{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
 Kettering Town
Attendance: 4034 (249 from Kettering)
Date: 31 August 2009


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town, with a 100% home record took on Kettering Town, with a 100% away record. Something had to give, and perhaps a 0-0 scoreline was always on the cards. The Stags had the better of the first half, starting well, but there was a lack of goalscoring opportunities and Kyle Perry wasted the best chance sending a scissors kick right over the North Stand from 6 yards before the Stags controversially had a goal disallowed on 44 minutes when Rob Duffy was adjudged to have bundled a cross home with his arm. Kettering’s first chance came in first half stoppage time when the normally reliable Marriott misjudged a corner and Exodus Geohaghan headed over an empty net. The Stags never really got going in the second half and the best chance came on 81 minutes when Briscoe set up Clare but from an awkward position he fired a close range shot well wide. Kettering had the game’s best chance a minute later when Francis Green burst past makeshift left back Luke Graham and crossed for Gareth Seddon to head a glorious chance wide. That chance seemed to give Kettering the belief that they could win the game and it was the visitors who finished the game more strongly. Not a great performance from the Stags, but it was important not to lose against a team that is likely to be in the top 8 at the end of the season, and four points from the Bank Holiday weekend is not a bad return.

UPDATE - from studying the match DVD, it is somewhat inconclusive on the disallowed goal - just can't tell if it was handball or not.

Manager David Holdsworth surprisingly made just one change from the side that won at Chester just 48 hours earlier, with Ryan Williams returning in place of Jake Speight. I had thought he would take the opportunity to bring in some fresh legs. Team captain Gary Mills returned on the subs bench, for Istead. Kettering included man mountain Exodus Geohaghan, hotly tipped to be joining Peterborough tomorrow.

The first crowd over 4000 since we left the Football League was hoped for, and was just achieved despite a feeble 249 following from Kettering. On a warm afternoon, the Stags were kicking towards the North Stand in the first half. On 6 minutes, Williams crossed from the left, a scramble ensued and Garner stabbed the ball goalwards, but it wouldn’t go in. On 13 minutes, Boucaud tried his luck from long range, and Marriott saved low down. There was another scramble in the Kettering box on 15 minutes but the Stags couldn’t force it home. It was a determined start from the Stags, and on 19 minutes a great challenge by Garner. A Nix free kick was held under his own bar by Harper on 24 minutes. On 30 minutes, a cross from Williams but Briscoe couldn’t quite keep it in. A minute later, a fine tackle by Armstrong to concede a corner.

The Stags had a great chance to take the lead on 36 minutes. A great run down the left by Williams, and his fine ball found Perry. The big striker tried a left foot scissors kick and sent his shot from 6 yards not only over the bar but over the North Stand. On 39 minutes, Fowler floated a corner from the right to the far post, where Dempster was totally unmarked and his header towards the top left corner was well saved by Marriott.

The Stags were forced to make a change on 40 minutes as Armstrong limped off and Luke Graham came on in his place for his debut. The Stags had no natural cover at left back so the reserve centre half was forced to fill in out of position.

The Stags had a goal disallowed on 44 minutes. A Nix free kick from the right was headed back across goal by Perry and Rob Duffy bundled it home, but the linesman signaled that Duffy had used his arm. Duffy was immediately booked. Moments later with Duffy still arguing, the ref called over captain Jones and spoke to both Jones and Duffy, clearly giving the Stags striker a final warning.

In first half stoppage time, Marriott misjudged a corner allowing Geohaghan a free header at the far post, but fortunately he headed over an empty net.

Half time 0-0

On 48 minutes, Williams broke into the box, squared to Duffy, who delayed too long to shoot, and in turn squared a pass for Perry, whose shot was half blocked and went through easily to keeper Harper from 12 yards.

It had been a poor start to the half by the Stags. On 62 minutes Speight replaced Duffy. Briscoe moved up front, while Speight went onto the right.

Somner tried his luck from 30 yards, but Harper saved low down to his left. On 70 minutes, Clare replaced Williams.
On 79 minutes, Clare's free kick from 22 yards was disappointingly was straight into the Kettering wall. On 81 minutes, Nix took a quick free kick to Briscoe who set up Clare but from an awkward position he fired a close range shot well wide.

Kettering had the game’s best chance a minute later when Francis Green burst past makeshift left back Luke Graham and crossed for Gareth Seddon to head a glorious chance wide. Three minutes later, another near thing as the massive number 5 Roper got goalside of the home defence from a long forward ball but Garner and Marriott managed to keep him out. Then on 87 minutes, Nix got in an important block from a Kettering shot as the visitors were finishing strongly. But on 89 minutes the final chance fell to the Stags as Briscoe’s shot was blocked.

A draw was a fair result. After the game manager Holdsworth announced that he had agreed to sign a new player, who had watched the game from just behind me in the West Stand. The Stags now have two away games at Grays and Kidderminster. Both these fixtures were lost last season. Hopefully this season we are a lot stronger and can look forward to a better return. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Luke Jones

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Another clean sheet, showed some good handling against tough opposition. Lucky to get away with a first half mistake.
Silk 7 Good game, winning his battles.
Garner 7 Did well. One outstanding challenge in the first half.
Jones 8 Very good game. Cleaned up everything.
Armstrong 6 Injured after 40 minutes. One great tackle.
Briscoe 5 Lost the ball too often on the run when trying to beat too many opponents. Frustrated the home fans.
Nix 8 Perhaps his best game in a Stags shirt. Ran the midfield. I keep finding myself saying Nix has nicked the ball because he keeps taking the ball of opponents’ toes.
Somner 6 Ok.
Williams 6 One great run and cross to set up a good chance for Perry.
Perry 5 Difficult game. Got a taste of his own medicine and was rather bullied off the ball by the Kettering defence. Missed the Stags best chance.
Duffy 6 Booked for “deliberate handball” on the disallowed goal. Warned by the ref moments later and didn’t look the same threat after that.
Sub Line Up:
Graham (for Armstrong, 40) 7 Impressive debut out of position at left back. Caught out once by Francis Green who crossed for Seddon to miss a chance, but otherwise did extremely well.
Speight (for Duffy, 62) - Disappointing. Got nothing at all from the Kettering defence.
Clare (for Williams, 70) - Had a couple of chances: one poor free kick and one close range shot that he got all wrong.
Subs Not Used: Sandercombe, Mills.
Opposition Line Up:
Harper, Jennings, Roper, Geohaghon, Dempster, Fowler, Noubissie (Wrack 60mins), Boucaud, McPike (Green 73mins), Seddon, Thomas (Spencer 66mins). Sub not used: Taylor.
Lee Metcalfe (Preston) 6 Some good use of the advantage rule, but both managers were unhappy with him.

Season 0910 Reports