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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Torquay United
Duffy 35
 Sturrock 63
Attendance: 2437 (241 from Torquay)
Date: 28 March 2009


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Mansfield Town drew 1-1 with promotion chasing Torquay United this afternoon at Field Mill. The Stags were dominant in an impressive first half with Duffy’s goal on 35 minutes giving the home side a deserved lead. But with the wind against Mansfield in the second half, Torquay came right back into it and equalised through Sturrock on 63 minutes and in the end it could have gone either way. Ultimately Mansfield were disappointed not to win the game and it says a lot about how far we’ve come under David Holdsworth that we are disappointed not to beat one of the best teams in the division. Overall it was an encouraging display from an ever improving team that is showing real promise for next season.

The Stags made two changes, with MacKenzie replacing Curtis Woodhouse (out because he is boxing on Sunday), and Briscoe replacing Stallard. Clare remained on the bench, alongside new loan signing Ollie Hotchkiss. Torquay included Blair Sturrock for his debut. Iyseden Christie was on the bench for Torquay, having scored for Kettering against the Stags on Boxing day.

The Stags were first out of the blocks, with MacKenzie getting stuck in early, winning challenges, and on 4 minutes he was part of a good move and he fired wide of the left post. On 9 minutes, Williams put in a fine right footed cross from the left which Briscoe flicked a yard wide of the right post with a header. On 12 minutes, Arnold cut inside from the right for MacKenzie who fired left footed two yards over the bar.

On 18 minutes, Marriott was out bravely to take the ball off Tim Sills’s toe and got hurt for his troubles. There was a real touch of class on 25 minutes with Briscoe’s turn and run at the Torquay defence. He tried to nutmeg the last defender but the ball went out for a corner. Now we could see why Holdsworth described him as a beast who could be unplayable.

Two minutes later, Briscoe was at it again, with a good turn but he fired wildly over and wide. A rare chance for Torquay on 30 minutes as Blair Sturrock turned on the edge of the box and fired in a great shot which Marriott appeared to superbly tip over the bar. Amazingly the referee awarded a goal kick.

On 31 minutes, Williams ran down the left, cut inside and crossed. It looked as though Arnold would head home, but it probably drifted away from him in the wind and he ended up heading it near the corner flag. Then Williams played a good one-two with Briscoe, and Williams shot was deflected a yard wide of the left post. On 33 minutes, a Williams free kick from the left found Garner unmarked six yards out but he missed the header completely.

The Stags were deservedly ahead on 35 minutes. MacKenzie showed a touch of class before shooting towards the bottom right corner of the net. Keeper Beavon palmed it into the path of Briscoe on the right who didn’t panic, coolly passing the ball across goal for Duffy to sidefoot in from close range.

It was nearly 2-0 on 38 minutes. Williams took another free kick from the left. This time it was Moses unmarked six yards out. Moses connected well and was unlucky to see his header tipped over the bar. Torquay had only their second chance, on 41 minutes when Nicholson’s free kick found Sills unmarked who headed into the ground in front of Marriott who collected it. A good save but a yard either side of him and it would have been in.

A great first half for the Stags, albeit with the wind behind them. The corner count of 8 to 1 told the story of the Stags dominance and it was a shame we couldn’t have been a goal or two more in front.

Half time 1-0

Torquay were out early for the second half presumably having had a half time rocket from Paul Buckle and seemed to be doing a training session warming up.

On 48 minutes, Todd headed over from a Torquay corner. On 50 minutes, there was some stupidity in the Mansfield defence as MacKenzie gave the ball away, Garner also dallied, and finally Marriott tried to dribble the ball out and nearly lost it. Comedy defending that we don’t like to see.

Daryl Clare replaced Arnold on 61 minutes.

But within 2 minutes it was 1-1. MacKenzie booted the ball high into the air in the centre circle. The wind caught it and it headed backwards, and the ball was played forward for Sturrock to run onto. Marriott came out to the edge of his box but was never going to get there and Sturrock fired over him into the empty goal, just inside the right post. Sturrock's finish was very similar to Arnold's goal against Lewes recently. The goal was the first conceded at Field Mill under Holdsworth in 10 hours 3 minutes of football.

Clare had a half chance when he cut inside from the left and shot but the keeper saved low by his near post. On 65 minutes, Garner lost the ball and Sturrock shot wide. A minute later, Wayne Carlisle crossed from the right and D’Sane fired a sitter over the bar.

Duffy had been limping, and was then replaced by Stallard. The Stags had a great double chance to re-take the lead on 67 minutes. Williams corner fell for a Stags player in the box whose effort was blocked, to the edge of the area where Briscoe fired goalwards. It looked a certain goal, but was again blocked. On 74 minutes, Marriott made a good save low to his right from D’Sane’s side footed shot. Straight to the other end and Williams cut inside and his fine shot was deflected wide of the right post. On 79 minutes another great save by Marriott as Sturrock crossed from the right and Sills’ header was brilliantly tipped away.

On 80 minutes, fantastic play from the Stags. A great run by Williams. He played a one-two with Clare who brilliantly back-heeled into the path of Williams who controlled it well and shot just over. It would have been goal of the season. The last chance of the game fell to Torquay when Robertson headed over from a corner.

So the game ended 1-1, with applause from both sets of fans for an entertaining and hard fought encounter.

Man of the match: Ryan Williams

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Some fine saves. A little out of position for Torquay’s goal when he came out of his goal but was never going to get the ball.
Silk 6 Good first half, not as impressive in the second.
Moses 7 Defended ok. Some indecision in the second half, but also rescued the team on occasion. Unlucky not to score in first half.
Garner 6 Fairly assured, but caught out a few times in second half.
Mayo 6 Did well in the first half. Caught out of position a couple of times in second half.
Arnold 6 Impressive first half.
D'Laryea 7 Commanded the midfield in the first half. Energetic.
MacKenzie 7 Very good first half, with nice touches and getting tackles in. Showed a bit of class for the Duffy’s goal. Not so good in second half.
Williams 8 Ran at the defence very well with superb control. Always looked a threat. Wasted some crosses.
Briscoe 7 Described pre-match by Holdsworth as a beast who is sometimes unplayable. Was immense in the first half, especially one brilliant turn and run; but anonymous in the second apart from a shot blocked.
Duffy 6 Won a lot of balls, and scored another goal. As the team continues to gel, his flick-ons will be more useful.
Sub Line Up:
Clare (for Arnold, 61) 7 Looked dangerous and showed great promise. Didn’t quite get enough service.
Stallard (for Duffy, 66) - Was repeatedly fouled but missed by the ref. Held the ball well.
Subs Not Used: White, O’Hare, Hotchkiss.
Opposition Line Up:
Bevan, Nicholson, Hodges, Todd, Robertson, Carlisle, Wroe, Hargreaves, DSane (Stevens 85), Sills, Sturrock. Subs Not Used: Christie, Adams, Ellis, Benyon.
Paul Tierney (Wigan) 6 Generally handled the game well, but missed repeated fouls on Stallard, and booked Garner for a challenge that was identical to one by a Torquay player in second half that he didn’t book.

Season 08/09 Reports