Mansfield Town’s terrible down turn in form continued last night as they crashed out of the Johnston’s Paint Trophy in dismal fashion at the hands of League One rivals Notts County who ran out 2-0 winners at Meadow Lane.
It was a titanic like performance from Paul Cox’s men who left over 1,500 travelling supporters seething and calling for the manager’s head. Only the efforts of youngster Liam Marsden, defenders Ryan Tafazolli and Martin Riley and, for his second half passion, skipper Adam Murray deserve a place on the boat to safety, whilst the rest are left to swim in the icy sea listening to the fading sound of the sinking orchestra.
Titanic comparisons aside, Mansfield offered little in the first competitive meeting between the two Nottinghamshire rivals in years and gave Notts County an easy win. Cox’s men completely lost the ability to pass a football whilst the hosts made it look easy, weaving their way around the Stags and netting two easy goals which Forest loanee Dimitar Evtimov should have done better with.
Cox too angered supporters with his strange tactical decisions such as taking off the Stags’ only goal scoring threat Alex Fisher rather than Matt Rhead who tried, but was easily marked out of the game. The sale of Sam Clucas to Chesterfield has left Mansfield with no natural wingers and no plan B, supporters certainly made their opinions clear on an evening to forget.
Ronan Murray opening the scoring after 28 minutes for the hosts after Stags’ attempts to play direct were squashed out, Murray cut in from the left hand side of the area skipping a challenge from Stags captain Adam Murray before drilling beyond a bewildered Evtimov.
Stags had just the one chance to level, Simon Heslop drilled wide from a smart free kick but Mansfield’s chances disappeared quicker than the vanishing paint spray, key challenges from Tafazolli, Marsden and Riley plus two smart saves from Evtimov kept the score line respectable.
The second half saw a short burst of fire from Cox’s men with a series of set plays whilst Alex Fisher created three chances from nothing but saw Fabien Speiss well placed to keep the front man at bay, once he was replaced by Palmer, a minute after Jake Cassidy galloped down the right hand side to drill home Notts County’s second, it truly was over for Stags.
There was never any sense of comeback for Cox’s men at 2-0, ever attempt of a run made was sniffed out, sometimes by the Stags players themselves, tripping over the ball and making the game unwatchable for supporters.
Stags: Dimitar Evtimov, Ritchie Sutton, Martin Riley, Ryan Tafazolli, Liam Marsden (Lee Beevers 87), Simon Heslop, Adam Murray ©, Rob Taylor, Chris Clements (Fergus Bell 73), Alex Fisher (Ollie Palmer 66), Matt Rhead
UNUSED SUBS: Sascha Studer, Jamie McGuire
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