STAGS PUT IN COMMANDING DISPLAY TO DESTROY ALTY
Mansfield Town 2 - 0 Altrincham
Garner 29, Arnold 52.
Attendance: 1682 (96 from Altrincham)
Martin Shaw and Svante Bernhard at Field Mill
Mansfield Town destroyed Altrincham with a commanding performance at Field Mill on Tuesday night. Although the final score was only 2-0, the Stags created 23 goal-scoring opportunities, and only a brilliant display by Alty keeper Acton kept the score respectable. It was great to see the Stags pummelling away at Altrincham for 90 minutes and never letting them off the hook.
Scott Garner, the new captain, scored the first goal, latching on to Hotchkiss's excellent free kick and firing home from 8 yards after 29 minutes. The second goal came on 52 minutes when Arnold slotted through the keeper's legs from 10 yards after a mistake from Alty defender Young.
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Highlights from the Stagsworld audio commentary, here, by Nigel Pinnick and Martin Shaw
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MANSFIELD TOWN (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
Blue Square Premier match
played on Tuesday, 21 April 2009, at 7.45pm
Mansfield deservedly took the points but a late rally fom the visitors could have produced two penalties from a more sympathetic referee than Mr Madley. The Stags dominated the first half after a scrappy opening quarter of an hour. They took the lead in the 28th minute when a freekick from 25 yards was allowed to fall to Garner as the Alty defence froze and the Mansfield man scored from 5 yards. Mansfield again had most of the play in the first period of the second half but Altrincham staged a late rally and forced several freekicks from the Mansfield defence. When Denham was flattened a penalty looked to be the outcome but the ref thought otherwise and then he gave another foul which appeared to be in the box as a freekick just outside. But the home side deserved their win which left Alty 15th in the table.
28 mins: Scott GARNER (Mansfield Town 1 Altrincham 0)
52 mins: Nathan ARNOLD (Mansfield Town 2 Altrincham 0)
REFEREE: Mr R. Madley
Altrincham captain Robbie Lawton was finishing his two-match suspension. Stuart Coburn was out with a knee injury so Richard Acton stepped in as Alty's keeper, whilst Mark McGregor was again unfit with his hamstring problem.
Mansfield were without the injured Louis Briscoe (ankle ligaments), Curtis Woodhouse (groin) and Matt Somner (knee). Daryl Clare was fit enough to be on the bench after a back injury but youngsters Grant Ryan and Tom Naylor were included in the squad.
This was the first game in six years that Altrincham had played knowing they would be in the same division the following season. For their first visit to field Mill, 96 away fans were in the visitors' end and kept up good natured taunting of their opponents throughout the game.
This match had been previously scheduled on three earlier dates but had been postponed or moved from 18.11.08, 10.1.09 and 17.2.09! The reverse ficture had been won by Chris Senior's goal after just eleven seconds but he was one of Altrincham's absentees tonight, with his hamstring injury.
MANSFIELD TOWN (Yellow shirts, shorts and socks): 13. Jason White, 2. Gary Silk, 6. Alan O'Hare, 3. Ryan Williams, 7. Nathan Arnold, 18. Curtis Shaw, 19. Scott Garner, 21. Aaron O'Connor, 26. Oliver Hotchkiss, 28. Robert Duffy, 40. Tom Naylor. SUBS: 4. Jonathan D'Laryea, 5. Adie Moses, 24. Daryl Clare, 29. Scott Gardner, 35. Grant Ryan.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): , 23. Richard ACTON, 22. James SMITH, 5. Greg YOUNG (capt), 18. Michael WELCH, 2.Chris LANE; 17. Ben WILKINSON, 21. Shaun DENSMORE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 9. Colin LITTLE, 14. Dale JOHNSON. SUBS: 1. Stuart COBURN, 4. Mark McGREGOR, 10. Chris DENHAM, 12. Joe O'NEILL, 11. Warren PEYTON.
Mansfield kicked off towards the away end at the impressive Field Mill Stadium which, however, has one side out of use where the former Hyde Road Stand of Manchester City is boarded off. The opening ten minutes were pretty poor from both sides with misplaced passes, head-tennis and aimless balls forward being the order of the day. But Arnold then got in a shot from the right which Acton parried well to his right to concede a corner, which led to a second flag kick. This was half cleared and Williams, who last tormented Alty when playing at Weymouth, fired over the bar (11 mins).
Young, acting as captain again today, was leading by example at the back for Altrincham, not least when he headed the ball away as Duffy threatened to pounce. When, after this, Duffy's shot beat Acton but went wide, it confirmed that the Stags were getting on top (13 mins). Next, Acton made a fine save with his legs after forme Grays' man, Aaron O'Connor, had got free and this led to the first of five Mansfield corners in barely three minutes. The third of these corners came when Acton did well to tip over a shot from Hotchkiss and then Silk volleyed wide when he should have hit the target. A fine recovery tackle by Young conceded the fourth corner in the sequence.
Having survived this pressure, things settled back into a fairly uneventful few minutes before the lively Williams survived a handball appeal to win himself a freekick from 15 yards outside the front edge of the Alty box in a fairly central position. The ball was played forward in a straight line and, as Acton and his defence seemed to leave the ball for each other, it fell for Garner to score comfortably from a couple of yards out (28 mins).
After 32 minutes Mansfield gained another corner, from which Duffy nodded wide. But, when Densmore was brought down soon afterwards, young Hotchkiss picked up the game's first booking. After a fine block from Young, Alty finally won a corner at the other end, through Little (38 mins). Densmore sent this straight to the keeper before good work from Wilkinson on the Alty right helped to stop another Stags' attack. But half-time soon arrived with Altrincham needing to make a marked improvement if they were take anything from this game.
Half-Time: MANSFIELD TOWN 1 ALTRINCHAM 0
Altrincham kicked off the second-half and soon Danylyk hit a shot wide of White's right post (46 mins). Densmore went even closer two minutes later when he fired narrowly wide following a throw-in. But Mansfield then forced a fine save from Acton at the cost of a corner (49 mins). This led to some sustained Mansfield pressure during which Young appeared to be limping. Then the Alty centre back failed to get in a challenge leaving Arnold free and he beat Acton with a well struck shot to make it 2-0 after 52 minutes.
Altrincham immediately brought on Denham and Peyton for Little and Wilkinson, and pushed Welch up front as Doughty now occupied the left-back berth. The pace of Williams and Arnold continued to trouble the visitors and when Acton fumbled a routine cross, Duffy should have capitalised on the error (58 mins). A foul on Denham by Garner led to a freekick which Densmore wasted, striking the first player in front of him. Then another piece of uncertain handling from Acton led to a corner for Town (61 mins).
However, after this, Acton produced a fine save from Garner before O'Neill replaced Johnson up front for Altrincham (62 mins). Three minutes later Mansfield brought on Daryl Clare for O'Connor which triggered plenty of jibes from the visiting fans making allusions - to put it politely- to his frequent changes of employment and the possible motives for his itinerant footballing life. Danylyk then hit the bar for Alty but Mansfield continued to look the more likely side to score again, as the game went into the final quarter of an hour. After Silk had been replaced by Gardner for the Stags (81 mins), Alty then won a corner before Denham was harshly booked for a good tackle (84 mins).
Altrincham dominated the closing stages and were unlucky not to score. A Densmore cross just evaded O'Neill in the goalmouth before a Welch freekick cleared the bar. An Alty corner came and went before a crude challenge on Danylyk by Clare gave Alty a freekick on the very edge of the box (85 mins). O'Neill was then felled as the Mansfield defence looked dodgy but when Denham was flattened in the box Mr Madley somehow saw nothing wrong. Moments later the panicking home defence brought down Danylyk but Mr Madley ruled the offence was inches outside the box, though he did book Garner. Peyton's freekick hit the wall. A corner followed but, despite this rash of dead ball situations, Altrincham could not score as the game went into three added minutes.
Well into this period, Mansfield gave a debut to Ryan who replaced Duffy (90+2 mins). There was still time for Mansfield to concede yet another freekick, Densmore being the victim, but the final whistle confirmed Mansfield's victory soon afterwards. This was not a memorable performance from Altrincham but they showed plenty of spirit in the closing stages and with a bit of luck could have snatched a draw. But the home side had played the better football for most of the central part of the game and widened the gap between themselves and Alty with their win.
Full-Time: MANSFIELD TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 0
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