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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
Arnold 70
Attendance: 2,434 (22 from Lewes)
Date: 7 March 2009


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

A superb finish from Nathan Arnold was enough to give the Stags a 1-0 win over Lewes at Field Mill on Saturday. Arnold latched on to a fine Ryan Williams ball to lob over the keeper from the edge of the box wide on the right. It was Mansfield's fifth one-nil win under the new manager, and keeps up the remarkable record of not conceding a single goal in five home games in which Holdsworth has been in charge. It could have been more comfortable for the Stags: Nathan Arnold was denied a penalty when he was blatantly tripped in the box in the first half and Aaron O'Connor blasted a fine shot against the post in the second half, but 1-0 was enough. The Stags have taken an impressive 20 points from 9 games under Holdsworth, with just 2 goals conceded.

Holdsworth made one change from the side that won at Rushden, with MacKenzie replacing the injured Somner. It was MacKenzie first start in his second spell with the club. Williams was perhaps surprisingly not in the starting eleven, but was on the bench. Likewise Woodhouse was on the bench. Stallard did not make the 16.

Before the game, soldiers of the Mercian regiment, who are shortly off to Afghanistan, were presented to the Stags fans. Andy Perry said in a short speech to the whole ground that the soldiers and all their families were being given season tickets for the next two years so that they can always feel they have a home at Field Mill. It was a fantastic gesture by the club.

The Stags were under pressure in the first minute as MacKenzie’s lazy pass in his own half allowed Wilkinson in for Lewes, but his shot was deflected. In the next minute, a mix-up in the Lewes defence allowed Duffy through but his poor effort was blocked. After 4 minutes, Mayo’s shot from 30 yards was saved low down by Lewes keeper Banks. Then Blackwood’s corner to the far post was headed back by Duffy, but the ball was scrambled away by Lewes.

On 13 minutes, Arnold’s ball in from the right found O’Connor who chipped the ball up for himself and sent a spectacular overhead kick just wide of the right post. On 19 minutes, MacKenzie’s free kick eventually fell to Moses, whose low shot was into the keeper’s midriff. On 20 minutes, Lewes went close when Joe Keehan (the manager’s son)’s snapshot from 20 yards smacked against the back right stanchion of the net having missed the post by inches. Blackwood was through on 27 minutes, he did well to cut inside, but his shot was blocked.

On the half hour, a great Stags move starting with O’Connor, to Arnold, Silk, back to Arnold, to D’Laryea, who found MacKenzie. MacKenzie composed himself and sent a typical curling effort from 18 yards which was heading just inside the right post, but Banks pulled off a terrific save. A minute later Blackwood’s corner from the right was headed back across goal by Duffy and Garner’s overhead kick was straight at the keeper. Then Arnold’s corner found Garner whose header was off target, but eventually came back to Arnold whose shot was tipped over the bar.

On 35 minutes came a key moment, when Arnold cut inside from the right and his legs were clearly taken from underneath him inside the box, but astonishingly the otherwise excellent referee waved play on. It was a blatant penalty. Following a free kick on 43 minutes, Arnold shot weakly past the right post. Then on 44 minutes, Silk’s free kick was headed back across goal by Blackwood, and O’Connor’s header was saved just under the crossbar.

A mixed response from the home fans as the half time whistle went, as rather disappointingly, more than a few Stags fans booed the team off, though others offered encouragement.

Half time 0-0

On 49 minutes, O’Connor belted a terrific left footed shot against the left post from 20 yards, after Duffy headed down a Mayo ball. Ryan Williams replaced the disappointing Blackwood on 50 minutes. Silk played a one-two with Arnold on 56 minutes and Silk’s cross nearly found Duffy but Banks claimed well. On 62 minutes, Garner’s header was tipped over the bar from Williams’ cross. Briscoe replaced O’Connor on 64 minutes, to boos from the some of the home fans.

The only goal of the game came on 70 minutes. Ryan Williams’ super weighted ball over the top found Arnold on the right. Lewes keeper Banks came out of his goal and was stranded in no-man’s land as Arnold lifted the ball over him from the edge of the box and into the net. It was a terrific finish. It was Banks’s only mistake of the game.

It was just reward for the Stags who had been dominant for most of the game. Lewes had had 4 early corners in the game, but by now the Stags had racked up 11.

Another crucial moment in the game came on 76 minutes as Marriott pulled off a terrific save. Foreman sent Wheeler through on goal, and his hard low shot was superbly parried by Marriott. The Stags keeper had had nothing to do for 76 minutes, but then pulled off this great save. Exactly the same thing happened against Rushden last Saturday, even in the same minute of the game.

In the first minute of stoppage time, substitute Cox’s shot was straight at Marriott from 20 yards.

The Stags held on for the win, and at the end of the game, manager Holdsworth led his players over to applaud the 22 Lewes fans in the North Stand. I have never seen anything like that before! Now on to Cambridge which will be a harder test, but if the Stags continue to keep it tight, another 1-0 win is possible. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Nathan Arnold

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Quiet game for 75 minutes, then made a great save. That’s what a brilliant keeper brings you.
Silk 7 Attacked well with Arnold on the right. Defended ok.
Moses 7 Solid performance, and always in command.
Garner 6 Perhaps not his best display but did ok.
Mayo 7 Good game. Got forward effectively and defended well.
Arnold 7 Patchy performance, but involved in most of the important moments: scored fine goal, tripped for blatant penalty not given, one shot tipped over the bar, and created other chances. However also frustrated.
D'Laryea 7 Did well. Solid in defensive midfield roll, and occasionally got forward well.
MacKenzie 6 Fine shot in the first half. Gave the ball away a few times in his own half causing unnecessary danger.
Blackwood 5 Disappointing.
O'Connor 7 Two good efforts, one belter against the post and one overhead kick.
Duffy 6 Some good knock downs, but not involved that much.
Sub Line Up:
Williams (for Blackwood, 51) 7 Livened things up for the Stags. Great ball for the goal.
Briscoe (for O'Connor, 64) 7 Also lively. Did well.
Subs Not Used: White, Woodhouse, Havern.
Opposition Line Up:
Banks, Barness, Cullip, Butters, Fisk, Wheeler (Rivers 84), Keehan, Wilkinson, Standing, Henry, Foreman (Cox 80). Subs Not Used: Winterton, Breach, Hall.
R Madley (Ossett) 8 Easy game, did very well, though did miss a clear penalty on 35 minutes.

Season 08/09 Reports