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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 3
 Chester City
Mullins 45
 Ellison 56, 90+3, Dinning pen 72.
Attendance: 2,362 (118 from Chester)
Date: 23 February 2008

Martin Shaw at Field Mill


Mansfield Town slumped to an incredible seventh straight home defeat this afternoon, despite the boost of taking the lead at the end of the first half. What made it even worse was that it was against Chester who had taken 2 points from their last 12 (twelve) games and were a team that the Stags might have realistically targeted to catch, given the freefall they were in. The Stags didn’t get the rub of the green, conceding a dubious penalty while not getting one stonewall penalty and another good shout for a penalty, but in my opinion Chester were well worth their win with a fine second half display inspired by Kevin Ellison, surely one of the best players in the division.

As expected, Mansfield made only change from the side that won at Darlington, with D'Laryea replacing the injured Bell. There was very bad news for Mansfield as Kevin Ellison past a fitness test to return after missing 5 games. Laurence Wilson, a former Stags loanee also started.

In slightly windy conditions, the Stags nearly got off to the perfect start inside an incredible opening 30 seconds. Louis and D'Laryea were denied by saves or blocks, before Boulding rejected a chance to shoot in favour of turning the ball back into the middle, before Dawson knocked an absolute sitter over the bar. It was astonishing that so many gilt-edged chances could be wasted so early and the home crowd were left stunned and hoping that the wastefulness would not be rued. It would be.

On 10 minutes a great ball in from Hamshaw found Boulding but a defender cleared the ball for a corner. A minute later, Chester’s first attack when Ellison’s ball into the middle found Hughes unmarked six yards out, but luckily he was able to control the ball. There was a bad miss by Chester’s Roberts on 12 minutes as he cut inside Buxton and fired wide with only Muggleton to beat.

On 22 minutes there was a remarkable moment of sportsmanship as Boulding was badly fouled and as it seemed the ref was about to produce a card, Boulding put his arms up to the ref to dissuade him from booking the player and it worked.

The Stags were looking nervy, though D’Laryea was looking much better and Atkinson had put in some terrific tackles, but it was Chester who were actually creating more half-chances.

Soon after there was a announcement over the tannoy: “A reminder this is a non-smoking stadium”. The ground erupted with laughter followed by loud chants of “Haslam Out”, after the Calver Cowboy’s shameful antics at the last home game.

There was nearly a freak goal for the Stags on 39 minutes as a long ball forward saw Chester keeper Danby out of his area, trying to head the ball away but completely missing it. Unfortunately Chester defender Butler got to the loose ball before Boulding could try to put the ball into an empty net. Two minutes later Hamshaw tried a spectacular overhead kick that was on target but sadly straight at Danby. Then another great tackle from Atkinson set up a Stags attack and Dawson's fine ball to Hamshaw bobbled just as Hamshaw was about to shoot, making the right-sided midfielder look silly but actually he was a bit unlucky.

But just into stoppage time the Stags were in front. Hamshaw’s corner from the right found Mullins totally unmarked 8 yards out and centrally placed. Mullins’ header was perfectly placed into the bottom left corner of the net. It was a great moment to score and should have been the confidence booster the Stags needed to break their terrible home run.

Half time 1-0

Chester changed their formation at the start of the second half with Ellison moving from the left to the right and Holroyd replacing Butler.

On 51 minutes Hamshaw got free on the right and his cross somehow evaded Louis. Two minutes later, a great break by the Stags as strength by Louis allowed him to feed Hamshaw, who in turn passed to Atkinson but just when it mattered the youngster miscontrolled and the chance was gone.

But on 56 minutes Chester were level and predictably it came from the head of Ellison. Anyone who watches every League Two goal on TV will be familiar with Ellison’s heading prowess and the Stags failed to mark him tightly enough as Richie Partridge’s cross from the left was powered home by the bald head, leaving Muggleton motionless. It was a shocker for Mansfield.

On 62 minutes, a good move from a free kick saw Hamshaw pass to Boulding who fed Dawson whose cross-cum-shot was deflected just over. On 69, a free kick from 28 yards was played right to Briggs who shot wide.

With Mullins off the field, having to change his shirt because of blood on it from a nose bleed, the Stags were on the end of a dubious penalty decision as Linwood went down under a breathe of wind and the referee pointed to the spot. Tony Dinning sent Muggleton the wrong way. Hearts sank - well mine did - and seemingly the players’ did as well, as Chester then went on to create numerous chances to kill the game.

Three minutes later a Chester free kick from the right was headed into the net by John Murphy but the goal was disallowed for a foul as Chester’s 118 fans celebrated. Two minutes after that, Partridge pulled a cross back from the byeline for Hughes to fire over the bar from eight yards. It was a terrible miss.

Chester were well on top and the Stags looking dreadful.

On 80 minutes, Dawson’s cross was slightly behind Boulding, and the 19 goal striker did well to get a header in at all, but it landed on the roof of the net. On 81, Brown replaced Jelleyman as the Stags went 3-4-3 with Brown up front.

On 84 minutes, Muggleton made a superb save from Murphy’s header. A minute later, Louis did well to turn and shoot, but it was over the bar. Moments later, Louis showed good strength again to turn and shoot, but this time his effort was wild.

There was huge controversy on 89 minutes as Dawson was blatantly tripped in the box. There will never be a clearer penalty but the referee ridiculously waved play on. A shocking decision. Add to this an earlier decision when Hamshaw went down and there were good claims for a penalty and it’s clear that all three big decisions of the day went against the Stags. No wonder Chester boss Bobby Williamson admitted after the game to the assembled media in the West Stand that his side got the breaks.

It got worse for Mansfield three minutes into stoppage time as Ellison turned inside the box on the right and curled a superb shot past the diving Muggleton’s outstretched arm and just inside the left post. A superb goal.

It sealed the win for the Seals. This was a truly hammer blow for the Stags and the Stags are now left with what feels like one of the most important games in our history at home to Bury on Tuesday. We just cannot afford to lose that one and extend the losing sequence at home. Indeed three points is a must. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Will Atkinson

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Muggleton 7 Superb save from Murphy in the second half. Could not be blamed for any of the goals.
Briggs 5 Disappointing home debut. Did not link with Hamshaw as we hoped.
Mullins 6 Fine goal, but didn’t look assured in central defence.
Buxton 5 Poor game.
Jelleyman 6 The pick of a poor defence.
Hamshaw 6 Crossing was better than recent home games. Good corner for Stags goal.
D'Laryea 5 Distribution was good in the first half, but faded in the second half.
Dawson 5 Unlucky not to get a cast-iron penalty. But not at his best.
Atkinson 7 Showed he is not frightened of getting stuck into tackles. Did well on the left.
M.Boulding 5 Never got into the game; poor.
Louis 5 Showed good strength as usual but didn’t reach the heights of previous performances.
Sub Line Up:
Brown (for Jelleyman, 81) -
Subs Not Used: White, Wood, McAliskey, Holmes.
Opposition Line Up:
Danby, Dinning, Butler (Holroyd, 46), Partridge, Ellison, Hughes, Wilson, Linwood, J. Vaughan, Roberts, Murphy. Subs not used: Palethorpe, Sandwith, Grant, S. Vaughan.
David Foster (Tyne and Wear) 5 Gave a dubious penalty for Chester, while not giving a stonewall penalty and another good shout for a penalty for Mansfield.

Season 07/08 Reports