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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Rushden & Diamonds  
1 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Sills 8
Attendance: 1480 (351 from Mansfield)
Date: 9 October 2010


by Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain

Mansfield Town dominated the last 75 minutes of this game at Nene Park but were beaten by an early goal after poor defending allowed a chance in the box for Tim Sills. Gary Mills, who had a fine game in open play but who once again was let down by poor delivery from set pieces, had a terrific shot brilliantly saved just before half time. Earlier Luke Medley had found the net but was ruled offside in a debateable decision, and Adam Murray had a shot that troubled the home keeper. In the second half, Medley was through on goal again, this time beating the offside trap, but with only the keeper the beat and with the keeper already committed, Medley fired against the right post - a terrible and costly miss. The Stags were so unlucky on 74 minutes when Rob Duffy smacked a tremendous left footed shot against the bar from 12 yards, following a corner. Rushden created nothing at all after their early goal, and were very fortunate to claim the points. The Stags wasted so many set pieces including free kicks and corners, with Sandwith and Mills both being culpable. The only free kick that threatened was a training ground move on the floor at the end of the first half that resulted in Briscoe firing just over the bar. Every other free kick was hopeless.

Rushden created the first chance of the game on 7 minutes when Tim Sills headed wide following a long throw from the right. But on 8 minutes, Rushden were ahead. The ball was spread out to the right where Howe was in splendid isolation as Sandwith went missing, and his cross eventually found Sills who crashed a left footed shot in off the underside of the bar, Sills having got there first in front of Silk and Smith.

The Stags had made a poor start in the opening 15 minutes, with Rushden looking assured and the Stags giving the ball away too often.

On 18 minutes, the Stags burst into life. Sandwith played a great ball down the left, for Medley who whipped in a good cross but it was just in front of Connor. Moments later, Silk fed Murray who fired in a fine low shot from 20 yards that keeper Day just palmed away.

The Stags were unlucky on 27 minutes when Foster's ball forward from his own half found Medley in the clear after it bounced away from Shane Huke. Medley finished into the net with aplomb, but the linesman's flag was up. TV footage in this live televised game proved inconclusive but Medley may have been unlucky.

On 35 minutes, Connor nodded down to Mills 25 yards out. Mills headed the ball forward and burst into the box but couldn't quite get on the end of his own ball as the keeper dived at his feet. A good effort from Mills.

On 44 minutes, a magnificent effort from Mills as his snap shot with the outside of his right boot was heading for the top right corner until keeper Day made a fabulous save to tip it away. It was the best moment of the season by Mills, who has had a below bar start to the season. A minute later, a training ground free kick as Mills slid the ball to Connor who fed Briscoe and Briscoe's shot from a tight angle on the right was deflected over the bar. Fine move. From the resulting corner, Chris Smith claimed a penalty for a shove in the back but the ref was having none of it, and from the TV replay, it would have been a harsh award against Rushden.

Half time 1-0

A rare chance for Rushden on 52 minutes, indeed their first chance since the 8th minute, as Porter's shot from outside the box was straight at Aksalu.

But on 53 minutes came a moment that defined the game. Connor headed the ball into the path of Medley, clean through on goal, and this time beating the offside trap, but with only the keeper the beat and indeed with the keeper already committed, Medley fired against the right post - a terrible miss. Medley held his head in his hands. Stags fans sunk to the floor.

A double substitution on 56 minutes as Parker and Duffy replaced Cain and Connor.

Duffy was soon in the action on 60 minutes as he headed over from Briscoe's super cross. Mills made a good break down the right on 62 minutes but Medley couldn't get on the end of his cross.

A minute later, a straightforward save for Aksalu from a shot from a tight angle. This proved to be Rushden's last goal chance, and only their second since the 8th minute.

The Stags were so unlucky on 74 minutes when Rob Duffy smacked a tremendous left footed volley against the bar from 12 yards, following a corner. What a brilliant effort. Along with Mills` shot in the 44th minute, we could have seen the Stags two best goals of the season, but neither quite went in - the fine line between failure and success.

Istead replaced Briscoe on 78 minutes. A minute later, Chris Smith was fouled inside his own half by Spence. Smith got up and gave a little headbutt Spence. Spence was booked for the foul, Smith was let off, and yet it was right in front of the ref. Utter madness by Chris Smith.

A good ball forward from the left by Medley from his half half put sub Parker through on the left, but his chip over the keeper was well wide.

After the game TV pundit Ian Snodin said: "Mansfield were unlucky not to get at least a point" and later: "I just think Mansfield have been unlucky". How right he was. The Stags now have a week to lick their wounds, after one point from 4 games following the euphoria of the takeover and the win over Eastbourne to take us top, before Darlington visit Field Mill. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Gary Mills

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain

Line Up:
Aksalu 6 very quiet debut, no chance with the goal. Noted he kicked left footed from his hands, and right footed from the ground.
Silk 6 OK
Foster 6.5 Defended competently.
Chris Smith 5.5 Lucky to escape red card after soft head-butt that was even seen by the ref. Defended ok after the first goal.
Sandwith 5 Went missing for the goal. Poor set pieces, though one great ball forward for Medley that nearly created chance for Connor.
Cain 5 Didn't do anything.
Mills 7 Very good in open play, with one outstanding shot, and nearly got through on another break. Set pieces let him down.
Murray 5 Totally anonymous, apart from one decent shot that was well-saved. Poor.
Briscoe 7 Worked hard, some good play on the wing.
Connor 6 Got no service at all. Had to resort to going onto the right wing to get the ball.
Medley 7 Got into good positions, and got through on goal twice, once given offside when he finished well, but then missed a sitter when he hit the post with only the keeper to beat - terrible miss. Towards the end, he played too deep.
Sub Line Up:
Parker (for Cain, 56 mins) 6 Looked keen, but wasn't fed well enough.
Duffy (for Connor, 56 mins) 7 One header over the bar, then thunderous snapshot against the bar - so unlucky.
Istead (for Briscoe, 78 mins) -
Subs not used: Collett, Stonehouse.
Opposition Line Up:
Joe Day, Huke, Osano, Stuart, Jamie Day (Robinson 46), Power (Charles 83), Porter, Johnson, Howe, Sills (Spence 65), O'Connor. Subs Not Used: Key, Corcoran.
Carl Berry (Surrey) 6 Handled the game ok. Unclear whether offside goal was correct decision. Gave Chris Smith a lucky break.

Season 10/11 Reports