STAGS WORK HARD FOR FIRST AWAY WIN
Blue Square Bet Premier
Stockport County 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 3571 (436 from Mansfield)
Date: 29 August 2011
Martin Shaw at Edgeley Park
Mansfield Town picked up their away win of the season with a solid 1-0 win at previously unbeaten Stockport County on Monday lunchtime. The only goal of the game came after 67 minutes when Luke O'Neill exchanged passes with Matt Green before firing left footed and low across the keeper from the right into the bottom left corner of the net. The Stags had the better of the chances and Ross Dyer missed a sitter in the first half with a header from a brilliant Briscoe cross, while Matt Green should have sealed it with a good chance right at the end. But it didn't matter as Alan Marriott was barely tested in a really solid defensive display. Six points in less than 48 hours has sent the Stags rocketing up the table. More of the same at Darlington on Saturday would go a long way to relieving the pain of defeat at Wembley in May.
Commentary of the Stags goal and the end of the game against Stockport County, from BBC Radio Nottingham full match commentary, by Ian Williams and Martin Shaw .
Podcast BBC Radio Nottingham commentary of Stockport vs Mansfield
Stockport County 0-1 Mansfield Town, Monday 29th August
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
LUKE O'Neill's lone strike earned Mansfield Town a splendid away win at strongly fancied Stockport County in the traditional August Bank Holiday Monday rain at Edgeley Park this afternoon, reports John Lomas.
After waiting five games to grab their first win, Paul Cox's men have now notched two in three days, along with two clean sheets, inflicting a first defeat of the season on County at the same time.
Stockport had drawn four of their first five games 1-1 and Stags had seen three of their first five end the same way.
But Didi Hamann's side could have few complaints with most of their goal attempts routine for Alan Marriott on an afternoon when Stags had more possession.
The golden moment came on 67 minutes as O'Neill crowned an excellent afternoon's work with a finish any striker would have been proud of, slotting low past Matthew Glennon inside the box.
It is a result that will make the rest of the league sit up and realise Stags can be a force this season after a slow start.
Skipper Adam Murray was the pick of the bunch but Antony Howell worked tirelessly alongside him, the defence was immense and Stags' wingers and front two all proved a handful for a Stockport side tipped to be up there in the final shake-up.
The Stags had been forced into a change at centre half,) where Martin Riley was forced out with a foot injury which saw Richie Sutton brought in for his full debut, reports John Lomas.
Otherwise it was the same side that beat Kettering Town 3-0 on Saturday with Nick Wood coming onto the bench to replace Sutton.
Newly-relegated Stockport included ex-Stags striker Martin Gritton.
The game kicked off in typical Manchester drizzle, and referee Peter Banks almost contributed to a Stockport opener in the third minute as a pass bounced off his leg towards McConville who curled an effort over the far angle.
Futcher was then shown a yellow card on four minutes for scything down Rowe, O'Neill heading away McConville's free kick from his central position in the wall.
Marriott made a good stop at his near post soon after as McConville tried a low blast after being put into space inside the right of the box by Nolan's pass.
O'Neill joined Futcher in the book on eight minutes for bringing down Rowe.
But a minute later Dyer might have opened Stags' account with their first real attack.
Briscoe did well, taunting two defenders on the right before accelerating and curling in a long far post cross perfectly onto the head of Dyer who should have done better than heading firmly into the sidenetting.
When Stags failed to clear a left wing cross soon after the ball reached a surprised McConville whose hurried volley flew across the goalmouth.
Meikle carved out two half-chances with his left wingplay, Green seeing a shot blocked and then his little backheel towards goal kicked clear soon after.
There was a hold-up while Futcher received treatment for a facial injury, but he was soon back in the action.
A good pass from Gritton sent Nolan onto a 23rd minute run at the end of which he set up Elliott for a 25 yard shot on target that Marriott comfortably dealt with.
County threatened briefly to break away with Nolan in full flight. But Meikle tracked back well, stayed with him, and snuffed out the danger just inside the Mansfield half.
Dyer was well over from 30 yards in Mansfield's next raid, then Marriott just beat McConville to a through ball as play swung straight back downfield.
Green was also too high for Paul Cox's men after shuffling himself into a shooting position to the left of goal.
Again play swung to the other end where McConville's hopeful low effort from distance was gathered by Marriott in what was a very even contest.
Meikle won the first corner of the game on 32 minutes and when that was cleared out to Briscoe, lurking on the edge of the box, he swung a right boot at the ball, sending it crashing narrowly wide with keeper Glennon rooted.
Briscoe might have gone down as Holden tried to haul him back after the winger had gone past him in the box. But Briscoe stayed on his feet and the referee gave nothing as the ball rolled for a goalkick.
By now Stags were enjoying the edge on possession and the home fans starting to grow restless.
Three times in succession Holden denied Stags chances as he blocked a Briscoe shot, halted the winger's run and then stuck out a toe before Green could get in a finish in the box.
Nolan tested Marriot from 20 yards on 41 minutes but the effort was central and routine for the keeper.
The half ended in stalemate with Mansfield, after a slow start, on top in terms of possession but neither keeper seriously tested.
Mansfield made a positive start with a Meikle cross being hacked clear and then a Kendrick centre was clutched by Glennon.
McCann's quick thrown caught Kendrick out of position on the right and Marriott had to block for a corner at his near post as McConville tried to drill a low ball into the danger zone from the by-line.
But Stags stood firm and the corner was cleared back out to McConville who chipped it harmlessly over the bar.
Stockport built up a spell of pressure which ended with Holden lashing a low shot wide of the near post.
Then Sheridan's burst of pace down the centre saw him feed Rowe to his left, but Rowe was well over with his tilt at goal.
O'Neill got to the right by-line and, with players screaming for a pull-back, tried to find Meikle at the far post for a tap-in but an interception rewarded him with only a corner.
On 64 minutes Meikle turned well onto a right wing cross and got away a low shot that passed just wide of the far post.
Murray had a tame shot saved, then Dyer only just failed to find a yellow shirt in the box as Stags once again began to enjoy the lion's share of possession.
And this time they did get their reward as they broke the deadlock on 67 minutes.
Full back O'Neill got forward yet again and exchanged passes in the box with Green before burying a slide rule left foot finish across Glennon and inside the far post.
On 70 minutes Rowe almost levelled the game after Nolan drew three opponents as he looked for a shot and then wrong-footed them all with a clever backheel to tee up his team mate for a low shot that skidded narrowly wide of the far post.
McConville wasn't too far out with a curling effort from wide on the left that soared past the far angle as County hunted for a way back into the contest.
Increasingly-worried Stockport, who made all three substitutions inside 14 minutes, won another corner as a free kick was worked to Holden who saw his low shot took two deflections.
Soon after Marriott was again there to gather a low Holden effort as Mansfield defended well.
Connor replaced Dyer for fresh legs up front for the final 10 minutes and he soon tested Glennon with a low shot that the keeper held onto.
Worthington was sent on to shotre things up for the last two minutes in plce of the ever-dangerous Meikle.
With County pressing hard Stags almost sealed it in the last minute on the break. However, with Connor free to his left, Green went for glory but blazed over.
But it didn't matter as Mansfield held out for the three minutes of stoppage time without any huge trouble.
So, after waiting so long for that first win, like the proverbial buses, two have come along in quick succession for Cox's men and the season is well and truly in flow at last.
STOCKPORT: Glennon, Holden, O'Donnell, McConville, Nolan, Gritton (Chadwick 61), Sheridan (Miles 75), McCann, Rowe (Chamberlain 71), Elliott, Piergianni. Subs not used: Ormison, Halls.
STAGS: Marriott; O'Neill, Sutton, Futcher, Kendrick; Briscoe, Murray, Howell, Meikle (Worthington 88); Dyer (Connor 80), Green. Subs not used: Stevenson, Wood, Redmond.
REFEREE: Peter Banks of Merseyside.
ATTENDANCE: 3,571 (436 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Adam Murray
Stockport 0 Stags 1
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
WHEN Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox has talked about grinding out results on the road, a performance like this is exactly what he meant.
By no means were the Stags on top for the entire 90 minutes; they didn't dominate possession or rip former Germany international Didi Hamann's Stockport apart.
?But they were doughty, solid and hard to break down – as well as clinical when their big chance came.
And if you are going to, as Cox often says, 'affect the upper reaches of the division', that is exactly what is required.
It is a tactic Stags have tried – and failed miserably – to implement for several years in a bid to supplement their points tally collected at Field Mill.
Whisper it quietly, but, this season, Mansfield might just have found the combination capable of pulling it off successfully on a regular basis.
Defensively, they were rock-solid in keeping a second consecutive clean sheet on their way to back-to-back wins following Saturday's triumph over Kettering.
In fact, though County had plenty of shots, there was no single gilt-edged opening they should have netted.
At the other end, Mansfield were always threatening during their spells with the ball, especially when the ever-dangerous Matt Green was involved.
Yet it was an unlikely hero who emerged as the match-winner – young right-back Luke O'Neill.
The 20-year-old former Leicester City player has acquitted himself well since his opening day debut against Bath City.
And he did his reputation no harm at all with an excellent finish midway through the second period that made the difference – and saw the hosts lose for the first time this season.
Mansfield made just one enforced change to the team that started at the weekend.
Martin Riley, who needed two injections to play against the Poppies because of a damaged toe, was ruled out, meaning Ritchie Sutton was handed a full debut in the centre of the defence.
The game started in driving rain that drenched the healthy following of Mansfield fans gathered in the uncovered Railway End.
Sean McConville took advantage of a pass being deflected off the referee to fire in an early shot that drifted well wide of the right-hand post.
Stockport were soon back on the attack and Alan Marriott had to push away McConville's drive from a tight angle after the winger had been picked out on the right-side of the box by Sam Sheridan.
The Stags hit back and might have gone in front when Louis Briscoe provided the perfect cross from the right byline, only for Ross Dyer to head wide of the left-hand upright at the far post.
As Mansfield enjoyed a spell of concerted pressure, Lindon Meikle pulled the ball back for Green, whose weak backheel was scrambled away with Dyer lurking.
Midway through the half, Sheridan fed Tom Elliott, whose ambitious 30-yard drive was gathered by Marriott at the second attempt.
Dyer's finishing lived up to his name just before the half hour as he blasted well over from distance.
As Mansfield won the game's first corner, Briscoe went a deal closer when the ball was cleared as far as the D where he struck a volley that whistled not far wide of the right-hand post.
In the lead up to the break, Mansfield continued to pass the ball around confidently as Briscoe had a penalty appeal waved away.
Stockport came out strongly after the interval and Marriott had to block a drive from McConville, who latched onto a quickly taken throw.
Euan Holden then took advantage of treading on the ball and wrong-footing the Stags defence to shoot, but his effort was always well off target.
O'Neill had a golden chance to tee up Dyer just before the hour but chose the wrong option in trying to pick out Meikle and the ball was easily cleared.
Meikle then tried his luck but curled into the advertising hoardings while Adam Murray failed to get hold of his own shot, allowing Matthew Glennon to claim.
But Mansfield's good spell was rewarded when they went in front in the 67th minute through O'Neill's excellent strike.
He played a neat one-two with Green and stroked an angled, left-foot shot into the left-hand corner beyond Glennon's full-length dive.
As expected, County came straight back in search of a leveller and Tommy Rowe was only a whisker away with a shot from the edge of the box.
As the game became stretched, Mansfield twice went close to killing off the game.
First substitute Paul Connor – on for Dyer – stung the hands of Glennon and then strike partner Green was inches too high with a rasping drive.
It's fair to say, one or two Mansfield fans might have thought twice about brushing off a bank holiday weekend hangover to make the journey to this noon kick-off.
But those who did so were absolutely delighted
Match facts: Stockport v Stags
Stockport: Glennon, McCann, O'Donnell, Piergianni, Holden, Nolan, McConville, Sheridan (Miles 75), Rowe (Chamberlain 71), Gritton (Chadwick 61), Elliott. Subs not used: Ormison, Halls.
Mansfield: Marriott, O'Neill, Sutton, Futcher, Kendrick, Briscoe, Howell, Murray, Meikle (Worthington 88), Dyer (Connor 80), Green. Subs not used: Stevenson, Wood, Redmond.
Referee: Peter Banks (Merseyside).
Attendance: 3,571 (436 visitors).
Goal: Mansfield: O'Neill (67).
Shots on target: Stockport 6 Mansfield 3.
Shots off target: Stockport 7 Mansfield 6.
Fouls: Stockport 7 Mansfield 8.
Corners: Stockport 3 Mansfield 3.
Offsides: Stockport 0 Mansfield 2.
Bookings: Stockport 0 Mansfield 2 (Futcher, 4, foul; O'Neill, 8, foul).
Sendings off: Stockport 0 Mansfield 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Ritchie Sutton. A hard choice given that it was such an excellent team effort, with several good displays, but the debutant was superb after returning from a pre-season shoulder injury. If Martin Riley is back fit for the weekend trip to Darlington, it will give manager Paul Cox a selection headache in terms of who will partner Ben Futcher
Stockport vs Mansfield Town 0 - 1
Date: 29/08/2011 Venue: Edgeley Park
Attendance: 3,571 Referee: Peter Banks
Andrew Webb reports from Edgely Park for mansfieldtown.net
Luke O'Neill grabbed his first goal for Mansfield Town, as the Stags claimed victory for the first time at Edgeley Park in almost 20 years to end Stockport's unbeaten start to the season.
Paul Cox made just one change to the team that comprehensively demolished Kettering Town at the weekend as Richie Sutton replaced Martin Riley who missed out due to a stubbed toe.
The game began with the Stags kicking from left to right as the rain lashed down on the traveling contingent in the uncovered Railway End.
Sean McConville fired well wide of Alan Marriott's left hand post after just two minutes as the home side, donning their new blue and white striped shirts, enjoyed the best of the early exchanges.
Minutes later though, the former Lincoln shot-stopper was called into action for the first time as he was forced to save a low drive from McConville at his near post.
Meanwhile, both Ben Futcher and Luke O'Neill were cautioned inside the opening ten minutes by referee Peter Banks following strong challenges on mercurial Stockport winger Danny Rowe.
Despite the good opening from the home side, the Stags should have had the lead after nine minutes when Louis Briscoe's cross found the unmarked Ross Dyer on the back post, but the striker was unable to get his header on target.
This seemed to spur the Stags on, as the team enjoyed plenty of possession in and around the Stockport half of the pitch without creating too many clear cut chances, over the next 15 minutes or so.
Surprisingly, it was the home side that had the next chance of any real note. A quick passing interchange between Martin Gritton and Joe Nolan out on the left, saw the latter of the two play a clever ball through to Tom Elliott in the centre, who's snapshot from distance was comfortably saved by Marriott.
Mansfield, however, continued to dominate proceedings, but still couldn't manage to get the goal their play deserved.
On the half-hour mark, Dyer fired over from distance following a delicate through ball from Murray, before Matthew Green did likewise just moments later after cutting inside from the left channel. Briscoe was the next Stags player to blast wide of Matt Glennon's posts as a corner from the left, incidentally Mansfield's first of the game, reached the midfielder on the edge of the area.
The Stags then had appeals for a penalty dismissed on 36 minutes. Briscoe's run into the penalty from the right channel led to him colliding with a Stockport defender, who looked to have handled the ball as he fell to the ground.
A number of through balls were then intercepted by players from both teams as Stockport desperately tried to get a foothold in the game ahead of the half-time break.
With the rain continuing to pour, the weather almost seemed to sum up a feeling of frustration for the dominant Stags as the referee sounded his whistle for the interval, with the visitors being unable to get the goal their first-half performance so richly deserved.
Half-time: Stockport 0-0 Stags
The second-half began with the home side on the front foot and after collecting a couple of over-hit crosses, Marriott was called into action on 51 minutes when a throw-in from the right resulted in the creative McConville blasting a low drive at him from an acute angle.
Euan Holden then blasted just wide of Marriott's right hand post with an instinctive snap shot two minutes later as Stockport began to enjoy their best spell of the game.
Now attacking the end at which the 436 visiting supporters were located, Mansfield nearly opened the scoring on the hour mark. A quick passing interchange saw O'Neill released wide on the right edge of the penalty area, but his low ball towards Lindon Meikie was intercepted by the stretched Stockport defence.
Meikie, however, did manage to get a show away on goal just a few moments later, when another speculative strike from the edge of the box harmlessly drifted wide of Glennon's left hand post.
The Stags were now enjoying their best spell of the second half and on 67 minutes they finally got the all-important first goal. Green and full-back O'Neill exchanged a series of passes deep inside the Stockport half, before the latter fired a well-placed low into the far corner of the goal to claim his first goal for the Stags.
With the visiting supporters now in full voice and believing the prospect of a first win at Edgeley Park since February 1993 was a real possibility, the Stags were forced to do some defending. A couple of efforts from McConville narrowly drifted wide of the post as Stockport began to press forward in search of an equaliser.
A corner from the right ended with Holden forcing Marriott into a routine save and just a few moments later a hooked ball across the area from Elliott very nearly reached substitute Nick Chadwick at the back post.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, Mansfield continued to weather the storm. Despite the rain easing off, the home side continued to pour forward at every opportunity and nearly found an equaliser on 85 minutes. Ryan McCann and McConville linked up down the right channel, before the ball eventually reached Elliott Chamberlain who stung the hands of Marriott with his shot from just inside the area.
Naturally as Stockport continued to pile forward, gaps were left defensively and both Meikie and substitute Paul Connor had chances to kill the game off. However, as the game ticked into the three minutes of additional time it was Green that had the best scoring chance.
Having cut inside from the right and with Connor available to his left, the talismanic striker instinctively blasted towards goal, but his shot flew just inches over the bar.
With the three minutes of additional time up, everyone connected with the club had to endure nervous moments at the climax of the game. A throw-in was awarded to the home team deep inside the Mansfield half, but despite everyone going forward, a comedy of errors resulted in a foul throw and a free-kick being awarded to the Stags.
Ultimately, the referee blew his whistle just moments later resulting in jubilant celebrations amongst Stags fans and players alike, whilst Deitmar Hamann's side left the pitch to a mixture of boos and bitter disappointment from the County fans in attendance this afternoon.
This was Stags first away victory of the new campaign and with the heart and desire shown this afternoon in the tropical elements of darkest Cheshire, bright sunshine may be shining on the club in the near future
Lacklustre County Fall To First Loss
County have been handed their first defeat of the season after a lethargic display against Mansfield Town at Edgeley Park today.
In the early kick-off on the day, a second-half strike from Luke O'Neill gave the Stags all three points and their first away win of the season up against Didi Hamann's side.
There was no real energy or urgency from The Hatters, and Hamann addressed that post-match when he confirmed that the club were looking at bringing in a striker this week.
The attack of Chadwick, Gritton, Chamberlain (albeit temporarily), and Elliott seems toothless and one of the big problems in this side is the lack of a goalscorer.
Skipper Danny O'Donnell impressed again alongside ex-Peterborough Utd man Carl Piergianni, and those two look to be forming a solid partnership at the back.
Another issue is that we looked lightweight throughout today, debutant Jon Nolan realistically looking one of the few who fancied getting stuck in to the visitors.
We're still in the 'gelling period' where new sides take around ten games to gel as a unit etcetera, and we've only lost the once, so it's hardly a disaster - but Hamann and assistant Willie McStay will have to address the issue of another striker coming in ASAP if we have any REALISTIC (being the operative word) expectation of keeping up with the top ten.
Stockport vs Mansfield Town 0 - 1
Danny O'Donnell took on the Captain's armband for the early kick off against the Stags with Nick Chadwick dropping to the bench. Didi Hamann made four further changes to the startingline up from Friday night's trip to Lincoln City, with Martin Gritton, Danny Rowe and Ryan McCann returning to the team and Jon Nolan making his first start for the Hatters.
Sean McConville had the first chance of the game in the 2nd minute as the referee inadvertently directs the ball into his path, the winger's shot bends wide of the post. A minute later Ben Futcher is booked for a very crude challenge on Danny Rowe.
On four minutes McConville is again at the heart of things as he collects a neat pass from Nolan but Stags keeper Alan Marriott saves well at the foot of his post.
On 8 minutes Luke O'Neill follows Futcher into the referee's notebook, again for a poor challenge on Rowe. McConville again looks to open the scoring as his volley from a Tom Elliott cross, flashes wide of the post.
Mansfield almost take the lead against the run of play as Louis Briscoe sends in a cross to the far post which Matthew Green heads into the side netting.
A good spell of pressure for the visitors, sees skipper O'Donnell and Carl Piergianni clearing their lines. Then a neat flowing move from County, involving Nolan and Rowe, ends with a cross from Euan Holden which unfortunately clears the onrushing Gritton.
Friday night's goal scoring hero Tom Elliott picks up a neat pass from Nolan on 24 minutes and shoots from 25 yards, Marriott saves at the second attempt.
Briscoe shoots just passed Glennon's post for the visitors following the first corner of the game in the 33rd minute, and when Nolan gives away a needless free kick on 37 minutes the Stags gain an opportunity to throw their big men into the box, although from the kick County clear their lines well.
Nolan then makes a crucial last ditch tackle to stop Stags danger man Green as he looks set to open the scoring on 42 minutes.
HT: SCFC 0 MTFC 0
No changes for either side at start of second half, with the Stags making early inroads with Glennon claiming a decent cross from Lindon Meikle.
McConville finds himself in behind the last man from McCann's quick throw, but shoots at keeper Marriott with Gritton on his own on 6 yard line and screaming for the ball to be pulled back, the County winger has a quick chance to redeem himself but his cross to far post is over hit.
Sam Sheridan clears off his own line in 58th minute as Stags break away down County's left hand side and from the resulting corner the Hatters break away and almost open scoring, giant defender Ben Futcher clears the danger with an outstretched leg.
Martin Gritton is replaced by Nick Chadwick in the hour mark. Mansfield are on the attack again as Meikle picks up a loose ball in midfield and flashes a shot wide of Glennon's goal from 25 yards in 63rd minute.
County then waste a good opportunity after Sheridan breaks up a Stags attack and feeds Elliott, but the big County striker plays a poor return ball to Sheridan, giving the Stags the chance to clear.
A good break down County's left sees Luke O'Neill play a one-two with Adam Murray and fire in to Glennon's bottom corner to open scoring for the Stags, a just reward for the visitors spell of pressure.
County though are straight on the attack from the restart, with Nolan playing a deft back heel to Danny Rowe, with the little Hatters winger firing just passed the post when all in the ground expected to see the net bulging.
The tiring Rowe is then replaced by Elliott Chamberlain on 70 minutes with a struggling Sheridan replaced by John Miles 5 minutes later.
With time running out County struggle to break down the resolute Mansfield defence, and are almost caught on the counter attack as Meikle breaks down left and cuts inside, Glennon is quickly off his line to smother the ball.
Glennon is in action again in 87th minute as he saves well from sub Paul Connor, and with the Hatters unable to find an opening the visitors are happy to see game out to inflict a first defeat of the season on County.
FT: SCFC 0 MTFC 1
Starting XI: Glennon, Holden, O'Donnell (c), McConville, Nolan, Gritton (Chadwick), Sheridan (Miles), McCann, Rowe (Chamberlain), Piergianni, Elliott.
Subs: Ormson, Miles, Halls, Chadwick, Chamberlain.
ATT: 3,571 (436)
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