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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
0 - 2
 Mansfield Town
 Speight 11, Heckingbottom 76. Somner sent off 69.
Attendance: 883 (177 from Mansfield + approx 70 more in the stand)
Date: 14 November 2009

Martin Shaw at Broadfield Stadium


Superb Mansfield Town produced their best away performance of the season to deservedly win all three points at Crawley on Saturday afternoon. Crawley had already won 6 home league games this season, as many as Mansfield, but the Stags were in dominant mood despite having to play the last 21 minutes with 10 men after Matt Somner was sent off. The Stags led at half time through Jake Speight's close range finish from a corner. Speight, playing on the right, was outstanding in the first half and deserved his goal. The Stags were guilty of missing some good chances, and when Somner picked up two yellows in three minutes, the Stags briefly looked as though they might surrender the lead, but a perfectly placed free kick from Paul Heckingbottom sealed the win on 76 minutes.

Manager David Holdsworth changed from the 4-3-3 formation that he started with at Forest Green, to a 4-4-2 formation. In came Blair Sturrock for Rob Duffy, who was rested, and Matt Somner and Ryan Williams came in for Gary Mills and Steven Istead. Jake Speight moved from a central striker position to the right midfield, while Williams played on the left. There was no place in the 16 for Craig Dobson, highlighting the strength of the current squad.

The game was able to go ahead after heavy rain all morning in the south subsided a couple of hours before kick off. Had the rain continued, Crawley were considering a pitch inspection. But as it was, the pitch played well and more of a problem was the strong wind which swirled around the stadium.

The Stags made a bright start with Speight looking lively down the right wing, but on 4 minutes, Speight had to help Gary Silk out in his own box as he put in a great challenge to prevent a shot from Cogan. Manager Holdsworth would have been delighted to see his right midfielder helping out his right back. A minute later, miscommunication between Sturrock and Speight as Sturrock waited too long to play a ball forward to Speight who had drifted offside.

Speight was again in the action as he was involved in a good one two after 9 minutes and the Stags really started to get on top as they earned a corner on 10 minutes. Williams took the corner from the right which reached the edge of the 6 yard box in a central position where Luke Jones met it but didn’t make a clean connection and it scuffed behind for a corner off a defender. It was a close shave for Crawley and terrible marking, but they didn’t learn their lesson and from the resulting corner, the Stags were ahead. Again Williams took it from the right and the ball bounced around in the box before falling for Speight who was totally unmarked and blasted home from six yards. In truth he couldn’t miss and he was in the right place at the right time.

A good move for Crawley on 15 minutes and a right wing cross floated over Marriott and Garner was eventually able to clear. On 25 minutes, a great run from Speight, who found Sturrock. Sturrock had a defender immediately in front of him right outside the box but took one step inside to create some space and fired a powerful curling left footed shot straight at keeper Simon Rayner. On 27 minutes, Perry appeared to be brought down by Giles right in front of the Crawley dugout but the referee waved play on. A minute later and a good save by Marriott from a close range shot by Ben Smith though the offside flag had already been raised. It was pinball inside the Stags box on 32 minutes and the ball was eventually out for a corner.

On 34 minutes, the first good chance for Crawley as Forrest charged past Silk and from the left hand side, fired past the right hand post with his left foot. It was very close. The Stags thought they should have had a penalty on 35 minutes when a cross from the left hit a Crawley hand and then straightaway Williams put in a powerful cross from the left which was spectacularly caught by Rayner who landed awkwardly as he dived over a Mansfield player.

The Stags were within a whisker of increasing the lead on 41 minutes as they were awarded a free kick 19 yards from goal. Williams took it and it was straight into the wall but it rebounded to Heckingbottom whose powerful shot deflected off Somner no more than a yard from the right post with the goalkeeper motionless. On 45 minutes, another great chance for the Stags to increase the lead. A wonderful run from Speight and a nice ball put Perry through on goal on the right. Perry’s first touch took the ball slightly away from him and by the time he got a shot in he was too close to the keeper who blocked it. A great chance wasted.

Half time 0-1

A great half from Mansfield who were well worth the lead and indeed should have been further ahead.

Crawley made a double substitution at the beginning of the second as keeper Rayner couldn’t continue after his injury and was replaced by Nick Jordan. Malcolm also replaced Cogan.

The Stags were under pressure in the first minute as Marriott looked uncharacteristically shaky and Somner had to clear off the line from Giles. On 53 minutes, Rusk shot from the right across the face of goal and Forrest just missed it when any kind of touch would have taken it into the back of the net.

On 56 minutes, Speight cut inside from the right and unleashed a powerful left foot shot which keeper Jordan did well to parry away. A minute later, Sturrock seemed to be in on goal on the left and got to the ball before the keeper as the keeper raced out. Sturrock toe-poked the ball past the keeper just as the keeper seemed to bring Sturrock down. The ball rolled goalwards but never had enough pace on it and was cleared away by a defender and may even have been missing the right post anyway. On 63 minutes, a super crossfield pass from Williams which Perry collected and again he looked in on goal but the keeper saved at his feet.

The Stags were rocked on 69 minutes when Somner picked up his second yellow card in three minutes. He seemed to win the ball fairly but the referee thought it was a dangerous challenge. After the match, Holdsworth complained it had been a fair challenge and even Crawley assistant manager Paul Raynor said it probably didn’t warrant a booking but he felt Somner had committed other tackles which did warrant a booking. Holdsworth immediately brought on Istead, sacrificing Sturrock, and moving to a 4-4-1 formation. Perry was booked for time wasting on 74 minutes when he appeared to put the ball down in the right place for a free kick. It was Perry's first yellow card of the season (he received a straight red against Stevenage). Moments later Crawley had a rare chance when Willock shot on the turn inside the box and was only a foot wide.

The Stags had a three-on-one break on 75 minutes as Williams ran 55 yards inside his own half to the edge of the box and fouled on the edge of the D. Heckingbottom took the resulting free kick from a central position and buried it into the bottom left hand corner. It was a high quality free kick and one that deserved to seal the points.

The goal settled the Stags nerves as they had looked a bit shaky following the sending off. On 82 minutes, Istead made a good run down the left and fed the ball to Williams who shot wide of the left post from a tight angle. Mills replaced Speight and Duffy replaced Perry. On 85 minutes, a Crawley corner from Pinault found its way back to the midfielder who shot over from a tight angle. In the second minute of 6 minutes of stoppage time, an amazing let off for the Stags as Rusk’s low shot from the right hit Willock 2 yards from goal, bounced into the ground and over the bar.

So a really great win for Mansfield and a fine performance.

Man of the Match: Jake Speight

Report by: Martin Shaw at Broadfield Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Surprisingly quiet game; one great save even though it was flagged offside.
Silk 6 Not his most assured display, though did ok.
Garner 7 Good game.
Jones 8 Very good game, dominating the Crawley forwards.
Heckingbottom 8 Wonderful free kick, and showed quality throughout.
Speight 9 Outstanding first half on the right, giving left back Giles a nightmare. Deserved his goal. Quieter second half but still unlucky with one run and rasping shot.
Somner 7 Competed very well, good header off the line. Perhaps unlucky with the second booking, but perhaps still a rash challenge just after he’d picked up a booking.
Brough 7 Much improved from his debut last week. Never gave the ball away.
Williams 7 Some good play down the left especially in the second half, and some good corners.
Sturrock 7 Quiet start, but did well in a role just behind Perry. Unlucky with a couple of chances.
Perry 7 Strong performance up front but will be disappointed that he missed a couple of very good chances.
Sub Line Up:
Istead (for Sturrock, 70) 7 One fine run down the left to set up a chance for Williams. Did well in midfield after Somner was sent off.
Mills (for Speight, 83) -
Duffy (for Perry, 85) -
Subs Not Used: Eley, Armstrong.
Opposition Line Up:
Rayner (Jordan 46); Wilson, Broadhurst, Quinn, Giles; Smith, Rusk, Pinault, Cogan (Malcolm 46); Forrest (Ademeno 61), Willock. Subs Not Used: Hutchinson, Killeen.
Stuart Burt (Northampton) 5 Both managers felt he was at fault for Somner's second yellow.

Season 0910 Reports