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Match Reports

Report: Stags 0-1 Plymouth Argyle

28 September 2019

Despite a strong second-half performance, Mansfield Town were condemned to a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Plymouth Argyle.

Conor Grant broke the deadlock with a fantastic strike from distance following a fruitful opening period for the hosts.

And while they spent the remaining minutes chasing an equaliser, unfortunately it never came worth as Plymouth took all three points home.

There was just the one change made by boss John Dempster as Alex MacDonald came in for Hayden White.

The defender had been admitted to hospital for serious stomach cramps and could therefore play no part in Saturday’s affair.

An early chance fell the way of the Stags following some neat link-up play between the front three.

Otis Khan shifted possession towards Danny Rose, who then sent through CJ Hamilton – a heavy touch letting the frontman down when it mattered most.

Mansfield continued to press for the opener, showcasing some crisp passages of play on a somewhat difficult, greasy surface.

Alex MacDonald’s long throw then caused momentary confusion before the visiting side were able to hoist clear.

However, in the 13th minute, Plymouth took an early lead in sublime fashion.

An unstoppable, long-range strike from Grant found the top corner from 25 yards to halt the Stags’ positive start on home soil.

The home side regrouped and sought to get back on level terms as quickly as possible.

Kellan Gordon’s curler from the edge of the area was blocked by a green shirt before Hamilton was deemed offside as he looked to peel away from the Pilgrims’ last man.

The number 22 was then chopped down on the turn and Mansfield were awarded their first dangerously-positioned free-kick.

Khan placed the ball down but his subsequent effort would not come down underneath the bar.

A fine standing challenge from Conor Shaughnessy – moved to the right of a back-three – then denied Joel Grant an effort against Conrad Logan.

Similarly to his first earlier in the half, Gordon looked for his second in a Stags shirt but could only fire in the midriff of Alex Palmer.

George Cooper had an eye-catching chance to send his side two-clear just before the interval, although his header was glanced off-target.

Instantly, down the other end, Gordon’s cross was intercepted as it looked to make its way towards Khan lurking in the middle.

It meant the visitors took a slender advantage into the changing rooms at half time.

Dempster’s men emerged from the tunnel with an evident willingness to restore parity.

Rose aimed one towards far post, but it took a hefty deflection before looping onto the roof of Palmer’s net.

The Greens had to withstand consistent pressure at the outset of the second period with the home side threatening to find an equaliser.

However, Danny Mayor offered his side momentary relief when skipping past several challenges – before his eventual pass was crucially intercepted by Mal Benning.

The ante had been raised even further when Khan’s blocked effort fell towards the onrushing Neal Bishop, who also found a green and white jersey in the way of his powerful drive.

Soon after, Gordon then rifled an effort that required a smart save from Palmer to the delight of the home fans inside One Call Stadium.

The skipper, Krystian Pearce, was then thwarted by a fine, sprawling save by Palmer from point blank range only for the referee to blow for an infringement.

Substitute Andy Cook had a brilliant chance to level proceedings, yet was unable to find a way past Palmer who had stepped out to narrow the angle.

And with eight minutes remaining, the Stags had only one task: find an equaliser.

Gordon twice had an opportunity to deliver from the right side but neither fell to a man in amber and blue.

And despite a spirited final few moments, the Stags were condemned to defeat.

Mansfield’s next outing takes place on Saturday as they travel Blundell Park to take on Grismby Town in Sky Bet League Two.

STAGS XI: Logan (GK), Benning, Pearce ©, Bishop, MacDonald, Khan (Maynard 81’), Shaughnessy (Cook 77’), Sweeney, Gordon, Hamilton (Afolayan 66’), Rose.

UNUSED SUBS: Stone (GK), Mellis, Tomlinson, Smith.  

PLYMOUTH XI: Palmer (GK), Sawyer ©, Aimson, Wootton, Sarcevic, Edwards, Mayor (Lolos 71’), C. Grant, J. Grant (Riley 79’), McFadzean, Cooper (Taylor 66’).  

UNUSED SUBS: Cooper (GK), Canavan, Randell, J. Grant.

REFEREE: Anthony Backhouse

ASSISTANTS: Billy Smallwood & David Avent


ATTENDANCE: 4,499 (550)

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