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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Braintree Town  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Bailey-Dennis 54.
 Briscoe 47.
Attendance: 875 (212 from Mansfield)
Date: 20 August 2011


Martin Shaw at Cressing Road

Mansfield Town were left very frustrated after their first ever visit to Braintree Town, having dominated much of the game but not having been able to capitalise on their possession. After a tight first half, the Stags took the lead on 47 minutes when Louis Briscoe fired home after Matt Green’s shot had been parried by the keeper. Braintree equalised on 54 minutes when the linesman adjudged that the ball had crossed the line following a scramble from a corner. After that, Mansfield were completely in charge but couldn’t force the ball in. Nevertheless, this was an improved display as the Stags displayed the steel and determination that Paul Cox had demanded and were rarely troubled at the back. 6 ft 7 inch defender Ben Futcher did well on his debut, as did Martin Riley, the central midfield of Murray and Howell ran the game, while Lindon Meikle was impressive on the wing and Matt Green had his best game so far up front.

Mansfield made 4 changes to the side that lost at Gateshead. New loan signing Ben Futcher replaced suspended Naylor, Howell replaced Worthington, Meikle replaced Stevenson and Dyer replaced Connor.

A heavy shower before the game left the pitch a little slippy. The pitch itself was as bumpy as any we have seen in four years in the Conference. The ground was probably on a par with Hayes & Yeading’s Church Road as the smallest we have played at.

On 2 minutes, a good block at the back by Riley after Ben Wright had got past him. A minute later, a chance for Braintree as Marks shot from 25 yards and it was saved low to his right by Marriott. On 5 minutes, a yellow card for Kendrick as he jumped into a challenge. No argument over the card.

On 12 minutes, Green had a shot deflected through to the Braintree keeper, after a move that started with good play from Meikle on the right. Two minutes later, Green headed wide from a Kendrick free kick.

A comedy moment on 23 minutes as the Braintree keeper completely missed a high ball into the box, but there was no Stags player to take advantage. Moments later, Green tried to find Murray in the box but it didn’t quite come off. On 28 minutes, Luke O’Neill also picked up a yellow card as he went through a Braintree player as O’Neill tried to break forward. A bad challenge and this was taking Paul Cox’s call for steel a bit too far.

On 37 minutes, Kendrick’s free kick from 30 yards was met by the towering Ben Futcher who headed goalwards but it was cleared off the line. On 39 minutes, Reason fired just past the left post from 35 yards. Soon afterwards Kendrick did a foul throw, to add to one earlier from O’Neill. Schoolboy stuff from the Stags full-backs.

A solid first half from the Stags, with the steel that Paul Cox had been looking for, with solid crunching tackles, but slightly disappointing going forward as Dyer was not winning his headers, poor crossing from Briscoe and Green was not able to get past his defender.

Half time 0-0

The Stags took the lead on 47 minutes. Green muscled his way into the box on the left from a left wing Kendrick throw, his shot was parried by the keeper and ran to Briscoe, 8 yards out in the middle, and Briscoe buried his shot in the net.

On 50 minutes, Green’s shot was deflected wide. A minute later, a great tackle by Meikle to win the ball, and he found Green but Green’s shot was powder puff.

On 53 minutes, a shot from Jai Reason was blocked by Kendrick. But from the resulting corner, Braintree were level in controversial circumstances. The corner was taken from the right and headed up in the air by central defender Paine as Marriott tried to claim it and went down. As the ball came down, it was headed goalwards from close range by the other central defender Bailey-Dennis and Kendrick appeared to clear it of the line. Braintree players claimed a goal and the linesman flagged that the ball had crossed the line. Stags defenders protested but in vain.

On 59 minutes, Howell’s cross hit Green and ran through to the keeper. More controversy on 63 minutes, as a Braintree player stamped on the back of Luke O’Neill’s neck. It was right in front of us in the press box and half of the Stags fans next to us in the stand. It was a clear straight red, but the referee and linesman did nothing. After a stoppage, O’Neill was ok to carry on.

On 68 minutes, Green flicked a header wide from O’Neill’s cross. On 70 minutes, brilliant play from Meikle as he picked up the ball in the Braintree half, sprinted down the right, cut inside Aswad Thomas and curled a shot just wide of the right post with his left foot. A minute later, Green turned one way then the other and his shot was deflected past the right post. Then a minute after that, Meikle put in a lovely cross from the right but it just escaped from Howell and Dyer sliding in at the far post.

The Stags were completely on top.

On 79 minutes, the Stags had strong claims for a penalty. Briscoe burst into the box on the left, with pace, and went down, seemingly tripped, but the referee waved away appeals. A minute later, great play by Briscoe on the left to set up Kendrick for a cross but not for the first time, it was straight to the keeper. Then on 82, Briscoe chipped into the box, it was knocked down by Murray, and Green’s shot was deflected over. The resulting corner from Kendrick from the right was headed wide by Futcher.

Braintree were completely on the rack, but the Stags couldn’t find the net.

On 89 minutes, Braintree finally had a chance as Yiadom shot well wide and over.

The final whistle blew after 3 minutes of stoppage time to huge frustration for Mansfield. But a good reception from the Stags fans for the hard-working Mansfield players, who certainly deserved more than a point. Three games gone and just two points. The Stags look much better than that. Luton are the next opponents, at Field Mill on Tuesday. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Lindon Meikle

Report by: Martin Shaw at Cressing Road

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Another game where he had very little to do.
O'Neill 6 Defended well. Distribution disappointing. Survived a stamp on the back of his neck.
Riley 7 Defended solidly.
Futcher 7 Added real steel to the back.
Kendrick 5.5 Defended ok but set pieces and other crosses were too often too close to the keeper.
Meikle 7.5 Impressive game on his first start. A livewire on the wing, and got stuck in with some good challenges.
Murray 6.5 Decent game as the Stags bossed the midfield.
Howell 6.5 Quietly went about his business, became more visible as the game wore on. Decent first game back in a Mansfield shirt.
Briscoe 6 Blew hot and cold again. Scored his first goal of the season. Some good runs which led to nothing.
Green 7 Some good runs, and one fine run and shot led to the goal. Involved in most of the goalscoring opportunities.
Dyer 5 Disappointing. Didn’t win his aerial battles and couldn’t get past his defenders on the floor either.
Sub Line Up:
Connor (for Dyer, 82) -
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Wood, Stevenson, Worthington.
Opposition Line Up:
McDonald, O'Connor, Bailey-Dennis, Paine, Thomas, Yiadom, Symons, Davis, Reason (Quinton 73), Marks, Wright (Chilaka 83). Subs Not Used: Ashlee Jones, Constantine, James-Lewis.
Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire) 5 How on earth the officials didn’t spot the stamp on the back of O’Neill’s neck I don’t know.Awarded controversial goal to Braintree.

Season 11/12 Reports