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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 York City
Duffy pen 42
Attendance: 2576 (389 from York)
Date: 7 February 2009

Following a terrific effort from around 80 volunteers to clear the snow covered Field Mill pitch, the game was given the go ahead, a much needed boost given the number of postponed home games the club has suffered recently. Boss David Holdsworth made three changes from the side victorious at Eastbourne the previous Saturday, injured Gary Silk was replaced by Scott Gardner, James Kay was replaced by the returning Paul Mayo and Aaron O'Conner replaced Tomi Ameobi in attack. For the Minstermen, former Stags winger Simon Brown started on their right wing.

The opening half hour was pretty much a non-event, the visitors had the edge in terms of possession but neither keeper had a save to make. The closest the Stags came was a volley from Moses from 20 yards which flew well over the bar, whilst for the visitors Brodie headed weakly at Marriott from close range and a deflected shot from Mackin forced Marriott to quickly change direction and gather the ball. Both sides struggled to keep possession and whilst the pitch was definitely playable (despite attempts from York manager Foyle to get the game called off) it was difficult in patches where some snow remained. As it looked likely the sides would enter half time level, the Stags were handed a golden chance to take the lead. Blackwood did well to get inside the area and under challenge from a York defender and keeper Ingham he fell. From my position it was impossible to see if the keeper had made contact with Blackwood, but it did look like Ingham had got to the ball; it was one we'd have been unhappy with had it been given against us. After an argument between Duffy and O'Connor over who was to take the kick (why wasn't this sorted out before the game?), boxer Woodhouse told Duffy to take the kick, it was noticeable O'Connor didn't argue!! Duffy stepped up and rolled the ball straight down the middle, it was a good job Ingham had committed himself, otherwise the keeper would have saved the kick. Perhaps a little against the run of play, the Stags went in a goal up at half time.

Half time: 1-0

The Stags began much the stronger in the 2nd half and were well on top, Briscoe, having replaced Blackwood (injured in the penalty incident before half time), had an excellent effort blocked and looked a real threat. However, the game was changed once again on the decision of the referee. Garner had been booked for kicking the ball away in the first half, then a cross field ball towards the Stags area hit him on the arm, Garner was shown a second yellow card for one of the softer dismissals you'll ever see. Whilst probably technically correct, a good referee would have kept the player on the pitch and after the game Holdsworth insisted that the handball was accidental. From that moment on it was backs to the wall, Somner dropped back to centre half and Mackenzie replaced O'Connor and took up the vacant position left by Somner in midfield, Duffy left in attack in a lone striker role. The Stags were further hit when a crude challenge (which incredibly went unpunished) left Gardner in a heap on the touchline. I had a perfect view of the tackle, it was high and very late, worth at least a yellow card, the Stags didn't even get the free kick!! Gardner couldn't continue, on came Ameobi to play in midfield and D'Laryea dropped to right back. A succession of corners and long balls into the Stags area were very well dealt with by Marriott and his defenders, though Marriott had to save well from a Parslow header and then 5 minutes before the end saved well low to his right when Brodie broke through the Stags defence. Although 5 minutes added time was put on the board, Stags fans had to endure 6 minutes as York threw everything to get a point. However, the Stags defence held firm for a valuable win which lifts the side into the top half of the table.

If spirit, determination and effort are enough to get you out of this league, then the Stags can look forward to not spending too long in the Conference. Whilst the failings of the previous manager mean David Holdsworth perhaps has too much to do to get promotion this season, things are certainly looking much brighter for a real go next term. Today we saw the major difference between Holdsworths Stags and the one he inherited. A keeper who was once again magnificent, a back four who defended for their lives and an amazing level of spirit and determination. Somner was superb as a makeshift centre half, Marriott caught everything and made two excellent saves and Woodhouse covered every blade of the Field Mill turf. The players and manager received a very well deserved standing ovation as they dragged themselves off the field. Man of the Match is a tough call between Somner and Marriott, both were excellent, Marriott just edges it for me.

Man of the Match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Marriott 9 Outstanding display, claimed almost every cross and two fine saves
Gardner 7 Looked very assured until injured
Mayo 7 Calm in possession and defended well in the 2nd half
Garner 6 Strong in the air, unlucky to be sent off for two inoccuous offences
Moses 8 Lead the back line superbly
Blackwood 6 Did well to win the penalty, a little too quiet overall though
Somner 9 Terrific gutsy all action display
D'Laryea 7 Struggled in midfield, did very well at right back
Woodhouse 8 Never stopped running, a real inspiration to those around him
O'Connor 6 Quiet, struggled to cope with the conditions
Duffy 7 Held the ball up well 2nd half when playing as lone striker
Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Blackwood, 48) 7 Good performance, worked hard and threatened a few times
MacKenzie (for O'Connor, 59) 7 One superb pass out of defence and worked very hard in midfield
Ameobi (for Gardner, 66) 7 Like the other subs, made a positive impact, giving the Stags a good out ball
Subs Not Used: White, Stallard.
Opposition Line Up:
Ingham; Rusk, Critchell, Parslow, Robinson (Shepherd 80mins); Brown, Mackin, Smith; McBreen (Smith 60mins), Boyes, Brodie. Subs: Sodje, Greaves, McWilliams.
Eltringham 4 Got most of the major decisions wrong

Season 08/09 Reports