STAGS GRIND OUT ANOTHER WIN AGAINST TOUGHOPPONENTS
Blue Square Bet Premier
Forest Green Rovers 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Norwood 87. Oshodi OG 28, Stevenson 47.
Attendance: 1109 (166 from Mansfield)
Date: 15 March 2013
Martin Shaw at the New Lawn
Magnificent Mansfield Town's incredible run just goes on and on. On a foul night in Gloucestershire, Mansfield made it thirteen wins from the last fourteen games, and an incredible nine wins on the trot. This was not a vintage performance, far from it. But the Stags dug deep, led again by a superb defensive display with Luke Jones, John Dempster, Lee Beevers and James Jennings again in outstanding form, and Alan Marriott behind them as safe as houses. Mansfield took the lead with a shot from Lindon Meikle, that was heading just wide of the left post, until it was deflected by defender Oshodi, which took it just inside the post. Since Meikle's shot was not on target, it has to go down as an own goal - sorry Lindon. Then just into the second half, Matt Green fed the ball forward to Lee Stevenson and Stevenson showed great composure for a clinical finish past the keeper. The biggest complement to pay Stevenson is that it was a finish that had Matt Green written all over it! After that, the Stags rather surrendered the initiative to Forest Green. Forest Green are a fine side who have been right up there near the top of the league all season, so it shouldn't be surprising that they came into the game strongly and looked good, and Mansfield had to hang on. Wave after wave of pressure was repelled by the Stags defence and Forest Green also hit the bar and missed a sitter. Norwood eventually pulled a goal back on 87 minutes, but Mansfield hung on to the points despite five minutes of stoppage time being added on. A truly massive three points. Mansfield are three points ahead of Wrexham now, from the same games played. Wrexham play tomorrow, at home to Luton. Can I bring myself to say it? Come on Lu … Come on Lu … no I can't do it. But's let's hope that Wrexham slip up anyway. And then onto the Racecourse Ground on Tuesday night. What a night that promises to be. Come on Mansfield!
Man of the match: Luke Jones
Friday, 15th March 2013: Forest Green Rovers 1 Mansfield Town 2
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Mansfield Town stormed to the top of the league tonight with another superb away result, beating promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers to extend their new club record to nine straight wins.
It was a ninth away win in 10 trips and a 13th win in 14 matches, though not the most exciting of games for the watching live TV audience until, trailing 2-0, Rovers stole a late reply to set up a thrilling finish.
A poor first half, played in driving rain, saw few chances at either end, the only score being an own goal by Eddie Oshodi on 29 minutes as he diverted a Limdon Meikle shot past his own keeper.
Lee Stevenson stroked home a superb second from Matt Green's through ball two minutes into the second half as unchanged Mansfield turned in a thoroughly professional performance.
But, just when it seemed they were home and dry on a soaking wet night, James Norwood snatched a goal back with three minutes to go.
However, Mansfield held out to go two points clear at the top overnight with Wrexham at home to Luton tomorrow before the Welsh club host a visit from Stags on Tuesday night in what could be a crucial clash.
The town of Nailsworth had suffered heavy rain all day but, despite huge puddles in the car park, a heavy pitch and continuing rain, the game was able to go ahead.
Despite the weather, the night began with some top entertainment with the Rock Choir.
Rovers just managed to clear a long Chapman throw from the right in the first 45 seconds and another before the second minute was out.
Then a Chapman free kick from well out on the left had Russell panicking for a second as it landed on the roof of his net.
Murray overhit a through ball for Green as the ball skidded towards the safety of the keeper's arms.
Rovers finally threatened on six minutes as Forbes threaded Burns into space on the left of the box, the Rovers man hurrying his finish and slicing comfortably wide.
On 15 minutes a superb piece of skill from Forbes on the halfway line saw him accelerate quickly and race into space before reaching the edge of the box and spoiling his big moment with a weak, scuffed shot to a grateful Marriott.
Daniel was wide at the far post as he strained to direct his header from a curling far post cross by Murray as the game continued to disappoint on 21 minutes.
Rovers then cleared the first two corners of the night, won in succession by the visitors.
On 27 minutes Cox made a change as he replaced winger Daniel with Briscoe, Meikle moving across to the left flank.
And within two minutes Stags had grabbed the lead with a helping hand from the home side.
Meikle was in space just outside the box and tried a low shot which saw Oshodi stretch out a leg and inadvertently turn it past his own keeper.
Beevers was booked for diving it late with his tackle on Green 12 minutes from the break. The free kick was then headed over by a home head amid a crowd of players leaping together.
On 38 minutes Burns raced away from Beevers down the left, played a return pass with Norwood and, instead of crossing as expected from a tight angle, tried to catch Marriott napping at his near post, the keeper turning his powerful blast round for a corner.
On 41 minutes Briscoe turned 20 yards out and smashed a thunderbolt of a shot on target that actually knocked keeper Russell off his feet as he somehow turned it round.
From the corner by Jennings, Jones was wide with his far post header.
Stags almost doubled their lead with the last action of the half as Dempster got up well at the far post to meet a Jennings free kick with an on-target header that beat Russell only to see Paul Green clear off the goal line.
Mansfield could not have made a better start to the second half as Stevenson did make it 2-0.
Rovers were caught square at the back as Green rolled a great pass into the path of Stevenson, who always looked confident enough as he bore down on Russell that he would slip the finish past him like the instinctive goalscorer he is.
Norwood was too high with a rising 25 yard shot in reply.
On 59 minutes a poor ball out of defence by Dempster gifted the ball back to Rovers and a square pass to Norwood saw him blaze a rising shot past Marriott only to see it cannon back off the crossbar.
More Rovers pressure saw Burns show strength to hold off Jennings on the by-line and find sub Klukowski, who turned on the corner of the six yard box and zipped the ball right across the face of goal.
To try to shut up shop a little, Cox sent on Howell for Stevenson with 64 minutes gone.
Time was getting short for Forest Green and Burns was wide of the far post from 20 yards with a skilful curling effort off the outside of his right boot.
Rhead gave Green a rest up front for the final 14 minutes.
Rovers piled on the pressure near the end, winning a couple of corners, And they should have scored from the second as it was flicked on at the near post to racine who, three yards from goal, somehow lifted it high over the bar.
From a Mansfield corner the home side broke well, Norwood racing on to send a final, tame low shot straight at Marriott.
But Norwood did set up a gradstand finish with three minutes to go as Green's tricky run caused the inital problems in the box and, as he was halted, the ball ran loose for Norwood to sweep home.
Murray was booked a minute later for hacking down Green as the nerves began to jangle.
The agony increased as Rovers won a corner with the fourth official holding up a board announcing five extra minutes.
It was Briscoe who got the first shot away in that time after a great run down the right, Russell safely behind it.
It was hard to watch those closing stages, but Jones and Dempster were immense in the air and Murray fittingly, after a great wholehearted display, made a telling clearance into touch to end the final home attack.
FOREST GREEN: Russell, Hodgkiss, Stokes, Bangura (Klukowski 60), Forbes, Oshodi, Norwood, Racine, Paul Green, Odubade (Taylor 53), Burns (Fowler 83). Subs not used: Bennett, Asafu-Adjaye.
STAGS: Marriott; Beevers, Jones, Dempster, Jennings; Chapman, Murray, Stevenson (Howell 64; Meikle, Matt Green (Rhead 76), Daniel (Briscoe 27). Subs not used: Sutton, Wright.
REFEREE: Wayne Barrett.
ATTENDANCE: 1,109 (166 away).
Match report: Forest Green 1 Mansfield Town 2
Nottingham Post REPORT BY FREELANCE
MANSFIELD Town went top of the Blue Square Bet Premier thanks to a 2-1 win over Forest Green Rovers in the rain at the New Lawn last night.
The victory was a club record ninth consecutive win in the league.
In a scrappy opening to the game, the Stags had looked out of sorts – and boss Paul Cox made an early change to replace Colin Daniel with Louis Briscoe.
But, minutes later, the visitors went ahead against the run of play when Lindon Meikle's shot from 18 yards out took a big deflection off Forest Green's Eddie Oshodi and crept into the bottom right corner of the net in the 30th minute – the goal being given as an own goal.
Stags keeper Alan Marriott then pulled off a fine stop, before Briscoe's fizzing shot was turned around for a corner.
Moments before the break, John Dempster had a header cleared off the line as Cox's men went in 1-0 up.
That lead was doubled soon after the break as Matt Green slotted a nice through ball to play in Lee Stevenson and he calmly netted on 47 minutes.
Forest Green hit the bar and had a series of good chances as they pushed for a response and pulled a goal back from James Norwood on 87 minutes and, in the end, Stags were made to hold on for the win.
Mansfield line-up: Marriott, Dempster, Jones, Beevers, Jennings, Murray, Stevenson (Howell 64), Chapman, Daniel (Briscoe 27), Meikle, Green (Rhead 75). Subs not used: Sutton, Wright
Attendance: 1,109 (166 away)
Luckless Forest Green beaten by Mansfield
Read more: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/story-18425239-detail/story.html#ixzz2NhCEaelf
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FOREST GREEN ROVERS 1 MANSFIELD TOWN 2
SHEER endeavour was not enough for Forest Green as Mansfield left rain-drenched Nailsworth with an incredible ninth straight win.
Luckless Eddie Oshodi put through his own net in the 29th minute to hand the in-form visitors the initiative, and when Lee Stevenson doubled the lead at the start of the second half the task became insurmountable.
James Norwood reduced the arrears on 87 minutes to gladden home hearts, but the Stags look the real deal for automatic promotion and saw their task through.
Loanees Yemi Odubade and Wes Burns were both making their first Rovers starts after scoring as substitutes three days earlier, and the latter sliced an early shot wide after being put through by Kieron Forbes.
On 15 minutes Forbes himself embarked on a surging run from deep, but once again the finish did not match the build-up as he scuffed weakly at Stags keeper Alan Marriott.
Mansfield boss Paul Cox was clearly unimpressed by his side's start to the contest, making a tactical change inside 27 minutes in the shape of Louis Briscoe for Adam Chapman.
Two minutes later his side were in front, although a huge slice of fortune came into play as Lindon Meikle's shot was diverted on target by Oshodi's outstretched leg and defeated the helplessly wrong-footed Sam Russell.
A few sagging shoulders in the home ranks would have been understandable, but they responded to the setback in encouraging fashion and Burns forced a sharp near-post stop by Marriott.
Less encouraging for the New Lawn faithful was the immediate impact of Briscoe, whose shot on the turn from the edge of the area appeared to swerve wickedly and had to be helped awkwardly around the post by Russell.
The resulting corner was nodded wide at the far post by ex-Rover Luke Jones, and Cox's men came even closer in first-half stoppage time when Jones saw a wind-assisted header scrape the crossbar with Russell floundering.
It seemed the break would be coming at a good time for Dave Hockaday's side, but horribly sloppy play two minutes after the restart saw the ball presented to Matt Green 30 yards out and he fed it through for Stevenson to finish tidily.
Norwood tried to respond with a dipping shot that narrowly missed the top corner, and moments later he was picked out by Burns and let fly with a 25-yarder that cannoned off the bar.
Forest Green kept plugging away, and on-loan Bristol City teenager Burns showed his class with a jink inside the box before bending a shot wide with the outside of his right boot.
Burns looked to be his side's best hope of a comeback, and he brought a smart low save from Marriott with 15 minutes remaining.
A scramble from a corner saw Chris Stokes contrive to prod over from close range, and a rapid break ended in a tired-looking Norwood shot that posed no problem for Marriott.
Rovers' efforts looked destined to go unrewarded, but with three minutes left Paul Green bustled his way into a packed area and the ball broke for Norwood to roll home his 16th goal of the season.
Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Hodgkiss, E. Oshodi, A. Racine, C. Stokes; P. Green, A. Bangura (Y. Klukowski 60), K. Forbes; J. Norwood, Y. Odubade (M. Taylor 53), W. Burns (L. Fowler 83); Subs not used: E. Asafu-Adjaye. D. Bennett.
Mansfield Town: A. Marriott; L. Beevers, L. Jones, J. Dempster, J. Jennings; A. Chapman, A. Murray, L. Stevenson (A. Howell 65); L. Meikle, M. Green (M. Rhead 76), C. Daniel (L. Briscoe 27); Subs not used: R. Sutton, N. Wright.
Referee: W. Barratt (Worcs)
Star man: Wes Burns
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