DEPLETED STAGS WELL BEATEN AT CRAWLEY
Blue Square Bet Premier
Crawley Town 2 - 0 Mansfield Town
McFadzean 13, Tubbs 81.
Attendance: 3162 (73 from Mansfield)
Date: 29 March 2011
Martin Shaw at the Broadfield Stadium
Mansfield Town were down to the bare bones at Crawley Town on Tuesday night, and only able to name a subs bench of two centre halves and a goalkeeper. The Stags put in a decent display, and were far from humiliated but were still comfortably beaten by a hugely impressive and dominant Crawley side that will certainly win the Conference, and a look good bet for going straight through League Two in my opinion. In a fairly even first half, Crawley took the lead on 13 minutes with a long range strike from centre half Kyle McFadzean. The Stags were desperately unlucky not to equalise on 17 minutes when Briscoe hit the post and Connor knocked the rebound just over an empty net after the ball came to him too quickly and seemed to get caught under him. In the second half, Crawley started to turn the screw and Grof made some great saves while Crawley also hit post and bar, while the Stags had just one chance to equalise when an out-of-sorts Connor had a shot deflected wide. But eventually the pressure told and Crawley made it 2-0 after Grof made a great save from Tubbs but the ball came out and hit Tubbs and went in for a very lucky goal. The Stags desperately need to get in some fresh faces so that the likes of Connor and Briscoe are not completely warn out by the time we come to the Wembley game.
Man of the Match: David Grof
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre.
Brave Stags fall to Crawley defeat
CHAD report by John Lomas
THREADBARE Mansfield Town could hold their heads high in a 2-0 defeat at champions-in-waiting Crawley Town at Broadfield Stadium last night.
Stags, with so many injuries, they could only name a keeper and two centre halves on a three-man bench, were expected to be lambs to the slaughter away to a Red Devils side who had won their previous 10 home league matches and not lost since mid-October.
But, with angry words still stinging their ears after the weekend home defeat by Kidderminster, this was a much gutsier showing from the Stags.
As expected they were under constant pressure from the runaway leaders though, after going behind to Kyle McFadzean's 14th minute thunderbolt, Louis Briscoe did strike the post and Paul Connor fire the follow-up over the gaping goal.
But Steve Evans' men made it a torrid night, keeper David Grof making two excellent fingertip saves to thwart Charlie Wassmer and Dean Howell, another flying save to deny Richard Brodie, Ben Smith hitting a post and Matt Tubbs seeing his finish hit the bar off Tyrone Thompson on the line.
But, with Tom Naylor and Kevin Sandwith again performing heroics in the centre of defence, it took until nine minutes from time before Matt Tubbs finally sealed the three points for the Football League-bound Red Devils.
See tomorrow's Chad for full match report
No surprise as Stags come a cropper against champions-elect Crawley
Evening Post report by Matt Halfpenny
BETTER teams than Mansfield Town have come a cropper in West Sussex this season, so it was hardly a surprise the Stags, depleted as they were, were comprehensively brushed aside as Crawley continue the inexorable march towards the promised land of the Football League.
There may have been a degree of fighting talk emanating from Field Mill in the build-up to last night's clash, talk that it was possible for the visitors to end the Red Devils' 21-game unbeaten run in the league.
But with just 14 fit players making the trip to the Broadfield Stadium – Mansfield named only three substitutes – such a shock result was, in truth, never on the cards.
The Stags' task was implausible enough when you consider Crawley had won their last straight ten games at the Broadfield Stadium, last losing 3-2 to Newport County in October.
They had also run Manchester United close at Old Trafford, deserving a share of the spoils, before unluckily losing 1-0 in the FA Cup.
But when you add to that the home side's determination to fondly remember their benefactor Bruce Winfield, who had passed away in the lead up to this fixture after losing a battle against cancer, it really was just about mission impossible.
It was the co-owner's cash that gave manager Steve Evans the opportunity to initiate what was dubbed as 'Project Promotion' – earning Crawley a place in football's elite 92.
And with the likes of Matt Tubbs, Sergio Torres, Kyle McFadzean and Richard Brodie to call on – together with another three points in the bag from completing the double over Mansfield – that accomplishment now seems only a matter of time in what would be a fitting way to mark Winfield's huge contribution.
In football, you generally get what you pay for and the class between the two sides was all too evident.
Crawley were missing the likes of Pablo Mills, Michel Kuipers, Scott Neilson, Danie Bulman and James Dance, yet they could still field a 16-man squad that was stamped with quality.
Mansfield, on the other hand, had Ashley Cain, Danny Mitchley, Dan Spence, Adam Smith, Kyle Nix and Niall O'Rafferty absent – and it showed.
The Stags took to the field with two changes to the side beaten by Kidderminster on Saturday; Steve Istead coming in for Smith, while Luke Medley was involved for the first time since being named as an unused sub against Wrexham in late January. He has recently been on loan at League Two Aldershot.
It was the hosts who threatened first when Ben Smith's ball in from the left was just inches out of the reach of the prolific Matt Tubbs.
However, Crawley took command in the 14th minute and it was former Alfreton Town defender McFadzean who put them into the early lead.
The Stags looked to have cleared a left-wing free-kick but Tyrone Thompson dithered on the edge of his area and the ball was nicked away from him.
McFadzean did not need a second invitation to let fly and drill an unstoppable shot just inside the left-hand post from 20 yards.
But Mansfield could have drawn level in the 17th minute, against the run of play, when Medley battled for a long ball over the top.
That allowed Louis Briscoe to burst into the box and shoot on the angle against the foot of the right-hand post with Scott Shearer beaten.
The ball rebounded to Paul Connor on the edge of the area, but he could not control his first-time finish, which flew over the bar.
For the rest of the half, Crawley continued to press and only their poor finishing, Craig McAllister the worst culprit, prevented them doubling their advantage.
Crawley racked up the efforts in the second period and, from successive corners, Charlie Wassmer's header was tipped over by Grof before Tubbs had a shot deflected onto the underside of the bar and had the follow-up blocked by Tom Naylor.
Tubbs was holding his head in his hands again when he dinked inches past the upright after an intelligent McAllister knock down.
It was a rare sight of goal for Connor when he latched onto Briscoe's quick throw and saw his drive deflected over.
Crawley then hit the woodwork again in the 77th minute when Smith struck the post with Grof beaten.
But the inevitable second finally arrived with Tubbs' 31st of the season, his shot, after out-muscling Stonehouse, was blocked by Grof, only to rebound in off the ex-Salisbury man.
In fact, it really was more by luck than judgement that a bedraggled and demoralised Mansfield had not conceded more than twice by full-time.
The smattering of Mansfield fans who made the trip south could only watch on with envy at the way the side Winfield built impressively went about their business.
How they will be wishing their own club's chairman, John Radford, shows similar ambition at Field Mill this summer
Match facts: Crawley Town v Mansfield Town
Crawley: Shearer, Wilson, McFadzean, Wassmer, Howell, Smith, Hunt, Simpson (Rusk 88), Torres, Tubbs (Cook 85), McAllister (Brodie 85). Subs not used: Jordan, Gibson.
Mansfield: Grof, Silk, Naylor, Sandwith, Stonehouse, Istead, Thompson, Murray, Briscoe, Connor, Medley. Subs not used: Marriott, Foster, Preece.
Referee: Marvin Thompson (Middlesex).
Attendance: 3,162 (73 visitors).
Goals: Crawley: McFadzean (14), Tubbs (80).
Shots on target: Crawley 9 Mansfield 2.
Shots off target: Crawley 15 Mansfield 2.
Fouls: Crawley 11 Mansfield 7.
Corners: Crawley 8 Mansfield 4.
Offsides: Crawley 2 Mansfield 3.
Bookings: Crawley 1 (Wassmer, 54, foul on Medley) Mansfield 2 (Thompson, 28, foul on Torres; Silk, 42, foul on Torres).
Sendings off: Crawley 0 Mansfield 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: David Grof. The goalkeeper was the busiest man on the field and made some excellent stops to prevent Crawley's well-merited victory from being that much more clear-cut. The fact he won the award spoke volumes as to how much Mansfield were dominated throughout by a very good side
Latest | March 2011