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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
5 - 0
 Newport County
Green 11, Briscoe 33, 71, Dyer 56, O'Neill 75
Attendance: 2324 (121 from Newport)
Date: 10 September 2011


by Martin Shaw

Mansfield Town turned in a superb display in front of the Premier Sports TV cameras on Saturday night to annihilate hapless Newport County 5-0. The Stags got off to a great start with an early goal from Matt Green (again) though he was half a yard offside which was missed by the officials. Louis Briscoe added a terrific second on 33 minutes. Ross Dyer was in the right place to tap in the third in the second half, then Briscoe volleyed home a brilliant fourth from outside the area, and finally a great goal from Luke O'Neill who had his shorts vitually pulled down but still managed to slot the ball home. The Stags could have had more, whereas Newport barely tested Alan Marriott. Mansfield move into third place and are really on the up.

It was the first time the Stags have won four games on the trot since October 2003, a run that started with that amazing win with nine men at Cambridge, in a season when the side eventually reached the play-off final at Cardiff. It was the first time the Stags have kept four clean sheets on the trot since April 1997, when we actually kept six successive clean sheets. It was the first time the Stags have won four games on the trot with clean sheets in each game, since May 1977, those games being the last 4 games of the title-winning season which took the Stags into the second tier of English football for the only time in our history. It was the first time the Stags have won live on TV since the win at Harrogate Railway in the FA Cup in December 2007, in our last season in the football league.

The Stags were unchanged again. On the bench, Adam Smith replaced the injured Lee Stevenson. The game was played in a howling wind, and started in bright sunshine, yet ended in a torrential downpour which was so heavy that it took Premier Sports TV off the air from 86 minutes to the final whistle. Fortunately nothing of note happened in those final 7 minutes.

On 2 minutes, a good Stags move: Briscoe chipped into the box, and Green had a shot blocked, then Meikle fired wide on the left. Nearly a mix-up between Marriott and Futcher on 4 minutes, but the Stags got away with it. Then Craig McAllister, so impressive for Crawley last season, headed well wide on 5 minutes. Murray fired well over the bar from 22 yards on 7 minutes, following a Kendrick free-kick. On 10 minutes, a Stags free kick from the halfway line just eluded the outstretched leg of Green.

The Stags took the lead on 11 minutes. Dyer nicked the ball away from a defender, found Briscoe 22 yards out, and Briscoe slid a superb reverse pass forward to Green, who was half a yard offside just inside the box, but the officials waved play on and Green fired left footed, while on the turn, into the net off the right post. A stroke of luck for the Stags but a precision finish from Matt Green.

A long range effort from 35 yards from O'Neill on 19 minutes was straight into the keeper's midriff. A chance for Meikle on 25 minutes as Green flicked into his path, Meikle cut inside a defender and from a tight angle scooped his shot wide of the right post. Great play from Meikle to get into a shooting position, but a disappointing shot in the end. On 28 minutes, Green headed Kendrick's cross straight at the keeper. A rare chance for Newport on 30 minutes, as Marriott was stretching from a cross from the left and couldn't hold it. The ball ran free to Rodgers who fired wildly over from the edge of the box.

The Stags made it 2-0 on 33 minutes. Green collected Howell's high ball over the top, cut along the edge of the box, and found Briscoe. Briscoe cut outside a defender on the right and fired his shot right-footed across the keeper and into the left corner of the net from 12 yards - a great finish.

A good break from the Stags on 38 minutes as Kendrick broke forward and found Dyer on the left, and Dyer just failed to pick out Green in the middle.

The Stags were all over hapless Newport, but it was only 2-0 at the break. Great stuff from Mansfield and the home fans were in good voice.

Half time 2-0

Within 70 seconds of the restart, Matt Green had struck the woodwork for the second week running. Murray did very well to win a header on the edge of the box on the right, and Green, in the middle with his back to goal, did superbly to turn, 18 yards out, and power a left footed effort onto the bar. Spectacular, superb, outstanding - find whatever words you want. Newport had a chance on 50 minutes as Tommy Miller headed into the side netting from a corner. On 50 minutes, Howell fired over for the Stags after Meikle found Green who back-heeled into the path of Howell on the edge of the box. Craig McAllister broke to the edge of the Stags box on 54 minutes and tried to chip Marriott but the Stags keeper caught it easily.

It was 3-0 on 56 minutes. O'Neill's long ball forward found Green, Green laid it inside for Briscoe who had burst into the box, and Briscoe cut the ball across the goal for Dyer to slide in at the left post and score from close range.

Green ran onto a huge hoof forward by Kendrick on 63 minutes, Green got to the edge of the box, and did superbly again to turn inside a defender and onto his left foot and fired low and hard but straight at the keeper. Brilliant play from Meikle on the left on 71 minutes as he beat two defenders and forced the keeper to tip the ball over from 19 yards with a terrific right-footed shot.

From the resulting corner it was 4-0. Kendrick's corner from the right was headed up in the air by one Newport defender, then another, but only into the path of Briscoe who met it on the volley on the edge of the D, and fired it low and hard down the middle of the goal giving the keeper no chance such was the power of the shot. Outstanding technique from Briscoe and another cracking goal.

On 75 minutes, it was 5-0. O'Neill picked up the ball on the halfway line on the right. He played a one-two with Green on the edge of the box, as Green produced a beautiful back-heel, and O'Neill kept his balance despite a defender trying to pull him back by his shorts, to roll the ball under the keeper from 8 yards out on the right. It was reminiscent of O'Neill's goal at Stockport, though this time he finished with his right foot.

That was the end of the scoring and the chances, as a monsoon enveloped Field Mill and the Stags made three changes with Adam Smith replacing Meikle, Jon Worthington replacing Howell, and Paul Connor replacing Dyer. The Stags fans were in great voice, simply loving the Stags' best performance for some time.

The Stags have moved into the third place. Another big test at Barrow next Saturday, as Barrow saw off leaders Wrexham today. But just for now, the Stags can bask in the glory of a five-star show in front of the TV cameras. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the Match: O'Neill, Howell, Briscoe, Meikle, Green - couldn't split them - all excellent.

Report by: Martin Shaw

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Quiet game, but did what he needed to do well.
O'Neill 9 Excellent pushing forward and got another deserved goal.
Sutton 7 Good game, solid.
Futcher 8 Some good clearances, commanding at the back.
Kendrick 7 Defended well.
Briscoe 9 Two great goals. Gave the defenders a nightmare.
Howell 9 Excellent, continues to do all the ugly side of the game that Paul Cox wants him to do. Some great challenges. Is becoming a firm favourite with the fans, as shown by the reception when he came off.
Murray 8 Played very well.
Meikle 9 Terrific, if only he could shoot! Tracks back so well too.
Green 9 Led the line superbly again. Scored one, unlucky with several others including hitting the woodwork again.
Dyer 8 Very good game and deserved his goal.
Sub Line Up:
Smith (for Meikle, 76) -
Worthington (for Howell, 80) -
Connor (for Dyer, 83) -
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Naylor.
Opposition Line Up:
Thompson, Robson, Warren, Yakubu, Baker, Rodgers (Jardim 68), Doherty, Miller, Rose, Buchanan (Jarvis 58), McAllister. Subs Not Used: Harrison, Hughes, Hatswell.
Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire) 8 Handled the game very assuredly.

Season 11/12 Reports