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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
5 - 0
Murray 5, Howell 55, Jones 66, Green 79, Stevenson pen 85.
Attendance: 2598 (104 from Dartford)
Date: 2 February 2013


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium

Mansfield Town turned on a superb second half display to overwhelm high-flying Dartford after a first half in which the visitors had held the upper hand. The Stags were very fortunate to go in at the break 1-0 ahead thanks to a fine strike from Adam Murray and it was Dartford who had almost all the play but were unable to make it count in front of goal. The second half was completely different as the Stags ran amok with four well-taken goals, and in truth could have doubled that figure. Howell knocked home after Jones headed down a fine James Jennings free kick, then Jones headed in a Daniel cross, Matt Green finished clinically after a great ball from Briscoe, and finally Stevenson nearly the burst the back of the net with a blistering penalty after he had been brought down himself. New signing James Jennings impressed throughout, with fine quality from numerous set pieces and a solid display in defence. No-one else performed well in the first half, but the second half saw a great team performance.

Manager Paul Cox made one change from the side that won at Southport in the last match a fortnight ago, dropping Ritchie Sutton to make way for Jennings. Beevers moved to right back. Dartford were a much-changed side from the team that beat the Stags 2-0 at Princes Park earlier in the season.

The pitch was in good condition considering the rain and snow of the past month.

Dartford should have been ahead on 4 minutes as Collier was through and Marriott made a good save 1-on-1.

The Stags were ahead on 5 minutes, with their first attack. Adam Murray picked up the ball 22 yards out, completely unmarked, and took aim with a super shot buried into the bottom left corner of the net, for his third goal of the season.

On 7 minutes, a Dartford corner was deflected just wide. Then on 14 minutes, Evans broke down the right and shot past the left post. It was all Dartford in the opening stages despite the Stags goal.

A chance for the Stags on 15 minutes as Jennings floated over a beautiful corner, keeper Bettinelli lost the flight of it, and Jones headed over at the far post from an unmarked position.

Back to the other end and on 17 minutes an Adam Green free kick was headed over his own bar by Jennings. Then on 20 minutes, Harris broke past Dempster and Jennings, and fired over. Marriott produced a great punch clear from an Evans cross a minute later. Then on 27 minutes, a Dartford corner was headed away by Stevenson underneath his own bar. It really was all Dartford.

A rare chance for the Stags on 38 minutes as Daniel crossed, and Meikle’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide though the offside flag was up.

The Stags had three players booked, Green, then Murray, then Dempster, and Green and Murray in particular looked in danger of picking up a second yellow. The referee however seemed to be more lenient on Dartford tackles than those made by Mansfield players.

On 42 minutes, Beevers cleared off the line following an Adam Green free kick.

Just before the break, another rare attack for Mansfield as Daniel sent a cross-cum-shot over the bar from a tight angle.

A bizarre half that saw the Stags in front yet Dartford had been by far the better side and should have been well in front with better finishing.

Half time 1-0

Briscoe replaced the ineffective Meikle at the start of the second half. Though in truth almost any of the Stags players could have been substituted.

Dartford had another great chance on 47 minutes as Harris completely missed his kick on the edge of the box. Straight to the other end and a good break by Matt Green down the right and he provided a perfect cross to Daniel who blazed over on the volley. Then on 50 minutes, a good free kick from Jennings was headed down by Jones, and Murray sent a left footed shot high and wide from 20 yards. An incredible miss for Dartford on 51 minutes as Harris couldn’t bundle the ball in to an open net from close range and Marriott saved on his line.

On 52 minutes, Jones headed wide from a Beevers long throw.

It was 2-0 on 55 minutes. Another Jennings free kick was headed down and back across the face of goal by Jones, allowing Howell time to blast in from 8 yards.

On 57 minutes, Stevenson played a 1-2 with Jennings, and Stevenson scuffed his shot wide. Then a minute later, Daniel made a surging run forward but his shot was deflected and was an easy save for the keeper.

Dartford were barely in the game now, but on 60 minutes Evans fired wide of the post.

A good cross from Daniel on 62 minutes and Jones headed over.

The Stags made it 3-0 on 66 minutes. Daniel crossed from deep and Jones stooped to direct a header into the bottom left corner. A super cross and a super header.

A double chance for Dartford on 67 minutes. A cross deflected off Dempster just past his own post, then from the resulting corner Mark Arbor headed just over.

Daniel sent a cross-cum-shot over the bar on 69 minutes.

Dartford attacked on 70 minutes and Collier got past Dempster and fired wide of the right post. A minute later, Marriott saved well from Adam Green’s low shot from distance.

Murray had a shot blocked on 72. A minute later, Matt Green was just unable to convert a long throw from Beevers. Then Bettinelli saved well from Daniel’s deflected shot. Then on 74 minutes, Briscoe’s shot hit Stevenson and was cleared.

The Stags got a fourth on 79 minutes. A good move involving Stevenson and Briscoe, Briscoe fed a fabulous weighted pass forward to Matt Green who beat the keeper with the deftest of touches with the outside of his right boot. A lovely goal which was beautifully taken.

Marriott tipped a free kick around his post from a free kick from Harris from 27 yards on 80 minutes.

Then on 81 minutes, a fine free kick from Jennings found Jones whose powerful header was tipped over the bar by keeper Bettinelli. From the resulting corner by Jennings, a header from Stevenson was cleared off the line.

Wright replaced Daniel, and Rhead replaced Matt Green on 83 minutes.

Rhead was straight into the action as the Stags made it 5-0 on 85 minutes. Rhead headed on towards Stevenson who was blatantly tripped in the area. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. With regular taker Matt Green just having been taken off, Stevenson stepped up right footed and belted a piledriver into the top right corner.

The Stags should have been given another penalty on 90 minutes as Stevenson’s shot was charged down by the raised arm of a defender. The referee took pity on Dartford and waved play on.

A minute into stoppage time, a great run from Briscoe, and Bettinelli saved his toe-poked shot low down.

So an exhilarating second half display from Mansfield to earn the points and an improvement on the goal difference, and some revenge for the 2-0 defeat at Dartford in front of the TV cameras earlier in the season.

Man of the match: James Jennings, the best player in the first half, who also played well in the second half, with high quality set-pieces

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

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Good game with some important saves.
Beevers 7 Defended well. Put himself about. Throw-ins were much improved.
Dempster 6 Caught out a couple of times. Much better in the second half.
Jones 7.5 A huge threat in the opposition box. Deserved his goal and set up the goal for Howell.
Jennings 8 The best player in the first half, who also played well in the second half, with high quality set-pieces.
Meikle 5 Ineffective in the first half and subbed at the break.
Howell 7.5 Very good second half. Sponsor’s man of the match.
Murray 7 Took his goal beautifully.
Daniel 7 Great cross for Jones’s goal and created danger in the second half after a poor first half.
Stevenson 7.5 Came very strong in the second half after an anonymous first half.
Green 7 Was given terrible service in the first half. Took his goal beautifully.
Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Meikle, 46) 7.5 Powerful display and his introduction coincided with the Stags really getting going.
Wright (for Daniel, 83) -
Rhead (for Green, 83) - Immediately won a header to set up the penalty incident.
Subs not used: Sutton, Clements.
Opposition Line Up:
Bettinelli; Burns, Bonner, Arber, Adam Green; Evans, Champion, Noble, Rogers (Dominic Green 75); Harris (Wallis 87), Collier (Erskine 75). Subs not used: Wells, Hayes.
Peter Bankes (Liverpool) 5 Poor. Seemed to penalise Stags players more heavily than Dartford players who committed similar niggly fouls.

Season 12/13 Reports