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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Southend United
Clucas 35, Jennings 64.
 
 Leonard 90+5
Attendance: 3055 (484 from Southend)
 
Date: 8 February 2014

JOY & RELIEF FOR STAGS WITH HOME WIN AT LAST

Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town won a game at home for the first time in 4.5 months thanks to goals from Sam Clucas and James Jennings against promotion-chasing Southend. The Stags had been without a win in 9 home league games, which was just two short of the club record of 11, set in 1959. Mansfield have been denied points several times in injury time this season and fought their way into a two goal lead on this occasion, which proved crucial when Southend scored 5 minutes into injury time. But with only seconds to play after that goal, victory was assured and well-deserved too after what was a good performance in difficult conditions. Clucas put the Stags in front on 35 minutes as he brilliantly controlled a Riley clearance 25 yards from goal, made progress down the left and fired under the keeper from 10 yards. Mansfield had two other good chances in the first half as Clucas volleyed at the keeper from a brilliant Westlake cross on 12 minutes and Tafazolli headed over from a corner on 45+1. The Stags got a deserved second goal on 64 minutes as a corner from Clements from the left was headed goalwards by Matt Rhead, it was blocked by the keeper and Jennings was there to stab the ball home from close range. Joy for Jennings at his first goal for the club. Southend hit the bar on 72 minutes and then were reduced to ten men on 80 minutes as substitute Conor Clifford went straight through Rhead in front of the dugout and was immediately shown a red card. It was the second time Conor Clifford has been sent off against the Stags this season, having been sent off for a two-footed lunge on Calvin Andrew at Roots Hall. With almost the last kick of the game, Southend pulled a goal back as Leonard’s daisycutter from 20 yards somehow nestled into the bottom left corner. With only 10 seconds to play, it mattered not and the Stags deservedly had the points. Despite the windy conditions, this was an entertaining performance from the Stags who continued to play the ball on the floor as they have been doing in recent weeks.

Boss Paul Cox named an unchanged starting eleven from the side that was cruelly deprived of victory at Plymouth. It was again three at the back, with two wingbacks, two central midfielders, and Stevenson behind the front two of Rhead and Clucas. There was one change on the bench with Hutchinson returning from injury in place of Beevers.

The pitch was in very good condition, having had a good drying out period from the wind, and was a great credit to groundsman Michael Merriman and his team. The wind was ferocious but swirled around unpredictably, not really giving much of an advantage to either side in either half.

A quiet opening to the game as neither side created anything. On 8 minutes, Stevenson played Rhead through on goal but the offside flag was up. On 11 minutes, a good flick from Rhead for Stevenson, who got to the byline, but he put in a poor cross.

A great chance for the Stags to take the lead on 12 minutes. Westlake put in a tremendous cross from the right to find Clucas who lost his marker, and Clucas did well to get a boot on it and volley it goalwards, unfortunately straight at goalkeeper Bentley.

Southend appealed for a penalty on 19 minutes as Corr tried to get past Riley and Riley barged him off the ball in the area. The referee correctly waved away the appeals. Moments later a strange incident as Dempster tried to clear a White cross, his header got caught in the wind, looped up in the air behind him and as Leonard shaped to shoot, a timely intervention by Tafazolli cleared the danger.

On 25 minutes, a free kick from Jennings from the halfway line, dropped to Rhead on the edge of the box, who made a good turn but his low shot was easily saved.

Another strange incident on 30 minutes as the ball looked like it had gone out for a throw-in in front of the Bishop St stand but play continued.

On 32 minutes, Marriott quickly kicked the ball forward, Clucas controlled it, back to Stevenson, who chipped well over the bar.

Clucas put the Stags in front on 35 minutes as he brilliantly controlled a Riley clearance 25 yards from goal, made progress down the left and fired under the keeper from 10 yards. It was the first time a Mansfield player has converted a half-chance like this since Matt Green left the club, and was also reminiscent of the legendary Chris Greenacre nearly 15 years ago.

On 44 minutes, Tafazolli headed down a Clements corner from the right, and a defender flicked the ball over his own bar.

Controversy on 45 minutes as Southend captain White, having already been booked, brought Clucas crashing down again for a free kick, but got away with a final warning from the ref instead of a second yellow card.

On 45+1, a glorious chance for Tafazolli to increase the lead as he headed over from a Jennings corner from the left. He certainly should have got it on target, having been unmarked. Tafazolli is looking a classy defender but he has to learn with more practice how to head the ball on target from set pieces to improve his game further and put him into the Luke Jones bracket.

A good half of football from the Stags who played the ball around nicely and deserved to be ahead, possibly by more than the one goal that they had.

Half time 1-0

A quiet start to the second half. On 52 minutes, Barry Corr broke forward, was pushed wide by Riley, and shot wide from a tight angle.

Jennings was booked for diving in near the corner flag by the old North Stand toilets on 55 minutes. From the resulting free kick taken low into the middle, Thompson was unmarked near the penalty spot and fired wide of the near post.

The Stags got a deserved second goal on 64 minutes. The Stags were awarded a corner on the left, and review of the match DVD shows it possibly should have been a goal-kick. The corner from Clements from the left was headed goalwards by Matt Rhead, it was blocked by keeper Bentley, and Jennings was there to stab the ball home from close range. Joy for Jennings at his first goal for the club.

Clucas made a good run down the right on 67 minutes, but his cross was cleared as he tried to find Rhead.

On 68 minutes, Clements tried his luck from 20 yards but shot over the bar.

On 71 minutes, Dempster blocked a shot from Atkinson. Southend were nearly back in it on 72 minutes as Marriott left his line to punch a cross clear and substitute Conor Clifford tried to lob the retreating keeper only to see it come back off the bar. A minute later, substitute Freddy Eastwood headed straight at Marriott from a cross from the right.

On 74 minutes, Howell was booked for a late challenge 28 yards from goal. Coker sent the resulting free kick miles over the bar.

On 77 minutes, a good ball from Rhead out to the right for Westlake, but Westlake couldn’t make the most of a good position. On 78 minutes, Freddy Eastwood cut in from the left, and ballooned a shot wide.

Stags appealed for a penalty on 79 minutes as Stevenson’s cross clearly struck a Southend hand but the referee waved played on. It looked a penalty to us.

Southend were reduced to 10 men on 80 minutes, as substitute Conor Clifford went straight through Rhead in front of the dugout and was immediately shown a red card. It was the second time Conor Clifford has been sent off against the Stags this season, having been sent off for a two-footed lunge on Calvin Andrew at Roots Hall.

Southend had appeals for a penalty waved away as the referee decided Tafazolli had not deliberately handled [but on review of the DVD, it was outside the area anyway].

On 90 minutes, Clements put a low ball in from the left, trying to find Clucas but it was saved by the keeper.

Five minutes of stoppage time was added on. On 90+4, Barry Corr hit the right post with a low shot. And a minute later Southend pulled a goal back as Leonard’s daisycutter from 20 yards somehow nestled into the bottom left corner and Marriott might feel he should have kept it out. Marriott later told StagsPlayer that he was unsighted with the goal but was disappointed not to keep a clean sheet.

With only 10 seconds to play, it mattered not and the Stags deservedly had the points, and the relief around Field Mill was palpable.

Man of the match: Matt Rhead

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill



Line Up:
Marriott 6 Possibly should have done better with the Southend goal. Marriott later told StagsPlayer that he was unsighted with the goal but was disappointed not to keep a clean sheet.
Westlake 7 Brilliant cross for Clucas volley. Got forward well and defended solidly.
Riley 7 Solid performance; showed good strength to barge Corr off the ball.
Dempster 6.5 Solid. Blocked one shot.
Tafazolli 7.5 Looked a classy defender again, including a timely intervention as Leonard shaped to shoot, but he has to learn how to head the ball on target from set pieces to improve his game further and put him into the Luke Jones bracket.
Jennings 7.5 Joy at scoring his first goal for the Stags. Put in some fine crosses from set pieces.
Howell 7 Worked hard protecting the back line and breaking play up.
Clements 7 Decent game trying to get the Stags playing passing football. His corner led to the second goal.
Stevenson 6.5 Good ball forward for Rhead who was just offside.
Rhead 8 Won everything in the air, showed good control and distribution and link-up play. His header led to the second goal. Looked fitter than he’s ever looked before.
Clucas 8 Brilliantly taken goal, that just oozed class. Unlucky with a fine volley that was saved. Showed good skills.
Sub Line Up:
Subs not used: Sutton, Meikle, McGuire, Daniel, Hutchinson, Dyer, Palmer.
Opposition Line Up:
Bentley, White (Eastwood 62), Phillips, Thompson, Coker; Atkinson, Timlin (Clifford 62), Hurst (Laird 83), Leonard, Barnard, Corr. Subs not used: Smith, Straker, Payne, Gomi.
Referee:
Simon Hooper 7 Generally handled the game well.


Season 13/14 Reports