Mark Plumb writes...
Mansfield Town threw away a two goal lead to draw with Luton 2-2 at Field Mill in frustrating circumstances. Prior to the game their was much excitement building for the game, even more so with Kane Hemmings making his debut, hoping to add more fire power up front.
Even though it is still early in the season I just couldn't help but get frustrated by us taking the foot of the gas and inviting pressure on ourselves when Luton have players such as Hylton, Collins and Berry to name a few that will punish you if given the opportunity going forward.
The first half saw the Stags dominate possession and create chances that given the quality of players we have should have been put away, albeit some good last ditch defending by the Hatters.
The pressure paid off when Rhys Bennett found himself unmarked at the free kick to put Mansfield ahead, his first league appearance of the season and first goal for the former Rochdale man.
The Stags did well to restrict Hylton and Collins from causing us any problems, showing that we could handle the pressure. The second half started with Luton on the attack but not really testing Logan out, who kept his place in goal. As the half went on Mansfield kept on pressing for the second goal and it came with good work from Byrom who played in a good ball that was converted by Lee Angol to make it 2 in 2 goals for him.
At this stage we was comfortable and looked in control for a little while but just seemed to me that the players didn't do enough to test the keeper after the early pressure and goals we scored to really kill the game off.
Even with the introduction of Rose, Spencer and Digby it wasn't enough for the Stags to hold out with the Luton pressure proving to be to much for an experienced Mansfield Defence. Luton hit back first with Collins that should have been dealt with by the defence to convert from 3 yards out to make the score 2-1.
Minutes later Hylton converted from a mixup between defenders and goalkeeper that gave him space to equalise, past a disappointing Logan to level the score 2-2. Mansfield was awarded a penalty in extra time, up stepped Jimmy Spencer who's penalty was saved by the legs of Stech earning his side a good point away from home.
I don't like calling out individuals but for me Conrad Logan has cost us in games against Crewe, Accrington and now Luton with him not being commanding or coming out for balls into the box.
At times his defence has let him down with some poor marking at times, admittedly so but that's when he needs to organise his defence and not staying on his line making life tougher for them.
I know we are only in the fourth game of the season but it is another game this season that we haven't killed a game off and haven't seen a game out by striving for more goals making the pressure count that ultimately cost us from taking all three points.
If we are to challenge for promotion the players need to be proving why they should be on board by playing for the shirt and learning from daft individual errors. There is no doubting the quality of players we have but for me the players get to complacent and aren't ruthless enough.
Still a lot of games to be played but the only positives for me so far are that we're creating chances, playing well and look good going forward. Disappointing to say the least but one piece of coal for the Steve Evans train. Onwards and Upwards Up The Stags !!
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