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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 York City
 Bowman pen 32.
Attendance: 2865 (466 from York)
Date: 11 March 2014


Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town lost 1-0 to York City on Tuesday night. A very poor game between two poor sides on the night was completely overshadowed by a dreadful refereeing performance from Darren Drysdale and his assistants who conspired to give a string of terrible decisions which proved key. It was a game that should have finished 0-0, which would have reflected the lack of quality on show in the final third but would have been a reasonable result for Mansfield after Saturday’s win over Newport. Instead York were handed three points that they did nothing at all to deserve.

There were five key decisions that the referee and his assistants had to handle.

Key decision 1: 32 minutes
Josh Carson burst into the penalty area on the right and collided with Dempster who appeared to be trying to get out of the way of the York man, and Carson went down. Ref Drysdale paused and looked at his assistant Amy Fearn, who was motionless (NOT putting her flag across her chest) and then Drysdale pointed to the spot. Drysdale told Cox later that he was unsighted for the incident and relied on Amy Fearn’s view. But she VERY CLEARLY did not signal a penalty. At worst, in my opinion, the incident was obstruction which could have brought an indirect free kick. Ryan Bowman took the resulting penalty and clinically put it into the right of the net having waited for Marriott to commit himself.

Key decision 2: 36 minutes
Ryan Bowman rose for a challenge with Dempster in the middle of the park and very clearly elbowed Dempster in the face. See photo here from the @mansfieldtownfc twitter feed

Assistant ref Amy Fearn could not have been any closer while Drysdale was also close by. Astonishingly the inept officials signalled a throw-in as the ball had gone out of play. Dempster, once he had been treated by physio Chris Bowman, was incandescent with rage that Bowman had not been penalised. It was as clear a red card incident as you could wish to see.

Key decision 3: 59 minutes
McGuire flicked the ball into the York penalty area and the ball clearly struck the hand of Keith Lowe whose hand was outstretched from his body. It was very visible from the West Stand and McGuire was rightly adamant that it should have been a penalty. Drysdale and his assistant Amy Fearn ignored the appeals. On the match DVD, the handball is not visible, but it should have been visible to Drysdale and Fearn.

Key decision 4: 69 minutes
Rhead’s shirt appeared to be pulled in the area from a Jennings free kick. On the match DVD, it is not clear.

Key decision 5: 90 minutes
York are handed a second penalty for handball by Tafazolli. During commentary, I said that I did think I saw it flick Tafazolli’s hand and I still think that. It was a pretty similar incident to the key decision on 59 minutes. I think they were both penalties.

In summary I think the officials got only 1 out of the 5 decisions right. And all of the decisions given by the officials favoured York. If any of the other 4 decisions had gone in Mansfield’s favour (as they should have done) the result would surely have been different.

Crap refereeing from a crap referee is how I described it in commentary in the heat of the moment, but I have no reason to describe it otherwise now. Not the first time Mansfield have suffered at the hands of Drysdale of course: he sent of James Alabi and Lee Beevers at Southend earlier in the season, and no-one will forget his performances at Field Mill against MK Dons and Stevenage. And only last Friday, Drsydale completely ruined the League Two game between Bury and Rochdale that was shown on Sky Sports and he was slaughtered by the commentators and managers.
I saw Drysdale drive off home at 10.40pm in his flashy car with a personalised number plate. Only a referee with an ego who wants to be centre stage would surely have a personalised number plate. He certainly made himself centre stage yet again.

None of this should hide that it was a poor performance from Mansfield going forward with a real lack of quality in the final third. Balls into the box, including many set-pieces from Jennings, were terrible. Mansfield reverted to playing a long ball game which is not what they should be doing. Actually it was a little ironic that the few times Mansfield did try to knock the ball around was done in the wrong places, at the back, and several times put the Stags in trouble, when the ball should have been launched upfield. York were just as route one and just as lacking in quality. Yet with this win York sit 7 points above the Stags and just two points outside the play-offs.

The relegation dog fight is closer than ever. Anyone from Hartlepool in 10th (4 points above Mansfield) downwards is still in the mix. And the Stags are now 5 points above Northampton who have a game in hand. Mansfield visit Sixfields on Saturday for a key game.

The Stags have a remarkable record of not having lost away to a team outside the top 7 this season and it would be important to keep up that record on Saturday. Regardless of that, it remains the case that the Stags need to get another 10 or 11 points, but now it’s from 10 games left. Come on Mansfield!

Paul Cox suggested at the weekend he would learn the lesson from the Bury game two weeks ago and this time freshen things up rather than leave an unchanged side for a second game in three days. He made four changes: Jennings returning from injury in place of the rested Daniel, Meikle coming in for Hutchinson, Riley returned from injury in place of the injured Sutton (out for 3 weeks with a hamstring injury), and McGuire in for Howell (out with a slight knee injury). The formation was unchanged. Meikle joined Rhead up front with Clucas dropping back to the attacking midfielder role. York included John McCombe released by Mansfield a couple of months ago, and who has scored three goals for York. The Stags were searching for a first “double” of the season, and trying to win two consecutive games for the second time this season.

The game started quietly with Mansfield having slightly the better of it. On 9 minutes came the first chance of the night as Adam Reed sent a low shot straight at Marriott from 14 yards. On 10 minutes, at the other end, a low shot from James Jennings was always going wide but was deflected for a corner. The resulting corner evaded the keeper but the Stags couldn’t capitalise.

On 12 minutes Rhead flicked on to Meikle on the left but he completely miscued his shot wide. The Stags gave away an unnecessary corner on 14 minutes, messing around with the ball at the back. From the corner, Rhead did well to head behind for another corner under pressure from McCombe. From the next corner, which was taken short, Coulson shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

On 16 minutes, a free kick from Jennings caused some danger and was put behind for a corner. It was a scrappy opening to the game. On 22 minutes, Jennings sent in a weighted cross from the left which was too close to the keeper who claimed it.

A good move from the Stags on 28 minutes which was wasted as a cross from Jennings floated over everyone.

Westlake had to go off injured on 29 minutes (and as of Wednesday afternoon he was waiting for the results of a scan on his leg hoping it was nothing major). Beevers replaced him.

York scored the only goal of the game on 32 minutes in controversial circumstances. See key decision 1.

On 34 minutes, McGuire sent a long range shot into the keeper’s midriff.

York should have been down to 10 men on 36 minutes but the officials made a mess of it. See key decision 2.

On 39 minutes, a long throw was cleared to McGuire who volleyed wide of the right post from 19 yards.

The Stags players were further incensed on 41 minutes when the officials gave a free kick against Jennings. But the free kick came to nothing.

On 43 minutes, Beevers crossed from the right and Rhead sent a long range header towards the right corner of the net which the keeper saved quite comfortably diving to his left. On 43 minutes, Riley was booked for protesting about a free kick. From the resulting free kick, Rhead did well to head the danger behind for a corner.

On 45+2, Rhead headed down to Clucas on the edge of the box but his shot was always rising over the bar.

At half-time, the talk was all about the controversy involving the officials. Matt Rhead had a good half for the Stags at both ends of the pitch. But upfront, alongside him, Meikle and Clucas were barely getting into the game and Meikle who was chosen to try to exploit the lack of pace of McCombe but didn’t once do that.

Half time 0-1

Cox sprinted off the pitch at half-time to try to talk to Drysdale, and Cox and Ramshaw were again remonstrating with the officials as they returned for the second half.

There was a good move for the Stags on 46 minutes as Rhead found Clucas who played it back to Rhead whose low volley was straight at the keeper. On 50 minutes, a half chance for York came as McCombe’s weak shot was deflected off Rhead for a corner. On 52 minutes, Rhead flicked the ball to Meikle whose shot from the edge of the box was tame and easy for the keeper.

Clucas was booked for a foul on 56 minutes and what was notable, was that it appeared to be the correct decision!

On 58 minutes, Palmer replaced Dempster as the Stags reverted to a back four. Palmer joined Rhead up front as Meikle moved to the left and Clucas to the right.

On 59 minutes, the Stags should have been awarded a penalty but weren’t. See key decision 3.

On 60 minutes, Palmer went down in the box but there were no appeals for a penalty.

The Stags players were showing plenty of desire and the crowd were getting behind them, fired up by the injustices from the officials. On 65 minutes, a Jennings free kick into the box was cleared.

The Stags had another strong claim for a penalty turned down on 69 minutes. See key decision 4.

Cain replaced Murray on 73 minutes for his second Stags appearance.

On 78 minutes, a cross or shot from Meikle nearly caught the keeper out as he caught it above his head and smashed into the post as he back-pedalled.

On 81 minutes, a rare chance for York came as Coulson sent a shot from the left well over the bar.

On 90 minutes, York were awarded a second penalty. See key decision 5. The penalty was taken by Wes Fletcher who side-footed it low to Marriott’s left. Marriott got down well for a good save and he also saved the resulting follow up shot from Ryan Jarvis.

There was still time for referee Drysdale to make yet another mistake as he failed to add on any additional time in injury time for the arguing about the penalty incident which took a full minute.

The Stags were unable to create any chances in stoppage time and the final whistle brought chants of “cheat” against the officials. The fans went home knowing that the Stags lacked any quality going forward but also that they didn’t deserve to lose this game.

Man of the match: Matt Rhead

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

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Good save from the second penalty. Had no saves to make from open play. Handling was decent.
Riley 7 Returned from injury, and was generally solid as York were restricted to almost no chances from open play.
Dempster 7 Took an elbow in the face from Bowman which went unpunished. Unlucky in my opinion to concede the first penalty.
Tafazolli 7 Generally solid at the back.
Westlake 6 Had to go off injured on 29 minutes (and as of Wednesday afternoon he was waiting for the results of a scan on his leg hoping it was nothing major).
Jennings 5 Balls into the box, including set-pieces, were generally not good enough. If he’s going to take the set-pieces, they have to be better than this.
McGuire 6 Worked hard. Unlucky not to win a penalty. Had a couple of weak efforts at goal.
Murray 6 Worked hard and did ok but didn’t create much.
Clucas 6 Not at his best. Showed one or two flashes.
Meikle 5.5 Did plenty of running but generally ineffective. Was chosen to try to exploit the lack of pace of McCombe but didn’t once do that.
Rhead 7 Did well to counter-act the threat of McCombe from the few York set pieces that they had. Also won most headers in the York box.
Sub Line Up:
Beevers (for Westlake, 29) 6 Good cross for Rhead header.
Palmer (for Dempster, 58) - Unable to create anything up front.
Cain (for Murray, 73) -
Subs not used: Stevenson, Dyer, Clements, Daniel.
Opposition Line Up:
Pope; Oyebanjo, Lowe, McCombe, Davies; Carson, Penn, Reed (Montrose, 77), Hayhurst; Coulson (Jarvis, 84), Bowman (Fletcher, 71). Subs: Ingham, McGurk, Platt, Puri.
Darren Drysdale STINKER I think I’ve said it all already.

Season 13/14 Reports