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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 2
 Cambridge United
Green 55.
 
 Dunk 57. 62.
Attendance: 2046 (237 from Cambridge)
 
Date: 5 November 2011

BATTLING STAGS UNLUCKY TO LOSE TO IN-FORM CAMBRIDGE

Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 at home by Cambridge United in a game that the Stags certainly deserved something from. Cambridge had the better of the opening 22 minutes and could have been ahead after hitting the post, but Mansfield battled back in the second half of the first half and should have taken the lead when new signing Hegarty missed a sitter from 7 yards. 0-0 was a fair scoreline at the break. The Stags took the lead on 55 minutes as a Cambridge goalkick was headed forward by Futcher, to a Cambridge player who was immediately dispossessed by Meikle in the centre circle before Meikle threaded a lovely ball forward into the path of Green who took the ball around the advancing keeper and slotted the ball into the net as two defenders desperately tried to get back on the line to clear. Cambridge equalised within 60 seconds of the restart. Murray slipped over in the middle of the park, allowing Cambridge to put the forward to Dunk who broke into the box, partially lost control the ball as it bounced off O’Neill’s heal, and O’Neill tried to shepherd the ball back to Marriott but Dunk stretched out his left leg and slid the ball past the Stags keeper into the net. A costly error by O’Neill. Cambridge were ahead 5 minutes later. Meikle gave the ball away well inside the Cambridge half, Cambridge broke forward quickly, and Dunk controlled the ball rather luckily which teed him up for a shot from the edge of the box which he also miscued but had enough on it to roll past Marriott into the bottom left corner of the net from the edge of the box. After that, Mansfield poured forward for the remaining 30 minutes as Cambridge sat back and the Stags had plenty of chances to equalise none better than when Dyer headed over from 6 yards from a beautiful O’Neill cross. The Stags also had penalty appeals for a couple of handballs and seemed to have a nailed on penalty when Green was hauled down in the box, but all were waved away. A very disappointing defeat, in front of a disappointing attendance, ahead of a two week break before the next game.

The Stags made 3 changes from the side thumped at Fleetwood. In defence loan signing Kieron Freeman came in at left back, with Riley dropping out, and O’Neill moving to right back and Sutton to centre half. New signing Hegarty came on the left side of midfield, replacing Bolland, and Green returned at the expense of Louis Moult. Dyer started up front alongside Green.

Heavy rain around lunchtime left the pitch soggy and probably kept some spectators away.

Cambridge made all the early running, and looked confident, as you’d expect from a team on such a good run. On 5 minutes, Marriott came from a cross and elected to punch, probably worried about the wet ball. On 13 minutes, an escape for the Stags as a Cambridge shot from the right from a tight angle rattled the left post, and from the rebound another shot was deflected wide. On 15 minutes, a Cambridge free kick was poorly struck into the side netting by Ashley Carew. The Stags first meaningful attack came on 20 minutes as Hegarty tried to find Green with a forward ball but it was just through to the keeper. On 22 minutes, former Stags Tom Shaw shot wide from outside the box.

The Stags had not been at the races. But on 23 minutes, a great cross from the right by O'Neill and Hegarty headed wide. Hegarty missed an even better chance on 30 minutes. Meikle put in a delightful cross, Dyer knocked it down and Hegarty lifted his shot over the bar from 7 yards, totally unmarked, with the goal at his mercy and with time to pick his spot. Great play by Dyer on 35 minutes to find Hegarty who crossed for Meikle but it came off the top of Meikle’s head and went out for a goalkick.

Another great chance for the Stags on 37 minutes. A great ball over the top by Freeman was brilliantly controlled by Dyer. With the keeper out of his goal, Dyer shot but it was going wide, and Green and a defender slid in on it at the far post, and somehow the ball ricocheted straight into the keeper’s arms, the keeper having got back onto his line. Incredible how it didn’t go in, after a poor shot by Dyer. A minute later, at the other end, a great tackle by O’Neill as Tom Shaw was through on goal. In stoppage time at the end of the half, Green was nearly through, but when he needed a bit of luck he didn’t get it and the ball was cleared.

The Stags had been marginally on top for the second 22 minutes of the half after Cambridge had dominated the start. And 0-0 was a fair score at the break.

Half time 0-0

After a quiet start to the second half, Mansfield roared into the lead on 55 minutes. A Cambridge goalkick was headed forward by Futcher, to a Cambridge player who was immediately dispossessed by Meikle in the centre circle before Meikle threaded a lovely ball forward into the path of Green who took the ball around the advancing keeper and slotted the ball into the net as two defenders desperately tried to get back on the line to clear. Field Mill exploded.

But the fans’ joy was shortlived as Cambridge equalised within 60 seconds of the restart. Murray slipped over in the middle of the park, allowing Cambridge to put the forward to Dunk who broke into the box, partially lost control the ball as it bounced off O’Neill’s heal, and O’Neill tried to shepherd the ball back to Marriott but Dunk stretched out his left leg and slid the ball past the Stags keeper into the net. A costly error by O’Neill.

On 59 minutes, O’Neill’s free kick into the box was high and over everyone. A waste. On 60 minutes, Dyer lost the ball, then did well to get it back, and feed Meikle on the right, and from a tight angle, Meikle fired over the angle.

Cambridge were ahead on 62 minutes. Meikle gave the ball away well inside the Cambridge half, Cambridge broke forward quickly, and Dunk controlled the ball rather luckily which teed him up for a shot from the edge of the box which he also miscued but had enough on it to roll past Marriott into the bottom left corner of the net from the edge of the box. The shot seemed to go in in slow motion, and as Marriott dived for it, it was just out of his reach.

On 63 minutes, a long throw by O’Neill was headed on by Futcher, and Dyer tried to flick the ball over his head goalwards, but it was easily cleared away. Seconds later, Meikle’s powerful shot from just outside the box, was palmed away by the diving keeper but no-one was there to pick up the pieces. The Stags had a couple of penalty shouts for handball, but waved away.

On 67 minutes, Moult replaced Hegarty, and Dyer to the left wing. A good move from the Stags on 73 minutes, and Murray’s cross came out to Howell, who shot low and hard but straight at the keeper. On 75 minutes, O’Neill crossed from the right and Moult volleyed a couple of feet over the bar. A good ball from O’Neill on 76 minutes out to the left, where Dyer had players available in the middle but his cross was straight into the keeper’s arms.

The Stags had a good shout for a penalty on 79 minutes, when Green, with his back to goal, appeared to be hauled down, but again the ref waved away appeals. The Stags should have been level on 80 minutes. Another good cross from O’Neill from the right was perfect for Dyer who was unmarked but headed over from 6 yards. On 82 minutes, Dyer headed down to Murray, but it was an awkward chance which he fired over with his left foot. A rare break by Cambridge on 84 minutes and Marriott did well to tip over a shot from Jarvis. A Stags cross into the box on 86 minutes was just cleared.

Cambridge had a goal disallowed on 90 minutes as Berry fired in but the offside flag was already up. A minute into stoppage time, Green got the ball just outside the box, and turned and fired over. Then 3 minutes into stoppage time another Stags chance was just cleared away.

Disappointment at the final whistle, with the odd boo from a few Stags fans. No one could fault the Stags for their effort, the Stags were just short of that extra little bit of class that only money can buy.

Man of the Match: Kieron Freeman


Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill



Line Up:
Marriott 6 Good save to tip over a shot from a rare break in the second half.
O'Neill 6 Terrible error for the equaliser - naïve defending. Put in one of two decent crosses.
Futcher 6 Possibly could have cleared the ball for the second goal, but would be harsh to blame him. Inauspicious end to an impressive 3 month loan spell.
Sutton 6 Did ok.
Freeman 7 Put in some great tackles.
Meikle 6.5 Poor first half, but got stuck in in the second half and started causing problems. Good pass for the goal.
Howell 6 Quiet game.
Murray 6 Battled away but not on the top of his game. Cut a frustrated figure after the game.
Hegarty 5.5 Didn’t cause the defence many problems and didn’t do much wing play. Missed a sitter in the first half.
Dyer 6 Held the ball up ok as a striker and a few good flick-ons, but missed a great chance with a header. Looks so out of place on the left wing.
Green 6 Took his goal really well, but was frustrated for most of the game. Not well served. The one accurate pass he got, he buried.
Sub Line Up:
Moult (for Hegarty, 67) - Didn’t get into the game when he first came on.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Thompson, Bolland, Connor.
Opposition Line Up:
Naisbitt, Roberts, Coulson, Wylde, McAuley, Carew (Charles 63 mins), Shaw, Jarvis, Dunk (Patrick 80 mins), Gash, Berry. Subs not used: Marriott, Hudson, Thorpe.
Referee:
Darren Bond (West Lancashire)


Season 11/12 Reports