STAGS SURGE ON AS GREEN GOAL MAKES 8 WINS FROM 10
Blue Square Bet Premier
Tamworth 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
Att: 1600 (909 from Mansfield was the original figure given to the press though it had a line through it, but the Tamworth secretary told me afterwards that it was 801)
Date: 10 March 2012
Martin Shaw at The Lamb
Mansfield Town picked up a tremendous 1-0 win at Tamworth thanks to Matt Green's 23rd goal of the season, as the Stags made it 8 wins in 10 games. The Stags were on top from the start, and took the lead after 13 minutes when Luke O'Neill's fine corner was headed goalwards by Ross Dyer, and cleared off the line, back to Exodus Geohaghon who also headed it goalwards, and again it was cleared off the line, but it fell to Matt Green who bundled in from 3 yards. Ross Dyer had two chances to increase the lead when first his header from a Geohaghon long throw was tipped over by keeper Hedge and then his goalbound shot following a corner was blocked when it seemed a certain goal. The Stags were well on top in the first half, but Tamworth fought back in the first 25 minutes of the second half, without creating any chances. The Stags regained their grip on the game in the final 15 minutes with several chances going begging, but in the end it didn't matter as the Stags hung on for 1-0 and Alan Marriott didn't have a single save to make all game. This was a well-deserved win, albeit with the Stags not at their best in the second half.
Man of the match: Exodus Geohaghon
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
report from http://www.thelambs.co.uk
Solitary Stags strike slays Lambs
FT: Tamworth 0 1 Mansfield Town
10 March 2012
Lambs boss Marcus Law opted to keep the faith with the same starting eleven that had performed so well as a defensive unit against York City in midweek, for the visit of Mansfield just a couple of short weeks after his side had gone down to the odd goal in three at Field Mill.
Paul Cox's Stags came to The Lamb in a fine vein of form sitting in 5th position having won seven of the previous nine and lost just one in the last eleven and would no doubt be out to keep their play-off spot.
The visitors won the toss and kicked off towards the Castle End, away from the packed Meadow Street terracing, and immediately showed their attacking intentions.
2: Reece conceded a corner on the right as away fans continued to enter the ground and Tait headed it behind for another on the same side which Tait got away from danger again.
4: At the other end, Thomas won a corner with a deflected cross and took it short to Connor but the flag prevented the move from continuing.
10: McKoy was adjudged to have fouled Meikle on the edge of the area but the resultant freekick went high over the bar.
13: A skillful piece of interplay between St. Aimie, Thomas and Nix ended with Thomas' cross from the left wing which Connor just failed to get his head to, but play quickly moved to the other end and a corner from the left was finished at the second attempt by Green. (0-1, 13 mins)
16: Following a foul on Reece on the right wing, Nix sent in the dead ball to the far post but St Aimie was unable to get his head on the chance.
20: Hedge was called into action to push Dyers header over the bar from Geohaghan's long throw, and from the corner the same two players combined but the former found the Lambs defence blocking his shot.
22: Tamworth pushed on from the Mansfield chances and won a corner on the left which fell to Reece on the opposite side and his cross was deflected behind for another flag kick but Francis was unable to keep his header down and floated it over the target.
30: As the first third of the game came to a close, Mansfield looked the more in control of proceedings, but there were good runs from Taylor and Thomas at the opposite end which unforutntaley came to nothing.
33: The Stags then won a trio of corners which came to nothing.
36: Nix found space and hit a low shot at Marriott but it was very easy for the keeper to gather.
42: McKoy won the ball in the final third of the Lambs half and made a run into the Mansfield half, finding Nix and then St. Aimie. But St. Aimie's powerful shot was blocked by Briscoe and caused him to require a visit from the physio before play could continue.
45: 2 minutes added time was shown at the end of the first half and the visitors won a corner on the right which flashed across the face of goal via a couple of deflections before being headed behind by Briscoe.
HT: Tamworth 0 1 Mansfield Town
The Lambs got the second half underway, running down hill and St. Aimie made an early foray into the area but it was cut short by the Stags defence.
48: Francis brought Meikle down on the left just outside the area and O'Neill lined up the deadball but not well enough as it bent straight out of play past the far post.
52: With the visiting fans singing loud and proud, Thomas was unable to get shit shot past the covering defender and Marriott remained untroubled by The Lambs attacks.
55: Patterson replaced St. Aimie in a straight swap up front.
59: Taylor nipped the ball around the back of the Mansfield defence but it was taken off his toes for a corner on the right and Marriott punched clear and when the ball came back in for Francis, his header was difficult but off target.
61: Tamworth made their second change of the afternoon and when a Tait backpass was intercepted Hedge was forced to leave his area to deny Matt Green any sort of a sight at goal.
64: Briscoe hit a right footed shot wide of the left hand upright from 25 yards following a string of cross field passes.
69: At the other end, Barrow and Habergham combined down the left to work their way into the area but the final ball from the latter was put into the area at a stretch and cleared the goal.
71: A similar run from Barrow earned a corner on the left when his low cross was put behind at the near post and Francis headed the dead ball over the bar.
75: Meikle cut into the box and drew Hedge out of his comfort zone, but failed to set up a fellow teammate.
76: Roberts then picked up a booking for a debated challenge on Nix in the centre circle and a minute or so later Thomas brought down the same player but in a much more dangerous position, 10 yards outside the Lambs penalty area with a straight line at goal.
Roberts struck the freekick himself but it was directly into the arms of Hedge and the keeper was forced to gather the ball at the second attempt when he and Meikle went for a high ball at the far post.
84: Tamworth made their third change of the match and Habergham's cross was punched away by Marriott.
88: Habergham sent a low ball from the left into the box and Francis got a deft flick on the chance, but it went agonisingly past the far post.
90: Hutchinson, Roberts and Meikle broke up field quickly from a Tamworth freekick which tait put into the box, but the latter of the Mansfield players was unable to curl his low shot inside the right hand upright and three minutes added time was shown.
Jonathan HEDGE, Richard TAIT, Sam HABERGHAM, Francino FRANCIS, Charlie REECE (Scott BARROW 61), Connor TAYLOR, Kieron ST. AIMIE (Kyle PATTERSON 55), Danny THOMAS, Kyle NIX (Liam McDONALD 84), Paul GREEN (c.), Nick MCKOY
Subs: Duane COURTNEY, Chez ISAAC
Mansfield Town Team:
Alan MARRIOTT (GK), Gary ROBERTS, Martin RILEY, Lindon MEIKLE, Exodus GEOHAGHON, Louis BRISCOE (Matt RHEAD 73), Ritchie SUTTON, Matt GREEN (Ben HUTCHINSON 87), Luke O'NEILL, Anthony HOWELL, Ross DYER
Subs: Shane REDMOND (GK), Andy TODD, Adam MURRAY
Yellow Cards: Roberts 76
Man of the Match: Tamworth Herald chose Connor TAYLOR
Referee: Mr. S. Martin
Tamworth 0-1 Stags
Sat 10 Mar 2012
mansfieldtown.net - Andrew Webb reports from The Lamb Ground
Resilient Mansfield Town extended their winning streak to five games as Matt Green's goal proved enough to defeat Tamworth at the Lamb Ground.
The Stags battled hard in order to claim all three points and as a result have now moved ahead of fellow play-off chasing rivals York City in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
Manager Paul Cox named the same starting 11 that recorded a superb away victory over Cambridge United on Tuesday, and it was the Stags that got proceedings underway on a glorious afternoon in Staffordshire.
Backed by a noisy contingent of 909 travelling fans, the Stags started brightly and after only three minutes Gary Roberts fired wide of the target from distance, following a corner from Luke O'Neill.
Mansfield pressed forward several times in the early exchanges and were awarded a dangerous looking free-kick on the edge of the Tamworth area after Nick McKoy tripped Lindon Meikle. However, O'Neill was unable to find the target with the set-piece, which sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
At the other end, Danny Thomas' almost picked out Charlie Reece in the area with a vicious left-wing cross on 12 minutes, but the home side fell behind less than 60 seconds later as Green recorded his 22nd goal of the season.
O'Neill's corner from the right caused pandemonium in the Tamworth penalty area as the Lambs were unable to clear the ball. Exodus Geohaghon rose highest and saw a powerful header spilled by goalkeeper Jonathan Hedge, before Green directed the ball into the net from close range to put Mansfield ahead.
More frantic scenes in the Lambs area soon followed when Hedge was forced to tip Ross Dyer's effort away from goal after Geohaghon had found the unmarked striker lurking on the edge of the area.
From the resulting corner, Tamworth looked nervous as Geohaghon directed a second header towards goal in the space of only a few minutes that Hedge failed to convincingly deal with. Luckily for the Lambs, Francino Francis was on hand to hack the ball away from goal, before the danger eventually fizzled out.
Dominant and dangerous in every attack, Mansfield continued to torment a Tamworth side that struggled in their attempts to break out of their own half. The Lambs were forced into defending a series of corners, whilst Hedge also had to be alert after a sloppy back-pass from Paul Green called him into action.
On the cusp of half-time, Briscoe set about on a driving run through the middle that ended with the Stags winning their eighth corner. O'Neill's cross reached Meikle at the back post, but unable to find a shooting opportunity for himself, he hooked a ball towards Martin Riley who headed over.
Nine minutes into the second-half, Kyle Nix saw a tame effort from 18 yards out equalled by a comfortable save from Alan Marriott as the Lambs searched for an equaliser.
Tamworth soon made a tactical change when Kyle Patterson replaced Kieron St.Aimee and it almost paid dividends within a few minutes as Marriott was forced to punch away a ball from the head of Francis after Thomas had whistled a ball into the area from the right.
On the hour mark Reece was substituted in favour of Scott Barrow, though chances remained at a premium and Tamworth's frustration was epitomised when Richard Tait delivered a wayward cross that sailed harmlessly into the open terrace behind the goal.
With 20 minutes remaining, the Lambs almost snatched an equaliser when Patterson received the ball on the inside-left and saw a low shot deflect off the body of Riley at the expense of a corner, which was powerfully headed over by Francis.
Seconds after Matt Rhead replaced Louis Briscoe, the Stags created their first meaningful chance of the second-half as Meikle outpaced Tait to reach a loose ball that was heading towards Hedge in the Tamworth goal. Forced out wide by the Lambs shot-stopper, Meikle crossed for Dyer, who saw a shot ricochet off Green, before Tamworth cleared the danger.
Influential midfielder Gary Roberts then blasted a centrally positioned free-kick from 35 yards straight at Hedge, as the game entered its final 10 minutes with the Stags still protecting their slender advantage.
Tamworth naturally attacked and Patterson was only inches away from an equaliser as his effort whistled the wrong side of Marriott's left-hand post on 86 minutes, before Tait saw a header drift away from the target as Mansfield were forced to defend.
Despite the pressure, however, the Stags held on for an important three points that maintains their push for a place in the play-offs and extends their winning streak to five consecutive matches ahead of the visit of table-topping Fleetwood Town on Tuesday evening.
Attendance: 1,600 (909 away).
Tamworth 0 Mansfield Town 1, Saturday 10th March
chad.co.uk report by Stehpehn Thirkill
FLYING Mansfield Town strengthened their grip on a play-off place with a vital 1-0 win away at Tamworth on Saturday.
Matt Green struck with his 23rd goal of the season with a classic poacher's tap in after Ross Dyer and Exodus Geohaghon both saw headers cleared off the line following an in-swinging corner from Luke O'Neill on 13 minutes.
Stags had dominated vast periods of the first-half, with Ross Dyer and Martin Riley both coming close with headers as Tamworth struggled to cope with O'Neill's menacing set-pieces.
And, although Stags were more sluggish in the second half as The Lambs came out with renewed fight, Mansfield always looked solid with Geogaghon and Riley dominant in defence.
It was yet another professional performance by Stags who further emphasised their promotion credentials to the delight of the 801 travelling fans with their fifth win on the trot and eighth win in 10 games.
Ahead of the game boss Paul Cox had labelled the match as the club's biggest of the season with rivals York City and Luton not in action.
The impressive win means Stags have now moved into fourth spot ahead of York City and stretched the gap on Kidderminster and Gateshead to seven points after both sides lost.
But Stags know that they will have to be at their very best on Tuesday night as they face what could be the toughest test of the season against Fleetwood Town.
Mansfield Town were unchanged going into the game, with new signing Danny Andew missing out on a place in the squad.
Skipper Adam Murray made a welcome return to the bench as Paul Cox kept faith with the side which defeated Cambridge United 2-1 in midweek.
Tamworth, who made seven changes from the team that played Mansfield two weeks ago were missing their top scorer Iyseden Christie through injury.
On-form Stags started the game brightly and won two corners within the first three minutes.
Gary Roberts also tried his luck with a pot-shot from distance, but, unlike his goal against Lincoln, he could only drag the ball well wide.
Tamworth should have done better on five minutes when Mansfield switched off at a corner. But Danny Thomas wasted a chance to shoot before being crowded out by three Stags' defenders.
The visitor's won a dangerous free-kick on the right angle of the penalty box after a jinking run by Lindon Meikle was brought to a halt with a foul on 10 minutes.
But free-kick specialist Luke O'Neill was unable to take full advantage as a he fired his effort high over Hedge's bar.
Stags were ahead after 13 minutes when Matt Green prodded home his 23rd goal of the season from virtually on the goal line after Tamworth had been unable to deal with Ross Dyer's initial flick-on and Exodus Geohaghon's close-range header from O'Neill's in-swinging corner.
The goal sparked chants of 'we are going up' from the large band of Mansfield supporters as Stags looked to tighten their growing grip on a play-off place.
Dyer nearly doubled Mansfield's lead after he powerfully headed a long Geoghagon throw goalward only to see Hedge smartly flick the ball to safety at the expensive of a corner on 20 minutes.
From O'Neill's resulting corner Dyer was once again denied after his goal-bound shot was blocked by a crowd of Tamworth defenders to deny Mansfield a deserved two goal cushion.
Tamworth fired a warning shot after 23 minutes when Francino Francis rose well before heading a Danny Thomas corner high over Marriott's crossbar.
Former Mansfield midfielder Kyle Nix showed his frustration after registering The Lambs first shot on target with a daisy-cutter on 37 minutes.
But it was largely one-way traffic at this stage as the quicker and sharper Stags continued to enjoy a firm grip on the entertaining contest.
In first-half stoppage time Martin Riley came close with two headers after he nearly connected well with another O'Neill inswinger.
Meikle then picked up the loose ball before directing the ball back into Riley's path, but he was unable to control his header.
After a scrappy start to the second half Tamworth began to turn the screw on the hour mark and won two corners in quick succession to put Stags on the back foot.
Mansfield registered their first effort of the second period on 63 minutes when Meikle and Briscoe combined well before Briscoe drilled his left-footed effort a few yards wide of Hedge.
Martin Riley had to be at his best to block a shot by Barrow out for a corner, after the substitute had broken into the box on 70 minutes.
Francis could have levelled the game from the resulting corner when he rose powerfully before directing his header over as the home side finally sprung into life.
Mansfield wasted a superb chance to put the game out of sight on 74 minutes when substitute Matt Rhead's flick-on was picked up by Meikle.
The winger then burst into the box before rounding Hedge. But, from a right angle, all he could do was pull the ball back to Dyer who was quickly crowded out.
Gary Roberts then rifled a fierce free-kick down Hedge's throat from all of 30 yards after he had been hacked down by Danny Thomas on 78 minutes.
Tamworth continued to push in the dying stages for the equaliser as Mansfield dropped deeper and deeper.
But Stags stood firm with Riley and Geoghagon capping solid performances at the heart of the defence.
TAMWORTH: Hedge, Tait, Habergham, Francis, Reece (Barrow 61 mins), Taylor, St. Aimie (Pattersson 55 mins), Thomas, Nix (McDonald 84 mins), Green. McKoy. Subs not used: Courtney, Isaac.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott, O'Neill, Riley, Geohaghon, Sutton, Briscoe (Rhead 73 mins), Roberts, Howell, Meikle, Green (Hutchinson 86 mins), Dyer. Subs not used: Redmond, Murray. Todd.
REFEREE: Mr S. Martin.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Exodus Geohaghon.
Tamworth 0 Mansfield Town 1
Nottingham Post report by Stevie Roden
A MATT Green strike in the 13th minute was enough to earn Mansfield Town a fifth successive win as they beat Tamworth today.
The close range effort following a Luke O'Neill corner helped the Stags keep a grip on a play-off place in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Stags dominated the first half but were put under pressure towards the end, although they were deserved winners in front of 909 travelling fans
Match report: Tamworth 0 Stags 1
Nottingham Post considered report by Stevie Roden
IT IS no longer wild optimism but instead belief borne out of very solid foundations when it comes to the issue of Mansfield Town reaching the Blue Square Bet Premier play-offs this season.
As the first five uneventful minutes played out at The Lamb on Saturday between the Stags and Tamworth, the far corner of the ground demonstrated just how much expectation is growing when it comes to a return to the Football League at the fourth time of asking.
In a packed stand behind the goal at the top of the slope, more Mansfield supporters marched into the ground, one by one, as the vast numbers arriving shortly before kick-off led to a queue outside and some missing the opening exchanges.
Thankfully for them, they missed little. But by the 13th minute, when Matt Green turned in what proved to be the winner from less than a yard out after a scrap in the Tamworth box, they were all in.
And that goal proved decisive, handing the Stags a fifth successive victory, moving them up to fourth and only one point off third-placed Luton Town.
Suddenly, their optimism, belief, call it what you will, is being repaid as the Stags prove they have a knack of winning games, no matter what the circumstances. In this case, it meant winning ugly.
In the last three seasons, by this point of the campaign, Stags fans have been left to contemplate another season out of the Football League, the adventure all but over until next August. But not this time.
The Stags are in the play-off places for a reason and just like he did at Eastwood Town before, boss Paul Cox is proving he can get that winning formula, putting a team together that can win whatever is thrown at them.
And Saturday was the perfect example. The Stags could have been a few goals up by half-time but only had Green's effort to their name. In the second, they were poor but held out, thanks to a stubbornness in their rearguard.
Cox had highlighted on many occasions the type of player that was missing from his squad, what was needed. And in Exodus Geohaghon at the back he has added not only experience but, as the weekend showed, a rock.
Winning everything in the air, he was also quick on his feet, sniffing out threatening Tamworth runs into the box with impeccably-timed tackles. That is not to mention his long throw-ins and threat in the opposite box.
And in Cox's former Eastwood striker, Matt Rhead, he now has that something he felt was needed, to help the Stags when the going gets tough. His physique might not be that of a natural athlete, but he is a defender's nightmare, as he proved by never losing a header when he came on, twice carving out good opportunities to double the lead with his precise flick-ons.
In truth, the whole match was far from a spectacle of slick football, more a growing, torturous battle the longer the game went on to pick up three points.
And the goal that ultimately proved the winner summed up the scrappiness of the match.
After 13 uninspiring minutes, Green notched his 22nd goal of the season to put the Stags ahead.
Luke O'Neill had wasted two corners early in the match, failing to beat the man at the front post but from the opposite side on the right, he produced a pinpoint ball and it paid off.
It picked out the head of Ross Dyer but the striker's powerful effort was stopped on the line and in the ensuing scramble Geohaghon tried to turn it over only for that to be stopped.
But Green, just half a yard out with his back to goal, got the decisive touch to finally put it in.
And from there, Mansfield dominated the half and should have had the points wrapped up by the break as they were rarely troubled by their hosts.
Jonathan Hedge reacted quickly to tip over Dyer's precise header from a long Geohaghon throw and from the resulting corner, after another scramble, Dyer had another shot charged down from close range.
It left the travelling faithful to wonder how it was still only one goal for their team while Tamworth had a couple of efforts from distance charged down before Francino Francis headed well over from a corner, as the hosts failed to find a way through. And just before the break, the Stags threatened again from an O'Neill corner, this time from the right, but Dyer failed to find the target with his attempted header before Riley, stretching at the back post, put Lindon Meikle's chipped cross over the bar.
In the 64th minute Meikle drove forward on the counter, he was thwarted but as the ball broke free, Louis Briscoe pounced, left-footed, but his instinctive effort from fully 20 yards went wide of Hedge's right-hand post.
That was the first sign of a Stags or Tamworth threat in the second period, as Mansfield kicked up the hill to where their fans packed the stand.
Tamworth piled on the pressure, as the diminutive striker Connor Taylor's fleet of foot began to cause trouble with his penetrating forward runs.
Taylor caused problems bursting in down the left channel before Ritchie Sutton intervened, sliding in at the front post to force a corner from which Francis had a free header, but luckily for Stags put it over.
Rhead replaced Briscoe later on for the Stags and straight away the burly striker's flick put Meikle in behind his marker, around the keeper but he ran out of room, pulling it back from the byline to the far post only to see Dyer's shot blocked.
But despite a nervous finale, Geohaghon and Riley were on their game to bring an abrupt end to any worrying Tamworth breaks, as they stood strong to help earn the clean sheet they had craved – the platform for the three points.
So yes, Cox continues to play it down, naturally calls for focus and that "nothing has ever been achieved in March". It is all about where they are on April 28, when they will know whether they have cemented a top-five spot.
But his comments and glint in his eye told its own story.
The gaffer is relishing 'squeaky bum time', not fearing it.
He believes, he knows. And the supporters know, given how they turned up in their numbers.
Mansfield do not just have a chance of making the play-offs, they have every chan
Latest | March 2012