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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Ebbsfleet United  
2 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Vieira 2, Holmes 57. Viera pen saved 85.
 Duffy 16 pen.
Attendance: 850 (app 160 from Mansfield)
Date: 28 November 2009


Martin Shaw at Stonebridge Road

An absolutely terrible performance by Mansfield at Gravesend & Northfleet on Saturday afternoon as the Stags not only conceded a goal after two minutes - the Fleet’s first goal after 8 blank scoresheets, but went on to be comfortably beaten - Fleet’s first home win of the season and first win at all for 15 games. Ebbsfleet could even afford a missed penalty - well saved by Stags super-stopper Alan Marriott. Ebbsfleet gave the impression all afternoon of wanting the points more than Mansfield, they closed players down quicker than Mansfield, showed more purpose going forward, and thoroughly deserved the points. The Stags were rubbish.

Mansfield made two changes from the side that started against Eastbourne. New signing Andy Burgess played on the left side of midfield, as Ryan Williams switched to the right and Louis Briscoe dropped to the bench. Blair Sturrock started in place of the injured Kyle Perry up front. There were 2 surprises for me: Michael Brough kept his place at right back in place of Gary Silk who was available after suspension, and new loan signing Lee Morris didn’t start but was on the bench.

Ebbsfleet took the lead after just 2 minutes. A good move down the right, as Magno Viera swept the ball out to Ricky Shakes. Shakes moved forward as Heckingbottom gave him far too much room to get in a cross. The ball was quickly in to the middle and Viera got away from his marker Luke Jones and stabbed the ball home from 6 yards giving Marriott no chance.

Marriott had to be alert on 8 minutes when an aimless ball forward nearly found it’s way to Shakes but Marriott got there first. Ebbsfleet had started very well and really looked up for the game, closing Mansfield down very quickly at every opportunity. A chance for the Stags though on 11 minutes as Brough crossed from the right and Sturrock glanced a header wide of the left post.

The Stags were level on 16 minutes. Brough’s ball from the right, was headed out to Somner who chipped the ball forward and Duffy headed it back to Burgess. Burgess was on the edge of the box and got his body shape perfect to blast a powerful shot that was heading in, as it clearly hit defender Heeroo on the hand. The referee awarded the penalty after thinking about it. Ebbsfleet complained that it had just hit Heeroo without him having chance to get out of the way, but it did strike his hand, and from our position right behind it, it appeared to be going in. Duffy stepped up and sidefooted the ball into the right corner of the net as keeper Cronin never moved. The goal really came from a bit of quality by Burgess.

On 17 minutes, slack marking at the back by Mansfield as centre-half Pooley was allowed a free header from a corner, but sent it over the bar.

A spectacular moment on 22 minutes. Williams crossed from deep on the left, perfectly for Duffy to try a volley from a tight angle on the right. Duffy sent his effort over the bar. Had it gone in it would have been a re-creation of Marco Van-Basten’s wonder goal for Holland many years ago. At the other end, Holmes got behind the Stags defence on the left, but his low cross was scrambled clear.

During a quiet spell of the game, I counted that only 4 of the Stags 11 players were wearing black boots. New signing Burgess’s boots were gold and white.

On 40 minutes, a half-chance for the Stags as Heckingbottom’s free-kick was through to Duffy, but Duffy was too slow to pull the trigger and the ball was cleared. Then a minute later a half-chance for Sturrock from Williams’s corner but Sturrock couldn’t control it.

At half-time, manager Holdsworth had a look of thunder as he quickly went down the tunnel. Certainly, based on that half, you wouldn’t have known which team was at the top and which team was at the bottom of the table.

Half time 1-1

An early warning for Mansfield in the second half on 50 minutes as Shakes made 40 yards down the right, and fed Holmes who crossed for Viera who got in front of Jones and flicked just wide of the right post. A let-off for the Stags.

New loan signing Lee Morris replaced the ineffective Sturrock on 54 minutes.

Ebbsfleet were back in front on 57 minutes. Shakes played a little ball forward to the edge of the box and Viera back-flicked the ball into the path of Peter Holmes who found himself in 8 yards of space in the penalty box, which you wouldn’t have thought was technically possible. Holmes fired home powerfully left footed under Marriott. Shocking defending from the Stags with Brough, Jones and Garner all to blame.

Briscoe came on for Williams a minute later, and on 60 minutes Briscoe made a good run down the right but wastefully chipped his cross over the bar. On 63 minutes, a ball from the right was headed back across by Duffy for Burgess to shoot, but it was blocked through to keeper Cronin. Then at the other end, a minute later, and Marriott had to come out of his goal to retrieve a poor Heckingbottom back-pass, and the ball fell to West who fired wide of what was more-or-less an empty goal from 35 yards. On 66 minutes, Challinor’s long throw was flicked on by Duffy but the ball was cleared. Marriott did well to claim West’s cross under his own bar on 72 minutes. On 79, a Stags long throw was headed on by Garner but scrambled away.

Ebbsfleet should have increased the lead on 85 minutes. Burgess needlessly brought down Viera as he was going away from goal on the edge of the box. Viera took the kick but it was weak and Marriott got quickly down to the left and made a fine save.

The penalty save ought to have given the Stags impetus to push forward but instead it was Ebbsfleet who finished the stronger and Marriott had to make another good save on 89 minutes as Holmes cut in from the right and shot left footed, low towards the bottom right corner and Marriott tipped it around the post. Two minutes into stoppage time, a neat flick by Duffy into the path of Briscoe, but the keeper got there just in front of the Stags substitute. The final whistle soon went and the Stags really failed to create a single decent chance and went down to a feeble defeat.

Man of the match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw at Stonebridge Road

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Fine penalty save, another fine save from Holmes, and excellent handling.
Brough 6 Pick of a very poor defence. Actually did ok.
Jones 5 Poor game. Lost Viera for the first goal.
Garner 5 Also poor, like Jones.
Heckingbottom 4 Nightmare game, roasted alive by Ricky Shakes.
Williams 6 A couple of decent crosses, otherwise far too quiet.
Somner 4 Poor distribution. Poor game.
Challinor 4 One or two decent long throws, like Heckingbottom, but he was anonymous otherwise.
Burgess 6 Decent first half, oozing quality, and a great strike that led to the penalty. Never got the ball in the second half. Needless penalty given away near the end.
Sturrock 4 Very disappointing. Contributed almost nothing.
Duffy 7 Won every header in the game, but there was never anyone near enough to profit.
Sub Line Up:
Morris (for Sturrock, 54) 5 Was never given the ball. Didn’t really have a chance.
Briscoe (for Williams, 58) 5 Started with a good run, followed by dreadful cross. Got worse from there.
Armstrong (for Somner, 89) -
Subs Not Used: Eley, Silk.
Opposition Line Up:
Cronin, Heeroo, Pooley, Smith, Salmon, Stavrinou, Bailey, Holmes, West, Shakes, Vieira. Subs Not Used: Lamprell, Welsh, Ginty, Wills, Read.
Matty Mclaughlin (Bedfordshire) 7 Got the penalties right, from a quick review of the match DVD, though booking of Burgess for Ebbsfleet penalty was absurd.

Season 0910 Reports