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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
York City  
2 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Blair 76, Fyfield 90+1.
 Green 15, Verma 71.
Attendance: 4284 (498 from Mansfield)
Date: 1 January 2012


Martin Shaw at Bootham Crescent

Mansfield Town were gutted to concede a goal in stoppage time as York City recovered from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Bootham Crescent. The Stags took the lead with Matt Green’s 16th goal of the season in the first half following a lovely move. Aman Verma gave the Stags a two goal cushion on 71 minutes with a fine strike from just inside the box after a super move involving Murray, Dyer, and Green, and the Stags seemed to be in complete control. But York pulled one back on 76 minutes when a cross bounced off Kieron Freeman and Matt Blair was able to bundle the ball in from close range. Then in stoppage time, Martin Riley conceded a needless free kick on the edge of the box, and after it was initially twice cleared to the edge of the box by the Stags, it finally fell for central defender Jamal Fyfield who hooked a shot with the outside of his left boot over Marriott and into the net. Massive frustration for Mansfield who yet again drew a game they deserved to win in my opinion. The Stags are seven points behind the play-offs and need to turn draws into victories from now on if the play-offs are still to be achievable. At least Mansfield are turning in good performances now and the signings of Gary Roberts, who made an impressive debut today in midfield, and Ben Hutchinson up front, give some hope that this can still be achieved.

The Stags went into the game having lost the last eleven games played on New Years Day - an amazing statistic, courtesy of Paul Taylor and Svante Bernhard. So at least this draw broke that sequence, but that’s not much of a consolation.

Mansfield made two changes from the side on Boxing Day, as new signing Gary Roberts replaced Verma in midfield, and Ritchie Sutton returned from a one-game suspension to replace the suspended John Dempster central defence. York were still without leading scorer Walker, which was fortunate for Mansfield.

Plenty of rain prior to kick-off left the pitch sodden but very playable.

The Stags had slightly the better of the opening stages with a lack of chances at either end.

Mansfield took the lead on 15 minutes. Roberts won a good header at the back. After a bit more head tennis, the ball came back to Roberts, who chipped a ball forward to Green. Green fed Meikle who moved forward and slipped a lovely reverse pass into Freeman on the left, and Freeman slid a ball across the edge of the six yard box where Green was first to it and slid the ball into the net from close range. A beautifully worked goal.

A great save from Marriott on 20 minutes, as Henderson’s shot was goalbound until Marriott, who had slipped and was on his knees, still managed to turn it up and over the bar.

On 26 minutes, Green played the ball out to Meikle on the left, and Meikle cut inside and fired over the bar. A minute later, a bad mistake by Luke O’Neill as he gave the ball away just outside his own box, and left back Meredith intercepted, took a few paces forward into the box, and fired wide of the right post from a great position.

On 30 minutes, the Stags were so nearly two in front. A good break from Green, who eventually got the ball to Meikle and then across to Howell, who fired a left footed shot just past the left post. So close.

On 35 minutes, Meikle got into the box on the left, but his ball inside for Green was just cut out.

Moments later a possible penalty for the Stags as Freeman broke into the area on the left and may have been brought down by Parslow. The ref was perfectly placed and waved Freeman’s appeals away. At first site, in real time I didn’t think this was a penalty. But from the different view afforded by the video camera on opposite side of the ground, it does look like it should have been a penalty as Parslow took Freeman’s legs and got nothing of the ball.

On 45 minutes, Howell was booked for a late challenge and the ref indicated he was awarding the yellow for persistent fouling. A minute later, Howell was late with another tackle, and could easily have been shown a second yellow. Fortunately the ref was lenient and Howell stayed on. It was a no-brainer that Howell would be replaced at the break to avoiding him getting a second yellow which would surely follow the next foul.

Two minutes into stoppage time, a York free kick was headed across goal and Blair just missed it at the far post.

So the Stags led 1-0 at the break, and deservedly so in my opinion.

Half time 0-1

As expected, Howell was withdrawn with Verma coming on for the second half.

On 46 minutes, a routine save for Marriott as McLaughlin shot straight at him from 18 yards arms. Good play from the Stags on 50 minutes, culminating on Green doing well to get into a shooting position and firing over from 20 yards.

A York free kick on 52 minutes was palmed away by Marriott for a corner. Great play on 57 from Roberts as he got back into his own box to nick the ball away from McLaughlin. On 62 minutes, Boucaud’s free-kick skimmed off the head of the unmarked Parslow and just wide. Not great defending from the Stags. On 63 minutes, Green got the ball out to Meikle, and into the middle but it was cleared.

On 67 minutes, O’Neill squared a free-kick from the corner of the box, to Gary Roberts, who hit a thunderous shot first time goalwards. It hit Matt Green on the head and knocked him over and the ball was cleared. At the time, I couldn’t be sure if the shot was goalbound as we had the wrong angle, but from review of the DVD it was goalbound. A terrific effort from Roberts.

Good defending from Ross Dyer on 68 minutes as he dispossessed Meredith as the York left back broke forward.

Mansfield opened up a two goal cushion on 71 minutes. Adam Murray chipped a nice ball out from defence to Ross Dyer on the right. Dyer made good progress down the right, before sliding a nice ball to his left for Green, who backheeled the ball into the path of Aman Verma. Verma took one touch on his right foot before powering a left footed shot from the edge of the box into the top left corner. A sublime goal in anyone’s book.

Crucially, within 5 minutes York pulled a goal back. Jamie Reed played a ball to left back Meredith on the left. Meredith lifted a ball across the 6 yard box, and it went over a York striker and Sutton who rose for it at the near post. As the ball bounced up it hit Kieron Freeman and went goalwards, where Matt Blair stabbed it over the line before Marriott could clear it away. Not great defending from Mansfield.

A great ball from Roberts to Green on 81 minutes, and Green went down, but the ref rightly gave nothing.

An incredible save from Marriott on 83 minutes kept Mansfield in front. A deflection saw the ball loop up in the air to Jamie Reed in the box in front of goal. Marriott was out to make himself big and as Reed shot, it hit Marriott’s legs.

Green had worked so hard all afternoon and on 88 minutes he was replaced by the fresh legs of Worthington. Then the equally impressive Roberts was be replaced by Lee Stevenson on 90 minutes.

York equalised a minute into injury time. A York throw-in on the right touchline, was heading towards a goalkick as Martin Riley tried to shepherd the ball out, but Boucard nicked the ball away from him and back to sub Danny Pilkington. Stupidly Riley then bundled Pilkington over to concede a free kick right on the edge of the area. After the game, Paul Cox said Riley should have booted the ball into row Z. The free kick, was the right, was initially twice cleared to the edge of the box, by the Stags, but finally fell for sub central defender Jamal Fyfield who hooked a shot with the outside of his left boot over Marriott and into the net. It was a disastrous moment for Mansfield and frustration boiled over a minute later for keeper Marriott who booted the ball away at the York mascot, as the mascot was possibly taunting him, and Marriott picked up a booking as a result.

After the game, Stags box Paul Cox cut a frustrated figure, and after he had finished his post-match interviews he walked off and booted a water bottle away in frustration.

Really hard lines on the Stags in my opinion, and yet again a game we should have won has slipped away. Just in the last 3 games, the Stags should have won at Southport, drawn at home to York, and won here which would have given us 7 points; instead we got 2.

Man of the match: Matt Green / Gary Roberts

Report by: Martin Shaw at Bootham Crescent

Line Up:
Marriott 7.5 Two super saves, and couldn’t be faulted for the goals in my opinion.
O’Neill 7 Defended well generally though one awful error gifted a chance to Meredith.
Riley 7 Generally impressed, but the free kick he needlessly gave away in stoppage time was so costly.
Sutton 7.5 Defended well, with no obvious mistakes.
Freeman 7.5 Did well again. Unlucky that the ball bounced off him for the first York goal. Lovely cross for Green for the first Stags goal.
Roberts 8 Very good debut game. Some fine distribution, put his head in where most wouldn’t dare for some brave headers, and demonstrated a ferocious shot.
Murray 7 Worked hard. Did well.
Howell 7 Good first half, and so close to a goal. Had to be taken off to avoid a second yellow card
Meikle 7 Good game, giving the York defence a torrid time.
Green 8 Very good game, working tirelessly upfront, some super runs, and took his goal well. Looks very sharp.
Dyer 7 Good game, including defensive duties, and fine run for Verma’s goal.
Sub Line Up:
Verma (for Howell, 46) 7 Excellent goal. Slotted in well into midfield.
Worthington (for Green, 88) -
Stevenson (for Roberts, 90) -
Subs not used: Redmond, Briscoe.
Opposition Line Up:
Ingham, Oyebanjo, McGurk (Fyfield 32), Parslow, Meredith, Kerr, Chambers (Pilkington 66), Boucaud, McLaughlin, Henderson (Reed 55), Blair. Subs not used: Moke, Challinor.
Declan Ford (Lincs) 6 Handled the game well. Possibly harsh with a couple of the Stags bookings. Rating reduced due to missing Stags penalty when Freeman was fouled, which clearer on the match DVD.

Season 11/12 Reports