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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
3 - 1
 Cambridge United
Stevenson 10, Jones 39, Daniel 71.
 Hughes 31.
Attendance: 2508 (208 from Cambridge)
Date: 16 February 2013


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium

Mansfield Town bounced back from the disappointing defeat at Newport on Tuesday with a professional performance to beat Cambridge United, and clock up the third home win on consecutive Saturdays, with sixteen goals in the process. The Stags went in front on 10 minutes with another goal from Lee Stevenson, following a scramble in the box, but Cambridge were deservedly level with a bullet header from a corner, after Alan Marriott had previously pulled off two stunning saves. Cambridge could easily have been in front as the Stags defence looked lethargic, but Luke Jones restored the lead on 39 minutes firing home from close range after his header had been blocked on the line. The header may have actually crossed the line (it is unclear from the match DVD) but Jones removed any debate by firing in the rebound. After that, Cambridge failed to have another attempt at goal in the remaining 51 minutes which was truly extraordinary after the way they had started the game, and credit to Mansfield for the professional way they closed Cambridge down. Colin Daniel sealed the game on 71 minutes finishing off a fine move that involved James Jennings. A deserved win for the Stags who had several very good performances, including Marriott with his two outstanding and crucial saves in the first half, Briscoe who was unplayable at times as he ran at the Cambridge defence, Howell who was excellent in the middle of the park, and Murray who made so many telling tackles especially in the second half.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that lost at Newport, but had beaten Barrow 8-1. James Jennings was playing against the side that he left in January. With Lee Stevenson playing in a deep role, the Stags were set up in 4-5-1 formation. Cambridge included former Stag Tom Shaw, and they started with a bold 4-3-3 formation with Michael Gash, Jamie Reed (formerly of York) and Liam Hughes up front.

The pitch was heavy with muddy patches but easily playable.

Inside the first minute, Jennings did well to clear away a cross from Liam Hughes against his old club. Then in the second minute, a good run from Jamie Reed and he fired wide of the right post as Cambridge made the early running.

A great move from the Stags on 5 minutes as Briscoe set Green away on the right, he crossed to Howell and Howell’s left footed shot was tipped over the bar from the edge of the box. Marriott made a brilliant save on 8 minutes to deny Liam Hughes’ header from point blank range from a corner as the defence failed to put in a challenge.

It was 1-0 to Mansfield on 10 minutes as Lee Stevenson turned the ball in from close range after a goalmouth scramble and Jones and Daniel both tried shots.

On 11 minutes, Daniel was well wide from 30 yards. Cambridge should have been level on 12 minutes as Jennings was caught out, and Gash fired in a cross-cum-shot from the right and Roberts fired wide, unmarked at the left post. Then on 16 minutes, Daniel’s shot from the edge of the box was blocked following a Jennings corner.

It was an open game, with both teams keen to attack and both defences looking like they could concede.

On 24 minutes, following a free kick from Jennings, Dempster had lots of time inside the box for a shot but his effort was blocked, and Briscoe followed up on the rebound with a left footed volley that was over the bar, but a pretty decent effort. Green had a shot blocked on 27 minutes following excellent work from Briscoe down the right.

Another brilliant save from Marriott on 30 minutes as he tipped a shot from Roberts over the bar from the edge of the box following a good Cambridge move.

But it was 1-1 on 31 minutes. From the resulting Jamie Reed corner from the right, Liam Hughes met it with a bullet header into the net giving Marriott no chance. Hughes was again unchallenged.

A minute later, Marriott made another good save, punching away a header across goal. Jennings shot wide on 34 minutes.

The Stags regained the lead on 39 minutes. Jones met a Jennings corner from the right with a firm header at the left post; it was blocked on, or possibly just over the line, by a defender as Stevenson and Green appealed for a goal, but the ball came back to Jones who fired home the rebound left footed, removing any debate about the goal.

Beevers having been harshly booked already, was walking a tightrope as he put in a borderline challenge.

A good Stags move on 42 minutes and Briscoe’s shot was turned wide by the keeper. Then a Jennings corner from the right dropped to Jones who hooked a shot just wide of the right post. Great play from Briscoe on 43 minutes as he played the ball forward to Green, who turned inside and fired just over. Then on 45 minutes, Briscoe’s powerful shot following a corner was parried away and the ball was taken off Stevenson’s toe. Then on 45+1, with the last touch of the half, Briscoe’s powerful shot was deflected just wide when it could easily have gone in.

A great end to the half by the Stags, and by Briscoe in particular, as the Stags had been under pressure at times but were now on top.

Half time 2-1

Good play by Green on 48 minutes as the ball stayed in play, hitting the corner flag, and his perseverance paid off allowing him to get a cross in but it was cleared.

An incredible escape for Cambridge on 50 minutes as Daniel’s shot from a tight angle went past keeper Hedge, hit the inside of the left post and somehow didn’t go in, rolling more or less along the line.

Cambridge had a good spell but failed to create any chances.

Daniel sent a volley miles wide and high on 61 minutes.

Mansfield sealed the game on 71 minutes making it 3-1. A superb move started by Stevenson, saw Jennings play the ball inside to Daniel who placed a right-footed side-footed shot just inside the right post, out of the reach of the keeper. A good move and a well-taken goal. It the best football the Stags had played for 20 minutes.

Jennings curled a free kick from 22 yards over the bar on 74 minutes. A great break from the Stags on 75 minutes as Green played in Briscoe who got past his defender on the right and his cross was just in front of Green’s outstretched leg as he seemed certain to score. Stevenson got in a good cross from the left on 84 minutes, but there was a foul on keeper Hedge.

Briscoe left the pitch on 87 minutes to standing ovation, to be replaced by Meikle.

On 90+2 minutes, a good run by Daniel, showing us his pace for almost the first time in the game, and his cross was headed away.

A good ovation for the team at the end, for another good performance, on a strength-sapping surface.

Man of the match: Anthony Howell/Louis Briscoe

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

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Two stunning saves in the first half that were so crucial.
Beevers 6 Defensively did ok. Long throws were poor, after his throws had been so effective in recent home games.
Dempster 6 OK, but not in his best run of form. We would be tempted to bring back Big Ex to try to tighten the defence.
Jones 7 Pick of the defence, and created danger in the Cambridge box, deserving his goal.
Jennings 7 Was caught out at the back in the first half on more than one occasion, but given no help from Daniel. Corners and set pieces were very good, especially hitting the back post for knock-downs.
Briscoe 8.5 Back to his best, looked unplayable at times running at the defence, and several powerful shots.
Howell 8.5 Terrific display in the centre of the park, and earned the fans text vote man of the match.
Murray 7.5 Good game and made so many telling tackles especially in the second half.
Daniel 6.5 Good second half, but not at the races in the first half. Good goal and unlucky to hit the inside of the post.
Stevenson 7 Yet another goal, this time from close range.
Green 7 Asked to do too much on too many occasions, and service to him was often poor. Worked exceptionally hard for the team despite being continually fouled.
Sub Line Up:
Meikle (for Briscoe, 87) -
Subs not used: Sutton, Clements, Rhead, Wright.
Opposition Line Up:
Hedge; Wassmer, Coulson, McAuley, Roberts; Berry, Jarvis (Brighton 57), Shaw; Hughes (Anderson 71), Reed (Taylor 89), Gash. Subs not used: Ross, Hudson.
Seb Stockbridge (County Durham) 5 Inconsistent and booked Stags players when he didn’t book Cambridge players for similar offences.

Season 12/13 Reports