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Season 17/18 Stagsnet Match Report
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
3 - 4
 Crewe Alexandra
Angol 15, Hemmings 50, Miller 77.
 Jones 7, Bowery 10, Pickering 25, Kirk 27.
Attendance: 3480 (238 from Crewe)
Date: 7 April 2018


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

Mansfield Town were beaten 4-3 at home by Crewe Alexandra after a calamitous first half an hour of defending saw the Stags trailing 4-1. Crewe were 2-0 ahead after 10 minutes with terrible defending for both goals as Crewe cut through the Stags like a knife through butter. Mansfield pulled a goal back on 15 minutes through Lee Angol, but rather than spark a comeback, Crewe added further goals on 25 and 27 minutes, firstly as Alfie Potter was bullied off the ball, and then a long throw-in was not cleared, as the home fans were left totally stunned by what they were witnessing. Manager David Flitcroft had to do something and he immediately took off captain Zander Diamond and replaced him with Krystian Pearce. Flitcroft could equally have taken off Rhys Bennett, but there was a point made by removing the captain who had allowed the troops to capitulate so spectacularly. At half time, manager Flitcroft made a further double change bringing on Ricky Miller and top scorer Danny Rose who was returning from injury. I said in my build-up to full match commentary that I thought the manager should have started Ricky Miller and the manager admitted after the game that he had made a mistake by not doing so. Miller brought an energy to the side and his shoot on sight approach, that had been so successful for him at Dover, brought about a goal on 50 minutes as turned on the edge of the area on the right, and his shot was deflected up to Kane Hemmings at the far post who knocked into the net. The Stags laid siege to the Crewe goal for the remainder of the half creating a number of chances as Rose headed over twice and was then so unlucky when his terrific snap shot from the edge of the box smacked against the bar. The Stags pulled it back to 4-3 on 77 minutes when Hamilton ran forward, did well to cut inside Jones on the left, and his right-footed shot deflected off Sterry to the edge of the six-yard box where Miller knocked past the keeper from 5 yards. A poacher’s goal from Miller. The Stags were unable to force an equaliser as Crewe nearly added a 5th on the break. It was the first time Mansfield had conceded 4 goals since the crazy 4-4 draw with Accrington last season. Mansfield had simply given themselves too much to do and the game had effectively been lost in the opening 27 minutes with that calamitous defending. So another defeat for Mansfield, the fourth on the trot, and the eighth game without a win in this disastrous run. And that is just three points from the seven games played under new manager David Flitcroft. It was the first time Mansfield had lost 4 games on the trot since April 2015 when Mansfield lost 8 games out of 9. Mansfield are two points behind 7th placed Coventry, who lost to Notts County who are also in the play-off positions. With five games to go, Mansfield will probably need to win 4, or maybe even all 5, to get into the play-offs now. The Stags go to Stevenage on Tuesday where they have to end this dismal run to keep the hopes alive.

Mansfield one change to the side that lost at Luton: Alfie Potter returned to the starting line-up after injury, in place of Will Atkinson. Alex MacDonald moved from right midfield to the centre of midfield. Danny Rose took his place on the bench, returning from injury. Young Jordan Graham was also on the bench. He has been training with the first team, having returned from loan at Hednesford where he scored 10 goals in 33 appearances. No place on the bench for Paul Anderson, Paul Digby, Joel Byrom, and Jimmy Spencer. Crewe’s former Stags centre half Michael Raynes was on their bench.

Crewe took the lead on 7 minutes. Wintle played the ball forward from the halfway line, Shaun Miller flicked on to James Jones who found himself with only Hunt between him and Logan. Jones took a couple of paces forward and to the right and fired past Logan from the edge of the box into the left corner of the net. The defence had been caught flat-footed.

On 9 minutes, a long ball forward from Logan, Hemmings controlled well, but couldn’t do anything with it.

Crewe made it 2-0 on 10 minutes. Jones clipped a ball forward into the box, Paul Green turned Diamond too easily to get to the byline on the right, crossed back in, Jones fired goalwards, Logan blocked but it fell to Jordan Bowery to knock into the empty net from 6 yards. More terrible defending as the Stags didn’t clear their lines.

On 12 minutes, MacDonald’s corner from the right, found Hamilton on the edge of the area and he shanked a shot over the bar.

The Stags pulled a goal back to make it 1-2 on 15 minutes. Hamilton found Hemmings on the left. Hemmings dinked a super cross into the middle for Angol who headed against the right post from 10 yards. The ball came straight back to Angol who stretched to turn it into the empty net from 6 yards.

On 16 minutes, Mellis gave the ball away terribly which started another Crewe attack down the right, Bowery shot from 12 yards from a tight angle on the right and Logan saved with his legs.

On 17 minutes, Hamilton’s low cross came out to Mellis who shot well wide.

On 19 minutes, James Jones laid off a great ball into the area to the overlapping Bowery and his cross from the left was really well-saved by Logan, one handed as it threatened to find Shaun Miller in front of goal. The Stags defence was all over the place.

On 23 minutes, a great tackle by MacDonald, Hamilton played the ball inside to Mellis, whose shot was saved by the keeper. After the game manager Flitcroft criticised his team for this being the first tackle he had put in.

Crewe made it 3-1 on 25 minutes. Potter was bullied off the ball in the centre circle, Charlie Kirk pushed forward to the edge of the area and laid off to his left to the overlapping Harry Pickering who fired across Logan and into the far right corner of the net from 14 yards. Crewe were just cutting through the Stags like a knife through butter.

On 26 minutes, Mellis fired a fine effort from 25 yards low and just wide of the left post.

Crewe made it 4-1 on 27 minutes. The Stags didn’t clear a long throw-in, Bowery laid off to Kirk who was in 5 yards of space in the box to fire into the right corner of the net from 12 yards. More terrible defending, and an unbelievable scoreline with less than half an hour played.

Captain Zander Diamond was pulled off on 31 minutes, replaced by Pearce, who took over the captaincy. Manager Flitcroft had to do something with his side’s defending all over the place.

On 36 minutes, MacDonald picked up a loose clearance 25 yards from goal and his shot, which was on target, wasd deflected for a corner.

Potter lost the ball again on 38 minutes, then pulled his man down as he got away. He was rightly booked, and it summed up a terrible first half for him.

On 39 minutes, MacDonald played a 1-2 with Potter and his low cross was cleared.

On 45+2 minutes, Hemmings laid off to MacDonald whose shot from the edge of the area was blocked. A minute later, great play by Angol to win the ball, who pushed forward and tried to lay off to Hamilton but it was behind him. Great play from Angol spoiled by a terrible pass.

The Stags were booed off resoundingly for a shocking first 45 minutes.

Half time 1-4

At the start of the second half, Miller and Rose replaced Potter and Angol. Miller (right) and Rose (centre) joined Hemmings (left) up front, with MacDonald, Mellis and Hamilton in midfield in a 4-3-3 formation.

On 47 minutes a half-chance for Crewe as Sterry crossed from the right and Shaun Miller couldn’t control in the middle when he might have had a free shot.

The Stags made it 2-4 on 50 minutes. White took a throw-in from the right to Miller, who turned on the edge of the area on the right and his shot looped up off a defender to Hemmings at the far post who nodded in from close range. It was typical Miller with his shoot on sight approach that served him well at Dover.

On 53 minutes, another chance for Crewe as Wintle shot just wide of the left post from 25 yards.

A good move from the Stags on 54 minutes. Miller found the overlapping White who put in a very fine cross to the far post where Rose headed over.

A minute later, Miller laid off to MacDonald who put in another great cross for Rose, and Rose again headed over.

On 56 minutes, good play from White heading to the byline and his cross just evaded everyone in the middle.

Then on 58 minutes, Hunt played the ball forward to Miller whose cross-shot was cleared for a corner. MacDonald’s corner from the left came out to Mellis whose low shot was straight at the keeper.

Crewe broke to the far end, Pickering got into the area and knocked the ball past Logan, and Bennett did well to clear off the line.

On 62 minutes, Rose did superbly to win a loose ball, he could perhaps have shot from a tight angle but instead choose to square for Miller, and it was cleared before it reached him.

Poor officiating on 63 minutes as Logan’s long ball forward has three Stags players coming back from an offside position but all clearly left the ball, for MacDonald who was not offside, but the officials gave offside anyway.

A chance for Crewe on the break on 64 minutes as Jones’ shot was deflected through to Logan.

Calls for a Stags penalty on 67 minutes as Miller went down in the area, but the referee played on. It didn’t look a penalty to us. From the video, there was actually a push in Miller’s back though.

Crewe should have had a 5th goal on 70 minutes on the break. Following a Stags corner, Crewe broke, McKirdy had a shot well saved by Logan and from the rebound Bowery missed a sitter, knocking it over the bar from 12 yards.

The Stags were unlucky on 72 minutes, as Rose fired a great effort out of the blue against the bar from the edge of the area.

On 75 minutes, Hemmings seemed to be through as he went round the keeper on the right, but rather than shoot he attempted to cross and it was cleared.

The Stags made it 3-4 on 77 minutes. Hamilton ran forward, did well to cut inside Jones on the left, and his right-footed shot deflected off Jamie Sterry to the edge of the six-yard box where Miller knocked past the keeper from 5 yards. A poacher’s goal from Miller.

Great defending by White against McKirdy on 82 minutes as Crewe threatened to break.

On 83 minutes, Hemmings’ ball into the area found Miller who took one touch before his shot was deflected for a corner. Moments later as Crewe broke again, great defending by Hamilton to sprinting back to dispossess McKirdy.

On 84 minutes, Miller played the ball forward to Rose, who went over in the area but again it was no penalty. Moments later, more great defending from White as McKirdy broke again.

The Stags had so many players committed forward that Crewe were causing danger on the break.

On 86 minutes, Crewe keeper Garratt punched away and ended up on the floor, as Hemmings tried his luck with a shot from left that was over the bar.

Hemmings had another chance a minute later as MacDonald’s ball forward found him, he controlled beautifully, cut inside and miscued a shot straight at the keeper. It was similar to his goal at Luton, good control, but this time the shot was poor.

On 88 minutes, Mellis made a great run and played a 1-2 with Rose and got into the area but shot into the side netting. A poor effort having done so well to get there.

5 minutes of time added on. On 90+4 minutes, Rose tried an acrobatic scissors kick which was blocked, then White played a low ball in, it nearly fell for Rose but not quite. Agony for the Stags as the final whistle and it was another defeat, the fourth on the trot.

Man of the match: Ricky Miller

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

Line Up:
Logan 6 Exposed by a dreadful defence and no chance with the goals.
White 5.5 Terrible first half, but some great defending in the second half, and one very good cross.
Diamond 4 Stinker. Subbed after 31 minutes as the manager made a statement by replacing his captain.
Bennett 4 Terrible first half. Good clearance off the line in the second half.
Hunt 4 Terrible first half as Crewe waltzed forward at will.
Potter 4 First half horror show. Gave the ball away for the third goal. Then gave it away again and got himself booked. Subbed at half time.
MacDonald 5 Worked hard but gave the ball away and some poor passing. Better second half.
Mellis 5 Five shots at goal, only one of which was decent. Didn’t get stuck in when needed.
Hamilton 6 Set up the third goal. One great piece of defending.
Angol 6 Scored. And great play just before half time spoiled by a terrible pass. Taken off at the break.
Hemmings 6.5 Scored. Missed some good opportunities late on.
Sub Line Up:
Pearce (for Diamond, 31 mins) 7 Drove the team forward in the second half and worked his socks off.
Miller (for Potter, 46 mins) 7.5 Should have started. Brought an energy to the side. His shoot on sight approach led to the second goal, and he finished well for the third goal.
Rose (for Angol, 46 mins) 6.5 Made a difference but winning headers. Great effort against the bar. Sent two headers over the bar which he should have done better with.
Subs not used: Olejnik, Atkinson, King, Jordan Graham.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Garratt; Sterry (Ng, 79), Nolan, Ray, Pickering; Green, Wintle, Jones, Kirk (Raynes, 60); Bowery, Shaun Miller (McKirdy, 65). Subs not used: Richards, Porter, Dagnall, Ainley.
Richard Clark 7 Generally handled the game well. One poor offside decision from the officials.

Season 17/18 Reports