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Season 03/04 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 3
Leyton Orient  
3 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Alexander 6, 82, Newey 70.
 Buxton 33.
Attendance: 4072 (518 from Mansfield)
Date: 17th January 2004

Martin Shaw at Brisbane Road

The Stags fell to a bitterly disappointing defeat in East London this afternoon, as Leyton Orient picked up the 3 points to continue their recent fine form at home. Mansfield dominated the first half, despite a slow start, but failed to take their chances and were made to pay as two goals in the last 20 minutes gave the home side a 3-1 victory.

Mansfield were without Liam Lawrence, who didn't travel to London. Keith Curle insisted both before and after the game that the reason was that Lawrence was not fit to play. However it is being widely reported in the Sheffield media today that Lawrence is due to join Rotherham United on Monday, possibly on a 3 month loan deal.

Meanwhile Artell and Buxton came in to replace the suspended Dimech and Clarke in defence, while Larkin took Lawrence's place on the right side of midfield. Mackenzie returned from injury, playing with a cast on his hand, as Mansfield played just Mendes up front. Christie, a former Orient player, had to be content with a place on the bench. Orient, managed by Martin Ling who played on loan at Field Mill in 1991, included former Stags favourite Mark Peters in central defence.

The Stags got off to a very poor start and were frankly dreadful in the opening 15 minutes. They fell behind on 5 minutess, when a long throw from the left wing was headed on from near the centre spot and fell to Gary Alexander who got away from his marker Buxton as the Stags youngster lost his footing, and side footed past Pilkington from close range.

But the Stags roared back and played some excellent football for the final 30 minures of the half. It was as good as the Stags had played for a sustained period probably since the first half at home to Wycombe, and how the Stags failed to lead at half-time was a complete mystery.

The Stags had a succession of corners, and from the sixth, taken by Corden from the right side in the 33rd minute, Buxton flew into the box, and headed the ball down into the ground and up into the net from 12 yards. It seemed to us in the Mansfield 103.2 commentary box that Larkin had claimed a touch as the ball went in. Both of the players celebrated as though they were claiming the goal, and video evidence suggests it could have flicked off Larkin's hair, but after the game Keith Curle was adamant that it was Buxton's goal.

Mendes had two fantastic opportunities to put the Stags in front in the 36th minute. First he found room in the 6 yard box on the right but somehow his shot was blocked by a defender, and then moments later he had a shot from the left side of the 6 yard box that was blocked by the keeper, when he seemed certain to score.

Half time 1-1

The first half had seen the Stags on top for the final 30 minutes, with Corden putting in fine crosses and Mendes causing all kinds of panic in the home defence. But the start of the second half saw the indecision that had been seen in the defence of the opening stages of the first half, return.

However chances were few and far between. The best for the home side fell to Alexander who broke clear but missed from close range.

The Stags failed to get going but it was a complete surprise when the home side scored on 70 minutes. A corner from the left was cleared by Williamson to the edge of the box, where Newey trapped the ball and sent a thunderbolt, via a deflection, into the bottom right corner of the net, giving Pilkington no chance. It was a sickener for the Stags.

But things were to get worse on 82 minutes when poor defending by Artell and Hassell allowed the pacey Ibehre to beat them down on the byeline. Ibehre played the ball inside for Newey, whose cross was deflected off the unlucky Curtis, into the path of Alexander who side-footed home from 8 yards.

The Stags seemed dead and buried but rallied well. On 85 minutes there was an almighty scramble in the Orient box and White acrobatically tried to score, and the ball pinged all over the place, but somehow not into the net. Then they were so unlucky when Day beautifully headed home a corner on 86 minutes, only to see it ruled out by the referee. Certainly Day had not fouled anyone, and from our position it looked a harsh decision. After the game, Curle said he couldn't see an infringement.

That was really the last chance gone, and the Stags slipped to only their second defeat in 11 games.

After the game, Keith Curle told us in the 103.2 commentary box that it was a game of two halves, with his team much the better side in the first half, but failing to get going in the second half. This was a fair assessment.

Jake Buxton was my man of the match for a fine overall display, and being credited with his first senior goal. He was however at fault with a slip for the first Orient goal. Curtis also had a fine game, and Corden was involved in most of the good things in the second half but completely anonymous in the second half.

Man of the Match: Jake Buxton

Report by: Martin Shaw at Brisbane Road

Line Up:
Pilkington 6 Had little to do, and no chance with the goals.
Hassell 7 Defended well at times.
Day 7 Some superb defending; looked generally solid. Unlucky to have a fine headed-goal ruled out.
Artell 6 Did ok.
Buxton 8 Slipped for the first Orient goal, but otherwise did particularly well. Fine header for the Stags goal.
Larkin 6 Had a good first half, and showed somne signs of forging an understanding with Hassell on the right. Faded in the second half and was replaced.
Curtis 8 The pick of the midfield. Won lots of balls.
MacKenzie 5 Failed to create anything.
Williamson 5 Not at his best. Took some rough treatment from the home side.
Corden 7 Very good in the first half, but completely anonymous in the second half.
Mendes 6 Had a good first half, but missed two gilt-edged chances that could have changed the game. Needs a goal.
Sub Line Up:
Christie (for Larkin, 60) 6 Looked sharp when he came on.
AWhite (for Corden, 83) - Only on for 10 minutes but did well.
Subs not used: JWhite, TCurle, John-Baptiste.
Opposition Line Up:
Morris, Peters, Joseph, Jones, Newey (Sam 85), Miller, Mackie, Hunt, Toner, Ibehre (Purser 90), Alexander. Subs: Harrison, Zakauni, Tate.
S.Tanner (Bristol)

Season 03/04 Reports