Mansfield Musings blog: Stags cannot keep making basic errors and expect to pick up points

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There was no Easter resurrection for the Stags as they succumbed to a third successive defeat at the hands of promotion-chasing Southend.

It was a pretty even game in terms of possession and creating chances.

The two main differences were the quality of defences on display, as former Stag Adam Barrett and early sub Cian Bolger stood firm, and the ability of the Southend attackers to turn pressure into shots on target, which the Stags could not manage all afternoon.

The Stags started solidly and were playing some decent stuff without penetrating the hosts defence.

An incident which I have not heard mentioned much came from a Southend corner on 12 minutes. The ball was whipped from the right to the near post. Ravenhill rose to head the all clear and was poleaxed by the elbow of Barry Corr, who also went down holding his head. It was in the assistant referee’s line of vision, but nothing was awarded. Not even a talking to for Corr. If the referee had seen it surely would have been at least a booking.

The Stags continued to compete well, but were punished clinically by Corr on 21 minutes. Timlin picked out a great pass to Corr on the left side of the area, who had given Beevers the slip. Corr had time to control the pass, pick his head up and confidently dink the ball over Pidgeley and into the roof of the net. A terrible mistake by Clements and poor marking by Beevers.

The problem Murray has in punishing Clements is that if he is advocating a passing style of play, you cannot be too harsh of players when they give the ball away, as it is bound to happen at this level. Clements probably tried to be clever after having his confidence boosted by an excellent piece of skill moments earlier.

Southend now had the sea wind in their sails and were 2-0 up on 28 minutes. I have been impressed by Ryan Leonard every time I have seen him play. After Corr beat Sutton in the air, he hit a powerful shot from just outside the area.

It was parried by Pidgeley straight into the path of Will Atkinson, who had the enviable task of slotting the ball into the net.

Pidgeley will not be happy that he deflected the ball straight back out in from of his own goal rather than pushing it wide. Another error from the on loan Newport man.

The Stags now had a mountain climb despite not playing that badly. Oliver should have equalised from a corner, but he volleyed the ball into the upper tier of the stand behind the goal.

It has now been ten games since Oliver scored a goal, 732 regulation minutes of playing time.

Mansfield came closest to scoring on 66 minutes when Bingham and Clements both had chances.

Oliver was replaced on 73 minutes by Matt Rhead, indicating the Stags would be taking a more direct approach in the last 20 minutes.

Oliver had done ok, but no better than that.

The Stags playied really well in the closing stages now and Lambe was inches away from latching on to a clever touch by Bingham.

But at the final whistle Stags were undone by two errors and some poor finishing.

I came away from the game thinking the Stags had been a bit unlucky, but you just cannot keep making such basic errors and expect to pick up points.

Results elsewhere meant the gap to the relegation zone has been cut to six points with Shrewsbury visiting on Monday.

Former favourite Liam Lawrence will be part of the second placed visitors and will be sure to get a heroes welcome.

He is probably in my top three favourite players I have seen play for the Stags, with Chris Greenacre and Richie Barker.

For the game on Monday, I do not think their is any need for wholesale changes.

I would bring Rhead and Bingham in for Heslop and Oliver and play with two up front. The two combined well in the last 20 minutes on Friday.

If the Stags can perform as they did and cut out the silly mistakes they may be able to get something from the game.