STAGS THUMP EBBSFLEET
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 4 - 1 Ebbsfleet United
Hutchinson 15, Stone OG 36, Howell 70, Green pen 77. Enver-Marum 23.
Attendance: 1845 (44 from Ebbsfleet)
Date: 8 December 2012
audio highlights from the StagsPlayer commentary by Nigel Pinnick and Martin Shaw here.
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town returned to their league programme after a break for cup matches, with a thumping 4-1 win over Ebbsfleet United this afternoon at the One Call Stadium. The Stags were irresistible going forward with terrific performances from Clements, Hutchinson, Briscoe and Green in particular. At the back there was a very welcome return for the Conference's top goalkeeper Alan Marriott, and Lee Beevers was excellent in defence, but the rest of the defence left something to be desired, lacking pace and decisiveness. Hutchinson put the Stags in front with a lovely finish after great play by Clements on 15 minutes. Ebbsfleet equalised when the Stags defence allowed Enver-Marum to burst forward and score on 23 minutes. Briscoe's shot was deflected in by Stone to put the Stags back in front on 36 minutes (and review of the match DVD shows that Briscoe's shot was heading just wide). The Stags were good value for the lead at half time and increased lead on 70 minutes with a terrific solo goal from Anthony Howell before Matt Green exorcised his Ebbsfleet demons converting a penalty after Hutchinson had been brought down 77 minutes. A great win for Mansfield and a confidence boost ahead of the cup replay against Lincoln, who also scored four today, against Dartford. The Stags need more pace in the defence and we see a case for bringing back Ritchie Sutton, probably in place of John Thompson who had another disappointing game. The fans were right behind the team today in an atmosphere reminiscent of last season, and will surely create another intimidating atmosphere on Wednesday as the side aims to earn an FA Cup tie against Liverpool.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Man of the match: Ben Hutchinson/Chris Clements
Note - no press from Ebbsfleet!
Mansfield Town 4-1 Ebbsfleet, Saturday 8th December
CHAD report By John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town revved up for their big midweek FA Cup replay with Lincoln with a comprehensive 4-1 home win over Ebbsfleet United this afternoon.
With all the talk of Lincoln and Liverpool, it was vital the Stags didn't take their eye off the promotion battle today. And they came through this game with flying colours, backed by some enthusiastic noisy support from the stands on a freezing afternoon.
It was also sweet revenge for the 3-1 loss at Ebbsfleet earlier in the season when Stags felt aggrieved by a red card for Matt Green.
So it was appropriate Green put the seal on the win with a 78th minute penalty.
The outstanding Ben Hutchinson had put Stags ahead on 15 minutes only for Liam Enver-Marum to level against the run of play nine minutes later.
However, Louis Briscoe's deflected effort restored Mansfield's advantage on 36 minutes as Stags dominated the game.
Anthony Howell's low shot made it 3-1 on 70 minutes to give breathing space before Green crowned a good afternoon's work for Mansfield.
Alan Marriott made his long-awaited return in goal. Marriott had been sidelined with a dislocated shoulder since late September but was declared fit to replace Shane Redmond.
Anthony Howell also came into central midfield to replace skipper Adam Murray, who has been ill all week.
Hutchinson won Stags a second minute free kick, centrally just outside the box, which Clements sent straight into the Ebbsfleet wall.
Mansfield had begun the game well and quickly forced three corners on the trot without being able to test keeper Edwards.
Indeed, the first shot came from United as Enver-Marum broke down the left, Dempster missing his tackle as the striker got away a deflected shot that Marriott reached up to comfortably take.
Clements was well wide at the other end soon after from 25 yards.
Ebbsfleet defended a long thrown and another corner before the game was held up for a second time for treatment to Bellamy, who was angry when the referee refused to allow him to walk across the pitch and made him go off near where he was injured, leaving the visitors temporarily with 10 men.
He was finally replaced by Azeez on 13 minutes.
Fleet almost struck soon after when they put a short corner into the six-yard box, where the ball bounced through everyone for a goalkick,
Instead it was Mansfield who went ahead on 15 minutes.
Briscoe's backheel found Green who laid the ball inside to Clements. He shaped to shoot but instead squared the ball to Hutchinson who took the finish in his stride, curling the ball wide of a rooted Edwards from just outside the box.
Azeez's run won Ebbsfleet a free kick at which the home wall did its job, blocking Godden's kick and then Carew's follow-up.
Clements' pass put Green in space on the right where, from a tight angle, he forced Edwards down into a save, the ball then hooked clear for the first of two corners as Stags kept the pressure firmly on.
Green was constant torment to United and, when Meikle sent him into space, he lured two defenders before firing over the bar.
However, Fleet levelled against the run of play on 24 minutes from the goalkick. Edwards launched it long down the centre, Godden helped it on, and Enver-Marum got to it fractionally before Dempster to stab a low finish past an exposed Marriott.
Green did well to win the ball at full stretch to the right of the box to nudge it towards Briscoe whose ambitious low blast from a tight angle was wide of the far post.
From a Geohaghon clearance, Walsh was even more ambitious, crashing a first time effort well over from 45 yards.
Mansfield had continued to plug away, despite the shock of the equaliser, and were rewarded on 36 minutes.
Hutchinson found Meikle on the left who sent a deep cross towards an unmarked Briscoe. He met it with a half-volley that took a deflection off Stone before flying past Edwards into the net.
Edwards made a double save on 42 minutes to keep United in touch at the break. Hutchinson's ball set Green on his way down the left before cutting inside and shooting low, Edwards down to his left to block the first shot and then there again to keep out Hutchinson's follow-up.
In the first raid after the break, Meikle's cross was just too far in front of Green for him to be able to finish.
Then Hutchinson got too much under a first time snapshot when a Beevers throw was cleared to him and sliced it well over the bar.
United suffered a blow six minutes into the half when keeper Edwards had to go off injured. No one saw the incident but it looked to be a hand problem.
On came German-born Canadian keeper Menz in his place.
A deft flick by Howell on the edge of the box helped a low ball in on to Briscoe behind him whose vicious angled shot was held onto by Menz.
Enver-Marum was off target with a near post header from an Azeez right wing cross as we reached the 65th minute mark.
Azeez and the away bench were then screaming for a penalty after going down under Green's challenge in the box with nothing given.
Instead it was 3-1 on 70 minutes. Howell picked up the ball midway in the Ebbsfleet half and, with Briscoe making what became a dummy run outside, him, Howell instead rifled a low 20 yard finish from just outside the box which crept inside the post.
Soon after Green thought he was away but up went an offside flag, the striker's protests earning him a booking.
Blake was also booked on 74 minutes for halting Briscoe with a foul on the right. Clements launched the free kick into the box where Howell nodded just wide at the far post.
It was all over with 12 minutes left as Green made it 4-1 from the spot.
Hutchinson drew the foul from Walsh to earn the kick which saw green exact some revenge for his disputed red card at Ebbsfleet as he sent Menz the wrong way with a confident low finish.
Fleet forced two corners in response, Barrett's header on the second carrying no threat to Marriott.
Stevenson was given the final nine minutes in place of Hutchinson and immediately pulled a low shot wide of the near post from 25 yards.
Speight took over from Green on 83 minutes with Wright also getting a run-out for Briscoe four minutes from the end of a highly satisfying afternoon.
STAGS: Marriott; Thompson, Dempster, Geohaghon, Beevers; Briscoe (Wright 86), Clements, Howell, Meikle; Hutchinson (Stevenson 81), Green (Speight 83). Subs not used: Sutton, Rhead.
EBBSFLEET: Edwards (Menz 51); Stone, Blake, Walsh, Howe; Bellamy (Azeez 13), Barrett, Phipp, Carew; Enver-Marum (Ashikodi 83), Godden. Subs not used: Greenhalgh, Folkes.
REFEREE: Brett Huxtable of Devon.
ATTENDANCE: 1,845 (44 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ben Hutchinson
Clinical Mansfield gear up for FA Cup with convincing win
Nottingham Post report by Stevie Roden
THE proof would be in the pudding.
That was Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox's response beforehand when asked whether the FA Cup would see his side lose focus when it came to the league.
But far from letting a potential third round clash with Liverpool cloud the players' priorities, it fuelled the fire as the Stags romped to a 4-1 victory against Ebbsfleet.
It was their only league game in just over four weeks so three points were essential and the proof was there – Mansfield mean business.
Everybody wants to be involved against Lincoln in the second round replay on Wednesday night. Everybody wants to play against Liverpool, should they get through.
And all that did was channel the focus as the 11 who went out at the weekend stepped up their claims for a starting berth against the Imps this week.
But it was more than that. There were less than 2,000 inside the One Call Stadium but the negativity never crept in.
The drum was beating in the South Stand, fans were banging the back wall of the Ian Greaves Stand. It was rocking in the second half and the players thrived off it.
It seems the potential FA Cup story against Brendan Rodgers' side has captivated everybody and it is acting as a spur rather than detracting from the league.
Cox made two changes from last weekend's 3-3 draw in the second round tie at Lincoln, as Adam Murray dropped out for Anthony Howell and Alan Marriott returned between the sticks in place of Shane Redmond, after ten weeks out with a shoulder injury.
And from the start, the impetus was there and throughout Ben Hutchinson was always on the front foot, looking to make things happen quickly with his vision and fast-thinking approach.
But it was Chris Clements who created the opening on 15 minutes.
A smart one-two with Louis Briscoe led to Matt Green being played the ball towards the edge of the box. In turn, he laid it back to Clements who shaped to shoot only to cleverly and unselfishly pick out Hutchinson inside of him and the former Celtic man dispatched the ball into the back of the net with aplomb.
He stroked the ball from 20 yards, side footed beyond the hapless Preston Edwards inside the post and Mansfield, and their home supporters, were on their way.
Matt Green, looking more like the striker who scored 30 goals last season, was a constant threat up top and forced a good save from Edwards at his near post before jinking past a defender down the right of the box only to blaze over.
It was looking promising from the Stags but then, the Blue Square Bet Premier strugglers equalised out of nothing.
Green's effort resulted in a goal kick midway through the first half and from it, the long boot down field was helped on by Matt Godden and too easily, Liam Enver-Marum was in on goal and made no mistake.
But on 36 minutes, Stags were back in front. Again Hutchinson showed a good touch and took his time to feed Lindon Meikle on the left and he got past the full-back, to the byline and looped the ball over to the far side of the box for Briscoe – who fired in a half-volley that took a deflection off Craig Stone and rattled into the far corner.
Green then burst forward, forced the save from Edwards before Hutchinson struck the follow up from an acute angle but it was saved again.
Six minutes into the second half, Ebbsfleet changed goalkeeper with Edwards coming off for Lucas Menz. And that was about as entertaining as it got in a stale 25 minutes as Stags controlled their lead.
But on 70 minutes, the game was put to bed. Howell pounced on a loose ball on the right, just inside the visitors' half and darted towards the box before unleashing an unstoppable 20-yard drive into the bottom corner.
It was a superb strike and the midfielder then raced into the box to meet Clements' free-kick from the right but put his header wide of the far post.
By now the crowd could look forward to Wednesday, the three points in the bag and when Briscoe pulled it back to Hutchinson on the edge of box and he cut inside only to be fouled by Phil Walsh, it really was game over as Green dispatched from the penalty spot.
A convincing victory, plenty of positivity from the stands – it felt good. Stags are unbeaten at home since the opening day of the season.
Ahead of Lincoln in two days time, there is a real feeling that Liverpool in the FA Cup third round could become reality.
Cox said the proof would be in the pudding. And it is fair to say, on Saturday, that pudding tasted nice.
It was job done, the focus maintained.
Now it is all about the FA Cup and Hutchinson and company will be looking to serve up another treat on Wednesday night
Focus on Mansfield v Ebbsfleet
Alan Marriott. Left exposed for the goal but otherwise a positive comeback for the goalkeeping veteran after two-and-a-half months out with a shoulder injury.
John Thompson. Solid crunching tackle early on and stuck his head in where it hurt showed the honest qualities of the defender. One moment to forget as he put one ball into Bishop Street, though, when under no pressure.
Lee Beevers – A routine afternoon for the former Lincoln full-back. Got forward a few times early on and did his job solidly.
Exodus Geohaghon – Apart from a brief spell in the first half, it was an easy afternoon for the giant defender. Was not called on to use his long throw much on Saturday either.
John Dempster – Like Geohaghon, it was not the busiest of afternoons but both central defenders would have been disappointed with how Ebbsfleet scored their equaliser, with the long ball down the middle. But solid performance.
Louis Briscoe. His goal might have come courtesy of a deflection, but struck it superbly on the half volley and also was involved in the build-up to the opener.
Anthony Howell. Back in and grew stronger as the game went on, putting himself about in the middle of the park. Scored a corker to put the game beyond any doubt.
Chris Clements. Showed how comfortable he is on the ball with his range of short and long passing. His unselfishness saw him start the move and then provide the assist for Hutchinson's goal.
Lindon Miekle. Did what he does best to create the second goal, his quick feet helping him get beyond his marker to the byline and delivering the assist.
Ben Hutchinson – A superb finish for his early goal which oozed class. Always look a threat with his passing and played a part in second goal and won the penalty for the fourth.
Matt Green. Had chances in the first half but to no avail before scoring from the penalty spot later on. The striker looked to have rediscovered his sharpness. Lively throughout.
Stevenson (on for Hutchinson, 82). A rare appearance and had a shot within seconds of coming off the bench, flashing it wide.
Speight (for Green, 83). Came on late and did not get on the ball much. Hard to make any real impact in such a short space of time.
Wright (for Briscoe, 86). Played the ball down the right of the box in stoppage time but chose not to shoot, unselfishly teeing up Chris Clements whose shot was blocked.
Subs not used: Rhead, Sutton
Ebbsfleet: Edwards (Menz, 51), Stone, Blake, Walsh, Enver-Marum (Ashikodi, 84), Phipp, Howe, Barrett, Bellamy (Azeez, 13), Carew, Godden. Subs: Greenhalgh, Folkes.
Referee: Brett Huxtable (Devon). The official had no big decisions to make and it was a comfortable afternoon for him. Ebbsfleet had a tame penalty shout when Matt Green tangled with a visiting player but the referee was having none of it and simply waved play on. Showed who was in charge while not brandishing his cards at will.
Attendance: 1,845 (44 visitors)
Goals: Stags – 4. Hutchinson, 15 mins, Briscoe, 36 mins, Howell, 70 mins, Green, 78 mins (pen). Ebbsfleet – 1. Enver-Marum, 23 mins.
Bookings: Stags – 1. Green, 71 mins, dissent. Ebbsfleet – 1. Blake, 74 mins, foul on Briscoe.
Shots on 10 2
Shots off 6 3
Fouls 11 10
Offsides 4 0
Corners 6 6
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