EXOCET GEOHAGHON LAUNCHES STAGS IN FIGHT BACK
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 2 -1 Tamworth
Smith 76, Green 87. Marna 54
Att: 2221 (134 from Tamworth)
Date: 25 February 2012
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill
Mansfield Town put in a below par performance at home to Tamworth this afternoon and trailed 1-0 after 75 minutes but two late goals, both from the long throw of new signing Exodus Geohaghon, handed Mansfield a precious victory and kept them in sight of the play-offs. The Stags were hard done by as the inept referee disallowed two goals, which the match DVD shows were perfectly good goals. One was from another Geohaghon long throw and the other from a corner. But in the end, they didn't matter as Adam Smith's deflected shot, and Matt Green's close range finish, earned the points.
The Stags made three changes from the side that started against Darlington. New loan signing Exodus Geohaghon replaced Dempster, who had returned to Crawley, Briscoe came in for for Hutchinson, and Meikle replaced Smith. Tamworth included former Stags striker Iyseden Christie. Kyle Nix, who had played for Gateshead against the Stags earlier in the season, was on the Tamworth bench.
Man of the match: Exodus Geohaghon
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Mansfield Town 2 Tamworth 1, Saturday 25th February
chad.co.uk report by Stephen Thirkhill
GOAL king Matt Green kept Mansfield Town's play-off bid firmly alive as his late goal secured a vital 2-1 against Tamworth, reports Stephen Thirkhill.
Green pounced for his 22nd goal of the season with just three minutes remaining after latching on to a pass by Gary Roberts to sink the brave Staffordshire outfit and cap a memorable second-half comeback.
Stags had fallen behind to a thunderous 54th minute strike by Jean-Paul Marna and looked like they were going to fall behind in the play-off race after referee Peter Bankes chalked off two Mansfield Town goals either side of half-time.
But Paul Cox's men showed their fighting spirit as they levelled on 69 minutes when Adam Smith's effort took a wicked deflection to leave Jonathan Hedge with no chance.
Green, who looked a handful throughout the entire game, then showed just why Cox was so desperate to bring him to Field Mill when he showed his pace, power and composure to rifle home and wrap up a fine victory.
The vital goal means Stags, who made it five wins from their last seven outing,s are now just two points behind York City in the final play-off place.
Stags, who made it four home wins on the trot for the first time since the 2003/04 season (Martin comment - INCORRECT - we won 5 on the trot at home in Aug-Sep 2008), now have growing momentum as they prepare to face former manager David Holdsworth's Lincoln City side.
On-form Mansfield made three changes with giant new signing Exodus Geohaghon making a full debut following his arrival from Darlington on Friday.
Influential winger Louis Briscoe also returned to starting line-up, while Lindon Meikle returned to the side at the expense of Adam Smith as Stags looked to make it four home wins on the trot.
The mid-table visitors named former Stags midfielder Kyle Nix on the bench after his contract with Gateshead ended earlier this month.
Stags began the contest well winning three corners in the opening couple of minutes, with O'Neill's second inswinging corner being neatly turned behind from under his bar by Hedge in the Tamworth goal.
But it was the vistors who should have taken the lead on seven minutes when Jean-Paul Marna got goal-side of Edwards inside the Stags box, before he fluffed his effort high over Marriott's bar.Moments later Stags came close to opening the scoring when Meikle latched on to a loose ball as The Lambs failed to clear an O'Neill cross.
But Hedge was equal to Meikle's hammer hit as he turned the ball away for a corner.
Stags were left fuming on 12 minutes when a seemingly perfect goal by Ritchie Sutton was ruled out to the disbelief of the home fans. Sutton beat his man to a wicked long throw by Geohaghon and prodded home from inside the six yard box. But referee Peter Bankes saw an infringement that no-one else witnessed to leave the scores level.
Stags blew a golden chance to take the lead for real on 17 minutes when a floated ball over the top from Roberts saw Hedge racing out of his penalty box. Top-scorer Green beat Hedge to the ball and looked to fire into the empty net.
But he was crowded out by three defenders as Hedge raced back into his box. Green then laid the ball across the face of goal for Ross Dyer who fired wide around 12 yards.
Mansfield then survived a double scare on 25 minutes when Scott Barrow drilled a fierce low effort from 23 yards only to be denied by a superb Alan Marriott save at full-stretch.
Marna showed a true striker's instinct to pounce on the parried save and fire at goal from close range. But just as he prepared to celebrate big Ritchie Sutton popped up to clear the ball off the line with his chest. Iyseden Christie brought the best out of Marriott three minutes later when he spun well to fire a shot towards the top left corner of the Mansfield goal as the visitor's continued to turn up the heat.
Stags continued to push at the start of the second half with Dyer going close to bagging his seventh goal of the season after neat work involving O'Neill and Briscoe.
But his effort was well blocked by Paul Green at the expense of Mansfield's fifth corner.
Against the run of play Tamworth took the lead with a stunning strike by Jean Paul Marna on 54 minutes.A sweet pass by Green played Marna in on the right hand side of the box, who allowed the ball to bounce once before smashing an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net.
Stunned Stags tried gamely to get back on level terms with Gary Roberts and Louis Briscoe the latest home players to fire efforts into the crowd either side of the hour mark.
Boss Paul Cox then brought on Adam Smith and Matt Rhead into the action as he looked to find the cutting edge lacking in the Mansfield starting eleven.
Iyseden continued to look a threat for Tamworth on the break and he came close to making it 2-0 when he fired a dangerous effort from the edge of the box straight at Marriott on 66 minutes.
Marriott then kept Mansfield in the game on 67 minutes when Danny Thomas went clean through on goal after a defence-splitting pass by Christie. But Thomas lacked the necessary composure as his mis-hit finish was turned away for a corner by the veteran goalkeeper.
For the second time in the game the Stags faithful were left fuming after the massive Geohaghon nodded home only to see the referee wipe the goal out for a foul on the goalkeeper.
But Stags were back on level terms just two minutes when Adam Smith's shot took a wicked deflection past Hedge to trickle over the line and set up a grandstand finish.Stags nearly hit the front for the first time with just eight minutes left on the clock when an inswinging Smith cross was hacked away off the goal line by Barrow.
Edwards showed a cool head with four minutes to go when Christie got goal side of his markers but could not shake off the presence of Edwards as he rounded Marriott and looked to get his shot away. Edwards did enough as Christie could do nothing but hit the ball out for a corner. It was a massive feat of defending which gained its full reward a moment later when Gary Roberts played Green in with a superb pass and Green needed no second invitation as he burst into the box to fire past Hedge and keep their play-off hopes alive.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott, Edwards, Briscoe, Green, Murray (Howell 89mins), Dyer (Rhead 59 mins), O'Neill, Sutton, Meikle (Smith 59 mins), Geohaghon, Roberts. Subs not used: Redmond, Riley.
TAMWORTH: Hedge, Tait, Courtney, Marma (Reece 71 mins), McDonald (Thomas 56 mins), Patterson (St Aimie 90 mins), Green, Isaac, Barrow, Christie, McKoy. Subs not used: Francis, Nix.
ATTENDANCE: 2,221 (134 away)
REFEREE: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Gary Roberts.
BOOKINGS: Sutton (34 minutes – foul on Marna); O'Neill (74 mins dissent); Barrow – Tamworth 79 mins unsporting behaviour); Roberts (79 mins unsporting behaviour); Iyseden (93 mins foul); Sutton (94 mins – foul).
Full-time: Mansfield Town 2 Tamworth 1
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
A 22nd goal of the season from red-hot striker Matt Green saw Mansfield Town come from a goal down against Tamworth to register their fourth home victory in a row and strengthen their play-off push.
The Stags were up against it when a Jean-Paul Marna cracker put the Lambs in front nine minutes into the second half.
But Paul Cox's men kept plugging away and were rewarded for their tenacity with two goals in the final quarter of an hour.
First Adam Smith came off the bench to net his first of the campaign with an aid of a deflection and then Green struck with three minutes to go to send the majority in Field Mill wild with delight.
Mansfield made three changes to the side that defeated Darlington at Field Mill on Tuesday night and reverted back to 4-4-2.
With John Dempster having returned to Crawley, his place at centre back was taken by new loan signing Exodus Geohaghon.
Elsewhere, Louis Briscoe and Lindon Miekle came in on the wings with Ben Hutchinson and Adam Smith making way.
Mansfield started on the front foot and from the second of three corners, Jonathan Hedge had to push over Luke O'Neill's goalbound inswinger.
Yet Tamworth might have gone in front in the seventh minute when Jean-Paul Marna was too fleet of foot for the stumbling Paul Edwards, only to blast over the top.
O'Neill then got in an important header to clear Liam McDonald's free-kick to safety before Lindon Meikle was first denied by a Tamworth defender and then by keeper Hedge with two on-target efforts.
The Stags looked to have gone in front in the 11th minute when Geohaghon's long throw was turned in from six yards by Ritchie Sutton, but the referee ruled out the 'goal' for a high foot.
Mansfield threatened again when Gary Roberts put Matt Green away through the middle, where he beat the advancing Hedge to the ball.
But the goalmouth was crowded and the striker check back to try and pick out Ross Dyer who, on the stretch, shot wide of the left-hand post.
Tamworth almost made the breakthrough in the 25th minute. A half-cleared corner was powered goalwards by Scott Barrow requiring Alan Marriott to make a good save diving to his right.
The rebound dropped for Jean-Paul Marna whose shot was blocked on the line by Louis Briscoe. The visitors claimed the ball was over the line, but the referee disagreed.
Marriott made another acrobatic stop soon after to keep out Duane Courtney's first time volley.
Tamworth continued to press forward at every opportunity as the half wore on, but former Stag Iyseden Christie was too high from the edge of the box and then McDonald dragged wide after being set free by Marna.
The second period began with a half-chance for Briscoe that he scuffed into the turf and wide after Tamworth had failed to clear O'Neill's free-kick.
A move involving Roberts and Dyer saw Briscoe meet the ball on the half volley but his shot was deflected over for a corner which came to nothing.
Roberts tried his luck with an ambitious long range free-kick but though Hedge was off his line, he back-pedalled quickly to claim the ball.
But just as Mansfield looked to be getting on top, they were trailing to a brilliant strike from Marna.
A deep diagonal ball from Barrow was not cut out by the home side and Marna needed no second invitation to rasp an angled half volley into the top corner from 10 yards, giving Marriott no hope.
Mansfield tried to respond quickly but Roberts blazed over after a smart lay-off from Briscoe from Edwards' pull back.
Briscoe did likewise, hitting the roof of the Quarry Lane stand, with another decent opening moments later.
Christie warmed the palms of Marriott with a strike from the edge of the box before Tamworth could have killed off the Stags in the 67th minute.
Christie's ball caught Mansfield square and Thomas raced clear, but Marriott got his angles right to block the resulting shot.
The Stags had another effort chalked off when O'Neill's corner flew straight in but the referee felt Geohaghon was impeding Hedge.
But Mansfield were level in the 74th minute with a huge stroke of good fortune. Geohaghon's long throw bounced around the box before breaking for Smith whose shot from just inside the area took a deflection to deceive Hedge and find the net.
With their tails up, the hosts pressed for a winner and Smith's inswinging centre from the left was going to sneak in until hooked off the line by Barrow.
But Tamworth did not drop their heads and it needed a last-ditch tackle from Edwards to thwart Thomas after he rounded Marriott and was about to tap home.
That proved vital as Mansfield swept upfield to go in front.
Roberts, in space on the left-hand side of the box, lifted over a centre that Tamworth were unable to deal with and in the confusion, Green reacted quickest to stab home from close range.
Five minutes of time were added on, but Mansfield held firm to move up to seventh in the table, two points of the play-off places.
Mansfield: Marriott, O'Neill, Sutton, Geohaghon, Edwards, Brisoce, Murray (Howell 90), Roberts, Meikle (Smith 59), M. Green, Dyer (Rhead 59). Subs not used: Redmond, Riley.
Tamworth: Hedge, Tait, Courtney, P. Green, Barrow, Isaac, McKoy, Marna (Reece 71), McDonald (Thomas 56), Patterson (, St Aimie 90+1), Christie. Subs not used: Francis, Nix.
Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).
Attendance: 2,221 (134 visitors).
Goals: Mansfield: Smith (76), Green (87). Tamworth: Marna (54).
Victory all that matters as Stags see off Tamworth
THEY don't have to be pretty, they don't have to be deserved, but, at this stage of the season, victories simply have to keep on coming. So while Mansfield Town were far from their best in overcoming Tamworth, another win was really all that mattered in the context of a play-off push that is steadily gathering momentum.
In years gone by the Stags have faltered at the turn of the year and hopes of a place in the Blue Square Bet Premier top five have subsided with it.
But not this year. Just like at previous club Eastwood, manager Paul Cox seems to have the happy knack of getting his sides to grind out the positive results just as the pressure intensifies.
And having been in this type of position before, where a late run could take his team to within touching distance of a promotion, he will not turn his nose up at any three points.
For much of the game it looked as if Mansfield's home Tamworth hoodoo was about to strike again.
On three previous visits to Field Mill, one in the FA Trophy, the Lambs had won twice and drawn the other, never having conceded a goal.
The same story appeared to be on the cards when Jean-Paul Marna, a recent signing from Kettering, opened his Tamworth account in spectacular fashion nine minutes after half-time.
However, these days Mansfield are made of sterner stuff, plugging away to turn things around with time fast running out.
First Adam Smith came off the bench to net his first of the season and then, three minutes from time, top scorer Matt Green pounced for his 22nd to send most of the crowd into raptures.
It was tough on Tamworth, who merited a draw and almost snatched a win themselves just seconds before Green's game-defining contribution, only for Paul Edwards to clear Danny Thomas' effort off the line.
But if you are going to be successful, as Mansfield aim to be, then turning around games such as this, particularly on home turf, is an absolute must.
It was Mansfield's fourth home win in a row since the start of 2012 – a run last achieved in league action by the 2003-04 side that reached the Division Three play-off final.
The result also took them into the top seven for the first time since they were 2-1 victors over Grimsby at Field Mill in early October.
Despite the 5-2 victory over Darlington in midweek, the hosts showed no less than three changes in personnel and altered their formation to 4-4-2.
It was no surprise to see Exodus Geohaghon make his debut in the centre of the defence, having signed on loan until the end of the season.
He replaced fans' favourite John Dempster, who had returned to parent club Crawley after a temporary stint of his own had come to an end.
The former Darlington man acquitted himself well, especially in the second period, seemingly getting stronger as the game went on.
Clearly he still has to get properly match fit and work on his understanding with the rest of a back four that includes another relative newcomer in Paul Edwards, but the initial signs were encouraging.
The other changes saw wingers Lindon Meikle and Louis Briscoe come back into the fray after impressive substitute cameos in midweek. Ben Hutchinson and Smith were the two to make way, with the former dropping out of the 16.
Mansfield started very brightly, yet Tamworth almost drew first blood in the seventh minute when Marna got goalside of Edwards only to fire over.
The home supporters were left booing the match officials in the 11th minute when Ritchie Sutton steered home a long throw from Geohaghon, only for his effort to be disallowed for the use of high feet.
Tamworth continued to give as good as they got and after Scott Barrow's powerful drive from the edge of the box was blocked by Alan Marriott, Marna's follow-up was stopped on the line by Briscoe.
But the Stags keeper could do nothing to prevent the Lambs going in front not too long after the restart as Marna smashed an unstoppable, angled drive into the top left-hand corner from ten yards.
And it could have been 2-0 when substitute Thomas was put clear by former Stag Iyseden Christie only to have his shot saved by the advancing Marriott.
That proved crucial, even though Luke O'Neill's inswinging corner, that flew straight in, was disallowed for a foul on Lambs goalkeeper Jonathan Hedge.
In the 76th minute, another Geohaghon 'bomb' was picked up by Smith and his shot from 15 yards fortuitously bobbled past Hedge, who was wrong-footed by a ricochet.
Still there was time for more drama when, after Thomas was denied for a second time, Green struck.
They say the mark of a good striker is that even when they don't have a great game they still find the net. That was definitely the case for Green, who was anonymous for long periods, but swooped to stab home from close range after Tamworth had failed to clear Gary Roberts' left-wing centre.
It all sets things up nicely for the return of ex-boss David Holdsworth to his former stamping ground this weekend with Lincoln City.
Another victory then would really be a statement of Mansfield's play-off intent
Stags comeback to deny Lambs
FT: Mansfield Town 2 1 Tamworth
25 February 2012
After Tuesday night's superb comeback victory, which just proved the old adage of not leaving before the final whistle, Marcus Law brought his side to Field Mill to take on Mansfield Town with a 19 man squad on the coach and made just one change to the starting eleven from midweek with Patterson replacing St. Aimie.
For the first time in the coming fortnight the two sides kicked off with Mansfield attacking the away end and the home side immediately pushed forwards winning a corner from McKoy's screwed clearance.
Barrow headed O'Neills flag kick away but Tait conceded another corner after pressure from Mansfield's Green.
Hedge punched the in-swinging effort corner behind for another one on the opposite side but The Lambs got it away and Christie combined with Marna but The Lambs were unable to test Marriott.
7: After weathering the initial flurry by the home side Tamworth forged a good chance from a good through ball to Marna on the right of the area but he couldn't keep his right footed shot down and cleared the crossbar.
8: A foul on Christie on the left wing gave McDonald a freekick and it was headed behind by O'Neill for a Lambs corner on the right which was headed away strongly and then cleared all the way back to Hedge by Green.
10: Action switched to the opposite end and Meikle ended a period of pressure with a driven angled right footed shot which Hedge did well to parry behind for another corner. The keeper punched it clear and from the resulting long throw in by Geohaghon, Sutton put the ball in the net from 6 yards, but the effort was ruled out by the referee for a push in the build up.
15: Tamworth then enjoyed a spell of with the ball in the final third of the Mansfield half but the home side quickly broke and when Hedge was unable to prevent the ball going past him as he rushed out it looked like Matt Green would net his 21st of the season, however the Lambs defence got back quick enough to make him look for a pass and the chance came to nothing.
20: Tait fed Marna with a fine ball down the right who in turn found Christie but was denied either a run at goal or a pass to the incoming Patterson by the call of the linesman who judged him to be just offside.
25: A corner from the right came out to Green and he hit a strong low shot at goal which Marriott batted away but only as far as Marna a couple of yards out and his snap shot was blocked on the line and then cleared amid shouts of handball, although from this distance it was difficult to categorically say if it was an arm or shoulder of midriff.
27: A couple of niggly fouls saw Tamworth awarded a freekick on the right wing and work to forge and opening and it came when McDonald chipped across the box for Courtney who struck for the target and forced a fine save from Marriott diving to his left.
29: McDonald was involved again when his left wing ball looking for Patterson was put behind for a left sided corner which Mansfield had to defend strongly.
34: Sutton picked up a booking for a foul on Marna down the left wing.
40: A good chance fell to McDonald from a threaded through ball by Patterson but the Lambs player was unable to get his shot on target and his effort rolled harmlessly wide from a central position 18 yards out.
45: As the half drew to a close, Tamworth won a corner on the right but it came to nothing and the home faithful proceeded in berating the officials as they left the field.
HT: Mansfield Town 0 0 Tamworth
The Lambs got the second half underway and immediately went on the offensive, but the home side quickly won the ball and won a freekick on the left wing which was fired into the danger area and rebounded before Briscoe got a foot to it but sent the chance wide of the mark.
50: Matt Green spun on the loose ball and his effort struck the Lambs defence before Briscoe followed dup but saw his shot deflected over the bar for a corner which curled out of play and onto the roof o f the net.
54: A fine ball from Green, curling to the right of the box from midway into the Mansfield, half was struck perfectly by Marna and it flew past Marriott into the far top left corner for his first goal in a Tamworth shirt (1-0, 54 mins). Needless to say the 134 travelling fans celebrated wildly!
58: As expected, the home side went on the attack from the restart but Roberts was unable to keep his right footed shot down from the edge of the box and Hedge was untroubled by the effort.
63: After changes to personnel on either side, Patterson forced a corner on the right but Thomas' flag kick was headed away by Briscoe but the former got the ball back and struck from distance at goal only to find Marriott well placed to smother the effort.
67: A fine chance came to Thomas via Christie's hard work to break from the half way line, but Geohaghon got back just in time to prevent a clean shot at the exposed keeper. From the corner Green's shot was taken by Marriott.
73: Mansfield found themselves in attacking mode once again and forced a couple of corners, the second of which went in but was ruled out for another foul in the build up and O'Neill was booked for his protestations.
76: An equaliser did come on 76 though when substitute Smith's low shot from 18 yards took a wicked deflection and left Hedge unable to recover in time to prevent it crossing the line. (1-1, 76 mins)
78: A clash and the subsequent reaction between Roberts and Barrow earned both players a booking as both sides went in search of a second goal.
80: Matt Green crossed from the left and Courtney headed behind for a corner which caused a few problems before the whistle halted play for a disputed foul in the area against Courtney and Tamworth restarted play but were soon defending again. The final ball to Briscoe was poor though and Hedge was able to slow things down.
83: Barrow hooked the ball away from danger after Matt Green had missed his shot from a left wing shot and from the flag kick Christie was forced to head behind for another on the other side. Thomas cleared to the half way line and the pressure abated.
86: Patterson forced his way through to the box and despite the close attention of the home centre backs he was just unable to finish the chance cleanly.
87: And it proved costly ass play switched straight down to the other end, and when Matt Green found himself with the ball at his feet three yards out there was only one outcome - his 21st league goal of the season and a second for Mansfield (1-2, 87)
90: Five minutes added time was shown as Patterson made way for St. Aimie and Christie was booked for punching the ball away in frustration and eventually the final whistle blew on proceedings.
Hedge, Tait, Courtney, Marna (Reece 71), McDonald (Thomas 56), Patterson (St. Aimie 90), Green, Isaac, Barrow, Christie, McKoy
Subs: Francis, Nix
Yellow Cards: Barrow 78, Christie 90
Mansfield Town Team:
Marriott, Edwards, Briscoe, Green M, Murray (Howell 89), Dyer (Rhead 58), O'Neill, Sutton, Meikle (Smith 58), Geohaghon, Roberts
Subs: Redmond, Riley
Yellow Cards: Sutton 34, O'Neill 74, Roberts 78, Rhead 90
Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)
Stags fan – Richard Eldridge, 34, Sutton-in-Ashfield
Despite a second successive below par performance, Stags dug deep once again to defeat Tamworth.
The first half was constantly interrupted by what can only be described as an inept refereeing performance. Ritchie Sutton's wrongly disallowed goal was among many bizarre decisions. Tamworth striker John-Paul Marna stunned Stags early in the second hard, with an unstoppable finish into the top corner of the net.
This forced Cox into making decisive changes with Adam Smith, and man mountain Matt Rhead, replacing Lindon Meikle and Ross Dyer.
These changes proved pivotal as Smith scored with a deflected shot, before Rhead was involved in the build up to Matt Green's winner – both goals starting with long Exodus Geohaghon throw-ins.
Attention now turns to March 1. Stags must have a ten-year lease on Field Mill, full ownership of the ground or the much vaunted 'plan B' in place by this date in order to be eligible for the play-offs. Let's hope this sorry saga can be drawn to a positive end, as it's hung around our neck like a Calver millstone for far too long
Latest | February 2012