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Archived News from May 2021

12th May 2021 0:07

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Port Vale 0 - 3 Mansfield Town
McLaughlin 10, 63 Quinn 30
Attendance: behind closed doors

Date: 8 May 2021

Martin Shaw at Vale Park

Mansfield Town ended the season in style with a superb display in a 3-0 win at Port Vale this afternoon. Stephen McLaughlin scored twice, a low shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner and a free kick from 29 yards, while Stephen Quinn scored the other with a free shot into the net from 10 yards after a brilliant surging run forward from George Lapslie. The Stags went close on numerous other occasions and if they had scored seven, or more, the home side could not have complained.

The Stags finish the season in 16th place. In fact just 3 points behind 11th place. Full credit to manager Nigel Clough. Under his management, Mansfield won 3 more league games than they lost which was above mid-table form. Stags fans can now look forward to next season with more positivity, especially in the hope that they will be back in the stands and not being forced to watch from home!

The Stags could have had a penalty after 8 minutes as young right back James Clarke, who had a fine game, was tripped in the box as a cross came in from the left.

However the Stags didn’t have to wait long to go ahead. On 10 minutes, Jordan Bowery nicely controlled a lovely crossfield pass from Tyrese Sinclair. Bowery laid off to Ollie Clarke who teed up McLaughlin. The Stags left back took one touch before blasting a brilliant shot from the left, 25 yards out, across the keeper and into the bottom right corner of the net.

Two minutes later, a great move from the Stags involving McLaughlin, Quinn, Bowery and Ollie Clarke ended with Lapslie teeing up James Clarke for a shot from the edge of the box which was just over the bar. Two minutes after that, a free kick from McLaughlin from the left was met with a glancing header from Bowery against the outside of the right post.

After 23 minutes, young keeper Jamie Pardington, who caught four set pieces into the Stags area on his full league debut, caught a free kick and set the Stags away on a breakaway move which ended with Bowery turning and firing over the bar via a deflection. It was another glorious opportunity.

The near misses kept on coming as George Maris played forward to Ollie Clarke on 27 minutes and he threaded a superb ball forward for Bowery to run on to in the box for a 1-on-1 with keeper Scott Brown but Bowery’s low shot was saved by the keeper with his right boot.

Moments later, Lapslie teed up Ollie Clarke to take aim from 28 yards and keeper Brown parried away.

The Stags made it 2-0 after 30 minutes. Lapslie nipped in to intercept a loose pass from Shaun Brisley 18 yards inside his own half. Lapslie surged forward all the way to the edge of the six yard box on the right, before pulling back into the middle for Stephen Quinn who ran on to it and sent a free shot into the net from 10 yards.

Port Vale went close after 36 minutes as Harry McKirdy chipped a cross from the left which looked to be going straight in before McLaughlin superbly and acrobatically cleared off the line. Then Devante Rodney’s follow up shot from 4 yards was saved by Pardington on his line with his knee.

At the other end a minute later, Lapslie’s shot from 30 yards was parried away by keeper Brown, and a minute after that, Maris tried his luck from 25 yards and his shot was deflected for a corner.

Port Vale had chances to pull one back in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Tom Conlon’s free kick after 45+1 minutes, 30 yards out wide on the right, curled just wide of the post. Then after 45+3 minutes, Alex Hurst cut in from the right and sent a superb shot from 25 yards against the bar. The ball rebounded to McKirdy, whose shot from the edge of the box was blocked by James Clarke and deflected just wide of the right post.

A tremendous first half performance from Mansfield with a catalogue of near misses on top of the two goals. Port Vale came into the game towards the end of the half and could have pulled one back.

After 48 minutes, James Perch, who had a great game at the heart of the defence, got in a great block on a shot from Rodney. The ball rebounded to Hurst who lose shot was saved at full stretch by Pardington, into the path of Conlon who was about to shoot when James Clarke put in a fantastic tackle.

After 53 minutes, Ollie Clarke’s shot from the edge of the area was on target but deflected for a corner. Following that corner, McLaughlin’s shot from 25 yards looked to be heading for the net but deflected wide off his own man Sinclair!

Sinclair’s corner from the right after 56 minutes to the near post found Perch who fired into the side-netting. After 61 minutes, a surging run forward from Ollie Clarke to the edge of the area, he laid off to Sinclair on the right, who cut inside and his shot was deflected into the side-netting.

The Stags finally made it 3-0 after 63 minutes. A free kick for the Stags 28 yards out and McLaughlin curled it into the bottom right corner of the net. His second goal of the game, and his second goal of the season from a free kick from outside the box.

Sinclair was wide of the right post with a shot from 24 yards after 65 minutes. Sinclair was then fouled twice outside the box after 69 minutes. The referee played on after the first but gave a free kick for the second foul. It was 29 yards out. McLaughlin took it again and curled a wonderful shot towards the bottom left corner of the net but keeper Scott Brown tipped it wide with a superb save. McLaughlin so close to a hat-trick.

The Stags were mauling Vale.

Sinclair won another free kick, after 78 minutes, this time on the left hand side. Sinclair took the free kick himself and cracked it against the inside of the far post. Terrific effort.

Sub Harry Charsley had a chance after 79 minutes as he fired into the side netting.

The chances kept on coming as Vale were being pummelled and desperate for the final whistle. After 89 minutes, Lapslie played sub Jamie Reid to the edge of the area and Reid’s blockbuster was parried away by keeper Brown. On 90 minutes, Jason Law’s shot was saved by Brown.

This really was an outstanding performance to end the season. It was 3-0, but could have been so many more. Indeed, seven goals wouldn’t have flattered the Stags at all.

The midfield of Maris, Ollie Clarke, Quinn and Lapslie ran all over the home side and were absolutely fantastic. The Stags were very good at the back too, with Perch playing very well, and James Clarke impressing at right back. Ryan Sweeney had a good game too. I think that will be Sweeney’s last game for the club as he is now out of contract after 3 years at the club. I wish him well, he was terrific in the play-off season under David Flitcroft, but like others from that season wasn’t able to recreate that form last season, though has done much better this season particularly as the season has gone on. Jamie Pardington did well on his full league debut in goal with some good catches from set pieces, and a couple of good saves. His kicking needs plenty of work though. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is back next season as 3rd choice keeper on loan from Wolves again if he is happy to play that role. Tyrese Sinclair had another very lively game up front and has ended the season in superb form, having been handed his chance by Nigel Clough. I did say long before he broke into the team that I think he can be something very special and I still firmly believe that. My man of the match though is Stephen McLaughlin, who was brilliant on the left, scored twice from outside the box and was so close to a hat-trick all from outside the box. Added to that he made a brilliant acrobatic clearance off the line.

With 5 games left this season, the Stags were on 19 draws and just one away from equalling the club record. But four wins and one defeat means that the Stags don’t equal a record that you don’t particularly want to equal or beat! Three of those four wins were by a 3 goal margin as well and all of them should have been by a greater margin such was the high quality of those performances.

So we come to the end of the season. Thanks for reading this season. Thanks also for watching on iFollow Stags and buying your match passes and season tickets. It’s been a season like no other. Let’s hope that next season fans will be back, and it is a memorable one for Mansfield Town!

Footnote: these are my average player ratings (BEFORE today’s game) based on the 52 league+cup games for the players who have started at least 20 games (top 10 players):

Quinn 7.40, Lapslie 6.98, O.Clarke 6.95, Maris 6.91, Perch 6.76, Bowery 6.73, McLaughlin 6.69, Sweeney 6.68, Rawson 6.65, Charsley 6.64.

Note: only ratings for players starting a game are included - ie. sub appearances not included.

I will update with the final ratings once I’ve done my ratings for the Port Vale game.

Special mention also to two players who have started fewer than 20 games:

Sinclair 7.61 (from 9 starts), Law 6.92 (from 13 starts)

Thanks to Pete Wright for his spreadsheet.

The average ratings highlight I think the quality of the Stags in midfield especially with Quinn, Lapslie, Ollie Clarke and Maris, backed up by Jason Law. Quinn ended the season with a remarkable run of form and it is to be hoped that Nigel Clough can persuade him to join for next season. That midfield, backed up by a strengthened defence for next season, with a couple of new goalkeepers, and especially a couple of new strikers, could see the Stags as a force next season.



Mansfield Town end season with victory at Port Vale
chad.co.uk, Saturday 8th May 2021

Stags fan could be forgiven for wondering where this team has been hiding as Mansfield saved their best away performance until the end, strolling to a 3-0 win at Port Vale.

They could have been further ahead than the two-goal cushion they established in the first period but the lead they did have was fully deserved for a dominant showing.With just 10 minutes played Stephen McLaughlin drilled in the opening goal.

After countless slips from both sets of players on the sodden turf, it was always likely to pay dividends if anyone could use the pace on the pitch to their advantage. And McLaughlin did just that.


Close to 30 yards from goal, he sent an unerring shot skimming across the ground, beyond Vale keeper Scott Brown and into the bottom corner.

And it was almost 2-0 within a minute when James Clarke sent a shot narrowly over the bar.

Town went closer still on 13 minutes. McLaughlin teased a free-kick into the box and Jordan Bowery’s glancing header was almost perfect but clipped the outside of the far post with Brown helpless.

Bowery had two further chances in quick succession. After his shot on the turn was deflected over, he was denied by Brown’s smart save when Ollie Clarke threaded a ball through for him.

It was Stephen Quinn who finally doubled the lead, but the goal was all about the brilliant assist by George Lapslie.

He intercepted Shaun Brisley’s pass in midfield and charged half the length of the pitch, drawing in Brown before laying it into Quinn’s path for a simple finish from six yards.

The Valiants did rally before the break though, and McLaughlin brilliantly cleared Harry McKirdy’s chip off the line, with Devante Rodney’s follow-up deflected just wide.

And in stoppage time, Alex Hurst produced a brilliant long-range effort that crashed back off Jamie Pardington’s crossbar.

As the second half got under way James Clarke had to react quickly to snuff out the danger with a fine block to thwart Hurst after Pardington had parried Tom Conlon’s shot.

And on 63 minutes McLaughlin sealed the Stags’ win with a delightful free kick, stroking it neatly into the bottom corner of the goal.

Perhaps the only disappointment for the Irishman was that he was denied a hat-trick by Brown from an identical situation shortly after.

Trying to find the opposite corner he forced Brown into an excellent stop at full-length.

Substitutes Harry Charsley and Jason Law could also have added Mansfield’s fourth but each was wasteful and should have done better.

To get too critical about such matters after such a fine team performance would be churlish, though.

It was a job well done for Nigel Clough’s men as they saw out their fourth victory in five games to end a tricky campaign on a real high note.

Port Vale: Brown, Olagunju (Whitehead 57), Smith, Brisley, McKirdy (Swan 67), Hurst (Worrall 67), Joyce (Robinson 67), Conlon, Burgess, Pope (Amoo 67), Rodney. Subs not used: Guthrie, Scott.

Mansfield: Pardington, J Clarke, Sweeney, Perch, McLaughlin (Charles 82), O Clarke (Charsley 75), Maris (Ward 82), Lapslie, Quinn (Law 50), Sinclair, Bowery (Reid 75). Subs not used: Gordon, Stone.

Referee: Sam Allison.


Match Report: Port Vale 0-3 Mansfield Town

Port Vale were unable to end the season with a victory, after we suffered a 3-0 defeat to Mansfield Town on the final day of the season.

Mansfield took the lead after just ten minutes with the first chance of note in the game, when Stephen McLaughlin’s effort from 25-yards flew into the bottom corner, with Scott Brown having no chance of keeping it out.

The Stags hit the post after 13 minutes, when Jordan Bowery’s close-range header was flicked onto the outside of the woodwork, before rolling wide for a goal kick.


And the visitors were denied again five minutes later after a stunning stop from Brown denied Bowery inside the box, when the latter was through on goal in a one-on-one situation.

Stephen Quinn doubled the visitor’s advantage on the half-hour mark, after George Lapslie broke through down the right-wing, before cutting inside in the box and finding Quinn, who was on hand to despatch the ball into the back of the net.

Vale were baffled as to how they didn’t pull a goal back with ten minutes of the half remaining, when Harry McKirdy’s dinked effort over Jamie Pardington was cleared off the line, before Devante Rodney’s follow up effort was also blocked and cleared away from danger.

And Alex Hurst was unlucky not to half the deficit with the last kick of the half, when his stunning strike from 30-yards rattled the top of the bar, before the ball was cleared from danger, meaning the Valiants faced a two-goal deficit at the break.

The Valiants came out re-energised at the beginning of the second-half and almost halved the deficit when Pardington parried away Hurst’s initial effort before James Clarke’s last-ditch tackle prevented Tom Conlon from having a tap-in.

Tom Pope’s powerful header from inside the box tested the palms of Pardington on the hour mark, but the goalkeeper gathered Pope’s effort well.

But with 63 minutes of the contest gone Mansfield added a third, when Stephen McLaughlin’s free-kick from the edge of the box went over the wall, and into the back of the net.

Tyrese Sinclair almost grabbed another for the visitors, when his inswinging free-kick struck the inside of the post, before being cleared away with 12 minutes of the game remaining, but with that, the game petered out as the visitors took the three points in the final game of the season.

Port Vale: Brown, Hurst (Worrall 66’), Olagunju (Whitehead 57’), Brisley, Smith, McKirdy (Swan 66’), Joyce (Robinson 66’), Burgess, Conlon, Rodney, Pope (Amoo 66’).

Unused subs: Scott, Guthrie.

Mansfield Town: Pardington, J. Clarke, McLaughlin (Charles 81’), Perch, Sweeney, Maris (Ward 81’), O. Clarke (Charsley 74’), Lapslie, Quinn (Law 51’), Sinclair, Bowery (Reid 74’).

Unused subs: Stone, Gordon.


Port Vale player ratings as they slump to Mansfield defeat
stokesentinel.co.uk, By Michael Baggaley, 8 MAY 2021

Match stats and player ratings as Port Vale ended the season with a 3-0 defeat at home to Mansfield



MANSFIELD 3 (McLaughlin, 10, 63, Quinn, 30)





PORT VALE 10 (2 on target)

MANSFIELD 16 (6 on target)








Sam Allison 6



Port Vale: Brisley (foul, 77)

Mansfield: Sweeney (foul, 22)

RED: None


Entertainment: 6


BROWN: First-half save from Lapslie was the pick of a busy afternoon. Maybe should have done better for McLoughlin’s free kick for the third but made a fine stop to deny Law in the dying minutes 6

SMITH: Started on the right of a back three. The pick of that back three but they looked shaky without Leon Legge. 6

BRISLEY: Gave the ball away leaving Vale exposed for the second goal 4.5

OLAGUNJU: The youngster showed a bit of inexperience but not an easy game for him in a poor team performance. 4.5

HURST: Started at right-wing back. So unlucky to see a terrific 25-yard strike crash off the bar 5.5

BURGESS: Started in central midfield but finished at left back because of the shortage of defenders 5

JOYCE: Beaten for pace for the second goal after Brisley had given the ball away 5

CONLON: The captain was Vale’s best player in a disjointed team performance 6.5

MCKIRDY: Started at left-wing back. Spent a lot of time on the deck, but did come close to scoring when he beat his man and sent a cross to the back post that was - just about - cleared off the line. 5

POPE: Great to see him back in the side but this was a frustrating afternoon as Vale couldn’t get in the game 5

RODNEY: Unlucky not to score when his close-range effort was blocked 5.5


WHITEHEAD (Olagunju, 56): No defenders on the bench so came on in the middle of a back three before moving into central midfield of a 4-4-2 5.5

AMOO: (Pope, 60): Used on the right wing as Vale went 4-4-2 but the game was lost before he came on. 5.5

ROBINSON (Joyce, 60): Again, the game was over by the time he came on. Had a shot blocked 5.5

WORRALL (Hurst, 60): Slotted in at right back in a 4-4-2 for the final half hour. Did a job for the team as you would expect 6

SWAN (McKirdy, 60): Difficult for him to make an impact. We’ll see if that was his last Vale game or if the club look for another loan from Nottingham Forest 5.5

Not used: Guthrie, Scott.

Mansfield: Pardington, J Clarke, Sweeney, Perch, McLaughlin (Charles, 81), Maris (Ward, 81), O Clarke (Charsley, 73) Quinn (Law, 50), Lapslie, Bowery (Reid, 73), Sinclair.

Subs: Gordon, Stone.



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