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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Lincoln City  
1 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Forrester pen 59
 M.Boulding 49, 90+3
Attendance: 4280 (734 from Mansfield)
Date: 29 January 2008

Report by Will Lord

The match started in drifting drizzle with a large, noisy turnout from the Stags falling silent to impeccably mark a minute of respect for a former Imps chairman.
The crowd were hardly in their seats before Lincoln had their first effort on goal when Lenny John-Lewis had a shot across the face of the goal after running on to a through ball. This was soon followed by a chance for Ben Wright after a bad misjudgement by Dan Martin who never seemed to improve all game.
The weather then seemed to fall into a pattern as the rain fell more heavily and the Imps pumped high ball after high ball towards their target man Wright whilst Jellyman and Buxton intervened calmly to snuff out chances. In the 10th minute after Bell had given the ball away in midfield a dangerous cross was bravely cut out by a D’Laryea header.

At this stage the tide seemed to be turning in Lincoln’s favour after a period of poor midfield play and Simon Brown saw himself booked for a petulant foul after needlessly losing the ball. The resultant free kick saw the ball headed out for a corner which was cleared well by a Buxton header into midfield. Again, Dan Martin gave the ball away and Wright wasted a simple chance to screw the ball across the face of the goal. The away fans started to express their concerns as the game descended into a poor passage of play between two poor teams.

In the 22nd minute Hamshaw released Mickey Boulding with a ball to the right flank which he whipped across inducing some panic in the defence but not resulting in a shot on goal but this did mark the start of a Stags dominant period in which Boulding flashed a shot across the face of goal and Mansfield has two surging attacks.

On 27 minutes Boulding ran at the defence creating space for a weak shot only to follow this up two minutes later with similar run that earned a free kick after Boulding was tripped. Martin floated the ball in from the dead ball and Boulding trapped, turned and shot gaining the first away corner of the game. Hamshaw hit the ball deep finding Buxton in space who put his header tamely wide. This was soon followed by another corner earned by a blocked Dawson shot which was whipped to the front post and cleared to Jellyman who made an excellent run to the wing before crossing too deep.

The game then began to run down to half time with a midfield tussle dominating until a Lincoln corner started a period pressure in which the Mansfield back four suddenly started losing its shape and showed the frailties we have seen too much this season. It was simply a matter of lasting to half time which came after an excellent Jonny Mullins overlap and another case of Dan Martin lacking enough composure to find another Stags player.

Half time 0 – 0

The fans took their seats ready for another challenging 45 minutes of football to watch - it was obvious that both managers had put a rocket up their teams who have been frightened of losing in the first half.

45:12 Forrester through on goal and is denied by a last ditch challenge by Jellyman who came out of nowhere.

45:30 Dawson ran through the middle to be denied by quick movement from Marriot in the Imps goal

46:46 Hamshaw overlapped Boulding on the right with excellent link up work driving the ball against a defender for a driven corner which was flicked away by Nat Brown setting up a counter attack resulting in a Lincoln corner at the other end.

48:28 Wood began a drive down the right playing the ball to Hamshaw who appeared to have picked the wrong player in giving the ball to a well marker Boulding on the right wing. Mickey then cut back and drove towards the goal hitting a curling shot between two defenders. Goalkeeper Marriot will be disappointed with his positioning which allowed Mansfield to take the lead and the Mansfield fans to erupt in sheer delight.

Mansfield then grew in confidence and piled on 3 minutes of solid pressure which were answered by three straight corners won by Lincoln. At this stage Billy Dearden took the correct decision to substitute Martin for Wood who went to right back whilst Mullins switched flanks. Mansfield continued to press for a second with Boulding, Hamshaw and Brown all having runs on goals.

In the 58th minute the ball was played into the Stags area and bobbled around between three defenders and Muggleton who all seemed to leave it for each other. Forrester went to ground during the resultant panic and Premiership referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot indicating that someone had pulled the striker’s shirt. He did not, however, book anyone and only spoke to Carl Muggleton for dissent. The penalty was struck hard and low to Muggleton’s right and just evaded his outstretched hand. Cue much noise from the fans with a surplus of fingers.

The equaliser spurred Lincoln onto a more attacking period of play during which Mansfield conceded several free kicks including another booking for Brown another petulant challenge when calm heads were required. At this point on the 70th minute Dearden removed Bell and Brown who gave way for Holmes and Mansfield debutant, Will Atkinson, who slotted in on the left wing.

It was a brave and well chosen change which ultimately won the three points for the Stags as Holmes proved to be a brave front man and Mansfield became more dominant although the ball was flowing end to end. In the 73rd minute a Mansfield corner won from a Hamshaw cross was clearer to allow sub Stallard to break away requiring an excellent intervention from Jellyman, The ball was kicked up to Holmes who laid it off to Boulding who, in turn, put Atkinson through for his first shot on goal which went straight into the keeper’s midriff. Three minutes later, an overcomplicated corner pulled back for Dawson to cross gave Lincoln a three on three break which was only stopped by the poor control of N’Guessan. Mansfield were on top again and a through ball saw both Holmes and Boulding clear on goal; the younger striker took the ball and crashed it against the underside of the bar. The ball bounced on the wrong side of the line but no-one was following up and the attack died with a speculative Dawson drive over the bar. The omens were good with positive play and the new and already faulty scoreboard showing the visitors as leading by 81 goals to 1.

With five minutes to go N’Guessan drove into the area and fired a skimmer wide of the goal. From the resultant restart Atkinson flicked the ball through leaving Holmes clear for the second time as he raced towards the goal and fired from 5 metres outside the area giving Marriot little problem in clutching the ball to his middle. The play then became the usual run down to a draw until a ball pumped up the middle was intelligently nodded down into the path of the onrushing Boulding who very calmly took a touch and stroked it past the Imps keeper.

Cue pandemonium! Grown men hugged each other; the Grim Reaper jumped up and down shaking his sickle at the bereft Imp fans who trudged disconsolately out of the stadium sticking up the appropriate number of fingers to denote the score Lincoln 1: Mansfield Town 2.

A vital win for the Stags in a match between two teams who showed too many times why they are both in the lower echelons of the football league. Mansfield Town bought themselves a lifeline tonight but this is just the beginning of a long slog and we have to be honest that certain players must raise their game if we are to survive. However, this must be the game that we tell our grandchildren was the one that saved us from the drop

MOTM Mickey Boulding – 2 goals, linked well with Hamshaw and Holmes, kept driving forward when Lincoln were on top and showed that he still does have the desire to be a professional footballer.

Report by: Will Lord

Line Up:
Muggleton 7 At times had very little to do and got close to the penalty. his communication with the back four at times was worrying
Mullins 7 Another assured performance with a couple of good overlaps
Jelleyman 7 Played well with some good distribution forward
Buxton 6 Some very good interventions but let down by his distribution and passing
Martin 3 Looked leggy and woefully off form
Hamshaw 7 Full of running with some dangerous corners
Bell 5 Some crunching interventions but missed too many tackles and passed poorly at times
Dawson 6 Hard running
D'Laryea 6 Did a lot of leg work but again made poor decisions too often with the ball
Brown 4 Ineffective all match
M.Boulding 9 Ran the angles, linked up well with wide players and brought the two attacking subs into the match
Sub Line Up:
Wood (for Martin, 54) 6 Low key but effective
Holmes (for Brown, 72) Good knock down for the goal, looked lively but lacked composure for shot on goal
Atkinson (for Bell, 72) Ran hard, won an impressive header to put Holmes through, crossed and shot well. Must start on Saturday
Subs not used: White, Arnold.
Opposition Line Up:
Marriott, Green, Beevers, Brown, Ridley, John-Lewis, Kerr, Hand, Dodds (N'Guessan 76), Forrester (Smith 82), Wright (Stallard 69). Subs Not Used: Duffy, Hone.
Phil Dowd 5 Quietly efficient with few errors but did annoy at times with fussy free kicks.

Season 07/08 Reports