Craig Priest writes…
All the warning signs were there, but frankly ignored. All the questions were there, but Mansfield just swerved giving an answer, thinking winging it would be enough – it wasn’t and isn’t.
A 2-2 draw against what the league table suggests is a struggling Chesterfield is far from good enough, and actually completely undeserved.
Mansfield had improved and started to click but failed to show any desire to play in a midweek run out at Rainworth let alone a local derby, during the first half that’s slightly unfair as they created a plethora of chances – but the second half in particular Chesterfield could have run up a Cricket Score and were by far the better team, that’s the luckiest point we will earn all season.
The Stags allowed Chesterfield far too much of the ball and completely disrespected their neighbours, I know a few will shoot arrows at me for saying this but Chesterfield were the better team and whilst they’ve turned their form around of late, they were bottom for a reason – and when you have no hunger, no clinical touch and no zest against a side in their position, regardless of if it’s a rival or not – I find that far from acceptable.
The form book naturally goes out of the window on Derby Day and it was lovely to have extra faces in the crowd and a bit more noise, but to not step up to that I find disheartening – it was like playing Shaw Lane again in some respects, all the pressure was on us and we cracked like a nut in a vice.
Fortunately, Zander Diamond’s later goal straight from the training ground rescued us – in a similar way to what it did in midweek against Port Vale when we we’re massively below par, we have to now kick on and start to use the entirety of our squad if we are to push on into December which see’s many a tricky fixture – I guess we’ll see whose left standing in the end.
As for yesterday, I think it answered some questions over certain departments – we’ve a break now over the next week with a friendly at Clipstone, FA Cup showdown with Cox and Murray and a Checkatrade Trip to the seaside – I’ve no doubt every player will be used during that period, basically if I were Steve Evans, I’d be saying – do what you failed to do against Chesterfield, get out there, stand up and be counted, or pack your bags.
The Coal train is still chugging along, but it has no room for those not willing to push it up the hills.
Steve Evans made two changes from the side which beat Port Vale 4-0 in midweek, Jacob Mellis returned to the midfield for Anderson whilst in-form Kane Hemmings missed out through a calf strain, meaning a start for Omari Sterling-James.
The Stags started well and in the third minute, won a free kick as Rose was tripped by Hird, the ball deflected out to Hamilton who delivered a teasing cross, which former Lincoln Man Joe Anyon palmed out, the ball fell to Rhys Bennet who, with his back to goal, could only loft the ball high and over.
Two minutes later Sterling-James outpaced his man and drilled a right sided cross in for Rose who was whiskers away from connecting, Referee Andy Woolmer turned down appeals for a Stags spot-kick as MacDonald went to ground whilst Jacob Mellis also sawa grass cutter from range held by Anyon – all inside the opening 10 minutes.
Sterling-James and Mellis both tested the water before Chesterfield opened the scoring in the 14th minute, a move you could see finishing in a goal as Joe Rowley made a fine run to connect with a cross, cut onto his left foot and curl beyond Logan.
Two minutes from the restart Alex MacDonald saw a shot headed over by Binnom-Williams, before Sterling-James again picked out Rose – the Stags leading scorer unmarked and out-stretched at the far post from the right sided zipping-cross, but again couldn’t connect.
On 26 Minutes, Hayden White got into the hall of fame with his first goal of the season – levelling things up. Initially it was he who lost the ball on the half way line, but after somehow winning the ball back – a neat give and go saw White advance onto Sterling-James’ assist, sit Anyon on his back side and fire into the back of the net – which at that point, was nothing short of what Mansfield deserved.
The visitors had the chance to re-gain their lead on the stroke of half-time as Kellett lined one up from 20 yards, but saw his set play land wide of Logan’s post.
After the break, Mansfield had dropped off the boil and Chesterfield began to stamp their authority on the match – Kristian Dennis’ 25 yard effort rattled the bar on 48 minutes, before Logan had to get low to keep out Reed’s swirling effort on 53 minutes.
Five minutes later, the visitors were back in front as Dennis provided the assist in front of the visiting support – his lofted cross looped over Logan, allowing Kellett to nod the ball across the line as Stags loved all over the place.
Logan then had to deny Chesterfield a third as Dennis pounced on a loose ball and hammered a fierce shot towards goal on 65 minutes.
Mansfield introduced Alfie Potter, Jimmy Spencer and Will Atkinson to the action to try and relight the fire and were finally rewarded with two minutes to go, Atkinson picked out the tenacious MacDonald who, after a give and go with Sterling-James whipped in the cross, which Zander Diamond was first too, nodding home his fourth goal of the season in all competitions.
Four minutes of added time following during which the relatively quiet Rose vollied over as Stags tried to nick it, Alfie Potter also went on a wild run into the box, but fired over as the sides shared the spoils.
FULL TIME: Stags 2-2 Chesterfield
Hayden White – Zander Diamond © - Rhys Bennett – Johnny Hunt
Alex MacDonald – Joel Byrom (Jimmy Spencer 72) – Jacob Mellis (Will Atkinson 69) – CJ Hamilton (Alfie Potter 65)
Danny Rose – Omari Sterling-James
Unused Substitutes: Bobby Oljenik, Krystian Pearce, Paul Anderson, Claum Butcher
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Attendance: 7,525 (1,646)
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