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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Fleetwood Town  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Beeley 50, Vardy 63.
Attendance: 3106 (480 from Mansfield)
Date: 24 March 2012


Martin Shaw at Highbury

Despite a creditable performance, Mansfield Town fell to a 2-0 defeat against champions-elect Fleetwood on Saturday afternoon. Mansfield paid the penalty for missing chances - 5 in the opening 15 minutes of the game - and another crucial one when Ross Dyer missed a good chance when the Stags were 1-0 down. But in the end, a Fleetwood goal on the break from full back Beeley when the Stags lost their shape following an Exodus Geohaghon long throw, and a clinical finish from Jamie Vardy, were enough for the home side to clock up another victory and continue a 25 game unbeaten run. A superb following of 480 from Mansfield appreciated the Stags performance, and backed the team throughout the game, and then gave the players a decent ovation at the end of the game. Losing to Fleetwood was no disgrace, and in my opinion, Mansfield would have beaten at least two-thirds of the teams in the Conference with today’s display. It still looks like 80 points should be enough to secure a play-off spot so three wins will do it for the Stags from the final 6 games.

The Stags came into the game unbeaten in 8 games, and with 10 wins from the last 13 games. The 13 goals from the last two league games was the Stags highest aggregate from consecutive league games. Fleetwood came into the game unbeaten for 24 games.

Mansfield made one change from the side that beat Alfreton 6-3, with Gary Roberts returning in place of Louis Briscoe, in a 4-5-1 formation that became 4-3-3 when the Stags attacked. Fleetwood had Jamie Vardy on the bench, as he had been suffering from a chest infection during the week. Also on the bench for Fleetwood were Brodie and Viera - a total of 43 goals between those 3 players this season. Only Andy Mangan, of their magnificent strike foursome, started, and bizarrely he played a midfield role.

The game was played in 20 degree heat which felt more like 40 when the sun was straight into your face and you couldn’t move in the press box.

After a scrappy opening 5 minutes, Mansfield burst into life with 5 chances between the 7th and 15th minute. On 7 minutes, Green got through on the right, and his shot from a tight angle was tipped up in the air by the keeper, and came out to Meikle, who scuffed his shot from 8 yards. On 9 minutes, Dyer headed a Roberts cross down for O’Neill who fired into the side netting. On 11 minutes, Roberts teed up Murray who sent a 30 yard piledriver towards the rook of the net, but the keeper palmed it over. A yard either side and it might have been in. Then on 14 minutes, Green went down and the ball rolled to Howell and Howell tried to make space for a shot from the edge of the box but his shot was blocked. Finally on 15 minutes, Howell knocked down an O’Neill cross, and Green fired over from 6 yards. Green was stretching forward and couldn’t get over the ball, but the look on his face suggested he thought he should have scored.

It was all Mansfield and terrific stuff, but you worried that missing these chances would come back to haunt the Stags.

The first chance for the home side came on 19 minutes when Cavanagh crossed from the left and McGuire looped a header over the bar. Then on 22 minutes a fabulous save from Marriott. Goodall’s corner from the right was met powerfully by the head of Nathan Pond and Marriott somehow tipped it on to the woodwork and away. Within a minute, Marriott made another great save, this time getting out quickly to deny Goodall who was in space on the right following a corner from that side, Marriott blocking the shot with his body. On 33 minutes Goodall crossed from the left and McGuire couldn’t quite reach his cross. A great tackle from Sutton on 43 minutes to prevent a Fleetwood break.

A good half for the Stags who more than held their own. The defence looked solid, and better finishing would have seen the Stags in front

Half time 0-0

Roberts played a great ball for Dyer on 47 minutes, Dyer could have shot early but took the ball too close to the byeline and crossed, his cross finding no-one.

Fleetwood broke the deadlock on 50 minutes following a Mansfield throw from Geohaghon. The long throw was cleared quickly by McGuire, and out to Cavanagh in acres of space on the right on the halfway line. Cavanagh made good progress forward and then slipped in Beeley on his right, who drew Marriott before slipping it through his legs into the net. Initially I had thought that Stags left back Sutton was caught out of position, but from the video, really there were not enough bodies back for Mansfield and Sutton couldn’t be blamed. After the goal, there was an inquest in the Mansfield defence involving Geohaghon and Sutton.

On 54 minutes, Peter Till went down in the box, but the referee correctly waved away his appeal for a penalty. Then on 56 minutes, Seddon headed onto the top of the bar from a right wing corner.

Mansfield should have been level on 56 minutes. Meikle slipped a great ball forward into the path of Dyer and Dyer was into the box with only the keeper to beat and fired his shot wide of the right post, it hot the stanchion behind the goal and rolled against the back of the netting. Many in the press box thought it had gone in, myself included, but it was an optical illusion.

Jamie Vardy and Richard Brodie were into the action on 61 minutes for Fleetwood. Soon followed by Briscoe on for Meikle.

Fleetwood made it 2-0 on 63 minutes, when Goodall got down the left and his cross was met by Vardy who nipped in quicker than the Stags defence to poke the ball home from 6 yards. Vardy had been on 2 minutes and showed why he’s the best player to have played in the Conference since the Stags have been in the league.

Matt Rhead came on for Murray on 70 minutes, to give the Stags more of a physical presence at the front, and something more to aim for from throw-ins and corners.

Great defending by Geohaghon on 73 minutes to deny Vardy as Vardy broke forward. Danny Andrew replaced Sutton shortly afterwards.

The Stags were starting to create danger from set pieces and on 83 minutes, O’Neill’s corner was headed back by Rhead and Geohaghon headed straight at the keeper. A great ball from Roberts on 87 minutes, to Briscoe, and Briscoe’s cross was put behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, taken by O’Neill, Dyer headed wide.

Brodie should have scored on 90+2 minutes, when he was through one-on-one but Riley produced a great tackle as he was about to shoot.

A final chance for the Stags on 90+3 minutes as Danny Andrew’s free kick came out to Rhead whose volley was deflected wide.

A good reception from the Mansfield fans at the end of the game, reflecting a good performance. Unfortunately we just came up against a very very good team.

Man of the match: Martin Riley

Report by: Martin Shaw at Highbury

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Made two fabulous saves in the first half, and had no chance with the goals.
O'Neill 6 Given a difficult time by Fleetwood’s attacking left back Goodall.
Riley 8 Very good game, typified by a great tackle on Brodie near the end.
Geohaghon 8 Defended very well, with some powerful challenges.
Sutton 7 Very good first half with one terrific tackle to halt a break, but caught out of position for the first goal. Replaced by Danny Andrew on 73 minutes.
Murray 7 Good game, and unlucky not to get his first goal of the season with a piledriver that the keeper palmed over the bar.
Roberts 8 Some sublime passing.
Howell 8 Positive game, pushing forward at every opportunity.
Meikle 6 Not his most influential game, but produced a fantastic ball to set up Dyer for a glorious chance just as he was about to be substituted.
Dyer 6 Missed a glorious chance at 1-0 down which was a key moment. A couple of good knock-downs but not as effective as he has been.
Green 6 Missed a good chance early on, and was often crowded out.
Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Meikle, 62) - Looked hungry.
Rhead (for Murray, 70) - Put himself about, and set up a good chance for Geohaghon.
Andrew (for Sutton, 73) - Did well with some good challenges, to put himself forward for a starting position.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Worthington.
Opposition Line Up:
Davies, Beeley, McNulty, Pond, Goodall, Mangan, McGuire, Cavanagh, Fowler, Seddon (Brodie 61), Till (Vardy 61). Subs not used: Vieira, Charnock Stevenson.
Scott Duncan (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) 7 Solid game, mostly unnoticed.

Season 11/12 Reports