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SUPERB STAGS TURN ON THE STYLE TO PUNISH POPPIES
27/December/2008 22:59:15

Blue Square Premier
Kettering 1 - 3 Mansfield Town
Christie 32 pen. Sinclair 26, O'Connor 80, Arnold 86.

Attendance: 2,433 (370 officially from Mansfield + approx 80 in main stand)

Date: 26 December 2008

NEW: Set of photos by Will Lord here

Martin Shaw at Rockingham Road

Mansfield Town turned in their best performance of the season to earn a richly deserved 3-1 win at Kettering on Boxing Day. Emile Sinclair showed incredible pace and good composure to put the Stags in front, but a typical penalty earned and converted by Iyseden Christie pulled the Poppies level in the first half. The Stags had a major let-off when a Kettering header crashed off the underside of the bar and was adjudged not to have crossed the line, but Mansfield adopted a shoot-on-site policy, with Ahmed and Arnold both drawing superb saves onto the crossbar, before Ahmed's shot on 80 minutes was deflected into the path of O'Connor who gleefully fired home unmarked. Then Arnold showed great composure to control a superb Jason Lee knock-down and fire powerfully past the keeper to make it 3-1. It was Kettering's first defeat by more than one goal all season.

Stagsnet report now in the Match Centre.

An ornamental owl sits above the commentary position in the Main Stand at Rockingham Road, with David Jackson sitting underneath it. Photo by Martin Shaw.

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Observer report by Steve Hartshorn.
Stags Seasonal Cheer
Whoever takes over as the new Manager of Mansfield Town will walk into a Field Mill full of confidence and smiles following the sides moral boosting festive wins over Weymouth and Kettering.

Current Ilkeston Town boss, Dave Holdsworth, is seemingly the front runner for the vacant position but as speculation continues the temporary Managerial duo of Ade Moses and Mark Stallard have assured that the new man in charge will inherit a squad of players who are finally playing with smiles on their faces.

Jonathan D'Laryea's late winner at home to Weymouth gave the Stags their first win in five games which meant that both players and supporters received the physiological boost that Mansfield Town would not be in the bottom four of the BSP on Christmas day. The Stags had shown great character to come back from Beavon's 20th minute penalty and deserved Ahmed's headed equaliser before D'Laryea late goal secured three vital points.

Despite the confidence that the win over Weymouth provided few thought that the seemingly difficult trip to Kettering would yield three more crucial points but that is exactly what happened as Stags ran out worthy 3-1 winners.

The 1st half had ended fairly even in both goals and play but two late strikes in a 2nd half that was largely dominated by Mansfield, meant that it had been a wonderful Christmas time for the men from Field Mill.

Joint caretaker boss, Ade Moses came into the side for the injured O'Hare as Stags kept their 4-4-2 formation.

The home side were on a cracking run of form that has seen them progress to the 3rd Round of the FA Cup, disposing of both Lincoln City and Notts County along the way. In the BSP their home record was impressive with just two defeats and only seven goals conceded – Stags were to smash that statistic to pieces.

The early threats from the home side came via the incredible long throws from Geohaghon and the ball over the top for the front two of former Stags Iyseden Christie and Westcarr, but the Stags were holding firm, although they did have to be thankful to Paddy Gamble in the Mansfield goal, who not only parried away a close range shot from Christie but also on two occasions showed good judgement to race out of his area to clear a hopeful punt. The best the Stags offered early on was a 30-yard shot from Arnold that went well wide.

It looked like the Stags had been told to shoot on sight with both Sinclair and Ahmed letting go, but failing to test Harper in the Poppies goal.

Stags left back, James Kay did well to side step one challenge in the centre of midfield before unleashing a 30-yard effort that flew narrowly wide.

The home side responded on 23 minutes when Wrack sent over a teasing cross for Westcarr but the Kettering front man headed well over.

It was Mansfield who were to take the lead on 26 minutes when a long ball from the left by Kay was misjudged by the Kettering defence allowing Sinclair to race in towards goal and finish well to the keepers right.

The lead however did not last long due to former Stag Christie winning his side a penalty kick when he was pushed over in the area by Moses. Christie dusted himself down to step up and hammer the ball down the centre of the goal.

The goal galvanised Kettering who for the final period of the 1st half came at Mansfield from all angles. Westcarr was unlucky when he shot wide and Wrack had a chance that flashed wide of Gamble in the Stags goal.

As the half entered added on time, Westcarr drew Gamble away from goal to set up a great chance for Wrack, who thankfully for Mansfield fluffed his opportunity.

The 2nd half started with a surprise 35 yard attempt on goal by D'Laryea as Stags kept up their seemingly shoot on sight policy.

There was then muted cries for a penalty when a ball into the area seemed to strike Moses on the hand, but the protests were waved away by Referee Fletcher.

Mansfield then began to dominate and twice Harper had to fly through the air to deny first Arnold and then more spectacularly, Ahmed whose 25 yarder was tipped onto the crossbar and over by the now overworked home custodian.

Kettering hit back with a succession of corners that came to nothing but they were happy to see Harper once more in the right place when a half cleared Stags corner was pumped back into the box by Arnold and headed towards goal by Hurren.

The home side were relying on the break and Potter went close by shot wide of Gamble.

However on 67 minutes, they almost scored when a corner was met by the head of Solkhon but from eight yards out he agonisingly watched the ball hit the underside of the crossbar before coming down on the line and being hacked away by the grateful Stags defence.

On the 70th minute mark, Harper once again came to the home sides rescue. Sinclair belted down the right and wrong footed the home defence before laying the ball off for O'Connor. The Stags front man side stepped one challenge and let fly from close range only to be denied by the flying body of Harper.

Ahmed did well on the byeline and saw his effort cleared from on the line as Stags stepped up their play to try and find a deserved winner.

The goal the Stags deserved came with 10 minutes left on the clock. Ahmed clipped the ball through a static looking Kettering defence where O'Connor nipped in to slip it wide of Harper into the back of the net. The fans and players alike celebrated in a frenzy that saw O'Connor receive a booking.

With seven minutes to go, Jason Lee came onto the field and just three minutes later, it was a flicked header from the former Forest man that fell delightfully for the unmarked Nathan Arnold who made no mistake and hammered the ball into the roof of the net to make the score 3-1.

At the end Kettering could have no complaints as Mansfield were worthy winners making it thus far a very merry Christmas for all.

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report from ketteringtownfc.co.uk

Kettering Town 1 Mansfield Town 3
Fri, 26/12/2008 - 23:21 — krsam
Match report by Jamie Walden.

An impressive second half display from Mansfield Town secured them the full three points from their Boxing Day visit to the A-Line Arena, defeating Kettering Town by three goals to one. Emile Sinclair, Arron O'Connor and Nathan Arnold scored the goals that gave Mansfield the victory, Iyseden Christie getting on the scoresheet for Kettering.

Kettering started the brighter of the two sides taking only a couple of minutes to create a significant effort on goal. Exodus Geohaghon launched a trademark long throw-in towards Mansfield keeper Paddy Gamble's goal. Craig Westcarr received the ball and managed to bring it under his control then fire goalwards. Gamble however was well positioned and blocked the shot, before the danger was cleared by the Mansfield rearguard. Kettering continued positively early on in the encounter, retaining the majority of possession, and looking more likely to be first on the scoresheet.
However lightening quick counter attacking play from Mansfield paid off 26 minutes into the game, when striker Emile Sinclair found himself through on goal. Mansfield cleared away a Kettering corner, James Kay managing to launch the ball deep into the home side's half of which Tommy Jazsczun failed to deal with. That allowed Sinclair to bare down on Lee Harper, set himself and strike an effort low and hard into the bottom corner, putting the visitors a goal to the good.

It wasn't long however until Kettering equalised. Iyseden Christie used abundant strength to carve himself room to guard a high ball down from the air, and let it bounce towards goal. Mansfield centre back Adi Moses hadn't banked on the strength of Christie and caught the Kettering forward's leg as Christie turned goalwards. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, and Kettering had been gifted an opportunity to level the scores. Christie stepped up to take the spot kick, and fired the ball menacingly into the back of the net, giving Mansfield stopper Paddy Gamble no chance of preventing a goal.

Kettering attempted to take advantage of their momentum, as the game progressed towards half time. Darren Wrack had a brace of chances to take Kettering into the lead, narrowly squandering both. The first came when captain Guy Branston played the ball high and long towards the chest of Iyseden Christie. The burly striker managed to get the ball down and play in Wrack who had made an intelligent run from deep. Despite the ball being slightly behing the midfielder, Wrack managed to adjust his position, take the ball in his stride and roll it towards goal. However the effort frustratingly trickled wide of the goal, the sides remaining on level terms. The second opportunity for Wrack came right on the stroke of half time, Christie again key to the chance. The big striker managed to knock the ball towards the run of Craig Westcarr who chased it down and fired it across Mansfield's six yard box. Wrack was the man on the scene, but the ball was whisked off his toe by a defender to foil a good shooting chance.

HALF-TIME: Kettering Town 1 Mansfield Town 1

Mansfield came out for the second half, with far more intent than they displayed in the first. It took just five minutes from the re-start before they were threatening Kettering's goal. Goal scorer Emile Sinclair broke with the ball and played in winger Nathan Arnold. Arnold took Kettering by surprise shooting early and from a tight angle. Lee Harper reacted quickly, tipping the ball over the cross bar, saving his side from going a goal down again.

The away side didn't allow Kettering to settle, this time Adnan Ahmed almost did the damage. The midfielder managed to work the ball centrally into some space 25 yards from goal, and didn't hesitate to go for a wonder strike. The effort was only slightly miscued, brushing the top of Lee Harper's crossbar, with Kettering fortunate to still be level.

However it was the home side who may have taken the lead with 20 minutes to go, when Brett Solkhon thundered a header off the underside of the crossbar. Craig Westcarr dangerously swung in a corner towards the head of the all-action midfielder, who'll rue not putting the ball an inch lower. As the ball hit the woodwork, it bounced down onto the Mansfield goal line, only for James Kay to smash it clear of the danger zone.

The chances kept coming thick and fast, as only a minute later Mansfield were again imposing a threat on the Kettering defence. Emile Sinclair sprinted past Dale Bennett with the ball at an impressive speed and squared it across to fellow runner Arron O'Connor. The pass was behind O'Connor, who had to halt his run and turn to get the ball. The striker then spun around and fired an effort at goal, but Lee Harper was again available to save Kettering, blocking the shot for Tommy Jazsczun to then clear.

Mansfield continued to dominate and pressure Kettering, finally poking their noses in front, with just 10 minutes remaining. Alex Jeannin managed to knock the ball past a static Kettering backline, with Mansfield striker Arron O'Connor being the only man gambling to get onto the end of it. O'Connor placed the ball passed Lee Harper and into the goal, giving Mansfield a well deserved lead, late into the second half.

Kettering threw defender Exodus Geohaghon up front, as they went for a second equaliser, but it was Mansfield who got the fourth goal of the game with just a few minutes to go. Substitute Jason Lee knocked down the ball with his head towards Nathan Arnold, who had time to take a touch and fire the ball passed Lee Harper from close range, making the score 3-1 to Mansfield.

Kettering piled everything forward, but a long range Darren Wrack effort gliding over the crossbar was as close as they came to pulling a goal back, Mansfield deservedly taking all three points with a 3-1 victory

FULL-TIME: Kettering Town 1 Mansfield Town 3

MATCH INFORMATION

Kettering Town

1. Lee Harper
3. Tommy Jazsczun
4. Darren Wrack
5. Guy Branston (c)
7. Alfie Potter
8. Brett Solkhon
17. Andre Boucaud
23. Exodus Geohaghon
28. Iyseden Christie
32. Craig Westcarr
34. Dale Bennett

Substitutes

2. Nicky Eaden
6. John Dempster
10. Jean-Paul Marna
14. Chris Arthur

Substitutions

Chris Arthur for Andre Boucaud (72 mins)
Jean-Paul Marna for Alfie Potter (72 mins)
John Dempster for Dale Bennett (83 mins)

Yellow Cards

Brett Solkhon

Mansfield Town

1. Paddy Gamble
2. Gary Silk (c)
3. James Kay
4. Jon D'Laryea
5. Adi Moses
7. Nathan Arnold
14. Adnan Ahmed
18. Gavin Hurren
20. Alex Jeannin
21. Arron O'Connor
28. Emile Sinclair

Substitutes

8. Matt Sommer
10. Jason Lee
11. Michael Blackwood
15. Ashley Kitchen
25. Luke Herriott

Substitutions

Jason Lee for Emile Sinclair (83 mins)

Yellow Cards

Adnan Ahmed (68 mins)
Arron O'Connor (81 mins)

Attendance: 2,433
Man of the Match: Lee Harper

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http://www.poppiesfans.com/featured/2008/12/26/poppies-v-mansfield-town/

Struggling Poppies lose 3-1 at home to Mansfield Town
December 26, 2008

Kettering Town 1
Christie pen32

Mansfield Town 3
Sinclair 26
O'Connor 80
Arnold 87

Kettering Town host Mansfield Town at the A-Line Arena on Boxing Day looking to continue where they left off last Saturday against Forest Green Rovers at the Lawn.

The match gets underway at the A-Line Arena and both teams settle straight down to business as first Craig Westcarr and then Nathan Arnold try their luck early on but Gamble denies Westcarr and Arnold shoots wide from long range. Westcarr is looking lively in the first ten minutes as Gamble dives to deny the Poppies striker again.

After a lively start the match calms down a little and the play becomes a little more scrappy with the battle for the middle of the park taking precedence. The chances have become few and far between with 15 minutes gone. A lot of back-and-forth producing a lot of throw-ins but little in the way of creating good chances at the moment.

GOAL: A free-kick by Craig Westcarr is headed clear and the return by Boucaud was very poor allowing a fast break by the visitors as Aaron O'Connor runs through and Emile Sinclair comfortably beats Lee Harper to put Mansfield 1-0 up on 26 minutes.

GOAL: A fast break by the Poppies and Adie Moses is unfortunate to have conceded a penalty as Christie looked to already be stumbling in the box, but up steps Iysden Christie to blast the ball past Paddy Gamble and Kettering are level at 1-1 after 32 minutes.

Kettering perhaps rather fortunate to be back on level terms after conceding a soft goal and the visitors arguably somewhat aggrieved to have been pegged back from the penalty spot but Kettering now well back into the action. A through ball by Christie puts Wrack clean through but the Poppies midfielder fires wide when he perhaps should have scored with such a clear opportunity with 5 minutes to the break.

After scoring against the run of play, Kettering now appear to be in the ascendancy and attacking with pace as Potter probes the visitors defence for any weakness. Craig Westcarr storms forward and plays in Darren Wrack but again the Poppies midfielder can't convert the chance as the first 45 minutes are up on the clock.

Half-time: Kettering Town 1 Mansfield Town 1



The second-half starts with both teams refreshed and back into the action as Lee Harper is at full stretch to deny Nathan Arnold. Branston puts the resulting corner behind and the second corner is eventually cleared. Lee Harper makes another excellent save from a long range effort tipping the ball onto the crossbar and the corner is safely dealt with.

It's the visitors who appear to have the upperhand in the first ten minutes of the second period and are not shy in taking a crack from anywhere in front of the Poppies goal. Kettering gradually building from the back and a Westcarr strike goes wide of the goal.

Aproaching the hour-mark and the match has quietened down again after the early flurry from the vistiors kept Lee Harper on his toes. A corner for Kettering by Westcarr is easily collected by Paddy Gamble in the Stags goal and his long kick relieves the danger for Mansfield. A fast break by Alfie Potter but the ball is dragged just wide of the mark with Christie unable to connect.

A Brett Solkhon towering header crashes back off the underside of the crossbar and Gamble is relieved to watch that one scrambled clear as the official waving play on. A lightning fast break by Sinclair feeds Arnold and once again Lee Harper is solid as a rock to deny the visitors with another superb save.

Brett Solkhon goes into the referee's notebook as Cooper makes a double substitution and Jean-Paul Marna and Chris Arthur replace Andre Boucaud and Alfie Potter for the final 15 minutes.

GOAL: Mansfield looking the better team in the second period and arguably got the goal they deserved with ten minutes left as Aaron O'Connor beats Harper and gives his side a 2-1 lead. Bennet is replaced by John Dempster.

GOAL: Kettering have struggled to compete and especially in the second period have been unable to match the pace of the visitors front two and were undone again on the fast break. Not a good performance today and Kettering looking second-best are humbled again as Nathan Arnold makes it 3-1 to Mansfield and the Poppies look a beaten side.

The referee takes another look at his watch and signals yet another defeat for Kettering in the Blue Square Premier after a very lacklustre performance at home to what was a team just above the relegation zone. No arguments about who was the better team today and it certainly wasn't Kettering.

Att: 2,433

Kettering Town: Harper, Bennett, Geohaghon, Branston, Jaszczun, Potter, Boucaud, Solkhon, Wrack, Westcarr, Christie, Subs: Eaden, Dempster, Marna, Arthur.

Mansfield Town: Gamble, Silk, Hurren, Moses, Kay, Arnold, D'Laryea, Ahmed, Jeannin, Sinclair, O'Connor. Subs: Blackwood, Herriott, Somner, Lee, Kitchen.

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