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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Fleetwood Town  
3 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Curtis 6, Vieira 19, 35.
 Parker missed pen 56.
Attendance: 1,849 (approx 250 from Mansfield)
Date: 17 August 2010


Martin Shaw at Highbury

Two defensive mistakes in the opening 19 minutes saw Mansfield Town head towards a heavy defeat at newly promoted Fleetwood on Tuesday night. Firstly Wayne Curtis was left completely unmarked to head home on 6 minutes, and then Steve Foster scuffed an attempted clearance allowing Magno Viera to round Alan Marriott and score. Magno Viera scored a magnificent third goal on 35 minutes with a sublime chip over Marriott, after great play by Curtis, to make it 3-0 to Fleetwood. The Stags wasted a chance to get back into it on 56 minutes when Keigan Parker's feeble penalty was easily saved by the Fleetwood keeper and there was no way back after that. Viera, who was superb for the home side, was a player that the Stags tried to buy in the summer but could not afford his wages, whereas big spending Fleetwood were able to do so. The simple fact is that financially the Stags cannot complete with the likes of Fleetwood and Crawley.

It was a big night for the home side - their first ever game in the top flight of non-league football. The ground was an interesting contrast of hi-tec, including the game being beamed onto TV screens in the toilets, plus there also a huge screen in one corner of the ground that showed highlights straight after the game, and low-tec - for example the smallest ticket office I've ever seen and a distinct lower non-league feel to the organisation. The ground is only on 3 sides as a new main stand costing several million pounds is about to be built, showing the huge ambition of the club.

The Stags were unchanged from Saturday's impressive 3-1 win over Forest Green. It was a sunny evening on the Lancashire coast, and indeed the Stags fans behind the goal were bathed in sunshine for most of the first half. The pitch looked superb, and there was no wind in ideal playing conditions.

The Stags could have been ahead inside 30 seconds in a promising start. Gary Silk played the ball to Louis Briscoe down the right, and Briscoe's fine cross to the far post was headed back by Adam Smith and appeared to be heading just inside the right post, but was cleared off the line by Linwood.

But the Stags were 1-0 down after 6 minutes. Fleetwood got a corner on the right hand side, just in front of the Stags fans. Craney's corner was headed out by Thompson straight back to Craney, who whipped in another cross and this time Wayne Curtis was completely unmarked to power home a free header from 6 yards. Where was the defensive marking?

On 15 minutes, a great cross from Briscoe on the right, but Mills couldn't quite get high enough to head it goalwards. It really needed the taller Connor on the end of it. On 17 minutes, a free kick taken by Mills was appalling as it floated miles over all the Stags players.

It was 2-0 on 19 minutes. A ball over the top from Fleetwood should have been cleared by Foster but he scuffed his sliding clearance, which took the ball wider to the left and out of the reach of Marriott. Viera picked it up, took it around Marriott and rolled a left footed shot into the bottom right corner of the empty net. A bad mistake by Foster.

The Stags had had most of the possession in the opening 20 minutes but 2 mistakes were costly.

On 27 minutes, Adam Smith headed to Connor who flicked the ball on to Parker who could have scored but scuffed his shot straight at the keeper from inside the box.

Wayne Curtis nearly made it 3-0 on 30 minutes with a great effort as he powered a shot from outside the box just past the right post. Marriott was diving away to his left and may have reached it had it been inside the post. The effort reminded me of Curtis's super goal for Morecambe in a play-off final that I went to at Wembley a few years ago.

A clever free kick from Mills on 32 minutes, as he squared to Briscoe, and Briscoe's goalbound shot was blocked.

But it was 3-0 on 35 minutes. Curtis worked hard to tackle back inside his own half. Curtis turned, and fired a long ball over the top into the path of Viera. Again Foster was after Viera, but could do nothing as Viera cut in from the left, onto his right foot, and curled a magnificent finish over Marriott and just under the bar and inside the right post. It was a brilliant finish and showed you get what you pay for. Fleetwood are bank rolled by a very rich man who can afford to finance such a player. The Stags are not.

In the last minute of the half, Briscoe fired in another good cross, but Connor couldn't quite reach it.

It was a first half defensive disaster for the Stags, with two defensive howlers and one piece of brilliance from Viera had caused a 3-0 scoreline. But there was still some hope for the Stags who had looked good going forward, with Briscoe and Adam Smith on the two wings looking particularly good.

Half time 3-0

Istead replaced Adam Smith at the start of the second half. It was tough on Adam Smith who had a decent first half. Initially it seemed that Istead moved to the right and Briscoe to the left, but eventually the formation switched to 4-3-3 with Briscoe up front alongside Connor and Parker.

On 52 minutes, the Stags were unlucky not to pull one back as Mills fired in a shot from 22 yards, which took a slight deflection and hit the base of the right post. A minute later, Parker's cross from the right was missed by a defender and it bounced off Briscoe and behind for a goalkick.

Then on 56 minutes, a glorious chance to get back into the game. Parker cut along the right byeline, and as he crossed, his shirt was tugged from behind. Initially I didn't see the incident from our position 75 yards away, but the video of the incident was clear.

Parker took the penalty himself, but it was a feeble effort which the keeper Hurst saved to his right. Hurst also saved a penalty on Saturday, which I had seen on the Fleetwood website. The save on Saturday was a magnificent tip over the bar. This one was an easy save.

On 64 minutes, Linwood headed past the left post from a Craney corner. I spotted an inquest going on between Foster, Chris Smith and Thompson.

Medley replaced Connor a minute later, as Medley, Parker and Briscoe formed the front three of a 4-3-3 formation.

Medley took responsibility for a long range free kick, with a long run but he didn't catch it well and his low shot was wide.

On 83 minutes, good play by John Miles, who crossed for Fleetwood sub Seddon who fired over the bar. On 85 minutes, Parker sent a free kick curling straight at the keeper. Then on 87, Parker found Medley on the right and his decent cross/shot was well parried by the keeper. In the first minute of stoppage time, Parker found Medley again and he spun and shot but it was saved by the keeper at the right post.

A disappointing night for Mansfield, and a defensive shocker, though plenty of promise going forward. The Stags will need to bounce back at Kidderminster on Saturday.

Man of the match: Louis Briscoe

Report by: Martin Shaw at Highbury

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Couldn't be blamed for any of the goals.
Silk 6 Defended ok.
Foster 4 Howler for the second goal, and with Smith did not deal well with crosses into the box. After the game, admitted he was very disappointed with his display.
Chris Smith 5 Like Foster, the central defence did not looked assured when the ball came into the box, just as on Saturday.
Stonehouse 6 Did ok.
Briscoe 7 Some great play down the right, and several good crosses, especially in the first half. Pleasing to see him play well in successive games.
Mills 5 Never got a grip of the game, and delivery from set pieces was generally poor. Very unlucky though with one effort against the post.
Thompson 6 Reasonable in the first half, got frustrated in the second.
Adam Smith 7 Another exciting game with good play down the left. Very surprisingly taken off at half time.
Connor 6 Unable to make an impression like he did on Saturday.
Parker 6 Did well to earn the penalty with a clever run, but wasted it with feeble spot kick.
Sub Line Up:
Istead (for Adam Smith, 46) 6 Did ok.
Medley (for Connor, 65) 5 One good cross, but generally looked clumsy.
Subs Not Used: Collett, Naylor, Sandwith.
Opposition Line Up:
Hurst, Beeley, Grand, Linwood, McNulty, Craney, Miles, Barry, Pond, Vieira (Seddon 80), Curtis (Thorpe 73). Subs Not Used: Davies, McGuire, Beesley.
Paul Graham (Manchester) 7 Handled the game well.

Season 10/11 Reports