MAYO SEALS SINGLE GOAL WIN AT LEWES
Lewes 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 598 (approx 200 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at the Dripping Pan
The Stags won their second game managed by David Holdsworth, with a wonderful goal from Paul Mayo on 22 minutes enough to beat Lewes on Saturday afternoon. In truth the Stags should have won by more and were totally dominant for much of the game, but had to withstand some late pressure from the home side and were thankful for Alan Marriott's fine save on 78 minutes. The Stags have now won 4 games out of 5 since Billy McEwan left the club.
Man of the match: Curtis Woodhouse
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
report from http://www.twohundredpercent.net
According to White Hart Lane legend, upon leaving White Hart Lane after an irrepairable breakdown in his relationship with the new owners, Keith Burkinshaw looked over his shoulder at the ground that he had rejuvenated so much during his time there and said, “There used to be a football club over there”. This is the overriding impression that one comes away with from a visit to Lewes this season. The removal of Steve King at the end of last season and the subsequent break-up of the Blue Square South winning side tore a hole through the heart of the club, and this season has been a constant struggle to keep their head above water.
Gutted, filleted and laid out to dry, they sit one place off the bottom of the Blue Square Premier, kept from the bottom place by the crisis torn Northwich Victoria, but still ten points from the safety of fifth from bottom in the table. At every point in the season at which things could go wrong. They were humiliated at home by Eastern Counties League side Leiston in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round - a match which, because of the competition's prize money, they couldn't afford to lose, literally or metaphorically. Last week, they were knocked out of the FA Trophy at Havant & Waterlooville, a team a division below them. The small diversion that they had from the turmoil of the league campaign was snatched away in a 4-3 defeat. It has been six games since they so much as scored in the league.
Outside the ground, they're giving away free promotional copies of the fanzine, “Ten Worthing Bombers”, a throwback to a more innocent age in more ways than one. It has been a very long time since I was approached by anyone selling a photocopied fanzine, and I am delighted. It contains more truth about the condition of the club in twenty pages than you will see in any official publications all season. I was more than aware that there had been problems at The Dripping Pan this season, but was still surprised by the condition of the old place. The pitch has what looks like a massive brown stain on one wing, where the grass has all but vanished. The requirements of television coverage mean that the ground's idiosyncratic grass banks have been defiled by three scaffolding and boarding towers. The goal nets have, at some point over the last six months or so, been torn and tied back together by hand. The scoreboard is still broken.
We get to the ground at twenty to three, and the bar is already shut. It's a strict interpretation of their new league's rules on alcohol consumption, and we retire to the terrace behind the goal to watch the warm up. A gaggle of squad players - one of whom is wearing a Brighton & Hove Albion training top - fire shots at the reserve goalkeeper. We are standing about three feet higher than the crossbar, and it feels like a very dangerous place to be standing. We have to remind ourselves that they are paid to be out there this afternoon. Well, they might be. The teams come out to 70s glam rock trash “The Bump”, by Kenny, which jars against the sombre atmosphere within the ground. A quick scout through the programme confirms that Lewes are up to player number thirty-six already this season. One of their players has no sponsors logo on the front of his shirt, no club badge, no name on the back of his shirt and no Blue Square badge on the sleeves. The crowd is a feeble 598, of whom about a quarter have made the the trip down from Nottinghamshire. For those travelling supporters, this is a harsh reminder of how far they have fallen. On the corresponding weekend last season, they were at home to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup Fourth Round in front of live “Match Of The Day” cameras. From Middlesbrough and the FA Cup to Lewes and the scramble to avoid the drop into the Blue Square North in exactly twelve months. Considering this and the length of the journey, it's an impressive turnout. They have been deducted four points this season for fielding an ineligible player, and this has left them looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation places.
Mansfield start the match in seventeenth place in the table, but they are clearly better organised, physically stronger and better disciplined. In five minutes they should be ahead when Curtis Woodhouse shoots wide of an open goal after the improbably-named Rikki Banks saves at the feet of Aaron O'Connor. Lewes look capable, but hopelessly disorganised. They have almost no attacking power whatsoever, with long passes into where you might think a player should be but isn't being easily swept up by the visiting defence. It would be easy to say that they are playing as if they don't know each other, and there's a reasonable chance that they don't. According to the man standing behind me, only five of the players starting this afternoon started on the opening day of the season. Within fifteen minutes, the home supporters that can summon up the energy are singing, “We're shit, and we know we are”. Woodhouse, completely unmarked and six yards out, heads over, and then Banks (who, this time last year, was playing in the Ryman League Division One South for Worthing) tips O'Connor's shot onto the post.
A goal for Mansfield is inevitable, and follows after twenty-two minutes. They win a free-kick just outside the Lewes penalty area and Paul Mayo, making his debut for them after having signed from Notts County during the week, curls the ball over the wall and past the flailing goalkeeper. There's no angry shouting or gesticulation in the home end, just a murmured, understated resignation to what long since started to resemble their fate. They're getting used to this sort of thing down here. Half-time comes with Mansfield continuing to press for a second goal and the crowd starting to get on manager Kevin Keehan's back. Standing alone and motionless at the front of the home dug-out, he cuts, even from eighty yards distance, a lonely figure.
Darkness starts to descend during half-time, and with it comes the cold. In the second half, Lewes look stronger, and Mansfield start to show some of the vulnerability which has meant that their first season of non-league football more difficult than they thought it would be. Alan Marriott is only playing his second match for them, but he is already proving his value to them, making a very good save from Josh Klein-Davies. At the other end, Tomi Ameobi (who is the brother of Shola), also making his debut for them on loan from Grimsby Town, has a golden chance to wrap up the points for Mansfield but, unmarked and five yards out, he completely misjudges his header and the ball falls almost embarrassingly to the ground. In the final ten minutes, the crowd starts to find its voice, but Lewes are too blunt to make very much of it. David Wheeler has a header cleared off the line and Klein-Davies has half a shout for a penalty turned down by the referee.
At full-time, there is generous applause for the players from the home supporters. They haven't lost this match for a lack of effort. One cannot help but feel sympathy for Lewes' fans. Their club continues to teeter on the brink of administration, and they are now eleven points from safety. The club is up for sale, but obtaining planning permission to develop The Dripping Pan may cause problems and they have serious debts. Most troublingly of all, even relegation to the Blue Square South may not bring any respite. The top of the Blue Square South is considerably stronger than Lewes were this afternoon. Indeed, it's not completely unreasonable to suggest that any well organised semi-professional side may have beaten them this afternoon. Now, they have a run of a further five matches against former Football League clubs - Torquay United, Oxford United, Wrexham, Rushden & Diamonds and Cambridge United all lie in wait. Where is that elusive next goal going to come from? By the time that they play Sussex rivals Crawley Town at the end of next month, their relegation might just be cut and dried.
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
Stunner From Mayo Leaves Lewes In A Haze
Lewes 0 Mansfield Town 1
Stags recorded their fourth win in five games thanks to a delightfully finished free kick from debutant, Paul Mayo. The 1-0 win for Mansfield away at Lewes moved Holdsworth's men up to 15th position in the BSP.
Stags starting line up contained a further two players making their debut in central midfielder, Curtis Woodhouse and left back, Paul Mayo, whilst the two new singings from Ilkeston Town, Howell and Shaw found a place on the bench.
The home side are on a dreadful run of form that had seen just one win in their previous ten games and Stags added to their woes with a dominant display and a second clean sheet on the trot.
After the game, Observer Man of the match, Curtis Woodhouse stated that manager David Holdsworth would be more than delighted with the 1-0 win when he jokingly said, “Well he's boring Arsenal isn't he, “ All the players were clearly delighted to celebrate what was only Mansfield's 3rd away win all season but their fourth success in five games since Billy McEwan had left the club.
There had been quite heavy rain in the Lewes area but any doubts if the game was to go ahead or not were quashed when the pitch passed an early morning inspection.
Stags almost got off to a dream start when on 4 minutes, Duffy slipped the ball to O'Connor in the area. However, Lewes keeper, Banks did well to touch the ball away from his toes as he attempted to go around him, the loose ball broke to Woodhouse who agonisingly slotted the ball wide from 15 yards with the keeper on the deck and the goal gaping.
The home side, who were missing several players from either suspension or injury fielded an inexperienced side but on 11 minutes the Stags defence had to be sharp to block a tight angled shot from Wheeler that resulted in Lewes earning their first corner of the game.
Stags were keeping the ball well and having plenty of possession and on 14 minutes should have gone ahead. Captain, Jonathan D'Laryea clipped in a perfect ball for the head of Woodhouse, but the midfielder who later described himself as, “only five foot and a peanut,” headed wide when it looked a certainty he would open the scoring.
On the ¼ hour mark, Stags again were left cursing their luck when O'Connor seized upon a flick on from Duffy. The Stags striker worked his way into the area then crashed his powerful effort against the near post.
On 21 minutes Stags first corner of the game was not effectively cleared by the home side who conceded a free kick slightly to the left hand side of centre of the area. The Referee seemed to take an age to march the Lewes wall back to the required distance but it proved worth the wait for Mansfield when debutant, Paul Mayo brilliantly curled the free kick into the top right hand corner of the net leaving Banks grasping at thin air.
Rob Duffy was next to go close for the Stags who were in dominant mood, when he got on the end of a 33rd minute Woodhouse free kick, but the ball flew narrowly wide of the far post.
The last real opening of the half came from a powerful 25-yard shot from Mayo that Banks got well behind.
The expected 2nd half Stags onslaught began with a low cross by O'Connor that was cleared after Louis Briscoe had done well wide.
Garner back heeled a Stags corner from Woodhouse towards goal, but the ball was cleared for another corner kick that eventually was cleared off the line from Charles.
Stags were searching hard for a game killing 2nd goal but the home side were gathering a little heart from the fact that Stags were being kept the their single goal advantage, in fact Wheeler should have done better on the break but his weak shot was easily saved by Marriott.
Just before the hour mark, Holdsworth decided to shake up his pack when he replaced Briscoe with loan signing, Ameobi who straight away earned the Stags a corner.
On 69 minutes there was a further change when Blackwood was introduced for O'Connor.
With 76 minutes gone on the clock, Mansfield should have added a 2nd goal and it was the two substitutes who combined well to create the chance. Blackwood superbly crossing for Ameobi who unfortunately headed the ball wide of the mark from around the 6 yard mark.
It almost proved costly for the Stags when just two minutes later, Marriott had to be at his best to beat away a powerful near post effort from Klien-Davies.
As the minutes ticked away the home side seemed to throw everything at Mansfield, Standing flashing an effort just over the Stags crossbar following a long thrown-in.
As the game entered the 4 minutes added on time, Lewes earned themselves a corner which resulted in keeper Banks sprinting forward into the area, he flung himself at the ball but Stags defence remained calm to clear the ball out wide to Ameobi which provided a comical style race as Banks legged it back towards his own goal, thankfully for the home side, Ameobi was tackled earning Stags a throw in.
As the final whistle blew the delight on the Stags players faces was clear to see. The 1-0 win was well deserved and provided Holdsworth's new look side with another shot of confidence ahead of the midweek home game against Rushden & Diamonds and next weekends long journey to Eastbourne Borough.
Observer Man of the match – Curtis Woodhouse. Seemed to really enjoy playing and covered every inch of his white kick in Lewes mud. Looks as if he will be an important acquisition in the Holdsworth revolution.
Report from The Argus (Sussex)
Lewes go down despite strong finish
5:02pm Saturday 24th January 2009
By Howard Griggs »
A Lewes ripped apart by injury and suspension went down 1-0 at home to Mansfield Town.
Defeat made it six league losses on the trot for Lewes who have now gone 588 minutes without scoring a league goal.
However, considering they were without four defenders and eight players in total, they showed some plenty of spirit, particularly in the second half when they finished strongly.
The visitors dominated for most of the game but were definitely hanging on at the end when goalkeeper Alan Marriott made a particularly good save from Josh Klein-Davies.
The Rooks started with a makeshift defence with new signing Guy Butters ruled out by a calf injury suffered in training on Thursday.
Seb Wallis-Tayler was missing with a similar problem while Danny Cullip and Andy Pearson were suspended along with midfielder Joe Keehan.
It meant Anthony Barness switched to central defence, former Hassocks man Sam Fisk cam in for his debut at left-back and Grant Hall made his league debut at right-back.
Shaun Wilkinson, who like Butters has been signed on loan from Havant made his first appearance in central midfield while goalkeeper Chris Winterton, who signed on Friday following his release by Eastbourne Borough was on the bench.
It took just two minutes for one landmark to be reached as Lewes passed 500 minutes without a league goal, their last one coming in the first half of a 2-1 win at Salisbury on December 9.
The visitors should have gone ahead in the fifth minute but Rikki Banks made a great save at the feet of Aaron O'Connor and Curtis Woodhouse fired the follow-up wide of a gaping goal.
Woodhouse headed another good chance over the bar on 14 minutes after being left unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.
The Lewes defence looked all at sea at this stage and Mansfield went even closer a minute late, Banks touching O'Connor's rasping shot on to the near post before the ball was cleared.
It was no surprise when Mansfield went ahead on 22 minutes although the free-kick Elliott Charles conceded on the edge of his own area looked a little harsh. Mansfield debutant Paul Mayo, signed this week from Notts County, promptly dispatched it into Banks' top left-hand corner.
With Lewes struggling to get any possession going, Mansfield looked a constant threat and Rob Duffy headed another chance just wide from a Woodhouse free-kick.
At least Lewes finished the half with a bit more spirit but their only chance of note in the opening 45 minutes was an effort effort by David Wheeler which was pushed away for a corner.
Wheeler had the first chance of the second half but scuffed his shot after being fed by Elliott Charles following a good break.
However, it was only a brief respite for the Rooks who found themselves under pressure again in the opening stages of the second half when the visitors failed to tale advantage of a succession of corners.
To their credit, Lewes were showing more battling qualities in the second half and it was not until the 75th minute that Mansfield had a noteworthy chance on goal, substitute Tomi Ameobi heading wide in a great position.
Lewes then had two chances in quick succession. A shot from Charles was blocked but the ball dropped for Klein-Davies whose terrific strike was superbly saved by Marriott at the expense of a corner.
From the resulting flag-kick Wheeler's flicked header was cleared off the line by Adie Moses.
This sparked a strong finish from Lewes as Michael Standing hooked a shot wide after a long throw from Charles caused problems.
Charles and Standing then had half chances which went over and there was a shout for a penalty when Klein-Davies went down under challenge from Moses.
Mansfield were under the cosh and in the second minute of stoppage time goalkeeper Banks went up for a corner but just failed to connect with a header.
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