{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from September 2018

12th September 2018 21:24

English Football League Trophy - Checkatrade Trophy, group stage
Lincoln City 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Rhead 5. Butcher 8, Walker 72.
Attendance: 4205 (260 from Mansfield)

Date: 4 September 2018

Martin Shaw at Sincil Bank

Mansfield came from behind to win 2-1 at Lincoln City in the Checkatrade Trophy last night on an enjoyable evening for Stags fans. Each win in the group stages of this competition earns £10,000 for the club, which is of course useful. Lincoln are the holders of the trophy and took 26,000 fans to Wembley last season, hence it was no surprise to see an usually large crowd for the early stages of this competition with 4,000 home fans turning up to the game last night. Not surprisingly the Stags made 7 changes from the win over Carlisle on Saturday (including a debut for Timi Elsnik), while Lincoln made 8 changes from Saturday when they won at Exeter. Mansfield put in a battling and hard-working performance and eventually emerged as deserved winners. Lincoln took the lead on 5 minutes. Harry Toffolo’s cross from the left was over everyone in the middle and came to the right side of the area where Harry Anderson and Mal Benning battled for the ball. Anderson got the better of Benning and crossed into the middle where Matt Rhead was unmarked and headed in from 3 yards. Rhead should have been picked up by Hayden White probably but White was in no-man’s land 5 yards away. White and Benning should both have done better. The Stags were level within 3 minutes. White chipped a nice ball forward to the right side of the area where Calum Butcher and Adam Crookes battled for the ball. Crookes slipped over allowing Butcher to fire under the keeper Sam Slocombe with the outside of his right boot from 7 yards. Butcher could have scored again on 44 minutes when he nipped in to intercept a backpass, and rounded the keeper but his goalbound shot was blocked by the chest of Crookes. A fair scoreline at the break. The Stags went in front on 72 minutes, White slid a ball forward and Butcher flicked on delightfully into the path of substitute Tyler Walker who hit a first time rocket shot from the edge of the area into the bottom corner of the net giving Slocombe no chance. It was a goal worthy of winning any game, and it was enough to win this one. The goal came just 56 seconds after Walker had come on as substitute. It adds to the list of good substitutions this season with players making an impact about a minute after coming on with Rose scoring 78 seconds after coming on against Accrington, and Rose hitting the post 36 seconds after coming on against West Brom, plus of course Davies scoring as substitute against Colchester. Lincoln’s Michael O’Connor was sent off in injury time for hitting Calum Butcher with his hand from above on the top of Butcher’s head, sparking a bit of a melee. Earlier, the Stags had Preston, White, Rose, Benning, Elsnik, and MacDonald all booked. All of the yellows were justified, though White was silly for talking his way into the book after a foul against him wasn’t given. The good news is that yellows and reds in the Checkatrade Trophy do not count towards disciplinary points for league games. They only count for future Checkatrade Trophy games. After the game Lincoln boss Danny Cowley bemoaned this rule claiming it was new for this season. It was actually the same rule last season, which he ought to have known having got all the way to the final. In a witty interview on Sky Sports News, David Flitcroft said “Danny will probably start making the rules to this competition and administering. He wanted to be the linesman tonight, he wanted to be the referee, he wanted to do offsides. He’ll probably get his way and be able to, further down the line, make the rules up.” Cowley complained that Mansfield were over-physical, but only one player deserved to be sent off, and it was his own O’Connor. Flitcroft was furious at the final whistle with both Cowley brothers, Danny and assistant Nicky, and it was easy to see why given his post match comments. Overall a good night for the Stags, with a committed performance, ahead of an 11 day break before the next game, at home to Exeter in the league.

This was the first match in the group stage of the Checkatrade Trophy. Mansfield will play Wolves U21 in October and Scunthorpe in November, with the top two teams in the group of four going through to the next round. It is a good opportunity for players who are not getting much game time in the league, to get competitive action and stake a place for a place in the side in the league. And last night’s game was certainly competitive!

The Stags made 7 changes from the side that beat Carlisle. In came Logan, Gibbens, Atkinson, Benning, Elsnik, Butcher and Davies. Rested were Olejnik, Hamilton, Bishop, Khan and Walker. Pearce and Sweeney were away on international duty as was Sterling-James. It was Timi Elsnik’s debut on loan from Derby for the rest of the season. Elsnik was with Flitcroft’s Swindon on loan last season. After the game, Timi told me his name is pronounced “Elshnik”. Alex MacDonald was captain. Young Jason Law, signed by Adam Murray, was on the bench. Murray had told me when he signed Law that he expected him to break into the first team quite quickly, but it hasn’t happened so far. Lincoln were without the injured Matt Green. Matt Rhead was captain.



Walker wins it as Mansfield Town come from behind at Lincoln

Stags sub Tyler Walker was the hero as Mansfield kicked off their Checkatrade Trophy campaign with a 2-1 victory at 10-man Lincoln City tonight. Calum Butcher scored one and created the other as the Stags came from behind after ex-Stag Matt Rhead’s opener. Substitute Michael O’Connor was sent off just 15 minutes after coming on for an altercation with match-winner Walker. Manager David Flitcroft made wholesale changes from the side that broke a run of three league draws on the bounce on Saturday. Goalkeeper Conrad Logan replaced Bobby Olejnik, whilst young gun Lewis Gibbens, Mal Benning, Will Atkinson, Calum Butcher, Timi Max Elsnik, and Craig Davies were all handed starts amid seven changes. There was a fast start at Sincil Bank with both sides scoring in the opening eight minutes. The shellshocked Stags were behind after just four minutes as the in-form Imps took the lead. Rhead headed home an easy opener after Harry Anderson found the hosts’ skipper inside the Stags’ box. But Flitcroft’s charges levelled proceedings just two minutes later. Butcher was on hand to take advantage of an unfortunate Adam Crookes slip in the hosts’ backline to coolly finish past Sam Slocombe. Recalled Logan pulled off a stunning save to keep the two sides level by palming Shay McCartan’s strike after the striker raced through on goal. Butcher came close to doubling his tally on the stroke of the break after rounding Slocombe, only for Crookes to produce a last-ditch block on the line. A quiet second half sprung into life with 20 minutes left after Flitcroft made a double change. And it worked wonders for the Stags as Walker bagged the winner with his first touch after getting on the end of Butcher’s flick to fire home his sixth goal of the season. Walker also fired wide minutes later after latching on to another Butcher ball. The Stags are back in EFL Trophy action in October at home to Wolves U21s.

Lincoln: Slocombe, Gordon, Toffolo, Bostwick (O’Connor, 80), Crookes, Chapman, McCartan, Luque (McCombe, 80), Rhead, Mensah (Andrade, 67), Anderson. Unused subs: Smith, Adebayo-Smith, Frecklington, Akinde.

Mansfield: Logan, White, Preston, Gibbens, Benning, MacDonald, Atkinson, Butcher, Elsnik, Davies (Walker, 70), Rose (Hamilton, 70). Unused subs: Olejnik, Law, Bishop, Graham, Khan. Referee: Ross Joyce. Attendance: 4,205 (260 away).

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/walker-wins-it-as-mansfield-town-come-from-behind-at-lincoln-1-9334656


Michael O'Connor sees red as Lincoln City lose ill-tempered clash with Mansfield Town
Tempers boiled over at the end of the Checkatrade Trophy group game

By Mark Whiley, 4 SEP 2018


Michael O’Connor was sent off in added time as Lincoln City’s defence of the Checkatrade Trophy got off to a losing start.

Substitute Tyler Walker struck against the run of the play with 17 minutes to go to seal a 2-1 win for the Stags in the Group H clash.

Matt Rhead headed the Imps into an early lead, but Callum Butcher levelled for the visitors soon after.

The match looked to heading for a draw and a penalty shootout for an extra point until Walker struck less than two minutes after coming off the bench.

An ill-tempered match, not helped by referee Ross Joyce, boiled over in added time when Imps substitute O’Connor was shown a straight card following a melee involving players from both sides.

That ill-feeling continued after the final whistle, with both coaching teams having to be separated.

Both sides rung the changes with the Imps making eight to the Stags’ six.

With that in mind, it was perhaps no surprise that both defences got off to nervy starts, which resulted in two goals in the first ten minutes.

The Imps took the lead on six minutes through skipper on the night Rhead. Good link-up play between debutant Bernard Mensah and Harry Toffolo down the left resulted in the latter sending in a dangerous cross which was just missed by Shay McCartan, but Harry Anderson shrugged off a defender and clipped a perfect cross to Rhead, who headed home from close range.

However, the lead lasted just two minutes as Adam Crookes’ slip was pounced upon by Butcher, who slotted past Sam Slocombe.

Mensah went close to restoring the Imps’ lead straight away but dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Both sides remained committed to attack, with Mansfield, like Exeter on Saturday, adopting a physical approach which saw four of their players booked in the first half alone.

But Town struggled to halt McCartan, whose pace and trickery caused the visitors plenty of problems. One run from the Northern Irishman saw him break into the box, only to be denied by keeper Conrad Logan.

The Stags almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time when a weak back-pass from Ellis Chapman was latched onto by Butcher, but excellent last-ditch defending from Slocombe and then Crookes denied a certain goal.

The second half continued at the same hectic pace, despite erratic displays from the officials.

The dangerous McCartan had another sight of goal soon after the break when he was found by a well-worked free-kick, but his stinging effort struck a defender in the face.

The Imps carried the greater goal threat as they tried to take advantage of a fragile-looking Town defence, who didn’t appear to be on the same wavelength as keeper Logan.

However, City were made to pay for not making the most of that when Walker blasted Mansfield into the lead with his first touch - a stunning finish after latching onto Butcher’s flick-on.

O’Connor saw red in added time after appearing to raise his arm amid a bust-up between players from both sides.

That ill-feeling continued after the final whistle, with stewards required to separate both sets of players and coaching teams.

Match facts
Imps: Slocombe; Gordon, Bostwick (McCombe 80), Crookes, Toffolo; Chapman, Luque (O’Connor 80), McCartan; Anderson, Rhead, Mensah (Andrade 67).

Subs not used: Smith, Frecklington, Akinde, Adebayo-Smith.

Goals: Rhead 6

Stags: Logan, White, Benning, Preston, McDonald, Davies (Hamilton 71), Atkinson, Butcher, Elsnik, Gibbens, Rose (Walker 71).

Subs not used: Olejnik, Bishop, Khan, Hamilton, Law, Graham.

Goals: Butcher 8, Walker 73.

Attendance: 4,205 (260 visitors).


REPORT: The Imps V Mansfield Town

The Imps began the defence of their Checkatrade Trophy crown against Mansfield Town at Sincil Bank this evening, but the first group stage game was to end in defeat

The match started in quick fashion as City opened the scoring within the first six minutes of the game. However, the elation was shortlived when the visitors equalised moments later through Callum Butcher before substitute Tyler Walker netted a second for The Stags to win the tie in the second half.

Harry Anderson won a race to the ball with Mal Benning before holding off The Stags full back and clipping the perfect ball onto the head of MATT RHEAD and he powered home past Conrad Logan in the visitors goal. However, Mansfield Town replied quickly, when Butcher slotted home after collecting a loose ball inside the box just 120 seconds later.

The intense tempo didn’t let up and Bernard Mensah was just a yard away from restoring City’s lead almost immediately from the restart, taking a touch after being found by a cross field ball to the left hand side of the box but his shot just screwed wide of the far post with Logan beaten.

Danny Rose did his best to create another chance for the visiting side, bursting down the right flank to put in a dangerous cross but Michael Bostwick read it perfectly to clear with Craig Davies in close attendance just behind him as the competitive start to the game continued. Butcher was the next Stag’s player who tried to fashion an opportunity but once again The Imps were standing strong, then the visitors goalscorer tried to do it all himself from distance but Sam Slocombe wasn’t troubled by the effort.

City slowly grew in composure and when Shay McCartan stepped past two on his way into the box, the home supporters stood in anticipation of what came next but the Northern Irish international was denied by the outstretched arm of Logan to deny The Imps what would have been a memorable strike.

The game was a real battle with challenges flying in, giving little opportunity for the scoreline to change unless something special was to unlock the door. The only effort of note in a tempestuous few minutes came when Timi Elsnik smashed a shot from outside the area for The Stags which Slocombe confidently gathered. A little later Davies was denied a strike on target as Bostwick was stuck to him like glue, the Mansfield number nine thought his first touch following a cross field ball from right to left had given him the space to score but the City man was there, blocking the attempt.

Things then quickly went back to the other end of the field as Anderson and Kellan Gordan linked down the right flank to cross towards Rhead in the area but the Imp’s number nine couldn’t this time steer his attempt past Logan and into the goal as it drifted just wide of the mark.

Butcher was denied a second goal for the visitors just before the break, the Mansfield man picked up possession inside the area before being forced wide by Slocome, Butcher got his shot away but was left with his head in his hands as Crooke threw himself in the way of the goalbound effort. It brought to an end an enthralling first half full of action with both sides still vying for supremacy.

Half Time

The Imps 1 Mansfield Town 1

City were the first to register a shot on goal in the second half, as McCartan got onto the end of a clever free kick from Harry Toffolo, the first time effort was blocked by Mansfield as it arrowed towards goal with Logan.

There was no let-up in the intensity in the second half with challenges still flying in from both sides, Ellis Chapman almost created an opportunity for a shot at the near post before a swift break by McCartan fed Anderson but his centre found a similar fate, being lashed clear ahead of finding it’s intended target.

Mansfield weren’t afforded any space inside City’s half and they weren’t able to get any rhythm into their play as a consequence with The Imps having the lion’s share of possession.

Chapman intercepted a pass into the Imps danger zone perfectly before setting Toffolo away down the left flank, he was hunted down by two Mansfield defenders but the full back got his cross away, however it was just too deep for the onrushing Luque at the back post as City almost found a route to goal. Toffolo was in the thick of the action again playing into the heart of the Stag’s penalty area, causing confusion as Logan was denied a chance to claim possession as the defence intervened with a hack clear.

Mansfield regrouped and after a warning shot was fired when Davies nodded over a deep cross at the back post, in what was his last action for the visitors before being substituted, before his replacement, Tyler Walker, was to make an instant impact. The striker smashing home a low drive from the edge of the area into the bottom corner which gave Slocombe no chance. The Stag’s tails were up and another substitute CJ Hamilton was close to scoring but Bostwick did enough to put him off, as City’s defence regrouped to block the effort.

Gordon did well to get away down the right flank as Anderson found him with a lovely through ball but his centre was hurriedly cleared with the Imps searching for the equaliser with the second half coming to a close. City continued to press right to the whistle forcing the visitors onto the back foot, and in the final throes of the game Michael O' Connor was dismissed following a melee on the half way line. The Imps won a succession of corners and heaped on the pressure throwing men into the box in a final attempt to equalise but they couldn’t force the game to a penalty shoot out, with McCombe just heading wide with the last effort of the game.

Full Time

The Imps 1 Mansfield Town 2

The Teams

The Imps


2 Kellan GORDON

9 Matt RHEAD

12 Ellis CHAPMAN

14 Harry TOFFOLO

16 Michael BOSTWICK

17 Shay McCARTAN

18 Bernard MENSAH

19 Joan LUQUE




21 Grant SMITH

4 Michael O’CONNOR (80’ for Luque)


11 Bruno ANDRADE (67’ for Mensah)

27 Jamie McCOMBE (80’ for Bostwick)

29 John AKINDE


GOAL: Rhead 6’

Booked: Bostwick 54’ McCombe 90'

Red Card: O'Connor 90'

Mansfield Town

1 Conrad LOGAN

2 Hayden WHITE




9 Craig DAVIES


16 Callum BUTCHER

20 Timi ELSNIK

27 Lewis GIBBENS

32 Danny ROSE


12 Robert OLEJNIK


10 Otis KHAN

19 Tyler WALKER (72’ for Davies)

22 CJ HAMILTON (71’ for Rose)

26 Jason LAW

29 Jordan GRAHAM

GOAL: Butcher 8’ Walker 72’

Booked: Preston 12’ White 29’ Rose 31’ Benning 34’ Elsnik 83’ McDonald 90'

Referee: Ross Joyce

Assistants: Joe Clark & David Avent

4th Official: Christopher Ward

Attendance: 4,205 (260 Mansfield supporters)


28 seconds: Imps 1-2 Mansfield
September 4, 2018

by Gary


Why 28 seconds? Why define a game with a number in this way? Well, before I even start to dissect the game there’s a stat I liked that I think sums it up perfectly.

Danny revealed in the post-match interview that if you too our time in possession and worked out how often we were fouled, there was an infringement committed against us every 28 seconds. If anything can sum a game up then for me, that is it.

Mansfield didn’t come with a plan to manage the game, they didn’t come initially with a plan to win the game. They came with one thought only, certainly in the first half. to kick us off the park. There’s physical, which we are. Then there’s outright dirty, which they were.

The game started well for us, a goal started with a Joan Luque tackle on the edge of the area and finished with a wonderful cross and simple header by Matt Rhead. At that point we looked like we’d go on to grab three or four. Sadly, a poor piece of defending by Adam Crookes led to a quick-fire equaliser. I know Crookes made up for it with a decent display, but that’s the second time in a week I’ve written something along those lines. To be fair to him, he was playing at centre-half which didn’t look natural at all. He looked as uncomfortable there as I would in a vegetarian restaurant.

After that we spent thirty minutes watching our futile efforts to avoid being kicked. Mansfield weren’t just robust, they were fouling us, on purpose and getting away with it. Sure there was a booking or two from Ross Joyce, a man I remember well from last season, but he didn’t have a grip of the game. They’d chop a player down, get booked and we’d win the free kick. It would be launched into the box and he’d blow for a foul the other way. It’s familiar, especially if you read the link to our 2-2 draw with County last season.

Their player got a yellow but as soon as the ball was crossed in, Joyce gave a free-kick the other way. Textbook Ross Joyce.
At one point I recall us playing a pass into McCartan, their lad took Anderson out off the ball and without a second’s thought for the advantage, we got a free-kick despite being in a good position. Their player got a yellow and as soon as the ball was crossed in, Joyce gave a free-kick the other way. Textbook Ross Joyce.

I’m not blaming the referee for anything, I thought we got bullied a bit. Usually it doesn’t happen and with a couple more experienced pros on the field it wouldn’t either, but we had perhaps one too many young players on the field. They picked up something like four yellow cards in the first half, it could have been six. There’s not a lot more to say about the first 45 minutes. Two goals, lots of fouls and a weak referee. It didn’t bode well for the second half.

I thought we came out with intent and hit them hard for about six minutes, but then they got the upper hand. After kicking us all over for one half, they outplayed us for much of the second. They’d done what needed to be done, they had scored a psychological advantage and I thought it showed. A niggly, broken game wasn’t easy on the eye and anyone recalling the goals and thrills of last season’s competition would be left to do just that; reminisce. There was to be no more thrills, nor spills.

The game changed in one move, but it also defined the next few months of our season too. Mansfield brought on Tyler Walker and CJ Hamilton. They don’t have a game Saturday, so could afford to do that, but also they wanted it more. Us? Not long after we brought on Jamie McCombe, who resembled a pub player with a bit of a paunch, if I may say so.

Walker scored with his first touch as Mansfield looked to press the advantage. On our bench, John Akinde and Lee Frecklington remained seated. Mansfield brought on a couple of their big players, whilst ours were left fit for Saturday.

We could moan about them not having a game, we could make reference to their robust tactics being a result of yellow cards not carrying over, but then we’re also beneficiaries of that with O’Connor’s late sending off. The truth as I see it is this: as much as I write articles about which cup we should prioritise, there’s only one that Danny cares about, the one in which we play 46 games.

What else is there to say? Last week I wrote about the same attitude towards the League Cup and tonight we saw it in the EFL Trophy as well. If we’d wanted the win, really wanted it, we would have replaced one of the midfielders for Lee Freckington and brought on Akinde for Rhead. Instead, we let the big man have his 90 minutes and settled for a defeat.

I may get shot down for saying that, I’m not one to shout about ‘concentrating on the league’ after a cup defeat, but that is the feeling I get, to such an extent I might not even bother with the Wolves game. I saw nothing in the latter stages of this evenings game to suggest that this competition is anything other than a couple of friendlies to keep players fit. Checkatrade Trophy? Completed it last year mate, not fussed anymore.

To be fair to them, when they played the ball around they looked a decent side. I suspect they’ll suffer the same sort off ate as last season, any success they have will be in spite of their manager, not because of him. They’ve got some decent players and they played a strong side tonight and when they stopped kicking anything that moved, they weren’t a bad side.

As you always get with Mansfield, there was plenty of theatre and aggression towards the end of the game. Some casual observers might say ‘typical Lincoln’, but look at it this way: both teams played Sheffield Wednesday in a pre-season game, which side play the game in the right spirit, and which side ended up fighting on the pitch with a player on an FA charge?

(I am aware of the racist comment and I do not condone that in any way, but if you’re a Mansfield fan telling me Forestieri made that comment out of the blue during a well-mannered and friendly game, I call you out as being untruthful. He should have the book thrown at him, 100%, but there’s always a catalyst and I stand by my comments.)

Swindon fans hate Flitcroft and I can see why. Sure, him and Nicky had an argument during the game, but when a hand was offered he had to start shouting and ranting like an angry child. Give it up Flitcroft, you’ve won the game, keep some dignity. Instead he got carried away with everything, just like Evans used to. Maybe it is something in the water at Mansfield, maybe their culture just breeds behaviour like that. You can ask Fernando Forestieri and Jos Luhukay about it too, the cynical fouls in games hwere cards don’t matter, and how they reacted to it. No need.

In fact, there’s no need to be such dicks about it at all. game management, like Wycombe do (or we do at times) I can handle. Time wasting, sure. What I can’t stand is where it appears as though an opponent is deliberately trying to injure his opposition number. I felt that tonight, I felt they wanted to rack up the injuries and that doesn’t sit well with me at all. In fact, I’m pretty disgusted by it. It’s not why we lost, there’s no excuses here, nor hiding behind a familiar narrative, I just think it stinks.

Am I hacked off we lost? Yes. Do I feel a little short-changed? Maybe. I know one thing, if you offered me a defeat tonight and three points Saturday, there’s only one choice I’d make. I do rate this competition and, if we were taking it seriously, I’d get behind it, but we’re not putting as much weight behind it as we did last season. We’re prioritising the league and whilst that might not please the born winners who want a victory in every game at all costs, it does show exactly what the club’s plan is from now until May.

O’Connor’s red card? Definite red. He got caught up in the fouls and lost his cool. At least he rose to the occasion and refused to be bullied.

Last year, we beat them at their place, but not long after they got the league points. If it is the other way around this time, I’ll be delighted. I know one thing for sure; Flitcroft isn’t anywhere near as adept as winding situations up like Evans. He looked a fool at the end and doubtless his post-match interview will lack the class that Danny will show. What happens during 90 minutes should be forgotten, but sadly the likes of their manager don’t see that.

I was in a good mood too, thanks to Barbara Freshney. In KFC before the game she spotted me and came over to tell me how much she loved the site. I get a little awkward in situations like that and may have come across as a mumbling fool, I’m not good with praise from strangers, but I do appreciate it and was really grateful to get some nice feedback. Thank you!

Tonight’s lesson is this: Don’t book hotels, coaches or whatever, because the plan is not to go to Wembley, not in this competition, nor in the play offs. The club are focused 100% on the League, at least now we know it for certain. Nothing has changed in terms of the 46 game season since Saturday, we’re still top, we’re still unbeaten and we’re still a good side. You’ll only truly see it in league Two though.



Latest | September 2018