UNLUCKY STAGS BEATEN AS BOULDING IS INJURED
MK Dons 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Att 9583 (370 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at Stadium:mk
Mansfield Town continue to be struck down by ill fortune this season. After the well-documented fiasco against MK Dons earlier in the season, and losing to an offside goal on Saturday against Accrington, amongst many other incidents this season, the Stags were beaten by a wonderful free kick today from a free kick that never should have been. But to make matters many times worse the bad luck on the injury front continued as top scorer Mickey Boulding limped off with a hamstring strain and manager Billy Dearden said that he would be very suprised if Boulding was back from injury in less than a month. Mansfield have 7 league games, plus an FA Cup game, in the next month. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse ...
The Stags put in a gutsy display at the impressive Stadium:mk and matched the top-of-the-table Dons all the way only to be beaten by an extra little bit of class as Keith Andrews whipped in a superb free-kick that Carl Muggleton pushed onto the underside of the bar and as the ball crashed back down again it hit Muggleton and went into the net.
It was Mansfield's first visit to this stadium, which was opened by the Queen just a month ago. The stadium was built by the same people who built Wembley and Arsenal's Emirates stadium, and it shows. The roof of the stadium is very high giving it the feel of a big arena, and once the top tier of seats are in it will hold 30,000. Every seat in the ground is extra-comfortable, with padding, the same seats used just for the executive areas at the Emirates stadium. The Stags fans, probably around 300 (exact figure to be confirmed by MK Dons media coordinator for me on Wednesday), were housed behind one goal. I was lucky enough to be in the press box which afforded a very good view down the side, albeit not particularly close to the halfway line. The crowd of 9583 was the home team's second biggest gate of the season, but you could tell they are not real football fans as they failed to create any atmosphere and only seemed to be roused after Mansfield created chances as if it brought them to life.
Stagsnet player ratings now in the Match Centre
report from theBucksFizz.com
MK Dons 1-0 Mansfield Town
Tuesday 01 Jan 2008 20:56:47 by JonnyG
Dons get the job done
A tired and what turns out to be flu ridden Dons team took all 3 points courtesy of a second half Keith Andrews free kick.
The performance, which was not the best by Dons standards, must be taken in context with the massive effort made by the players and staff during this festive period. They have collected 19 points from a potential 21, a superb effort and great present to the fans.
The Dons never really got above 3rd gear against Mansfield as the busy festive schedule and travelling caught up with their tired legs. They were further hampered by a viral bug that was doing the rounds of the squad!
With that in mind the Dons and Ray Mathias (Incey was either ill or watching from the new plush corporate boxes) went out and got the job done against the Stags.
The Stags, as expected, didn't roll over and die and Willy Gueret once again kept the Dons in business with a superb save (Vive La France). Apart from that though the Stags lacked the killer touch especially with 15 goal Michael Boulding leaving the field early in the first half due to injury.
In what is now the normal 4-3-3 formation the Dons passed the ball in the usual effort to stretch the opposition but really lacked edge and the typical pacey tempo which destroys better teams than Mansfield.
Drewe Broughton huffed and puffed up front but failed to make any real headway. He didn't have a good game but the free kick he won on the edge of the Mansfield box early in the second half gave 'bend it like Andrews' the opportunity to take his tally to eleven for the season.
That Andrews scored was no surprise and what a beauty it was, curled into the top right corner despite the despairing touch of Carl Muggleton in the Stags goal. A captains goal which ultimately won the game.
The team created a lot of chances but once again were guilty of not putting them away or if we're honest pulling the trigger in the first place. Paul Ince noted the need for a new striker in his programme notes so watch this space.
This win puts the Dons 8 points clear at the top of League 2 at the halfway point in the season. There is still a long way to go but the Fizz would like to thank Paul, Ray and the team for their efforts so far and wish them (and us) all the best for 2008
Latest | January 2008