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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Cambridge United  
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Rendell 48, Reason 90+3.
 Duffy 34.
Attendance: 2,781 (177 from Mansfield, official number + 50 in stand behind goal=227)
Date: 10 March 2009


Martin Shaw at the Abbey Stadium

Mansfield Town turned in their best 45 minutes of football this season in my opinion, at Cambridge United last night, but came away with no points after conceding a winner in the 93rd minute. It was tough to take but there was so much cause for optimism. The Stags were outstanding in the first half and thoroughly deserved the lead on 34 minutes when Ryan Williams’ pinpoint cross picked out Duffy at the far post who headed in. In truth the Stags could have been further ahead by the break. But the second half was a different story as Cambridge, unbeaten in 13 games at home and flying in second place in table, piled on the pressure. They equalised with a dubious goal on 48 minutes. Mansfield players remonstrated with the officials that Rendell was offside as he headed home, and the video replay (on youtube) suggests he was offside by a short head. Marriott made a great save, there were some superb blocks and tackles, while at the other end the Stags had a couple of chances on the break. But 3 minutes into stoppage time, a corner was headed across the goal by Danny Crow and on loan Jai Reason turned the ball in from close range to win the game. With Daryl Clare sitting in the stand last night and hopefully soon to be banging in the goals, there is still much to look forward to for Stags fans.

Mansfield made three changes from the side that played Lewes. Matt Somner came back from injury to replace MacKenzie, Ryan Williams made his first start in place of Blackwood, and Mark Stallard made his first start under the new manager in place of O'Connor. New signing Daryl Clare sat in the row in front of us in the commentary position along with Blackwood and Havern, while Curtis Woodhouse was out with a knee injury and did not travel. Scott Gardner was back from injury on the subs bench. Cambridge were unbeaten in thirteen games at home having beaten leaders Burton on Saturday.

The Stags had the first effort on goal on 4 minutes when Arnold demonstrated his confidence from Saturday’s matchwinner to shoot from 25 yards, but sent his effort wide. Then Somner shot wide from 25 yards on 7 minutes, and it was clear there was a shoot-on-sight policy. Then a free kick from Ryan Williams was tipped over by Danny Potter just as it seemed to be heading under the angle. On 10 minutes a Stags corner found Scott Garner in the area and his flicked shot towards goals looked to be on target before it hit a Mansfield player on the edge of the six-yard box. It was a good effort and it was all Mansfield - a terrific start.

On 16 minutes Ryan Williams made a great run towards goal and was cynically bundled over 20 yards out. Williams took the resulting free kick and sent it inches over the bar. Cambridge had their only spell of first half pressure when on 20 minutes Rendell got away from his marker in the box, turned neatly and his shot was deflected wide. From the resulting corner Willmott headed just wide. A free header inside the six yard box was a result of poor marking from the Stags.

On 25 minutes Stallard’s low shot was too weak. Then on 31, a great move by the Stags and Stallard’s shot was on target but blocked. At the other end Marriott dropped a free kick under pressure but blocked the follow-up. Everyone’s human I suppose.

The Stags took a deserved lead on 34 minutes. Williams' brilliant cross from the left was perfect for the unmarked Duffy at the far post, who headed down and into the bottom right corner of the net giving the keeper no chance. Duffy was booked for celebrating in front of the home fans, pointing out the name on the back of his shirt.

On 38 minutes Hatswell’s free kick from 25 yards was held low down by Marriott.

The Stags had played Cambridge off the park in the first half. I don’t recall a better half of football from the Stags all season. In a settled back line, the defence was dominant, the midfield was in control, Arnold was winning challenges and Williams was terrorising down the left.

Half time 0-1

The Stags were under pressure straight away in the second half but strong defending with good headers from Garner, Duffy and Moses repelled early threats.

But on 48 minutes Cambridge were level with a controversial goal. Willmott delivered a flighted cross from the right. Scott Rendell took a couple of paces forwarded and glanced the ball home with his head. From studying a supporter’s video on youtube, which was well positioned, Rendell was fractionally offside when the ball was played. Stags players berated the linesman but to no avail.

Then Hatswell met another cross from the right and Marriott saved. The Stags went straight to the other end and Stallard got into the box with just the keeper to beat, but delayed too long in pulling the trigger and was bundled off the ball. A good Cambridge move led to a corner, which was punched away by Marriott to Rendell who volleyed wide. The Stags were now coming under huge pressure.

O'Connor came on for Stallard, and then Briscoe for Duffy.

On 61 minutes, a great run from halfway inside his own half by Arnold, via a one-two with O’Connor, and Arnold shot just past the right post. Fantastic stuff. A minute later, Bolland laid the ball off to Reason whose first time shot was just past the right post. Then Marriott punched Reason's free kick away.

On 69 minutes, A Stags corner to the far post found O'Connor who sent a wild left-footed shot well wide. Then a minute later, Williams made a good run into the box and went down but it wasn’t a penalty. The Stags now had a pacey forward line of O'Connor and Briscoe, with Arnold and Williams.

On 79, Hatswell tried his luck from 40 yards but Marriott saved low down.

Scott Gardner replaced Arnold on 81 minutes. Then moments later the block of the season as Mayo threw himself in to block a shot by Parkinson. Pitt looked as though he was tripped in the area seconds later - I’ve seen them given for less.

Marriott made a superb save on 87 minutes, low down one handed to the left to deny Reason. On 89, a flick-on in the box found Rendell who miscued.

Two minutes into stoppage time, a good move for the Stags involving Silk and Gardner, and eventually Briscoe was clear through on goal with only the keeper Potter to beat, but his shot was straight at the keeper. Briscoe should have scored but he did at least get his effort on target.

Then a minute later came the sickening winner for Cambridge. Reason's shot from left was well wide but the referee deemed it had been deflected for a corner. Carden took it to the far post where Crow headed it back to Jai Reason, who stabbed the ball home from close-range.

From a personal point of view I didn’t appreciate being jumped on, jostled and intimidated by at least 5 supporters when Cambridge scored their winning goal. The BBC Radio Cambridge commentator, who saw the incident, was embarrassed and very apologetic to me afterwards, and so was the chief steward who I reported it to after the game, who promised me it would never be allowed to happen in the commentary area again. It’s not very nice when you’re a sitting duck in the commentary area, and unable to move.

Man of the match: Paul Mayo

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Abbey Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Assured, with one fantastic save on 87 minutes. One dropped cross in first half was a massive surprise. No chance with the goals.
Silk 7 Another good game.
Garner 7 Caused danger from Mansfield's set pieces. Defended well.
Moses 7 Solid in the onslaught of second half pressure.
Mayo 8 Outstanding block on 81 minutes. Defended well throughout.
Arnold 7 Great first half, including winning challenges, but faded a bit in the second.
Somner 7 In control in the first half with a great display.
D'Laryea 7 Like Somner, excellent in first half. Lost a bit of control in the second half.
Williams 8 Fine game. Terrorised the home defence in the first half. Great cross for Duffy’s goal.
Stallard 6 Missed a couple of chances. Not at his sharpest.
Duffy 6 Another goal. Held the ball up well.
Sub Line Up:
O'Connor (for Stallard, 58) - Did ok. One shot just past post.
Briscoe (for Duffy, 60) - Lively. Had decent chance saved just before Cambridge’s winner, though he did get it on target.
Gardner (for Arnold, 81) -
Subs Not Used: White, MacKenzie.
Opposition Line Up:
Potter, Gleeson, Bolland, Hatswell, Tonkin, Willmott, Carden, Reason, Pitt (Crow 86), Rendell, Holroyd (Parkinson 69). Subs Not Used: McMahon, Challinor, Coulson.
N Kinseley (Essex) 5 Poor. Described by Stags fans as a homer. Let down by his assistant for the winning goal which was just offside

Season 08/09 Reports