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Season 14/15 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
 Wycombe Wanderers
Attendance: 2759 (372 from Wycombe)
Date: 24 January 2015


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were held 0-0 by League Two leaders Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon in a bad-tempered game that the Stags should have won. The Stags had ten great chances to win the game. They hit the post three times, through Oliver, Raynes and Ravenhill, had a shot by Blair deflected just wide, had a shot from Kee blocked by a defender on the line, forced three great saves from the keeper (through Oliver twice and Raynes), and Oliver put two sitters wide from close range. At the other end, Mansfield defended very solidly, which was hugely important after the previous two games where five soft goals cost us possible wins against Burton and Exeter. Wycombe were restricted to a couple of shots from long range, before a mistake by Sutton in the 95th minute nearly gifted Wycombe the most undeserved of winners as Sutton allowed Matt McClure a free shot in the area which he miscued horribly. Mansfield have now outplayed Wycombe twice this season (remember the game earlier in the season where Mansfield dominated, and had 16 corners to Wycombe’s 2, but a terrible penalty decision was critical for the home side), and Mansfield have come away with just one point. How Wycombe are top of the league is quite a mystery, though there is a big clue in not conceding goals even when they are under the cosh. Wycombe were also a horrible side, with plenty of nasty challenges, five players booked, cynically breaking the game up at every opportunity, and continually surrounding the referee to put pressure on him. Mansfield are now two points above the relegation zone and with 20 games of the season to go, there is plenty of time to pull away from the bottom of the league, but Mansfield need to convert a better ratio of chances and continue to defend solidly as they did today. A crucial game next week away to Carlisle who are a point behind the Stags having played a game more. A real six-pointer.

Mansfield made two changes from the side that lost to Exeter. Ryan Tafazolli returned from the effects of a virus in place of Martin Riley, and Matty Blair came in for his first Stags start in place of Reggie Lambe. Ricky Ravenhill was the new captain. Wycombe arrived at Field Mill on the back of a nine match unbeaten run and top of the league. Wycombe were unchanged.

It was a lovely afternoon in Mansfield and the pitch was in great condition considering the recent poor weather. No rain overnight and a drying wind had helped the pitch recover. The return to full price admission knocked 1200 off the home attendance (3600 Stags fans last week and only 2400 this week).

It was a poor start to the game with almost no goalmouth action in the opening 20 minutes.

On 4 minutes, Peter Murphy was incensed at a challenge from Ravenhill which looked accidental. Murphy had to wear a bandage on his head for the rest of the game. There is previous history between these two players apparently.

On 7 minutes a Clements free-kick was well-flighted for Oliver who got his head on it but could only direct tamely towards the keeper. A foul from Ravenhill on 10 minutes had the Wycombe surrounding the referee again, clearly trying to get the Stags captain booked, but the referee stood firm.

There appeared to be controversy on 18 minutes as Billy Kee headed towards goal and appeared to be fouled, and we initially thought the referee had waved play on, only for Oliver to lose the ball immediately. However, from the video, the defender did get the ball, and the referee did actually signal that the defender got the ball making a circular motion with his hands.

The first meaningful effort on goal came on 20 minutes as a Wycombe free-kick from 20 yards was blasted by Jacobson straight at Adam Smith who held it well. Two minutes later, a low shot from Marcus Bean from 20 yards brought a good low save from Adam Smith.

The game entered a quiet scrappy period but it roared into life on 34 minutes as Mansfield laid siege to the Wycombe goal through to half time. On 34 minutes, Junior Brown cut inside from the right and crossed to the far post giving Vadaine Oliver a free header with the goal at his mercy and he sent it against the right post and away. A minute later, Brown cut inside from the right again and fired wide.

On 38 minutes, following a drop ball, Oliver headed to Blair who shot goalwards and it took a deflection and went just wide. The Stags have conceded so many goals from deflected shots this season and have not had the same luck at the other end. From the resulting corner from the left, Raynes headed goalwards, it was blocked straight back to him and he fired a shot that hit the right post and went behind. Raynes held his head in his hands and started heading back towards the halfway line when to everyone’s surprise the inept officials gave a corner.

On 44 minutes, Raynes was booked for a soft foul. Inconsistency from the referee who had let similar fouls go unpunished earlier.

On 45+1 minutes, Sutton slipped a ball forward to Kee who put Oliver free in the box and Oliver forced a fine one-handed save from the keeper with a right-footed shot, the ball came back to Kee whose shot was blocked on the line by Aaran Pierre for a corner. From that corner, taken by Clements from the left, it was headed goalwards by Raynes and brilliantly saved on the line by the keeper diving to his right, as far as Oliver who headed goalwards again and the keeper pushed away again. Then following a long throw from Elder, Raynes headed down and Tafazolli fired an overhead kick to Oliver, who flicked wide at the far post from a great position.

An incredible end to the half in which the Stags hit the post twice, had a shot deflected wide, had a shot blocked by a defender on the line, forced three great saves from the keeper, and sent two other shots wide. Nine near-misses in twelve minutes but crucially none converted. Wycombe had been battered for twelve minutes and the half time whistle came at a great time for them when they were on the ropes. The first half hour had been forgettable though Mansfield had looked solid in defence which was so important after the last two games.

Half time 0-0

On 50 minutes, the ball was cleared by Jombati out to Ravenhill who sent a piledriver from 28 yards that hit the outside of the left post and behind for a goal kick. So unlucky again for Mansfield.

On 55 minutes, a Wycombe corner was headed away by Oliver, Sutton picked up the ball on the touchline and launched it forward to where Oliver had done well to get forward and flicked on brilliantly into the path of Blair who got the ball onto his left foot but couldn’t get past his defender and his shot was blocked through to the keeper.

Brown was booked for a late challenge on 60 minutes.

On 67 minutes, a Clements corner from the left reached Oliver unmarked in the middle and he volleyed a side-footed shot wide of the right post. A great opportunity spurned.

On 75 minutes, a rare Wycombe chance as a corner from the right found Pierre who headed over. Two minutes later, Onyedinma got to the byline and pulled back for Wood who fired wide.

Tafazolli was booked for a foul on 82 minutes.

Matt Rhead replaced Oliver on 84 minutes. Oliver left to a good reception after an eventful game.

On 90 minutes, Peter Murphy went down on the edge of the area to the right of centre, under the slightest of challenges. It was never a foul. Jacobsen sent the resulting free kick straight into the wall which did its job.

Alex Fisher replaced Kee, and Lambe replaced Blair on 90+1 minutes.

On 90+3 a long throw from Elder, gave Brown a brief site of goal but he could only head upwards and it was easily caught by the keeper.

On 90+5 minutes, Mansfield nearly threw the game away in ridiculous circumstances like last week. A big punt forward by Bloomfield should have been put out of the ground by Sutton who dallied and allowed sub Matt McClure to break free in the area with a clear site at goal. Luckily McClure made a complete mess of his shot which gave Smith an easy save and spared Sutton’s blushes. It was the last meaningful action and a blot on the first 95 minutes of really solid defending from Mansfield.

The final whistle brought a good ovation from the home fans, though frustrated at not picking the three points that were deserved.

Some impressive performances from Stags players. Tafazolli and Raynes won everything at the back. Ravenhill, the new captain, looked very good. Oliver was a handful up front but missed too many chances, and Blair covered a huge amount of ground.

Man of the match: Tafazolli/Raynes

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

Line Up:
Smith 7 Confident with excellent handling. Did not have to make any difficult saves. Has not put a foot wrong in any of his three games.
Sutton 7 Very good first half, and decent second half. Blotted his copy book in 95th minute with bad error that could have cost us the game.
Raynes 8 Won everything at the back and unlucky not to score. A real leader at the back.
Tafazolli 8 Dominant performance, great first game back after illness.
Elder 7 Solid defensively. Long throws were not as effective today.
Blair 7 Covered a huge amount of ground. Didn’t get much service in the first 30 minutes.
Ravenhill 8 Did very well as the new captain. So unlucky with piledriver from 28 yards.
Clements 7.5 Some good corners. Nice to see him really get stuck with tackles.
Brown 5.5 Sparked the Stags into life cutting in from the right twice on 34 minutes, but the rest of the game passed him by.
Kee 6 One shot blocked by a defender on the line.
Oliver 6.5 Involved in a lot and could have been the hero. Hit the post twice, forced two good saves from the keeper, and put two sitters wide.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Oliver, 84) -
Fisher (for Kee, 90+1) -
Lambe (for Blair, 90+1) -
Subs not used: Studer, Beevers, Heslop, McGuire.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2) Ingram; Jombati, Pierre, Mawson, Jacobson; Bloomfield, Bean, Murphy (Ephraim 90), Wood (McClure 90); Onyedinma, Holloway. Subs not used: Richardson, Craig, Rowe, Kretzschmar, Senior.
Eddie Ilderton 5 Made a lot of poor decisions, though not that affected the course of the game in a major way.

Season 14/15 Reports