ABSOLUTE RUBBISH, STAGS
Northwich Victoria 2 - 0 Mansfield Town
Grand 31, Elam 76.
Attendance: 858 (app 300 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at the Marsten's Arena, Victoria Stadium
Mansfield Town put in a shocking performance to lose 2-0 at second bottom Northwich Victoria on Monday afternoon. The Stags were awful in almost every aspect as they showed no heart, no determination, no fight, and precious little skill as they were comfortably beaten by the Vics who were fighting for their lives, and victory kept the home side alive for another day.
The Stags were pathetic in the first half, with dreadful defending throughout and offering nothing going forward. Northwich could have been ahead long before they took the lead after 31 minutes with a free header from a corner. The Stags improved briefly in the second half but Northwich deserved their second goal on 76 minutes, never looked in any danger of conceding, and easily held on against the feeble Stags.
So that's three abysmal performances on the trot away from home, at Histon, Wrexham, and Northwich, and in total 6 defeats from the last 7 away games. This form can no longer be considered a blip. While at home, the Stags have been playing really well. The contrast needs resolving straight away, and with an improved performance at Woking next Saturday: another side who will be fighting for their lives like Northwich.
Full Stagsnet report in Match Centre
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
HOLDSWORTH 'NOT AMUSED' BY VICTORIA DEFEAT
Northwich Victoria 2 Mansfield Town 0
Stags' miserable recent run of away form continued with a 2-0 defeat against relegation threatened Northwich Victoria.
The Vic's who needed to beat Mansfield and hope that other results went their way to preserve BSP status for another few days at least scored a goal in each half to heap further gloom on Mansfield's poor recent away record that has seen David Holdsworth's men lose six out of their last seven away from Field Mill.
Stags made two changes from the side that had drawn dramatically with Barrow just two days previous with Goalkeeper, Jason White making his first start of the season in place of the suspended Alan Marriott, who was sent off in added on time following Barrow's equaliser, and up front Aaron O'Connor was preferred instead of Rob Duffy who began on the bench.
The home side who had lost only once in their previous five games were in desperate mood to keep alive their hopes of avoiding the drop and began the game with far more sparkle than their visitor's, many of whom looked as if the end of season could not come quick enough. Indeed it took only two minutes before Victoria earned themselves their first corner of the game.
The Stags were looking laboured and were struggling to get any sort of passing game going whereas Victoria looked hungry.
On 14 minutes, Jason White had to be alert to get down to save a header from right midfielder, Lee Elam after he had got on the end of a Grand flick on from a long throw.
Just three minutes later and the dangerous home striker, Jonny Allan neatly played in Byrom inside the penalty area, once again forcing White into action.
Just moments later and for once Mansfield threatened the home goal, albeit if only by accident as Ryan Williams cross looped over and hit the top of the Northwich crossbar with home keeper, Clarke nothing other than a flapping bystander.
On 20 minutes, home striker Burns lead half hearted appeals for a penalty when he went down under the challenge of Moses, but the referee shook his head and play continued.
On 25 minutes Luke Horrocks hit a shot from the edge of the Stags area that took a deflection and went wide for another corner as the home side tried to up the tempo in search of the opening goal.
That goal came about on 31 minutes. The home side won a corner on the right hand side that was delivered perfectly by Byrom onto the head of Vics captain, Simon Grand who rose about the Stags defence to head the ball home from the edge of the six yard box.
On 42 minutes the home side almost extended their lead. Lee Elam cut in from the left on a jinking run before unleashing a shot that Jason White dived down well to save.
Then just before half time Meadowcroft headed wide when he was in a position to do much better.
Tempers rose within 30 seconds of the start of the 2nd period as Vics striker, Jonny Allan found himself going into the Referee's notebook when he slid into Jason White as the Stags keeper waited for the ball to run out for a goalkick.
On 49 minutes Northwich thought that they had scored a 2nd goal when Meadowcroft headed in from close range, but Stags were thankful to see the linesman's flag aloft because Aaron Burns had been stood in an offside position.
O'Connor and Williams linked together well for Williams to clip over a perfect cross onto the head of Briscoe, but his header went over the crossbar.
Briscoe on 58 minutes was replaced by Rob Duffy as Holdsworth tried to inject a bit of urgency into a side that were still looking 2nd best to their relegation threatened opponents and he almost straight away fired in anger towards goal, but his first time shot flew well wide of the target.
In the 64th minute, Nathan Arnold replaced O'Connor but there was still little or no breakthrough for Mansfield.
Hotchkiss and Arnold both fired high over before on 70 minutes youngster, Connor Higginson made his league debut when he replaced Daryl Clare.
Two minutes later and Garner became Stags' 3rd player to be booked when he caught Allan with an elbow.
Simon Grand went in search of his and Vics second goal but was denied by another save from Jason White.
But on 76 minutes, White was helpless as Northwich did indeed bag their 2nd goal. Stags had struggled to effectively clear the ball and when it was returned into the danger zone by Byrom, the unmarked Lee Elam was on hand the steer the ball home.
As the game neared its end, Allan turned neatly and shot narrowly wide as the Vics went in search of a 3rd.
After the game Manager David Holdsworth was less than pleased about the 'mentality' of some of his players, stating that, they were making his job very easy when it comes to contracts at the end of the season.
This weekend Stags travel down to another side balancing on the edge of the relegation trapdoor in Woking before finishing the season with two home games.
Observer Man of the match – Jason White came out of the game ok, but very little else to cheer.
Latest | April 2009