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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Wrexham  
1 - 3
 Mansfield Town
Fowler 64
 
 Wright OG 40, Green (pen) 67, Connor 90+5
Attendance: 3,478 (130 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 27 September 2011

STAGS WIN AT LEADERS IN AMAZING GAME

Martin Shaw at the Racecourse Ground

Magnificent Mansfield bounced back from the disappointing defeat at home to Kidderminster on Saturday to beat leaders Wrexham 3-1 this evening in a fabulous game at the Racecourse Ground. It was a game that had everything: a penalty, two sendings off, an own goal, and a 95th minute goal. It was one of the best games the Stags have been involved in for a long time.

SUMMARY:
The Stags were nearly behind after a minute but Alan Marriott made a magnificent save from Fowler's free kick, somehow clawing it away from going in at the top corner of the net. I think it was the save of the season so far. The Stags were generally under the cosh for the opening half hour, but came back strongly in the next 15 minutes, and Adam Murray struck the bar with a piledriver from 30 yards, before the Stags opened the scoring on 39 minutes. Luke O'Neill (installed as set piece taker with Kendrick not playing) firing in a free kick from the left and it was powered into the net from close range. Initially I thought it was off Naylor, as did other members of the Mansfield media, but after the game I asked Tom himself and he admitted it came off a defender and it was not his goal. The Stags nearly went 2-0 ahead in incredible circumstances as Nathaniel Knight-Percival played a backpass to his keeper not realising the keeper was out of his goal, but the ball rolled into the side netting, when if it had been a yard to the left it would have been a goal. The Stags were harrying and ratting and not giving an inch, but Wrexham equalised on 64 minutes. They say lightning doesn't strike twice but it did here as Howell, who otherwise had a fine game, gave the ball away just inside his own half, Fowler took the ball forward and buried a low finish past Marriott. It was a near carbon-copy of Telford's sickening equaliser 7 days ago. Incredibly within 3 minutes the Stags were back in front and Wrexham down to 10 men. Matt Green got goalside of defender Knight-Percival inside the box and Knight-Percival bundled Green down. It was as clear a penalty as you'll see and Knight-Percival picked up a second yellow. It was perplexing that it was not a straight red but that didn't matter. Green took the longest run-up in history (from about 10 yards outside the box) and coolly slotted the ball into the left corner of the net as the keeper went the wrong way. After the game I said to Green it was the longest run-up I'd ever seen, and he said people always say that and he has done it before. He looked thrilled to have got the victory. On 82 minutes, an appalling decision by the referee handed the impetus back to Wrexham - Naylor appeared to be fouled on the near touchline, but the referee gave a free kick against Naylor and booked Naylor - his second yellow. There was no dissent from Naylor (before the booking anyway). It was a ridiculous decision, acknowledged by the home media as well. After the game I asked Naylor about the incident and he was very unhappy and felt hard-done-by, rightly so. He will now be suspended for two games, having already had a red card this season. Wrexham were rampant then and twice came within a whisker of equalising but the magnificent Stags defence stayed firm and it was left to sub Paul Connor to seal the win 5 minutes into stoppage time coolly slotting the ball under the keeper when through 1-on-1, to spark scenes of joy from players and fans alike. It was the Stags first win at Wrexham since 1986.

FULL REPORT:
The Stags made three changes from the side that started against Kidderminster: Naylor, Worthington and Andy Todd, replacing Kendrick, Meikle and the suspended Briscoe. Naylor slotted in at right back where he had played so well for Fulham reserves against Manchester United reserves a couple of week ago, O’Neill moved to left back, and Worthington and Todd took their place in a 5 man midfield (opinions varied on whether this was 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, but for me Green was on his own up front). Todd played on the left in a role where one minute he was in the defence and the next he was in attack. Wrexham included former Stags striker Jake Speight.

The Wrexham crowd were hugely buoyed by news of the takeover of the club by the Supporters Trust, and it turned out to be the worst possible time to play Wrexham rather than a good time that you might have expected with Dean Saunders having left last week.

The Stags were under pressure right from kick off. On 40 seconds the Stags conceded a free kick right on the edge of the box, it must have been virtually touching the paint. Fowler took the kick and fired it towards the top left corner. It looked a certain goal, but Alan Marriott made a magnificent save, somehow clawing it away with his outstretched right arm. I think it was the save of the season so far. On 6 minutes, Harris sliced wide. The Stags were generally under the cosh for the opening half hour, and on 16 minutes a brilliant block by Sutton from a Wrexham shot. A rare chance for the Stags on 18 minutes as O’Neill’s corner from the left found its way to Naylor whose low shot was blocked more or less on the line. Back to the other end on 21 minutes and O’Neill was beaten by the lively Obeng who got into a great position but put his cross behind everyone.

On 22 minutes, Futcher took one for the team as he brought down Jake Speight as he headed for goal. It was a clear booking and is Futcher’s fifth, so will see him suspended for one game. On 23 minutes, Pogba shot from the right, it was heading into the side netting but Marriott couldn’t be sure and did well to tip it round the post. From the resulting corner, a terrific save by Marriott with his legs from Speight’s shot.

Wrexham were looking irresistible, and they had dominated the opening half hour, but the Stags came back strongly in the next 15 minutes. On 30 minutes, Green showed great trickery and a fine run and his fine shot was saved at the left post. Then on 33 minutes, Adam Murray got the ball in the middle, took a few paces forward, and struck the bar with a piledriver from 30 yards. The ball was struck with such pace that it rebounded a long way into the air.

On 39 minutes, the Stags opened the scoring. Luke O'Neill fired in a free kick from the left and it was powered into the net from close range. Initially I thought it was off Naylor, as did other members of the Mansfield media, but after the game I asked Tom himself and he admitted it came off a defender and it was not his goal.

On 45 minutes, Green made space and his shot was blocked. Moments later, Worthington curled a shot into the Wrexham keeper’s arms.

The Stags were on top and in a way the half time interval came at a bad time as it would curb the momentum.

Half time 0-1

The Stags nearly went 2-0 ahead on 52 minutes in incredible circumstances as Nathaniel Knight-Percival played a backpass to his keeper not realising the keeper was out of his goal, but the ball rolled into the side netting, when if it had been a yard to the left it would have been a goal.

The Stags were harrying and ratting and not giving an inch. On 60 minutes, Pogba made a brilliant run down the right and into the Stags box. Instead of shooting he rolled the ball to his right, past Marriott, leaving Speight an open goal, but the ball may have been slightly behind him and Speight spooned the ball over from 4 yards. Surprisingly Pogba was immediately replaced.

But Wrexham equalised on 64 minutes. They say lightning doesn't strike twice but it did here as Howell, who otherwise had a fine game, gave the ball away just inside his own half, Fowler took the ball forward and buried a low finish past Marriott. It was a near carbon-copy of Telford's sickening equaliser 7 days ago.

Incredibly within 3 minutes the Stags were back in front and Wrexham down to 10 men. Matt Green got goalside of defender Knight-Percival inside the box and Knight-Percival bundled Green down. It was as clear a penalty as you'll see and Knight-Percival picked up a second yellow. It was perplexing that it was not a straight red but that didn't matter. Green took the longest run-up in history (from about 10 yards outside the box) and coolly slotted the ball into the left corner of the net as the keeper went the wrong way. After the game I said to Green it was the longest run-up I'd ever seen, and he said people always say that and he has done it before. He looked thrilled to have got the victory.

On 69 minutes, Harris sent a 35 yard shot wide.

Bolland replaced Worthington on 75 minutes.

On 80 minutes, Green who had already been booked, was dicing with trouble as he pulled a Wrexham player’s shirt. Dean Keates implored the referee to show a yellow card but the referee waved him away. Moments later a great tackle by Murray to put the ball behind for a corner. From that corner, a shot was deflected twice into Marriott’s midriff.

Connor replaced Green on 81 minutes. Green took an age to get off the pitch, firstly shaking Creighton’s hand, then several Mansfield players. Eventually the ref had to usher him off. For one horrible moment, I thought the ref was going to show him a second yellow for time wasting.

On 82 minutes, an appalling decision by the referee handed the impetus back to Wrexham - Naylor appeared to be fouled on the near touchline, but the referee gave a free kick against Naylor and booked Naylor - his second yellow. There was no dissent from Naylor (before the booking anyway). It was a ridiculous decision, acknowledged by the home media as well. After the game I asked Naylor about the incident and he was very unhappy and felt hard-done-by, rightly so. He will now be suspended for two games, having already had a red card this season. Todd moved to right back to replace Naylor.

Wrexham were rampant then and twice came within a whisker of equalising. Firstly on 83 a shot on the turn following a corner was just over the angle. Then a Wrexham cross from the right was sliced by Futcher, just inches wide of his own left post. In between those two chances, Connor had a 1-1 but lost out on pace, much to the Stags fans’ frustration. On 88 minutes, Keates slapped O’Neill in the face, but it was missed by the officials.

The magnificent Stags defence stayed firm and it was left to Connor to seal the win 5 minutes into stoppage time coolly slotting the ball under the keeper. He had been through 1-on-1, and the defender slipped allowing Connor a free passage to goal. It sparked scenes of joy from players and fans alike.

Man of the Match: Ben Futcher


Report by: Martin Shaw at the Racecourse Ground



Line Up:
Marriott 8.5 The save of the season after only one minute. Another great save minutes later. Cool and calm after that.
Naylor 8 Defended really well. Absurdly sent off.
Sutton 8 Really good, under considerable pressure.
Futcher 9 Superb, won everything in the air.
O'Neill 8 Very good, slotting in at left back. Set pieces were good.
Worthington 7 Really decent game, ratting away in midfield.
Dyer 7 Played well.
Howell 7 Played very well and worked so hard. Blotted his copy book with a mistake that led to another goal, otherwise would have had an 8 rating.
Murray 8 So unlucky not to score the goal of the season with a piledriver from 30 yards.
Todd 8 Worked so hard, must be super-fit to keep that up for 90 minutes. Played up and down the left. Very impressive.
Green 9 Superb again. Frustrated early when on things didn’t seem to go his way, he stuck at it and got his rewards in the end.
Sub Line Up:
Bolland (for Worthington, 75) - Slotted into the team well, with good work rate.
Connor (for Green, 82) - Show lacked of pace on one occasion soon after coming on when he should have been through on goal, but then more than made up for it with a cool finish in stoppage time.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Riley, Meikle.
Opposition Line Up:
Maxwell; Obeng, Creighton, Knight-Percival, Ashton (Morrell 90); Harris, Fowler, Keates; Pogba (Cieslewicz 62), Wright, Speight (Tolley 69). Subs not used: Little, Mayebi.
Referee:
Richard Wigglesworth 5 Got the penalty absolutely right, but a really terrible decision to give Naylor a second yellow. Even without seeing the DVD yet, I’m sure that if you could appeal a yellow (which you can’t) this one would be overturned.


Season 11/12 Reports