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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Crawley Town  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
McFadzean 13, Tubbs 81.
Attendance: 3162 (73 from Mansfield)
Date: 29 March 2011


Martin Shaw at the Broadfield Stadium

Mansfield Town were down to the bare bones at Crawley Town on Tuesday night, and only able to name a subs bench of two centre halves and a goalkeeper. The Stags put in a decent display, and were far from humiliated but were still comfortably beaten by a hugely impressive and dominant Crawley side that will certainly win the Conference, and a look good bet for going straight through League Two in my opinion. In a fairly even first half, Crawley took the lead on 13 minutes with a long range strike from centre half Kyle McFadzean. The Stags were desperately unlucky not to equalise on 17 minutes when Briscoe hit the post and Connor knocked the rebound just over an empty net after the ball came to him too quickly and seemed to get caught under him. In the second half, Crawley started to turn the screw and Grof made some great saves while Crawley also hit post and bar, while the Stags had just one chance to equalise when an out-of-sorts Connor had a shot deflected wide. But eventually the pressure told and Crawley made it 2-0 after Grof made a great save from Tubbs but the ball came out and hit Tubbs and went in for a very lucky goal. The Stags desperately need to get in some fresh faces so that the likes of Connor and Briscoe are not completely warn out by the time we come to the Wembley game.

The Stags were without 7 injured players: Day (out for the season), Spence, Cain, Smith, Nix, Mitchley, O’Rafferty. I can’t remember the last time we could only name two outfield players (and they were both centre halves) for the bench. Crawley had won ten successive home games, and were unbeaten in the league since October. In contrast, Crawley’s bench contained £275,000 signing Richard Brodie and the excellent Jamie Cook who was at Oxford last season.

Crawley made an imposing start without clearcut chances. At the other end, on 9 minutes, Adam Murray’s free kick into the area was fumbled by Crawley keeper Shearer.

Crawley took the lead on 13 minutes. A free kick from Howell was cleared to just outside the box where centre half Kyle McFadzean fired a brilliant shot arrowing into the left corner of the net giving Grof no chance.

A very good long throw by Crawley on 16 minutes was flicked on and just missed by Ben Smith at the far post.

The Stags were desperately unlucky not to equalise on 17 minutes. Medley outpaced the home defence and Briscoe picked up the ball and hit the post from 10 yards out, on the right. The ball came off the post quickly to Connor who knocked the rebound about a foot over an empty net as it seemed to get caught under his feet.

On 19 minutes, Ben Smith found Tubbs on the right, Tubbs cut inside onto his left foot and crossed back for Smith who had got into the six yard box and acrobatically fired wide of the left post. On 22 minutes, Craig McAllister was through on goal with just Grof to beat, but fired straight at the keeper. A loose clearance from Tyrone Thompson on 32 minutes found Howell 30 yards out and his great shot was tipped over by Grof. It may have been going a fraction over already, but was a fine save.

On 33 minutes, a Luke Medley piledriver with his right foot, from 20 yards, on the left, was deflected about 2 feet wide of the right post. From our position in the main stand it was a little difficult to tell how close it went, so I asked Medley after the game and he confirmed it was just a couple of feet wide. Back at the other end, on 38 minutes, and poor defending from Stonehouse as a ball over from the left found Tubbs with a half chance, but it was cleared.

Thompson, who had already been booked, was dicing with a red card on 40 minutes, when a foul was given against him for high kicking. On another day, it could have been a yellow card.

A good performance from the Stags in the first half, holding their own against a rampant Crawley side.

Half time 1-0

A quiet opening to the second half.

But on 55 minutes, Ben Smith was through, easily past Sandwith, but Grof was out quickly to smother the chance. There was pinball in the Stags box on 57 minutes, and McAllister fired wide. On 58, a Ben Smith shot was just over the bar. On 61, a Charlie Wassmer header from a corner was heading just under the angle of bar and post when Grof superbly tipped it over. From the corner, Tubbs turned the ball goalwards, it hit Naylor on the line and bounced onto the underside of the bar and away. It must have been very close to crossing the line. Crawley were really turning the screw at this point with five good chances in 6 minutes.

On 70, an incredible miss by Crawley with good play in the box and Tubbs somehow slid the ball wide of the right post. On 72, McAllister got in a header from a corner which was deflected wide.

A rare chance for the Stags, our first of the second half, on 74 minutes, as Briscoe took a throw-in quickly to put in Connor in on the left, and his left footed shot was deflected wide of the left post.

Crawley hit the post on 76 minutes, as McAllister slid a nice pass along the edge of the box from the left to Ben Smith who side-footed a shot against the inside of the post and along the line and away.

But it was 2-0 on 81 minutes. Tubbs was through on goal, but Grof got out quickly to smother Tubbs’s shot with a fine save. Unluckily for the Stags keeper, the ball rebounded off Tubbs and into the empty net for a lucky goal.

A chance the Stags on 84 minutes, as Istead’s decent cross from the right was headed straight at keeper Shearer by Connor.

On 89 minutes, sub Brodie curled a delightful left footed shot from 22 yards towards the top left corner, but Grof made a fabulous save, tipping the ball away for a corner. A minute into stoppage time, Briscoe made a great run down the middle, but eventually his shot presented Shearer with an easy save. On 90+3 minutes, Brodie’s free kick was an easy save for Grof.

Crawley were excellent. In Ben Smith we saw I think one of the finest performances by a midfielder either against or for the Stags this season. They oozed quality. For the Stags, whilst we want to pick up as many points as possible, keeping key players fresh and fit for Wembley has to be the main aim.

Man of the Match: David Grof

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Broadfield Stadium

Line Up:
Grof 9 Outstanding shot-stopping again. Crawley did not test him on high crosses.
Silk 7 Good game.
Naylor 8 Fine game, calm and composed, in the face of a Crawley onslaught.
Sandwith 7 Did well at centre half.
Stonehouse 6 Did ok.
Istead 5 Poor game, but needs a few games to get some rhythm. Looked out of sorts in right midfield.
Thompson 5 Could have been sent off. Some poor distribution, and gave the ball away on occasion.
Murray 6 Did ok.
Briscoe 7 Didn't get enough of the ball, but when he did he used it well. So unlucky not to score when he hit the post.
Medley 7 Decent return to the club after his loan move to Aldershot. Unlucky with one shot just past the post.
Connor 5 Very little went his way, wasn't wining as many headers as usual, and missed a couple of chances.
Sub Line Up:
Subs Not Used: Marriott, Foster, Preece.
(only 3 subs named)

Opposition Line Up:
Shearer, Hunt, Wassmer, McFadzean, Howell, Simpson (Rusk 89), Wilson, Smith, Torres, Tubbs (Cook 86), McAllister (Brodie 86). Subs Not Used: Jordan, Gibson.
Marvin Thompson (Middlesex) 8 Very good game.

Season 10/11 Reports