EFL Trophy Group E Game 1/3, Tuesday 8th September 2020, The One Call Stadium [Behind Closed Doors
With the new Sky Bet League Two season edging closer, Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan had one last opportunity to get minutes into players’ legs – in what many saw as a “competitive friendly” against Manchester City’s under 21s side.
The first of three group games in this season’s EFL Trophy saw the Stags on the wrong end of a 3-0 score line, and whilst many will be disappointed and slightly worried by the full time result – I actually believe the scoreline doesn’t reflect our performance and the progress we’ve made.
Mansfield lined up with a few younger players but it was still a solid side and one which competed throughout, putting together some good moves but being undone by a simple move of pace and flare to be a goal down at the break.
For my money, Mansfield controlled the second half and looked like they were going to draw level and take the games to “bonus point penalties” but were denied by a string of strong saves from the young City keeper.
Concerns were raised as we gave two very cheap and very easy goals away in the final two minutes of the match – we have to be stronger, we have to switch on and we have to keep pushing, the two errors, no MISTAKES, completely changed the match and left a very sour taste.
With the season just around the corner though I’m determined to take the positives from the match and head into Saturday with some zest and hope! That comes from the emergence of the next generation in Tyrese Sinclair, who had a very comfortable game and impressed throughout – for me, I’d be putting his name on the team sheet for Saturday right now in big, bold, letters.
Aaron O’Driscoll too had a decent game, there was one moment in the second half where he sold a very short back pass to Stech which nearly landed us in trouble – but aside from that I felt he did very well in the middle of the back three and again, would be on my team sheet for Saturday.
Finally, Ollie Clarke had a very good game running the midfield – he scored a belter on Saturday in the non-streamed game at Burnley and was unlucky not to score. He certainly gave us something we’ve missed for a long while and to be fair, that was evident after the hour mark when he was subbed – presumably to be ready for Saturday.
In reality the result is a nothing – yes it would have been nice to win and go into Saturday with a zip, but we came through it without injury having played some good football at times, but also having been punished without any real damage done.
Is it Saturday yet?!
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Marek Stech | Rollin Menayese, Aaron O’Driscoll, Ryan Sweeney | Corey O’Keeffe, Ollie Clarke © [Kellan Gordon 60], Alistair Smith, Mal Benning | Tyrese Sinclair | Jamie Reid [Jimmy Knowles 83], Nicky Maynard [Josh Scott 60]
Unused Subs: Aidan Stone, James Clarke, Aidan Walker, Jason Law
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