BRISCOE TREBLE AT HISTON AS STAGS WIN FROM 2-0DOWN
Blue Square Bet Premier
Histon 2 - 3 Mansfield Town
Riza pen 40, Stevenson 45+1. Briscoe 48, 68, 79. Briscoe missed pen 13.
Attendance: 380 (approx 80 from Mansfield) (lowest crowd to watch a Mansfield first team game in our history, excluding County Cup)
Date: 22 March 2011
Martin Shaw at the Glassworld Stadium
Mansfield Town came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at ten-man bottom club Histon tonight. Histon were down to ten men when Okay was sent off on 13 minutes for a handball in the box, but Louis Briscoe's penalty was saved. Histon were spirited in the first half and scored twice in the last five minutes of the half to take a shock two-goal lead. The Stags came roaring back in the second half with a brilliant hat-trick from Louis Briscoe to win the game more or less single-handedly. A classic game of two halves, and Briscoe's treble takes him to 15 for the season (12 since Christmas) and just one goal behind top scorer Paul Connor. But the Stags will have to play much better than this to have a chance against Kidderminster and Crawley in the next 7 days.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre.
Evening Post Match report, by Matt Halfpenny: Histon 2 Mansfield Town 3
IT was always going to be difficult for Mansfield Town's players to lift themselves only three days after securing a Wembley visit, but they could hardly have imagined just how tough it would be.
Thankfully, they had a certain Louis Briscoe once again firing on all cylinders to redeem an embarrassing situation.
Histon went into the game on the back of four defeats, bottom of the table and ten points from Blue Square Bet Premier safety.
They then suffered what appeared a hammer blow when Erkan Okay was sent off and a penalty awarded against them.
Yet incredibly, come the half-time interval, Mansfield had switched off to such an extent that they were trailing 2-0.
Ironically, that shambolic half hour passage of play for the visitors had started when Briscoe had seen his penalty kick brilliantly saved by Joe Welch.
But that only seemed to make the Port Vale man more determined to make amends and he did so in style with a second-half-hat-trick that had class and quality written all over it – and took his goal tally for the season to 15.
There was no doubting that Mansfield merited their success in the end after coming out in the second half with all guns blazing – almost certainly after a half-time rollicking from manager Duncan Russell.
But their first-half showing was hardly a way for each individual player to lay down a marker in their bid to be selected for the FA Trophy final against Darlington on May 7.
It was true that the setting was anything but inspiring; a ground only slightly superior to Hucknall Town's Watnall Road.
A paltry crowd of 380 – the lowest ever to watch a senior Stags game – could not have helped motivate Mansfield either.
But they will not be able to get out of jail so easily in any of their remaining 12 league games this season and need to improve if they are to climb the table, despite this three points.
Mansfield made three changes, with the injured Ashley Cain (thigh), Kyle Nix (concussion) and Gary Silk (foot) replaced by Adam Smith, Adam Murray and Paul Stonehouse.
And it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal in the third minute, but Danny Mitchley headed tamely at Joe Welch from Adam Smith's left-wing centre.
The home side hit back quickly as Antonio Murray cut in from the left and worked a shooting opportunity that David Grof saved low down to his right.
Mansfield won the game's first corner in the 13th minute and it led to the Stags' second penalty in as many games, as well as resulting in Histon being reduced to ten men.
As the ball was delivered from the left, Paul Connor headed powerfully against the bar from eight yards and, as the rebound was directed goalwards, Okay handled on the line.
Briscoe, just like at Luton, stepped up to take the kick and chose the opposite corner, the left, to aim his strike, but Welch guessed right to make the save and his defence completed a clearance.
Having cruised through the first half of the first period, Mansfield were given a wake-up call as Omer Riza stood the ball up for Zak Mills, whose looping header was uncomfortably touched onto the top of the crossbar and over at full stretch by Grof.
As the game moved past the half-hour mark, Adam Smith tricked his way past Lanre Oyebanjo and fired in a low shot that was not too far wide of Welch's goal.
Riza got goalside of Mansfield in the lead up to half-time and picked out strike partner Murray, whose drilled effort was beaten away by Grof.
But the danger was not over and as the ball was delivered back into the box, Lewis Taafe was tripped by Kevin Sandwith and a penalty was again awarded.
Unlike Briscoe, Riza got it right, sending Grof the wrong way and finding the bottom left-hand corner with ease.
And there was another shock for the Stags in stoppage time when a flowing one-touch move from the Stutes culminated in Taffe cutting the ball back from the right byline for Jim Stevenson, who lashed home.
Mansfield came out for the second period with a sense of purpose and, following a half-cleared corner, Kevin Sandwith was unlucky as he struck the left-hand post.
The goal the Stags desperately needed did arrive in the 49th minute, though, as Briscoe started his goal spree.
He latched onto a ball over the top from Thompson and ran on to lash past Welch from just inside the 18-yard box.
It was almost 2-2 when a left-wing corner was headed inches over by Tom Naylor, perhaps taking a touch off Sandwith, who had also leapt for it.
At the other end, Remy Clerima headed inches over from Lee Smith's corner that would have stopped Mansfield in their tracks.
But Mansfield were back on terms in the 68th minute as Briscoe struck again.
Murray and Connor combined to put Briscoe into space on the right-hand side of the box and he advanced before smashing an unerring, angled low finish in off the left-hand post.
The Stags were pouring forward by now and Mitchley was denied at point-blank range by Welch.
The winner eventually came with ten minutes to go as Briscoe drilled another impeccable finish just inside the left-hand post from 20 yards. Cue collective sighs of relief.
Not surprisingly, Briscoe made a bee-line for the match ball come full-time. It was thoroughly deserved
Match facts: Histon v Mansfield Town
Histon: Welch, Okay, Oyebanjo, Clerima, Mills, A. Smith, Stevenson (Livermore 58), Taafe (Dowie 78), Sparkes (Stewart 18), Riza, Antonio Murray. Subs not used: Lawton, Sessions.
Mansfield: Grof, Spence, Naylor, Sandwith, Stonehouse, Briscoe, Thompson, Adam Murray, L. Smith, Connor, Mitchley (O'Rafferty 84). Subs not used: Marriott, Foster, Istead, Preece.
Referee: Nick Kinseley (Essex).
Histon 2: (Riza 41 pen), Stevenson (45+1).
Mansfield 3: Briscoe (49, 68 and 80).
Shots on target: Histon 4 Mansfield 6.
Shots off target: Histon 2 Mansfield 11.
Fouls: Histon 7 Mansfield 10.
Corners: Histon 2 Mansfield 8.
Offsides: Histon 4 Mansfield 3.
Histon 1 (Murray, 32, foul on A. Smith
Sendings off: Histon 1 (Okay, 13, professional foul) Mansfield 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Louis Briscoe. Who else? Missed a first half penalty that would have put Mansfield in swift command but more than made up for it by collecting his first match ball for the Stags
Fresh woes for Stutes as another lead thrown away
by Michael Vaughton, cambridge-news.co.uk
Histon 2 Mansfield 3 - Blue Square Bet Premier
Histon succumbed to a heartbreaking defeat against Mansfield after letting a two-goal lead slip for the second match running.
Erkan Okay's 13th-minute dismissal for deliberate handball did not help matters, but they were in pole position at the break.
However, the man advantage, an injection of enthusiasm at the interval and the clinical finishing of hat-trick hero Louis Briscoe ensured the brave Stutes remain rooted to the foot of the table.
With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, the Press box seemed to be the most-populated part of the ground.
It is sad to see so few fans now prepared to come through the turnstiles and support David Livermore's men when they need it most.
Clearly being bottom of the table, with the odds of beating the drop stacked against them, is not the best place to be in terms of attracting support.
But there was no chilly wind, pouring rain or high-profile football on television to keep people at home.
The plucky tag of being 'just a village team', which the club used to great effect during the glory days of promotions and FA Cup runs, sums up where the club is at.
Histon have performed brilliantly against the odds in their four seasons in the Blue Square Bet Premier, but without people coming to watch, the next campaign could be one of more struggle, no matter which league they are in.
On the pitch, goalkeeper Joe Welch returned from suspension between the posts as expected, while Callum Stewart made way for Jim Stevenson.
Manager Livermore, who admitted regretting not naming himself amongst the substitutes for last Tuesday's 4-3 defeat at Kettering following the birth of his second child, was back on the bench.
The Stags arrived at the Glass World Stadium having booked their place in the FA Trophy final thanks to Saturday's aggregate win over Luton in the semi-final, second leg.
Those fans who did get along to the Glass World Stadium saw some encouraging signs from the hosts' young players in the opening exchanges as Jim Stevenson made his mark in midfield and Daniel Sparkes made some threatening darts.
Unfortunately, Sparkes made way for Callum Stewart when Livermore reorganised following Okay's deliberate handball on the line, but the resulting penalty from Briscoe was well saved by Welch.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, it was the Stutes who showed more attacking purpose, and Lee Smith's looping header was clawed on to the bar by David Grof.
Smith was all over the park, seemingly taking on the role of being Histon's 10th and 11th men, and his energy created half-chances for Antonio Murray and Omer Riza.
They kept the momentum going and were rewarded when Lewis Taaffe was tripped by Kevin Sandwith in the box, with Riza putting away the game's second penalty in the 41st minute.
And the crowd made up for the lack of numbers with an almighty roar when Taaffe's intelligent cutback was sent first-time into the net by Stevenson a minute into added time.
Four minutes into the second half and haunting memories from last week's capitulation at Kettering came flooding back. Briscoe got in between Remy Clerima and Zak Mills before making up for his penalty miss with a no-nonsense finish past Welch.
It was clear the visitors had been given an ear-bashing by boss Duncan Russell at half time as they came out all guns blazing in the second period, and soon had the Stutes pinned back as they searched for the equaliser.
A cut to the eye forced Stevenson off close to the hour-mark and Livermore came on, the all-hands-on-deck scenario requiring the manager's calming influence and experience.
A composed turn and pass with the outside of the boss' left foot epitomised that, and the move
he started resulted in Clerima heading against the top of the bar.
But, moments after Riza almost capitalised on goalkeeper Grof's slack touch, left-back Mills was caught out of position up field and Briscoe had acres of space in which to rifle home the leveller.
Even with Livermore patrolling in front of the back four, panic set in as Histon came under severe pressure.
A third Mansfield goal was coming and the inevitable was confirmed when Briscoe completed his treble, gliding past Mills and beating Welch low to his right, although the keeper may feel he could have done better
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