STAGS BEATEN FOR FIFTH TIME ON TROT
Blue Square Premier
Torquay United 2 - 0 Mansfield Town
D'Sane 53, Woods 70.
Attendance: 2267 (approx 200 from Mansfield)
1 November 2008
Martin Shaw at Plainmoor
Mansfield suffered a fifth consecutive league defeat at Plainmoor this afternoon, as Torquay extended their fantastic run to 9 wins and 2 draws from 11 games. The Stags' poor run, coupled with the four point deduction, sees us 13 points behind the play-offs and still one point above the drop zone. But the Stags bad run can be put in the context of 4 of those defeats being against top half of the table sides. The first half was an even affair with the Stags more than holding their own, but it seems the team is only capable of playing for 45 minutes at the moment, and the second half was one way traffic with the Stags creating nothing and Torquay deserving their two goals.
Stagsnet report now in the Match Centre
Adnam Ahmed, just before the game:
Torquay United 2 Mansfield 0 - Full steam ahead!
ROCK SOLID in the first half and simply too good in the second, Torquay United refused to be blown off course by the wind, rain and Mansfield Town at Plainmoor on Saturday.
Second-half goals by Roscoe Dsane and club stalwart Steve Woods confirmed the Gulls' superiority, stretched their unbeaten run to eleven league and cup games and moved Paul Buckle's men up to second place in the Blue Square Premier.
In the process, United winger Mustapha Carayol gave both Mansfield full-backs, Gary Silk and Alex Jeannin, a chasing.
And Scott Bevan must be thinking that he's fallen on his feet at Plainmoor.
Not for the first time in seven games here, United's on-loan goalkeeper didn't have a serious save to make.
It was that sort of reliability, both in defence and midfield, which was the key to victory.
Saturday was not a day for fancy-dans or kidding your way to three points.
They had to be earned. And unchanged United, especially in that first half into the teeth of the elements, certainly earned them.
They made sure that Mansfield, who had danger out wide through Aaron O'Connor and Nathan Arnold, seldom threatened Bevan's goal.
The back-four of Lee Mansell, Steve Woods, Lee Hodges and Kevin Nicholson were disciplined enough for a series of Mansfield attacks to founder on the offside trap.
Virtually the only time that the Stags beat that line, debutant Adnan Ahmed hooked their best — just about their only — chance weakly over the bar in the 39th minute.
Yet, even though they were content to stay firm and play on the counter before half-time, United still went close through Carayol, Tyrone Thompson and Dsane.
Thompson, who grafted his way through an afternoon when he had to help out in midfield one moment and then support lone striker Tim Sills the next, missed probably the best chance.
In the 20th minute Sills forced Town goalie Paddy Gamble into slicing a clearance, but Thompson volleyed wide of the open goal from 20 yards.
It was imperative that Thompson lent a hand in midfield, where United could have become outnumbered, but that put a premium on Carayol and Dsane keeping the visitors' defence under pressure.
Carayol, with his extra pace, started on the left and, just before half-time, switched to the right wing, with Dsane also swapping sides.
Dsane always threatened to cut in and grab a goal.
Carayol had too much pace and too many tricks for any defender in front of him.
It was the Gambian winger who had set up all four Torquay goals in the 4-1 FA Cup win over Chipstead the previous weekend.
And he did it again for United's breakthrough in the 53rd minute on Saturday.
Thompson put Carayol away down the right, he jinked this way and that against the retreating Jeannin, actually lost control for a split-second, but regained it enough to drive the ball across the face of the goalmouth.
Dsane was there, thrusting out an opportunist left foot to stab home from eight yards...1-0.
As the rain drove down on a cold easterly wind, United kept up their growing pressure.
It always felt as if a second goal would finish Mansfield off, and it came in the 69th minute.
Nicholson swung in one of eight second-half corners, low from the right, Chris Hargreaves had a go at it without real success, but the ball popped up for Woods to head in off the far post from close-range...2-0.
United knew that as long as they didn't do anything silly, they were home, if not exactly dry.
An important hallmark of their current run is that they have reduced mistakes to a minimum, and again they gave Mansfield precious little hope in the closing stages.
In midfield, Nicky Wroe took control, and Carayol was always the 'out ball'.
Well though the teenager did his job, United might have won more easily if his final delivery had been slightly better judged.
Nit-picking? Maybe, but with his raw talent and even better finish, he could go a long way in the game.
Mansfield sent on two fresh strikers, leading scorer Mark Stallard for old warhorse Jason Lee and Emile Sinclair too, but it availed them nothing.
And almost the only disappointing moment of the second half came when referee Brendan Malone booked Sills in the 74th minute.
Sills thought he'd beaten the offside trap and ran on to have a shot, with the crowd cheering and the wind in his ears.
A striker worth his salt is hardly going to look up for permission to carry on in those circumstances, but out came the card all the same, presumably for unsporting conduct.
It was unnecessary, but it probably ticked a box in the assessor's book.
Still, it couldn't spoil another thoroughly professional performance.
Eighteen years ago United under Dave Smith went 15 league games without defeat.
The class of 2008/09 is up to ten now, plus that Cup win over Chipstead.
Buckle's men have that 1990-91 record in their sights, and they're showing no signs of taking their eyes off the target.
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