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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
McPhee 21.
 Sinclair 42. Chanot sent off 45+2.
Attendance: 931 (120 from Mansfield, counted by me)
Date: 29 November 2008

Martin Shaw at The Wessex Stadium


Mansfield Town earned a point at Weymouth this afternoon in a strange game. Weymouth were completely on top in the opening 30 minutes and deserved a lead on 21 minutes after McPhee reacted quicker than Max Chanot in the box. But the Stags fought back in the final 15 minutes of the first half and had already fired warning shots before Sinclair showed unbelievable pace to run onto a fine Somner ball to fire under the keeper from 12 yards. The Stags were really building up some momentum and in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the half, Chanot went on an extraordinary 50 yard run to the edge of the box and his shot was deflected for a corner. But as he went down under a challenge, he got back up and head-butted the defender. After a long delay as several players squared up, the referee had no choice but to brandish a red card to the young Frenchman. It was an act of total madness from Chanot, which no-one, including manager McEwan after the game, would attempt to defend.

Faced with a one man deficit throughout the second half, it was the Stags who took the game to the hosts, and surprisingly Weymouth never put the Stags under pressure at any stage. The impressive Jason Lee missed a great chance with a header on 67 minutes, and then on 89 minutes, substitute Aaron O'Connor broke clear of the home defence and was through but as he shot the defender Doe was able to get in a last ditch challenge and deflect his effort into the side netting. You couldn't help feeling that had Sinclair had the chance, his pace would have taken him completely clear and with a free shot. In the end, a tremendous performance from the ten men in the second half, and disappointment that the team couldn't quite secure a deserved victory.

On a freezing cold afternoon in Dorset and in front of a hardy bunch of 120 Stags fans, 85 behind the goal and 35 in the main stand, boss Billy McEwan made one change from the side that lost at Forest Green with Nathan Arnold paying the penalty for a poor display and dropping to the bench. Back came on loan defender Max Chanot into a three man central defence, with Silk and Jeannin as wing backs in a 5-3-2 formation. Chris Wood came on to the bench as the Stags had no substitute keeper. Weymouth included Ryan Williams, the former Stags diminutive winger.

Weymouth were soon on top and the Stags had a lucky escape as early as the 6th minute. McPhee beat the offside trap down the right side, got to the touchline, cut back inside Chanot and sent a left footed shot past the far post. It was a similar situation to Wrexham’s second goal at Field Mill.

Two minutes later, a Weymouth cross from the left was just over Robinson at the far post. A minute later a dreadful mis-hit by O’Hare who was lucky to see it go straight up in the air to Gamble. On 13 minutes, a good move by Weymouth as Ryan Williams fed Reed who passed to Cutler who shot straight at Gamble. A minute later, bad defending by Silk allowed Dubois to cut along the byline and Chanot did well to block his shot for a corner. From the corner, Gamble flapped hopelessly and was lucky to get away with it.

The Stags were in the Weymouth half almost for the first time in the 15th minute but it was an extraordinary misjudgment by Sinclair as a terrible back pass found him literally in 20 yards of space with his back to goal. But he just let the ball run through to the keeper presumably thinking it had been pumped forward by a Stags player. Weymouth continued to pour forward and, on 18 minutes, there was a good clearing header by Silk from a dangerous curling free kick.

Weymouth took an overdue lead on 21 minutes though it came out of nothing. D’Laryea tried to win a tackle on the edge of his own box, but he only succeeded in sending the ball back towards his own goal, and McPhee reacted more quickly than Chanot to slide the loose ball past Gamble into the bottom left hand corner.

On 24 minutes, Chanot tugged Williams’ shirt unnecessarily just outside the area and was lucky to escape a booking. Sandwith sent the resulting free kick over the bar. On 26 minutes, Stags were cut apart by a great ball out to Williams on the right. He cut inside and fired wide of the near post - a close shave for he Stags.

It had been a torrid opening spell for the Stags and, in my opinion, a policy of playing two wing backs was backfiring as they were being exposed time and again by Williams. However, Billy McEwan did not agree with this assessment when I asked him about it after the game!

On 28 minutes, the Stags finally started to get into the game. Great play down the left by Sinclair as he got past the defender and his ball across the goal was somehow slid over his own bar by Bygrave. Soon afterwards, great play by D’Laryea and Lee set up a shot for Sinclair that was blocked. On 32 minutes, a good header down by Lee in the box but no-one could get on the end of it. On 35 minutes, Somner went in hard on a Weymouth player and was lucky to escape with a yellow card. The resulting free kick some 28 yards from goal was fired over the bar by Sandwith exactly as he had done earlier in the game. On 39 minutes, a free kick for the Stags by Jeannin hit the first defender. Disappointing stuff. A minute later, Lee on the edge of the box with his back to goal, did well to find D’Laryea who shot tamely over the bar.

But the Stags were level on 42 minutes. A great ball through from Somner was into the path of Sinclair who left Bygrave standing, powered towards goal and fired under the keeper from 12 yards. Frightening pace and a fabulous finish from the big man.

On 44 minutes, Lee did well down the right but his cross was screwed up in the air by a defender and the keeper was able to clutch it. Moments later, some Sinclair trickery in the box enable him to find Lee, but Lee slipped as he was about to shoot.

Two minutes into stoppage time, a truly unbelievable passage of play. Defender Chanot ran fully 50 yards from well inside his own half to the edge of the Weymouth box. Just as he shot, defender Bygrave got in a clean challenge to deflect the ball wide for a corner. It was a fantastic run. In one of the most absurd and unexpected moments I can ever remember, Chanot got up and head butted Bygrave who immediately dropped to the floor clutching his head. A melee ensued as other players gathered around but there could be only one outcome and Chanot was rightly red carded. It was one of the most ridiculous acts of stupidity for a long time in a Stags shirt. Chanot will receive a three match ban and frankly will be lucky to get another chance in a Stags shirt as he probably cost the Stags two points in the end.

Half time 1-1.

It had been a first half of remarkable contrasts with the first half hour being one way traffic as the Stags were cut open time and again down the right wing and Jeannin and Chanot having a particularly torrid time with the home side missing a hatful of chances and deserving their lead. But the Stags fought back well, scored a great goal through Sinclair and really had the momentum going into half time until Chanot’s shocking stupidity.

The Stags lined up with a 4-3-2 formation at the start of the second half with a policy of keeping two men up front which turned out to be completely the right one as Stags took the game to their opponents despite the one man disadvantage.

On 51 minutes, Jeannin played a great ball forward for Sinclair to run on to. The Stags forward showed amazing pace to sail past Bygraves and was through on goal slightly wide on the right, but his shot was well blocked by the keeper. On 56 minutes, Ryan Williams made a good run down the left but his cross was well taken by Gamble. It was odd that Williams had switched to the left since he clearly had the beating of Jeannin. On 61 minutes, good play by Lee as he played in Sinclair who brilliantly turned on the edge of the box to create space for a shot but it was low and straight at the keeper. On 64 minutes, Williams got past Silk again but his cross-come-shot was well held by Gamble.

There was a very surprising substitution after 66 minutes as McEwan took off Sinclair and replaced him with O’Connor. Sinclair had quite simply terrorized the Terras, and was not injured.

A minute later a glorious chance for Stags to take the lead. A swinging free kick from the left by Ahmed found Lee who had lost his marker at the far post but Lee inexplicably sent his header wide of the near post. On 70 minutes D’Laryea found himself in 20 yards of space down the right, but his cross for an unmarked Somner was cleared by a defender. Two minutes later, a great break by D’Laryea this time down the left, and his fine cross nearly found O’Connor but a defender did superbly to clear over his own bar.

An equally surprising substitution on 73 minutes as the Terras took Ryan Williams off.

On 75 minutes, Ahmed curled a free kick from 28 yards on target, but the keeper easily saved.. A minute later in a rare Weymouth attack, Gamble held a corner very well.. Arnold replaced Lee on 79, and he was straight into the action with a great piece of play, playing in O’Connor, who cut inside and his shot was goalbound until it was blocked. Three minutes later, a free kick from the right by Jeannin was tipped away by the keeper as O’Hare lurked menacingly at the far post.

On 89 minutes came the moment when the Stags should have won it. O’Connor broke clear of the home defence and was through but as he shot the defender Doe was able to get in a last ditch challenge and deflect his effort into the side netting. You couldn't help feeling that had Sinclair had the chance, his pace would have taken him completely clear and with a free shot. As the game entered stoppage time, O’Connor headed for the corner flag to waste time. Given that the Stags had utterly dominated the second half and Weymouth not had a single worthwhile effort, it was an odd decision.

So the game ended in a draw. Ultimately it was good performance from the Stags, who dominated the second half despite being down to 10 men. In my opinion, the Stags would have won the game if Chanot had not got himself sent off, such was their domination.

Man of the match: Emile Sinclair

Report by: Martin Shaw at The Wessex Stadium

Line Up:
Gamble 7 Improved display, though an early flap at a cross had hearts fluttering.
Silk 6 Difficult second half against Ryan Williams, but coped pretty well.
Moses 6 Defended ok
O'Hare 6 Also defended ok.
Chanot 4 Simply madness to get himself sent off. Got caught out for the goal as well. Had just made a fabulous 50 yard run when he got sent off!
Jeannin 5 Torrid time against Ryan Williams when Williams was on the right.
D'Laryea 7 Good game.
Ahmed 7 Started slowly but fine second half.
Somner 7 Decent game in midfield.
Lee 8 Won headers all game and showed good skill on the deck. Only downside was he was caught offside too often.
Sinclair 8 Unbelievable pace. Took his goal superbly and caused all sorts of problems. Strangely substituted.
Sub Line Up:
O'Connor (for Sinclair, 66) 6 Should have netted last minute winner.
Arnold (for Lee, 79) -
Subs Not Used: Stallard, Wood, Hurren.
Opposition Line Up:
Knowles, Mawer, Doe, Bygrave, Sandwith, Ryan Williams (Coutts 74), Robinson, Cutler (Webb 86), Reed, McPhee, Joseph-Dubois. Subs Not Used: Barnard, Collins, Gaia.
J Farries (Oxfordshire) 8 Had no choice with the sending off. Handled the game well.

Season 08/09 Reports