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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
Briscoe 63
 Forrest 78
Attendance: 1,253 (71 from Barrow) (the lowest crowd for a league game at Field Mill since 1939)
Date: 12 April 2011


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town came within 12 minutes of putting the pain of Saturday's humiliation at Hayes & Yeading behind them at Field Mill on Tuesday against Barrow but a strong comeback by the visitors, sparked by a brilliant goal on 78 minutes, completely turned the game and Barrow should have won the game with a string of near misses and fine saves late on. Briscoe put the Stags ahead on 63 minutes with his 18th goal of the season. But Barrow equalised through a 25 yard strike from Danny Forrest on 78 minutes when he caught David Grof slightly off his line. And the Stags ended up hanging on for a point in a game that it looked like they would win until 78 minutes.

Last week’s game at home to Southport saw the lowest league crowd at Field Mill since 1982. But this crowd was even 40 fewer than the 1,293 that watched the Stags play Torquay in December 1982 and was thus the lowest crowd for a league game at Field Mill since 1939, when 800 turned up for a game, also against Torquay, that was played in an afternoon in midweek. Will the crowd be lower than 1,253 against Bath on Thursday night even with admission at just a fiver? Hopefully the crowd will be bigger.

The Stags made five changes to the side that performed so abysmally at Hayes & Yeading. Silk replaced Istead at right back. Stonehouse came in at left back with Sandwith moving to centre half and Steve Foster dropping out. Cain and Nix replaced Higginson and Thompson in midfield. While Mitchley replaced the suspended Connor up front. Barrow arrived at Field Mill after scoring five second half goals against Kettering with Rutherford having netted a hat-trick.

The Stags had the first chance on 4 minutes when Murray found Mitchley out wide on the left and Mitchley squared back for Murray who fired wide from just outside the box. On 14 minutes, Cain’s corner from the left hand side was headed down and up into the keeper’s arms by Naylor. Stags nearly took the lead on 16 minutes: Nix crossed from the right, Sandwith headed it down and Naylor came within a whisker of turning it in at the right post. Good play from Briscoe on 25 minutes ended with a shot from 28 yards which was well wide. Barrow full-back Spender fired just wide from 25 yards on 28 minutes. Then on 33 minutes, Rutherford cut inside from the right onto his left foot and curled a shot at Grof.

Whereas the Stags had started the game quite well in the first 15 minutes, Barrow were on top for the last 15 minutes of the half and started to put the Stags under some pressure. On 44 minutes, Rutherford cut inside again this time from the left and he fired in a low shot which Grof saved low down to his right.

Half time 0-0

Stags had two chances in the 53rd minute as first Nix had a shot blocked from 16 yards and then Medley turned well inside the box on the right and shot into the side netting. On 58 minutes, Barrow left back Edwards did well to get a cross in from the left and the dangerous Rutherford had a shot blocked from the edge of the box. There was a good move from the Stags on 59 minutes as Briscoe fed Cain on the right who crossed into the middle and Medley headed straight at the keeper. On 61 minutes, a good ball out to Medley on the left, he cut inside and curled shot a couple of yards over the bar.

The Stags had been building up a head of steam and deservedly took the lead on 63 minutes. Medley curled in a cross from the left, Briscoe was unmarked 7 yards out, he took one touch to control the ball and fired it low into the net with his left foot.

Two minutes later, a great ball from Nix out to the left hand side, Medley cut inside and his right foot shot was just past the left post.

The Stags had the ball in the net on 72 minutes but it was disallowed. Naylor’s ball over the top from the halfway line was controlled well by Mitchley who fired into the net from 8 yards but the referee blew for offside against Medley. Video evidence was inconclusive whether Medley was offside but anecdotal evidence from fans in line with it confirmed Medley was offside, though he never touched the ball.

On 77 minutes, a free kick from Nix 35 yards out and Mitchley headed straight at the keeper from 8 yards.

But the game completely changed direction on 78 minutes with a goal out of nothing for Barrow. Danny Forest spotted Grof a few yards off his line and from 25 yards, fired a great shot over the Stags keeper and into the net. It was a great goal but in all honesty Grof shouldn’t have been beaten from there.

The Stags stopped playing football and suddenly came under tremendous pressure from Barrow. On 80 minutes, Nix deflected a close range shot over the bar. From the resulting corner from the left, Stonehouse cleared a header off the line. Moments later, Grof came right to the edge of the area to punch clear and initially I thought he was outside the box but video evidence showed he was right on the line. A mistake by Gary Silk on 83 minutes and this time it was Sandwith who blocked a goalbound Andy Cook shot. On 86 minutes, another shot from Barrow this time just over the bar.

The Stags had a chance to win it themselves on 87 minutes when Briscoe crossed from the left and Murray, with his back to the goal, flicked a header just past the left post. I couldn’t understand why the Stags hadn’t made any substitutions, especially since Duncan Russell has repeatedly talked about tired legs recently, but there was finally a change on 87 minutes as Higginson replaced Mitchley.

Grof was called into action on 88 minutes as he saved a shot from the edge of the box and just clung on to it at the second attempt. A minute later, an outstanding save from Grof as he dived low to his left to turn away a Cook header.

And so the Stags hung on for a point in a game that it looked like they would win until 78 minutes. Mansfield’s capitulation after the equaliser was depressing to watch and led to a chorus of “Russell out” at the final whistle. Grof had had nothing to do in the second half until the 78th minute but in the end, Barrow should have won it with numerous glorious chances.

Man of the match: Tom Naylor

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Grof 7 Outstanding save in the 89th minute low down to his left to preserve a point, a couple of other good saves too, and decent handling, but was caught out by the goal which was fired over him from 25 yards.
Silk 6 One awful error gifted Barrow a chance, but otherwise was steady.
Naylor 7 Calm and assured as usual. One mistake was uncharacteristic and made you realise how few mistakes he makes.
Sandwith 6 Did well until the last 12 minutes but then Barrow were raining shots and headers in.
Stonehouse 6 One very good clearance off the line. Did ok at left back.
Cain 5 Showed poor control too often. Only one good cross all night which Medley headed at the keeper.
Murray 5.5 Did well in patches and nearly scored a late winner but didn't really get a grip of the game.
Nix 6 One or two decent crosses but he and Murray didn't dictate the game.
Briscoe 7 In the right place for his 15th goal since Christmas. Some good playing going forward.
Medley 6.5 Got himself into goalscoring positions and had 4 chances, but not clinical enough. Nevertheless at least gave the defenders something to think about. Supplied the cross for Briscoe's goal.
Mitchley 5 Totally anonymous.
Sub Line Up:
Higginson (for Medley, 88) - Brought on too late.
Subs Not Used: Collett, Foster, Istead, Smith.
Opposition Line Up:
Masters, Spender, Mike Pearson, Bolland, Edwards, Rutherford, Owen (Hulbert 72), Sheridan (Baker 71), Smith, Forrest, Curtis (Cook 76). Subs Not Used: Shaun Pearson, Nicholas.
Richard West (Yorkshire) 8 Quiet game, handled it well.

Season 10/11 Reports