Papa John’s Trophy – Group Stage, Game 3/3 – Tuesday 9th November
A treble for Danny Johnson helped Mansfield Town on their way to netting £10,000 and taking something away from this seasons EFL Trophy campaign, running out 6-3 winners against Newcastle United U21s, in a game which other than minutes and potential prize money, meant little to either club.
Both sides were already out of the competition ahead of kick-off but had to go through the motions and tick the boxes, a prime opportunity for Nigel Clough to give minutes to fringe players and ensure those playing on the fringes, are ready to step in when called upon as the Stags look to push on in the league.
Conceding three goals won’t have pleased Clough, especially given the ease the opposition had in creating those openings – however at the other end, his side were hungry and importantly clinical enough, to win the game, even if the Stags did have to come from 2-1 down.
Danny Johnson will undoubtedly take the headlines netting three goals, including one from the penalty spot banishing his demons from a few weeks previous – however there were a handful of younger players who also caught the eye, particularly 19-year-old James Gale who played alongside Johnson and Bowery in attack.
The small Stags faithful also got their first proper glimpse of Stoke City loanee Will Forrester who had a steady enough game alongside Rawson at the back, it’s nice to know there’s another option there, however personally I think he’ll be used as cover, with O’Toole ahead of him.
Speaking of O’Toole he got 45 minutes in midfield and capped a good display with a goal, again a good utility man to have around who provides cover in a number of areas, he was replaced at the break by the returning Ryan Stirk – it’s nice to have players coming back and options again!
There’s little else to be said really other than well done on getting the job done. Few will care about that result, but I think confidence breads confidence and winning games certainly brings that, regardless of opponent or competition.
STAGS: Shelvey, J.Clarke, Rawson (Cooper 80’), Forrester, Law, O’Toole (Stirk 46’), Ward, Gale, Sinclair, Johnson (Caine 70’), Bowery UNUSED SUBS: Stech, Charsley, Maris
Papa John’s Trophy Group H 2/3, Tuesday 5th October 2021
A 90th minute goal saw Mansfield Town suffer a cruel defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday, continuing the Stags’ poor run of form on paper – however in reality, Clough’s men put in one of their best displays in recent weeks.
Clough was boosted by the availability of three of his suspended players, relieving some pressure on his selection headache, without doubt though it was the return of Stephen Quinn to the side made a massive difference in the improved performance.
In difficult conditions, the young Stags side coped really well and I was impressed particularly with defender George Cooper, who was substituted at half time, and midfielder Keaton Ward – both contributed well to the way we played, trying to play out from the back and hurt Wednesday on the break in the tough conditions.
Overall, James Clarke who again took the captaincy really impressed at right back – yes he had a few errors in him BUT what really impresses me with him, is he recovers every time – with Rawson suspended Saturday, Clough really should be moving Hewitt back across and bringing Clarke in – if he doesn’t, I’d be asking questions if I were the young right back.
It’s disappointing not to take something from the game, I don’t think Shelvey will look back too often on their first goal, a costly error – but to be fair to the Nottingham Forest loanee, he made a number of good saves to balance that out. A few people were quick to criticise him, but as a young goalkeeper – errors are bound to happen, the problem is you can’t improve by playing one or two games here and there a month.
Stephen Quinn’s goal was well taken and I thought throughout we played some dangerous balls through the visitors and created some good opening’s – Sinclair should have buried his chance at the end of the first half, but to turn negatives to positives – we looked hungry tonight and must show the same energy in Saturday.
I’m not too bothered in the defeat, we weren’t going to get a second and looked content to play for a penalty shootout and the bonus point, but Wednesday effectively put five up front and showed the difference in quality – overloading the box and firing home late.
Overall there’s more positives than negatives despite the defeat – if those positives are good enough to play on Saturday remains to be seen, but we are a squad and when, if not in the middle of a player availability crisis, will be the right time to give them the opportunity to make a difference?
Saturday against Oldham could be the prime opportunity to do so, and the perfect time to bounce back in a positive direction.
STAGS: Shelvey (GK), Rawson, Charsley (Lapslie 72’), Johnson, Burke, Quinn, Sinclair, Ward, Clarke, Law (Oates 79’), Cooper (Hewitt 46’) UNUSED SUBS: Stech (GK), Bowery, Charles, Gale
Papa John’s Trophy Group H 1/3, Tuesday 31st August | Harrogate Town 3-1 Mansfield Town
The Papa John’s Trophy is about as controversial as discussing if Pineapple belongs on Pizza – someday yes, some say no, others don’t care, last night at Harrogate Town, it felt like 95% of the Stags squad didn’t care about a number of things, with a lacklustre uninspiring 3-1 loss at Harrogate Town.
The defeat I can take, the manner of it not so much – when a player pulls on a Stags shirt, I expect a certain level of performance for the badge and for whatever reason, that seemed to be lacking.
I’m not going to go into full rant mode because of the competition (even though personally I’m all for trying to win it) and because a lot of the side out last night were young ones getting a taste of senior football – BUT, what I’m left disappointed by is an obvious lack of depth within our squad.
In fact, it felt like we had as much depth as a shallow kids splash pad in a park, that had been filled in by concrete!
I really felt sorry for Keaton Ward especially, thrown in at centre-back with Hewitt rested, Perch injured and at that point, absolutely no cover! Fortunately, we’ve signed two on loan – but I’ll save my views on that for the Podcast tonight!
I could real off negatives and grievances like an auctioneer but again I’ll save some of those for the Podcast when I’ve woken up more! I will, however, finish on a positive – James Clarke, fantastic at right back and showed a real captains attitude, even when he lost the ball or didn’t win the initial header, he was determined to win it back and I’d say did – 98% of the time, why he’s not playing more is beyond me at times.
Rhys Oates looked lively when he came on whilst Charsley, his first run out post injury, looked hungry – albeit a little lost on the right hand side of the diamond – it’s time to ditch that for 4-3-3 without a shadow of a doubt.
Nigel Clough post match said he didn’t care about the competition, which is fair enough – however a little bit more effort for the travelling fans and acknowledgement of them coming out to support the younger lads wouldn’t have gone a miss – especially when your experienced striker absolutely fluffs a penalty, costing us the game and 10K!
That’s a third consecutive defeat for the group – we need to have a good couple of days training now and come out on Saturday, at home to Harrogate, and put three points on the more.
Who’d be a football fan eh!
STAGS: Shelvey, Rawson (55’ Oates), Charsley, Bowery, Burke, Sinclair (78’ Cooper), Ward, J. Clarke, Law, Hill, Lapslie (68' Caine) UNUSED SUBS: Bishop, Gordon, O. Clarke, Johnson
Attendance: 825 (135)
Papa Johns Trophy [EFL Trophy] Northern Group E Game 3/3 | Tuesday 10th November 2020 | Sands Venue Stadium | Nigel Clough’s First Game as Manager
It was a match which meant absolutely nothing in terms of competition progress, but one which meant everything to Nigel Clough and the progress of Mansfield Town as the boys began the new era, with their second win in as many games.
Clough made 11 changes for his first fixture in order for him and his coaching staff to have evaluated every player of the last four games, with Clough and his staff having observed the Stags from the stands for the duration of Richard Coopers excellent caretaker tenure.
The fixture also allowed key players such as Ryan Sweeney, Corey O’Keeffe, Ollie Clarke and Rollin Menayese to get some much needed minutes after isolation and injury spells, whilst younger “fringe” players were also given the opportunity to impress the Stags’ new gaffer.
All in all it was a very good performance from Mansfield who continued to play out from the back and with a freedom to their play, something which reflected in the two goals scored by Ryan Sweeney and Jamie Reid.
The score line suggests a tighter affair, but in truth Mansfield were on top for the majority of the match – it took an absolute rocket to beat Aidan Stone, who was excellent again between the sticks pulling off some good reflex saves, showing good distribution and footwork along with a vocal commanding presence – worthy of the man of the match accolade for sure.
As well as minutes and victory in the bank, we’ve also netted 10K – add that to the just shy of 17K we picked up for the win over Sunderland (£16,972 to be exact according to the internet!) and it’s not been a bad week in gaining some much needed financial income!
The real work starts on Saturday as Clough takes charge of his first League game for the Stags, a trip to Forest Green Rovers who sit third in the table and are unbeaten at home so far this season in the League.
Two wins in the cup mean nothing come 3pm Saturday, other than boosting confidence and gaining some momentum – however there’s a lot to be said for perspective, we’re playing well, with confidence and are, in all competitions, four unbeaten with two back to back wins.
Roll on Saturday!
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Aidan Stone | James Clarke, Rollin Menayese, Ryan Sweeney ©, Corey O’Keeffe | Tyrese Sinclair (Kellan Gordon 87), Aaron O’Driscoll, Alistair Smith (Ollie Clarke 74), Jason Law | Andy Cook, Jamie Reid (Nathan Caine 88)
Unused Subs: Maison Campbell, Harry Charsley, Jordan Bowery
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