REPORT: Bristol Rovers 0-0 Mansfield Town - Stags are held in frustrating stalemate

Mansfield Town missed a glorious chance to pile the pressure on the automatic League Two promotion spots.

By Stags Reporter
Saturday, 12th February 2022, 5:02 pm
Updated Saturday, 12th February 2022, 5:14 pm
Mansfield Town forward Lucas Akins during the Sky Bet League Two match against Bristol Rovers FC at the Memorial Stadium. Photo credit : Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media
Mansfield Town forward Lucas Akins during the Sky Bet League Two match against Bristol Rovers FC at the Memorial Stadium. Photo credit : Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media

The Stags extended their impressive unbeaten run to 11 games, but were frustrated as they were held to a goalless draw at the MEM.

Four out of the five teams above Nigel Clough’s side failed to pick up maximum points on a coupon-busting weekend.

Mansfield are three points off third-placed Northampton Town, with a game in hand, and three points above the play-off chasing pack.

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Manager Clough rotated his side after their midweek win against Colchester United with three changes.

Newcastle United’s Matty Longstaff made his hotly-anticipated full debut for the Stags.

Jordan Bowery and Ollie Clarke also returned to the starting line-up for the trip down south.

The Stags started brightly and Longstaff had an early sight at goal with a long-range effort straight at James Belshaw.

Deadline-day signing Jamie Murphy fired over the bar after knocking the ball down inside the box.

Down the other end, James Connolly nodded Paul Coutts’ teasing cross wide of the mark as the first half ended goalless.

After the break, Sam Nicholson came close to blasting the hosts in front as he strike flew just past the post.

Rovers’ stopper Belshaw produced save either side of the hour to keep the game level.

First he denied captain Clarke from scoring against his old club, before keeping out Longstaff’s strike.

Joey Barton and his Rovers side were left incensed when referee John Bushby waved away huge shouts for a penalty.

Aaron Collins went down inside the box and to make matters worse he was controversially booked for diving.

Both sides huffed and puffed but failed to unlock the door as both sides cancelled each other out.

Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Hoole, Connolly, Taylor, Anderton, Coutts, Finley, Nicholson, Anderson, Anderson (Saunders, 88), Collins.

Unused subs: Jaakkola, Spence, Harries, Whelan, Martinez, Thomas.

Mansfield: Bishop, Hewitt, Hawkins, O’Toole, Akins, Longstaff, Clarke, Quinn (Maris, 66), Murphy (Stirk, 90), Oates (Johnson, 71), Bowery.

Unused subs: Stech, Law, Rawson, Wallace.

Referee: John Bushby