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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Kay 80.
 Connor 29. Adam Smith sent off 61.
Attendance: 1,046 (324 from Mansfield)
Date: 2 October 2010


Martin Shaw at Gateshead International Stadium

Mansfield Town were left frustrated after a 1-1 draw at Gateshead this afternoon. The Stags were in control of the game, thanks to a goal by Paul Connor on 29 minutes after great play by Louis Briscoe down the right, and should have been 2-0 in front on 53 minutes when Connor's close range effort from another Briscoe cross somehow didn't cross the line. But the sending off of Adam Smith for a high studs-up challenge on Gateshead's new signing from Sunderland Michael Kay changed the game completely. It was a decision that the Stags could not really complain about, though could have equally seen just a yellow card. From then on, the home team gained momentum and with the crowd behind them, put Mansfield under a lot of pressure. Alan Marriott made some great saves, but Kay headed home from a corner on 80 minutes, after the Stags thought a corner should not have been given. Gateshead looked the more likely side to win after that, as Kris Gate missed two good chances, but it ended all square.

Mansfield brought in Tom Naylor for the suspended Steve Foster in central defence, with Chris Smith taking over the captaincy. Louise Briscoe came in for Steven Istead on the right of midfield, and new loan signing Adam Murray came in for Rob Duffy, playing just behind Paul Connor in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Gateshead included Paul Heckingbottom and John Shaw both of whom played and scored for the Stags last season.

Mansfield played in their home shirts and usual amber socks, but with amber shorts instead of blue shorts. Boss David Holdsworth was confined to the stand, having been sent off at Luton on Tuesday. He sat 5 yards to our right in the main stand, and was to talk with Duncan Russell with a walkie-talkie, the likes of which we hadn’t since the 1980’s.

Gateshead had the first attack on 2 minutes as Shaw found Brittain, and Nelthorpe’s cross-shot from the left was blocked by Mills. Then on 4 minutes a glorious chance for the Stags as Connor headed back across goal and Adam Smith took one touch to knock the ball down before poking the ball over the bar from 6 yards, while at full stretch. It was a glorious chance and a bad miss. It all happened in slow motion with the home defenders seemingly waiting for a whistle.

Good defending by Tom Naylor on 6 minutes to block a cross. Then on 9 minutes, Mills shaped as if to shoot from 25 yards, but at the last second, played a ball forward into Connor, but Connor was perhaps surprised and got the ball stuck under his feet, before finally shooting but without enough power and keeper Deasy saved low to his left.

On 13 minutes, Murray swept a great ball out to the left found Adam Smith, who turned outside then back inside and his shot was deflected, up and into the arms of the grateful Deasy. On 20 minutes, Connor found Briscoe on the right and he fired a powerful shot from a tight angle that was parried away by the keeper. Good defending by Naylor on 23 minutes to block Mulligan’s shot for a corner as he broke down the left.

A let-off for the Stags on 24 minutes as Marriott missed a punch, and a ball was chipped goalwards by Gateshead yet somehow headed over the bar at the far post when it looked easier to score. Then on 26 minutes, Mulligan shot across goal from the left and a yard wide of the right post after a throw-in from Kay was headed on by John Shaw.

But it was 1-0 to Mansfield on 29 minutes. Briscoe made a fantastic run down the right and his cross was perfect for Connor who swept a first-time shot into the right of the net, despite Deasy getting a hand on it. A great moment for Briscoe and Connor, and the Stags became only the second away side to score at Gateshead this season.

On 32 minutes, Sandwith curled a free-kick just over the bar. Then a minute later, Mills was over the bar from distance. On 35 minutes, great play by Murray in the middle, and he found Briscoe, who made a great run in from the right and his shot was turned away by the keeper at the near post.

A chance for the Heed on 37 minutes, as Kay’s long throw was cleared by Smith only as far as Shaw whose deflected shot was clutched by Marriott. Chris Smith was booked on 40 for a foul, and Brittain curled the resulting just over. A chance for the Stags on 43 minutes as Nix charged through the middle and had a shot blocked, but the referee blew for a foul before the ball fell for Connor who put the ball into an empty net.

Half time 0-1

A super first half for Mansfield who deserved the 1-0 lead.

Marriott made a great catch from a Nelthorpe cross on 46 minutes. Then a bad mistake by Naylor allowed Mulligan in,
but Marriott was alert and made a great save at Mulligan’s feet.

How it wasn’t 2-0 on 53 minutes I will never know. Murray found Briscoe on the right with a great ball. Briscoe crossed from the right and it hit Connor a couple of yards from the goalline, and somehow rolled along the line and was stopped by the keeper on the line. I thought it was in and celebrated as such, as did David Holdsworth a few yards to my right. But apparently it did not cross the line. I still can’t believe it. In the end, it has to go down as a sitter missed by Connor.

On 58 minutes, Nix tried a long range shot that was low and accurate but Deasy saved low down to his right. On 60 minutes, Nelthorpe’s cross was headed powerfully straight at Marriott by John Shaw. A yard either side and it was in.

A game-changing moment came on 61 minutes. Adam Smith challenged for the ball with Kay, and Smith’s studs were high and caught Kay. The referee immediately went for his back pocket which meant it was a red card and Smith was off. He was not happy with the decision, but I couldn’t in all honesty say it was the wrong decision. It could have been red, it could have been yellow. Holdworth shook his head to my right, and after the game was non-committal on whether it was a good or bad decision, suggesting that he also felt it could have gone either way. Either way, it was a stupid challenge by Adam Smith which will surely see him banned for 3 games, but more importantly it was to cost us two points. The Stags moved to a 4-4-1 formation with Nix on the left of midfield.

Gateshead missed a good chance on 66 minutes when Kay’s low ball across the six-yard box was mis-hit by Gate and Marriott made a great save. Briscoe shot well over the left footed on 68 minutes, and then Stonehouse replaced Nix, on the left of midfield.

On 71 minutes, Turnbull’s shot was low and hard but well saved by Marriott. Istead replaced Briscoe on 75 minutes.

It was uncomfortable viewing for Stags fans as we seemed unable to hang on to the ball.

On 80 minutes, it was 1-1. Brittain’s corner from the left was to the far post where Kay headed in from close range. It was questionable whether Marriott should have come for it, but it would be churlish to blame him given the number of miraculous saves in these last two away games. Mills was booked in the aftermath of the goal. After the game, manager Holdsworth did not know why, but Duncan Russell thought it was for protesting that it should not have been a corner in the first place.

On 81 minutes, Gateshead should have been in front. A left wing cross was chested or headed goalwards by Gate and Marriott made a great save low down. Two minutes later, another glorious chance for Gate, following a cross from the right which was flicked on by John Shaw, he fired over the bar, albeit stretching to reach it. The Stags were hanging on.

Medley replaced Connor on 84 minutes. But there were no more chances though the home side looked more threatening and in the end the Stags had to settle for a point.

AFC Wimbledon visit Field Mill on Tuesday night in a massive game. The Stags have not done well against teams at the top so far this season. Time to change that on Tuesday. Come on Mansfield.

Man of the match: Alan Marriott / Adam Murray

Report by: Martin Shaw at Gateshead International Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Some great saves
Silk 7 Defended solidly.
Naylor 6 Did ok generally, one bad error but got away with it.
Chris Smith 6 Solid, as captain.
Sandwith 6 Did ok.
Briscoe 8 Some terrific play down the right wing.
Mills 6 Again failed to light up the game. Perhaps should be given a rest from the team.
Nix 6 OK.
Adam Smith 5 Was having a poor game, even before he was sent off.
Murray 8 In control of the game throughout, and sprayed some super passes.
Connor 6.5 Good finish for his goal, but how did he miss the similar chance in the second half?
Sub Line Up:
Stonehouse (for Nix, 68)
Istead (for Briscoe, 75)
Medley (for Connor, 84)
Subs Not Used: Collett, Duffy.
Opposition Line Up:
Deasy, Kay, Curtis, Clark, Heckingbottom, Brittain, Gate, Turnbull, Nelthorpe, Shaw, Mulligan. Subs Not Used: Cook, Baxter, Ferrell, Fisher, Marwood.
P Bankes (Bootle) 6

Season 10/11 Reports