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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
3 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Shaw 34, Odubade 41, Curtis 59.
 Naylor sent off 79.
Attendance: 825 (125 from Mansfield)
Date: 16 August 2011


Martin Shaw at the International Stadium

Mansfield Town were beaten 3-0 by Gateshead on Tuesday night on a nightmare of an evening in the North East. The Stags had dominated play for the opening 34 minutes, and had actually had the home side on the rack for about 15 minutes, when Gateshead took the lead out of the blue through former Stag Jon Shaw. Then Yemi Odubade scored a brilliant individual goal on 41 minutes to make it 2-0. Stags heads dropped, while Gateshead grew visibly in confidence. When Gateshead added a third on 59 minutes with a powerful Curtis header from a corner, it was only their third goal attempt. After that the Stags never looked like clawing their way back, and the misery was compounded when Tom Naylor was shown a straight red on 79 minutes for a two-footed challenge though he did get the ball. After the game Paul Cox said his side had a soft underbelly and he would be attempting to add some steel to it by moving some players on and bringing in some players who do the ugly side of the game well.

Mansfield made two changes from the side that drew with Bath City. Joe Kendrick came in for Bell at left back (Kendrick had been suspended for the Bath game), and Lee Stevenson replaced Andy Todd. Both were making their debuts. The formation was 4-2-3-1, with three midfielders Briscoe (right), Stevenson (central) and Green (left) just behind Connor. Nick Wood, on a one-month contract, was on the bench, and came on for his debut in defence. Gateshead included Kyle Nix on the bench - Nix played at Wembley for the Stags in May. Chris Moore was also on the bench for Gateshead, having played for Darlington at Wembley. In the team for Gateshead was Chris Carruthers, who was on trial at Mansfield in pre-season.

Heavy rain in the early afternoon had left the pitch quite wet, but the sun then came out for the rest of the afternoon. Water sprayed up on patches of the pitch in the early stages, and another equally heavy shower could have put the game in doubt.

The opening half hour was all about Mansfield. On 8 minutes, Green did very well to get down the left to the byeline, and he then put a ball across the six yard box, but it was behind Connor. With the goalkeeper on the ground no-one was able to get hold of the loose ball and time seemed to stand still before a defender was finally able to clear it. A good run by Briscoe on 15 minutes, but Green wasted it. On 18 minutes, O’Neill who had made an impressive start at right back, found Connor in the post on the right, but Connor shot wide of the right post. The Stags were completely on top.

On 24 minutes, Connor was through on goal but a defender got back to block his shot. It reminded me of two chances Connor had at Wembley where through injury he couldn’t get away from his defender. Connor is now supposed to be fully fit though, and it seems he has lost a yard of pace from the start of last season. Moments later Lee Stevenson had a shot from just outside the box, but it was powder puff and saved low at the right post.

On 26 minutes a really great run from Briscoe down the right, and he crossed low and hard almost along the goalline. Big central defender James Curtis somehow flicked the ball up and over his own bar from only about a yard out. Great stuff from Briscoe and incredible how it didn’t go in. From the resulting corner, Murray had a left footed shot cleared off the line. Tremendous pressure from Mansfield and Gateshead were well and truly on the rack. On 30 minutes, Carruthers’ cross from the left was spooned over his own bar by Naylor. It was the first time Gateshead had been anywhere near the Mansfield net.

But on 34 minutes Gateshead took a shock lead. Carruthers' throw from the left found Yemi Odubade, who rolled a low cross across the edge of the box for former Stag Jon Shaw to slot the ball low into the bottom left of the net from 15 yards. Stags were stunned.

And on 41 minutes it was 2-0. Odubade made a fabulous run down the right, outpacing Kendrick and Riley, and cutting inside before sliding the ball under Marriott. An outstanding solo goal.

On 45 minutes, another good run from Briscoe, and he crossed to the near post but his cross was blocked up in the air.

The Stags had been on top for the opening 30 minutes and were all over Gateshead, but a goal came out of the blue and then Gateshead started playing with confidence. Briscoe in particular seemed to have the beating of the full backs but crossing generally wasn’t good enough.

Half time 2-0

A great chance for the Stags to get back into it on 47 minutes. Joe Kendrick crossed from the left and Connor rose above his marker but headed over from just inside the six-yard box. On 53 minutes, Lee Stevenson turned and shot well wide with his left foot.

It was 3-0 on 59 minutes. Gateshead were awarded a corner on the far (left) side. Matt Green protested vehemently that it should have been a goal kick and was warned by the referee for protesting. From our position on the other side, it was impossible to tell. Cummins fired in a powerful corner to the near post and giant centre half James Curtis got his head on it to power it into the left corner of the net despite Marriott possible getting a finger on it.

Ross Dyer immediately replaced Connor. Green went up front on his own, and Dyer replaced Green in the three behind the front man. On 66 minutes, Gateshead missed a chance - notable because it was their first missed chance of the entire game, as a shot was just past the right post from the edge of the box.

On 69 minutes, from Kendrick’s corner, Riley headed just over. Then a double chance for the Stags on 70 as Briscoe fired goalwards but was denied on the line by James Curtis, and Green's follow-up was saved.

Adam Smith replaced Worthington a minute later. On 78 minutes, Briscoe got into a great position for a cross on the left, but it was straight at the keeper. It summed his night up.

Controversy on 79 minutes as Naylor was sent off for the first time in his career. He lunged at Odubade with a two footed challenge but definitely got the ball and the ball rolled into the Stags dugout just yards away. I could see justification for the ref’s decision though another ref may have just given a yellow.

I wanted to study it again on the match DVD, but despite having made firm arrangements to have a copy of the DVD straight after the game, I wasn’t able to get one and will yet again have to wait. Very frustrating.

Nick Wood immediately replaced Green, and went into central defence.

Kyle Nix came on for Gateshead on 82. Gateshead sub Mulligan went down in the box on 83 but the ref waved away appeals for a penalty. Close one to call and we’ve seen them given.

Adam Murray made a bad challenge on 84 minutes - the challenge of a frustrated man and got a yellow card. On another day, that could also have been red.

Gateshead nearly added an even more flattering fourth on 86 minutes as a great cross from Odubade was volleyed over by Jon Shaw. Then on 89 minutes, Kyle Nix sent a free kick straight at Marriott. And on 90+4, Shaw headed straight at Marriott from Nix’s corner. The Stags had gone by this point as finally the home side racked up some chances.

But a thumping defeat for Mansfield in terms of the scoreline. Harsh words from Paul Cox afterwards. The Stags need to get the season up and running with a victory very soon. Newcomers Braintree next, who amazingly thumped Grimsby 5-0 on Tuesday night.

Man of the match: Luke O'Neill

Report by: Martin Shaw at the International Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Had to pick the ball out three times, but no saves to make apart from that.
O'Neill 7 Very good first half with some fine tackles.
Riley 6 Did ok.
Naylor 5.5 Defended ok, distribution was poor. Tackle did appear to be two-footed for the red card.
Kendrick 6 Ok.
Worthington 5 Ineffective.
Murray 6 Kept going but unable to inspire the side.
Briscoe 5 Hot and cold. Some great runs but some poor crossing. Frustrating.
Stevenson 5 Some nice touches, but really produced nothing.
Green 5 Cut a frustrated figure again, especially when he contested the corner that led to the third goal. Some good runs but again no product.
Connor 4 Seems to have lost a yard of pace from the start of last season. One run at goal was reminiscent of two runs at Wembley when he was injured. He is now supposed to be fit.
Sub Line Up:
Dyer (for Connor, 60) - Came on at 3-0 and the game was gone.
Smith (for Worthington, 71) - Didn't get a chance to get in to the game.
Wood (for Green, 80) - Came on when Naylor was sent off and went into central defence.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Meikle.
Opposition Line Up:
Farman, Carruthers, Odhiambo, Clark, Curtis, Cummins (Nix 83), Gate, Turnbull, Fisher (Moore 71), Shaw, Odubade (Mulligan 81).Subs Not Used: Deasy, Baxter
Stephen Smith (County Durham) 7 Generally did ok. I can see why he sent Naylor off.

Season 11/12 Reports