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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Cambridge United
Perry 26, Speight 73.
 Holroyd 41.
Attendance: 3368 (395 from Cambridge)
Date: 28 December 2009

Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill


Mansfield Town battled hard to earn the first home league victory since 3rd October against Cambridge this afternoon. It was a morale boosting and much needed win which earned a standing ovation from a crowd that had become increasingly frustrated over recent games. Kyle Perry had put the Stags ahead after 26 minutes with a nice finish after a great move involving Silk and Williams, but Cambridge equalised just before half time. The introduction of Jake Speight early in the second half gave Mansfield fresh impetus and it was Speight who scored the winner on 73 minutes with a cool finish. The win takes the Stags back into the play-off zone after briefly dropping out of it on Saturday.

The Stags had a great chance inside the first minute. A long throw from Heckingbottom dropped to Kyle Perry 3 yards out, but he fired over the bar left footed. It was a bad miss. On 3 minutes, a great save by Marriot with his fingertips diving to his left, after Willmott with a fine run though completely unchallenged, had slipped the ball to Pitt, whose good shot was heading towards the right corner of the net. Another decent low save by Marriott on 8 minutes as Cambridge were starting to take early control. Then on 10 minutes, Pitt fired a free kick over from 19 yards, after a foul by Heckingbottom. At this stage, Cambridge were carving us open on the break, and we were looking like a side lacking in confidence with misplaced passes.

On 19 minutes, a good block by Silk from Pitt’s close range shot. Then a minute later, a good ball in from Pitt, was flicked on by Holroyd, and another good save by Marriott low down to his left.

The Stags were ahead on 26 minutes with the best move of the game. Silk fed Willliams who had temporarily moved onto the right, and his perfect cross was into the path of Perry, who gave the keeper no chance with a perfectly placed sidefooted right foot volley from 8 yards.

On 30 minutes, a good corner from Williams on the right, was headed goalwards by Garner but cleared. Somner then put in 2 or 3 great challenges, as confidence was suddenly sky high.

On 37 minutes, a Cambridge free kick from the left, was well punched out by Marriott.

But Stags were deflated on 41 minutes as Cambridge equalised. A ball down the left seemed to catch the Stags out and it was slid across the edge of the six-yard box, past Marriott and into Holroyd who fired into an empty net from close range.

The Stags had a chance to re-take the lead on 45 minutes. A good angled ball in from Williams on the left, was met by a fine header from Duffy which was well saved just inside the left post by Potter.

A decent first half that was more or less even, though it was astonishing to hear a few boos from the West Stand as the teams left the field.

Half time 1-1

The Stags were nearly undone in the first minute of the second half, with some shocking defending from a Cambridge set piece. A free kick from the right, was fed to Holroyd who was in acres of space inside the box in front of goal, but fortunately he didn’t connect properly and fell over the ball as put his effort wide. Dreadful play all round.

Speight replaced the totally anonymous Morris on 49 minutes. Within a minute, Speight was booked, as in his over-eagerness he tangled with Pitt.

The Stags seemed to be unlucky on 53 minutes with a goal disallowed. Perry played a ball in for Williams, who was through on goal and looked clearly onside to us. But the flag went up, as he slid the ball under the keeper into the net. Then on 56 minutes, Williams played a ball inside to Duffy, who let the ball run across him, before shooting from 20 yards. It was on target but easily saved by Potter.

On 59 minutes, a long delay as a Cambridge player stayed down, and eventually Heckingbottom was booked after the referee consulted with linesman and fourth official. Briscoe replaced Duffy on 61 minutes as Duffy ran out of steam, still on antibiotics following illness.

The Stags nearly took the lead on 64 minutes with a good move. Speight showed good strength, turning along the edge of box, to Briscoe who dummied to Williams, and Williams curled a fine effort from wide on the left, just past the right post. Williams put his head in hands as it was a narrow miss. Then on 70 minutes another near-miss for the Stags. Williams’ free kick from the left was headed up in air, and Speight sent a spectacular overhead kick just past the left post. It looked in from our position in the West Stand.

But the goal the Stags deserved did arrive on 73 minutes to make it 2-1. Silk’s throw was flicked on by Perry and Briscoe into the path of Speight, who rounded the last defender and the keeper, before firing home left footed from close range. Field Mill erupted as Speight celebrated wildly with fans at the Quarry Lane end.

A minute after the goal, a great tackle by Brough as Cambridge broke forward. On 80, Perry played the ball out to Speight on the right, who cut inside and went for glory with a terrible shot miles wide of the left post. Hilarity on 82 minutes as a Cambridge defender hoofed the ball into touch, taking the linesman’s flag with it into the stand.

A great run by Briscoe on 85 minutes, past 2 defenders, then cutting inside, and his powerful shot was blocked. Cambridge had a rare chance on 87 minutes as Pitt’s long cross was headed wide by Danny Crow when another striker was behind him in a better position. A let off for the Stags.

Burgess replaced Williams who left to warm applause on 89 minutes, having already been named as the sponsor’s man of the match.

Six minutes of stoppage time was announced to the dismay of the home crowd. Two minutes into stoppage time, Briscoe seemed offside as a ball was played through to him, but the ref played on, Briscoe burst forward, and got in a shot which was deflected for a corner. The Stags ran the clock down fairly well as Cambridge desperately tried to get the ball forward without any success, and the final whistle was greeted with relief and a great ovation for the fight shown by the players especially in the second half.

A vital three points for Mansfield, with a twelve day break until the next game when Luton visit Field Mill for a re-arranged game on 9th January in what is sure to be another pulsating afternoon. It should give time for all illness and injury to clear up. Come on Mansfield!

Finally a special mention for the groundstaff Mez, Andy Johnson and colleagues. Despite bad weather conditions over recent days, they produced an excellent surface. Well done.

Man of the match: Matt Somner

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 7 One terrific fingertip save and a couple of other decent saves. Back to his best after Saturday.
Silk 7 Some timely tackles, one great block, and generally rugged. Involved in the terrific first goal.
Garner 6 Decent game.
Brough 7 Good game throughout, some good challenges.
Heckingbottom 6 Solid.
Morris 5 Totally ineffective. Posed no threat.
Hotchkiss 5 Nowhere near his best. Contributed very little.
Somner 8 Great game, some terrific challenges.
Williams 7 Some fine crosses. Busy throughout, got himself involved.
Duffy 6.5 Won lots of headers, but he was not given enough service in the box.
Perry 6.5 Took his goal beautifully, though posed little threat otherwise.
Sub Line Up:
Speight (for Morris, 49 mins) 8 Changed the game, lifting the team and the crowd. Deserved his goal, and proved a real handful.
Briscoe (for Duffy, 61) 7 Also a handful for the defence, running at them, and twice getting shots in.
Burgess (for Williams , 89) -
Subs Not Used: Sandercombe, Mills.
Opposition Line Up:
Potter, Gleeson (Coakley 69), Coulson (Beesley 77), McAuley, Tonkin, Pitt, Reason, Ives, Willmott, Holroyd, Crow. Subs Not Used: Walker, Parkinson, Marriott.
Richard West 7 Handled a game that threatened to boil over, pretty well.

Season 0910 Reports