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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
Lee 15
Attendance: 2,703 (64 from Histon)
Date: 12 August 2008

Martin Shaw and Luke Mawbey at Field Mill


Mansfield Town gained their first win in the Blue Square Premier thanks to an early Jason Lee finish against Histon at Field Mill this evening. The Stags started very brightly, and fully deserved the lead on 15 minutes with Lee’s goal coming from a corner. However Histon came back strongly, and had the majority of possession in the second half, as young keeper Paddy Gamble made a couple of excellent saves and some fine last ditch defending kept the Stutes at bay as the Stags clung on in a nervy last fifteen minutes.

It was the Stags’ first league game in the post-Haslam era, and an encouraging 2,700 Stags fans turned up to cheer the team to an important victory with a terrific atmosphere. Manager Billy McEwan made just one change from Saturday’s starting line-up. Jason Lee replacing Aaron O’Connor up front as expected. Histon arrived at Field Mill as a club who just ten years ago were playing in the Eastern Counties League, and whose village population is less than the capacity of Field Mill. The Stags unveiled their new home kit, and very nice it was too. A nice shade of amber with blue on the sleeves matching the shorts and socks.

The Stags opened brightly, playing a neat, fast-flowing passing game. On 7 minutes, a corner was flicked out to Jeannin at the edge of the box, who volleyed wildly over the Histon bar. Four minutes later, a tidy move saw Arnold cross come back to D’Laryea, whose shot was deflected through to the Histon keeper.

On 15 minutes however, the Stags deservedly took the lead. Arnold’s corner from the left found Jason Lee at the far post, who got his boot the ball first and the ball bounced up and went in of the underside of the crossbar. The Histon keeper desperately tried to claw the ball to safety, however it was already over the line. The goal received rapturous applause from the home supporters, who really had something to cheer, as the Stags were in front for the first time in the post-Haslam era.

However the goal did not spur Mansfield on, and it was Histon who had a good passage of play. On 22 minutes, a free-kick was chipped in from the right hand side of the area, and a shot was excellently blocked by O’Hare. Four minutes later saw another good break by Histon when Midson got past Jeannin, and chipped in a cross-cum-shot which flew just past the left hand post. On 28 minutes, Percival headed over from a corner under pressure from Somner. A minute later, good work from Blackwood fed Arnold, who curled a left-footed shot agonisingly over the crossbar in the Stags’ first attack since the goal. On 33 minutes, Arnold’s free kick from the left floated over the hapless Histon keeper, and Jason Lee headed wide under pressure. Just 60 seconds later, O’Hare’s inswinging cross from the left found its way to Arnold at the far post who could only volley into the side-netting. It was however a great effort from Arnold. On 40 minutes, Stallard went down in the box, but appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears. It would appear he went down a little too easily. Moments later, Lee appeared to be brought down in the box, which would appear to have been a better shout for a penalty. And just moments later, Stallard was bundled down just outside the box, but again, the officials awarded no foul to the anger of the home fans and players.

So at half time the Stags were leading 1-0. Jason Lee had proved to be an important player in both boxes, and as at Ebbsfleet on Saturday, Michael Blackwood was the most impressive Stags player on show.

Half time 1-0

On 49 minutes there was a good run by Arnold, however he just lost control at the vital moment just before he was about to shoot. Four minutes later a long throw by Histon was headed goalwards. Gamble did well to touch it over the bar and out for a corner. On 56 minutes, Jeannin’s cross-cum-shot was tipped over the bar at the last second by the Histon keeper. From the resulting corner, O’Hare flicked a header narrowly wide. Two minutes later, a great cross from Blackwood saw Lee head over the bar. On the hour mark, Lee flicked a header on for Stallard who fired over. Two minutes further down the line, Percival played in a good ball in from the right only to find his colleague head over Gamble’s crossbar. On 69 minutes, from a Histon corner, Mitchell-King leapt above Jason Lee and headed inches wide off Gamble’s left hand post. It was the first time Lee had failed to win a header, and was a close shave for the Stags. On 72 minutes, there was a lucky break for Mansfield when Midson broke into the Stags box, and was clearly tripped but stayed on his feet, and eventually had his shot blocked. Had he gone down it would have been a clear penalty. Seconds later, Silk cleared his lines with an overhead kick and the Stags were beginning to look very shaky at this stage. Then from a Midson cross, Percival headed powerfully towards the top of the net only to see Gamble tip the ball over the bar brilliantly. Straight to the other end, Arnold made a great break, passing to D’Laryea, who fed Stallard. He then turned inside his marker and curled a shot agonisingly over the bar. A terrific move from Mansfield to relieve some pressure. A minute later, Histon broke into the Stags box and Gamble made a terrific save from a close range effort. On 81 minutes, Midson’s long range shot was once again well held by Gamble. Just 60 seconds later O’Connor replaced Stallard. The Stags were hanging on now, with some last ditch defending, and probably holding their line a little too deep. On 87 minutes in a rare Stags break, O’Connor collected the ball in the opponents box, turned and shot straight at the Histon keeper. Towards the end of three minutes of stoppage time, with all hands to the pump for the Stags, as Percival had another chance for Histon in the box, however on this occasion, his shot was superbly blocked by O’Hare. The final whistle was greeted with a standing ovation from the home fans in a mixture of joy and relief at hanging on in the face of the fierce Histon pressure.

So the Stags pick up their first win to lift them to fifth in the table. Whilst it was not a comfortable victory by any means it was a gritty display, and a much improved defensive performance from Saturday. Man of the match was Paddy Gamble, who was simply outstanding. Saturday sees the visit of Kidderminster Harriers, hopefully a few more will come through the turnstiles to raise the gate over 3,000 and try to roar the Stags on to three more points. We’re up and running in the Blue Square Premier! Come on Mansfield!!

Man of the match: Paddy Gamble

Report by: Martin Shaw and Luke Mawbey at Field Mill

Line Up:
Gamble 9 Faultless. Superb handling, caught every cross cleanly and made two excellent second half saves.
Silk 7 Major improvement from Saturday. Some good last ditch defending in second half.
Moses 7 Defended well. Consistently in the right place at the right time.
O’Hare 7 Coped well against a fast forward line .
Jeannin 6 Massive improvement from Saturday and looked competent.
Arnold 7 Led some good attacks with pace. Good corner for the winning goal. Sponsors’ man of the match.
Somner 6 Committed performance with sensible distribution.
D’Laryea 7 Regularly involved. Some good attacking play, and a willingness to move forward.
Blackwood 8 Another great performance following on from Saturday. Great crossing and a thoughtful performance.
Lee 8 A commanding presence in both boxes. Won majority of balls in each area.
Stallard 7 Tidy accomplished performance
Sub Line Up:
O’Connor (for Stallard 82) -
Subs Not Used: Herriot, Shaw, Hurren, Robinson.
Opposition Line Up:
Naisbitt, Pope (Oyebanjo 72), Mitchell-King, Langston, Okay, Midson, Murray, Kennedy (Andrews 71), Knight-Percival, Reeves, Wright. Subs Not Used: Barker, Nightingale, Ada.
Gary Sutton 4 – shocking first half performance, with so many clearly wrong decisions although a better second half

Season 08/09 Reports