RETURNING GEOHAGHON AND MURRAY INSPIRE STAGS WIN
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 3 - 1 Woking
Briscoe 10, Rhead 45+2, Speight 90+1. McNerney 83.
Attendance: 2061 (83 from Woking)
Date: 1 September 2012
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium
First appearances of the season for fit-again Adam Murray and the re-signed Exodus Geohaghon inspired Mansfield to a 3-1 against newly-promoted Woking at the One Call Stadium on Saturday. With 9 of the Stags starting 11 having featured heavily last season, manager Paul Cox was returning to a side that served him well last season. The Stags were in front on 10 minutes with a great finish from Louis Briscoe. The Stags created numerous chances in the first half, many from Geohaghon long throws, and Geohaghon himself was unlucky when his powerful low shot was blocked on the line (or possibly just over the line - the match DVD shows it was very close), and a deserved second goal came in stoppage time at the end of the half as Rhead, clearly onside despite Woking protests, slid a composed finish into the net after good play from Daniel and Howell. Woking came back into the game in the second half as Mansfield looked a little nervous, and Gavin McCallum was unlucky when his shot his the underside of the bar and then Alan Marriott made a terrific one-handed save from a free-kick. Matt Green was extraordinarily unlucky not to make it 3-0 when he chipped the keeper but the ball bounced over the bar. Woking pulled a goal back on 83 minutes and the Stags were rocking, especially when Marriott made a good save with his legs. But a fine goal from substitute Jake Speight, superbly set up by another sub Nick Wright, made the game safe. Overall a 3-1 scoreline just about reflected the game in terms of chances created.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Man of the Match: Exodus Geohaghon
Mansfield Town 3-1 Woking, Saturday 1st September By John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town bounced back from their Grimsby blues to take three much-needed points from this afternoon's 3-1 home win over promoted Woking.
But the visitors pushed them hard all the way, despite having gone behind to Louis Briscoe's 10th minute strike and trailing 2-0 with just five minutes left, Matt Read adding a second in first half stoppage time.
It had taken three smart saves from home keeper Alan Mariott to keep Woking at bay until then.
But he was finally beaten by Joe McNerny as the game headed for a nervous grandstand finish until sub Jake Speight finally sealed it two minutes into stoppage time.
Mansfield gave a much-improved display in the first half with returning pair Adam Murray and Exodus Geohaghon outstanding.
Both first half goals stemmed from long throws by Geohaghon in a powerful display.
Stags made four changes. Geohaghon, signed from Kidderminster last night, rejoined the club after impressing on loan last season and was back in defence.
Murray made his first start in midfield after recovering from a summer ankle operation and, despite the lay-off, ran the show.
There were also starts for striker Rhead and winger Briscoe.
Out went suspended Gary Roberts, plus John Dempster, Chris Clements, and Jake Speight.
There were early cheers for Geohaghon as he raced across to dispossess Betsy in full flight on the right with a perfectly-timed tackle.
The nippy Betsy then got the better of Daniel to reach the by-line and put in a dangerous low cross which Jones was happy to turn over the bar for a corner which Jones then headed clear.
The seventh minute saw the first Geohaghon long throw which generated great noise and excitement in the stands and was flicked on by Rhead, but Woking managed to kick clear.
But Geohaghon's next throw on 10 minutes did produce the much-needed early opener for the home side.
Woking struggled to clear Murray helped it back towards goal where the ball rolled off a defender for Briscoe to the right of goal who crashed home a low shot inside the far post.
Sawyer was booked for going in late on Daniel on 19 minutes.
Keeper Howe clawed another Geohaghon throw away for a corner.
Jones really should have doubled the lead from that as it was eventually cleared to Geohaghon who played a pass to Meikle. He picked out Howell at the far post and he headed back in front of goal where Jones was unable to keep his finish down from three yards and saw it sail up and over.
Pires gave Marriott is first test with a curling left foot shot from 25 yards which the keeper clutched above his head.
A superb Murray chip forward was only just too long for Green as he tried to go one-on-one.
Then on 32 minutes, from a half-cleared corner Meikle had a shot blocked which bounced towards Geohaghon who fired a half-volley past Howe only to see Betsy clear off the goal line to deny him.
Howell was harshly booked for a routine foul on 35 minutes. McNerny took the free kick and curled it up and over the wall only to see Marriott perfectly in position to grab it.
McCallum then hit a powerful 30 yard effort at goal from a central position which Marriott easily grabbed.
Two minutes were added on at the end of the half in which time Geohaghon bombed in two more throws.
When Woking failed to clear the second of those, Rhead doubled the home lead as the watch crept onto 48 minutes.
Daniel lost the ball but won it back well and then threaded a pass through the advancing Cards defence for Rhead to stab the coolest of finishes past Howe.
Meikle almost made it 3-0 inside the first two minutes of the second half as he cut in from the left to hit a right-footed shot that Howe had to tip over his bar.
From the corner, Jones sent a powerful header goalwards which was blocked right in front of goal.
McCallum tested Marriott with a low 25-yard effort which took a slight deflection but not enough to trouble the keeper.
However, a minute later on 65 minutes, McCallum was given space from a similar position and this time drilled a higher shot that Marriott did well to turn onto the angle of post and bar.
But Stags twice came close as Murray blazed over from 20 yards while Rhead's header offered Briscoe a sight of goal, Howe coming out to block his finish from close range.
Marriott made another great save on 69 minutes from a Woking free kick from 30 yards out. Sawyer rolled it to Parkinson whose vicious finish swerved dramatically, but Marriott still managed to get a hand in the way of it and was then grateful to see the waiting Williams put the follow-up into the sidenetting.
A section of the home fans actually booed a succession of misplaced home passes, despite their side leading 2-0 as we entered the last 15 minutes.
At this stage Rhead and Briscoe were withdrawn and Speight and Clements sent on.
Jones headed a Murray free kick on target soon after, Howe there to collect.
Green came even closer on 81 minutes as he chased Sutton's forward ball, the keeper racing out his box to meet him but helpless as Green lobbed him and could only watch in agony as the ball bounced right in front of the empty net and bounced up and over the bar.
Green then attacked the Cards' defence on the right, coming inside before dragging a low shot at Howe.
However, Woking grabbed a lifeline on 85 minutes.
Geohaghon's clearance only reached Sawyer who lobbed an intelligent ball back in over the advancing defence and McNerny crowned a good display by beating Marriot to the ball and firing home from seven yards.
Plucky Woking went for it at this stage and again it was Marriott who saved the home side, getting down at his near post to block a finish by Betsy.
Home nerves were stretched by the news that there would be four minutes of added time.
But those nerves were settled when two subs combined to bag Stags a killer third goal on 92 minutes.
Wright did well to reach the bal on the right and then cut back inside before curling a superb pas off the outside of his boot behind a defender to give Speight sight of goal on the left of the box.
And he didn't need a second invitation as he blazed home an unstoppable finish across the keeper.
STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Jones, Geohaghon, Daniel; Briscoe (Speight 75), Murray, Howell, Meikle; Rhead (Clements 75), Green (Wright 89). Subs not used: Thompson, Stevenson.
WOKING: Howe; Newton, Johnson (Doyle 85), McNerny, Cester; MCallum, Sawyer, Parkinson, Ricketts (Williams 65), Betsy; Pires (Sinclair 79). Subs not used: Beasant, Frith.
REFEREE: Anthony Backhouse of Cumbria.
ATTENDANCE: 2,061 (83 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Exodus Geohaghon
Match report: Mansfield Town 3 Woking 1
Nottingham Post report by Stevie Roden
PAUL Cox wanted to put his Mansfield Town train not only back on track, but on the right line and heading in the correct direction.
Three defeats in the opening five games, shipping 14 goals, had rocked the Stags and their supporters. But for manager Cox, it ran deeper than that.
Rather than live up to their promotion favourites' tag from day one, his side had looked fragile, been bullied and looked an easy target.
Despite adding more strength and depth to his squad, the sturdy, robust, efficient winning vehicle he put together in his first season in charge had derailed in an embarrassing manner.
So whatever was to be the outcome on Saturday against Woking, Cox was adamant he wanted to see his side getting back to what they were all about last season, no matter how unpleasant on the eye.
And while the 3-1 win wasn't perfect, the first-half demonstrated all the things that made them a success last time out, when they finished third, while the second period highlighted that work still needs to be done to get the Stags chugging along nicely.
Cox made four changes from the 4-1 defeat at Grimsby, with Exodus Geohaghon coming straight in after re-joining from Kidderminster 24 hours earlier. John Dempster was the man who dropped out of central defence and the squad altogether.
Midfielder Adam Murray returned from a summer ankle operation to captain the side while winger Louis Briscoe and striker Matt Rhead also came in as Jake Speight, the suspended Gary Roberts and Chris Clements made way.
And Murray and Geohaghon's presence rubbed off from the start as the Stags looked solid at the back, a threat going forward and a force from Geohaghon's rifling throw-ins – a danger from set-pieces in general.
In fact, Briscoe's tenth minute opener came after the defender fired in from the right-hand side, Murray headed back into the area but when Woking failed to clear, it landed for Briscoe and the winger angled a well-struck low drive into the far corner from ten yards.
Throughout the half, Murray's leadership and calmness on the ball paid dividends while at the back, all four across the line looked solid, making timely interceptions and tackles and looking strong in the air. It was so different to the fragile defence on show at Grimsby five days earlier.
Then with the last kick of the half, Matt Rhead was slotted in behind the Woking defence, one-on-one with Aaron Howe and showed he was more than just a big target man, staying composed to stroke the ball beyond the advancing goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
In truth, Woking never really tested Alan Marriott in the opening 45 minutes while in between the two goals, the Stags could have been further in front.
Luke Jones snatched at his shot from three yards out, somehow lifting it over the bar. And Geohaghon saw his stinging half-volley cleared off the line by Kevin Betsy following a corner.
But while it looked more of the Stags of old in the opening half, the second 45 minutes saw them lose their way somewhat, with that nervousness creeping into their game. And despite having their own chances, Marriott produced three great stops.
After Lindon Meikle forced a strong save from Howe, Gavin McCallum fired a stunning effort from outside the box which Marriott, full stretch to his right, turned onto his post.
Briscoe was denied at the other end, after darting into the box only to see Howe react quickly to palm away, before Marriott again came to Mansfield's rescue.
Lee Sawyer laid a free kick to Jack Parkinson who hammered a 25-yard swerving effort through a sea of bodies but, wrong-footed, Marriott managed to save with one hand.
Afterwards, it should have been all over and 3-0 to the Stags as, slipped in behind the defence by Ritchie Sutton and with the goalkeeper off his line, Matt Green lobbed Howe from 25 yards but as the ball bounced, it agonisingly rose inches over the bar.
Six minutes from time, Woking's Joe McNerney made no mistake as he powered home a shot, making for a nervy ending, before Marriott saved Betsy's angled low drove with his legs at the near post.
But all nerves were settled in injury time. Nick Wright cleverly picked out Speight wide on the left with the outside of his boot. He cut inside his man before hammering his shot into the far corner.
For the first time this season, Mansfield demonstrated they could be a force from set-pieces in both boxes, be hard to break down and would not be bullied.
They are back on the track. But with Tamworth visiting tomorrow night, they have to start showing those qualities for 90 minutes, not just half a game
Cards topple at Field Mill
Goals from the first and last shots of the opening period condemned Woking to a third straight defeat and a third successive pointless away day.
With both sides heading into this game on the back of 4-1 defeats, the Cards were hoping to recover from Tuesday's disappointment and gain their first positive away result of the campaign. Garry Hill made two changes to the side defeated by Braintree, with the injured Bradley Bubb replaced by Gavin McCallum and Brett Williams dropping to the bench to allow Jack Parkinson his first start of the season.
There was a minor scare for Woking in the first minute as Aaron Howe's clearance upfield ricocheted off Mansfield's Matt Green, but fortunately the home side were unable to capitalise on the rebound.
With the ball spending a significant amount of time in the air in the opening exhanges, there was little to get excited about, Woking's forays forward resulting in crosses from Betsy and McCallum that did little to test the home defence, and Town having a similar lack of success.
Until the 10th minute, that is, when the returning Exodus Geohaghon launched one of his long, long throws into the Woking box. The Cards were unable to clear effectively and those travelling fans able to make it up the M1 could only watch in dismay as the ball fell to the feet of Louis Briscoe on the edge of the 6-yard box, the Stags' forward drilling it low across the goal and into the far corner of the net, giving the home side the lead with the first shot of the game.
Woking continued to launch the ball into the home penalty area but were struggling to make an impression on the game, although Kevin Betsy was denied a chance after 19 minutes when a sliding tackle from Sutton ended his run through the middle.
Moments later Sawyer received a yellow card for a challenge on Junior Daniel as the Cards endeavoured to make headway.
Geohaghon's throws continued to cause problems for the visitor's defence, Howe being forced to tip one over the bar after 20 minutes to prevent any contact from the Mansfield forwards.
The best chances were falling to the home side, and they should have doubled their lead shortly afterwards, Luke Jones only managing to blast the ball over the bar from point-blank range after picking up flick from Howell.
Loick Pires did have the Cards' first shot on goal after 27 minutes, his curling effort from 25 yards being caught easily by the jumping Alan Marriott, before Howe was again called into action, rushing from his line to snatch the ball away from Matt Green after an incisive chip forward from Murray. Geohaghon then almost got on the scoresheet himself, Mike Cestor clearing his goal-bound shot off the line after 31 minutes.
At the other end, a McNerney free-kick and a 35-yard effort from McCallum kept Marriott on his toes, before a mazy run from Betsy through the Mansfield defence came to nothing when the final ball was played slightly too far ahead of the advancing Pires.
However, just as it looked like the Cards would go into the break within touching distance of their hosts, a killer blow left them with a mountain to climb. Trying to break from defence following another troublesome throw from Geohaghon, the ball was intercepted and played through to Rhead who, finding himself in space and with only Howe to beat, calmy slotted the ball past the Cards' keeper to make it 2-0 with the final kick of the half.
Half-time: Mansfield Town 2 Woking 0
The first chance of the second half also fell to Mansfield, Lindon Meikle cutting inside Adam Newton in the area to unleash a rising shot which Howe was able to tip over the bar, Brett Johnson clearing from the resulting corner.
McCallum continued to be the main headache for the home defence. Although his first long-range effort of the half just after the hour was collected comfortably by Marriott, his next was anything but comfortable for the Stags' No.1, who was only able to touch it onto the woodwork as it swerved away from him.
Howe was again tested at the other end, this time by Briscoe, who powered his way through the visitors' defence only to be denied at close-range, before Marriott again foiled the Cards attempts to get back into the game, spectacularly palming away Jack Parkinson's vicious 35-yard free-kick with substitute Brett Williams, on for Ricketts, only able to fire the loose ball into the side netting.
Woking were beginning to pressure the home side, Williams and Betsy both having further efforts off target, before a McCallum run was halted outside the Mansfield area just before he was able to shoot.
With time ticking away Dean Sinclair replaced Pires and Joe McNerney moved up front as the Cards pressed for a goal. However, it was Mansfield who nearly added another goal on the break, Green lifting the ball over the advancing Howe from the edge of the box, only to watch despairingly as the ball bounced just in front of the goal and over the bar.
Hopes of a recovery began to look less unlikely six minutes from the end, Sawyer chipping the ball over the home defence from the edge of the area to find McNerney at the far post, who slotted the ball home from a narrow angle to make it 2-1.
It was so nearly level three minutes later, McCallum heading down Sinclair's cross to Betsy, whose close-range effort was superbly saved by Marriott at the near post with Mansfield becoming more than a little jittery and their supporters beginning to get on their backs.
Almost inevitably then, it was the home side who restored their two-goal cushion in the four minutes of added time, Jake Speight curling the ball around Howe and into the top corner to end the contest.
Again, not actually a bad performance despite the scoreline, especially given Mansfield's status as one of this season's promotion favourites, with the Cards undone by lapses of concentration and the need to be a little more confident and clinical up front.
With another of the promotion favourites, Hereford, next up it'll be a tough Tuesday night for the Cards, but with fellow Blue Square Bet Premier new-boys Nuneaton at home next weekend the Cards will be aiming to end the run of poor results as soon as possible.
Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson (Adam Doyle 85), Mark Ricketts (Brett Williams 65), Jack Parkinson, Lee Sawyer, Kevin Betsy, Loick Pires (Dean Sinclair 79), Gavin McCallum.
Unused subs: Sam Beasant, George Frith
Cautions: Lee Sawyer 19
Mansfield Town: Alan Marriott, Ritchie Sutton, Luke Jones, Lindon Meikle, Matt Green (Nick Wright 89), Louis Briscoe (Jake Speight 75), Anthony Howell, Matt Rhead (Chris Clements 75), Adam Murray, Colin Daniel, Exodus Geohaghon.
Unused subs: John Thompson, Lee Stevenson.
Cautions: Anthony Howell 33
MOTM: Gavin McCallum. A persistent nuisance to the Mansfield defence. Never stopped running
Third successive defeat for Woking as Garry Hill's men slip up at Mansfield
By: Tom Oxtoby
Mansfield 3 Woking 1
WOKING had no answer to non-league's Rory Delap as the Stags left the Cards high and dry at Field Mill.
Deadline-day signing Exodus Geohaghon and his prolific long throws caused the damage as goals from Louis Briscoe and Matt Rhead gave Mansfield a two-goal cushion at the break.
Woking hit back six minutes from time through Joe McNerney to set up a grandstand finish.
But substitutes Nick Wright and Jake Speight combined in time added on to seal the points and consign Garry Hill to a third straight defeat.
And the manager admits Mansfield's timely acquisition of Geoghaghon had a huge bearing on the course of this goalfest.
Hill said: “We were very unlucky not to get a share of the spoils – the scoreline has flattered them.
“I think apart from the long throw, which acted as a great weapon for them, we bossed the game.
“It's a throw which everyone has to deal with so I won't make excuses but if he had signed a day later it might have been handy.
“We go away disappointed with the result but not with the performance, we were upbeat and very creative.
“What's important now is to get out of this rut, if we get in a bit of a rut confidence can get low but that wasn't the case against Mansfield.
“It doesn't help us but anybody who watched the game will say we were unlucky, with the chances we created, not to get a point.
“We aren't getting that little bit of luck at the minute and everything seems to be going against us but I'm sure in time it will start to go our way.”
Cards were by no means outplayed by their hotly-favoured hosts but what Woking lacked in the final third Mansfield possessed in abundance.
A self-assured conviction in front of goal served the Stags well and they took the lead in the 10th minute.
Woking failed to deal with Geohaghon's laser-guided missile of a throw and Briscoe was allowed to drill a low shot past Aaron Howe from inside the area.
Cards were neat and tidy in position and, after being handed a place in the starting line-up, Gavin McCallum rewarded his manager's faith with a series of penetrating runs.
But Woking were blunt in the final third and rarely threatened Alan Marriott in the Mansfield goal.
Luke Jones blazed over from inside the six-yard box as Geohaghon's bullet throws continued to cause the visitors problems.
After setting up the opener Geohaghon almost got himself on the score sheet with a powerful left-foot volley that was cleared off the line by Kevin Betsy.
McNerney's curling free-kick and McCallum's 35-yard effort drew saves from Marriott, but it was Mansfield who made the most of their chances, doubling their lead with the final kick of the half.
Cards looked to be springing a counter attack when McCallum lost possession to Colin Daniel deep inside his own half.
The defender found Matt Green whose slide rule pass tripped the Woking offside trap releasing Rhead to coolly prod home a second.
Reflecting on what proved to be a huge moment in an otherwise even contest, Hill admitted his players need to cut out the mistakes in an unforgiving division.
He said: “We got punished when it looked like we were on the breakaway.
“We had players breaking out of the box but we gave the ball away cheaply, they slipped the ball in behind us and we got punished.
“That's the difference at this level, a bad pass can be very costly whereas in the Conference South, we might have been able to get away with it.
“I thought in the second-half we bossed it but it wasn't meant to be.”
McCallum came close to making amends for his earlier error when he hit the inside of the post – only the faintest of touches from Marriott denied the winger.
Howe spread himself brilliantly to keep out Briscoe after the forward had bundled through a cluster of Woking players.
Marriott got a strong hand to Jack Parkinson's swerving free-kick but watched thankfully as Brett Williams sent the rebound into the side netting.
Cards dragged themselves to within one goal of a dramatic turnaround when Lee Sawyer's scooped pass was converted from a narrow angle by McNerney.
But with Woking pressing for an equaliser Mansfield were able to break and secure the points through Speight's powerful shot
Latest | September 2012