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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Grays Athletic
Stallard pen 22
Attendance: 2,378 (36 from Grays)
Date: 30 August 2008

Martin Shaw at Field Mill


Mansfield Town won their fourth successive home game, the best run since September 2004, thanks to a Mark Stallard penalty in a 1-0 win over Grays Athletic. It wasn’t a great performance from the Stags and was poor entertainment overall, but the Stags are now in second place, just one goal behind leaders Forest Green on goal difference. The Stags were perhaps a little fortunate to get the penalty, which struck defender Jamie Stuart’s arm, as only a few minutes earlier in a similar incident at the other end, a ball had struck Jeannin’s arm, and the ref waived away penalty claims. After the game, Billy McEwan told me that he thought the Stags one was a penalty, but that anyway we should have had a stonewall penalty at Barrow last week so these things even themselves out. Mark Stallard told me after the game that it was the sort of penalty that sometimes you get and sometimes you don’t, but that last week at Barrow the referee had apologised to him after the game and admitted he made a mistake with that penalty incident.

Stagsworld commentary on winning goal here

Billy McEwan made two changes with Blackwood back in for Hurren, and Lee back in for O’Connor. Thus it was the same starting eleven as at Barrow. It turned out that O’Connor was not allowed to play, in an agreement with Grays, the club from whom he was transferred.

The Stags conceded two early corners which were both cleared by Jason Lee. At the other end Nathan Arnold embarked on two forward runs, from the first he should have shot but didn’t, and from the second his shot was weak. On 10 minutes, Lee was booked for use of the elbow.

Then on 12 minutes, a controversial moment when a Grays cross from the right struck Jeannin’s arm. The ref waived away penalty appeals. The ball had travelled only about 5 yards and it was perhaps a case of ball to hand. A minute later a bit more luck for the Stags as Welch’s cross from the left sliced of Jeannin’s boot just past the right post. On 17 minutes, a shot by the diminutive Taylor was deflected and Gamble had to react quickly parrying the ball away with a fine save. The ball ran loose and eventually Jeannin did well to clear it off the line just before a Grays player pounced.

The Stags looked flat while Grays looked buoyant but the Stags were soon in front on 22 minutes. Blackwood beat a Grays player on the left, who fell over, and went on a fine run into the box wide on the left. His cross took a deflection and seemed to strike the arm of Jamie Stuart. The ref immediately pointed to the spot, and made signals as if to show “hand to ball”. To me it seemed little different to the incident at the other end. Mark Stallard stepped up and sent his kick into the left corner of the net and keeper Flitney dived the wrong way.

Jeannin continued his fine first half with a great tackle on 24 minutes, but then horrible defending by Silk a minute later as he failed to clear inside his own box and Kedwell’s shot from 3 yards was blocked. On 34 minutes, Taylor stabbed a weak shot wide, and a minute later Jeannin did well to head away a cross from the left by Welch. On 35 minutes, Arnold embarked on a great run, having a bit of luck on the way with a ricochet off a defender, and his shot from the edge of the box was straight at keeper Flitney. On 40 minutes, Welch’s cross from the left was shanked over his own bar by O’Hare.

On the stroke of half time, Stallard showed good skill on a mazy run and his dinked cross was taken off the boot of Blackwood by a defender as the Stags winger shaped to shoot.

Half time 1-0

It was a poor performance from the Stags in the first half, with Jeannin propping up a nervous defence with a solid display while Silk had a torrid time against the dangerous Welch.

On 46 minutes, Stallard laid the ball to Somner whose little dinked cross was headed away for a corner just in front of Lee. From the corner on the right, Blackwood and Arnold played a 1-2 and Blackwood curled in a cross which was left by O’Hare and sailed a couple of feet past the left post. Two minutes later Stallard found Lee in a central position and Lee shot from the edge of the box just as he was tackled by a defender. The shot was low but easily saved by Flitney. Lee stayed down and was immediately substituted by Robinson.

On 54, Gamble made a great save at point blank range from Taylor, then on 60 Moses made a good tackle as Grays moved forward. Three minutes later, Ashton rose above O’Hare and Jeannin but headed well over. On 64 minutes, Arnold went on a great run, and he shot left footed. It looked to be heading just inside the left post, but Flitney saved well diving to his right. On 68 minutes, Stallard took the ball round the Grays keeper following a free kick and crossed the ball back, the linesman flagged that the ball was already out. Three minutes later, Jeannin made a great challenge just as a Grays player was about to shoot.

Gamble continued his good form in this match on 74 minutes when he caught the ball beautifully from a teasing cross on the left by Welch. With ten minutes left a rare Stags break but a great move involving Robinson, Stallard and Somner, but the ball was eventually blocked for a corner. The final chance of the game fell to Grays on 87 minutes as Molesley shot just over the bar from the edge of the box.

So a nervy scrappy win but three points all the same. The trip to York on Tuesday night, live on TV, will prove a stern test. Come on you Stags!

Man of the match: Alex Jeannin

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Gamble 7 Fine game. Made a couple of good saves and showed great handling throughout.
Silk 6 Roasted by Welch in the first half but improved a lot in the second half.
Moses 6 Poor first half but much better in the second, including one outstanding tackle.
O’Hare 6 OK.
Jeannin 7 By far the best defender in the first half, with some good tackles and a great headed clearance. Distribution still could be better though.
Arnold 6 Three good runs in the first half but poor end product. Another good run in the second half with a fine shot well saved
Somner 6 Too quiet.
D’Laryea 6 Worked hard, but never got a grip of the midfield.
Blackwood 6 Looked less than 100% fit. Great run to set up the penalty.
Lee 6 Made a difference winning headers in his own box from Grays corners. Injured in the second half.
Stallard 6 Quiet game but took his penalty expertly.
Sub Line Up:
Robinson (for Lee) 6 Looked ok.
Subs Not Used: Herriot, Shaw, Hurren, Trimmer.
Opposition Line Up:
Flitney, Sloma, Stuart, Ashton, Wilnis, Welsh, Elliott, Cogan (Campana 77), Bailey (Molesley 62), Taylor (Reid 60), Kedwell. Subs Not Used: Gier, Arnold.
R Joyce (Yorkshire) 5 Generous to the Stags with the penalty incidents. But overall very poor.

Season 08/09 Reports