Full Time Score Crewe Alexandra 0-3 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The Alexandra Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Timi Elsnik (2), Tyler Walker
Attendance 2,973 (300)
Craig Priest writes…
One of my biggest nightmares as a football fan is missing the game, yet sometimes that can be out of your control, and nothing you can do will change that. Thinking about our recent run of results, have we been stuck in the footballing equivalent of a traffic jam?
Last night at Crewe we finally seemed to get away from the stuttering nature of our play, playing for the most part with a freedom, hunger and desire to go out, press high and get goals – being rewarded with a fine 3-0 victory over a Crewe side who were no pushovers.
The breakthrough was in the team selection and in particular the selection of Timi Elsnik, who scored twice and really impressed. The freedom of the Stags' play came through Elsnik and Mellis seemed to be working in tandem, as one pushed forward the other sat in deep alongside Bishop, who again marshalled the midfield.
A 3-0 scoreline is somewhat kind on Crewe as David Flitcroft’s men created numerous chances where they were either denied or stumbled upon the same old story of poor end product, but more importantly it was the focus at the other end which pleased more – as there was no complacency at 3-0 up, which given our recent form is pleasing.
The big thing now is getting back to back wins and turning this unbeaten run into something a little more pleasing, I see no reason why that can't be achieved should we play with the same intensity and hunger.
For myself I was one of the unlucky ones stuck in the stand still traffic prior to the match, five minutes earlier and we may have been caught up in it ourselves which again when you take into consideration recent events, reiterates how valuable life is and that football is a game. What is 20 minutes missed when you have a lifetime of games? I hope whoever was involved is ok.
David Flitcroft made two changes from the side who drew with MK Dons, Hayden White returned from injury to replace the suspending Ryan Sweeney, whilst attacking midfielder Otis Khan missed out through injury, Timi Elsnik given the nod to start just off of the shoulder of the front two.
The Stags began the match with fewer away fans than usual as many, including myself, were stuck in traffic following an earlier accident on the way – but that didn’t prevent David Flitcroft’s men from showing intent from the off putting the hosts under pressure and grabbing the games opening goal on six minutes as a well worked free kick between Benning and Mellis, sent Elsnik driving forward – his low shot drilled into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
The hosts responded well but the Stags kept Dave Artell’s side at bay allowing Hamilton, Rose and Elsnik to get forward and seek the desired second, or first for the later arrivals!
Tyler Walker dragged an effort wide on 28 minutes but seven minutes later Elsnik showed him how it was done, grabbing his and the Stags’ second goal of the game, latching onto the ball after great movement through the middle, this time lofting the ball into the top corner of Ben Garratt’s goal.
The second goal gave Mansfield an edge with the ball and the kept it well and had further chances through Rose and Walker to make it three before the break, but Crewe hung on heading into half time slightly on top – a class save from Oljenik preventing them from halving the scoreline.
The Stags changes shape for the second half going with a 4-3-3 in search of the third goal to really kill the game, Hayden White moved across to right back, whilst Mall Benning dropped deeper to left back, CJ Hamilton moved up front, alongside Walker and Rose.
Mansfield’s shape change nearly paid off early as White and Rose both headed over, but it was nimble footwork from Hamilton on 61 minutes which saw the Stags grab their third, Hamilton’s cut back turned home from close range by Hamilton.
Three minutes later it should have been four as CJ Hamilton was sent through one vs one, the quick footed winger put the ball wide.
Elsnik deserved a hat-trick and it nearly came with six minutes to go, only a fine save from Garratt prevented Timi from taking home the matchball, whilst at the other end, a series of fine saves from Olejnik kept the Stags’ cleansheet intact, as Mansfield grabbed their second away midweek victory in as many weeks.
FULL TIME: Crewe Alexandra 0-3 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Hayden White, Krystain Pearce ©, Matt Preston, CJ Hamilton, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis (Calum Butcher 88), Mal Benning, Timi Elsnik, Tyler Walker (Will Atkinson 70), Danny Rose (Craig Davies 81)
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Omari Sterling-James Jordan Graham
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Full Time Score Mansfield Town 1-1 MK Dons
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Jacob Mellis
Attendance 4,329 (394)
Craig Priest writes…
In a few years’ time when we’re reflecting on bygone seasons, the 2018-19 campaign is going to tell the story of stubborn and frustrating draws, but yet again it’s the old adage of not judging a book by its cover, as the Stags draw with MK Dons – another of those afternoon’s where Lady Luck, just hasn’t bothered to smile.
David Flitcroft’s men faced a good side in MK Dons, a lot of whom should be playing a division higher, and where perhaps unlucky to win the match – denied a stonewall penalty and kept out by the excellent Lee Nicholls who was beaten only by Jacob Mellis’ sensational strike.
Yet for the lack of Lady Luck smiling at one end, the Stags can perhaps take a little comfort from the fact that at the other end, they got away with some sloppy defending and careless passing in what was a frustrating game to watch, played again in tough conditions which the Stags system didn’t really lend itself too!
I still have the upmost faith that the wins will come more frequently than they are doing and fully believe we can and will break free of the shackles which are making us look, on paper, a bang average team incapable of finishing the job.
It’s strange to sit typing about a “poor defence” when you consider that both sides have the joint best defence in the league, and in fairness the MK goal was similar to ours in the fact it was a long range hit and hope – both Mellis and Jordan Houghton could try that 99 more times and probably only recreate their respective goals once, but we did allow MK to get into areas where we should have been punished, and as much as I praised Nicholls – Bobby Olejnik deserves plaudits too.
His displays keep on getting better and better, I’m going into games knowing that if teams get in behind us, I’m 99.9% sure Bobby is going to mop things up however injuries like the one he sustained yesterday during the second half can be really damaging, especially with it being an internal injury – I hope it doesn’t knock his confidence and prevent him from venturing out to clean things up, I hope it doesn’t keep him out too long either should there be any damage.
Goalkeepers can be heroes and villains and they never get the recognition they deserve, a big part of our solid defence is Bobby and the way he marshals his back three/five – he’s a big part of how we play with his distribution and “sweeper keeper” role, don’t get me wrong I have every faith in Logan to come in, but losing Bobby in his current form would be a blow.
If you’re drawing at home then you need to do the business on the road, we’ve two away games this week and so six points would be the target, we need to break that back to back victory curse now and push on and build on what is for me, a good point against a side who will bounce straight back into League One.
Finally all over social media there are posts and arguments over performance and records etc, events such as last night at Leicester City bring it all into perspective really – it’s just a game, nothing more. So many people will be affected by the helicopter tragedy in different ways, as will people regarding Glenn Hoddles heart attack; football’s just a game it’s not worth all the petty, petulant, arguments – my thoughts are with the family/friends of all involved – what an ugly day for the beautiful game.
David Flitcroft named an unchanged side from the midweek win at Morecambe with Craig Davies back on the bench, along with the back from suspension Will Atkinson, CJ Hamilton stayed at wing back whilst Tyler Walker kept his place upfront.
It was Walker who started brightly and had the game’s first real chance just three minutes in as the Stags looked to get an early opener, the front man’s well hit effort saved well by Nicholls in the MK goal.
Mal Benning, Danny Rose and Walker all saw efforts go over the bar inside the opening ten minutes before Neal Bishop went in strongly to deny Dean Lewington an opening at the other end.
Ryan Sweeney then went into the referee’s book for what I have down as his fifth booking of the season, meaning he'll miss Tuesday’s trip to Crewe.
The Stags needed something special to break the Dons’ resilience and boy did they get it on 17 minutes as a Stags corner found its way to Mellis, whose first time struck effort from long range, flew into the top corner to open the scoring – what a strike.
Buoyed by Mellis’ thunderous strike the Stags wanted more and nearly doubled their lead on 20 minutes as Khan fed in Walker, the Forest loanee fired wide of the target and was then punished four minutes later, as at the other end, the stags failed to close down Houghton who, like Mellis, got a long distance shot off and directed it into the top corner to level the match.
The Stags attempted to respond through Benning but his effort was tame and easy for Nicholls, who on 36 minutes should have been facing a penalty when Walker was blatantly tripped when clean through – referee Seb Stockbridge the only person in the ground to not think it was a penalty.
Mellis, Benning and Hamilton all had further efforts before the break but couldn’t take them – the two sides level as the half came to it’s conclusion.
Calum Butcher replaced Khan at the interval with David Flitcroft revealing after Khan was carrying a knock, and five minutes after his introduction, Butcher almost put the Stags ahead, his deflected cross going just wide as the Stags started with intent, Ryan Sweeney heading Mellis’ resulting corner wide.
Bobby Oljenik came to the Stags aid on 54 minutes as he brilliantly denied Rhys Healey, ten minutes later he was at it again, this time keeping out Kieran Agard showing his former Exeter boss Paul Tisdale (now MK dons boss) what he’s missing.
CJ Hamilton saw an effort fly wide on 70 minutes before Mal Benning failed to deliver the goods with a free kick four minutes later, the remainder of the match saw few clear cut chances as the teams shared a point.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 1-1 MK Dons
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton (Will Atkinson 90+1), Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis Mal Benning, Otis Khan (Calum Butcher 45), Tyler Walker (Craig Davies 82), Danny Rose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Timi Elsnik, Jordan Graham
Referee: Seb Stockbridge
Full Time Score Morecambe 0-1 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The Globe Arena
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Neal Bishop
Attendance 1,355 (144)
Craig Priest writes…
After weeks of frustration Mansfield Town secured their first away win of the season with a determined display at Morecambe, thanks largely to a solid performance from Neal Bishop.
The central midfielder & elder statesman of the squad was sorely missed on Saturday when the Stags drew with Swindon, his display at Morecambe made up for his absence as he provided the dose of grit & determination that David Flitcroft’s men have been crying out for, highlighted particularly with his goal & the determination to not let the opposition get a break away.
On paper it goes down as another narrow victory where seemingly we've failed to land the killer blow, and whilst there's an element of truth to that, the Stags deserve credit for their resilience in the first half playing against a strong wind and a side who don't let you breathe.
I do think the Stags need to adopt that energy a little more, but to consider we've had two away games in quick succession, one with ten men for a good hour, we've still played with intent and purpose and take a bit of positive form into the next bank of games, which again includes two on the road.
The Stags can come through this period unbeaten but now need to start tightening up on the little things such as petty, petulant bookings, Jacob Mellis at Swindon where he kicked the ball away and Matt Preston last night where he needlessly chased after the ball and got into handbag spat being prime examples. These oddments add up and during this period of fixtures in close proximity, we need bodies available.
Three points are all that matter on reflection, over the past few days we've put a few things to bed, by way of keeping tight at the back and collecting three points, the objective now is get back to back victories.
David Flitcroft made two changes from the side who battled brilliantly to draw with ten men at Swindon, CJ Hamilton moved to right wing back to cover for the suspended Will Atkinson with Tyler Walker brought in up front – Neal Bishop was also back from a ban and straight into the middle of the park, Timi Elsnik having to settle for a place on the bench.
The Stags were playing against the wind in the first half but it was they who enjoyed the early gusts as the stags sent in a looping cross, which cannoned off the post before Barry Roche could beat it away.
The hosts then were at the Stags with intent, Bobby Oljenik collecting well on seven minutes as A-Jay Leith-Smith hit an effort from the edge of the box.
Mal Benning nearly scored a spectacular goal on 12 minutes as Khan sent in a lofted pass, Benning, attacking from full back, hit on the volley and struck the inside of the post, before a grateful Roche collected the goal bound effort, a minute later Matt Preston rose highest to connect with another Khan delivery – this one headed over the bar.
Oljenik gave to the Stags’ rescue on 24 minutes as Leitch-Smith found himself in space on the edge of the box, but for all the hosts attacks – the question of an opening goal was still without a reply.
The answer came blowing in the wind on 36 minutes, Otis Khan’s corner headed away but only into the path of Bishop who controlled well before rasping an effort with power beautifully into the bottom corner of the net.
Otis Khan came close to adding a second six minutes later but was denied by Roche, whilst Danny Rose flung himself through the air with seconds of the first half to go, alas he couldn’t connected properly with Benning’s hanging cross.
After the break Benning let fly just seconds in from distance as the Stags looked for a second, the ambitious effort zipped wide of the target.
Neal Bishop was at it again on 53 minutes as he hooked a volley towards goal, this one fly over the bar before CJ Hamilton got into a great area moments later, a good challenge from Sam Levelle stopped the flash of lightning from striking.
Tyler Walker was then denied by Roche as was Rose on 77 minutes as the Stags piled on the pressure, Rose was again denied by Roche six minutes from time as he hit a sweet volley.
Six minutes of time were added, during which the Stags defended smartly and saw out the match – collecting a much needed win on the road.
FULL TIME: Morecambe 0-1 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis (Timi Elsnik 80), Mal Benning, Otis Khan (Calum Butcher 83), Tyler Walker (Jordan Graham 90+5), Danny Rose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Omari Sterling-James, Jason Law
Referee: Robert Lewis
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
Full Time Score Mansfield Town 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers U21s
Competition Checkatrade Trophy (North) Group H [Game 2 of 3]
Venue The One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorers Jacob Mellis, Mal Benning
Attendance 1,112 (131)
Craig Priest writes…
Following Saturday’s deflating draw this evening’s match was about one key word – progression. Despite seven changes I’m a firm beliver that we win, lose and draw as a team, and therefore a 2-1 victory is not one for the “reserves” or in a “friendly style match” – it’s a win for Mansfield Town Football Club.
In truth it was a harder win that it should have been but not because of missed chances or a lack of creativity, there was a bit of rustiness from players and a negative mindset which comes from the way we’ve performed coupled with that outside pressure and a wolves academy side who were eager to show they were not there to just make the numbers up.
The victory gives us progression in the competition which is imperative in our mission to be successful, and it also gives us progression in game management and minutes. We had to soak up pressure, we found it tough to break through at times and that’s a progression in not crumbling and imploding which will serve us well going forward.
The international break I’m thankful for as it gives us time to breathe and work on these niggles and errors, this time we must come back a week on Saturday and really kick on as a unit.
Seven changes were made from the side to draw 2-2 at Bury on Saturday with many players getting value minutes, including Omari Sterling-James – one of three players jetting off on international duty over the coming days.
The Stags started with real fire and should have been ahead within the opening minute as excellent work from Sterling-James contributed in the build up, Will Atkinson nodded wide at the far post and after a momentary pause for a potential head injury – play went on.
Mansfield didn’t have to wait much longer as Mellis, one of the seven changes, grabbed the opening goal – Sterling-James instrumental in the build-up sending the midfielder into the box, before he trickled easily beyond the keeper.
Sterling-James, Jordan Graham, Calum Butcher and Mellis came close to adding a second but the young visitors did well to defend, at the other end Conrad Logan made a fine save on 24 minutes to keep out Niall Ennis for the visitors only real sight of goal.
After the break the stags found their second goal early as Mal Benning fired in from a narrow angle on 47 minutes, before Mellis’ stunning free kick was saved by the keeper just after the hour.
The visitors looked just about done but found a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes to go as Goncalves pulls one back for the visitors with a stunning free-kick
A nervy finish was then set up, but Flitcrofts men did enough to see the game out and subsequently qualify for the next stage of the competition – they need just a draw in their final group match against league one Scunthorpe United next month to secure the group win, and therefore a home tie in the knockout stages.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers U21s
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Conrad Logan, Hayden White, Krystian Pearce ©, Matt Preston, Will Atkinson, Timi Elsnik, Jacob Mellis, Mal Benning, Calum Butcher (Otis Khan 79), Jordan Graham (Danny Rose 65), Omari Sterling-James (CJ Hamilton 60)
Unused Subs: Bobby Oljenik, Jason Law, Lewis Gibbens, Tyler Walker
Full Time Score Bury 2-2 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue Gigg Lane
Stags Goal Scorers Danny Rose, Matt Preston
Attendance 3,880 (640)
Craig Priest writes…
Another game passes and it’s another point of frustration as the Stags again surrender victory and have to settle for a point, again sparking the comments from those wanting David Flitcroft to swap the training ground for the job centre.
Like the rest of us I’m fed up and frustrated with drawing especially from winning positions but like I wrote weeks ago, what difference will changing the manager actually make? It’s laughable it’s even considered when we’ve lost ONE game this season, ONE.
I don’t care about his record which includes the last twelve games of last season – I care only about us under him this season. Yet again I feel the need to reiterate a point which many people over look – I firmly believe (and will continue too until told otherwise by the people that matter) that our projected budget has been hampered by the Conmen of Peterborough.
Sold a vision, the powers that be expected league one crowds, league one broadcast revenue, league one sponsorships and have had to cut cloth accordingly leading to a smaller squad and a mid-table budget.
THE PLAYERS have the ability and potential to go beyond that as we’ve seen, but it is also THE PLAYERS who have to take full responsibility for the in-game failings – what do you expect Flitcroft to do? Run onto the pitch and flick home a CJ cross to get a second goal? Or perhaps throw himself at every shot incoming from the opposition?
In comparison to this stage last season (date 7th October) I believe we are in a much better shape, and when you take into account last season we were “champions elect” – it reaffirms my belief that Flitcroft is taking us forward.
OK at this point last season (date) we were inconsistent, had no fight, no togetherness and no desire to live up to our so called billing – this year apart from the odd spell, we’ve looked a really dangerous side but without that killer touch of the second and third goal, have been punished!
Our inconsistency last season really took its toll and in October we didn’t win a single game and to be fair, never looked like winning either – I don’t see that this time around, I see a side capable of doing real damage if we sort out this sitting back mentality and see a game out.
I felt yesterday we were tested for the first time properly against a strong team who should be playing in the division above and yet despite being under pressure for prolonged spells still created chances – we even took one of them and couldn’t take three points away, it’s just our luck!
Is Flitcroft totally blameless? No, but he feels it as much as us – again when the seven minutes went up he was screaming for us to play higher up! Should he have taken Danny Rose off? No, unless of course he had a knock, in which case fair enough – he’s inform and with no real backup, do you REALLY risk losing him for three/four weeks?
It’s like pulling teeth, painful! But with a bit of gas and air and a few tweaks here and there we WILL be just fine – we go again, we might be shaken and frustrated but we're not getting battered 6-0 every week, we're not dead and buried.
An unchanged line-up was named for the third game in a row however Craig Davies was again absent, picking up another knock.
Bury started well and Mansfield were under pressure from the first whistle, yet managed to grab the opening goal ten minutes in as former Bury man Danny Rose pounced on a mistake from Joe Murphy to roll into the net, seemingly not celebrating as he grabbed the games opener.
Murphy then redeemed his error five minutes later as Hamilton fed Khan, the attacking midfielders shot palmed away by the Bury glovesman, who could only watch on moments later as Benning leaped highest to nod Rose’s cross wide of the target.
Skipper Pearce nodded away a Shakers cross as they looked to get back in the game before the Stags were dealt a blow as Neal Bishop picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign, meaning he’ll miss next weekend’s game through suspension.
On the half hour Rose came close to adding a second as Khan sent him through on goal, the marksman fired wide of the target, seven minutes later he was involved again, this time heading Bishop’s cross wide.
After the break Mansfield set about finding the killer second goal with Rose and Khan both coming close, but on 55 minutes the hosts drew level as the experienced Nicky Maynard acrobatically turned home.
Mansfield then got the lead back on 73 minutes as Elsnik’s pin point corner found Matt Preston at the back post, who thundered in a header infront of the Stags faithful.
The Stags then set about finding a third and had chances through Elsnik, Rose and substitute Mellis, but the clock ran down without the Stags finding the net.
The fourth official then held up seven minutes of additional time with the Stags leading 2-1, Bobby Olejnik made a fine block with his legs but deep into the seven minutes the Stags sat back and invited pressure, an invite Maynard took – grabbing a gut wrenching leveller seconds from the whistle.
FULL TIME: Bury 2-2 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton, Timi Elsnik, Neal Bishop, Mal Benning, Otis Khan (Jacob Mellis 67), Tyler Walker (Will Atkinson 61), Danny Rose (Calum Butcher 83)
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Omari Sterling-James, Jordan Graham
Referee: Scott Oldham
Full Time Score Mansfield Town 0-0 Oldham Athletic
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorers /
Attendance 3,829 (411)
Craig Priest writes…
After such a high at the weekend with a flurry of goals, lady luck opted against smiling on the Stags again – this time cursing them with the same old story: missed chances and the case of what could have been.
I don’t think its apt to be drawn into the whisperings of we can’t finish under Flitcroft or we can only beat lesser, lower ranked, teams – tonight two factors played a part and as frustrating as it is, I accept that its football and take the point on the chin.
The first factor is the same old story, we created so many good and clear chances but for whatever reason just aren’t getting the rub of the green! The visiting keeper has pulled off three solid saves, we’ve put as many wide and Tyler Walker, well I thought it was his Dad Des up front when he hit that one v one – wow.
The second factor, and this sometimes gets lost in anger and frustration, is that the opponents did there homework. We were going to start strongly and attack, Oldham were happy to soak that up and then when inevitably our legs got heavy and tired, they closed the game off and left us chasing lumps.
To our credit we kept trying to run and finish the game off but we just couldn’t find the killer bounce, summed up with a fine bit of play where we head one wide after great build up.
If we weren’t creating chances I’d be concerned, but we are and I’m not – a week or two ago we’d have given up and lost that game – I firmly believe that whilst it’s a frustrating point – it’s a positive one, with no time for dwelling or pondering – we focus on the trip to Bury and putting lady luck back in the amber and blue.
Walking away from the ground there was a few, naturally, slating the manger – we’re playing good possession based attacking football and creating chances – I’d be far more worried being an Oldham fan right now having somehow survived a battering.
That’s the way football is sometimes! It’d be boring if it was the same old story, the season isn’t a poem or a few short lines of text – it’s a story, one which keeps you guessing until the end! I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Naturally it was an unchanged side from the 4-0 win over Northampton, but with his suspension completed, Jacob Mellis returned to the bench.
The Stags started extremely well with attacking intent, Otis Khan was first up to try and break the deadlock from CJ Hamilton’s square ball, the attacking midfielder striking the bar on eight minutes, before three minutes later Tyler Walker sent a ball flashing across goal – no Stags body could get their first.
Tyler Walker should have hit the back of the net on 19 minutes as he connected with Roses’ flick on, but the young loanee turned wide of the mark as Oldham looked to recover, Danny Rose also sent one over from distance as the Stags had all the pressure.
Oldham were clinging on by a thread and saw Benning and Rose come close before having to thank Daniel Iversen – he denying a beautiful curling effort from Hamilton, before saving from Walker with ten minutes of the first half to go.
As the game crept towards half time, Iversen again rescued the visitors – denying Hamilton as second goal in as many games.
At the break Tyler Walker made way for Will Atkinson moving Hamilton up front, the Stags again looked to take the lead as Benning fired into the side netting from a testing right sided cross.
The visitors saw their first real sight of goal on 53 minutes as Robert Hunt curled one over from distance, whilst at the other end Hamilton saw an effort blocked before Timi Elsnik teed up Rose on the hour mark – Rose firing over from the edge of the box.
The game entered a scrappy period where both sides struggled to get into a flow, the visitors saw sights of goal but the Stags were untroubled, late on the Stags nearly gifted Oldham an undeserved goal as Olejnik made a poor clearance – the visitors squandered that golden opportunity and could only watch on as the Stags thrice came close to stealing a late goal – Rose, Atkinson and fellow substitute Craig Davies all in the mix to score – but lady luck, just wasn’t playing ball.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 0-0 Oldham Athletic
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton, Timi Elsnik (Jacob Mellis 74), Neal Bishop, Mal Benning, Otis Khan (Craig Davies 67), Tyler Walker (Will Atkinson HT), Danny Rose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Omari Sterling-James, Calum Butcher
Referee: Thomas Bramall
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