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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
0 - 2
 Burton Albion
 Pearson 26, Goodfellow 37.
Attendance: 3612 (854 from Burton)
Date: 29 December 2008


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

The Stags were comfortably beaten by an efficient Burton Albion side on Monday night in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Field Mill. It was Burton's 10th successive victory and moved them 10 points clear at the top of the table. Burton took the lead with the first decent chance of the game on 26 minutes when a lucky ricochet off Hurren allowed Greg Pearson to fire through Paddy's Gamble's legs from close range. Burton doubled their advantage on 37 minutes when slack defending from the usually reliable Silk allowed Goodfellow to blast a shot into the roof of the net giving Gamble no chance. The Stags barely threatened Kevin Poole in the Burton goal, although Sinclair went close once and Jason Lee put the visiting defence under pressure when he came on in the second half, but it was comfortable for Burton. Stags new manager David Holdsworth cannot have been impressed with what he saw as the Stags came down to earth with a bump after the fine win at Kettering on Boxing Day.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that won convincingly at Kettering on Boxing Day. Gary Silk remained as captain. Burton included Jake Buxton at centre half. Before the game, new manager Dave Holdsworth was introduced to the crowd and got an excellent reception. On BBC EMT, Des Coleman had been predicting temperatures of -3 C, but in fact it never went below zero. It still felt very cold though!

The first 20 minutes saw no chances for either side, but a high quality of football for the crowd to enjoy as the Stags more than held their own. The first chance, on 20 minutes, came to Burton, as Goodfellow’s volley nearly hit the corner flag. On 24 minutes, Ahmed’s superb dummy set up a chance for O’Connor on the edge of the box but as he was about to shoot, Sinclair took the ball off his boot.

But Burton took the lead on 26 minutes in fortunate circumstances. It was to change the momentum of the game. Goodfellow slid the ball forward to Greg Pearson on the edge of the box. Pearson’s first touch saw a lucky ricochet off Hurren straight back into the path of Pearson to fire through Paddy's Gamble's legs from close range with a slightly scuffed shot. The Stags could not really complain about the bad luck, as O’Connor’s crucial goal at Kettering also came from a lucky ricochet.

Just a minute later, Goodfellow’s shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Kay. On 30 minutes, a let off for Mansfield as Goodfellow drove wide from a free shot when he had all the time in the world. On 33 minutes, Jeannin’s dinked free kick nearly found a leaping O’Connor, but veteran keeper Kevin Poole was first to it.

On 34 minutes, a rare moment of excellent quality form the Stags in front of goal. From Ahmed’s ball, Sinclair sent a brilliant effort goalwards and Poole dived to his right to tip it away. It was a terrific effort by Sinclair, who had to get his body shape right with an acrobatic effort.

But on 37 minutes it was 2-0. Simpson’s punt forward was controlled by Pearson with his back to goal. Pearson played the ball sideways and slack defending from Silk allowed Marc Goodfellow to blast an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from 16 yards giving Gamble no chance.

Half time 0-2

Around us in the West Stand there were several people booing as the players left the field at the break. This said more about those people than it did about the side.

For 15 minutes at the start of the second half, the Stags had plenty of possession but never got close to the Burton goal. The Stags needed to try something different and on 62 minutes, Jason Lee was brought on for Sinclair. Within seconds, Hurren’s long throw was nudged on by Lee and O’Connor fired over. This had been the successful tactic against Weymouth and I would like to have seen Lee on earlier to give more time to try it again.

On 68 minutes, Burton sub Banim shot wide after Gamble made a great save from Harrad. A minute later Ahmed shot over the bar and then D’Laryea had a shot at the keeper. At last the Stags were trying to re-employ the shoot-on-site tactic that was so apparent at Kettering. Then at the other end Hurren deflected McGrath’s shot just past the post. Blackwood shot well wide on 75 minutes and Burton went to a 4-5-1 formation to protect what they had. Ahmed had a shot charged down on the edge of the box and then had another shot blocked, with the ball falling to Blackwood who again shot well wide. As the game went in to stoppage time Jason Lee won a header at the far post, at last the Stags putting Poole under pressure. Then Nathan Arnold drove a low ball across the six yard box and just past the far post.

Defeat for the Stags and now a 12 day break until the next game. But new boss David Holdsworth will be very busy.

Man of the match: O’Connor

Nigel Pinnick and Martin Shaw commentated on the game for Stagsworld

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Gamble 6 Not at fault for the goals in my opinion. Made one good save.
Silk 5 His worst performance since early in the season. At fault for the second goal.
Hurren 6 Unlucky for first goal in my opinion.
Moses 6 OK.
Kay 4 Very poor.
Arnold 5 Poor, too quiet.
D'Laryea 5 Did very little.
Ahmed 7 Quiet first half, but much improved second half. Sponsor's man of the match.
Jeannin 5 Poor. Only survived being substituted as Kay was even worse. Some dreadful set pieces.
O'Connor 7 Worked really hard all night.
Sinclair 6 Too quiet. Never got himself into the game, though did have one fine effort.
Sub Line Up:
Lee (for Sinclair, 63) 7 Won every header and at last the Stags put Kevin Poole under pressure.
Blackwood (for Kay, 69) 5 Looked completely out of sorts. Two woeful efforts on goal.
Subs Not Used: Herriott, Somner, Kitchen.
Opposition Line Up:
Poole, Corbett, Austin, Buxton, Webster, Morris (Holmes 78), McGrath, Simpson, Gilroy (Goodfellow 12), Pearson (Banim 65), Harrad. Subs Not Used: Deeney, Armstrong.
Patrick Quinn (Middlesbrough) 9 Excellent , albeit in an uncontroversial game

Season 08/09 Reports