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Season 10/11 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Bath City  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Watkins 52, Scott Murray 75.
 Istead sent off 15
Attendance: 1051 (162 from Mansfield)
Date: 30 April 2011


Martin Shaw at Twerton Park

Mansfield Town ended the league season with an awful performance, albeit for most of the game with ten men, to lose 2-0 at Bath City and thus drop below Bath in the final league table. With focus fully on Wembley and the FA Trophy final just 7 days away, Mansfield were without Paul Connor, Adam Murray and Tom Naylor, carrying injuries, and the rested Louis Briscoe. Without these 4 key players, the Stags were unable to create anything at all going forward during the game. And when Bath put the Stags under pressure in the second half, the Stags defence parted like the Red Sea allowing Marley Watkins and former Bristol City midfielder Scott Murray to net goals and earn a deserved victory for the home side.

After the game, boss Duncan Russell was very unhappy with the Stags performance and told the press that some of his players hadn't worked hard enough. He added that Connor, Murray and Naylor should all be ok for Wembley, which was very good news indeed. Stevie Istead was sent off after 15 minutes, for what appeared to be simply a yellow card offence, and he will therefore be suspended for Wembley. This is a problem, even if only for potentially filling the subs bench, given that the Stags only have 17 players eligible to play at Wembley (excluding long term absentees Day and Sandwith, but including the injured players noted above). Disappointingly, Bath City had a DVD recorder failure and so were unable to provide us with match DVDs after the game. However we persuaded them to transfer the Istead sending-off incident from the tape inside the video camera which they will do at some point over the next 24 hours and make available to Mansfield electronically via the internet or email. This should enable to club to still potentially appeal the second-off.

Mansfield made four changes to the side that came from behind to beat Gateshead. Paul Stonehouse came in at left back, with Gary Silk rested and Dan Spence moving to right back. Meanwhile Kyle Nix, Ashley Cain and Luke Medley came in for injured Adam Murray, rested Tyrone Thompson, and rested Louis Briscoe. Silk, Thompson, and Briscoe were on the bench.

On 3 minutes, Medley played a good ball for Adam Smith but Smith’s weak shot was easily saved. The first chance for Bath came on 6 minutes but Watkins’ shot was straight at Marriott and an easy save for the Stags keeper. Scott Murray fired over the bar for Bath on 9 minutes. On 11 minutes, Medley was almost through on goal but couldn’t get in a shot and the ball went out for a corner which was frustrating with Adam Smith in space in the middle. Poor defending from the Stags on 13 minutes as Lee Phillips made space in the box and shot wide of the left post.

There was a shock on 15 minutes when the Stags were reduced to 10 men with Stevie Istead shown a straight red card. Istead had brought Joe Burnell down and it seemed a regulation yellow card. But the referee had no hesitation pulling out the red card and it seemed an incredible decision.

The Stags switched to a 4-4-1 formation with O’Rafferty moving back into midfield. The game went into a turgid phase with literally no goalmouth action for 17 minutes. Finally on 32 minutes, Scott Murray sent an overhead kick over the bar. Then on 34 minutes, a good run from Lee Phillips and he squared the ball to Canham who sent a shot high and wide from 20 yards. A good tackle from Steve Foster on 36 minutes was at last something positive to say about the Stags. On 42 minutes, Marriott saved from low down Scott Murray’s shot. A minute later, Marriott dived to his right to save from Watkins’ header.

A truly awful half of football with both sides looking dreadful in a turgid affair. It had some competition this season but I reckon that was the worst 45 minutes of entertainment.

Half time 0-0

On 51 minutes, Connolly was right through on goal with only Marriott to beat but scuffed his shot wide of the right post. However the Stags didn’t heed the warning and the defence parted again on 52 minutes. This time it was Watkins through on goal and, rather than shooting, he rounded Marriott on the right before slotting into the empty net to make it 1-0.

Tyrone Thompson replaced the awful O’Rafferty on 57 minutes. At last the Stags created a chance on 61 minutes with a run from Adam Smith and his shot from 22 yards at least forced keeper Ryan Robinson into a save. On 66 minutes, good interplay between Medley and Cain and Medley’s shot was blocked.

On 68 minutes assistant manager Paul Hall replaced Luke Medley who was tiring having to play up front on his own. Hall went up front into an unaccustomed striker role. He played his career as a right back and right midfielder.

It was 2-0 to Bath on 75 minutes. The Stags defence parted like the Red Sea again as Scott Murray made a great run diagonally from right to left through everyone and slid a shot across Marriott with his left foot into the right corner of the net.

On 78 minutes, it was nearly 3-0 as Bath substitute Lewis Hogg got through on goal and put a great chance over the bar. I noticed Steve Foster with his head in his hands undoubtedly disappointed with his own performance and that of the rest of the defence.

On 80 minutes, disappointment nearly turned into catastrophe as Marriott chased out of his area and the ball hit his chest before being cleared. Bath players claimed a hand ball which would surely have seen Marriott sent off and suspended for Wembley, but fortunately the ref saw this one correctly and immediately put his hands to his chest to signify that the ball had not hit his hand.

A great save from Marriott on 82 minutes as he saved from Scott Murray’s chip. The Stags were starting to look a little bit more lively with Hall and Thompson improving the look of the side and on 83 minutes, Smith turned a defender inside out but his shot was saved by Robinson.

On 86 minutes, Paul Hall made his way into the box from the right hand side and appeared to be tripped for a blatant penalty, right in front of the Stags fans. The referee waved play away. After the game I asked Hall if it should’ve been a penalty and he commented that maybe he went down a little too easily.

Another great save from Marriott on 88 minutes as Watkins was through on goal and Marriott saved from close range.

So the league season ended with an awful performance from the Stags. It was clear that without our 4 best outfield players over the season (Briscoe, Murray, Connor and Naylor), there is a lack of quality in the rest of the squad. It also demonstrated yet again that the Stags seem to be unable to play with 10 men. Everyone keep everything crossed that our four key outfield players plus Marriott are fit for Wembley and that we don’t get a player sent off on the big day. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw at Twerton Park

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Made a few decent saves and handling was good from the few crosses that were put in. No chance with the goals. Should boost his confidence after the Gateshead game. Looks ready for Wembley.
Spence 6 Just about the pick of the defence.
Foster 5 OK in a quiet first half, but the central defence got split open in the second half.
Preece 5 As Foster, ok in the first half, but poor second half.
Stonehouse 5.5 Not his best game. His inconsistency is frustrating.
Cain 5 Contributed nothing to the game.
Istead 5 Started the game badly with poor distribution. Appeared to be harshly sent off on 15 minutes.
Nix 5 Gave the ball away on occasion. Poor corners.
Smith 5 Poor. Did at least have one effort from 24 yards, which was easily saved.
Medley 5 Not his game, having to play up front on his own. Nevertheless was poor.
O'Rafferty 5 Poor up front, and then just as bad when moved the midfield after the sending off.
Sub Line Up:
Thompson (for O'Rafferty, 58) 6.5 Livened things up a bit when he came on.
Hall (for Medley, 68) 7 Did well as a makeshift striker. Nearly earned a penalty.
Subs Not Used: Collett, Briscoe, Silk.
Opposition Line Up:
Robinson, Simpson (Rollo 37), Jones (Hogg 58), Webb, Jombati, Murray, Burnell, Canham, Connolly (Harris 74), Phillips, Watkins. Subs Not Used: Mackie, Henry.
Marvin Thompson (Middlesex) 5 Very quick to send off Istead, which appeared to be a poor decision. Didn't have a good game.

Season 10/11 Reports