FRIENDLY: FC HALIFAX 0 MANSFIELD 1
Saturday 23 July 2011
Halifax Town 0 Mansfield Town 1,
video of the winning goal -->
Stagsnet report by Darren Shaw
It was a good solid performance by the Stags who generally controlled the game and always looked like the side more likely to score. We had five good scoring opportunities in the first half and Matt Green could have had a hat trick. Briscoe also had an excellent shot tipped over the bar and Connor headed a good chance over the bar. Halifax huffed and puffed but we comfortably kept them at bay. The only chances they had came from set pieces. Tom Naylor was excellent in defence and Luke O'Neill looked good at right back. Worthington and Bolland were on top in midfield and made lots of noise shouting to the rest of the team. We finally got the goal we deserved early in the second half when Connor held the ball up well and laid it off to Briscoe who fired a great left foot shot into the corner of the net. Meikle looked lively on the left in the second half and Kendrick played well at left back. The Stags understandably lost their rhythm a little as they made changes to the team but Dyer made one great flick on up front and Lee Stevenson smashed a left foot shot over the bar. Wood was reasonably solid at the back but his distribution let him down at times. My men of the match were Tom Naylor in defence and Paul Connor up front. Overall, there were plenty of positives. It was also nice to hear the home fans saying we were a "big team".
I thought Halifax's best player was their little Number 8 in midfield (Tom Baker?). Jamie Vardy and Lee Gregory did not play due to injuries.
Green issues goals pledge to Stags
Nottingham Post, by Matt Halfpenny
MATT Green believes he can be the missing piece in Mansfield Town's jigsaw by supplying the goals his new team needs.
Boss Paul Cox has drafted in the Oxford United player until December to strengthen the Stags' striking options.
And after being edged out of the picture at the Kassam Stadium, Green is hoping to prove he has lost none of his ability in front of goal.
Green, 24, has already been part of promotion winning squads with the Us and Torquay United.
Now he is determined to put Mansfield on the path to glory after making his debut in a 1-0 friendly victory at FC Halifax on Saturday, just 24 hours after agreeing the move north.
"I have done OK in the Conference before in terms of goalscoring, so I don't see why that should change now, especially as I think I am a better player than the last time I was at this level," said Green.
"I don't want to come in and not be in the goals because I know that's what the manager has brought me in to do.
"I thought to myself after the Halifax game that if I'd have been a little bit sharper I would have been off the mark already.
"But the sharpness will come with the more games I get and I'm sure I'll be ready for the first game on August 13."
Mansfield were 1-0 winners at the Shay, with Louis Briscoe bagging the game's only goal.
Cox said he was pleased with the efforts of his debutant, adding: "On another day, Matt could have had a hat-trick, but he hadn't trained with us.
"I think when he gets fully fit, with his movement and the way he runs in behind, we will have a very good player on our hands."
Mansfield clean-sheet delights manager Cox
Nottingham Post, by Matt Halfpenny
LAST season they were about as rare as a penny black stamp for one of the leakiest defences in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
So, above all else, Mansfield Town's first clean sheet of this pre-season simply had to be the most encouraging element of their 1-0 victory over FC Halifax.
The West Yorkshire club are favourites to earn back-to-back promotions by following their Evo-Stik Premier title success with promotion from the Blue Square Bet North in 2011-12 – and for good reason.
Neil Aspin's side have a host of excellent players, the necessary financial resources and will be backed by a sizeable following wherever they play.
Not only that, but Mansfield were without the central defensive pairing that had impressed so much in the 1-0 midweek defeat to Championship side Doncaster Rovers for their trip to the Shay.
John Thompson was suffering slight discomfort in his hip while Martin Riley was feeling unwell. Both might have played in a league game but boss Paul Cox sensibly declined to play either of them.
It meant a new, inexperienced partnership of 20-year-olds made up of triallist Nick Wood, formerly of Tranmere, and Tom Naylor, fit again after hamstring trouble.
Against that backdrop a shut-out for goalkeeper Shane Redmond was something to behold as Mansfield notched their first pre-season triumph after defeats to Nuneaton, Notts County and Sean O'Driscoll's Rovers.
And the reason for the defensive blank was simple. The Stags looked altogether more solid and well-organised in a compact 4-4-2 formation, led by the know-how of central midfielders Jon Worthington and returning Paul Bolland, than they did at various stages last season.
Self-confessed perfectionist Cox insisted his men still looked disjointed at times, but he must surely be encouraged by the structure to his team's play that seems to be improving week by week.
The manager's other big concern had been a lack of goals, albeit having previously played two teams from the Football League.
Again, Mansfield were not full of goals, even against a team from below them in the Football Pyramid.
But in new signing Matt Green, they certainly seem to have an outlet who can help increase their attacking productivity.
Despite not finding the net on debut, the quicksilver front man, who has joined on loan from Oxford, could have had a first half hat-trick.
Given the right service, he could be an ideal foil for Paul Connor, who, as any keen Stags fans will know, has the capability and nous to supply the flicks and knock ons.
It was, in fact, the intelligence of the former Rochdale and Swansea man that led to the only goal of the game less than 120 seconds after the restart following half-time.
Connor held the ball up in the right channel and turned inside to slide the ball square to the onrushing Louis Briscoe.
From there, it was last season's top goalscorer at his best as he slipped past a tackle on the edge of the box and stroked a precise finish just inside the left-hand post.
Cox said: "There are still a lot of things for us to work on.
"But the players stuck together well in what I see as their first game which will be similar to what we will encounter when the league gets under way."
Halifax 0-1 Stags
A superb 47th minute strike from Louis Briscoe gifted Stags their first victory of pre-season in a game which somehow produced only one goal.
Both Stags and Halifax had numerous chances to convert in front of goal - such opportunities which would usually find the net during the league season when the final touch always seems sharper.
This was a contest which almost mirrored last October's FA Cup match, where Stags' quality prevailed over the full 90 minutes, but not without a tough fight from the Shaymen.
Midfielder Paul Bolland made his first start of pre-season away to FC Halifax Town.
The experienced midfielder, who had previously been out nursing a shoulder problem, started in central midfield alongside Jon Worthington.
Tom Naylor also returned following a hamstring problem, partnering trialist Nick Wood at centre-half.
Latest signing Matt Green started up front with Paul Connor.
Meanwhile, Matt Riley was reported to be ill and John Thompson was out with a minor hip problem.
With eight minutes played, Paul Connor got to the goal line before drifting a telling cross into the box, with fellow front man Matt Green only inches away from connecting.
Halifax went close five minutes later when Tom Baker's left-sided free kick was met by a glancing header from towering centre half Liam Hogan, but his effort sailed wide.
Stags' keeper Shane Redmond then spared Stags' blushes after a poor clearance from defence which allowed home striker Nick Gray to latch on to the ball outside the area - but the Dublin born goalkeeper made himself large and thwarted the chance.
On 20 minutes, Paul Connor, again acting as architect, knocked it down to Briscoe on the right side of the area. Taking a split second to steady himself, the powerful wing man thundered a shot at goal which stung the fingertips of goalkeeper Simon Eastwood who turned it behind for a corner.
Matt Green had another chance to find the net when he did well to beat the offside trap, latching on to a Briscoe throughball, but his low drive went wide.
The hosts should have broken the deadlock on 32 minutes when Shane Redmond could only palm away a left wing free kick, allowing David Haggerty the opportunity to shoot from close range, but he somehow missed the target.
At the other end, Matt Green was equally as guilty for not converting. Tom Naylor rose to head goalwards from a corner and with a panicked-stricken home defence unable to clear, the ball fell to Matt Green who twisted before firing low into the hands of Simon Eastwood, who, to his credit, got down quickly to make the stop.
A last gasp intervention from Tom Naylor prevented Halifax from heading into the break with the advantage.
As the hosts hit Stags on the counter, Danny Lowe latched on to the ball inside the area, only to see Naylor coming from nowhere to make a vital interception before Lowe could open fire.
Just before half time, Briscoe raced away down the right before sweeping a cross into the middle for Connor to head over the bar.
Stags entered the second period with two fresh faces: Adam Murray replaced Paul Bolland in midfield and Lindon Meikle appeared on the wing in place of Adam Smith.
Mansfield broke the deadlock just two minutes into the second half with Briscoe firing the net just as he did here last October. Connor held the ball well on the edge of the box and laid off Briscoe, who skipped by his man before unleashing a rasping left-foot drive which flew into the net leaving Eastwood with no chance.
Meikle then turned by his marker on the left before smashing a shot straight at Eastwood from 20 yards.
On the stroke of the hour, Joe Kendrick smashed an arrow-like shot which appeared to graze the angle as it flew over.
Halifax substitute James Dean, who was given a rapturous reception from the home fans, struck wide from 16 yards following a corner as the Shaymen looked to peg one back.
Soon after the missed chance, Ross Dyer replaced Paul Connor up front and five minutes later, goalscoring midfield man Lee Stevenson came on for Matt Green.
Two minutes after making his entrance, Stevenson played a neat one-two with Dyer on the edge of the area before firing over.
Ritchie Sutton and Andy Todd replaced O'Neill and Briscoe with only a few minutes to play. With a minute to play, Meikle, who appeared to pick up a knock left the field to make way for Matt Bell, before the whistle blew to signal Stags' first pre-season win.
STARTING X1: Redmond, O'Neill (Sutton 86), Naylor, Wood, Naylor, Smith (Meikle 45), Bolland (Murray 45), Worthington, Briscoe (Todd 87), Green (Stevenson 75), Connor (Dyer 70)
UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Howell, Mitchley
Halifax Town 0 Mansfield Town 1, Saturday 23rd July friendly
chad.co.uk, Saturday 23 July 2011
STAGS secured their first pre-season win of the campaign and boosted their promotion aspirations in the process with an assured 1-0 victory against FC Halifax on Saturday, reports Stephen Thirkill.
Talisman winger Louis Briscoe once again proved to be the difference between the two sides with his superb individual goal on 47 minutes sealing an impressive win against the Blue Square North new-boys.
Just like on this ground in last year's FA Cup Fourth Qualifying round contest, the pacey winger ran right at the heart of the home defence before unleashing a sweet strike which was simply too hot to handle.
The stylish goal seemed to perfectly sum up the entire team display, with Paul Cox's men controlling large periods of the game with spells of slick and incisive passing, especially for the first 30 minutes.
New loan striker Matt Green, signed on Friday from Oxford United until December, brought an added dimension to the Stags strike-force and showed early signs that he could create a more than useful combination with Paul Connor.
It could perhaps have been a different outcome had Liam Hogan's glancing header drifted inside Redmond's left post on 12 minutes rather than away for a goal-kick.
But that was the only real scare for impressive visitors who once again turned in a solid defensive team display to close the game out well.
Stags, who were looking for their first pre-season win, named seven of their new summer signings in the starting line-up, with former Chesterfield shot-stopper Shane Redmond being given the nod ahead of Alan Marriott.
Striker Matt Green, signed on Friday on loan from Oxford United until December, and trialist defender Nick Wood were also given run-outs as boss Paul Cox continued his fine-tuning ahead of the season-opener against Bath City on 13th August.
There was also a welcome return to the heart of defence for Tom Naylor.
The Evo-Stick Premier Division champions gave starts to summer signings Simon Eastwood, Ryan Toulson, who played for the former Halifax Town side under Chris Wilder, Scott McManus and Liam Needham.
But former Leigh and Chorley man Jack Dorney, had to be content with a place on the bench, as did Gregg Anderson and ex-Eastwood man Anton Foster.
FC Halifax went into the friendly fixture looking for a measure of revenge for last season's 1-0 FA Cup fourth qualifying round defeat against Mansfield.
But it was Stags who threatened to open the scoring first after six minutes when a sweeping cross-field ball from Briscoe picked out Connor on the left flank.
He then fizzed a fierce cross across the face of goal, which the on-rushing Matt Green just failed to connect with.
The Shaymen, who have been named favourites to lift the Blue Square North title, thought they had opened the scoring after 12 minutes when Liam Hogan rose well before powerfully heading Tom Baker's in-swinging free-kick inches wide.
Briscoe then warmed the palms of Eastwood in the home goal after 21 minutes in a move which brought back memories of his FA Cup goal on this ground last year.
The wingman was played in on the right side of the penalty box after good hold-up play by Connor.
He then stole a yard on his marker before hitting a pile-driver which was superbly turned away for a corner by Eastwood.
Matt Green nearly capped his debut with a goal two minutes later after he was given half a yard of space by Briscoe. But he failed to connect properly and dragged a tame effort well wide.
FC Halifax, who claimed the scalp of League One Scunthorpe in their last pre-season outing, threatened the Mansfield goal on 33 minutes when Redmond flapped at a Baker free-kick.
But Haggerty was unable to take advantage as he sliced his right-footed effort wide from 15 yards.
The lively Green should have opened the scoring for Stags on 35 minutes after FC Halifax failed to clear Naylor's header from a Kendrick corner.
But, with the ball bobbling around in the six yard box during a goal-mouth scramble, Green failed to get a meaningful touch as Eastwood smothered the ball on his goal-line.
The home side, who had won three out of three pre-season friendlies ahead of the fixture, began to grow in confidence as the first half wore on and Redmond was forced into a comfortable save after Holland connected with a Ryan Toulson cross on 41 minutes.
Just like last season the constant threat of Louis Briscoe proved to be too much for the Halifax defence as he opened the scoring on 47 minutes with a superb individual goal.
The tricky winger picked up a knock down from Connor in a central midfield area, before jinking past a couple of defenders and firing a curling left-foot effort from the edge of the box past the despairing dive of Eastwood.
FC Halifax attempted to get back into the game and forced a corner from a quick break on 52 minutes after Naylor had done well to muscle Needham away from the danger zone.
Connor continued to cause bother in the air and he nearly doubled the Mansfield lead on 55 minutes when he nodded a Worthington cross into the hands of Eastwood.
The game was nearly sealed on the hour mark from an unlikely source as left-back Kendrick unleashed a thunderous effort from the left corner of the box which grazed the crossbar before going to safety.
It would have been nothing more than the assured Stags deserved as their midfield and strike pairing continued to exert a tough grip on the game and carve out a number of half-chances to double their lead.
The Shaymen really should have levelled the contest on 69 minutes when Stags failed to clear their lines from a corner.
But substitute James Dean lacked the necessary composure of his famous name-sake and shinned a right-footed effort well wide after the ball had fallen invitingly.
Stags substitute Lee Stevenson went close to sealing victory on 78 minutes when he drilled a shot from the edge of the box a yard over Phil Senior's crossbar.
With time running out Liam Needham nearly dragged the home side level on 83 minutes as he cut inside before seeing his low goal-bound drive well blocked by Naylor's outstretched leg.
Garner then fired a flat free-kick straight into the Mansfield wall on 84 minutes from 20 yards as FC Halifax's hopes finally began to die.
FC HALIFAX: Eastwood (Senior 69 mins), Toulson, Lowe, Hogan (Anderson 36 mins), Haggerty, McManus, Hardy (Garner 45 mins), Baker (Foster 62 mins), Gray (Dean 59 mins), Holland (Hogan 69 mins), Needham (Dorney 45 mins).
MANSFIELD: Redmond, O'Neill (Sutton 86 mins), Kendrick, Wood, Naylor, Briscoe (Todd 86 mins), Smith (Meikle 45 mins, Bell 88 mins), Bolland (Murray 45 mins, Worthington, Connor (Dyer 69 mins), Green (Stevenson 75 mins). Subs not used: Howell, Mitchley.
ATTENDANCE: 843 (correction by Martin - announced as 743).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jon Worthington.
REFEREE: Mick Denton of Lancashire.
MATCH RATING: 3 out of 5
FC Halifax Town 0-1 Mansfield Town: Report
halifaxafc.co.uk, by Tom Scargill, Sat 23 Jul 2011
Halifax have made a habit of not looking out of place against higher league opposition in the last year or two.
When clubs higher up the league ladder have come to town, The Shaymen have not been found wanting, be it against Wrexham, Grimsby, Scunthorpe or indeed Mansfield.
Last season's FA Cup tie between the two teams was decided by the odd goal and an inspired Estonian goalkeeper, and today's reunion was similarly evenly-matched.
So similar in fact that the same goalscorer settled the game, with Louis Briscoe's well placed shot from just outside the box arrowing into the bottom corner and sealing Halifax's first defeat of pre-season.
However, as Neil Aspin opined afterwards, there were plenty of positives to take from the match, such as the reappearance of Ryan Toulson in a Halifax shirt, who took The Shay surface with a calmness and composure that suggested he'd been there many times before.
Nick Gray, a team-mate of Toulson's the first time around, continued his re-emergence from injury with another positive contribution playing alongside Danny Holland.
Holland's opposite number Matt Green, a livewire for most of the game, was presented with a sight of goal from Paul Connor's cross early on but he ended up in the net while the ball evaded him.
Liam Hogan then got just the right amount of contact on Tom Baker's free-kick, but his flick flashed just wide of Shane Redmond's far post with the 'keeper stranded.
The former Nottingham Forest stopper was then called into action to deny Gray after the Town man took advantage of some lax Mansfield defending, but his toe-poke towards goal was smothered by the onrushing Redmond.
Briscoe's repeat performance nearly came early midway through the first-half when he unleashed a fierce shot from a similar position to his goal last season that Eastwood tipped over the bar before Green again went close with a low shot that ended up inches wide of the far post.
Chances weren't at the rate of one a minute, but when they came, they were good ones, with David Haggerty next to go close after more shaky Mansfield defending, but his shot from just inside the box went narrowly wide.
By the time James Dean made his first pre-season appearance, he was in the same role as potential saviour that he went so close to fulfilling last time out against The Stags, and he went about as close as he did against his Estonian foe again when he shot just wide after a goalmouth scramble.
Jack Dorney also had a sight of goal late on with his low shot appearing to be going in but for some resilient Mansfield defending; the same kind of durability that just about edged the game their way again.
It may have been a carbon copy of last season, but Halifax once more came out of a tussle with a team further up the league ladder looking like they belong on the same rung.
Halifax: Eastwood, Toulson, Lowe, L Hogan, Haggerty, McManus, Hardy, Baker, Gray, Holland, Needham. Subs: Senior, Anderson, Garner, S Hogan, Dorney, Foster, Dean.
Mansfield: Redmond, O'Neill, Kendrick, Worthington, Wood, Naylor, Briscoe, Bolland, Connor, Green, Smith. Subs: Murray, Howells, Meikle, Stevenson, Sutton, Bell, Dyer, Mitchley, Todd, Marriott.
Goalscorer: Louis Briscoe
Man of the Match: Ryan Toulson
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