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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Grays Athletic  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Slabber 35.
 Speight 11.
Attendance: 732 (approx 250 from Mansfield)
Date: 5 September 2009


Martin Shaw at Bridge Road

Mansfield Town were left hugely frustrated after a dominating performance at Grays Athletic, and had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw. The Stags took an early lead through Jake Speight but a sloppy goal gifted Grays an equaliser, and the Stags could only score once despite around 20 chances created. Kyle Perry hit the bar, and Grays on-loan keeper made two unbelievable saves in the last minutes from Garner and Speight.

Stags made four changes with Graham, Mills, Speight and Clare replacing Armstrong, Nix, Briscoe and Williams. New signing Blair Sturrock was on the bench. Grays were a club in some turmoil, having used 22 players already this season, after they used 60 last season. Jamie Slabber led the Grays attack, having turned the game last season as substitute, scoring one and setting up the winner.

The Stags started positively and on 5 minutes, Speight had a shot on the turn which was blocked. From the resulting throw-in, the ball came out to Mills who showed good body shape to hit an awkwardly bouncing ball with a low shot which was easily saved. On 9 minutes, good inter-linking play between Perry and Speight as Perry headed on and Speight was nearly through on goal.

The Stags took the lead on 11 minutes. Mills took a corner from the left, to Jones who was unmarked past the far post. Jones headed it back across to the other post where Speight headed in from a tight angle, despite the keeper getting a hand to it.

On 17 minutes, Mills fired in a powerful shot from 25 yards which the keeper saved at the second attempt. Grays had their first chance on 25 minutes as Slabber’s shot from 25 yards swerved a little bit but was still straight at Marriott. Two minutes later, Poole tried his luck with a left footed shot from 25 yards, Marriott saved well, to his left. On 29 minutes, Clare had a free kick from 20 yards on the left but fired over the bar. Straight to the other end and Poole had another chance as he sliced a shot wide of the left post from 19 yards.

On 30 minutes, Speight created a snapshot for himself but his left footed effort was just over the bar. On 32 minutes, Mills took a quick free kick 20 yards out to Somner on his right but Somner screwed his shot wide. On 34 minutes, Speight broke into the box, somehow held on to the ball despite seemingly losing it a couple of times, and bobbled a shot just wide of the right post. It was so close and came from a good flick on by Duffy.

Grays were level on 35 minutes and it came as a huge shock. A cross was played in from the left and centre-forward Slabber was left totally unmarked as Luke Jones and Luke Graham stood and watched. Slabber had all the time in the world to place his header into the right corner giving Marriott no chance. Dreadful defending.

On 36 minutes, brilliant work by Clare as he turned in the box but his left foot shot was just past the right post. On 40 minutes, there was almost a repeat of the Grays goal as Slabber was allowed another free header from a similar position. This time he headed into Marriott’s grateful arms. Again it seemed that Jones and Graham were waiting for each other to challenge for the ball.

Half time 1 - 1

The Stags had started the half well and had dominated, but slack marking had gifted Grays a way back into the game and it was hugely frustrating at half time.

On 46 minutes, Clare broke into the box on the left, managing to shield the ball from his defender all the way into the six yard box, but from a tight angle, he shot into the side-netting. On 47 minutes, a corner from Mills on the left found Jones 8 yards out, but his powerful header was blocked on the line. Grays had a chance on 48 minutes as a cross from the right found Poole at the far post but he fired over. Grays had a good move a minute later giving Poole a chance from 22 yards. He hit a fine shot, arrowing towards the top right hand corner but Marriott flew through the air and tipped the ball over. The save of the season for Mansfield.

On 51 minutes, Clare sent a free kick from 22 yards over the bar. The Stags were so unlucky on 53 minutes. Another good corner from Mills on the left was headed on by Jones and Perry headed against the crossbar just near the angle of the right post. On 55 minutes, Luke Graham crossed right footed from the left and Clare flicked a header a yard wide of the left post.

Sturrock came on for his debut on 63 minutes replacing the luckless Perry, and Williams came on for Clare. On 64 minutes, a scramble in the Grays box as Mills had a shot blocked and it finally fell to Duffy whose shot was deflected over. On 70 minutes, Duffy brilliantly headed down to Sturrock but Sturrock hesitated and lost the ball. An early sign that Sturrock is not yet match fit, not surprising of course.

On 74 minutes, another glorious chance for the Stags to take the lead. Williams put in a cross from the left, absolutely on a plate for Jones with a free header which somehow he put over the bar.

Another half chance for the Stags on 80 minutes. Then Nix replaced Somner in the centre of the park. On 82 minutes, a great ball in from Williams, and Speight flicked it goalwards but the keeper pulled off a great save. A minute later Sturrock crossed from the right to give Jones a chance to head goalwards but instead he just headed it across the goal.

On 90 minutes, it looked as though the Stags had won it. Mills free-kick from the right was met with a super Garner header which looked to be heading into the top corner before the keeper made an unbelievable save. I was already on my feet thinking it had gone in.

From the resulting corner from the right Speight headed low towards the bottom left corner and astonishingly the keeper made another fantastic save to keep it out. A minute into stoppage time, Williams wasted a free kick from 22 yards firing over the bar.

Terrible frustration for the Stags at full time. I made it the Stags had 22 chances. An incredible number and on another we could have won by a hatful. But a moment of slack defending and the two points were dropped. So on to Kidderminster on Tuesday night. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Jake Speight

Report by: Martin Shaw at Bridge Roard

Line Up:
Marriott 7 A super save from Poole’s piledriver just after half-time - probably his best save of the season.
Silk 6 Did ok.
Garner 7 So nearly the hero near the end with a great header that was unbelievably saved. Defended well.
Jones 6 Generally defended well, but badly at fault for Slabber’s goal in my opinion and a similar chance for Slabber 5 minutes afterwards. Missed a great chance himself in the second half that he should have buried.
Graham 6 Partially at fault for the goal in my opinion. Some poor distribution, but otherwise played well.
Mills 7 Several good corners that put chances on a plate. Some impressive shooting in the first half. Worked hard.
Somner 6 Did ok.
Speight 8 Caused the home defence all kinds of problems. Scored early, went agonisingly close with a shot that bobbled across the goal and created other chances for himself.
Perry 7 So unlucky to hit the bar, also won other headers.
Clare 6 Two free kicks wasted and missed two other chances. Not quite his day.
Duffy 6 Brilliant header into the path of Sturrock, but didn’t get too much in the action.
Sub Line Up:
Sturrock (for Perry, 63) 6 Exciting to see him in a Stags shirt, but didn’t quite look match sharp to me.
Williams (for Clare, 63) 7 Put in some great crosses. In hindsight perhaps should have been on earlier in my opinion.
Nix (for Somner, 80) -
Subs Not Used: Sandercombe, Istead.
Opposition Line Up:
Butcher, Davis, Hoyte, Uddin, Obersteller, Graham (Taylor 71), Vernazza, Cutler, Poole (Beavan 86), Slabber, Charge. Subs Not Used: Edwards, Gaughran, Harvey.
Brendan Malone (Wiltshire) 6 Did ok in game with little controversy.

Season 0910 Reports