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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Dagenham & Redbridge  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Strevens 50, Benson pen 52.
 Buxton sent off 52.
Attendance: 3451 (1023 from Mansfield)
Date: 3 May 2008


Martin Shaw at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium

Mansfield ended a disastrous season with one of the worst performances I have ever seen, at Dagenham this afternoon. It was spineless and lacked any quality from the Stags. Dagenham scored twice early in the second half and in the end could have won by many more goals.

In what was now a meaningless game, over 1000 Mansfield fans travelled to Essex for the last game of the worst season in the club’s history. Remarkably the crowd of a paltry 3451 was Dagenham’s record league crowd, and the away following of 1023 had only been bettered by Peterborough all season. Many Stags fans were dressed all in black as a silent protest against Keith Haslam, after last week’s less than silent protest.

Manager Paul Holland, who has done nothing at all as far as I can see to earn the manager’s job at Field Mill for next season, but will probably get it anyway such is the decision-making at the club, made 5 changes from the disastrous defeat to Rotherham. Mickey Boulding, Mullins, and Jelleyman had all been pronounced injured on Friday. D'Laryea was dropped (rightly in my opinion). Louis had been released during the week (wrongly in my opinion). In came Bell for his first game since February, Wood, Martin, Brown, and Rory Boulding. Youth teamers Ryan Goward, Warren Burrell, Ashley Kitchen and Lewis Trimmer were on the bench alongside D'Laryea. Wood started in central defence, and Briggs at right back, though they were to change places in the second half. Arnold and Rory Boulding were up front, with Brown on the left side of midfield.

On a sunny afternoon, but on a terribly bobbly pitch, it was Dagenham who were first to create a chance. On 3 minutes, a mistake by Briggs led to a corner on the left. Benson’s header was cleared off the line by Bell. On 12 minutes, Wood prevented a scoring chance with a good tackle. The Stags first chance came on 19 minutes when Hamshaw made a fine run, cutting in the right, and firing over the bar.

There was a stoppage when someone in the Mansfield end threw a bottle on the pitch as the home keeper was about to take a goalkick. If it was a protest, it was misguided. If it wasn’t, it was stupid.

On 25 minutes a terrible backpass by Martin was intercepted by a Dagenham player, but Martin made amends with a great tackle. On 29 minutes a cross from the left by Saunders, was headed over the bar by Arber. On 30 minutes, came the Stags best chance of the game. A high ball over the top was controlled well by Arnold, who turned well and fired a great chance over the bar from 10 yards.

On 38 minutes, the Daggers broke quickly and Benson’s shot was deflected and White saved well. It was the last meaningful action of a dire first half. Both sides looked extremely poor and neither side looked interested in playing any football.

Half time 0-0

On 49 minutes, Strevens crossed from the right and Martin allowed Benson to fire across White and gently against the post. For some reason, White never moved, perhaps thinking it was going wide. Buxton cleared the loose ball for a corner. But from the corner, the Stags went behind. Slomas sent it over from the right and Strevens met it with a header into the roof of the net. Slomas, who took the corner from a few feet in front of us, turned round to some Stags fans who had given him some abuse, and pointed to his lips to tell them to shut up.

Immediately Goward came on for his second Stags appearance, replacing Dan Martin and slotting in at left back. Briggs was soon to move from right back to centre half on the left side, perhaps to be close at hand to give Goward advice.

Within a minute it was game over. Benson got away from Buxton bearing down on goal. Buxton took a little tug on Benson’s shirt, that was very visible from our position near the corner flag. Benson was still able to get a shot in that White saved, but the referee immediately showed Buxton a red card and then pointed to the penalty spot. There could be no arguing with the decision. Benson stepped up to take the penalty and blasted it down the middle.

Bell moved the centre half, and took the captain’s armband. On 56 minutes, Benson glided past Bell and fired inches past the right post. On 57 minutes Warren Burrell came on for his debut, replacing Arnold. On 63 minutes, Benson easily got past Bell and elected to play the ball across the goal rather than have a free shot, and the ball luckily ran loose for the Stags.

On 66, Trimmer replaced Rory Boulding up front, for his second substitute appearance for the Stags. Saunders did a step-over in the box, as Dagenham were now literally taking the piss. He crossed and a horrendous misjudgement by White saw Benson have a try at goal and the ball bobbled around the area and somehow didn’t go in, before Wood cleared off the line.

Dagenham were quite simply all over Mansfield at this point. It was as embarrassing as I can ever remember watching the Stags. On 69 minutes, Bell produced a fine block. Two minutes later, it was nearly a calamitous own goal to match the performance, as following a corner from the left, Bell fired a clearance against Dawson that went just past his own post.

On 73 minutes came Mansfield’s only chance of a diabolical second half display. Hamshaw’s free kick from the right was headed over by Briggs. On 83 minutes, Benson received a ball from a throw-in, played it back to Strevens, who sent a deflected shot over the bar. From the corner, White dropped the cross and was lucky as the ball was cleared. On 85 minutes, came the Stags second attack of the half as Burrell played in Trimmer who fired across the face of goal. On 89 minutes, Strevens missed another chance.

And so the game ended with Stags players applauding the remarkable Stags fans. Bell gave his shirt to a young fan. Holland did not come over with the Stags players, possibly smarting from some adverse chanting from a section of Stags fans during the game.

The Stags failed to test Dagenham keeper Roberts on one single occasion in the match. The second half was a complete and utter embarrassment. In my opinion and having seen a lot of conference football this season in the flesh and on Setanta, Mansfield would not have beaten a single conference side with this performance today.

I would only offer new contracts to the following senior players: Mullins, Michael.Boulding, Baptiste (already under contract), Wood, Arnold, Dawson and Hamshaw. I would also have offered a contract to Louis, but he has already been jettisoned. I would also release manager Holland and appoint one of many managers already experienced with success in the conference such as Martin Allen.

So that’s it. Much focus will be off be pitch of course, but on the pitch it’s all over.

Man of the Match: Keith Briggs

Report by: Martin Shaw at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium

Line Up:
White 5 Confidence is shot. Dropped cross near the end and was lucky to get away with it.
Briggs 6 Did well at right back and later in the middle of defence.
Wood 6 Fine tackle early on. Did ok.
Buxton 4 Stupidly and clearly tugged shirt to give away penalty and get himself red-carded yet again. Too many stupid fouls this season.
Martin 5 Caught out a couple of times.
Hamshaw 5 Lacked quality, apart from one good run and shot over the bar.
Bell 6 Reasonable return from long lay off. Showed good commitment.
Dawson 5 Poor. Seemed unable to cope with bobbly pitch.
Brown 4 Contributed nothing ... again.
R.Boulding 5 Tried, but ineffective.
Arnold 5 One shot over the bar. Poor.
Sub Line Up:
Goward 6 (for Martin, 51) Did ok at left back.
Burrell 6 (for Arnold, 57) Some good challenges in midfield on his debut.
Trimmer (for R.Boulding, 66) - Second appearance. Did ok.
Subs Not Used: Kitchen, D'Laryea.
Opposition Line Up:
Roberts, Huke (Rainford 57), Boardman, Arber, Griffiths, Saunders (Goodwin 88), Taiwo, Gain, Sloma (Green 57), Benson, Strevens. Subs Not Used: Southam, Nurse.
Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire) 7 Correct decision for the penalty. Decent game.

Season 07/08 Reports