{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Bath City  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Watkins 18
 Meikle 23
Attendance: 816 (146 from Mansfield)
Date: 26 November 2011


Martin Shaw at Twerton Park

Mansfield Town were left hanging on for a point as Bath threw everything at the Stags in the last 15 minutes and did everything but score. Bath had taken the lead on 18 minutes, but were pegged back by a fluke from Lindon Meikle whose cross sailed over the keeper and in off the far post. In the second half, Green had a glorious chance to put the Stags ahead in a 1-on-1 but fired just wide, before Bath were unlucky not to re-take the lead on 84 minutes, when Scott Murray fired the ball across the goal and Lee Phillips turned the ball in at the left post, but was flagged offside. From a review of the DVD, the correct decision by the linesman, but a close call for the Stags. Bath had more chances to win in it in the closing stages but the Stags held on.

Mansfield made two changes from the side that drew at Telford. Aman Verma came into the central midfield for his debut, in place of the suspended Adam Murray. And Paul Bolland came in to partner him in midfield. Nick Hegarty dropped out. Anthony Howell played up front with Matt Green. Ross Dyer started on the right side of midfield. John Thompson was the new captain in Adam Murray’s absence. Other new signings John Dempster and Nialle Rodney were on the bench, while Marcus Kelly picked up a knock in his first training session on Friday and missed out. Ex-Stag Paul Stonehouse was among the subs for Bath, as was Scott Murray who an interview before the game explained that his only career hat-trick was against the Stags.

The referee was Amy Fearn. As far as I can remember, this is the first time a Stags game has been refereed by a woman.

The Stags started slowly. Hogg made a good run but miscued a shot at Marriott. Bath were nearly in front on 9 minutes. A good break forward from the home side and Bryan on the left sent a powerful shot against the stanchion of the goal. A foot to the right and it would have been in with Marriott having no chance.

An excellent header from Howell on 12 minutes, to play in Green, but Green was flagged offside, before he shot against the post.

A really sloppy start from Mansfield with Sutton giving the ball away and O'Neill looking suspect at right back on two occasions.

On 17 minutes, good play from Verma as he switched the ball from his right foot to his left foot and put in a great shot that was deflected just wide of the left post. After the game I asked him if his shot was on target and he told me it was.

Bath took the lead on 18 minutes. Bolland mis-controlled Verma's crossfield ball inside the Bath half, and Watkins dispossessed him, made a strong run down the middle, and fed Bryan on left behind O’Neill. Bryan's left-footed shot was well-saved by Marriott, but fell into the path of Watkins who slotted home from 12 yards.

On 22 minutes, a Stags corner from O’Neill was straight into the side netting and summed up the poor start.

Mansfield were level on 23 minutes. Verma did well to win the ball on the left, and fed a nice little ball forward for Meikle on the left touchline. Meikle made his way to the byeline and crossed towards the far post. Amazingly the ball sailed inside the right post and into the net. It was incredible to score from such a tight angle but was clearly a fluke. Meikle did not celebrate the goal.

On 27 minutes, a Bath free kick was headed on and Clough someone how missed at the far post when it looked easier to score. The Stags were looking terrible at the back, apart from Thompson.

A good break from Mansfield on 29 minutes as Green fed Bolland on the right but Bolland’s ball inside was terrible.

A shout from Mansfield on 38 minutes for a penalty as the ball bounced up from Green, but the ref waved play on.

On 44 minutes the Stags should have been in front. Marriott bowled the ball out to Dyer half way inside his own half, Dyer powered forward, cut inside, and laid a super ball into Howell unmarked just inside the area. Howell fired straight at the keeper and the chance was gone - a bad miss.

Howell had another half chance on 45 minutes but his shot was powder puff.

Half time 1-1

Meikle nearly scored with another cross on 48 minutes. Good play by him on the left and he got past 2 defenders and curled a cross across the face of goal and just past the right post. A good chance for the Stags on 52 minutes as O’Neill’s hanging cross was headed over by Green. At the other end a minute later, Marriott saved at close range from Hogg - good keeping from Marriott to make himself big. On 54 minutes, a weak header from Green straight at the keeper from O’Neill’s cross. Then on 55 minutes a Canham free kick from the edge of the box was flicked just wide with his head by Gethin Jones.

Louis Briscoe returned from injury on 65 minutes, replacing Bolland. Seconds later a Bath free kick from the halfway line and Hogg stole in to head over. Then a minute after that Watkins had a shot past the left post. On 69 minutes, O’Neill found Briscoe, who crossed to Green and Green had a fizzing shot blocked. Briscoe was already making a difference.

On 73minutes, another Bath free kick and Jones won the header but it was across goal and cleared. Moments later Simpson fired over from 12 yards.

On 74 minutes, a clever ball over the top from Meikle for Green to run onto. Green was through 1-on-1 with the keeper but as the keeper came out, Green fired wide of the right post with the outside of his right foot. A glorious chance. Paul Cox turned away with his head in his hands.

A surprising substitution almost immediately with Green taken off and Nialle Rodney on for his debut.

On 83 minutes, Freeman gave the ball away in a dangerous position, and eventually Hogg’s shot brought a great save from Marriott.

Bath were unlucky not to re-take the lead on 84 minutes. Simpson played the ball to Scott Murray on the right. Murray got past Freeman too easily and from a tight angle fired the ball across the goal. With the Stags defence stood watching him, Lee Phillips turned the ball in at the left post, but was flagged offside. From a review of the DVD, the correct decision by the linesman, but a close call for the Stags.

Dempster replaced Freeman on 88 minutes, O’Neill moved to left back and Sutton to right back.

Marriott did well to get out quickly to smother the ball ahead of Murray on 89 minutes. It was a backs-to-the-wall situation for the Stags. On 90+1, Murray sent a 30 yard volley straight at Marriott.

With virtually the last kick of the game, sub Amadi-Packington could have won it for Bath but sent a rasping volley a couple of yards wide of the right post.

And so the Stags held on for a point - a lucky one at that, against a team with 8 points from 20 games. This was nowhere near good enough from the Stags who will need to play a lot better on Tuesday in order to beat Gateshead. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the Match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw at Twerton Park

Line Up:
Marriott 8 Made several fine saves.
O'Neill 4 Terrible game, often caught out at right back, and his crossing going forward was also very poor.
Thompson 6 Pick of a shoddy defence.
Sutton 5 Poor.
Freeman 4.5 Very poor.
Dyer 5 One outstanding run in the first half, to set up a good chance for Howell. Otherwise he contributed little. Is still being played out of position in right midfield in my opinion.
Bolland 5 Disappointing. Gave the ball away a few times, and created nothing.
Verma 7 Very good first half, but faded out of the game in the second half. Promising debut. Unlucky with a shot that was deflected wide.
Meikle 6 Got lucky with the goal. Had another good cross in the second half that just faded past the post.
Green 6 Got into positions to score but couldn't find the target. Was the most likely scorer and was surprisingly subbed.
Howell 6 Did not look a natural striker. Won one or two good headers. Like Green he missed a good chance in a 1-on-1.
Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Bolland, 65) - Great to see him back. Added a bit more positivity to the side going forward.
Rodney (for Green, 75) - Didn't really have much opportunity to make an impact.
Dempster (for Freeman, 88) - Came on late to shore up the defence.
Subs not used: Redmond, Stevenson.
Opposition Line Up:
Matthews; Simpson, Hogg, Clough, Jones, Gallinagh; Connolly, M. Canham (Phillips 75), Watkins; Bryan (Murray 64), S. Canham (Amadi-Packington 75). Subs not used: Phillips, Stonehouse, Russell.
Amy Fearn (Loughborough) 6 Got most of the big decisions right. A bit pernickety

Season 11/12 Reports