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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 4
 Crawley Town
Parker pen 41. Day sent off 52.
 Bulman 20, McAllister 70, 90, Tubbs 86.
Attendance: 2615 (102 from Crawley)
Date: 30 October 2010


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

The sending off of Rhys Day on 52 minutes for a stupid off the ball incident cost Mansfield Town any chance of beating big-spending Crawley Town at Field Mill. The Stags had more than held their own during an entertaining first half and created four excellent chances to punish Crawley. Crawley took the lead with a terrific volley from Danny Bulman on 20 minutes, but the Stags deservedly drew level on 41 minutes as Keigan Parker converted a penalty after being brought down. But early in the second half, as Crawley were preparing to take a free kick from the edge of the box, Day punched Kyle McFadzean in the chest, seen clearly by the referee, and Day was shown a straight red. After the game, Day apologised to the players, leaving manager Holdsworth fuming over indiscipline. After the sending off, the Stags were totally leaderless, giving the ball repeatedly and inviting pressure from Crawley. It was particularly disappointing to see players like Steve Foster showing no leadership and their was an air of inevitability that Crawley would take the lead, which they did on 70 minutes as the Stags makeshift defence gifted Craig McAllister a free header. Crawley scored twice more in the final four minutes as the Stags crumbled. Credit to Crawley for the way they exposed the ten men of Mansfield and gave an exhibition of how to stretch a depleted side. Their distribution from the back to the wings was accurate causing the Stags multiple problems. The Stags will now be without Rhys Day for three more games, and the loss of the excellent Steve Cook through injury was a major blow as was the hamstring injury to Paul Connor. Indeed the loss of Cook at half time, meant that after the sending off, Holdsworth had to put Silk to centre half where he was never going to be effective, and Briscoe went in at right back, nullifying the Stags attacking options after Briscoe had caused Crawley numerous problems in the first half. This was unlucky for Holdsworth, though a better option may have been to leave Briscoe where he was, leave Silk at right back, and play Duffy at centre half. The Stags have dropped six points outside the play-off zone, in a worrying loss of form with only two points in the six games since we went top with the victory over Eastbourne and the season is following a familiar pattern with the month of October being somewhat disastrous three seasons on the trot. Away games in the league at Kettering and Forest Green in the next fortnight now look like massive games which the Stags need to win to resurrect promotion chances. Before that is a cup game against League Two Torquay where the Stags will look to bounce back and give the fans something to cheer about.

On a gloriously sunny afternoon, pre-match entertainment was provided by an Elvis impersonater. Mansfield made four changes to the side that won at FC Halifax, with new loan signing Kevin Pilkington returning to the club and replacing the injured on-loan keeper Mihkel Aksalu. Steve Foster returned at centre half as Simon Grand was a victim of the ruling preventing more than 5 loan players being played. Loan signing Peter Vincenti replaced Rob Duffy and started the game up front, while Tyrone Thompson started in place of Kyle Nix. Crawley’s side was packed with quality with former York striker Richard Brodie alongside former Exeter and Woking striker Craig McAllister up front, while the excellent Matt Tubbs and Sergio Torres were on the bench, both having been less than 100% fit during the week.

Crawley started the game knocking the ball around well and Stonehouse had to be alert with two good early tackles. The Stags created the first chance on 8 minutes when Adam Smith was tenacious on the left wing and set up a great chance for Vincenti who was leaning back and missed the target with a right foot shot from inside the box. A great chance wasted. A minute later, more good play from Adam Smith who crossed from the left, and a Crawley player headed the ball past his own post, getting there just in front of Connor. A minute later, another terrific Smith run down the left and his cross-shot was put behind by a defender. On 11 minutes, a short corner from Adam Smith which reached Stonehouse on the edge of the box and his left footed shot was just over the bar.

A great turn by Briscoe on 17 minutes, under pressure inside the box, and he fired just over the bar. Great play from Briscoe.

Three really good chances for the Stags in the opening 20 minutes, to none from Crawley, but it was then Crawley who took the lead on 20 minutes. A ball to the edge of the box was headed into the box by McAllister and cleared up in the air by Stonehouse as far as Brodie who headed the ball into the path of Danny Bullman who fired a superb volley into the net from 16 yards. A great finish by Bullman.

Connor had looked out of sorts in the opening half hour and this turned out to be due to injury as he was replaced by Parker. More fabulous play by Briscoe on 34 minutes as got past a defender outside the box and hit a screaming shot towards to the near top corner and keeper Kuipers pulled off a reflex save palming the ball away for a corner.

Crawley created their second chance of the game on 35 minutes as McAllister fired wide from 20 yards. Crawley came close to scoring on 38 minutes, as left back Rents did well on the left byeline and his cross came off Foster and more or less ran along the goalline and somehow didn’t go in - a lucky escape.

The Stags were deservedly level on 41 minutes. Thompson’s ball over the top saw Parker running onto it on the right side of the box and Pablo Mills tried to clear the ball but clipped Parker’s feet. A review of the DVD showed the penalty was the correct decision. Parker stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way as he fired into the left corner of the net.

Half time 1-1

The Stags created plenty of good chances in the first half and were deservedly level at the break, despite Crawley manager Steve Evans` absurd claim in the post match interview that Crawley should have been ahead at half time. Briscoe was terrific and Adam Smith had also caused Crawley problems running at them down the left.

The Stags received a blow as the impressive Steve Cook had to be replaced at half time by less impressive Gary Silk. This was to prove crucial shortly afterwards as Cook could have slotted in as a natural centre half when Day was sent off.

Brodie went down in the box on 47 minutes and was booked for diving. There were no complaints from Brodie but the same couldn’t be said of Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor on the Crawley bench.

The game turned on 52 minutes. Crawley were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box on the left hand side. As the players lined up to prepare for the free kick, Day punched McFadzean in the chest who went down, and the referee had a perfect view of the incident, immediately showing Day a red card. Day should have known better and was to cost his side three points as well as missing the next three games. Absolute madness. The free kick was finally taken and well saved by Pilkington from a powerful shot. Seconds later, the ball was on the edge of the box and Pilkington tried to grab it but was unable to do so, and eventually the ball was chipped goalwards and Pilkington did superbly to back-track and fingertip the ball over the bar at full stretch.

Silk moved from right back to centre half, Briscoe moved to right back, as the Stags adopted a 4-4-1 formation, with Parker alone up front.

The Stags retreated into their shell, seemingly unable to hold onto the ball, as Crawley started to stretch the game and make good use of the wings. The Stags looked shellshocked and totally leaderless.

On 61 minutes, Tubbs replaced Brodie. On 63 minutes, a powerful free kick from Bullman was on target but blocked.

On 68 minutes, a ball was played over the top to Tubbs whose shot was saved by Pilkington, and the ball came out to Bullman, whose shot was also saved by Pilkington. Crawley seemed to be lining up to score and there was an air of inevitability that they would take the lead. That happened on 70 minutes as a ball was floated in from the left and McAllister was unmarked to place his header into the net.

Holdsworth tried to change it on 74 minutes as Duffy replaced Vincenti. Mansfield desperately needed a spark after an abysmal 25 minutes following the sending off. Briscoe provided it with a good run down the right, highlighting that he was wasted at right back. On 79 minutes, another good run by Briscoe and his cross was just in front of Murray.

Crawley should have made it 3-1 on 83 minutes. Foster needlessly gave away a corner on the right, and when it came across, McFadzean fired down into the ground and somehow over the bar.

It was 3-1 on 86 minutes, as McAllister got past Silk and Foster as though they weren’t there and squared for Tubbs who showed clinical finishing to roll the ball into the bottom left corner of the net from just inside the box. And on 90 minutes it was 4-1, as Dean Howell got down the left and crossed to McAllister who again headed in unmarked.

The game ended with a few boos, but massive disappointment for Mansfield who could have gone on to win the game, without the indiscipline of Rhys Day, and ended losing heavily to another of the top teams.

Man of the match: Louis Briscoe

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Made some good stops and had little chance with the four goals. Fine return to the club and got a good reception from the fans.
Cook 7 Had a good first half, huge shame that he had to go off through injury. Looks a really classy player.
Day 4 Moment of madness cost the Stags the game without a doubt. He should know better.
Foster 5 Had a good first half, but showed no leadership or captain’s quality after the sending off. Was brought in to lead from the back and he failed to do this. Needs to look at himself and do much better.
Stonehouse 7 Made some good challenges and had a decent game.
Briscoe 7 Excellent first half causing Crawley several problems and created two good chances for himself with good skill. Has never played at right back and it showed after the sending off, though he tried to provide a spark for the team with a couple of good runs from defence.
Thompson 4 Terrible, repeatedly gave the ball away and showed no quality at all.
Murray 6 Did well in the fiurst half, but like others capitulated after the sending off.
Adam Smith 7 Very good first half, created danger down the left, running at the defence. Couldn’t get into the game after the sending off.
Vincenti 6 Started up front and started well. Missed a great opportunity when he was leaning back and fired over. Too quiet after a good start.
Connor 6 Totally out of sorts, and went off injured, explaining his poor performance. Hamstring injury will probably keep him out for a while.
Sub Line Up:
Parker (for Connor, 32) 6 Won and converted the penalty. Did nothing in the second half.
Silk (for Cook, 46) 5 His form has nose-dived in recent games. Having said that, he was totally out of position at centre half and it showed.
Duffy (for Vincenti, 74) 6 Did ok, trying to hold the ball up and bring other players into the game.
Subs not used: Collett, Nix.
Opposition Line Up:
Kuipers, Rents, McFadzean, Mills, Wilson (Hall 46), Howell, Bulman, Masterton (Torres 90), Neilson, Brodie (Tubbs 62), McAllister. Subs Not Used: Jordan, Wright.
R West (Beverley) 7 Good game. One excellent use of the advantage and then went back and booked Crawley player. Eagle eyed and quite correct to spot the sending off.

Season 10/11 Reports