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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
2 - 0
 Braintree Town
Stevenson 42, Speight 86
Attendance: 2049 (32 from Braintree)
Date: 15 September 2012


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium

Mansfield Town picked up a fourth successive home victory, and a fifth win in 7 games, with a 2-0 success over mid-table Braintree Town on Saturday afternoon. It wasn't a vintage encounter, but Lee Stevenson's low finish just before half-time (a goal just before the break for the fourth consecutive game), followed by a fine finish by Jake Speight on 86 minutes, were enough to earn the points.

Stags manager Paul Cox made five changes with Matt Green suspended, Lindon Meikle rested to the bench after his trip with England C; he also dropped Luke Jones, Anthony Howell and Louis Briscoe. Cox went with a 3-4-1-2 formation with Ryan Tafazolli making his debut in a three-man defence, Lee Beevers in at right wing-back (with Daniel at left wing-back), Chris Clements brought into midfield for his first start, Lee Stevenson behind the front two for his first start of the season, and Jake Speight up front. Braintree could only name four subs.

The Stags were in amber shirts and amber shorts. The club had nominated amber shirts and amber shorts as their home colours for the season, but had played in blue shorts for the past 3 home games. Braintree turned up with blue shorts and therefore were entitled to play in them. A reminder for those superstitious amongst you that the Stags have never had a promotion in their history wearing amber shorts!

A chance for the Stags after a minute, as Geohaghon’s long throw was cleared but Clements pounced on the second ball and fired a yard over the bar from the edge of the box. Braintree's first chance came on 5 minutes as a free kick was headed down, and striker Sean Marks, who scored at Field Mill last season, had a sight of goal from 6 yards but completely scuffed his shot to present Marriott with an easy save. A mistake by Braintree defender Pain on 8 minutes presented Speight with a chance but he pulled his shot wide of the left post. A minute later, at the other end, Marks headed a corner over from an impossible angle at the near post. On 12 minutes, Marriott came to claim a free kick but dropped it and Mulley fired wide (incident missed by cameraman on video).

A good chance for Rhead on 20 minutes as he was unmarked from Clements’ corner but keeper Naisbitt held his header underneath his own bar. Then on 23 minutes, Clements’ chipped ball forward was just out of the reach of Geohaghon who acrobatically tried to reach it.

It was poor start from the Stags, in a poor game.

A good chance for Braintree on 30 minutes as the tall Bailey-Dennis, who scored against the Stags at Braintree last season, had a shot from close range that was really well saved by Marriott, making himself big.

The Stags had a goal disallowed on 32 minutes as Speight was adjudged to have fouled his man before firing superbly into the net from the edge of the box.

A mistake by Tafazolli on 35 minutes, losing the ball on the halfway line, putting Braintree in a 5-on-2 situation, Sean Marks drove forward, and fortunately fired wide of the left post with other options available.

The Stags took the lead on 42 minutes. It was a goal just before the break for the fourth consecutive game. Clements launched a long pass forward for Speight to run onto down the right. Speight got into the box, lost control of the ball against two defenders, but the ball ran kindly for Stevenson who fired low and hard into the bottom left of the net.

Half time 1-0

A great pass sprayed by Murray out to Beevers on the right on 48 minutes, but Beevers wasted the position with a ball over everyone. A minute later, a defensive error gifted Rhead possession 25 yards out, and he tried a chip but it was easily saved. Great defensive work by Tafazolli on 51 minutes with an outstanding header to deny Sean Marks at the far post after a cross had sailed over Marriott. On 57 minutes, Speight managed to work a shooting chance from the edge of the box, after a one-two with Rhead, but his shot was parried by the keeper. Speight should have been through for a 1-on-1 on the hour when Rhead headed on a Geohaghon ball into his path, but he lost control and the chance was gone. Braintree had claims for a penalty on 64 minutes, when a high ball from the keeper Naisbitt into the Stags box bounced up and hit the hand of Sutton, but the ref waved away appeals.

On 72 minutes, Stevenson was adjudged to have fouled a Braintree player, but the Braintree player was horribly high and late with his studs landing in Stevenson. The ref decided to take no action. Rhead screwed a shot wide from the right on 74 minutes. Then on 77, Clements skimmed a low shot wide of the left post.

Howell replaced Rhead on 81 minutes and went up front.

The Stags opened up a two goal cushion on 86 minutes. By this stage, Braintree had pushed three men into attack, leaving space at the back. Daniel played a terrific ball from a left back position halfway inside in his own half, into space for Speight to run onto. Speight bore down and goal and waited for the keeper to go down before dinking a little chip over the keeper into the net, for an expert finish.

Meikle replaced Speight on 87 minutes. Meikle was straight into the action down the right on 88 but his cross was taken low down by Naisbitt. On 89 minutes, a shot from Clements was blocked by a Braintree player just outside his own box, with appeals for handball waved away by the ref. Three minutes into stoppage time, a Braintree shot was blocked, and straight to the other end where Meikle tried to play in Stevenson with a square ball but it was cut out.

So in the end a comfortable 2-0 win, but it was not comfortable until the second goal.

Man of the Match: Exodus Geohaghon

Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Quiet afternoon, but made one fine save from Bailey-Dennis's close range shot.
Sutton 7 Solid defensive display. No frills and no mistakes.
Geohaghon 8 Dominant in defence, mopping up everything and winning everything.
Tafazolli 7.5 One mistake losing the ball putting Braintree in a 5-on-2 situation, but otherwise a really fine debut, and winning numerous towering headers. One outstanding header to deny Sean Marks.
Beevers 6 Solid at right wing-back. Crossing was poor. Needs to sort this out.
Murray 6.5 Poor first half, but much better in the second half. Some really good passes in the second half.
Clements 6.5 Starting the game very poorly, but grew in to it. Some good passing, and came close with a few shots. Promising.
Daniel 7 Looks better going forward than he does defensively. Super ball to put Speight in for the second goal.
Stevenson 6 Took his goal very well, showing why he scored 90 goals in 3 seasons. Did ok.
Speight 7.5 Very sharp. Took his goal excellently. Another fine finish in the first half for a goal that was disallowed.
Rhead 6 Not his best game. Did some good things.
Sub Line Up:
Howell (for Rhead, 81) - Went up front in place of Rhead.
Meikle (for Speight, 87) - Rested, following his midweek trip for England C. Got into the game quickly in the late stages.
Subs not used: Thompson, Jones, Briscoe.
Opposition Line Up:
Naisbitt; Peters, Wells, Paine, Bailey-Dennis; Mulley (O’Connor 76), Symons, Quinton, Sparkes (Dawkin 67); Holman, Marks. Subs not used: McDonald, Habergham.
Wayne Barratt (Bromsgrove) 6 Had a fine first half, but made some howlers in the second half.

Season 12/13 Reports