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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier, Play-off semi final 2nd leg
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 York City
 Blair 111
Attendance: 7295 (1490 from York)
Date: 7 May 2012


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium

Mansfield Town lost 1-0 to a goal in the second period of extra time as it was York City who progressed through to the final of the play-offs at Wembley. In a tight game, there were very few chances for either team and the game looked like it had 0-0 written all over it. But Matty Blair headed in from close range from a left wing cross 9 minutes from the end of extra time and the Stags were unable to summon enough energy for an equaliser. Mansfield worked tremendously hard throughout, none more so than captain fantastic Adam Murray, but lacked a clinical edge up front to turn half chances into goals and ultimately missed Matt Green as much as we feared we would, after his suspension following the incorrectly awarded second yellow card in the first leg. The Stags best chances to score were a Murray shot that was blocked after excellent play by the industrious Meikle, a Meikle shot that pushed over the bar by Ingham after a superb run, and then late on a Dyer flicked header from a Geohaghon long throw that was nearly a carbon-copy of his goal in the first leg. York’s best chances before the goal both fell to sub Moke who had shots from the edge of the box, though York had good chances to extend their lead in the final moments as Mansfield poured everyone forward.

It will take most of the summer to recover from the disappointment of this loss, but the club will have to re-group and come back stronger next season. The spine of the side is in place but that little bit of extra quality up front is needed as a back-up to Matt Green, as was clearly demonstrated today when he wasn’t available. Congratulations to Paul Cox for a wonderful season, and the highest points tally the club has attained since three points for a win was introduced. It’s been fantastic entertainment with, for example 50 goals scored at home, with Matt Green becoming the first Stags player to score 30 goals since 1975, an incredible 16 wins and 2 draws out of the last 20 games of the season, and many outstanding individual performances. But more than anything the manager instilled a team ethic and a will to win that we haven’t seen for many years.

Utter despair, utter heartbreak. We just came up short today, and we’ll have to come back stronger next season. Come on Mansfield.

Field Mill was rocking before the game to a sell-out crowd of 7,195. Martin Riley was fit to play after his hamstring injury in the first leg. John Thompson was brought onto the bench as cover. 30 goal striker Matt Green was suspended, after the incorrectly awarded second yellow card in the first leg, and he was replaced by Louis Briscoe in the only change to the starting 11. It was a 4-5-1 formation with Ross Dyer the lone striker and Briscoe and Meikle either side of the midfield three of Murray, Roberts and Howell. Matt Rhead and Lee Stevenson were the attacking options on the bench. York also made one change with Oyebanjo coming in for Fyfield.

York started the more brightly. But on 12 minutes Mansfield’s first corner saw a shot from Murray blocked. Moments later a great tackle from Gary Roberts as Blair broke forward. On 14 minutes, McLaughlin fired over from a corner for York.

Great play from Meikle on 17 minutes as he broke down the right and played the ball back to Murray whose shot was deflected over. From the resulting corner, the ball was cleared but Briscoe did well to get it back forward and O’Neill had two efforts blocked. A minute later, Meikle cut inside from the left and his low shot was at keeper Ingham.

On 28 minutes, Roberts drove a free kick straight into the York wall. On 32 minutes, O’Neill’s free kick was aimed for Dyer but was just over everyone. On 38 minutes, Marriott’s kick was flicked on by Dyer towards Meikle but was just claimed by Ingham.

A low key first half ended in stalemate. The Stags defence was looking solid, and Mansfield had the best two chances. However there was a case for Mansfield changing to go two up front.

Half time 0-0

A mix-up between Marriott and Riley on 50 minutes and Marriott dropped the ball but Roberts then made a great block, and moments later Riley got in the way of another shot, and seconds later deflected a cross which Marriott saved. On 52 minutes, Blair cut inside and shot low at Marriott. A great tackle by Murray on 54 minutes, and he got the ball to Briscoe down the right, but Briscoe’s cross was blocked. A minute later, Dyer got into the box and cut inside, but fell over. On 59 minutes, Briscoe got into the box, and his low 20 yard shot fizzed into Ingham’s midriff. Moments later, Meikle got to the byeline, but his cross was cleared.

On 63 minutes, O’Neill’s free kick was flicked back by Geohaghon, and Briscoe‘s miscued shot was caught by Ingham above his head.

Rhead replaced Howell on 64 minutes as Mansfield went 4-4-2 at last. A great one-two by
O’Neill with Briscoe on 67 minutes and O’Neill’s cross was deflected behind for a corner. Two minutes later, O’Neill’s corner nearly went straight in but Moke cleared off the line, though the whistle went for a foul anyway and it wasn’t clear if the goal would have stood.

On 71 minutes, Meikle did well to keep a long throw in play on the far side and he looped back into the box, cut inside and shot into the near sidenetting. On 73 minutes, Rhead won a brave header, to Briscoe on the right and Briscoe fired in a powerful shot from a ridiculous angle that was wide. Two minutes later, Ingham did well to punch clear amid a crowd of heads as Briscoe headed a long Geohaghon throw back six yard box. York had a rare chance on 76 minutes, as sub Moke fired over the bar from 17 yards.

Meikle was so close to winning a penalty on 81 minutes when he was brought down half a yard outside the box, in a central position, as he tried to burst through. Briscoe blasted the free kick into the wall. On 89 minutes, another Geohaghon long throw came out to the edge of the box, but it wouldn’t sit up for Murray and he could only volley it over the bar. Then on 90 minutes, Rhead had a shot blocked. Finally two minutes into stoppage time, a free kick was flicked on by Dyer and just eluded Rhead.

It was all Mansfield as the game ended in stalemate at the end of 90 minutes.

Full time 0-0

Blair showed a clean pair of heels to Sutton on 96 minutes, and his cross was well-cleared by Geohaghon for a corner. From that corner, sub Potts shot wide. Two minutes later, Sutton blocked a shot from Chambers.

On 102 minutes, a great run from Meikle and a fine shot that was heading for the roof of the net, and Ingham had to push it over the bar. From the resulting corner, Riley couldn’t get over the ball and headed over the bar from 2 yards.

Stevenson replaced Briscoe on 104 minutes, with Dyer moving to the right, and Stevenson going up front alongside Rhead. In the final minute of the half, Moke had another chance and fired straight at Marriott.

Half time extra time 0-0

On 108 minutes, Roberts got back well to win the ball off Blair and launch it upfield. Rhead knocked it on for Stevenson, but his shot was a poor effort from 25 yards. Then on 110 minutes, a Moke cross was just too high for diminutive Potts.

But the crucial goal came on 111 minutes. Jason Walker curled in a teasing cross from the left and Matty Blair leapt to head past Marriott from just inside the six yard box. Stags players collapsed to the floor.

Within a few moments of the restart, Sutton fouled on Blair with a tired challenge, to pick up a second yellow. It was a 2 minute spell to surely kill off the Stags.

On 114 minutes, Geohaghon’s long throw from the left was flicked on by Dyer header but straight at Ingham. It was so nearly a carbon copy of Dyer’s goal that felt such a long time ago in the first leg

There was a hold-up Mansfield didn’t need as stewards dealt with two idiotic Stags fans invading the pitch.

Geohaghon hurled in two more long throws in the 120th minute but to no avail. Four minutes were added and in the first, Jason Walker should have sealed it on the break but saw O’Neill cleared his chip over Marriott - an incredible miss. Walker should have been sent off for sliding into Marriott on 120+2 minutes after the keeper had gathered but got away with a yellow. A red would have seen Walker out of the FA Trophy final and the play off final, both at Wembley.

On 120+3 minutes, an incredible double save from Marriott, as Moke and Walker got forward with the Stags having almost no defenders. Moke teed up Walker but Marriott made two blocks.

The final whistle soon came and Stags players collapsed to the ground in misery. Several of the Stags players left the pitch in tears as the home crowd did their best to give them a rousing send off. It felt like the earth had fallen in.

Man of the match: Adam Murray

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Had a quieter game than he might have expected, and made some decent saves. No chance with the goal. Had a great season and is surely one of the best keepers in the division.
O'Neill 8 Defended very well, and made some good breaks going forward.
Riley 7 Played well, and came through the game well after his hamstring injury in the first leg.
Geohaghon 8 Very good performance, terrific at the back and covered an enormous amount of ground. Was on empty at the end. An important player to sign for next season.
Sutton 6 Got caught out a few times and picked up two yellow cards. Has done his best out of position at left back, and put in some good displays, but a natural left back must be a priority for next season.
Briscoe 5 A disappointment today, never able to have a positive effect on the game. A sad end to the season in which he has scored a number of outstanding goals.
Roberts 7 Decent box to box performance but unable to find the killer pass to create a golden chance. Has been outstanding since joining on New Years Day but just couldn’t work his magic today.
Murray 9 A captain’s performance, outstanding. Sweated blood for the cause but it wasn’t quite enough. Heroic in defeat, just as he was a year ago to the day at Wembley in the FA Trophy final.
Howell 6 Didn’t really get into the game.
Meikle 8 Was all over York like a rash and was involved in most of Mansfield best moments going forward. Worked unbelievably hard.
Dyer 6 The lone-striker role just didn’t suit him at all. Could have been a hero with a late equaliser with a fine header from a long throw but it wasn’t to be.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Howell, 64) 6.5 Had a positive influence on the game in the second half, though less so in extra-time.
Stevenson (for Briscoe, 104) -
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Andrew, Thompson.
Opposition Line Up:
Ingham; Challinor (Moke 60), Doig (Fyfield 87), Smith, Meredith; Oyebanjo, Parslow, McLaughlin (Potts 72); Blair, Walker, Chambers. Subs not used: Musselwhite, Reed.
Andy Davies (Southampton) 5 Whistle happy.

Season 11/12 Reports