{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
Buxton 56
 Rooney 84
Attendance: 1923 (206 from Bury)
Date: 26 February 2008

Report by: Will Lord

On a cold, dry night with very strong swirling winds driving around the ground the Stags and Bury played for their league status. The early skirmishes again saw Mansfield play a dangerous ball into the box within seconds of the start of the game when Jefferson Louis laid a ball out to Hamshaw for a cross into the middle that Boulding was unable to turn into a threatening chance. This led to one of several periods of midfield tussle with plenty of endeavour and little skill as the players had to get used to the wind.
During Bury’s first attack a hesitant Buxton was forced to concede a corner which was well cleared by Mullins to Louis whose run down the wing started a period of pressure during which a well driven Hamshaw corner was acrobatically headed goalwards by Boulding only to see the Bury keeper excellently tip it over the bar. Bury took the ball down the other end from the resultant corner and fired a strong shot over the bar, at this stage the defence appeared slightly unsure against the runs of the strikers.

At this point your correspondent was threatened by stewards with expulsion from the ground far leaning against his seat so that he could write his notes whilst Louis chested the ball to Will Atkinson who had his first strong run of the evening blocked by Sodje only to see the referee wave play on. After 25 minutes Mansfield were holding their own and at times were looking to expand using both flanks although too often the wind meant that players were guilty of hitting the ball too long or too short.

For those on Billy watch he had not moved from his leaning position at any stage in the first twenty five minutes.

In the last twenty of the half and the crowd were becoming frustrated with the apparent unwillingness of Louis to chase down every ball in an apparent attempt to conserve energy, however, this did also betray the poor quality of many of the balls pinged over the top. However, Will Atkinson showed some previously unseen class with an excellent interception and run down the wing feeding in the ball to Boulding who had the ball taken off his toes by Dave Challinor. Muggleton was called into action on several occasions showing great strength under pressure from long range shots and high balls although one spill after half an hour saw spurious claims for a penalty when he claimed it at the feet of Hurst.
Mansfield’s best chance of the half fell to Louis. Mickey Boulding set off on a direct run at goal and laid the ball out to Hamshaw who had already put in several dangerous balls by this stage. He struck a cross across the face of the goal too far out for the keeper to come far and perfectly onto the head of Louis at the back post who, somehow, placed the ball just past the post. This was one of those misses that seemed easier to score and fans were hoping that we would not rue it later on.

Again for those of you on Billy watch he stood up cursed his luck and then leant back against his dugout.

At half time, the wind seemed to ease somewhat and both side came out unchanged. Again the play was disjointed although Hamshaw did show innovation when clattered to jump up, grab the ball and play it through for Boulding to run onto for a shot. This was one of the few occasions of the half where he wasn’t flagged for offside running through onto midfield passes. Mansfield had two further chances when a Hamshaw cross eluded Boulding and Atkinson running in at the far post hit it first time and failed to keep the ball down in the wind as it went over the bar. The resultant goal kick was returned with interest as Boulding ran in on goal from the right cut in and fired a fierce shot against the inside of the post. No-one in yellow was able to turn the ball in during the ensuing melee. This led to two minutes of pressure but no shots on goal.

Billy at this stage spent two minutes in discussion with Dutch and returned to his post.

Bury should have taken the lead at this stage as Haslam's cross found him at the far post and he headed straight at Muggleton from two metres out. A real let off which Stags took advantage of as Louis place a well-directed header which Randolph somehow got across for turn for a corner. Hamshaw took the corner which was bobbling around the area with legs flying in. Buxton had an initial lash charged down but followed it up with a rocket into the top of the net.

Billy jumped and down for a bit in glee.

The die was then cast for the rest of the game as Bury pushed Mansfield deeper and the defence looked resolute. It was in your correspondent’s view the most confident defensive performance at home for a long time with Mullins and Wood catching the eye and solid performances from Jelleyman and Buxton who cleared countless headers with his central defensive partner.
During the next ten minutes Bury had several attempts on goal none of which seemed to trouble Muggleton who parried, punched and caught everything thrown at him, including a rasping shot which he had to palm upwards and catch under pressure. The ball came straight back from the goal kick and a poor clearing header from D’Laryea gave away a corner which was cleared by one of several excellent Wood headers.
As Bury pushed for the equaliser Louis and Atkinson became more and more peripheral and Boulding remained the only viable outlet for the defence who, on the whole, stayed calm under huge pressure. On 77 minutes Sodje, who had stayed up from the previous corner, found himself unmarked at the far post and blasted a goal bound shot to be denied again by an excellent save. The goal kick was returned almost immediately with Buxton fluffing his clearing header straight to an attacker but dived bravely at his feet to block the shot and remove any danger.

With seven minutes to go the inevitable happened as another corner led to a shot from Scott which ballooned up into the air. Muggleton initially went for the ball, which was coming down inside the 6 yard box, but then stepped back onto his line. This created enough doubt in the defenders for Rooney to gain space for an acrobatic equaliser which seemed a little harsh on the home team but had been coming for fifteen minutes.

Billy stood impassively leaning against the dugout and no instructions appeared to be passed from the bench for the last six minutes.

Bury, remarkably, could have snatched it when the Bury number 10 was free in the box as the ball was played to him. Fatally he chose to control the ball and Buxton cleared. This was a complete reprieve.

The referee found four minutes of injury time during which Boulding had a speculative run but little else happened. At the end of the game sections of the crowd cheered the team off whilst other sections booed Billy Dearden. It seemed inexplicable to your correspondent that the management chose not to make any changes at all during the game. There were three attacking players on the pitch who could have replaced Louis and Atkinson to create more relief for the embattled defence. This was two points lost after the players fought hard for a vital win and questions rightly were asked about the tactics of our manager and his inability to intervene meaningfully when pressure is applied by the opposition.

Report by: Will Lord

Line Up:
Muggleton 9 An excellent performance with countless saves made although hesitated loose ball before the goal
Wood 6 Some excellent clearing headers but his rash challenges could see him red carded at some stage this season
Buxton 7 A much more accomplished performance with strong headers
Mullins 8 The rock of the defence
Jelleyman 7 Like his captain a more consistent performance, linked better with Atkinson
Hamshaw 7 Strong runs and some excellent crosses in difficult winds.
D'Laryea 5 Too many lateral balls and three horrendous clearances in the box put the side under too much pressure
Briggs 6 tried to emulate Dawson’s eccentric running about but was too anonymous
Atkinson 7 At last showed some of his skills going on runs and attacking the goal. More end product needed though
M.Boulding 6 Played well in patches though caught offside many times in the second half. Had two excellent chances which no other player on the pitch could have created
Louis 5 Seemed reluctant to chase lost causes and put himself about. Well marshalled by strong centre halves for the second game in a row
Sub Line Up:
Subs not used: White, McAliskey, Brown, Arnold, Holmes.
Opposition Line Up:
Randolph, Buchanan, Challinor, Sodje, Haslam, Adams, Barry-Murphy, Scott, Bennett, Hurst (Rooney 80), Bishop. Subs Not Used: Provett, Baker, Parrish, Yeo.
Kevin Wright 6 Too picky and pedantic at times, yet played good advantages at others.

Season 07/08 Reports