Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Mansfield Town 1 v Gateshead 0 - Central League, League Cup Group B

Wednesday 3rd October 2012
at Field Mill/the One Call Stadium
Central League, League Cup
Mansfield Town (1) 1
Ben Hutchinson 42
Gateshead (0) 0
Admission £3, Attendance 98
Mansfield Town:
Liam Mitchell, Lee Beevers, Andy Owens, Solomon Taiwo, Ryan Tafazolli, Luke Jones (Michael Boateng 55), Louis Briscoe, Andy Todd, (Lee Stevenson HT), Ben Hutchinson, Matt Green (Matt Rhead HT), Chris Clements
Unused Subs - Jake Green, Scott Rogers, Jobe Shaw
Jordan Nixon, Glenn Wilson, Lewis Galpin, Jack Lilley, Lance McGlen, Luke Carr, James Marwood, David Luke, Nathan Fisher, James Brown, Jamie Barton
Subs - Lee Mole Michael Roberts, Peter Ravenhill, Michael Sweet, Callum Patton
The Stags reserve side, could have and probably should have, won this game by a more convincing margin. But some of the final balls in and around the Gateshead area, demonstrated why several players had been given a run out tonight to increase their sharpness for when they're ready to return to first team action.
A win is a win, but primarily, reserve team games are more about, giving fringe players and youngsters a chance to shine, providing valuable match time for first teamers coming back from injury and suspension ... and tonight ... the manager gets an opportunity to run the rule over a couple of potential signings, including Solomom Taiwo, who has been attracting the attention of scouts from a couple of other clubs, who were both present at the game tonight.
For the record, Taiwo played an absolute blinder and based on the evidence of tonight's performance, he will hopefully be signing for the Stags soon, because I would imagine a player of that calibre will have several other irons in the fire and plenty of other teams will be pursuing him, since he was released by Championship side Cardiff City.
Michael Boateng put in a solid performance when he came on in the 55th minute too.
Liam Mitchell, on loan from Notts County, put in a steady enough performance in goal, exuding confidence and showing excellent positional awareness whenever Gateshead did manage to get off the back foot and make any in roads into Stags territory.
Though they were mostly limited to long range efforts.
Chris Clements put in a great shift for the Stags and it was fitting that he was involved in the winning goal, scored shortly before half time.
Andy Todd went down under a foul out on the left wing and Clements delivered a dangerous looking free kick into the mix. Matt Green couldn't quite get a decisive touch on it, but neither could the Gateshead defenders and when the visitors keeper Jordan Nixon could only get a weak punch on the ball, it fell for Ben Hutchinson, who coolly slotted it home through packed box and into the back of the net.
It's been a meteoric rise for Hutchinson of late.
He had been plying his trade at an also ran SPL club called Glasgow Celtic, but he's now getting on the score sheet with the mighty Stags. It's been a dramatic upturn in fortunes for Ben and then some, as I'm sure the Celtic fan who was watching the game with me will agree :-p
Lee Stevenson and Matt Rhead came on in place of Andy Todd and Matt Green at half time.
For some reason the referee appeared to have it in for Matt Rhead from the off and seemed to be inventing reasons to pull up the big front-man at times, but he battled gamely on.
At the other end, Liam Mitchell showed his shot stopping capabilities as Nathan Fisher unleashed a full bodied low shot at the Stags goal.
Briefly it looked as though the home side might regret missing a succession of chances as Gateshead rallied, but their revival was short lived.
Michael Boateng came on after 55 minutes in place of Luke Jones and immediately impressed the sparse crowd at Field Mill/the One Call Stadium.
Chris Clements, the dead ball specialist in the Mansfield armoury, flighted a corner into the six yard box that was half cleared by a defender but fell to Michael Boateng who crashed a header against Dixon's crossbar. From the rebound the ball came back to Hutchinson, but he placed the ball narrowly wide from a close range header ... obviously a Celtic trait that he'll iron out of his game now that he's at a much bigger and better club.
Gateshead rallied again late on, knowing that although the hosts had been on top for most of the game, it was still only 1-0 and the game could still go either way and the Stags rearguard along with Louis Briscoe, tracking back to make an incisive saving tackle, found themselves up against it for a while.
But the last action of the game saw the Stags looking for the goal that would've made their win more secure. Lee Stevenson was fouled outside the box, but Louis Briscoe couldn't quite get enough purchase behind the ball and his free kick was saved quite easily by Jordan Nixon.
Ah well, Briscoe had just made a great tackle to prevent the visitors from equalising, so I'll let him off ;-)
Man of the match: A joint choice for me between Solomon Taiwo and Chris Clements, who both played really well. 
Next Up: Thursday 4th October - Retford United U19 v Mansfield Town youth team, 7.30pm kick off, at Cannon Park, Leverton Rd, Retford, Notts, DN22 8QF. 
Programmes available, Admission only £1