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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
4 - 2
 Kidderminster Harriers
Stallard 20 (pen), 45+3, Blackwood 32, O'Connor 90+2
 Barnes-Homer 69, Richards 80
Attendance: 2479 (147 from Kidderminster)
Date: 16 August 2008

The Stags moved into 2nd place in the Blue Square Premier with a 4-2 victory over Harriers, though in fairness the scoreline belies the fact that at times this was an uncomfortable afternoon for this new Stags side. The Stags kept faith with the same 11 successful in midweek against Histon, D'Laryea passing a late fitness test. Prior to kick off, the fans paid their tribute to Mansfield swimmer Rebecca Adlington, winner of two gold medals in the Beijing olympics, with a minutes applause.

The opening 20 minutes were tight, though perhaps the visitors had more possession but the Stags looked more likely to break the deadlock. The opening goal, when it came, was down to great persistance from Stallard. He chased a long ball into the far corner of the Harriers area and got in front of the defender who in trying to get around the back of Stallard clipped his heels. The Assistant immediately flagged for a spot kick which Stallard himself converted with a deft chip past the Harriers keeper. The goal provided the boost the home side needed and just past the half hour, what always seems to happen against us, happened against Harriers - a former player scores against you. Lee did superbly to knock back a right wing cross and former Harriers winger Blackwood slotted the ball home. Though the game was fairly even, the Stags gave an even more flattering look to the scoreline deep into 1st half added time. This time the Kiddie keeper Bartlett made a terrible error, trying to palm a speculative cross over the bar, he only managed to palm it onto the bar and Stallard was on hand to fire home from a yard. Although the Stags probably deserved the half time lead, 3-0 was quite flattering.

Half Time: 3-0

Stallard tested Bartlett from an acute angle early in the 2nd half, though the visitors came even closer when a low shot beat Gamble but came back off the post. The Stags main 2nd half threat came from Arnold on the right, with several excellent crosses just missing Stags strikers. However, Kiddie did finally manage to pull a goal back, a long ball from defence caught out Moses and Barnes-Homer sprinted clear and slotted the ball past Gamble. The Stags nerves could have been calmed had Lee managed to poke the ball home from a couple of yards, but his effort incredibly flew over the bar. Kiddie were right back in it with ten minutes to go, this time O'Hare was caught out and hauled back Barnes-Homer about 25 yards from goal. As many of us were expecting a red card, O'Hare escaped with a yellow, maybe the referee thought keeper Gamble would have got to the ball, but it seemed generous. Gamble then made a great save from the free kick, but from the resultant corner the ball was headed only as far as Richards who blasted his shot past Gamble, though the Stags keeper did manage to get a hand to the ball, he couldn't prevent the goal. Now the Stags fans were really nervous and McEwan made his first change, replacing the tiring Stallard with the effervescent O'Connor. With 4 minutes of additional time signalled it looked like being a tense final few moments, but O'Connor settled the Stags nerves after combining well with Arnold and slotting the ball home.

Overall this was a good, if rather disjointed, performance from the Stags. Defensively the side didn't look as secure as it did in midweek and possession was squandered rather too often. However, as manager McEwan said after the game, the players are still getting to know each other and can only improve as the season progresses. That said, at 3-0 many of us were commenting that it would have been a good time to get the pace of O'Connor or Robinson into the game with Kiddie pushing forwards looking to get back into the game. Indeed, O'Connor when he did come on looked a real threat. After a quiet first half, Nathan Arnold did well on the right but man of the match has to go to Stallard, who won the penalty, converted it and added a vital 3rd goal to ultimately win the points.

Man of the Match: Mark Stallard

Report by: Rob Wheldon at Field Mill

Line Up:
Gamble 7 A fine save and good handling, more work on kicking required though
Silk 6 Had a decent 2nd half, a real tryer
Moses 6 Some fine interceptions and lead the backline well, though caught out for the first goal
O'Hare 6 Lucky to escape a red card which lead to the 2nd goal
Jeanin 5 Careless in possession and too easily beaten
Arnold 7 Quiet first half but had a very good 2nd half with some terrific crosses
D'Laryea 7 Again looked sharper than he did last season
Somner 7 A real battler, one great challenge got the crowd going
Blackwood 6 Apart from goal, did little else
Lee 7 Another good display, defensively and in attack
Stallard 8 Two goals yet still looks like he needs a few more games, what will he be like when fully fit!!
Sub Line Up:
O'Connor (for Stallard, 84) 7 Looked very lively and took his goal well
Robinson (for Lee, 90) 6 Although only on briefly, looked sharp and quick
Subs not used: Herriot, Shaw, Hurren.
Opposition Line Up:
Bartlett, Bignot, Creighton, Jones, Bowler (Barnes-Homer 40), Russell (Brittain 60), Bennett, Ferrell, Penn, Knights (McDermott 67), Richards. Subs Not Used: Coleman, Riley.
P Curry (Essex) 7 Had a decent game, though was lenient with O'Hare

Season 08/09 Reports