STAGS OUT OF FA TROPHY AFTER POOR PERFORMANCE
FA Trophy Round 1
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Tamworth
Christie 28, Pritchard 90+4
Attendance: 1467 (116 from Tamworth)
Date: 12 December 2009
Stags 0 Tamworth 2, FA Trophy Round 1, Saturday 12th December
CHAD.co.uk, 12 December 2009, By John Lomas
FOR the second successive year Mansfield Town bowed out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle as they suffered a surprise and lacklustre 2-0 home defeat by BSP rivals Tamworth at Field Mill today.
To add insult to injury it was two former Stags players who did the damage as Iyseden Christie headed home a Neil MacKenzie free kick on 29 minutes, Bradley Pritchard finishing them off with a second on the break five minutes into stoppage time at the end.
And to crown a miserable afternoon Mansfield lost influential keeper Alan Marriott with a twisted ankle late in the first half.
Stags were booed from the field at half-time and full-time by a freezing crowd of 1,467 as Mansfield went a fifth home game without victory.
Tamworth, who had four ex-Stags in their starting line up, had not scored for 452 minutes of football before Christie's effort and Mansfield must have fancied their chances in this one.
And it could all have been different had Lee Morris not seen keeper Danny Alcock save in a one on one situation after just six minutes.
But Stags, who had five players booked, failed to build on a promising start and Alcock was rarely seriously troubled as Mansfield were left to concentrate on league matters for another season after only their third home defeat of 2009.
With three key players ruled out through the flu bug that has swept through Field Mill this week, Stags boss David Holdsworth was forced into three changes.
Gary Mills, Craig Armstrong and Gary Silk all missed out with illness while Luke Jones was only well enough to make the bench which also contained Ryan Williams, who has also been off ill.
Jon Challinor moved to right back with Matt Somner coming into central midfield.
Scott Garner returned from suspension into the centre of defence alongside Michael Brough, battling on despite injury and illness.
With Kyle Perry also struggling with injury and only able to make up the numbers on the bench, Lee Morris was given a full debut alongside Rob Duffy up front.
With Gavin Hurren out on loan and Michael Blackwood injured, Tamworth played just four of their six ex-Stags players with Neil MacKenzie, Tom Shaw, Simon Brown and Iyseden Christie starting the game.
The Lambs arrived without a goal in 423 minutes of football.
Challinor cleared two Tamworth corners in the third minute before a promising Stags breakaway petered out through an underhit pass by Morris.
Briscoe then got down the left but overhit his cross. Burgess retrieved it and curled in a far post ball which dropped on the top of the crossbar.
A burst of pace onto a Duffy pass took Morris past the last defender on six minutes but keeper Alcock did well to come off his line and get his body in the way of the striker's finish and Mansfield ended up with only a corner.
Marriott's first bit of work came on 12 minutes as Tait's flick to Shaw saw the ex-Stags man try his luck from 20 yards and Marriott had to readjust to grab it as the ball took a deflection off Brough.
Tamworth won a free kick 30 yards from goal. Before it could be taken Christie was lectured by the referee for pushing and shoving in the wall which then did its job as Briscoe fired straight at it.
Sheridan slipped as he shot from outside the box soon after and the ball trickled harmlessly wide.
There was a moment of danger when Marriott tried to bowl the ball out wide and it struck Heckingbottom on the way and bounced loose in the box. But Mansfield survived the moment as the visitors were unable to capitalise.
Garner chopped down Sheridan to earn a yellow card on 28 minutes.
And from the free kick on the left, the Lambs went ahead through a combination of two of their former players.
MacKenzie floated the ball into the middle of the box where an unmarked Christie turned it past Marriott with a simple header.
Stags almost levelled straight away as a Briscoe pass came off Pritchard in the Tamworth box and sailed just over the far angle of his own goal.
Tait was not too far wide with a low effort from 20 yards as the visitors grew in confidence.
Christie almost got clear on 35 minutes from a long ball forward. He got there before the advancing Marriott but couldn't direct the ball on goal and was then bowled over by the Stags keeper who was lucky not to be penalised for the collision which left Marriott needing treatment.
Challinor conceded a fourth Lambs corner as Christie threatened again and, before it was taken, worryingly, Marriott needed further treatment for his knock.
Sadly it was decided he could not continue and he limped towards the tunnel to give Sandercombe his Mansfield debut between the sticks with six minutes of the half remaining.
On 41 minutes Hotchkiss slid into a tackle he was never going to win against Sheridan and was booked.
Pritchard was wide from distance as Sandercombe awaited his first test with the break approaching.
A clever pass by Challinor between two defenders put Hotchkiss into space in the box. But his shot was blocked and a cry for handball came more from the stands than on the field,
Sandercombe was lucky in stoppage time as Christie charged down his clearance and the ball bounced off the striker and just wide of the empty net.
There were inevitable boos from the stands as lacklustre Stags left the field to what was likely to be a fiery welcome from their manager.
Eager Tamworth were back out onto the pitch early, but it was Mansfield who almost drew first blood of the half on 49 minutes as Morris drilled in a powerful ball from the left by-line which hit the near angle and bounced out to Briscoe who blazed over with a first time blast.
However, Brown should have done better against his former club two minutes later when Stags got caught square and pushing up to the halfway line and Brown was able to race clear down the right.
Sandercombe made up his mind and raced out his box but Brown skipped past him. That took him wider than he wanted but, with men in support to his left and the goal unguarded, he chose to try and slot home from a tight angle and missed the target.
Challinor warmed Alcock's hands from long range on 54 minutes.
But Tamworth forced two more corners between which Stags threw on Williams in place of Briscoe as they looked for a spark to ignite their disappointing afternoon.
Morris was furious when he sped away down the left and was pulled back for a free kick to the Stags on the halfway line with all advantage lost.
Heckingbottom's mistimed tackle on Sheridan left the young winger needing treatment and earned the Stags full back a booking.
There was worry as Sandercombe was hurt as Christie slid into him trying to get on the end of a low near post cross. Thankfully the sub keeper was able to continue.
On 71 minutes Stags made a change up front as Perry took over from Duffy.
Somner's name was added to the book for a foul on Smith on 72 minutes.
Three minutes later Hotchkiss sent a poor free kick into the Lambs' wall but poked a low follow-up through everyone to force Alcock down into a save.
A minute later Pritchard delayed shooting in the box and was forced wide so picked out Christie with a far post cross that he headed into the sidenetting.
Morris sliced a good chance wide after Perry's head-on put him into the right hand side of the box on 78 minutes.
MacKenzie did superbly well to slide in and nick the ball away before Burgess could tuck away a Morris pass as time began to run out on Mansfield.
With Stags pushing forward Tamworth broke in the fifth minute of stoppage time and, with the home defence outnumbered, Tait crossed hard and low from the right and Pritchard slotted home an easy finish from six yards.
Home fans booed and chanted 'what a load of rubbish' as a dejected Stags left the field.
STAGS: Marriott (Sandercombe 39); Challinor, Garner, Brough, Heckingbottom; Briscoe (Williams 59), Somner, Hotchkiss, Burgess; Morris, Duffy (Perry 71). Subs not used: Jones, Sturrock.
TAMWORTH: Alcock; Tait, Smith, Briscoe, Wylde; Brown, MacKenzie, Shaw, Sheridan; Pritchard; Christie (Newbold 85). Subs: Lyttle, Belford, Lake-Gaskin, Ulker.
REFEREE: Lee Metcalfe of Preston.
CAUTIONS: Stags – Garner 28, Hotchkiss 41, Heckingbottom 64, Somner 72, Perry 84. Tamworth – Pritchard 87.
Mansfield Town 0 Tamworth 2
Evening Post report
A STRIKE from ex-Stag Iyseden Christie and late Bradley Pritchard goal saw Tamworth dump Mansfield Town out of the FA Trophy today.
Gary Mills' side made a below par Stags pay with Christie's 29th minute header which came from a Neil Mackenzie free kick at Field Mill before Pritchard made it 2-0 with the last kick of the game.
Stags endured a nightmare first half and were completely out of sorts.
Their only effort came after just two minutes when Lee Morris went clear but saw his shot saved by Danny Alcock.
After that it was all Tamworth and when goalkeeper Alan Marriott scuffed a clearance, it led to Jake Sheridan being fouled by Scott Garner on the edge of the box.
From the free kick, Christie headed home and then Marriott hobbled off after a clash with Christie and was replaced by Tim Sandercombe.
In the second half another ex-Mansfield man Simon Brown wasted a glorious chance after going free down the right, skipping past the onrushing Sandercombe only to try his luck from the tightest of angles and miss rather than square.
Oli Hotchkiss forced a good from Alcock on 75 minutes with a low effort on the rebound from his original free kick before Morris wasted a great chance, ballooning wide from 12 yards out.
But the Stags could not find an equaliser as Pritchard wrapped matters up in the fifth minute of injury time.
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