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Season 12/13 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Braintree Town  
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Paine 60, Sheppard 71.
 Green 8.
Attendance: 1755 (app 1200 from Mansfield)
Date: 13 April 2013


Martin Shaw at Cressing Road

What could have been a day that dreams are made of, turned into a nightmare, as Mansfield Town were beaten at Braintree Town and then title rivals Kidderminster won at Wrexham a couple of hours later. The Stags could have won the title today with a victory coupled with Kidderminster drawing or losing. But instead Mansfield now need to win both at Hereford on Tuesday and at home to Wrexham next Saturday to keep the title in their own hands, if Kidderminster were to beat relegation threatened Stockport at home on Saturday. If Mansfield were to draw at Hereford, then Mansfield and Kidderminster would go into the final game level on points and with the same goal difference though with Mansfield having scored more goals. So Mansfield would have to match whatever score Kidderminster achieved, but Kidderminster would have by far the easier game.

It could, and should, have been so different at Braintree though. The Stags were totally dominant for 60 minutes and should have been further ahead than one goal from Matt Green. Green put Mansfield ahead on 8 minutes brilliantly controlling a super ball from Lee Beevers and taking a couple of touches before finishing clinically. Mansfield were very good in the first half, working hard, being first to every ball, and never giving Braintree a moment on the ball. But Mansfield so desperately needed a second goal and it never came. They were so unlucky on 28 minutes when Howell fed Green on his left and Green smacked a fine shot against the inside of the left post but somehow it didn’t go in. If that had gone it, there would have only been one winner. Mansfield started the second half, as they started the first, but still the second goal wouldn’t come. And Braintree were level, completely out of the blue, on 60 minutes as defender Matt Paine scored with a great half volley from the edge of the box into the bottom left corner giving Marriott no chance. The goal seemed to knock some stuffing out of Mansfield as it was such a shock, and Braintree were in front on 71 minutes as a cross from the left by Habergham saw Sheppard outjump Dempster to head in off the right post. Mansfield were still in shock and were frankly poor, and it wasn’t until the last ten minutes that an equaliser seemed possible. First Braintree keeper McDonald superbly tipped away Rhead’s header into the path of Murray who headed wide and put his head in his hands. Then another back header from Rhead was incredibly tipped away by the keeper as the ball seemed certain to go over him and into the net. And finally Daniel wasted a great chance in stoppage time as he blazed over when he had time at the far post.

A terrible result. Credit to Braintree for coming back from being totally outplayed for 60 minutes.

Paul Cox had already said that the Mansfield players would not be staying behind to watch the Kidderminster game on TV whatever the result. Some Mansfield fans stayed behind in the Braintree bar, but most left at half time leaving only about ten Stags fans watching the second half. When Wrexham equalised midway through the second half at Kidderminster there were great scenes of jubilation in the bar but Kidderminster went on to win 2-1.

Mansfield need to regroup quickly and produce a gutsy performance to pick up a win at Hereford, which won’t be at all easy given Hereford’s recent form, but Mansfield have the shown the credentials that show they can do it. Come on Mansfield, another huge week awaits!


Mansfield fans turned out in force hoping for it to be a promotion party. I confidently predicted before the game that Braintree would not provide the number of visiting fans and so it turned out. However, it was clear that there were no more than 500 home fans in the ground, and Braintree have been getting about 400 home fans this season, and an estimate of 1200 Mansfield fans seems the best estimate.

Paul Cox named an unchanged side again, no surprise given the recent run. Braintree came into the game having played on Thursday night, as well as Tuesday and Saturday. Braintree were also without top scorer Sean Marks.

Man of the match: Matt Green. Difficult choice with no stand-out candidates.

Report by: Martin Shaw at Cressing Road

Line Up:
Marriott 6 No chance with either goal, and had no significant saves to make.
Beevers 7 Good ball for Green’s goal. Defended well.
Dempster 6 Disappointingly outjumped for the second goal. Otherwise looked solid again.
Jones 6.5 Decent game. Couldn’t find a killer touch in the Braintree box.
Taylor 6.5 Solid game.
Briscoe 6 Started well, but faded out of it.
Murray 6.5 Couldn’t match the quality of his set pieces from recent games. Worked hard throughout.
Howell 6.5 Good play to set up Green’s shot against the inside of the post. Worked hard, closing down the opposition.
Daniel 6 Started game off quite well. Ended it badly sending a good chance wildly over the bar.
Stevenson 6 Did ok.
Green 7 Worked hard. Took his goal clinically and was so unlucky when another effort cannoned off the inside of the post.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Stevenson, 62) 7 Two fine headers that were well tipped away by the keeper.
Meikle (for Briscoe, 69) -
Chapman (for Howell, 78) - Two long throws caused danger in the last ten minutes.
Subs not used: Sutton, Hutchinson.
Opposition Line Up:
McDonald, Paine, Massey, Wells, Habergham, Symons, Mulley, Daley (Woodyard 67), Davis, Wright (Holman 76), Sheppard (Sparkes 90+2). Subs not used: Smith, Naisbitt.
Brett Huxtable (Torrington, Devon) 7 Mostly went unnoticed. Decent game.

Season 12/13 Reports