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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Luton Town  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Crow 53, Morgan-Smith 55.
 
 Foster sent off 45.
Attendance: 6024 (303 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 28 September 2010

STAGS BEATEN BY REF AND RAMPANT HATTERS

Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Kenilworth Road

In a truly horrible evening at Kenilworth Road, Mansfield Town suffered at the hands of one of the most inept refereeing performances in history, and went down to a 2-0 defeat against an impressive Luton side. There was no doubting that Luton deserved their victory but the manner of defeat will leave a sour taste in the mouths of the players and supporters for a long time to come. Luton were awarded a penalty on 43 minutes went the ball struck the hand of a Mansfield player in the box and the referee awarded a harsh penalty. Marriott saved superbly from Gnakpa, but the referee awarded a retake, apparently for encroachment by Foster, who was booked during the protests. Crow stepped up to take the next penalty and Marriott pulled off another brilliant save. This sparked a melee involving 19 players on the far side, which the referee stayed 20 yards away from, and then decided to book Foster and Barnes-Homer, thus sending off the Stags captain. How he booked two players out, we just don’t know. David Holdsworth was then sent to the stands by the referee. Luton were awarded another penalty in the first minute of the second half, and Barnes-Homer blazed over the bar. But Marriott was beaten on 51 minutes by Crow’s fine strike, and then again on 53 minutes after his punch only found Amari Morgan-Smith who acrobatically fired into the corner of the net from the edge of the box. Just three minutes later, Luke Medley appeared to be blatantly brought down in the box after a lovely flick and turn, but the referee decided it was a dive and booked Medley. There was no reason for Medley to dive having got away from the defender. After that the Stags rarely looked like getting back into it, and the result was not in doubt.

The Stags arrived at Kenilworth Road having scored in all ten of the league and cup games played here. The Stags were unchanged for the third successive match. It was a 4-3-3 formation with Adam Smith on the right side of the front three. Luton included Danny Crow, who scored a late penalty to beat the Stags at Cambridge last season, while Adam Murray and Kevin Pilkington were on the bench. Luton also gave a debut to striker Amari Morgan-Smith, who was signed by David Holdsworth when he was boss of Ilkeston.

As early as 5 minutes, Kevin Sandwith was booked for what was judged to be a late tackle. On 8 minutes, Sandwith’s free-kick was a total mess-up as his ball forward found no-one.

On 14 minutes, Crow’s pass was behind Sandwith and put Gnakpa in, he shot was well saved by Marriott, it came back, hit Gnakpa and was just past the past. An incredible escape for the Stags. A good challenge by Foster, robbed Gnakpa after got past Sandwith again on 18 minutes. On 25 minutes, Crow sent Gnakpa to the right bye-line, great play by Gnapka, and his return cross was put wide by Crow.

On 28 minutes, a chance for Mansfield, as Sandwith’s shot was deflected from the right of the penalty area out to Chris Smith on the left, who headed across goal, wide of the right post. Seconds later, a great tackle by Foster, but the ball fell to Gnakpa whose shot was blocked.

On 32, a corner for Luton found Crow whose overhead kick was off Duffy and away. A great effort by Crow. The pressure from Luton was incessant.

Another chance for the Stags on 38 minutes. A corner was played to Adam Smith, who did well and his chip from the left side was 2 yards wide of the right post.

Istead was booked on 42 minutes for a late tackle.

But the game exploded on 43 minutes. Luton were awarded a penalty went the ball struck the hand of a Mansfield player in the box and the referee pointed to the spot - it was very harsh. Marriott saved superbly from Gnakpa, but the referee awarded a retake, apparently for encroachment by Foster, who was booked during the protests. Crow stepped up to take the next penalty and Marriott pulled off another brilliant save. This sparked a melee involving 19 players on the far side, which the referee stayed 20 yards away from, and then decided to book Foster and Barnes-Homer, thus sending off the Stags captain. How he singled two players out, we just don’t know. David Holdsworth was then sent to the stands by the referee, and came and sat next to the directors just next to the press box.

The game finally continued into a sixth minute of stoppage time, as Luton had the ball in the net, but the whistle had already gone, and then Fred Murray’s cross was flicked on by Crow and Gnapka’s shot was well saved by Marriott.

Half time 0-0

Tom Naylor came on at the start of the second half, as Adam Smith was sacrificed.

Within 30 seconds, Luton were awarded another penalty. This time it was a clear foul. Barnes-Homer took the kick and cracked it well over the bar. As the fickle home fans booed, ... behind me, Steve Hymas cracked “the ref’s just ordering some bigger nets for them”

But Luton were finally ahead on 51 minutes from a short corner on the right, which Crow belted high into the top left of the net from 12 yards.

Medley replaced Duffy on 52 minutes. Then Chris Smith was angry as he was booked as the ref claimed he had handled. From the resulting free-kick, it was 2-0 on 53 minutes. Marriott punched Keane’s ball out only to the edge of the box where Morgan-Smith, acrobatically shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

Then another incredible incident on 57 minutes as Luke Medley appeared to be blatantly brought down in the box after a lovely flick and turn, but the referee decided it was a dive and booked Medley. Holdsworth, the Stags directors and Stags press were incensed, as were the Stags fans behind the goal.

On 60 minutes, Morgan-Smith shot straight at Marriott. A minute later Mills was booked for a lunge - at last a correct decision by the ref. Naylor twice made back-passes to Marriott that were struck too hard and the second one put Marriott in trouble, but he able to retrieve the ball after it squeezed under his boot.

The Stags just couldn’t hold onto the ball, and it was a question of how many Luton would score.

Briscoe replaced Istead on 68 minutes, as the Stags went to 4-2-3 with Medley (right) and Briscoe (left) either side of Connor. On 72 minutes, while Marriott tipped a Crow rocket over the bar.

On 82 minutes, Briscoe did well to get to the byeline, and Connor bundled the ball just wide of the post, seemingly deflected off a defender, but the ref ordered a goalkick.

Silk was booked on 87 - no argument this time.

Another great save by Marriott on 89 minutes, after a Keane free kick was flicked goalwards.

A super run by Tom Naylor on 90+1 but Medley couldn’t control his pass.

And so the Stags were beaten, but I’m convinced that Luton would have beaten any side in the division on this performance. So onwards and upwards, literally, all the way to Gateshead on Saturday. Come on you Stags!

Man of the match: Alan Marriott


Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Kenilworth Road



Line Up:
Marriott 9 Two fantastic penalty saves, plenty of other saves as well.
Silk 6 Did ok, with some good defending in the face of an onslaught of attacks.
Chris Smith 7 Decent game, pick of the defence.
Foster 6 Sent off, very harshly, for two mysterious yellow cards following the penalty saves.
Sandwith 5 Exposed down Luton’s right and given a nightmare by Gnakpa.
Istead 5 Poor. Midfield was overrun.
Mills 5 Poor. Midfield was overrun.
Nix 5 Poor. Midfield was overrun.
Adam Smith 6 Got very little service.
Connor 6 Didn’t get much of the ball. Went close in the second half.
Duffy 6 Didn’t get into the game at all. Some good flick-ons.
Sub Line Up:
Naylor (for Adam Smith, 46) 5 Looked very nervous, One great run forward, though that left the defence exposed when Luton broke quickly.
Medley (for Duffy, 52) 6 Should have had a penalty, but got booked instead by the outrageous referee.
Briscoe (for Istead, 68) 6 One good cross from which Connor nearly scored.
Subs not used: Collett, Stonehouse.
Opposition Line Up:
Tyler, Gleeson, Kroca, George Pilkington, Fred Murray, Gnakpa, Keane, Howells, Morgan-Smith (Newton 81), Barnes-Homer (Adam Murray 71), Crow (Atieno 84). Subs Not Used: Kevin Pilkington, Blackett.
Referee:
Steve Cook (Surrey) 0 A disgrace. Ruined the game. No control. The biggest homer you will see in your entire life. Couldn’t cope with the big match atmosphere.


Season 10/11 Reports