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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
 Luton Town
Attendance: 3407 (474 from Luton)
Date: 2 March 2010


Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Field Mill

Mansfield Town drew 0-0 with Luton at Field Mill this evening. In a game of very few chances, a draw was a fair result but it benefits Luton who remain 6 points ahead of us, and there are now just 12 games left. The Stags competed well all evening but showed little creativity going forward and never really opened up a stubborn Luton defence. While at the back, the Stags were solid with substitute Michael Brough particularly impressive, protecting Marriott who didn’t have a serious save to make. The bumper crowd didn’t materialise which was very disappointing for the owners, and the Luton following of just 474 was probably half what it might have been made had the game been played on a Saturday as scheduled in January. Indeed the Stags took 70 more to Kenilworth Road on a Tuesday night earlier in the season.

The Stags made three changes from the side that drew at Hayes and Yeading: Luke Jones returned from suspension in place of Scott Garner, Williams replaced Nix, and Briscoe came in for Perry.

On 9 minutes, a long throw for Luton came out to Fred Murray who shot wide from the edge of the box. On 15 minutes, a long throw was headed on by Jones and Duffy headed into keeper Tyler’s arms. The Stags were showing 100% commitment, and fighting for every ball, which was appreciated by the fans. On 24 minutes, a chance for Briscoe with a shot from 23 yards which was well wide. An easy save for Marriott a minute later, from a long range shot by Asa Hall. Then on 28 minutes, the Stags got the ball into the box, and a missed clearance by Luton nearly fell kindly, but just not quite.

The opening half an hour had been very even, with almost no chances for either side. But Luton were to get on top for the final 15 minutes of the half. On 35 minutes, Kane’s shot was deflected wide. Before the corner was taken, Luke Jones had to be stretchered off with suspected ankle ligament damage that will keep him out for between 1 and 3 months probably. Michael Brough came on in his place in central defence. Back to the action, and from the corner a real chance for Luton, as Hatch headed it on to Fred Murray who fired into the side netting from a tight angle on the left. Brough then introduced himself to the action with a superb tackle.

On 44 minutes, Luton had a goal disallowed, as Hatch flicked a ball on inside the box to Hall by the penalty spot, but Hall was two yards offside as he fired home and the linesman’s flag was up quickly. Two minutes into stoppage time, a Nicholas throw-in was flicked on by Challinor, but keeper Tyler was just first to it.

A first half of few chances. Neither side showed enough quality in the final third in a full blooded game where both defences were looking tight.

Half time 0-0

On 49 minutes, a Luton free kick from the right was headed just wide of the left post by Asa Hall. A heart stopping moment for the Stags as it looked as though it was heading in. Then straight to the other end, and a long throw by Nicholas was headed into own side netting by a Luton defender. From the resulting corner, Brough got a header in but couldn’t get over it and it was high over the bar. On 52, Jon Shaw did well to head on for Duffy, but Duffy sent a really poor effort wide from 30 yards. On 57 minutes, a Luton corner fell to Fred Murray whose shot was an easy save for Marriott.

A minute later the Stags got a free kick 30 yards out. Mills took a long run at it, and blasted a low shot that bounced in front keeper Tyler who did very well to hold on to it. It was the closest the Stags came to a goal all evening.

On 61 minutes, Luton sub Nwokeji crossed from the right and it was just out of the reach of Liam Hatch. On 65, Mills went down in the box. We’ll have to study the match DVD to see what happened. A good chance for the Stags on 66 minutes, as Williams’ free kick was played back across goal by Duffy, into the path of Briscoe who fired wildly over from a good position as he went for glory when more composure was needed. On 68 minutes, Asa Hall fired over.

The Stags had a good spell pressure on 70 minutes but couldn’t fashion a chance. On 72 minutes, Briscoe got past his man on the right of the box, but his cross was cut out.

Kyle Perry replaced Jon Shaw on 76 minutes. Perry was straight into the action on 79 minutes as his clever ball nearly found Briscoe but keeper Tyler was out quickly to claim it. On 80 minutes, from a Luton corner, George Pilkington got goalside of his marker Kyle Perry and headed over. Two minutes later, a great block by Brough as a Luton player shot from inside the box having been teed up. Great defending.

On 88 minutes, Duffy sent an overhead kick over the bar, but the referee had already blown for offside. Three minutes into stoppage time, a scramble in the Stags box, which was just cleared. In the final minute of stoppage time, Mills took a free kick into the box and keeper Tyler nearly messed it up but again the Stags couldn’t pick up any scraps.

The full time whistle was greeted with a few boos, which was very harsh for a performance full of effort, though low on entertainment and goalmouth action. Just like at Hayes on Saturday, the Stags had numerous free kicks and throw-ins into the box, but failed to create any worthwhile chances from them, as they just seemed to be hoping the ball would fall for us. A disappointing result in the circumstances, while earlier in the season we would probably have been satisfied with the point.

Man of the match: Jon Challinor

Report by: Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Quiet game, with no serious saves to make.
Silk 7 Good game, getting Briscoe into the game on the right, and some good tackles.
Jones 6 Was playing ok until injured.
Foster 7 Looked a good player.
Nicholas 7 Defended well and adventurous going forward on his home debut.
Briscoe 6.5 Started brightly with some good runs. Finished the game well too but lacked composure when a chance fell to him.
Mills 7 Battling performance in midfield. But quality of crosses from free kicks wasn’t good enough, though one decent shot from 30 yards.
Challinor 8 Always looking to make things happen, and put himself about very well.
Williams 6 Industrious but distribution was poor.
Shaw 6 Never really got into the game.
Duffy 6.5 Won his share of headers, but no meaningful goal attempts.
Sub Line Up:
Brough (for Jones, 36) 8 One great goal-saving block, and looked very assured.
Perry (for Shaw, 76) - Much better that an Hayes.
Subs not used: Collett, Nix, Sturrock.
Opposition Line Up:
Tyler, Murray, George Pilkington, Kovacs, Newton, Howells (Nelthorpe 84), Keane, Hall, Gnakpa (Craddock 78), Barnes-Homer (Nwokeji 61), Hatch. Subs Not Used: Gore, Blackett.
Rob Lewis (Shropshire)

Season 0910 Reports