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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Cambridge United  
1 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Jennings 6.
 Dyer 10, Briscoe 57.
Attendance: 1738 (official figure 165 from Mansfield, but looked more like 300 to us)
Date: 6 March 2012


Martin Shaw at the Abbey Stadium

Mansfield Town came back from conceding an early goal to register a tremendous 2-1 win at Cambridge last night, the 7th win in 9 games. The first half was even, with Cambridge taking the lead when Luke O’Neill needlessly pulled a Cambridge shirt and James Jennings fired home the free kick off the left post. O’Neill atoned with a great free kick from the halfway line which was superbly headed over the keeper from 10 yards by Ross Dyer, for his second goal in consecutive games. The Stags dominated the second half, as Cambridge failed to create a chance of note and Mansfield deservedly won it when Louis Briscoe thundered a left foot shot into the roof of the net, straight through the hands of the keeper who was beaten by the power. Plenty of notable performances from Mansfield, but special note goes to Exodus Geohaghon who soldiered on for the last 30 minutes through injury, Martin Riley alongside him at the back, and Dyer and Briscoe who were lively throughout. The Stags were positive throughout - no one-man-upfront, but instead the Stags poured forward at every opportunity and it was great to see Briscoe and O’Neill running at the home defence on a regular basis. Another great win, and it would be terrific to see the Stags fans outnumber Tamworth on Saturday. Come on Mansfield.

The Stags made one change from the side that beat Lincoln, with Meikle in for the injured Adam Smith. Gary Roberts and Exodus Geohaghon shook off injuries to play. Lee Stevenson came onto the bench. Cambridge included former Stag Tom Shaw, but were without their three best players: Harrison Dunk who was outstanding in the game at Field Mill, former Ebbsfleet striker Michael Gash, and Michael Wyllde.

The Stags were behind on 6 minutes. Luke O’Neill needlessly pulled a Cambridge shirt to concede a free kick 22 yards out, and James Jennings fired home off the left post giving Marriott no chance.

On 7 minutes, Jackson cut in from the right and sent a left footed shot at Marriott, which the Stags stopper fumbled and just claimed at the second attempt.

The Stags were level on 10 minutes. O’Neill atoned for his earlier mistake with a great free kick from the halfway line which was superbly headed over the keeper from 10 yards by Ross Dyer, for his second goal in consecutive games. In many ways a straightforward goal, but superbly executed.

A horrible error by Sutton two minutes later, as he tried to dribble past Jackson when he was the last defender. Jackson robbed him of the ball and got into the box, but Riley got back quickly and deflected his cross-cum-shot wide. On 15 minutes, a fine ball from Geohaghon out to the right where Briscoe got to the byeline and put a good ball in which Meikle turned over the bar.

On 25 minutes, Briscoe sent in a powerful shot which the keeper claimed above his head. Then Gary Roberts had a shot blocked. Geohaghon dropped the ball when attempting a throw and the referee harshly gave the throw to Cambridge.

There were Cambridge calls for a handball on 34 minutes, which were waved away, and the Stags broke straight to the other end through Green whose shot was blocked. On 37 minutes, O’Neill’s free kick from the left was headed on by Dyer and the keeper just claimed it.

On 43 minutes, Cambridge’s Andy Pugh, on his first start, sent an ambitious overhead kick over the bar. And on 45+1 Tom Shaw flicked a free kick wide.

An even first half, with the Stags positive going forward at every opportunity.

Half time 1-1

Briscoe and Meikle changed side at the start of the second half, Briscoe moving the left.

Two minutes into the second half, Pugh got past Geohaghon and fired over from a tight angle. Meikle fed Green on 49, Green turned inside then outside and his shot was blocked. Then on 52, Briscoe played the ball inside to Green, who cut inside but couldn’t find room for a clear shot and it was blocked. The Stags had calls for a penalty on 56 as a ball may have struck a hand.

But Mansfield were in front on 57 minutes. Ross Dyer set up Louis Briscoe who thundered a left footed shot into the roof of the net, straight through the hands of the keeper who was beaten by the power. Cue great celebrations in front of the Stags fans behind the goal

A minute later, Green lost control of the ball in the box, won it back and then seemed to be tripped but the referee again waved away the appeals for a penalty.

Geohaghon picked up an injury, but soldiered on, hobbling round, for the last 30 minutes. With no defenders on the bench, it was either this, or a non-defender to fill in at the back.

On 77 minutes, Green had another shot blocked, summing up his night, and seconds later he surged into the box and fired over.

Rhead replaced Meikle on 82, with Dyer moving to the right side of midfield.

On 83 minutes, Roberts sent a 29 yard free kick goalwards like a bullet, and the keeper just managed to turn it around the post. From the resulting corner, Roberts fired over, left footed.

The first real moment of danger in the second half for the Stags came as a free kick from the halfway line evaded Geohaghon and just bounced through to Marriott. Hutchinson replaced Green on 89, and there were no further alarms for the Stags through 4 minutes of stoppage time.

Marriott didn’t have a single save to make in the second half, and this was a richly deserved win for Mansfield.

Man of the match: Exodus Geohaghon

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Abbey Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 7 Another quiet game with little to do, but assured on crosses.
O'Neill 6.5 Superb free kick for the first goal, to make up for stupid free kick given away for Cambridge’s goal. Some distribution was wayward. But generally defended well.
Riley 8 Played really well. Solid, with excellent challenges and clearances.
Geohaghon 9 Superb, especially considering he soldiered on for the last 30 minutes through injury, with no defensive options on the bench. Won every header throughout.
Sutton 6 A couple of bad moments, but otherwise defended ok. Does not look too comfortable at left back to me
Briscoe 8 So positive all game, breaking forward. Lost the ball a few times, but deserved his cracking goal. Starting to look like the Briscoe from the second half of last season.
Howell 7 Worked hard.
Roberts 7 Got better as the game wore on, and in the end Cambridge couldn’t get the ball off him. One piledriver of a free kick that nearly went through the keeper, late on.
Meikle 6 Did ok.
Dyer 8 Very good game, buoyed by his early goal - a terrific header from around 10 yards, his first goal from a header. Also laid on Briscoe’s goal.
Green 6 Frustrating evening for him, aside from the fabulous result. Marked out of the game but with 2 or 3 defenders on him, it gave space to others.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Meikle, 82) - One comical moment as he bundled a Cambridge player over. An ideal person to come on near the end as Cambridge couldn’t get the ball off him as he held the ball up.
Hutchinson (for Green, 89) -
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Worthington, Stevenson.
Opposition Line Up:
Naisbitt, Roberts, McAuley, Hudson, Jennings, Jackson, Berry, Shaw, Eades (Adam Marriott 86), Tiryaki (Hughes 86), Pugh. Subs not used: Jarvis, Brighton.
Justin Amey (Dorset) 7 Got most of the big decisions right I think.

Season 11/12 Reports