Full Time Score Mansfield Town 0-1 Yeovil Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) /
Attendance 4,374 (132)
Craig Priest writes…
They say that when you fall, it’s not about the fact you’ve fallen or indeed why, but it’s all about how you respond, Mansfield Town took defeat last weekend hard and put in a below par performance, falling to their second loss on the spin at the hands of relegation threatened Yeovil.
Mansfield were absolutely woeful throughout and showed absolutely nothing of the fight and spirit which has carried them into the top six, and if truth be told deserved to be beaten for the third time this season – hopefully the loss can be used as a wakeup call and an injection of life can be made to prevent the Stags’ hard work starting to crumble.
I’ve absolutey loved the way Flitcroft has got the Stags playing with the 3-4-1-2 system, but like I’ve been saying for weeks, teams have us figured out and are starting to find ways to not only stop us from playing – but also punishing us.
There’s no reason why we can’t play the same fluid football and playing out from the back, but just tightening up what’s becoming a complacent back line and one which has started to become unstable since the injury to Bobby Olejnik, achieved by dropping to a back four in a 4-2-3-1 which worked well (bar the one with the numerical disadvantage) to get us back in the game at Carlisle.
It was perhaps risky to play Jordan Smith having only arrived on loan from Nottingham Forest on Thursday afternoon ahead of Logan, however he’s more of a ball playing keeper (despite appearances with nervy kicks) than Logan which will suit us more longer term.
The Stags have been a unit who have fought for the fans and each-other over the season so far and mustn’t lose sight of that through what is inevitably a rough patch of form, the saving grace is that the next game comes quickly in the form of Crawley on Tuesday – a game we need to win to keep the niggling doubts at bay.
I believe this week is going to be key to our season, we need to get some reinforcements into the building in terms of fire power, yes the visiting keeper made a stunning save and we had a goal disallowed, but we really did lack conviction in the final third – whilst in midfield we lacked leadership with Bishop suspended, although I felt Atkinson was excellent and wrongly taken off.
We move on, again, quickly.
David Flitcroft made three changes from last weekend’s loss, one enforced as Atkinson replaced the suspended Bishop – Otis Khan made his first start in the league since October replacing Elsnik, whilst new signing Jordan Smith replaced Logan in goal, having joined on loan until the end of the season from Nottingham Forest.
Mansfield made a slow start and new boy Smith had hearts in mouths early with a miss-cued clearance which fortunately didn’t lead to any danger, whilst Pearce gave away a free kick on the egde of the box – which fortunately didn’t test Smith.
On 18 minutes the Stags came alive as CJ Hamilton was denied at the near post, before Mal Benning blasted over the rebound in the Stags best move of the game thus far, a minute later disaster struck however as Yeovil countered, as Dickenson sent Jordan Green racing through – tucking the ball beyond Smith.
Hamilton hit one over the bar before Walker forced Baxter into a smart save as Mansfield looked for a way back into the game – Mellis also stung the palms of Baxter with a long range effort before right on the stoke of half-time, Smith kept Mansfield in the game, as Yeovil hit a long range set-play towards the Stags goal.
Otis Khan was replaced by Rose at the break and was involved in a goal mouth scramble on 58 minutes, Sweeney the last to connect – hitting wide of the mark.
On 56 Smith had to come to the rescue as he denied Green a second goal before his opposite number Baxter had to be alert moments later to prevent an own goal.
Will Atkinson made way on 63 minutes for Elsnik who was involved straight away as he saw a powerful drive blocked, fellow sub Jordan Graham was then denied on the follow up.
Mansfield were denied a goal on 72 when Rose was denied by Baxter, Walkers follow up which found the net flagged offside – the Stags had further efforts through Walker, Rose and Elsnik but couldn’t find a way through, Matt Preston added the misery complier late on, dismissed for a terrible lunge, fortunately NOT a straight red however meaning he’ll only miss Tuesday’s pivotal game with Crawley.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 0-1 Yeovil Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: [#14] Jordan Smith, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, Hayden White (Jordan Graham 58), Jacob Mellis, Will Atkinson (Timi Elsnik 63), Mal Benning, Otos Khan (Danny Rose HT), Tyler Walker, CJ Hamilton
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Calum Butcher, Jason Law, Alistar Smith
Referee: Carl Boyeson
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