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16th September 2020 23:45

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Tranmere Rovers
Attendance: behind closed doors

Date: 12 September 2020

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town put in an encouraging performance in the opening league game of the delayed 2020/21 season, behind closed doors at the One Call Stadium, but were held to a 0-0 draw by Tranmere Rovers. The Stags were on top from start to finish but despite one chance hitting the underside of the bar and other near misses, the Stags were unable to break the deadlock.
The lack of a goal in the three competitive fixtures played so far is a bit of a worry, but I came away optimistic from this performance that the Stags side is coming together quickly despite so many new signings.
Tranmere created only one half-chance in the entire 90 minutes, as Marek Stech pushed away a long range shot from Kieron Morris, and the Stags defence looked solid. Plenty of the Stags side came out with credit, especially right wing-back Corey O’Keeffe who had a terrific game, Andy Cook who is back at the club after being on loan at Tranmere in the second part of last season, also had a great game, and the midfield of Ollie Clarke, George Maris and Harry Charsley all impressed.
Young Tyrese Sinclair came on for his league debut in the closing stages and was so nearly the hero in stoppage time when his long range shot was saved one-handed by the Tranmere keeper.
The best of the Stags’ other chances came as Tranmere left-back Liam Ridehalgh inadvertently knocked the ball against the underside of his own bar from a Mal Benning free kick, Harry Charsley shot wide from just inside the box, Jordan Bowery should have scored in a 1-on-1 with the keeper after great play from Andy Cook to set up the chance but Bowery allowed the keeper to grab the ball at his feet, Cook headed wide from a terrific O’Keeffe cross, Bowery headed wide when completely unmarked from a superb George Maris cross, Cook headed straight at the keeper from another great O’Keeffe cross, and Cook’s shot after a great turn was deflected wide.

The Stags handed full debuts to 7 of the 11 close-season new signings: Marek Stech, Rollin Menayese, Farrend Rawson, Corey O’Keeffe, Ollie Clarke, George Maris, and Jordan Bowery. It was the now-familiar 3-5-2 formation. Charsley was in an attacking midfield position. Danny Rose was not in the 18 having had a week off training due to a niggle, Nicky Maynard was only on the bench not being quite ready in terms of match intensity, while Stephen McLaughlin signed on Friday was also not yet ready in terms of fitness.

The Stags starting XI was squad numbers 1-11 which does not happen very often these days. As pointed out by Mansfield Musings in an excellent https://mansfield-musings.blogspot.com/2020/09/stats-on-stags-tranmere-h.html"> new blog, only two players started who started the last league game (at Northampton in March), Sweeney and Charsley.

Tranmere included Otis Khan in midfield, Khan of course left Mansfield in the close season.

The game being played behind closed doors is such a disappointment to thousands of Stags fans who would love to have attended, and we hope that fans might be allowed into stadiums in October in a socially distanced manner. Whether that will happen in October now with the current increase in COVID-19 infection rate, I don’t know. Mansfield’s 1500 season ticket holders were emailed a code to watch the match on iFollow Stags, and other fans could buy a match pass for £10. It’s not the same as being there, of course it’s not, but I hope we brought you good coverage nonetheless.



Mansfield Town forced to to settle for a point against Tranmere Rovers
chad.co.uk report, by John Lomas for the Press Association, Saturday, 12th September 2020

Mansfield Town kicked off their League two campaign by picking up a point against Tranmere Rovers.

However, the Stags could be left wondering how it wasn't all three after dominating the chances in at the One Call Stadium in a contest which ended goalless.

Graham Coughlan showed Rovers - relegated from League One by points per game last season - plenty of respect in the build-up to the contest.


But as the campaign kicked off, Town were more than a match for Tranmere.

The first chance of the game fell to the Stags, Rollin Menayase seeing an effort blocked on the edge of the Rovers' penalty area.

Minutes later and Rovers defender Peter Clarke's blushes were spared when his header looked set to fly into his own net, only for the ball to strike the crossbar.

As the pressure continued, George Maris saw an effort blocked and Harry Charsley fired Andy Cook's knock down wide of the mark.

It was Town keeper Marek Stech who was called upon to make the first real save of the game, keeping Kieron Morris' low long-ranger out.

The second half began in the same vein as the first, with the hosts asking questions.

Marris' cross was met by Jordan Bowery, whose header flew wide, before Ollie Clarke saw an effort blocked.

Two chances fell to Cook, who saw a header fly straight at Scott Davies and a strike deflected off target.

Into the final minutes and Cook went close again, only for his long ranger to find the side netting.

Deep into stoppage time Tyrese Sinclair looked to cap his league debut with the winner, but Davies pulled off a fine save.

STAGS: Stech, Menayese, Rawson, Sweeney, O'Keeffe, O. Clarke, Charsley (Sinclair 83), Benning, Maris, Bowery (Maynard 75), Cook; Subs (not used): Stone, Gordon, Perch, O'Driscoll, Reid.

ROVERS: Davies, Ridehalgh, Clarke, Mothe, O'Connor, Morris, Banks, Spearing, MacDonald (Ellis 65), Khan, Vaughan; Subs (not used): Murphy, Walker-Rice, Nelson, Lewis, Payne, Hayde.

REF: James Bell.


Report: Mansfield 0-0 Tranmere
12 September 2020


Tranmere Rovers claimed a clean sheet on the opening day of the season with a 0-0 draw at Mansfield Town.

Both teams had opportunities to win the game, but the score finished a draw at the One Call Stadium.

Striker James Vaughan returned to the starting line up after missing the midweek trip to Port Vale. Meanwhile, captain Scott Davies came into the team in place of Joe Murphy.

The hosts named former Tranmere frontman Andy Cook in their starting line up.

A scare for Tranmere in the opening ten minutes, as Mansfield hit the underside of the bar. A free kick from the right hand side looped over the TRFC backline and a header from the back post crashed against the bar, a real let off for the visitors from Wirral.

Mansfield were the team in ascendency and finding opportunities to get sight on Davies’ goal, as Tranmere had to weather an early storm from the Stags.

Just past the 20-minute mark, Ryan Sweeney picked up a Cook knockdown, but he was off balance and hit wide. A couple of minutes later, another chance presented itself for the hosts, but Liam Ridehalgh made an important last ditch block.

First chance for Rovers, from 25-yards, Keiron Morris took a touch before striking a bending left footed shot, which was tipped round the post by goalkeeper Marek Stech.

The chance sparked Tranmere into life, and a free-kick, similar position to Mansfield’s first chance, was delivered by Calum MacDonald, but Jay Spearing’s shot was blocked by a white shirt.

Superb goalkeeping by captain Davies denied Mansfield a sure goal. Summer signing Jordan Bowery was through on goal with just the TRFC keeper to beat, but Davies was quick out to smother the ball.

Tranmere were showing a lot more urgency in the opposition half, and Lee O’Connor found space on the right after a pass from Morris, but a heavy deflection took the shot wide.

A stooping header from Bowery kicked off the second half, a big opportunity for the hosts. A cross from the right hand side, and the former Crewe man was unmarked in the box to nod wide.

A second cross from the right by the hosts saw Cook at the back post, but leaning back, he couldn’t get any power on his header causing an easy save for his former team mate, Davies.

Tranmere were making all the important blocks in their penalty area as the Stags went in search of the opening goal of the game.

In the 64th minute, manager Mike Jackson made his first change as Mark Ellis replaced MacDonald which meant a switch in formation too.

The change in formation worked for Tranmere but soon enough, Mansfield made their first change as Nicky Maynard replaced Bowery.

A cracking pass with the outside of the boot from Jay Spearing, who had worked tirelessly all match, released former Stag Khan on the left, but his cross was behind Vaughan, a big opportunity for the visitors.

In added time, Davies pulled off an important save to deny the hosts a last gasp winner, from 25-yards, substitute Sinclair hit a great effort but the goalkeeper was equal.

Tranmere: Davies, O’Connor, Clarke, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris, Spearing, Banks, MacDonald (Ellis 64), Khan, Vaughan (Payne 90). Unused subs: Murphy, Nelson, Hayden, Lewis, Walker-Rice.

Mansfield: Stetch, O’Keeffe, Benning, Menayese, Sweeney, Rawson, Charsley (Sinclair 82), Clarke, Bowery (Maynard 75), Maris, Cook. Unused subs: Stone, Gordon, Perch, O’Driscoll, Reid.