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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Hereford United  
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Robinson 25, Benjamin 48.
 Boulding 66.
Attendance: 2,272 (129 from Mansfield)
Date: 6 November 2007


Martin Shaw at Edgar Street

It’s not been a great season for Mansfield Town in terms of poor refereeing decisions. First there was McAliskey’s goal disallowed for offside at Peterborough which Dearden was sure was onside. Then there was the failure to send off the Chesterfield keeper. Then there was the Barnet penalty given while two blatant penalties were not given for the Stags at Underhill. Then there was the MK Dons first goal at Field Mill, when the MK Dons striker kicked the ball out of Jason White’s hand and the ball probably didn’t cross the line anyway.

Then last night at Hereford, the home team’s opening goal was two yards offside. A fact acknowledged by the referee at half time after his fourth official had informed him of the clear mistake. It was a key moment and one which undoubtedly cost the Stags a point and maybe even three.

The Stags were very good at Hereford. The first half was a little reminiscent of the performance at Barnet. Mansfield knocked the ball around well and created many chances, while Hereford were poor and there were moans and groans from the home fans even after they undeservedly took the lead on 25 minutes.

The Stags chances started on 9 minutes when Boulding’s powerful effort was straight at the keeper. Then Brown had a half-chance from Boulding’s cross on 15 minutes. Shortly afterwards, Boulding seemed through on goal but the ball was taken off his toe by a defender. On 20 minutes, Boulding and Brown played a great one-two that ended with Boulding shooting wide. A minute later, great play down the left from Boulding set up Hamshaw for a shot that was deflected wide. Then on 24 minutes, Boulding headed wide from Hamshaw’s cross.

It was one-way traffic, but Hereford took the lead on 25 minutes. Theo Robinson was two yards offside as a ball was played forward to him. He ran on from near the halfway line with Baptiste seemingly shepherding him away from goal, but as Robinson got towards the byeline, he cut back inside Baptiste and shot left footed under Muggleton. It was poor from Baptiste who simply should not have allowed him to cut inside.

The Stags heads didn’t go down and Hereford remained under the cosh with the home fans alternating between silent and groaning. On 29 minutes, Boulding cut in from the left and fired a brilliant right-footed curler that was tipped away by the keeper. A minute later, Bell had a shot also tipped wide. Three minutes after that a great move involving Brown and Hamshaw ended with Hamshaw’s shot going well wide but into the path of Boulding who could only deflect it over the bar.

Lots of missed chances, but this was tremendous football by Mansfield and totally one-way traffic.

Half time 1-0

Just three minutes into the second half and it was disaster for the Stags as Hereford incredibly added a second goal. The impressive Ainsworth got away from Dan Martin down the right wing and sent a hanging cross into the middle. That human battering ram Trevor Benjamin rose far too easily above Baptiste and headed into the roof of the net from 6 yards. It’s hard to know how much to blame Baptiste for this, because Benjamin is powerful, but on the other hand it may have been an avoidable goal. What is undoubtedly true is that the Stags themselves could not have scored a goal like this with the squad we have since the departures of Barker and Conlon.

The Stags heads dropped for a while, but they soon picked up the pace again. Holmes replaced Brown who went off with what turned out to be a hamstring injury, and D’Laryea replaced Arnold.

On 66 minutes it was 2-1. Dawson fired in a great left footed shot from the edge of the box, not unlike his goal against Chesterfield. It struck the left post and bounced out to Boulding who reacted quickly and turned the ball into the open net.

Two minutes later, Bell took a very long run at a free kick from 30 yards. He struck it powerfully and it seemed to be heading inside the right post, but the keeper tipped it onto the post. It was a fabulous shot. On Saturday he completely scuffed a free kick from a similar position but the Stags had the good fortune that it was deflected up onto the bar and down for Brown to score the second goal against Macclesfield.

On 70 minutes Dawson was gifted a chance after a defensive error but shot wide and put his head in his hands. At the other end, a mistake from Baptiste allowed Benjamin a shot at goal, but Muggleton saved.

The chances kept on coming for the Stags as Mansfield really tried to turn the screw and on 80 minutes Bell shot over the bar after another good move involving Hamshaw and Mullins. Then Boulding’s low drive was straight at the keeper and Buxton twice headed straight at the keeper from corners. Holmes missed badly with a couple of chances and then in the fifth minute of stoppage time Baptiste capped a nightmare performance when he shot over the bar from 6 yards after a long throw.

So the Stags fell to defeat but this was a really fine performance. At the final whistle the Stags players received an ovation from the 129 fans who made the long trip.

Right after the game, there was some dispute in the press box about who had scored the Stags goal. I had been in no doubt on the radio commentary that it was Michael Boulding, but the Press Association and some sections of the Mansfield local media thought it was Holmes. I said that I would put my life on the fact that it was Boulding, an offer quickly taken up by John Lomas who informed me that if it was wrong in the CHAD newspaper on Wednesday morning, he would be coming after me. Later on, David Jackson interviewed Stephen Dawson on the pitch and very sneakily got Dawson to reveal who scored the goal without revealing that David himself wasn’t sure! Take a listen to the Radio Nottingham interview (linked from Stagsnet latest news page) and hear the true professional at work.

Meanwhile, at half time, Jason Harrison had informed me that I had got my words mixed up (a spoonerism) in trying to say “kit clash” during the first half commentary, and that I was probably the first person ever to have said that on 103.2! Things could only get better. But no. I get home at 1.15am after another long drive to Surrey, to find out that the Wrexham game has been postponed, when we had a book signing specially arranged for that morning at the McArthur Glen retail park at Junction 28 to coincide with a trip up the M1.

Oh well. Come on Mansfield.

Man of the match: Michael Boulding

Report by: Martin Shaw at Edgar Street

Line Up:
Muggleton 7 No chance with the goals. Flapped with one punch but otherwise assured and made a few decent saves.
Mullins 7 Defended well and linked very well with Hamshaw going forward.
Buxton 7 Good game. Solid.
Baptiste 5 Sold like a kipper for Hereford’s first goal, and was also outjumped by Benjamin for the second goal. Also made a bad mistake that was nearly costly in the second half.
Martin 6 Did ok.
Hamshaw 7 Busy game down the right. Lots of decent crosses.
Bell 7 Industrious. One superb free kick that so nearly earned a point. Went off injured and later hobbled to the team bus on crutches.
Dawson 8 Great shot that led to the first goal. Busy all night in midfield.
Arnold 6 A bit quiet.
Brown 7 Linked well with Boulding again. Went off with hamstring strain. If he is out for a while, this could be catastrophic as the upturn in fortunes has coincided with his partnership with Boulding.
M.Boulding 8 Great game. Gave Hereford major problems all night. Reacted quickly for the goal.
Sub Line Up:
Holmes (for Brown, 55) 5 Very poor. Several efforts on goal were awful. I was bemused after the game when James Derry told the assembled media he thought Holmes had played well. One for the future hopefully, but Holmes is not ready for now.
D'Laryea (for Arnold, 62) 7 Looked composed on the ball. Wonderful to have him back, and timely too with the injury to Bell.
McAllister (for Bell, 90+4) -
Subs Not Used: White, Jelleyman.
Opposition Line Up:
Brown, Rose, McCombe, Broadhurst, Threlfall, Ainsworth (Webb 88), Smith (Taylor 88), Diagouraga, Easton, Robinson, Benjamin (Johnson 74). Subs Not Used: Ingham, Gwynne.
Fred Graham (Essex) 5 Admitted to a horrible mistake for Hereford’s first goal. Otherwise ok.

Season 07/08 Reports