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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 3
Akrigg OG 76.
 Todd OG 25, O’Neill OG 37, Gray 48.
Attendance: 2406 (114 from Southport)
Date: 15 October 2011


by Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town succumbed to their third defeat of the season at Field Mill this afternoon as visitors Southport picked up a remarkable fifth away win on the trot. The Stags were simply woeful and deserved nothing from a game that had very few plus points for the home side. Southport took the lead as Tom Naylor was being helped to the changing room with a hamstring injury on 25 minutes, and a long throw went in off Andy Todd. Southport increased their lead on 37 minutes as Shaun Whalley’s cross-shot was going 3 yards wide of the left post, but deflected off Luke O’Neill leaving Alan Marriott stranded. A fluke. Southport made it 3-0 on 48 minutes as a long goal-kick flicked off Futcher's head into the path of Tony Gray, who was 3 yards goalside of the defenders, but not offside as the ball had flicked off Futcher. Gray slotted the ball past Marriott and the goal correctly stood. The Stags were not at the races, but got a goal back on 76 minutes as Luke O’Neill’s corner came off defender Akrigg and although it hit the hand of a defender, it was already just over the line and the linesman correctly indicated the goal. The Stags briefly had a sniff of a recovery but a couple of half-chances went begging and the game was soon over. A truly awful performance from Mansfield with no-one putting in a performance that merited a rating of better than average, and most being poor.

On a glorious sunny afternoon, Mansfield made one change from the side that started against Grimsby, with Briscoe returning from suspension in place of Meikle. Southport included Simon Grand in their side.

The Stags started hesitantly as a Sutton back pass put Marriott under pressure and the Stags goalkeeper had to hurriedly clear into touch. On 10 minutes, Louis Briscoe shot well wide from 22 yards with Naylor having made a good overlapping run but having been ignored by Briscoe. A Southport free kick on 12 minutes ran through to Marriott as Dyer did well in defence to stop Simon Grand getting a touch. A good run from Green on 13 minutes as he got to the byeline, cut back and shot over left footed from a tight angle.

Southport should have taken the lead on 15 minutes. A free kick from 28 yards was spilled by Marriott straight to Mukendi who fired onto the top of the bar and over, when it looked easier to score.

A great move from Mansfield on 19 minutes should have ended with a goal. Briscoe broke down the right, played the ball inside to Dyer and Dyer returned it to Briscoe with a beautiful first time pass. But from a great position, Briscoe shot wide of the left post. He should have scored. On 21 minutes, a long throw from Southport’s Andy Owens was headed back by Mukendi and right back Lee volleyed over the angle.

An injury blow for the Stags on 24 minutes as Naylor went down with a hamstring injury. His reaction - bashing the ground with frustration and then smashing the corner flag as he came off - suggested he thought it was a bad injury. He was immediately replaced by Riley as Sutton moved to right back, Riley into the middle and Todd switched from the left side of midfield to the right. As Naylor was walking to the changing room behind the goal, Southport had another long throw taken by Owens straight into the 6 yard box where it was pushed out by Marriott but went in off Andy Todd head into the bottom right corner of the net for an own goal.

Marriott made a good parry from a shot on 28 minutes after a great run down the left from Southport.

It was 2-0 on 37 minutes. Whalley got down the right and his low cross-shot was heading wide of the left post but deflected off O’Neill wrong footing Marriott and ending up in the net.

A half chance for the Stags on 40 minutes as Dyer headed down into the path of Murray whose first time left footed shot was well wide from 25 yards. Southport carved the Stags open a minute later with a good move and an unmarked Whalley shot wide from the edge of the box. Three minutes into stoppage time, a good run down the left by Green who played the ball inside for Murray but his shot deflected away.

A poor first half for the Stags with quite a lot of booing as the players left the pitch. Aside from Briscoe’s excellent chance, it was Southport creating the better chances with the Stags midfield having gone missing and last week’s hero O’Neill not at the races against right midfielder Whalley.

Half time 0-2

Towards the end of the first half I had spotted Micky Moore in an animated conversation with Connor and Meikle and as expected, the Stags duo came on at the start of the second half in place of Todd and Briscoe. Dyer moved back to right midfield with Meikle coming on to the left midfield.

On 48 minutes, it was game over as Southport made it 3-0. A long goal-kick flicked off Futcher's head into the path of Tony Gray, who was 3 yards goalside of the defenders, but not offside as the ball had flicked off Futcher. As Riley chased back, Gray slotted the ball past Marriott and the goal correctly stood. Even if the ball had not flicked off Futcher’s head, it would still not have been offside as you cannot be offside from a goalkick, so the appeals for offside from Mansfield players would indicate that they don’t know the rules.

The Stags were shell shocked, lacking ideas, not doing the basics well and simply nothing was going right. On 56 minutes an O’Neill free kick summed up the difference from last Saturday as it flew well wide. On 60 minutes, Mukendi fired over the bar. On 62 minutes, another O’Neill free kick was flicked on by Dyer and parried by the keeper and then cleared. A great move by Southport straight to the other end but the shot was clipped straight to Marriott. Meikle was brought down on 68 minutes and O’Neill fired the resulting free kick straight at the keeper. Moments later, Murray sent a snap shot just over following Sutton’s long throw.

Moogan had Marriott backpeddling, as his hopeful punt from 40 yards was tipped over the bar.

The Stags pulled a goal back on 76 minutes as Luke O’Neill’s corner came off defender Akrigg and although it hit the hand of a defender, it was already just over the line and the linesman correctly indicated the goal.

There was just a glimmer of hope for Mansfield now and on 77 minutes, Green’s shot was deflected for a corner. On 82 minutes, Green looked to be through but his shot was blocked. A minute later, Green had another shot blocked for a corner.

The Stags came within a whisker of making a game of it on 85 minutes as a free kick from O’Neill was flicked inches wide of the right post. It was so close to setting up a grandstand finish. On 88 minutes, Meikle summed up Mansfield’s poor day when he had a chance to run in on goal but totally overran it through to the keeper. Southport nearly got a fourth a minute into stoppage time when another dangerous Owens long throw was played back to him and his shot from a tight angle was deflected into the side netting.

So the Stags got what they deserved from the game, absolutely nothing. The manner of the defeat was very disappointing with most of the players playing poorly. However after the last similar performance, against Kidderminster, the Stags bounced back superbly with a victory at Wrexham and it is to be hoped that they will do the same again at Lincoln on Tuesday.

Man of the Match: Lindon Meikle (but no-one played well)

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 5 Bad error when he spilled a free kick early on. Numerous long throws put him under huge pressure and he didn’t look as assured as usual. Not at his best.
Naylor - Went down injured after 24 minutes.
Sutton 5 Moved to right back when Naylor went off. Poor.
Futcher 5 Had a huge off day by his standards.
O'Neill 5 Really struggled against Whalley. Set pieces were nowhere near as good as last week.
Briscoe 5 Poor first half. One excellent move with Dyer, but wasted it with a poor shot. Otherwise looked slow and rusty.
Worthington 5 Never got any kind of grip of the midfield. Very ineffective
Murray 5.5 Even when not playing well, captain fantastic still tried to rally the troops.
Todd 5 Poor.
Green 5.5 Got virtually no service, but was also marked out of the game. When he did get some chances, he couldn’t take advantage.
Dyer 5 Contributed little up front. And even less when he was moved to right midfield, a position that he said when he joined was “out of position” for him.
Sub Line Up:
Riley (for Naylor, 24) 5 Part of a poor defence.
Connor (for Todd, 46) 6 Did ok.
Meikle (for Briscoe, 46) 6 Livened things up. When he had a real chance, he messed it up by overrunning the ball though.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Bolland.
Opposition Line Up:
McMillan; Lee, Akrigg, Grand, Owens; Whalley, Moogan, Poku, Ledsham; Gray (Walker 70), Mukendi. Subs not used: Nemes, Lever, Brown, Carden
Stephen Smith (Darlington) 7 Not too many controversial incidents today. With his assistants, got the major decisions right including the Southport third goal and the Stags goal

Season 11/12 Reports