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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Burton Albion  
1 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Kee 78.
Attendance: 2759 (905 from Mansfield)
Date: 26 November 2013


Martin Shaw at the Pirelli Stadium

Mansfield Town were beaten again this evening, and have now taken just three points from the last 9 winless matches. But the game hinged on two key refereeing decisions, both of which went against the Stags. The first was the Burton winning goal, on 78 minutes which should have been disallowed for a push by scorer Billy Kee on Lee Beevers: as McGurk’s cross came in from the right, Kee pushed Beevers in the back and then headed the ball into the net. Then on 85 minutes as Damien McCrory blatantly handballed just inside the box on the right under pressure from Sam Clucas. From my position in the press box, it was so blatant that it was inexcusable that the assistant referee on the right did not see it, even if the referee himself may have been unsighted.

Overall this was a tight game. Burton were the better side in the first half, with more possession and created about 6 half chances, though the best chance of the half fell to Lee Stevenson on 44 minutes after a good one-two with Chris Clements put Stevenson through on goal, but Stevenson couldn’t beat the keeper from inside the box. The Stags were the better side in the second half creating two good chances for Meikle (a header from close range and a low shot well saved by the keeper), a header for Clucas, and then towards the end a Matt Rhead clean header just over the bar. The Burton goalkeeper Dean Lyness was named the home team’s man of the match. So overall, with Burton the better side in the first half and the Stags the better side in the second half, this was a very even game, but Burton got the rub of the green from the two key decisions to claim the points, when it could just as easily have gone the other way.

Cox wanted his side to cut out the errors and cut out the reckless challenges. They did both, but still ended up losing. Hugely frustrating.

The Stags are now 9 league games without a win. The last time that happened was Aug-Oct 2005. The record number of league games without a win in our history is 14 in March 2000-Sep 2000. We have currently lost 5 league games on the trot. That last happened in Oct-Nov 2008 (included a defeat at Burton).

I am concerned about the form of our full backs. In my opinion, Jennings is in poor form recently and I am also worried about Beevers’ form. And Black was poor in pre-season and presumably in training too which is why he hasn't forced his way back into the team. Daniel is also not a natural left back. Sutton I think is very decent defensively at full back. I think to settle the defence, we should look to sign another full back. Perhaps Luke O'Neill in January. And/or someone else on loan now.

A section of the Stags fanbase are now calling for manager Paul Cox to be sacked (1 in 7 Stags fans voted on Stagsnet for Cox to be sacked a couple of weeks ago and that has probably risen a little now). Sacking Cox looks very unlikely to me at this stage with John Radford sure to show loyalty to the man who got him promoted out of the Conference. The losing run of course can’t be allowed to run forever and if we find ourselves in the relegation zone in early January, then I'd be inclined to think we may need to make a change in manager.

Paul Cox made one change from the side that lost 5-4 at Fleetwood. Poku came in for his first start in the Stags shirt, in place of the out-of-form Howell. Jennings, so disappointing in a substitute appearance at Fleetwood, was dropped from the 18. There was a change in formation to 4-4-2 with Sutton at right back and Beevers at left back, and Clucas in right midfield and Daniel left midfield. Been Hutchinson returned from injury to the bench. Burton included former Stags midfielder Lee Bell as their captain. And they had 50 year old keeper Kevin Poole on the bench.

On 3 minutes, Hussey’s free kick from 45 yards curled towards the left corner of the net, missing everybody on the way, and Marriott had to make a good save diving to his right to tip it wide. On 11 minutes, McGurk’s shot from 25 yards was straight at Marriott.

There was a blow for the Stags on 15 minutes when Sutton came off with, what we learnt at half-time, was a thigh injury. With no full backs on the bench, Cox brought on Meikle, moved Beevers to right back and Daniel to left back.

On 19 minutes, Daniel gave the ball away on the edge of the box, allowing Knowles to get in a low shot which was well saved, low down to his left, by Marriott. Moments later, a great tackle by Dempster as McGurk broke forward.

Clements was harshly booked for a slightly late tackle on 20 minutes. On 21 minutes, Hussey’s free kick from 25 yards was just past the right post. Then on 24 minutes, McGurk’s wild effort from 30 yards was miles wide. On 28 minutes, Knowles tried an overhead kick but it was soft and straight at Marriott. Then Knowles shot over the bar from 22 yards on 33 minutes.

Burton had had most of the possession and six half chances to none for the Stags.

On 36 minutes, a cross from the left, as noticeably Riley didn’t dive in, and a header back across goal was cleared. It was a bit of an escape for the Stags.

Then on 39 minutes, a flick from Edwards following a cross was easily saved by Marriott.

At last, on 42 minutes, the Stags showed themselves as an attacking force as a teasing cross from Clucas was claimed by the keeper.

The Stags should have been ahead on 44 minutes with their first chance. Stevenson played a one-two with Clements, Clements’ ball back to Stevenson was fantastic, putting Stevenson in a great shooting position inside the box, similar to his goal at St Albans. This time, he tried to curl the ball past the keeper on the right and the keeper made a fine save with his left hand.

Burton had been on top for most of the first half but the Stags ended it better.

Half time 0-0

On 46 minutes, a short back pass from Cansdell-Sherriff and the keeper just got there ahead of Ollie Palmer. On 51 minutes, a terrible decision from the referee to give a free kick against Riley 26 yards from the Stags goal but McCrory’s free kick was blocked by the wall. On 54 minutes, Beevers was terribly out of position as left winger Hussey got behind him to the byline and his shot from a tight angle was saved by Marriott. Moments later, a Burton header was wide from a corner.

On 55 minutes, a great tackle from Clucas tracking back.

On 56 minutes, the Stags came close to taking the lead. Clucas crossed from the byline on the right and Meikle headed the ball down towards the left of the goal but the goalkeeper saved it with his legs.

On 60 minutes, a lucky ricochet gave Meikle a shooting chance from a tight angle on the right but his effort was hopelessly wide.

Stevenson picked up an injury and was replaced on 65 minutes by Rhead.

On 66 minutes, Clucas headed straight at the keeper from a Clements free kick. On 68 minutes, Hussey got past Beevers too easily again and there was a header wide. On 70 minutes, a shooting chance for Clements from a distance but his effort was into the ground first taking all the pace off it and it was easy for the keeper.

The Stags went close again on 72 minutes. A long throw from Beevers on the right was headed on by Rhead and Meikle’s low shot from just inside the box was just saved by the keeper inside his post. On 76 minutes, Clucas tried a shot from 20 yards but it was blocked at source. Then at the other end, a good tackle from Dempster.

Burton were ahead on 78 minutes in controversial circumstances and the goal should have been disallowed for a push by scorer Billy Kee on Lee Beevers: as McGurk’s cross came in from the right, Kee pushed Beevers in the back and then headed the ball into the net.

On 84 minutes, MacDonald played a one-two with Howe and MacDonald’s low shot was well saved by Marriott.

On 85 minutes, the Stags were denied a blatant penalty as Damien McCrory blatantly handballed just inside the box on the right under pressure from Sam Clucas. From my position in the press box, it was so blatant that it was inexcusable that the assistant referee on the right did not see it, even if the referee himself may have been unsighted.

On 87 minutes, Rhead’s back header was easily saved by the keeper following a long throw from Beevers. A minute later, Rhead headed on to Palmer and, from a tight angle, his shot was blocked for a corner. From the resulting corner from the right, Rhead’s clean header was just over the bar. At the other end on 89 minutes, MacDonald crossed from the left and Kee got in a shot that was well saved by Marriott but the offside flag was up. The on 90 minutes, a low shot from Howe from 22 yards was straight at Marriott.

The full time whistle brought great disappointment.

Man of the match: Ollie Palmer

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Pirelli Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 6.5 Good save from an inswinging free kick that missed everyone in the first half, and a good save from a chance that was offside in the second half.
Sutton - Went off with a thigh injury after 15 minutes.
Dempster 6.5 Defended solidly. One great tackle in the second half.
Riley 6.5 Solid game. Noticeably didn’t dive in on one occasion.
Beevers 5 Started at left back but played 75 minutes at right back. Was beaten too often by Hussey down the left wing. Unlucky to be fouled for the Burton goal.
Clucas 6.5 Did reasonably well though far from his best. One superb tackle tracking back. Was very frustrated with the officials.
Poku 7 No mistakes and broke Burton play up effectively. Decent full debut for the Stags.
Clements 6.5 Didn’t reach the heights of his performance at Fleetwood. Fine pass for the chance for Stevenson. Harshly booked.
Daniel 6 Did ok filling in at left back after Sutton was injured but is not a natural defender. Gave the ball away in a dangerous position in the first half.
Stevenson 5.5 Quiet game and missed a glorious chance that you would fancy him to put away.
Palmer 7 Worked very hard and caused the defence problems.
Sub Line Up:
Meikle (for Sutton, 15) 6 Had three chances, and should have scored. Two were on target, and one hopelessly off target. Worked hard.
Rhead (for Stevenson, 65) 6 Should have scored with a clean header later on.
Subs not used: Tafazolli, Howell, Speight, Dyer, Hutchinson.
Opposition Line Up:
Lyness; Edwards, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff, McCrory; Matty Palmer (Kee, 72), Weir, Bell, Hussey (MacDonald, 77); McGurk, Knowles (Howe, 72). Subs not used: Poole, Diamond, Holness, Jack Dyer.
Rob Lewis 4 Got the key incidents wrong, and plenty of other minor ones wrong too.

Season 13/14 Reports