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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Peterborough United  
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Low 29, Crow 75.
 McAliskey 53.
Attendance: 4,721 (420 from Mansfield)
Date: 9 September 2007


Martin Shaw at London Road

Mansfield Town were narrowly beaten by Peterborough in a game of tremendous entertainment at London Road this afternoon. The second half in particular was a real ding-dong battle with chances galore at either end, but the Stags came away empty handed from a game that they surely deserved a point from. Michael Boulding missed a sitter for the Stags in the opening minute and the Stags were on top in the opening 15 minutes, but Posh scored on the half hour with a goal by Josh Low after some shoddy defending by Gareth Jelleyman who had pronounced himself so keen to impress at his old club. John McAliskey deservedly equalised on 53 minutes after terrific play by Hamshaw, but sub Danny Crow scored the winner on 75 minutes after more atrocious defending by Jelleyman allowed Low to get in a cross from the right.

Mansfield made just one change from the side that played the last league game, against Stockport, with new loan signing Sean McAllister replacing the suspended Lee Bell. Dawson surprisingly returned after going off injured against Rotherham in the JPT on Tuesday. Peterborough boasted a potent forward line of dangerous ex-conference strikers with Aaran McLean formerly of Grays, and George Boyd, formerly of Stevenage, though MacKail-Smith formerly of Dagenham was out injured.

Within the opening minute the Stags should have been in front. Boulding was clean though with only the keeper to beat. He could have gone round the keeper to either side, chipped him, or shot either side of him. Sadly Boulding chose to shoot straight at him with his right foot, and the keeper saved. It was an absolute sitter. Stags fans looked at each other in shock that he had missed.

Mansfield bossed the opening 15 minutes playing neat positive football and on 10 minutes Martin McIntosh fired a free kick over from 25 yards.

On 20 minutes, the Posh’s first meaningful sojourn into the box saw poor Stags defending allow Jamie Day to turn and put in a goalbound shot, but Buxton got in a superb block. A minute later a brilliant move by the home side. Day hared down the left and put in a superb cross which McLean stretched to volley inches over the bar. It was spectacular stuff. On 27 minutes, George Boyd was allowed too much time 22 yards out, and as I shrieked from the stand “don’t let him shoot”, he fired in a powerful left-footer that was fortunately straight at Muggleton. Boyd has scored many times from this distance in the conference.

But on 29 minutes, Peterborough took the lead and it was poor defending that allowed them in. A cross from the right was headed back across goal by McLean, and somehow Josh Low was allowed to ghost in behind Jelleyman at the far post and fire into the roof of the net from close range. We’ve all been impressed by Low when he played for the Cobblers. It was obvious he needed to be tightly marked in this position.

On 38 minutes, the Stags at last put in their first attack for nearly half an hour, as Hamshaw crossed from the right, and Lee Bullock slid in at the far post to get a touch but couldn’t turn it in. A minute later, Johnny Mullins made the tackle of the season as he robbed Jamie Day as the Posh left winger tore forward.

The Stags had a huge stroke of luck on 44 minutes. Low played a good ball forward from a central position into the box. McLean had his heal clipped from behind by Mullins and went down. We had a perfect view, being right in line with it in the main stand, and it was a stonewall penalty, but the referee waved play on. Two minutes into stoppage time, Hamshaw curled a free kick from 30 yards out on the right side into the box and Bullock headed wide. A minute later, a clever free kick from Posh with Low who fired goalwards and Muggleton made a brilliant save.

As the players went off at half time McLean continued to argue with the referee and his female assistant referee, clearly aggrieved at the penalty decision. In truth the Stags had a let-off with that decision. The Stags had started well, but Boulding’s miss was crucial and the Posh were stronger in the latter stages and went in ahead.

Half time 1-0

The Stags started the second half well and on 49 minutes a Stags corner came back out to Hamshaw who crossed to McIntosh who headed at keeper Tyler. But four minutes later it was 1-1. Hamshaw’s perfect cross from the right sailed over Tyler and McAliskey headed in at the far post.

On 63 minutes, McIntosh played a ball forward to Boulding on the edge of the box. Boulding had his back to goal, and he turned but his soft shot was straight at the keeper. Two minutes later a cross from the left was misjudged by Muggleton and it eventually fell to Low who wasted the chance. Back at the other end a minute later there was a great Stags move. McAllister made a good run down the right, played a one-two with McAliskey, and fired wide and over.

A minute after that, on 67, there was controversy as the Stags had a goal ruled out. Boulding headed a ball on into the path of McAliskey, who flicked the ball over the advancing keeper into the empty net and went off to celebrate. But the lady linesman’s flag was already up. After the game Billy Dearden told Sky Sports News that he had not seen the incident on TV but he thought it was onside. Well we had a perfect view from our position in the main stand right in line with it, and McAliskey was definitely a couple of yards offside, so we can’t complain. However it was a bit unlucky as the Posh defence was all over the place

On 69 minutes, McLean was through on goal with just Muggleton to beat, but Muggleton superbly tipped McLean’s chip over the bar.

But on 75 minutes came the Posh winner. Low powered past Jelleyman on the right wing and got right to the byeline, before floating a cross invitingly back for sub Danny Crow who headed home inside the six yard box. It capped a terrible performance by Jelleyman. The central defenders will also not be happy that Crow was unmarked.

On 79 minutes, Dawson led a fabulous Stags move and he was nearly through on goal, but a defender made a last ditch tackle. Astonishly the referee gave a goal kick to the annoyance of the Stags players. Arnold replaced McAllister and moved to the left wing, where Bullock was presumably supposed to have been playing but had rarely been seen there. On 81 minutes the Stags played a ball into the box and Boulding and McAliskey exchanged headers before Boulding sent in a great shot from a difficult angle that Tyler held low down. The end to end excitement continued as McLean shot wide when well placed, and then the same player forced Muggleton into a fine save. Striker Holmes replaced Jelleyman on 86 minutes as the Stags went to 3 at the back, and the Stags had a half chance two minutes into stoppage time after more great play by Hamshaw played in McAliskey. A minute later, Posh no. 6 Lee pushed forward as the Stags had committed everyone forward and easily beat the Stags only defender Buxton before somehow shooting wide when it seemed easier to score. In the final minute of stoppage time, McIntosh fired wide from 30 yards. As the goal-kick was taken the referee brought proceedings to an end.

It was a fabulous second half of end to end football. In the end it was desperately disappointing to lose, but it was a pretty heartening performance against one of the more fancied sides in the League. The Posh were impressive going forward as expected and any League Two side would want McLean, Boyd, Low and Day in their side. But the Stags matched them and exposed a dodgy defence and on another day could have come home with one or even three points.

The Stags now have a pulsating encounter with the Spireites to look forward to next weekend. I don’t want to be too negative, but consider that Chesterfield have signed a Championship striker in Jack Lester while we have signed a striker from three leagues beneath us. Anyway, come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Matt Hamshaw

Report by: Martin Shaw at London Road

Line Up:
Muggleton 7 Made a few decent saves. No chance with either goal.
Mullins 7 Did well at right back, with one memorable tackle.
McIntosh 6 Did ok.
Buxton 6 Did ok, with one superb block to deny a shot.
Jelleyman 4 At fault for both goals. Given a torrid afternoon by Gnakpa and Low.
Hamshaw 7 Good game, causing lots of problems down the wing.
Dawson 6 Surprising inclusion. Did ok.
McAllister 6 Started off well, but was too often shown to be too slow on the ball.
Bullock 5 Anonymous. Didn't see him helping out Jelleyman, or the attack.
McAliskey 7 Took his goal well, and took the disallowed goal well.
M.Boulding 6 Missed a sitter in the first minute, that could have made such a difference. Did ok after that.
Sub Line Up:
Arnold (for McAllister, 79) -
Holmes (for Jelleyman, 86) -
Subs Not Used: White, Sleath, Wood.
Opposition Line Up:
Tyler, Gnakpa, Westwood (Newton 46), Charnock, Lee, Blackett, Low, Hyde, Day (Crow 71), McLean, Boyd (Keates 78). Subs Not Used: Jalal, Strachan.
Carl Boyeson (E Yorkshire) 6 Should have awarded the home side a penalty in the first half. Got most other decisions about right.

Season 07/08 Reports