Monday, 2 January 2012

CTA #29 York Vs Stags

York City Vs Mansfield Town
Blue Square Bet Premier (Game #26)
Bootham Crescent, York
Date & Time
Sunday 1st January 2012 – 3PM
4,284 (498)
Match Referee
D Ford

 New Year Sale: The Mansfield Town Giveaway

There’s no doubt that once the shops open, a mad dash of people will storm shops and clear shelves at the speed of light, paying roughly £1.50 less than what they would have done prior to Christmas. Whilst those people get trolley rage round Primark and figure out a way to pay off a DHS sofa, fans of the Stags are again wondering why the great Mansfield Town giveaway keeps going following yesterday’s 2-2 draw at York City, where Paul Cox’s side led 2-0.

Frustration has been growing for some time and whilst many see the New Year as a time to start a fresh, we can’t help but remain frustrated as hope of the playoffs and achieving promotion withers away. Personally I still think we’ll make them, it’ll be a long hard slog there’s no denying that, but still I hold onto hope and am encouraged by some of our performances and the additions we could potentially make during the January transfer window.

That said, me preaching doesn’t hide the fact that our current form isn’t acceptable or good enough – so far this season we’ve drawn 12 league games, nine of which we’ve led in, eight 1-1 draws and yesterday’s 2-2 draw. In fact, it’s only the away fixture at Bath City we’re we’ve come from behind to take a point, with the other two draws being goalless. If we’re looking at the points we could have gained had we held onto our leads, we’d have collected 27, as it happens we’ve collected nine.

I’m guilty here of doing what I hate, reflecting on what’s happened, at the end of the day there is NOTHING we can do now to get those lost points back, in my opinion half of our trouble is that we reflect too easily and in doing so we hinder our progression. Not for a second am I saying that I’m happy with drawing all those games, please don’t think I am – because what I’m actually saying is we are in a perfect place now to put a stop to all the draws. Why? Because after the next game, we have a break – what we need is fresh quality, and whilst it may seem drastic, if we can get this in place prior to the Forest Green home game we have a good chance of starting fresh. What we’ve done so far is throw players into the mix at the deep end and whilst some have coped well, such as John Dempster, others have struggled to adapt to the quick change – a break from action will help for everyone to catch up, join together and prepare properly for the final slog.

Obviously there will be some more transfer movement to aid the cause, but unlike previous management I don’t think this is a revolving door circus act – its methodical management and in the end will prove good in the long term. Additions were made ahead of the opening of the transfer window as Paul Cox brought midfielder Gary Roberts to the club from Port Vale, Striker Matt Green also made the permanent switch from Oxford United whilst today (Tuesday) see’s the move of fellow striker Ben Hutchinson finalised. Had Green not made the permanent switch ahead of the deadline, he’d have missed yesterday’s trip – as it happens the ink was dry in time for him to keep his place. Gary Roberts made his debut at the expense of Aman Verma whilst Ritchie Sutton came straight back in for the suspended John Dempster.

Alan Marriott
Luke O’Neill – Martin Riley – Ritchie Sutton (Dempster) – Kieron Freeman
Gary Roberts #35 (Verma) – Adam Murray (C) – Anthony Howell
Ross Dyer – Matt Green – Lindon Meikle
SUBS: Shane Redmond – Jon Worthington – Louis Briscoe – Lee Stevenson – Aman Verma

Mansfield again donned the light blue away shirt first seen at Southport, despite an opening ten minutes or so with very little acting threat from either side, it was the stags who created twice before taking the lead. Matt Green looked lively from the off and nine minutes in, was upended midway in the York half – despite putting bodies forward and creating space inside the area, Luke O’Neill’s delivery from the free kick was straight into Michael Ingham’s hands. Moments later Green and O’Neill were involved again, Green ran into space on the right hand side to receive O’Neill’s pass. Green then turned the pace on and beat James Meredith crossing low into the middle. Unfortunately Green’s drilled cross was too heavy for Lindon Meikle and the move faded away.

The Stags then played a wonderful piece of football on 14 minutes to open the scoring, Lindon Meikle weaved the openings just to the left of the area before feeding Kieron Freeman who made a terrific over lapping run. Freeman provided a first time low cross which Green in turn converted, blasting into the roof of the net from around eight yards, celebrating sealing his permanent move with his 16th strike of the season.

York 0-1 Stags

The Stags then had Alan Marriott to thank for keeping the lead in tact as the Mansfield custodian kept his side in the game with a fine save with twenty minutes on the clock. Matty Blair did well for the hosts cutting inside and firing at goal, Marriott went down to stop the ball but it deflected away into the path of Liam Henderson who, like on Boxing Day, hit a neat shot towards the top corner, Marriott sprung to tip the ball over for a corner, which led to nothing.

Seven minutes later a golden chance to level fell to James Meredith after a continued spell of pressure from the hosts. Luke O’Neill was the man to gift the hosts the opportunity as he looked to play Mansfield out of trouble, however his pass towards Dyer lacked pace and Meredith was able to squirm through. 1 on 1 with Marriott, the York left back somehow shot wide. Moments later O’Neill recovered as he slid in against Ashley Chambers to stop the York man in his tracks, O’Neill was also aided by the presence of an offside flag.

On the half hour mark the action was at the other end as Mansfield came close to doubling their lead, Ross Dyer won the Ariel battle to send Matt Green on his way to the right of the box. Green couldn’t find a way past the York defence and the ball bobbled away but only as far as Anthony Howell who fired over Ingham’s bar from 18 yards with the Minster Men shot stopper routed to the spot.

With half nearly over Anthony Howell picked up his first booking of the season with the referee indicating persistent fouling. Moments later Howell again was penalised for a foul but escaped a second booking, however both Paul Cox and Micky Moore instantly sent Aman Verma and Jon Worthington to warm up which signalled a change at the break.

Despite Matty Blair coming close with a header from a York set-piece in added on time, the Stags again held a one goal lead as the half time whistle blew.

HALF TIME: York 0-1 Stags

Aman Verma was the one to replace Howell at the interval; however it was the hosts who started brightly with McLaughlin registering a tame effort straight at Marriott less than a minute in.

Mansfield almost seemed to sit a couple of yards deeper than they did in the first half and this told as the hosts continued to pressure, forcing another save from Marriott on 52 before Gary Roberts, Ritchie Sutton and Ross Dyer all dug in with vital interceptions. The hosts kept pressuring Mansfield from set pieces and just after the hour mark Andre Boucaud’s delivery was glanced wide by the unmarked Danny Parslow.

Mansfield had soaked up the pressure relatively well and on 71 minutes finally doubled their lead with a simply beautiful move. Adam Murray was the main creator as the Stags captain chipped a wonderful pass out wide to Ross Dyer. The burley front man progressed well before feeding Green who showed great skill back heeling the ball to Verma who made the supporting run. The lively midfielder took one touch before firing left footed into the net, grabbing his first Mansfield goal and marking his permanent switch from Kettering.  

York 0-2 Stags

Despite it looking like the one goal lead curse was broken, York then found a way back into the game six minutes later with a strong attack of their own. Substitute Jamie Reed sent a swift pass to the left for James Meredith who crossed into the middle, Mansfield failed to deal with the ariel threat and subsequently allowed Matty Blair to convert from half a yard.

York 1-2 Stags

With less than 10 minutes to go Alan Marriott then saved a certain goal as York breeched the offside trap. As a chipped ball looped over the back line Jamie Reed pounced and hit well on the volley, Marriott stood his ground narrowing the angle and the ball deflected away off his inside leg, a fine piece of goalkeeping.

Into added on time and it looked like Mansfield had done just enough to clinch the points, however hesitation from Martin Riley saw Mansfield undone. A throw in from the right hand side should have been smashed clear by Riley, however the former Cheltenham man decided to Sheppard the ball away out for a goal kick, the ball lacked pace and as Boucard nipped in to steal the ball back, Riley bundled over substitute Danny Pilkington right on the edge of the box – a silly free kick to give away. The free kick was headed away but rather than again bring the ball down and smash clear, Mansfield participated in a game of head tennis leading the ball to sit up for Jamal Fyfield who hooked over Marriott following Oyebanjo’s header back in. Mansfield didn’t react and Fyfield headed home to steal a point – awful defending.

York 2-2 Stags

Little time remained for Mansfield to attack and Alan Marriott picked up a booking after an altercation with the York mascot following the goal, as the whistle blew to signal another draw, we realised that we were just two minutes away from victory and had the ball been smashed into the nearby York streets, it could have been a very different story.

FULL TIME: York 2-2 Stags      


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