Full Time Score Swindon Town 0-0 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The County Ground
Stags Goal Scorers /
Attendance 6,208 (320)
Craig Priest writes…
On paper but in reality, yesterday’s goalless draw at Swindon felt to me like a win and potentially the start of something a little bigger, especially if David Flitcroft’s men can hardness and recreate the hunger and desire to see the game out when the odds are against them.
Playing with ten men for 50plus, maybe 50 minutes, following the sending off of Will Atkinson, the Stags showed great resolve to keep Swindon at bay and fight for each other, the badge and the fans to take home a valuable point.
Two or three weeks ago the stags with a man less may have crumbled, but the refreshed attitude of having to firstly protect what you start the game with was evident in abundance and with the next game on Tuesday, it’s a prime opportunity to keep that fire burning and turn up the gas.
I’ve no qualms whatsoever with a solitary point, we’re turning into a team that’s difficult to break down and yesterday set a new club away record for the most games unbeaten on the road, that acts as a physiological aid as teams will look at that and know they’re in for a tough afternoon.
Playing with ten men away from home for a prolonged period can be dangerous but I felt we coped really well and didn’t allow Swindon too many opportunities – and when we did, Bobby Olenjik really earned the plaudits with a fine display between the sticks.
The sending off ruined the game for both sides really, it was a tame decision and on any other afternoon wouldn’t have been a booking, I’ve no complaints with Atkinson’s first yellow however – that was a rash challenge.
I don’t see the point in going over every key moment, the point of the entire afternoon was our togetherness and sheer desire to take something from the game – when games come thick and fast as they will do now for the next two/three weeks, you need that energy and electricity, that self-motivation if you like. The Stags river of good luck is about to burst its banks – hold on tight.
There were two changes from the 2-2 draw at Bury with midfielder Neal Bishop suspended, Jacob Mellis came into the middle, whilst CJ Hamilton was moved higher up to partner up front with Rose ahead of Walker, Will Atkinson given the nod for a start at right wing back – facing his former boss Phil Brown, whilst Flitcroft, assistant Ben Futcher, Elsnik and Preston all returned to their former employers with mixed receptions.
Mansfield started the brighter on a sunny afternoon and nearly had a repeat of the Bury game with Rose pouncing on a keeper mistake as Lawrence Vigouroux fired a clearance straight at Rose, this time the Stags man punished by the referee.
CJ Hamilton’s strong running earned the stags a corner on nine minutes, from which Matt Preston nearly scored the opener against his ex club, the former Swindon defender denied by the home keeper to jeers from the home support.
Five minutes later the Stags broke with pace and flair as Hamilton was sent free to give the hosts nightmares, the lightening winger turned striker nee-wing-back fired over the bar.
Jacob Mellis then put an effort wide before Rose was denied by the keeper on 15 minutes after good work from Khan, Will Atkinson then picked up a yellow card for a very late challenge on Matty Taylor as the game passed the half hour mark.
The hosts then had two chances as the game started to open up, but Bobby Oljenik was on form to first deny Elijah Adebayo and then Keshi Anderson.
With three minutes to go before the break the Stags were dealt a huge blow as Will Atkinson picked up his second yellow card of the game, the Stags regrouped for the final stages of the first half with Rose as the lone striker, and Hamilton pulled back to right wing back.
Otis Khan was sacrificed at the break for Tyler Walker with the Stags mixed things up slightly – moving Preston across to Right Back, and Benning to left back as Flitcroft opted for a back four, Hamilton took up residence in midfield as did Walker – the Stags 4-4-1 out of possession, 3-4-2 in possession with Benning/Walker laterally moving forward on the left.
The Stags had a golden chance on 51 minutes as two ex Robins linked up, Elsnik’s corner finding the head of Preston who failed to generate the required power, where he had more time to control and then shoot.
Mellis hit a free kick over the bar on the hour whilst Rose caused problems, tenaciously closing everything down, earning the Stags a corner, sadly to no avail.
Swindon turned up the pressure but had nothing to really scare the Stags as they showed a togetherness, as the game entered five minutes stoppage time – both keepers made saves, Oljenik’s the more critical as Mansfield bucked the trend of conceding late to take home a valuable point, which given the numerical disadvantage, felt like all three.
FULL TIME: Swindon Town 0-0 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, Will Atkinson [Sent Off 41], Jacob Mellis, Timi Elsnik (Calum Butcher 79), Mal Benning, Otis Khan (Tyler Walker HT), CJ Hamilton, Danny Rose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Omari Sterling-James, Jordan Graham, Jason Law
Referee: Antony Coggins
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