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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
0 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Fleming sent off 81.
 Daniel 42
Attendance: 1,772 (345 from Mansfield)
Date: 5 April 2014


Martin Shaw at the Globe Arena

Mansfield Town pulled off a third consecutive victory for the second time this season, with this hard-fought win in a real battle at Morecambe’s Globe Arena this afternoon. And the goal that won it was fit to win any game in any league as Colin Daniel fired an unstoppable free-kick from 27 yards into the top left corner on 42 minutes. The Stags had started the game very sloppily and were fortunate to be in front at the break, but had the better chances in the second half and eventually just about deserved the victory. Neither side played much, if any, flowing football, in a game lacking in quality from either side. The game was the dirtiest Mansfield have been involved in this season. Players from both sides put in nasty challenges, but Morecambe’s constant whingeing, while Mansfield just got on with it, was pathetic. After going through the full match again on the DVD, it was clear for example that Rhead took more stick than he dished out.

Photo by Chris Holloway: Rhead is punched in the head and scratched down his back, while Ellison thinks it hilarious

The worst challenge of the game by a long way saw a red card for Morecambe’s Fleming who lunged in on Murray with studs showing on 81 minutes. The Stags away record of not having lost to a team outside the top 8 all season (it was “top 7”, but Oxford have dropped down to 8th) continues and shows resilience and battling quality. The Stags are just 7 points short of the play-offs with 5 games left. It is actually just about possible! Come on Mansfield!

Morecambe’s whingeing and general bad spirit even continued after the game as a home official (in a suit, so not a member of the coaching staff) offered Micky Moore out for a fight. And then when Paul Cox asked the same official what he was playing at, ten minutes later, the official told Cox to “get into his changing room”. Biting his tongue, but probably wisely, Cox did just that as I left the scene to track down our copies of the match DVD. You can see my free videos from the game at https://www.youtube.com/user/mtfcofficial and as always extended video highlights will be on StagsPlayer.

Mansfield had lost all of the three previous league meetings between the clubs. This was Mansfield’s first visit to the Globe Arena, having previously played one league game at Christie Park (which is now Sainsbury’s!) in 2007, a game which will forever be synonymous with a shambolic goalkeeping display from the hapless Jason White.

On a wet day in Morecambe, I arrived to find covers covering the near side of the pitch and when they were removed about an hour before kick off, they revealed an extremely boggy part of the pitch.

Boss Paul Cox made two changes from the side that beat AFC Wimbledon, with Westlake replacing Daniel at left wing-back, and Stevenson replacing the suspended Howell as the attacking midfielder, in the usual 3-2-2-1-2 formation. Daniel dropped to the bench where he was joined by Clucas and Speight. Morecambe recalled Ellison and Redshaw who were both on the bench in their last game and who scored in Morecambe’s win at the One Call Stadium which was gifted to them by Stags’ defensive errors. Morecambe also included Jamie Devitt in their side who Stags fans will recall for his ludicrous dancing in front of Alan Marriott at a Grimsby free kick at the One Call Stadium last season.

Stags fans had come in their numbers to Morecambe and were in good voice from before the game and throughout the afternoon. Photo by Chris Holloway:

The Stags were forced to make an early change when Beevers, in an innocuous challenge with Ellison, went down and it was immediately clear that his shoulder had popped out again. Beevers had only said on Thursday to the press that he needs an operation on his shoulder as soon as the Stags are safe. So Cox was forced into an early change as Daniel came on and went to left wing-back, with Westlake reverting to his more natural right wing-back.

On 9 minutes, the Stags almost gifted Morecambe the opening goal. A terrible mistake by Riley 25 yards from goal as he gifted the ball to Redshaw who was clean through on goal. Redshaw struck a shot with the outside of his right boot past the left post. An enormous let off for Mansfield and for Riley in particular.

Moments later, Threlfall cut in from the left, on to his right foot, and fired wide of the right post.

It was a terrible start from Mansfield who were asleep defensively.

On 15 minutes, a free kick from 35 yards by Hughes was low but well saved by Marriott just to his right and Marriott did well to hold on to it in the slippery conditions.

On 17 minutes, Mansfield’s first chance as Murray’s free kick was headed down by Rhead and Sutton’s shot was blocked. On 20 minutes, a great ball forward by McGuire from which Stevenson won a corner. The resulting corner taken by Murray from the left was clutched just under his own bar by keeper Roche.

It was a poor start to the game from Mansfield and Cox was going mad with his team on the touchline.

On 25 minutes, a lovely touch by Rhead to find Stevenson who was close to slipping a shot under keeper Roche, but Roche was down well to grab it off his boot.

Moments later, Morecambe captain Hughes left the pitch with blood on his face after a challenge with Rhead, and the Morecambe players were moaning to everybody who cared to listen, and those who didn’t, but it was clear to me that they were every bit as dirty as Mansfield were being.

On 33 minutes, a fine McGuire ball through to Palmer, who had time to take aim from the right but his shot nearly hit the corner flag.

Moments later, Rhead was punched on the head by Hughes but the referee gave nothing (see photo of the incident above). On 38 minutes, Devitt weaved inside Westlake and crossed from the left and Daniel did well to clear over his own bar. Devitt took the corner short, playing a 1-2, got the ball back and shot across the goal, just wide. Then on 40 minutes, Devitt sent a poor shot straight at Marriott.

On 42 minutes, Rhead was flattened by Threlfall for a clear free kick, bringing yet more moaning from Morecambe, and Edwards was booked for something he said. In a real lack of respect for a fellow professional, Ellison deliberately knocked Murray’s captain’s armband off!

Daniel took the resulting free kick from 27 yards and smashed a rocket into the top left corner. What a goal. You don’t save them! After celebrating, Cox turned round and exclaimed in astonishment “f****** hell!” It was a sensational goal.

On 44 minutes, Devitt’s corner was headed away by McGuire and eventually came back to him, and his low shot from a tight angle was straight at Marriott. On 45+2, Sampson fed Devitt whose cross flicked off Westlake for a throw-in. A minute later, a corner from Devitt was met by Hughes who headed wide.

A very tough half of football with Rhead getting some very tough treatment from the home side and both sides dishing it out in equal measure. However, Morecambe spent all their time whingeing about it whilst the Stags just got on with the game. The Stags were fortunate to be in front as Morecambe had missed some chances but Daniel’s rocket was the real moment of quality in the half.

Half time 0-1

In the first minute, Rhead knocked the ball down for Stevenson but the ball was cleared. Then McGuire knocked the ball high into the Morecambe box and Stevenson went down under a challenge from keeper Roche but no penalty was given, correctly.

The Stags should have increased the lead on 47 minutes. Murray’s delightful free kick from 40 yards was flicked on by Rhead, and Riley stretching at the far post got a touch on it but could not divert it into the net. It was so close and Murray put his head in his hands as Riley peeled himself off the floor.

On 50 minutes, Stevenson was booked for a blatant dive just outside the box. Hughes left the field again as he did in the first half and I heard him telling the fourth official that Jamie McGuire had bashed him. On 52 minutes, a shot from Fleming was over the bar and over the stand!

On 53 minutes, Daniel crossed from the left, Rhead headed down and a defender just put it over his own bar under pressure from Palmer.

On 60 minutes, the Stags made a quick break from a Morecambe corner and Rhead tried to play Daniel through the middle but his ball was just over hit.

On 62 minutes, some pinball in the Stags box and then Fleming’s tame shot was an easy save for Marriott. On 68 minutes, Devitt got the ball on the left, cut inside Sutton, and Westlake did well to block his shot.

On 69 minutes, Rhead was booked for an accumulation of fouls as Kenyon came off the pitch with a bloody nose.

On 72 minutes, a great tackle by Riley on sub Amond.

On 74 minutes, Rhead was fouled 30 yards out. There was plenty of discussion on who was going to take the free kick, and Daniel did not appear keen, but Cox shouted to him to go and take it. He did and it was another brilliant one which the keeper just about deflected wide for a corner. From the resulting corner taken from the right by Murray, Tafazolli headed wide.

On 76 minutes, Devitt’s corner from the left for Morecambe went straight through everyone and out for a goal kick, with Marriott on the ground having looked to be impeded but the referee gave no free kick.

On 77 minutes, Amond crossed from the left and Ellison’s header was saved by Marriott.

On 78 minutes, the Stags were again thwarted by a terrific save. Murray flighted a beautiful free kick into the box and Rhead met it with a header from the left towards the right corner of the net and keeper Roche brilliantly tipped it wide. From the resulting corner from the right by Murray, Tafazolli headed wide again.

On 81 minutes, Ellison shoved Tafazolli nastily towards the advertising hoardings and was amazingly not booked.

On 83 minutes, Morecambe were reduced to 10 men as Fleming lunged in on Murray with studs showing and was immediately red carded. Morecambe’s precious players went mad again. Before the game re-started, Ellison and McGuire were ludicrously also booked. McGuire will now face a two game suspension.

On 85 minutes, Sutton was booked for a challenge on Devitt, and then Murray was booked for dissent.

Clucas replaced Palmer on 88 minutes.

Eight minutes of time was added on!

On 90+1, Clucas was booked. From the video, it can be seen that when the Stags were awarded a throw-in, he dropped the ball on the ground from where Daniel picked it up to take the throw-in. The referee absurdly decided that it was serious enough for a yellow card. He was the sixth Stags player to be yellow-carded. Meanwhile Morecambe had four players booked and another sent off.

On 90+4, good defending by Riley to clear. A minute later, Beeley sent a tame shot well wide, with the outside of his right boot. Soon afterwards, Amond sent a poor header over the bar from Devitt’s cross.

A heart stopping moment for the Stags on 90+7 as a terrible shot from Morecambe sub Mustoe was going well wide but Hughes deflected it onto the roof of the net.

Finally the full time whistle blew and the Stags were able to celebrate a hard earned victory which in the end was deserved after a poor start to the game. The Stags may not have played flowing football in this game, but they sure as hell were determined to pick up another victory and not be beaten. Fabulous battling spirit.

Man of the match: Colin Daniel/Ritchie Sutton

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Globe Arena

Line Up:
Marriott 7 One good save, and good handling from routine saves and crosses.
Sutton 8 Super performance at the back.
Riley 7 Very poor start when he nearly gifted Redshaw a goal. But played very well after that, including a couple of really fine tackles. Came close to his first goal of the season.
Tafazolli 6.5 Good game, very solid.
Beevers - Had to go off with a shoulder injury very early on.
Westlake 6 Solid. Good block from a Devitt shot.
Murray 7 Some superb free kicks to create goalscoring opportunities. Corners were mixed, but a couple found Tafazolli’s head.
McGuire 6.5 Battled very hard, and a couple of fine balls forward. Will now face a two game suspension after his yellow card, which looked harsh.
Stevenson 5.5 A few good touches, but didn’t influence the game enough.
Palmer 6 Worked very hard. Only had one chance which he put well wide. Things didn’t run for him a couple of times.
Rhead 7 Plenty of good touches including one lay-off to set up Stevenson. Great header which was brilliantly saved by the keeper. Fantastic effort throughout. Took a lot of stick and dished it out as well.
Sub Line Up:
Daniel (for Beevers, 4 mins) 8 Sensational match winner, and went close with another free kick. Made some good breaks down the left.
Clucas (for Palmer, 88) - Ludicrously booked, for placing the ball on the ground at a throw-in.
Subs not used: Dempster, Clements, Briscoe, Speight, Meikle.
Opposition Line Up:
Roche; Parrish (Beeley 71), Edwards, Hughes, Threlfall (Mustoe 88); Devitt, Fleming, Kenyon, Ellison; Sampson (Amond 71), Redshaw. Subs not used: Arestidou, Diagne, Williams.
Darren Deadman 6 Such a tough game to referee. I don’t think he made any howlers of critical importance to the game, but some of the yellow cards were crazy whilst other incidents deserving a yellow card didn’t get one.

Season 13/14 Reports