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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Stockport County  
0 - 1
 Mansfield Town
 O'Neill 67
Attendance: 3571 (436 from Mansfield)
Date: 29 August 2011


Martin Shaw at Edgeley Park

Mansfield Town picked up their away win of the season with a solid 1-0 win at previously unbeaten Stockport County on Monday lunchtime. The only goal of the game came after 67 minutes when Luke O’Neill exchanged passes with Matt Green before firing left footed and low across the keeper from the right into the bottom left corner of the net. The Stags had the better of the chances and Ross Dyer missed a sitter in the first half with a header from a brilliant Briscoe cross, while Matt Green should have sealed it with a good chance right at the end. But it didn’t matter as Alan Marriott was barely tested in a really solid defensive display. This was a fine team performance as the team looked so well-organised. Man of the match could even be manager Paul Cox for that organisation of the team. Six points in less than 48 hours has sent the Stags rocketing up the table. This was the Stags’ first back-to-back wins since September last year. More of the same at Darlington on Saturday would go a long way to relieving the pain of defeat at Wembley in May.

Commentary of the Stags goal and the end of the game against Stockport County, from BBC Radio Nottingham full match commentary, by Ian Williams and Martin Shaw.

The Stags made one change from the side that beat Kettering on Saturday as Martin Riley missed out through injury (he had tweeted on Sunday night that his toe wasn’t going to make it!). Ritchie Sutton came in for his first start. Stockport included former Stags triallist goalkeeper Matt Glennon, and Martin Gritton up front who once scored a hat-trick for the Stags (against Torquay). The game started in pouring rain, and it rained throughout much of the game, making the surface greasy and the ball skipped through.

Stockport had the first chance, on 3 minutes as McConville fired wide of the right post. A good move from Stockport on 5 minutes, and McConville tried a low shot from a tight angle which was saved low down by Marriott, who also did well to hold onto the ball and stop it going for a corner. Early bookings for Futcher and O’Neill which had much to do with the wet surface.

The Stags should have taken the lead on 9 minutes. Great play from Briscoe down the right as he beat two defenders, and worked himself into a position where he was able to put in a perfect cross, right onto the head of Ross Dyer, inside the six box, but Dyer somehow headed the ball wide. A bad miss.

On 10 minutes, a third chance of the match for McConville who fired wide from a tight angle. A great move from the Stags on 15 minutes, as Meikle found Green with good trickery on the left, Green backheeled the ball towards Dyer, but the ball was cleared. On 24 minutes, a long range shot from Elliott which Marriott saved and did well to hold. Dyer was well over the bar from 26 yards on 28 minutes. Green turned inside on 30 minutes but fired over. On 32 minutes, a Kendrick corner was cleared to the edge of the D and Briscoe pulled the trigger but it just came off the outside of his right boot, and skewed a couple of yards past the right post.

A strange incident on 37 minutes as Briscoe broke into the box on the right and got past left back Holden. Holden went down and possibly clipped Briscoe as he went down. Briscoe stayed on his feet but instead of going for goal he stopped and appealed to the ref for a penalty. The ref waved away appeals and the chance was gone. Briscoe broke the golden rule of playing to the whistle and should either have kept on playing and had a shot, or gone down properly which might have earned a penalty.

The Stags were on top in the first half for the last 30 minutes of the half after Stockport had started well in the opening minutes. Briscoe and Meikle seemed to have the beating of the full backs. Murray was the Stags best player in the first half.

Half time 0-0

Another chance for McConville on 50 minutes as Kendrick was caught out of position on the right and McConville’s low shot from a tight angle was blocked by Marriott with his ankle, the ball going out for a corner. Stockport had come out of the traps well and on 52 minutes Holden shot just wide of the left post. Then Rowe fired over.

The Stags started to get back on top and on 58 minutes O’Neill got into a good position for a cross, but with players available, his cross was blocked for a corner. On 63 minutes Meikle did well inside the box, but curled a shot wide of the right post.

The crucial goal came on 67 minutes. O’Neill played a terrific one-two with Green on the right before sliding a left footed shot low and across the keeper into the bottom left corner of the net.

On 70 minutes, Rowe did well to get in a low shot left footed that was just past the right post. At the other end, Kendrick’s free kick fell to Briscoe whose low shot was blocked. Then on 74, McConville again tried his luck and was just wide of the left post. Then on 75, Holden’s shot following a Stockport free kick was deflected wide. Stockport had calls for a penalty on 81 minutes as Elliott went down, but the calls were mainly from the home fans behind the goal. On 84 minutes, McConville failed to make the most of space and his cross was easy for Marriott.

Frustration for Meikle on 86 minutes as he did brilliantly to dribble past two defenders, but instead of pulling the trigger to shoot, he tried to walk the ball into the net and lost it at the last minute. He was subbed moments later (by Worthington), and you could see Meikle was frustrated with himself as he went and sat in the dugout.

On 87 minutes, Green found sub Connor (who had replaced Dyer), and Connor elected to shoot first time but it was rather wasted as Glennon easily saved low down.

The Stags should have sealed it on 90 minutes. A long ball towards Green was magnificently trapped by the Stags striker. He controlled it, continued to burst forward and cut inside the last defender. Connor had laboured to get forward slowly, but was up alongside Green as Green cut inside. Green elected to shoot though, left footed, and just over the bar. Probably Green had made his mind up that Connor was too slow getting forward, but the pass may have been the better option.

Stockport had one last chance to get the ball into the Stags box in stoppage time with a throw-in but a foul throw meant the opportunity was wasted and the Stags were soon celebrating victory in front of the 436 wet but delighted Stags fans behind the goal.

After the game, Paul Cox told the media that it would be difficult to pick a man of the match and it had been a good team performance. The Stags had truly grafted and worked hard for the victory.

Man of the Match: Adam Murray

Report by: Martin Shaw at Edgeley Park

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Good handling throughout in slippery conditions. No difficult saves to make.
O'Neill 8 Defended very well and broke forward very well. Excellent first goal for the club. Good partnership with Briscoe on the right.
Sutton 8 Really solid first start. Linked very well with Futcher.
Futcher 8.5 Immense. Marshalled the defence very well again. Whole-hearted defender who showed what victory meant to him at the final whistle.
Kendrick 7 Defended well. Set pieces and distribution were disappointing.
Briscoe 7.5 Outstanding cross put a chance on a plate for Dyer. Worked hard throughout and his tracking-back was excellent.
Murray 9 Captain fantastic again. When the Stags were guilty of playing long balls over the top in the first half, you could see him try to change it by getting the ball out to the wingers.
Howell 7.5 Did all the ugly side of the game that Paul Cox wanted him to do. Lots of solid challenges and breaking up Stockport’s play.
Meikle 7.5 Also worked very hard to track back throughout. Had the beating of the defenders all game, but didn’t really make the best of it, and on one occasion beat two defenders and tried to walk the ball in rather than pulling the trigger. Good game, but still capable of better. Shows great promise but can be infuriating.
Green 7 Difficult game on the wet surface. Quite outstanding control to trap a ball over the top and nearly scored from it towards the end. Good one-two with O’Neill for the only goal.
Dyer 6 Did ok, but missed a chance that you can’t afford to miss. Won some headers, but not really effective.
Sub Line Up:
Connor (for Dyer, 80) -
Worthington (for Meikle, 88) -
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Wood, Stevenson.

Opposition Line Up:
Glennon, McCann, O'Donnell, Piergianni, Holden, McConville, Nolan, Sheridan (Miles 75), Rowe (Chamberlain 71), Gritton (Chadwick 61), Elliott. Subs Not Used: Ormson, Halls
Peter Bankes (Merseyside) 7 A couple of bizarre decisions, but generally handled the game well.

Season 11/12 Reports