STAGS MISS PENALTY AND LOSE AT FOREST GREEN
Forest Green Rovers 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Lawless 10 Ahmed missed pen 58
Attendance: 872 (215 from Mansfield)
Date: 22 November 2008
Martin Shaw at the New Lawn
After last week's morale boosting victory over Salisbury, Mansfield fell to a disappointing defeat at the New Lawn this afternoon against a side that had not won since August. Forest Green took the lead with a brilliant strike from Lawless after 10 minutes, giving Gamble no chance. The Stags generally had the better of the first half and Jason Lee headed against the inside of the post but the home side hung on to the lead at the break. In the second half, Forest Green's confidence grew and they created one or two chances without testing Paddy Gamble, but the Stags had a golden chance to equalise when Sinclair was brought down in the box, but Ahmed's well struck penalty was fantastically saved. Then home keeper Terry Burton made an equally incredible save from Stallard's close range effort, and the home side got bodies behind the ball to frustrate the Stags. At the end of the game the Stags were crestfallen as Forest Green celebrated wildly.
Stagsnet report now in the Match Centre
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
FRUSTRATION AT FOREST GREEN
Forest Green Rovers 1 Mansfield Town 0
Stags slipped to a disappointing and frustrating defeat at lowly, Forest Green Rovers. The only goal of the game coming on 11 minutes when Alex Lawless hit an unstoppable 25-yard shot into the roof of the Stags net.
Rovers who had previously not won in 12 games rode their luck at times but held on to inflict The Stags seventh defeat out of ten on the road. Mansfield now sit perilously close to the relegation zone in 19th place in the BSP.
It could have been so different though had lady luck smiled on Mansfield instead of giving them a woeful grimace. Just five minutes after going behind, Jason Lee saw a header crash against the post and on 60 minutes, last weeks penalty hero, Adnan Ahmed was unfortunate to see his penalty saved by home keeper, Terry Burton, who later on brilliantly denied Mark Stallard.
McEwan started with the same starting eleven that had triumphed 3-0 the previous week in the hope that Mansfield would begin a run of unbeaten games, but it wasn't to be as they slipped to a defeat in front of just 872 supporters.
The manner of the defeat though was rife with frustration for Mansfield, who dominated for long periods of the game, but poor luck and good goalkeeping paired with a terrific goal by Lawless proved their undoing.
Stags, plying their trade at the 'New Lawn' must have felt confident of condemning Forest Green to more misery. The home side had not won since the end of August and with confidence at an all-time low, the game was there seemingly for Mansfield's taking.
On five minutes Arnold worked himself into a great position after getting on the end of a great ball from Sinclair, however, he chose to shoot far too early and gave the keeper an easy save.
On the ten minute mark, Josh Low hit a shot from 20 yards that crashed into the side netting as the home side stepped up a gear and just a minute later they took the lead. A long throw in was headed on by Symons, the ball fell to Lawless who from 25 yards hot a shot that fizzed into the to right hand corner of the Stags net, giving Gamble no chance.
Stags responded well. Sinclair opened up and used his pace to take him clear on the right hand side before crossing. Unfortunately his cross field ball was a little behind Arnold but nonetheless Arnold managed to pump the ball back into the area where Jason Lee beat Burton in an aerial challenge only to see the ball hit the post and be cleared.
Arnold was next to go close for the Stags but after getting on the end of a ball from Ahmed, he shot over the angle of post and crossbar.
Stags were dominating but almost committed defensive suicide when O'Hare allowed a long threw ball to bounce letting in Symons in but he shot wide of the mark.
The Stags dominance was heartening but their finishing lacked direction. with Arnold twice having chances to level and Ahmed also not really testing Burton in the Rovers goal.
Goalscorer, Lawless fresh back from injury had to leave the field on 39 minutes, replaced by Fowler.
On 44 minutes, Low found himself in space and managed to get in a cross that was only cleared as far as Fowler who then let loose through a crowd of players forcing Gamble to save well.
The 2nd period pretty much followed the same pattern as the first. The home side made a mess of clearing an Arnold free kick but when the ball broke to Somner, he fired wide as Stags went in search of an equaliser.
The home side were clearly content to soak up anything Mansfield could throw at them and rely on hitting the Stags on the break. On one such occasion, Fowler finished off a neat move with a shot that flashed narrowly wide.
Ahmed then set up Sinclair but Burton slid in before he could get in an attempt on goal.
The Stags almost presented Rovers with a 2nd goal when Jeannin's header hit O'Hare and fell to Low, who laid off the ball to Symons, thankfully though his shot flashed across goal.
On the hour mark Stags were given a great chance of getting back into the game. Ahmed fed the ball through to Sinclair but just as the Stags striker looked to be pulling the trigger, home defender Stonehouse committed a foul giving the Referee no other option than to point to the penalty spot. Ahmed who seven days previous had slotted away a spot kick for the Stags stepped up once more but saw his well-struck kick brilliantly pushed onto the crossbar by Burton.
McEwan, a couple of minutes later rung the changes bringing on Stallard and O'Connor for Lee and Somner
Mansfield continued to dominate while the home side clung on with desperation. Neat approach play between D'Laryea and Stallard saw the striker hit a curling shot into the keepers body.
On 81 minutes Burton once again drew loud appreciation from the home crowd. Sinclair let a cross from Arnold go past him for the waiting Stallard, but Burton produced a superb save to deny him what looked a certain goal from close range.
As time ticked towards the 90 Clist got on the end of a rare home attack and saw his effort go narrowly wide.
The last chance of the game came into added on time when Sinclair's cross cum effort almost fell for the lunge of O'Connor.
This weekend Stags are once more on their travels when they make the long trip to take on Weymouth. The Terras have won just one of their last four home games but will be looking to build on their fine 1-0 away win at Barrow last weekend.
Observer Man of the Match – Adnan Ahmed
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