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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Connell 14.
 M.Boulding 23.
Attendance: 4,909 (407 from Mansfield)
Date: 11 August 2007


Martin Shaw at the Griffin Park

Mansfield Town opened the season with an impressive performance at Brentford this afternoon and were only denied victory by the woodwork (twice) and some fine saves by the home keeper. The Stags went behind thanks to sloppy marking from a corner on 14 minutes, but Michael Boulding’s magnificent 25 yard screamer on 23 minutes equalised for the Stags. In the second half, the Stags poured forward and were so unlucky not to come away with all three points.

On one of the hottest days of the summer (around 27 degrees), the Stags gave debuts to summer signings Martin McIntosh in central defence, Lee Bell in a defensive midfield role, Dan Martin on the left side of midfield, and John McAliskey up front. Alex John-Baptiste played at right back, and Michael Boulding played in his favoured role as striker.

The game started quietly, and my first notes came on 4 minutes 25 seconds as the first Haslam Out chants of the new league season resounded around from many of the 407 Stags fans who had made the trip to London. On 7 minutes, a terrible ball by Bell allowed a Brentford break and Buxton did well to deny a goalscoring chance.

Brentford took the lead on 14 minutes. A corner from the left somehow found its way through everyone to Connell past the far post, who hammered it left footed from a tight angle back across White into the far top corner.

White made a decent save on 17 minutes to hold the ball under pressure from Connell. A minute later Hamshaw played a great ball forward into McAliskey who was through on goal but the keeper claimed the ball at the tall man’s feet.

On 22 minutes the Stags had two chances in less than a minute. Boulding broke through on the left, and his low shot was half-saved by the keeper, the rebound so nearly fell to Hamshaw but somehow span away from him. Then McAliskey’s effort was headed off the line.

But on 23 minutes, Boulding fired a magnificent shot left footed from 25 yards that fizzed into the net. It was a contender for goal of the season a quarter of the way into the first game.

On 25 minutes, Martin McIntosh headed onto the top of the net from Hamshaw’s free kick. Two minutes later Baptiste broke into the right of the box but from a tight angle he blazed high and wide.
The Stags were now well on top and bossed the second part of the half, but had to be content to be level at half time, as Hamshaw put in a fine cross just before the break that evaded everyone. A half of two quarters! The Stags under the cosh from a confident Brentford side for 22 minutes, but then the Stags hit a purple patch, with a goal in the middle.

Half time 1-1

On 47 minutes the Stags were awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal. Jelleyman took it quickly but it was easy for the keeper to grab at his next post. On 53 minutes what a chance for the Stags to take the lead! McAliskey did well to flick on a goalkick into the path of Martin, who was in a one-on-one with the keeper but slightly wide on the left. Martin fired wide of the angle though and bashed the turf in frustration. Four minutes later another golden chance. Boulding laid the ball off for McAliskey who was surely two yards offside, but with everyone waiting for a flag that never came, McAliskey took aim and fired against the angle of bar and post from 12 yards. Unbelievable.

On 62 minutes, a Brentford player headed wide from a free kick scandalously awarded against Dawson on the touchline. On 63, McAliskey put Boulding through, but his shot was saved by the keeper’s legs. On 69 minutes, White saved well low down.

Arnold replaced Hamshaw on 73. On 77 there was a brilliant ball from Bell forward to Boulding, but again Boulding’s shot was well-saved. The ball was straight to the other end and a brilliant block by Baptiste stopped a shot on target.

Reet replaced McAliskey on 80. Bell made a superb tackle on 83. Then some great play by Dawson who crossed from the left for Boulding to head towards the top corner but the keeper made a fabulous save to turn behind for a corner. From the corner Boulding thundered a header against the left post. Can you believe it, what have we got to do to score?

On 86 minutes, Arnold made a great run from his own half and sent in a fine shot which was superbly saved low to his left by the keeper. Mullins replaced Martin on 88, and in the first minute of four minutes of stoppage time, Brentford had claims for a penalty. From our position 100 yards away we could not tell if it was a good claim.

At the final whistle the Stags got a standing ovation from the appreciative fans. I felt gutted that we had played so well and somehow not won the game. Nevertheless a very encouraging start to the season.

Man of the match: M.Boulding

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Griffin Park

Line Up:
White 6 Surprisingly quiet afternoon; handling was ok. No chance with the goal.
Baptiste 7 Defended well and got forward a lot.
Buxton 7 Good game. Won lots of balls in the air and on the ground.
McIntosh 8 Excellent debut, tough and uncompromising.
Jelleyman 6 Did ok.
Hamshaw 7 Some fine crossing.
Bell 7 Did well in defensive midfield role.
Dawson 8 Quiet first half, but superb second half driving the team forward.
Martin 6 Did ok in left midfield. Should have scored early in the second half in a one-on-one.
M.Boulding 8 Outstanding goal, hit the post, and close with some other chances. Very sharp.
McAliskey 7 Quiet first half, but some good flick-ons in second half. Should have scored when he hit the angle of bar and post.
Sub Line Up:
Arnold (for Hamshaw, 73) 7 Looked excellent, with direct running at the defence. Unlucky not to score.
Reet (for McAliskey, 80) - Did ok.
Mullins (for Martin, 88) -
Subs Not Used: Muggleton, Sleath.
Opposition Line Up:
Hamer, Starosta, Mackie, Pettigrew, Basey, O'Connor, Mousinho (Smith 90), Moore, Poole (Brooker 46), Ide, Connell (Peters 79). Subs Not Used: Masters, Heywood.
Andy Penn 6 OK. Home crowd called for 2 penalties at far end which he turned away.

Season 07/08 Reports