D3D4 Correspondents give their take on the 1st Round of the League Cup…
Mansfield Town 0-1 Rochdale
Mansfield Town exited the league cup on a wet Tuesday night courtesy of a Callum Camps wonder goal in the first half. Their was 6 changes from the side that drew against Crewe Alexandra with the likes of Oljenik, Bennett, Pearce, Digby and Sterling James.
There were plenty of chances for the Stags to progress through to the next round of the cup but it wasn’t enough for Steve Evans men. The first half saw Anderson (captain for the match) with a fine shot just outside the box, that had the keeper beaten all ends up but his shot could only find the woodwork. Dale then took the lead when from a resulting corner the ball got cleared out to Callum Camps whose shot ended up in the top corner, leaving Oljenik no chance. Shortly afterwards the Stags nearly equalised, when Spencer intercepted a pass from Dales defence towards goal, which saw his shot just wide of the keepers goal.
Mansfield kept on pushing for that elusive equaliser but they had to withstand pressure from the league one side, who tested the former Exeter City man, hoping to impress the gaffer. As the half progressed the Stags grew into the game by playing good attacking football but couldn’t find a way past the Dale keeper. The second half started quickly with good work from Atkinson down the wing, who cut back to see his shot hit the side netting. Rochdale also came close when a cross got whipped in and hitting the bar, much to the delight of Stag fans. Sterling James also looked a dangerous threat going forward, causing Dales defenders problems by cutting inside and out pacing the on rushing defenders. Benning also had a chance from outside the box, with the cries of “shoot” from Stag fans (including myself) only to see his effort go high above the net.
The Stags were huffing and puffing and was awarded a penalty when Rose was tripped inside the box, up he stepped to take the penalty, hoping it would be the equaliser to get the Stags back into the game only to see his shot well saved by the Dale keeper to keep the scoring 1-0. Evans also introduced CJ Hamilton and Alfie Potter respectively to try and have an impact on the game. Sterling James also had half a chance to score when his half volley shot when wide across goal, much to frustration of the Stag fans. In the dying seconds of the game Evans sended Oljenik forward with a last roll of the dice by ordering him up for the corner, only for it to be cleared away and end of preceding. It was a frustrating night, knowing we could have easily have won the game with the amount of chances we created in the match but the positive thing, for me to have come for tonight’s defeat was Sterling James performance, as I mentioned above he looked a threat every time he went forward, skilful and hungry for improving. On another night we would have easily have won but comfortably 3-1 but football can be a cruel game to us all. Onwards and Upwards UP THE STAGS !!!!
Words Mark Plumb, Mansfield Town fan!
Rotherham United 2-1 Lincoln City
Back to the club I follow Rotherham United for their Carabao Cup (League Cup) 1st Round tie against last season’s National League Champions & FA Cup quarter finalists Lincoln City at a rain drenched New York Stadium.
It was Lincoln’s first ever visit to NYS & they started the game in confident mood without unduly troubling the Millers defence. Rotherham started to make inroads into the Imps defence after a slow start & Lincoln were indebted to josh Vickers, their debutant loanee keeper with smart saves from Millers strikers Kieffer Moore & Jamie Proctor.
It was Proctor who gave Rotherham the lead on 39 minutes firing home a sweet strike from the edge of the area. Lincoln almost equalised within a minute but Millers keeper Richard O’Donnell made a superb save from a Sean Raggett header but it was Rotherham who went into the break 1-0 up.
The second half started at breakneck speed with Raggett again going close with a header for Lincoln & Vickers tipping over a Iheiwke header as the Millers looked to make it two. Lincoln drew level on 64 minutes as a calamitous defensive error when Rotherham’s Centre Back Semi Ajayi & Goalkeeper O’Donnell seemed to leave the ball for the other to deal with letting in Lincoln’s Billy Knott to tap into an empty net.
It was game on from that point with neither team really wanting extra time, chances came & went with Matt Green missing a good chance for the visitors & Moore again being denied by Vickers before the best passing move of the game ended with Rotherham Substitute Anthony Forde scoring from a pinpoint Joe Mattock Cross. Lincoln pressed for another equaliser but despite having a couple of corners & 4 minutes added time, they couldn’t muster a second goal.
All in all a cracking Cup tie between two committed teams with the Millers just about deserving the win. Credit also to the 1700+ Lincoln fans who made the trip on a filthy rainy night, they helped bring a semblance of atmosphere to proceedings.
words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United Correspondent
Oxford United 3-4 Cheltenham Town AET
Cheltenham Town caused an upset by beating Oxford United 4-3 away from home in the Carabao Cup.
Gary Johnson’s side battled back from 3-1 down to level the tie at three goals each before exciting new signing Mohamed Eisa curled in a beauty to settle the match.
Here are five things we learned as Cheltenham booked their place in round two and secured a first win of the season.
The new look Robins finally give the supporters something to cheer about
Despite what was perceived to be a poor pre-season, Cheltenham Town have shown steady signs of improvement in each of their two competitive fixtures.
After the late defeat at Morecambe in their League Two opener on Saturday, few would have expected a positive result at the home of a team who have hopes of reaching the Championship this season.
3-1 down at the interval, the Robins must have been listening to the Madness record which was booming out of the PA system at half time because they certainly went one step beyond in the second half.
After fighting back to deservedly draw level in 90 minutes, Mohamed Eisa produced a moment of brilliance in extra time to win the game and send his side through to the Carabao Cup second round.
It was a fantastic night for the travelling supporters, who sang their hearts out all game.
With a potential tie against Premier League opposition possible in the next round, the fans may yet have more to shout about after the draw.
Oxford were outfought and outplayed
Cheltenham’s trio of central midfielders had a superb night in Oxford.
Kyle Storer and Nigel Atangana broke up play and tackled hard to retain possession on more than one occasion and Harry Pell helped change the game when he came on for the second 45.
But one man particularly stood out in the middle and that was Jerell Sellars.
The former Aston Villa product was a constant menace to the U’s and drew a number of fouls due to his fancy footwork and ability to squeeze out of tight situations.
Sellars really excelled when playing just behind the front two and was also not afraid to help out with the dirty work when tracking back and making challenges deep inside his own half.
In truth Cheltenham dominated the midfield which was a great achievement against higher placed opposition and surely provides optimism that one area is well stocked for Gary Johnson when he looks to add to his squad before the end of August.
Cheltenham prove that they can go the distance
At Morecambe and in nearly every single friendly this summer Gary Johnson’s side have performed in the first half but not the second.
But a spirited second half performance saved them from defeat against an Oxford team who didn’t really get out of second gear.
Mohamed Eisa, Harry Pell and Jordan Forster all had chances to net when attacking the ‘fence end’ but Danny Wright’s double was enough to force another half an hour of action.
Cheltenham have looked tired in the later stages of recent matches but managed to maintain a steady and consistent level of energy as a unit right the way through until the 120th minute against Pep Clotet’s men.
Gary Johnson looks to have found his double act
The gaffer has made it no secret that he is after another striker this summer.
Dan Holman started instead of Danny Wright but was unable to influence the game and was eventually replaced by the 32-year-old at the Kassam.
With Mo Eisa looking sharp after heading in the opener and already netting prolifically in pre-season as well as on his EFL debut, Wright showed exactly why he is currently the best partner for the former non-league hot shot.
The experienced number nine demonstrated good hold up play and like Eisa, scored a brace, surely cementing his place alongside the 22-year-old for the time being.
The pace and flair of Eisa compliments Wright’s target man stature and it is likely both will start against Crawley at the weekend.
As for Holman, everyone at the club is desperate for the National League title winning hero to rediscover his fine form but with another front man on the way his position could be under threat in the coming weeks.
Cut out the individual errors and this team will thrive
A catalogue of defensive errors saw Cheltenham ship 14 goals in pre-season and poor defending allowed Garry Thompson to steal in and grab the winner for Morecambe last Saturday.
Despite going ahead, a poorly timed challenge from the otherwise excellent Kyle Storer lead to the Oxford equaliser from the spot.
A weak header back to goalkeeper Jon Flatt was then punished by Jonathan Obika to give the hosts a 2-1 lead within minutes, even without many clear cut chances created by themselves.
The Robins have to cut out these avoidable errors if they are to climb League Two and stop conceding so many goals but the second half display from the back five was encouraging enough.
Jordan Cranston had another good game after an improved cameo versus the Shrimps and delivered an excellent cross to set up Danny Wright’s first goal.
The left back is so far answering his critics and succeeding in his mission to win over some supporters and long may that continue.
Words Luke Saunders, D3D4 Cheltenham Town Correspondent
Colchester United 1-2 Aston Villa
A big night in front of the Sky cameras for Colchester United – both in terms of monetary gain and excitement for the fans – ended in EFL cup disappointment against Championship opponents Aston Villa. However, it came with a more positive outlook compared to Saturday’s first game of the season defeat against Accrington Stanley.
No doubt Colchester left-back Lewis Kinsella would have been forgiven for looking forward to this game more than any other he’d played this year. Kinsella was part of the Villa set up for years but was released last summer and worked (somewhat famously) for a time as a plumber before signing a contract with the Colchester United. One could forgive Kinsella for wanting to get one back at the club that sent him fixing boilers and clogged toilets.
Unfortunately, the game started a bit too familiarly with The U’s conceding within the first 10 minutes again. And again, it was due to a lack of care taken at the back. Goalkeeper Sam Walker fumbled the ball from what should have been a very simple collection and Villa’s Scott Hogan was ready to slot the ball into the net.
Nevertheless, Colchester were well in the game and were awarded a penalty after Villa’s Chris Samba took down attacker Sammie Szmodics. Frenchman, Mikael Mandron stepped up in front of over 1500 Villa fans to take the penalty which was well saved by goalkeeper Steer. Much to the delight of those behind the goal.
The game was still well balanced when, with Villa on the attack, Col U defender Frankie Kent tried to intercept a cross from the right hand side. Pure bad luck saw the ball screw into the back of his own net. 2-0 to Steve Bruce’s team.
However, the match was far from over. The waterlogged pitch seemed to help keep the teams evenly matched and Colchester still played with the wind in their sails. This momentum led to the home team pulling a goal back just over five minutes before half time. Frankie Kent redeemed his own goal by scoring one in the right end. The young defender stuck his foot out at a shot from outside of the box and diverted it past Steer. It was the other end of the ground’s turn to go wild. The U’s were back in the game.
The second half saw some exciting action: most of which came from the home team desperately trying to level up the tie. Sammie Szmodics had most of the clear cut chances with the best coming late on but Villa’s keeper was on form and it was the Championship side that progressed to the second round at a soggy Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Thankfully, the match ended with much more positivity around the club. Fans seemed happier with McGreal’s team selection and Colchester’s competitiveness against better opponents perhaps justified fans’ anger of last Saturday’s selections. The biggest change was starting fan favourite and academy product Sammie Szmodics. His pace and danger for defenders gets fans’ heart’s pumping which is what they pay to see.
Colchester’s manager also praised the team’s togetherness in the game after having gone 2-0 down. Hopefully the team can bring that good feeling into the next game against Stevenage on Saturday.
1 Walker 35 James 6 Kent 12 Kpekawa 2 Jackson 4 Lapslie (sub Slater 65′) 16 Murray 17 Reid (sub Kinsella 69′) 7 Wright (sub Johnstone 82′) 19 Mandron 10 Szmodics Subs 3 Kinsella 9 Johnstone 22 Vincent-Yound 23 O’Sullivan 24 Slater 29 Gilmartin 31 Issa
13 Steer 16 Bree 5 Chester 4 Samba 20 Bjarnason 37 Adomah (sub Hepburn-Murphy 69′) 14 Hourihane 18 Onomah 19 Green (sub de Laet 85′) 36 O’Hare 9 Hogan (sub Davis 73′)
Subs 2 de Laet 8 Lansbury 29 Hepburn-Murphy 31 Bunn 32 Doyle-Hayes 35 Clark 29 Davis
Referee: John Brooks Attendance: 6,603
Twitter: @Piers_Palmer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Words by Piers Palmer, D3D4 Colchester United Correspondent