Full Time Score Mansfield Town 1-0 Carlisle United
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue One Call Stadium, Mansfield
Stags Goal Scorers Tyler Walker (Pen)
Attendance 4,470 (373)
Craig Priest writes…
After what seemed like an eternity of draws, what a relief it was to seal all three points yesterday as the Stags saw off Carlisle United 1-0 at the One Call Stadium following a commanding display.
There were naturally a few murmurs of frustration, much to my personal annoyance, that we didn’t win the game by a bigger margin with the amount of chances we had – but after four consecutive league draws, it’s the victory above all else which matters most.
I have been worried about our system for a few weeks now but yesterday, what I’ve been saying about players playing in structured places, was highlighted as we went relatively untroubled and looked comfortable going forward – with CJ on his more natural left hand side meaning teams found it more difficult to close us down and force us backwards.
So what we didn’t scored a goal every time we went forward, that will come but its not going to happen every single week – to be successful you have to consistently create openings, be patient when they don’t come off and more importantly if you take a lead in the manner in which we did, be switched on and tight at the back so you don’t drop points – a big pat on the back there for Bobby Oljenik, who again showed his class.
During pre-season, prior to the whole “want away” Rose situation we questioned where he would fit in that system and forward line, he got his chance yesterday to start and answered those questions and silenced the critics with a dominant and passionate Danny Rose display, he was unlucky not to score a hat-trick in my opinion and that will come – only with game time.
At this stage in the season, going into the second month, it’s points that matter and clean sheets – teams will not fancy playing against us the more resilient we become – we are one of four teams unbeaten in the league and of those four, are second in terms of goals conceded with only MK Dons conceding less – mentality wise teams will not fancy trying to break that down.
The critical can argue about being tight AND ruthless, as of that unbeaten group of four – we’ve not been as clinical compared to Lincoln, who’ve conceded the same as us (four) but scored significantly more, fourteen to our eight.
The two sides meet on Tuesday in the first group match of the checkatrade trophy, Lincoln of course being the reigning champions of that completion – investing the money gained through last season’s run into their squad which is a big part of their clinical start.
It may well be a cup competition which isn’t league two and doesn’t matter when it comes to promotion hopes – but I argue it does, as its mentality, if we can go to Lincoln on Tuesday and get a victory, it shows that they are not the top dogs and that they can be beaten – giving other league teams the confidence against them which we can take advantage of with our own results, as well as giving us a platform for a cup run – you might say it’s the chicken soup trophy or whatever now, but if we get to Wembley – I guarantee you’ll be in the cue for a ticket!
Not everything has to be smashing teams in to the ground, not everything has to be pretty – a win is a win, three points are three points – and ultimately, they are ours. That hits the spot just nicely for me!
David Flitcroft was boosted by the return of defenders Hayden White and Matt Preston who went straight back into the starting line-up, with White preferred at Wing-Back than on the right side of the central three, he came in for Will Atkinson whilst Preston replaced Benning, with Hamilton preferred at left Wing-Back.
In midfield Alex MacDonald replaced Butcher following Tuesaday’s cup exit at West Brom, whilst up front Danny Rose was handed his first start of the season after the transfer window closed fully with him still very much a Stag – Craig Davies missed out. Finally there was no place for newbee Timi Elsnik, who arrived on Friday on a season long loan from Derby.
The stags picked up where they left off at West Brom with attacking intent, Otis Khan caused problems as he sent a ball across the face of goal which was dealt with, Tyler Walker then saw an effort saved by former Notts County glovesman Adam Collin in the United net, with just five minutes played.
Danny Rose then played Khan into the box five minutes later, the attacking midfielder’s claims for a spot kick waved away as he went to ground – Alex MacDonald next to try his luck with a half-volley from outside the box which he sliced wide.
A training ground corner very nearly broke the deadlock on 22 minutes as Rose peeled away from his marker to meet Khan’s deliver, the front man’s effort cleared off the line by Gary Liddle who knew very little about it!
Eight minutes later another corner routine led to Alex MacDonald putting in a second ball to Sweeney, the loanee defender hitting wide at the far post.
The visitors saw their first real opportunity of the game on 41 minutes as Jamie Devitt got in behind the back three, from a narrowing angle his lofted cross/shot landed on top of Oljenik’s goal.
The Stags then had four further chances to lead before the half-time whistle sounded, Khan sent Hamilton racing through but his effort was saved by Collin, before Hamilton again got a shot away – blocked by a sea of Blue bodies. Otis Khan then had a pop from twenty-five yards, blocked by Tom Parkes before Matt Preston’s diving header from a corner, bounced over the bar.
It was a slow start to the second half but on 53 minutes, Rose began to bloom as he found space inside the box, hitting an effort just wide – seconds later he was in again as he pounced on a united mistake, this time the legs of Collin denied Rose a much deserved goal.
A minute later the Stags were awarded a penalty, Hamilton was upended and Tyler Walker tasked with opening the scoring – he did with confidence, slotting beyond Collin to break the deadlock.
Rose then was challenged well by the visitors as he looked to add a second, then it was cometh the hour – cometh the Bobby O magic – pulling off a smart save to deny Jerry Yates as the Stags switched off.
Rose was then replaced by Davies on 62 minutes, the former Oldham front man nearly complied the misery for United as he saw an effort blocked on 69 minutes.
Khan, Pearce, Walker, Sweeney and Davies all had chances to make it two-nil, but it just wouldn’t drop as the game progressed – Oljenik then secured the Stags win and clean sheet in the 91st minute, tipping over a Yates’ effort before clinging onto the ball as the visitors pilled on the pressure – the full time whistle followed shortly, as the Stags picked up their second win of the season.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 1-0 Carlisle United
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, Hayden White, Neal Bishop, Alex MacDonald, CJ Hamilton, Otis Khan (Calum Butcher 90+3), Tyler Walker, Danny Rose (Craig Davies 62)
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Will Atkinson, Mal Benning, Jacob Mellis, Lewis Gibbens
Referee: Darren Drysdale
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