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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
0 - 4
 Mansfield Town
 Green 29, pen 41, Stevenson 60, 90+2.
Attendance: 1114 (300 from Mansfield)
Date: 6 April 2013


Martin Shaw at Holker Street

This was a massive game for Mansfield after the defeat at Wrexham on Thursday and a massive test of the promotion credentials, and the Stags passed it with flying colours bouncing back with a 4-0 win. The scoreline doesn't tell the full story of the game though, and Barrow could have gone ahead on 27 minutes with a penalty awarded for a ball striking Greg Taylor on the hand. Alan Marriott was the hero as he saved Baker's spot-kick and then saved McConville's follow-up. Within two minutes, the Stags were in front with a fine goal as Green converted a one-two with Daniel. Mansfield were awarded a fortunate penalty on 41 minutes as Briscoe went down on the edge of the box, but the match video shows that he wasn't touched. Green expertly dispatched the spot kick into the left corner of the net. Barrow played some good football and created several chances, and Marriott pulled off another wonderful save on 49 minutes, turning away a shot from Adam Boyes. Mansfield made the game safe on 60 minutes as Murray's free kick was headed goalwards by Stevenson, and appeared to have just crossed the line when Dempster made sure and fired into the back of the net. The goal was credited to Dempster by the ever unreliable Press Association, however in my opinion it was Stevenson's goal. After the game, both Murray and Stevenson were claiming it and asked me to report back from viewing the match DVD. That goal broke Barrow's spirit and Mansfield added a fourth in stoppage time as Rhead crossed for Stevenson who added his second, and tenth of the season.

Mansfield have now knocked in twelve goals against Barrow in the two league games this season, and that is more than in two league games against any other club since we joined the league in 1931. On aggregate, over this season and last season, Mansfield beat Barrow 22-3, an unbelievable record. This was the Stags 12th away win of the season, which is a new club record, beating the 11 set three times before, most recently in title winning seasons 1976/77 and 1974/75.

So Kidderminster remain a point ahead at the top and Mansfield have two games in hand. On to Tuesday night and the visit of Macclesfield. It's another huge game, as they all are now.

It was only 41 hours from the end of the game at Wrexham to the kick-off here but with Beevers and Murray passing late fitness tests with physio Simon Murphy on the pitch before the game, boss Paul Cox elected to make just 2 changes with Stevenson coming in for Chapman, and Briscoe for Meikle. This meant that it was the same eleven that beat Barrow 8-1 at Field Mill with the exception of Taylor coming in for the injured Jennings. Andy Todd was given a place on the bench to give cover in several positions with Beevers and Murray carrying knocks.

The opening 20 minutes saw only one goal-scoring opportunity for either side as Marriott made an easy save from a low shot from Baker.

Green could have put the Stags ahead on 20 minutes when Stevenson's ball forward led to a mistake from a defender allowing Green through in a one-on-one. But the Stags striker poked the ball wide. At the other end 2 minutes later, Rowe was high and wide with a long range shot. On 25 minutes, following a Barrow corner, Hessey fired wide from outside the box.

The game burst into life on 27 minutes. A Barrow long throw bounced up and hit the hand of Greg Taylor. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Ritchie Baker took the kick but it was a poor effort which Marriott saved with his legs, McConville reacted quickest but Marriott saved again with an even better save. The Stags broke straight to the other end with excellent play from Howell but Green couldn't control the ball and it rolled out for a goalkick.

Just two minutes after the penalty, the Stags were in front. Briscoe found Green who passed to Daniel on his left and Daniel played a perfect ball back into the middle where Green slotted into an empty net from 3 yards.

Barrow were unlucky 2 minutes later when Rowe did superbly with a shot on the turn which struck the left post. On 34 minutes, Boyes had a chance for Barrow but his shot on the turn was over the bar. On 38 minutes, Stevenson was through on goal on the left and he should have scored but his left footed shot was well saved. Straight to the other end and Barrow had a triple chance. First an excellent block from Beevers, then Rutherford's shot from outside the box was blocked by Murray, and finally another shot was just wide of the left post.

Mansfield were 2-0 ahead on 41 minutes in fortunate circumstances. Briscoe broke into the box and went down. Video evidence shows that he was not tripped. As he fell, he actually tried to get back up again. Both the referee and linesman were immediately convinced it was a penalty despite Barrow claiming that it was outside the area and interestingly they did not seem to be claiming that it was a dive. Green took the spot kick, having missed his last effort against Nuneaton, and he sent the keeper the wrong way putting it right in the bottom left corner. Having scored 2 penalties against Barrow earlier in the season, Green became the first player ever to score 3 penalties against the same side in a season.

On 43 minutes, Daniel played a great ball forward to Green but he couldn't quite control it. A minute into stoppage time, Marriott claimed McConville's low cross at the second attempt under huge pressure.

Mansfield were certainly very fortunate to be 2-0 up at the break but the way Barrow were playing, the game was far from over.

Half time 0-2

Mansfield were nearly three ahead on 47 minutes. Murray's free kick from the left found an unmarked Stevenson who headed wide of the right post.

Marriott made an outstanding save on 49 minutes. A mistake from the usually reliable Jones as he tried to head the ball back to Marriott, Boyes latched on to it and sent a fine shot towards the right corner of the net but Marriott saved it at full stretch. An excellent turn by Daniel on 51 minutes but his ball across the box was cleared.

Barrow struck the woodwork for the second time on 56 minutes. Rowe's free kick from outside the box struck the underside of the bar and bounced down and away. It was clear to all that it had not crossed the line.

With Barrow proving to be so dangerous, Mansfield needed a third goal and they got it on the hour. Murray's free kick from the left was headed goalwards by Stevenson, the keeper got a touch on it but couldn't keep it out and Dempster made sure thumping it into the back of the net though video evidence shows that the ball was already over the line.

Barrow had played really well for a side in the bottom four but their body language immediately suggested that their spirit was broken.

Rhead replaced two-goal Green on 68 minutes to give the Stags striker a breather. Rowe sent a good shot straight at Marriott on 72 minutes.

Meikle replaced Briscoe on 73 minutes. Rhead went close on 74 minutes when he flicked a header over everyone and just wide from a long throw from Taylor. Stevenson could have scored again on 77 minutes when the keeper spilled the ball, Stevenson took it round him but from a tight angle his shot was cleared off the line. A defender seemed to be climbing all over Daniel in the box on 79 minutes but nothing was given and it was probably too much to expect two generous penalties. Marriott saved low down from a Baker shot on 87 minutes.

On 89 minutes, Todd replaced Daniel. On 90 minutes, Rhead headed down Murray's corner and Howell scuffed an awful shot so wide that it didn't even go out of play.

It was 4-0 on 90+4 minutes. Meikle did well to put Rhead away down the right, and Rhead's cross was pinpoint for Stevenson to tap into an empty net from 2 yards.

Man of the match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw at Holker Street

Line Up:
Marriott 9 His penalty save and follow-up save was pivotal as the Stags then took the lead 2 minutes later. Also made a superlative save from Boyes early in the second half. I asked him after the game if that was his best save of the season, and he thought the one on Thursday from Danny Wright was his best even though the whistle had gone.
Beevers 7 Another good game including one great block.
Dempster 7 Solid at the back.
Jones 7 Solid again.
Taylor 7 A bit unlucky to concede the penalty. Good game apart from that.
Briscoe 6 Fortunate to win the penalty. Did ok.
Murray 7.5 Very good set pieces created lots of dangerous moments. Fought tigerishly in the middle.
Howell 7.5 Some great movement forward and set up some good moves.
Daniel 8 Very good game. Excellent ball for Green's first goal.
Stevenson 7.5 A brace of goals, and should have had at least one more. Likes playing against Barrow - he now has 4 against them this season!
Green 7.5 Two more goals to take him to 22. He's getting closer to 30 than anyone would have thought at the turn of the year. Likes playing against Barrow even more - he now has 5 against them this season!
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Green, 68) 7 Did well to set up Stevenson's second.
Meikle (for Briscoe, 73) -
Todd (for Daniel, 89) -
Subs not used: Sutton, Chapman.
Opposition Line Up:
Danny Hurst, Garry Hunter, Sean Hessey, Danny O'Donnell, Gavin Skelton, Sean McConville, Richie Baker, James Owen, Paul Rutherford (Adam Dawson 73), Adam Boyes, D L Rowe. Subs not used: Tongue, Flynn, Pearson, Harvey.
A Backhouse (Heads Nook, near Brampton, Cumbria) 5 Gave Mansfield a fortunate penalty, though we're not complaining.

Season 12/13 Reports