Craig Priest and Emily Sykes write....
Fixture: Mansfield Town Vs Barrow AFC
Competition: Blue Square Bet Premier – Game #33
Venue: One Call Stadium
Date & Time: Saturday 9th February 2013 – 3pm
Match Referee: Robert Whitton (Braintree)
Attendance: 2,226 (82)
Sometimes in football what you say can come back and bite you on the backside, this was certainly the case for Craig at full-time yesterday as in Friday’s match preview he said that Stags wouldn’t win by a seven goal margin again – what does he know! Joking aside a good team takes their chances and picks up momentum and indeed the points by putting the ball in the back of the net, this certainly something Stag’s did to a tee yesterday.
One thing Craig did mention in Friday’s match preview and something I agree with is that Stags are bubbling at the moment and attack wise they are certainly a joy to watch. Lee Stevenson has been a breath of fresh air, the fact the reserve team offers a platform for competitive action has certainly aided the former Eastwood man’s development – when Stevenson came in for that short spell last season he wasn’t sharp and as such was taken back out of the fold, this term however he has that sharpness and boy are we seeing the return.
Fair enough we’ve netted a large amount of goals again and collected another valued three points, credit to the players for their clinical finishing - let’s hope that this continues on Tuesday night when Stags head for Newport. Sometimes it’s difficult to write after victories like this, so please excuse the brief nature of today’s blog and rather than mull over our opinions, enjoy reading and remembering another classic Stags adventure.
Paul Cox made just the one change from last Saturday’s 5-0 victory over Dartford, Lindon Meikle made way for Louis Briscoe as Stags searched for their fourth straight victory.
LINE UP [4-2-3-1]: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers, Luke Jones, John Dempster, James Jennings, Adam Murray (C), Anthony Howell, Louis Briscoe, Lee Stevenson, Junior Daniel, Matt Green.
SUBSTITUTES: Ritchie Sutton, Lindon Meikle, Matt Rhead, Nick Wright, Chris Clements.
Stags seemed eager to pick up from where they left off and should of been ahead in under a minute as Lee Stevenson, Matt Green and Junior Daniel combined down the left channel, the latter swinging in a dangerous cross which earned a 27th second corner. James Jennings stepped up to deliver and found Luke Jones at the far post, the centre half’s dominant header pushed behind for a second corner by Barrow Keeper Shaun Pearson.
Rampant Mansfield continued to pressure and on five minutes came close once more as Adam Murray swept a pass wide into the direction of Junior Daniel, his cross was inch perfect for Green who glanced a header agonisingly wide of the target.
Three minutes later Stags grabbed the opening goal in emphatic fashion, however not before the visitors had opportunity to test the water as Danny L. Rowe swung in a deep free kick. Alan Marriott held well and immediately launched a long ball forward which Green cushioned into the path of Stevenson. The attack minded midfielder stroked the ball in front of himself before riffling into the top corner from 30 yards.
Barrow debutant Tom Eckersley then made a stunning challenge on Matt Green as the hit man latched onto Louis Briscoe’s long range pass, Skipper Adam Murray then came close to adding a second goal on 15 minutes as he curled wide following a dangerous run from Green.
Seconds later at the other end Barrow were gifted a lifeline when John Dempster tugged the shirt of L. Rowe inside the area, the Bluebirds front man stepped up and squeezed a poorly hit spot kick underneath the body of Marriott, who was majorly unlucky not to save the kick, to level the score.
Four minutes later Stags nearly came unstuck as Lee Stevenson upended Alex-Ray Harvey for a free kick, the bluebirds’ man clipped in well for Adam Boyes who glanced a soft header into the path of the unmarked L.Rowe whose effort was firmly blocked by Marriott. The loose ball ran free as Stags failed to react, they were soon let off as M.Rowe blazed into the top corner of the Quarry Lane end.
Mansfield needed to find their feet again and were handed the chance to regain the lead on 21 minutes when Luke Jones was pushed over inside the box by Matt Flynn. Matt Green took on spot kick duty and made no mistake as he sent Pearson the wrong way to make it 2-1 in Mansfield’s favour.
Stags were confident again and put on the pressure with a series of corners however they’d have to wait until the half hour mark for their next goal, Adam Murray playing an acute clip to send Junior Daniel clean through on goal. The wide man made no mistake inside the area as he drilled past Pearson into the empty net for 3-1.
A fourth goal would soon follow two minutes later curtsey of some professional refereeing, as Robert Whitton allowed Mansfield to play the advantage when Matt Flynn felled Daniel on the half way line. Lee Stevenson picked up the loose ball and sent a defence splitting forty yard pass into the path of Green. The leading front man was clinical as he lobbed the advancing keeper to collect his second, and Stags fourth, of the match.
Two minutes later Louis Briscoe came close to getting in on the action as he saw a pile driver well saved by Pearson, the Barrow shot stopper also kept out a similar effort from Stevenson seconds after Alan Marriott had held onto a curling effort from Adam Boyes.
With three minutes of the first half remaining Stags found a deserved 5th goal as James Jennings whipped in another corner. It proved too hot for Pearson to handle as he fumbled the set play straight into the path of Adam Murray who slammed the loose ball into the back of the net for his third goal in as many games.
The one sided half came to an end second after Barrow, again through Boyes, saw a rare sight of the Stags goal – Alan Marriott holding onto another curling tame effort.
HALF TIME: Stags 5-1 Barrow
The second half began in rampant fashion too as Stags seemed eager to mimic the legendary catchphrase of John Virgo by netting as many goals as they could (“Pot as many balls as you can” is the catchphrase for those that didn’t watch Big Break) – It too Mansfield 39 seconds to win a corner this time around with Daniel’s toe poked effort being deflected wide following Briscoe’s driven cross.
The sixth goal arrived in similar fashion to the second, Jones fouled this time by Barrow skipper Mike Pearson inside the box. Matt Green, on a hat-trick, was the man to step up and hammer home as he lofted the ball over the keeper who this time, guessed correctly.
Green was then rightly taken off to a standing ovation on the hour mark with his job done, Matt Rhead the man to replace him having netted twice in midweek friendly. By now Stags were playing some fluent football and came close again five minutes later as Stevenson and Daniel linked up, the latters driven cross-come-shot held by Pearson.
The Barrow keeper was helpless however three minutes later as Mansfield added their seventh, Rhead’s cushioned header completed a give and go with Stevenson with substitute Nick Wright, just on for Daniel, offering support. Confident Stevenson went it alone and made no mistake, slotting home from just inside the area for his second of the match and trigging another loud chorus of ‘Stevooooooooooo’ from the crowd.
The eight and what proved to be final goal, arrived seconds after the restart as James Jennings’ deep free kick was headed in by Anthony Howell.
Adam Murray then handed over captaincy to Dempster on 71 minutes as he was replaced by Chris Clements, he watched on as three minutes later Nick Wright looked to create a ninth goal. Surging down the right hand side his drilled cross in search of treble chasing Stevenson was poked away by Eckersley.
A ninth goal would have been a record breaker for Stags, Louis Briscoe, Chris Clements, Matt Rhead, Nick Wright and Lee Stevenson all came close but in the end, the ninth goal would come – the full time whistle wrapping up a rampant display from Stags who will move into the play-off’s should they grab a 5th straight win at Newport in midweek. The victory saw John Radford hand the keys of his car over to Paul Cox at full time, having been impressed with the score line when he arrived at the ground at half time – the players and supporters danced off into the night in joy whilst Barrow supporters will undoubtedly be throwing away any packets of After Eight mints left over from Christmas!
FULL TIME: Stags 8-1 Barrow
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