STAGS COMFORTABLY BEATEN BY LEAGUE LEADERS
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Burton Albion
Pearson 26, Goodfellow 37.
Attendance: 3612 (854 from Burton)
Date: 29 December 2008
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
The Stags were comfortably beaten by an efficient Burton Albion side on Monday night in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Field Mill. It was Burton's 10th successive victory and moved them 10 points clear at the top of the table. Burton took the lead with the first decent chance of the game on 26 minutes when a lucky ricochet off Hurren allowed Greg Pearson to fire through Paddy's Gamble's legs from close range. Burton doubled their advanatge on 37 minutes when slack defending from the usually reliable Silk allowed Goodfellow to blast a shot into the roof of the net giving Gamble no chance. The Stags barely threatened Kevin Poole in the Burton goal, although Sinclair went close once and Jason Lee put the visiting defence under pressure when he came on in the second half, but it was comfortable for Burton. Stags new manager David Holdsworth cannot have been impressed with what he saw as the Stags came down to earth with a bump after the fine win at Kettering on Boxing Day.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Nigel Pinnick and Martin Shaw commentated on the game for Stagsworld
report from burtonalbionfc.co.uk
STAGS RUTTED BY UNSTOPPABLE ALBION
By Ian Hawkins
Burton Albion reinstated their ten point lead at the top of the Blue Square Premier with a solid 2-0 victory against Mansfield Town at Field Mill. The Brewers tenth straight league win was a fitting reward for long serving Aaron Webster who celebrated his 450th appearance for the Brewers as part of the record breaking Albion side currently going great guns in their quest for a place in the Football League.
First half goals from Greg Pearson and substitute Marc Goodfellow proved enough to defeat a Mansfield side lacking in attacking ideas and provided former Stags skipper Jake Buxton with a happy return to his former stomping ground as 850 plus Albion fans gave themselves an early New Year party.
With central defender Tony James still laid low by a flu bug Nigel Clough's team selection was made easy with an unchanged side the order the day after his players had extended their winning run to nine games with their Boxing Day victory against York City. The only change was on the substitutes bench where Craig Armstrong returned at the expense of Matt Bailey. In fact on the back of two straight wins Mansfield Town also named an unchanged side including former Gresley Rovers striker Aaron O'Connor in attack.
In a bright and promising opening to the game it was Albion with the first real threat winning the first corner of the game after five minutes but having won the flag kick Greg Pearson latched onto a bobbling ball and fired into the side netting from a tight angle and the Blue Square's leading scorer was only denied a first headed goal for the club by Paddy Gamble's timely punch as Gilroy put in a teasing near post cross. It was the last action for Albion's talismanic winger who had to be substituted by Marc Goodfellow in the 12th minute.
The first action that the Albion substitute saw was in the 20th minute when John McGrath's deflected cross invited him to strike an ambitious first time volley from the edge of the box but the former Stoke man's effort flew well wide of the far post.
It was a fast flowing game and from attacking and almost scoring at one end Albion almost found themselves behind when Nathan Arnold sparked a swift counter attack that was only halted when Emile Sinclair and Aaron O'Connor collided with each other on the Albion penalty spot and it proved to be a costly miss as Albion went straight up the other end to take the lead.
Goodfellow played a slide rule pass into Pearson on the edge of the box and the striker got lucky with a rebound off defender Gavin Hurren before mishitting the ball through the legs of Gamble and into the back of the net for his 16th league goal of the season in the 26th minute and it should have been 2-0 on the half hour when Goodfellow drove wide of the far post after another move carved open the Mansfield defence.
Albion made a tactical switch with Shaun Harrad pushed out to right and Lee Morris pushed into a more central role.
Mansfield watched by their new manager David Holdsworth from the stands mounted a challenge to try and get back on level terms and Kevin Poole had to be quick off his line to beat O'Connor to a bouncing ball and then threw himself full length to push away a Sinclair shot from the edge of the area.
Goodfellow atoned for his earlier miss with a scorching goal in the 38th minute. Michael Simpson's hopeful ball forward was well controlled by Pearson who once again got the better of Hurren and with his back to goal on the edge of the area he teed up Goodfellow for a rasping 16 yard shot into the roof of the net to silence the home fans. What a fantastic way to bring up 50 league goals for the season.
Mansfield began the second half quite purposefully with Albion spending much of the early stages in their own half mostly fending off high balls towards their backline. Emile Sinclair did momentarily have the defence backpedalling but a well timed challenge from Ryan Austin denied him a clear sight of goal.
Trying to get themselves a foothold in the game the lively Sinclair was replaced in the 63rd minute by veteran striker Jason Lee and before he had chance to even get involved O'Connor ballooned a shot over the bar from a long throw in.
Albion's response was to make an attacking change themselves with Jody Banim introduced for Pearson clearly with a view to the New Years Day game at York City.
Despite Albion now having a strikeforce without a league goal to their name chances continued to come when Harrad almost created a third for Albion when his miscontrol inadvertently ended up at the feet of Goodfellow who forced a fine save from Gamble before Banim fired over from an acute angle and Albion were agonisingly close again when John McGrath's effort was deflected wide of the post by Hurren.
Nigel Clough's third change saw Lee Morris replaced by Danny Holmes leaving Banim to plough a lone furrow in attack. Harrad though was always a willing helper in attack and he almost headed home for Albion when Goodfellow and Banim worked an opening at the far post.
Mansfield began to look ever more ragged and even when the ball was bobbling about in the Burton penalty area substitute Michael Blackwood summed up a frustrating night for the Stags with a shot well off target from 12 yards out having already seem Adnan Ahmed fire tamely over the crossbar in a previous scramble.
The nearest Mansfield came to a goal was in stoppage time when Nathan Arnold drove a low ball through Albion's six yard box and not far wide of the far post.
Albion man of the match: Ryan Austin – Mansfield could find no way through an impregnable Albion rearguard and that was largely down to a towering display from the Brewers defender. Rarely lost a challenge all night and alongside Jake Buxton looked very solid indeed.
Brewers stay on super run as Pearson, Goodfellow shock Stags
BURTON Albion's charge towards the Football League goes on after a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 win at Mansfield Town last night – their 10th successive Blue Square Premier victory.
Despite a bright start, the Stags, could not raise themselves sufficiently to trouble Burton in front of watching new manager David Holdsworth and never looked likely to pull back a two-goal half-time deficit.
Although the buoyant Brewers only shared the play with an urgent Mansfield side in the first half, they were quicker to the ball and their finishing was notably more lethal.
Greg Pearson hooked a shot into the side netting after the first corner of the game in the fifth minute and there was an early blow for Burton when Keith Gilroy limped off after only 11 minutes, to be replaced by Marc Goodfellow.
The winger was soon involved, hitting a volley wide from John McGrath's deep cross from the left, but Emile Sinclair should have done better than kick thin air for the Stags after a quick break and Nathan Arnold's right-wing cross in the 25th minute.
Within a minute, Burton were ahead, when Goodfellow slipped a pass into the area and Pearson's poor contact with an eight-yard shot deceived keeper Paddy Gamble, the ball slipping through his legs to trickle over the line.
Sinclair made better contact with a stinging volley from the edge of the box after 35 minutes, Kevin Poole being forced to dive to turn the ball around his right-hand post at full stretch.
But, again, the Brewers hit back to score.
Michael Simpson lifted a high ball forward, Pearson got between Adie Moses and the ball to bring it down cleverly and lay it to the left of the area, where Goodfellow smashed a spectacular shot into the roof of the net for the Brewers' 50th league goal of the season.
There was, inevitably, a spell when the Brewers had to hit a number of hasty clearances as Mansfield came out of the blocks trying to get back into the game straight after half-time.
But there was nothing very creative about the Stags' approach and, as the game passed the hour mark, they began to run out of steam and the home crowd started to get on their backs.
The watching Holdsworth would certainly have been getting a clear idea of the size of his task.
Goodfellow was presented with a good chance to settle the points after 67 minutes but his shot from the edge of the box was pushed aside by Gamble to his left and substitute Jody Banim's follow-up flew wide.
For the most part, however, the Brewers were happy to play out time and conserve energy, a reasonable tactic given their current heavy schedule.
Sean Harrad headed a Goodfellow cross wide after 82 minutes but no more goals were needed and a large travelling contingent of 854 had already been in full celebration mode for a while by then.
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