BATTLING STAGS UNLUCKY TO LOSETO IN-FORM CAMBRIDGE
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Cambridge United
Green 55. Dunk 57. 62.
Attendance: 2046 (237 from Cambridge)
Date: 5 November 2011
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill
Mansfield Town were beaten 2-1 at home by Cambridge United in a game that the Stags certainly deserved something from. Cambridge had the better of the opening 22 minutes and could have been ahead after hitting the post, but Mansfield battled back in the second half of the first half and should have taken the lead when new signing Hegarty missed a sitter from 7 yards. 0-0 was a fair scoreline at the break. The Stags took the lead on 55 minutes as a Cambridge goalkick was headed forward by Futcher, to a Cambridge player who was immediately dispossessed by Meikle in the centre circle before Meikle threaded a lovely ball forward into the path of Green who took the ball around the advancing keeper and slotted the ball into the net as two defenders desperately tried to get back on the line to clear. Cambridge equalised within 60 seconds of the restart. Murray slipped over in the middle of the park, allowing Cambridge to put the forward to Dunk who broke into the box, partially lost control the ball as it bounced off O'Neill's heal, and O'Neill tried to shepherd the ball back to Marriott but Dunk stretched out his left leg and slid the ball past the Stags keeper into the net. A costly error by O'Neill. Cambridge were ahead 5 minutes later. Meikle gave the ball away well inside the Cambridge half, Cambridge broke forward quickly, and Dunk controlled the ball rather luckily which teed him up for a shot from the edge of the box which he also miscued but had enough on it to roll past Marriott into the bottom left corner of the net from the edge of the box. After that, Mansfield poured forward for the remaining 30 minutes as Cambridge sat back and the Stags had plenty of chances to equalise none better than when Dyer headed over from 6 yards from a beautiful O'Neill cross. The Stags also had penalty appeals for a couple of handballs and seemed to have a nailed on penalty when Green was hauled down in the box, but all were waved away. A very disappointing defeat, in front of a disappointing attendance, ahead of a two week break before the next game.
Stagsnet report in the match centre
Stags were unfortunate to leave empty-handed after a close encounter, with Cambridge United coming up trumps in a 2-1 win at Field Mill.
After a quiet first half, the game exploded into life in the 55th minute, when Matt Green finished calmly to put the Stags in front.
The lead lasted only a matter of minutes, however, as Harrison Dunk fired home an equaliser, before the same player slotted home a second to gift Cambridge the three points.
Paul Cox handed debuts to Nick Hegarty and Kieron Freeman in his starting line-up, with Ritchie Sutton back in the defence, along with Matt Green, who had recovered from illness.
Adam Murray picked up an early booking when he fouled Kevin Roberts in the fifth minute, in a quiet start at Field Mill, with both sides finding their feet in the contest.
The game livened up in the 12th minute, Luke Berry was released inside the box, where his drilled effort was turned against the post by Alan Marriott and Michael Gash's shot was deflected wide from the rebound.
It was the visitors went close four minutes later, Ashley Carew bent a free-kick around the wall and into the side-netting.
The Stags created their first of the match in the 24th minute, Luke O'Neill's searching cross was met by Nick Hegarty, whose header sailed wide.
In the 31st minute, the Stags went perilously close to opening the scoring, Lindon Meikle's left-footed cross hit Ross Dyer in the box and from the knockdown, Hegarty curled an effort over.
Seven minutes later, Matt Green was inches away from a goal, Dyer delightfully brought down the ball and rolled the pass towards his strike partner Green, but was denied by Michael Wylde on the goal line.
Goalless at the interval, Meikle picked up a yellow card for the Stags after the break for a late challenge, before the Stags took the lead in the 55th minute.
Lindon Meikle pounced on a loose ball and fed the ball through for Green to round the Danny Naisbitt and slot into the bottom corner.
The lead lasted just two minutes before Harrison Dunk fired home an equaliser for the U's, O'Neill dallied on the ball inside the box and Gash was on hand to drill the ball past Marriott from five yards.
Lindon Meikle fired an effort over from a tight angle, after being played in on goal by Dyer, before the visitors went ahead for the first time in the match.
It was the scorer of the equaliser who once again proved to be the scourge of the Stags, Dunk created some space for himself, before steering the ball towards goal, creeping past Marriott into the bottom corner.
Danny Naisbitt had to be alert to palm away a strike from Meikle, while Ryan Charles replaced Ashley Carew for Cambridge in the 63rd minute.
Ross Jarvis was shown a yellow card for pulling at Meikle in the 66th minute, before Louis Moult replaced debutant Hegarty for the Stags.
Anthony Howell tested Naisbitt in the 72nd minute, drilling a left-footed effort at goal, after good work from Dyer to control Murray's cross.
With 15 minutes of time remaining, Moult volleyed a Meikle cross over the bar, before the Stags had penalty appeals turned down after Green was held in the area.
Ross Dyer wasted a glorious chance when he headed an O'Neill cross over the bar, while Cambridge brought on Jordan Patrick in place of Harrison Dunk.
Dyer was involved again in the 82nd minute, teeing up Murray, but the Stags skipper lost his footing as he struck the ball and his effort sailed harmlessly wide.
Tom Shaw went close to adding a third for the visitors with a curling effort that Marriott turned behind, before Luke Berry thought he had added a third for Cambridge, only to be denied by the offside flag.
Into the four minutes of added time, where Green saw an ambitious long-range attempt fly rocket wide of goal as the game fizzled out.
Attendance: 2,046 (237)
Sponsor's man of the match: Kieron Freeman
Full-time: Mansfield Town 1 Cambridge United 2
Evening Post report by Matt Halfpenny
MANSFIELD Town fell to their third home defeat in five games as two Harrison Dunk goals inside four minutes saw Cambridge United come from a goal down to claim the points.
After a goal-less first half, Matt Green's 11th of the season gave the home side an ideal start to the second period.
But the U's levelled within four minutes through Dunk who then almost immediately struck again as Mansfield switched off.
Paul Cox's men tried to rally in the closing stages, but they largely failed to test visiting keeper Danny Naisbitt.
Mansfield showed three changes from the side that started in the 5-0 midweek FA Cup hammering at Fleetwood.
Out went Martin Riley, Paul Bolland and Louis Moult to be replaced by new signings Kieron Freeman and Nick Hegarty, along with the fit-again Green.
Cambridge won a dangerous early free-kick, but Ashley Carew's strike from distance deflected well wide.
Cambridge were oh-so close to going in front in the 14th minute when Luke Berry's angled drive from the right came back of the left-hand post with Alan Marriott beaten.
The visitors continued to boss play and Carew was closer with another free-kick effort that found the side-netting.
Soon after, Michael Gash's neat lay-off gave Tom Shaw the chance to let fly but his shot never troubled Marriott.
At the other end, the Stags finally got in their first effort on goal after 23 minutes when Nick Hegarty headed wide at the neat post from an excellent Luke O'Neill cross.
Ross Dyer then set Lindon Meikle haring away down the right flank but his centre, intended for Matt Green, was over-hit and the chance was gone.
Mansfield should have gone in front on the half hour, but Hegarty somehow blazed over from 10 yards after the ball had broken kindly as Dyer battled to get to Meikle's right-wing cross first.
Meikle then chose to wrongly pass early when Mansfield had a three on three situation on the break.
The Stags went close again when Dyer chased Kieron Freeman's long ball over the top and squared for Green, who was just beaten to it by a Cambridge defender with the goal gaping.
O'Neill made a vital tackle with half-time approaching to deny Shaw as he burst onto a pass in midfield and threatened to break clear.
It was a slow start to the second half and Mansfield fans were becoming restless as Meikle and Dyer wasted good opportunities.
But they were celebrating in the 55th minute as their team went in front with a precision strike from Green.
Meikle won the ball in midfield and threaded a pass through for the striker, who side-stepped the advancing Naisbitt before picking his spot pas the recovering Cambridge defenders.
The lead was short-lived, however, after some sloppy home defending.
O'Neill tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick but was caught napping as Dunk slid in to poke wide of Marriott from the tightest of angles.
And it got even worse for Mansfield when Cambridge went in front in the 62nd minute.
Dunk appeared to have overrun the ball as he made his way into the box, but he applied the breaks and swivelled to send a 15-yard shot just inside Marriott's right-hand post.
Meikle brought a smart save out of Naisbitt as the Stags tried to hit back quickly, the keeper diving to his right to push the ball to safety.
It took Mansfield some time to go close again as Dyer and substitute Louis Moult – on for Hegarty – teed up Anthony Howell's whose shot from the edge of the box was well fielded by Naisbitt.
With 15 minutes left, O'Neill swung in a cross that Moult reached first but could only prod over the top.
A fine ball from O'Neill gave Dyer the opportunity to pick out Green in the middle from the left, but he skewed his centre straight to Naisbitt.
Mansfield had claims for a penalty waved away when Green went down right in the middle of the box as he tried to get a shot in on the turn.
Dyer had his head in his hands soon after when he should have scored from O'Neill's right-wing cross only to head well off target.
Cambridge almost sealed victory when Ryan Charles pulled back for Shaw whose fizzing drive was tipped over by Marriott.
But it did not matter for them as they stretched their run to just one defeat in 16 matches
Match report: Mansfield v Cambridge United
Nottingham Post considered report by Matt Halfpenny
IF this match was a crossroads in Mansfield Town's season, as boss Paul Cox spoke of it being prior to kick-off, then the team have clearly taken a frustrating wrong turn.
What the Stags really needed after their 5-0 humiliation at Fleetwood in the FA Cup in midweek was the pick-me-up of a victory against one of the Blue Square Bet Premier's form sides.
A triumph would have reinforced the view Mansfield are capable of challenging for a place back in the Football League this season.
It would have shelved increasing doubts among the supporters that the club are falling away again in autumn, just as they have done in their previous three campaigns at this level.
And it would have also seen the Stags take a welcome step away from their recent stuttering form at Field Mill.
Instead, a third home defeat in five games in north Nottinghamshire has raised questions, rather than answer them.
Are Mansfield good enough to mount a serious play-off challenge? Where has the team gone that won five consecutive games earlier in the season? How can Cox stop the side leaking so many soft goals that are costing them points and places in the league table?
The good news is that at least Mansfield now have a blank two weeks before their next game to address some of their current issues.
Cox will, no doubt, be pursuing further fresh faces – and a central midfielder of merit ought to be his number one target.
Just as importantly, it will give him scope to bed in other recent arrivals in the shape of left-back Kieran Freeman and winger Nick Hegarty and get to work on lifting the confidence of his side, which seems to have evaporated somewhat.
Early on in the season, Mansfield were positively bouncing when they went out onto the pitch. They were clearly expecting to win.
Now they seem a whole deal more reticent and less decisive – and it is showing up in their results.
After ten minutes of the second period of this one, Mansfield had the platform to go on and take a stranglehold on the game.
Having just taken the lead through Matt Green's coolly-taken 11th goal of the season, the driving seat was there to be occupied.
Unfortunately for the Stags, they were instead left on the tarmac as Cambridge roared back past them with two goals in the space of four minutes – both scored by Harrison Dunk.
On both occasions Mansfield were culpable and should have defended a heck of a lot better. In the very same way that Cambridge did to see out the game and hold on for victory, in fact.
Changes after the slaughter at Highbury were inevitable and there were three of them.
Back came top scorer Green following illness, while Freeman and Hegarty were brought in instantly for debuts to form a new-look left flank partnership.
Making way were Louis Moult and Paul Bolland, who were dropped to the bench, and Martin Riley who was not even in the squad of 16.
Nottingham Forest teenager Freeman was hugely impressive in what was his first full game in competitive men's football.
Coolness personified, he made light work of Cambridge danger man Ashley Carew and was extremely assured in possession.
Hegarty endured a less successful bow, struggling to find the pinpoint deliveries from out wide he had produced in a pre-season friendly run-out against Ilkeston.
He missed Mansfield's two best openings of the first half and was hauled off midway through the second to make way for Louis Moult.
The first came when Luke O'Neill whipped in the first of numerous inviting crosses he whipped in throughout the afternoon, only for the former Grimsby man to head well off target when he should have at least tested Danny Naisbitt.
And then, as Ross Dyer fought for Lindon Meikle's cross, the ball broke straight into Hegarty's path, who contrived to blast over when it looked easier to score.
But Mansfield could have been a goal down before either miss, had Luke Berry's deflected, angled drive not come back off the woodwork with Alan Marriott beaten.
Indeed, it was United who looked more comfortable on the ball for much of the first 45 minutes, even if they lacked the punch to make the most if it.
The home side took advantage after the restart when Meikle, who otherwise struggled, played a pinpoint through pass for the quicksilver Green, after winning possession in midfield.
The Oxford loanee did not need a second invitation and rounded the advancing Naisbitt before picking his spot, ensuring that no retreating defender could clear off the line.
But within four minutes, Cambridge were level. O'Neill calamitously tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick but Dunk slid around the side of him to angle a shot superbly into the right-hand corner.
Just past the hour mark a remarkable turnaround in fortunes was completed when Dunk picked up a pass into the area and, after almost losing his footing, recovered to swivel and strike a low shot that had little in the way of power but the accuracy to beat Marriott and find the left-hand corner.
From then on, Mansfield pressed and Ross Dyer should have found a leveller when O'Neill's perfect cross to the far post was headed over from six yards out.
But Cambridge held on and there were predictable boos from some disappointed home fans come full-time.
In truth, on recent evidence, it is hard to see how the current crop of Mansfield players have it in them to successfully claim a place in the play-offs.
That is not to say things cannot change.
You only have to look at how Cox's former Eastwood side charged up the table last season to see what can happen when you find the winning formula.
Supporters just have to hope that Saturday was the last time for a good while that Mansfield Town leave their Sat-Nav at home
Mansfield Town 1 Cambridge United 2
5th November 2011
CHAD report by John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town lost further ground on the play-off places after they threw away a lead to lose 2-1 at home to Cambridge United.
It had looked bright for Stags after top scorer Matt Green scored his 11th goal of the season on 55 minutes to fire Mansfield ahead following a perfect through-ball by Lindon Meikle.
But Stags switched off badly and allowed Harrison Dunk to bag a brace inside the space of five minutes to seal the game for the promotion-chasing visitors.
The equaliser will cause particular concern for boss Paul Cox as Luke O'Neill allowed Dunk to ghost past him and fire in from a tight angle as he attempted to let the ball run out for a goal-kick on 57 minutes.
The turnaround was complete on 62 minutes when Dunk sprung the offside trap before squeezing the ball between the diving Marriott and into the goal
Mansfield responded well as they attempted to find away back into the contest with Meikle, Howell and Dyer all testing Naisbitt.
But despite long periods of pressure Stags, who have not kept a clean sheet for 10 games, were unable to find a way of cracking the resolute Cambridge rearguard.
The defeat leaves Stags further adrift of the last play-off spot and in desperate need of three points in their next league outing against AFC Telford.
Boss Paul Cox made three changes to his starting line-up as Stags looked to erase the bad memories after their midweek hammering at Fleetwood Town.
Top scorer Matt Green made a welcome return to the side at the expense of Louis Moult after shaking off the sickness bug which swept through Field Mill this week.
Defender Kieron Freeman, signed on loan from Nottingham Forest on Friday, and winger Nick Hegarty, who was signed from St Mirren also on loan, were given places in the starting line-up.
Cambridge came to Field Mill on the back of a thumping 6-2 win at Hayes and Yeading and with just one defeat in their last 15 outings.
Cambridge had the first effort of the game when an Ashley Carew free-kick clipped the back of team-mate Luke Berry before floating out for a goal-kick.
Stags captain Adam Murray knew he would have to be careful when he was booked after just six minutes for a foul on Kevin Roberts.
The fifth-placed visitors were a breath away from breaking the deadlock on 14 minutes when Berry burst into the box before cracking his effort against Marriott's right post.
Michael Wylde then saw his strike blocked for a corner as he attempted to steer the rebound home.
The lively Carew then curled a 16th minute free-kick wide of Marriott's goal as the confident U's began to turn up the pressure.
Tom Shaw fired another warning shot for Cambridge on 23 minutes after a layoff from Gash left Shaw in space 25 yards out.
At the other end struggling Stags finally managed to register their first attempt on Naisbitt's goal a minute later when new-boy Kieron Freeman headed an O'Neill cross wide from eight yards.
A flowing move involving Dyer and Meikle down the right wing could have seen Mansfield take the lead on 26 minutes as the home side finally began to come back into the game.
But Meikle's final ball was poor as he failed to pick out a well-placed Matt Green in the box before the ball was cleared to safety.
Stags should have opened the scoring on the half hour mark when Dyer and Meikle once again combined well.
Meikle whipped the ball in from the left before Dyer knocked the ball down into the path of Hegarty.
But, with the goal at his mercy, the former St Mirren player somehow skied his effort over the bar when it would have been easier to score.
Stags continued to turn up the heat and again came close to opening the scoring on 39 minutes when Naisbitt was caught out of position as he attempted to cut out a long ball through midfield.
Dyer beat the shot-stopper to the ball on the right corner of the box before squaring the ball into the danger area as Green sensed a tap-in into an empty net.
But defender Tom Shaw did just enough to block Green to the ball and his scuffed effort was gobbled up by the hastily retreating Naisbitt.
Stags finally opened the scoring on the 55th minute when excellent work by Lindon Meikle won the ball back in central midfield.
The England C player then threaded the perfect pass into the path of Matt Green, who rounded the advancing goalkeeper on the edge of the box before rifling home for his 11th strike of the season.
It was the calmest of finishes and showed just what Stags had been missing against Fleetwood.
But it was despair for Stags just two minutes later when some sloppy defending allowed the visitors to level the contest.
O'Neill was caught napping as he attempted to let the ball run out for a goal-kick. But Harrison Dunk read the situation well and squeezed between the sleeping defenders to fired past Marriott from the tightest of angles.
Meikle came close to putting Mansfield ahead again on 61 minutes when he linked up well with Dyer.
Dyer played the wingman in down the right hand side, but Meikle was leaning back as he attempted to fire into the top corner, before finding the empty seats of the Quarry Lane end.
It was a costly miss as the visitors took the lead on 62 minutes when Dunk bagged his second of the game.
A pin-point pass allowed Dunk broke the Stags offside trap. And despite a poor first touch Dunk still had the time and space and to squeeze a shot past the outstretched arm of Marriott and into the bottom corner.
The dangerous Meikle seemed to be Mansfield's best chance of levelling the game as he once again warmed the hands of Naisbitt with a shot from distance on 64 minutes.
Howell saw his shot saved by Naisbitt after a Murray cross was brought down well by Dyer and laid into the path of the midfielder on 74 minutes.
Substitute Louis Moult came close on 75 minutes when he turned an O'Neill cross just over the bar while under pressure from his marker.
Ross Dyer then wasted a good chance from a wide angle moments later as Mansfield began to push the visitors further and furtherback.
Dyer really should have levelled the contest with 11 minutes to go when he was picked out by O'Neill at the back post.
But he failed to find the target as he directed his header over the bar as Naisbitt watched on.
Stags won their first corner of the contest on 86 minutes as they looked for a way back into the match.
Green fired well over from distance in injury-time and with it went Mansfield's hopes of saving a point.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott, O'Neill, Futcher, Sutton, Freeman, Meikle, Murray, Howell, Hegarty (Moult 68 mins), Green, Dyer. Subs not used: Redmond, Thompson, Connor, Bolland.
CAMBRIDGE UNITED: Naisbitt, Roberts, Coulson, Wylde, Shaw, Gash, Carew (Charles 63 mins), Dunk (Patrick 80 mins), McAuley, Jarvis, Berry. Subs not used: Marriott, Hudson, Thorpe.
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH:Luke O'Neill.
REFEREE: Darren Bond of West Lancashire.
ATTENDANCE: 2,046 (237 away)
A brace from Harrison Dunk within five second half minutes was enough to secure a fourth away win of the season and all three points as Cambridge United leaped into third place in the league following a 2-1 win at Mansfield Town.
United went into the fixture without first choice left back James Jennings, who had suffered a severe migraine overnight, so Michael Wylde was brought back in to partner Josh Coulson in central defence, with Rory McAuley slotting in well at full back.
The visitors started the brighter, and almost took the lead on 13 minutes when Luke Berry volleyed against the inside of the post following a clever through ball from Michael Gash.
Mansfield, who came into the fixture following a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Fleetwood in the week began to cause some trouble of their own and striker Nick Hegarty will feel he could have done better when shooting over from close range on the half hour.
The hosts started the second half as they had finished the first, keeping the U's pegged in their own half and took the lead on 55 minutes through Matt Green after the forward beat Danny Naisbitt to a loose ball and slotted home into an empty net.
Cambridge United were back on level terms within two minutes though when Dunk fired home from the angle after some clever trickery to beat a couple of defenders, and the same man sent the travelling fans into dreamland on 62 minutes when he latched onto Luke Berry's through ball and slotted past Marriott from 12 yards to score his seventh goal of the campaign.
As the half progressed United seemed happy to defend what they had and looked to hit Mansfield on the counter attack, and despite the home side's best efforts Cambridge held firm and came away with a well deserved three points.
Man Of The Match: In a game where all 11 players put in a great display I will have to go for Harrison Dunk for his two well taken goals.
Full Match Report Below:
16:54 FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 1-2 Cambridge United. Get in there! What a result, two goals in five minutes from Harrison Dunk fires United up to third in the table and it's yet another great performence on the road from the team.
16:53 Corner to Mansfield, headed over and that should be that.
16:50 CRC RESULT: CRC 6-0 WIVENHOE TOWN.
16:49: four minutes of added time. Luke Berry thinks he has made it three but his effort is ruled out for offside.
16:45 Mansfield are putting the U's under some intense pressure now, and win a corner, which is cleared away. Can we hold on?.
16:44 United counter quickly and after some smart stuff from Patrick and Charles, Tom Shaw shoots just over.
16:41 Murray shoots over the bar from the edge of the area.
16:40 Harrison Dunk is replaced by Patrick, a great performence again from the winger.
16:39 Ross Dyer should have scored as he meets a pin point cross from the right but heads over.
16:36 Ross Dyer gets in behind Roberts but needed a better ball into the box, the home fans are getting restless.
16:34 Today's attendence is 2,046 with 237 travelling from Cambridge.
16:32 New boy Moult shoots from distance, but no problems for Naisbitt who saves easily.
16:30 CRC UPDATE: CRC 5-0 WIVENHOE TOWN (Eades)
16:29 Charles crosses from the right but Marriott catches it.
16:27 A change for the hosts now, Moult replaces Nick Hegarty.
16:25 Rossi Jarvis is booked for shirt pulling.
16:22 Cambridge make the first change of the game as Charles replaces Carew. Meanwhile Naisbitt does well to palm away a feirce shot from Meikle.
16:20 GOAL: Mansfield Town 1-2 Cambridge United. What a funny old game. It's that man Dunk again who is played in by Berry following good work from Jarvis, and Dunk made no mistake from 12 yards.
16:19 Murray feeds Meikle who takes a touch and then fires a shot just over.
16:18 CRC UPDATE: CRC 4-0 WIVENHOE TOWN (Ingrey)
16:16 GOAL: Mansfield Town 1-1 Cambridge United. We're back on level terms immediatily. Harrison Dunk darts into the box and after beating two defenders smashes a shot across the goalie and into the net. The U's fans behind that goal go wild. Game on!.
16:14 GOAL: Mansfield Town 1-0 Cambridge United. Danny Naisbitt rushed from his goal to close down a through ball but is beaten to it by Matt Green who steers a shot into the net from the edge of the box.
16:12 Blistering pace from Dunk leaves O'neil for dead on the left wing but the U's man can't get a cross in.
16:10 Mansfield have started the half brightly and look dangerous down the right hand side with O'Neil and Meikle combining well on a couple of occasions.
16:06 Meikle becomes the second man to go into the book following a foul on McAuley.
16:04 The second half is underway, come on you U's.
15:47 Half Time: Mansfield Town 0-0 Cambridge United. Well a half of two halves here really, United started brightly and almost took the lead on 13 minutes when Luke Berry hit the post, but the hosts have come back into it with some decent chances of their own, but at the halfway point we're all square.
15:46 One minute of added time to be played.
15:39 Hearts in mouth time now as Hegarty beats an on rushing Naisbitt to the ball and squares for Green, who toe pokes goalwards under pressure from Wylde, but Naisbitt gets back to save.
15:36 Another chance for Mansfield here as Meikle heads wide, the hosts are having a decent spell at the moment.
15:33 CRC UPDATE: CRC 3-0 WIVENHOE TOWN (Eades)
15:31 Should be 1-0. Hegarty is all by himself in the box as a ball drops to his feet but he blazes over, a lucky escape for Cambridge there.
15:25 Mansfield have their first sight of goal as Hegarty connects with an O'Neil cross but heads wide.
15:24 Lovely again from United resulting in Shaw shooting from 25 yards but wide of the post.
15:21 The U's still on top here and playing some nice football.
15:16 Carew tries his luck with a free kick on the right hand side and he's not to far away.
15:14 Brilliant from United, Gash chips the defender and Berry latches onto it and fires a ferocious volley against the inside of the post, and the home side hack it away for a corner, which is defended at the expense of another, but this time the ref spots a foul and it's a free kick.
15:11 CRC UPDATE: CRC 1-0 WIVENHOE TOWN (Ingrey)
15:10 A good opening ten minutes for Cambridge in terms of posession.
15:08 Carew shoots from inside the center circle as Marriott is out of his goal, but the shot is far to weak and the goalie collects that easily.
15:06 Mansfield captain Murray goes into the book for a bad foul on Roberts.
15:04 Carew wins a free kick in a promosing position, which he takes, but it's a goal kick.
15:02 Kev Roberts concedes an early free kick which is defended by Cambridge.
15:01 Kick-off, we're underway here with the U's in all blue and Mansfield in their usual yellow and dark blue. The U's got things started, and it's McAuley at left back.
14:35 So no James Jennings today, I can only assume that he is either injured or sick, but club captain Micheal Wylde comes in to replace him, Wylde or McAuley will play at left back which I will confirm at kick-off. If you want to get in touch with any views on today's game you can Tweet me @samline1982.
14:30 TEAM NEWS: Mansfield Town: Alan Marriott(gk), Kieron Freeman, Ritchie Sutton, Ben Futcher, Luke O'Neil, Lindon Meikle, Adam Murray, Anthony Howell, Nick Hegarty, Matt Green, Ross Dyer. Subs: Shane Redmond, John Thompson, Paul Connor, Paul Bolland, Louis Moult.
Cambridge United: Danny Naisbitt, Kevin Roberts, Josh Coulson, Michael Wylde, Rory McAuley, Harrison Dunk, Rossi Jarvis, Tom Shaw, Ashley Carew, Luke Berry, Michael Gash. Subs: Jonathon Thorpe, Blaine Hudson, Jordan Patrick, Adam Marriott, Ryan Charles.
14:00 Good afternoon everybody and welcome along. Following a trouble free journey up the A1 I'm at a very cold Field Mill to provide the updates as Cambridge United look to keep up what can only be described as a fantastic start to the season, teams to follow shortly and kick off is at 15:00.
Match report provided by Sam Line
Travellers' Tales v Mansfield
Match: v Mansfield Town - Blue Square Bet Premier
Date: Saturday, November 5th, 2011
Result: Mansfield 1 Cambridge United 2
Departure Time: 10.30am
Arrival at Ground: It was a decidedly autumnal trip up the A1 with the firework-coloured reds and oranges of the trees often shrouded in swirling, seasonal mist. Nevertheless, an uneventful journey ended with parking the car on an artificial football pitch (don't worry, I was under instruction so to do) at about 12.20pm … and then it started to rain - a lot!
At The Ground
The Ground: That rain continued to fall long after I'd squelched my way into the ground. It formed large enough lakes on the wide run off areas beside the pitch to make one wonder if migrating geese would start to come in to land or whether they'd be put off by the swan boat rides that were surely going to begin at any moment!
All this unfolded in front of my lofty vantage point in the press area, about two thirds of the way up the massive main stand that seems to tower over the whole town. The fact that the ground is built on the side of a hill reinforces that impression, but the usual view over the surrounding side streets that snake their way up some of Mansfield's other hills didn't hove into view until much later in the day; when I arrived, the clouds had descended so far that even the most acrophobic raindrop wouldn't worry about the short distance it had to travel before hitting the ground.
The main stand is a two-tiered construction, filled with blue and yellow seats. A cavern-like structure is set at the base of the upper tier, just below the press area. This structure hosts the directors of both Mansfield and the visiting club and seems to be designed to keep them as far away as possible from the hoi polloi in the rest of the of stand; this is probably a good thing given the disgruntled air that emanated from the home fans during our visit.
Behind either goal, single tiered stands are colour contrasts of each other; the away end - to the left of the main stand - is filled with blue seats and has the word 'STAGS' picked out in yellow, while the opposite end contains yellow seats with 'MTFC' picked out in blue.
The remaining side of the ground has changed a little since we were last at Field Mill. The ramshackle, derelict carcass of a stand that seemed to be collapsing under the weight of its own rust has been spruced up quite cleverly and although still not open for use, it has become a feature in its own right - in a good way! On the boarding that covers the front of this stand, a mural has been painted that depicts happy, smiley fans in front of a banner celebrating '100 years of football at Mansfield Town FC'. A very obvious hole in the green, corrugated roof of this stand has been outlined in red, highlighted by arrows pointing to it on the facing of the stand and sponsored!
United Fans: Once again in good spirits and supportive throughout.
Home Fans: Those happy, smiley fans on the mural seemed to be the only Mansfield supporters in a good mood. When not grumbling loudly, the others were as quiet as the mural apart from a brief cheer when their side took the lead and a forlorn chant of 'come on you Stags' in the final minute or so of stoppage time.
Programme: At £3 for 68 pages, 'The Stag' was Blue Square Bet Programme of the Year last season and will be a strong contender again this time around. Packed with photos and well-written articles this well-designed programme contains something of interest for visiting fans as well as the Mansfield regulars.
The Journey Home: Travelling on Guy Fawkes Night means you tend of see bits and pieces of any number of firework displays along the way. One of the most spectacular promised to be at Newark Rugby Club where the pitch had been taken over by a funfair and long queues of traffic clogged the A617 as the locals turned out in large numbers. Fortunately, those queues were on the other side of the road, so the journey back was entirely trouble-free.
Saturday, 5 November 2011
Mansfield Town 1 v Cambridge United 2 - BSBP
Saturday 5th November 2011, at Field Mill
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town (0) 1
Matt Green 55
Cambridge United (0) 2
Harrison Dunk 57, 62
Admission £15, Programme £3
Attendance 2046 (237 from Cambridge)
Mansfield Town: Alan Marriott, Kieron Freeman, Ritchie Sutton, Ben Futcher, Luke O'Neil, Lindon Meikle, Adam Murray, Anthony Howell, Nick Hegarty, Matt Green, Ross Dyer.
Subs: Shane Redmond, John Thompson, Paul Connor, Paul Bolland, Louis Moult.
Cambridge United: Danny Naisbitt, Kevin Roberts, Josh Coulson, Michael Wylde, Rory McAuley, Harrison Dunk, Rossi Jarvis, Tom Shaw, Ashley Carew, Luke Berry, Michael Gash. Subs: Jonathon Thorpe, Blaine Hudson, Jordan Patrick, Adam Marriott, Ryan Charles.
The first half was much of a muchness at times.
Cambridge went first and had a spell where they created a few half decent chances, particularly from free kicks around the Mansfield box, but none of it amounted to anything ... though Luke Berry did have an effort that cannoned off the post when Michael Gash had set him up with a well measured chip on 15 minutes.
Then the Stags had their turn to be creative in the final third without applying the finishing touches.
New signing Nick Hegarty had the best chance of the half, but with just the keeper to beat he blazed the ball over the crossbar.
Hegarty's previous club was St. Mirren, who he joined from Grimsby Town, but hopefully the switch to a higher standard of football in the BSBP to that he has been used to in the SPL won't be too difficult a transition for the player to make ;-)
Though the first half was a bit grim at times, the over reaction of a few outspoken onlookers beggared belief.
I came to the conclusion a long time ago (years ago actually), that there is a section of the Field Mill crowd who just turn out to have a damn good moan.
Regardless of how hard the team are trying, or how many chances they're creating, all this very vocal minority want to do is criticise and rant and rave.
The club should give these sort of people a section of their own in the ground, away from the rest of us, because, not to put too fine a point on it, they just bloody annoy everybody else who is there to watch the game.
The majority of Mansfield Town fans are fine ... no honestly! But the club are 'blessed' with more than their fair share of short fused, knee jerk reactionary, pathologically unhinged, terminally angry types, who have lost all sense of proportion and rationale ... if they ever had any in the first place.
The blood pressure of some of the more extreme cases must be off the scale.
The problem with all seater grounds, that don't allow you the right to roam, is that if you are sat within earshot of one (or more) of these cretins, you're stuck with them for the duration.
A lot of people ask me, why more often than not, I sit in sections of the ground set aside for the home fans when the Stags are playing away, instead of in the visiting supporters section.
Well ... praise where it's due, those who turn up regularly to follow the club everywhere and anywhere and those who 'sing their hearts out for the lads' at away games are a credit to Mansfield Town, but I could point out at least a dozen reasons for wanting to sit somewhere else and I'm damn sure a lot of other Mansfield fans could identify the same fuck-wits too.
As if having to listen to the 'boo-boy' element wasn't bad enough, at half time the tannoy announcer played a track by that obese, talentless, screechy Adele creature, at a volume that bordered on over the top loudness to the point of vulgarity ... a bit like Adele herself then.
I despair at the day the whaling fleet missed Adele with their harpoons and let her slip through the net, to give gross, sewer mouthed, fat, unattractive women the world over a role model to aspire to ... a bit like the 'lady' in the row in front of us then ;-)
Ten minutes into the second half, Matt Green beat Danny Naisbitt in a race for the ball on the edge of the box, rounded the stranded U's keeper and calmly fired the Stags ahead.
But Mansfield's joy was short lived and Harrison Dunk had equalised and then put the visitors in front within seven minutes.
Dunk crusied past two static defenders and smashed home the his first goal across Alan Marriott, his second was the end result of some great work out on the left and some neat passing between Rossi Jarvis and Luke Berry.
The home crowd were stunned.
The 237 noisy fans in the away end were bouncing with joy.
The natives started getting restless ... and as the pressure mounted on the Stags team to force an equaliser, the volume of the insults rose too.
The referee, Darren Bond, made a couple of glaring errors that thwarted two attacks for the home side.
That is not me making excuses for the result, I hasten to add.
Mr Bond is only human ... but they were blatant mistakes.
A wave of attacks on the Cambridge goal came to nothing.
On 81 minutes, Ross Dyer headed a close range effort over the bar and the imbecile element in the crowd inwardly rejoiced as they found a new individual to pick on.
Ross Dyer shouldn't take it too personally though, these same people have been getting off on singling out players from their own team to throw abuse at since time began.
There is no logical thought put into their selection process, it is seemingly very random.
But I suppose it would have to be, because people such as this don't understand the concept of the word logic.
Dyer bust a gut to get on the end of that cross, but the fickle few who turned on him, had been busting a gut to find a scapegoat all afternoon and they weren't going to let facts and no small amount of effort on Dyer's part, clear their blurred view of the bigger picture.
They had a new victim now, hook, line and sinker. And I suspect that even if Keiron Dyer had scored a hat trick in the remaining 8 minutes, some of them would still have rubbished it.
What is the point of paying good money ... and let's make no bones about it, the £18/£15 admission price to watch non league football at Field Mill is bloody expensive ... if your sole purpose for being in the ground, is to rant abuse at the players and management of the team you claim to support from the outset?
If going to football makes you feel so miserable, why don't you just stay at home instead?
Try vidi-printer, ceefax, or twitter rage as an alternative and give the rest of us a break!
The game finished and Cambridge were victorious, by a narrow margin of two goals to one (Luke Berry's injury time third goal for the visitors had been disallowed), despite the Stags throwing everything at Naisbitt's goal in their search for an equaliser.
To quote the live match updates on the CUFC website;
"Mansfield are putting the U's under some intense pressure now and win a corner, which is cleared away. Can we hold on?"
The answer to that is, yes, they bloody well could!
The visiting fans, who had been singing all afternoon and deserve a lot of praise for their vocal backing, celebrated, whilst the aforementioned angry minority vented their spleen on the Stags players and management as they left the pitch.
Dyer, inevitably and, unbelievably, even Paul Cox were singled out for some of the more over the top outbursts.
What kind of red mist gets inside the psyche of a middle aged man, to make him to race down to the touch line from his seat, openly seeking an angry confrontation with the manager of a football team, who has just seen his side lose a match, unluckily, against a team who are third in the league table?
Cambridge United had it easy today, they only had 11 players to beat.
Mansfield Town by comparison, were up against a resilient visiting team, a referee who missed a clear handball in the penalty area and awarded Cambridge a goal kick when their centre half headed the ball over his own bar ... and had an angry mob of their own so called fans to win over too.
Field Mill, 5th November 2011, not exactly the most enjoyable afternoon I've ever spent watching football.
I really would consider watching Stags games from the away end at Field Mill in future to avoid being in the close proximity of certain people, if the stewards down there were such a miserable bunch of heavy handed kill joys.
I can handle defeat, just about, if the team I support have been putting the effort in ... and they certainly did today.
But, I'm getting increasingly fed up of some of the mouthy imbeciles who attach themselves to Mansfield Town, who genuinely seem to hate the team they claim to support at times and who let their anger manifest itself in such a bizarre, OTT and very public way.
They have no class and no brains.
Surely after all the football club as endured over the last few years, a worrying time when the Stags came very close to going out of existence altogether, it's time for everyone to be singing from the same hymn sheet and pulling in the same direction ... alas, a grossly stupid, but very noisy element, the enemy within, can't understand that.
But hey! Don't let the facts get in the way of a good tantrum :-(
Lets hope the angry minority don't put people off attending games at Field Mill, although, maybe that would serve to starve them of the audience such attention seeking head cases crave.
Oh well ... onwards and upwards, bad day at the office n' all that ... and the Stags have a blank Saturday next week because of all the players they've got away on international duty (or something like that) to work on a few things before their next BSBP game.
Final word ... will somebody at the club get this poor lass who looks after the car park a proper coat to wear when the weather is crap, before she catches her death of cold?
Posted by Ian Cognito at 17:44
Latest | November 2011