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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Rushden & Diamonds  
0 - 1
 Mansfield Town
 Duffy pen 89
Attendance: 1774 (430 from Mansfield)
Date: 28 February 2009


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Nene Park

Mansfield Town picked up a tremendous 1-0 win at Rushden & Diamonds this afternoon with a last minute penalty by Rob Duffy after Gary Silk had been blatantly tripped in the box. It hadn’t been a classic up to that moment, as the Stags had defended very well throughout without creating many goalscoring opportunities. The penalty exorcised the demons of the Kettering home game when the referee failed to award a kick for a very similar incident on the same player in the 90th minute.

David Holdsworth made two changes from the side narrowly beat at Oxford. Woodhouse didn’t play after all, and Holdsworth revealed after the game that he was never was going to, but as a self-proclaimed good poker player he didn’t reveal his hand. In came Michael Blackwood on the left of midfield. O’Connor started in place of the injured Briscoe. New signing Ryan Williams was on the bench, having returned to the club from Weymouth on Friday.

The first chance fell for the Stags when Mayo’s free kick was headed well wide by Garner on 4 minutes. On 13 minutes Somner had a half chance when his shot was deflected well wide. The Diamonds first chance came on 16 minutes when Tomlin fired well wide of the left post to jeers from the Stags fans behind the goal. A minute later Arnold shot weakly wide from 20 yards. Wolleaston broke into the Stags box on 19 minutes in a rare moment of danger for the Stags but it came to nothing. Then on 20 minutes D’Laryea played a good ball into the box, but Arnold lost control and the chance was gone.

On 27 minutes came the moment of the first half as Silk put in a brilliant tackle to snuff out a Diamonds attack. On 35 minutes, Garner superbly blocked a shot by Cousins.

Stags best chance came on 38 minutes as O’Connor turned well in the box and shot low but it was saved by the keeper who grabbed it at the second attempt before Duffy could follow up.

On 40 minutes, sloppy defending from Mansfield as Corocan was allowed a free shot from 35 yards which he put over. A minute later, more sloppy Stags defending allowed Rushden to break into the box but the ball ran loose.

Half time 0-0

It had been poor entertainment in the first half. The Stags defended well, apart from two sloppy pieces of play in a minute, but chances were at a premium with O’Connor coming the closest. Duffy and O’Connor did not link well and Duffy’s headers never seemed to find his strike partner. Blackwood was almost non-existent and was clearly a candidate to be replaced by Ryan Williams.

Arnold was just offside when clean through on 49 minutes. Somner made a great challenge on 52 minutes and played Arnold through but Arnold messed it up. Moses made a great tackle on 56 as Tomlin forced his way into the box.

Blackwood’s substitution seemed overdue when he replaced by Williams on the hour. A minute later, Mayo struck a beauty from 30 yards which just missed the angle. On 65 minutes, Andy Burgess cut in from the right and his left footed shot was off Garner for a corner.

O’Connor was replaced by Stallard on 71 minutes. Moments later Williams controlled the ball well and moved forward to the edge of the box and shot low which saved by the keeper. On 73 minutes, Duffy would have been through on goal but was flagged offside. From the commentary box, we were perfectly in line and he was not offside. Having studied the match DVD, with a perfect view on it, it was a shocking decision with two players playing Duffy on. At the other end Burgess sent a dipping effort just over on 74 minutes.

Rushden’s best chance came on 75 minutes. Kelly stole into the box and looking yards offside no flag went up. Marriott superbly saved with his legs as he had done against Constable at Oxford. Having studied the match DVD, it is inconclusive as to whether he was offside.

From the corner, Hope headed it towards the top right corner, albeit not with power, but Marriott clawed it away for another corner. From that corner, Marriot saved well again, though the referee had blown for an infringement as Hope climbed all over Moses. Marriott had had little to do for 75 minutes then 3 fine saves in a minute. Then Mayo found Duffy who headed down for Arnold whose shot was deflected and saved low down by the keeper, preventing the corner as it was heading wide.

Rushden missed their best chance when a cross from the left found Wolleaston completely unmarked in the 6 yard box. He somehow managed to head just wide of the left post. Then Marriott made a superb claim from a Rushden cross. On 86 minutes, Tomlin’s shot was deflected just over.

On 88 minutes came the decisive moment of the game. Arnold played a little ball to edge of the box on the right, aimed for Silk. Rushden substitute Arthur intercepted the ball, but Silk nicked it off him, took one touch and was blatantly tripped by Arthur. The referee immediately pointed to the spot. The look on Arthur’s face on the match DVD says it all. The look of a guilty man. Several Stags players tried to claim the ball including Stallard and Arnold, but Duffy held onto it and wasn’t relinquishing it. Duffy stepped up and tucked the ball comfortably down the right as the keeper dived the wrong way. All ten Stags outfield players celebrated behind the goal with the ecstatic Stags supporters. An interesting incident with a bald fat steward ensued, who manhandled Stallard away from the visiting fans, and the steward had to be restrained by his own colleagues. All nicely captured on the DVD.

In stoppage time, MacKenzie replaced Arnold who received a standing ovation. There were no further scares for the Stags as the Stags played time out though no-one knew how much stoppage time there was to be played, probably because we were peeling ourselves off the ceiling of the stand when the board went up.

At the final whistle the players and management came over to salute the large and wonderfully vocal travelling contingent. So another away win for the Stags. That’s 4 out of 5 on the road since McEwan left. A tight game this, with not much in it, but the Stags ground out a winner which is fantastic. Rushden had come into the game on the back of what their supporters described as their best performance of the season in beating York, and we largely kept them to just two good chances. The Stags now have home games against Lewes and Forest Green sandwiching an away trip to Cambridge. Six points should be possible. How about nine?

Man of the match: Gary Silk.

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Nene Park

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Quiet for much of the game then had to make 3 super saves in a minute. Handling superb throughout.
Silk 8 Very good throughout. One fantastic tackle in first half. Earned the penalty with thrusting run into the box and was too quick for the defender.
Moses 7 Fine performance. Confident. Did his job well.
Garner 7 Another fine display. What a player this lad is.
Mayo 7 Defended very well.
Arnold 7 Very quiet first half. Very good and lively second half.
Somner 7 Some great tackles and headers away. Fine defensive midfield display.
D'Laryea 7 Again fine defensively. Didn’t do much offensively.
Blackwood 5 Far too quiet. Barely touched the ball in the first half.
O’Connor 6 One chance that worked the keeper, but not in the game enough.
Duffy 6 Won lots of balls but didn’t find Stags players often enough. Needs closer support. Expert penalty to win the game.
Sub Line Up:
Williams (for Blackwood, 60) 6 Looked enterprising and confident. But did give the ball away twice causing problems.
Stallard (for O’Connor, 71) -
MacKenzie (for Arnold, 90+2) -
Subs Not Used: White, Havern.
Opposition Line Up:
Roberts, Osano, Downer, Hope, Robinson, Burgess, Corcoran (Beecroft 56), Wolleaston, Kelly (Arthur 77), Cousins (Smith 50), Tomlin. Subs Not Used: Day, Rankine.
S Duncan (Newcastle) 7 Got the major decisions right, but let down by linesmen.

Season 08/09 Reports