{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Stockport County
Smith 46, Briscoe 53.
 Rose 89
Attendance: 3883 (506 from Stockport)
Date: 9 April 2012


Martin Shaw at The One Call Stadium

Mansfield Town were impressive 2-1 winners against Stockport County, who didn’t muster a shot of any description until the 89th minute, in another very one-sided encounter at a damp One Call Stadium on Monday afternoon. The Stags took the lead through Adam Smith’s shot from 12 yards a minute into the second half, and then Louis Briscoe fired another contender for goal of the season, curling in a beautiful shot off the right post from the left hand side. The Stags were absolutely swarming all over the hapless Hatters for the remainder of the half, but incredibly, Stockport pulled a goal back in the 89th minute after a defensive mix-up by Ritchie Sutton and Martin Riley. The Stags hung on to claim the points and surely only a miracle would keep Mansfield out of the play-offs now. In fact, with five minutes remaining, the set of results that would have seen Mansfield confirm their play-off place today, was happening with Kidderminster, Southport and Gateshead all losing. But Kidderminster scored twice late on to win, and Southport equalised late on. It won’t matter though and if the Stags can keep up this type of display, we will go into the play-offs as the form side. The Stags have won 13, drawn 2 and lost 2 of the 17 games since the Christmas holidays. The Stags haul of 80 points means we need just two points from the final three games for our highest ever points tally since three points for a win was instigated. Sensational stuff from Paul Cox’s troops.

The Stags came into the game as the 4th top scorers in English football (after Fleetwood, Sheff Utd and Man Utd), and the recent superb run of form attracted a fine Bank Holiday crowd of 3883, swelled by U-12’s for a quid, but which would probably have been even higher had it not rained all day. The pitch was soggy and in places in front of the West Stand looked very wet, but it actually seemed to play reasonably well in the circumstances. Paul Cox shuffled his pack, mindful of wanting rest some of his players only 48 hours after the win at Kettering, as Roberts, Meikle and Dyer were replaced by Murray, Smith and Rhead who came in for his first start.

Mansfield had the first chance after a minute: Howell played a great ball forward to Green who crossed from the right and Smith headed wide from 7 yards. O’Neill was booked for a late tackle on 2 minutes, in front of the Stockport bench, who were incensed. On 6 minutes, Green was through on the right but keeper King was out quickly to block his shot. On 14 minutes, Adam Smith was very late on Sheridan - ref Amy Fearn played on when it was clearly a bad foul, and moments later Murray was clattered. The ref gave a foul for this, but should have produced a yellow card.

A good defensive header away by Sutton on 24 minutes. On 26 minutes Green got down the left, cut inside and sent a poor effort wide of the left post. Then on 28, Briscoe fired over from 25 yards. A great tackle at the back by O’Neill on 34 minutes, and the Stags were straight to the other end and Green was initially fouled in the box, but didn’t go down and when he did go down, the ref decided he went down too easily.

On 44 minutes, O’Neill’s corner from the right was through everyone to the right post and Riley slid in to fire into the side netting. Then on 45, ref Fearn blew for a foul on Murray when Green was through on goal - dreadful lack of use of the advantage rule.

Not the best half of football. Stockport looked poor but the Stags had not been able to capitalise.

Half time 0-0

The Stags were in front 1 minute and 8 seconds into the second half. Geohaghon’s long throw eventually dropped to Smith who belted the loose ball home from 12 yards.

It was 2-0 on 53 minutes as Louis Briscoe fired another contender for goal of the season, curling in a beautiful shot from 20 yards off the right post from the left hand side.

On 62 minutes. O’Neill free kick from 25 yards was straight into the keeper’s arms. On 65 minutes, Smith cut inside from the left and fired over the bar. On 72, Geohaghon’s long throw flicked off Howell just wide.

Meikle replaced Smith, and Roberts replaced Murray on 73 minutes. A double chance for Mansfield on 76 minutes as first Riley’s header was cleared off the line and then Briscoe’s follow up. On 77, Briscoe did well to get down the right and fired in a powerful cross that Green got to in front of the keeper but it sort of rolled off Green’s body and wide, even though he acrobatically tried to pull it back in, it ended up in the side netting.

Mansfield were swarming all over Stockport. It was like the Stags were picking at a dead carcass.

A great tackle by Riley inside his own penalty area on 79 minutes. At the other end, Green was penalised for deliberate handball as he went for the ball and picked up a yellow card.

Dyer replaced Rhead on 83 minutes.

Incredibly, Stockport pulled a goal back in the 89th minute after a defensive mix-up by Ritchie Sutton and Martin Riley, who left it to each other in the left back position. Stockport crossed the ball to the middle where sub Rose curled a fine shot wide of Marriott into the net.

Incredible that Mansfield should not be in the position of having to hang on.

On 90+3, a good break form Mansfield, and Dyer was through one-on-one but he allowed Connor to get in a great challenge before he could shoot. In the final minute of stoppage time, Stockport had a corner and fired over the bar with what turned out to be the last kick of the game.

Man of the match: Matt Rhead (tight call, ahead of Geohaghon, Briscoe and Murray)

Report by: Martin Shaw at The One Call Stadium

Line Up:
Marriott 6 Completely unemployed apart from backpasses and one punch, until the 89th minute, when he had no chance with the goal.
O'Neill 6 Defended ok. One great tackle. Some of his set pieces were not his best.
Riley 7.5 Fine game until he was involved in a mix-up to allow Stockport a goal in the last minute. One great tackle.
Geohaghon 8 Very good game. Most of his throw-ins were good despite the wet ball.
Sutton 6 Defended well, but then partly at fault for the Stockport goal. One terrific header away midway through the first half.
Briscoe 8 Beautiful goal, contender for goal of the season, which killed off Stockport, one tremendous cross for Green and generally played well.
Howell 7.5 Played well, never allowing the Stockport midfield to dominate. A couple of lovely balls through for Green in the first half.
Murray 8 Got some rough treatment from Stockport but battled on with a powerful display.
Smith 6 Took his goal well. Didn’t seem to want to run at the defence, and when he got into a position for a cross he completely wasted it.
Rhead 8 Made the most of his first start with a very good game, winning headers, and showing a deft touch on the ball. Sponsors man of the match.
Green 7 Caused the visitors some problems. Missed a good chance early when through on goal and had a couple of chances later on.
Sub Line Up:
Meikle (for Smith, 73) -
Roberts (for Murray, 73) -
Dyer (for Rhead, 83) - Missed a good chance to seal the game or wind the clock down in stoppage time.
Subs Not Used: Redmond, Andrew.
Opposition Line Up:
King; Halls, Connor, Piergianni, Newton; Sheridan (Darkwah 53), Turnbull, Mainwaring (Rowe 67); Nolan; Elliott, Hattersley (Rose 67).
Amy Fearn 4 Appears to be unaware of the advantage rule which was a major frustration. Missed a dreadful tackle by Smith in the first half. Very poor overall.

Season 11/12 Reports