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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Kettering Town  
0 - 2
 Mansfield Town
 Jack OG 58, Briscoe 90+4.
Attendance: 1270 (172 from Mansfield)
Date: 9 November 2010


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Rockingham Road

Mansfield Town bounced back from a stuttering start to this game at confident Kettering and gradually got on top, sealing a vital three points with two unusual goals, as first Adam Smith’s cross was punched into his own net by keeper Jack on 58 minutes, and then in stoppage Louis Briscoe’s fierce low drive across the face of goal was deflected into his own net by a defender. The second half performance was superb with powerful displays especially from Tyrone Thompson in midfield, Adam Smith on the left, and the solid back four of Foster, Grand, Cook and Sandwith. The win is a massive boost to the club and supporters after such a depressing run of results that had seen no win in six league games. Kettering came into the game with a fabulous run of 5 wins and 2 draws in 7 games, and started the game looking supremely confident. The Stags back four was all over the place in the opening stages, especially Sandwith who had a shocker for the first 25 minutes against James Dance on the right wing, and Foster who looked all at sea in the middle. But the Stags turned it around, and Keigan Parker missed a sitter towards the end of the first half, setting the scene for the second half turnaround.

NOTE: Match report amended after studying the DVD. In particular, the first goal is credited as an own goal and the second goal is credited to Briscoe.

Vincenti was passed fit and started up front alongside Parker. Connor was considered fit enough for the bench. Striker Danny Mitchley, who had just signed on non contract terms, was also on the bench, and there was no place for young striker Lee Gregory, which we found unfathomable. Why wasn’t Gregory given a chance? At the back, Foster came in for the injured Silk, with Cook moving to right back, and Sandwith replaced the injured Stonehouse at left back. In midfield, Thompson replaced the injured Nix.

Inside the first minute, Kettering created a chance when there was pinball in the Stags box as Dance crossed from the right, and Marna fired just over. In the second minute, another chance as terrible defending from Sandwith allowed Dance past him and Noubissie fired well over the bar from Dance’s cross. It was a one-sided game in the opening stages as Kettering knocked the ball around with confidence and the Stags looked all at sea.

On 16 minutes, Marcus Kelly fired a great shot just over the bar from 25 yards. On 21 minutes, Kelly’s free kick was cleared by Grand.

The Stags first proper attack came on 23 minutes when Adam Smith turned inside then outside and shot over from 22 yards. Dance was at it again down the right wing on 27 minutes after Sandwith gave the ball away. On 28 minutes, Grand was booked, we initially thought for dissent, but it turned out that he was booked for an earlier foul when the referee played advantage. On 29 minutes, Vincenti won the ball well in the centre, fed Parker down the right who put in a good cross and it eventually came to Smith whose shot was blocked and ended up in the keeper’s arms. On 30 minutes, Vincenti shot just over the bar after good play by Murray to win the ball.

The Stags were at least now back in the game. But on 35 minutes, Kettering forced the first save from Pilkington as Marna did well to beat a couple of players and his curling cross from the right was directed goalwards off the knee of Marcus Kelly into the grateful arms of the Stags keeper.

Mansfield should have been in front on 38 minutes. Murray’s corner from the right found Parker at the far post, who turned and had a shot from 4 yards but it was too weak and straight at the keeper, when he should have scored. It looked like a sitter. Another chance for the Stags on 42 minutes as a corner from the left was poked towards goal by Vincenti who couldn’t get any power on it. Kettering had the final chance of the half a minute into stoppage time when Noubissie fired a left footed shot that allowed Pilkington to make a routine save down to his right.

Half time 0-0

A poor start from the Stags, but signs in the last 20 minutes that they coming back into the game, giving hope for the second half.

The second half started with the Stags now looking the better side, without creating clearcut chances. Connor replaced Vincenti on 56 minutes.

And on 58 minutes, the Stags had a stroke of luck that they had been craving for so long, to take the lead. Adam Smith got the ball on the left touchline, cut inside onto his right foot and curled a cross goalwards. Keeper Jack came out to punch it away, with no Stags players challenging for the ball, and somehow managed to punch it behind him into the net. From our position it seemed that Smith’s cross was goalbound and therefore it would have been Adam Smith’s goal, as he suggested to us after the game (and as we left him he was scurrying off to find the referee to convince him that it was his goal). However later studying of the DVD showed that the cross was actually going a couple of yards wide of the right post, and thus it has to go down as an own goal. Anyway, it was perhaps the Stags first piece of luck since the penalty awarded against Eastbourne on the day we went top and John Radford was announced as new owner.

On 64 minutes, Parker fired in a powerful cross from the right, it hit Roper and flew just over the bar. The Stags were now in control, in complete contrast to the early stages of the game.

On 73 minutes, a near identical moment, as Parker got past a defender on the right, and sent a powerful shot more or less along the goalline, it hit a defender and somehow looped over the bar when it seemed it had to go in.

On 78 minutes, the Stags should have made the game safe. Connor fed the ball to Parker on the left. Parker laid a delightful ball to Adam Smith who side-footed over the bar with his right foot from 10 yards. What a miss!

Non contract signing Danny Mitchley, who had played in the pre season game against Tranmere, replaced Parker on 79 minutes.

A chance for Kettering on 84 minutes, as a free kick was cleared to the edge of the box where Roper, unmarked and with no backlift, toe-poked a shot wide of the left post as time stood still and Pilkington never moved.

Istead replaced Adam Smith on the stroke of 90 minutes as four additional minutes were signalled. In the second of those four minutes, Kettering nearly equalised as a corner from the left was headed over the bar by veteran Paul Furlong.

Then on 90+4, the Stags took a short corner on the left. Briscoe cut inside a defender and fired a fierce low drive across the face of goal which was deflected into his own net by a defender. Studying of the match DVD later was inconclusive on whether Briscoe’s drive would have gone in without the deflection, so the benefit of the doubt has to go with the striker and the goal is credited to Briscoe.

The game was safe and the Stags had a deserved victory in the face of adversity.

A good performance and victory at Forest Green could put the team back on track after a disastrous run. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Tyrone Thompson

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Rockingham Road

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Comfortable, didn’t have any difficult saves to make. Good handling.
Cook 7 Good game after the defence looked dodgy early on.
Foster 7 Excellent second half after caught out a few times in the first half.
Grand 7 Good game, some good challenges. Was the best defender in the first half.
Sandwith 6 Had a terrible first half, roasted by Dance, though did make one good challenge. Recovered really well in the second half and looked solid.
Briscoe 6 Totally anonymous in the first half and barely touched the ball. Ran at defenders a few times in the second half and his fierce low drive resulted in the second goal.
Murray 7 Looked good in a defensive midfield role in the second half.
Thompson 9 Quite outstanding second half performance. Tackled really well and kept making ground forwards. Took the game to Kettering. Inspirational.
Adam Smith 8 The best player in the first half without much help. Kept running at Kettering in the second half.
Vincenti 6 A couple of good touches in the first half, but didn’t put himself about enough. Simply doesn’t look like a striker.
Parker 7 Missed a good chance in the first half, and put in two powerful crosses in the second that nearly led to goals. Needs the ball to his feet more often.
Sub Line Up:
Connor (for Vincenti, 56) 6 Great to see him back. Good control of the ball.
Mitchley (for Parker, 79) 5 Irresponsible when he had two ridiculous long range efforts near the end when we should have been hanging on to the ball. Poor.
Istead (for Adam Smith, 90) -
Subs Not Used: Collett, Stonehouse.
Opposition Line Up:
Jack, Graham (Furlong 57), Dempster, Roper, Davis, Solkhon, Noubissie (Boucaud 65), Green, Dance, Marna, Kelly (Makofo 62). Subs Not Used: Cooper, Pryor.
Robert Merchant (Staffordshire)

Season 10/11 Reports