{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
3 - 0
 Forest Green Rovers
Stallard 10, Duffy 53 (pen), Garner 80. Somner sent off 74.
 Mangan sent off 45+1.
Attendance: 2174 (52 from Forest Green)
Date: 14 March 2009

The Stags cruised to a comfortable victory over Conference strugglers Forest Green at a windy Field Mill this afternoon. The Stags were unchanged from the midweek defeat at Cambridge, though there was one change on the bench with fit again Curtis Woodhouse replacing Neil Mackenzie.

Neither side managed to get to grips with the blustery conditions in the early moments of the game, though Williams almost found Arnold in space on the right after a superb 40 yard crossfield pass, the Stags winger just couldn't get to the ball. However, on ten minutes the Stags took the lead with their first attempt on goal. Williams, who was to prove a constant threat all afternoon, put in a perfect cross from the left and Stallard headed home from 5 yards. D'Laryea then missed a great chance to put the Stags further ahead, after a neat exchange of passes with Stallard, he was clean through on goal on the edge of the 18 yard box, however, his shot was very weak and easily saved by Rovers keeper Burton. At the other end, Marriott was completely untroubled thanks to some excellent defending in front of him, most notably from Moses, who ensured Rovers had no shots on target despite having a good share of the possession. In fact, it was Moses who was involved in the last action of the half, which saw Rovers reduced to ten men. The Stags centre half put in an excellent challenge to halt Mangan's run towards goal, the striker was clearly unhappy with the challenge and clearly said something to the referee who immediately sent him off for foul and abusive language.

Half time: 1-0

Early in the second half the Stags were given a further chance to increase their lead, Garner was pushed inside the area and Duffy slotted the penalty home. Williams could have increased the Stags lead, released by Mayo he ran through on goal only to see his shot saved by the legs of Burton. Williams again caused havoc inside the Rovers area just moments later, this time he beat the full back and cut back his cross which just evaded Stallard and Duffy - it was terrific play from the diminutive winger. Arnold was scithed down on the far side after an excellent turn of pace saw him fly past Platt, the Rovers defender booked for the challenge. This was Arnolds last action as he was replaced by Briscoe. The best move of the game should have given the Stags a 3-0 lead. Starting from the back, Somner played an excellent ball to Williams, he first time played it to Stallard who's excellent through ball left Duffy in the clear. However, Duffy failed to control the pass and was sent too wide to get an effort in on target. Rovers only meaningful attempt actually came from a Stags defender, Garner sliced his clearance and had to be grateful to his keeper who produced a superb save. Indeed, it is a real sign of quality that despite having so little to do, Marriott was on his toes to make such a great save. With 15 minutes left Somner was then shown a straight red card, none of us saw the incident, though after the game manager David Holdsworth said the club would consider appealing against the decision - in fact, the referee was poor throughout the game. Stallard was also booked, presumably for dissent, and was replaced by Woodhouse as the Stags switched to a 4-4-1. The Stags made the win certain with ten minutes left when Garner, completely unmarked, headed home a quick free kick from Woodhouse. The visitors should have been reduced to 9 men when Jones, having been given a torrid time by Williams, kicked Williams, studs showing. Given what had gone before, it was a surprise that the challenge just saw yellow, in fact, it was by far the worst challenge of the game. Briscoe had the Stags last chance, though his shot was easily saved by Burton.

So another excellent performance from the Stags, who are really taking shape under David Holdsworth. Solid defensively and with a threat in wide areas, notably from Willaims, the future looks very bright. Forest Green are a decent side and had a large share of possession in the first half, but the sending off made the second half task much easier. In fact, despite having a lot of possession, Marriott was virtually untroubled, a testament to the performance of the Stags defence, where Moses in particular was outstanding. However, for his tenacious wing play and excellence in setting up the opening goal, Williams just shades Moses for my man of the match.

Man of the Match: Ryan Williams

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Only had one save to make, from his own player, and that was superb - he really is a top class goalkeeper
Silk 7 Fine defensive job, didn't get forward as much as he normally does
Mayo 7 Like Silk, solid defensively
Moses 8 Lead the backline superbly, couple of excellent challenges inside the area
Garner 7 Strong in the air, good goal too.
Arnold 7 Better than of late, though still reluctant to beat his man
Williams 8 Unlike Arnold, always willing to take on the full back, great cross for the first goal
D'Laryea 6 Missed a great chance and generally struggled
Somner 6 Like D'Laryea, struggled, didn't see the incident which lead to the red card
Duffy 7 Competed well up front and took his penalty calmly
Stallard 7 Took his goal well and was a threat, albeit a little rusty at times
Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Arnold, 65) 6 Likes a tackle and looking sharper by the week
Woodhouse (for Stallard, 76) 6 Quick thinking to cross for the 3rd goal
O'Connor (for Duffy, 84) 6
Subs not used: White, Gardner.
Opposition Line Up:
Burton, Lawless, Stonehouse, Jones, Mangan, Platt, Preece, Fowler (Rigoglisio 70mins), Ayres, Brown (Smith 55mins), Lloyd (Mohamed 55mins). Subs: Robinson, Ashford.
C Harwood 4 Card happy

Season 08/09 Reports