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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Alfreton Town  
3 - 6
 Mansfield Town
Moult 6, Jarman 21, Brown 45+3.
 Howell 16, 42, Riley 31, Green 33, 90+4, Geohaghon 89.
Attendance: 3354 (1956 from Mansfield)
Date: 20 March 2012


Martin Shaw at The Impact Arena

Mansfield Town picked up three more valuable points in the quest for the play-offs in a truly extraordinary game at Alfreton on Tuesday night. The first half was total madness as the Stags went 1-0 down, then 2-1 down, before storming into a 4-2 lead, and finally being pegged back to 4-3. Both teams attacked with devastating effect but both defences were awful. The highlight of the first half for Mansfield was a fabulous goal from Anthony Howell from 20 yards into the top corner, his second goal of the game. The second half was a complete contrast as almost nothing happened for thirty minutes with both defences now on top. Alfreton had few chances to equalise as Geohaghon and Riley were now dominant at the back but it was still nervy until Geohaghon bundled in a fifth goal on 89 minutes with his knee from a corner, and then Green scored a sixth with a clinical finish in stoppage time. A great night for the travelling army of 1,956 Stags fans - the Stags biggest league away following since the days of playing at Notts County. This was Mansfield’s first ever league game at Alfreton, and it became Mansfield's shortest ever journey for a league game away. It was one the fans enjoyed. The 13 goals from the last two league games is the Stags highest aggregate from consecutive league games. In addition, this was the first time we have scored 6 goals away from home since a 6-2 win at Wigan on 7 October 1995. Mansfield probably still need 3 wins from the remaining 7 games to ensure a play-off place, and with 3 of those games against Fleetwood, Wrexham and Kidderminster, it still won’t be easy but this tremendous run of form has given us a great chance.

In front of what was essentially a capacity crowd of 3354, which was Alfreton’s highest league crowd for 46 years, and with an away following of 1956, Mansfield named an unchanged side from the team that beat Barrow 7-0 which meant that Gary Roberts had to settle for a place on the bench despite returning from suspension.

The Stags started brightly with a great move on 5 minutes involving Briscoe, Meikle and Dyer and finally Briscoe fired wide.

But on six minutes, Alfreton were ahead when a cross from the left by Jarman bounced up and evaded Marriott and the defence to allow Jake Moult to head in at the far post. Very poor defending and goalkeeping.

Two minutes later, Marriott made amends with a fantastic save tipping away a Moult volley which was heading for the top right corner.

The Stags were level on 16 minutes. Geohaghon did well to win the ball on the halfway line, fed O’Neill down the right, O’Neill’s ball into the middle fell for Meikle whose shot was blocked but it came back to Howell who fired into the roof of the net from six yards.

On 18 minutes, a great ball from Briscoe nearly allowed Dyer to get to the ball before the keeper but the keeper was there first to put the ball out for a throw. A great run from Nathan Arnold on 19 minutes ended with him shooting wide.

Alfreton made it 2-1 on 21 minutes. Alfreton had claims for a penalty but as everybody seemed to wait for the referee’s decision, Jarman hammered the loose ball through Marriott’s legs into the bottom of the net.

On 23 minutes, Green tried his luck from the edge of the box out of nothing and it was tipped wide by the keeper. A good break from Alfreton on 26 minutes led by Nathan Arnold saw Alfreton have a man over but Arnold’s cross was headed well wide by Clayton. A poor clearance by Marriott on 27 minutes but he got away with it.

On 30 minutes, Geohaghon’s long throw was met by Riley’s header which was heading for the bottom right corner of the net before the keeper tipped it away. A minute later, another Geohaghon long throw and the Stags were level as Green headed on and Riley chested the ball into the net for his first Stags goal. Mistakenly the Press Association gave the goal to Briscoe.

Two minutes later on 33 minutes, the Stags were 3-2 ahead. O’Neill’s corner from the right was met by an unmarked Geohaghon at the far post and his header back across the goal was flicked in by Green.

A stroke of luck for Mansfield on 35 minutes as Franklin crossed from the left and Wilson’s header looped over Marriott and hit the bar. Good play from Briscoe on 37 minutes as he switched the ball from his right foot to his left foot and his cross-shot just evaded Dyer at the far post.

On 42 minutes, the Stags were 4-2 ahead as Howell danced inside an Alfreton player and sent a left footed howitzer into the top left corner from just outside the box.

The goals kept on coming though and 3 minutes into stoppage time, Alfreton were awarded a free kick outside the box. Jarman struck it low and hard towards the bottom right corner of the net, Marriott could only parry it and Brown was on hand to bundle it into the net with the Stags defence asleep. Marriott stayed down injured and could only carry on after attention from physio Ian Pearce.

When play resumed there was still time for another Geohaghon long throw which skimmed off the head of Alfreton’s Clayton but the keeper clutched it on the line to prevent an own goal.

Half time 3-4.

An absolutely mad first half but the start of the second half was completely different with only one goal scoring opportunity in the first 30 minutes. On 53 minutes, Green broke down the right but he didn’t take the opportunity to shoot and eventually, his ball across the 6 yard box evaded Dyer. On 71 minutes, with Alfreton about to bring on the tall Cunnington, Paul Cox responded by bringing on Rhead for Meikle, and Dyer moved to the right side of midfield. On 76 minutes, an Alfreton free kick dropped to Moult who fired well over. On 79 minutes, an O’Neill corner eventually came back to O’Neill and his cross was met by Riley at the far post but his header was blocked. Marriott was called upon to make a good save on 81 minutes when a clever Alfreton free kick into the box found an Alfreton player who turned and shot and Marriott had to get down low to save and held on to it. A great run from Briscoe on 84 minutes and the ball nearly fell to Rhead. At the other end a great tackle from Riley on 87 minutes. The Stags broke to the other end and a good one-two between Rhead and O’Neill and eventually Green’s shot was deflected wide.

From the resulting corner on 89 minutes, the Stags sealed the game. O’Neill took the corner from the right and it was bundled in by Geohaghon off his knee.

Good play by Briscoe 4 minutes into stoppage time as he ran across the edge of the box to get himself into a shooting position but his shot was past the left post.

The resulting goal kick was poor and didn’t reach the half way line - it was headed back towards the Alfreton goal and Green ran on to it and with a clinical finish, flicked the ball over the advancing Alfreton keeper to make it 6-3, for his 26th goal of the season.

A fantastic night for the near 2000 Stags fans, who went home thoroughly happy.

Man of the match: Anthony Howell

Report by: Martin Shaw at The Impact Arena

Line Up:
Marriott 5.5 By his own admission wasn’t at his best with the Alfreton goals, though I thought he made a good save from the free kick that led to the third goal. Made an outstanding save from Moult in the first half, and looked very assured in the second half, with another good save on the line. Still the Blue Square Bet Premier’s number 1 number 1.
O'Neill 7.5 Some great attacking play, with good set pieces. First half defending wasn’t good, but much better in the second.
Riley 7 Feels like we need a first half rating and a second half rating. Anyway, overall had a good game, with his first Stags goal, and a great second half defensive display.
Geohaghon 7.5 I lost count of the number of his dangerous long throws. First half defending was disappointing, but a man mountain in the second half, and deserved his goal which went in off his knee.
Sutton 6.5 Decent second half.
Briscoe 7.5 Some superb attacking play.
Murray 7 Good game.
Howell 8 After his first Stags goal on Saturday, two more in this game, the second of which was a screamer. Very good game against his former club.
Meikle 6 Much quieter than on Saturday.
Dyer 7.5 Created a lot of danger from corners and throw-ins.
Green 7.5 Still did not seem to be at his sharpest, yet knocked in another two goals, the second of which was a brilliant finish. What a player, and hopefully now heading to be the first 30 goal-a-season striker since Ray Clarke in 1974/75.
Sub Line Up:
Rhead (for Meikle, 71) - Brought on as the enormous Cunnington was about to be brought on for Alfreton. Involved in one excellent following move
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Hutchinson, Andrew, Roberts.
Opposition Line Up:
Stewart, Law, Streete (Young 46), Kempson, Franklin, Jarman (Mullan 70), Brown, Moult, Arnold, Wilson, Clayton (Cunnington 70). Subs not used: Franks, Deverdics.
Darren Bond (Lancashire) 8 Very good game, and hardly noticed.

Season 11/12 Reports