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Season 20/21 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Forest Green Rovers  
1 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Bailey 85.
 
 Lapslie 5, Charsley 35.
Attendance: behind closed doors
 
Date: 14 November 2020

FIRST LEAGUE WIN OF THE SEASON FOR STAGS AT FOREST GREEN

Martin Shaw at The innocent New Lawn

Mansfield Town got their first league win of the season at the twelfth attempt this afternoon with a 2-1 success at high-flying Forest Green Rovers.
Since Nigel Clough was appointed as manager just over a week ago to the enormous excitement of Stags fans, the Stags had won at Sunderland in the FA Cup, under the caretaker stewardship of Richard Cooper with Clough in the stands, and won at Scunthorpe in the EFL Trophy, but it was league wins that were so desperately needed with the Stags perilously placed in the bottom three.
And the Stags, looking a transformed side from that which made Barrow look like Barcelona just two and a half weeks ago, raced into a 2-0 lead here by half time with a superb first half performance, and despite conceding an 85th goal, hung on for a deserved victory.
The Stags were ahead after just 5 minutes as Stephen McLaughlin won the ball on the left 15 yards inside the Forest Green half, made a good run forward and from just inside the area on the left, pulled a great ball across to George Lapslie whose first time shot goalwards from 12 yards was parried by keeper Luke McGee straight back to Lapslie who knocked in the rebound. Lapslie’s third goal in successive games and taking to the attacking midfield role like a duck to water. Actually the conditions would have been well-suited to ducks, with heavy rain most of the morning and at lunchtime leaving the pitch very wet, and then the rain even more torrential from the end of the first half, through half-time and through most of the second half, but credit to the groundstaff as the pitch stood up to the deluge remarkably well, better than I expected given the abandonment just under two years ago.
The Stags nearly increased the lead after 34 minutes, as a great cross from Lapslie just evaded Nicky Maynard, but McLaughlin recycled the ball from the left and his cross was beautifully controlled by Maynard on his knee, before Maynard sent a brilliant acrobatic effort just over the bar. Brilliant improvisation from Maynard.
The Stags did increase the lead moments later, after 35 minutes, and it was a gift from the home side. Ebou Adams won a free kick 25 yards from his own goal. Inexplicably, Adams got up and took a quick free kick back to the edge of his own area straight to Jordan Bowery. Bowery controlled the ball and found space to slide a perfect ball across the edge of the area to Harry Charsley who took one touch before firing into the bottom left corner of the net from 14 yards. I suggested in commentary that Ebou Adams might not be looking forward to seeing his manager Mark Cooper at half time. Cooper said after the game that Adams could be colour blind and they would have to get his eyes tested!
A great first half from Mansfield, deservedly 2-0 ahead.
The second half saw Forest Green put the Stags under some pressure but it should have been 3-0 to Mansfield after 73 minutes, as Mal Benning’s free kick was met on the volley on the middle by Maynard who knocked into the net but the offside flag went up. From the video, Maynard appeared to have timed his run perfectly and was onside. It was one of a large number of mistakes from the officials, albeit this was the only one that had a material effect on the game.
Forest Green pulled a goal back after 85 minutes in the lashing rain as a corner from the left by Nicky Cadden bounced off the side of James Perch’s head and then ricocheted off Jordan Bowery into the path of Odin Bailey who tucked the loose ball under Marek Stech from close range.
With five minutes to go, it was hard not to think back to the Leyton Orient game and fear the worst but the Stags clung on to victory with guts and determination despite being pushed back and under pressure.
Celebrations at the end of the game as Nigel Clough congratulated each one of his players.
So many good performances throughout the side. Lapslie was immense in the first half with another all-action display, a classic box to box performance, and another goal. Charsley also worked hard in midfield and took his goal in clinical fashion. Up front, Maynard was unlucky to see his goal ruled out and had another brilliant acrobatic effort just over the bar, while Bowery worked incredibly hard, set up the second goal, was a real nuisance for the home defence, and got back well to help his defence out when the side was under pressure in the second half.
At the back, James Perch gave a captain’s performance (*), so composed on the ball, was unlucky when the ball came off him and then Bowery to set up Forest Green’s goal, and got lucky when the ball bounced off his head and landed on the top of the bar, and overall he was outstanding. Enormous credit goes to Richard Cooper for moving him back into central defence from midfield two weeks ago. Alongside Perch, Farrend Rawson had a great game against his former club. Behind the defence, Marek Stech put in an immaculate performance with a number of fine saves and great handling. After some costly mistakes earlier in the season, he now looks like the commanding goalkeeper we thought we had signed, and credit to him for bouncing back with fine performances.
Overall, the team looks very well balanced and if the Stags keep performing as they have during this unbeaten run of five league and cup games, with three league and cup wins on the bounce, we will surely rise up the table and into a position of mid-table safety. For now though, the Stags are still in the bottom four.
No midweek game this week after four consecutive Tuesday games. The next game is on Friday night as Colchester visit the One Call Stadium (kick off 7pm, join us from 6.50pm on iFollow Stags). Colchester have won four of their last five league games and sit in the play-off positions with a game in hand.

(*) Ollie Clarke took over the captaincy from Perch when he came on as substitute.


For Nigel Clough’s first league game in charge, he named the same side that won at Sunderland last Saturday in the FA Cup. It was the same diamond formation, with Lapslie in the attacking midfield role, and Maris in the defensive midfield position. Maris was to go off after a bash in the ribs after 31 minutes and he was replaced by Ollie Clarke, who had returned from injury to play 15 minutes in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.
There were two changes on the bench, with Ollie Clarke replacing Tyrese Sinclair, a little unlucky to lose his place on the bench after a great performance on Tuesday, and Ryan Sweeney in for Rollin Menayese. Sweeney’s brother Dan Sweeney was on the bench for Forest Green, though neither of them was to get on.
In answer to people who were asking why there was no homegrown player on the Stags bench, I asked the question and was told this rule about having one homegrown player in the matchday squad no longer applies.
Forest Green started the day in third place, the Stags third bottom.

It was a foul day, with wind and heavy rain. The wind was behind Forest Green in the first half. Unusually, both teams played better against the wind as the Stags had the better of the first half and Forest Green the second half.


The Stags were ahead after just 5 minutes as McLaughlin won the ball off Godwin-Malife on the left 15 yards inside the Forest Green half, made a good run forward and from just inside the area on the left, pulled a great ball across to Lapslie whose first time shot goalwards from 12 yards was parried by keeper Luke McGee straight back to Lapslie who knocked in the rebound. Lapslie’s third goal in successive games.

After 11 minutes, great play from Bowery to win a free kick. McLaughlin took the free kick towards the far post, but the offside flag was up. At the other end, Maris conceded a free kick 35 yards from the Stags goal. Young’s free kick was blocked by the wall.

After 15 minutes, good play by Bowery on the left, and a good move ended with Lapslie finding Maynard but Maynard missed his kick with a chance to shoot. Maynard did that in the last game too and I commented that it was uncharacteristic!

A brilliant sliding challenge by Lapslie to win the ball after 16 minutes, and Maynard’s snapshot from 28 yards was just over the bar.

After 20 minutes, Kitching curled a ball down the line on the left, Bailey made a good run and got goalside of Maris, and fired a low shot goalwards from a tight angle, which was well-saved by Stech, getting down quickly.

Benning was booked for a foul on Godwin-Malife after 21 minutes.

Cadden’s free kick from 35 yards after 22 minutes was deflected for a corner. From the resulting corner the ball went wide from a header from Ebou Adams and Forest Green wanted a corner but a goalkick was given.

Stech was out of his area quickly and decisively after 25 minutes as Young chased after a ball forward from Kitching.

Maris had to go off injured after 31 minutes, gasping for breath. It was a rib injury. He was replaced by Ollie Clarke, who took over the captaincy from Perch.

A good move from Forest Green on 33 minutes as Cadden pushed forward, laid the ball out to Young on the left, got the ball back and fired just over the bar from the edge of the area.

The Stags nearly increased the lead after 34 minutes, as a great cross from Lapslie just evaded Maynard, but McLaughlin recycled the ball from the left and his cross was beautifully controlled by Maynard on his knee, before Maynard sent a brilliant acrobatic effort just over the bar. Brilliant improvisation from Maynard.

The Stags did increase the lead moments later, after 35 minutes, and it was a gift from the home side. Ebou Adams won a free kick 25 yards from his own goal. Inexplicably, Adams got up and took a quick free kick back to the edge of his own area straight to Bowery. Bowery controlled the ball and found space to slide a perfect ball across the edge of the area to Charsley who took one touch before firing into the bottom left corner of the net from 14 yards. I suggested in commentary that Ebou Adams might not be looking forward to seeing his manager Mark Cooper at half time. Cooper said after the game that Adams could be colour blind and they would have to get his eyes tested!

Gordon made a fantastic run from his own byline all the way into the Forest Green penalty area after 37 minutes. He went down as he crossed low into the middle straight to the keeper and looked to the linesman for a penalty but there was no foul. What a great run though.

Stech made a brilliant save after 45 minutes. Young got away from Gordon and crossed across the edge of the six yard box to Matt who turned his effort goalwards and Stech made a brilliant save with his right hand, turning it away. From the resulting corner, Kane Wilson’s scuffed shot was blocked by Stech and out for a throw-in.

A great first half from Mansfield, deservedly 2-0 ahead.

The rain was now very heavy, and continued that way through the half time interval and into the second half.

Half time 0-2

Bowery did well to win a corner 15 seconds into the second half.

After 47 minutes, Young cut onto his right foot on the left and fired straight at Stech who caught the ball in front of his face. It was a powerful shot and Stech caught the wet ball cleanly. Six minutes later, Young got past Gordon to the byline and his low ball across the face of goal was missed by everyone.

After 54 minutes, Aaron Collins blatantly knocked Gordon over in the Stags box. It was an obvious foul. The incompetent referee waved play on, allowing Young another shot in the area from the left, and Stech beat away the shot. Another good save. Two minutes later, a good header away by McLaughlin from a cross.

After 57 minutes a good run and cross from the right by Gordon, Maynard met it with a header but couldn’t get any power on it and headed straight down to the keeper..

After 59 minutes, Winchester dinked a ball into the Stags box, it came off Perch’s head and looped against the top of the bar. A bizarre let-off for the Stags. A minute later, strong play by Bowery to ease Adams off the ball. Then moments after that Aaron Collins got the ball onto his left foot and sent in a shot that was deflected wide. A great header away by Bowery from the corner.

The hapless referee was at it again as a clear push on Charsley was not given on 64 minutes.

A mistake by Ollie Clarke after 67 minutes as he gave the ball away on the halfway line, Forest Green broke and Godwin-Malife crossed from the right but Clarke was back to head away and redeem himself.

Rawson put in a wonderful tackle on Adams after 72 minutes.

It should have been 3-0 to Mansfield after 73 minutes, as Benning’s free kick from the left was met on the volley on the middle by Maynard who knocked into the net but the offside flag went up. From the video, Maynard appeared to have timed his run perfectly and was onside, and it was a great finish. It was one of a large number of mistakes from the officials, albeit this was the only one that had a material effect on the game.

A minute later at the other end, Winchester’s shot from 25 yards was deflected well wide. A minute after that, Bailey got away from Benning and cut across the edge of the D before his low shot was well-saved low down by Stech. Stech got down quickly and made the save look easy.

After 79 minutes, sub Jayden Richardson crossed from the right, another sub Matty Stevens slid in and the ball squirmed up in the air, and then Adams fired well wide of the right post on the turn.

Comedy defending from Forest Green after 80 minutes, as Godwin-Malife took a throw-in back to his keeper who took a touch and Maynard sliding in so nearly was able to get a touch on it and slide it into the gaping empty net.

O’Keeffe replaced Maynard after 83 minutes. O’Keeffe went into right midfield, giving more protection to Gordon at right back.

Forest Green pulled a goal back after 85 minutes in the lashing rain as a corner from the left by Cadden bounced off the side of Perch’s head and then ricocheted off Bowery into the path of Odin Bailey who tucked the loose ball under Stech from close range.

With five minutes to go, it was hard not to think back to the Leyton Orient game and fear the worst but the Stags clung on to victory with guts and determination despite being pushed back and under pressure. On the stroke of 90 minutes, a good block behind for a corner by Rawson. But there were no real chances for the home side in the four minutes of stoppage time added on.

Celebrations at the end of the game as Nigel Clough congratulated each one of his players.

Man of the match: Marek Stech


Report by: Martin Shaw at The innocent New Lawn



Line Up:
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Stech 9 Immaculate performance with a number of fine saves and great handling.
Gordon 7 A couple of great runs forward. Did have a tricky time against Forest Green’s man of the match Jake Young.
Rawson 8.5 Great game against his former club, with one wonderful tackle and some good blocks.
Perch 8.5 So composed on the ball. Outstanding.
Benning 7 Great free kick for Maynard’s wrongly disallowed goal.
Maris - Had to go off with injured ribs after 31 minutes.
Charsley 8 Worked hard in midfield and took his goal in clinical fashion.
McLaughlin 8 Great assist for Lapslie’s goal. Some other good crosses.
Lapslie 9 Immense in the first half with another all-action display, a classic box to box performance, and another goal.
Maynard 8 Unlucky to see his goal ruled out and had another brilliant acrobatic effort just over the bar.
Bowery 9 Worked incredibly hard, set up the second goal, was a real nuisance for the home defence, and got back well to help his defence out when the side was under pressure in the second half.
Sub Line Up:
O.Clarke (for Maris, 31 mins) 7 Took over the captaincy when he came on. One mistake as he gave the ball away but redeemed hiself getting back to head away the cross.
O’Keeffe (for Maynard, 83 mins) -
Subs not used: Stone, Ryan Sweeney, O’Driscoll, Cook, Reid.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-4-2-1): McGee; Godwin-Malife, Moore-Taylor (Stevens 76), Kitching; Wilson (Collins 46), Winchester, Adams, Cadden; Bailey, Young; Matt (Richardson 76). Subs not used: Thomas, Dan Sweeney, Stokes, Whitehouse.
Referee:
Brett Huxtable 4 Missed some obvious fouls. The officials wrongly disallowed Maynard’s goal.


Season 20/21 Reports