute of stoppage time, a corner for Sunderland and the keeper came up for it, but Bowery headed it away. The Stags had been pushed back in the final five minutes but held on for victory.

A deserved win overall and a great day for the club after the traumas of the season so far.

The Stags certainly didn’t play like a side that is 3rd bottom of the Football League. But now the challenge is to make sure they pull away from that foot of the table. Before that though, a trip to Scunthorpe on Tuesday (kick off 7pm) in the EFL Trophy, and Nigel Clough's first game in the dugout. Join us on iFollow Stags from 6.50pm on Tuesday.

Man of the match: Jordan Bowery/George Lapslie


Report by: Martin Shaw at the Stadium of Light



Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Stech 8 Some very good saves and good punches away.
Gordon 7.5 Wonderful cross for the goal. Up against Sunderland’s best player Callum McFadzean who gave him a tricky afternoon.
Rawson 8 Very solid.
Perch 8 Provided a very solid central defensive partnership with Rawson.
Benning 7.5 Good low shot just wide of the post.
Maris 8 His best game in a Stags shirt. Great cross for Bowery’s volley. Some really good defensive work.
Charsley 7.5 Fine game.
McLaughlin 7 One good shot saved.
Lapslie 9 His desire to get his head on the end of the cross for the goal typified a whole-hearted performance from the on-loan player.
Maynard 7.5 Some half-chances. Played well.
Bowery 9 Absolutely immense both in attack and back in defence from Sunderland set pieces. Volleyed over the bar from 8 yards.
Sub Line Up:
O’Keeffe (for Maynard, 81 mins) -
Subs not used: Stone, Menayese, O’Driscoll, Sinclair, Reid, Cook.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-4-1-2): Matthews; Sanderson, Conor McLaughlin, Flanagan; Diamond, Power, Dobson, McFadzean (O’Brien 75); Maguire (Embleton 66); Graham (Wyke 66), Grigg. Subs not used: Burge, Willis, Leadbitter, Neil.
Referee:
Anthony Backhouse 7 Handled the game well. No difficult decisions to make.


Season 20/21 Reports