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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
4 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Hatch 11, Fisher 56, 86, Bush 70.
 Jones 18
Attendance: 801 (151 from Mansfield)
Date: 14 August 2012


Martin Shaw at the International Stadium

Mansfield Town's nightmare start to the season continued, with a 4-1 defeat at Gateshead this evening. The Stags were terrible in defence again, as they were on Saturday against Newport. In addition, keeper Alan Marriott made two howlers to gift goals to the home side, and the Stags were spineless in midfield, with the exception of Roberts. Manager Paul Cox had kept the same side from Saturday, apart from the enforced change of Dyer replaced by Daniel. Cox wanted the players who were so poor on Saturday, to put things right, but it backfired spectacularly. After the game Paul Cox was an angry man, and after the post match interviews, he had some harsh words about some of his players off air to me and two other people who were there along with Adam Murray. It would not be right for me to quote Paul Cox off air, but suffice to say he wasn't too happy with some aspects of the defence and midfield. He asked what I thought. I said I thought we were missing Adam Murray. I asked when Jamie Hand was back from suspension and Cox said after the Kidderminster game. Cox suggested that we missed the commitment of someone like Hand tonight. Cox wanted it to be known that he apologised to the fans, and he vowed to put it right.

The Stags were a goal down on 11 minutes when Liam Hatch netted. The Stags had had two warnings moments before the goal. Cox then made a very early tactical change bringing on Speight for Tolley to go 4-4-2. The Stags were soon level when Jones did well to head in Owens's free kick. The Stags played well after this and were unlucky on 37 minutes when Green was fouled in the box and the referee awarded the Stags a penalty. But he changed his mind as the linesman was flagging for offside. George Pilkington was hauled off at the break, but things went from bad to worse, as the normally reliable Alan Marriott made howlers on 56 and 70 minutes to gift goals to Gateshead. Then Lee Beevers was sent off for a stupid challenge for a second yellow. As the Stags pushed players forward, they were left woefully exposed at the back and Gateshead added a 4th on 86 minutes.

The Stags are now desperate for a good result at Kidderminster on Saturday to kick start the season. I expect to see Sutton, Dempster and Thompson making up three of the back four, possibly with Luke Jones or Colin Daniel. Hopefully that will be a defence to start keeping clean sheets.

Detailed report:

On a gloriously sunny evening in Gateshead, the feel of the Olympics continued with the Stags visit to the International Stadium, which was built as an Athletics stadium. Luckily, the BBC commentary point has the best seats in the house. Unluckily it has no electricity which caused us no end of problems with the commentary.

To my astonishment, manager Paul Cox kept the same side from Saturday, apart from the enforced change of Dyer replaced by Daniel. Cox wanted the players who were so poor on Saturday, to put things right. On the bench, Matt Rhead returned from being best man at a wedding, to replace Dempster. Gateshead included Ryan McGorrigan, who was on trial at Mansfield recently, as a sub.

The warning bells for Mansfield were ringing early. On 9 minutes, Liam Hatch's close range header was very well saved by Marriott, clawing the ball away for a corner. From that corner, a powerful header from Cummins was well saved again by Marriot, with Magnay firing the rebound over the bar.

But on 11 minutes, Gateshead deservedly took the lead. Another corner from the right by Gillies, saw a Gateshead player go down and it looked like the referee would award a penalty, but Hatch pounced anyway and headed home, giving Marriott no chance.

Cox then made a tactical change on 17 minutes bringing on Speight for Tolley to go 4-4-2. I don’t think Tolley had done anything wrong in that short period so he could only have been the sacrificial lamb.

The Stags were soon level on 18 minutes. Owens sent in a long free kick from the halfway line and Luke Jones rose highest to loop a header inside the far post.

The Stags were right back in it. On 25 minutes, a great move from the Stags as Roberts sprayed a ball out to the left, Speight cut inside, but eventually an offside flag curtailed the attack. Then on 28 minutes, Green turned and shot in the box, but it hit Speight and went wide. On 30 minutes, Gillies' shot from 22 yards was dipping but over the bar and wide of the post. Then on 32 minutes, clever play from Hatch for Cummings whose shot was blocked, and Boyle’s follow-up was deflected for a corner.

A key moment in the game came on 37 minutes. The Stags were unlucky as Green was fouled in the box by the clumsy James Curtis and the referee awarded the Stags a penalty. It was a clear foul. But the referee changed his mind several seconds later as the linesman was flagging for offside.

On 38 minutes, Hatch's chip into the box found Cummins who volleyed just over the bar.

Then on 39 minutes, a fine ball in from the left by Colin Daniel, and Howell flicked a header well wide. And on 45 minutes, Gary Roberts cut inside from the left and let fly, but his shot nearly hit the corner flag.

A poor first half defensively for Mansfield, but going forward it had been decent stuff.

Half time 1-1

During the half time interval, Paul Cox emerged from the dressing room for a chat with John Thompson who was warming up in the pitch. As the game was to re-start, Thompson replaced George Pilkington.

On 49 minutes, a long looping throw from Owens went around the box like a pinball and Speight eventually headed wide. Then another Owens long throw on 52 came out to Daniel on the left, and his shot bounced into the ground and deflected wide.

Gateshead re-took the lead on 56 minutes. Fisher nicked the ball past Meikle and past another defender before firing a low shot underneath Marriott from 16 yards. It should have been an easy save but the normally reliable Stags keeper made a howler.

On 60 minutes, left back Bush sent a free kick from more than 40 yards over the bar.

Rhead replaced the hapless Owens on 68 minutes, with Daniel moving to left back, and the Stags moving to a 4-2-4 formation. A minute later Rhead was straight into the action, heading Thompson’s free kick into the keeper’s arms.

It was 3-1 on 70 minutes. Bush took another free kick, this time from the right from about 25 yards. Somehow it found its way past Marriott and into the left corner of the net, with seemingly no-one touching it (though awaiting video evidence - I was promised the match DVD but technical problems meant no-one got a DVD of the game and they are all being posted out later in the week). Clearly another howler by Marriott.

On 77 minutes, a fully committed challenge from Roberts saw a yellow card.

Then on 84 minutes, Lee Beevers was sent off for a stupid challenge for a second yellow. From the resulting free kick, Gillies sent a free kick just wide.

As the Stags pushed players forward, they were left woefully exposed at the back and Gateshead added a 4th on 86 minutes. Sub James Marwood laid a square ball into the path of Fisher, who side-footed wide of Marriott into the corner of the net from just inside the box.

Mansfield almost pulled one back on 88 minutes, as Speight nearly bundled in at the far post but it was smothered wide by the keeper.

Man of the match: tough choice, marginally given to Speight

Report by: Martin Shaw at the International Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 4 Clearly at fault for the two of the goals. A dreadful night.
Beevers 4 Really stupid challenge to pick up a second yellow. Defended poorly. Will miss the next game but surely would have been dropped anyway,
Jones 5 Defended poorly, but did at least look a threat up front, and scored good goal.
Pilkington 4 Another poor game, and so disappointing for someone with such experience. Substituted at half time as manager Cox demonstrated his annoyance at the performance of his captain.
Owens 4 Poor.
Meikle 6 Worked tirelessly but lacked quality when it mattered (eg when trying to put in a cross). Cox was at least happy with his work rate and work ethic.
Roberts 6 Didn't play up to his usual high standard, but did put in 100% effort. Cut a frustrated figure again.
Howell 4 Totally went missing, as he did on Saturday.
Tolley - Sacrificed after just 17 minutes, to bring on Speight and go 2 up front.
Daniel 6 Did ok.
Green 5 Not his night but didn't get much service.
Sub Line Up:
Speight (for Tolley, 17) 6 Worked hard.
Thompson (for Pilkington, 46) 6 Defensively, probably the pick of the bunch.
Rhead (for Owens, 68) - Won some headers but they didn't go to Stags players.
Subs not used: Clements, Wright.
Opposition Line Up:
Bartlett, Magney (Wilson, 73), Boyle (Marwood, 67), Curtis, Bush, Clark, Gillies, Turnbull, Cummins, Fisher, Hatch (McGorrigan, 85). Subs not used: Nixon, McGlen.
Darren Handley (Bolton) 7 Handled the game well.

Season 12/13 Reports