Craig Priest writes...
You know that huge wardrobe that you've been told to hoover underneath, but just lacked the energy to do so? Well that was Mansfield Town in the first half at Wycombe, and yet here we are, 2-1 victors.
How? Well we moved the wardrobe and dealt with the problem, enabling us to play football!
A sickness bug apparently swept through the camp meaning Rhys Bennett was played at left back and got exposed, though like with Grimsby on Boxing Day, with the players Evans selected, a system change to three at the back would have solved that problem.
Wycombe’s goal was standard and inevitable, Bennett and Potter failed to stop the cross and then more importantly, nobody marked the Wardrobe Akinfenwa and he stuck his head out and nodded beyond Olejnik.
It was simple, school boy stuff which you could see coming – the double injury to Diamond and Rose completely took the wind from our sails and with that we were torn about like a ragdoll in the mouth of a pitbull, we were extremely fortunate to go in just 1-0 down, the hosts should have been at least four nil up.
Whatever the reason for the complete turnaround in the second half, praise needs to go to it, as playing football worked wonders!
We finally looked hungry and like we wanted to fight for victory, something that reflected in both our goals. Quick fluid football.
If we can channel that going into the new year, we'll be just fine – however I refuse to let victory and the buzz of a turnaround blind me to the fact for 45 minutes we were extremely poor and looked onto a spanking- and not for the first time!
Evans needs to do business early and hit the ground running, if we continue to be indifferent, we will lose the pace with those around us. 2018 is the year to stand up and say, this is who we are.
Steve Evans was forced to make three changes from the draw at Grimsby, with the surprise omission of Conrad Logan who apparently had a bug- Bobby Oljenik was therefore handed his league debut for the Stags after being restricted to appearances in the cup – full backs Hayden White and Johnny Hunt missed out too, Alfie Potter and Rhys Bennett brought in.
The Stags afternoon was already on a downward spiral with the illness and injury hit squad, matters were made worse just three minutes in when captain Zander Diamond took a ball to the face from a Sam Saunders free kick – after medical attention the captain continued, but you could tell his afternoon wouldn’t last much longer.
Paris Cowan-Hall nearly set the Wycombe opener on six minutes but Paul Anderson was able to mop up, however a minute later – school boy defending allowed Adebayo Akinfenwa another easy goal, as Dominic Gape beat Bennett then Potter down the left hand side, crossing in for the ‘Beast’ who stuck his head out past no markers, to convert beyond Oljenik.
The Stags shot stopper then sent a warning to Conrad Logan by pulling off a fine save on ten minutes as the Stags were again cut open as Wycombe found Akinfenwa, this time his header was palmed away by the finger trips of Oljenik.
Danny Rose had been Mansfield’s best defender early doors but a 17th minute injury saw the front man unable to continue, he was replaced by Lee Angol as Rose headed dejected straight down the tunnel for further treatment – Zander Diamond handed the captains armband to Pearce too as he was replaced by Benning, clearly unable to continue following that early injury.
Wycombe continued to dominate play but fortunately did little with it, almost content and comfortable enough in their early goal to just see the game out, however the hosts should have had a second on 38 minutes as former Nottingham Forest man, and very brief Stags trialist, Nathan Tyson picked out Akinfenwa – the big man planted his header wide of the Stags goal.
Tyson again was tormentor with two minutes of the first half to go, this time picking out Cowan-Hall, his effort hit well over the bar before another let off right on half time as Akinfenwa thundered a header against the bar.
After the break, a U-turn, as Mansfield started to play football and had Wycombe on the ropes, Mal Benning’s excellent run down the left picked out Hamilton whose fizzing cross found Angol – the stags substitute got a touch but Scott Brown in the Wycombe goal was quick to smother the loose ball on 50 minutes.
Two minutes later, Alfie Potter pulled the Stags level – CJ Hamilton’s effort inside the box fell kindly for the magic winger who drilled beneath Brown.
The Stags were on fire and should have edged in front on 55 minutes, Paul Anderson delivered the cross to pick out Lee Angol, his give and go with Mellis saw the Stags number nine lift his effort over the bar, two minutes later Potter nearly turned provider as he swung the ball into the mix – Rhys Bennett darting in from nowhere to power a header wide.
On the hour Angol beat the Wycombe offside trap to latch onto Potters excellent weighted pass, Scott Brown to the hosts rescue, saving with his legs – before Mellis and MacDonald both blazed efforts over the bar.
Tempers then frayed as the referee lost control of the game, before the Stags then grabbed what proved to be the winner on 81 minutes – Potter sent Benning down the left hand side who then hit low into the middle, Lee Angol did the rest, with a very cheeky side heel into the bottom corner.
Wycombe had chances to level but the Stags were resolute enough to keep the hosts quiet, including a later charge from Scott Brown to try and get on the end of a corner – too little too late for the hosts, and a fantastic comeback from the Stags.
FULL TIME Wycombe Wanderers 1-2 Stags
Paul Anderson – Zander Diamond © (Mal Benning 18) Krystian Pearce [VC] – Mal Benning
Alfie Potter – Alex MacDonald – Jacob Mellis – CJ Hamilton
Danny Rose (Lee Angol 18) – Kane Hemmings (Omari Sterling-James 80)
Unused substitutes: Conrad Logan, Paul Digby, Will Atkinson, Calum Butcher
Attendance: 4,227 (299)
Referee: Christopher Sarginson Assistants Darren Wilding and Rob Smith Fourth Official Adrian Waters
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