After Tuesday’s defeat against Bury, a few fans walking back to their cars were saying that we were doomed for the drop as we had “nothing in reserve” – last night the second string were in action at Kirklington Road against Scunthorpe United, we decided to pop along to see exactly what Stags had in reserve should they make changes – for those whose answer was “nothing” that’s rubbish.
Despite being on the wrong end of a 3-0 score line as Scunthorpe’s Etienne Esajas netted either side of captain Callum Howe’s forceful header, the Stags put in a pleasing display with a number of players sending a clear message to Paul Cox that they should be in contention for a first team start on Saturday – The Stags boss watched on from the side lines, spending the majority of the first half in deep conversation with Iron boss Russ Wilcox.
It was a very miss-matched line-up from the Stags but they did manage to start with only one young professional on the field in the excellent Liam Marsden, which just highlights that Cox has options to call upon should he wish. Full back Lee Beevers completed a full 90 minutes at centre back, pairing man of the match Jamie McGuire who later moved to right back mid-way through the first half when Liam Marsden was withdrawn with a gash to the eye which later required four stitches.
Wingers Louis Briscoe and Lindon Meikle also got a full 90 minutes with the latter doing his chances of a first team call no harm with a committed display on the left hand side. Ollie Palmer paired Ross Dyer up front whilst Ben Hutchinson skippered the side alongside assistant manager Adam Murray in central midfield. The somewhat out-of-favour Paul Black also got a full match under his belt at left back, linking up well with Meikle.
Like we mentioned yesterday, commitment and bottle were lacking on Tuesday against Bury as the shakers ran out easy 4-1 winners – last night, the performance of McGuire especially highlighted just what was needed to prevent the first teams fall.
Playing out of position across the back line, the lively midfielder led from the back with a vocal display and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in despite being in uncharted territory – he won a fair 85% of his ariel battles with James Jennings’ brother Connor who led the visitors front line. McGuire didn’t take it easy and not put 100% effort in like some would in a reserve team outing, the lively midfielder was there to stake a claim on a start on Saturday.
Likewise Lindon Meikle, the livewire wide man put a real shift in down the left hand side, driving at his full back and getting numerous crosses and cut backs in which sadly, just wouldn’t fall right for Palmer or Dyer. Meikle’s energy was breath of fresh air as he continued to chase directional passes from Paul Black, who many are calling for a first team start, not forgetting to mention the service created from Murray, whose sharpness evolved as the game progressed, and Hutchinson who was another perhaps out of his comfort zone in centre midfield.
All in all, we’d be happy to see three, maybe four of that squad last night given a shot on Saturday. Mansfield enjoyed the better of the game in the first half but were rocked when Esajas broke the deadlock with a low drive beyond Deakin on 53 minutes. Iron skipper left Deakin with no chance for the second, glancing home a powerful header following a succession of set plays – the third followed soon after, the classy Esajas lobbing Deakin from distance to wrap up the win.
For the Stags though, defeat mattered little as the players got vital game time, let’s just hope that those who shone brightest, get given the chance to make a difference in the first team at the weekend.
Written by Craig Priest & Emily Sykes
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations.
Richard Cooper’s reserve team got back to winning ways last night as goals from Lee Stevenson and Anthony Howell saw off Doncaster Rovers at the One Call Stadium.
With the first team stretched defensively youngsters Ben Birch and Liam Marsden were both given 90minutes whilst left backs Paul Black and James Jennings also slotted into the back four, the latter partnering Birch in the middle and captaining the side.
Stags began brightly and could have had three goals inside the opening ten minutes, Ollie Palmer was denied by a defensive block from Jordan Binns after Lee Stevenson had threaded him through on goal whilst Rovers keeper Jon Maxted also kept out Stevenson who cantered forward after winning possession midway into the Doncaster half. Lindon Meikle also saw an effort go narrowly over, lifting a shot over the bar after Stevenson had again undone the visiting back line.
Palmer came close thrice more whilst midfielder Keiran Murtagh also came close from distance, the Stags eventually broke the deadlock through Lee Stevenson on 39 minutes as he tucked home his third goal in four games for the second string, latching onto Paul Blacks powerful cut back from the left hand side.
Meikle and Palmer had further attempts to double the Stags lead before the break but failed to find the killer touch, whilst after the break the Stags should have had a penalty when Meikle’s effort struck the hand of a Doncaster defender.
The visitors had a rare sight of goal on 50 minutes as Ian Deakin raced out to pressure the on rushing Chris Whincop, the pressure paid off as despite the Rovers man lobbing Deakin, his effort bounced wide of the gaping goal.
Three minutes later the Stags made the visitors miss pay as they doubled their lead, Liam Marsden provided an excellent assist with a right sided sweeping cross, Anthony Howell did the rest swivelling inside the area to drill underneath the despairing dive of Maxted.
Meikle and Howell had further efforts to extend the Stags lead but failed to beat Maxted for a third time, right at the death Stags glovesman Ian Deakin got down low to push behind Whincop’s effort after he broke the Stags back line, Deakin’s save ensuring a clean sheet for Cooper’s men.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 2-0 Doncaster Rovers
Referee: Michael Scriven
Stags: Ian Deakin, Liam Marsden, Ben Birch, James Jennings (C), Paul Black, Lindon Meikle, Keiran Murtagh, Godfrey Poku, Anthony Howell, Lee Stevenson, Ollie Palmer.
Unused Subs: Jordan Fell [GK], Kevin Hemagou, Jack Thomas, Conor Green, Ross Lamb
Mansfield Town reserves were again condemned to defeat last night after letting a 1-0 lead slip to go down 2-1 at North Ferriby United against Hull City reserves.
Matt Rhead had put Richard Cooper’s men ahead on 21 minutes with a bullet header following Ben Hutchinson’s deep set play however it was the hosts who ultimately hit back to take the points, Nick Proschwitz’s 25 yard effort levelled the match shortly after half time before James Armstrong capitalised on a cross on 69 minutes to put the hosts in the driving seat after Stags had squandered numerous chances.
The Stags management were casting their eye over former Mortherwell and Coventry midfielder Steve Jennings throughout the match, although his game time was cut short late on when he was shown a red card.
Richard Coopers men had won their opening four matches to top the table however after two straight defeats, their grasp on the top has now slipped away – Cooper’s men are next in action in early November when they welcome Doncaster Rovers to the One Call Stadium.
LINE UP: Liam Mitchell, Liam Marsden, John McCombe, Ryan Tafazolli (Ben Birch), Paul Black (Connor Green), Ben Hutchinson, Godfrey Poku, Steve Jennings, Lindon Meikle, Matt Rhead (Kevin Hemagou), Ollie Palmer
UNUSED SUBS: Harry Waldram, Jack Thomas.
Richard Coopers reserve team had their 100% record broken is disappointing fashion yesterday afternoon as they surrendered a healthy 3-0 lead and crashed to a 5-3 defeat at the hands of a young Scunthorpe United side.
Coopers Stags romped to a 3-0 lead within the opening 17 minutes, midfielder Keiran Murtagh volleyed home from Louis Briscoe’s fifth minute corner before the provider turned goal scorer five minutes later as he converted from a narrow angle from Lindon Meikle’s pass before Lee Stevenson smashed home from Ross Dyer’s headed assist on 17 minutes.
At 3-0, Mansfield looked good for their lead but Scunthorpe began their comeback late in the first half as Hakeeb Adelakun pulled one back, firing beyond Ian Deakin. In the second half, the hosts reduced the deficit further midway through the second half as Adelakun thundered home from twenty five yards – seconds later the match was level as Matt Godden converted from the penalty spot after being tripped by Liam Marsden.
At 3-3 Scunthorpe were confident and took the lead for the first time on 83 minutes as Adelakun completed his hat-trick with another well taken strike beyond Deakin – the Stags shot-stopper was again picking the ball out of his net in the final minute, Curtis Bateson on the score sheet to make it 5-3 and complete a fine comeback for the Iron.
Stags: Ian Deakin, Liam Marsden, John McCombe, Ben Birch, Paul Black, Louis Briscoe, Lee Stevenson, Keiran Murtagh, Lindon Meikle, Ross Dyer, Jake Speight
Unused Subs: Godfrey Poku, Jack Thomas, Ross Lamb, Jordan Fell, Simo Hemagou, Wisdom
Goals from Matt Rhead, Ryan Tafazolli and Jake Speight saw Mansfield Town reserves overturn Sam Collins’ 22nd minute goal to maintain their perfect start in the Central League East Division, beating Hartlepool United 3-1 at the One Call Stadium this evening.
Victories over Doncaster, Hull and Rortherham in recent weeks saw Stags top the division, that’s where Richard Coopers men will stay this evening after a commanding performance on a briskly cold night against a tough Hartlepool set up.
The Monkey Hangers second string were beaten 5-0 at the One Call Stadium last term but ensured the same wouldn’t happen again this year, after enduring a tough start to the match seeing a Matt Rhead goal ruled out for offside, they grabbed the lead through centre half Sam Collins on 22 minutes as he flicked home a pacey corner from Zak Boagey.
Mansfield responded five minutes later through Matt Rhead, the burley front man poached home from close range, following strong work down the flanks from the hardworking Stags. Seconds later, captain Lee Stevenson fired narrowly over with his left foot as Mansfield looked to grab the advantage.
Visiting keeper Andy Rafferty twice kept out Louis Briscoe on the stroke of half time, however the shot-stopper was picking the ball out of the net as defender Ryan Tafazolli swooped in to nod the Stags ahead, getting to the loose ball first.
Jake Speight made it 3-1 two minutes into the second half, hitting home on the half volley following a flick on from Ross Dyer – Speight’s excellent finish was typical of the player, who also frequently frustrated team mates as he took one too many touches loosing possession.
McCombe, Tafazolli and joint men of the match Junior Daniel and Lee Stevenson all made excellent challenges to keep the visitors at bay, goalkeeper Liam Mitchell also produced a fine save to deny former Stag Nialle Rodney – the ex-loanee also squandered numerous chances to reduce the deficit in a match Stags won comfortably in the end.
Richard Coopers men will next be in action on October 2nd as they travel to Scunthorpe United in search of a 5th straight win.
FULL TIME: Stags 3-1 Hartlepool
Referee: Adam Burgess
STAGS: Liam Mitchell, Paul Black, John McCombe, Ryan Tafazolli, Junior Daniel, Louis Briscoe (Luke Darby 85), Lee Stevenson © (Godfrey Poku 70), Keiran Murtagh, Ross Dyer, Jake Speight, Matt Rhead (Kevin Hemagou 74)
UNUSED SUBS: Ian Deakin, Billy Simpson
Calvin Andrew staked his claim for a start against York City on Saturday by scoring a dramatic late winner tonight at the One Call Stadium against Rotherham United.
Richard Cooper’s men had won their opening two fixtures of the campaign to top the Central League East Division table, however when Francois Zoko cancelled out Jake Speight’s early opener midway through the first half, the game looked like it was ending level before Andrew fired home in the dying seconds from Keiran Murtagh’s corner.
It hardly had the same impact as Matt Green’s winner at Hereford last term, but Cooper’s men had fought desperately to maintain their 100% record and the players involved naturally eager to get the chance of first team football, mindful of Paul Cox watching from the Ian Greaves Upper Tier.
Liam Mitchell arguably won Mansfield the points with a stunning man of the match display between the sticks, the gloves-man, whose deal expires soon, pulled off several excellent saves to deny the likes of former Crawley striker Matt Tubbs and the lively Danny Hylton.
Mansfield made a bright start to the encounter with Lindon Meikle picking up the ball in midfield and chipping the ball to Jake Speight. The front man who looks set to exit turned well against former Stags trialist Pablo Mills but fired horribly wide of the target.
On three minutes however, Speight knew exactly where the back of the net was as he gave the Stags the lead. Advancing full back Junior Daniel made the goal with a pacey cross which flashed across the six yard box – Speight converting with a powerful finishing getting ahead of his marker.
Keiran Muratgh had the opportunity to create a Stags second on ten minutes with a left sided free kick, his delivery was plucked out of the air well by Adam Collin and a minute later, it was the visitors that had their first sight of goal as a low cross deflected off the back of John McCombe and into the path of Zoko, who fortunately fired into the empty Quarry Lane End.
Liam Mitchell then kept Stags ahead with two excellent stops in as many minutes, the first on 28 minutes as he palmed away a point blank effort from Tubbs before Salem Kerkar romped down the left hand side and into the box. Former Notts County man Mitchell pushed the ball away before Tubbs sent the follow up crashing against the cross bar, allowing the Stags keeper to collect the loose ball.
Lindon Meikle tested the water at the other end on the half hour mark with a low drive, the Stags were left to rue the missed opportunity eight minutes later as Kerkar’s left sided free kick was turned home by Zoko from close range – the Stags defence static to the pacey set play.
Both sides had efforts before the break to take the lead, Stags came close with Jake Speight and Calvin Andrew whilst it took the safe hands of Liam Mitchell to again deny Matt Tubbs on the stroke of half time as a slip from John McCombe allowed the dangerous front man a sniff of goal.
The second half lacked as much pace although it was Rotherham the brighter, Mitchell keeping out two free kicks and several free headers most notably a powerful flick from Mills on 62 minutes moments before youngster Liam Marsden went into the referee’s book.
Jake Speight spurned two excellent chances for Stags, the second of which saw Collin save well with his legs in a one verses one situation after Andrew had slotted through his strike partner.
Once again Liam Mitchell came to the Stags’ rescue on 74 minutes as a stray ball forward avaided Tafazolli and fell for Tubbs – the Crawley man reacted instinctively, as did Mitchell who palmed the ball away allowing Marsden to clear.
As the match went into the final minute of stoppage time, it looked as if the match would end level – however Mansfield kept pushing and grabbed the winner through Calvin Andrew as the front man stabbed home the loose ball following Murtagh’s low corner.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 2-1 Rotherham United
Referee: James Bell
Stags: Liam Mitchell, Liam Marsden, John McCombe, Ryan Tafazolli, Junior Daniel, Louis Briscoe ©, Keiran Murtagh, Anthony Howell, Lindon Meikle, Jake Speight, Calvin Andrew
Unused Subs: Ian Deakin, Jack Hawkins, Ben Birch, Joe Flint, Jason Gregory, Jack Thomas, Godfrey Poku
Mansfield Town’s second string maintained their perfect start to the Central League East Division season this evening, as they tamed Hull City at the One Call Stadium running out 3-1 winners.
Richard Cooper took charge of the Stags who opened the scoring on eight minutes, moments after testing the water with Lindon Meikle’s low cross. Skipper Adam Murray set the goal with a well hit deep free kick which found Ross Dyer; the front man’s powerful header was far too strong for Joe Cracknell in the Hull goal.
Straight from the restart the young Hull side looked to respond as Paul McElroy hit the bar from distance, Liam Marsden and Liam Mitchell also both came to the Stags rescue as the visitors teased the hosts with a number of low crosses from the impressive Sam Topliss.
Adam Murray and Lindon Meikle both came close to finding a second goal for Mansfield, the latter did eventually double the Stags lead on 39 minutes, tapping in the loose ball after Cracknell had pushed away Ross Dyers 18 yard driven effort.
Meikle again came close on the stroke of half time however it would be Hull that struck next, reducing the deficit on 63 minutes as Aaron McLean, Hull’s only senior player, tapped underneath a helpless Liam Mitchell.
Despite Hulls goal and a short spell of sustained pressure, Mansfield remained in control and were handed there just rewards in the second minute of three added on. Junior Daniel impressed in the Stags box heading away a Hull City cross allowing Mansfield to counter – two excellent headers from Dyer and Rhead then played Lee Stevenson clean through on goal, the midfielder made no error in slotting beneath the on rushing keeper to seal the points.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Reserves 3-1 Hull City Reserves
Referee: Declan Bourne
Stags: Liam Mitchell, Liam Marsden, John McCombe, Ryan Tafazolli, Junior Daniel, Louis Briscoe, Adam Murray ©, Lee Stevenson, Lindon Meikle, Ross Dyer, Matt Rhead
Unused Subs: Godfrey Poku, Joe Flint, Jack Thomas, Jack Hawkins, Jason Gregory, Ben Birch.
Goals from Chris Clements and Lindon Meikle got Mansfield Town off to a winning start in their central league east division, as the Stags defeat Doncaster Rovers Reserves by two goals to one at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Paul Cox took charge of the reserves for their first fixture of the season and named three trialists in his starting line-up. Birmingham City teenager Eddy Gnahore was given a run out after impressing in pre-season whilst former Leyton Orient man Leon McSweeney, who can play all across the park, also looked to impress. Former Notts County goalkeeper Liam Mitchell donned Stags colours again, this time on trial following last season’s short loan – Ian Deakin is out with a dislocated shoulder.
Both sides enjoyed prolonged spells with the ball however it was Stags that pressured first as Calvin Andrew stabbed a shot wide on ten minutes, seconds before Lindon Meikle hit high over the bar from Chris Clements’ corner.
Dave Syers hit over on the volley for the hosts nine minutes later before the Stags had two chances in as many minutes, the first coming on 26 as Calvin Andrew drew a save from the keeper from distance before Meikle nodded wide from Hutchinson’s follow up cross – seconds later it was Meikle again having a go, curling an effort wide after a dominant solo run.
John McCombe saw a header cleared off the line on the half hour mark from Clements’ corner before Briscoe volleyed the loose ball over the bar – Calvin Andrew again tested the water for Stags before the break whilst at the other end a Syers shot was easy for Liam Mitchell, who clung on to ensure the sides went into the dressing rooms level at half time.
Both sides made changes at the break, Doncaster made a double switch whilst Cox withdrew Andrew for Ollie Palmer – it was the hosts who adapted quicker as they saw a shot cannon off the underside of the bar and bounce away from the goal line within the opening two minutes.
Despite the hosts efforts it was Stags who grabbed the opener on 51 minutes, Lindon Meikle flicked the ball into the path of Ben Hutchinson who subsequently drilled low for Chris Clements who made no mistake with the finish.
The Stags’ lead lasted a mere three minutes as trialist Josh Payne drilled in Paterson’s pass from 18 yards, a good effort which gave Liam Mitchell no chance in the Stags goal however Lindon Meikle ensured the pendulum swung back in the Stags favour on the hour mark, lobbing the home keeper after a charging run, sparked by a smart assist from Ben Hutchinson.
Meikle’s goal to put the Stags ahead set the president for the remainder of the match, as Stags remained in control and came close to a third on numerous occasions through Hutchinson, Meikle, Briscoe and Palmer - Hosts Doncaster wasted a golden chance to grab a draw at the death as Bennett hit wide one vs one with Mitchell.
FULL TIME: Doncaster Rovers Reserves 1-2 Mansfield Town Reserves
STAGS: Liam Mitchell [TRIAL], Ritchie Sutton ©, Ryan Tafazolli, John McCombe, Leon McSweeney [TRIAL], Louis Briscoe, Eddy Gnahore [TRIAL], Chris Clements, Lindon Meikle, Ben Hutchinson, Calvin Andrew (Ollie Palmer HT (Joe Flint 87))
UNUSED SUBS: Matt Jones, Ross Lamb, Jack Thomas
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