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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
3 - 2
 Rushden & Diamonds
Speight 48, 77, Duffy 90 pen.
 
 O'Connor 15, Smith 71. Louis sent off 80.
Attendance: 2,031 (178 from Rushden)
 
Date: 13 April 2010

AT LAST! LAST MINUTE PENALTY WINS IT

Martin Shaw at Field Mill

After the bitter disappointment of missing two penalties in the last two minutes to lose to 10-man AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, and the similar disappointment of missing a last minute penalty to lose to 10-man Cambridge last Monday, incredibly the Stags were awarded another last minute penalty against 10-man Rushden last night. The big difference this time was that expert penalty-taker Rob Duffy was on the pitch and he never looked like missing, to earn the Stags an exciting 3-2 win against a side that will be in the play-offs. It was top scorer Duffy’s 16th goal of the season. This was only Mansfield's second win of the season in 13 attempts so far against a top 7 side, with one final attempt on Saturday at Oxford.

In front of comfortably the lowest Field Mill league crowd of the season, the Stags were simply terrible in the opening half an hour, looking uncomfortable at the back and with absolutely no cohesion and no idea going forward. Rushden had taken the lead on 15 minutes through Stags old boy Aaron O'Connor's fine strike from 22 yards after the Stags backed off and backed off to give him a free shot. Louis Briscoe's magnificent run on 31 minutes showed the best and worst of Briscoe as he then blazed wildly over, but it did at least provide a spark that seemed to get the Stags going. The second half was a completely different affair. Jake Speight equalised with a brilliant strike from 22 yards on 48 minutes. After Perry headed against the bar on 53 minutes, the Stags had an enormous stroke of luck on 60 minutes when Marriott couldn't hold O'Connor's shot, Akurang picked up the loose ball and took it past Marriott. Akurang went down over Marriott for a clear penalty (it is just as clear a penalty watching it again on the DVD as it was in real time), but the referee booked Akurang for diving. After Speight missed an easy chance on 62 minutes, Rushden re-took the lead on 72 minutes with a great goal from Sam Smith only just on as a substitute who easily beat a leaden-footed Scott Garner before firing home. The Stags equalised for a second time with another great finish from Speight. Nicholas had played a ball back to Marriott from inside the Rushden half(!), Marriott's punt forward evaded everyone and fell for Speight to delicately chip over the keeper from 16 yards. Another former Stag Jefferson Louis was sent off for a second bookable offence (trying to pull down Briscoe's shorts as Briscoe got away from him!) on 80 minutes. On 87 minutes, a glorious chance for the Stags to win it as Briscoe made another terrific run down the right and put in a fantastic cross which looked perfect for Speight to bundle home from 2 yards but somehow Speight missed it, claiming afterwards that it hit a bobble and bounced over his leg. But right on the stroke of 90 minutes, the Stags were awarded a really soft penalty as Nix went down in the box. Unlike the two blatant penalties against AFC Wimbledon that were given and two more blatant penalties in that game that were not given, this was a soft decision as Nix was barely touched if at all, but at last it signified that the Stags rotten luck had changed. Duffy stepped up and converted expertly as he always does (apart from against Grays) to send the Field Mill fans home delighted with a fantastic second half recovery.

Mansfield made two changes to the side that lost to AFC Wimbledon. Kyle Nix and Andy Burgess replaced Jon Challinor and Ryan Williams who weren’t even in the 16. Rob Duffy was back on the bench after illness, along with Stevie Istead - the forgotten man of Field Mill. Diamonds, playing their 1000th fixture since the merger of Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds, were without the injured Lee Tomlin, who had been sent off in the game at Nene Park. Diamonds started with former Stags Jefferson Louis and Aaron O'Connor.

On 5 minutes, a Curtis Osano header at the far post was clawed away by Marriott.

Rushden took a deserved lead on 15 minutes. Louis fed a ball through to O'Connor. Stags backed off and backed off allowing him a free shot from 22 yards. He struck it powerfully, and beat Marriott with a shot that was not actually into the corner. Marriott may feel he should have done better. O’Connor was applauded by Stags fans for his strike.

Rushden were dominating. The Stags were terrible.

On 23 minutes, Burgess found Perry who sent a weak shot wide.

Full-back Shane Huke turned in the box on 29 minutes, and shot straight at Marriot. Louis Briscoe's magnificent run on 31 minutes got him into the box, but he blazed wildly over. Perry went over in the box on 38 minutes, but it was no penalty, and Garner immediately had a shot blocked. Diamonds were within a whisker of a second on 39 minutes as Akurang headed just wide with Marriott motionless. Rushden had calls for a penalty on 43 minutes as the ball struck Silk in the chest. Then a chance for the Stags on 45 minutes as Briscoe crossed from the right, and first Nicholas and then Perry couldn’t force the ball in.

Half time 0-1

The Stags were level on 48 minutes. Centre half Stuart lost control of the ball on the edge of his own area, allowing Perry to slide a ball across for Speight 22 yards from goal, slightly on the left. Speight rifled a first time shot in off the left post. It was a great finish.

On 52 minutes, a Mills shot was deflected wide. A minute later, a Burgess corner was half cleared to Nix who hooked the ball back in to Perry who headed against the bar. Perry was then replaced by Duffy.

The Stags had an enormous stroke of luck on 60 minutes when Marriott couldn't hold O'Connor's shot, Akurang picked up the loose ball and took it past Marriott. Akurang went down over Marriott for a clear penalty, but the referee booked Akurang for diving. On 62 minutes, Briscoe's flick found Speight who lobbed the ball over the keeper but onto the top of the net. A glorious chance wasted. On 64 minutes, Marriott saved Byrne's low shot.

Istead replaced Silk on 67 minutes, and slotted in at right back. Meanwhile Rushden brought on Sam Smith for Akurang, and on 72 minutes, just four minutes after coming on, he made it 2-1. Running at the defence he went past a leaden-footed Garner to the right and then smashed an unstoppable high finish past Marriott.

Istead was booked for a high challenge on 73 minutes. Marriott made a great save from O’Connor on 74 minutes. Garner was just wide on 75 minutes with a right footed shot from near the penalty spot. A minute later, Burgess’s cross from the left was nearly turned into his own net by Stuart.

The Stags equalised for a second time with another great finish from Speight on 77 minutes. Nicholas played a ball back to Marriott from inside the Rushden half, Marriott's punt forward evaded everyone and fell for Speight to delicately chip over the keeper from 16 yards. It was another great finish.

Jefferson Louis was sent off for a second bookable offence on 80 minutes - he was trying to pull down Briscoe's shorts as Briscoe got away from him. The third game running our opponents have had a player sent off.

O'Connor flashed a shot wide on 81 minutes. On 86 minutes, Nix jinked past a defender and seemed to be brought down, but the referee waved play on. On 87 minutes, a glorious chance for the Stags to win it as Briscoe made another terrific run down the right and put in a fantastic cross which looked perfect for Speight to bundle home from 2 yards but somehow Speight missed it, claiming afterwards that it hit a bobble and bounced over his leg.

But right on the stroke of 90 minutes, the Stags were awarded a really soft penalty as Nix went down in the box. Nix was barely touched if at all. Duffy stepped up and converted expertly sending the ball slightly down the left of the goal, as the keeper didn’t know which way to dive.

It sparked great celebrations amongst the Stags fans and relief after recent disappointments.

Man of the match: Jake Speight


Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill



Line Up:
Marriott 5 Possibly should have done better with O'Connor's goal, then spilled O'Connor's shot and brought Akurang down and lucky to escape conceding the penalty. Not his best night after being the clear Player of the Season.
Silk 6 Defended ok, went off injured.
Garner 5 Poor game, and at fault for the second goal.
Foster 5 Central defensive pairing looked hesitant.
Nicholas 6 OK
Briscoe 8 Two brilliant runs, and the cross for Speight was superb. Also showed his really bad side with such a wild shot after the first brilliant run. Needs to learn composure in front of goal.
Mills 6 Quiet game.
Nix 7 Won the penalty, though admitted after the game that it was soft. Also went down in the area on 86 minutes which looked more of a penalty.
Burgess 6 Does not endear himself to fans with comments to the media. Some decent corners including one that Perry headed against the bar.
Speight 8 Two excellent finishes, and missed two easier chances, after a really awful first half.
Perry 6 Unlucky to hit the bar for the second game running.
Sub Line Up:
Duffy (for Perry, 54) 7 Worth his weight in gold from the penalty spot. The second time he has converted a last minute penalty to beat the Diamonds.
Istead (for Silk, 67) 7 Did well as emergency right back.
Subs Not Used: Collett, Somner, Shaw.
Opposition Line Up:
Roberts, Huke, Osano, Stuart, Robinson, Byrne, Terry, Pattison (Porter 74), Louis, O'Connor, Akurang (Smith 68). Subs Not Used: Day, McNamara, Beecroft.
Referee:
Jez Simpson (Lancashire) 5 Got both penalty decisions wrong as the Diamonds should have had a penalty and the Stags shouldn't. Sending off was correct though.


Season 0910 Reports