Mansfield Town 2-3 Leyton Orient (Rose 2 [Pens]) | Sky Bet League Two | Tuesday 20th August 2019 | One Call Stadium, Mansfield
Craig Priest writes…
There something’s in life which individuals simply don’t believe to be true. It could be the moon landing or something more trivial – I don’t know, like saying after a 3-2 defeat that Mansfield Town were excellent, yet utter woeful in equal measure, actually, I’d believe that!
I think that sums up last night’s 3-2 defeat. I’ve slept on it and pondered numerous thoughts all day long but simply can’t put my finger on how, or why, Mansfield Town went from being totally and utterly in control at half-time, to being so utterly dreadful at full-time in what was a real master class in self-destruction.
Following the win at Carlisle on Saturday, the Stags started really brightly and looked like they were going to give Orient an absolute pasting and certainly set about that in the first half, leading 2-0 at the break thanks to two spot-kicks from the rampant and rapid Danny Rose, and to be fair for a good ten minutes of the second half whilst a third goal was being sought, the visitors looked dead and buried, but then it was like Mansfield just switched off and shut down completely.
I honestly don’t know where to put the blame. Do you look at the management and question why on earth Tomlinson wasn’t brought on after 55/60 minutes when he was running on empty? Do you look at the more senior players for perhaps arrogantly thinking the game was over and done with at 2-0? Do you look at those involved in conceding and question their performance?
Wherever the problem lies, it needs to be sorted and quick because Mansfield are becoming unpredictable and that’s not the track we need to be on, because all we’re saying right now is that anybody can beat us, simply by giving it a go – as it’s clear the Stags lack any form of care or desire to fight.
Unfortunately for boss John Dempster he’s really in the firing line at the moment for all the wrong reasons. He’s inherited a squad capable of not giving the opposition a sniff of victory and added to it with some real quality additions, but for whatever reasons those two factors aren’t fusing together – they seem to be repelling.
The change in Otis Khan, and especially Danny Rose, has been a positive and for me does outweigh all the other little niggling negatives – but coming off the back of such a good season with a manager who was perhaps unlucky to now be a job centre regular, the pressure and expectation to succeed is so high we’ll never be able to reach it.
You have to give Dempster time to iron out these mistakes and to gel his side together, but there’s two problems there – because of the aforementioned previous season & reasoning for Flitcrofts departure, time is of short supply, and secondly, the players have got to really want to buy into climbing up the mountain once again?
If they truly are then you may need to look at adding a few new faces into the mix. Neal Bishop is out for 2-3 weeks, whilst Jacob Mellis and Dion Donohue are suspended from duties at the club following an incident – the Stags are really short of numbers in the middle.
I think I could watch the match over and over and over and over again and still never know what really happened. Yes, credit must go to Orient for a real fight back, but questions need to be asked again of the Stags players – and an answer, a convincing one at that, needs to be given on Saturday because THIS, this horrible feeling of being epic and woeful in equal measure – is NOT what will take us to League One.
Stags boss John Dempster made just the one change, enforced, from the side that beat Carlisle on Saturday with Otis Khan replacing the injured Neal Bishop – Hayden White passed a late fitness test to keep his place in the back three.
The Stags started really strongly and could have taken the lead on eight minutes as Otis Khan’s frightening ball across the face of goal was scrambled away by the visitors.
A minute later and Mansfield had the perfect opportunity to take the lead as the referee awarded a penalty as Rose was hurled down by Ekpiteta, Rose made no mistake in converting the spot kick, sending the keeper the wrong way, for his fourth goal of the season.
Conrad Logan, who’d taken a lot of stick over the past two weeks, went some way to silencing the critics with a splendid save to deny the hosts a way back into the game on 19 minutes.
Four minutes later the Stags were dumbfounded as to how they didn’t score as a beautiful move saw Rose latch onto White’s crisp pass, Rose then found Maynard who in turn found Benning, sadly the wing-back failed to convert at the last second.
Logan then denied Long from long range before Rose proved again clinical from 12 yards on the half-hour, after Kellan Gordan was fouled in the area – Danny Rose netting with ease, again sending the keeper the wrong way to equal the amount of goals he scored in all competitions last season. Five shots on Target, Five goals. What a guy.
Rose was on fire and covering every blade of grass and with five minutes to go before the break was fouled earning the Stags a free-kick, Otis Khan stepped up and rattled the crossbar – had that gone in, the three points surly would have been in the bag.
Mansfield went into the dressing room at half-time 2-0 up and looked certain to take victory, efforts from Benning and Rose tested the water after the restart but a third goal wouldn’t quite come and as time ticked on, Mansfield looked frighteningly bad, being pushed back and allowing themselves to arrogantly think the game was won.
Orient had other ideas and pulled one back on 64 minutes from a corner, won after a howler from Logan – who came to collect a routine cross and let it squirm through his grasp and go out for a corner, from which the Stags failed to track the runners and deservedly conceded.
Orient had the advantage and momentum and to be honest, there’s little point detailing the remainder of the game here as everyone could sense they’d get back in the game – the leveller came with 12 minutes to go, as old face Lee Angol tucked the ball beneath the legs of Logan, before the real killer blow in the sixth minute of six added minutes, a goal mouth scramble in front of the travelling support, saw them convert and snatch all three points, against at that point, the simply atrocious Mansfield Town FC.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 2-3 Leyton Orient | Attendance 4,128 (326)
STAGS: [3-4-1-2] Conrad Logan | Hayden White (James Clarke 90+1), Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney | Kellan Gordon, Alex MacDonald, Willem Tomlinson, Mal Benning | Otis Khan (Alistair Smith 68) | Danny Rose, Nicky Maynard (CJ Hamilton 74) Unused Subs: Aidan Stone, Omari Sterling-James, Jason Law, Lewis Gibbens
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