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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Forest Green Rovers
Duffy 4 pen
Attendance: 3,022 (44 from Forest Green)
Date: 3 October 2009


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Mansfield Town won a hard-fought three points at home to Forest Green Rovers thanks to an early Rob Duffy penalty in very windy conditions at Field Mill. Duffy converted the penalty after he had been brought down himself following a mistake in the Forest Green defence. Forest Green, who had won their last two games, had plenty of possession but a gritty display from a new look Stags held them at bay though a last minute miss by Tomi Ameobi had hearts in mouths as the Stags hung on near the end.

Highlights of StagsPlayer commentary here

To download a podcast of the full StagsPlayer commentary, click below
1st half 2nd half

The Stags made four changes from the side that lost at Barrow. Paul Heckingbottom came in at left back for his long awaited debut replacing the injured Craig Armstrong. Mills returned from suspension in place of Somner. Sturrock replaced Briscoe who was dropped from the 16. Clare made his first start of the season at home in place of Speight. Meanwhile Rovers included Tomi Ameobi who David Holdsworth had on loan last season.

The Stags had a fearsome win behind them as they kicked towards the Quarry Lane end in the first half. The Stags started brightly and the first chance came after a minute when Nix’s corner from the right, was headed well wide by Sturrock.

The Stags won a penalty two minutes later as defender Ollie Thorne tried to run the ball out for a goalkick, and was chased down by Duffy who nicked the ball away from him on the byeline, and was then brought down from behind by Thorne. It was a clear penalty. Duffy stepped and sent the keeper Terry Burton the wrong way as he fired it into the right of the net. Burton had saved a Stags penalty last season from Adnan Ahmed in the game at the New Lawn.

Sturrock had a speculative effort from 20 yards well over the bar on 6 minutes. Forest Green then started to come into the game and were getting men forward quickly and in numbers. On 17 minutes, Hodgkiss crossed from the right and Spence headed wide from 6 yards for their first effort on goal.

A good move by the Stags on 25 minutes, and Blair Sturrock sent in a fine 20 yard left-footed shot that keeper Burton tipped over. Clare had a shot from 35 yards on the half hour that was wide. On 41 minutes, a Silk clearance was charged down by Forest Green and played forward to Sean Rigg who fired over from a tight angle.

Half time 1-0

A half that was spoiled by the wind. The Stags had it in their favour but too often overhit their passes and possession was lost. The early penalty had settled the players and home crowd down and the half time lead was satisfactory, but it would remain to be seen how Forest Green would make use of the wind in the second half.

The second half started off just as scrappy as the first half, but with Forest Green having a lots of possession. On 56 minutes, Hodgkiss let fly with a tremendous effort from 35 yards that Marriott tipped over the bar for a great save. From the resulting corner played in from the right, David Brown got there in front of Marriott at the near post but his flicked header was well wide. Marriott complained that he had been impeded but it wasn’t an obvious foul.

A double substitution for the Stags on 61 minutes as Speight and Perry replaced Sturrock and Duffy. Perry went up front, and Speight onto the right. On 67 minutes, Rigg had a powerful shot on target from a tight angle on the left that Marriott did well to parry away.

On 72 minutes, Williams floated a lovely free kick from the left to the far post, which was headed back across the face of the goal by Graham and it seemed to hang on the goalline before it was headed away off the line by a defender. It turned out to be the Stags best chance of the half. On 75 minutes, a long throw from Heckingbottom was headed on by Perry and Clare sent an overhead kick well wide. The Stags had the ball in the net on 79 minutes as Speight was offside and the whistle had gone long before Clare stroked the ball home.

On 82 minutes, a fine dangerous low cross from Conal Platt from the left was superbly collected by Marriott who read the situation perfectly. Somner replaced by the excellent Nix on 83 minutes.

As the game approached full time, Forest Green had plenty of possession without creating clearcut chances in a nervy finale. But then right on the stroke of 90 minutes, Rovers broke forward, Silk was the last defender, on the right hand side and he mis-timed his tackle allowing Ameobi to bear down on goal. Luckily for the Stags he blazed his shot over from close range. A real let-off for Mansfield.

Perry had a chance to end the tension two minutes into four minutes of stoppage time as he had space in the box but he wasn’t able to get a shot in, and then made a meal of a challenge, going down dramatically and his claims for a penalty were ignored.

As the Stags tried to wind down the clock in the final minute of stoppage time, Heckingbottom broke forward and instead of heading for the corner flag tried a shot but Forest Green cleared and were able to get the ball up field and Somner gave away a foul in the centre circle. But the Stags were able to clear and the referee brought an end to proceedings amid much relief among the home fans.

So another crucial home win for Mansfield. A gritty performance without much goalmouth action and it’s so important to win these type of games. Similar gritty performances away from home are now required, starting at Altrincham next week. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Paul Heckingbottom

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Made a couple of good stops, and excellent handling in very difficult conditions.
Silk 7 Competent performance though nearly let Ameobi in at the end by missing a tackle.
Garner 6 Did ok.
Graham 6 Also ok.
Heckingbottom 8 Fine debut. Up to speed, assured, good distribution and showed a good long throw.
Sturrock 6 Played rather deep on the right of midfield and thus didn’t provide an attacking threat. Perhaps not being played in his best position.
Mills 7 Good game - his first win as captain (excluding Crawley). Got stuck in.
Nix 8 Put in some tremendously hard tackles, worked so hard throughout.
Williams 6 Spent most of the game chasing balls running out of play. One good free kick.
Duffy 8 All over the pitch in the first half. Won everything in the air. His chasing down won us the penalty which he converted expertly.
Clare 6 Hard to judge him on this game. Didn’t get the service he needs. The ball wasn’t in the box enough for him as a predator. Got frustrated at not getting into the game and eventually booked.
Sub Line Up:
Speight (for Sturrock, 61) 6 Had little impact.
Perry (for Duffy, 61) 7 Strong and held the ball up well.
Somner (for Nix, 83) -
Subs Not Used: Eley, Istead.
Opposition Line Up:
Burton, Stonehouse, Thorne, Preece, Smith (Lloyd 85), Platt, Brown, Spence (King 76), Hodgkiss, Ameobi, Rigg. Subs Not Used: Carlin, Ayres, Else.
Ian Smedley 8 Handled the game very well, correct decision for the penalty. Missed a glaring foul on Clare.

Season 0910 Reports