Carlisle United 0-2 Mansfield Town (Rose, Maynard) | Sky Bet League Two | Saturday 17th August 2019 | Brunton Park, Carlisle
Craig Priest writes…
Following an opening fortnight of worry and doubt which created an extremely toxic environment, Mansfield Town needed to get as far away from home as possible and come together to get that elusive first victory of the campaign – something they did with a real professional attitude at Carlisle, thanks in no small part to Danny Rose as he continued his phenomenal start to the season.
Rose bagged his third goal in as many league games to get the Stags off of the mark, but also set Nicky Maynard with a splendid cushioned header to put Mansfield into a two-goal lead before the break, and then contributed with a solid defensive display to ensure the long journey home was made not just with three points, but with a clean sheet to boot.
Mansfield as a collective put in a gritty display and silenced the critics, not only those who doubted boss Dempster, but also those who suggested a negative defensive approach when the starting line-up was announced with creative players such as CJ Hamilton and Otis Khan both dropped to the bench.
The Stags may not have played eye catching fluid football to earn the win, but there’s more than one way to win a game of football – and John Dempster’s side were patient in their build up, critically taking their chances when they came, restricting the hosts to very few chances – many of which were from long range with the back three of White, Pearce and Sweeney so stubborn at the back in order to get that clean sheet.
John Dempster has made no secret of the fact his side needed to be sterner and smarter when it came to defending set-plays and to their credit the work put in on the training ground paid off as Mansfield rarely looked troubled when the hosts were starting to take a hold of the encounter.
Those who questioned the passion of the manager and the commitment of the team were truly silenced by the reactions post match and the sheer commitment to put bodies on the line throughout the game and this victory, miles from home with the toxicity threatening to break us, really binds us together and gives us a chance to build, especially with a handful of home games now coming up over the next week.
Three games unbeaten is not a bad start whatsoever, let’s now put all the negativity etc to one side and come together to create a much more positive One Call Stadium, making it a place teams fear visiting and in doing so, pushing us higher up the table.
After getting through 90 minutes in the week against Morecambe in the cup, Hayden White kept his place at the back as the Stags opted to play with a back three, whilst Willem Tomlinson was handed his first start of the season after his return from injury.
Mansfield started the game well but it was a former face who threatened to make it three league games in a row were the Stags went behind, Conrad Logan had other ideas though as he kept Nathan Thomas at bay inside the opening ten minutes – Logan then answered his critics further on 13 minutes, parrying away McKirdy’s low driven effort.
At the other end Nicky Maynard sent Kellan Gordon on his way on the right hand side, flashing a cross across the face of goal on 16 minutes before Rose saw an effort blocked six minutes later.
Mansfield looked the more likely to break the deadlock and did so on 29 minutes following a neat bit of patient build up play, finished off by Rose who slammed in Tomlinson’s lofted cross from the narrowest of angles.
Rose should have had a spot kick on 35 minutes when he was bundled over by Adam Collin, yet the referee played on and after Rose did finally get treatment, re-started play with a drop ball in the Stags half!
Another drop ball followed on the stroke of half-time as a new rule was implemented with the Stags ball forward hitting the referee. A drop ball to the Stags followed as White clipped forward to Rose, his beautifully cushioned header landed perfect for Maynard who made no mistake in blasting beyond Collin, to double the Stags lead before the whistle.
It was a slower start to the second half but Mansfield looked determined to not let slip of their lead and the victory, Alex MacDonald came close to adding a third on 55 minutes but couldn’t quite get enough power on the shot, three minutes later Danny Rose was lurking at the back post for a Gordon cross, beaten too it at the expense of a corner, from which Sweeney looked to have been ragged down by his own shirt – the referee waved away the Stags claims for a spot kick.
Six minutes later Rose was dominant in the air to get rid of two Carlisle corners – the Stags saw out the reminder of the time and upon the full time whistle, passionately celebrated the first victory of the season, the first under John Dempster and his first as a manager – at the ground where he made his professional debut many moons ago – football, it’s a funny old game!
FULL TIME: Carlisle United 0-2 Mansfield Town | Attendance 4,576 (292)
STAGS: [3-4-1-2] Conrad Logan | Hayden White, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney | Kellan Gordon, Neal Bishop (Otis Khan 89), Willem Tomlinson, Mal Benning | Alex MacDonald (Alistair Smith 86) | Danny Rose, Nicky Maynard (CJ Hamilton 72) Unused Subs: Aidan Stone, Omari Sterling-James, Jason Law, James Clarke
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