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Season 08/09 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
2 - 0
Garner 29, Arnold 52.
Attendance: 1682 (96 from Altrincham)
Date: 21 April 2009

Martin Shaw and Svante Bernhard at Field Mill


Mansfield Town destroyed Altrincham with a commanding performance at Field Mill on Tuesday night. Although the final score was only 2-0, the Stags created 23 goal-scoring opportunities, and only a brilliant display by Alty keeper Acton kept the score respectable. It was great to see the Stags pummelling away at Altrincham for 90 minutes and never letting them off the hook.

Scott Garner, the new captain, scored the first goal, latching on to Hotchkiss’s excellent free kick and firing home from 6 yards after 29 minutes. The second goal came on 52 minutes when Arnold slotted through the keeper’s legs from 10 yards after a mistake from Altrincham defender Young.

As we looked around the ground, it looked like it would be the lowest home crowd of the season. But in fact 1682 turned out to be more than the 1500 against Oxford and 1600 against Ebbsfleet.

The Stags gave a debut to 17-year-old Tom Naylor at centre half, who partnered 19-year-old Scott Garner, given the captain’s armband for the first time. Naylor replaced the rested Moses who was on the bench. Naylor became the 42nd Stags player to take the field this season (a club record, 40 being the previous record). Teenager Curtis Shaw retained his midfield place and youngster Grant Ryan was named as a substitute. Ryan was to come on as a late sub taking the tally to 43. The injured Woodhouse and Briscoe, were replaced by O'Hare and O'Connor.

The game started in lovely late evening sunshine. On 9 minutes, a great ball forward found Arnold who fired in a low shot from the right of the box which Alty keeper Acton parried just wide of the right post. Then following a short corner, Williams fired well over the bar with the outside of his right foot. On 11, a good cross from the left by O’Hare was just cleared off Duffy’s head by Welch. Two minutes later, Arnold crossed from the right and Duffy got in front of the keeper but headed a yard wide.

On 18 minutes, the Stags claimed a penalty as a Williams cross struck Smith on the hand but the referee waived away appeals. We’ve seen them given! Actually against the Scott Garner in two recent games!

Moments later, Hotchkiss played a ball through to Shaw who was through one-on-one. Shaw’s low shot was just saved by Acton and the ball went wide. Following the resulting corner, Hotchkiss’s cross was headed inches over his own bar by an Alty defender. From the next corner, Hotchkiss got in a great shot from the edge of the box that was brilliantly tipped over by Acton. From the corner, the ball fell to Silk who volleyed a foot wide of the left post from the edge of the box. This was fantastic stuff with 4 good chances in less than 2 minutes. Two more corners followed, the first on 22 minutes was headed by Garner off a defender and just over the bar.

The Stags finally took the lead on 29 minutes. Hotchkiss chipped a lovely free kick from 40 yards in a central position, into the box. Arnold and Garner were well placed to finish as they got goalside of the defenders, and it was Garner who drove into the net from 6 yards.

Garner nearly added a second on 32 minutes. Williams put in a cross to the far post and Garner got up well and headed just wide. Then on 38 minutes, Shaw put O'Connor through on goal, O’Connor tried to curl in a shot but defender Young blocked his effort. Altrincham had their first chance moments later as former Stags loanee Colin Little tried to force his way into a shooting position on the right, but Naylor did well to block his shot. Two minutes later, Williams free kick from the right found O’Connor but he had to stretch and his header was well wide. Then Duffy had a half chance as he headed a Silk cross up in the air rather than goalwards.

Half time 1-0

Altrincham had been woeful in the first half but started the second a bit better. On 46 minutes, Densmore sent a snap shot wide. Then at the other end, Arnold played Duffy through but Welch took the ball of Duffy’s toe as he was about to shoot. On 48 minutes, Densmore fired over from 30 yards. Back to the other end and a great Stags move involving O’Connor, Arnold and Shaw as Shaw’s great effort was tipped over by Acton.

On 52 minutes, the Stags at last made it 2-0. Hotchkiss lumped a high ball forward from the halfway line. Arnold tried to head the ball but missed it, it ran through to Young who should have cleared but completely missed it, allowing Arnold through one-on-one against Acton. Arnold fired through the keeper’s legs from 7 yards.

On 56 minutes, Altrincham sub Peyton sent a 35 yard free kick a yard over the bar. Three minutes later, at the other end, Arnold’s high cross into the box was dropped by Acton, but inexplicably, Duffy with a clear view of goal albeit from a tight angle, elected not to shoot instead trying to square the ball, and it was cleared. Then Silk whipped a fine cross in from the right, Duffy got in front of his defender, and his diving header was tipped wide by Acton. A cross from the left resulted in an Arnold effort on goal. Then Hotchkiss made space on the edge of the box and sent in a left footed shot that was heading for the top right corner but was brilliant tipped wide by Acton. Then Shaw crossed and Garner headed over the bar.

This was another purple patch for the Stags as Altrincham were being absolutely annihilated.

Clare replaced O'Connor on 65 minutes. A long throw for Altrincham fell to Danylyk who volleyed against the top of the bar from 20 yards. Then a Naylor mistake allowed another former Stags loanee, Joe O’'Neill, to shoot but he was well wide.

There was nearly a repeat of the first goal, on 69 minutes. Hotchkiss sent a free kick forward from a central position 45 yards out, Garner nearly got on the end of it trying to flick it goalwards but just missed it and it went straight through to Acton. At the other end, Hotchkiss got in a great block to stop a shot from the edge of the box.

Scott Gardner replaced Silk, who had picked up a leg injury, on 81 minutes. Two minutes later, Gardner put in a good cross which was put over the bar by Clare.

On 86 minutes, Welch fired in a powerful low free kick from 35 yards, and Jason White got down left to his right to tip it wide. A fine save. 35 yards was nothing to Michael Welch who scored the March Goal of the Month in the BSP on Setanta, a free kick from fully 75 yards. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you do.

Anyway, Welch had another chance a minute later, this time from just 20 yards, but this time hit it straight at the wall. Then sub Peyton saw his 19 yard free kick deflect off the wall and just wide with White wrong-footed. In stoppage time, young Grant Ryan replaced Duffy for his debut.

So a fantastic performance from the Stags, with an astonishing 23 goal-scoring opportunities. One more game left. Let’s end the season in style. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Oliver Hotchkiss

Report by: Martin Shaw and Svante Bernhard at Field Mill

Line Up:
White 6 Made a good save from late Welsh free kick.
Silk 8 Very good going forward and defended well. Solid and dependable as he has been throughout the season.
Garner 8 Fine game. Scored from a Hotchkiss free kick and nearly got another from a similar Hotchkiss free kick.
Naylor 8 Outstanding debut. Composed and highly competent.
O’Hare 7 Much improved performance at left back. Did well.
Arnold 8 Got stuck in, showed lots of skill. Took his goal well.
Hotchkiss 9 Man of the match. Set up the first goal. Lots of excellent passing.
Shaw 7 Good game, in an attacking midfield role.
Williams 8 Many fine crosses. Sponsors’ man of the match.
Duffy 7 Good headers. Led the line well.
O’Connor 7 Good game.
Sub Line Up:
Clare (for O'Connor, 65) -
Gardner (for Silk, 81) -
Ryan (for Duffy, 90+2) - Late sub for his debut.
Subs Not Used: D'Laryea, Moses.
Opposition Line Up:
Acton, Lane, Young, Welch, Smith, Doughty, Danylyk, Densmore, Wilkinson (Peyton 53), Johnson (O'Neill 62), Little (Denham 53). Subs Not Used: Coburn, McGregor.
R Madley (Ossett) 8 Handled the game very well. Turned down a Stags penalty, which was probably just about right.

Season 08/09 Reports