Hamilton 61, Walker pen 79.
O’Shea pen 90+6
Attendance: 4959 (516 from Bury)
Date: 26 December 2018
FABULOUS STAGS BEAT BURY
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town put in a fabulous performance to beat in-form Bury 2-1 at the One Call Stadium in a game which was a great advert for League Two football. The first half saw Bury on top in the opening stages with Mansfield gaining the ascendancy as the half wore on with some wonderful attacking moves. It was level at the break, which was a fair scoreline, but Mansfield dominated the second half. The Stags deservedly took the lead on 61 minutes, when the excellent Jacob Mellis chipped a magnificent ball forward for CJ Hamilton who beat the offside trap and his initial shot at goal was well-blocked by the keeper, but Hamilton headed in the rebound. It was Hamilton’s 7th goal of the season. The Stags increased the lead on 79 minutes when, from a Mellis corner, Ryan Sweeney was fouled off the ball by Adam Thompson, while most of the crowd were watching a goalline clearance by Nicky Adams, hacking Danny Rose’s header away. The incident is out of shot on our pitchside footage but clear on the main camera footage as Sweeney is manhandled down. Bury manager Ryan Lowe confirmed after the game that Thompson had his arms around Sweeney’s neck and admitted “you just can’t put your arms round someone’s neck in the penalty area, simple as that”. Tyler Walker coolly converted the spot kick, firing into the left corner as the keeper dived the wrong way. It was Walker’s 15th goal of the season. Bury scored a consolation penalty in the 96th minute after a clumsy challenge from the otherwise excellent Matt Preston on Nicky Maynard, near the byline, and Jay O’Shea fired the resulting penalty into the bottom corner. The referee almost immediately blew the final whistle to signal a thoroughly deserved victory, which should have been by more than one goal. Some blistering football from Mansfield against a really good side in Bury.
22 games gone, and the Stags are into the top 3 for the first time this season. Just one game short of half a season played, and Mansfield have only been beaten once in the league.
Mansfield’s unbeaten run is up to 15 games, the club’s best since a 20 game unbeaten run in 1976.
It was Mansfield’s first win on Boxing Day for ten years, since a 3-1 win at Kettering in the Conference in 2008 (my match report here).
And it was Mansfield’s first win over Bury in any competition for nearly 14 years, since February 2005, when David Flitcroft was in the Bury side (my match report here).
Mansfield were unchanged from the side that won at Stevenage on Saturday. The bench was also unchanged. Bury made five changes from their side which beat Tranmere on Saturday. According to our colleagues from iFollow Bury, this was mostly tactical. Nicky Maynard, who was terrific against the Stags at Gigg Lane, scoring twice, was dropped after a poor performance against Tranmere, despite scoring. Influential midfielder Danny Mayor was out through injury. Former Stag Stephen Dawson, sent off here a few weeks ago in the Checkatrade Trophy game, started in central midfield.
It was a mild, dry day in Mansfield, slightly murky.
Bury started the game on top, just as they had a Gigg Lane earlier in the season. On 2 minutes, a long throw from Tom Miller was headed up into the air by Pearce. Logan started to come for it, then stopped, and O’Connell was left with a free header, which was superbly tipped over the bar by Logan.
On 4 minutes, Bury twice tried to score from the halfway line. Firstly, O’Connell’s free kick was well wide. Then a minute later, O’Shea tried his luck with a shot from inside his own half, which had Logan backpeddling furiously and he did well to tip it wide for a corner, though it was probably going wide anyway. From the resulting corner, a free shot for Styles from the edge of the area which was blocked.
Logan confidently claimed a cross from Stokes on 7 minutes. Then a minute later, Lavery fired in a low shot which Logan saved but didn’t hold onto and the Stags defence cleared.
It was an impressive start from the visitors.
On 13 minutes, following a Stags free kick, Walker laid off to Preston who fired well over the bar, though the offside flag was already up.
The Stags went close twice in a minute on 15 minutes. Mellis took a short corner to Elsnik on the left, got the ball back, and fired a low shot which was on target and deflected over the bar for a corner. Following the resulting corner, White returned the ball to Mellis with a great diagonal pass, and Mellis shot into the side netting.
Good defending by Sweeney on 18 minutes as Bury broke.
Then a wonderful move from Mansfield on 20 minutes. Benning made his way across the pitch and laid off to White, White crossed back in and Benning headed wide.
A super quick break from the Stags on 22 minutes. Hamilton showed great pace to get into the area on the right and as he cut back onto the his right foot he went down in the area, but the referee said no penalty. From the video, I think Hamilton’s leg was caught but Hamilton himself did not appeal for a penalty though Walker and Mellis later did. The loose ball fell to Bishop whose shot was blocked. Then Benning crossed from the left and Bishop headed well wide.
On 24 minutes, a low shot from Lavery was going wide and deflected further wide. Two minutes later, Lavery got to the edge of the area and his shot was blocked by Sweeney.
Good defending by Pearce as O’Connell broke forward on 28 minutes.
Brilliant control by Mellis as he scooped the ball past a defender with the back of his heel, he then played the ball inside to Walker, who missed his kick in front of goal.
A brilliantly worked move from Bury on 33 minutes. Lavery played inside to O’Shea who fired over the bar from 10 yards and put his head in his hands.
A super low ball across the area from Hamilton on 35 minutes, but no-one was on the end of it.
Then a brilliant move from the Stags on 39 minutes, ended with White sending in a low cross but it was blocked before reaching the unmarked Walker. It came back to White who fired into the side netting.
On 41 minutes, a cross-shot from Benning was just wide of the right post. Then two minutes later, Mellis crossed and defender Aimson headed just over his own bar.
Another great move from the Stags on 45 minutes, the ball finally came to Hamilton who close range shot was blocked by the keeper.
Mellis fired a rocket shot from 32 yards just wide of the left post on 45+1 minutes.
0-0 at the break, but it was a great game between two attacking sides, and fairly breathless stuff. The Stags under pressure early on, but then playing some wonderful flowing football. If there had been a better 45 minutes of League Two football anywhere this season, we’d like to have seen it.
Half time 0-0
O’Shea became the first player to be booked on 47 minutes, for chopping Mellis down.
Pin ball in the Bury box on 48 minutes, as Hamilton crossed from the left, O’Connell headed the ball up into the air and then headed against his own bar from right next to it as he tried to clear.
The Stags went close to taking the lead on 54 minutes. Benning’s low cross from the left was deflected just wide by a defender.
Great defending by Preston as Bury broke on 55 minutes.
Then a brilliant cross from the right by Bishop, through everyone and out the side on 57 minutes.
The Stags crowd were creating a great atmosphere, responding to the superb performance despite the lack of goals.
The Stags deservedly took the lead on 61 minutes. Mellis chipped a magnificent ball forward for Hamilton who beat the offside trap and his initial shot at goal was well-blocked by the keeper, but Hamilton headed in the rebound. It was Hamilton’s 7th goal of the season.
Bury responded by going forward on 63 minutes and a shot from O’Shea from 25 yards was well-blocked by White.
Elsnik was booked for a foul on 65 minutes.
Rose replaced Elsnik on 69 minutes. Flitcroft explained after the game that he wanted to go for the jugular with 3 up front, because he thought Bury were tiring at the back.
On 75 minutes, a brilliant diagonal pass from White to Hamilton who got into the area, but his pull-back was blocked by the keeper.
On 78 minutes, a double chance as Walker’s shot was blocked by the keeper, and then Rose’s shot was blocked the keeper.
The Stags increased the lead on 79 minutes when, from a Mellis corner, Sweeney was fouled off the ball by Adam Thompson, while most of the crowd were watching a goalline clearance by Nicky Adams, hacking Danny Rose’s header away. The incident is out of shot on our pitchside footage but clear on the main camera footage as Sweeney is manhandled down. Bury manager Ryan Lowe confirmed after the game that Thompson had his arms around Sweeney’s neck and admitted “you just can’t put your arms round someone’s neck in the penalty area, simple as that”. Tyler Walker coolly converted the spot kick, firing into the left corner as the keeper dived the wrong way. It was Walker’s 15th goal of the season.
A clever corner from Mellis to Benning in space just inside the area on 83 minutes, and Benning’s shot was blocked.
Atkinson replaced Mellis on 85 minutes. Mellis had gone down with cramp. He had a storming game.
Atkinson should have scored within 7 seconds of coming on! With his first touch of the ball, he broke through 1-on-1 with the keeper, and knocked his shot over the keeper and wide.
Logan was out to claim at the feet of Maynard on 87 minutes.
Jordan Graham replaced Walker on 88 minutes.
Rose won two free kicks in quick succession in stoppage time, with Aimson and Stokes booked for the two challenges.
5 minutes of stoppage time were added on.
Bury scored a consolation penalty in the 96th minute after a clumsy challenge from the otherwise excellent Preston on Nicky Maynard, near the byline, and Jay O’Shea fired the resulting penalty into the bottom corner. Preston was booked for the foul.
The referee almost immediately blew the final whistle to signal a thoroughly deserved victory, which should have been by more than one goal. A brilliant performance from the Stags.
A great win for David Flitcroft against his former side. And he faces another former side that he has managed on Saturday, with the visit of Swindon.
Man of the match: Neal Bishop/Jacob Mellis
Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Logan 7 Good early save from O’Connell’s header.
Preston 7.5 Excellent performance but clumsy challenge to concede the late penalty.
Pearce 8 Really game, commanding at the back.
Sweeney 8 Very good game with some fine defending. Brought down for the crucial penalty.
White 8 Very good game going forward. A couple of brilliant diagonal passes. Good cross for a Benning header.
Mellis 9 Magnificent ball for Hamilton’s goal. Storming game.
Bishop 9 Outstanding game. Covered every blade of grass.
Elsnik 7 Decent game in midfield.
Benning 8 Some fine attacking down the left. Nearly crowned a great move (which he started) with a header wide.
Walker 8 Super penalty. His 15th goal of the season. Several shots blocked.
Hamilton 8 His 7th goal of the season. Some good runs. A couple of good crosses.
Sub Line Up:
Rose (for Elsnik, 69 mins) - Good header cleared off the line, while Sweeney was being fouled for the penalty.
Atkinson (for Mellis, 85 mins) - Should have scored with a good run straight after coming on.
Graham (for Walker, 88 mins) -
Subs not used: Kean, Law, Butcher, Khan.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-5-2): Murphy; Aimson, Thompson, O’Connell; Miller (Adams 52), Dawson (Danns 58), Styles (Maynard 71), O’Shea, Stokes; Telford, Lavery. Subs not used: Hudson, Dagnall, Moore, McFadzean.
Ollie Yates 8 Great decision on the penalty, and good to see Bury manager Ryan Lowe concede that it was a penalty. Got the decision correct for the Bury penalty as well.