It was a fair result, albeit frustrating for the Stags having led for half an hour.
The two goals were worth the entrance money alone. Mansfield’s goal came after an outstanding piece of play by Matt Green on the left touchline, leaving two defenders for dead with a wonderful turn, and squaring for Mitch Rose to side-foot home from eight yards, his second goal in 4 days, after also scoring against Blackburn in the League Cup.
Cheltenham’s equaliser was even better as centre half Dan O’Shaughnessy fired in a thunderous drive from 30 yards that moved in the air and beat Scott Shearer.
I mentioned during full match commentary on StagsPlayerHD that it reminded me of George Foster’s goal in the Freight Rover Trophy Northern Area Final against Wigan in the 1980’s.
It would be easy to criticise Shearer for being beaten from 30 yards, but I think movement in the air makes it difficult for a keeper.
Perhaps more open to criticism was Mitch Rose who allowed the scorer to shimmy past him a bit too easily before shooting.
Nevertheless Mitch Rose was my man of the match, as several pieces of good play caught the eye. Shearer himself had earlier made one superb save in the first half, tipping away a header from Harry Pell that looked destined for the net.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Matt Green, despite him having a very good game and setting up the goal, as he was denied by Cheltenham keeper Griffiths on several occasions.
Green’s strike partner Danny Rose was substituted by Murray with the Stags leading 1-0 but having just been booked.
Danny Rose was replaced by a midfielder, Ashley Hemmings, as Mansfield switched to one up front. Whether Murray was influenced by the yellow card for Danny Rose is hard to say. However, Mansfield are badly missing the injured Pat Hoban, who I think would probably have come on to hold the ball up front.
Murray clearly considers Darius Henderson not match fit enough for 20 minutes yet, though he did come on for the final few minutes.
After Cheltenham had equalised, it was they who came closer to winning it with Lee Collins doing well to block a shot and big striker Danny Wright scuffing the rebound wide of a more or less empty net late in stoppage time.
The Stags’ new look central defensive partnership impressed, with Kyle Howkins making a number of good headed clearances, and George Taft also looking very solid and earning the sponsors’ man of the match award.
Overall, Mansfield weren’t at their best, but Cheltenham looked a decent side, who ought to finish at least in mid-table. So should Mansfield based on what we’ve seen so far.
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