{ match reports }
 
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Lincoln City  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Green 52
 
 Russell 90+0
Attendance: 6,062 (1531 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 8 April 2006

LATE RUSSELL STRIKE EARS STAGS A DRAW

Steve Hartshorn at Sincil Bank

Alan Russell became an instant hero when he stepped off the bench to score a late equaliser for The Stags against neighbours Lincoln City.

It was just reward for a Mansfield side who throughout the game had created the better goalscoring chances but had fell behind to a Franny Green goal on 52 minutes.

The result though, with Peterborough United victorious means that Stags are now seven points behind the last play off place and with just five games remaining surely now are resigned to another season in Coca Cola League 2.

Credit must go to Peter Shirtliff and his Mansfield Town side who have now lost just once in their last eleven games and surely head towards next weekends home game with promotion challenging, Leyton Orient full of confidence and good heart.

The Imps of Lincoln City, managed by former Stag, Keith Alexanda are up amongst the front-runners in League 2 for another trip into the play off lottery and began the game at a high tempo. Indeed for the first five minutes, Mansfield struggled to get out of their own half. City though despite their early dominance only created one real goalscoring opportunity when a cross from the right hand side was only inches away from Marvin Robinson at the far post.

The Stags only early game threat came when an enterprising left sided run by Adam Rundle ended with the Stags wingman’s cross being easily gathered by Marriott in the City goal.

On 14 minutes, Hughes found space in the centre but his long-range effort flew well wide of the mark for City.

On 18 minutes a fine move created Stags first attempt on goal but after being fed by Rundle, Giles Coke’s 20-yard effort was saved by Marriott.

The game was coming to life and Stags defended well to end a scramble in their area before Coke again tested Marriott this time from further out, but again Marriott was equal to it.

On 28 minutes, Pressman failed to claim a corner he came for but Buxton was on hand to head away any danger. Stags were coping well with the percentage football played by the home side with Alex John-Baptiste utilising his skill and pace to frustrate City’s front-runners.

Jake Buxton went into Referee Rennie’s book for a foul on Scott Kerr on 36 minutes but 3 minutes later Stags created their best move of the half. A mazy run from the wide right position by Gus Uhlenbeek saw The Stags man go through two desperate challenges to get into the area and unleash a shot on goal but Marriott got down well to make the save.

By now the weather was playing a guessing game with spells of sunshine suddenly turning into heavy rain before turning to back to brightness once again. To the visiting support it must’ve felt that they had gone the extra mile or two to Skegness.

On 41 minutes, Stags forced their first corner of the game although it ended as much a do about nothing because after receiving the ball from Uhlenbeek, Rundle flicked up the ball and went for the audacious volley which flew well wide of the Imps goal.

The final attempt of the half saw McCombe glance a header wide of the mark as the game entered the break scoreless.

Half time 0-0

The Stags started the 2nd half in dangerous form and Rundle should have done better when presented the ball in space on the left hand side, but he rather hurried his effort and was off target.

Next to threaten for Mansfield was Barker who after good work from Wilson and Coke was set up perfectly for a drive at goal from 12 yards but failed to put any real power in his effort and it saved by the diving Marriott.

Moments later, Rundle fired in a low cross from the left which found Reet, but slightly leaning back, all Reet could do was blast the ball into the stand from five yards out, to be fair to him he was under pressure from the City defence but still should’ve given Stags the lead.

Those missed chances cost Stags dearly when on 53 minutes and against the run of play, the home side took the lead. Cryan crossed from the left hand side and found an unmarked Francis Green who had time to bring the ball down and let go with a fierce shot. It looked as if Pressman had the shot covered but the pace on the ball was too much and it went under his body and over the line.

At this point disturbances broke out between the two sets of fans but it ended quickly when Stewards arrived.

Wilson was booked and then on 60 minutes to loud cheers from the travelling 1,500 Stags, Simon Brown was introduced for Reet.

Stags were awarded two free kicks, both ending in disappointment. The first saw a shot by Wilson blocked, the second saw an effort for Barker, which flew high over the crossbar.

On 73 minutes, Coke looked to have been fouled but instead was booked by Referee Rennie for apparently arguing with the linesman about the decision. Stephen Dawson then replaced Rundle.

With six minutes left on the clock, a fine cross by Buxton found Coke just outside the six-yard box, but the young Stags midfielder sent his header wide of the left hand post.

Mansfield were finishing the game the stronger and Hjelde was unfortunate to see his flicked header from a Dawson corner go wide of the mark.

However in the final minute of the game, Simon Brown was upended 22 yards from goal. Alan Russell, who in the 79th minute had replaced Uhlenbeek took the chance of having a strike at goal and to the delight of the travelling fans, steered his shot neatly into the bottom left hand corner of the net, giving Marriott no chance.

Referee Rennie decided that there would be four minutes of added on time, during which both sides had great opportunities to grab all three points. First Forrester broke away and cleverly tried to lob the ball over Pressman but the veteran Stags custodian was well equal to the effort, flying through the air to spectacularly tip the ball over the bar, then with only seconds remaining, Brown broke free in the City area but with several of his team mates crying out for the ball, elected instead to shoot from a tight angle, the ball crashing into the side netting.

A point for either side was not really what was required but again Stags had shown the bottle to compete and had done well to come back from going a goal down.

This weekend Stags face a Leyton Orient side eagerly hunting an automatic promotion place and with things being so tight at the top, the London side will be desperate for a positive result but with Mansfield now with only one defeat in their last eleven games, Stags will no doubt be a stern test.

Man of the match – Alex John-Baptiste.


Report by: Steve Hartshorn at Sincil Bank



Line Up:
Pressman 7 Excellent save near the end but should have saved the goal.
Buxton 6 Steady at full back.
Baptiste 8 Excellent in the middle of defence.
Hjelde 7 Looked good.
Wlson 7 Dropped to full back and did well.
Uhlenbeek 6 Did ok.
D'Laryea 8 Played well in the middle.
Coke 6 Average. Maybe all the transfer talk is affecting him.
Rundle 7 Caused a few problems.
Reet 6 Not his best game. Missed a sitter.
Barker 6 Has had better games.
Sub Line Up:
Brown (for Reet, 60)
Dawson (for Rundle, 74)
Russell (for Uhlenbeek, 79) 7 Scored but disallowed. His pace caused problems.
Subs not used; White, Day.
Opposition Line Up:
Marriott, Cryan, Steve Robinson (Stirling 76), McCombe, Hughes, Kerr, Beevers, Brown, Green, Forrester, Marvin Robinson (Birch 70). Subs Not Used: Gritton, Mettam, Bacon.
Referee:
Uriah Rennie (Yorkshire)


Season 05/06 Reports