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Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Kettering Town  
2 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Marna 2, Ebigbo 86.
 Challinor 9, Sturrock 32.
Attendance: 1188 (339 from Mansfield)
Date: 27 March 2010


Martin Shaw at Rockingham Road

Mansfield Town put in a super performance at Rockingham Road this afternoon but were unable to turn their superiority into three points and left gutted to have been pegged back by an 86th minute equaliser for Kettering. This was an outstanding game, and a wonderful advert for the Blue Square Premier. The home side took the lead in the second minute when Luke Foster was penalised for bringing down Dance in the box, but it didn't look like their was any contact, and Stags fellow defender Brough confirmed this after the game. JP Marna's penalty kick was brilliantly saved by Marriott, but Marna was fortunate to be able to knock in the rebound. The Stags equalised on 9 minutes, when Perry's cross was knocked in by Challinor. The Stags deservedly took the lead on 32 minutes when Sturrock blasted home from inside the box after Perry's flick-on. The Stags should have added to the lead before the break as Briscoe and Sturrock fired over when they should have worked the keeper. In the 55th minute, Briscoe went down in the box - it looked a clear penalty to us in the press box and Stags manager Holdsworth thought so too after the game, but credit to Briscoe who admitted after the game that he fell over and that had immediately told the ref. The Stags should have buried Kettering after that with chances going begging, and paid the ultimate price in 86 minutes when Ebigbo fired home from the right. Stags were deflated at the end of the game, and with York being held at home by Tamworth, it was a real opportunity to make up ground that was missed. I reckon we now need snookers to make the play-offs this season, but if we continue to play like this, there will be real hope that we will be a major force next season.

The Stags made one change from the side that drew with Altrincham: Luke Foster returning from suspension in place of the unfortunate Scott Garner. The referee was Darren Drysdale. My heart sank when I saw this earlier in the week. His performances in the game against Stevenage at Field Mill this season and against MK Dons at Field Mill two years ago were abysmal.

The game was played mostly in glorious sunshine, and on a decent pitch.

The Stags were behind on two minutes. Marriott's clearance was intercepted by a Kettering player, who chipped the ball back into area. Silk cleared as far as Thomas who played the ball to Dance, who went down in installments after Luke Foster went near him. It was clear to me that Foster never touched him, but referee Drysdale, who at first looked like he was going to give a foul for diving, awarded the spot kick. A couple of local Mansfield media thought it was a penalty, but others didn’t while a Northants radio reporter told me at half time that he didn’t see any contact. JP Marna took the resultant spot kick, and Marriott saved low to his left, but it rebounded straight to Marna who fired into the empty net.

The Stags were level on 9 minutes. Perry did well down the right and fired in a low cross with his right foot that found Challinor, who wrong-footing keeper Abbey with a left foot shot, that was slightly mis-hit, but on target, into the right of the net.

On 12 minutes, Silk’s free kick from the halfway line was nodded down by Perry into the path of Sturrock who flicked over the keeper but wide. It was a glorious chance. On 21 minutes, Kettering should have been down to 10 men when left back Jennings who should have been booked already for a succession of fouls, committed a very bad foul on Briscoe and finally received a yellow card. On 23 minutes, a good ball over the top by Sturrock found Briscoe who had 2 shots at goal but both were blocked. Boucard had a shot for the Poppies on 28 minutes from 35 yards but it was well over. The Stags had a scare on 31 minutes when Roper, who looked as though he’d just stepped out of The White Hart pub, nearly bundled the ball in following a corner.

On 32 minutes the Stags made it 2-1. Perry won a header from a Marriott ball over the top, into the path of Sturrock who blasted home into the top right corner from 12 yards.

On 39 minutes, a long throw by Nicholas on the left was cleared straight at Briscoe. Briscoe took a couple of touches and with no defender near him he blazed over the bar from the edge of the box. Two minutes later, Briscoe won the ball superbly and found Mills, who crossed from the right to Sturrock at the far post who fired over the bar. He should at least have got it on target.

A good first half for the Stags whose football deserved more than a single goal lead but you wondered if they would rue those missed chances towards the end of the half.

Half time 1-2

On 47 minutes, Noubissie shot from 35 yards, and Marriott saved low down. A minute later at the other end Briscoe’s cross from the right was headed away by Dempster when it looked like Perry would have a free header at goal. A good move by the Stags on 49 minutes and the ball was played back to Silk by Sturrock, inside the box but Silk’s low shot was saved by the keeper’s legs. Briscoe broke into the Kettering box on 55 minutes from a Sturrock pass, and went round the keeper and went down as he was about to shoot. At the time I thought it was a clear penalty but Briscoe later admitted that he tripped over. The ball was cleared for a corner from which Brough turned away from two defenders in the box and fired just over.

Nix replaced the ineffective Burgess on 65 minutes. Briscoe went up front as the Stags switched to a 4-3-3 formation. A rare period of pressure for Kettering on 68 minutes and a clearance away by Brough, then a brilliant header off the line by Silk following a corner. It looked a goal all the way.

Speight replaced Sturrock on 70 minutes and within a minute Briscoe fired wide from 20 yards. Speight was presented with an immediate chance when the ball was cleared to him by Taylor. With the keeper out of his net, Speight curled the ball towards the empty net from the left hand side but there wasn’t enough power on it and the keeper got back to save it on his line. Kettering substitute Appiah turned on the edge of the box on 75 minutes and fired just wide. A great run by Silk on 76 minutes and Nix’s low shot was saved by Abbey who couldn’t hold on to it but it was cleared by a defender just as Speight looked as if he might put it into an empty net. On 85 minutes Briscoe flicked a high cross more or less along the goalline from the left but there was no-one there.

Disaster struck on 86 minutes as Kettering equalized, completely against the run of play. The Stags failed to clear a Thomas ball into the box and the ball ran to Ebigbo via a bobble in the box, and Ebigbo smashed it into the right side of the net from 10 yards.

Three minutes into stoppage time Mills had a shot from distance but it was well over the bar.

A fine performance from Mansfield, who played some great football and were tigerish in the tackle. But failure to convert the many chances created ultimately cost us very dear.

Man of the match: Louis Briscoe

Report by: Martin Shaw at Rockingham Road

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Terrific penalty save, his third consecutive penalty save. Also commanding from crosses.
Silk 8 Superb header off the line. Defended well, and unlucky when his shot was saved by keeper's legs.
Foster 6 Defended ok. Looked so unlucky to concede penalty.
Brough 6 Also defended ok. Should have scored from good chance in second half.
Nicholas 6 Did ok.
Briscoe 8 Created all sorts of danger for the home defence. Finishing needs to be more clinical though.
Mills 7 Good in the middle, powering forward.
Challinor 8 Fine game, and deserved his goal.
Burgess 5 Disappointing. Too many misplaced passes. If you're going to give pre-match interviews like he did, you need to play well otherwise you look a right charlie.
Sturrock 8 Took his goal very well. Missed a couple of decent chances though. Good game.
Perry 8 Involved in both goals. Led the line well.
Sub Line Up:
Nix (for Burgess, 65) - Did well.
Speight (for Sturrock, 70) - Lively. Could have scored when saw empty net, got it on target but not enough power.
Duffy (for Perry, 89) -
Subs Not Used: Collett, Garner.
Opposition Line Up:
Abbey, Taylor, Dempster, Roper, Jennings (Ebigbo 76), Noubissie, Hadfield (Wrack 63), Boucaud, Marna (Appiah 67), Dance, Thomas. Subs Not Used: Thelwell, Charles.
Darren Drysdale (Lincoln) Zero I hope I never ever see him again. That he wants to be the star of the show was typified by one goal kick given when tried to pass the ball to Marriott. Idiot, who brings the game into disrepute.

Season 0910 Reports