{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
3 - 2
 Alfreton Town
Green pen 74, Meikle 87, Todd 90+1.
 Brown 13, Clayton 20.
Attendance: 2982 (320 from Alfreton)
Date: 22 October 2011


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

podcast StagsPlayer full match commentary
1st half
2nd half
just the Stags goals

Mansfield Town recovered from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Alfreton at Field Mill this afternoon, after Alfreton had been reduced to nine men with two sendings off before the hour mark. The Stags were shambolic in the first half against an Alfreton side that was lively going forward but looked frail at the back. The visitors were rightly reduced to nine men when two players picked up second yellows. For the next 15 minutes, the Stags were pathetic against the nine men, but finally Connor was brought down for a penalty and Green converted on 74 minutes. Then on 86 minutes Meikle curled in a great goal for the one moment of quality from the Stags in the whole game. Finally Andy Todd’s ball across the face of goal was knocked into his net by hapless keeper Joe Day in stoppage time, to win the game for Mansfield. Day had earlier been deliberately booting his goalkicks into touch to waste time, and proved he had the IQ of a mouse when he continued to do this after the Stags took the lead. Surely one of the worst performances ever by a Mansfield side to win a game and I think we can say with certainty that we would have not have won against 11 men. However, think back to performances against Luton, Telford and Lincoln, amongst others, that we should have won, and we gratefully accept the three points. Plenty of work for Paul Cox to do, but we can nevertheless savour the win.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that drew at Lincoln, though Dyer and Meikle swapped sides, with Dyer even more out of position on the left than he was on the right. Alfreton included Chris Senior, who scored the winner for Darlington at Wembley, on the bench, and he came on in the second half.

On a sunny afternoon, Alfreton’s away following, for their first ever league visit to Field Mill, was surprisingly poor, even given their bad start to the season. With Alfreton being nearer than Chesterfield and Notts County, this was shortest distance ever travelled by the Stags’ opponents for a league game at Field Mill.

An early mistake by Riley in the first minute forced Sutton into a fine challenge as Alfreton threatened in a 2-on-1 situation.

A great chance for Matt Green on 3 minutes as he was right through on goal but he scooped the ball over the bar from a great position. He should have scored. A good ball down the left from Dyer on 5 minutes found Green, who made a good run, cut inside, and curled his shot wide of the right post. On 6 minutes, poor defending from Mansfield allowed an Alfreton clean header straight into Marriott’s arms from a free kick. On 8 minutes, O’Neill’s free kick was headed goalwards by Green but keeper Day saved it low at the right post.

Alfreton took the lead on 13 minutes. A long throw from the left, was headed back by Wilson to Anton Brown who headed past Marriott into the right of the net. Terrible defending from Mansfield.

The Stags had a chance to equalise on 16 minutes when a clearance fell to Kendrick who blazed well over from 6 yards. Awful.

More shambolic defending from Mansfield as Alfreton made it 2-0 on 20 minutes. An Alfreton player crossed across the face of goal from the left, and Marriott should have saved it, but missed it, allowing another Alfreton player to cross back in from the right onto Clayton’s head to nod in from 2 yards.

A good break from O’Neill on 22 minutes who played in Green, and Green slid the ball wide of the left post. Another chance for Green on 24 minutes as Connor nodded down into his path and he turned and shot but the keeper tipped it wide. The Stags should have had a penalty on 29 minutes as O’Neill’s free kick into the box saw Connor pulled to the floor, but astonishingly the referee awarded the free kick the other way for backing-in. On 31 minutes, O’Neill’s corner from the right was headed goalwards by Sutton and headed off the line by Jordan Hall.

No more goalmouth action in the first half, and the Stags left the field to a chorus of boos. In truth, the Stags were shambolic. Alfreton looked good going forward, but very poor at the back, giving hope that the Stags could still win the game.

Half time 0-2

The Stags should have pulled a goal back on 47 minutes, when Riley was completely unmarked in front of goal from O’Neill’s free kick, but only headed it against the top of the bar.

A minute later, Alfreton were down to ten men when Wilson picked up a second yellow for a late tackle from behind. A clear decision.

On 59 minutes, Greg Young also received a second yellow for a cynical tackle on Meikle, tripping the Stags winger as he was about to cross.

The Stags replaced Kendrick with Todd on 61 minutes in an attempt to increase the attacking options. Alfreton switched to two banks of four, in a 4-4-0 formation, often referred to as parking the bus.

The remaining 30 minutes was played out as attackers versus defenders in a bizarre one sided contest.

On 68 minutes, Riley headed wide from Todd’s cross. Alfreton had a rare corner on 71 minutes, for which they had 1 (one) player in the box. On 72 minutes, Green shot on the turn from the edge of the box having made the space for himself, but it was saved low down.

The breakthrough came on 74 minutes, as Connor was hauled down from behind in the box when through on goal. Alfreton should have been down to 8 but the referee took pity on them. Green trotted up and his fine penalty was buried in the right corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.

A good run by Todd on 76 minutes but he shot wide of the right post. On 78 minutes, O’Neill’s shot from the right was going wide before Murray slid it into the side netting from a tight angle on the left. A break down the right from the Stags on 79 minutes and O’Neill’s cross found Green whose shot was saved. On 84 minutes, Green shot over the bar left footed as frustration mounted.

Meikle brought the house down on 86 minutes with a moment of quality, as he cut inside from the right before curling a left footed shot just inside the left post to make it 2-2. Great goal.

Straight from the kick off, Alfreton tried an audacious effort which Marriott clasped just under the bar. A fine effort at goal.

On 87 minutes, Green’s shot was blocked and Meikle’s follow up was deflected for a corner. A minute later, Murray was inches wide of the left post.

Alfreton keeper Joe Day was repeatedly sending his goalkicks into touch as far as he could get them in the Stags half.

A minute into stoppage time, the Stags got the winner. An O’Neill cross from the right was headed on to the left by Green, and Todd, coming in from the left, fired the ball across the goal, from a tight angle, and it bounced off keeper Day and into the net, sparking wild celebrations.

The Stags should have made it 4-2 three minutes into stoppage time when Dyer slid the ball inside from the left to Connor who fired wide of the left post.

Relief at the final whistle. But Paul Cox knew as well as anybody that this result papered over the chasm.

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

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 5 Partially at fault for the second goal. Barely needed in the second half.
O'Neill 6 Had slightly more clue than the rest when going forward. Defended ok.
Riley 4 Terrible. Defended poorly. Clueless going forward. Bad miss when he headed against the bar.
Sutton 4 Very poor.
Kendrick 4 Shocking.
Meikle 6.5 Poor first half. Redeemed himself in the second with great goal, and trying to take the game to Alfreton.
Bolland 5 Poor.
Murray 5.5 Kept scrapping away but little quality.
Dyer 4 Dire. But in his defence, why was he being played on the left wing?
Green 6 Kept trying, but his finishing was far from clinical.
Connor 5.5 Did at least earn a penalty.
Sub Line Up:
Todd (for Kendrick, 61) 6.5 Showed a bit of thought in attacking the nine men down the left.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Day, Worthington, Howell.
Opposition Line Up:
Day; Law (Jarman 29), Young, Franks, Potter, Brown; Moult, Hall, Mullan (Hawes 63); Clayton (Senior 67), Wilson. Subs not used: Makin, Ellison.

Ross Joyce (Middlesbrough) 5 Made some poor decisions. Got the penalty right and the two red cards. But missed another blatant penalty for Mansfield in the first half and should have sent another Alfreton player off.

Season 11/12 Reports