DOMINANT STAGS WIN AGAIN IN ONE-SIDED GAME
Blue Square Bet Premier
Kettering Town 0 - 3 Mansfield Town
Meikle 14, Green 63, Rhead 85
Att: 1818 (877 from Mansfield)
Date: 7 April 2012
Martin Shaw at Nene Park
Mansfield Town were comfortable 3-0 winners in a very one-sided encounter at Nene Park against Kettering Town this afternoon. Mansfield should have had the game sewn up by half time, but only had Lindon Meikle's header from close range from Gary Roberts' magnificent cross to show for it. After Green hit the post early in the second half, finally the Stags opened up a crucial two-goal cushion when Green scored with a superb clinical finish on 63 minutes. After that, it was just a question of how many, and more chances went begging until sub Matt Rhead headed home from 12 yards from an O'Neill corner. Kettering caretaker player-manager Ashley Westwood was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow. It would have been 4-0 in the final minute of stoppage time, if the referee hadn't blown the final whistle seconds before sub Ben Hutchinson fired into the net. The Stags day couldn't have gone any better, with York, Southport and Luton all losing. Following the Christmas holiday games, the Stags have now won 12, drawn 2 and lost 2. An incredible run. If the Stags can keep this going then anything is possible. Kettering, with the exception of former Stag loanee Marcus Kelly, were frankly hopeless and their relegation was confirmed by this result and Stockport winning.
It is actually possible for Mansfield to confirm their place in the play-offs on Monday with a win over Stockport, together with defeats for Kidderminster, Southport and Gateshead.
Mansfield were roared on by a terrific following of 877, in a crowd of 1818; very nearly half the crowd.
Man of the match: Lindon Meikle (tight call, ahead of Riley, O'Neill and Roberts)
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Kettering 0-3 Mansfield Town, Saturday 7th April
CHAD report by John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town coasted to another three play-off points, relegating Kettering Town in the process, at Nene Park this afternoon.
Stags rarely left second gear as they easily overcame a poor home side with man of the match Lindon Meikle grabbing a first half goal and then Matt Green's 28th of the season and one from sub Matt Rhead completing the rout.
But it could have been many more had it not been for some wasteful finishing by Green and Ross Dyer and some excellent goalkeeping from Kelvin Jack in the home net.
A sad day for the Poppies was made even worse as their player-caretaker manager Ashley Westwood was sent off in stoppage time.
Mansfield, roared on by another superb away following of 877, simply did what they had to do against inferior opposition.
With defeats for play-off rivals Luton Town, Southport, and Southport, Stags are sitting pretty seven points clear in third with Stockport County the visitors to the One Call Stadium on Monday.
Stags skipper Adam Murray was rested for today's game. Murray has been having painkilling injections into his ankle for weeks.
Also, he is on nine bookings, with his slate set to be wiped clean by the league before Monday under BSBP rules. So it was decided it made sense to leave him out today, Anthony Howell coming into the centre of midfield and Alan Marriott skipper for the day.
The only other change was on the left wing where Lindon Meikle replaced Adam Smith.
Doomed Kettering included former Stags loanee Marcus Kelly, but were missing Aman Verma due to injury, and could only name four subs on their inexperienced bench.
Mansfield comfortably cleared the first two Kettering balls into their box in the opening two minutes from a York long throw and Mills centre.
On six minutes a long throw from Geohaghon was cleared back to him. He slipped a pass inside for Briscoe who cued up for Roberts, but his ballooned finish left the ground.
Home keeper Jack did well to smother a firm, low cross from the left after Meikle had got himself to the by-line.
Sutton did well to win the ball and then overlap Meikle for the return to get to the same by-line before disappointingly sending his cross for a goalkick.
Green should have opened the scoring on 12 minutes as Briscoe's early forward ball put Green one-on-one with the keeper to the right of the box. But Jack managed to get something on the finish and the ball bounced across goal and wide of the post for a corner.
However, Stags were ahead two minutes later. Ralph gave the ball away to Roberts who teased down the right touchline before finally hoisting in a fantastic cross that Meikle had only to stoop and head in almost on the goalline.
Green headed wide at the near post under pressure from Bridges soon after.
Stags were enjoy themselves now and only an offside flag denied Green going clear onto Meikle's through ball.
Mansfield then broke well from Kettering's first corner with Briscoe leading the charge before setting up Dyer to his left who would be disappointed to only find the sidenetting.
Kelly then did supremely well to get back and tackle Howell as Stags again broke quickly to go four on three in the home half.
Home player-caretaker manager Westwood forced a great one-handed save out his own keeper after a long Geohaghon throw skimmed off the top of his head towards his own goal.
Green saw his six yard shot hit the bar on 27 minutes, from a Geohaghon nod-down, only to see an offside flag raised anyway.
O 35 minutes Meikle cut in from the left and tried a low sidefooted finish which Jack parried to Dyer. But, from six yards and the keeper off-balance, the striker failed to find the net as Jack somehow got a touch which took the ball onto the bar and out for a corner.
Five minutes from the break Kelly worked an opening for Joyce on the right whose fierce shot only found the sidenetting, Marriot furious when the keeper gave Kettering a corner for his supposed 'save' which they then wasted.
There was more danger for Mansfield as O'Neill lost possession, Wyke broke well, fed the overlapping Kelly who, as he prepared to test Marriott was stopped by O'Neill's challenge as he got back to make amends.
In stoppage time the excellent Jack beat away a powerful Briscoe blast at his near post as Kettering clung on at just 1-0 down at the break.
Mansfield conceded a free kick in the opening seconds after the break which saw Marriott having to make a save as Kelly's 20 yard header on a York free kick flew on target.
Geohaghon's first throw of the half from the right was headed on by Dyer and Jack just managed to get there ahead of the incoming boot of Riley, stretching at the near post.
Stags really should have been two-up on 52 minutes.
A poor ball from Westwood gifted the ball to Meikle 20 yards from goal. He set up Green who, with Jack at his mercy, poked a finish against the near post.
The ball bounced out to Briscoe who made space for a thunderous shot that Jack managed to reach up and tip over.
Geohaghon almost bagged an unlikely second from a volleyed effort from 215 yards that bounced through everyone, taking a deflection before going wide.
Stags argued for a corner, but the referee gave the goalkick.
Meikle showed great tenacity when he chased a lost cause, outwitted two defenders, and managed to poke a weak on-target effort at goal at the end of it.
Rhead replaced Briscoe on 61 minutes, Dyer dropping to the right of midfield.
It seemed only a matter of time before Stags extended their lead – and it came on 63 minutes.
Howell launched the ball forwards from his own half for Green to chase. The striker accelerated superbly to get into the box, feinted to shoot with his right, but instead came inside Bridges before finishing sweetly with a low left-footed shot from 10 yards under Jack.
Three minutes later Marriott helped a 20 yard Kelly free kick over the top as it dipped towards goal over the wall.
Roberts might have added a third on 69 minutes after Meikle had got to the left by-line , drawn two defenders, and found Roberts. But the midfielder, having sidestepped a defender to make space to shot, pulled his low finish wide.
Rhead was furious to have his shirt firmly tugged in the box, but no penalty was forthcoming.
A neat move saw Meikle, Roberts and Green link-up to cue up Dyer for a first time 18 yard shot that flashed over.
That was Green's last involvement as he was replaced by Hutchinson for the last 15 minutes with Worthington taking over from Roberts three minutes later.
Mansfield fans began a conga in the stand at this stage as we entered the last 10 minutes.
And it was game-set and match on 85 minutes as O'Neill sent in a right wing corner and Rhead rose to plant an unstoppable header inside the left post from eight yards out.
Gray saw a low 20 yard free kick deflect wide for a corner as the home side looked for a late consolation.
Sutton's foul on York in stoppage time saw him shown the afternoon's first yellow card.
Then the home side's misery was complete a minute later as Westwood blocked off Hutchinson, was shown a yellow card then, presumable after saying something out of turn, was shown a red for 'foul and abusive language'.
Annoyingly the final whistle blew as Hutchinson sneaked in at the back post and might have added a fourth.
KETTERING: Jack, Sangare (Gray ht), Kelly, Westwood, Ralph, Mills, Bridges, Noubissie, Wyke (van Engle 77), Joyce, York. Subs not used: Ford, Petranyuk.
STAGS: Marriott; O'Neill, Riley Geohaghon, Sutton; Briscoe (Rhead 61), Roberts (Worthington 78), Howell, Meikle; Green (Hutchinson 75), Dyer. Subs not used: Redmond, Andrew.
REFEREE: John Hopkins of Essex.
ATTENDANCE: 1,818 (877 away).
GOALS: Stags - Meikle 14, Green 63, Rhead 85.
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Lindon Meikle
Poppies are relegated
Northants Evening Telegraph by Jon Dunham
Kettering Town have been relegated from the Blue Square Bet Premier after a 3-0 home defeat to play-off contenders Mansfield Town today.
The loss and Stockport County's win over Lincoln City was enough to finally put the hapless Poppies out of their misery.
The Poppies were soon on the back foot and Kelvin Jack made a fine save to deny Matt Green before the visitors took the lead on 14 minutes.
Gary Roberts sent over an inch-perfect cross from the right and Lindon Meikle got ahead of Max York to head home at the far post.
Ross Dyer shot wide of the mark after he was played in by Louis Briscoe as the Stags went for the kill but they were frustrated by Jack who palmed away a header from his own manager Ashley Westwood.
And he produced a fine double save to deny Meikle and then Dyer, whose rebound flicked off the goalkeeper and hit the crossbar on its way out.
Kettering's best chance came just before half-time when Marcus Kelly was played in by Charlie Wyke but Luke O'Neill did enough to put him off as he was about to shoot.
And there was still time for Jack to stop Briscoe's fierce strike before the break.
Mansfield started the second half well and Green smashed a shot off the post before Briscoe's follow-up was tipped over by Jack.
But they did get the crucial second goal just past the hour when Anthony Howell's ball over the top saw Green beat the offiside trap and he turned inside David Bridges before finishing it off for goal number 28 of the season.
Kelly had a free-kick tipped over by Alan Marriott in a rare Kettering effort before Roberts shot just wide for Mansfield.
The game petered out after that but the Stags did round things off with five minutes to go when substitute Matt Rhead beat Jack with a powerful header.
And Kettering's misery was complete in stoppage-time when player-boss Westwood was sent off for a foul on Ben Hutchinson.
Poppies: Jack; York, Westwood, Bridges Ralph; Sangare, (sub Gray, h-t), Kelly, Noubissie; Joyce, Wyke (sub van Engel, 77 mins), Mills. Subs not used: Ford, Petranuyk.
Mansfield: Marriott; O'Neill, Riley, Geohaghon, Sutton; Briscoe (sub Rhead, 61 mins), Roberts (sub Worthington, 78 mins), Howell, Meikle; Green (sub Hutchinson, 75 mins), Dyer. Subs not used: Redmond, Andrew.
Referee: John Hopkins.
Goals: Meikle (14 mins, 0-1), Green (63 mins, 0-2), Rhead (85 mins, 3-0).
Booking: Sutton (foul).
Sending-off: Westwood (foul).
KETTERING TOWN 0 - 3 MANSFIELD TOWN
Kettering's relegation from the Blue Square Bet Premier division was confirmed today as visitors, Mansfield Town, won 3-0 at Nene Park. The away goals were scored by Lindon Meikle (13 minutes), Matt Green (62) and substitute Matt Rhead (85).Kettering Caretaker Manager and Captain, Ashley Westwood was sent off at the end of the game after receiving two yellow cards.
With seven first teamers injured in the stand, Kettering were again up against it player wise and could only name four substitutes, including late addition from the youth set up, Taras Petranyuk.
For the Stags, Adam Smith and Adam Murray were replaced by Gary Roberts and Lindon Meikle in the starting eleven. Ex Poppies,Luke O'Neill and Exodus Geohaghon were in the line up.
Max York, playing at right back for Kettering, saw an early cross and long throw cleared by the Mansfield defence. Kelvin Jack- the home keeper- then took a low cross from Lindon Meikle.
The Stags slowly got into their stride and almost scored after 12 minutes. York's pass gave away possession and Matt Green was sent clear. Jack made a great save and Ashley Westwood tidied up as the ball ran across goal. The first goal came a minute later as Louis Briscoe's cross from the right was headed in at the far post by the diving Meikle.
Two minutes later, Luke O'Neill's cross was headed wide by Green. Kettering's first notable effort saw Westwood's quick free kick hurredly cleared for a corner. From this corner Mansfield broke very quickly and Ross Dyer may have done better with a clear chance as he shot into the side netting.
Mansfield were in control and yet another quick break saw Marcus Kelly do exceptionally well to get back and rob Anthony Howell as he shaped to shoot. Exodus Geohaghon was employing his long throws into the six yard box and only a foul on Jack stopped a possible goal on 24 minutes. Briscoe's shot was deflected wide on 31 minutes and three minutes later it could have been 2-0.Jack got down well to save from Meikle and as the ball ran loose he somehow managed to divert Dyer's follow up over the bar.
The Poppies finally managed to threaten and Kelly set up Joyce who shot into the side netting. Then Kelly was hampered by O'Neill in the penalty area as he shot but the Referee waived away penalty claims. Just before the break, Jack saved well from Briscoe's thunderbolt.
Kettering Town 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
James Gray replaced the anonymous Djoumin Sangare at half time. Early Poppies pressure came to nought before another Geohaghon long throw was headed on by Dyer for Jack to smother.
On 51 minutes Westwood lost the ball and Green had a clear chance hitting the post and Briscoe's follow up shot was tipped over by Jack. From the corner, Geohaghon's drive was deflected wide.
On the hour another mix up in the home defence saw Meikle gifted a shot but it was easy for Jack. The Poppies continued to create their own downfall, as again possession was lost in midfield, allowing Green to be released and this time he rounded Westwood and beat Jack with a low left foot shot to the keeper's left.
Marcus Kelly's free kick was tipped over by Alan Marriott and Ben Joyce saw his shot saved. Gary Roberts and Dyer shot wide for Mansfield, as they continued to dominate.
The game was sealed after 85 minutes as O'Neill's corner from the right was met by unmarked substitute Matt Rhead who headed in at the unguarded far post.
Finally Kelly's free kick was deflected wide and Westwood was dismissed for two late yellow cards.
Kettering Town 0 - 3 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 1818 (Away fans 877 )
Klondike Draw: (£200) Number: 4248 Winner: M. Eady
Poppies Trust Club 200 (£94) Number: 21 Winner: Gavin Millard
Kettering Town Match Sponsors: Great Bear Distribution Ltd. Poppies Man of the Match: Marcus Kelly
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