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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Grays Athletic  
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Slabber 82, Pugh 90+4.
 Clare 73.
Attendance: 802 (154 official number given for Mansfield fans ... real number approx 300).
Date: 21 March 2009


Martin Shaw at the Recreation Ground

Mansfield Town slumped to their second consecutive injury time away defeat, at Grays this afternoon. The only highlight for Mansfield fans was a goal by goal-poacher extraordinaire Daryl Clare just 6 minutes into his debut, to give the Stags a second half lead. But two late headers for Grays gave the home side a most unlikely, and undeserved, win to move them way from the relegation zone. In truth the Stags were poor in a first half that was easily the worst I have seen this season. But Mansfield stepped it up several gears and created several chances in the second half before finally taking the lead, and the two late goals were a bitter pill to swallow. Unusually for David Holdsworth since he took over, he was let down by his normally rock-solid defence.

Mansfield made one change from the side that beat Forest Green, with Curtis Woodhouse in for the suspended Somner. New signing Daryl Clare was on the bench for the first time. Aaron O'Connor was not allowed to play as part of the agreement when he joined from Grays in pre-season. But, unbelievably, Grays chairman Mick Woodward refused to allow O’Connor into the ground. It was a disgraceful and petty interjection by the man who always likes to play the victim to his own fans, having many times threatened to walk away from the club. For the sake of football, let’s hope he goes this time at the end of the season.

Grays started well and in the second minute a good cross from the left by Hudson-Odoi and Mayo did well to head it behind for a corner. Then following the resulting corner, Stuart Thurgood, who played for Grays in the FA Cup at Field Mill a few years ago, shot into Marriott’s midriff from 25 yards. On 7 minutes, a good ball by Silk down the line for Arnold. Arnold did well to control the ball on the bobbly surface, cut the ball back onto his left foot and his cross was just too hard for Duffy.

Chances were few and far between, but Grays had a decent spell, the Stags were giving the ball away too often, and Holdsworth, just in front of us in the dugout, was not happy with his team.

On 26 minutes, Arnold’s cross reached Duffy whose shot was blocked. On 29 minutes Stallard showed great control, collecting a high ball from over his shoulder and bursting into the box on the right, and shooting across keeper Beckwith who dived to his right to deflect the ball wide. It was terrific play from Stallard and a good save. On 34 minutes, Thurgood found Pugh whose shot provided an easy save for Marriott from 18 yards.

The Stags boss in front of us was really not happy with what he was watching, and nor was anyone else.

Mayo put Marriott under pressure with a short backpass that had Holdsworth turning away in disgust after Marriott was just able to clear.

In stoppage time, Elliott’s free kick was straight at Marriott. Then at the other end, Mayo’s right-footed cross from the left found Garner but his soft header was into the keeper’s hands.

Half time 0-0

Marriott was alert on 47 minutes to head a ball clear just outside his box. Moments later he pulled off a brilliant save. Williams gave the ball away, Elliott crossed and Pugh, unmarked on the edge of the six yard box, headed towards goal but Marriott blocked what looked like a certain goal.

Stags had a free kick from where Arnold scored at home to Oxford, just on the edge of the box on 51 minutes, but Mayo took it and disappointingly floated it over the bar.

On 58 minutes, Williams corner from the right was drilled in and Garner headed just wide of the left post. Then Stallard crossed from the left and the ball was cleared as Duffy waited to head in. On 60 minutes, another Williams corner was headed back across goal by Duffy, and Garner headed over. Two minutes later Mayo floated a good free kick into the box and Garner had two half-chances cleared. It was all Scott Garner!

A minute later Duffy elected not to shoot when well-placed and instead laid the ball to Arnold. Then on 65 minutes, Arnold’s shot was deflected into the path of Stallard who seemed certain to score but his shot was blocked by the keeper from close range. Moments later Duffy headed wide from Williams corner.

On 67, Clare and Briscoe replaced Stallard and Arnold.

Predictably, Clare’s first contribution was to score. Briscoe got down the right and hammered the ball across goal for Clare to deflect it into the net from 3 yards. Great play by Briscoe, while Clare did what it says in the tin. Brilliant.
On 74 minutes, Silk gave the ball away, and Hudson-Odoi’s shot was blocked by Marriott. Then Cogan was allowed a free shot from 21 yards. Holdsworth on the touchline shouted at D’Laryea “get in there!”.

On 82 minutes disaster struck, and it was such a surprise. Beavon crossed from the left and Grays sub Slabber was completely unmarked in the six yard box to head into right of the net. No chance for Marriott. Possibly Mayo’s fault, though would need to see it again on the DVD to be sure.

On 88 minutes, Stuart's header was at Marriott. Neil MacKenzie then replaced Williams.

On 89 minutes, Woodhouse fired over the bar.

But four minutes into stoppage time came the sickening winner for Grays. Slabber crossed from the left and Pugh flicked a header into the bottom right hand corner giving Marriott no chance. More poor marking and again the Stags had switched off.

The full time whistle went less than a minute later. It was a day to forget, apart from the memory of Daryl Clare’s debut goal.

Man of the match: Daryl Clare

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Recreation Ground

Line Up:
Marriott 7 One cracking save. Assured as usual. No chance with the goals.
Silk 5 Sloppy at the back on occasion. Did ok going forward.
Moses 6 Started poorly but improved.
Garner 7 Pick of the defence. Also had several chances to score.
Mayo 5 Poor game.
Arnold 6 A few bits of good play, but not enough.
Woodhouse 6 Got stuck in.
D'Laryea 5 Berated by Holdsworth during the game on occasion. Sloppy.
Williams 6 Not enough running at the defence. Corners were decent.
Stallard 6 Did ok.
Duffy 6 A bit too quiet. Won a few headers.
Sub Line Up:
Clare (for Stallard, 67) 8 Scored a poacher's goal within 6 minutes and looked hungry and sharp.
Briscoe (for Arnold, 67) 7 Fine cross for Clare's goal. Did well.
MacKenzie (for Williams (89) -
Subs Not Used: White, Havern.
Opposition Line Up:
Beckwith, Elliott, Wilnis, Stuart, Beavan, Cogan, Black (Davis 67), Thurgood (Slabber 75), Hudson-Odoi, Taylor (Dinning 69), Pugh. Subs Not Used: Quistin, Batchelor.
I Cooper (England) 5 Poor, but went off injured and his replacement was better.

Season 08/09 Reports