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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
3 - 0
 Salisbury City
Sinclair 19, Ahmed 36 (pen), Stallard 89.
 Sangare sent off 35
Attendance: 1921 (64 from Salisbury)
Date: 15 November 2008

The Stags started with the same 11 that began the previous weeks cup defeat at Cheaterfield. In the Salisbury line-up was former Stags midfielder Darrell Clarke. The visitors have had a difficult week, players released or loaned out for financial reasons and the only striker in the squad was Griffin, who started the game up front on his own.

In front of the lowest home league gate of the season, not helped by just 64 hardy folk from Salisbury, the home side started slowly, not surprising for a side low on confidence after a run of five successive league defeats. In fact, it was the visitors who came the closest to taking the lead within the opening minutes. A right wing corner looked too deep but a Salisbury player managed to head the ball back across goal where Clarke was able to meet it but could only send the ball a few feet wide - claims for a corner were waived away. Salisbury came close just minutes later, again a cross wasn't dealt with and this time Griffin could only head the ball across goal and out for a goal kick. It took 15 minutes for the Stags to threaten, Lee appeared to foul Bittner but play was allowed to go on with the ball bouncing free inside the City area, however, as has so often been the case latterly, no Stags players were on hand to put the ball into the net. However, just a few minutes later the Stags did take the lead, pouncing on a defensive mistake, Sinclair broke free, cut back onto his left foot and curled a shot superbly past Bittner. It was a goal of high class, completely out of step with the opening 20 minutes of the game. Moses was next to try his luck, O'Hare headed back an Arnold corner and on the turn Moses forced a decent save from Bittner. At the other end Jeannin was caught completely out of position, Griffin ran clear but then sliced his shot well wide of Gambles left hand post. On 34 minutes the game was effectively over and Sinclair was again in the thick of the action. Again he ran through on goal, but as he was about to shoot, Sangare clipped his heels and down went Sinclair. Not only was it a penalty, but almost inevitably Salisbury were down to ten men, Sangare forced to take the long, lonely walk back to the dressing room. Ahmed slotted the penalty home to give the Stags a rather flattering 2-0 lead. Just before the break, visiting keeper Bittner pulled off two excellent saves, denying Sinclair and Ahmed in a frantic goal mouth scramble.

Half-Time: 2-0

Stags fans were hoping for an attacking 2nd half display but instead got a rather damp squib of a second 45 minutes, probably highlighted by D'Laryea's 20 yard shot which flew over the Quarry Lane End roof, probably into the lake!! Stallard replaced the ineffective Lee and was almost on the scoresheet instantly, a great cross from Arnold on the right was met perfectly by the Stags top scorer, but Bittner, not for the first time, produced a fine save. Arnold tried his luck from 25 yards after a neat run and Stallard failed to make full contact with a low shot which Bittner saved easily. Hurren replaced Ahmed, who had another fine game, as the Stags looked to close the game out and moments later, man of the match Sinclair was replaced by O'Connor. The Stags did grab a third goal, Arnold saw his close range shot parried by Bittner, Hurren took his time with the follow up but again saw Bittner thwart his effort, however, it was third time lucky as the ball fell to Stallard who blased the ball into the roof of the net. The home side should have added a 4th, Moses released Arnold down the right, his low cross looked perfect for O'Connor but he missed his kick with the goal at his mercy.

So a vital win and a very, very important three points. Oddly the overall performance was nowhere near as good as the one a week earlier when the Stags were beaten 3-1, but that is as much about the quality of the opposition as it is the Stags performance. Salisbury looked a side destined to struggle and barely produced a meaningful attempt on goal all afternoon. However, the Stags were far from fluent and what we were left with was a rather uninspiring spectacle lifted by an excellent goal from Sinclair. There were mostly solid performances from Stags players, though the creativity of Ahmed and Arnold shone through. However, Sinclair, who after the match signed a one month extension to his loan deal, looked a real threat, took his goal superbly and had his best match in the Amber shirt.

Man of the Match: Emile Sinclair

Report by: Rob Wheldon at Field Mill

Line Up:
Gamble 6 No major errors but still looks very nervous and kicking was poor
Silk 7 Usual stuff from Gary, solid and got forwards as often as he could
Jeannin 6 OK, one decent cross, which was more than he managed last week!!
Moses 7 Very solid
O'Hare 7 Like Moses, had a very solid afternoon
Somner 6 Quietly effective
Ahmed 7 Very good on the ball, prompted many of the Stags best moves
D'Laryea 6 Looks very sharp at the moment but had probably the worst shot of the season into the lake
Arnold 7 Some good touches, couple of fine shots and looks more confident
Lee 6 OK in the air, not so great on the floor
Sinclair 8 Best game of his loan spell by a distance, took his goal well and a threat throughout
Sub Line Up:
Stallard (for Lee, 63) 7 Far more effective than Lee, good to see him back on the scoresheet
Hurren (for Ahmed, 71) 6 OK
O'Connor (for Sinclair, 73) 6 OK
Subs not used: Herriott, Chanot.
Opposition Line Up:
Bittner; Bartlett (Ruddick 79mins), Sangare, Bass, Clohessy; Davies (Cook 45mins), Herring, Clarke (Maher 69mins), Dutton, Sinclair; Griffin. Subs: Turk, Robinson
W Barratt 6 - A bit fussy but OK overall

Season 08/09 Reports