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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Ebbsfleet United  
0 - 3
 Mansfield Town
 Green 21, Roberts 38, 90+4.
Attendance: 1085 (approx 200 from Mansfield)
Date: 28 January 2012


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Stonebridge Road

A fine performance from new boys Gary Roberts and Ben Hutchinson inspired Mansfield Town to a convincing 3-0 at in-form Ebbsfleet. The Stags started the game powerfully in the opening minutes, but after a dodgy 10 minute spell, took the lead with a clinical finish from Matt Green from a great flick-down by Ross Dyer. Gary Roberts made it 2-0 with a fabulous strike from 25 yards into the bottom left corner. In between the two goals, Mansfield were denied what appeared to be a clearcut penalty when Matt Green was tripped, but unlike at Luton this time the decision was costly. The Stags didn’t play as well in the second half, and Ebbsfleet had periods on top, but the closest they game was a deflected Enver-Marum shot that looped over Marriott and just wide. As Ebbsfleet pushed forward, the Stags had several glorious opportunities to extend the lead in the last 10 minutes but Ross Dyer missed two sitters and Lindon Meikle seemed reluctant to shoot from good positions. Good play from Louis Briscoe set up Roberts for a third goal in stoppage time as his initial shot was saved but he popped in the rebound. A professional performance from the Stags against inferior opposition, and we will need to continue to beat teams below us in the table without fail if a play-off spot is to be achieved.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that drew at Luton. Left back Paul Edwards had signed on loan from Fleetwood on Thursday but had to be content with a place on the bench as Paul Cox retained the back four that was so good on Wednesday at Kenilworth Road. One change on the bench as Worthington dropped out to accommodate Edwards.

We were back at the scene of our first ever match in the Conference. I recall arriving at Stonebridge Road 4 years ago thinking “welcome to the Football Conference”. The ground is unchanged since then, and the “Bogs Boost” reported in the Non-League Paper a few weeks ago hasn’t borne fresh toilets yet. The pitch looked bobbly.

A couple of interesting sending-off stats that Matt Halfpenny of the Nottingham Post had uncovered: referee Justin Amey holds the record for the fastest ever sending off of 3 seconds, while Ebbsfleet goalkeeper Preston Edwards holds the record for the fastest ever sending off of a goalkeeper of 10 seconds.

The Stags were off to a powerful start. On 25 seconds, Hutchinson went on a fine run waltzing through the home defence and he sent a left-footed shot wide of the left post. The Stags had an appeal for a penalty on 1 minute 30 seconds. Green got down the right and as he tried to pull the ball back into the path of Hutchinson, there was a handball claim against Fleet defender Paul Lorraine. But the referee waved away the appeals.

On 9 minutes, Roberts got into the box but a great tackle from Mambo thwarted him. It was a great start by Mansfield.

On 10 minutes, a mistake by Riley allowed Enver-Marum a shot but his effort hit fellow striker Willock. Great vision from Roberts on 12 minutes as his ball over the top so nearly put in Green. Another mistake at the back by Riley on 13 minutes put Enver-Marum away but his cross evaded everybody in the box. On 14 minutes, Ebbsfleet right back Stone’s cross was just over Willock’s head. On 17 minutes, a good challenge by Sutton at right back on Enver-Marum.

After the Stags had had a good opening 10 minutes, it was Ebbsfleet calling the shots in the next 10 with the Mansfield defence causing problems for themselves.

The Stags took the lead on 21 minutes. A free kick from Marriott half inside his own half was knocked down by Dyer into the path of Green who fired past the keeper into the left corner of the net.

Two minutes later, the Stags appeared to have a stone wall penalty as Green appeared to be tripped in the area. The referee was only 5 yards away but waved away appeals.

A mistake by Murray on 27 minutes as he gave the ball away and Enver-Marum’s shot was saved low down by Marriott. A half chance for the Stags on 31 minutes as Smith crossed from the left and Dyer headed down into the path of Green who could only put it behind for a goal kick. A great move for the Stags on 32 minutes as Murray won the ball at the back and played a high ball into space on the right. Roberts ran on to it and played a fine ball forward to Hutchinson whose shot looped up off the keeper and over the bar.

On 34 minutes, Roberts cut inside and shot low but the keeper saved it. Matt Green charged down a clearance from the keeper on 36 minutes but it rebounded harmlessly out for a goal kick. A minute later, Phipp shot straight at Marriott.

On 38 minutes it was 2-0 to the Stags as Roberts thumped in a shot from 25 yards into the bottom left corner giving the keeper no chance. It was a wonderful effort which so reminded me of Adam Murray ten years ago in his first spell at the club.

On 45 minutes, the Stags were awarded a free kick 28 yards from goal by O’Neill fired wide. A very good first half for the Stags who started at the right tempo and although they had a dodgy 10 minutes, two goals followed for a deserved half time lead.

Half time 0-2

Into the second half and West’s free kick for Ebbsfleet from 22 yards on 54 minutes was saved low down by Marriott. On 55 minutes, Briscoe replaced Green who came off with a shin injury. Dyer moved up front, with Briscoe slotting in on the right.

A heart-stopping moment for Mansfield on 58 minutes as Marriott dropped a free kick but in a stroke of luck, no Ebbsfleet player was on hand to knock it in.

On 65 minutes, a double chance for the Stags as Hutchinson’s shot was blocked and Briscoe shot straight at the keeper. A great save from Marriott on 68 minutes as the lively Enver-Marum shot from 25 yards and Marriott saved at full stretch one handed. Hutchinson tried to turn in the box on 70 minutes but couldn’t make it count. Seconds later a good run from Dyer and Hutchinson’s shot was blocked from the edge of the box.

The closest Ebbsfleet came to pulling a goal back was on 75 minutes when Enver-Marum’s shot deflected up and over Marriott and inches wide of the post.

Meikle replaced Smith on 78 minutes, Smith having barely had a touch of the ball in the second half.

Meikle was straight into the action on 80 minutes breaking forward and playing a ball in for Hutchinson who couldn’t quite reach it. On 81 minutes, a great cross from Meikle from the left presented Dyer with a free header in front of goal. Unbelievably he headed it over the bar. The chance could only be described as a sitter.

On 83 minutes, Enver-Marum drove a shot from a tight angle into the side netting but had some of the home fans thinking he’d scored.

Howell replaced the tiring but impressive Hutchinson on 83 minutes and Meikle went on his own up front.

Meikle went on a good run on 84 minutes as Mansfield were getting so much space going forward and tried to play in Briscoe but it was another missed opportunity. Meikle was getting so much of the ball it was incredible and on 89 minutes he played it to Briscoe in the box but Briscoe lost it.

The Stags had another glorious opportunity on 89 minutes as Meikle teed up Dyer in the box, unmarked and 12 yards out but he fired against the outside of the post again when it seemed easier to score. Ebbsfleet were leaving themselves very open at the back and on 90 minutes Briscoe shot over the bar.

Four minutes into stoppage time, the Stags did get a third goal when Briscoe did well to find Roberts, whose initial shot from just inside the box was parried by the keeper but Roberts slid in the rebound.

Man of the match: Gary Roberts

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Stonebridge Road

Line Up:
Marriott 7 One howler when he dropped a free kick, but one good save, and decent handling.
Sutton 7 Decent game, no mistakes.
Riley 7 Two early mistakes but recovered well after that.
Dempster 7 Also made a mistake in the first half, but some good challenges and clearances.
O'Neill 7 Poor set pieces, but defended well at left back.
Dyer 6 Good flick down for Green’s goal, but missed two sitters in the second half, that fortunately didn’t cost us.
Murray 6 Gave the ball away a couple of times, but otherwise solid.
Roberts 8 Outstanding first half, ran the game. Faded in the second half, and wanted to come off through tiredness but didn’t realise we’d used all our subs! Superb first goal, and then kept going at the end for his second goal. What a player.
Smith 6 Steady game. One good cross in the first half which Dyer headed down, but pretty anonymous in the second half.
Hutchinson 7.5 Some excellent linking with Roberts. Close to scoring on several occasions. Looked match fit today, in contrast to Wednesday.
Green 7 Took his goal clinically. Could have won two penalties in the first half. Came off on 55 minutes with a shin injury.
Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Green, 55) 7 Caused a few problems, had some shots and set up Roberts for the third.
Meikle (for Smith, 78) 7 Several fine runs in the last 10 minutes, but reluctant to have a shot. Two good balls to set up chances for Dyer.
Howell (for Hutchinson, 83) -
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Edwards.
Opposition Line Up:
Edwards, Stone, Lorraine, Mambo, Howe, West (Azeez 69), Phipp, Barrett (Shakes 58), Enver-Marum, Willock, Pinney. Subs not used: McNeil, Smith, Stavrinou.
Justin Amey 5 One or two erratic decisions, and seemed to miss a clear penalty on Green

Season 11/12 Reports