GREEN GOAL SEALS WIN AS STAGS HIT WOODWORK 4 TIMES
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 0 AFC Telford United
Green 50. Watson sent off 75.
Attendance: 2725 (67 from Telford)
Date: 2 March 2013
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town made it nine wins from the last ten games thanks to a well taken goal from leading scorer Matt Green early in the second half against bottom of the league AFC Telford. Mansfield had hit the woodwork four times in the first half, and it looked like it might be of those days until Green pounced on defensive hesitancy for a finish similar to his goal against Dartford. Briscoe hit the underside of the bar with a piledriver, then Murray sent a volley against the bar from the edge of the box, Daniel should have scored from close range but somehow managed to hit the post, and Stevenson sent a cross-come-shot onto the top of the bar. Telford had chances to snatch an unlikely point as experienced striker Steve Jones was thwarted by a fine save from Alan Marriott when he was through one-on-one in the first half, and in stoppage time at the end of the game Mansfield hearts were in mouths as a header from Jordan Rose dropped wide of the right post. A deserved three points for the Stags who move into third place and the chase for the title gets hotter.
On a sunny and mild afternoon, Mansfield made one change from the side that won at Lincoln, as Dempster dropped out through injury and was replaced by Sutton, who made a rare appearance as centre half rather than full back. Geohaghon provided defensive cover on the bench. The forgotten man of Field Mill, Jamie Tolley was also on the bench, having not played since the second game of the season when he was subbed after 11 minutes. Louis Briscoe was wearing new luminous green boots and would have to play well to justify wearing them! Former Stags loan player Nialle Rodney was on the bench for Telford. Telford were without a manager as Mark Cooper had left on Friday to go to Swindon as assistant manager. In an incredible statistic, this was the Stags' third consecutive game against a side without a manager, and we think this was a good time to play these three sides, as opposed to playing them just after they had appointed a new manager.
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre.
Saturday, 2nd March 2013: Mansfield Town 1 AFC Telford United 0
CHAD report by John Lomas
Despite hitting the woodwork four times in the first half, it took Matt Green's 17th goal of the season for Mansfield Town to chalk up a ninth win in 10 games and finally see off bottom club AFC Telford at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.
The visitors, whose manager Mark Cooper walked out on them the day before after only 30 days in charge, had lost their previous 20 games stretching back to 6th October.
And, looking a poor side that is in a true position in the league, the Bucks spent much of the afternoon under the cosh and riding their luck as Stags entertained a decent home crowd with some excellent play as Paul Cox's men rose to third in the table.
Telford's cause wasn't helped when Karlton Watson was sent-off on 75 minutes for his second bookable offence.
Stags were forced into a change in the centre of defence. John Dempster failed to recover from a knock picked up in midweek and was replaced at centre half by Ritchie Sutton.
There were also two changes on the bench with a return to the 16 for big defender Exodus Geohaghon and back in from the cold was forgotten man Jamie Tolley, not involved in the 16 since Gateshead away back in August.
Mansfield made a positive start and worked the ball along the edge of the Telford box, Green's pass to Clements seeing the midfielder shoot low and wide with just 16 seconds on the watch.
A great ball down the centre from Murray picked out Green whose instant shot was blocked by Ford.
And on six minutes Briscoe was given some space to run at the Bucks just outside the box, and he almost punished them with a thunderous shot that came back down off the underside of the bar and was poked behind to safety for a corner.
Salmon was in the way of a first time shot from Daniel on the left after Stevenson's pass had switched the play.
Jennings won the home side a second corner on 10 minutes which was eventually cleared after Jones' initial header prompted an almighty scramble.
Telford finally eased the pressure with their first foray into the home half on 12 minutes, Marriott comfortably claiming Valentine's far post cross from the left.
Young was equally decisive as he caught Jennings' inswinging corner three minutes later.
But the visitors might have snatched the lead against the run of play on 16 minutes as Craney's long free kick picked out Rose who failed to guide his free header on target as it bounced wide of the far post.
A superb home move involving a dozen passes ended with Briscoe rifling over a rising 20 yard shot, which drew warm applause from the stands.
Jennings could have few complaints about his 20th minute booking as he let Reid turn him on a Telford break near the halfway line and took his legs away.
Stags were reliant on Marriott saving the day on 29 minutes after Jones somehow wriggled his way completely free down the centre. He evaded several challenges and then had a slice of luck as Sutton's tackle on him saw the ball bounce back into Jones' face and back into his path as he went one-on-one with Marriott, only to see the keeper block the finish with his legs.
Stags rattled the Telford crossbar again on 32 minutes, Murray this time steadying himself as a headed clearance came his way, 20 yards from goal, and he met it with a dipping volley that just didn't dip quickly enough for him.
Jones took a knock in his challenge with Marriott and went off on 33 minutes, replaced by Graham.
Watson was booked on 35 minutes for a cynical trip on Stevenson as the midfielder made space for a shot just outside the box. Daniel took charge of the free kick but blasted it tamely into the wall.
Next a Beevers long throw was headed out towards Daniel, who met it with a volley that flew over the bar, and seconds later Jones sliced a finish just over the angle as the Bucks hung on.
Some risky footwork in his own box saw Beevers bring the ball away and almost set Green on his way, the move halted by a very questionable offside flag.
On 41 minutes the away goal led a charmed life as Stags again twice hit the woodwork.
First Green's delightful far post chip from the right found Daniel at the far post where he could only turn the ball against the foot of the post.
Stevenson curled the ball back into the middle from the left by-line and this time keeper Young turned the ball onto his own crossbar.
The game was halted after a clash of heads between Stevenson and Rose left both players on the floor.
In stoppage time Rose was crowded out in the six yard box as he tried to guide a low Graham cross home from the left.
Then Stevenson broke well down the left and, despite the attentions of two defenders, managed to get in a low on-target shot from a tight angle that Young had to get behind as the half ended scoreless.
Meikle came on for Briscoe on the wing for the second half.
And within four minutes a moment of opportunism by Green broke the deadlock.
Watson was caught in possession 40 yards from goal by a hungry Green who then raced away down the centre and nonchalantly flicked a cool finish past Young with the outside of his right boot for his 17th goal of the campaign.
Meikle cut in from the right to curl in a shot that, via a deflection, only just beat the far post to roll for a corner.
A second corner soon followed from which Jones sent a far post header straight to Young's hands.
Marriott had safe hands as Rose fired a 20 yard shot on target from Reid's square pass in a rare Bucks raid.
Stevenson was furious when he appeared to be pulled down in the box by Rose on the hour and play was allowed to continue.
Clements was unlucky as he received a return pass from Green's neat backheel to offer him a shooting chance from 20 yards that he couldn't keep down.
Stevenson tried his luck with a 30 yard free kick which just swerved wide at the last minute with Young beaten.
Wright took over from Daniel on 72 minutes as Stags waited to take a corner which, when Jennings sent it in, was headed home by Jones, whose celebrations were quickly halted as the referee awarded Telford a foul instead.
Telford's hopes of a comeback took a nosedive on 75 minutes when Watson was booked for a second time for a needless late challenge on Murray and was shown the red card, the Mansfield skipper needing treatment.
Jones was wide with a near post header from a long Beevers throw as we entered the last 10 minutes.
Young then needed a second grab to hold onto a wicked Meikle shot that curled in the air as it reached the keeper.
Mansfield forced two more corners, Jones' header from the first striking a Telford hand, the referee happy it was ball to hand, and Stevenson too high with his overhead kick from the second.
More home pressure saw Young made a fine reaction save to push away Green's shot on the turn.
There was a heart-stopping moment in the final minute as AFC almost stole an equaliser they didn't deserve as Rose guided a header just wide from a Graham cross. But it would have been an injustice as Stags celebrated yet another victory on this superb run.
STAGS: Marriott; Beevers, Sutton, Jones, Jennings; Murray, Clements, Stevenson; Briscoe (Meikle HT), Green, Daniel (Wright 72). Subs not used: Rhead, Tolley, Geohaghon.
AFC TELFORD: Young, Salmon, Valentine, Craney, Trainer, Jones (Graham 33), Reid, Ford, Watson, Rose, Henry (Rodney 81). Subs not used: Smith, Leslie, Taylor.
REFEREE: Charles Breakspear of Walton-on-Thames.
ATTENDANCE: 2,725 (67 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Adam Murray
Patience is a virtue, as Mansfield Town make it nine wins out of ten
Nottingham Post report by Stevie Roden
PAUL Cox had called for his Mansfield Town players to play with confidence, but that he would not tolerate arrogance.
He spoke about how, with nine games in the month of March, the squad's mentality and physicality would be put to the test.
And with the first of those games against rock-bottom Telford, a team without a league win since the start of October, he would certainly not tolerate complacency.
On Saturday, his side showed another quality, as did the home crowd, as they went about their business to put another three points on the board.
That quality was patience. Yes, some fans might have turned up expecting another cricket score given the vast difference in form of both sides.
But, in the end, a narrow 1-0 win sufficed and everybody went home happy, the side up to third and more importantly just three points off leaders Wrexham, who were held by Alfreton, with a game in hand.
The scoreline could have been greater as Stags rattled the woodwork four times in the first half, had a goal ruled out from Luke Jones and saw Ryan Young make a couple of good saves in the game.
But despite going in goalless at the break, there were no boos or jeers at the interval, as would have been the case earlier in the campaign. It was quite the opposite.
And the reward came four minutes after the restart. Matt Green capitalised on some poor defending and kept his cool to make it 1-0.
While the lead could not be extended, the game was closed out and the points were on the board – a ninth win in their last ten league games – 27 points out of a possible 30.
Cox was forced into one change as John Dempster did not recover from a knock to his ankle picked up in the 1-0 win at Lincoln on the Tuesday so Ritchie Sutton slotted straight in alongside Luke Jones.
On the bench, Exodus Geohaghon returned to provide defensive cover while outcast midfielder Jamie Tolley was also back on there, given the injury to Anthony Howell.
Mansfield looked to get on the front foot from the off and just six minutes in, Chris Clements fed Louis Briscoe who raced at his man and unleashed a vicious effort which beat goalkeeper Young but crashed back down off the underside of the bar.
There was a feeling it would be an easy afternoon but there was a scare on 16 minutes when Ian Craney swung in a free kick to the back post and Jordan Rose got up to meet it but his header across goal went wide of the far post.
Clements and Green then combined to tee up Briscoe who smashed a first-time shot just over the bar from 20 yards as he continued to look dangerous when given room.
But a big turning point in the match proved to be just before the half-hour mark when the hosts had a huge let off.
There had been no threat but then Steven Jones went forward, Sutton made the tackle only to see the ball rebound behind him and Jones darted clear, one-on-one with Alan Marriott, but the Stags goalkeeper saved with his legs.
Stags responded as captain Adam Murray, who was excellent from first whistle to the last in leading his men, fired a superbly-struck shot beyond Young but it crashed back off the crossbar with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Former Nottingham Forest defender Karlton Watson cynically chopped down Lee Stevenson on the edge of the box and was booked before Colin Daniel and Luke Jones both went close.
Five minutes before the break, Green worked his way to the byline on the right and produced a superb lofted cross to pick out Daniel at the back post, but he struck the upright before Stevenson floated the ball in from the left byline and Young tipped onto his bar.
Despite the pressure and possession, it was still goalless. But four minutes into the second half and the Stags had the lead as Green robbed Watson of the ball, broke clear, kept his calm and where Jones had faltered for Telford in the first-half, he did not as the striker fired left footed into the bottom corner.
Telford's Rose drove a shot at Marriott before Mansfield's Clements missed the target after good work with Stevenson and then Stevenson himself struck a near 25-yard free-kick that was moving in the air but just went the wrong side of the far post.
After Luke Jones had a header ruled out for a foul, Watson's nightmare continued as he chopped down Murray and was booked for the second time in the game and rightly given his marching orders.
Still Stags pushed to make it comfortable and substitute Lindon Meikle stung the hands of Young, while Green was also denied at close range by the goalkeeper.
It didn't matter; 1-0 proved enough to continue the Stags' march and they showed all the qualities asked of them from their manager to get the month started in the best possible way.
A long trip to Woking lies ahead on Wednesday before entertaining Stockport. Then follow three big games against promotion rivals Grimsby, Forest Green and Wrexham.
Confidence will be required, mental and physical strength too. But you also get the impression Saturday won't be the last time patience will prove a big factor.
But when it is, Mansfield's players – and fans – have proved they can hold their nerve when needed
analysis of Mansfield 1 AFC Telford 0
By Matthew Viney
After a whirlwind of change in the 48 hours before the game, which saw a new defender brought in and a managerial departure, matters on the pitch sadly remained the same.
AFC Telford United's winless run in the league remains – and it has now stretched to 22 matches with Saturday's 1-0 defeat at high-flying Mansfield Town.
And yet again the Bucks were left cursing a defensive error for leading to their downfall.
On-loan Leicester centre-half Karlton Watson was the culprit this weekend when he was caught dallying on the ball 40 yards out by Mansfield striker Matt Green.
The Stags top scorer gratefully accepted the gift, slotting past Ryan Young just four minutes after half-time to take his tally for the season to 17.
Sadly the visitors could have few complaints about falling behind after their goal had already led a charmed life in the first half – in which Mansfield hit the woodwork four times.
Louis Briscoe was the first to rattle the crossbar with an excellent 25-yard drive which swerved violently and had Bucks keeper Young beaten.
Fortunately for Telford it rebounded off the underside of the bar and out, and the goal frame also prevented Mansfield captain Adam Murray opening the scoring from similar distance 12 minutes before the break.
Colin Daniel also struck the base of the far post after Green had beaten Bucks debutant Simon Ford, on loan until the end of the season from Grimsby, on the right wing.
And Lee Stevenson's cross-cum-shot also rebounded back of the bar in the immediate aftermath.
The Bucks could though point to some grave misfortune of their own after Steve Jones missed a glorious chance to put them ahead midway through the first half – and was injured in the process.
The former Walsall hitman appeared to have lost control of the ball 35 yards from goal before Luke Jones's clearance struck him square in the face.
The ricochet allowed The Bucks forward in on goal but had also caused some clear discomfort and he struck a tame shot at Stags goalkeeper Alan Marriott.
His anguish was not over yet though as he was soon taken to hospital with a suspected detached retina as a result.
His replacement Bagasan Graham also created a great chance for Jordan Rose just before the break.
Unfortunately Rose, who had been moved from centre-half to centre-midfield for this game, could not quite reach Graham's low left-wing cross and the chance went begging.
Rose had been causing a few uncomfortable moments for the hosts in his new role and he had almost created a goal when he headed Ian Craney's free-kick back across the six yard box early on.
Watson was just unable to quite reach the ball at the far post though and the chance went begging.
All in all The Bucks were fortunate to reach half-time on level terms but had contributed to an entertaining spectacle.
But, as it had at Newport County the previous weekend, the Bucks conceded soon after the re-start.
Watson had started the second half nervously and Green pounced on a moment of indecision 40-yards from goal. And the 20-year old defender's afternoon got worse when he was shown a second yellow card with 15 minutes left after a foul on Murray.
The hosts tried to press home their numerical advantage but Young twice made excellent saves to keep his side in the game late on.
He did very well to deny substitute Lindon Meikle's deflected effort with seven minutes to go and then even better to block Green's close range effort four minutes later.
And Rose almost punished that wastefulness in stoppage time but his header, from Graham's cross, just crept wide.
While there had been some very poor defending on display from the Bucks on occasions, the game had been closer than expected.
But Telford are now six points adrift at the bottom of the Blue Square Bet Premier, having played at least a game more than their nearest rivals.
Caretaker manager Graham Hyde reiterated afterwards that his team will keep fighting right until the end – and it is an attitude that has to be both expected and admired.
But the brutal truth is that a mountain of a task has now got even steeper over the weekend.
Latest | March 2013