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Season 06/07 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
0 - 2
 Peterborough United
 McLean 38, Crow 66.
Attendance: 3550 (660 from Peterborough)
Date: 18 November 2006


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town were soundly beaten by impressive Peterborough United at Field Mill today. The Stags started both halves well and were unlucky when Johnny Mullins early header thundered off the crossbar, but a goal in either half, both as a result of poor marking from set pieces, was reward for the visitors who created many more chances than the Stags despite having less of the ball than the Stags. Indeed Carl Muggleton was the Mansfield man of the match, while Mark Tyler in the Posh goal barely had a save to make. The Stags are now back in the relegation mix, just 5 points above the bottom two, after two successive league defeats.

Before the game, the SSA made a presentation to Stags captain Richie Barker for scoring 100 career goals. Manager Peter Shirtliff gave a debut to new signing Asa Charlton at left back, with Gareth Jelleyman moving to left midfield and Michael Boulding thus dropping to the bench. This seemed a surprising team selection to me since Keith Alexander has assembled a team comprising of giants in defence and midfield, and hence the pace of Boulding (or Brown) appeared to be a better option than the floating crosses of Jelleyman. Alexander included numerous former Lincoln players in his side including Richard Butcher, who must be all of 7 feet, and the equally enormous Jude Stirling, who reputedly possessed just about the longest throw in league football, and unfortunately we were to witness it.

In the opening 3 minutes we saw two sides to Asa Charlton. First he played a fine ball into Barker in the box, but seconds later he had another go and put the ball behind for a goal-kick. On 4 minutes, Muggleton saved low down to his right from a 25 yard shot by Huke. From the resulting corner, Holden swung a shot over the bar.

The Stags were so unlucky not to take the lead on 8 minutes. From a terrific Hamshaw corner on the right by the old North Stand toilets, Mullins rose highest and thumped a great header against the bar with keeper Tyler beaten. Two minutes later, Jelleyman put in a good cross from the left, but it was cleared behind for a corner. From the corner on the left, the ball was played back to Hamshaw, whose shot was blocked. On 13 minutes, Adam Newton had a good shot for Posh, which was well saved by a leaping Muggleton.

On 16 minutes, Hamshaw was brought down on the edge of the box, but his free kick was poor and straight into the wall. The game entered a quiet period. On 25 minutes Hamshaw did well to beat his marker on the right, but his cross was into Tyler’s arms. The Stags put together an excellent move on 29, started by Charlton and eventually Jelleyman’s cross was poor and into the arms of Tyler.

On 31 minutes, a fine Posh move ended with a great tip over the bar from Muggleton from a Newton shot. From the resulting corner, there was chaos in the Stags box as an effort was cleared off the line and the ball may have even crossed the line into the net, but the referee awarded a foul to Mansfield. The BBC Radio Cambridgeshire commentator next to me was on his feet screaming for a goal or penalty, but to no avail. On 35 minutes, Charlton put in a tough but seemingly fair challenge 35 yards from his own goal, but the ref awarded a foul. Butcher belted the resulting free-kick and Muggleton did well to parry it away.

A couple of minutes later Danny Crow, one of the “stars” of the Sky TV series Big Ron, made a great run down the left, cut inside and shot against the outside of the post with Muggleton beaten. To the fury of those behind the goal in the Quarry Lane stand who had a perfect view of the incident, and indeed all the other fans in the ground, the referee inexplicably gave a corner. And wouldn’t you just know it, Peterborough scored from the corner. Holden took the corner and Aaron McLean leapt above Barker and D’Laryea to head into the net. The former Aldershot striker McLean, who is now on loan from Grays Athletic, was having a happier time than when he played in the FA Cup tie here last season.

On 42 minutes, Hamshaw played a good ball into the box for Barker who had a shot blocked, and then Beardsley had another shot blocked. Blocking shots seemed to be something that Keith Alexander’s Posh were good at, and his old Lincoln side were good at too.

On the stroke of half time, the visitors had a man over in the Stags box and McLean’s shot cannoned of a defender just past his own post. From the corner, Butcher volleyed just over. As the players and officials left the pitch, Stags fans chanted “1-0 to the referee”. The Stags had exerted lots of pressure in the first half but had only one really good chance with the header against the bar, while Muggleton had been called upon to make several good saves.

Half time 0-1

In the opening minute of the second half, Peterborough nearly extended their lead as Branston met a corner with a powerful header that was straight at Muggleton. Then at the other end, Coke had a long range shot that keeper Tyler fumbled, but without Brown and Boulding on the pitch, no-one was sharp enough to pick up the pieces. Back in his own box, Coke did really well to put in a tackle and prevent a chance. Coke was starting to make up for a poor first half display.

To huge cheers from home fans, Danny Reet replaced Beardsley on 54 minutes. This let the manager know what the fans thought of his team selection. After this, a large section of Stags fans in the West Stand at the Quarry Lane end were chanting songs complaining about Chief Executive Keith Haslam including “Keith is ripping is off again” to the tune of “Love is tearing us apart” by Joy Division. Manager Shirtliff made another change on 60 minutes bringing on Michael Boulding for debutante Asa Charlton. Jelleyman moved to left back.

On 61 minutes, a great move saw Hamshaw play in Barker on the right. Barker shot from a tight angle, the keeper parried, but it was just out of reach of Boulding. From the corner on the left, there was a scramble in the Peterborough box but the ball ended going just wide for another corner. This was Mansfield’s best period of the game.

However on 64 minutes, Peterborough threatened when a long throw from Stirling found Newton who shot just past the left post. But within two minutes it was 2-0. Another immense throw from Stirling straight into the six-yard box was flicked on and Crow poked it in at the far post. The goal was all about the throw-in and after the game Shirtliff shook his head to the assembled media and bemoaned what incredible arms Stirling has to throw a ball like that.

D’Laryea shot wide from 22 yards after a Coke run, and on 75 minutes Brown replaced Hamshaw. Then Boulding had a chance for a shot but dallied too long and the ball was cleared. With 5 minutes left, Brown showed a bit of magic on the right wing beating his marker and he put in a great cross which Coke headed a whisker over the bar. The game ended in a whimper for Mansfield as the visitors created further chances with sub Lloyd Opara (another player to feature from the “Big Ron” TV series, who Ron himself advised against buying) broke into the Stags box past Baptiste and brought a fine save from Muggleton. Then Opara shot wide of the left post from a tight angle.

So a very disappointing defeat, and a harsh reality check after the promising month of October, that Peterborough will probably end up in the play-offs are in this form and so much better than Mansfield. Indeed I worry that if the Stags were to lose Baptiste and Barker in the transfer window, we could be looking at a relegation struggle. But that is a long way off, and first we have a crucial game at lowly Rochdale next Saturday. Dale are just four points behind Mansfield. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the Match: Carl Muggleton

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Muggleton 8 Some fine saves, and no chance with the goals.
Mullins 6 Did ok. Unlucky with header against the bar.
Hjelde 7 Pick of the defence.
Baptiste 6 Not at his best.
Charlton 6 Did ok with some challenges. Distribution was quite poor.
Hamshaw 6 Fair, with some good crosses.
D'Laryea 5 Poor. Never got a grip of the game, and one pass straight into touch summed up the Stags' day.
Coke 5 Awful first half; better at the start of the second half, including one shot, but then faded again.
Jelleyman 5 Poor in left midfield.
Barker 6 Not at his best, but no good service.
Beardsley 5 Poor; contributed little.
Sub Line Up:
Reet (for Beardsley, 54) 6 Quiet
M.Boulding (for Charlton, 60) 5 Poor. Never got going, but should have started the game, surely.
Brown (for Hamshaw, 76) 7 At least injected some pace and caused the defence trouble.
Subs Not Used: White, Buxton.
Opposition Line Up:
Tyler, Arber, Futcher, Branston, Holden, Stirling, Huke (Gain 74), Butcher, Newton, Crow (Opara 85), Mclean (Benjamin 80). Subs Not Used: Day, Hicks.
P Walton (Northamptonshire) 5 Poor game. Two obvious mistake - giving the corner that led to the first goal, and a fould against Charlton that nearly led to another.

Season 06/07 Reports