Cheltenham Town 2-2 Mansfield Town Player Ratings: loanees shine

Neal Bishop tries to stop Jacob Maddox – @ctfcofficial

Tyler Walker’s injury-time leveller rescued a 2-2 draw for Mansfield Town at Cheltenham Town, who must wait longer still for their first home victory of the campaign. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Cheltenham Town

Scott Flinders – the former Hartlepool stopper was among Cheltenham’s best players in the early weeks of the campaign and he made some one or two good stops in the first half here, although he tended to go long from every goal-kick which made the approach play a tad predictable sometimes. 6

Jordon Forster – the defender is very proficient in the air and showed that here as well as a willingness to battle for second balls in a wide centre-back role, even if his use of the ball was no better than was to be expected for a League Two defender. 6
Ben Tozer – a midfielder by trade, Tozer’s inclusion at the expense of Johnny Mullins was somewhat surprising, but he put in a reasonable showing here and grabbed a headed equalizer as well as an assist for Boyle’s goal. 7
Will Boyle – the tall centre-back is arguably Cheltenham’s biggest asset and that was in evidence once again here, as the former Huddersfield man dominated Rose in aerial clashes. While his opponent always had to jump for the high balls, Boyle’s height enabled him to consistently find himself in position A. 7

Ryan Broom – the wide man, who has had more gametime at Whaddon Road than he did at Bristol Rovers, is a real athlete and has a willingness to run at defenders, even if he didn’t have as many opportunities here as he would have liked to show that. His crossing from deep was of mixed quality but he put in a shift defensively and had a shot blocked late on. 6
Chris Clements – once described by Adam Murray while at Mansfield as the best midfielder in League Two, Clements is clearly very capable from a technical stand-point, but his tendency to switch off at key moments had perhaps hindered his career. He does though look re-focused at Cheltenham and, as well as battling when he needed to, he also at times looked like a leader, which hasn’t always been the first thing one would say about him. 7
Conor Thomas – the former Swindon and Coventry midfielder put in a solid shift and could have grabbed a third goal for the Robins, but saw his late effort blocked. One very nice ball over the top that set Addai through in the second half. 6
Chris Hussey – the left-back worked under opposing boss David Flitcroft at Bury, where his capacity for pin-point set pieces stood out. We saw evidence of that here, where Hussey’s deliveries contributed to the team’s two goals. His positional awareness in the second half was excellent, too – there was one occasion when he forced Walker towards the halfway line due to his aggressive pressing. 8

Jacob Maddox – the Chelsea loanee looks prodigiously talented and skilful, his quick feet enabling him to draw fouls and relieve pressure on his teammates. Maddox was a real threat picking up second balls in pockets of space and on this evidence, he could be key to Cheltenham’s survival prospects. 8

Kelsey Mooney – the Aston Villa loanee, who put in a positive display in the 6-2 EFL Trophy win over Arsenal in midweek, offers perhaps a better first touch up top than veteran Barnett but, because Cheltenham often went direct, the opportunities for him to show his technical proficiency weren’t always evident. The type of player who might thrive in a slightly different setup. 5
Luke Varney – the 36-year-old, who was Michael Duff’s first signing, is a proven goalscorer who has played in the Premier League with Blackpool, but he showed here that he has plenty to contribute in terms of his all-round game. Unlike Mooney, he showed a willingness to scrap for aerial duels and even if he wasn’t successful in all of them, the threat he posed helped get Cheltenham on the front foot. An un-glamourous shift, but an important one. 7

Nigel Atangana (on 78) – offered fresh aggression and energy in midfield, closing down the spaces late on. 6
Alex Addai (on 79) – the speedster caused problems on the counter-attack with his direct runs in behind and was perhaps unlucky not to set up a third goal. 7
Tyrone Barnett (on 89) – a sizeable unit, Barnett tried to put himself about in the closing moments. 5

Mansfield Town

Bobby Olejnik – the experienced stopper, who has played at Championship level with Peterborough, is in good form at the moment and he did well to deny Varney’s second half snapshot. Wasn’t directly at fault for the concession of either goal. 6

Hayden White – although a right-back by trade, White has been moved into a right-sided centre-back role in a back three this season, using his pace as an asset in recovery. When Mansfield were chasing the game in the second half – and Hamilton had changed position – White’s speed might have been an asset in offering width but he didn’t drive forward as much as he might have liked; it could be that the recent injury has impacted his mobility. 5
Krystian Pearce – Mansfield have not been short of cash to splash in the last two seasons, so it is a credit to Pearce that he has remained an integral part of Steve Evans and then David Flitcroft’s plans throughout. The 28-year-old has recently been rewarded for his fine form with a belated debut for Barbados, although some more composure in possession from him here would not have gone amiss. 5
Matt Preston – the young centre-back impressed last season at Swindon, so it was no surprise when ex-Robins boss Flitcroft signed him in the summer. He rarely allowed opponents to get in behind, even if he wasn’t able to win every aerial duel with Varney. 6

CJ Hamilton – the Sheffield United academy graduate’s direct running makes him a real threat down the flanks and, at times in the first half, the threat he provided forced the hosts deeper, thus creating more space in central areas. Hamilton, himself though moved further across in the second half when he spent more time trying to link up with Benning. 7
Neal Bishop – the veteran opened his Stags account at Morecambe last month, but he is predominantly a defensive midfielder who loves to hold his position and break up attacks. Wasn’t able to do that here as effectively as he liked, partly due to the pace at which the opposition attacked at times and partly due to an early injury. 4
Jacob Mellis – having top scored in the Championship for Barnsley in 2012-13, Mellis is an excellent technician, his stunning strike against MK Dons providing further evidence of his capabilities. Here though, he struggled to find the space he needs to dictate proceedings. 5
Timi Max Elsnik – at his best, Elsnik is a dynamic, box-to-box man capable of pressing into the final third but here, he spent a lot of time in deeper areas and perhaps wasn’t afforded the level of freedom in terms of closing down that might have suited him. Possibly had it in him to go up another level. 5
Malvind Benning – an attacking left-back, Benning was unlucky to find himself behind Andy Taylor in the pecking order at Walsall, but in his fourth season with Mansfield he is an asset at League Two level, relishing the new wing-back role under Flitcroft. He put in a fine cross for the opener and was a key part of his side’s second half attacking threat with his runs down the left. 7

Tyler Walker – having scored in the Championship as recently as last season, the Forest loanee was always likely to be a serious force in League Two and so it is proving. An instinctive, looping header early on was followed by a clinical finish in stoppage time and while Walker wasn’t especially impressive in general play, he had the quality necessary at key moments. 7
Danny Rose – it looked like Rose’s place in the Mansfield side was in danger early in the campaign, when the trio of Walker, Craig Davies and Otis Khan was working so well, but the striker has bided his time. He is a very selfless runner but here he was almost too selfless, spending so much time linking up play in wide areas that he wasn’t able to offer that focal point in the penalty box. 5

Craig Davies (on 69) – the physical front-man, who has scored a hat-trick in the Championship for Barnsley, suffered an injury lately and has found himself out of the side but certainly made his presence felt here and occupied the centre-backs. 7
Will Atkinson (on 79) – despite impressing for Southend in 2016-17, Atkinson has perhaps flattered to deceive at Field Mill but this was a decent cameo. 7