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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
Attendance: 2355 (175 from Kettering)
Date: 17 February 2009

The Stags were without the suspended Scott Garner and ill Aaron O'Connor, Michael Blackwood dropped to the bench as in came fit again Alan O'Hare, with Briscoe and Arnold playing either side of Duffy in a 4-3-3 formation. Although Kettering were not allowed to play Jason Lee as part of an agreement made between the clubs when Lee moved, former Stags striker Chris Beardsley was on the Poppies bench.

This was one of the more entertaining goalless draws with both sides pressing for a win throughout the game, Kettering with their less than easy on the eye direct style and the Stags with a more subtle style of football. Indeed, the opening ten minutes were action packed, Harper forced to make an excellent point blank save from the head of Somner after a neatly worked short corner saw Arnold put in a terrific cross. However, Kettering twice hit the woodwork with excellent long range efforts, the first a superb half volley from Boucard which had Marriott beaten but thudded off the post, the second one from a free kick on the edge of the area, Marriott appeared to have the shot covered as it hit the top of the cross bar. Briscoe almost created a good chance for himself after wriggling past two defenders but was tackled just as he was about to shoot and then Somner, stretching to fire a half-volley goal bound, managed to hit the Mansfield District Council advert on the North Stand roof! It was good football, Kettering still employed the long throw from Geohaghon, as they did in the Boxing Day clash, but to little effect, Moses and O'Hare particularly strong in the centre of the Stags defence. There was a late 1st half scare inside the Stags area as a corner bobbled around in the Stags area, fortunately for the home side the ball fell to Geohaghon who poked the ball well wide - he'd have probably scored had he been allowed to throw it in!! This signalled a spell of Kettering pressure as the half drew to a close, but strong defending meant Marriott didn't have a save to make, whilst a stoppage time corner was headed wide by O'Hare, making an excellent return to the Stags starting eleven.

Half Time: 0-0

The Stags began the 2nd half as they had started the first, on the attack. A right wing corner from Woodhouse found Duffy on the far post, the striker would have been better heading the ball back across the area, but instead tried a very ambitious overhead kick and the ball flew 8 yards wide. The generally impeccable Marriott failed to get a punch to a lofted ball inside the area, but the ball drifted wide for a goal kick. The Stags forced a few more corners, but the delivery was generally poor and there was little threat to the Kettering goal (what's Mark Peters doing these days?). Just pas the hour Gardner hobbled off to be replaced by fans favourite Gary Silk. The referee then clearly booked the wrong man after Woodhouse was late on Bennett, Briscoe being booked but his challenge was fine, he won the ball but Woodhouse went in a little recklessly and would have deserved the caution - he rather cleverly left the scene quickly. Moments later the Stags had a penalty appeal turned away when D'Laryea was tackled inside the area - the referee probably got that one right as it looked like the defender got a piece of the ball - sadly that was the last decision the official got right. D'Laryea, running onto a ball on the edge of the area after Duffy miskicked, should have done better with his shot from 18 yards, however, he hit it straight at Harper. Stallard replaced the disappointing Arnold with 20 minutes left as the Stags pressed for a winner. Duffy was penalised for a foul on Geohaghon, who then reacted angrily by throwing Duffy to the ground. Geohaghon was rightly cautioned, but incredibly so was Duffy, presumably for being thrown on the ground as the free kick offence was at best inoccuous. Blackwood replaced Woodhouse with ten minutes remaining but it was Kettering who had the next chance, a free kick from 25 yards beat the wall, but Marriott gathered it comfortably. As the game entered stoppage time it looked like the Stags would have to settle for a point. However, Silk had other ideas and broke into the area where he was clearly upended by Graham, incredibly Mr Brown and his assistant, who couldn't have been better placed, bottled the decision - that can be the only explanation for not giving the penalty. After the game boss David Holdsworth, after seeing the incident on video, said it was a "stone waller", certainly the 2,000 Stags fans would agree. Ultimately this decision cost the Stags a chance to earn the three points, though over the whole game, it cannot be argued that Kettering deserved a share of the spoils.

So we have visited poor stadia, seen some pretty poor sides (including our own under McEwan) and suffered at the hands of incompetent league officials. We have also had some pretty average match officials, but Mr Brown takes the award for biggest bottler - had the incident been in the 41st minute rather than the 91st there is little doubt he probably would have awarded the kick, but he and his equally culpable Assistant failed to make the one major decision of the entire match. To the game, this was an entertaining draw, Kettering are a decent side, though not particularly easy on the eye. The Stags back four again looked solid, O'Hare made a particularly impressive comeback and it was great to see Silk back in action, he gives us an attacking option from fullback no other player gives us. I think most fans would have settled for a point on 90 minutes, but after the unforgiveable failure of the referee to award the late penalty, it does feel a little like two points lost.

Man of the Match: Alan O'Hare

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Marriott 7 More excellent handling and distribution
Gardner 6 Again looked confident, came off injured in 2nd half
Mayo 7 Comfortable in possession, always in the right place
O'Hare 8 Excellent return, he is a top class defender
Moses 7 Lead the back line well, given sponsors MoM
Woodhouse 6 A little uncomfortable on the left
Somner 6 Solid enough but we didn't get a great deal from the centre of the park
D'Laryea 6 One bad error almost proved costly, otherwise defensively sound if lacking creativity
Arnold 6 Continues to frustrate, some bright moments, some dreadful
Briscoe 7 Came into the game more towards the end, a good sign of his improving fitness
Duffy 7 Fouled all night by Branston, barely given any protection from the weak official
Sub Line Up:
Silk (for Gardener, 63mins) 7 Excellent to see him back, got forward well and should have won the Stags a late penalty
Stallard (for Arnold, 72mins) 6 Stags never really gave him decent possession
Blackwood (for Woodhouse, 81mins) 6 OK
Subs not used: White, MacKenzie.
Opposition Line Up:
Harper, Bennett, Branston, Geohaghon, Potter A (Wrack 70mins), Potter L, Artus (Solkon 82mins), Graham, Boucaud, Marna (Beardsley 73mins), Westcarr. Subs not used: Eaden, Dempster.
Mr M. Brown 3 Really only one major decision to make all night and got it wrong, the standard we have come to expect

Season 08/09 Reports