FOUR STAR STAGS GO TOP AND HAVE A NEW OWNER
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 4 - 0 Eastbourne Borough
C.Smith 43, Duffy 45 pen, Medley 74, 78.
Attendance: 2312 (15 from Eastbourne)
Date: 25 September 2010
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill
Mansfield Town crowned a historic afternoon at Field Mill with a 4-0 win over high-scoring Eastbourne, to charge to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier table. Before the game John Radford, owner of One Call Insurance, was unveiled in front of the West Stand as the new owner of Mansfield Town Football Club, to a great reception from the fans. Radford, along with Steve Barker who will become the Chief Executive, and Andy Saunders, Steve Hymas and Steve Middleton walked out on to the pitch clutching Stags scarves, and Hymas said a few words to the crowd to welcome Radford, who then replied. The Stags then popped in four goals to complete a great day. Eastbourne will feel hard-done by, especially with the second goal which was a penalty from Rob Duffy after a debatable decision from the officials. Chris Smith had earlier put the Stags in front with his first goal for the club, and in the second half sub Luke Medley scored twice, including one of the goals of the season after beating three Eastbourne men.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre.
Man of the match: Chris Smith
Mansfield Town 4-0 Eastbourne Borough
Evening Post report
BUOYANT Mansfield Town celebrated a pre-game club take-over by local businessman John Radford by powering their way back to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier after a crushing win over Eastbourne Borough at Field Mill.
Just before kick-off, the multi-millionaire was unveiled to the crowd and has already promised to pump £500,000 into the club over the course of the season.
And he sat back to see David Holdsworth's team register their second comprehensive home success inside five days.
Mansfield stuttered in the early stages of the first half as the visitors showed why they have made an encouraging start to the season.
But once Chris Smith has scored his first goal for the Stags to put them in front – swiftly followed by a Rob Duffy penalty – the hosts were always in control.
And they made their dominance tell in the second period with two goals from substitute Luke Medley.
Mansfield's first attack of note saw a deep free-kick from Kevin Sandwith headed back into the danger area by Chris Smith but just over the head of the fast-arriving Paul Connor.
Mansfield won their first corner in the 14th minute but Kyle Nix's left-wing delivery was too high for Sandwith at the back post, who conceded a free-kick in trying to reach the ball.
Foster did well to get his head to a Dan Brown volley when Alan Marriott had got only a weak punch to a long throw.
Mansfield had the ball in the net just before the half hour mark but Duffy's 'goal' was chalked off when Connor, who squared the ball to him, was adjudged offside.
The Stags pressed again when Nix's flag kick was met by the head of Steve Foster, but the ball struck an Eastbourne defender to take the sting out of his effort and make it easy for keeper Rikki Banks.
As Eastbourne broke well, Marriott did well to claim a shot by Pacquette that lopped up off Chris Smith.
In the 38th minute, Mansfield created their best opportunity to that point when Sandwith fed Adam Smith, whose powerful shot was superbly pushed around the post by the diving Banks.
Another chance came and went when Connor glanced a header wide of the right-hand post from Nix's corner.
But Mansfield went in front when their sixth corner was half cleared to Sandwith.
His header was nodded back across goal by Connor and Chris Smith rose highest to nod in from point-blank range.
On the stroke of half-time, Mansfield were generously awarded a penalty when Nix was adjudged to have been brought down by Steve Cook.
Duffy stepped up to place his kick inside the right-hand post – and claim his second goal in as many starts.
At the start of the second period, Mansfield were caught out by a hopeful long ball forward, but Pacquette's control let him down at the vital moment.
Mansfield's response saw Gary Mills pick out Connor's run, who lobbed the ball over the advancing Banks but could not find a home shirt as he crossed from the left byline.
At the other end, Matt Crabb tried his luck with a volley that flew inches wide of Marriott's right-hand upright.
Steven Istead's tenacity saw him win the ball on the edge of the Eastbounre box and as the ball broke for Connor, his shot was beaten away by Banks.
An excellent long pass from Mills then found Istead on the right flank, who teed up Gary Silk, only for the right-back to overrun the ball and the chance was gone.
Soon after, a flowing move saw Istead's cross headed up into the air unconvincingly by the Borough defence but Banks held on to Adam Smith's resulting over head shot.
Just after the hour mark, Medley was brought on to replace Duffy.
Jamie Taylor twice has sights of goal within a matter of minutes but first he blazed wide and then he was thwarted by the alert Marriott.
There was another warning for the Stags when Pacquette flicked on a right wing corner for Matt Crabb, who drilled wide.
Mansfield all but made the game safe with a third goal in the 74th minute.
Substitute Louis Briscoe – on for Istead – sent over an inviting cross from the left for Medley who mis-kicked yet still found the right corner with his low finish.
And the powerful striker was soon celebrating again after a brilliant individual strike.
He brushed aside three would-be challengers in an angled run into the box before guiding the ball wide of Banks from 12 yards.
In the closing stages, Taylor might have pulled a goal back, but Marriott was always behind the striker's shot.
Stags fans must think they have won the lottery
Evening Post considered report
HAD they won the lottery on Saturday night, it is hard to believe Mansfield Town's fans could have felt any more jubilant.
A new multi-millionaire owner in local businessman John Radford, an emphatic 4-0 victory and a move back to top spot in the Blue Square Bet Premier, albeit breifly. It really was the perfect, dream day.
For years, loyal Staggites have been yearning for a team capable of securing a slice of success, as well as a wealthy benefactor to make that happen.
And after sitting through the amazing turn of events during their three-hour stay at Field Mill for the match against Eastbourne, they suddenly saw the possibility of both becoming a reality.
On the field, Mansfield underlined the growing belief that David Holdsworth has assembled a squad capable of launching a genuine bid for promotion by dishing out a second hammering inside five days.
After Tuesday's 5-0 drubbing of York City, there was a fear that the Stags would struggle to replicate that kind of performance.
And while they did have to work harder, and did not produce quite the same level of passing football, they were still clinically impressive.
It was not just another four goals that caught the eye, but also another rock-solid defensive showing, with Chris Smith outstanding, that ensured back-to-back clean sheets.
That fillip was achieved against a side who had scored 24 goals in their first ten league games – more than any other side in the division.
But just as exciting, if not more so, were developments off the field. With kick-off imminent, Radford was unveiled as the man to have bought the club for £1 and was given a standing ovation by the home support.
After seeing Mansfield decline from a side who were League Two promotion winners in 2001-02 and play-off finalists in 2003-04 to one who were threatened with relegation out of the Blue Square Bet Premier in the early stages of 2008-09, those on the terraces have been suffering for a long time.
Almost instantly, though, a refreshing sense of optimism swept through the stadium; the conviction that Radford could be the man to give the club the security and bank balance to finally move back up the ladder.
As the game began, the ground was abuzz with conversation over the news and, by full-time, there were chants of "When we win promotion, this is what we'll sing…"
Of course, it's been heard before after good starts in the previous two seasons, but this time there seemed a genuine belief it can happen.
For Radford, there could hardly be a better moment to take over the reins and initiate a new era. With one or two quality additions, Mansfield already have the makings of a squad who can seriously compete at this level.
It certainly makes for exciting times for everyone connected with the club. And it's been a while since anyone has been able to say that.
Yet amid all the fanfare, the Stags still had an important game to win, knowing if they did they would leapfrog leaders AFC Wimbledon on goal difference, as the Dons did not meet Kidderminster until the next day. But Crawley's win at Rushden yesterday saw them replace Mansfield at the top of the table.
In the opening exchanges, unchanged Mansfield struggled to get a foothold in the game as the Sports demonstrated why they have enjoyed a bright start to the campaign. It was tit for tat as the Stags were quickly closed down and struggled to retain possession for any sustained period.
By the time Rob Duffy had a strike disallowed just before the half hour, when co-striker Paul Connor was adjudged offside in the build-up, there were signs of better things.
The hosts won a succession of corners in the lead up to half-time and, from their sixth, they stole in front in the 42nd minute.
As Borough failed to clear, Connor headed back across the six-yard box for defender Smith to rise highest and become the 11th different player to get his name on the scoresheet in 2010-11.
And in first half stoppage time it was 2-0 when Mansfield were generously awarded a penalty as Steve Cook was adjudged to have fouled Kyle Nix, even though there appeared little wrong with the challenge.
Rob Duffy stepped up to convert for his second goal in as many games.
To their credit, and despite their sense of injustice, Eastbourne did not crumble and hit back after the restart.
But Mansfield's experienced back line stood firm, leaving the way clear for a superb cameo from substitute Luke Medley.
Replacing Duffy in the 62nd minute, he first volleyed home fellow sub Louis Briscoe's pinpoint cross with, it has to be said, a hint of good fortune.
But there was nothing fortunate about the bustling striker's second as he charged past three defenders before tucking the ball inside the left-hand post from 12 yards for a brilliant individual effort.
Even then, Eastbourne might have pulled a goal back, but Alan Marriott was in no mood to be generous, twice thwarting Jamie Taylor.
Not surprisingly, considering how Mansfield's day had gone, the sun came out as the players disappeared down the tunnel to applause.
The fans, meanwhile, went home to check their lottery tickets – and who could blame them?
Match facts: Mansfield Town v Eastbourne Borough
Mansfield: Marriott, Silk, C. Smith, Foster, Sandwith, Istead (Briscoe 69), Mills, Nix, Duffy (Medley 62), Connor, (Stonehouse 82) A. Smith. Subs not used: Collett, Naylor.
Eastbourne: Banks, Baker, Cook, Mambo, Brown, Brinkhurst (N. Crabb 66), Weatherstone (Smart 82), Johnson, M. Crabb, Pacquette (Strevett 79), Taylor. Subs not used: Jenkins, Elphick.
Referee: Stephen Ross (Lincs).
Attendance: 2,312 (15 visitors).
Goals: Mansfield: C. Smith (42), Duffy (45+1), Medley (74, 79).
Shots on target: Mansfield 9 Eastbourne 2.
Shots off target: Mansfield 3 Eastbourne 4.
Fouls: Mansfield 12 Eastbourne 12.
Corners: Mansfield 6 Eastbourne 6.
Offsides: Mansfield 2 Eastbourne 2.
Bookings: Mansfield 0 Eastbourne0.
Sendings off: Mansfield 0 Eastbourne 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Chris Smith. An immaculate display from the central defender, who was dominant in the air and on the ground as well as thoroughly comfortable when in possession. Also celebrated his first goal in Stags colours to make the vital breakthrough.
Stags dispose of Eastbourne
IT was simply a perfect day for Mansfield Town Football Club as they roared to the top of the table on the day the club was taken over by a new multi-millionaire owner.
John Radford was introduced to the crowd to huge cheers just before kick-off after sealing a deal to become the club's new owner.
And those cheers continued as the Stags disposed of a free-scoring Eastbourne side who had won their previous two games, scoring nine goals in the process, by a convincing 4-0 scoreline.
But Stags, who had hammered York 5-0 in midweek, were made to work hard for the first half before wresting control with two quick goals at the end of the half.
Chris Smith, who was outstanding at the back, headed Stags in front on 43 minutes, with his first goal for the club and, thanks to a debatable penalty decision going Mansfield's way, Rob Duffy made it 2-0 in stoppage time.
Stags settled down to play some better football after the break and their afternoon was crowned by a brace from sub Luke Medley in the last 16 minutes with the home defence grabbing a deserved second clean sheet of the week.
Stags began the game knowing victory would put them top of the table. And the takeover announcement had the ground buzzing at kick-off.
Visiting keeper Banks had to grab the ball from the air before anyone could capitalise on Duffy's far post head back into the box from a Sandwith free kick.
Borough responded with two corners, the first headed behind by Nix, the second curling harmlessly wide of the far post in the strong wind.
Mills needed treatment after taking a powerful clearance in the midriff from close range.
Sandwith could not jump high enough to reach Stags' first corner, taken by Nix on the right.
It took 24 minutes for either side to forge a real chance, and it fell to the visitors.
Marriott fisted a free kick away as far as Brown who fired a half-volley at goal with the keeper out of position, Foster in the way to concede a corner.
But four minutes later Stags did have the ball in the net as Duffy turned home a low pull-back from Connor, but the offside flag was up against Connor as he had tried to burst clear from Mills' through ball.
On 31 minutes Nix sent in another corner which Foster met from close range but it clipped a defender en route to the keeper's hands.
Marriott capably held onto a Pacquette shot which deflected off Chris Smith and was probably curling wide anyway.
On 38 minutes Banks was forced to stretch out a hand to his left to keep out a blast from Adam Smith after Sandwith had easily got past Baker on the left to reach the by-line.
Another Nix corner saw Connor get a deft back header on it which crept wide of the far post.
But Stags were finally ahead from a 43rd minute corner. It was cleared to Sandwith who headed it back into the box, Connor headed it back across goal from the far post and a delighted Smith headed over the line from close range.
Mansfield were given a massive boost in the first minute of stoppage time with what looked to be a soft penalty.
Cook appeared to have tackled Nix in the box to concede a corner. But the visitors were horrified to see the referee point to the spot.
Banks guessed the right way but couldn't keep out Duffy's penalty to his left.
The half-time whistle saw furious Eastbourne players and manager Garry Wilson remonstrate with Mr Ross on the pitch.
Pacquette was almost gifted a chance when a long forward ball held up in the wind with the goal in his sights, but his first touch was poor and Silk nipped in to clear.
Mills tried to slip Connor in on goal but, having lifted the ball over Banks, he was forced wide and could only play the ball hard across the face of goal with no one on hand to turn it home.
Crabb sent a powerful volley into the Mansfield sidenetting from a half-clearance on 50 minutes as the visitors searched for a lifeline.
Two minutes later Istead's persistence saw the ball break to Connor on the left of the box and his fierce shot was parried by Banks, Mills' follow-up blocked and Nix finally blazing over.
The home crown were in full voice now as Istead played a one-two with O'Connor and crossed for Adam Smith to send an overhead kick straight to Banks.
Medley replaced Duffy on 62 minutes and second later Taylor was well over for Borough from 25 yards.
Eastbourne finally tested Marriott on 65 minutes as home skipper Foster slipped to allow Taylor a shot at goal which Marriott blocked from 10 yards.
A ball in from the right reached Matt Crabb who hurried a low shot wide of the far post.
Foster and Marriott got into a tangle when the skipper took the ball almost out of his arms, creating a scramble which came to nothing in the end.
But any hopes Borough had of making a fighting finish of it were ended on 74 minutes by Mansfield's third goal.
Sub Briscoe crossed for fellow sub Medley at the near post whose contact wasn't perfect but turned the ball inside the post from three yards out.
And Medley doubled his tally soon after on 79 minutes with a fantastic solo goal. Almost 30 yards out he ran at the Borough defence, flat-footing three defenders before finishing across Banks and inside the far post.
Marriott was down at Taylor's feet to smother a low cross-cum-shot at the near post and, at the other end, Banks was behind a low 18 yard effort from Stonehouse.
In the end the Stags held out for another clean sheet and deserved the huge applause they were given as they left the field on a day to savour for Mansfield's long-suffering supporters.
STAGS (4-4-2): Marriott; Silk, Foster, C. Smith, Sandwith; Istead (Briscoe 69), Nix, Mills, A. Smith; Duffy (Medley 62), Connor (Stonehouse 82). Subs not used: Collett, Naylor.
EASTBOURNE (4-4-2): Banks; Baker, Cook, Mambo, Brown; Brinkhurst (N. Crabb 66), Weatherstone (Smart 82), Johnson, M. Crabb; Taylor, Pacquette (Strevett 79). Subs not used: Jenkins, Elphick.
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