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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 Reeves 58
Attendance: 2229 (93 from Altrincham)
Date: 3 January 2011

Martin Shaw at Field Mill


Following the appalling performance to lose 7-2 at Grimsby on Saturday, the Stags put in another terrible performance just 48 hours later and lost at home to rock bottom Altrincham, who hadn’t even scored for about 9 hours coming into this game. I expected the Stags to come out firing on all cylinders determined to put right what happened on Saturday. But it didn’t happen. The Stags started slowly and never got going. There was no imagination, and little creativity. Duncan Russell got the job as manager on the back of wins over Hayes and Worksop and with the players looking like they wanted to win for the manager. But on Saturday, it did not look like the players were playing for the manager with one of the most abject performances in the club’s history, and frankly it was similar today. To get out of this division, players need to be consistent. This set of players put in a fantastic performance at Cambridge 6 days ago but followed it up with the possibly the worst set of back-to-back performances ever, considering the 7 goals conceded at Grimsby and the poor quality of the opposition today. Shocking. Absolutely shocking. With this lack of consistency, it looks like the chances of reaching the play-offs are currently very low. There needs to be a huge improvement at Eastbourne on Saturday, and in the following games as well.

The Stags made two changes from the humiliation at Grimsby, with Silk coming in at right back, Cook moving to centre half, with Grand dropping out, while Connor replaced Parker up front. Grand is no longer on loan with the club, with his agent having told him not to sign a new deal. Matt Somner, who is still on loan at Altrincham, was not playing.

The Stags started very slowly, when you hoped they would come flying out of the traps. On 5 minutes, Adam Smith crossed with the outside of his right boot and Connor headed well wide of the near post. On 7 minutes, Day’s free kick from deep was flicked on by Duffy and Connor’s close range shot was straight at keeper Coburn. The Stags had an escape on 10 minutes. Altrincham’s first corner was powerfully headed towards the bottom left corner of the net by Joseph, but Briscoe did really well at the left post to clear it off the line. On 17 minutes, a long throw from Altrincham was headed towards the bottom left corner of the net by Reeves and Pilkington diving low to his right made a fabulous save scooping the ball away. My fellow commentator Nigel Pinnick described it as similar to Gordon Banks’ save in the 1970 World Cup. It was fantastic.

The Stags had a good shout for a penalty on 19 minutes. Smith crossed from the left and Connor seemed to be held by a defender, though still managed to get a header which was easily saved by Coburn. It certainly looked like a clear penalty. But the ref and linesman waived away appeals. And this came just a minute after Connor appeared to be fouled just outside the box and again nothing was given.

On 26 minutes, a low shot from Clee was straight at Pilkington. Then on 28 minutes Reeves took advantage of a slip by Cook and got down the right hand side, he slid the ball back for Clee who was well placed in the area, but fired wide of the left post.

Adam Smith tried a trademark effort on 30 minutes. He made progress down the left, cut inside, and fired over and wide from 28 yards. Connor turned and shot on 32 minutes, but he didn’t get any power on it and Coburn made an easy save. Altrincham were nearly in front on 35 minutes. A free kick was curled in from the left and Robbie Williams flicked a header inches wide of the right post.

On the stroke of 45 minutes, the Stags were awarded their first corner. Smith took it from the right, and found Day completely unmarked in the centre of the goal 8 yards out. Day made a good connection but headed it over. What a chance.

The Stags were booed off at the break. Altrincham had grown in confidence during the half, realising that Mansfield were playing very poorly. It was certainly not what the fans were looking for to erase the memory from Grimsby. It was a fairly even contest, and the Stags would need a big improvement in the second half.

Half time 0-0

On 46 minutes, a short throw from Sandwith for Adam Smith, who fired well over. On 49 minutes, Briscoe did well to get to the byeline on the right and sent a cross-shot across the face of goal, which ended up hitting the corner flag. This was better from the Stags and on 50 minutes, Sandwith’s free kick from the right was met well by Duffy who powered a header towards the roof of the net, but Coburn did brilliantly to tip it over from point blank range.

Altrincham took the lead on 58 minutes. A short corner from the left was eventually crossed to the far post where it was headed back across goal, and headed in by Reeves, one of the smallest men on the pitch, from 4 yards. Terrible defending.

Medley replaced Duffy on 60 minutes. Silk and Briscoe played a nice one-two on the right, in a rare moment of quality, and Silk crossed for Medley who fired over from 3 yards. Parker replaced Briscoe on 64 minutes. Parker moved alongside Connor, with Medley on the right of midfield.

Cook headed well wide from Smith’s corner on 67 minutes. Mills replaced Istead on 69 minutes.

On 71 minutes, Mills tried his luck from 22 yards with the outside of his right boot, and it was just wide with the keeper motionless.

The Stags were unlucky on 76 minutes, when Connor smacked a header against the bar from Sandwith’s free kick. In the next attack, the Stags had a penalty shout and in particular Medley was appealing but it was hard to see what happened. On 80 minutes, Medley got to near the byeline on the right and with other players better positioned, Medley smacked a shot into the side netting. It was a complete waste and his colleagues let him know it.

Five minutes of stoppage time was added. In the third of those, Pilkington’s long kick forward eventually came to Parker who turned well inside the box and slid a shot past the left post. On 94 minutes, a long throw from Cook reached Connor who turned well but his shot lacked power and was at the keeper. Then on 95, Medley to Connor who turned again and his low shot was saved low down by Coburn.

At full time, some booing, but many Stags fans were too stunned.

Duncan Russell came out to give his post match interview and was keen to stress the positives, when those of us waiting for him had expected him to apologise to the fans for the second time in 48 hours. It felt like he should do because this was dreadful. However as fans we always live in hope, and so on to Eastbourne - come on Mansfield!

Man of the Match: Paul Connor

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Fabulous save in the first half. No blame for this performance.
Silk 5 Inexplicably given sponsor’s man of the match, yet contributed nothing in my opinion.
Cook 5 Another poor game.
Day 5 Poor. A defining moment when he missed a sitter of a header in the first half.
Sandwith 6 Did at least deliver a couple of reasonable free kicks.
Briscoe 4 After two really good performances, he was dreadful today, apart from an excellent clearance off the ;line.
Murray 4 After a great game at Cambridge, he has now put in two awful performances. Inexplicable.
Istead 4 Very poor.
Adam Smith 6 Tried to get it going down the left. Put in a couple of reasonable crosses and tried his luck with a couple of shots. Some good corners.
Connor 7 Got a few headers in on goal. Unlucky not to win a penalty in the first half
Duffy 6 Won a few headers.
Sub Line Up:
Medley (for Duffy, 60) 5 Got into a great position on one occasion and shot into the side netting, when he should have crossed.
Parker (for Briscoe, 64) 6 At least showed some trickery and provided something a bit different. Did ok.
Mills (for Istead, 69) - Unlucky with a shot from distance. Did ok.
Subs Not Used: Collett, Naylor.
Opposition Line Up:
Coburn, Milne, Williams, Joseph, Brown, Densmore, Lawton, Hewson (Danylyk 79), Clee (Holsgrove 70), Baynes (Beesley 87), Reeves. Subs Not Used: Coates, Welch.
Paul Hodskinson (Lancashire) 5 Almost as bad as the Stags. Got far too many decisions wrong.

Season 10/11 Reports