STAGS BEATEN BY MORECAMBE TO SET UNWANTED RECORD
Mansfield Town 1-2 Morecambe
Bell 47. Bentley 5, Blinkhorn 23.
Att: 2,287 (94 from Morecambe)
Highlights from Stagsworld commentary here (nothing from the first half!)
Mansfield Town set an unwanted record last night against Morecambe when they lost their fifth successive home league match, breaking the record of 4 home league defeats on the trot set in 1990, 2002 and 2007 (thanks to Paul Taylor for the information). Add in the FA Cup, and the Stags have now lost 6 home games on the trot.
Mansfield Town 1 Morecambe 2, Tuesday, 12th February 2008
LEAGUE new boys Morecambe condemned Jeckyl and Hyde Stags to an embarrassing sixth successive home defeat at Field Mill last night.
Yet it came just four days after that sparkling win at Wycombe - a fourth straight away win.
With their current bizarre topsy-turvy form Stags must be delighted their next two games are away from home!
Once again Stags failed to manage back to back wins or come from behind to win.
The first 45 minutes were truly abysmal for Mansfield and they were 2-0 down within 24 minutes and inevitably booed off at the break.
But an explosive start to the second half saw Lee Bell blast them back into the match with his first goal for the club.
However, that early promise and pressure faded and they couldn't find a precious equaliser as the Shrimps completed a double.
With both Buxton and Bell passing fitness tests on knocks from the weekend, the Stags side was unchanged.
Visiting keeper Jalal needed treatment inside the opening 20 seconds after being caught by Louis as the Stags striker tried to beat him to a through ball.
The Stags man was warned by the referee for his challenge but no card was produced.
Baker drilled a powerful ball across the Stags six yard box towards Curtis. But he couldn't meet it cleanly and it gave Mullins the chance to clear.
But Baker did carve out a shock opener on six minutes. Stags conceded a free kick out near the right corner flag.
Baker sent it over and central defender Bentley was allowed to jump unchallenged to plant a free header home from eight yards.
Louis quickly had a shot charged down in the other penalty box, then Bentley robbed Boulding as he tried to go past him just inside the area.
But the Shrimps came close again on 14 minutes as a hard and low Thompson corner somehow got through to Artell and Stags were relieved to see their ex-defender produce a defender's finish and blaze well over first time.
The home side began to press and forced two corners, the second of which was pulled back low to the incoming Dawson whose cross was headed at the keeper by Boulding.
Stags escaped a mix-up between Jelleyman and Muggleton with Baker in close attendance, Jelleyman lashing clear as the keeper couldn't take hold right on the edge of his area.
The home side were all at sixes and sevens at the back and when Martin stumbled in possession, Baker again crossed in front of the goal and Mullins had to concede a corner.
When Stags failed to get that properly clear, they were stung by a second Morecambe goal.
It came out to Stanley who curled it back over the defence and Blinkhorn was completely unmarked to guide a stooping close range header past Muggleton with home defenders looking for an offside flag.
Louis got a looping header on target from a Mullins cross but it was gentle and easy for Jalal. Soon after he was just wide from 20 yards from a loose ball and in their next attack he flicked the ball up and was only a yard over the bar with an acrobatic scissor kick.
Dawson was booked for his challenge on Drummond which sparked a mass pushing session as the home side and fans' frustrations increased.
Atkinson headed over from a Hamshaw cross though appeared to be shoved in the back as he did so.
Then Jelleyman did enough to force Thompsn to fire wide as Stags survived yet another scramble.
A good run on the counter-attack by Hamshaw almost set up Boulding but his shot was blocked as he cut inside.
In stoppage time Bell almost gifted a third goal to the Shrimps. His header back towards goal was well short and Muggleton had to race out and clear.
It had been a simply dreadful 45 minutes for Stags and the boos rang round the ground as they headed back in.
Wood replaced an out of sorts Martin at the break, Mullins moving to centre half and Jelleyman left back.
An early corner was cleared to Bell who superbly returned the ball to Hamshaw. Dawson headed his far post cross back in front of goal but Mullins could not get his header on target.
But it was clear Stags had come back out in a much higher gear and they pulled one back from another corner from the right on 48 minutes.
It was cleared out to Bell 20 yards from goal and he controlled with his right foot before letting fly a spectacular screaming left foot volley just under the right angle.
Seconds later Boulding curled inches wide of the far post.
But Morecambe were still dangerous and Stanley blasted a first time effort over from 25 yards for the visitors while Thompson got up well to guide a header just over five minutes later.
Thompson fired straight at Muggleton from 25 yards before Boulding broke down the left and crossed for strike partner Louis to head straight at Jalal.
The big striker dragged a low shot wide soon after.
Mullins was lucky not to be booked when he brought down Blinkhorn who could have gone clear. And from Stanley's free kick, Mullins' diving header passed inches wide of his own post.
McStay should have sealed the win on 84 minutes with his first touch after coming on as sub, planting a free close range far post header wide from a Stanley free kick.
Deep in stoppage time a brilliant cutting pass by Louis found Holmes in the box but he flicked wide of the near post and the points were lost.
STAGS: Muggleton, Mullins, Jelleyman, Bell, Hamshaw, Dawson, M. Boulding, Buxton (Holmes 85), Martin (Wood ht), Louis, Atkinson (Brown 75). Subs not used: White, D'Laryea.
MORECAMBE: Jalal, Yates, Artell, Bentley, Stanley, Curtis, Baker (Hunter 75), Thompson, Drummond (McStay 82), Blinkhorn (Newby 90), Adams. Subs not used: Lloyd, Davies.
REFEREE: Ray Lee of Essex.
GOALS: Stags - Bell 48, Morecambe - Bentley 6, Blinkhorn 24.
CAUTIONS: Stags - Dawson 37 (foul on Drummond), Bell 51 (foul on Baker), Morecambe: Curtis 90 (unsporting conduct).
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Bell.
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