POOR STAGS LOSE AT HOME AGAIN
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Macclesfield Town
Mullins 68. Miles 53, McNeil 65.
Attendance: 2414 (222 from Macclesfield)
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
Stags slip up against Slikmen
Mansfield Town 1 Macclesfield Town 2.
Mansfield Town have dropped to 16th place in League 2 following another 2-1 home defeat against a side struggling for league survival. Although the game against Macclesfield was a little better entertainment than the previous week, it still left Stags fans frustrated at the way their side have seemingly lost the will to win.
There was a protest outside the ground by over 200 Stags supporters who gathered to let Chief Executive, Keith Haslam know that they are displeased with the way he is running the club. Some of them decided to boycott the game entirely whilst others came into the game 15 minutes late.
Stags of course were suffering with injuries and boss, Billy Dearden had to make several changes to the side. The trouble was, according to the feeling of the fans after the game, was that Macclesfield, fighting for their league life's, played with more want and desire. Something Boss, Billy Dearden will want to address starting with this weekends trip to yet another relegation threatened side, Wrexham.
The night could have been so different for The Stags if Simon Brown had put away his one on one in the 7th minute, as it was visiting keeper, Tommy Lee made the save.
Although not displaying the type of football Stags fans had associated with the return of Billy Dearden, Mansfield were the better of the two sides and creating limited chances in what was in truth a poor first half.
Conlon hooked a chance wide and Arnold also put an effort well wide of the mark. Simon Brown once again was unlucky when after changing sides with Hamshaw. Nathan Arnold sent over a tantalising right wing cross that just eluded his lunging boot.
Just before the half hour mark, Macclesfield decided that it was about time that they had an effort on goal; McIntyre hitting a shot into the ground that was easily saved by White.
On 31 minutes a flick on by Conlon released Brown who although being forced wide by good defending, let go with a shot that Lee spectacularly pushed away one handed.
The referee then got busy when Hjelde was booked for persistent fouling and when Conlon was hacked down in front of the dug-outs Jennings was also shown a yellow card.
Just before the half time break, Brown had an effort which went wide and as the whistle blew there were boo's from the Field Mill faithful, who were not at all happy with the 1st 45 minutes entertainment.
Stags started the 2nd half in slightly better form and once again, Tommy Lee came to the visitors rescue, this time saving well from a vicious drive from Dawson.
On 54 minutes though, Macclesfield took the lead. However it was more through bad defending than anything they had created. Sloppy play from the Stags allowing McNeill time to set up Miles for a low finish. The travelling 200 or so that had made the journey from Macclesfield danced with joy. They had not seen their side win away in 2007 and now they were in sight of what would be a precious win in their quest to keep league status.
Gritton replaced Sleath on the hour mark as Stags went with three up front, but just five minutes later, Macclesfield were two in front. Miles twice being denied by the legs of White before McNeill stabbed the ball home from close range. It was a poor goal to concede.
Stags responded well and Conlon should have done better with a header but the ball fell well wide of the mark.
On 68 minutes Stags were thrown a lifeline when from a corner, Mullins headed home. Stags now seemed to have the scent and went in search of an equaliser.
Simon Brown shot into the side netting and from a scramble following a corner, Baptiste saw his effort go inches past the post and with 80 minutes on the clock, Gritton saw his header hit the foot of the post.
Macclesfield though came back into the game and almost added a 3rd but White was equal to Swailes' header.
Dearden then threw on first Michael and then Rory Boulding as Stags went in search of a point but it was to no avail as once again, Mansfield were beaten by a side who looked like they had more to play for.
This weekend, Stags travel to Wrexham who sit in the relegation zone of league 2 and like Boston and Macclesfield before them will be fighting for every point on offer.
Press Association report:
Brave Macclesfield Town held on for their first win in five games to keep alive their hopes of avoiding the dreaded drop to the Conference.
Two goals at the start of the second half put Paul Ince's side in charge and eventually took them six points clear of the drop zone, but only after the Stags came roaring back.
Mansfield, beaten at home by a relegation-threatened side for the second time in six days after a five-match unbeaten run had taken them to the fringe of the play-off hopefuls, finished the game with five strikers on the pitch.
But the closest they came to snatching a point to make amends for an inept first-half performance was when Barry Conlon headed against the post.
A couple of hundred Mansfield fans protested outside the ground before kick-off as part of an ongoing campaign to persuade chief executive Keith Haslam to sell the club.
Several hundred more also answered a call to boycott the match, with just over 2,000 home fans among the 2,414 attendance.
Macc, without an away win in 2007, were fortunate to escape in the opening minutes when Simon Brown burst clear of the offside trap.
But, after latching on to John Mullins' long pass, the Mansfield striker hesitated and his final shot was well saved by keeper Tommy Lee.
Brown again went close in the 16th minute by deflecting a fine cross from Nathan Arnold narrowly wide before his powerful shot from an acute angle was parried by the keeper.
However, with Macclesfield's long ball tactics upsetting the home side's passing football, the visitors began to take control either side of the break
Half-time substitute Ronayne Benjamin almost made an immediate impact as his 47th minute cross just eluded John Murphy.
But in the 54th minute John Miles pounced from eight yards to give Macclesfield the lead courtesy of more poor home defending after Matty McNeil seized on a weak Gareth Jelleyman clearance to create the goal.
Ironically, moments earlier Mansfield had finally posed a threat of their own by forcing three corners in a minute.
Arnold went close with one drive and then Stephen Dawson's piledriver was punched away by the alert Lee.
Macclesfield might have secured victory when home keeper Jason White missed a cross under pressure from McNeil, but the excellent Alex Baptiste came to the Stags' rescue.
They did double their lead though in the 66th minute. Miles had two shots well saved by keeper White and from the second rebound McNeil tapped in.
The goal finally spurred the Stags into life. Straight from the kick-off Conlon headed wide from Dawson's cross and then 60 seconds later Mullins nodded in a Matt Hamshaw corner.
Just two minutes later, Brown almost levelled but his fierce drive was blocked, before Baptiste's drive on the turn flashed inches wide when Lee flapped at a corner.
With the Stags pressing hard for an equaliser, Conlon headed against the post, keeper Lee spilled a Brown drive and Hamshaw's shot was deflected wide, but Macclesfield hung on for three priceless points.
Sorry Stags crash to strugglers again
MANSFIELD TOWN 1 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 2
Mansfield Town suffered a second successive 2-1 home defeat to a struggling side inside six days as they crashed again against Macclesfield Town at freezing Field Mill tonight.
Over 200 Stags fans gathered outside the ground before the game for a protest against club owner Keith Haslam, and those who went straight home may have ended the night glad that they did.
This display was a bit better than last Saturday's tame home surrender to Boston United and could all have been so different had Simon Brown put away a seventh minute one on one chance which was saved by visiting keeper Tommy Lee.
Lee made another good stop to deny Brown in a poor first half.
But just as Stags were enjoying their best spell of the game early in the second half, they were rattled by two Silkmen strikes inside 11 minutes.
John Mullins quickly pulled one back and sub Martin Gritton clipped the post. But there was no way back for Mansfield as Paul Ince's side took three vital points against relegation for their first win in five outings.
The Stags side showed three changes from that beaten by Boston United the previous weekend.
Jon Hjelde returned to central defence in place of the injured Jake Buxton (knee) while Nathan Arnold came in for on-loan Bryan Hodge, who was on Scottish U20 international duty.
Also, striker Gritton was dropped to the bench, midfielder Danny Sleath coming in for his full debut six says after his first ever appearance for the club as a second half substitute against Boston.
Gareth Jelleyman shook off an ankle injury to keep his place and Michael Boulding was on the bench after overcoming his groin strain.
But the depleted Stags were also without injured Danny Reet, Jon D'Laryea, Callum Lloyd and Giles Coke.
Mullins over-hit an early cross from an overlapping run while Hamshaw and Dawson wasted a free kick routine as Mansfield made a lively start.
Brown should have opened the scoring in the seventh minute as he caught the Silkmen's defence square to race clear. But Lee got enough of a touch on his finish to keep it out before a defender cleared and the chance was gone.
From a short corner Hamshaw fed Dawson for a low cross which Conlon hooked wide. Also a hurried 20 yard effort from Arnold was wide.
An accurate pass down the right from Mullins gave Arnold space to get over a cross which just evaded the incoming Brown as Mansfield continued to dominate.
It took Macclesfield 27 minutes to get a shot at goal as McIntyre's 15 yard bundled effort was easily gathered by White.
Soon after Murphy headed well wide from a left wing free kick.
Brown had another chance on 31 minutes, though from a tighter angle. Conlon seemed to get the slightest of flicks onto a big clearance which put Brown the other side of the defence on the right of the box.
He produced a rocket shot which looked on target and Lee had to parry it one-handed.
Murphy wanted a penalty as he went down under John-Baptiste's challenge but the big striker had been backing into the defender and play went on.
Hjelde was booked for persistent fouling on 37 minutes as a scrappy game began to drag. Jennings joined him two minutes later for a late tackle on Conlon in front of the dug-outs.
Hjelde was warned again for hauling McNeill down on the right three minutes from the break but, thankfully, the red card stayed in the referee's pocket.
In stoppage time Brown was wide of the near post as he turned just outside the box as Stags were booed off at half-time for the second week.
Benjamin replaced Jennings for the visitors for the second half and Macclesfield got in a couple of dangerous early crosses, the second from the sub after a good run down the left.
A deflected Arnold shot, from Sleath's pass, sailed across goal with Lee forced to punch away between Conlon and Brown.
From the corner Arnold had another shot deflect wide and on 52 minutes Dawson brought another great save out of Lee as he parried a vicious 18 yard blast.
But, just as Stags were looking like they were taking a grip, they fell behind on 54 minutes.
Sloppy defending allowed McNeill to set up Miles for a low finish from 10 yards and suddenly the strugglers unexpectedly had the bit between their teeth.
Gritton was sent on to replace Sleath on 59 minutes as Mansfield went three up front.
It took a good tackle from Mullins to deny Miles as he tried to make space to get away a finish in the box.
But things went from bad to worse as Macclesfield extended their lead on 65 minutes.
Muprhy's superb flick in the box set up Miles for a low shot that White did well to save with his legs. The ball ran loose to Miles again who, again got a low shot on target and was again foiled by White's legs.
But Mansfield's luck ran out as the loose ball this time was tucked away from close range by McNeill.
Conlon should have pulled one back within two minutes but headed well wide from six yards from Dawson's by-line cross.
Then Scott produced a great block to deny Brown.
But Mansfield were back in the hunt on 68 minutes from the second of two corners as Brown put it over and Mullins powered home a header.
Stags were buzzing at last and Conlon helped a high ball towards Brown who fired into the side netting.
On 74 minutes John-Baptiste almost levelled but was just wide of the near post after a scramble following a corner.
With 10 minutes left Gritton's header from Hamshaw's ball in clipped the base of the post.
But Macc came close again as Hadfield had a 12-yard shot deflect over and then White saved on the line from Swailes' header from the corner.
Miles had a decent shout for a penalty ignored after Arnold's challenge left him sprawled on the turf.
Michael Boulding came on for Arnold for the last seven minutes and then brother Rory joined the action in place of Hjelde as Mansfield went for one last push.
They forced two more corners and Brown twice wasted crossing opportunities as four minutes of stoppage time were signalled.
That was up when a Hamshaw free kick was headed away and that proved to be the last chance.
Latest | March 2007