Soccer

Mansfield v Port Vale: League Two playoff final – live!


66 min: Mansfield substitution: George Maris on for Matty Longstaff.

DISALLOWED GOAL! From three or four yards out, Kian Harratt has the ball in the net for Port Vale after Nathan Bishop fumbled a shot at a corner but he’s offside.

63 min: Port Vale advance with James Wilson riding a couple of tackles to stumble his way through midfield. They win a throw-in deep in Mansfield territory and Wilson pauses to feel the back of his left thigh while he waits for it to be taken. It looks like he’s tweaked his hammy.

60 min: Mansfield win themselves a corner. It’s a poor delivery, played to the near post by Stephen Quinn, where David Worrall makes a mess of clearing it for Port Vale. Stephen McLaughlin pounces to shoot on the turn but sends his effort rolling wide of the upright.

59 min: Mansfield try the direct approach, lumping the ball long from deep. It’s headed clear.

57 min: Mansfield enjoy a spell of sustained possession but still struggle to get beyond the halfway line. THey’re down to 10 men and Port Vale are playing as if they have 13 or 14 out there, closing down the passing lanes, pressing hard and giving their opponents very few options.

55 min: Two goals and a man to the good, Port Vale are completely dominating the early stages of this second half. They’re first to every breaking ball and making it difficult for Mansfield to get out of their own half.

54 min: Mansfield Town substitution: George Lapslie on for Jamie Murphy.

52 min: Port Vale’s Jake Taylor clips the ball to the far post and Mansfield half-clear. Jake Taylor connects on the volley from a couple of yards outside the Mansfield penalty area but drags his effort a couple of feet wide of the upright.

50 min: Mansfield goalkeeper Nathan Bishop is forced to wallop the ball into the stands under pressure to concede a throw-in deep in his own half. Mal Benning takes it long and Matty Longstaff tries to clear for Mansfield.

48 min: Nifty footwork down the inside left of the Mansfield penalty area from Port Vale’s Connor Hall, who tries to pick out James Wilson. It’s a bullet of a pass and he controls the ball at his second attempt before unleashing a shot from a very tight angle that wins a corner for his side. Nothing comes from the set-piece.

47 min: There are no changes in personnel on either side, in case you’re wondering.

Second half: Mansfield Town 0-2 Port Vale

46 min: Play resumes at Wembley, where Mansfield Town have an Everest to climb. If they don’t score first in this second half, one suspects the jig is very much up for them.

Match report: Grimsby Town booked their place in the National League playoff final, beating Wrexham 5-4 after extra time in a truly extraordinary semi-final that will live long in the memory of all who saw it. Read on …

Well, well, well: Mansfield started in the ascendency but things went quickly downhill for them. Kian Harratt and James Wilson scored two in the space of less than four minutes to give Port Vale a comfortable lead, before Mansfield’s Ollie Hawkins plunged his side further into the mire by getting himself sent off for two bookable offences within five minutes. Port Vale are in the driving seat against the 10-man Stags.

Half-time: Mansfield Town 0-2 Port Vale

Peep! The half ends with James Wilson firing a shot straight at Mansfield goalkeeper Nathan Bishop.

45+4 min: Mansfield’s James Perch gets booked for a clumsy, late challenge on Ben Garrity. Free-kick for Port Vale, a few yards outside the Mansfield penalty area, almost straight in front of goal. James Wilson sends an effort curling around the wall and fizzing inches wide. Mansfield goalkeeper Nathan Bishop was well beaten.

Port Vale’s James Wilson (right) fires a free kick past the wall and past the post.
Port Vale’s James Wilson (right) fires a free kick past the wall and past the post. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

45+3 min: Port Vale advance in search of a third goal, trying to kill the game off. They win a throw-in deep in Mansfield territory but the ball ends up going out for a goal-kick.

45+1 min: Mal Benning sends the free-kick towards the far post, where Nathan Smith leaps to meet it. The chance is a good one but he sends his header drifting wide.

43 min: Mansfield’s Elliott Hewitt is booked for a foul on Jake Taylor. There’s a break in play as Taylor receives medical attention.

42 min: Port Vale clear one off the line, Connor Hall preventing a from Jordan Bowery effort from close range from going in after Aidan Stone had fumbled a shot and dropped it into the Mansfield striker’s path. There were mere millimetres in that.

40 min: Patrolling his technical area, Mansfield manager Nigel Clough looks completely despondent and well he might. You can bet your bottom dollar his father Brian would have had plenty to say to Ollie Hawkins at half-time, if the defender hadn’t had the good sense to leave the ground first.

38 min: Having picked up an initial yellow for a daft, unnecessary off the ball incident, Hawkins gets a thoroughly deserved second a few moments later for a moronic late challenge on Wilson. What was he thinking?

RED CARD! Mansfield down to 10 men

Disaster for Mansfield Town! Already two goals down, Mansfield are now a man down too. Ollie Hawkins gets his second yellow soon after his first for a ridiculous late lunge on James Wilson. That is indescribably dumb by the Mansfield central defender.

34 min: For Port Vale, Mal Benning advances down the inside-left and elects to shoot instead of picking out Kian Harratt at the far post. His shot is saved at the near stick by Nathan Bishop.

Mansfield Town attempt to get back into the game.
Mansfield Town attempt to get back into the game. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

32 min: Mansfield Town’s players look a little shell-shocked after going two down to a quick-fire double.

31 min: Mansfield’s Ollie Hawkins is booked for a shove in the face of Port Vale’s Nathan Smith. That’s his 15th yellow card of the season.

30 min: Mansfield throw-in, deep in Port Vale territory. It’s headed clear at the near post.

28 min: Ben Garrity finds himself in a one-on-one with Mansfield goalkeeper Nathan Bishop, who spread himself to block the Port Vale playmaker’s shot. Offside.

26 min: Port Vale have wrestled control of this game from Mansfield Town after a shaky start. David Worrall crossed from the right and Ben Garrity leaped to send a looping header on to the cross-bar. The ball bounced off the woodwork and James Wilson was on hand and onside to nod it home at the second attempt.

James Wilson heads home to double Port Vale’s lead.
James Wilson heads home to double Port Vale’s lead. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/Shutterstock

GOAL! Mansfield Town 0-2 Port Vale (Wilson 24)

Port Vale double their lead. James Wilson scores in his fourth consecutive game.

Port Vale’s James Wilson celebrates scoring their side’s second goal of the game.
Port Vale’s James Wilson celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game. Photograph: John Walton/PA

23 min: Having hit the post mere moments previously, Kian Harratt heads Port Vale into the lead. Mal Benning sent in a cross that seemed to take a defelection and Harratt finished superbly from close range.

GOAL! Mansfield Town 0-1 Port Vale (Harratt 20)

Port Vale lead! Unmarked in the Mansfield Town penalty area, Kian Harrett stoops to nod home a cross from the left.

Kian Harratt of Port Vale heads the ball past Mansfield keeper Nathan Bishop to open the scoring.
Kian Harratt of Port Vale heads the ball past Mansfield keeper Nathan Bishop to open the scoring. Photograph: Simon Dael/Shutterstock

19min: Mansfield’s John-Joe O’Tooke miscontrols the ball halfway inside his own half, gifting possession to Port Vale. Garrity tees up Harratt, who thumps the ball off the foot of the post from distance.

16 min: Another mix-up at the back for Port Vale, when Connor Hall heads back to his goalkeeper Aidan Stone, apparently without realising he’s not in his penalty area. Stone heads clear under pressure. Nervy times for Port Vale.

13 min: There’s been a round of applause from both sets of supporters, in tribute to Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke, who suffered a tragic family bereavement earlier this year. He used to wear the No8 shirt for Mansfield Town but is managing their opponents today.

9 min: Mansfield turn the screw. A mix-up between Port Vale goalkeeper Aidan Stone and James Gibbons allows Jamie Murphy a free header. Bishop saves from point-blank range. That’s an awful miss by Murphy, who had the entire goal to aim at and should have scored.

8 min: Port Vale win another corner after a Quinn whipped cross from the right is put out by Hawkins.

6 min: Mansfield’s Stephen Quinn is on the ground hurt after a robust challenge from David Worrall, Port Vale’s right wing-back. Free-kick for Mansfield, which is sent into the penalty are by Stephen McLaughlin. The knockdown is put out for a corner. James Wilson heads clear.

4 min: For Port Vale, James Wilson whips a cross into the Mansfield Town box. Oliver Hawkins clears at the near post.

3 min: Mansfield goalkeeper Nathan Bishop lets a speculative shot from way out bounce wide of his left upright then gets his first touch – a goal kick.

2 min: Port Vale’s goalkeeper Aidan Stone gets an early touch, fielding a backpass and then launching a bomb forward. The ball comes back his way in a matter of seconds.

Mansfield v Port Vale is go …

1 min: Mansfield Town get the ball rolling, their players wearing gold shirts, navy shorts and gold socks. The players of Port Vale wear white shirts, shorts and socks.

Not long now: There’s an estimated crowd of 36,000 at Wembley and they’ve just welcomed the players of both teams out on to the pitch. Nigel Clough leads out Mansfield, while Port Vale assistant manager Andy Crosby is given the honour of leading out Port Vale in a nod to the excellent work he did manning the tiller in Darrell Clarke’s absence on compassionate leave earlier this season.

Port Vale fans in the stands.
Port Vale fans in the stands. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA
Mansfield Town fans in the stands.
One of their Mansfield Town counterparts gives their vocal chords some excercise. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Those teams: Jamie Murphy and Matty Longstaff come into the Mansfield Town side, while Jamie Proctor is on the bench for Port Vale.

In his pre-match interview, Mansfield manager Nigel CLough tells BT Sport he is unimpressed with the use of VAR today after his team has played 55 games this season without it. He is baffled that neither he nor his opposite number, Darrell Clarke, were consulted before its use was confirmed.

VAR: There will be a video assistant referee overseeing today’s game at Wembley, despite the curtain-twitchers not having been used up until this point of the League Two season. Peter Bankes is the man staring at the monitor in Stockley Park.

Mansfield Town v Port Vale line-ups

Mansfield Town: Bishop, Hewitt, Hawkins, Perch, McLaughlin, O’Toole, Longstaff, Quinn, Murphy, Bowery, Oates.

Subs: Maris, Wallace, Stech, Stirk, Lapslie, Akins, Clarke.

Port Vale: Stone, Gibbons, Smith, Hall, Worrall, Pett, Taylor, Benning, Garrity, Wilson, Harratt.

Subs: Lucas Covolan, Proctor, Martin, Amoo, Charsley, Robinson, Edmondson.

Referee: Jarred Gillett (Australia)

Port Vale at Wembley
Port Vale’s players warm up ahead of kick-off. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

🔢 The #Stags‘ starting XI to face Port Vale this afternoon at Wembley in the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final (4pm kick-off).

𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗘 𝗢𝗡 𝗬𝗢𝗨 𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗚𝗦! 🟡🔵 pic.twitter.com/UbIMReYxoz

— Mansfield Town FC (@mansfieldtownfc) May 28, 2022

National League play-off semi-final

As we await kick-off at Wembley, Grimsby Town have just beaten Wrexham in a quite extraordinary National League play-off semi-final at the Racecourse Ground.

The National League’s Hollywood-owned big-spenders are out, losing in extra time by the odd goal of nine in a quite brilliant, gloriously chaotic game of football that ended 4-4 after 90 minutes. Grimsby Town will play Solihull Moors or Chesterfield in the final next weekend.

Today’s match officials

  • Referee: Jarred Gillett
  • Referee’s assistants: Neil Davies and Nick Greenhalgh
  • Fourth official: James Linnington
  • VAR: Peter Bankes
Jarred Gillett
Australian referee Jarred Gillett is in charge of maintaining order in today’s play-off final. Photograph: Ian Walton/Reuters

Early team news

Mansfield Town central midfielder George Maris is a doubt after he was forced to sit out the second leg of his side’s semi-final win over Northampton with injury. Mansfield manager Nigel Clough left loanees Jamie Murphy (Hibernian) and Matty Longstaff (Newcastle) on the bench for the second leg of the tie against Northampton but it would be no surprise to see either recalled today.

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke has injury problems of his own and will be without long-term absentees Tom Conlon and Brad Walker in his midfield. His star striker, Jamie Proctor, is also a major doubt as a hip injury precluded him from starting either leg of the semi-final win over Swindon. Having come on as a second half substitute in the first leg, he didn’t feature in Vale’s matchday squad for the second.

Mansfield Town v Port Vale

There’s a place in English football’s third tier up for grabs at Wembley Stadium this afternoon, as Mansfield Town take on Port Vale in the League Two play-off final.

Just a point separated the sides as they finished seventh and fifth respectively at the end of the league campaign but Mansfield go into today’s decider as slight favourites after winning both legs of their play-off semi-final against Northampton, who were still reeling from the heartbreak of being pipped to automatic promotion by Bristol Rovers in the final minutes of the final day of the season.

Today’s is Port Vale’s first appearance in the renovated Wembley Stadium, while Mansfield Town haven’t not darkend the doors of FA HQ since losing the 2011 FA Trophy final to Darlington. Kick-off is at 4pm (BST) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley, where today’s League Two play-off final between Mansfield Town and Port Vale will be decided. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA





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