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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
4 - 0
 Crawley Town
Perry 15, 43, Duffy 40, Speight 82.
Attendance: 3264 (59 from Crawley)
Date: 8 August 2009


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Mansfield Town started the season in sensational style with a crushing 4-0 win over Crawley Town at Field Mill. The Stags were rampant with outstanding performances throughout the team, against a Crawley side that were actually not that bad at all. Kyle Perry was probably the pick of the bunch with two first half goals, and setting up the fourth goal for substitute Jake Speight. Rob Duffy scored the other goal after a tremendous ball from Craig Armstrong. Crawley keeper Simon Rayner made 3 fabulous saves in the second half to keep the score down, while Alan Marriott also made some good saves and showed faultless handling. There was controversy as Crawley were unhappy with the Stags first and third goals. For the first goal a Crawley defender went down and claimed a foul, but the Stags played on and Perry scored, while for the third goal it did appear that Perry was yards offside as he ran through to score. We are in possession of the only working copy of the match DVD, which we will study later and add our further comments here, while I will make highlights for mansfieldtown.net on Sunday morning. UPDATE - having studied the match DVD, it looks like Perry was PROBABLY onside but it is not possible to say conclusively.

Manager Holdsworth gave debuts to five players in his starting eleven. Kyle Perry started up front, as Clare was on the bench. Nix started in central midfield, alongside new team captain Gary Mills. Craig Armstrong was at left back, with Luke Jones in central defence. At right back, Gary Silk was not considered 100% match fit, so Scott Gardner started there. The bench looked as strong as I can remember. Crawley included Jefferson Louis up front, with new signing from Oxford Eddie Hutchinson who was involved in the points deduction controversy last season, in midfield.

In gloriously sunny conditions, the game started in front of a large Field Mill crowd. Only 59 from Crawley was a poor following, but over 3200 home fans was terrific, and given that probably around 300 season ticket holders would not have made it due to holidays etc, there were probably around 800 Stags fans paying on the day.

In the first minute, Williams appeared to keep the ball in with his hand on the left wing, but play continued and he played a good ball forward for Perry, who showed good strength to hold off a defender, but his shot was weak from the edge of box and easily saved. A minute later, a looping cross from Williams was headed just over bar. On 4 minutes, Duffy played a good ball in for Williams but the chance was wasted. Then on 7 minutes, a great run down left by Williams and a tremendous left footed cross across the face of goal for Duffy but he couldn’t get anything on the end of it. Moments later, Mills went down near dugout clutching his hamstring. While he was off the pitch, Crawley had their first chance as a fine curling shot from the edge of the box was tipped over brilliantly by Marriott. Somner replaced Mills moments later, which was deflating for the Stags after a terrific opening to the game. It provided an opportunity for Somner which he was to take with both hands during the rest of the game. On 12 minutes Marriott appeared to be fouled near his goalline, but play was waved on and the ball fell to Ademeno who fired over.

On 15 minutes the Stags took the lead. A Crawley defender went down 20 yards from goal under a challenge from Perry. He was still down as the ball fell for Perry, who ran at goal. The defender got up realizing the game wasn’t going to be stopped, and managed to get a deflection on Perry’s left footed shot, but only succeeded in sending the ball looping over the keeper and into the empty net. As the Stags fans celebrated wildly, Crawley boss Steve Evans was furious, embarking on the first of his many petulant displays. It was clear the Crawley defender was not badly injured so there was no reason for the Stags to stop play. Even so, it was a lucky deflection for Perry to send it into net.

On 19 minutes, Jefferson Louis sent a low shot from 22 yards straight at Marriott. Moments later, the referee came over to the Crawley bench and had strong words with assistant boss Paul Raynor. On 21 minutes, a great run down left by Perry and a lovely ball across the goal, but again Duffy couldn’t convert, this time missing with his boot. Again the move started with a Crawley player down and again Evans and Raynor were furious on the touchline. On 25 minutes, Gardner made a nice run through the defence but from good position his cross blocked for corner. On 28 minutes, a foul on a Crawley player led to Evans 3 yards onto pitch in protestation , before fourth official ushered him back.

On the half hour, a fine break by Crawley, but a great block by Luke Jones from a close range shot. Then moments later, a good challenge by Somner to concede a corner. On 31 Powell sent a shot over Quarry Lane Stand - quite some feat to get that high. Straight to the other end, and Williams’ cross from the byeline just evaded Somner. A minute later, a snapshot by Duffy from 20 yards was held above head by keeper Simon Rayner. Off the pitch, Steve Evans was complaining about every decision, and was continually being held back by fourth official. Several moments of danger for the Stags at the back, but two good headed clearances by Jones averted trouble, and a good challenge by Briscoe in his own box, as the ball luckily squirted back to Marriott.

It was 2-0 on 40 minutes. A superb ball over the top by Armstrong, for Duffy who showed great strength as he chested down past a defender, his first shot was half saved, and he tapped in the rebound from a tight angle having rounded the keeper.

On 43 minutes, it was 3-0, and again it was controversial. Perry appeared well off side as he collected a headed ball forward from Garner, but he strode forward and fired under the keeper into the net. Steve Evans was simply apoplectic and incandescent with rage on the sideline. From the match DVD, it looks like Perry was probably played onside by a defender, but it is not possible to say conclusively.

On 45 minutes, a great block by Scott Garner from Ademeno’s shot. Then a fine ball from Kyle Nix, found Briscoe down the left, he cut inside and shot into the side netting.

A tremendous first half for the Stags. Crawley were not happy and that’s a understatement. Evans tried to get to the referee as the teams trooped off but he was unable to do so. The Stags walked off to a standing ovation, while Evans was roundly booed and jeered.

Half time 3-0

On 47 minutes, a great kick out by Marriott to Briscoe on the right, he made a good run, but his cross from the right was poor. Then a minute later a good ball back from Duffy found Briscoe who danced past a defender but shot into side netting.

On 55 minutes, a good ball in from Briscoe was floated to far post where Perry got in a header that was saved. Then Williams cut in from left and fired just wide of right post, in an effort reminiscent of his goal against Barrow. At the other end a good foot in by Nix prevented a Crawley shot. On 63 minutes Luke Jones was surprisingly booked after soft foul, which didn’t even look like a foul. From the resulting free kick, a poor effort from Louis was blocked.

Jake Speight became the sixth debutant on 63 minutes, replacing Briscoe, who had been slightly limping. It had looked like Clare was coming on at the stage for Duffy, but the injury to Briscoe appeared to change Holdsworth’s mind.

A great run by Nix on 66 minutes, until he was tripped on the edge of box. Nix himself took the free kick from 20 yards which was tipped by the keeper onto bar. A fantastic free kick, beautifully weighted, and an equally fantastic save by Simon Rayner. On 70 an amazing clearance off the line by Jake Speight when it looked a certain goal as two Crawley players were unmarked in the box.

Clare finally did come on for Duffy on 72 minutes. A minute later, Speight put in a great cross, and a fantastic header from Clare which was arrowing into the roof of the net, until a great tip over by Rayner again. On 75 minutes, a good take by Marriott under pressure from Hutchinson.

It was 4-0 on 82 minutes. Kyle Perry managed to slip a ball through for Jake Speight just inside the box, and he waited for the keeper to commit himself, before a composed finish as he tucked the ball into the bottom left corner.

Marriott had to make a flying save on 86 minutes as Jamie Cook’s fine free kick from 24 yards curled towards the right corner of the net. A minutes later, Speight was through on goal and brought down, but there was no red card as there were other defenders around. The free kick was taken by Clare from 20 yards but it hit Perry on the backside and went out for a goalkick.

In stoppage time Marriott was muscled off a cross but Crawley missed the chance. Then Speight was put through from Williams’s ball, but Speight’s shot was saved by the keeper’s legs. Speight was in the action again as his through ball looped up to Perry whose header was well saved, denying him the hat-trick.

At the end of the game, a fantastic ovation for the Stags team, who milked the applause. It was the biggest opening day win since 1985, when we put 4 past Hereford with a Keith Cassells debut hat trick. It was a performance to give great optimism for the season.

Man of the match: Kyle Perry

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 8 A couple of fine saves and good handling under pressure.
Gardner 7 Good game at right back.
Jones 9 Outstanding game. Won lots of headers at the back, commanding.
Garner 8 Very good, some great challenges.
Armstrong 7 Did well at left back. Superb ball for the second goal.
Briscoe 7 Some good runs, and powerful, but lacking final product with crosses and two shots into side netting.
Mills - Injured early on. Looked like a hamstring injury.
Nix 8 Great game in central midfield. Showed lots of skill. Unlucky with one tremendous free kick.
Williams 8 Caused Crawley all sorts of problems with typical jinking display.
Perry 9 Battering ram which Crawley couldn’t handle. Also surprisingly hardly gave away any free kicks.
Duffy 7 Good finish for his goal, but could have been sharper far some chances before that.
Sub Line Up:
Somner (for Mills, 9 mins) 8 Played very well. Solid.
Speight (for Briscoe, 64) 8 Very lively. Lovely composed finish for his goal.
Clare (for Duffy, 72) - One good header well saved.
Subs Not Used: Sandercombe, Graham.
Opposition Line Up:
Rayner, Rents, Giles, Broadhurst, Wilson (Rusk 22), Powell (Cogan 52), Hutchinson, Smith (Malcolm 53), Cook, Louis, Ademeno. Subs Not Used: Jordan, Forrest.
P Curry (Essex) 6 Tough game under pressure from Crawley bench. Initially looked like third goal should have been disallowed, but DVD suggests otherwise.

Season 0910 Reports