ABSYMAL STAGS GET OUT OF JAIL AGAINST 9MAN ALFRETN
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 3 - 2 Alfreton Town
Green pen 74, Meikle 87, Todd 90+1. Brown 13, Clayton 20.
Attendance: 2982 (320 from Alfreton)
Date: 22 October 2011
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill
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just the Stags goals
Mansfield Town recovered from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Alfreton at Field Mill this afternoon, after Alfreton had been reduced to nine men with two sendings off before the hour mark. The Stags were shambolic in the first half against an Alfreton side that was lively going forward but looked frail at the back. The visitors were rightly reduced to nine men when two players picked up second yellows. For the next 15 minutes, the Stags were pathetic against the nine men, but finally Connor was brought down for a penalty and Green converted on 74 minutes. Then on 86 minutes Meikle curled in a great goal for the one moment of quality from the Stags in the whole game. Finally Andy Todd's ball across the face of goal was knocked into his net by hapless keeper Joe Day in stoppage time, to win the game for Mansfield. Day had earlier been deliberately booting his goalkicks into touch to waste time, and proved he had the IQ of a mouse when he continued to do this after the Stags took the lead. Surely one of the worst performances ever by a Mansfield side to win a game and I think we can say with certainty that we would have not have won against 11 men. However, think back to performances against Luton, Telford and Lincoln, amongst others, that we should have won, and we gratefully accept the three points. Plenty of work for Paul Cox to do, but we can nevertheless savour the win.
Mansfield were unchanged from the side that drew at Lincoln, though Dyer and Meikle swapped sides, with Dyer even more out of position on the left than he was on the right. Alfreton included Chris Senior, who scored the winner for Darlington at Wembley, on the bench, and he came on in the second half.
On a sunny afternoon, Alfreton's away following, for their first ever league visit to Field Mill, was surprisingly poor, even given their bad start to the season. With Alfreton being nearer than Chesterfield and Notts County, this was shortest distance ever travelled by the Stags' opponents for a league game at Field Mill.
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre
Mansfield Town 3-2 Alfreton Town, Saturday 22nd October
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
THREE goals in the last 16 minutes, the winner coming in stoppage time from Andy Todd, saw Mansfield Town turn this eventful local derby on its head against nine-men Alfreton Town.
Earlier the home fans had been forced to endure a new low in a season of poor home form by the Stags as the struggling Reds romped into a 2-0 half-time lead through Anton Brown and Paul Clayton.
Stags, who had only won three of their previous eight home games this season, were rightly booed off at the break.
But a second yellow card offence by Anthony Wilson on 49 minutes saw Alfreton down to 10 men and they further shot themselves in the foot when Greg Young also saw a second yellow card for an early bath.
Finally Matt Green put Mansfield back into the game with a 74th minute penalty – his 10th goal of the season.
Lindon Meikle then levelled the game with a superb curling effort four minutes from time before Andy Todd saw his low ball in from the by-line in stoppage time bounce over the line off Reds keeper Joe Day as Stags used their get out of jail card.
It was three hard-earned points, but much of the 90 minutes will still have angered and worried boss Pal Cox who is almost certain to plunge into the loan market now this week
A poor early loose pass from Kendrick and then poor control from Riley almost allowed Wilson a sniff in the first minute, Sutton across quickly to cover.
But Green might have put Stags ahead on four minutes when he outmuscled Franks to reach Meikle's forward ball.
But, having done the hard work, from eight yards he got under his finish and ballooned it over the crossbar.
Two minutes later Dyer won a crunching tackle on the left and then sent Green on his way, the striker cutting inside, delaying and then curling a low effort round the far post.
On seven minutes Wilson should have netted for Alfreton with a free header from seven yards from Moult's lofted free kick, instead sending the ball straight at Marriott.
Day had his first save to make when Green flicked a header goalwards from an O'Neill free kick.
However, the Reds grabbed a shock lead as the 13th minute proved unlucky for Mansfield.
Wilson flicked on a long throw from the left and Brown popped up with a diving header that just beat the flailing fingertips of Marriott as he dived to his left.
Kendrick was too high on 17 minutes after loose Alfreton defending.
But Stags were still playing poorly and Clayton doubled Alfreton's advantage on 21 minutes with a moment of pure farce at the back by the home side.
Moult's left wing cross was allowed to bounce through a crowded box and almost creep in, Marriott forced to throw himself to his left to keep the ball out, only to see Mullan do well to keep the ball in play and flick it back in front of goal where Clayton headed home from point black range.
Green had another opportunity soon after from O'Neill's through ball only to shoot low and wide of the far post.
A minute later Green turned well seven yards from goal to thread a low shot on target which Day turned aside for a corner.
The derby battle took its toll as Riley needed to change his blooded shirt after treatment for a cut head, then on 29 minutes Jarman came on for the injured Law for Alfreton.
Moult saw the game's first booking for delaying a Stags free kick.
Connor thought he had won a penalty after he felt he was hauled down from behind by Franks, the referee deciding Connor was backing in and giving the decision the other way.
On 31 minutes O'Neill curled in a corner which Sutton headed firmly towards the angle only to see Hall block on the line.
Wilson's foul on 33 minutes saw him join Moult in the book.
Stags' frustrations continued and, after Kendrick needed lengthy treatment on his shoulder when landing awkwardly from a header, Meikle blazed a wild cross-cum-shot over from the right of the box.
The inevitable boos rang round the ground as Stags left the pitch knowing a mountain lay ahead in the second half.
Mansfield desperately needed a way back into the game and should have pulled one back on 48 minutes when Connor had a free header on an O'Neill free kick but, from five yards he hit the bar.
Tempers began to flare and when Wilson led with an elbow in a challenge with Riley a minute later, he was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red, Young also cautioned for dissent.
Connor then saw Stags' first booking for jumping into his opponent.
As another long ball forward, this time by Murray, went straight to Day, the home fans again booed their disapproval of what they were seeing.
Alfreton offered the beleaguered home side more help by going down to nine men on the hour.
This time Young tripped Meikle as he went past home on the right and, having already been booked once, had to go, the Reds man kicking the tunnel in fury as he walked down it.
It really was back to the wall stuff now for the nine-men visitors with the home fans screaming at their side to make something happen.
On one occasion a low O'Neill ball ran towards Murray who, as he was about to shot, saw team mate Green take it off his toe.
Kendrick was sacrificed at the back to bring on Todd as an extra forward threat as time ticked away for the Stags.
Riley was well wide with a diving header, then Green forced Day down to save his low 15 yard drive.
Stags finally got themselves into the game on 74 minutes from a Green penalty kick.
Green fed Connor in the box who was held back by Hawes as he tried to finish.
Hawes was lucky only to see yellow in that position but Green punished him by lashing a good spot kick high to the right of the keeper and Mansfield could see a glimmer of hope at last.
Todd went on a good run but was wide with his finish from outside the box. Then Dyer could only find the sidenetting after O'Neill had drilled a low shot across the face of goal.
A repeat ball from O'Neill saw Dyer this time get in on target only to see Day save and then an offside flag raised anyway.
Stags plugged away and Green was a foot too high from 18 yards.
So there was huge relief all round on 86 minutes as Meikle cut in from the right, twisted and turned in the box and then picked out the top far corner with a superb curling finish.
Alfreton cheekily shot straight at Marriott from the kick-off, then Murray was inches wide from 18 yards as Stags went for the jugular.
But two minutes into stoppage time, Green flicked the ball on across goal, Todd rescued it on the by-line and drilled it towards the near post where the ball found its way over the line of the hapless keeper.
STAGS: Marriott; O'Neill, Sutton, Riley, Kendrick (Todd 63); Meikle, Murray, Bolland, Dyer; Green, Connor. Subs not used: Redmond, Worthington, Howell, Day.
ALFRETON: Day; Brown, Young, Franks, Potter, Law (Jarman 29); Moult, Hall, Mullan (Hawes 63); Clayton (Senior 67), Wilson. Subs not used: Makin, Ellison.
REFEREE: Ross Joyce of Middlesbrough.
ATTENDANCE: 2,982 (320 away).
Full-time: Mansfield Town 3 Alfreton Town 2
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
ANDY Todd's first goal in a Mansfield Town shirt saw the Stags come from 2-0 down to snatch a dramatic victory over derby rivals Alfreton Town at Field Mill this afternoon. The Stags were stunned to be hit by twin strikes from Anton Brown and Paul Clayton inside the first 21 minutes as the Reds cashed in on some poor Stags defending. Paul Cox's men were given a massive helping hand in the early stages of the second half when first Anthony Wilson and then Greg Young were sent off for second bookings. Even so, a third home defeat in four games looked likely as Mansfield failed to make the most of their superior numbers. However, three goals in 16 minutes turned the jeers to cheers and saved the Stags' skin, leaving Alfreton heartbroken. First Matt Green's penalty reduced the deficit - his tenth goal of the season - and then Lindon Meikle curled home to level matters four minutes from time. But there was still time for one last twist as player-coach Todd bundled home from close range via keeper Joe Day to send the Mansfield fans into raptures. It was rough justice on Alfreton, who merited at least a point for their wholehearted display. Early on, Ritchie Sutton got across to cover when Wilson threatened to break clear following a mistake by Martin Riley. The Stags should have gone in front in the fourth minute when Green raced clear onto Meikle's lobbed past only to blast over the top. Green had another effort soon after, curling wide of the right-hand post after being set away down the left by Ross Dyer. Alfreton were not too far away when Wilson got his head to Jake Moult's free kick, only to head into the arms of Alan Marriott. At the other end, Green won the battle for Luke O'Neill's free-kick but saw his header well claimed by Day. But it was the visitors who stole in front in the 13th minute from a well-executed long throw-in from the left. Wilson got a flick on at the near post and Anton Brown arrived to place his header wide of Marriott and into the right-hand corner from eight yards. A chance for Mansfield to draw level went begging when a poor clearance from Paul Connor's cross feel kindly for Joe Kendrick, whose angled drive was too high. Suddenly, it was 2-0 after some calamitous home side defending. No one cut out an innocuous-looking cross from Jake Moult and in the end, Marriott had to dive full length to stop the ball going straight in. But the danger had not passed and as Jamie Mullan returned the ball back into the six-yard box for Paul Clayton to nod into an empty net. The Stags came back strongly but twice Green could not find the net. First he dragged wide of the target after being played into space by O'Neill and then his shot on the turn was kept out by Day's sharp reactions. The hosts were exasperated just before the half hour mark when the referee awarded a free-kick against Paul Connor when he felt he had been pulled down in the box by Leigh Franks. And then from O'Neill's corner Sutton's goalbound header was cleared off the line by Jordan Hall. Mansfield should have reduced the deficit three minutes after the restart only for Connor to head against the bar when completely unmarked after O'Neill had whipped in a precise free-kick. Tempers suddenly exploded as Alfreton were first reduced to ten men after Wilson was adjudged to have caught Riley with an elbow and saw a second yellow card before Greg Young and Connor were also cautioned. And with an hour on the watch, Young was also sent for an early bath when Young tripped Meikle for his second booking. Mansfield laid siege to the visitors' goal but they were creating very little, much to the frustration of the home crowd. The most they could muster in a desperately poor spell was a header that was well wide from Riley and a shot from Green that was Day was always well behind. The home side finally made their numerical advantage tell when Connor was hauled back by substitute Adie Hawes in the area in the 74th minute and Green coolly converted from the penalty spot. Andy Todd then swept down the left flank before cutting inside and unleashing a shot that never troubled Day. With the pressure mounting, O'Neill fired across the face of goal but Dyer could only find the side netting. However, Meikle levelled matters as he ghosted into the area before finding the top corner with an excellent left-foot strike. And in the final seconds, Green flicked on a long ball forward for Todd to fire across goal from the left byline and find the net via the unfortunate Day
Late victory for Stags but their problems are emphasised once again
Nottingham Post considered report by Matt Halfpenny
DELIGHTED yet disappointed, relieved yet frustrated. With such a cocktail of emotions coursing through their bodies, it was hardly surprising Mansfield Town's fans did not know how to react on hearing the full-time whistle.
On the face of it, pulling a 3-2 victory out of the fire after being 2-0 down to your local rivals should have been cause for unmitigated celebration – and some in the stands did cheer and applaud.
But the fact the Stags had, for the best part of the match, performed poorly against such struggling opponents led to many supporters not clapping at all, or even muttering disapproval at what they had just witnessed.
What no-one at the game could doubt, though, was that the last-gasp win, secured two minutes into the four added on for stoppages, could not paper over the cracks that are appearing in Mansfield's play of late.
Manager Paul Cox has stressed the need for a couple of weeks now that he needs reinforcements to address the shortcomings of his side.
This match only served to emphasise those problems. If the Stags play like this regularly, they are going to be beaten more often than not.
Having lost two out of their previous three home games, Mansfield were supposedly out to prove a point at Field Mill. To show they could perform when under the pressure of being expected to win.
The team were also out to tighten things up at the back, having shipped 13 goals in their previous eight games.
Yet neither of those targets were achieved, despite the three points, with Mansfield anything but convincing and undeserved victors against a Reds side who played the last 30-odd minutes with only nine men.
Had Alfreton kept 11 players on the field, then there would have been only one winner, meaning the travelling contingent felt a similar sense of bewilderment at the end to that of the home fans.
On the one hand they were understandably devastated, having seen their side slump to a sixth successive away defeat on the bounce when it looked for most of the game they would be victorious.
But at the same time there was genuine pride – and hearty ovation as a result – at the way their team had battled tooth and nail.
The Reds will have drawn much encouragement from their showing as they look to dig themselves out of the Blue Square Bet Premier relegation spots.
Conversely, Mansfield, and in particular Cox, have much to think about before hosting Fleetwood in the FA Cup this weekend.
Top of his list of worries is the struggles of central defensive pairing Ritchie Sutton and Martin Riley.
With Ben Futcher missing through a calf injury, Mansfield look decidedly creaky at the back and the duo have hardly covered themselves in glory during their last two outings together.
Rhys Day and John Thompson are not quite yet fit, but they will be ready soon and, on this evidence, will be knocking their manager's door down asking to play when they are.
Another concern is in central midfield, which has too often been bypassed by opponents in recent matches.
Neither Paul Bolland nor Jon Worthington have made a decisive case to partner skipper Adam Murray during the suspension of Anthony Howell and it remains to be seen if the latter will now be given another go.
Up front, things are more encouraging, in that both Matt Green and Paul Connor are getting opportunities.
What would help, however, is that a bigger percentage of those were gobbled up, with both spurning gilt-edged openings against Alfreton.
By contrast, the Reds were clinical in taking the first two clear-cut openings to come their way to shock Mansfield inside the first 21 minutes.
First, Anthony Wilson flicked on a long throw from the left for Anton Brown to nod out of the reach of Alan Marriott and into the right-hand corner.
And then, as Mansfield defenders failed to deal with an innocuous cross from Jake Moult, Marriott had to dive full length to claw the ball away from goal, allowing Jamie Mullan to square for Paul Clayton to nod into an empty net.
Those breakthroughs did not come before Matt Green had blasted over when put clear by Meikle's lobbed through ball.
Without ever getting into top gear during the rest of the half, Mansfield tried to hit back, only for Sutton to have a header cleared off the line by Jordan Hall and Green to blast wide and be thwarted by Joe Day.
Early in the second period, Connor headed against the bar when we should have scored from Luke O'Neill's free-kick.
Mansfield's task was then eased considerably when Wilson was shown a second yellow card after clashing with Riley in the 49th minute and the same fate befell Greg Young when he upended Meikle on the hour.
But despite masses of possession, the hosts seemed to lack the invention to break down their visitors.
However, the turning point came when Connor was hauled back by Adie Hawes in the box and Green converted the penalty with ease for his tenth of the season.
Mansfield's fans grew increasingly frustrated with time running out, but the team stayed patient and with four minutes left drew level with a cracker from Meikle, who weaved his way into the box before curling a delightful, angled effort into the top left-hand corner.
And in the dying embers of the game, Green's flick was blasted across the face of goal by substitute Todd to trickle into the net via the unfortunate Day.
It is easy to get carried away with the criticism of Mansfield's performance, but the bottom line was that they won to maintain a decent position in their hunt for a play-off spot. A lot of teams would take eighth spot with a game in hand at this stage.
Even so, there is no denying that only a marked improvement will prevent the Stags falling out of that race, as they have done in previous seasons
Last-gasp woe for nine-man Reds as Todd comes back to haunt old club
ALFRETON Town can count themselves desperately unlucky not to have pulled off a famous victory at Mansfield Town after fully deserving a 2-0 interval lead.
In they end, they left Field Mill empty-handed after former Reds forward Andy Todd netted the winner in stoppage time to complete a dramatic comeback by the Stags, who scored three times in the final 16 minutes.
?Alfreton had to play the last half an hour with only nine men after Anthony Wilson and Greg Young were both dismissed for second bookable offences.
Ten years ago to the day, Alfreton needed a last-minute goal to force a draw at Gedling Town in an FA Vase tie, while the Stags were on their way to promotion to the current League One, such is the gulf that has been bridged in the decade since.
So the disappointment in the Alfreton camp was clear for all to see at the end.
Anton Brown gave the visitors a 13th-minute lead with a neat downward header from eight yards after Wilson flicked on a long Leigh Franks throw.
And once Paul Clayton netted eight minutes later, Alfreton were in uncharted waters with a two-goal lead.
The goal stemmed from a superb crossfield pass by Jamie Mullan to Wilson, who managed to lay the ball back to Jake Moult.
Stags keeper Alan Marriott could only parry Moult's cross and Mullan was able to pull the ball square from almost the by-line for Clayton to stab in from close range.
Mansfield created the greater number of chances in the first half, Matt Green missing twice from good positions as well as twice forcing saves from Reds keeper Joe Day.
Joe Kendrick volleyed over from eight yards and a Paul Connor header had to be cleared off the line by Jordan Hall, while Marriott also had to make a decent save from Wilson at the other end.
The turning point for Alfreton came in the 49th minute, just after Connor had planted a firm header against the crossbar from a Luke O'Neill free kick, when Wilson was harshly given a second caution when no contact appeared to be made as Martin Riley went down on the halfway line.
At the same time, Young was booked for protesting the decision and, 11 minutes later, left the referee with no choice but to send him off when he brought down Lindon Meikle.
Alfreton had little option but to pack their defence and ride the wave of attacks, which they managed to do until the 74th minute, when Adie Hawes impeded Connor and a penalty was awarded.
Green fired high into the net from the spot to cut the deficit.
The Reds continued to ride their luck until four minutes from time, when Meikle curled in an unstoppable shot after jinking in from the right to level the game.
The killer blow arrived in the first minute of added time. Todd looked suspiciously offside as he retrieved Green's wayward shot, before his angled drive was diverted into the net by the unlucky Day
Stags fan view – Kirsty Williams, from Mansfield
BEFORE the match, I would never have believed I would be looking forward to a local derby against Alfreton.
I can't make my mind up whether it shows how far they have come or how far we have fallen.
When the game got under way, we saw two pieces of sloppy first half defending from the Stags that cost us two goals, without Alfreton really putting us under any pressure.
Even so, I still think we should have gone in 4-2 up at half-time, given the chances that we had and failed to take.
In the second half it was not long before Alfreton had two men sent off and in my eyes both decisions were justified.
From then on, we were well on top, and from the moment the penalty went in, scored by Matt Green, I felt that we would get something out of the match.
Alfreton worked really hard to frustrate us, but were let down through the indiscipline of their two red-carded players.
Having said that, even if they had kept 11 men on the pitch, I thought Mansfield still had enough to probably make us worthy winners.
It might have been left late, but three points are still three points and come April it could make all the difference in terms of getting into the play-offs or not.
Mansfield's man of match for me was Luke O'Neill
MANSFIELD TOWN 3, ALFRETON TOWN 2
Saturday Oct 22, 2011
NINE-MAN REDS UNDONE BY INJURY TIME MANSFIELD WINNER
ALFRETON Town surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead in the local derby at Mansfield Town, the Stags not scoring until the Reds had been reduced to nine men following red cards for Anthony Wilson and Greg Young.
The Reds opened up a deserved lead through goals from Anton Brown on 13 minutes and Paul Clayton on 21.
Already shorn of the services of five players for the game, the Reds lost Josh Law through injury on 29 minutes.
After Wilson and Young had both been red-carded for second yellow card offences, the nine men stood firm until a 74th minute penalty for a foul on Paul Connor by substitute Adie Hawes was despatched into the top right corner by Matt Green.
With five minutes left, Lindon Meikle despatched a superb 16 yard left-footed curling shot into the far corner and it was 2-2.
Still the nine men battled supremely until former Red, substitute Andy Todd, won it for Mansfield in the first of four minutes of added time, his acutely angled shot from the left byline deflecting into the net off the very unfortunate Joe Day on his near post.
The attendance was 2,982 with 320 making the trip from Alfreton. Anton Brown was named the Reds man of the match although it could have gone to any of several shattered
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