CLUELESS STAGS BEATEN AT LOWLY ALTY
Altrincham 1-0 Mansfield
Senior 11 seconds
Att: 1005 (app 200 from Mansfield)
Stagsnet player ratings now in the match centre.
Stat of the day: tonight's gate, just 1005, is the lowest for any Stags league fixture for 17 years (since 957 on March 9, 1991, in a 0-1 defeat away to Chester at Macclesfield's ground in the old third Division) - Svante Bernhard
Alty 1 Mansfield Town 0
11:43pm Tuesday 23rd September 2008
By Connor Murphy »
WHAT a difference 11 seconds makes.
That was all the time it took to lift the mood at Moss Lane after a tumultuous 10 days for Alty.
Chris Senior scored virtually straight from kick off to lead the resurgent Robins to a 1-0 win over fourth-placed Mansfield on Tuesday night.
It was just what the club needed to ease the pain caused by arguments and in-fighting.
Since defeat at Stevenage 10 days ago calls for change at the club had grown louder, coming to a head when fans clashed with manager Graham Heathcote during Saturday's 1-0 win over Lewes.
But as the game got underway all the talk swiftly stopped.
Moss Lane was stunned into silence by the brilliance of Senior.
Taking the ball straight from kick off, he weaved his way through the entire Mansfield team and exchanged passes with Colin Little before poking a deft finish into the bottom corner. There were just 11 seconds on the clock.
It took a few moments for the Alty faithful to realize what had happened but when it finally registered, they quickly found their voice.
Buoyed by the groundswell of positivity, Alty quickly gathered momentum.
Jason Lee did threaten for Mansfield, seeing his shot deflected over from 12 yards, but that was about all the visitors could muster.
They simply could not keep up with the high tempo style employed by Alty and the home side's fluid 5-4-1 formation allowed them to dominate the midfield without losing any attacking edge.
The wide areas were key for the Robins, with Senior and Lee Elam both busting a gut to make a difference in both defence and attack.
After picking up a loose ball, Senior provided Little a chance to get at Gamble 24 minutes in. The striker's dipping, swerving shot was just about pawed away by the Mansfield keeper.
A couple of minutes later Gamble was beaten when Greg Young's glancing header from Matt Doughty's corner headed towards goal.
Luckily for Mansfield, Gary Silk stuck to his position on the far post and cleared off the line.
The not-so-dynamic duo of Mark Stallard and Jason Lee offered little up front for the visitors.
When Stallard robbed Mark McGregor on the left touchline and pulled the ball back to Lee he looked odds on to score.
But the former Nottingham Forest striker wildly sliced a comical effort that ended up actually heading away from goal.
Nathan Arnold was more accurate a minute before the break but his 20-yard rocket was turned away by Stuart Coburn.
Mansfield enjoyed a brief purple patch at the beginning of the second half but still they couldn't find an equalizer.
The one time they beat the defence, Alan O'Hare ghosting in unmarked at the back post to head Michael Blackwood's free kick at goal, Coburn made a super stop.
Instead, Alty remained in control of proceedings, although they didn't offer much goal threat themselves in the second half.
Chris Lane headed another inswinging Doughty corner over the bar, while Little guided a stunning long range effort just wide of the post late on.
But a single goal was enough to raise the Robins' spirits.
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