STAGS TOP AFTER FIFTH HOME WIN
Mansfield Town 3 - 1 Eastbourne Borough
Stallard 13, Arnold 41, Somner 88. Crabb 50
Attendance: 2536 (46 from Eastbourne)
Stat of the day by Martin Shaw: Mansfield Town won their fifth consecutive home game for the first time since March 2002 (Rochdale, Darlington, Halifax, Scunthorpe, Oxford) to go top of the league.
Attendance stats: average crowd at Field Mill 2567. Includes average away following 88.
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
TOP SPOT ACHIEVED AS STAGS BEAT BORO'
Mansfield Town 3 Eastbourne Borough 1
A 3-1 win at Field Mill over Eastbourne Borough proved enough for Mansfield Town to climb to the top of the Blue Square Premiership. Goals from Stallard, Arnold and a late header from Somner was good reward for a side that at times during the game, battered the opposition.
There was a worrying side to the victory though because as in previous weeks, the visitors were thrown a lifeline in a game which should have been put way beyond them when Crabb scored to make the game 2-1 and provide a few twitchy moments for the rain soaked Field Mill faithful, that was until Matt Somner popped up with an 88th minute header to finally put the game out of Boro's reach.
Stags started brightly when a fine ball from Silk on the right fell to the feet of O'Connor, he then turned neatly but hit his shot from outside the area, wide of Hook in the Eastbourne goal. Stags were seemingly going for the throat early on and as well as passing the ball about with skill, pressured their opponents into several nervy mistakes.
On five minutes a ball from Somner was flicked on by O'Connor and went out for a corner, from the resulting corner, O'Hare lost his marker but headed wide from around 8 yards.
The first real threat the visitors posed came from a thrown in. The ball was launched, missile like into the Stags area, where the defence struggled to clear, the ball eventually falling for Crabb who couldn't keep his effort down from the edge of the box, the effort ending up high over Gamble's goal and into the seats of the Quarry Lane end.
On 10 minutes The Stags got a real let off. Tait picked up the ball just inside the Stags half and as Jeannin went to ground early, he set off on a run towards goal. Surprisingly the Mansfield defence just parted giving Tait the opportunity of lining up and effort on goal, which he duly took and was unfortunate to see his drive hammer against the right hand post.
That close shave seemed to galvanise Mansfield into raising their game once more and on 13 minutes they took a deserved lead. A cross from the right hand side from Blackwood was cleared by the Eastbourne defence but only as far as O'Connor, who despite the attentions of three defenders, managed to lay the ball off to D'Laryea, who then slide the ball towards Stallard. The experienced front man then eluded a tackle before rifling an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner of the goal, giving Hook no chance whatsoever. It was a goal of real quality and had all inside Field Mill on their feet.
Stags were on fire and after doing well to keep the ball in play, Jeannin brilliantly crossed over towards Stallard but a defender did well to just reach the ball first with a diving header to put it out for a corner.
Boro' though were not giving up and Jenkins let fly from 20 yards as the rain continued to drive into the faces of both teams.
On 28 minutes, O'Connor who was having a superb game, almost added a Mansfield 2nd but his shot was charged down and then from a resulting cross from Silk just failed to finish with a near post header.
On 39 minutes, the visitors threatened again as Tait glanced a header just wide. Eastbourne were trying to soak up pressure and hit Stags on the breakaway and at this point in the game it was proving the right tactic to keep them very much in the game.
However, they were caught out on 42 minutes and it was largely of their own making. A poor back pass from Jenkins put Hook in goal under unneeded pressure from O'Connor who did superbly well to challenge the keeper without committing a foul, the ball broke nicely for Nathan Arnold who showed great vision and skill to control it, sway past a defender and to slot the ball home for Mansfield's 2nd of the game.
Whatever was said in the Eastbourne dressing room at half time, certainly worked for it only took them four minutes of the 2nd period to force their first corner of the game. The visitor's were clearly determined to get a foothold in the game, whilst the Stags were visibly struggling to get their neat passing game going.
Eastbourne were suitably rewarded for their endeavour just a minute later but again it was more a case of the opposition providing the chance than it being created. Moses and Gamble once again, like in midweek at York City, getting into an awful mess and providing Crabb with the chance of squeezing the ball home, despite a desperate lunge from O'Hare.
The visitor's, clearly boosted by the goal began to force the Stags on the back-foot for the first time in the game and goalscorer Tait was unlucky to see his clever lob just clear the Stags crossbar.
On 65 minutes there were amazing scenes in the Boro six-yard box and it was quite extraordinary that Stags didn't score a third. Arnold crossed, O'Connor helped the ball on and when it eventually fell to the feet of D'Laryea he let fly. It looked a certain goal, however his shot was blocked and the ball astonishingly stopped dead on the line. Both sets of players looked on in shock before a mass scramble resulted in Jenkins reaching the ball first and hacking it away.
The nerves though were jangling as Eastbourne again tried to secure at least a point. Tait going close with a header before Lovett drove narrowly wide as the rain continued to hammer down creating difficult conditions.
With 10 minutes to go it looked as if O'Connor had done enough to add a Stags third but at the last minute a defender did enough to steer the ball away from goal.
With 2 minutes left on the clock, Mansfield finally secured the win thanks to a first goal for the club by Matt Somner. Arnold and Blackwood combined well from a corner, the crossed ball landing on the head of Somner, who from close range made no mistake.
The weather conditions may well have been damp and cold but the team left the field of play to warm and deserved applause as news filtered through that the result had taken The Stags to the top of the league.
There maybe a long way to go before the season's end but all at Field Mill can be well proud of themselves for what they have achieved thus far.
Observer Man of the match – Aaron O'Conner – an irritating itch to the Eastbourne defence throughout the game.
audio report from BBC Southern Counties Radio here
Borough bubble bursts
Report from Eastbourne Herald
Eastbourne Borough's run of three successive wins came to a full stop at Mansfield Town where they were beaten 3-1 by the new Blue Square Premier leaders.
Borough were two down at half-time, but after Nathan Crabb had pulled a goal back early in the second half, they put the home side under pressure for long periods.
Mansfield's top scorer Mark Stallard put the Stags ahead in the 12th minute with a fine effort from the right of the box.
Three minutes before half-time, Borough gifted Mansfield a second when Neil Jenkins' high back pass was intercepted by Nathan Arnold who easily beat Lee Hook.
Nathan Crabb gave Borough hope five minutes into the second half when he raced onto a long clearance by Hook and just beat the Mansfield keeper in a race for the ball.
For the remainder of the second half, Borough had most of the possession but they failed to make it count, although Allan Tait worked tirelessly up front.
But it was Mansfield who had the final word when they were awarded a disputed corner in the last minute and Matt Somner headed home from close range.
The defeat, their fourth in eight games, sent Borough down to 12th place in the Blue Square Premier table.
Report from Brighton Sports Argus
Winning run ends for Borough
Saturday 6th September 2008
By Steve Hollis
Eastbourne Borough's run of three straight wins came to an end at Field Mill despite a spirited second half fightback.
Mansfield took advantage of poor defending to take a 2-0 lead at the interval but Nathan Crabb pulled a goal back early in the second half and Borough were pushing for an equaliser when Matt Somner wrapped up the points for the home side late on.
The Stags had taken the lead after 13 minutes when Matt Crabb failed to clear properly and Mark Stallard found space in the area to fire into the far corner.
Borough were off the pace in the first half and they fell further behind five minutes before the break when a terrible back pass from Neil Jenkins led to Nathan Arnold scoring.
The visitors turned things around after the restart and were given hope when Nathan Crabb raced on to a long clearance from Lee Hook to round Paddy Gamble in the Mansfield goal and slide the ball in from a tricky angle.
Marc Pullan produced an amazing goalline block to deny Jonathan D'Laryea to keep Borough in the game but Mansfield sealed the points with two minutes to go when Somner glanced home a header from a corner.
Game on, from pitch inspection at 9.40 am.
Details at mansfieldtown.net here
Mez Merriman tells mansfieldtown.net's Mark Stevenson about the state of the pitch: http://www.mansfieldtown.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10325~1385966,00.html
Latest | September 2008