{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Forest Green Rovers
Meikle 64.
Attendance: 2008 (32 from Forest Green)
Date: 7 January 2012


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Mansfield Town picked up a welcome three points with their worst performance in the last four games, after the good performances against York (twice) and Southport had yielded just two points. On a windy afternoon, the Stags created few chances but the one moment of quality, involving man of the match Gary Roberts and full back Luke O’Neill, ended with Lindon Meikle bundling in the only goal from close range on 64 minutes. Forest Green created the better chances and were wasteful in front of goal, and even after they went down to ten men on 77 minutes, looked the more likely scorers, and after Alan Marriott made a good save with his feet on 85 minutes, Forest Green missed a sitter in stoppage time as substitute Uwezu missed from close range. So a fortunate win for the Stags but no matter because it was the three points that were important after the heartbreak of York.

Mansfield made three changes from the side that was so unlucky to draw at York, as Joe Kendrick returned for his first game for a long time in place of Kieron Freeman who had returned to Nottingham Forest and found himself in their first eleven today. John Dempster returned from suspension in place of Martin Riley, who lost his place after his costly injury time error at York. And Louis Briscoe came into the starting eleven in place of Howell. The Stags started with a 4-4-2 formation with Briscoe and Meikle on the wings, and Dyer and Green up front. Forest Green included Liam Henderson, on loan from York, who scored at Field Mill on Boxing Day and thus was playing his third consecutive game against Mansfield.

Mansfield had the wind behind them in the first half, attacking the Quarry Lane End. A great ball forward from Briscoe on 3 minutes, but Green couldn’t quite get on the end of it. On 5 minutes, a good tackle by Kendrick just as Henderson was about to shoot. Then on 11 minutes, Marriott’s free kick from his own half, was headed on by Dyer, just out of the reach of Green.

On 12 minutes a great tackle by O’Neill to stop a Forest Green shot in the penalty area. It had to be well-timed otherwise it would have been a penalty. A minute later, a cross from Forbes came off Sutton just past the right post.

On 22 minutes, a good break from Forest Green and James Norwood’s shot was tipped over by Marriott. Moments later, Oshodi headed wide from a right wing corner.

On 29 minutes, Gary Roberts tried a shot from 50 yards which was held by keeper Bittner on his line. A sign of quality of Roberts and quick thinking. On 32 minutes, a good block by Sutton from Klukowski. From the resulting corner, Klukowski shot just wide of the right post through a crowd of legs. Any sort of touch could have seen it going in.

More quality from Roberts on 35 minutes as he made a great turn and shot just past the right post, with a quickfire attempt. On 38 minutes, Meikle cut inside from the left and fired just over. Briscoe got a lucky deflection on 40 minutes presenting him with a goalscoring chance, but he shot well over with his left foot.

On 42 minutes Marriott saved from Jake Thomson as Thomson’s powerful shot was straight at him. A minute later Norwood shot low goalwards but it was an easy save for Marriott. Then two minutes into stoppage time, Liam Henderson made a good run forward but shot wide.

An awful first half from the Stags who didn’t use the wind to their advantage at all and keeper Bittner had almost nothing to do. Mansfield’s tactics of continually lumping the ball forward hopefully were terrible and brought no reward. Forest Green created a few chances, but were wasteful in front of goal, and it was a dreadful spectacle for the fans.

Half time 0-0

The second half continued with the same pattern as the first as Forbes turned and shot low, but Marriott saved on 46 minutes. On 51 minutes, Liam Henderson shot and it was a smart save from Marriott at his near post. Then on 53 minutes, Klukowski shot wide of the right post from 40 yards.

On 54 minutes, Howell replaced the ineffective Briscoe. Dyer moved to the right of midfield and we moved to a 4-5-1 formation.

Good play from Meikle on 57 minutes and his cross cum shot was tipped wide. Then on 61 minutes, Roberts did well, got the ball to Meikle, who got it onto his left foot and shot wide. Then on 63 minutes, Dyer got the ball in from the right, Meikle played it back and it came off Green for a goalkick.

The Stags got the all important GOAAALLLLLL on 64 minutes. A lovely chipped ball from Roberts over the top to O’Neill on the right and O’Neill slid a ball across the six yard box where Meikle, tangling with a defender, bundled it in almost on the line.

Forest Green missed a sitter on 70 minutes. Jake Thomson’s free kick into the box, fell for Oshodi who sent a free shot wide from 6 yards.

On 77 minutes, Forest Green were down to 10 men as Dempster was floored by Paterson right in front of the Mansfield dugout. Dempster was trying to clear the ball forward and Paterson went straight through him. Paul Cox was incensed and was on the pitch berating the challenge. Paterson was immediately shown a straight red, and Dempster had to go off, replaced by Martin Riley.

On 80 minutes, Forbes shot wide of the left post.

On 84 minutes, a ball forward to Green in the box from Kendrick, and Oshidi climbed all over Green at the same time as heading the ball away, and as Green lay on the floor, the referee waved away penalty appeals. To us, that's a penalty.

A minute later at the other end, Marriott saved well with his feet coming out to deny Oshodi.

By this stage, star man Roberts was looking tired, but was pushing forward more than the other midfielders, and on 85 minutes made space for himself going forward but fired over. Roberts came off to a standing ovation on 88 minutes, to be replaced by new signing Ben Hutchinson.

Five minutes of stoppage were added. The Stags were hanging on despite playing against ten men. A minute into stoppage time, Jake Thomson shot well wide from 30 yards.

Then the Stags got a slice of luck on 90+2 minutes as Uwezu side-footed wide from close range from a cross from the left. From our position in the West Stand upper, it looked like it was going in and it was hard to believe it had gone wide.

As the game entered the final minute of stoppage time, Matt Green put the ball into the net but the offside flag had already been raised. Huge relief at the final whistle, and finally the Stags pick up three points with the worst performance for a while.

Man of the match: Gary Roberts

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Made one fine save with his legs late on, and dealt well with everything else.
O’Neill 7 Great tackle on 12 minutes to deny a goalscoring opportunity and generally defended well. Put in a good cross for the goal, but some of his other crosses were poor.
Dempster 7 Defended well, but distribution from the back was poor.
Sutton 7 One really good block in the first half, generally defended well.
Kendrick 6 Did ok, but occasionally got caught out. One good tackle early on as Henderson was about to shoot.
Briscoe 5 Totally ineffective. Didn’t get any shots in and created nothing.
Murray 6 Started slowly but put his body on the line and tried to rally the troops later on.
Roberts 8.5 Very inventive and creative. Great to see him trying different things though not everything came off. Started the move that led to the goal, with a lovely weighted ball into O’Neill. Tired in the later stages having covered a lot of ground and went off to a standing ovation.
Meikle 7 Involved in most of what we did that was good, and good to see him on the scoresheet.
Dyer 6 Played well, won his headers, and held on to the ball well, but few or no chances were created involving him.
Green 6 Got very little service.
Sub Line Up:
Howell (for Briscoe, 54) 7 Battled for the ball well, and pushed us forward.
Riley (for Dempster, 79) -
Hutchinson (for Roberts, 88) - Inexplicable that he didn’t get longer than 2 minutes, even if the manager was not convinced of his match fitness.
Subs not used: Redmond, Stevenson.
Opposition Line Up:
Bittner; Hodgkiss, Turley, Oshidi, Stokes; Thomson, Forbes, Klukowski; Norwood, Griffin (Paterson 65), Henderson (Uwezu 74). Subs not used: Turk, Graham, Allen
Tony Harrington (Hartlepool) 7 Handled the game extremely well. But missed a late penalty on Green in our opinion.

Season 11/12 Reports