Mark Plumb writes...
Mansfield Town continued their league 2 campaign against Carlisle finishing one a piece. Their was no changes made to the starting line up, which for me was surprising Logan kept his place in goal with some costly errors in previous games.
The first half was end to end with the Stags playing some good football, coping well with the long ball/ throw ins into the box testing our defence that looked solid throughout.
Against the run of play Carlisle went ahead, when the Stags corner got cleared straight to the away side, who played the ball up field to Hope, left Benning for dead to run up and slot past Logan to make it 1-0 Carlisle.
Their is no doubting how good our defence are but just looked all over the place, as the Cumbrians broke clear leaving Logan with no chance. As the half wore on the home side was pilling on the pressure with their direct approach with long balls into the box, making life difficult for Steve Evans men pressing for the second goal.
The frustration of it was seeing Logan being reluctant to come off his line to claim the ball, making life easier for the defence, leaving them to head clear. Keith Curles side came close, when Hope again was their to see his headed effort crash against the crossbar with the keeper rooted to his spot.
Credit has to go to Carlisle keeper who pulled out some tremendous saves for his team. Mansfield came close to the equaliser when from the resulting corner, Mellis did well to control the ball into his path, away from the defender to see his shot saved, that looked a certainty to beat the keeper.
Hemmings also saw his shot saved from a free kick, that forced the keeper into a fingertip save in a matter of minutes. The half time whistle blew and I think that we was unlucky not to be ahead, with the chances created. On the other side of that could have been 2 goals down with the home side creating chances.
We was playing good football at times, showing signs that the players are getting used to each other, which can only get better.
Second half began with the Stags coming out of the blocks early on making their intentions known straight away with Lee Angol leading the attack to put the pressure on with his pace and was for me one of stand out performances in the match. It also saw us play to our strengths, that on our day not many teams can handle.
Changes were made for Mansfield with Alfie Potter, Danny Rose and new signing Calum Butcher being introduced into proceedings. Carlisle had chances of their own clipping the bar again from questionable marking and communication.
From the outset the defence don't feel comfortable with Logan in goal, with him being reluctant to Marshall them commanding his box and catching the ball instead of punching it out. On another day it would have proven costly, had Lady Luck not been our side at times in the match.
The Stags were rewarded a penalty when Anderson got brought down in the box, giving us massive chance of getting back into the game. Before the kick was taken Angol picked up the ball wanting to take it, with much confusion over whose responsibility it was. Kane Hemmings was the man to step up, only to see his effort saved by the Carlisle keeper.
That is 3 penalties in a row we have missed from different takers, it makes me question if they even practice them in training. For me you have to look at Evans for who he picks to take the penalties, just poor.
The Stags got their just rewards with good work from Anderson who whipped in a ball into the area for the keeper to punch away to Butcher on the edge of the box to dip his effort over the keeper to score on his debut, making the scoring 1-1, game on. Butcher went close again with his shot just above the bar, looking a threat going forward.
Carlisle came close through Jason Kennedy seeing his shot cannon against the post, much to the relief of the 280 travelling Stag fans. Full time 1-1. Upon reflection a point away from home isn't a bad thing, as it seemed a fair result. Although saying that I thought we could have easily won the game, could have gone on to lose it to, if not for good defending/ post.
The positives from the game was we came back from going a goal down and their were impressive performances from Mirfin, Angol, Anderson, Bennett and debutant Butcher grabbing we hope first of many goals for us. Coped well when under pressure and unlucky not come away with 3 points. Negatives was again Logan who in all honesty is a lucky boy to keep his place in the team for his recent performances. Looks like a liability between the sticks, just no confidence when he's on the pitch.
Also Benning, who past couple of games has got caught out few times. Biggest thing for me out of all of that has to be the penalties, to miss 3 in a row simply isn't good enough, if they players are reading this then what I would say to you is just keep on working on them, as we know their good players but need to get that addressed asap. Onwards and upwards UP THE STAGS !!
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