STAGS BEATEN BY 10-MAN BOSTON
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Boston United
Conlon 30. Talbot 18, Broughton 40. Thomas sent off.
Attendance: 2790 (238 from Boston)
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
Stags strangled by Boston
Mansfield Town 1 Boston United 2
The Stags came crashing back down to earth in dramatic style with a 2-1 defeat at Field Mill to crisis club, Boston United. The visitors, who arrived for the game in their own cars, with only enough players to name three substitutes, and who also played with 10 men from the 54th minute onwards following the sending off of Bradley Thomas, deservedly beat a stale looking Mansfield Town side who never got going throughout the whole ninety minutes.
The threat of a 'Banana skin' was on the cards before the game with Stags unbeaten in five and Boston with just two away wins to their name all season and it proved so with what can only be described as a confident and battling display by United, coupled with a lethargic and uninspired performance from a side many hoped would go on a run of games that would take them into the play off picture. The infuriating aspect of the defeat became blindingly obvious when at the final whistle, news came through that Wycombe Wanderers had only drawn, meaning Stags could have been just a mere six points off the play off's.
Boss Billy Dearden was forced into one change with Jonathan D'Laryea not having fully recovered from the twisted ankle that he sustained during the previous weeks draw at Notts County. Striker Barry Conlon came into the side, with Brown moving out wide right and Hamshaw moving over to the left.
Right from the start of the game, United looked the hungrier of the two sides and forced two early corners. When one was not cleared well by the Stags, Talbot managed to get in a powerful close range shot that forced White into a brilliant reaction save.
It took Mansfield 12 minutes before causing the United defence any worry, but Hodge fired in a free kick disappointing well wide of the mark and then minutes later, Gritton was just inches away from making contact, again from a Hodge free kick.
On 18 minutes and without surprise, Boston took the lead. Mullins made a complete hash of a clearance on the right hand side and Boston were awarded a throw in. Stags failed to clear the danger and when the ball fell to the feet of Talbot, he made no mistake firing in hard and low into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
The Stags finally drew level on the 30-minute mark in what was there only real move of class in the 1st half. Hamshaw spotting the overlapping Jelleyman who then lofted over an inch-perfect cross to the head of Conlon. The Field Mill faithful cheered more in relief than anything else in the hope that Stags would finally get going. Unfortunately it wasn't to be.
Both Green and experienced front man, Broughton went close for the visitors as Stags still continued to make hard work of the side who began the day in the bottom two of the League.
Just five minutes before the half time break, Boston scored their second. Green did well out wide and sent over a perfect cross for Broughton to powerfully head home from eight yards.
Talbot then let loose from 20 yards, forcing White into a smart save, although Broughton was given offside. Green also tested the young Stags keeper into first half added on time and as the whistle blew for the break, Stags were greeted with load boo's from the home support.
Dearden changed the formation for the start of the 2nd half, putting Baptiste at right back and bringing Mullins into the centre and after three minutes, the plan almost worked when Hamshaw fed the overlapping Baptiste but his effort was parried away by Marriott in the United goal.
On 54 minutes, Boston were down to ten men when after a lengthy talk to his assistant and 4th official, the Referee gave Thomas a red card, apparently for a raised arm on Gritton.
Stags though were struggling to make any inroads against 10 man Boston, who lined up as a solid Red brick wall, standing strong in defiance and leaving Broughton up front on his own to cause a nuisance.
Dearden made a change on 65 minutes bringing on Michael Boulding and Arnold for Gritton and Brown and then on 74 minutes Sleath was given his debut as Stags once again changed formation, going to three at the back.
In the 82nd minute, Sleath forced Marriott into a fine save. It was the keeper's first piece of action from the time they had gone down to 10 men.
The visitors were soaking up everything Stags could throw at them and occasionally breaking with menace; Farrell on one occasion running half the field to force White into a near post save.
Barry Conlon then controlled the ball well before turning and firing in an effort, which just went past the post as Stags tried up the pressure and force an equaliser.
Deep into added on time, an Arnold cross was flashed wide by Hamshaw from close range, when in truth the Stags midfielder should have done better but it would have been harsh on the visitors.
This Friday Stags face another struggling side at Field Mill in Macclesfield Town. The Silkmen will, like Boston be desperate for the points in their battle for league survival and Stags will have to perform much, much better if they are to get back to winning ways.
Stags flop against 10-men strugglers
Mansfield Town 1 Boston United 2
IN-FORM Mansfield Town got exactly what they deserved for a lethargic display as they were beaten by relegation-haunted crisis club Boston United at Field Mill this afternoon.
Gone was the recent sparkling form that had produced three wins and two draws in their last five games.
Stags failed to spark in either half against a side down to 10 men after a 54th minute red card for Bradley Thomas and were booed off at both half-time and full-time by the disappointed home faithful.
They certainly missed injured ever-busy midfielder Jon D'Laryea but should still have had enough to see off the Pilgrims who had a host of off-field problems.
Pilgrims manager Steve Evans was told by his chairman that he could not play new signings Michael Proctor and John McCombe and they also arrived in a convoy of cars after being unable to afford a coach.
But they still upset the odds to produce a second successive win and haul themselves out of the bottom two.
Stags made just one change with Conlon available again after missing last week's game at Notts County for 'personal reasons'.
D'Laryea missed out with a twisted ankle sustained at Meadow Lane. Conlon partnered Gritton up front with Brown dropping back to play right of midfield.
Youngster Danny Sleath was named among the substitutes and eventually made his debut, almost scoring with a low shot.
Boston bizarrely went with just three substitutes on their bench.
It was a sluggish start from the Stags and the visitors continued to threaten, a Talbot shot hitting John-Baptiste and then they forced two corners.
Mansfield made hard work of clearing them and a loose clearance from Gritton put them back under pressure as the ball bounced dangerously in the box and Thomas fired in a powerful close range shot which White did well to push away with a reaction save.
Stags finally produced a threat on Marriott's goal as Hodge whipped a low free kick wide of the post on 12 minutes.
Four minutes later Gritton just failed to get a head onto another Hodge free kick.
Lethargic Stags continued to disappoint and could not have been surprised to find themselves behind after 18 minutes.
A poor Mullins clearance gave Boston a throw on the right which Clarke took. It was headed out to Talbot who immediately slotted the ball low just inside the far post.
Mullins was horribly wide with a hopeful first time punt from 30 yards.
Stags hauled themselves level on the half-hour mark.
Hamshaw fed the overlapping Jelleyman on the left and his inch-perfect far post cross was met by an equally perfect headed finish by Conlon.
Green sent a dipping shot over the top as Mansfield half-cleared another long Clarke throw. Then Broughton was also well over with a shot on the turn from 18 yards.
But Boston were back in front five minutes from half-time.
Green did well to get down the left and put over a cross which Broughton powerfully buried with a stunning header from eight yards out that gave White no chance.
Talbot was given too much space 20 yards from goal and was able to get away a low shot that White did well to turn aside, unaware there was an offside flag up against the lurking Broughton.
White was also safely behind a low 20 yard effort from Green in stoppage time as Mansfield left the field to booing from the frustrated home fans.
Mansfield began the second half with John-Baptiste swapping roles with Mullins at right back which worked well.
And he was almost on the score sheet within three minutes.
Stags broke swiftly out their own box with Conlon's pass releasing Hamshaw. He made good progress before setting up the overlapping John-Baptiste for a low shot that Marriott did well to parry.
Marriott then had to cut out dangerous crosses from Dawson and Hamshaw as the home side finally started to raise the tempo.
But Boston were down to 10 men on 54 minutes. Play was halted as the referee went to speak to his linesman and fourth official about Thomas' challenge on Gritton seconds earlier, possibly involving a raised arm.
The referee then ran up to Thomas and showed him the red card.
Mansfield continued to labour and Dearden made a double switch on 65 minutes as Michael Boulding and Arnold came on in place of Gritton and Brown.
Sleath was handed his Stags debut on 74 minutes in place of Jelleyman as Mansfield went to three at the back.
A good run into the left of the box saw Farrell eventually force a save from White at his near post.
Mansfield were awarded a free kick almost 30 yards from goal but he ballooned it well over to the groans of the crowd.
Marriott had been a spectator since his side went down to 10 men. But he did have to make a save on 82 minutes as he turned aside a 25 yard pot-shot from Sleath.
On 85 minutes Conlon was just wide of the far post with a shot on the turn from 15 yards.
As Mansfield pushed everything forward, they were almost caught on the break as Farrell broke clear from the halfway line but was forced wide by White as he ran out of steam and eventually shot over from a tight angle.
Hamshaw might have grabbed a sensational equaliser in the four minutes of stoppage time but blazed over from close range at the far post after a low Arnold ball in reached him.
But they didn't really deserve anything on the day and now need to sort things out ahead of Friday's visitors, struggling Macclesfield Town.
Latest | March 2007