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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Rushden & Diamonds
Medley 29, Briscoe 90.
 O'Connor 15
Attendance: 1758 (125 from Rushden)
Date: 2 April 2011

Jake Allsop at Field Mill

The Stags made 3 changes to the side that lost on Tuesday night. Gary Silk was injured and Stevie Istead dropped to right back, and Conor Higginson who returned from a loan spell with Glapwell this week came in at right midfield to make his first appearance at Field Mill for Mansfield. Steve Foster came into central defence for Kevin Sandwith who dropped to the bench. Finally the long awaited return of number one shot stopper Alan Marriott returned in goal after the news in the week that David Grof can’t take part in our first Wembley appearance for 24 years. Paul Hall was named on the bench along with David Grof, Kevin Sandwith, Mark Preece and Niall O’Rafferty.

Mansfield started the brighter with Paul Connor having 3 chances on goal in the opening 5 minutes of the game. The first being a 30 yard effort that looked to lob the Diamonds keeper Joe Day but a good save put the ball over the bar. Paul Connor headed the resulting corner straight at Joe Day and then had another header well held by Joe Day.

On 15 minutes against the run of play Rushden and Diamonds took the lead with their first real attempt on goal through ex Stag Aaron O’Connor. The goal was a beautifully placed shot into the top right corner of the goal. Marriott had no chance with it, and it resulted in a warm round of applause from the Stags faithful. 0-1 Rushden.

Conor Higginson making his home debut had space to move into on the right after Louis Briscoe’s ball found him fired from 25 yards but Joe Day gathered his ball into his chest.

On 30 minutes Medley found himself behind the defence after Murray’s through ball and went through one on one and placed the ball down the middle of the goal to bring the Stags back onto level terms. 1-1.

5 minutes before the interval another ball in from Adam Murray found Paul Connor who tried a lovely lob over the keeper but Joe Day made a terrific save to deny Mansfield the lead. Then moments before half time Marriott dropped the ball to Aaron O’Conner who fired over the bar but Marriott took a knock and had to be replaced by David Grof. This was later confirmed as a broken finger for Marriott, really bad news with Wembley just 5 weeks away. On the stroke of half time Paul Connor did well to hold off the defender as Louis Briscoe struck the outside of the post.

Half time 1-1

The Stags first chance of the second half came from Higginson’s run into the box before putting a cross in but neither of the 12th Stags Connor or Medley could get on the end of it. As both sides were searching for a winner Grof failed to catch a cross into the box and Michael Gash appeared to have a tap in but Grof did very well to get in and push the ball away from the goal.

Then in a fixture that usually produces late drama, a poor clearance from Joe Day in the Rushden goal found birthday boy Louis Briscoe who carried the ball as the defence backed off and he punished them with a perfectly placed shot hard and low to the keeper’s right. 2-1 Mansfield.

Overall Mansfield deserved the points this afternoon, in a match that could of been a much bigger scoreline if it wasn’t for Joe Day in the Diamonds goal. Also it was nice to see Conor Higginson back from his loan spell to put in a very convincing performance on his home debut.

Man of the match: Tom Naylor

Report by: Jake Allsop at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott: 6 Couldn’t do anything about the goal, went off injured before half time
Istead: 6 Did ok out of position
Foster: 7 Played well alongside Naylor
Naylor: 7 Calm performance again from Naylor and made some good tackles
Stonehouse: 6 Did ok
Higginson: 7 Good debut, one long range shot held by Joe Day
Thompson: 6 Quiet game, one good challenge
Murray: 7 Created the assist for Luke Medley’s goal
Briscoe: 7 Scored a lovely placed shot in the last minute
Medley: 7 Caught offside on numerous occasions but scored when one on one
Connor: 6 Missed alot of chances first half
Sub Line Up:
Grof (for Marriott, 41) 6 didn’t have much to do, one fine save though to deny a certain tap in
O'Rafferty (for Higginson, 90+2) -
Subs not used: Sandwith, Preece, Hall.
Opposition Line Up:
Joe Day, Miller (Farrell 87), Huke (Osano 74), Corcoran, Jamie Day, Power, Mills, Porter, O'Connor (Johnson 67), Gash, Charles. Subs Not Used: Evans, Keehan.
Peter Wright (Merseyside)

Season 10/11 Reports