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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Torquay United  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
D'Sane 53, Woods 70.
Attendance: 2267 (approx 200 from Mansfield)
Date: 1 November 2008

Martin Shaw at Plainmoor


Mansfield suffered a fifth consecutive league defeat at Plainmoor this afternoon, as Torquay extended their fantastic run to 9 wins and 2 draws from 11 games. The Stags' poor run, coupled with the four point deduction, sees us 13 points behind the play-offs and still one point above the drop zone. But the Stags bad run can be put in the context of 4 of those defeats being against top half of the table sides. The first half was an even affair with the Stags more than holding their own, but it seems the team is only capable of playing for 45 minutes at the moment, and the second half was one way traffic with the Stags creating nothing and Torquay deserving their two goals.

Boss McEwan made two changes from the cup win over York, with new loan signing Adnan Ahmed replacing Hurren in midfield, and O'Connor replacing Sinclair up front. The Stags employed a 4-3-3 formation with O'Connor on the right and Arnold on the left.

On 5 minutes Mustapha Carayol skinned Silk and crossed from the left but Moses did well to clear. Moments later, Silk redeemed himself and did well to block a Carayol shot. Two minutes later, Tyrone Thompson was through on goal having barged his way past Chanot. Thompson’s shot from close range was well saved by the legs of Paddy Gamble but by this time, the linesman was flagging for a foul on Chanot which was finally spotted by the referee. On 11 minutes, new signing Adnan Ahmed tried his luck from 22 yards but his shot rolled tamely wide. Four minutes later, D’Laryea shot from almost an identical position but his effort was also well wide and lacking power. At the other end, Somner made a good header away from a cross but moments later, he clearly fouled a Torquay player in a dangerous position just outside the box but the referee waved away the home side’s appeals.

On 20 minutes, there was almost a calamitous moment in the Mansfield back line. A ball was played back to Gamble five yards to one side of his goal, after dithering defending. Gamble tried to clear the ball forward but sliced his kick horribly straight to Thompson 20 yards from goal who fired a volley wide of the empty net.

On 21 minutes, some good movement from the Stags as Chanot played a magnificent cross field pass to O’Connor. O’Connor played the ball inside to Somner who was tackled as he was about to shoot. On the half hour, D’Sane was allowed to shoot from the edge of the box after the Stags defenders held off from challenging him, but Gamble got down well to save low to his right.

A minute later, at the other end, D’Laryea predictably shot well wide from a good position. D’Laryea has only ever scored once from the Stags, a shot which squirmed through the keeper’s hands to win a game against Wycombe at Field Mill and it says a lot that in all the games he’s played for the Stags, I can barely recall another shot that he’s put on target.

On 33 minutes, Nathan Arnold was caught offside for the umpteenth time during the game and boss McEwan shouted at him “Nathan, come on son, wakey wakey”. On 35 minutes, a moment of inspiration from O’Connor as he sent a shot from 22 yards, deliberately sliced with the outside of his right boot, inches over the bar. It was a great effort. Two minutes later, fine play involving Silk, O’Connor and Somner ended with a good cross from Somner but it was cleared. This was a good passage of play from the Stags and the best chance of the half fell after 38 minutes. Jeannin played a near little ball forward to Ahmed in the box on the left. Ahmed turned and shot in one movement from 12 yards but sliced his effort over the bar. A better connection could have seen him chip it over the keeper and it was a bad miss. But he was at least in the right place inside the box.

After 42 minutes, a good run down the right by Carayol, who had now switched wings, as he cut inside Jeannin and shot, with Moses doing well to deflect it over the bar. On the stroke of half time D’Sane burst past D’Laryea in the battle of the D apostrophes and shot just wide. It was poor from D’Laryea.

Half time 0-0.

It had been a decent performance from the Stags in the first half against a side full of confidence. Not too much goal mouth action at either end but the Stags had defended well and in O’Connor and Ahmed in particular, had also looked okay going forward.

Six minutes into the second half, bad defending from the Stags in the box allowed Hargreaves a free shot but it hit a Stags player and was cleared.

But two minutes later, the Stags were behind. Carayol danced into the Stags box on the right unchallenged and his ball across the face of the goal was turned in from close range by D’Sane. It was poor defending from the Stags.

Rain was now lashing down horizontally into the faces of the Stags players. On 61 minutes, a great run by O’Connor down the left and his shot was deflected to the right side of the box where Ahmed collected it and played it back to Lee who wasted possession. After 69 minutes, there was an escape for the Stags as a Torquay free kick from the left skimmed just past the right post off a Stags player.

But from the resulting corner, it was 2-0. The corner was headed on by Sills to the far post where centre half Woods headed in off the left post. This was more poor defending by the Stags allowing Torquay to win two headers in the box.

McEwan immediately brought Stallard on for Lee changing the formation from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 with Arnold moving to left midfield and Ahmed to right midfield. The Stags had a free kick from a good position after 73 minutes, wide on the right. Jeannin’s delivery was good on this occasion but no-one could get on the end of it and the keeper was grateful to collect the ball through a sea of bodies.

After 77 minutes, Arnold gave the ball away on the half way line. A ball was played forward to Sills in the box but the Torquay striker was dispossessed by a brilliant challenge from Chanot. Two minutes later, in what was now a rare attack from the Stags, a cross was cleared for a corner. Arnold’s corner hit the first man but eventually came out to Somner in the middle. Somner played the ball back towards Arnold on the left wing, but in an extraordinary lack of concentration Arnold allowed the ball to run out for a throw in. McEwan standing right in front of us, turned round in sheer disgust as the youngster he has tried to defend let him down again. Stags fans behind the goal chanted “we’re shit and we know we are”. This was born of frustration with a disappointing second half but would have done little to help the players’ confidence.

A minute later, Emile Sinclair replaced Ahmed and went up front as McEwan reverted to 4-3-3. After 86 minutes, a poor back pass by the otherwise excellent Chanot was awkward for Gamble as it bounced towards him but Gamble earned a standing ovation from a few Stags fans as he controlled it brilliantly and cleared up field. There was another rare attack from the Stags after 89 minutes as Sinclair ran well down the centre and played the ball to his right where Silk’s cross was blocked for a corner. Two minutes into stoppage time, Arnold, showing some overdue fighting spirit, challenged back well on the half way line, won the ball and played in Sinclair for a run at goal but the keeper was able to clear.

The game ended soon afterwards and Stags fans trooped away dejectedly in the rain.

In truth the Stags had not been that bad but there was an alarming lack of cutting edge going forward with only O’Connor, of the strikers, looking threatening. Torquay played with confidence in the second half and eventually deserved their win which, in the end, was comfortable.

Two cup games to follow now for the Stags before a return to the league in a fortnight with 2 home games in 3 days against Salisbury and Altrincham after a run of tough games. These are two that look crucial and must be won to enable the Stags to climb away from the bottom of the table.

Man of the match: Maxime Chanot

Adnan Ahmed, just before the game:

Report by: Martin Shaw at Plainmoor

Line Up:
Gamble 7 One terrible clearance which was nearly calamitous, but otherwise did well with a couple of good saves.
Silk 6 Defended ok against Carayol in the first half, though not at his best in the second half.
Chanot 8 Excellent performance, calm and assured throughout, with good distribution.
Moses 7 Also defended well.
Jeannin 5 Given a torrid second half by the fantastic Carayol, and some terrible crossing which infuriated McEwan.
D'Laryea 5 Gave the ball away a little too easily.
Somner 5 Some reasonable defending, but offered little going forward.
Ahmed 7 Decent debut and tried to push the team forward. Missed a good chance in the first half.
O'Connor 7 Good first half but faded a bit in the second, apart from one good run.
Lee 5 Good in his own box defending set pieces but offered nothing as a threat at the front.
Arnold 5 Infuriatingly poor. Lacked concentration on several occasions and was rollocked by his manager on more than one occasion.
Sub Line Up:
Stallard (for Lee, 71) - Barely saw the ball.
Sinclair (for Ahmed, 80) - One good run late on.
Subs not used: Herriott, O'Hare, Hurren.
Opposition Line Up:
Bevan, Mansell, Woods, Hodges, Nicholson, Carayol, Wroe, Hargreaves, DSane (Stevens 90), Sills (Charran 90), Thompson. Subs Not Used: Benyon, Adams, Ellis.
Brendan Malone 6 A few poor decisions but generally ok.

Season 08/09 Reports