SUPER STAGS MAUL SHOT-LESS STOCKPORT
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 2 - 1 Stockport County
Smith 46, Briscoe 53. Rose 89
Att: 3883 (506 from Stockport)
Date: 9 April 2012
Martin Shaw at The One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town were impressive 2-1 winners against Stockport County, who didn't muster a shot of any description until the 89th minute, in another very one-sided encounter at a damp One Call Stadium on Monday afternoon. The Stags took the lead through Adam Smith's shot from 12 yards a minute into the second half, and then Louis Briscoe fired another contender for goal of the season, curling in a beautiful shot off the right post from the left hand side. The Stags were absolutely swarming all over the hapless Hatters for the remainder of the half, but incredibly, Stockport pulled a goal back in the 89th minute after a defensive mix-up by Ritchie Sutton and Martin Riley. The Stags hung on to claim the points and surely only a miracle would keep Mansfield out of the play-offs now. In fact, with five minutes remaining, the set of results that would have seen Mansfield confirm their play-off place today, was happening with Kidderminster, Southport and Gateshead all losing. But Kidderminster scored twice late on to win, and Southport equalised late on. It won't matter though and if the Stags can keep up this type of display, we will go into the play-offs as the form side. The Stags have won 13, drawn 2 and lost 2 of the 17 games since the Christmas holidays.
The Stags came into the game as the 4th top scorers in English football (after Fleetwood, Sheff Utd and Man Utd), and the recent superb run of form attracted a fine Bank Holiday crowd of 3883, which would probably have been even higher had it not rained all day. The pitch was soggy and in places in front of the West Stand looked very wet, but it actually seemed to play reasonably well in the circumstances. Paul Cox shuffled his pack, mindful of wanting rest some of his players only 48 hours after the win at Kettering, as Roberts, Meikle and Dyer were replaced by Murray, Smith and Rhead who came in for his first start.
Man of the match: Matt Rhead (tight call, ahead of Geohaghon, Briscoe and Murray)
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Mansfield Town 2-1 Stockport County, Monday 9th April
MAGNIFICENT Mansfield Town took another huge stride towards a place in the end of season play-offs with a 2-1 home win over Stockport County at the newly-named One Call Stadium this afternoon.
That made it 10 wins and a draw in 12 games for Paul Cox's men and only late goals by Kidderminster and Southport put the celebrations on ice for an extra week.
Strugglers Stockport battled doggedly in a first half short on chances.
But Adam Smith made the big breakthrough two minutes after the break, Louis Briscoe making it 2-0 six minutes later with his 11th of the season and seemingly clinching the win.
However, County bagged a reply a minute from time with their only effort on target to set up a needless nervous finale with four minutes added on.
But Stags stood firm and, near the end were definitely in the play-offs. However, Kidderminster turned their game on its head to win with two late goals while Southport also took a late point.
Mansfield made three changes as Gary Roberts, Lindon Meikle and Ross Dyer, all instrumental in Saturday's 3-0 win at Kettering Town, were rested.
Skipper Adam Murray and winger Adam Smith were brought into midfield while Rhead, scorer of the third goal on Saturday, made a full debut up front alongside 28-goal Matt Green and was man of the match with a dominant display.
Heavy morning rain left standing water in places before kick-off on a day when a Stags win coupled with defeats for rivals Kidderminster, Southport and Gateshead, could secure a play-off place for Paul Cox's men.
Chairman John Radford's programme notes stated that manager Paul Cox has 'agreed to sign' a contract extension, keeping him at the club until the end of next season.
Female referee Amy Fearn took charge of a Mansfield match for the second time this season, having officiated in the 1-1 draw at Bath City in November.
Stags almost scored in the opening seconds. Howell immediately put Green in space on the right and he floated the ball to the far post where Smith rose to nod it wide.
O'Neill was booked for slicing down Mainwaring with a late tackle on the touchline on three minutes, the Stockport man reacting angrily and shoving O'Neill, Howell stepping in to break them up.
Howell tried to slip Green clean through on seven minutes. With Piergianni pulling his shirt, play was allowed to continue and keeper King eventually spread himself to block Green's low finish.
The game erupted on 15 minutes as both sides squared up following two bad tackle.
First Smith seemed to jump in two-footed on Sheridan, leaving him in agony, and no foul was called.
Almost inevitably the other side quickly took their own retribution and Nolan scythed down Murray, sparking the shoving contest. In the end no cards were shown when the dust had settled.
There was a hold-up for treatment to Geohaghon after he took a blow to the head. Stags had to play on with 10 minutes as the big centre half was patched up on the touchline.
Howells set Green scampering away down the left on 27 minutes, the striker checking inside but then shooting tamely into the sidenetting with better options arriving.
Then Briscoe was well over from 20 yards from Green's lay-back as Stags continued to look the more menacing.
Two more successive home corners doubled Mansfield's flag kick tally, but neither saw King tested.
On 35 minutes Rhead's flick saw Green get to the by-line and then trick his way past a defender, appeared to be nudged off balance en route by Connor and, unable to stay up, finally tumbled. But the referee refused penalty appeals.
A swift Stockport break caught Mansfield short on 39 minutes only for Nolan's final ball in to sail too high over the head of the waiting Hattersley, who had taken up a great position in the centre.
As half-time approached, Mansfield won three successive corners. O'Neill's delivery was poor on the first two but, from the third, he found Riley sliding in at the back post, the defender only able to turn the ball into the sidenetting.
Amy Fearn had upset the home fans on more than one occasion with her decision-making.
But Stags had real issues with her a minute into stoppage time. Murray was clattered as he laid the ball to Rhead, whose instant first time flick had Green in on goal at the same time as the referee was whistling and bringing the game back for the foul on Murray.
Mansfield were incensed, Howell being shown a yellow card and home boss Paul Cox arguing the decision with her as they walked off for the half-time break at the end of 45 minutes short on chances.
But Stags roared ahead 67 seconds into the second half. Stockport failed to properly clear a long Geohaghon throw from the right, the ball bounced around and it finally fell to Smith who crashed home a deflected finish from 12 yards.
Like buses, soon two had arrived as Briscoe doubled the home side's tally with a moment of brilliance on 53 minutes.
Murray's anticipation won the ball on the edge of the box, the ball rolling to Briscoe who, 18 yards out to the left of centre, curled a first time superb finish around the helpless King and in off the far post.
O'Neill got a 20 yard free kick on target on 63 minutes, King safely behind it.
Then Newton's sliding challenge on O'Neill earned him a 66th minute caution.
Stockport made a double change, but Stags continued to press and Smith was too high after cutting in from the left to try a right-footed finish from 20 yards.
Howell flicked on a Geohaghon throw right across the face of goal with no one able to reach it.
At this point Meikle replaced Smith on the Mansfield left for the final 27 minutes, Roberts then taking over from Murray a minute later.
On 77 minutes, from an O'Neill corner, Geohaghon had a header cleared off the line, Briscoe suffering the same fate from the follow-up.
Then Green got in ahead of King to reach a near post Briscoe centre, but the angle grew too tight as he could only turn the ball into the sidenetting.
Marriott raced out his box to make a tackle on 81 minutes, but kicking the ball away afterwards earned him a booking.
At this stage, all three challengers Gateshead, Southport and Kidderminster were losing and Stags were in the play-offs if the scores all stayed this way.
Green was booked for a late challenge with the keeper on 85, seconds later Rhead leaving the field to huge applause after a fine full debut to be replaced by Dyer.
Stags had been totally dominant all afternoon. But a minute from time Stockport pulled one back with their first effort on target.
Elliott ran down the right, played it inside to Nolan, who helped it to his left where sub Rose curled a superb finish beyond the reach of Marriott.
That left a nervous four minutes of added time.
County threw everything forward, though a Stags break might have seen Dyer seal it only forf Connr to slide in and rob him before he could tuck away Green's through ball.
Stockport forced a late corner which was cleared to Rowe, who blazed over the final chance from 20 yards as Stags all but sealed their play-off spot, late goals for Kidderminster and Southport making then hang on an extra week.
STAGS: Marriott; O'Neill, Geohaghon, Riley, Sutton; Briscoe, Murray (Roberts 74), Howell, Smith (Meikle 73); Green, Rhead. Subs not used: Redmond, Andrew.
STOCKPORT: King, Nolan, Hattersley (Rose 68), Sheridan (Darkwah 55), Newton, Halls, Mainwaring (Rowe 68), Elliott, Piergianni, Turnbull, Connor. Subs not used: Ormson, Whitehead.
REFEREE: Amy Fearn of Leicestershire.
ATTENDANCE: 3,883 (506 away).
Match report: Stags 2, Stockport 1
Nottingham Post report by Stevie Roden
AFTER a remarkable surge into the play-off places, the goal for Mansfield Town has always been to stay there.
Going into yesterday's match with Stockport, the Stags knew they could secure their top-five berth should they win and other results go their way.
Mansfield did their job in a 2-1 win but Southport and Kidderminster picked up points to stay in the hunt and it means the Stags have to go to Hayes and Yeading on Saturday to mathematically make sure of their place in the top five – although realistically they are almost there with three games to spare.
Despite a scrappy first half yesterday, Paul Cox's men found the net twice in the first eight minutes of the restart and it paved the way for a tenth win in 12 games, reaching the magical 80-point mark.
Adam Smith and Louis Briscoe struck to secure the three points required, although Jordan Rose pulled one back late on to make for a nervy finish.
It keeps the Stags third in the Blue Square Bet Premier and in form as they gathered further momentum over the Bank Holiday weekend by taking a maximum six points from two games.
After Saturday's win at Kettering, boss Cox made three changes to his starting line-up. Gary Roberts, Lindon Meikle and Ross Dyer were given a break with Smith and Adam Murray returning to midfield and striker Matt Rhead given his first start in a Mansfield shirt.
Straight from the kick off Anthony Howell fed Matt Green down the left of the box and in return he picked out Smith at the far post but the winger's effort was weak, never troubling Lewis King in the Stockport goal.
Mansfield's Luke O'Neill rattled into Matty Mainwaring straight in front of the visiting dugout, earning him a yellow card after less than two minutes.
The Stags could have taken the lead as Howell once again turned provider, slipping Green into the box on the right.
Carl Piergianni was tugging at the striker's shirt but he kept on his feet, only to be denied by King from six yards.
Tempers flared in the 14th minute after Smith appeared to go in late on Sam Sheridan, leaving the Stockport man in a heap only for referee Amy Fearn to allow play to go on. Then, when Stags skipper Adam Murray was chopped down by Jon Nolan and a free kick awarded seconds later, the visiting players reacted furiously, as both sets of players clashed.
No players were cautioned and after a scrappy period, Howell showed a fantastic touch to send a low ball down the left channel for Green.
But after cutting inside, he lacked options and took on the shot, only to pull it into the side netting before Briscoe tried his luck from 20 yards with a first-time effort, sending it sailing high and wide.
Ten minutes prior to the break, Green nutmegged Sean Newton inside the box, darted across the byline and appeared to be pulled down by the defender, but the referee had a different view, much to the fury of the Stags players.
The breakthrough almost came on the stroke of half-time, O'Neill's corner finding Riley sliding in at the far post but he turned it the wrong side of the upright.
Then the best piece of play in the first-half saw Murray and Rhead exchange quick passes to put Green through on goal.
But the referee failed to play the advantage, pulling the game back for a foul on Murray, incensing everybody of a Stags persuasion inside the ground.
Just 67 seconds into the second-half, the Stags were in front.
Geohaghon's long throw from the right into the box caused problems and after Green battled for the ball, it broke to Smith and, via a deflection, his drilled effort flew into the back of the net.
And on 53 minutes the lead was doubled in emphatic fashion.
Murray dispossessed Tom Elliott on the edge of the Stockport box, played it to Briscoe on his left and from the edge of the area, he fired an unstoppable shot in off the post and into far top corner.
Suddenly, Stockport looked drained of belief after conceding two quick-fire goals and on 70 minutes, a confident looking Smith cut in from the left and opened up, but was way off target from more than 20 yards.
With some tired looking legs on both sides, it was to be Smith's last offering as he made way for Meikle and Gary Roberts replaced Murray.
With 13 minutes left, Stockport twice cleared off the line from O'Neill's corner, first from Geohaghon and then Briscoe before Briscoe crossed from the right and Green met it at the front post, finding the side netting from a tight angle.
In the 89th minute, sloppy play allowed Rose time and space in the Stags box and he made no mistake, curling a effort beyond Alan Marriott with Stockport's first shot of the game – but the Stags had already done enough.
Mansfield: Marriott, O'Neill, Geohaghon, Riley, Sutton, Briscoe, Murray (Roberts, 74), Howell, Smith (Meikle, 73), Rhead (Dyer, 86), Green. Subs: Redmond, Andrew.
Stockport: King, Nolan, Hattersley (Rose, 68), Sheridan (Darkwah, 55), Newton, Halls, Mainwaring (Rowe, 68), Elliott, Piergianni, Turnbull, Connor. Subs: Ormson, Whitehead.
Referee: Amy Fearn (Leicestershire)
Attendance: 3,883 (506 visitors)
Mansfield 2 Stockport County 1
Stockport County's three-game winning run ended at Field Mill, but Jim Gannon's side still look odds-on to beat the drop.
A solid rearguard action from the Hatters kept promotion-chasing Mansfield at bay in the first half as the County back four defended resolutely against a powerful Stags side.
Mansfield almost went in front in the first minute when Adam Smith headed wide of the post with the goal at his mercy from Matt Green's pinpoint cross.
Keeper Lewis King came to County's rescue five minutes later when he charged out to block a shot from the Stags' leading goal scorer Green.
The Stags' best chance came on the stroke of half time from an inswinging corner which found Martin Riley unmarked at the far post, but as Riley slid in to connect with his right foot, both man and ball slid wide of the post and into the side netting.
County had weathered the storm in the first half, but two quick-fire goals from the home side immediately after the restart put the Stags in the driving seat.
County failed to clear a long throw to present the first to Adam Smith, before a stunning 25-yard curler from Louis Briscoe doubled Mansfield's lead.
The Hatters didn't manage a single shot until the final minute of the game when some great work from Tom Elliott on the wing allowed Jon Nolan to tee up substitute Jordan Rose who curled a sublime shot around Andy Marriott to jangle a few nerves at Field Mill, but the Stags hung on in stoppage time to keep their play off dreams alive.
But with Hayes & Yearding losing at Luton, County remain six points clear of the drop.
Stockport County (4-3-1-2): King 7; Halls 7 Connor 9 Piergianni 8 Newton 7; Sheridan 6 (Darkwah 53, 6) Turnbull 6 Mainwaring 6 (Rowe 67, 6) ; Nolan 6; Elliott 6 Hattersley 6 (Rose 67, 7)
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