Monday, 1 January 2018

Mansfield Town 3 v Carlisle United 1 - EFL League 2

Monday 1st January 2018
SkyBet EFL League 2
at Field Mill/ One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town (2) 3
Kane Hemmings 9, 75
Rhys Bennett 31
Carlisle United (0) 1
Jamie Devitt 67 pen
Attendance 3,632 (inc. 320 away)
Last season, Carlisle inflicted a 5-2 defeat on the Stags at Brunton Park, but goals from Matt Green and Shaq Coulthirst gave Mansfield a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture at Field Mill.
The previous meeting between these two sides, back in September, yielded a 1-1 draw, when Hallam Hope opened the scoring for the former Mansfield player and manager Keith Curle's side, before Calum Butcher netted the equaliser with a long range strike, after Kane Hemmings had missed a penalty.
Moving swiftly on to this year... following a narrow win against struggling Morecambe in their previous home game (they all count), the Stags picked up four points on their travels from a hard fought draw at Grimsby Town on Boxing Day and an apparently 'heroic' win at Adams Park against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday afternoon,
where they picked up a maximum three points in spite of losing Zander Diamond and Danny Rose in the first half through injury (subsequently neither of them were available for selection today) and going a goal behind after just seven minutes when Adebayo Akinfenwa scored for the Chairboys.
Meanwhile, over the course of their three holiday season fixtures prior to their visit to Mansfield, Carlisle United had won 1-0 at Forest Green Rovers and 3-1 at home against Accrington Stanley, but lost 1-0 to Coventry City in their final home game of 2017; meaning that the Cumbrians went into today's game six points behind the Stags, who were one of four teams on forty points, along with Wycombe, Accrington and Colchester United, who all started this afternoon just three points away from an automatic promotion spot... and so the scene was set.
Mansfield Town:
Conrad Logan, Rhys Bennett, Mal Benning, Krystian Pearce (C), Alex MacDonald, Jacob Mellis (Will Atkinson 83), Lee Angol (Jack Thomas 88), Paul Anderson, Alfie Potter (Hayden White 79), CJ Hamilton, Kane Hemmings
Unused subs - Bobby Olejnik (GK), Paul Omari Digby, Sterling-James, Calum Butcher
Carlisle United:
Jack Bonham, Tom Miller, Danny Grainger (C) (Hallam Hope 45), Gary Liddle, Tom Parkes, Mike Jones, Jamie Devitt, Sam Cosgrove, Reggie Lambe (John O'Sullivan 80), Shaun Miller (Richie Bennett 45), Clint Hill
Unused subs - Morgan Bacon (GK), Samir Nabi, Mark Ellis, James Brown
Danny Grainger showed what a generous soul he is, when he gift wrapped a late Xmas present for Kane Hemmings in the ninth minute, in the shape of a woefully under-hit back pass to his keeper Jack Bonham, who was stranded in no mans land and Hemmings reached the ball first and took it round the visitors number one, before rolling the ball into an unguarded net.
Not wanting to feel left out from the goodwill to all men vibe, Carlisle's right back Tom Miller delivered the Stags yet another present when he made a complete mess of clearing Alex MacDonald's deep cross from the right, allowing Hemmings to retrieve a lost cause and nudge the ball forward to CJ Hamilton who turned the ball inside for Lee Angol who flicked the ball over Bonham with a deft touch, and though the visitors keeper got a slight touch on it with his fingertips Rhys Bennett had arrived in the nick of time at the back stick to add the finishing touch from close range.
Sitting on a comfortable two goal lead at the interval, the Stags would be aware that the visitors would be looking to get back into the game as soon as possible after the restart, especially when Keith Curle made a double substitution at half time sending on Richie Bennett and the impressive Hallam Hope, who to my way of thinking is one player who would be an asset to any promotion chasing team... especially Mansfield Town.
But it was the home side who made all of the early running and Bonham had to be alert to prevent Hamilton from giving the Stags a three goal cushion.
But in the sixty seventh minute the Cumbrians halved the deficit when Jamie Devitt spanked the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Conrad Logan's net from the penalty spot.
Debate over whether Carlisle should have had a penalty or not, is open to conjecture. But the match referee Darren Drysdale thought that a foul had been committed (personally I didn't) and no amount of pontificating about it until the cows come home is going to change anything.
Richie Bennett had burst into the Stags area through the left channel and took the ball past Logan and then went to ground. I reckon that having worked his way into a good position, he had let the ball get away from him as he passed the Stags keeper and went down theatrically to save face. But it's all about opinions innit? And regardless of whether there was any real contact or not, I wouldn't have batted an eyelid if Mansfield had been awarded a spot kick for a similar incident at the other end.
Besides which, any victory always tastes that little bit sweeter after you've suffered from a perceived injustice.
The drama continue to unfold, when the visitors should've drawn level, but didn't. Hope's left wing cross picked out Sam Cosgrove who got his head to the ball and turned it against the upright and saw it rebound to (R) Bennett who, with the goal at his mercy, and yards of space to operate in, crashed his shot against the bar.
The pantomime baddie had come unstuck and ended up with a great big custard pie in his face (Conrad Logan keeps one with his water bottle and spare gloves for if such an occasion should ever arise, or in case he feels peckish during a break in the action) and the crowd gleefully lapped up a moment of pure theatre. And less than two minutes later, Hemmings got in between Bonham and Miller to reach Alfie Potter's low delivery from the right and steered the ball into the back of the net.
Late in the game Bonham denied Hemmings a hat trick with a reflex save to his right from yet another quality ball from MacDonald.
FT: Mansfield Town 3 v Carlisle United 1
Mansfield travel to Cardiff City in the FA Cup on Saturday, which will of course, pitch their managerial team against the equally outspoken Neil Warnock on the touchline, that particular 'entertainment' might be worth the price of admission on it's own. Not that I'm condoning such behaviour and potty mouth language you understand.
The win today sees the Stags climb to sixth in the table, one point away from the automatic promotion places. For the benefit of those of you who haven't been paying attention, Mansfield Town have now lost just once in their last eighteen competitive games... just saying.