{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
4 - 0
 Eastbourne Borough
C.Smith 43, Duffy 45 pen, Medley 74, 78.
Attendance: 2312 (15 from Eastbourne)
Date: 25 September 2010


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Mansfield Town crowned a historic afternoon at Field Mill with a 4-0 win over high-scoring Eastbourne, to charge to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier table. Before the game John Radford, owner of One Call Insurance, was unveiled in front of the West Stand as the new owner of Mansfield Town Football Club, to a great reception from the fans. Radford, along with Steve Barker who will become the Chief Executive, and Andy Saunders, Steve Hymas and Steve Middleton walked out on to the pitch clutching Stags scarves, and Hymas said a few words to the crowd to welcome Radford, who then replied. The Stags then popped in four goals to complete a great day. Eastbourne will feel hard-done by, especially with the second goal which was a penalty from Rob Duffy after a debatable decision from the officials. Chris Smith had earlier put the Stags in front with his first goal for the club, and in the second half sub Luke Medley scored twice, including one of the goals of the season after beating three Eastbourne men.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that thumped York 5-0 on Tuesday. Eastbourne arrived fresh from a 4-3 win at Forest Green and a 5-0 home win over Altrincham, and were the top scorers in the league.

The opening 23 minutes of the game was non-descript as both teams tried to settle into a rhythm in the windy conditions without much success. Eastbourne were very physical and were often penalised for blatant pushing, whereas Mansfield’s balls forward were continually headed away by the Eastbourne defence.

Eastbourne had the first chance of the game on 23 minutes when a long throw from Cook was headed away into the path of Dan Brown, whose shot was deflected away by Foster. A minute later, an Eastbourne free kick was headed wide of his own goal by Duffy. Mansfield had the ball in the net on 27 minutes. Connor was adjudged offside, wrongly in our opinion, but Mansfield continued and Duffy put the ball into the net, although Eastbourne had already stopped playing.

The Stags had a great chance to break the deadlock on 31 minutes when Nix’s corner found Foster unmarked but it seemed to come off his shoulder and was an easy save for keeper Banks. On 33 minutes, Pacquette tried a shot from the edge of the box that deflected off Chris Smith and looped up and Marriott made an acrobatic save, though it was not going in.

On 38 minutes, a good move by the Stags as Sandwith and Adam Smith combined with some neat football, and Smith’s left footed shot was well saved by the outstretched left hand of keeper Banks. It was the first really good move of the game. On 39 minutes, Connor flicked a header from Nix’s corner just wide of the right post.

But the Stags were in front on 43 minutes. Nix’s corner was half cleared to Sandwith, whose header found Connor and Connor headed back across goal to Chris Smith who rose above the defence to head home from about a yard into the left corner of the net. It was a great moment for Chris Smith, and also fine play by Connor, and a vital breakthrough for the Stags after a quiet opening.

Just two minutes later, on the stroke of 45 minutes, Nix went down in the penalty on the right hand side under a challenge from Steve Cook and the referee and linesman awarded a penalty. Eastbourne players were incensed. But Rob Duffy stepped up and placed a penalty into the right of the net just out of the reach of Banks’s left hand as the keeper nearly got it. A nice penalty.

It was the last action of the first half, and as the players left the field, Eastbourne manager Garry Wilson charged after the referee, clearly apoplectic with the penalty decision.

Half time 2-0

At the start of the second half, a mix up in the Stags defence left Pacquette completely unmarked on the edge of the penalty to control a high ball from the back, but fortunately for the Stags, his control was awful and the chance was gone. On 48 minutes, Mills found Connor who shot across the face of the goal from the left, just past the right post. Then two minutes later, another chance for Connor, whose shot was blocked by Banks.

On 60 minutes, a great long ball from Mills found Istead on the right, who fed Silk, but Silk took too long on the ball and the chance was lost. He should have just belted it. Then a minute later, a Chris Smith tackle started a good move, as Connor found Istead, who should have shot, but instead crossed and Adam Smith tried an overhead kick which was straight at the keeper.

Medley replaced Duffy on 62 minutes. A good break forward by Jamie Taylor on 63 minutes but he fired wide, then moments later Chris Smith was calmness personified as he chested an awkward ball back to Marriott. On 65 minutes, a great save from Marriott from another Jamie Taylor shot after Foster had slipped.

Briscoe replaced Istead on 68 minutes. Two more chances for Jamie Taylor followed as first he half-volleyed wide, and then he had a shot blocked after a mix-up between Silk and Chris Smith. Jamie Taylor was causing the Stags defence problems in a nervy period.

But it was game over on 74 minutes as Mansfield made it 3-0. A great run and cross from the right by Briscoe was met by the shin of Medley at the near post, giving the keeper no chance as it flew in off the right post.

It was 4-0 on 78 minutes with a fabulous goal and the most skillful moment of the game. Medley weaved his way around three defenders before shooting low into the left corner of the net, past the outstretched hand of Banks from 14 yards.

Stonehouse replaced Connor on 82 minutes, as the Stags made exactly the same substitutions as against York on Tuesday. Briscoe moved up front alongside Medley, with Adam Smith moving to the right and Stonehouse to the left of midfield.

On 85 minutes another chance for Jamie Taylor, but his shot from a tight angle was straight at Marriott. On 89 minutes Medley lost the ball on the edge of the box, but Mills found Stonehouse whose low right footed shot was saved by Banks. Then two minutes into stoppage time, the sixth chance of the second half for Jamie Taylor as he cut inside from the left but his shot was yet again at Marriott.

Another great reception for the team at the final whistle, although this was nowhere near as convincing a performance as the wonderful stuff against York. The Stags now visit Luton on Tuesday and Gateshead next Saturday, although they will probably be knocked off the top of the table before that on Sunday with both AFC Wimbledon and Crawley in action.

Man of the match: Chris Smith

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Excellent handling and snaffled a few crosses. A couple of saves from shots by Jamie Taylor. Accomplished performance. Would have had three cleans sheets in a week without the wonder goal at Newport.
Silk 7 Good game, defended well. One chance for a shot, which he messed up.
Chris Smith 8 Faultless and deserved his first goal for the club.
Foster 7 Good game, apart from one mistake which nearly let Taylor in.
Sandwith 6 Did ok. A few good overlaps with Adam Smith, and defended competently.
Istead 6 Didn’t really get into the game.
Mills 6 Did ok, but didn’t get a grip of the game.
Nix 6 Won the penalty, albeit fortuitously. Didn’t reach the heights of Tuesday.
Adam Smith 7 Always looked dangerous, but didn’t receive the ball enough down the channels.
Connor 7 Made the first goal with excellent header across goal. Looked accomplished. Didn’t get enough good service.
Duffy 6 Great penalty. A bit anonymous and didn’t really get into the game.
Sub Line Up:
Medley (for Duffy, 62) 8 Two more goals, including one storming goal after a great run.
Briscoe (for Istead, 68) 7 Great cross for the third goal.
Stonehouse (for Connor, 82) - One shot, low at the keeper. Played ok.
Subs not used: Collett, Naylor.
Opposition Line Up:
Banks, Baker, Mambo, Cook, Brown, Brinkhurst (Nathan Crabb 66), Weatherstone (Smart 81), Johnson, Matt Crabb, Taylor, Pacquette (Strevett 80). Subs Not Used: Jenkins, Elphick.
Stephen Ross 6 Allowed the game to flow, with no bookings. Got the major decision of the game wrong though along with his assistant.

Season 10/11 Reports