Mansfield 3 Peterborough 1
At last! Mansfield registered their first win of the league season in this Friday night encounter with Peterborough at Field Mill. It was a cracking performance from the Stags against one of the League`s form sides. At the same time it has to be said that previous performances against Southend and Carlisle had been just as good, but had lacked the goalscoring touch. But against the Posh, it was Lee Peacock who finally found his shooting boots to fire the Stags to success, with a marvellous hat-trick.
The Stags made just one change from the team that lost so narrowly at leaders Exeter on Monday, with young Michael Sisson coming back into midfield at the expense of Wayne Thomas, who is being sent back to Walsall after his disappointing month on loan. Contrary to rumours before the game, Peterborough`s young starlet Michael Etherington was in the Posh side and was not on international duty.
Peterborough made a fast and furious start and dominated the opening 5 minutes. They came close to taking the lead in the opening minute when, from a corner, the ball was played to the edge of the box, and then smashed back towards goal, but was blocked by a Stags defender when it seemed to be heading in. It looked like a well-worked routine by Posh and nearly paid early dividends.
But after weathering the storm, Stags moved to the other end and took the lead after only 6 minutes. And for once this season Mansfield actually had a slice of fortune. Lee Williams appeared to try a shot from the angle of the box, but it floated hopelessly wide, only for Andy Roscoe to meet it with a header past the far post, and head back across goal to leave Lee Peacock with an unmissable chance. Peacock stroked it home left footed from 5 yards into the empty net. Peacock doesn`t get many with his left foot, but this goal was reminiscent of his first ever goal for Stags 2 years ago when he scored left footed from 6 yards against Scarborough. Amazingly Peacock was to score again later with his left foot.
Mansfield now moved into top gear and had a succession of chances, as they had the previous weekend against Carlisle. Incredibly 3 chances fell to Peacock. First he volleyed over from 8 yards as the ball bounced up higher than he expected - in hindsight a header might have been more successful. Then his excellent glancing header was acrobatically tipped around the angle of bar and post by the Peterborough keeper. Finally his scissors kick on the turn flew just inches wide of the far post.
But Peacock was not to be denied and scored his, and Mansfield`s, second 4 minutes before half time. Andy Roscoe crossed from the left hand side, and Tony Lormor was beaten to the ball on the penalty spot by a Posh defender. But the ball was only cleared as far as Peacock who lashed a sizzling low drive into the bottom right hand corner of the net from 20 yards, with Posh keeper Tyler motionless. It was a magical moment and one that really brought the house down at Field Mill as 3 points now looked a reality.
One other notable chance in the first half fell to Blake, who had a quieter half than usual. Faced with a free shot from just 10 yards, he somehow managed to screw his shot 2 yards wide. Stags also had two good claims for penalties turned down as first Lormor seemed to be tripped, and later a Lee Williams cross was blatantly handled in the box by a Posh defender.
At the start of the second half, Peterborough briefly came back into contention, but it was Stags who came closest to scoring as Peacock wasted another opportunity. But it looked as though it wouldn`t matter as Mansfield deservedly made it 3-0 after 65 minutes. Lee Williams threaded a ball through the middle to Michael Sisson, who played the ball forward to find Lee Peacock unmarked on the left-hand side of the area. Peacock shot left footed across the Posh keeper and it crept in at the far post – it was another great finish from Stags Scottish striker to complete his hat-trick.
Peterborough continued to show touches of class, especially from Etherington, but it took an innocuous penalty decision after 78 minutes to bring them late hope of a revival. Posh striker Jae Martin was heading nowhere when he went down under challenge from Neil Richardson. To the amazement of Stags players, and indeed it seemed the Posh players too, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and silenced the home fans. Steve Castle stepped up and easily scored from the spot. We might have expected Stags to come under fierce pressure for the last 12 minutes but Stags snuffed out any threat and hung on very comfortably with no late scares.
So at last Mansfield picked up their first win of the season and came off the field to a rousing reception. Lee Peacock picked up a minor near the end and was substituted, leaving the pitch to a standing ovation.
All in all, another excellent performance from the Stags, and this time the goals to go with it. Lee Peacock gets my vote for man of the match, for the second weekend running. He had really shown the signs of coming back to form against Carlisle, but against Posh he also found the back of the net. There were other notable performances especially from Alistair Asher, who dealt admirably with the constant threat of Matthew Etherington. Etherington himself looked a player destined for the Premiership. Also Linighan and especially Neil Richardson did well to snuff out the threat of Posh`s pacy forward line. In midfield Mark Blake had a quiet first half, but improved a lot in the second and ensured no way back for Posh. Sisson and Williams played solidly in both halves, while Roscoe had his best game for Stags on the left-hand side. Tony Lormor partnered Peacock well and was full of running all night. In goal Barry Richardson looked very solid and made a couple of good diving saves at the feet of on-rushing Posh strikers. The Stags keeper will now be asked to stay at Field Mill for a further 2 months on loan, if Lincoln City will agree.
Man of the match: Lee Peacock
Barry Richardson 6,
Asher 8, Tallon 7, Linighan 7, Neil Richardson 8,
Williams 7, Blake 7, Sisson 7, Roscoe 8,
Lormor 7, Peacock 9.
Boulding 6 (for Peacock),
Kerr (for Williams).