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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 2
 MK Dons
Boulding 29.
 Dyer 72, Stirling 83.
Attendance: 1984 (327 from MK)
Date: 2 October 2007


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

An incredible night at Field Mill as rock-bottom Mansfield Town turned in a superb display against league leaders MK Dons, and, but for the worst refereeing display I have ever seen, the Stags would have grabbed the points. Mickey Boulding was clearly brought down in the box in the first half yet the referee decided to wave play on to try to give the Stags an advantage that they never got. Boulding then put the Stags ahead after 28 minutes. Then the second major decision by a ref who had a shocker all night was to award a goal to MK Dons when Dyer seemed to kick the ball out of the hands of sub keeper Jason White and the ball rolled towards the net and may have been cleared before it went over the line (video replays needed for that one). As the Stags pushed forward, MK Dons got a winner 7 minutes from time through Stirling. The Stags remain bottom.

First half audio highlights from the StagsWorld commentary: here.

FOOTNOTE, Wednesday: Having studied the TV footage of the MK Dons first goal, frame by frame, I stick with my original assessment:
White had both hands on the ball when it was kicked through his hands.
TV footage was inconclusive on whether the ball crossed the line as Baptiste was obscuring the view. However there was a camera on the Bishop Street side, which I expect was for a feature on Sky Sports The Big League Weekend on Friday night, so we may learn more from those pictures.

Dearden made several changes with Dan Martin coming in at left back, Mullins reverting to right back, Brown returning to the starting eleven in place of an unfit McAliskey who was on the bench, and McAllister in for Bullock who had returned to Hartlepool. Dearden had told the media before the game it was a 4-3-3 formation, but it was more like a 4-5-1, a fact that Dearden admitted after the game.

The Stags made a promising start but soon the aerial threat of the Dons before clear - they were a very big side apart from the diminutive Leon Knight. And soon we were reminded of the longest throw in professional football as Jude Stirling was hurling throw-ins onto the penalty spot.

It was an entertaining affair with both sides creating half chances but the first big moment of the night came on 23 minutes. Boulding made a great run into the box, cut inside a defender and was clearly tripped. He half went down but managed to get the ball to Hamshaw who couldn’t quite manage to get a shot on goal. Referee Drysdale decided to play on, presumably thinking the Stags had had an opportunity for a shot. It was outrageous refereeing. Stags players were incensed and so was boss Billy Dearden - indeed I have never seen Dearden so animated.

Within a minute there was another bad decision as MK were given a free kick on the edge of the Stags box, which Andrews, leading scorer in the division, fired inches over the bar.

But Mansfield were ahead on 28 minutes. I thought Brown was going to score when his shot was half-saved by keeper Gueret but it was an optical illusion and ball was parried away from goal, but it came out to Dawson on the left, who crossed back into the box and Boulding rose highest to head over the keeper and in off the left post.

It was so nearly 2-0 on 37 minutes. McAllister made a great run across the edge of the box and elected not to shoot himself, instead teeing up Dawson, who sent a right-footed shot against the outside of the left post.

On 42 minutes, Buxton was wrongly adjudged to have committed a foul on the edge of the box. Andrews again took the free kick and this time sent it onto the roof of the net.

At the half time whistle, Stags players remonstrated with the referee.

Half time 1-0

Muggleton made a fantastic save from a Dyer header on 50 minutes

But on the hour Muggleton was left injured as Knight challenged for a 50:50 ball. It looked bad for Muggleton but after a 4 minute stoppage he was able to get to his feet and the stretcher that had been brought on was not needed. Jason White came on to replace the keeper.

The game was in a quieter phase and MK were not threatening, but disaster struck on 72 minutes. Dyer chased a through ball with Mullins into the Stags box. It seemed to me that White managed to get his hands on the ball as Dyer poked it past him. The ball headed goalwards and Baptiste tried to clear the ball off the line. But the linesman signalled that it was in. Baptiste and White went ballistic and were both booked. A viewing of the video is needed to sort this one out.

Arnold replaced the ineffective Brown but as Stags committed men forward to try to find a deserved winner, MK Dons broke superbly on 83 minutes to score out of the blue. Dyer’s ball found Stirling and he ran 40 yards before firing home a great finish giving White no chance as he found the left corner of the net. I noticed Lee Bell collapse in a heap on the floor in disbelief.

On 86 minutes, Boulding was scythed down by Swailes 35 yards from goal as he ran at the defence. Swailes then pushed Hamshaw to the ground as Stags players were incensed. Astonishingly Swailes was only given a yellow card. In the Stagsworld commentary position, we turned round to ask the referee’s assessor for a word. Naturally he wouldn’t go on air, but he did tell us that the same player who committed the foul then pushed a Mansfield player over. Make of it what you will.

On 88 minutes, keeper Gueret saved at the feet of Boulding. The referee added on only 5 minutes, despite the stoppage for the injury to Muggleton having been 4 minutes. Then Arnold shot wide, and finally Hamshaw missed a sitter in the six yard box from a cross from the left after McAlliskey, a late substitute, had missed his kick.

By this time chairman James Derry had positioned himself by the tunnel, and was clearly ready for a chat with the ref. After the final whistle, Derry approached the ref and was saying a few words, before a steward ushered him away.

And so, another defeat. But this was a terrific performance full of passion, desire and commitment, against the league leaders, and one that deserved all three points but got nothing. I don’t like blaming refs, but on this occasion, I think every Stags fan who was in the ground, was saying the same thing: the ref cost us that game.

Stags man of the Match: McAllister

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Muggleton 8 In fine form before being clattered. Dearden said after the game he maybe ok for Saturday.
Mullins 8 Very good game, defensively and going forward.
Baptiste 7 Looked good.
Buxton 7 Good game. Ended the game barely able to run, but all three subs were on.
Martin 8 Easily his best performance in a yellow shirt. Looked assured at left back.
Hamshaw 6 Didn't really get into the game.
McAllister 8 Tigerish in midfield, winning lots of 50:50 balls.
Bell 8 All action display. Looked impressive.
Dawson 8 Drove the team forward well.
Brown 6 Not yet back to full match fitness.
M.Boulding 8 Scored a fine goal, and was unlucky not to earn a penalty.
Sub Line Up:
White (for Muggleton, 64) 6
Arnold (for Brown, 76) -
McAliskey (for McAllister, 88) -
Subs not used: Kitchen, Holmes.
Opposition Line Up:
Gueret, Diallo, O'Hanlon, Swailes, Lewington, Dyer (Edds 90), Andrews, Howell, Stirling, Knight (Johnson 63), Wilbraham (Broughton 87). Subs Not Used: Abbey, Smart.
Darren Drysdale 0 The worst refereeing performance ever.

Season 07/08 Reports