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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Southend United  
3 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Straker 24, McGuire OG 43, Hurst 90+5.
 
 
Attendance: 4824 (199 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 1 November 2013

STAGS HAVE 2 SENT OFF AND DEFEND POORLY IN HORROR SHOW

Martin Shaw at Roots Hall

Mansfield Town had their very own horror show the night after Halloween at Roots Hall this evening as an impressive Southend side deservedly picked up the points. Mansfield started slowly and were under the cosh from the outset as Southend played what their press guys described as their best football of the season in the first half. Southend took a deserved lead on 24 minutes as McCombe was turned too easily by a Southend player who laid back to Hurst, who crossed to the far post where Straker turned the ball home from close range despite pressure from Beevers. In the earlier build up to the goal, it looked like the Stags should have been awarded a free kick, but it wasn’t given. On 32 minutes, new loan signing James Alabi was given a straight red card for clattering into Luke Prosser with his knee. I think the challenge warranted a yellow card. Alabi was distraught. Just eight minutes later, referee Darren Drysdale, whose got form in Stags games, evened up the numbers, sending off Conor Clifford for a two footed lunge on Calvin Andrew. This one was the right decision for sure. The Stags were right back in the game with the numbers evened up, but disaster struck on 43 minutes as a harmless cross from Leonard deflected up off McGuire and it seemed like a routine catch for Marriott on his line. But inexplicably instead of catching it above his head, he waited for it to drop into his midriff by which time the ball was probably over the line, as his boots were clearly behind the line. Marriott protested that the ball had not gone over the line but my brother who was behind the goal near the corner flag thought it had done, and the DVD shows Marriott’s boots clearly behind the line and the ball in his midriff. Truly a remarkable first half, but ultimately the Stags paid for poor defending and a mistake by Marriott. In the second half, the Stags improved a lot as Rhead and Clucas came on as subs and went up front. Clucas had three efforts, twice set up by Rhead, Rhead had a header wide, and Daniel had a shot deflected wide. If the Stags could have scored, it would have been a different game, but they couldn’t and the goal drought went on, reaching 428 minutes. On the stroke of 90 minutes, the Stags were down to 9 men as Lee Beevers picked up a second yellow card for a silly foul in the circumstances on Will Atkinson well into the Southend half. Southend got a fortunate third goal in the 5th minute of stoppage time as a shot from Hurst took a big deflection to wrong foot the Stags keeper, who couldn’t be blamed for this one. So two rather crazy goals for Southend, but they deserved their victory, albeit not by a three goal margin. The Stags have a week to lick their wounds before the cup tie at St Albans. I still think the Stags are not far away from being a top seven side, and the addition of Alabi could have been just the catalyst needed, sadly it now looks like that won’t happen unless his loan can be extended. After the game, boss Paul Cox, who served a one match touchline ban for his sending off at Bury, was annoyed with a poor performance from his side.

Alabi joins two other players in the last 20 years sent off on their Stags debuts: Colin Hoyle in the famous League Cup win over Leeds in 1994 and Andy Jones sent off at QPR in the 2002-03 season.

Remarkably this was the sixth consecutive Stags away game in which there has been a sending off.

It was also the end of a six away game unbeaten run for the Stags.

Manager Cox made three changes from the side that lost to Plymouth. Marriott returned from injury to replace Mitchell in goal. James Alabi, signed on loan from Stoke, came in for Clucas, and Andrew came in for Rhead. It was a 4-4-2 formation, with Pilkington at left back, and Hutchinson in right midfield. Alabi and Andrew were up front. Southend had former Stags loanee Will Atkinson in their side.

On 2 minutes, from Will Atkinson’s cross, Marriott did well to save low down from Clifford. Two minutes later, Marriott saved a free kick from Hurst which was straight into his midriff. On 5 minutes, a clearance from the Southend keeper was straight against Alabi, it ballooned up in the air but the keeper was able to catch it.

There was a good move from the Stags on 8 minutes with Hutchinson crossing to Alabi who stabbed a shot just wide of the right post. On 10 minutes, Atkinson headed wide from a cross from Straker. A minute later, there was a let-off for the Stags as Hurst cut inside from the right and sent a shot over the bar from a great position.

The Stags put together a great move on 14 minutes as Andrew and Hutchinson played a one-two and Andrew sent a left footed shot from 20 yards just wide. On 16 minutes, Timlin shot left footed from 22 yards, Marriott saved it though couldn’t hold it and grabbed it at the 2nd attempt. There was good strength from Alabi on 19 minutes with a run down the right but he ran out of room to get round the keeper who pouched it. On 21 minutes, a good save from Marriott, diving low to his left from Hurst after the ball had bounced around the box.

Southend took a deserved lead on 24 minutes. A foul on Blake on the halfway line was not given. Then McCombe was turned too easily by a Southend player who laid back to Hurst, who crossed to the far post where Straker turned the ball home from close range despite pressure from Beevers. Beevers should probably have done better.

According to the Southend press corps, Southend were playing their best football of the season.

There was controversy on 32 minutes as James Alabi was given a straight red card for clattering into Luke Prosser with his knee. I think the challenge warranted a yellow card. Alabi was distraught. Most observers who have subsequently watched the video footage think that the challenge deserved a yellow. It remains to be seen whether Paul Cox, presumably in conjunction with Stoke manager Mark Hughes, will want to appeal the sending off.

Marriott pulled off a great save on 36 minutes, clawing away a cross from Straker that was heading for the top corner. Sutton did well to put in a good challenge on 38 minutes to deny Corr a shooting chance.

On 40 minutes, Southend had a red card and the numbers were evened up. Darren Drysdale, whose got form in Stags games, sent off Conor Clifford for a two footed lunge on Calvin Andrew. This one was the right decision for sure.

The Stags were right back in the game with the numbers evened up, but disaster struck on 43 minutes as Southend extended their lead in truly bizarre circumstances. A harmless cross from Leonard deflected up off McGuire and it seemed like a routine catch for Marriott on his line. But inexplicably instead of catching it above his head, he waited for it to drop into his midriff by which time the ball was probably over the line, as his boots were clearly behind the line. Marriott protested that the ball had not gone over the line but my brother who was behind the goal near the corner flag thought it had done, and the DVD shows Marriott’s boots clearly behind the line and the ball in his midriff.

Truly a remarkable first half, but ultimately the Stags paid for poor defending and a mistake by Marriott.

Half time 2-0

Rhead and Clucas replaced Andrew and Hutchinson at the start of the second half. Clucas played in the right of midfield in a 4-4-1 formation.

On 50 minutes, there was a yellow card for McCombe for a foul on the touchline. From the resulting free kick, Leonard headed wide.

On 52 minutes, a yellow card for Beevers for a foul on Straker who was making a good run. Coker took the resulting free kick and Marriott made a fine flying save. On 54 minutes, Coker did Clucas like a kipper on the left and his shot was saved high by Marriott.

Good play from Clucas at the other end on 55 minutes as he played the ball inside to Daniel whose shot was deflected for a corner.

On 62 minutes, Meikle replaced Daniel, Clucas moved to the left and Meikle to the right still in a 4-4-1 formation.

On 63 minutes, Hurst volleyed from the edge of the box, not troubling Marriott. A minute later, there was a good block from Sutton from a shot. Sutton really had been the pick of a poor defence.

There was good play from the Stags on 65 minutes as Rhead headed wide from a great cross by Beevers. On 67 minutes, Rhead set up Clucas for a rasping drive which was beaten away by the keeper. Five minutes later, another good set up from Rhead and Clucas fired wide.

The obligatory yellow card for McGuire on 74 minutes was given for a foul on the touchline.

On 75 minutes, Clucas fired another rasping drive just wide from 22 yards.

The Stags were having the better of the second half and had already have five good chances in the half. A further half chance came on 82 minutes as McGuire hooked the ball into the box and Rhead flicked a header on but it was wide.

On 86 minutes, Pilkington found himself out of position as a cross-come-shot was drilled wide. On 89 minutes, Atkinson shot straight at Marriott.

The Stags were reduced to 9 men on 90 minutes as Lee Beevers picked up a second yellow card for a silly foul in the circumstances on Will Atkinson well into the Southend half.

Pilkington moved to right back, Clucas to left back and Meikle to the left, in a 4-3-1 formation.

On 90+5, Southend made it 3-0, in fortunate circumstances, as a shot from Hurst took a big deflection off Sutton, to wrong foot Marriott, who couldn’t be blamed for this one.

Man of the match: Sam Clucas


Report by: Martin Shaw at Roots Hall



Line Up:
Marriott 5 Had a good game with some good saves, but dropped a clanger with the second goal. Still the best keeper the Stags have had in many years in my opinion.
Beevers 5.5 Stupidly sent off for two yellows. Possibly could have done better to prevent the first goal but perhaps I’m being too harsh. One great cross for a Rhead header.
Sutton 6.5 The pick of the defence. One great block in the second half.
McCombe 5 Looked a little laboured against pacey forwards, and was turned too easily in the build up to the first goal.
Pilkington 5.5 Out of position at left back in hindsight.
Hutchinson 5.5 Quiet game. One good move with Andrew.
McGuire 6.5 Battled hard.
Blake 5.5 Rather anonymous.
Daniel 5.5 Didn’t do enough.
Alabi 6 Started the game very brightly and I think a little unlucky to pick up a straight red.
Andrew 5.5 Good effort after good link up play with Hutchinson, but otherwise did little.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Andrew, 46) 7 Set up Clucas for two efforts. Did well.
Clucas (for Hutchinson, 46) 7 Had three efforts on goal and tried to drag the Stags back into it.
Meikle (for Daniel, 62) -
Subs not used: Jennings, Murtagh, Stevenson, Palmer.
Opposition Line Up:
Bentley, Leonard, Prosser (Kiernan 79), White, Coker, Timlin, Atkinson, Clifford, Hurst, Corr, Straker (Laird 80). Subs not used: Smith, Reid, Payne, Auger, Woodrow.
Referee:
Darren Drysdale 5 Poor. I’ve already commented on the main decisions. But also the Stags twice had possession of the ball well into the Southend half when he stopped play for a clash of heads. On both occasions, he started the game with the ball given to the Southend keeper thus losing all advantage to the Stags.


Season 13/14 Reports