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Archived News from December 2011

6th December 2011 15:34

Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 4 - 1 Braintree Town
Dempster 24, Green 49, 67, Meikle 60. Wright 8.
Attendance: 1790 (52 from Braintree)

Date: 3 December 2011


Text commentary by Martin Shaw, from multiple sources including StagsPlayer commentary by Nigel Pinnick and Steve Hartshorn.

Matt Halfpenny of the Nottingham Post tweets: "#mansfieldtownfc unchanged for today's vist of Braintree. Aman Verma passed fit." Bench unchanged too.

Paul Cox tells Ian Williams of Radio Nottm, pre-match: "The story of our season is missing too many chances to kill teams off, by not getting the second and third goal. The law of averages says it will mend itself. We've been practising shooting and crossing in training. At some point we'll give someone a pasting. We've drawn too many games.
Paul Connor's decision came out of the blue. But it was an honest decision by Conns. He was sitting on a good contract here. He wants to go to University and get a degree. I didn't want to lose him, but I respect his decision, and it frees up a lot of money for January as he was one of our biggest earners.
I'm pleased to keep Kieran Freeman. His performance dipped at Bath, but then so did a lot of others."

Dave Rhodes (@radiorhodes) of Mansfield 103.2 tweets: "#mtfc have told the Football League that they will play at Field Mill next season should they be eligible for promotion ... 103 Exclusive ... This has been done as the "club is confident a deal will be done on Field Mill by March 31st"

So the full team: Marriott, Sutton, Thompson, Dempster, Freeman, Dyer, Verma, Murray, Meikle, Stevenson, Green. Subs: Redmond, O'Neill, Bolland, Briscoe, Rodney.

Marriott in pink shirt. Braintree in a mucky grey kit!

1 It's windy at Field Mill, and it looks like the Stags will have the wind advantage in the first half.

3 Meikle long range effort, with a deflection off Green, that just spins wide.

5 Meikle cross just misses Verma. Perhaps Verma got in Dyer's way.

8 0-1 Ben Wright scores past Marriott, fabulous finish. Marriott has actually not touched the ball in the entire match. Unbelievable.

12 Murray speculative shot from 35 yards.

13 Tame effort from Green from edge of box is 5 yards wide of the post. Marriott has still not actually touched the ball.

14 Marriott's first touch as he gets a backpass and plays out to Thompson.

16 Green sets up Murray who hits his shot straight at the keeper and out for a corner. Lovely play by Green. A yard either side of the keeper from Murray and that was in. From the corner, Dyer flicks over the bar.

18 Marriott saves from Shaun Marks, weak effort.

20 Mansfield draw warm applause for a move involving 13 passes, which ultimately achieves nothing. Meanwhile the wind seems to have dropped.

21 Sutton shoots but all the power is taken out of it by hitting defender Aswad Thomas.

24 1-1 GOAL Dempster. Heads in from fine Aman Verma corner at the back post. Alan Wilson gives it to Freeman but apparently he's wrong. Brave header from Dempster.
A bit of afters as Murray tries to retrieve the ball from the net.
Comment by Martin - Only the fourth goal from a Stags header all season.

35 Braintree just getting men behind the ball.
Stags stringing passes together.

38 Dempster goes down in box, fans appeal, looked like a push. Ref says no.

40 Dyer across the face of goal, but it's cleared.
Braintree have offered nothing. Stags completely in control.

43 Marriott makes magnificent save from Marks after Dempster gives ball away. Marks holds head in disbelief.

45 Green goes down in box, ref has a look but waves away. Two appeals turned down now.

45+1 Meikle obstructed, but ref waves away. Then Dempster gets ball and ref gives foul! Thompson booked for comments to the ref. From the free kick, Braintree fire well over.

HT 1-1
Paul Cox not happy with the ref as players come off. Good applause from the fans at the break. Ref booed off.
The Stags have dominated and passed the ball well. Frustrating scoreline.

Ian Williams of Radio Nottm says Stags denied at least one clear penalty. Blatant shove on Dempster on 38 minutes.

Back underway, no changes.

49 Corner for Stags. Corner count is 3-1
49 2-1 GOAL Green thunders it in to the roof of the net from that corner.
12th goal of the season.
Just what the Stags deserved.

54 Thompson nearly lets in Marks but just gets it back to Marriott. Heart in mouth time.

55 Stevenson shot deflected wide for corner. Stags have scored from 2 of those today.
From the corner, header is flicked away.

58 Braintree free kick wasted onto top of net.

Att: 1790 (52 from Braintree)

60 3-1 GOAL Meikle. Simple chance, taps in from Sutton cross.

62 Meikle gets shot in, three Mansfield players waiting for cross, and a cross would surely have seen the fourth.

63 Freeman shot from a long way out goes behind for goal kick. Freeman a bit ambitious with that one.

67 GOAL 4-1 Meikle crosses, keeper makes pigs ear of it and balls squirms out of hands, and Green taps in.
Meikle's had a terrific game.

69 Verma free kick, terrific save by keeper from great glancing header by Dyer.

72 Meikle lovely ball in and Green so close to a hat-trick but is a bootlace away from getting a touch on it.

75 Rodney for Meikle. Standing ovation for Meikle. Meikle even gets a handshake from Jai Reason. Rodney has green boots on.

79 Freeman shoots well wide after neat intricate play by the Stags.

80 Marriott punches clear from Braintree cross. Good challenge by Stevenson. Then shot straight at Marriott by Chilaka (check spelling).

81 Briscoe for Dyer. Dyer gets standing ovation having had a very good game.

83 Bit of a worry. Murray holding his back. But plays on.

85 Shaun Marks forearm smash into face of Thompson, and Marks is only booked. Marks pleads not intentional.

85 Great ball from Murray, hits the back of the advancing Green. Oooh close.

86 Reason smashes over the bar for Braintree.
Matt Green sponsor's man of the match. But it should have been Meikle who was magnificient.

87 Bolland for Stevenson

3 mins added on

90+1 Stags corner. Stags 6th of the game.

FT 4-1
Stags players applauded off. Murray rushes off - maybe to get treatment on his back?
A very dominant performance from Mansfield. Passing crisp and sharp. Good running off the ball. Vibrant. Verma looked good, which freed up Murray to spray the ball about. The Stags played with width.

Post match video interviews to follow on mansfieldtown.net

Sadly I won't get the match DVD until Tuesday night, so no highlights imminent.

Don't miss full match audio commentary from Ian Williams and Martin Shaw on Tuesday night at Grimsby, on bbc.co.uk/nottingham


report http://www.mansfieldtown.net/page/MatchReport/0,,10325~60215,00.html

Mansfield Town edged closer to the play offs after a comprehensive 4-1 victory at home to Braintree Town.

Goals from John Dempster, Lindon Meikle and a brace from Matt Green were enough to secure the win in a game which they dominated.

And it was Lindon Meikle, along with Green who were the stars of the show.

Braintree set up to frustrate Mansfield and hit them on the counter, but their defensive tactics when undone after Stags sent wave after wave of attack at the visiting goal.

Meikle started off in positive fashion only two minutes in when his shot from the edge of the area clipped the back of fellow team mate Lee Stevenson to fly wide.

The same man then showed the Braintree defence a clean set of heels when he dashed down the left flank, but his dangerous cross into the centre was missed by both Ross Dyer and Aman Verma and the visitors were let off the hook.

But it was Braintree who gained the lead totally against the run of play on eight minutes when Ben Wright's well placed shot from the edge of the area beat goalkeeper Alan Marriott to his near post.

Skipper Adam Murray let fly from distance five minutes later, but his effort was always flying over.

And it was Murray who should have scored in the 16th minute of the action.Matt Green, Stags' leading scorer, showed fine determination to get past his marker before laying it off to Murray whose shot from close range was saved by Braintree goalkeeper Nathan McDonald.

Iron striker Sean Marks then sent Stags' defence into a merry dance inside the area before pulling the trigger, but Marriott got down low to his left to deny Braintree of a second.

Stags were back on level terms on 24 minutes, when Aman Verma's corner caused all sorts of problems inside the area.And new signing John Dempster got the deftest of touches to send it home.

Mansfield continued to camp inside the visiting half but found it difficult to get past a resilient Braintree who put ten men behind the ball for most of the game.

Ritchie Sutton, again playing at right back, got to the goal line before sending a teasing cross into the area, but no one could latch on to it in the middle as Stags searched for the advantage.

Braintree were almost back in front just two minutes before the end of the half. John Dempster got in all sorts of trouble on the edge of the box when he lost control of the ball, presenting it for Sean Marks who was left with a one-on-one with Marriott. But Marriott made himself large to make a sensational stop.

Stags grew increasingly frustrated with numerous refereeing decisions which didn't go their way and near the end of the half but poor refereeing decisions were quickly forgotten when Mansfield found the goal they so richly deserved just four minutes into the second half to give them the lead.

Verma's corner was again sent into the six yard box which Braintree failed to defend, and sharp shooter Matt Green was on hand to rifle the ball home.

Stags then made sure of the win on the hour. Ritchie Sutton's right wing cross was bundled home in the middle by Lindon Meikle who did well to get the vital toucvh after being man-handled by a Braintree defender.

Meikle almost gained a second goal for himself just moments later. The ex-Eastwood winger latched onto Murray's pass on the left, but his cross could not be met inside the area.

Left back Kieron Freeman then got in on the shooting act on 63 minutes, but struck wide from 25 yards as Stags' confidence continued to grow.

Matt Green was on song again as Mansfield fired home a fourth. Lindon Meikle crossed from the left only for goalkeeper McDonald to spill the ball into the path of Green who tucked it into the bottom corner of the goal to extend Stags' advantage.

Despite the outcome of the game being a foregone conclusion, Stags piled on the pressure and Ross Dyer this time forced the keeper to make a save from short range after heading goalwards from Verma's left wing free kick.

Meikle then sent another pin point cross from the left, and Green was only a stride away from connecting.

Miekle enjoyed a moment in front of the fans as he left the field to a standing ovation when Nialle Rodney took to the field with 15 minutes to play.

Ross Dyer then made way for Louis Briscoe five minutes later before Braintree's Jai Reason blasted over unmarked on the left side of the box when he should've hit the target. Soon after, Lee Stevenson left the field to be replaced by Paul Bolland.

Stags left the field to a deserved round of applause after a thoroughly deserved victory.

Attendance:1,790 (52 away),


Full-time: Mansfield Town 4 Braintree Town 1
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny

MATT Green struck twice as Mansfield Town came back from an early goal down to cruise to a comfortable victory over Braintree at Field Mill – a much-needed first win in seven matches.


The visitors drew first blood with a slick finish from ex-Crawley striker Ben Wright.

But Mansfield quickly levelled with a first goal in amber and blue for John Dempster.

The teams went in level at the break but once Green hammered home early in the second period, the result was rarely in doubt.

Lindon Meikle gave the Stags some breathing space with a third goal before Green took his total for the campaign to 13th to add some extra gloss.

The success moved Mansfield up to eighth in the Blue Square Bet Premier, three points outside the play-off places.

Mansfield almost took the lead inside two minutes when Meikle's drive from the edge of the box deflected off Lee Stevenson and flew inches wide of the left-hand upright.

Soon after, Green found Meikle in space on the left and his excellent cross was just in front of Aman Verma, who was arriving late.

But it was Braintree who went in front in the eighth minute when Jai Reason dummied a right-wing centre and as Verma was unable to intercept, Wright swept a crisp finish just inside the left-hand post from the edge of the box.

Adam Murray twice blasted well wide, with the home side's frustration only too obvious.

Matt Green then let fly following a long throw from Kieron Freeman, but his effort never threatened Nathan McDonald's goal.

Mansfield spurned a golden opportunity in the 16th minute when Green wriggled free on the left and teed up Murray, but his shot was saved by McDonald when it seemed easier to score.

At the other end, Brad Quinton's free-kick was headed over by Dean Stevens before Sean Marks turned John Thompson and cut into the area, only to have his near post shot well saved by Alan Marriott.

Mansfield were back on level terms in the 24th minute with a set piece goal.

Verma curled in a superb corner from the left flank and Dempster dived in to head home from close range amid a ruck of players.

The Stags had appeals for a penalty turned down when Dempster went over attempting to get on the end of a cross.

Ritchie Sutton's cross was then intelligently headed back across goal by Ross Dyer but no one in an amber shirt was in support to add the finishing touch.

Dean Wells then made an immaculately-timed tackle to dispossess Green as he ghosted into the box.

It should have been 2-1 to Braintree just before the break when Dempster's slip let in Marks but Marriott won the one on one battle, narrowing the angle and making a fine block.

Mansfield had another penalty claim waved away when Green got goalside of Dave Stevens before going down in a heap, unable to get away a shot.

Just before the break, Braintree were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box and though Wright's shot cleared the wall, it was also too high.

Mansfield wasted little time in going ahead after half-time, netting four minutes after the restart, again from a Verma corner.

His inswinger from the left was turned goalwards by Stevenson and as the ball dropped inside the six-yard box, Green reacted quickest to power into the roof of the net from close range.

As the Iron tried to respond, Wright curled a strike from a free-kick just over the top.

But it was 3-1 to the hosts on the hour as Sutton skipped past his man on the right and as Wells failed to clear the resulting centre, Meikle stole in to prod home from close range.

Mansfield went for the jugular, but Meikle's cross was just too strong for Dyer and Freeman's drive from distance was well off target.

And it was 4-1 to Mansfield when McDonald failed to claim Meikle's cross from the left and Green was on hand to shoot home from 10 yards.

It was almost five when McDonald reacted well to keep out Dyer's goalbound header from another excellent free-kick by Verma, swung in from the left.

With confidence now flowing, Meikle sent over an inviting centre for Green, who stretched but could not quite get there as he scented a hat-trick.

With 15 minutes to go, Nialle Rodney came on for his home debut, the hard-working Meikle making way.

A rare Braintree foray forward saw substitute Chib Chilaka denied at close quarters.

Braintree might have pulled one back in the closing stages, but Reason blazed over from Andy Yiadom's left-wing cross.

Mansfield: Marriott, Sutton, Demspter, Thompson, Freeman, Verma, Murray, Stevenson, Dyer (Briscoe 81), Green, Meikle (Rodney 75). Subs not used: Redmond, Bolland, O'Neill.

Braintree: McDonald, Johnson, Wells, Stevens, Thomas, Yiadom, Symons, Quinton, Reason, Marks, Wright (Chilaka 76). Subs not used: Jones, Peters, O'Connor, Chilaka, Pooley.

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).

Attendance: 1,790 (52 visitors).


Delighted Cox sees his Stags show their ruthless side
Nottingham Post considered report by Matt Halfpenny

IT'S usually the manager who keeps the press corps waiting, not the other way round.


But so keen was Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox to talk about his side's well-deserved victory over Braintree Town, that he appeared out of the dressing room before some full-time reports had been filed or broadcast.

And it was with good reason that he wanted to get his message across after an excellent showing that lifted his team up to eighth in the table, just three points behind the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off places.

Last Tuesday night Mansfield performed admirably against Gateshead and carved out a number of chances, but were made to pay for their frustrating profligacy in front of goal.

This time, though, Cox got not only the display he was looking for from his unchanged side, but also the ruthlessness he had been demanding.

It brought a first triumph in seven matches at just the right time going into a duo of difficult pre-Christmas away games.

No doubt Matt Green will grab a large chunk of the headlines after he bounced back from missing gilt-edged opportunities against Bath City and the Tynesiders with his 12th and 13th goals of the season.

But the truth was that pretty much the whole side was in good working order, meaning they were able to hit back decisively after the concession of an early goal.

Once John Dempster had equalised for the hosts with his first since joining on loan from Crawley, Mansfield always looked likely to go on and secure a much-needed three points.

Only once, when Sean Marks was denied by Alan Marriott after an error by Dempster, did Braintree threaten to end a barren run that had produced just one win in 11 previous matches.

Yet even had the Iron gone in at half-time with a 2-1 lead, you sensed the Stags could still have turned things around as they played some enterprising stuff with Adam Murray and Aman Verma pulling the strings and Lindon Meikle providing a steady stream of dangerous centres from the left flank.

For their part, Braintree were largely poor, but were not helped by the absence through suspension of regular central defensive pairing Matt Paine and Adam Bailey-Dennis and midfielder and skipper Kenny Davis.

But the way Mansfield disposed of Alan Devonshire's side can only be of encouragement to fans who yearn for a prolonged challenge for a place in the top five that has not materialised in three previous campaigns at this level.

In what was their last home game before Christmas, the Stags were a little slow out of the blocks and trailed from Braintree's first serious effort on goal.

A right-wing centre was dummied by Jai Reason and Ben Wright got in a first time shot from the edge of the box that sped into the left-hand corner beyond Marriott's despairing dive.

However, driven on by vocal home support in the Quarry Lane End, Mansfield pushed hard for a leveller.

There were more than a few people who must have wondered if it was going to be Gateshead repeated when skipper Murray spurned a glorious chance in the 16th minute.

His first touch to latch onto Green's pull-back from the left byline was superb and gave him time to pick his spot.

But he was unable to beat the advancing Nathan McDonald, drilling against the keeper's body when it seemed easier to score.

Crucially for the Stags, they stayed patient and were rewarded with a 24th minute equaliser.

Verma swung over an inviting left-wing corner and Dempster stooped to head home from inside the six-yard box.

Mansfield pressed in the latter stages of the half, yet it was the visitors who should have led at the break, only for Marriott to repel Marks' low shot after Dempster's trip on the ball. Four minutes after the restart, the Stags forged ahead, with a left-wing corner from Verma again the source.

The busy Lee Stevenson touched goalwards and though his effort was blocked, Green wasted no time in thrashing the loose ball into the roof of the net.

A third goal, which killed off any hopes of a Braintree comeback, arrived on the hour.

Dean Wells made a hash of clearing Ritchie Sutton's right-wing cross, allowing Meikle to stab home his fourth goal of the season before McDonald could dive on the ball to smother the danger.

And it was not long before three became four as Meikle's ball in from the left was not gathered by the hesitant McDonald and Green was there to pick up the pieces, finding the left corner from ten yards.

It could have been 5-1 soon after when Verma's free-kick was headed on target by Ross Dyer, only for McDonald to react quickly and claw the ball to safety.

Kieron Freeman twice blasted wide as Mansfield coasted in the closing stages without looking likely to really cut loose. But it did not matter. The job had already been done by that stage.

Next up for Mansfield is a trip to Grimsby tomorrow night – and that will be far from easy after the Mariners thumped Stockport 7-0 last time out, as well as beating the Stags 7-2 in the corresponding fixture last season.

But if they hope to show they are a side to be reckoned with – and have truly emerged from their recent dip in form – then the Stags have to be travelling to Blundell Park believing they can claim at least a point.

If they do, then Cox could be even quicker out of the tunnel to sing the praises of his troops

Match facts: Mansfield Town v Braintree .Monday, December 05, 2011 Nottingham Post
Follow.Mansfield: Marriott, Sutton, Demspter, Thompson, Freeman, Verma, Murray, Stevenson (Bolland, 87), Dyer (Briscoe 81), Green, Meikle (Rodney 75). Subs not used: Redmond, O'Neill.

Braintree: McDonald, Johnson, Wells, Stevens, Thomas, Yiadom, Symons, Quinton, Reason, Marks, Wright (Chilaka 76). Subs not used: Jones, Peters, O'Connor, Chilaka, Pooley.

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).

Attendance: 1,790 (52 visitors).

Goals: Mansfield 4: Dempster (24), Green (49 and 67), Meikle (60). Braintree 1: Wright (8).

Shots on target: Mansfield 7 Braintree 7.

Shots off target: Mansfield 9 Braintree 5.

Fouls: Mansfield 10 Braintree 12.

Corners: Mansfield 5 Braintree 1.

Offsides: Mansfield 0 Braintree 1.

Bookings: Mansfield 2 (Thompson, 45+3, dissent; Freeman, 74, foul) Braintree 1 (Marks, 85, foul).

Sendings off: Mansfield 0 Braintree 0.

Mansfield's man of the match: Lindon Meikle. The England C international was in electric form on the left flank and capped a stirring display with the Stags' third goal. Not only threatening when in possession, but worked hard, too, to win the ball back when Braintree were on the front foot


Stags fan view – Dennis Lord, 58
Nottingham Post

ON A cold but sunny December day we turned up at the Mill wanting a home win in style. After the match against Gateshead we were in good spirits and hoping for our heroes to carry on in the same attacking vein.


We started off not overly confident but with a desire to put Braintree under pressure from the start. Our passing game was not as sharp as it could have been but the boys did their best to break through an organised defence.

After eight minutes, disaster, a quick break and cross over our 12 yard line, a quick dummy and a swift shot found its way passed Marriott and into the net.

The 52 away supporters celebrated as we pondered what was to come in the next 82 minutes. With the crowd behind them we got up ahead of steam and pressed forward.

On 24 minutes the Stags got their reward when after a cross from the left was met by Dempster to make it 1-1.

On half time Mr Cox had a few choice words with the referee and we didn't think it was about his Christmas shopping list. Our heroes came out for the second half and with Adam Murray on his starting blocks we can only assume the gaffer wanted a flying start to the half, and we got it. On 49 minutes Matt Green swooped to give the stags the lead, the confidence started to flow through the team. On 60 minutes Meikle scored and then Green made it four. Christmas has come early! The team carried on playing confident football and could have added to the score.

Matt Green was awarded the man-of-the-match award but the whole team should take credit for a marked improvement in their performance – keep it up


Mansfield Town 4-1 Braintree, Saturday 3rd December
chad.co.uk report

A MATT Green brace helped get Mansfield Town back to winning ways as they came from behind to comfortably see off visiting Braintree Town 4-1 at Field Mill this afternoon.


It was a first win in seven outings for Paul Cox's men and the best possible answer to their critics after some poor recent home form.

Braintree, with one win in 12 games now, are in freefall and were missing three suspended players, including both regular centre halves

But the Essex visitors still went ahead on their first ever visit to Field Mill with Ben Wright's eighth minute strike.

However, new boy John Dempster opened his Stags account on 24 minutes to level and as soon as Green bagged his first four minutes after the break, Mansfield took complete charge.

Defensive errors gifted Lindon Meikle and Green further goals as Stags made it a fourth game without defeat and edged up to eighth place, three points off three play-off spots.

Meikle had almost edged Stags in front in just the second minute with an 18-yard half volley, but saw it clip off team mate Stevenson and pass narrowly wide for a goal kick.

Good work from Green then sent Meikle to the by-line where his excellent cross flew inches in front of the head of the incoming Verma right in front of goal.

Instead it was the Essex side who drew first blood from their first attack on eight minutes.

A low ball along the edge of the box from the right saw Reason beat Verma to it but allowed it run on to Wright who dispatched a crisp, low, first time finish inside the left hand post.

Murray responded with two efforts from distance that both cleared the crossbar.

Then a long Freeman throw reached Green who controlled but saw the ball sit up as he bundled a tame finish wide.

Murray should have levelled on 16 minutes after Green set him up eight yards from goal only to see keeper McDonald valiantly turn his finish aside for a corner from which Dyer flicked a header wide.

Verma conceded a free kick 10 yards into the Mansfield half which Quinton sent in and Stevens headed over.

But seconds later Braintree threatened again as Marks turned Thompson on the right and raced towards goal, Marriott smothering his right foot shot at the near post.

However, Stags were finally on level terms on 24 minutes.

Verma curled in a wicked corner from the left which bounced through a crowd of players almost on the line where Dempster stooped to head it home.

There was some argy bargy immediately afterwards as Murray tried to quickly retrieve the ball from the net but the cards stayed in the referee's pocket as he calmed things down.

Dempster went down in the box under a challenge as he tried to reach a Murray cross, but the referee waved play on as Mansfield continued to plug away.

Green almost raced clear three minutes from the break but was halted by a great sliding tackle from Wells.

A minute later it took a great block from Marriott to deny Marks after a ill-timed slip from Dempster seemed to have gifted him the ball and a goal on a plate.

Green threatened once more as he wrestled his way goalside of Stevens 12 yards out only for Stevens to recover and do just enough to stop Green shooting and the ball rolled to the keeper.

Reason was straight at Marriott from 25 yards as we entered stoppage time.

Stags were furious when nothing as given as Meikle was held just outside the Braintree box. Then when the visitors broke, Dempster seemed to win his tackle cleanly but a free-kick was given. That provoked fury from Thompson who was booked for his protests.

Wright whistled the 20 yard kick narrowly over the bar with the final kick of the half before the whistle saw Stags boss Paul Cox quickly out to remonstrate with referee Peter Bankes, who was booed from the field.

However, the Stags made the perfect start to the second half as Green ended his recent goal drought on 49 minutes.

Verma floated in a corner from the left which Stevenson tried to force home from five yards. It was partially blocked but the ball sat up nicely for Green to ram it high into the net from close range.

Wright looked for a cheeky equaliser as he tried to lift the ball over Marriott from 40 yards but the keeper was comfortably back to grab as it dropped.

Two Braintree defenders collided to gift Green the ball just inside the box. He squared to Stevenson whose low shot deflected wide.

Wright whipped another dipping free kick onto the top of the Mansfield net from the left hand side.

But Mansfield opened up a two-goal advantage on the hour thanks to some fine Meikle scavenging.

Sutton did well to force over a low cross from the right which defender Wells miscontrolled and allowed Meikle the chance to stab home from close range.

Freeman's low 25 yard shot was always curling well wide on 63 minutes, but not as wide as Reason's long range free kick soon after which raised mocking jeers from the home fans.

Another defensive calamity saw Stags extend their lead on 67 minutes. Meikle curled in a low left wing cross and keeper McDonald stopped it with his foot but failed to get it clear or pick it up as Green raced in to blast home his 13th goal of the season from close range.

On 70 minutes Verma found Dyer with a free kick from the left and, although his powerful header was on target, it was right down the throat of McDonald who was able to claw it away.

Green was literally inches away from a hat-trick as Meikle chipped in an early forward ball after spotting Green's run and the striker, at full stretch, was just unable to get a touch to send the ball home.

Another poor decision by Mr Bankes saw Freeman booked for a tackle he had won cleanly on 70 minutes.

Rodney took over from the impressive Meikle for the final 15 minutes.

Stags were enjoying their afternoon now and some possession football ended with Freeman pulling a low shot well wide.

Marriott did have to stand tall to smother a near post Chilaka effort after the sub got goalside of Dempster.

Marks was lucky only to be booked for an elbow to the face of Thompson, though for the defender, who had spent so long recovering from facial injuries in the summer, it was a further test of his recovery.

Braintree should have pulled one back when the home defence allowed Yiadom's right wing cross to reach Reason at the far post. However, he snatched at the finish and ballooned it over the bar.

STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Dempster, Thompson, Freeman; Murray, Stevenson (Bolland 87), Verma; Dyer (Briscoe 81), Green, Meikle (Rodney 75). Subs not used: Redmond, O'Neill.

BRAINTREE: McDonald, Thomas, Reason, Symons, Marks, Wright (Chilaka 75), Quinton, Yiadom, Johnson, Stevens, Wells. Subs not used: Jones, Peters, O'Connor, Pooley.

REFEREE: Peter Bankes of Merseyside.

ATTENDANCE: 1,790 (52 away).


report from http://www.braintreetownfc.org.uk:
With just 11 outfield players to choose from - Iron failed to sustain bright start
A heavily depleted Iron side made the journey to Mansfield Town and, despite taking an early lead, came away beaten by four goals to one.
Iron were ahead after eight minutes when Ben Wright was set up by Jai Reason and tucked the ball home from the edge of the box.
The home side levelled on 24 minutes when John Dempster converted Aman Verna's corner, but the turning point came just before the break when Sean Marks was through on goal only to be denied by an excellent block by home keeper Alan Marriott.
After the break the home side took the initiative and were ahead after 49 minutes when Matt Green beat Nathan McDonald from close range and Lindon Meikle tucked home Mansfield's third on the hour.
With only one fit outfield player on the bench, Iron's options to switch players with substitutions were limited and McDonald could do little to prevent Green adding a fourth on 68 minutes.
After the game Iron boss Alan Devonshire was realistic: "What I'm learning very quickly is that you can't take on this league with just twelve players. I've got to sort out the discipline, get everybody fit and available and then we go to work."



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