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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
3 - 1
 Shrewsbury Town
Boulding 22, 36, 87.
 Pugh 1.
Attendance: 3,334 (420 from Shrewsbury)
Date: 19 April 2008


Martin Shaw. Luke Mawbey and Neil Shaw at Field Mill

On a nervy, freezing afternoon at Field Mill in front of a passionate crowd, the Stags gained a vital 3-1 win against Shrewsbury to bring them within a point of Dagenham & Redbridge. The win was sealed by a superb hat-trick from Michael Boulding who took his tally for the season to 25 goals, an incredible feat in a team in the bottom two of the Football League. Defeats for Dagenham, Notts County and Chester made it a perfect day for the Stags, but more of the same is needed on the final two Saturdays and it still remains that the Stags cannot be safe before the final match.

Before the game, outside the gates of the West Stand we witnessed the pathetic media headline grabbing John Bachelor, who had driven all the way from his Lancashire home just to get an interview on Sky Sports of him being refused entry to Field Mill. A number of Stags fans let the odious man know just what they thought of him, however Sky Sports will not be able to show that footage before the watershed. It was an unwelcome distraction when everybody at Field Mill was agreed that the focus needed to be on the pitch and not off it.

Stags manager Paul Holland made one change with Wood coming in for Jelleyman. Wood slotted in at right-back, with utility player Briggs at left back.

In freezing conditions, the Stags were on top in the opening seconds, but Shrewsbury took the lead against the run of play (!) (sorry Micky Boulding! see post match interview) inside the opening minute as Marc Pugh broke down the right and cut inside the non existent defence before unleashing a shot, which took a slight deflection but should have been easy for Jason White. Unfortunately White made a complete hash of it, and it bounced in off some part of his body into the right hand corner of the net. A goal reminiscent of Scott Carson’s mistake against Croatia in the crucial European Championship qualifier. Field Mill was collectively stunned, and given our appalling record of coming back from deficits, it did not bode well.

Mansfield’s first chance came on 5 minutes, when Hamshaw popped a shot over the bar from just outside the area. On 14 minutes, Boulding made a fine run from the right into the box, and his ball from a tight angle looked perfect for Louis, but the Stags’ target man was unable to get on the end of it, and the chance was gone.

On 22 minutes the Stags were level, as Briggs sent a wonderful crossfield pass from wide left on the halfway line onto Hamshaw’s boot, wide on the right. Hamshaw ran forward to the byeline and dinked a little cross which floated over the poorly positioned ‘keeper, leaving Boulding to put the ball into the empty net with some part of his anatomy from less than a yard. Three minutes later, Hamshaw’s fine corner from the right found Briggs unmarked at the far post. Briggs headed it down well, but the ‘keeper got down low to his right and managed to scramble the ball away. On 28 minutes, a terrific move from the back by Mansfield ended with Arnold cutting in from the right, but his shot was straight at Shrewsbury keeper Bevan.

On 36 minutes, the Stags took the lead with a splendid goal from Michael Boulding. Hamshaw played a low pass in from the right to Boulding’s feet, with his back to goal twelve yards out. In one movement, Boulding turned and shot low past the keeper into the left corner of the net.

This was the last major action of the half, and the Stags went in at the break 2-1 ahead. After the shock of the opening goal in the first minute, Jason White had redeemed himself with a couple of good punches from dangerous corners, although from a couple of other corners, we would have preferred him to catch the ball. The Stags fans had got behind the team throughout the half despite the early goal, and some fine performances notably from Briggs, Hamshaw and Boulding meant that the Stags deserved their lead.

Half time 2-1

After a quiet opening to the second half, Jefferson Louis tried his luck from 25 yards on 57 minutes, but was just over the bar. On 61 minutes, the Stags were on the attack, and D’Laryea found himself with an excellent shooting opportunity, but with an astonishing lack of confidence, didn’t even pull the trigger. Hamshaw was having a fine second half for the Stags, but it was Shrewsbury who had the next chance, when Pugh cut inside Wood far too easily on the left wing and found James Constable completely unmarked inside the six yard box, but incredibly he scuffed his shot wide when it seemed easier to score. At this stage the Stags were very shaky at the back and giving the ball away far too often, including one terrible pass from D’Laryea.

On 68 minutes, Horlock replaced Dawson, who was not happy with the decision. A minute later, D’Layrea actually did try his luck with a shot from 25 yards. Boulding got a touch onto it, but unlike his goal at Wrexham, could not turn it goalwards. Shrewsbury had made a couple of telling substitutions in similar vein to Barnet two weeks ago, and one of those substitutes, the impressive Guy Madjo, tested White from the edge of the box on 72 minutes, but White saved well. Boulding came close to a hat-trick a minute later, when he broke clear of the last defender on the left, but his left-footed shot curled inches past the right hand post. On 81 minutes, Pugh beat Chis Wood for the umpteenth time on the left, and crossed for Madjo, whose goalwards flick was very well saved by White.

Marc Pugh was giving Chris Wood an absolute runaround, and Holland made an excellent substitution, identifying this as a problem as Dan Martin replaced Wood, with Briggs moving to right-back.

The Stags were looking terribly nervous, and on 87 minutes Michael Boulding brought the house down with his hat-trick goal to seal the victory. Louis played a ball forward into the path of the Stags hero, bustling his way past the last defender and as the keeper came out to meet him, Boulding slid the ball under Bevan and into the net. The relief around Field Mill was palpable as the game was now safe. News of Dagenham, Notts County and Chester all losing made the last few minutes enjoyable for the home fans as we won a game by more than a single goal margin for the first time since Boxing Day. Brown replaced Arnold on 88 minutes, but there was no further meaningful action and at the final whistle, Stags fans and players alike celebrated.

There is still a long way to go, but the table looks considerably better than it did this morning. This was a good performance from Mansfield, with Boulding, Hamshaw, Briggs and Mullins particularly impressive. On the other hand there were long periods of the second half where the Stags looked very nervy in defence, and were lucky to escape on a few occasions. However the win was clearly deserved, and it remains to be seen whether the Stags can register back-to-back wins for the first time this season as Rotherham visit Field Mill next Saturday fresh from doing us a good turn against Dagenham today.

Man of the Match: Michael Boulding

Report by: Martin Shaw. Luke Mawbey and Neil Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
White 6 Awful error for opening goal, but redeemed himself with a key save and a couple of decent punches.
Wood 6 Given torrid time by Pugh in latter stages and rightly substituted, but did OK before that.
Baptiste 6 Second to the ball on a few occasions and looked hesitant, otherwise did ok.
Mullins 7 Captain fantastic and should remain captain. Fine performance in centre of defence with a couple of outstanding tackles
Briggs 7 His best game for the Stags. Defended well and provided magnificent cross-field ball for first goal.
Hamshaw 8 Provided crosses for first two goals and showed classy touches throughout.
D’Laryea 5 Lightweight, candidate for worst pass of the season and shot-shy in front of open goal.
Dawson 5 Worked hard as always, but largely anonymous and rightly substituted.
Arnold 6 Ok in the first half but completely disappeared in the second.
M.Boulding 9 Outstanding hat-trick, best performance for some time. Excellent throughout and barely wasted a pass.
Louis 7 Held the ball up well, showed good strength, but lack of final product.
Sub Line Up:
Horlock (for Dawson, 68) 6 Used possession well and showed good experience. Should start next week.
Brown (for Arnold, 88) -
Martin (for Wood, 82) -
Subs not used: Muggleton, R.Boulding.
Opposition Line Up:
Bevan, Tierney, Murdock, Kempson, Herd, Leslie (Lee 78), McIntyre, Darren Moss, Constable (Madjo 68), Hibbert (Humphrey 49), Pugh. Subs Not Used: Garner, Ryan.
Grant Hegley (Hertfordshire) 8 Excellent use of the advantage and barely put a whistle wrong

Season 07/08 Reports