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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Eastbourne Borough  
1 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Atkin 7
 D'Laryea 45+2, Garner 78.
Attendance: 1,420 (approx 300 from Mansfield)
Date: 31 January 2009


Martin Shaw at the Langney Sports Club

Mansfield Town picked up a third consecutive away win, and a fifth win in seven games, with a wonderful 2-1 win at in-form Eastbourne Borough this afternoon. A very strong wind created a game of two halves. Eastbourne had the wind behind them in the first half and pinned the Stags into their own half for long spells and could have been further ahead than the one goal from Andy Atkin on 7 minutes. The Stags needed to get to half time only one behind to give themselves a good chance for the second half, but did better than that as Matt Somner’s great curling cross was buried with a beautiful right foot finish from 8 yards by captain Jon D’Laryea two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the half. The second half saw the Stags in the ascendancy as Eastbourne found difficulty getting the ball out of defence and after the Stags had missed some good chances, the winner came on 78 minutes as Michael Blackwood’s super free kick from the left was met with a bullet header from the towering Scott Garner and the ball flew into the net. It was a fabulous moment for the young centre half who was still buzzing when he spoke to me after the game (full interview to follow on Sunday Supplement on mansfieldtown.net on Sunday morning). The Stags had a massive let-off on 88 minutes as the ball rebounded off a Stags player in their own box and time stood still as it slowly rolled against the post and away to safety. So a tremendous win for Mansfield and one which brings David Holdsworth’s record to a fantastic 10 points from 4 games, unbeaten with just one goal conceded.

Eastbourne came into the game on the back of 4 straight wins, and 7 wins out of 9 that had rocketed them up the table. It was the Stags first ever visit to the Langney Sports Club, a small ground just a mile from the sea. The club was known as Langney Sports until about 8 years ago when they changed their name to Eastbourne Borough. When we arrived in Eastbourne on Friday night there was a fearsome wind on the sea front and it was still raging as the game approached. We thought it would play a big part and it was to do so. Stags had several players who were doubtful with injuries. Mayo and Jeannin at left back didn’t make it, giving Kay a chance. Woodhouse returned in midfield at the expense of Briscoe, and Ameobi replaced O’Connor up front. For the home side, Andy Atkin who scored a hat-trick in midweek before going off injured at half time was passed fit. One half of their superb duo on loan from Plymouth had returned to the championship side, Barnes, but the other, Dan Smith, remained.

The Sports had the wind behind them in the first half. The wind was so strong that Marriott’s kicks rarely reached the halfway line, whereas kicks from Hook in the Eastbourne goal tended to go straight through to Marriott.

Mansfield were behind after just 7 minutes. Dan Smith’s run from the halfway line found him through on goal. Marriott did very well to save at his feet at the edge of his box, but the ball ran to Harding on the right. Harding crossed the ball back into the middle, and with Marriott now out of position, Atkin had a free header into the net with Kay on the goalline unable to block it. No blame attached to Marriott, indeed he made a fine save. It was Atkin’s fourth goal in 52 minutes of action. It was also the first goal that the Stags had conceded under Holdsworth.

On 12 minutes, Dan Smith’s fine shot from 16 yards was well saved low down by Marriott. The Stags were under huge pressure as Eastbourne forced corner after corner. On 15 minutes, I noted down that Mansfield were in Eastbourne’s box for the first time. From another corner on 19 minutes, Somner did well to block a shot from Harding. From the next corner, Marriott dropped the ball and was relieved to see a shot blasted wide.

On 26 minutes the Stags were able to create their first chance. Blackwood’s corner found Duffy who headed wide. On 29 minutes, the Stags won a free kick in a similar position to Mayo’s winner at Lewes. Woodhouse took it but hit the head of a defender in the wall.

Holdsworth made a tactical substitution on 32 minutes, removing Kay and bringing on O’Connor. Woodhouse moved to left back, O’Connor up front, and Ameobi to right midfield.

Having been so much under the cosh and basically unable to get the ball out of their own half due to the raging gale, I thought that getting to half time just one down would give us a great chance of turning it around in the second half.

But in stoppage time at the end of the half, Somner curled a great ball in from the right and D’Laryea arrived in the box to meet it first time right footed from 8 yards and bury a neat finish into the bottom right corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.

It had been a really tough first half with the wind a huge factor. The home side had 7 corners and pinned the Stags in for the first half hour. The goal just before the break clearly gave the Stags the advantage and I was confident we could go on to win the game.

Half time 1-1

Woodhouse had a chance for a cross early in the second half but misjudged the wind and it sailed behind for a goal kick, actually only just over the bar. On 51 minutes, O’Connor turned superbly on the edge of the box but he didn’t have the finish to match and blazed his shot over the bar. Two minutes later, keeper Hook came for a corner, messed it up and Ameobi had a shot but it was blocked. Then from another Blackwood corner, Hook punched the ball, it hit his own defender on the back of the head and sailed just over his own bar. On 59 minutes, Duffy’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected and Hook made a brilliant save to keep it out of the bottom left corner of the net. As we had expected the Stags were now completely on top with the wind at their backs.

On 68 minutes, Duffy headed powerfully just over from Blackwood’s free kick. Briscoe replaced Ameobi on the right side of midfield on 73 minutes. Two minutes later, Duffy did well to place a Blackwood ball into the path of Somner just outside the box. Somner though blasted his free shot miles over the bar - a waste of a good chance.

But on 78 minutes came the decisive goal. Blackwood curled in a free kick form the left and Garner rose majestically to thunder a header into the net from close range. Great stuff from the Stags tall young defender.

With four minutes left, Eastbourne won a free kick on the right. Three Eastbourne players had a chance to get on the end of it, and it was left to Matt Crabb who headed powerfully over the bar. A let-off for the Stags. Two minutes later another huge let-off. A free kick from the right bounced off a Mansfield defender and time seemed to stand still as it headed goalwards with no-one anywhere near it, but to our great relief it rebounded off the post and away to safety. A real stroke of luck. Howell replaced Duffy as clock ticked onto 90 minutes. Briscoe had a run to the bye-line but the ball was cleared and then O’Connor rounded the keeper but was driven too wide.

Then 15 seconds before the end of stoppage time, another chance for Eastbourne. Sub Nathan Crabb was through on goal but dragged his shot wide of the left post. Seconds later the 300 or so Stags fans were celebrating another great away-day. Keep ‘em coming Mansfield.

Man of the match: Scott Garner

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Langney Sports Club

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Under massive pressure in first half and dropped a couple, but made some good saves and came out with credit from a difficult day.
Silk 6 Defended ok.
Moses 7 Defended well. Forging good partnership with Garner.
Garner 8 Superb again. Popped up with the winner from a bullet header.
Kay 5 Slightly disappointing. One misplaced pass had Holdsworth wincing. Sacrificed to get O'Connor on.
D'Laryea 6 Fine goal at a crucial time. Did ok in new role as most attacking central midfielder.
Somner 8 Got stuck into some crunching tackles. Super cross for equaliser. Performances improving under Holdworth.
Woodhouse 6 Not as influential as at Lewes. Had to move to left back when Kay subbed, and did ok in the position.
Blackwood 8 Some fine crossing, including for the winner.
Ameobi 5 Never really got into the game.
Duffy 7 Held the ball up well on occasion. Super play to set up a Somner chance. Went close with a header just over and a deflected shot superbly saved.
Sub Line Up:
O'Connor (for Kay, 32) 7 Looked dangerous, causing home defence problems. One great turn on edge of box but then blazed over.
Briscoe (for Ameobi, 73) -
Howell (for Duffy, 90) -
Subs Not Used: Whatsize, MacKenzie.
Opposition Line Up:
Hook, Austin, Baker, Pullan, Lovett, Harding (Wormull 67), Smart, Brown, Matt Crabb, Smith (Nathan Crabb 81), Atkin (Gargan 81). Subs Not Used: Jordan, Sebirito Santo.

J Farries (Oxfordshire) 8 Barely noticed him so must have had a decent game. One bizarre overruling of assistant on an offside.

Season 08/09 Reports