STEVENSON AND SPEIGHT EARN THE POINTS
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 2 - 0 Braintree Town
Stevenson 42, Speight 86.
Attendance: 2049 (32 from Braintree)
Date: 15 September 2012
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town picked up a fourth successive home victory, and a fifth win in 7 games, with a 2-0 success over mid-table Braintree Town on Saturday afternoon. It wasn't a vintage encounter, but Lee Stevenson's low finish just before half-time, followed by a fine finish by Jake Speight on 86 minutes, were enough to earn the points.
Stagsnet player ratings in the match centre
Stags earn fourth straight home win
mansfieldtown.net report by Andrew Webb
Mansfield Town earned their fourth consecutive home success with victory over Braintree Town at One Call Stadium.
Lee Stevenson fired the Stags ahead with a close range finish on the cusp of half-time, before Jake Speight sealed the points late on with his fourth strike of the season.
On what was a warm and glorious afternoon in North Nottinghamshire, Mansfield created the first opportunity after only two minutes when midfielder Chris Clements fired over from 20-yards out, after a dangerous long throw from Exodus Geohaghon was only partially cleared by the Iron defence.
James Mulley scuffed a six-yard shot straight into the arms of Alan Marriott the other end, before Speight angled a low shot wide of the target after capitalising on Matt Paine's poor attempted clearance.
Braintree acquitted themselves well in the early exchanges and again came close when talisman Sean Marks connected with a fabulous right-wing cross from Brad Quinton and flicked a near-post header narrowly over the target.
Nevertheless, the Stags should have opened the scoring on 21 minutes as bustling striker Matt Rhead powered a header straight at Iron shot-stopper Danny Naisbitt, despite being left unmarked inside the area as Clements delivered a corner from the right.
Chances proved to be few and far between until the half-hour mark when Marriott expertly tipped a powerful near-post volley from Adam Bailey-Dennis round the woodwork. From the resulting corner, Marks flicked a header just wide of the target as Braintree began to enjoy their best period of the game.
Less than a minute later, Speight thought he had fired the Stags ahead. The striker crashed a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area, but was denied his fourth goal of the campaign as the linesman had judged him to have strayed into an offside position.
The visitors from North Essex created a golden opportunity shortly before half-time, from which they should have scored the opening goal.
Debutant Ryan Tafazolli lost possession on the halfway line, which allowed Marks to pick up the ball and set about on a driving run through the middle. The Braintree front man then somewhat selfishly hit a low 20-yard shot wide of the target, much to the anger of his team-mates, two of whom had been left unmarked either side of him.
Braintree paid the ultimate price only three minutes prior to the interval as Mansfield went ahead.
The industrious Clements sent a long clearance down the right-flank, which inadvertently put Speight through on goal. After crafting his way into the area, Iron centre-back Paine managed to halt the run of the Stags striker with a well-timed challenge, but Stevenson was on hand to fire the resulting loose ball into the bottom corner.
Rhead almost doubled the advantage when he attempted to chip an out-of-position Naisbitt five minutes after the re-start, but Braintree carved out an opportunity of their own soon afterwards, as Bailey-Dennis powered a 30-yard shot high over the woodwork.
Naisbitt saved well from Speight just before the hour-mark as Mansfield again threatened to double their lead, yet it was their opponents who saw the majority of the ball as the second half progressed.
However, despite all their possession and movement in and around the Stags box, Alan Devonshire's outfit proved unable to create any clear-cut opportunities and claim the equaliser they so desperately craved.
As the game meandered towards its inevitable conclusion, Clements drove a low effort wide of the target from 25-yards out, whilst Naisbitt was forced to scurry across goal in order to keep out a teasing cross-cum-shot from Junior Daniel.
With less than five minutes on the clock, Speight killed off any lingering hopes that Braintree might have had of a comeback by netting the second goal of the afternoon.
The impressive Daniel, who earned the fans' 'Man of the Match' accolade, played Speight into a one-on-one with Naisbitt, with a fabulous long cross-field ball out of defence, and the striker maintained his composure as he advanced goalwards and coolly slotted beyond an advancing keeper.
The Stags have now moved up to eighth position in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
Attendance: 2,049 (32 away supporters).
Mansfield Town 2-0 Braintree, Saturday 15th September
chad.co.uk report By John Lomas
Published on Saturday 15 September 2012
IT may not have been the best or prettiest of displays, but Mansfield Town ground out a much-needed gutsy 2-0 win over Braintree Town at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.
In a scrappy game, Lee Stevenson's poaching instincts finally put the home side ahead three minutes from the break.
Home fans then had to wait until four minutes from time before Jake Speight ran clear to expertly seal the three hard-earned points.
Although manager Paul Cox will want more from his side going forward, he will at least be delighted with a clean sheet and the face that the visitors were not allowed a single shot on target all afternoon.
Cox made wholesale with five players brought in and a new formation.
With star striker Matt Green suspended and Lindon Meikle rested to the bench after his midweek exploits with England C, Cox also dropped Luke Jones, Anthony Howell and Louis Briscoe.
Cox went 3-4-1-2 with Ryan Tafazolli making his debut in a three-man defence, Lee Beevers, Lee Stevenson and Chris Clements brought into midfield, and Jake Speight starting for the first time up front.
Part-timers Braintree could only name four subs.
Geohaghon had the opportunity to hurl in a long throw in the opening minute from the left which was cleared to Clements, who met it with a rising drive that cleared the crossbar.
A loose header across his own box by Tafazolli saw Bailey-Dennis plant the ball back in front of goal where, had Holman's outstretched leg made contact, Braintree would have been ahead.
Braintree replied with a right wing cross from Quinton that saw Marks send a backheader over the top from inside six yard box.
Then, when Marriott came to collect a free kick, he found Rhead in the way and the ball bobbled to Mulley who dragged it wide with the keeper well out of position.
There was fury on 15 minutes as Daniel slid in to win a hard but perfectly fair tackle on Symons, both players hurt in the process. Braintree wanted Daniel red-carded but, after treatment to both players, the referee rightly kept his cards firmly in his pocket.
Mansfield's best chance so far arrived on 21 minutes as Clements pulled the home side's first corner back towards Rhead who powered a free header from 10 yards straight down the centre at keeper Naisbett.
Sutton's tackle caught Mulley late to earn a 27th minute booking, Symons seeing a follow-up shot blocked from the half-cleared free kick.
Stags then cleared a 31st minute corner as far as Paine who slotted a great ball back over the advancing defenders to Bailey-Dennis to the left of goal who, from a tight angle, forced Marriott to save with his knees.
Speight was adjudged to have fouled his man two minutes later before slamming home a volley from 10 yards.
When Murray failed to win a sliding tackle on 33 minutes Marks ran on towards the edge of the box where he fired wide of Marriott's right hand post.
The breakthrough came on 42 minutes for Mansfield after a neat bit of skill from Clements on the edge of his own box.
Skilfully losing his opponent, he sent a long ball forward for Speight to chase. The striker tried to cut in between two defenders but was blocked off. But the ball ran invitingly towards Stevenson whose low 12-yard finish found the net.
Mansfield survived a worrying scramble when Sutton got in the way of a poked effort by Mulley as we entered three minutes of stoppage time.
Rhead had the first shy at goal after the break as a loose pass from Peters with the keeper out of position briefly saw the goal unguarded. But Naisbett recovered his ground quickly as Rhead hoisted the ball accurately at the goal from 30 yards where the keeper made the catch.
Braintree won two corners after Tafazolli did well to outjump Marks at the far post.
Clements was booked for dissent after conceding a free kick on 56 minutes.
A minute later Speight forced Naisbett to parry a low 25 yard effort.
The game continued to be anxious and disjointed for the home side, Rhead firing a low shot into the sidenetting on 76 minutes.
A low Clements cross then deflected wide of the far post as Mansfield continued to labour for a killer second goal.
It finally arrived four minutes from time thanks to a superb crossfield forward ball from Daniel on the left. Speight timed his run well to stay onside and he raced clear before lifting a sublime finish over the dive of Naisbitt.
Braintree sub O'Connor went in late on Daniel to earn the visitors' first yellow card a minute from the end of the 90 which then saw five added minutes in which Mansfield comfortable protected the clean sheet.
STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Geoghagon, Tafazolli; Beevers, Clements, Murray, Daniel; Stevenson; Rhead (Howell 82), Speight (Meikle 87). Subs not used: Briscoe, Thompson, Jones.
BRAINTREE: Naisbett; Peters, Wells, Paine, Bailey-Dennis; Mulley (O'Connor 76), Symons, Quinton, Sparkes (Dawkin 67); Holman, Marks. Subs not used: McDonald, Habergham.
REFEREE: Wayne Barratt of Bromsgrove.
ATTENDANCE: 2,049 (32 away).
CAUTIONS: Stags – Sutton 27, Clements 56. Braintree – O'Connor 89
Match report: Mansfield Town 2 Braintree Town 0
Nottingham Post report by freelance
MANSFIELD Town may have spluttered and stuttered at the start of this season but a fourth consecutive home victory over Braintree Town may suggest they are finally finding their feet.
Goals at the end of both halves from Lee Stevenson and Jake Speight finally settled the nerves at the One Call Stadium.
And with the Stags now up to eighth place, manager Paul Cox will be hoping those early-season horrors have been consigned to the memory banks and Mansfield can continue to push on.
Mansfield started well and could have taken the lead as early s the second minute.
And it came from very much a familiar source. Exodus Geohaghon's long throw into the box – such a potent weapon in the Stags' attacking armoury – was only partially cleared by the visiting defence and Chris Clements fired over from 20-yards.
There was an alarm at the other end though as James Mulley scuffed a six-yard shot straight into the arms of Alan Marriott, before Speight fired a low shot wide after latching onto a poor defensive clearance.
Braintree were still a threat and Sean Marks flicked a near-post header just over the bar from Brad Quinton's cross.
The Stags should have opened the scoring on 21 minutes.
Striker Matt Rhead found himself unmarked from a Clements corner but could only direct his header straight at Braintree keeper Danny Naisbitt.
Marriott was then called into action at the other end, tipping away a powerful near-post volley from Adam Bailey-Dennis. From the corner, Marks flicked another header just wide.
Less than a minute later, Speight thought he had fired the Stags ahead. He smashed a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area, only to be denied by the linesman's flag.
Braintree then wasted a great chance. Ryan Tafazolli lost possession on the halfway line, which allowed Marks to run through. He hit a low 20-yard shot wide with two unmarked team-mates screaming for the ball.
Braintree were made to pay for that miss three minutes before the break.
Clements' long clearance sent Speight through on goal. Braintree defender Paine managed to get in a tackle but Stevenson was on hand to fire the loose ball into the bottom corner to lift the mood among the home fans.
Rhead almost added a second when he attempted to chip an out-of-position Naisbitt five minutes after the re-start.
Naisbitt saved well from Speight just before the hour-mark as Mansfield again threatened, yet it was the visitors who increasingly saw the majority of the ball but without a cutting edge.
Any home nerves were settled four minutes from time. Junior Daniel's cross-field pass found Speight and he kept his cool to slot the ball past the advancing keeper.
Mansfield Town: Marriott, Sutton, Tafazolli, Geohaghan, Clements, Beevers, Murray, Stevenson, Daniel, Speight (Meikle, 87), Rhead (Howell, 81). Other subs: Thompson, Jones, Briscoe.
Braintree: Naisbitt, Peters, Bailey-Dennis, Paine, Wells, Quinton, Symons, Sparkes (Dawkin, 67), Mulley (O'Connor, 75), Marks, Holman, Other subs: McDonald, Habergham.
Referee: Wayne Barratt (Bromsgrove).
Attendance: 2,049 (32 away supporters).
Iron pay for profligacy in Stags defeat
FOR the second successive week on the road the Iron returned home empty-handed but unlike the previous week's controversial ending at Macclesfield there can be no such excuses for this defeat.
The Iron promised so much throughout the game but never actually delivered, particularly in attack where they had only one shot on target all afternoon.
The home side had half a dozen and goals at the end of each half from Lee Stevenson and Jake Speight secured all three points for the home side and they fully deserved them.
Playing with three centre-backs the Mansfield's rearguard looked solid enough throughout what was an entertaining gam, but the Iron simply couldn't break them down and find their way through to goal.
Add to that some, at times, dreadful passing by the Iron players who towards the end were left humping hopeless long balls forward in a bid to break through.
The Iron definitely missed injured skipper Kenny Davis while on loan striker Michael Gash was back playing for his own club Cambridge United in their home draw with AFC Telford and he was certainly missed leading the line.
Iron manager Alan Devonshire said he was also bitterly disappointed with the result adding: "We should have done much better particularly when attacking and in the first half when we had three or four good chances to have scored.
"At this level of the game you have to take those chances when they come along, if not you pay the penalty for missing them and that's what happened to us today.
"I've still a young side and they are still learning but we need to find the net when we have some chances.
"In the second half we just didn't seem to pass the ball to each other properly and if you don't at this level you get quickly punished.
"They are a big side, particularly at the back, so you've got to work your way around them but we didn't and disappointingly nobody took on that responsibility."
The first half of this game was poor, but the Iron had at least a couple of chances with Adam Bailey-Dennis perhaps having the best opportunity to score and both Brad Quinton and Nicky Symons worked hard in midfield to try and get the ball forward into dangerous areas.
Sadly striker Sean Marks has yet to discover his form of last season while young Danny Holman worked hard but found it tough going up against three, big central defenders and with no Gash the front line was not strong enough to make any real impact on the home defence.
Marks, James Mulley and Holman all missed first half goal opportunities.
At the back Dean Wells had another top performance and in general the Iron rearguard put in an excellent shift.
The home side broke the deadlock on 42 minutes when Stevenson, in typical goal poaching fashion, sneaked the ball off the Iron defence to fire home a low shot past Danny Naisbitt.
The affect of scoring before half-time is often talked about, but it seemed harsh on the Iron after creating the better chances.
Sadly the second half was not so productive for the Iron who huffed and puffed .
Naisbitt pulled off a couple of good saves but up at the other end the home defence were having a much easier ride.
The victory clinching second goalcame two minutes from time when Speight beat the Iron offside trap to skip through and plant the ball into the net giving Naisbitt no chance
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