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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Luton Town
Green 27.
 Antwi 78.
Attendance: 2592 (437 from Luton)
Date: 23 August 2011


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

In one of the best games of football involving a Mansfield Town side for a long time, much-fancied Luton Town escaped from Field Mill with a draw and left the Stags frustrated yet again at failure to win a game that they deserved to win. The Stags made a positive start to the game, but Luton had a good spell during which Alan Marriott made a great save from Amari Morgan-Smith. Then on 27 minutes Matt Green put the Stags ahead with a brilliant goal, firing into the top right corner of the net from the edge of box. The Stags played some superb football for the rest of the match, missing a host of good chances, but were pegged back on 78 minutes, when Will Antwi headed home from a free-kick. So the Stags have only three points from the opening four games, but fans went home tonight knowing that this side is capable of having a good season and hugely encouraged seeing the players starting to gel as a team. There were many good performances throughout the team with Green particularly impressing, the central midfield looking strong with Murray and Howell, Briscoe showing touches of his best form, and the defence looking solid. The work rate of the side was notable, and the soft under-belly that Paul Cox talked about after the Gateshead game, has gone, on this showing.

Mansfield kept an unchanged side from the team that drew at Braintree on Saturday. Luton included former Stags striker Aaron O’Connor.

The Stags made a positive start in the opening 5 minutes without creating anything. On 9 minutes, a good break down the right by Aaron O’Connor, who had an initial shot blocked, the ball rebounded to him and his second shot was deflected over the bar. A minute later, Amari Morgan-Smith was through down the left, and his shot brought a great save from Marriott, tipping the ball past the right post. Stags’ first chance came on 12 minutes as Meikle went on a good run, cut inside and shot well wide of the right post. On 16 minutes, a good move from the Stags and Briscoe shot just past the left post. A good break by Luton on 19 minutes, with Morgan-Smith down the left, he played the ball inside for Dance, whose low shot was straight at Marriott. Another good move by Luton on 23 minutes, and a cross from the left was headed over at the right post by Dance. Marriott was furious with his defence (for the second time), and moment earlier Futcher and O’Neill had been complaining at each other. Luton were on top.

But on 27 minutes came an early candidate for goal of the season. A Kendrick throw-in found Meikle, who squared the ball for Green. Green cut inside on the edge of the box and fired a thunderbolt into the top right corner of the net.

The dangerous Morgan-Smith sent a 25 yard free-kick just past the left post on 31 minutes. On 38 minutes, Kendrick’s corner from the right was met by Riley with his head and his header was cleared off the line for another corner. From the resulting corner on the left, the ball came out to Briscoe on the right, he chipped it back in and Meikle was over the bar from close range.

Half time 1-0

A minute into the second half, Kendrick’s free kick from the left was headed wide from 5 yards by Futcher. A great chance missed. A couple of half chances for the Stags on 54 minutes as two crosses were cleared. Great play from Briscoe on 57 minutes but he could only cut the ball back into the keeper’s arms. A fine effort from Watkins from 22 yards on 59 minutes which Marriott tipped wide. On 63 minutes, a free kick from Kendrick was deflected just over the bar with the keeper wrong-footed. From the resulting corner by Kendrick, Futcher headed wide. Great play from the Stags on 66 minutes and Green smacked an effort from a tight angle against the outside of the right post. Straight to the other end, and Curtis Osano had a similar effort to Green and fired into the side netting.

A free kick to the Stags on 69 minutes, but, off the ball, Green stupidly biffed Dean Beckwith in the face. After a short delay, the referee booked Green - a huge let-off. Immediately from the free kick, Green headed straight at the keeper. The Stags were on fire, but needed a second goal.

On 73 minutes, a free kick from Jake Howells was always going just over but Marriott tipped it further over just to make sure.

On 78 minutes it was 1-1. Kendrick conceded a free kick on the right. Jake Howells floated it into the middle and Will Antwi ghosted away from his marker Futcher to head into the net.

On 81 minutes, great play from Green in the middle, and he shot over from 30 yards. Moments later, Meikle made progress into the box on the right and went down under a challenge, but video evidence showed it was a shoulder charge and the referee correctly waved away penalty appeals. A free kick from Kendrick from 25 yards on 88 minutes was caught by keeper Tyler at the right post. Brilliant play by Briscoe on 89 minutes and he played in Green but Green couldn’t quite get there. On 90 minutes, Green shot from the left and Tyler made a fine save. Two minutes into stoppage time, Futcher headed wide from O’Neill’s cross. It had been a grandstand finish from the Stags after Luton had equalised, and so encouraging that the Stags had not crumbled in the face of an opposition goal.

The Stags were left thoroughly frustrated not to win the game. Luton manager Brabin’s assertion that Luton should have won, was truly astonishing and ridiculous. The Stags were completely dominant from the 25th minute onward. Nevertheless a hugely encouraging performance. The Stags now need to turn promise into points.

Man of the match: Matt Green

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Great save from Morgan-Smith early on. Some other decent saves, but no chance with the goal.
O'Neill 7 Defended well and broke forward well. Some early disagreements with Futcher which were ironed out.
Riley 7 Defended solidly.
Futcher 7 Looks a great loan signing. Marshalled the defence well.
Kendrick 7 Set pieces improved as the game went on. Defended well.
Briscoe 7 Starting to look back to his best, running at the defence.
Murray 7.5 Superb work rate.
Howell 7 With Murray, worked hard in the engine room as Stags bossed much of the game.
Meikle 6 A livewire on the wing, and tracked back very well when needed. Hugely frustrating though as there was no end product with any of his play, too often running into a brick wall. Reminds you of Briscoe in his early days at Field Mill, so there is much hope.
Green 8 Great game. Brilliant goal and created trouble for the Luton defence all night.
Dyer 6 Wasn’t involved in any chances which is a disappointing for a striker in an attacking side.
Sub Line Up:
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Wood, Stevenson, Worthington, Connor.
Opposition Line Up:
Tyler, Osano, Beckwith, Antwi, Asafu-Adjaye (Gleeson 56), Howells, Watkins, Dance, Morgan-Smith, Crow, O'Connor (Walker 61). Subs Not Used: K Pilkington, Barnes-Homer, Poku.
Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear) 5 Poor game.

Season 11/12 Reports