EMBARRASSING PERFORMANCE TO END SEASON
Dagenham & Redbridge 2 - 0 Mansfield Town
Strevens 50, Benson pen 52. Buxton sent off 52.
Attendance: 3451 (1023 from Mansfield)
Date: 3 May 2008
Martin Shaw at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium
Mansfield ended a disastrous season with one of the worst performances I have ever seen, at Dagenham this afternoon. It was spineless and lacked any quality from the Stags. Dagenham scored twice early in the second half and in the end could have won by many more goals.
Stagsnet report and player ratings now in the Match Centre.
Stags players applaud the fans at the end of the game:
Photos by Martin Shaw
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
SEASON ENDS LIKE A DAGGER THROUGH THE HEART
Dagenham & Redbridge 2 Mansfield Town 0.
A proud 77-year history of life in the Football League came to an end for Mansfield Town with a demoralizing and downbeat 2-0 defeat at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge.
Paul Holland's men arrived for the game knowing that their League life was over but over a 1,000 Stags supporters had made the journey hoping that the side would at least give them something to cheer on what was bound to be an emotional day, as it turned out, Stags went out without a whimper with a lacklustre performance that seemed to have no pride or it seemed, effort.
Dagenham were in the mood to celebrate, their 3-2 away win at Darlington had made them safe from the drop giving them the first chance all season to be able to sit back and enjoy life as a football league club, for Mansfield it was oh so different. Stags were down and they played like a side resigned to the fact that for them it was all over.
The home side almost went ahead after just 4 minutes. Briggs failed to control the ball giving Benson the chance to take possession and earning the Daggers the first corner of the game. As that corner came over, it was Benson again who tormented the Stags back line by winning a header that was cleared off the line by Lee Bell.
Dagenham were having plenty of the ball whilst The Stags struggled to get any rhythm in their game. On 9 minutes, Mark Arber found himself free at the near post but could only direct his header into the grateful arms of White in the Mansfield goal.
It took the Stags 15 minutes to earn their first corner of the game, which came to nothing.
Matt Hamshaw then reminded Stags fans of just what he is capable of with a mazy run, unfortunately his shot to finish was way over the crossbar bringing some of the travelling fans to sing, “That's why we are going down!”
On 23 minutes a foolhardy Stags fan threw a plastic bottle onto the pitch just as the home keeper, Roberts was going to take a goal kick. To his credit the keeper did not make a fuss but simply took a drink from the bottle and threw it aside. It was enough though for Referee, Attwell to come over and have a few words with the fourth official.
On 29 minutes a great cross from the left presented Daggers Captain, Jon Boardman with a free header but surprisingly he headed over from just four yards out.
A minute later, Arnold controlled a long ball well to turn and shoot towards goal but his effort was well over the crossbar.
On 37 minutes Wood slipped allowing Benson the chance to break away towards the Stags goal, but his shot was hit straight at Jason White who made a good save.
The start of the 2nd half saw Mansfield in the ascendancy but failing the trouble the home keeper.
Just three minutes into the 2nd period though, Dagenham took the lead. Benson found room to get off a shot towards goal, which White seemed to leave, only for the ball to hit the foot of the post. Buxton cleared away the rebound. However from the resulting corner, took by Sloma, Ben Strevens rose to powerfully head the ball into the top right hand corner of the net giving White no chance. At this point Ryan Goward was introduced for Dan Martin.
Within a minute though the game was over for Mansfield. Benson found himself bearing down on goal the wrong side of Jake Buxton, who in his attempt to stop the Daggers frontman, pulled away on his shirt. Benson succeeded in getting off a shot that White saved, but the Referee first produced a straight red for Buxton and then pointed at the spot to award a penalty. Benson making no mistake to give the home side a two-goal lead.
The Stags were now down to 10 men and losing a game they never looked like winning. It was a depressing end to a 77-year league career.
Warren Burrell then came on for Arnold as Stags looked towards damage limitation. Indeed on 66 minutes, Holland made the last of his substitutions when he replaced Rory Boulding with Lewis Trimmer.
Two minutes later and Daggers could have made it three but Strevens fired wide from a close but tight angle, White getting a touch. Wood also cleared off the line from Benson. It was all the home side. On 70 minutes, Boardman once again got a free header, but again his effort was off target.
It took Mansfield until the 73rd minute of the game to next threaten but all Briggs could do from Hamshaw's free kick, was head well over the crossbar.
It was all the home side, ironically though they looked as if they were in a training game as Stags laboured to keep pace.
Trimmer did have a shot that flew across the face of goal in the dying minutes but by then Dagenham knew the game was won whilst Mansfield toiled away the remaining minutes of their football league life.
Dagenham gave a brief appearance to Lee Goodwin who had not kicked a ball all season, but had been in the Dagenham ranks for a number of years. His first touch in league football gaining the biggest cheer of the day. He looked more like a sponsor than a professional footballer.
As the final whistle blew bringing to an end Mansfield Town's 07/08 campaign, a season that has ended in the worst possible way with relegation there was an almost embarrassed walk over by the players towards the supporters. It what can be said to be the most important summer in the Stags history, it is to be hoped that all the on-field and off-field problems can be sorted and that Mansfield Town can begin to make a challenge to get back into the football league. R.I.P the football league, here's to a resurrection.
Dag & Red 2-0 Mansfield
Mansfield bowed out of the Football League in timid fashion with a 2-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge.
The Stags held on until the 50th minute before Ben Strevens headed his 20th of the season from Sam Sloma's corner.
Paul Benson doubled the lead from the spot after being fouled by Jake Buxton, the Mansfield captain receiving his marching orders for the tackle.
Some Mansfield fans used the game to protest against the board, though owner Keith Haslam stayed away.
Press Ass report:
Gutsy Dagenham celebrated avoiding the drop with a confident two goal win over relegated Mansfield at Victoria Road.
The visitors looked low on confidence and pressed the self destruct button at the start of the second half when they conceded two goals in two minutes, with skipper Jake Buxton being sent off for bringing down Daggers striker, Paul Benson, inside the box.
Daggers started brightly, with striker Ben Strevens firing in a bullet header which Mansfield keeper Jason White did well to palm onto the crossbar.
Strevens came close again in the 23rd minute, when he turned Mansfield skipper Jake Buxton on the edge of the box, before seeing his clever 20 yard lob drop inches over the Mansfield crossbar.
Dagenham skipper Jon Boardman should have given his side the lead in the 29th minute when he nodded inches over the bar from close range after latching onto a deep cross from Sam Saunders.
The Stags' best chance of the first half dropped to striker Nathan Arnold in the 31st minute, when he missed the target with a powerful volley after out-muscling Boardman inside the Daggers box.
The home side came flying out of the blocks in the second half, with Benson firing the ball off a post in the 47th minute after connecting with a clever Saunders cross.
The home side were rocking and Strevens finally gave Daggers a deserved lead when he arrowed a 49th minute header over White and into the net from a Saunders corner.
The Stags threw the game away a minute later, when Buxton was sent off for hauling down Benson inside the Mansfield box, with the Daggers striker stepping up to double his side's lead from the penalty spot.
Daggers should have gone three up in the 70th minute when Boardman rose highest to connect with another quality Saunders delivery, only for White to palm his powerful header to safety.
The home side piled on the pressure in search of a third goal, with Strevens seeing his thunderous 20-yard strike tipped over the bar by White in the 84th minute.
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