SUPER STAGS WIN AT SOUTHPORT
Blue Square Bet Premier
Southport 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Daly 80. Istead 18, Gregory 40
Attendance: 1,289 (approx 300 from Mansfield)
Date: 11 September 2010
SOUTHPORT 1 - 2 MANSFIELD TOWN
Southport official site
Report by Alan Jones
There have been some tough lessons for Southport to learn during the course of the past week.
Having made a strong start to the season, their last-minute defeat at Gateshead on Tuesday was followed by another narrow loss against Mansfield Town, leaving the Sandgrounders to rue the fine margins that have again proved costly.
Despite applying second half pressure on a Mansfield side who consolidated their place in the division's top three by virtue of this win, Liam Watson's side were ultimately made to pay for defensive lapses and a series of missed goalscoring chances.
The Sandgrounders looked jaded in a first half dominated by Mansfield, and while the home side's performance improved after the break, they lacked the craft needed to properly test a well-drilled defence.
Southport had gone 450 minutes without conceding prior to their defeat at Gateshead in midweek, but here they were punished for some uncharacteristic errors. The half-time introduction of Robbie Williams brought greater solidity to a Southport defence that had presented Mansfield with a two-goal lead.
Having established their advantage through Steven Istead and Lee Gregory, the visitors looked comfortable for most of the afternoon and could have scored more as they hit their stride towards the end of the first half.
Nevertheless, Southport will take heart from the series of chances they created, a large number of which fell to Liam Blakeman. With sharper finishing, Watson's side could easily have taken a share of the spoils against one of the division's early frontrunners.
Mansfield opened the scoring on 18 minutes. Having charged down a clearance from Adam Flynn, Istead took the ball past Kevin Lee before executing a delightful finish beyond the reach of goalkeeper Tony McMillan and into the top right-hand corner.
McMillan had earlier been drawn into action with a solid stop at his near post from Kyle Nix, but he was again helpless as the visitors doubled their tally through Gregory, who followed up an initial effort from Paul Connor after the Mansfield striker had dispossessed Flynn.
The visitors' second had been preceded by Southport's best spell of the first half, as Daly nodded Ashley Winn's cross against the far post, but it represented only a brief respite for the Sandgrounders. Mansfield finished the half in the ascendancy and were denied by the woodwork themselves, with Nix and Kevin Sandwith both seeing efforts crash against the crossbar in stoppage time.
Although Southport's play was more focussed after the break, the visitors defended stoutly and looked assured for much of the second half. Blakeman went closest when his 50th minute shot brought an instinctive save from Alan Marriott after good link-up play involving Matty McGinn and Matty McNeil.
The Southport midfielder had also been denied by the visiting goalkeeper late in the first half, before shooting over when positioned well after a lay-off from Earl Davis.
McNeil and Winn also spurned chances, before the Sandgrounders finally unlocked the Mansfield defence ten minutes from time, as Daly fired in a superb finish after Marriott had done well to beat away an original attempt from Shaun Gray.
Southport: Tony McMillan, Kevin Lee, Adam Flynn (Robbie Williams 46), Earl Davis, Chris Lever (Shaun Gray 10), Ashley Winn, Alan Moogan, Liam Blakeman (Paul Barratt 72), Matty McGinn, Steve Daly, Matty McNeil.
Subs not used: Steve Dickinson, Allan Collins.
Mansfield Town: Alan Marriot, Gary Silk, Chris Smith, Stephen Foster, Kevin Sandwith; Lee Gregory (Ashley Cain 61), Steven Istead, Gary Mills, Kyle Nix, Luke Medley (Rob Duffy 83); Paul Connor.
Subs not used: Neil Collett, Tom Naylor, Keigan Parker.
Referee: Richard West
Southport 1 Mansfield Town 2 - Saturday, 11th September
CHAD.co.uk report By John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town earned a superb third successive away win on the trot at battling Southport this afternoon.
The outstanding Stephen Istead and debut-making Lee Gregory netted their first goals for the club in an impressive first half in which the Stags also twice hit the crossbar.
The visitors went 4-3-3 with four changes to fight fire with fire againstADVERTISEMENTa home side known for being direct. And the Sandgrounders didn't disappoint with a barrage of long throws and a much better second half showing in which Steve Daly gave them hope with an 80th minute reply.
Mansfield's central defenders Chris Smith and Steve Foster had an outstanding game with keeper Alan Marriott pulling off three top drawer saves.
It was one-way traffic at the end with Stags under intense pressure though sub Ashley Cain missed a great late chance on the break to finish them off.
But it didn't matter in the end as Mansfield had a brighter end to a week in which the club was put up for sale.
Out went Louis Briscoe, Tyrone Thompson, Adam Smith and Keigan Parker.
The defence was unchanged but Stevie Istead and Kyle Nix came into a three-man central midfield alongside Gary Mills.
Also in came youngster Lee Gregory for his full debut up front with Paul Connor and Luke Medley.
Stags began the game in their new 'England' style away shirts for the first time.
Connor, playing down the centre, was given an early lecture for getting in the keeper's way as he tried to kick upfield.
On seven minutes Nix forced McMillan to turn the ball round his near post with a shot on the turn from Medley's pass.
Southport struggled to clear the resulting corner with Stags getting subsequent crosses in from both flanks to no reward as a heavy shower poured down.
There was sickening clash heads as Chris Smith went in to challenge McNeil. It looked accidental but the home side were given a free kick and a scuffle between most of the players ensued.
At this stage Southport were also forced to withdraw Lever and bring on Gray with just 10 minutes elapsed, though both Smith and McNeil were all right to continue.
The Sandgrounders caused their first problem on 12 minutes as McNeil helped on a free kick and the ball ran for Blakeman to rifle a low shot into the sidenetting.
Sub Gray was lucky not to concede a free kick or even a penalty for a two-handed push into Istead's back right on the whistle line of the penalty box but the referee didn't even stop play.
But, as the sun came out, the Stags were soon celebrating an 18th minute lead.
And it was Istead's first goal for the club as he won the ball, bustled his way past three opponents and blasted a great finish into the top right corner.
Ten minutes later the home side were almost on level terms. Marriott stayed on his line as Flynn floated the ball in towards him and Daly popped up to glance a header which scraped the outside of the post.
Then Sasndwith allowed McGinn to rob him of the ball and send Winn down the right for a cross that Marriott this time did grab from the air.
Moogan was booked on 34 minutes, presumably for dissent as the foul on Istead looked an innocuous one.
But it was 2-0 to the visitors on 39 minutes. Sandwith sent a hopeful ball down the left for Connor to chase.
Home skipper Flynn was there first to cover but allowed Connor to battle his way goalside of him into the box.
Connor ran on at goal and tried an ambitious effort from the outside of his right foot over the keeper which the incoming Gregory turned over the line from close range.
McGinn almost caught Stags napping with a long, low pass into space for Winn to chase onto. But Marriott's positioning was superb as he got behind his low finish.
The Stags keeper caused worry a minute later when he spilled a high cross and Sandwith had to hack clear as far as Blakeman whose rasping shot was beaten away by Marriott, Chris Smith completing the clearance.
The best move of the half saw Stags string together pass after pass to mesmerise the home side before it ended with Nix seeing his finish deflected onto the top of the bar.
That brought the first of two corners, the second seeing Connor head back into the middle and Sandwith rattled the bar with a superb bicycle kick.
Southport took just 20 seconds from the restart to test Marriott, Winn laying the ball back for Blakeman to shoot low at the keeper.
Stags then failed to adequately clear a left wing cross and the ball broke for Blakeman five yards from goal only to see Marriott stretch upwards and tip his goalbound finish over the top.
That produced the home side's first corner of the game and they had clearly come out with a determination to get a foothold back in the game.
From a Sandwith throw on the left Medley let fly with a big shot from the edge of the box which hit team mate Connor and sailed well over as Stags tried to ease the pressure.
From another long throw for the home side, Winn had a low shot blocked and Davis rolled a pass back for Blakeman who blazed over the bar from 10 yards.
McNeil was booked for persistent fouling on 58 minutes after his challenge on Silk.
Three minutes later goalscorer Gregory was replaced by Cain for Mansfield.
Southport continued to press and McNeil guided a glancing over the bar as he fell from Daly's cross as we entered the last 15 minutes.
Connor gave away a stupid booking on 79 minutes as he gave the ball a little tap with his foot vas he ran past it when the keeper had set up a goal kick.
Stags looked comfortable at this stage. But they were rocked by a home goal on 80 minutes.
Gray forced another good stop from Marriott with a powerful shot from 16 yards. But the Mansfield keeper was helpless as the ball rolled back to Daly who buried it high in the top right hand corner.
Medley had space outside the box at the other two minutes later but dragged a tame shot towards McMillan.
Duffy replaced Medley for the final seven minutes.
Cain should have settled the game in the final minute. Istead backheeled the ball to Mils who launched it long where the pace of Cain saw him get away from his marker and, with only the keeper to beat, fired disappointingly over.
Four minutes of stoppage time was added on as the long throws continued to sail into the Mansfield box.
Marriott again had to save to his right to claw a Lee header round from the second of four corners as the visitors stood firm against an almost unbearable barrage of pressure.
But they held on to record a hard-earned away victory.
SOUTHPORT: McMillan, Lee, Lever (Gray 10), Flynn (Williams ht), David, Blakeman (Barratt 72), Winn, Moogan, McNeil, Daly, McGinn. Subs not used: Collins, Dickinson.
STAGS: Marriott; Silk, Foster, C. Smith, Sandwith; Nix, Mills, Istead; Connor, Gregory (Cain 61), Medley (Duffy 83). Subs not used: Naylor, Parker, Collett.
REFEREE: Richard West of Beverley.
Southport 1 - 2 Mansfield Town - FULL TIME
Evening Post report, by Matt Halfpenny
MANSFIELD Town secured a hard-earned third consecutive away victory after surviving a spirited second half Southport fightback at Haig Avenue this afternoon.
The Stags cantered into a 2-0 half-time lead with first goals for the club by Steven Istead and Lee Gregory – and it could have been more as they hit the woodwork twice.
But the Sandgrounders did not give it up and after pressing hard in the second period pulled a goal back through Steve Daly.
They threw everything at Mansfield in the closing stages, leaving the visiting fans biting their finger nails.
But the Stags held on to follow up wins at Kidderminster and Altrincham with another in the north-west.
After a very scrappy opening, the Stags had the first real opportunity in the sixth minute.
Paul Connor worked the ball out to Luke Medley on the left who fed the ball into Kyle Nix and his shot on the turn was pushed away at his near post by Tony McMillan.
A clash of heads between Chris Smith and Matty McNeil saw the former need treatment and the visitors temporarily down to ten men, but he soon returned to the field.
Southport's first opportunity saw Earl Davis flick on a free-kick and as the ball was laid off by McNeil, Liam Blakeman drilled into the side-netting from just inside the box.
Gregory might have had a free-kick right on the edge of the box when substitute Shaun Gray – on early for injury victim Chris Lever – appeared to push him, but the referee was unmoved.
But Mansfield soon forgot that as they went in front in the 18th minute through Istead.
The midfielder charged an attempted clearance down, held of two would-be challengers and side-step a third before curling a precise finish just inside the right-hand post from 12 yards.
Rare hesitation from Alan Marriott just before the half hour mark almost cost Mansfield dearly just before the half hour mark.
He stayed at home when he would have been better advised coming out to claim Adam Flynn's right-wing cross and that left Daly to glance a header against the outside of the left-hand post.
A mistake from Kevin Sandwith let in Ashley Winn down the right, but, this time, Marriott claimed the resulting centre confidently.
Six minutes before the break, Mansfield were two goals to the good after a mistake by Flynn.
Kevin Sandwith played the ball down the left for Connor and as the central defender missed the ball, the Stags striker got goalside.
He cut into the box and aimed his finish towards the right-hand corner where Gregory raced in to bundle the ball home from point blank range.
Southport were desperately close to pulling a goal back when Marriott dropped a left-wing cross and Sandwith had to scramble the ball clear.
From the follow-up, Blakeman powered goalwards but Marriott atoned with a superb stop before Chris Smith slid the ball away from Daly.
But Mansfield could have scored twice more before the interval.
First an intricate move involving five or six players culminated in Nix's deflected shot hitting the bar and flying over.
Then, from the resulting half-cleared corner, Connor headed back into the danger area for Sandwith's overhead kick to again cannon against the woodwork.
Southport were quickly out of the traps after the restart and within 30 seconds Marriott was called into action to scoop up Blakeman's low effort following a Winn pull-back.
Sloppy defending from Mansfield gave Blakeman yet another chance to net, only for Marriott to deny him again, diverting the ball past the left-hand post.
Medley tried his luck as the ball broke kindly for him on the edge of the box in the 53rd minute, but his powerfully struck effort struck team-mate Connor to fly for a goal kick.
Marriott missed his punch to give Blakeman another opening to shoot soon after but this time he lifted the ball over the top.
Nix played an excellent one-two with Connor after running with the ball but as he looked to return the ball again to his front man, he overcooked his pass.
As the Sandgrounders kept playing the ball high into the Mansfield box, Daly eventually teed up McNeil whose glancing header flew over the bar.
The home side lifted their spirits – and their fans – with 10 minutes to go when Gray's shot was superbly saved by Marriott only for Daly to rifle the rebound into the top right-hand corner.
Not a trip for the faint hearted
Evening Post considered report, by Matt Halfpenny
THEY resembled England with their St George-esque kit, but thankfully Mansfield Town showed a lot more guts at Haig Avenue than the national team did in this summer's World Cup.
While all was clearly not right for Fabio Capello and his charges, David Holdsworth's men were united as one in their first outing in their new away strip.
Taking on a Southport side known for their physical strength and direct style of play, this was no trip for the faint-hearted.
To conquer in the north-west, the Stags knew they needed to demonstrate the type of pride you would expect to see from those who wearing the Three Lions – and they did just that.
Their football was not always of the highest order, although some of their passing did underline their capabilities when they do get it right.
But what Mansfield did possess in bucketloads, as they notched a third victory on the road in a row following their wins at Kidderminster and Altrincham, were determination, grit and resilience.
Liam Watson's men were never going to make it easy, having struck upon a winning formula in securing last season's Blue Square Bet North title and conceding only one goal in their previous five games.
Nevertheless, Mansfield found a way to win – something they were not always equipped to do last season.
What made the performance all the more admirable were the difficult circumstances in which it was achieved.
It could not have been easy for the players to focus on the task in hand after Thursday's announcement that the club has been put up for sale.
There is currently no suggestion to the contrary, but it would have been inevitable for them to wonder if their respective futures at Field Mill were safe.
Yet the Stags did not play like a side full on tension and worry, especially in the first half when they were at their best.
Having named a virtually unchanged starting line-up for the first seven matches of the season, defeat at home to Tamworth prompted a switch in formation and no less than four changes.
Out went 4-4-2, midfielders Adam Smith, Tyrone Thompson and Louis Briscoe and striker Keigan Parker. In came 4-4-3, midfielders Kyle Nix and Steven Istead and strikers Lee Gregory and Luke Medley.
As he acknowledged afterwards, Holdsworth was leaving himself open to criticism for shaking things up to such an extent, particularly after a bright start to the season.
But there was logic in how the team was deployed to combat the no-nonsense appraoch from Southport –and to hit them on the break when the opportunity arose.
Not only that, it made sense to bring in fresh legs into the frame after an incessant run of early-season games when there has hardly been time to pause for breath.
Two of those selections, Istead and Gregory, made a near-instant impact in front of goal, but only after Nix had burst into the box and had an early shot pushed away by the home keeper.
The opener came on 18 minutes out of nothing. Istead worked hard to close down the Southport back line and did well to charge down an attempted clearance.
He was first to the ball as it rebounded back towards the Sandgrounders' goal, but he still had plenty to do.
The former Ilkeston Town man first kept his balance in holding off two would-be tacklers and then side-stepped a third before curling a precise shot into the right-hand corner from 12 yards.
Port might have squared things up when Stags keeper Alan Marriott ill-advisedly chose to stay at home, leaving Steve Daly to head Ashley Winn's cross against the outside of the left-hand post.
If Istead's strike had been inspired, Gregory's was simple after fellow front man Paul Connor did all the hard work.
After Adam Flynn had failed to cut out Kevin Sandwith's ball down the left touchline, the big striker cut in for goal and aimed a deft finish for the top-right corner, where his younger colleague bundled the ball home.
Again, the home side were not deterred and after Marriott had dropped a cross he atoned with an excellent stop from Liam Blakeman's powerful drive.
It might have been 3-0 before the interval as first Nix, following a slick passing move, clipped the bar and then Kevin Sandwith rattled the same piece of woodwork with an acrobatic overhead kick.
A fired-up Southport came out with a renewed vigour in the second half and gradually pinned back the visitors.
But central defenders Steve Foster and Chris Smith were superb against the Sandgrounders' key man, Matty McNeil, using all their know-how to nullify the former Stockport man's threat.
There was reward, though, for Port's persistence when Marriott saved brilliantly from Shaun Gray only for Daly to thump home the rebound.
After substitute Ashley Cain had spurned a one-on-one to make the game safe, the Stags were put under intense pressure in the four minutes of stoppage time.
During that, there was still time for Marriott to shine once more, finishing an up and down game on a high.
Under siege, Mansfield certainly did not wilt. St George would have been proud.
Mansfield Town continued their impressive away record with a 2-1 victory away to Southport.
mansfieldtown.net report by Mark Stevenson
Steven Istead and Lee Gregory bagged their first goals for the Stags in a victory which could have been won by a wider margin.
The game should have been put to bed by half time, during a first half which Mansfield commanded.
Stags, playing in their new England-esque away strip for the first time this season, made wholesale changes to the line-up, as well as a different formation.
Kyle Nix and Steven Istead were the fresh faces in the middle of the park - playing alongside Gary Mills in a midfield of three.
Luke Medley and Lee Gregory started in attack with Stags' leading goalscorer Paul Connor.
Southport goalkeeper Tony McMillan was first tested on seven minutes when Medley assisted Nix, whose shot was saved.
The hosts' Liam Blakeman went close five minutes later as Southport advanced in a rare first-half attack.
Then came the deadlock breaker, made and finished by one man. Steven Istead showed great determination and persistence to block a Southport clearance, and after collecting the ball he headed goalwards getting past his man before placing his shot perfectly beyond McMIllan.
The hosts almost found an equaliser when Steve Daly headed against a post after a cross from the right.
Swirling wind, combined with a pedantic referee, halted the fluency of the game.
But Stags were still to play some eye-catching moves and they forced a corner when Mills, Medley and Connor united to force a flag kick on the left side.
Mansfield were two ahead five minutes before the break.
Kevin Sandwith sent the ball down the wing to Paul Connor who made a mockery of home captain Adam Flynn by turning past him to advance to goal. With the target in sight, Connor poked the ball into the far corner of the goal before it clipped off the post and was bundled in by the onrushing Gregory.
Then Alan Marriott was called upon to save from a Liam Blakeman shot, before Chris Smith cleared away to safety.
Then came Stags' move of the season thus far which involved nine uninterrupted passes around the penalty area. Kyle Nix finished off the move by clipping the bar with an aid of a home deflection .It was a beautiful free-flowing move which would have been a goal to replay time and time again had it come off.
In the dying seconds of the first half, Kevin Sandwith may have scored an unlikely goal with an acrobatic overhead kick from inside the area - but it hit the bar.
After the break, Southport expressed greater penetration than their sluggish first half.
Liam Blakeman struck at goal within 30 seconds of the restart and then Marriott had to save a shot from the same player five minutes later.
At the other end, Luke Medley had all the time in the world to shoot inside the area, but his effort hit the head of Paul Connor.
Southport, in their search to reduce the deficit, had an opportunity to do just that on 53 minutes.Ashley Winn laid it off for Blakeman inside the area but his shot was hopelessly off target.
David Holdsworth then sent on Ashley Cain on the stroke of the hour, but the formation remained as 4-3-3.
Southport pulled a goal back to set up a tantalising finale.Alan Marriott kept out a rasping first shot from the edge of the area, but could do little about Shaun Gray's curling effort into the top corner.
Rob Duffy saw the last seven minutes of the contest, replacing Luke Medley.
Stags, despite being comfortable for the majority of the match, never really hit top gear.
In the final minutes of the action, Gary Mills sent a delicious pass towards the speedy Ashley Cain who raced past his man but struck horribly over.
Southport forced a trio of corners in the dying moments, and Alan Marriott had to be alert to the home side's long throws, but Stags held out to claim their third successive victory on the road.
Southport 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
by John Siddle, Southport Visiter
A STRING of missed chances and a disastrous error from Southport captain Adam Flynn gifted high-flying Mansfield Town victory at Haig Avenue.Steve Daly's 80th minute screamer was too little, too late after the Stags marched into a two-goal first half lead.Goals from Steven Istead and Lee Gregory proved enough to move David Holdsworth's side three points off the summit of the Blue Square Premier.For Port boss Liam Watson there was only frustration as his part-time side suffered a second defeat in five days. His side had several notable chances to pin back Town, with midfielder Liam Blakeman denied repeatedly by a mix of poor finishing and superb goalkeeping. Watson told the Visiter: “I think we've created more chances today than we have all season. “Liam Blakeman came off and said to me: 'Sorry boss, I should have had five.'“[But] we can't give anyone a 2-0 head-start. We have gifted it. We've hurt ourselves.”In a first half that failed to really ignite, Mansfield went in at half-time with a two-goal advantage secured more through opportunity than incisive play.Istead's cool opener on 18 minutes, following a neat turn past Kevin Lee inside the box, was the result of a lacklustre headed clearance from Flynn into the striker's midriff 25 yards out.And Gregory's second, on the stroke of half time, was again the skipper's fault. Flynn failed to clear the ball from play on the right byline, allowing Connor to capitalise on the loose ball.While his shot swerved wayward, Gregory was on hand to bundle the ball in at the far post. Watson was so angered by the goal he hauled his captain off at half-time, replacing him with the excellent Robbie Williams.He said: “I thought his performance in the first half was shocking and the way he acted at half time in the changing rooms is not what I want my captain to be like, so I took him off.”Indeed, Mansfield could have led by four at half time had it not been for the fine margin of the Southport crossbar. Nix's goalbound drive clipped Davis before skimming the bar before Connor's overhead kick from a resultant corner crashed off the stanchion. To their credit, Port emerged reinvigorated in the second half.Just seconds in, Blakeman tested Marriott with a low drive before the Town stopper proved his credentials with a stunning, instinctive parry from the midfielder.Minutes later, Blakeman - whose performance was described by Watson as “outstanding” - was left with his head in his hands after squandering a close-range effort over the bar.Hard-working McNeil flashed a glancing header over the bar from a Williams cross before Daly netted his first of the season.The new dad reacted quickest after Gray's long-range drive stung the palms of Marriot, firing a scorching shot from 18 yards into the roof of the net.But despite a flurry of late corners, the goal proved nothing more than a meagre consolation.Watson summed up: “We've just got to take it on the chin, come back and train this week, work hard and get ready for Rushden on Saturday.”
Southport FC suffer Mansfied defeat
by John Siddle, Liverpool Echo
SOUTHPORT boss Liam Watson came to blows with captain Adam Flynn before hauling him off at half-time in their defeat to Mansfield Town on Saturday.
Watson was incensed by his skipper's two errors that gifted the Stags their two-goal advantage – and was less than impressed with Flynn's reaction.
He said: “I thought his performance in the first half was shocking and the way he acted at half-time in the changing rooms is not what I want my captain to be like, so I took him off.”
Watson was happier with Liam Blakeman and desribed him as “outstanding”, but he was the main culprit of a Port performance that was blighted by a string of missed opportunities in front of goal.
It wasn't until the 80th minute that they finally found the net through Steve Daly's screamer.
Watson said: “I think we've created more chances today than we have all season.
“Liam Blakeman came off and said to me: 'Sorry boss, I should have had five.'
“But we can't give anyone a 2-0 head-start. We have gifted it. We've hurt ourselves.”
Steven Istead's cool opener on 18 minutes, following a neat turn past Kevin Lee inside the box, was the result of a lacklustre headed clearance from Flynn into the striker's midriff.
And Gregory's second, on the stroke of half-time, came after Flynn failed to clear the ball from the right byline, allowing Connor to capitalise on the loose ball. and tee up Gregory.
Port improved in the second half with Robbie Williams on for the beleaguered Flynn.
But Daly's goal proved nothing more than a consolation and Watson said: “We've just got to take it on the chin.”
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