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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Grimsby Town
O’Neill 71, Connor 76.
 Coulson 30.
Attendance: 2982 (589 from Grimsby)
Date: 8 October 2011


by Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Mansfield Town came back from 1-0 down to beat Grimsby 2-1 at Field Mill this afternoon thanks to a wonderful free kick from Luke O’Neill from 30 yards, and then a Paul Connor header from a fine O’Neill corner. The Stags were behind at the break, to Coulson’s shot from the edge of the box which Marriott appeared to have saved diving to his right, but the ball still crept in off the post. Grimsby were unlucky not to increase their lead minutes later when Marriott punched out a cross from underneath his bar and as the loose ball was belted into the net, the referee deemed that Marriott had been fouled. O’Neill hit the bar with a fine free kick in the first half but generally the Stags were not at the races. In the second half Green appeared to have been fouled in the box, but the referee waved away appeals, before O’Neill’s superb goal and Connor’s header won it. After that the Stags should have increased the lead when Futcher headed against the bar from another O’Neill corner, and Green was through one-on-one but missed his chance to seal the game. Grimsby had plenty of possession in the closing stages but did not create any chances to equalise. It was the first time this season the Stags have won a game having been behind.

Mansfield made 3 changes with Naylor returning from suspension in place of Kendrick, Futcher also returning from suspension in place of Riley, and Meikle replacing the suspended Howell. Naylor came in at right back with O’Neill switching to left back. Todd was surprisingly on the right of midfield with Meikle on the left. Adam Murray tweeted during the morning that he was dosed up on painkillers, but still played, and we can ill-afford to be without him if he needs an operation. Grimsby included former Stags Craig Disley, Rob Duffy and Scott Garner in the starting eleven, with Gary Silk on the bench.

Drizzle most of the morning left a greasy surface and in the opening stages the ball was even bringing up water as it travelled along the surface.

There was danger in the Stags box in the opening minute as a Grimsby cross from the left hit Rob Duffy in the six yard box and he was not quick enough to react. On 5 minutes Church headed straight at Marriott from a corner. The Stags first chance came on 12 minutes when Murray crossed form the right to Dyer who blazed miles wide from a tight angle.

The Stags were off to a poor start, with a low tempo and captain Murray showed his frustration with his teammates, trying to gee them up.

On 23 minutes, Coulson headed just wide from a cross from the left. On 29 minutes Duffy had a header from close range cleared, and seconds later Liam Hearn did well to take the ball on his chest but volleyed over.

Grimsby were ahead on 30 minutes. Coulson got himself into a shooting position just outside the box and fired goalwards powerfully with his left foot. Marriott dived away to his right and appeared to have pushed it away for a corner, but the ball dropped behind him and in off the post.

Meikle had a fine effort on 33 minutes as his snap shot was inches wide of the right post from outside the box.

The referee was having a terrible game and made another howler on 34 minutes as Craig Disley won the ball cleanly in the middle of the park. The referee gave a foul and Disley was so furious that he barged into the referee. Astonishingly the referee didn’t send Disley off and only gave him a yellow. One of the more remarkable incidents of the season.

On 36 minutes, the Stags won a free kick just outside the box to the right of centre. O’Neill took it and curled a beauty straight onto the bar, the ball looped up into the air and as it came down, Futcher headed it straight at the keeper.

The Stags had a let-off on 37 minutes as Grimsby had a goal disallowed. A cross from the left was awkward for Marriott in the slippy conditions as it hung just under the bar. Marriott elected to punch rather than try to catch, but only punched as far as the edge of the box. As the loose ball was belted back into the net, the referee blew for a foul on Marriott. Slightly fortunate.

From a fine O’Neill corner on 43 minutes Green had a shot charged down, then Murray had a fine shot blocked.

The 12th Stag fund was nearly boosted on 44 minutes as a high ball missed the hole in the Bishop Street stand roof by a whisker.

A poor first half from Mansfield who would really need to up their game in the second half to claim the points.

Half time 0-1

Meikle switched to the right and Todd to his more natural left position at the start of the second half. From an O’Neill free kick on 49 minutes, Dyer appeared to be held, but the referee was unmoved and the ball was cleared.

A surprising substitution on 54 minutes as the lively Meikle was taken off. Connor came on in his place. Dyer moved to the right of midfield as Connor went up front alongside Green. A free kick from O’Neill on the right on 57 minutes was completely missed by the keeper but just cleared. At the other end on 58 minutes, a Coulson shot was blocked on the edge of the box by Futcher.

The Stags should have had a penalty on 65 minutes as Green was through on goal and was blatantly bundled over in the box as he was preparing to shoot. The referee just gave a corner. Connor headed the resulting corner into the ground and into the keeper’s arms.

On 67 minutes a powerful long range shot from Murray was straight at the keeper.

But the game changed on 71 minutes as the Stags won a free kick 30 yards from goal on the left. With everyone expecting O’Neill to chip it towards Futcher or Connor, O’Neill instead curled a fantastic shot into the top left corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.

The ball was almost down the hole in the roof of the Bishop Street stand again on 73 minutes, but not quite.

O’Neill was nearly at it again on 75 minutes as his free kick slipped through the keeper’s arms and onto the top of the net.

But the Stags were ahead on 77 minutes. O’Neill’s corner from the left was perfect for Connor to stoop and glance a header into the bottom right corner of the net.

A great run from Green on 82 minutes, and his shot was deflected out for a corner. A minute later, another perfect corner from O’Neill and Futcher headed it against the bar.

Green should have sealed the victory on 89 minutes. Dyer put him through with only the keeper to beat. The keeper came out to the edge of his box, and Green tried to chip him but made a mess of it and hit the keeper. A better option would have been low and hard or to go round him.

Five minutes of stoppage time were added, and Grimsby applied some pressure but without creating any chances.

The final whistle brought celebrations from the players and jubilant fans.

Man of the Match: Luke O’Neill

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Decent handling, but will have been disappointed not to keep the goal out, and possibly got lucky with the disallowed goal.
Naylor 7 Defended well, but distribution was generally poor.
Sutton 7 Solid in defence.
Futcher 7 Defended well. Had several warnings from the ref and picked up a booking.
O'Neill 9 Rescued the game, with his superb set pieces. Unlucky to hit the bar, and Futcher hit the bar from another corner. Defended very well at left back.
Todd 5 Went missing in the first half. Not effective on the right of midfield. Appeared to be played out of position.
Worthington 5 Never really got into the game.
Murray 7 Sprayed some great passes. Tried to get team geed up as captain. But not his most influential game.
Meikle 6.5 One of the better players in the first half, looked lively. Subbed early in the second.
Green 6 Didn’t get enough service from midfield. Unlucky not to earn a penalty, but should have sown the game up in a one-on-one near the end. Worked very hard throughout.
Dyer 5.5 Contributed little. Not involved enough.
Sub Line Up:
Connor (for Meikle, 54) 7 Trademark goal with a header from a corner. Held the ball up well. But has disappointingly lost speed this season.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Riley, Bolland, Stevenson.
Opposition Line Up:
McKeown; Wood (Silk 88), Garner, Kempson, Ridley; Coulson, Disley, Church, Eagle (Makofo 79); Hearn, Duffy (Elding 66). Subs: Artus, Pearson.

Rob Merchant (Staffordshire) 4 Stinker. Terrible for both sides. Both managers were disappointed with his performance. Made loads of ludicrous decisions.

Season 11/12 Reports