WRETCHED STAGS BEATEN AWAY AT DARTFORD
Blue Square Bet Premier
Dartford 2 - 0 Mansfield Town
Bradbrook 45+1, Hayes 45+2
Attendance: 1737 (approx 100 from Mansfield)
Date: 26 October 2012
Martin Shaw at Princes Park
A wretched performance from Mansfield in front of the cameras on free-to-air television saw the Stags fall to yet another away defeat as Dartford moved into third place. An incredible 30 seconds in stoppage time at the end of the first half saw all the goals as Bradbrook scored the first from the edge of the box, and Mansfield committed suicide as Gary Roberts gave the ball away within seconds of the restart and the impressive Ryan Hayes made them pay with a brilliant finish. Mansfield played some ugly football typified by Matt Green continuing to look a shadow of his former self from last season, continually receiving the ball in positions that didn't make the most of his talents, and in the midfield Gary Roberts, who was quite outstanding last season, continually trying to play ineffective long balls over the top to the strikers, giving the ball away, and cutting a hugely frustrated figure. If Paul Cox is going to persist with this style of football, then he simply has to get a replacement for Ross Dyer of equal quality to the man who is out for the season, yet Cox made it clear in a recent interview that no more players will be coming to the club. The team and the formation is constantly chopped and changed and five defeats in 7 away games with 21 goals conceded tells its own story. If the away form doesn't change straight away, then promotion hopes will be a pipe dream.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match centre
Dartford 2 Mansfield Town 0 - 26th October, 2012
chad.co.uk report, By Stephen Thirkill
TWO goals in as many minutes saw struggling Mansfield Town crash to a 2-0 defeat away at high-flying Dartford in front of the television cameras on Friday night.
An inch perfect strike by Elliot Bradbrook right on the stroke of half-time gave The Darts the lead, before man-of-the-match Ryan Hayes curled another brilliant effort past Mitchell just seconds later to double Mansfield's pain.
As brilliant as both strikes were, Mansfield's under-fire boss Paul Cox was left livid with the time and space both men had found, particularly the second goal which came straight from the kick-off after Gary Roberts gave the ball away.
Up until that point Stags had competed well in midfield and looked solid at the back, with Matt Rhead coming close to firing the visitors ahead on 38 minutes.
But, despite an improved showing in the second half following a switch in formation to 4-4-2, Mansfield were unable to find a breakthrough as both Meikle and Briscoe fired over from good positions.
The defeat further increases the pressure on boss Paul Cox as Stags, with just four away points under their belts, continue to struggle badly on the road.
The loss leaves Stags languishing in 10th spot, six points of a play-off place, while impressive Dartford climbed up to third in the table.
Mansfield Town made three changes for the televised clash with high-flying Dartford as defenders Exodus Geogahgon and Ryan Tafazolli returned to the starting line-up
Goalkeeper Mitchell was also recalled at the expense of Shane Redmond after his parent club Notts County had refused permission for him to play against Workington in the FA Cup.
Stags, who last won away against Kidderminster in August, went into the game with renewed confidence after successive victories against Forest Green and Workington and two clean sheets in their last three outings.
But it was Dartford who came closest to opening the scoring after just four minutes when Hayes' powerful shot was superbly blocked for a corner by the diving John Dempster.
The visitors had their first attempt on goal after 13 when Geohaghon latched on to a chested knock down by Speight on the edge of the box before rifling his effort well wide.
Hayes against showed his threat down the right flank for The Darts on 19 minutes when his dangerous inswinging cross was hacked away inside the six yard box by well-placed Andy Todd.
Moments later Harris was inches away from connecting with a deep cross from Noble after he drifted away from Geohaghon.
Mitchell comfortably gathered a Bradbook header on 29 minutes as Dartford, who had already won five times at home this season, looked the most likely to score.
Vetaran Andy Todd then fired a shot into the side netting from an acute angle seconds later as Mansfield broke well from the Dartford attack.
Former Stags striker Adam Birchall should have done better on the half hour mark when he was picked out by the lively Hayes after a surging run.
But Birchall failed to wrap his right foot around the ball and sent his shot wide of the diving Mitchell after he had pulled away at the far post.
Matt Rhead showed both his strength and skill on 38 minutes as he held the ball up before spinning and rifling a blistering drive, which was tipped over brilliantly by the flying Bettinelli.
Liam Mitchell showed what he could do in the Mansfield goal on 43 minutes when he got down well to his left to parry away a left footed effort by Birchall.
Speight angled an effort just wide of Bettinelli's post right on half-time after a well worked training ground move from a Roberts free-kick.
Green then ran at the defence well before firing hard shot low and hard at Bettinelli's as Mansfield began to up the pressure.
But right on half-time, Stags were punished for failing to clear their lines from a cross as Elliot Bradbrook picked up the ball and hit an inch perfect shot from 20 yards low into the corner of Mitchell's goal to give Dartford the lead.
And it got even worse for Stags a minute later when the ever lively Hayes picked up a loose ball before bursting into space down the right wing to curle an unstoppable shot into the top corner to leave Stags shellshocked.
Stags reverted to a 4-4-2 formation at the start of the second half as Lindon Meikle and Ritchie Sutton were brought on at the expense of Matt Rhead and Ryan Taffazoli.
But it was the confident home start, who had not won in their last four, who continued to look the most dangerous as Hayes rifled over a free kick on 50 minutes.
Wallis warmed the palms of Mitchell from a narrow angle on 58 minutes as free-flowing Dartford carved open their latest opportunity.
And it really should have been 3-0 seconds later when Wallis got goalside of the Stags defence.
But with time and space in abundance, he somehow dragged his shot wide off the post to keep Stags' flickering hopes alive.
Substitute Louis Briscoe wasted another chance for Stags when he blasted over from the edge of the box on 63 minutes when the home defence were caught napping from a Gary Roberts corner.
Meikle showed his first flash of brilliance on 71 minutes when he cut inside the full-back after good work by Roberts before curling his effort a foot over the bar.
Stags continued to struggle against the threat of Hayes as he cut inside to beat three men before he was hacked down by Todd on the edge of the box with 10 minutes to go.
DARTFORD: Bettinelli, Rose, Bonner, Hayes (Rogers 84 mins), Wallis, Bradbrook, Harris (Collier 90 +1), Noble, Arber, Birchall (Erskine 81 mins), Burns. Subs not used: Wells, Crawford.
MANSFIELD: Mitchell; Geohaghon, Dempster, Tafazolli (Sutton 45 mins), Todd, Roberts, Howell, Daniel (Briscoe 60), Speight, Green, Rhead (Meikle 45 mins) Subs not used: Meikle, Briscoe, Sutton.
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jake Speight.
Away woes go on as Mansfield punished again
Nottingham Post report by freelance
MANSFIELD Town headed south desperate to halt their dismal form on the road in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
After shipping 19 goals in six away league matches, it had to be rectified and two consecutive clean sheets on home soil had given them confidence.
So for the first 45 minutes of last night's game, which passed by without much incident, manager Paul Cox would have been happy with what was unfolding.
But then the frailties that have plagued them all season came back to haunt them as they conceded twice in the last 30 seconds of stoppage time at the end of the first-half.
First, they switched off from a quick throw-in and Elliot Bradbrook made them pay.
If that infuriated Cox, what was to follow from the kick-off left him totally dazed.
Gary Roberts lazily played a sideways pass, Ryan Hayes intercepted and burst up the right flank before firing into the top corner to double the advantage.
Instead of goalless at the break, everything to play for, it was the same old story, a mountain to climb.
And in the end, Mansfield could not carve out the chances required to break down a part-time Dartford side high on confidence and high on work-rate and were made to pay for that 30 seconds of madness.
Mansfield made three changes with Exodus Geohaghon and Ryan Tafazolli returning from injury and Liam Mitchell taking over the gloves from Shane Redmond, after not being allowed to play in the FA Cup by his parent club Notts County last weekend. Luke Jones and Ritchie Sutton were the other two to drop out.
Within three minutes, Dartford broke at pace and Hayes fired a dangerous low shot that was diverted over the bar by the outstretched leg of John Dempster, who dived in to block.
It was the visitors under pressure again when Hayes whipped in a delivery from the right and with Lee Noble about to pounce, Andy Todd volleyed away on the turn to clear the danger.
A quick free-kick from the left then saw Noble loft it above Dempster into the six-yard box and Bradbrook slid in but could not get the decisive touch which would have taken it beyond Mitchell.
Former Stag Adam Birchall, on loan at Dartford from League Two Gillingham, was looking to cause problems by occupying the space between the midfield and defence.
Neither goalkeeper had been tested by midway through the half and then Todd had a chance for the Stags, as he cut in from the right only to pull his shot wide of the near post.
And then at the opposite end, a long diagonal ball picked out Birchall at the back post and after a good first touch, he flashed a shot across goal but it went the wrong side of the back stick.
On 38 minutes Mansfield's Matt Rhead fired a rising 20-yard effort which Bettinelli tipped over.
But Birchall was the dangerman again just before the break as he cut in from the right of the box and shot towards the bottom corner but Mitchell got down to his left to turn around his post.
It was Stags who almost went in ahead at the interval from a well-worked free kick from the left.
Gary Roberts played a square ball low into the box for Jake Speight in an obvious training ground move and the striker flicked a shot to the back post but it went just wide.
However, in first-half stoppage time, Mansfield went behind.
A quick throw caught Stags on the back foot, Birchall flicked it to Danny Harris, who pulled it back for Bradbrook and he drilled it low into the corner from outside the box.
And straight from the kick-off, Mansfield committed football suicide as Roberts' sloppy ball was punished by Hayes.
It led to a double change at the break, Lindon Meikle and Ritchie Sutton on for Rhead and Tafazolli.
And it almost got worse shortly after half-time for the visitors when Colin Daniel went to clear into the six-yard box, only to slice his volley inches wide of his own post. And from the resulting corner, Mitchell had to save with his legs.
It was all Dartford and Birchall was played in behind the back four down the right of the box and shot low past Mitchell, only for his effort to come back off the foot of the post.
And with ten minutes left, Noble drove a free kick from just outside the box into the wall and on the rebound, the same player was only denied by a block off the leg of Dempster.
It was another painful trip and a long drive home with plenty to ponder, as Cox looks to find a solution to Mansfield's away-day troubles in the league.
Dartford: Bettinelli, Rose, Bonner, Arber, Wallis, Bradbrook, Noble, Burns, Hayes (Rogers, 85), Harris (Collier, 90+2), Birchall (Erskine, 81). Subs: Crawford, Wells.
Stags: Mitchell, Geohaghon, Dempster, Tafazolli (Sutton, 46), Todd, Roberts, Howell, Daniel (Briscoe, 60), Speight, Green, Rhead (Meikle, 46). Subs: Clements, Hutchinson
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