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Season 06/07 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Accrington Stanley  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
 M.Boulding 45+3
Attendance: app 1900 (app 500 from Mansfield) - my estimates
Date: 30 December 2006


Martin Shaw at The Fraser Eagle Stadium

In farcical conditions at Accrington today, the Stags’ first game under new manager Billy Dearden was abandoned at half time due to a waterlogged pitch. During my 250 mile drive from Guildford in the morning I had seen nothing but sunshine until I reached Lancashire, but a massive prolonged downpour from around 2pm until the start of the game turned the pitch into a near swimming pool in places. After two minutes of the game, I had already noted down that it’s obvious that this game will not go the distance. The Stags went behind to a poor penalty decision on 8 minutes but fought back well and thoroughly deserved the equaliser from Michael Boulding with virtually the last kick of the first half. Boulding’s goal was a comedy effort as a back-pass stuck in the mud and the Accrington keeper completely missed his kick trying to clear it allowing Boulding to fire into the net. Those with longer memories will remember Barry Daines and Dave Syrett in 1978 when Spurs visited Field Mill. What was surprising was that conditions after 45 minutes were quite clearly no worse than they were after two minutes as the rain had basically stopped by half time. However the referee was surely in a “no win” situation today and it would be unfair to be too critical of the decision.

Billy Dearden took his place on the Stags’ bench seemingly wearing the same coat that he was wearing in 2001 - welcome back Billy. The Stags were playing downstream in the first half on the sloping Accrington pitch and there were no surprises in the Stags team with Nathan Arnold, after his goal-scoring performance as substitute at Darlington, starting on the right of midfield and Brown on the left of midfield, with Michael Boulding again up front.

The talk on the Stags terrace was about how on earth Accrington could have been granted league status at this ground. It is appalling and had far fewer seats than I believed were mandatory. Also I won’t go into too many details about my trip to the Gents, suffice to say that all the loos were completely blocked, and I had to wade through rainwater mixed with pee that was more than two inches deep.

The first action of note was on 6 minutes when Jake Buxton tried a back pass to Jason White. Jake was surely the only person in the ground who thought this was a good idea given the conditions and was lucky to get away with it. But a minute later, the Stags were in trouble when Buxton was adjudged to have brought down an Accrington player in the box. From our position on the half way line, it certainly didn’t look a foul but the referee awarded a penalty and Andy Todd stepped up to blast home and send White the wrong way.

On 12 minutes, Boulding looked to be through for a one on one with the keeper but the conditions made it difficult and he misjudged his first touch as the ball skidded through to the keeper. On 20 minutes, there was a good move from Accrington from a corner that ended with a volley just wide.

On 22 minutes, the Stags had their first claim for a penalty as Brown skipped past a defender on the bye-line on the left only to be taken out. The referee waved away vociferous appeals by Brown and Boulding. Five minutes later, Boulding was fouled in the box and again it looked a definite penalty but again the referee waved it away.

On 28 minutes, Coke went on a brilliant run from the half way line culminating in a shot from inside the box which was saved for a corner. On 32 minutes, there was a scramble in the Accrington box. Barker was tripped but sportingly didn’t go down and the ball fell to Arnold whose shot was blocked for a corner. In fact, a succession of corners followed which came to nothing. On 37 minutes Brown was chopped in the middle of the park but managed to find Boulding in the process. Boulding ran on and shot from 22 yards which was very well saved low down by the keeper.

With at least 4 banners, telling Keith Haslam to go, around the ground, the Accrington fans on the far terrace, at this point started chanting “One Keith Haslam, there’s only one Keith Haslam”.

As the half entered 3 minutes of stoppage time, Accrington had a rare break and, after a shot had been blocked, inexplicably D’Laryea played a clearance straight to an unmarked Accrington player in the box who was unable to make the most of this gift.

But with seconds remaining of stoppage time, an Accrington player played a back pass to Dunbavin, who tried to clear but his air-shot allowed Boulding to fire into the bottom left corner of the net. It was tough luck on Dunbavin who had performed so brilliantly in the league game at Field Mill saving 2 penalties and making numerous other brilliant saves.

As the players left the field at half-time, I noticed the Accrington captain in conversation with the referee and I said at that time it reminded me of the Oxford players pleading with the referee to call it off in that windswept game at Field Mill three years ago. Minutes later the referee reappeared with his assistants and we knew that the game was up. In a way it was tough luck on the Stags who battled back very well and the looked the more likely team to go on and win. Having said that, Boulding’s goal was well and truly down to the farcical conditions.

Some good performances from the Stags who quickly learned that the back-pass was not the order of the day after Buxton’s early bloomer, and pushed forward well making a number of good chances plus being unlucky with all the day’s penalty decisions. Only two days to wait for the next game. But whereas opponents Accrington came into this game without a win in 10 games, Monday’s opponents Hartlepool have won an extraordinary eight games on the trot. Weather permitting, it will be a very interesting game. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Mickey Boulding

Report by: Martin Shaw at The Fraser Eagle Stadium

Line Up:
White 6 Quiet half, though coped competently.
Mullins 6 Did ok.
Baptiste 7 Cleared his lines excellently and resisted the temptation to try back-passes.
Buxton 7 Dominant at the back after an early moment of madness with a back-pass.
Jelleyman 7 Combative on the left, in front of the Stags fans.
Arnold 7 Impressive on the right; unlucky with one good effort.
D'Laryea 5 One dreadful mistake in his own box. Not at his best, giving the ball away on other occasions.
Coke 7 Impressive again. One memorable run which ended with a shot being saved.
Brown 7 Played well on the left. Should have been given a penalty.
M.Boulding 7 Lively up front. Did well in the conditions.
Barker 7 Won plenty of balls in the air. A good half.
Sub Line Up:
Subs Not Used: Hjelde, Lloyd, Beardsley, Hamshaw, R.Boulding.
Opposition Line Up:
Dunbavin, Ricky Baines, Williams, Welch, Richardson, Todd, Proctor, Harris, Whalley, Brown, Mullin. Subs Not Used: Elliot, Smith, Bell, Murphy, Jacobson.
J Moss (West Yorkshire) 5 A difficult day when whatever he did regarding the state of the pitch, would be unpopular. However he appeared to get the penalty decisions all wrong.

Season 06/07 Reports