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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
3 - 1
 Eastbourne Borough
Stallard 13, Arnold 41, Somner 88
 Crabb 50
Attendance: 2536 (46 from Eastbourne)
Date: 6 September 2008

The Stags climbed to the top of the Blue Square Premier with a 3-1 defeat over Eastbourne Borough at a wet Field Mill this afternoon. This was the Stags 5th successive home win, the first time they have achieved that feat since the 2001/02 season. The Stags were unchanged from the midweek televised draw at York, with Jason Lee ruled out through an ankle injury sustained in last weeks win over Grays. Despite heavy rain for the previous 24 hours, the pitch was in excellent condition, a real credit to groundsman Michael Merriman and his team.

The Stags had the first real chance of the game, O'Connor dragging a left foot shot just wide in the opening 5 minutes. However, a mistake by Jeanin let in Tait as the Stags defence parted, his low shot beat Gamble but came off the keepers left hand post and Silk was on hand to clear the ball. Just a couple of minutes after the scare, which was to prove the only one of the half, the home side took the lead with a superb goal from Mark Stallard. Picking the ball up on the right hand side of the area, he used his strength to create space and then hit an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner - a goal of real quality. The Stags continued to play the better football, but the visitors were the best side to visit the Mill so far this season, so in all it was probably the best 45 minutes of football seen at home. The lively O'Connor saw his shot well saved whilst at the other end the dangerous Tait glanced his header well wide from a right wing cross. As the half was about to close, the Stags grabbed a second. A high back pass left the keeper in all sorts of trouble, he was challenged by O'Connor as he tried to head the ball clear, it fell to Arnold who calmly took the ball past one defender and fired it home. A good first half display by the Stags.

Half time 2-0

I'm sure Billy McEwans half time teamtalk must have been to keep solid at the back, yet within 5 minutes a mistake almost identical to the one at York let the south coast side back into the game. A seemingly harmless long ball was not dealt with by Moses, who appeared to assume Gamble would collect, however the Stags keeper was slow to come to the ball and in stepped Crabb to round Gamble and slot the ball past O'Hare. The goal at York was down to poor positioning from Gamble, this time the majority of blame must go to Moses who should have dealt better with the long ball. This changed the complexion of the game, from a side confident in possession and first to the ball, it was Borough who looked the more confident, though in truth Gamble actually didn't have to make a save for the rest of the game bar one clearance from a similar long ball from which the visitors goal came. In fact, despite playing far worse in the 2nd half the Stags continued to create the games best chances. Silk, having another fine game, crossed the ball into the Borough area, O'Connor flicked it on and Borough keeper Pullan and a defender got into a terrible mess, the ball fell to D'Laryea but his shot was partially saved by Pullan and came to a stand still just short of the goal line where it was scrambled away. Blackwood then missed a real sitter after a great ball over from Arnold beat all the defenders and just 2 yards from goal Blackwood missed his kick. Stags fans nerves were finally put at ease just short of 90 minutes when a short corner between Arnold and Blackwood lead to the latter putting over a great cross and Somner arriving with perfect timing to head the ball home.

The first 45 minutes were excellent, Borough were the best side to come to Field Mill this season and for the first time the match was of the sort of quality we have been used to in the Football League. However, the calamity for the Borough goal lead to a nervy 2nd half and the players fitness still doesn't look quite as good as opposition teams. On the positive side, Gary Silk continues to impress and Aaron O'Connor looks a real threat, Stallard had another fairly quiet game but took his goal superbly. However, for some excellent wing play, a well taken goal and even the odd tackle in the second half, my man of the match was Nathan Arnold.

Man of the Match: Nathan Arnold

Report by: Rob Wheldon at Field Mill

Line Up:
Gamble 6 Possibly a little at fault for the first goal, but OK otherwise
Silk 7 Another good display, in both halves of the pitch
Jeanin 6 A couple of mistakes, but is good on the ball and one really superb cross
O'Hare 7 Some good defending throughout
Moses 6 To blame for the goal, otherwise did OK
Arnold 8 Took his goal well, some exciting wing play and more involved than of late
Blackwood 5 Off the pace and anonymous, despite the excellent cross for the 3rd goal
Somner 7 Good header for the goal, deserved after a hard working display
D'Laryea 6 Not his best game this season, but did try to get forwards more
O'Connor 7 Very lively, will score goals this season
Stallard 7 Great goal and some good hold up play
Sub Line Up:
Hurren 6 (for Blackwood, 90)
Robinson 6 (for Stallard, 90)
Subs Not Used: Herriott, Shaw, Trimmer.
Opposition Line Up:
Hook, Jenkins (Budd 84), Pullan, Baker, Austin, Matt Crabb (Harkin 57), Smart, Armstrong, Lovett, Tait, Nathan Crabb (Illugason 74). Subs Not Used: Winterton, Harding
R Metcalfe (Lancashire)

Season 08/09 Reports