CHAPMAN HAT-TRICK ON HOME DEBUT SEALS ANOTHER WIN
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 4 - 1 Stockport County
Chapman 13, 20, 77, Green 57. Marshall 69.
Attendance: 2628 (196 from Stockport)
Date: 9 March 2013
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium
photo right Adam Chapman, by The Source
Mansfield Town made it eleven wins from the last twelve games, and seven wins on the trot, thanks to an Adam Chapman hat-trick on his home debut, and another characteristic goal from top scorer Matt Green. As I told Chapman after the game, he was the first Stags player to score a hat-trick on his home debut since Keith Cassells in August 1985, a statistic that brought a big smile to his face. The legendary Ted Harston scored a hat-trick on his debut in 1935 though that was away from home. The run of seven wins on the trot equals the club record set in 1962 and 1991. It was a professional and effective performance from Mansfield, if not a vintage one, against a Stockport side that was as poor as their media coordinator told us they were before the game. Mansfield are now level on points with Wrexham and Kidderminster at the top, though third on goal difference. Crucially Mansfield have one game in hand on Wrexham and two in hand on Kidderminster. Newport are two points behind with one game in hand on the Stags and if Newport were to win every game, they could not be caught at the top. The Stags are at home to fifth placed Grimsby on Tuesday in a massive game, followed by further massive games against sixth placed Forest Green and leaders Wrexham.
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre.
Saturday, 9th March 2013: Stags 4 Stockport County 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Adam Chapman was an instant hit with the Mansfield Town faithful today when he bagged a hat-trick on his home debut as Stags swept Stockport County aside 4-1 to join Wrexham and Kidderminster on 68 points at the top of the BSBP with their seventh straight win.
Stags sit third only on goal difference but have three games in eight days coming up against title rivals which could make or break their hopes of a return to the Football League.
But today was all about Chapman, who arrived on a month's loan from Oxford United in midweek, made an impressive start in the midwek win at Woking, and today went home with the match ball.
He struck twice in the first 20 minutes to put the young, struggling visitors on the back foot and, after Matt Green had grabbed his 18th goal of the season to kill of the Hatters on 57 minutes, Chapman picked out the top corner on 78 minutes to seal the win, Stockport sub Paul Marshall having bagged a peach of a consolation on 69 minutes.
Now Stags, who have won 11 of their last 12 games, prepare for the visit of Grimsby Town on Tuesday night with a TV date at Forest Green Rovers on Friday before a trip to Wrexham the following Tuesday.
John Dempster returned from injury to replace Exodus Geohaghon at centre half while a tight glute muscle ruled out Louis Briscoe, Lindon Meikle taking over on the wing.
On a wet surface, Stockport had two early chances. On six minutes Mark Cullen left Luke Jones for dead down the centre only to see Lee Beevers make the most of the conditions to slide in and rob him before he could go clear.
Soon after Jon Nolan fired straight at Alan Marriott from 20 yards.
But two minutes later, on nine minutes, visiting keeper Richard O'Donnell made the first of several good saves, tipping over Meikle's 30-yard dipping shot.
However, he was beaten on 13 minutes as Chapman opened his Mansfield Town account.
Meikle set up Green for a shot that O'Donnell could only block, the ball running loose towards the perfectly-placed Chapman, who easily found the gaping net.
Lee Stevenson set up Green for a shot that saw James Tunnicliffe make a fine block.
But Chapman struck again on 20 minutes when he instigated a scramble that saw Stevenson pull the ball back from the right by-line and Luke Jones choose to square to Chapman instead of shooting, Chapman finding the bottom corner with a perfect first time finish.
Sean Newton sent a powerful 20-yard header straight at Marriott as Stockport tried to find a way back into it.
But they were grateful for a superb save from O'Donnell a minute from the break as he got in the way of a close range Junior Daniel finish after Meikle's right wing cross had skimmed off a defender's head and caught both Daniel and the keeper by surprise.
The visitors were galvanised by that save and some half-time words from their manager, though Darije Kalezic struggles with his English, and came back out to cause a few early problems.
Had Danny Whitehead taken either of his opportunities in the first 10 minutes, we might have had a game on our hands.
But on 55 minutes he turned the ball first time inches wide of the far post from sub Jon Macken's ball in, and soon after he sidefooted a tame finish at Alan Marriott from a half-cleared throw-in.
Two minutes later it was all over. Meikle tried to thread a through ball down the centre which any one of three defenders could have cut out. But, it somehow still found Green who accelerated and clipped another cool-as-a-cucumber finish past the keeper into the net. That sparked an exodus of County fans, who had seen enough as their side slid further towards the drop zone.
Green almost doubled his tally six minutes later as he got his head to a James Jennings free kick four yards from goal, only to see O'Donnell make another agile save.
The away fans who had stayed at last had something to cheer on 69 minutes as sub Marshall bagged the game's best goal with a 25-yard scorcher into the top left hand corner.
But Chapman's hat-trick goal on 78 minutes was also a pearler as he found the top right corner from 20 yards with a first time shot. Adam Murray had switched play to the left to Meikle, who ran at the defence before teeing up Chapman.
Home fans began to cheer each pass as they enjoyed the rest of what was a comfortable win on a freezing, damp afternoon with the club now hoping for a big turn-out from the town to back them in Tuesday night's crunch clash with title rivals Grimsby.
STAGS: Marriott; Beevers, Jones, Dempster, Jennings (Sutton 82); Murray, Chapman, Stevenson; Meikle, Green (Rhead 82), Daniel (Wright 67). Subs not used: Clements, Geohaghon.
STOCKPORT: O'Donnell; Halls, Hammar (Fagbola 60), Tunnicliffe, Newton; Whitehead, Kenyon, Nolan, Mainwaring (Marshall 28); Cullen, Cirak (Macken ht). Subs not used: Ormson, Hackney.
REFEREE: Ross Joyce of Co Durham 6/10.
ATTENDANCE: 2,628 (196 away).
CHAD STAG MAN OF THE MATCH: Adam Chapman
Chapman is an instant hit as Mansfield Town make it seven in a row
Nottingham Post report by Stevie Roden
THE cheer that went up shortly before kick-off told it all. Dartford had just pulled off a last-minute winner against leaders Wrexham in the early kick-off game, and the home crowd rejoiced.
It meant victory for the Stags would take them joint-top on points, with a game in hand and all to play for, not least because they still have to meet Wrexham twice.
Yet, with that result, a different type of pressure was bestowed on the in-form Mansfield Town players as they made their way out to face struggling Stockport.
Given the Wrexham result, would they wilt or would they rise to the challenge?
Thankfully, it was the latter and as they coasted to a 4-1 win, a seventh straight victory and an 11th win in their last 12 games, it was obvious this side cannot be written off.
A play-off place is almost certain now but that can't even be considered and after a slow start, it is coming together as the Blue Square Bet Premier title looms.
Credit has to go to manager Paul Cox. He came in during the summer of 2011 from Eastwood and in his first season, led his side to third on 89 points only to lose out in the play-offs to York. It was a points total miles ahead of his predecessors.
This time around, he has come under fire after an indifferent start but showed the character, toughness but also ability to rise above it and deliver. And he is delivering.
He said he would not sign players for the sake of it but when he made a move, he brought in left-back James Jennings in January from Cambridge and he has been a revelation.
Solid down the left, he is also a set-piece expert and not only that, it has allowed Lee Beevers to move to right-back, his natural position, and he has been a colossus.
It has all combined to this solid run and another addition, Adam Chapman, took centre stage on his home debut on Saturday as he bagged a hat-trick to inspire the 4-1 win.
The midfielder has been performing regularly for League Two Oxford all season but a fallout saw him become available and Cox swooped.
After an instant debut at Woking last Wednesday, he showed his class at the weekend to tee up another vital three points.
The game sprang to life with a 25-yard speculative effort from the recalled Lindon Meikle that was dipping dangerously with goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell diving back to tip over his bar.
But Chapman got in on the act on 13 minutes when Stags took the lead. Meikle picked up the ball, took on a man and then threaded a superb ball to release Matt Green in the box. He was denied by O'Donnell but as the ball was only parried into the centre of the penalty area, Chapman followed up to shoot into the empty net.
And on 20 minutes, Chapman made it 2-0. First he shaped to shoot but fed Lee Stevenson who pulled a shot across the box. That fell to Luke Jones who unselfishly teed it to his right and from 12 yards out, Chapman placed it into the bottom corner with a cool finish.
A minute before half-time Meikle's cross from the right skimmed off the head of Johan Hammar and fell invitingly to Colin Daniel, who had struggled in the first-half, but from six yards out O'Donnell denied him with his outstretched arm.
There was a scare six minutes into the second half as a square ball into the box picked out Danny Whitehead in space but he pulled his causal shot just wide of the far post.
Luke Jones was denied by the reflexes of O'Donnell when he saved the defender's header from Jennings' corners before Stockport broke only to be denied by a last-gasp block from Beevers.
But on 57 minutes it was 3-0 as Meikle took his time, picked out Green's run through the centre and although his ball looked short, it got through three defenders and the striker burst clear, kept his cool and lifted the ball beyond O'Donnell.
O'Donnell then denied Green with an acrobatic save, after he met Jennings' free-kick with his head before out of nothing, Stockport pulled a goal back. Substitute Paul Marshall scored a stunner as he took a touch from Whitehead's pass and from 25 yards, fired into the top corner, drawing applause even from the home supporters.
But Chapman claimed his hat-trick on 78 minutes when just like Marshall, he took a touch, before firing into the top corner from a similar distance with a stunning strike of his own.
It capped off a magnificent display for Chapman – and Stags – as they joined Wrexham and Kidderminster on 68 points.
Afterwards, players and manager alike stuck to the one game at a time line, understandably so.
But don't be fooled. You could sense it. They all know it.
The title is there not to be won, but also there to be lost.
And by beating Grimsby at home tomorrow night, the Stags can all but eradicate another title-chasing team out of the race.
It really is all to play for and top spot can be the only focus for the rampant Stags
Latest | March 2013