{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 0910 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 AFC Wimbledon
Speight missed pen 88. Perry missed pen 90.
 Kedwell 9. Duncan sent off 57.
Attendance: 2,470 (304 from Wimbledon)
Date: 10 April 2010


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at home by AFC Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon. It was the sixth time in the last 8 home games that the Stags have failed to score (and in one of the other two, we only scored in the last minute). In addition the Stags played the final third of the game against ten men, exactly as they had at Cambridge on Monday. And in another parallel to the Cambridge game, the Stags missed a last minute penalty that would have earned a draw. This time though, unbelievably we missed TWO penalties in the last two minutes. Speight had his penalty saved on 88 minutes, and then Perry had his penalty saved on 90 minutes. The Stags last missed two penalties in a game against Accrington Stanley in 2006 (see here), but never in the club's history have we missed two penalties in the last 2 minutes of a game. Normal penalty taker Rob Duffy was out injured. The Stags have now missed four consecutive penalties, after Shaw missed at Cambridge and Duffy missed against Grays. Five points down the drain from these four missed penalties. And all this after Duffy scored so many consecutive penalties and never looked like missing. Having said that, Marriott recently saved three consecutive penalties (against Stevenage, York and Kettering), but we didn't win any of those games. In a game that will be remembered for the penalties, the Stags should have been awarded two stonewall penalties earlier, after Mills was cleared pushed over in the box and a shot was charged down by a Wimbledon hand. Incredibly, the Stags are now 16 points outside the play-off zone and 19 points above the relegation zone - astonishing after we had been in the play-off zone for so long this season.

The Stags made three changes to the side that lost at Cambridge, with Brough out for the season (and showing us a gruesome photo of his damaged finger on his phone after the match), Burgess also out injured and Sturrock dropped to the bench. In came Garner, Williams and Briscoe. The Wombles included top scorer Danny Kedwell who was supposed to be out injured according to midweek previews and former Hayes & Yeading midfielder Will Hendry who was also supposed to be out injured.

On a glorious sunny afternoon, Mansfield started brightly, knocking the ball around well on the bobbly pitch, and with early corners and long throws, but all coming to nothing. On 9 minutes Mills chipped a free-kick to the edge of the box, where Speight turned well but fired well wide.

But the Stags were behind thanks to calamitous defending seconds later. Will Hendry flicked a ball over the top towards the edge of the Stags penalty area. It should have been routine for Foster to clear, either away or back to Marriott, but he was muscled out of it by Kedwell and Foster fell over, allowing Kedwell to fire past Marriott into the top right corner of the net from near the penalty spot. Foster stayed down, but it was more his pride that was hurt.

The Stags were now giving the ball away too often in their own half, while backpasses to Marriott were dangerous on the bobbly pitch.

On 14 minutes, Williams nearly found an equaliser. Mills found Williams with a quickly taken free-kick. Williams cut inside from the left and his powerful shot was tipped away by keeper Brown. From the resulting corner, Challinor completely mis-cued an attempted side-footed left-footed effort from the edge of the box.

On 31 minutes, a Mills free-kick was headed back by Perry to Challinor whose shot was charged down, and Williams' follow-up shot was deflected over for a corner. A minute later, Challinor’s mistake allowed a break by Moore, but Moore went too far to the right and his low cross was easy for Marriott. On 33 minutes, Hatton’s free kick was just over from 30 yards. A great block by Garner on 37 minutes as Gregory lined up a shot in the box.

A chance for the Stags on 39 minutes, as a cross from the right was headed back across goal by Speight, but Perry’s header at goal was way off target. On 41 minutes Williams fired wide from a great position just inside the box, the ball scuffing off the edge of his right boot.

On 43 minutes, Wimbledon should have made it 2-0. Kedwell again got past Foster in the box and after a scramble the ball fell back to Kedwell whose shot was brilliantly saved by Marriott. Then two minutes into stoppage time Marriott made another fine save as Hendry put Moore through in a 1-on-1 and Marriott blocked with his legs.

At half time, the Stags were thanking Alan Marriott for keeping them in the game with those two great saves at the end of the first half.

Half time 0-1

A minute into the second half, the Stags should have been given a blatant penalty. Mills ran on to a header from Speight in the box and was pushed in the back and to the ground by Duncan. From another view of the incident on the DVD, it was as clear a penalty as you could ever see, and the female assistant referee was so close to it that it was absurd that she didn’t flag for a penalty. Ludicrous decision.

On 49 minutes Williams was replaced by Nix as the Stags switched to 4-3-3 with Briscoe moving up front. Some fans chanted “you don’t know what you’re doing” at manager Holdsworth as Williams had been probably the best outfield player in the first half. After the game Holdsworth explained that the Stags were simply not getting enough crosses in from wide and he wanted to switch the formation.

On 51 minutes, Briscoe made a great run down the right, and his low cross was saved just before Speight could get to it. On 53 minutes, Hatton made a good run but completely unchallenged, and finally his shot was deflected wide.

Sturrock replaced Challinor on 56 minutes. Challinor received the bird from many home fans.

On 57 minutes, Wimbledon were down to ten men, as Duncan apparently flattened Perry in front of the West Stand. I have to confess that I missed it, as did all those around me in the press box. The incident is off camera on the DVD. Wombles boss Terry Brown said after the game that he was going to study the video. It won’t help him. It was the second game running that the Stags’ opponents have had a player sent off after 57 minutes. The Stags have lost both games.

On 61 minutes, a free-kick from Nix was chipped back into the box by Sturrock and Nicholas sent a free header over the bar. Two minutes later, Speight’s shot was tipped over by keeper Brown. From the resulting corner, taken from the right by Nix, Perry’s header was blocked on the line by Paul Lorraine. Finally the ball fell to Sturrock whose low shot was deflected wide by Adjei. From the resulting corner, again taken from the right by Nix, a header by Nicholas was deflected wide. The Stags were really on top now. Four good chances in three minutes.

On 70 minutes, the Stags again should have been awarded a penalty. Briscoe cut inside from the left and his right foot shot was blocked by the raised arm of substitute Conroy. On 71 minutes, Perry was over the bar with an overhead kick.

Shaw replaced Briscoe on 78 minutes. And two minutes later, a great right footed cross by Shaw from the left picked out Perry who hit the bar with a header from six yards. Shaw found Perry with another cross on 85 minutes, but Perry’s shot was deflected wide.

Finally the Stags were awarded a penalty on 88 minutes. Nix worked his way into the box on the left and was chopped down for another blatant foul. This time the hapless referee pointed to the spot. After some disagreement as to who would take it, Speight stepped up but his low effort to the left was brilliantly saved by Brown, and Nicholas drilled the loose ball across the face of goal with at least two Stags players within a whisker of turning the ball into the net.

Incredibly right on the stroke of 90 minutes, the Stags got another penalty. This time Silk was tripped in the box, and again it was a clear foul. Again much arguing as to who would take it, but Perry stuffed the ball under his shirt and refused to let go. Perry stepped up and sent his penalty to the right where keeper Brown made another fantastic save. The loose ball fell to Sturrock who fired into the side netting.

After the game, I asked manager Holdsworth who is the designated penalty taker when Duffy is not on the pitch and he told me it is Perry.

The Stags had a final chance to equalize two minutes into stoppage time as Shaw sent in another fine cross and Perry headed straight at the keeper.

So another defeat. Three games left. The Stags need some wins to bolster confidence going into the summer break. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Two excellent first half saves to keep us in the game. Not needed in the second half.
Silk 6 Earned the second penalty. Defended ok.
Foster 5 Clearly at fault for Wimbledon's goal.
Garner 6 The team did not defend well as a unit, though Garner himself was not specifically at fault. One great block when Gregory was free in the box.
Nicholas 6 OK
Briscoe 6 Some good running, and often beat his man, but then generally poor crossing.
Mills 5 Gave the ball away too often, and again delivery from free kicks was poor. Unlucky not to win a penalty.
Challinor 5 Contributed very little.
Williams 7 Had a better first half than recent performances, and unlucky with one fine effort.
Perry 6 Unlucky to head against the bar, but bad miss with the penalty.
Speight 6 Worked hard, but bad miss with the penalty.
Sub Line Up:
Nix (for Williams, 49) 7 Created danger from midfield, and earned the first penalty himself.
Sturrock (for Challinor, 56) 6 Did ok.
Shaw (for Briscoe, 78) - Three fine crosses from the left, including one that Perry headed against the bar.
Subs Not Used: Collett, Somner.
Opposition Line Up:
Brown; Hatton, Lorraine, Judge, Johnson; Gregory, Adjei, Hendry (Wellard 58), Duncan; Kedwell (Elder 69), Moore (Conroy 66). Subs Not Used: Pullen, Poole.
Paul Davison (Cleveland) 5 Somehow failed to award two stonewall spotkicks, before the two he did award.

Season 0910 Reports