GRITTON HAT-TRACK AS STAGS THRASH HAPLESS GULLS
Mansfield Town 5 - 0 Torquay United
M.Boulding 14, Gritton 39, 59, 76 pen, Baptiste 64.
Attendance: 2573 (132 from Torquay)
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
Mansfield Town trounced bottom-of-the-table Torquay 5-0 at Field Mill this evening. Martin Gritton scored a hat-trick, the first by a Stags player since Liam Lawrence against Wycombe in the FA Cup. It was the Stags biggest win since beating Boston 5-0 last season. It was a fine all round display with most of the team looking impressive. The key moment of the game came on 39 minutes when Martin Gritton scored from 6 yards, looking fully 2 yards offside, to make it 2-0. This goal knocked the stuffing out of the visitors who crumbled feebly in the second half.
Player ratings in the match centre.
UNITED ARE CRUSHED BY GRITTON'S HAT-TRICK
Torquay Herald Express, 31 January 2007
Just when their long-suffering fans were hoping for a solid follow-up to last Friday's 4-1 win over Grimsby, Torquay United let themselves down big-time against Mansfield Town at Field Mill.
Second-best all over the pitch, United never gave themselves a chance against a Stags side which could hardly believe how much room it was given.
Former Gulls striker Martin Gritton scored a hat-trick against his old club - after his August goal for Lincoln, that's four he's had against United this season.
And the Stags, who led 2-0 at half-time, inflicted Torquay's second successive five-goal defeat away from home - they lost 5-2 at Notts County ten days ago - with further strikes from Michael Boulding and Alex John Baptiste.
United, who took 75 minutes to force a save from Town goalie Jason White, were without leading scorer Jamie Ward and injured duo Steve Woods in defence and Ryan Dickson on the wing.
And they missed them all hugely.
United were outpaced, out-thought and out-passed.
United withdrew leading scorer Jamie Ward, ahead of his impending transfer.
And there was more disappointing news when central defender Steve Woods was ruled out with a recurrence of knee trouble.
McPhee was recalled up front and Angus slotted into the defence alongside Taylor.
New midfield signing Paul Smith was named as one of the substitutes.
Mansfield brought back Boulding in attack for suspended striker Barry Conlon.
United started promisingly, with McPhee forcing an early corner.
But Mansfield cleared it comfortably and, not for the only time, counter attacked through Boulding.
Some of United's early passing was off target, but on a bobbly pitch Mansfield weren't error free either.
In the fifth minute a lovely flick by Thorpe put Easter away down the right.
But just as he was thinking about setting himself for a shot, Easter tripped over his own legs, Mansfield hit United on the break and Boulding finished the move by pulling his 18-yard shot just wide.
Gritton tested Miller with a spectacular overhead kick in the 13th minute, United's goalkeeper tipping the ball over his bar.
But the corner seconds later saw Mansfield take the lead.
Matt Hamshaw's inswinging right-wing corner was headed home by the unmarked Boulding from the edge of the six-yard box.
United's defence creaked alarmingly, giving the Stags forwards far too much room in the early stages.
As if they hadn't learned their lesson from the goals, Andrews and Angus then allowed Boulding to get in another soft header from an up-and-under by Hamshaw in the 17th minute.
Fortunately for United, the ball floated over the bar with Miller struggling to cover.
Miller had to come to the rescue again in the 28th minute, Hamshaw again setting up the chance for Boulding and Miller keeping the ball out with a reaction save.
Angus and Taylor were being pulled about by Boulding and Gritton, but all over the side everybody needed to go up a gear.
McPhee was having trouble holding the ball up front and when he tried to take issue with Jelleyman after one challenge, with play continuing around him, all he earned was a ticking off from referee Scott Mathieson.
United fell further behind in the 39th minute, although the goal was surrounded by controversy.
Stephen Dawson's 25-yard shot was going wide, but Gritton - he seemed to be yards offside - tapped it into the net and linesman Paul Graham kept his flag down.
Gritton seemed almost embarrassed and could not even bring himself to celebrate his second goal against his old club this season.
Boulding fired not far wide as Mansfield kept up their first-half domination, while Stags goalie Jason White was a virtual spectator.
Changes at half-time were almost inevitable, and United made two.
Paul Smith replaced Hockley in midfield and Darren Baxter went on for McPhee, Baxter lining up on the left wing, with Easter switching up front with Thorpe.
Cooke raised the hopes of the Gulls fans behind the goal which United were attacking when he gave Hjelde the slip on the right, but with teammates in support, Cooke's cross was too strong and went for a goalkick.
United needed a goal to give themselves a chance, but in the 58th minute they handed Mansfield a third.
Miller's intended clearance rebounded off Boulding, which was bad enough, but Gritton was then allowed to control the loose ball and evade two tackles before firing a left-foot shot in off the right-hand post from beyond the penalty spot.
Five minutes later it was 4-0.
Mansfield seized on a misplaced pass by Thorpe, countered through Hamshaw on Town's right wing, Baptiste raced up in support and a hit-and-hope against Robinson worked a dream, the ball deflecting past the wrong-footed Miller when it could have gone anywhere.
United made their third change, Rossi Jarvis replacing Cooke, and Mansfield also took off goalscorer Baptiste and sent on John Mullins at right-back.
It was the 75th minute before White had to make a save in the Mansfield goal, Mansell's 20-yard free-kick forcing him to grab the ball at the second attempt with Thorpe closing in.
But two minutes later Gritton rubbed salt into United's wounds, completing his hat-trick with a penalty.
Boulding went down under Andrews' challenge, Mr. Mathieson had a good view and Gritton confidently dispatched the spot-kick into the left-hand corner of the net???5-0.
Gritton promptly left to a standing ovation, replaced by Boulding's younger brother Rory.
In the end United were lucky it wasn't 6-0, Miller doing well to save at the feet of Rory Boulding after Brown slipped him through.
WARD ABSENCE DIDN'T INSPIRE CONFIDENCE
Torquay Herald Express, 01 February 2007
There could be no excuse for the way they went under at Field Mill - and none of the players tried to come up with any - but there's little doubt that the news of leading scorer Jamie Ward's impending departure did little for the mood in Torquay United's dressing-room at Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.
Striker Lee Thorpe, who was captain in the injury absence of defender Steve Woods, said: "When you come off the back of a great result like we had against Grimsby, it's very disappointing to lose one of your best players, especially on the day of the game."
Eleven-goal Ward, who limped off against Grimsby (4-1) last Friday with a jarred knee, had declared himself fit before United, presumably after accepting offers, allowed him to talk terms with Leyton Orient and Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday while the team set off for Nottinghamshire without him.
"We are in a relegation fight, and you need your best players to survive," said Thorpe.
"I want what's best for the football club - and that's a team staying in League Two.
"Jamie is a good player, a good lad and I think we should have kept him until the summer."
Thorpe added: "It's only my view", but I believe he was speaking for several of his teammates.
After a reasonably bright start, you could have been forgiven for thinking that United had a real chance of following up the Grimsby win.
But then the loss of key players in all three departments - Woods at the back, Ryan Dickson on the left wing and Ward up front - kicked in.
Repeatedly pulled about by the movement of Martin Gritton and, especially, Michael Boulding, United looked all over the place in defence.
They were lightweight and outpaced in midfield, where Matt Hockley played with a heavily bruised thigh, and were often caught on the counter when they did attack.
And up front Thorpe and Chris McPhee offered little threat.
The fact that it took United until the 75th minute to have their first, and only, serious shot on target - a free-kick by Lee Mansell - speaks for itself.
Before the game travelling Gulls fans in the nearby Early Doors pub were full of optimism, believing that the corner had been turned at last after the demolition of Grimsby.
But the news that Ward wasn't in the line-up had the same effect on them as it had in the dressing-room.
And I dread to think how they must have felt after what happened, or rather didn't happen, over the next hour and a half.
Gritton hat-trick as five-starStags wallop Torquay
THE immaculate Martin Gritton helped himself to a hat-trick as rampant Mansfield Town tore apart bottom club Torquay United with consummate ease and five unanswered goals at Field Mill last night.
The Gulls had hoped Friday's 4-1 hammering of Grimsby - their first win in 20 League games - was the dawning of a new era for them.
But it proved to be a false dawn as Billy Dearden's men played them off the park with some sparkling football to record their biggest win of the season plus a clean sheet to set up Saturday's visit of Shrewsbury Town.
Gritton was outstanding with almost every touch on the night, though Matt Hamshaw and Michael Boulding also ran riot against the hapless visitors.
Boulding (14) and Gritton (39) had Stags in charge by the break and Gritton (59, 77 pen) and today's birthday boy Alex John-Baptiste (64) pushed the home side out of sight.
Stags made just one change with Michael Boulding in up front for the suspended Barry Conlon.
John Mullins, having recovered from his ankle injury, had to be content with a place on the bench.
Torquay were missing top scorer Jamie Ward, who was ruled out with an ankle injury.
John-Baptiste headed away a second minute corner by the visitors and Stags broke smartly but the final ball was delayed and Brown was caught offside.
White was tested with a curling shot at his near post by Easter a minute later but the young keeper was down to make the save. It was to be his only save of the first half.
Stags again broke quickly, looking to capitalise on Easter's misfortune, and Boulding cut inside Andrews before shooting inches wide into the side netting.
On 13 minutes Gritton forced a good save from Miller. Jelleyman's low cross was not cleared and Hamshaw nodded the ball forward for Gritton to try a spectacular overhead effort that veteran Miller tipped over.
But Stags were ahead from the corner. Hamshaw whipped it in from the right and Boulding was not picked up, burying his header powerfully into the centre from seven yards.
Mansfield won another corner three minutes later which saw Hamshaw pick out Buxton at the far post. The defender controlled, but by the time the ball had dropped and he tried to finish, Robinson was there to make a vital block.
Miller was behind a low Brown shot as Stags continued to impress in a very open game and, soon after, Boulding floated a header onto the roof of the net after Hamshaw had hooked a long, high cross into the box.
Three successive home corners followed with no reward.
Then Miller produced an excellent reaction save on 29 minutes to deny John-Baptiste after he tried to finish low from seven yards from Hamshaw's by-line pull-back.
The second goal finally arrived on 39 minutes. Boulding teed up Dawson for a 20 yard shot which was always going wide.
But Gritton, who looked suspiciously offside at the far post, simply turned it in from close range and, despite United protests, the goal stood.
The pressure continued as Hamshaw headed down a Jelleyman cross to Boulding whose shot on the turn was too high.
But Stags finished the half firmly on top and good value for their two-goal cushion.
Desperate for a kickstart, Torquay made a double change at the break, withdrawing Hockley and McPhee and bringing debutant Smith and Baxter into the fray.
The Gulls began brightly and Thorpe hooked a hopeful effort well wide while a dangerous Cooke cross proved just too long.
Boulding shot straight at Miller in Mansfield's first raid of the half.
Then Gritton found Hamshaw but his shot was blocked.
Gritton twice came close as Miller spilled a cross at his feet but he was unable to get a touch and then Taylor produced a superb last ditch header to stop Gritton getting onto Jelleyman's cross right in front of goal. Hjelde headed over from the corner.
The third goal arrived on 59 minutes as Gritton headed the ball towards Miller whose clearance hit the Stags striker. The ball ran to Boulding who passed it back to Gritton. Instead of hurrying his finish he took it inside two defenders and made space to somehow squeeze a low shot past Miller and in off the inside of the right hand post.
It was 4-0 on 64 minutes as John-Baptiste, who celebrates his 21st birthday tomorrow, grabbed a rare goal.
He bombed on outside Hamshaw as Stags broke down the right and when he was fed with a pass he raced into the box and, instead of a low cross, he drilled in a low shot that span up off a challenging defender's leg and beat Miller at the near post.
It was his last action as Mullins came on to replace him three minutes later.
White did have to get down to grab a good, low Mansell free kick at the second attempt
But Stags continued to tear the Gulls apart and a fifth goal arrived on 77 minutes from the penalty spot.
Boulding was tripped by Robinson and Gritton stepped up to complete a confident hat-trick with a firm finish to Miller's right.
He then left the field to huge applause as he and Brown came off to give Rory Boulding and Arnold a run out.
Rory Boulding quickly set up brother Michael with a hanging cross that he guided wide with his glancing header.
Mansfield played the last four minutes with 10 men after Hamshaw limped off.
But they continued to threaten to the end and Rory Boulding forced Miller into a brave close range save.
STAGS: White, M. Boulding, Jelleyman, D'Laryea, John-Baptiste (Mullins 67), Brown (Arnold 78), Hamshaw, Buxton, Hjelde, Dawson, Gritton (R. Boulding 78). Subs not used: Muggleton, Lloyd.
TORQUAY: Miller, Andrews, Robinson, Angus, Taylor, Mansell, Hockley (Smith ht), Easter, McPhee (Baxter ht), Thorpe, Cooke (Jarvis 65). Subs not used: Horsnell, Halliday.
REFEREE: Scott Mathieson of Cheshire. ATTENDANCE: 2,573.
GOALS: Stags - M. Boulding 14; Gritton 39, 59, 78 (pen); John-Baptiste 64.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Martin Gritton.
Latest | February 2007