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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Forest Green Rovers  
1 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Norwood 87.
 Oshodi OG 28, Stevenson 47.
Attendance: 1109 (166 from Mansfield)
Date: 15 March 2013


Martin Shaw at the New Lawn

Magnificent Mansfield Town’s incredible run just goes on and on. On a foul night in Gloucestershire, Mansfield made it thirteen wins from the last fourteen games, and an incredible nine wins on the trot. This was not a vintage performance, far from it. But the Stags dug deep, led again by a superb defensive display with Luke Jones, John Dempster, Lee Beevers and James Jennings again in outstanding form, and Alan Marriott behind them as safe as houses. Mansfield took the lead with a shot from Lindon Meikle, that was heading just wide of the left post, until it was deflected by defender Oshodi, which took it just inside the post. Since Meikle’s shot was not on target, it has to go down as an own goal - sorry Lindon. Then just into the second half, Matt Green fed the ball forward to Lee Stevenson and Stevenson showed great composure for a clinical finish past the keeper. The biggest complement to pay Stevenson is that it was a finish that had Matt Green written all over it! After that, the Stags rather surrendered the initiative to Forest Green. Forest Green are a fine side who have been right up there near the top of the league all season, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they came into the game strongly and looked good, and Mansfield had to hang on. Wave after wave of pressure was repelled by the Stags defence and Forest Green also hit the bar and missed a sitter. Norwood eventually pulled a goal back on 87 minutes, but Mansfield hung on to the points despite five minutes of stoppage time being added on. A truly massive three points. Mansfield are three points ahead of Wrexham now, from the same games played. Wrexham play tomorrow, at home to Luton. Can I bring myself to say it? Come on Lu … Come on Lu … no I can’t do it. But’s let’s hope that Wrexham slip up anyway. And then onto the Racecourse Ground on Tuesday night. What a night that promises to be. Come on Mansfield!

Very heavy rain for more than two hours during the day would have been enough to cause a postponement at many grounds, but Forest Green have put in a pitch with superb drainage and thus the game was able to survive. It would have been hard lines on Premier Sports TV if they had lost a third consecutive match from their schedules.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that beat Grimsby. The Stags played in the white away shirts, but managed to travel with a shirt for Adam Chapman that had the wrong sponsor on the front. After trying to find an alternative shirt with the right sponsor on it amongst the travelling Stags fans in the bar before the game, one was found, but it turned out to be too large for Chappie so in the end the only solution was to put some white tape over the old sponsor’s logo! Rumours that it was to provide extra material to dry the wet ball for his long throws were interesting but a bit far fetched! Forest Green came into the game after scoring twice in the last three minutes to come from behind and win at Southport for a morale boosting victory.

Mansfield started the game closing down the home side well and quietening the home crowd (who are not the liveliest at the best of times). It was actually a poor game for the opening half an hour or so, with little tempo. On 4 minutes, Chapman curled a poor free kick onto the roof the net. At the other end, FGR’s loanee Wes Burns shot wide of the left post after a good break by Forbes. On 15 minutes, a superb run by Forbes from the halfway line, but he scuffed his shot through to Marriott.

Daniel had to come off on 27 minutes after picking up a dead leg in an earlier challenge.

The Stags took the lead on 28 minutes in slightly fortunate circumstances. Meikle picked up a loose ball, got past a defender and his shot from outside the box was heading just wide of the left post, but deflected off Oshodi and went just inside the post. A bit of luck, but if you don’t buy a ticket, you don’t win the lottery.

On 33 minutes, Racine headed miles wide from Norwood’s free kick. Then on 38 minutes, Burns made a good run down the left and his shot from a tight angle was tipped behind by Marriott.

A moment of brilliance from Briscoe on 41 minutes as he sent in a 30 yard piledriver that Forest Green keeper Russell was only just able to parry away. From the resulting corner, Jones headed wide. The Stags were unfortunate not to get a second in stoppage time at the end of the half. From a free kick from the right by Jennings, Dempster headed it back across goal and Paul Green headed it onto the bar and away.

A hard working half from Mansfield, closing down the home side. Mansfield had the wind behind them in the first half, but it was more a hindrance than anything as balls forward to Green kept skipping away from him.

Half time 0-1

Mansfield were two up on 47 minutes. Defender Stokes dallied on the ball on the halfway line, allowing Stevenson to nip in, Green picked up the ball, and fed a lovely ball back into the path of Stevenson who drove forward and slipped a clinical finish under keeper Russell.

As the Premier Sports TV commentary team of Steve (Bower) and Snods commented, Mansfield were bossing the game all over the pitch.

Norwood fired well over on 51 minutes. Then on 59, Dempster uncharacteristically played a loose ball and Norwood powered a great shot against the bar with Marriott unable to move. Manager Cox gesticulated to Dempster to use his eyes. With the Stags now having gone to sleep, Burns fed sub Matty Taylor who fired wide from a tight angle on 61 minutes. Howell replaced Stevenson on 64 minutes. Then on 66, Burns curled a shot wide with the outside of his right foot from the right. Mansfield had rather lost control of the game, and were unable to get control back. Burns got into the box on 75 minutes and his shot was blocked.

Rhead replaced Green on 76 minutes, as much to add more to the defence than anything, and to try to hold the ball up field. Rhead was in the action on 82 minutes heading away a shot from Oshodi. Then on 83 minutes, FGR missed a sitter as Racine somehow fired over at the left post from Taylor’s head down. A rare respite and break from the Stags on 85 minutes as Briscoe got into the box and Rhead had a shot block-tackled. Straight to the other end and Norwood’s low shot was saved by Marriott after good tracking back from Meikle.

Forest Green made it 1-2 on 87 minutes. Paul Green broke into the box on the left and squared for Norwood, and Norwood’s shot from 8 yards somehow squirmed past Marriott and into the bottom left corner of the net.

Five minutes of stoppage time were added, at least one more than seemed reasonable. In the first of those minutes, Marriott made a super save tipping a close range shot over the bar, but the whistle had already gone for a foul. Briscoe broke on 90+3 minutes and shot straight at the keeper, when running the ball towards the corner flag may have been a better option. But it didn’t matter as the Stags held on for another crucial win.

Man of the match: Luke Jones

Report by: Martin Shaw at the New Lawn

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Great handling throughout, and some good saves. One super save after the whistle had already gone. Just a feeling that he may have done better with the goal, upon looking at the replays.
Beevers 8 Composed game.
Dempster 7.5 Fine game. Unlucky not to score when his header was headed onto the bar. Sloppy clearance led to Norwood striking the bar and a stern word from manager Cox. But generally just kept heading balls away, like Jones.
Jones 8 Great defensive showing. Just kept heading balls away.
Jennings 7 Defended very well. Good free kick for Dempster’s header onto the bar.
Meikle 7 Quiet start, but then came into the game. His shot was deflected in for the first goal. Worked extremely hard tracking back in the second half.
Murray 7 Worked terrifically hard and some good distribution.
Chapman 5.5 Strangely anonymous.
Daniel - Picked up a dead leg early on.
Stevenson 7 Worked extremely hard, and got back to scoring ways with a clinical strike.
Green 7 Worked hard. Assist for Stevenson’s goal.
Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Daniel, 27) 7 Some good tracking back. Real piledriver that deserved a goal.
Howell (for Stevenson, 64) - Added solidity to the midfield.
Rhead (for Green, 76) - A couple of timely headed clearances.
Subs not used: Sutton, Wright.
Opposition Line Up:
Russell, Hodgkiss, Oshodi, Racine, Stokes; Odubade (Taylor 53), Bangura (Klukowski 60), Forbes, Paul Green; Norwood, Burns (Fowler 83). Subs not used: Bennett, Asafu-Adjaye.
Wayne Barrett (Worcs) 8 Very good game.

Season 12/13 Reports