{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
FA Trophy Semi-Final 1st leg
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Luton Town
Mitchley 62
Attendance: 3208 (422 from Luton)
Date: 13 March 2011


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

The Stags beat Luton 1-0 in the first leg of the FA Trophy semi final at Field Mill on Sunday afternoon. The only goal was scored by Danny Mitchley on 62 minutes as Gary Silk slid a ball into the box on the right, Mitchley had a defender tight on him, and with his back to goal, turned and fired across keeper Kevin Pilkington and in off the left post. It was a precision finish and another crucial goal from the young striker. In an even game, it was David Grof who was the busier of the two keepers, pulling off 5 very good saves, while at the other end, Mansfield had lots of possession but not many shots on target. A good performance from Mansfield against very good opposition, that sets up a mouth-watering second leg at Kenilworth Road next Saturday.

Mansfield made one enforced change from the side that beat Chasetown, with Kyle Nix replacing Adam Murray, who was not allowed to play as part of the contract agreed when he signed from Luton. Luton included Kevin Pilkington in goal, who played for Mansfield on loan earlier this season, and Luke Graham at right back.

On a pleasant afternoon in Mansfield, there was a disappointing crowd of just 3208, with 422 from Luton. Even with the awkward Sunday lunchtime kick-off, this was very poor.

A quiet start to the game, Mansfield were quick in the tackle, not allowing Luton to settle which was encouraging. The first chance came on 11 minutes as Lloyd Owuso shot over from the edge of the box. Then on 19 minutes, a clever pass from Barnes-Homer, to Fred Murray who fired, left footed, wide of the right post The Stags first chance came on 20 minutes, with a free kick, which Cain slid to his right, but Briscoe’s shot nearly hit the corner flag.

An excellent save by Grof on 22 minutes, as a shot from Howells was deflected and with Grof already committed and going to ground, he managed to stretch out an arm and tip the ball away.

On 26 minutes, Mitchley had an effort, off target. Then on 29, Mitchley needed too much time in the box, and he went down but it was no penalty. Then on 30 minutes, a free kick from a great position for Mansfield, but Nix fired it straight into the wall. A minute later, Nix had a half-chance on the bye line on the left but the keeper blocked.

The Stags had a goal disallowed on 31 minutes, as Spence played a nice ball through for Connor, but the flag was up before Connor fired home. On 34 minutes, a good cross from Spence just missed everyone. The Stags were having a purple patch and on 36 minutes, Mitchley set up Connor, but his shot was blocked. A minute later, Mitchley found Cain and his cross was claimed, but only just, by Pilkington.

On 43 minutes, another great save from Grof, as Owuso got above the home defence to head goalwards from a right wing cross and Grof had to beat it out.

A good first half for Mansfield was encouraging though it was Grof who had to pull off two fine saves to keep Luton out.

Half time 0-0

On 49 minutes, Briscoe cut inside from the left, and drifted a cross in, but it was just ahead of Nix, who should have flung himself at it. On 53 minutes, another great save from Grof, this time from Lawless, as Barnes-Homer got down the left and crossed for Lawless whose first time strike was beaten away by Grof with a reflex save. The Stags got the ball straight to the other end, but with Stags having players in good positions, Cain put his cross straight behind for a goalkick. It was so frustrating. On 60 minutes, Lawless had a good run and shot which was tipped wide by Grof. From the resulting corner, Spence managed to head away the danger over his own bar. Straight away, Lawless crossed from the left and George Pilkington headed onto the top of the bar.

It was a good passage of play for Luton, but on 62 minutes, the Stags broke the deadlock. Gary Silk slid a ball into the box on the right, Mitchley had a defender tight on him, and with his back to goal, turned and fired across keeper Kevin Pilkington and in off the left post for a precision finish.

A great run by Briscoe on 70 minutes, but his cross was just ahead of Mitchley. Then a minute later, Briscoe fed Mitchley on the left, but his shot was blocked. Grof made another great save on 72 minutes, as Howells crossed from the left, and Crow headed powerfully goalwards, but Grof turned it away. A minute later, Cain got a better cross in from the right and Connor headed wide form an awkward angle.

Adam Smith replaced Cain on 74 minutes.

Luton had a couple of half chances on 80 minutes. Then on 83 minutes, a Stags corner (Stags’ first) was cleared to Tyrone Thompson who volleyed high and wide.

Istead replaced Briscoe on 84 minutes. Then on 86 minutes, Grof saved from Amari Morgan-Smith’s effort from a tight angle with the ball coming back off the Luton player and going for a goalkick. On 88 minutes, a good block by Naylor from Crow’s shot. And 5 minutes into stoppage time, Barnes-Homer’s shot was deflected wide.

A good ovation for the Stags players at the final whistle, and the tie is very much in the balance. Everything to play for at Kenilworth Road next Saturday. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: David Grof

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Grof 9 Five very good saves, to earn the win for Mansfield.
Silk 8 Great game, won lots of 50:50 balls with crunching tackles.
Naylor 7 Another good game, and got forward well.
Sandwith 7 Defended well.
Spence 8 Very good, again, and dangerous going forward.
Cain 5 Frustrating performance, giving the ball away several times and some terrible crosses.
Thompson 7 Solid in the centre, not wasting possession.
Nix 7.5 Good game.
Briscoe 6 Not quite at his best but did ok.
Mitchley 7 Great finish for the goal, and showing real promise. Good movement.
Connor 7 Led the line well, and never wasted the ball, holding it up well
Sub Line Up:
Smith (for Cain, 74) - Fell over when he got into the box with half a chance.
Istead (for Briscoe, 84) -
Subs not used: Marriott, Foster, Stonehouse.
Opposition Line Up:
K. Pilkington; Graham, G. Pilkington, Kroca, Murray (Poku 75); Gnapka (Morgan-Smith 69), Lawless, Keane, Howells; Barnes-Homer, Owusu (Crow 56). Subs not used: Tyler, Asafu-Adjaye.
Karl Evans (Wigan) 6 Reasonable game.

Season 10/11 Reports