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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Cambridge United  
4 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Gash 9, Berry 49, Elliott 51, Jarvis 58.
 Speight 71.
Attendance: 2545 (209 from Mansfield)
Date: 6 October 2012


Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at the Abbey Stadium

A disastrous afternoon for Mansfield Town who suffered bad injuries to key defenders John Thompson and Exodus Geohaghon in the first half, Thompson with a suspected broken leg and Geohaghon with ligament damage. It was terrible news for Thompson who had finally fought his way back from the awful injury at the start of last season with a good performance last Saturday and looking very good in this game. Similarly Geohaghon had been imperious in defence in this game as he had in most others. And at the end of the game, Ryan Tafozolli, the replacement in central defence, tweaked his hamstring. None of which can excuse the errors and poor defending that led to Cambridge’s four goals. The first error came from Shane Redmond who hesitated allowing Michael Gash to steal in and score from an acute angle. The defence had looked very solid in the first half, as it had against Hereford last week, but the enforced changes with Colin Daniel replacing Thompson and moving to left back with Sutton to right back, and Tafozolli replacing Geohaghon, saw the Stags with a second half defensive horror show. And Daniel must take much of the blame. Twice in two minutes, on 49 and 51 minutes, he was out of position allowing Tom Elliott all the time in the world for two free shots at goal from the right side of the penalty area. For the first shot, Redmond parried into the path of Luke Berry who fired in, and for the second, Elliott fired straight into the left corner of the net giving Redmond no chance. Cambridge scored their fourth on 58 minutes when a long throw was not cleared and Ross Jarvis half-volleyed home from inside the box. The Stags pulled one back on 71 minutes when Jake Speight, just outside the six-yard box, turned in Howell’s shot. Dempster returns from his loan spell at Tamworth and is likely to go straight back into the side on Tuesday against Lincoln, and the Stags are desperate for a left back who will defend properly and not spend all his time trying to push forward. No doubt about it the Stags were unlucky today with injuries to key players at a time when the defence was looking solid and team had every chance of getting something from the game, but the defensive collapse in the second half cannot be excused whatever the circumstances.

The Stags welcomed back Matt Green from suspension in a 3 man forward line with Speight on the left and Meikle on the right. Solomon Taiwo, having signed after playing two reserve games, came into midfield alongside Murray and Howell. Taiwo became the 28th player that the Stags have used in the league this season. The back four was unchanged. Redmond continued in goal in place of Marriott who is now expected to be out for 2 months. Cambridge, with new head coach Richard Money having joined the club in the week and you would therefore expect players to be trying to impress the new man, included former Stags Tom Shaw and Danny Andrew. The Stags played in the new away kit of white shirts and blue shorts for the first time.

The Stags were behind with the first real attack of the game on 9 minutes. Danny Andrew clipped a ball forward, Redmond hesitated and didn’t come for it, allowing Gash to fire under him from a tight angle. It appeared that if Redmond had come for the ball initially he would have got it.

Just a minute later and another Redmond howler. He came out to try to claim a cross from the right but didn’t get it, and allowed Elliott a free header which he somehow put wide. On 12 minutes, Gash, with confidence from his goal, tried is luck from distance but fired over.

On 18 minutes, Speight clipped a shot high and wide for the Stags but had already been flagged offside. On 21 minutes, Tom Shaw fired wide of the left post. On 25 minutes, great play from Cambridge centre-back Josh Coulson who powered forward and shot against the outside of the right post.

The Stags were knocking the ball around nicely and playing ok, but could have been 3 down.

On 33 minutes, a chance for Jarvis who sliced wide from 16 yards.

On 39 minutes a great ball from Murray found Meikle who created space for himself and had a sight of goal, but didn’t pull the trigger and the chance was gone.

Disaster struck on 45 minutes as Thompson was fouled by Luke Berry and stayed down. He was obviously in trouble and when Adam Murray put his arm round him you knew there was a major injury. Thompson was stretchered off and taken to hospital for an x-ray. After the game Paul Cox said that Thompson himself believed his leg was broken. It was an upsetting moment. Berry was booked. Some home fans booed Thompson as he was stretchered off which was outrageous. Daniel came on and went to left back with Sutton moving to right back.

Half time 1-0

Geohaghon had been hobbling around for the latter part of the first half, but was unable to continue after half time. I remember he hobbled through the entire second half of the win here last season with one of the most courageous displays I have seen. Tafazolli replaced him for the second half.

It was 2-0 on 49 minutes. Elliott was in acres of space on the right of the penalty area with Daniel nowhere to be seen. Elliott had time to compose himself and shoot, Redmond parried away the shot into the path of Luke Berry who bundled into the empty net.

Two minutes later it was 3-0 in similar circumstances. Again Elliott was in acres of space on the right of the penalty area with Daniel nowhere to be seen, and this time he fired a superb shot into the left corner of the net giving Redmond no chance.

The enforced changes in the Stags defence had directly led to the two goals conceded.

The Stags should have had a penalty on 55 minutes. Daniel crossed from the left, Meikle and a defender went down and the ball clearly came off the hand of a Cambridge defender. Even the extremely biased BBC Cambridgeshire commentators noted it was a stone-wall penalty. Two minutes later, Murray chipped a ball over the top for Green to run onto. Green and a defender went down in a tangle. This time it didn’t look like a penalty.

It was 4-0 on 58 minutes. A long throw from the left was headed on and dropped to Rossi Jarvis who half-volleyed in to the right of the net giving Redmond no chance.

Briscoe replaced Taiwo on 60 minutes and two minutes later Briscoe was straight into the action firing a free kick over the bar. On 65 minutes, a great shot from Speight from the edge of the box which was well saved by keeper Hedge. On 67 minutes, a low shot from Gash at the other end was easy for Redmond. Then Danny Andrew sent a free kick straight at Redmond on 70.

The Stags pulled a goal back on 71 minutes. Howell’s shot from the edge of the box was diverted into the net by Speight.

Redmond saved well at the feet of a Cambridge player on 77 minutes from an Elliott knock-down. A minute later Daniel was booked for a late challenge. It capped a shocking performance by Daniel. On 82 minutes, Redmond was out with a fine claim to catch a cross from the right.

A great one-two between Speight and Howell on 84 minutes, and a challenge on Speight inside the box didn’t get any of the ball, but the ref waved away penalty appeals. Another appeal for a Stags penalty on 90 minutes as Green got into the box, but again appeals were waved away. So a desperately disappointing defeat and with some supporters now calling for manager Paul Cox to be sacked, pressure is growing ahead of home games against Lincoln and Forest Green.

Man of the Match: John Thompson

Report by: Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at the Abbey Stadium

Line Up:
Redmond 5 Two bad errors in the first ten minutes cost one goal and nearly cost another. Improved when the Stags were four goals down.
Thompson 8 Had a very good first half until he was cruelly injured again.
Geohaghon 8 Imperious again, won absolutely everything. Also injured.
Pilkington 6.5 Played well in the first half and was not at fault for the goals in the second half.
Sutton 6 Steady defensively.
Murray 6.5 Industrious, with some good passes.
Howell 5.5 Quiet game.
Taiwo 6 Looked a good player
Meikle 7 Worked hard, good skill, chased everything. Crossing was poor, and the one time he had a good position for a shot he didnt pull the trigger.
Green 6 Didn’t get enough service through the channels.
Speight 6 Another goal.
Sub Line Up:
Daniel (for Thomson, 45) 4 Out of position too often at left back. Partially responsible for goals 2 and 3.
Tafazolli (for Geohaghon, 46) 6 Did ok.
Briscoe (for Taiwo, 60) - Didn’t get into the game.
Subs not used: Clements, Rhead.
Opposition Line Up:
Hedge, Thorpe, Coulson, McAuley, Andrew; Jarvis (Wellard 79), Shaw, Berry, Willmott (Moke 85); Gash (Pugh 88), Elliott. Subs not used: Wylde, Ross.
Kevin Johnson (Somerset) 6 Did ok.

Season 12/13 Reports