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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
 Lincoln City
Attendance: 2325 (334 from Lincoln)
Date: 9 October 2012


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium

Mansfield Town were held at home again, this time by David Holdsworth’s lowly Lincoln at the One Call Stadium, and the Stags have now failed to win in four games. It was the first time that Mansfield have failed to score this season, and the Stags were much the better side, but Lincoln defended well. Matt Green was unfortunate to be half a yard offside in the first half when he finished clinically from Andy Todd’s fabulous through-ball. In the second half, Murray was brought down right on the edge of the area, the resulting free kick being taken literally on the line. Both Rhead and Speight were denied by fabulous saves from Lincoln keeper Paul Farman. And there were several other chances from Mansfield in an improved second half display. At the end of the game, there were some ugly scenes with some Mansfield fans congregating near the tunnel and hurling abuse at players and managers. Fans are entitled to express an opinion, but personal abuse is not acceptable in any walk of life, including in a football ground. Some fans are calling for the head of Paul Cox, yet Paul Cox in his 59 league games in charge, has the best win ratio of any manager in the Stags history (since joining in the league in 1931), followed by Peter Morris, and then Dave Smith. So, whilst the Stags may not be winning at the moment, to sack Cox at this stage would fly in the face of that statistic. He is a manager under huge pressure brought about by expectations of the owner and many fans that the Stags would be in the top one. Clearly results need to improve quickly however if the Stags are to remain in touch with the leaders.

The Stags had ten players out with injury and made seven changes from the side that lost at Cambridge. Out went injured trio John Thompson, Exodus Geohaghon and Anthony Howell, along with dropped keeper Shane Redmond, George Pilkington, Lindon Meikle, and new signing Solomon Taiwo. In came Notts County loanee keeper Liam Mitchell for his Stags debut. Also in came John Dempster, back from a loan spell at Tamworth, and Ryan Tafazolli, in a three man defence alongside Sutton. Andy Todd came in on the right side of midfield, with Colin Daniel in on the left side of midfield. And Gary Roberts returned from injury alongside Murray in the centre of midfield. Rhead also returned, to play up front alongside Green and Speight.

Lincoln, managed by David Holdsworth, included ex-Stags Adam Smith and Colin Larkin, with Gary Mills on the bench.

On 2 minutes, a ball over the top for Green, unluckily landed on his shoulder. A great cross from the right from Todd on 15 minutes and Green headed over. A Lincoln corner from the right on 16 minutes was let go by Daniel and hit the post. Then a minute later at the other end, Todd headed a Roberts corner back into the middle and Tafazolli headed wide. Adam Smith sent a free kick over the bar for Lincoln on 19 minutes. Good play from the Stags on 22 minutes as Rhead headed down into the path of Green but Green was offside as he fired over the bar.

On 32 minutes, the diminutive Jamie Taylor fired over from 30 yards. And 2 minutes later Gilbert fired wide from a clever Lincoln corner.

On 35 minutes, Roberts played a great ball over the top for Green who swivelled but couldn’t get a first time effort at goal - it would have been a wonder goal. A minute later and the Stags had a goal disallowed. Todd played a fabulous ball through for Green, who was just a fraction offside before clinically beating Farman in the Lincoln goal.

Half time 0-0

Mansfield had a tremendous spell of passing and pressure in the opening three minutes of the second half. I’ve included in its entirety on the video highlights package. During this spell, Speight had a header tipped over. From the resulting corner Tafazolli headed wide.

Green had a sight of goal on 55 minutes but didn’t pull the trigger, and then Murray had a shot blocked. A rare mistake by Dempster gifted Jamie Taylor a half chance on 56 minutes but Taylor fluffed it.

On 64 minutes, Rhead headed down Roberts free kick and Speight fired over the bar. Then another half chance for the Stags as Green momentarily was in front of goal, but again no-one pulled the trigger.

Mitchell had to make his first save on 66 minutes as Adam Smith fired in a powerful shot which Mitchell did very well to parry away.

Murray was brought down on the edge of the box on 69 minutes and ended up in a heap inside the box, the officials made the correct decision that it was a fraction outside the area. Roberts sent the resulting free kick into the wall.

Green had an overhead kick at goal on 73 minutes from a knock down from a Roberts corner, but it was cleared away. Then on 79 minutes keeper Farman claimed the ball at Green’s feet as Roberts’ free kick was flicked on.

Paul Cox made no substitutions and the first sign of crowd discontent came on 80 minutes with chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing”.

Roberts fired just over the bar on 82 minutes. Moments later a great long pass from Murray and Rhead met it with a fantastic header from distance, which Farman tipped away from his top corner. From the West Stand side you could not tell if it was going in, but manager Paul Cox told me afterwards that it was, from his angle on the other side.

On 85 minutes, good play from Daniel down the left, with good pace, and cutting the ball back for Speight who sent in a piledriver that was met with a great save from Farman.

Then the end of the game, and those ugly scenes.

Man of the Match: Andy Todd

Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium

Line Up:
Mitchell 7 Quiet game on his Stags debut. One very good save from Adam Smith’s shot.
Sutton 6.5 Defended solidly, no mistakes.
Dempster 6.5 Solid game returning from his loan spell at Tamworth. Nearly gifted Jamie Taylor a goal, but other than that looked good.
Tafazolli 6.5 Some towering headers at the back. Sent two headers wide from set pieces.
Todd 8 Very good game. Two superb balls for Green in the first half, one led to a disallowed goal and another to a header over the bar. Rarely gets a game but always seems to play well.
Roberts 6.5 Good to see him back in the side. Perhaps not quite match sharp but played some good passes, though also gave the ball away.
Murray 7 Some cracking passes in his 400th league game, including a fine one for Rhead’s header. Unluckily brought down right on the edge of the box.
Daniel 6 Looked much better without having to do defensive duties. Really good play to set up a Speight chance near the end, but has to contribute more.
Rhead 7 So unlucky with a header from distance that was brilliantly saved by Farman. Several good knock downs which Green couldn’t capitalise on
Speight 6.5 Really good effort near the end which was well saved. A couple of other chances. Did ok.
Green 6 Great finish for the disallowed goal, but otherwise not at his sharpest and didn’t pull the trigger when had a sight of goal. A night when things just didn’t quite fall for him, but will get sharper as he returns from his suspension.
Sub Line Up:
Subs not used: Pilkington, Taiwo, Briscoe, Meikle, Stevenson.
Opposition Line Up:
Farman, Gray, Gilbert, Boyce, Miller, Nicolau, Bore (Sheridan, 73), Mofana, Smith, Larkin (Robinson, 78), Taylor. Subs not used: Robson, Turner, Mills.
Karl Evans (Wigan) 7 With his assistants, he got the key decisions spot on, as Green’s effort was half a yard offside, and Murray was a fraction outside the box when brought down.

Season 12/13 Reports