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Season 06/07 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Hereford United  
1 - 3
 Mansfield Town
Sheldon 89.
 Conlon 10, M.Boulding 78, Gritton 90+1.
Attendance: 3048 (271 from Mansfield)
Date: 13 January 2007


Martin Shaw at Edgar Street

Dream debuts from Barry Conlon and Martin Gritton inspired Mansfield Town to a morale-boosting win at Edgar Street this afternoon. The Stags were the better side and thoroughly deserved the win, though the home side were poor throughout. Conlon put the Stags ahead early in the game. Substitute Michael Boulding increased the lead on 78 minutes. Hereford pulled a fine goal back on 89 minutes to set up a nervy finish, but man of the match Gritton scored a third in stoppage time before sinking to his knees in unbridled joy. It was the first time two Stags players had scored on their debut in the same game since Keith Cassells and Neville Chamberlain, also against Hereford, in 1985.

The win moved the Stags 4 points above the relegation zone with other teams around them losing, but there can be no complacency with a six-pointer at Accrington on Tuesday night.

Barry Conlon and Martin Gritton came in for their debuts, replacing infamously departed Richie Barker and suspended Simon Brown. Crucially Stephen Dawson, so badly missed, returned from injury. Michael Boulding dropped to the bench. Jake Buxton was captain for the first time. Hamshaw played on the left, with Dawson on the right of midfield.

Hereford were on a good run of 2 wins and 2 draws from 4 games that had propelled them to eighth. The Stags of course were in turmoil following the well documented incidents involving Haslam, Barker, Haslam, Peter Lee, Haslam and Alan Meale, all since the last league game.

The home side were the first out of the traps and on 2 minutes a shot by former Aldershot striker Tim Sills ricocheted off Buxton, and White made a fine low save. A minute later, Gritton shot on the turn from 20 yards, but it was straight at the keeper.

The Stags following of just under 300 was in good voice getting behind the team and also making their feelings known with chants of “Keith is ripping us off again” and “Meale is suing the fans again” to the tune of Joy Division’s “Love will tear us apart”, along with the ironic “We’re a minority”. I’ll have to check the definition of the term minority as Keith Haslam must have a different dictionary.

On 10 minutes, the fans were in even better voice as Barry Conlon opened the scoring. Conlon played a ball out to the right for Dawson. Dawson pushed forward and crossed low for Gritton, whose shot was blocked, but it fell perfectly for Conlon in space to fire the loose ball right-footed into the net from 8 yards.

Hereford had a series of corners which came to nothing, and on 19 minutes Dawson, with his back to goal, turned well but his shot was scuffed to the keeper. A minute later, a good flowing move from the Stags as Gritton played in Dawson, who in turn fed Coke. Coke took the ball on and had a glorious chance but his left footed shot was too close to the keeper who made a good save. Coke really should have scored.

With the game now being played in light rain, Coke slipped when trying to shoot on 27 minutes. On the half hour, Hamshaw’s free-kick from deep on the left was met by the onrushing Mullins at the far post, but his volley was well over the bar. On 35 minutes, Jelleyman tried his luck with a free-kick from 30 yards but it was straight into the keeper’s arms.

On 38 minutes, a great challenge by Mullins blocked a Connell shot on the edge of the box.

At half time the Stags received a good ovation. They had played ok, but the opposition had been very poor. The Stags had been guilty of some poor passing in truth. Gritton’s composure on the ball was the most noticeable aspect of the half.

Half time 0-1

Hereford right back Travis cut in from the right on 52 minutes and shot past the right post. A minute later, Gritton made a fine run on the left and his crossed just evaded the onrushing Dawson.

On 60 minutes there was a real scare. A free-kick from 45 yards found its way through a crowd of players and White made an excellent save to tip it wide of the right post. Stags were really under pressure now having survived numerous corners. The Stags were also giving the ball away too cheaply and Hereford were in control.

Conlon was replaced by Boulding on 66 minutes, as Hamshaw moved to the right, Boulding to the left, leaving Gritton on his own up front. A minute later, a Hereford break ended with a shot just over.

Boulding was straight into the action with a fine break, finding Gritton whose cross was just out of reach of an unmarked Dawson - a great chance. On 73 minutes, Hamshaw made a brilliant run into the box from the right, beating defenders along the way, and shot with the outside of his right boot, but it was blocked by a defender. This was real class from Hamshaw, who was though having an average game.

Five minutes later Hamshaw made a fine reverse pass to Coke on the left. Coke got to the byline before cutting a super ball back to Boulding who shot left footed into the roof of the net for 2-0. The Stags fans went mad with joy.

On 82 minutes Gritton set up Coke whose shot was deflected inches wide. On 87 minutes, White’s poor goal kick was sent back towards his goal by Hereford but luckily for the Stags, the forward ball was overhit and White was able to grab it.

Lloyd replaced Coke on 88 minutes, but on 89 minutes it was 2-1. And a fine goal it was, as Sheldon sent a great shot into the left corner of the net from the edge of the box.

Finger nails were now chewed as the fourth official signalled 3 minutes of injury time, but the Stags went straight to the other end and made it 3-1. Hamshaw made a great run to the byline on the right and crossed back for Gritton as the keeper came to meet Hamshaw. Gritton had an empty net and duly finished from close range, dropping to his knees with joy as the ball hit the back of the net. Stags fans celebrated a second consecutive away win for the first time since February 2005. If we can win at Accrington on Tuesday, it would be the first time we have won 3 away games on the trot since December 2003. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Martin Gritton

Report by: Martin Shaw at Edgar Street

Line Up:
White 8 Confident throughout with some fine punches and good saves.
Mullins 7 Fine game at right back.
Baptiste 7 Did well .
Buxton 7 Good game for the new captain.
Jelleyman 7 Defended well, but some poor corners. Why on earth isn’t Hamshaw taking all the set pieces?
Dawson 8 Great performance, always driving the team forward. At his best in the middle rather than on the right though. Great to have him back.
D'Laryea 6 Did ok but lost control of midfield for long spells.
Coke 6 Too weak in midfield. However brilliant play to set up the second goal.
Hamshaw 7 Not at his best, but did very well for the third goal, and one brilliant run earlier when he should have scored.
Conlon 8 Very good in the air. Debut goal.
Gritton 9 Terrific throughout. Outstanding composure on the ball, and held the ball up brilliantly especially after Conlon went off.
Sub Line Up:
M.Boulding (for Conlon, 66) 7 Lively from the moment he came on. Took his goal well.
Lloyd (for Coke, 89) -
Subs Not Used: Muggleton, Hjelde, Arnold.
Opposition Line Up:
Brown, Beckwith (Sheldon 76), Gulliver, Rose, Purdie, Webb, Connell (Fleetwood 59), Ferrell, Travis, Sills, Williams. Subs Not Used: Thompson, Giles, McClenahan.
R Beeby (Northamptonshire) 6 Gave the Stags little all afternoon. Had no major decisions to make.

Season 06/07 Reports