{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
FA Cup Round 1
Forest Green Rovers  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Hodgkiss 27
 Garner 87
Attendance: 1149 (363 from Mansfield)
Date: 7 November 2009


Martin Shaw at the New Lawn

A header on 87 minutes by Scott Garner earned Mansfield Town a replay against Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn this afternoon. The Stags had started powerfully in the opening 10 minutes, but faded after that and Forest Green's goal on 27 minutes, a result of poor marking by Mansfield, gave the home side confidence. In the second half, Forest Green played very well, led by Conal Platt on the right wing, and Tomi Ameobi, and the Stags had Alan Marriott to thank for hanging in at 1-0. Then with 3 minutes to go, Scott Garner took advantage of a ball bouncing around the box and keeper Terry Burton flapping at it, to head home a loose ball and earn the Stags an undeserved replay, to the delight of the Stags fans who were fantastic in getting behind their team throughout the afternoon despite very little to cheer about.

The replay will be at Field Mill in ten days (Tuesday 17 November, 7.45pm).

Stags manager David Holdsworth elected to go with a 4-3-3 formation, with new loan signing Michael Brough making his debut in midfield alongside Mills and Istead, while Duffy play on the right of the front three, Perry on the left, and Speight in the middle. Widemen Williams and Dobson dropped to the bench.

The Stags started powerfully and on 2 minutes had a good chance to take an early lead. Speight with the ball on the edge of the penalty area tried to find Duffy on his right, it was actually a poor ball but the defender made a mess of it and it did find Duffy who advanced and from a tight angle side-footed a shot across the goal and just past the left post. A minute later, Brough tried his luck from 22 yards with a curling effort that was an easy save for Terry Burton low down. Forest Green looked nervous and this was summed up on 5 minutes when keeper Burton flapped at a Stags ball in from the right and was lucky that the ball was cleared. Forest Green had their first attack on 8 minutes with a good turn from Rigg in the box and his low shot was at Marriott who saved comfortably. After a powerful opening by the Stags the game moved into a quiet period but a piece of quick thinking on 21 minutes could have paid dividends. A Stags free kick was taken quickly by Brough who rolled to Mills who tried to feed Speight in the box but the ball just ran away from Speight and out for a goal kick. It reminded me a little of the Stags quick free kick in the previous round to earn a goal against Altrincham.

Out of the blue, the Stags were behind on 27 minutes. David Brown moved the ball forward and played the ball to Rigg on the left side of the penalty area. Duffy tried to put in a tackle in an unfamiliar right back position but Rigg wriggled away from him and played the ball across the 6 yard box eluding Heckingbottom who was out of position, allowing right back Hodgkiss to steal in criminally unmarked at the far post and slot home from 6 yards giving Marriott no chance.

Perry and Duffy had swapped sides and Duffy proved conclusively that he is not a left winger on 35 minutes when his left footed cross was dreadful. The Stags had a good chance on 39 minutes when they won a free kick 22 yards out. Perry blasted it but it was straight into the wall. Two minutes later the Stags should have had a penalty as Heckingbottom chipped a ball forward into the box and Perry was mugged by a defender with his arm around his neck. We had a perfect view from the commentary position level with the edge of the six yard box but unfortunately the linesman was on the far side and the referee was 10 yards downfield and neither had the perfect view that we did and play was waved on. On 43 minutes, a cross field pass from Mills on the right was headed wide of the left post by Perry. On the stroke of 45 minutes, a hopeful ball forward for the Stags was inexplicably left by a defender allowing Speight a free back header at goal but it was straight at Burton.

At the end of the half, Perry and Duffy complained long and hard to the referee even after all the other players had left the pitch, about the non-award of the penalty. A disappointing half for the Stags after a powerful start, and at half time I said on the radio that was 4-3-3 really wasn’t working for the Stags.

Half time 1-0

On 51 minutes, the Stags defence backed off allowing Stonehouse a free shot from 20 yards which fortunately was blocked. This was particularly bad defending given that Stonehouse scored from a similar position against Eastbourne last week, a goal which was shown on YouTube in highlights that I had forwarded to the club.

On 52 minutes, Dobson replaced Speight, and Williams replaced Istead, as the Stags did move to a 4-4-2 formation. On 58 minutes, Rigg got in a cross-come-shot from the left hand side which was well saved by Marriott. Williams put in a good ball for the Stags from the left on 60 minutes but it came to nothing.

On 62 minutes, an outstanding run from Conal Platt down the right ending with a good shot and a wonderful save from Marriott, tipping it over the bar with a strong hand. A minute later, Rigg tried a chip but it was easy for Marriott. Then on 64 minutes, another brilliant run from Platt down the right after he had superbly controlled the ball on the touchline, and he squared to Stonehouse who found Rigg. Rigg shot from the left and Marriott did superbly to save one-handed low to his left. Then on 66 minutes, Marriott did really well to tip away a Platt cross. Three minutes later, Rigg got down the left and ran along the Stags byeline beating several defenders, before shooting from a really tight angle which Marriott saved with his legs.

On 70 minutes, a super run from Dobson from inside his own half but in the end he lost control and ran it out of play. A minute later, the ball was cleared from the Forest Green box to Silk who tried a first time volley from 35 yards but it was easily saved by Burton. Sturrock then replaced Duffy.

Brough had a chance on 77 minutes when the ball came to him on the edge of the box and he perhaps should have taken it first time but he elected to trap it and take it to his left before firing well wide. On 84 minutes, Dobson found Perry but the ball was whisked off his feet as he tried to shoot. Seconds later Perry tried his luck with a left footed shot but it skewed wide of the left post. On 86 minutes, Perry was through on goal but he scuffed his shot and Burton saved easily. Straight to the other end and the excellent Conal Platt shot wide from 20 yards.

On 87 minutes, the Stags were level. Brough did well to move the ball forward and find Williams on the left. Williams’ cross was deflected high into the Forest Green box where it bounced around before Burton tried to punch clear and fluffed it allowing Scott Garner a free header into the roof of the net from six yards. The Stags fans, having given superb support all afternoon despite little to cheer, erupted.

Despite some late excitement there were no more good chances in 5 minutes of stoppage time, and at the final whistle Forest Green players held their heads in their hands, realising they had a missed a good chance to finish the tie at the first attempt. Not a great performance from the Stags, and Garner’s header was something of a get-out-of-jail card. Few good performances from Stags players, with Marriott the standout player. Conal Platt was excellent going forward for Forest Green and the Stags will have to look after him better at Field Mill in 10 days.

Man of the match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw at the New Lawn

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Nothing to do in the first half, and no chance with the goal. Two great saves and some other good saves in the second half.
Silk 5 Difficult game against the outstanding Conal Platt.
Garner 7 Got the Stags out of jail when he went up front late on.
Jones 6 Solid enough.
Heckingbottom 6 Defended ok, but out of position for Forest Green’s goal.
Mills 5 Worked hard. One decent cross for Perry, but didn't get a grip of the game.
Brough 5 Didn't gel with the team and made a few loose passes. Did well in the build up to the goal though. Will get much better I'm sure.
Istead 5 Very quiet game.
Duffy 5 Not his best game, possibly not 100% fit?
Speight 5 The ball just seemed to keep rolling away from him, possibly caused by a slightly zippy pitch?
Perry 7 Got stuck in and put himself about. Should have had a penalty.
Sub Line Up:
Dobson (for Speight, 52) 6 One fabulous run, but wasted it running the ball out of play.
Williams (for Istead, 52) 6 A couple of decent crosses.
Sturrock (for Duffy, 72) - I can't actually remember him touching the ball in 18+5 minutes.
Subs not used: Eley, Hotchkiss, Armstrong, Somner.
Opposition Line Up:
Burton; Hodgkiss, Preece, O'Cearuill, McDonald; Smith, Stonehouse, Brown, Platt; Ameobi (Davies 78 mins), Rigg. Subs not used: Else, Powell, Pugh, Pass, Palmer, King.
Brendan Malone (Wiltshire) 5 Missed a blatant penalty (foul on Perry).

Season 0910 Reports