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Season 06/07 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 Bristol Rovers
 Elliott 35
Attendance: 2392 (317 from Bristol Rovers)
Date: 7 April 2007

The Stags slipped to a third successive home defeat this afternoon, a Steve Elliott strike ten minutes before half time enough to earn Bristol Rovers the points. The Stags were forced into several changes, youngsters Nathan Arnold and Danny Sleath joined Hodge and Hamshaw in midfield, Gritton partnered Brown in attack and left back Jelleyman was forced to play centre back with both Hjelde and Buxton ruled out. Indeed, the lack of depth of the Stags squad was never more evident. For Rovers, former Stags favourite Craig Disley started in midfield.

On a difficult pitch, bare in places, neither side found any early rhythm, indeed, almost the entire opening 45 minutes was low on quality and low on excitement. Bar a few blocked attempts at goal neither keeper was tested, though Rovers looked dangerous from set pieces, exploiting the Stags lack of height at the back. Just moments before taking the lead, White completely missed a cross from the right and luckily for the home side the ball fell to Mullins who was able to scramble away. However, in the next Rovers attack the visitors took the lead. Again with White fixed to his line, a long throw from the left bounced inside the Stags area where Disley, unmarked, blasted towards goal, his shot hit the underside of the bar but Elliott reacted quickest to hook the rebound into the top corner. It was shoddy defending and indecisive keeping at its worst. It should have been worse for the Stags, a clumsy challenge from Charlton inside the area should have lead to a Rovers penalty, but the referee waved play-on. Not for the first time in recent weeks, a chorus of boos greated the half-time whistle.

Half Time 0-1

The Stags made one change at half time, Sleath, who had failed to make any impact on the game, was replaced by Conlon, with Brown switching to right wing and Hamshaw moving into the centre of midfield. In fairness to Danny Sleath, like many Stags fringe players, a lack of competitive football, caused by the folly of no reserve team, clearly hinders players when they are given their first team chance. It wasn't until just short of the hour mark that the Stags launched a meaningful attack. Brown did superbly on the right to beat two defenders and his cross-shot flew across the Rovers goal but sadly no Stags striker was on hand to tap home. At the other end Disley threaded a ball through to Walker who one on one with White fired his shot inches wide. Baptiste badly misjudged a long goal kick and Walker raced through again, this time he tried to lob White but the ball landed on the roof of the net. Boss Billy Dearden made a double change with 20 minutes remaining. Off came Brown and Gritton and on came Michael and Rory Boulding. Instantly the Stags looked a bigger threat. Three times within ten minutes of coming on Michael Boulding created space inside the Rovers area, but sadly on all three occasions his shots were just wide of the mark. The Stags mustered one last chance in injury time, Hodge hit a low shot which deflected for a corner, but sadly for the home side, the last set piece of the game came to nothing.

So another disappointing home performance and the excellent string of results a month ago is all that is stopping this season ending in a relegation dogfight. You certainly wouldn't fancy the Stags chances at the bottom, the squad is truly down to the barebones and the fringe players have failed to step up to the plate. Most noticeable is the weakness in the centre of midfield, without D'Laryea and Dawson, the Stags have no natural ball winners and the Rovers midfield dominated the whole match today. On the plus side, skipper Gareth Jelleyman did well as a makeshift centre half and Johnny Mullins had a good game at right back, he was my man of the match.

Man of the Match: Johnny Mullins

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
White 5 Nervy, barely came for a cross all afternoon
Mullins 7 Solid defensively, linked well with Brown 2nd half
Baptiste 5 Not his best day, a couple of bad mistakes
Jelleyman 7 Some good challenges and used the ball well
Charlton 5 Lacking in pace, was beaten too easily
Hamshaw 5 Never really got a grip of the match, too few glimpses of his obvious quality
Hodge 5 Pretty anonymous
Sleath 5 Made no impact against stronger opposition
Arnold 5 Several times had the chance to run at his full back and didn't
Gritton 5 Poor, created little and proved no threat
Brown 6 Surprisingly subbed, at the time looked our only chance of a goal
Sub Line Up:
Conlon (for Sleath, 45) 6 Battled well in the air to no avail
MBoulding (for Brown, 72) 7 Looked very sharp and should start up front against Posh
RBoulding (for Gritton, 72) 6 Got involved, did OK
Subs not used: Kitchen, Lloyd.
Opposition Line Up:
Phillips, Carruthers, Hinton, Elliott, Lescott, Haldane (Anthony, 83), Campbell, Disley, Jacobson (Sandell, 76), Lambert (Nicholson, 80), Walker. Subs not used: Lines, Rigg
R Lee 6 Did OK, should have given Rovers a penalty though

Season 06/07 Reports