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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Eastbourne Borough
Challinor 68.
 McLaggon 45.
Attendance: 2922 (23 from Eastbourne)
Date: 21 November 2009


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Highlights of StagsPlayer audio commentary here

Mansfield Town rescued a point at home to lowly Eastbourne Borough on a wet and windy afternoon at Field Mill. The Stags were never in full flow and were a shadow of the excellent side that won so convincingly at Crawley in the previous league game. Eastbourne had taken the lead on the stroke of 45 minutes with an excellent goal from Kyle McLaggon who was making his debut on loan from Southampton. The Stags equalised on 68 minutes when Heckingbottom’s fine free kick went in off Stags own debutante Jon Challinor, with the visitors claiming handball. We expected a grandstand finish from Mansfield but it never came, and the closest the Stags came to a winner was when Sturrock’s superb turn and shot from the edge of the box went in off the inside of the post, but was disallowed, we think for a foul by Duffy who had flicked the ball on. It was really tough luck on Sturrock who would have made himself a hero.

The game was played throughout in swirling rain, with the wind from Quarry Lane to the North Stand end, and so it was behind Eastbourne in the first half, but in truth didn’t really give an advantage to either side at any stage, unlike the Forest Green league game.

Stags boss David Holdsworth made four changes. Brough replaced the suspended Silk at right back, Somner returned from suspension in place of Mills, while Briscoe and debutante Jon Challinor came in for Speight and Sturrock. Briscoe played on the right, with Challinor in the middle.

On 3 minutes, Eastbourne had the first chance when Armstrong shot just over from 25 yards. On 4 minutes, a good ball in from Williams, and Briscoe headed it down, but it was cleared before Duffy could pounce.

On 7 minutes, disappointment for the Stags when Dobson had to replace Perry, who had pulled a quad during the warm-up. Briscoe moved up front with Dobson on the right.

The Stags created a good chance on 11 minutes when a fine move down the left, with Williams finding Dobson who found Briscoe, who cut inside but his shot dipped over the crossbar from 22 yards. On 14 minutes, McLaggon’s shot was well-blocked by Heckingbottom, and then a good move from Mansfield as Briscoe found Dobson who blazed over and wide from an acute angle when he should have taken it to the byeline and crossed for forwards who were racing in on goal.

A better chance for the Stags on 16 minutes as Duffy did well to keep ball on the byeline, and get past his defender and pull the ball back for Briscoe who sidefooted a yard wide of the left post from 12 yards. Briscoe should have hit the target and it was good play from Duffy, similar to when he earned the penalty against Forest Green. On 19 minutes, a good floated free kick from Williams from the left, and Jones headed straight at keeper Knowles. Then on 23 minutes, a great turn by Liam Marum as he cut inside on the byeline and crossed for Armstrong who swung and missed the ball completely inside box, but the ball reached Weatherstone, whose shot was low and easily saved by Marriott.

A real chance for the Stags on 28 minutes as Dobson was through on goal, but he played a great ball to his right, to Briscoe, completely unmarked, but Briscoe’s first touch was bad, taking the ball too close to the keeper, it hit the keeper, and bounced back off Briscoe, cannoning well wide. A total mess-up from Briscoe which Holdsworth later put down to lack of match sharpness.

On 40 minutes, the visitors should have been reduced to 10 men. Defender Austin had already been booked, and cynically brought down Duffy, as the Stags striker turned him and headed goalwards. The referee decided to give Austin a final warning - an astonishing decision not to book the Eastbourne defender. But on 41 minutes the Stags had a massive let-off. With Jones off the field getting attention to a cut, striker Joe Benjamin was clean though down the middle, clear of the defence, but he shot straight at Marriott.

The Stags didn’t heed the warning and on 45 minutes paid the penalty as Eastbourne took the lead. McLaggon made a great run down the right and cut inside before firing with the outside of his right foot, past Marriott into the left corner of the net. It may have taken a deflection on the way (not really obvious from the West Stand, but apparently clear from the Bishop Street side) but it was a great goal.

It was disappointing to hear boos at half time from a selection of Stags fans as the players hurried off the pitch to re-group for a better second half.

Half time 0-1

The Stags were presented with a chance on 48 minutes, as Marriott’s long ball over the top somehow bounced through to Williams over his right shoulder. But with space in the box, his first touch took the ball straight through to keeper Knowles. It was actually a great chance. On 50 minutes, Weatherstone’s shot was deflected over the bar.

Frustration on 58 as Briscoe seemed to be through, but the referee stopped play for a foul by Brown on Dobson. From the free kick, Garner headed tamely at Knowles.

On 62 minutes, Sturrock replaced Dobson, who earlier had been a substitute himself. Immediately a half chance for the Stags as Williams’ cross was cleared by Knowles with his legs right in front of Sturrock who had yet to touch the ball.

On 68 minutes, the Stags were level. A free kick from the right by Heckingbottom from 35 yards was whipped into the corridor of uncertainty where Challinor was in the right place to force the ball over the line, either with his shoulder, his chest or his arm. Eastbourne’s defenders and keeper went mad protesting that the goal should be disallowed, but the referee and linesman ignored the protests.

We expected the Stags to pour forward, with confidence boosted, but it didn’t happen, and instead it was Eastbourne, who went in search of the winner, and the Stags were hanging on in the next 10 minutes. First, Crabb’s shot from 20 yards sailed over, and then on 73 minutes a horror moment for Marriott as Benjamin’s shot from close range was a weak effort, but fumbled by the normally reliable Stags keeper and rolled a foot past the right post as the crowd in the West Stand collectively held its breath, fearing the worst.

On 78 minutes, Duffy flicked a ball on for Sturrock, who turned and superbly shot from the edge of the box into the net, off the inside of the left post. But it was disallowed, we think for a foul by Duffy, considering where the resulting free kick was taken from. Alternatively it may have been for a handball by Sturrock, although after the game both Sturrock and manager Holdsworth claimed it never touched Sturrock’s hand. Tough luck on Sturrock anyway. .

On 89 minutes, an inswinging cross from Heckingbottom from the left, and Sturrock got a glancing header on it, but it was an easy save for the keeper. The Stags forced two corners in stoppage time, but they came to nothing and the final whistle was met with one or two boos but a general air of disappointment.

A flat afternoon for the Stags in terrible conditions, and three home games now without a win. Luton visit on Tuesday night in what is sure to be a crackling atmosphere. The Stags need to up their game and turn on the style as they did against Oxford. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Rob Duffy

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 6 One horror moment which he got away with. Didn’t have any difficult saves or crosses to deal with.
Brough 6 Adequate at right back. But will probably not contend Silk’s place on Tuesday.
Jones 6 OK.
Garner 6 OK.
Heckingbottom 6 Great free kick for the goal, but gave the ball away too often and was short on pace against McLaggon.
Briscoe 5 Didn’t look sharp. Missed a sitter.
Somner 5 Gave the ball away, not at his best.
Challinor 6 Scored on his debut. Otherwise didn’t really impress.
Williams 6 Never really threatened the visitors’ defence .
Duffy 7 Won lots of ball up front and in defence, finding the channels again and again but no one to profit from it.
Perry - Only on for 7 minutes.
Sub Line Up:
Dobson (for Perry, 7 mins) 5 One good ball to set up Briscoe, but poor apart from that.
Sturrock (for Dobson, 62) 7 Played well, great finish for disallowed goal.
Subs Not Used: Eley, Armstrong, Hotchkiss.
Opposition Line Up:
Knowles; Baker, Austin, Elphick, Brown; Armstrong, Weatherstone, Matt Crabb; Benjamin (Johnson 90+3), Marum (Atkin 90 +5), McLaggon (Fraser 56). Subs not used: Taylor, Jordan.
Andrew Madley (Ossett) 5 No use of advantage rule. Inconsistent. Clearly should have sent off Austin.

Season 0910 Reports