STAGS MAKE IT 5 WINS ON THE TROT
Blue Square Bet Premier
Barrow AFC 2 - 3 Mansfield Town
Almond 25, Boyes 56. Green 4, Futcher 29, Meikle 82
Attendance: 1244 (137 from Mansfield)
Date: 17 September 2011
Martin Shaw at Holker Street
Super Mansfield Town made it five wins on the trot for the first time in the league since October 1991 with a gutsy performance at Holker Street against Barrow. Twice the Stags led and twice they were pegged back. While leading 2-1, Mansfield had numerous gilt-edged chances to seal the game, but were punished by an uncharacteristic error by Alan Marriott to gift Barrow an equaliser. Then a tremendous solo goal by the outstanding Lindon Meikle, who picked the ball up in the centre circle before powering his way into the box past one defender and outpacing the rest and firing under the keeper, was a goal worthy of winning any game. It also sparked wild celebrations, with Meikle getting a booking. This win was all about determination, effort and guts, in a tricky game at a side who don't lose many at home. Paul Cox won't get carried away, but this was a win for the travelling Stags fans to really enjoy.
Radio Nottm commentary podcast of Stags winning goal.
Man of the Match: Lindon Meikle
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Match report: Barrow 2 Mansfield Town 3
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
LINDON Meikle's first Mansfield Town goal clinched a fifth straight victory for the Stags as they edged a thriller at Barrow this afternoon.
The visitors had twice gone in front with strikes from Matt Green and Ben Futcher, only to be pegged back by Louis Almond and Adam Boyes levellers.
?But just when it seemed the game was destined for a stalemate, Meikle, a summer signing from Eastwood raced away nine minutes from time to claim another three points from Paul Cox's men with a cool finish.
It was the first time Mansfield had won in four attempts at Holker Street since being relegated out of the Football League.
And it is the first time they have won five games on the bounce since October 1991, a season they won promotion from the old Division Four.
Mansfield named an unchanged starting line-up for the first fourth game in a row as they went in search of their fifth consecutive win.
Louis Briscoe had an early effort on goal but his 40-yard free-kick strike was always clearing the bar.
But the Stags did make an ideal start as Matt Green, in red hot form, found the net for the sixth time this season in the fourth minute.
He took Adam Murray's dinked ball over the top on his chest and kept his composure to ram home a powerful volley from 15 yards.
Barrow's first attempt saw Paul Smith drive well wide before, at the other end, Cliff Moyo made a timely intervention to prevent Ross Dyer having a chance to make it 2-0.
A Bluebirds corner from the left saw James Owen sneak in on the blindside at the far post but his header was well off target when he should have done better.
A mistake by Luke O'Neill enabled Paul Rutherford to cross from the right byline and his far post cross was headed wide by Adam Quinn.
Jack Macketh then fired too high and, after another corner, Paul Rutherford warmed the palms of Alan Marriott after cutting in from the right to shoot.
As the midway point of the first half came and went, Louis Almond should have done better when his persistence manufactured an opening that saw him blast over.
The goal Barrow had been threatening arrived in the 26th minute when Adam Boyes picked out strike partner Almond, whose low right-footed drive from the edge of the box found the bottom right-hand corner. It was the first goal the Stags had conceded in 398 minutes of play.
However, that jolted Mansfield back into life and it took them just three minutes to go back in front.
Joe Kendrick whipped in their first corner from the right and with keeper Danny Hurst failing to claim, Ben Futcher headed home his first Stags goal from inside the six-yard box.
A hopeful clearance from Briscoe then released Dyer, who advanced into the area and fired inches wide of the right-hand upright.
Futcher was close to doubling his tally, again from a corner, but this time his header failed to find the target from a similar position.
As half-time approached, Barrow began to up the tempo again and Marriott did well to hold onto a stinging low shot from Paul Smith.
It should have been 3-1 to Mansfield six minutes after the restart as Green did brilliantly to tee up Briscoe, who kept his balance under a heavy challenge but then screwed his shot wide, much to his disbelief.
The Stags again went close as Green cut in from the right to force a decent save from Hurst and, as the ball rebounded, it hit Dyer and flew just wide of the left-hand post.
Mansfield had cause to regret those near misses as the home side drew level for a second time in the 56th minute.
Marriott failed to hold onto Almond's low curling shot, allowing Adam Boyes to pounce and tap into an empty net.
The Stags tried to respond quickly, only for Dyer's header from Kendrick's corner to find the arms of Hurst.
Another good chance came and went Mansfield's way when Briscoe's low cross found Green eight yards out but his effort on the turn was blocked by Hurst, who claimed at the second attempt.
The visitors were getting closer and Anthony Howell was unlucky to see his left-foot drive from 18 yards cannon off the left-hand post.
But Mansfield were back in front with nine minutes to go with a brilliant opportunistic strike from Meikle.
He took substitute Paul Connor's late-off in his stride from just inside the Barrow have and accelerated away from the home defence to run into the area and plant a low finish under Hurst.
The Stags had to battle through three minutes of injury time in a tense final, but they did so with few alarms
Barrow 2-3 Mansfield Town, Saturday 17th September
CHAD report by John Lomas
MAGNIFICENT Mansfield Town extended their winning run to five games but were made to fight all the way to snatch a five goal thriller at Barrow this afternoon.
It was the first time since October 1991, in the promotion-winning season, that Mansfield have won five on the bounce.
But Barrow, who have already taken the scalps of Wrexham and Fleetwood at home this season, twice came from behind to level goals from Matt Green and Ben Futcher before Lindon Meikle showed his sensational pace to grab a winner nine minutes from the end of an absorbing contest.
Stags had not won at Barrow since relegation from the League, indeed their last win at Holker Street was back in 1969.
The run of clean sheets may be over, but Stags know this was their stiffest test of the five game run and few sides will score three at Barrow and take all three points this season.
Matt Green's sixth goal of the season gave Mansfield a great start after just four minutes.
But Barrow piled on the pressure and Louis Almond's 26th minute equaliser was deserved for the player and his team.
However, within three minutes Ben Futcher nodded home his first goal for the club from a corner to restore Stags' slender advantage. The home side hit back to level again early in the second period, before Meikle's first goal for the club extended Mansfield's winning run.
After heavy overnight rain and morning showers, the game kicked-off in sunshine.
Murray was felled in Stags' opening raid, Briscoe drilling an ambitious 35 yard free kick well over the bar.
But Green continued his superb scoring run with the opener after just four minutes.
Murray dinked an inviting ball into Green's path in the box and, the control he showed on his chest with his first touch set him up perfectly to crash an unstoppable half-volley past a helpless Hurst.
Barrow hit back with a corner which Marriott, wearing a striking pink outfit, came for and collected.
Smith was well wide from 40 yards as the Bluebirds sought a route back into the game.
Green again looked menacing as he ran into the home box and tried to set up Dyer, Moyo doing well to intercept and clear.
A mix-up between Marriot and Sutton led to the defender conceding an unnecessary corner.
From that Owen stole in late at the far post but couldn't get his header on target and Barrow worked the ball back to Smith whose vicious low shot found Marriott perfectly placed.
Smith was also too high as he whipped in a dipping free kick from distance on the left, Marriott watching the ball sail over the far angle.
O'Neill was caught in possession in his own box when he should have cleared Barrow's third corner which allowed Rutherford to pick out the imposing figure of Quinn at the far post whose header found the sidenetting.
Barrow were asking questions now and Mackreth wasn't too far off with his rasping drive, then an Almond shot was deflected with Marriott rooted to force corner number five.
Marriott was back in action to keep out a good effort from Rutherford who had cut in from the right to fire a left-footed shot on target.
Almond's persistence saw him get through two tackles to lift an 18 yard shot just over as the home fans began to warm loudly to their players' efforts.
The inevitable then happened on 26 minutes as Almond got his reward with a low shot from 20 yards from Boyes' pass that zipped across Marriott and inside the far post.
It was the first goal Stags had conceded in 398 of football and left them up against it.
But Paul Cox's men showed great character to regain their lead within three minutes.
Kendrick floated in a corner from the right which curled into the six yard box and, when Hurst didn't go for it, the towering Futcher was there to nod home his first goal for the club from close range.
Seconds later, as Stags broke from a Barrow attack, Dyer dragged a low effort across the face of goal and saw the bobble agonisingly wide of the far post.
Almond was denied breaking clear by a very tight offside decision as the action ebbed and flowed.
Another inswinging Kendrick corner found Futcher in the same position, but this time he was unable to get the ball on target from three yards.
Stags cleared another home corner and Marriott was down to hold onto another 18-yard Smith drive down the centre as half-time approached.
Lomax escaped with a lecture after bringing down Green as Stags broke quickly in stoppage time, Kendrick was then embarrassingly high over the bar with the free kick to jeers from the home fans.
But Stags went in with the advantage.
Skelton headed wide as the Bluebirds opened the second half with a left wing corner.
But Mansfield should have been 3-1 up on 52 minutes. Green did so well to reach the left by-line and pull the ball back to Briscoe. As the tackles flew in, the winger rode them but from eight yards lashed his finish wide of the target when he seemed certain to score.
Another Stags break saw Green drill the ball across goal from the right where Hurst made a great point blank range save to deny Dyer at the far post, the ball coming of the keeper, bouncing back against the striker and out for a goal kick.
Stags were punished for not taking those two chances on 56 minutes when Barrow levelled the game for a second time.
Almond was in space 20 yards out and tried a low curling effort which had Marriott diving to his left and, although, he got there, the keeper was only able to block and, failing to hold onto the ball, could only watch on as Boyes swept the loose ball home from three yards for the easiest of his eighth goal of the season.
A minute later Stags won a corner, Dyer heading at Hurst at the near post.
Mansfield wasted another golden opportunity on 68 minutes as Briscoe went down the right, crossed low to the feet of Green who, from eight yards, fired straight at Hurst.
The best football of the game for the visitors saw Briscoe and O'Neill swap several passes on the right before the ball was laid inside for Howell who saw Hurst fail to stop his low shot, the ball passing under the keeper but coming back off the foot of the post.
With 13 minutes to go, Stags swapped Dyer for Connor up front.
And four minutes later Connor's square pass from the centre circle set Meikle away for an explosive burst of pace that took him clear of two defenders before slotting the coolest of finishes past Hurst for his first goal for the club.
In a tense finish, Stags sacrificed wingers Briscoe and Meikle to bring on Worthington and Bolland and, with Futcher outstanding, they withstood the home side's late pressure without Marriott being tested again.
BARROW: Hurst, Moyo, Skelton, Lomax, Quinn, Mackreth, Owen, Smith, Boyes, Almond (Brooke 85), Rutherford. Subs: Jones, Hulbert, Baker, Ferrell.
STAGS: Marriott; O'Neill, Sutton, Futcher, Kendrick; Briscoe (Worthington 84), Murray, Howell, Meikle (Bolland 90); Green, Dyer (Connor 77). Subs: Redmond, Naylor.
REFEREE: Tony Harrington of Durham.
ATTENDANCE: 1,244 (137 away).
Barrow 2 Mansfield Town 3
Nottingham Post considered report by Matt Halfpenny
IT'S quickly becoming clear that it takes a heck of a lot to knock this particular Mansfield Town side out of their stride.
The Stags' trip to the West Cumbrian outpost of Barrow was always going to be a test of their early -season promotion credentials.
A near 200-mile trip, a tight pitch made boggy by heavy overnight rain, a partisan home support and opposition who never give visitors an easy ride – as Fleetwood and Wrexham have already discovered this season. All the ingredients were there for things to go wrong for Paul Cox's men.
But on a day when their focus needed to be unstinted, their task was made that more harder by revelations in the Saturday morning tabloid press about the club's newly-appointed chief executive Carolyn Still.
Inevitably, the team were well aware of what had been published – and it could hardly have aided their preparations leading into an important game.
Yet if all the hoo-ha was expected to distract the Mansfield players, you certainly wouldn't have known it.
Remaining 100 per cent concentrated on their objective of claiming another three points, there was never any chance of them using what had happened as an excuse if things had gone wrong at Holker Street.
And that steely determination was eventually rewarded with another precious victory which, given their superiority in terms of clear-cut opportunities created, was just about merited.
It was the first time Mansfield had triumphed on a visit to the Bluebirds since both sides were in the Football League back in 1969, as well as their first in four attempts at the venue since being relegated into the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Not only that, but it was also the first time since the promotion side of 1991-92, inspired by a certain Phil Stant, that the Stags had won five games back-to-back.
It is those kind of statistics that are getting the long-suffering supporters all in a lather. They recognise the promise of a unified squad that have now gone seven games unbeaten.
This particular display perhaps typified more than any other so far why they are now only two points behind leaders Gateshead.
Mansfield have the tools to play expansive, attacking football when the situation permits.
Just as importantly, though, they are starting to prove they have the ability to be adaptable and tough it out too.
Barrow's task was not helped by a lengthy injury-list that forced them to field a makeshift back four.
Even so, they gave Mansfield a stern examination, showing just why they are so dangerous on their own patch, particularly through the lively front running of Louis Almond and wing trickery of Paul Rutherford.
The encouraging thing from a Stags point of view is that this time, unlike in the past, they were able to stand up to the test.
Having twice led and been pegged back, it would have been easy for Mansfield to go on and lose. In quite a few other seasons, they would have done just that.
Instead, thanks to an opportunistic first strike for the club by Lindon Meikle, they silenced the home crowd for a third time.
As has been the case so often this term, Mansfield grabbed an early goal to immediately put themselves on the front foot.
Adam Murray chipped through for the ever-lively Matt Green who took the ball on his chest and smashed home from 15 yards for his sixth of the season with the kind of authority that only comes from being in such red-hot form.
Back came Barrow to level in the 26th minute when Adam Boyes fed Almond and his right-foot shot from the edge of the box found the bottom right-hand corner. It was the first goal Mansfeld had conceded in 398 minutes of play.
Within three minutes, the Stags were back ahead from their first corner. Joe Kendrick swung it in from the right and as Danny Hurst failed to claim, Ben Futcher celebrated his loan extension from Bury until early November by nodding in his first Mansfield goal from close range.
It looked as if the visitors might double their lead early in the second period as Green teed up Briscoe only for the winger to somehow miss from eight yards.
The roles were reversed soon after, when Briscoe's low centre found Green in the box, but his shot on the turn was straight at Hurst.
There was a feeling Mansfield might live to regret that profligacy – and so it proved in the 56th minute.
Alan Marriott, usually so reliable, let the ball slip from his grasp following Almond's shot, allowing Boyes to tap home his eighth of the season.
Both sides were clearly intent on bagging a winner, but it was Mansfield who did so with nine minutes to go.
Substitute Paul Connor picked out Miekle on the halfway line, who burst between two defenders to race away and slot past the advancing Hurst.
There was still time enough for the Bluebirds to nick a point but, in truth, they rarely looked like doing so.
That kept the on-field Mansfield ship sailing smoothly forward ahead of two home games to come – irrespective of the unwanted off-the-field headlines
Stags fan's view - Barrow 2 Mansfield Town 3
Stacey Webb, 19, Mansfield
Nottingham Post, Monday, September 19, 2011
FINALLY a win away at Barrow and a well-deserved one at that.
The atmosphere on the terrace was electric as the referee blew his whistle.
The stags were ahead after four minutes. Adam Murray, who again had a fantastic game, played a brilliant pass through to Matt Green who fired the ball into the back of the net to send the Stags fans wild.
The game continued to flow with Barrow gaining a lot of possession which was rewarded with a Louis Almond goal on the 26-minute mark.
Mansfield took little time to react and took the lead again through Joe Kendrick's great ball into the box which was met by Ben Futcher who had little problem heading it into the goal.
After the break Mansfield had numerous chances to put the third goal away but somehow the ball didn't cross the line.
It was then Barrow who scored, levelling the tally. This time it came from an uncharacteristic mistake from Alan Marriott, who left Adam Boyes the small task of putting the ball across the line.
After the equaliser Mansfield picked up the pace.
Eventually the hard work was rewarded with a goal from Lindon Meikle who had caused Barrow problems the whole game – a great goal which he celebrated with the ecstatic travelling fans.
The Mansfield fans were sent home from Barrow on a very long journey, extremely happy for the first time in 32 years.
Latest | September 2011