Craig Priest writes....
Fixture: Mansfield Town V Hyde FC
Competition: Blue Square Bet Premier – Game #4
Venue: One Call Stadium
Date & Time: Saturday 25th August 2012 – 3pm
Match Referee: Charles Brakespear (Walton On Thames)
Attendance: 2203 (64)
After conceding ten goals in the opening three fixtures, the one thing I wanted to see more than most this afternoon was a clean sheet, well after seeing off Hyde 1-0 at the One Call Stadium earlier it’s pleasing to say the defensive performance was much improved from the three previous games.
There we’re improved performances too from Junior Daniel and Anthony Howell, the former taking sponsors’ man of the match after a solid home debut at left back. The back four as a whole kept their shape and we’re a solid unit, keeping one of the hottest properties in non-league in Scott Spencer quiet. In terms of conceding needless and silly set plays, there was much more control over the Stags game, the foundations for Paul Cox to build upon continues to widen ahead of another three tough fixtures with a trip to Grimsby and home encounters with Woking and Tamworth in the coming weeks.
Paul Cox made just one change from last Saturday’s win over Kidderminster, Andy Todd made way for Louis Briscoe as the Stags remained in a 4-4-2 system.
Line Up: Alan Marriott – Ritchie Sutton – John Dempster – Luke Jones (C) – Junior Daniel – Louis Briscoe – Gary Roberts – Anthony Howell – Lindon Meikle – Matt Green – Matt Rhead
Substitutes: Jake Speight – Nick Wright – Jamie Hand – Chris Clements – Lee Beevers
On an afternoon of indifferent weather it was the Stags that started the brighter, applying pressure from a right-sided throw with the game only 18 seconds old. Ritchie Sutton’s right-sided cross caused havoc, Hyde’s Adam Griffin slicing his clearance up in the air- Matt Rhead’s foul on the keeper the visitors let off.
Three minutes later Louis Briscoe was fouled on the edge of the box, Anthony Howell poking Gary Roberts’ wide after John Dempster had headed back across the box.
So far this term Mansfield had failed to register the first goal of the game, however on five minutes this curse was broken. Louis Briscoe won back possession on the half way line and sent a crisp pass down the right hand side which Matt Green latched on to. The dangerous hit man drove his way into the area and tucked home his third of the season with a strong finish to put Mansfield ahead.
Stags 1-0 Hyde
The Stags should have doubled their lead almost immediately, as a series of corners saw John Dempster and then Matt Rhead both came close. At the other end Alan Marriott got down low to deny Scott Spencer after Matthew Blinkhorn played a splitting pass.
The Stags remained in control and were inches away from doubling their advantage on 18 minutes. Alan Marriott’s free kick from deep found its way to Briscoe via a clever pass from Anthony Howell, Briscoe’s first time cross sat perfectly for Green who headed narrowly wide from close range.
A minute later captain Luke Jones conceded a free kick on the edge of the Mansfield box. Alan Marriott has no trouble in collecting Phil Jevons’ well hit dead ball.
Lindon Meikle was sublime in the victory over Kidderminster last weekend, however on 27 minutes he was left with his head in his hands after missing a golden opportunity. Junior Daniel and John Dempster paired up well to defend and attempted high breakaway, the latter delivered from deep towards Matt Rhead who nodded down for Matt Green. The goal scorer turned well before teeing up Meikle who then hooked over from six yards.
With a minute to go before the break John Dempster headed over from a Gary Roberts corner, The Stags heading into the dressing room one goal to the good at half-time.
HALF TIME: Stags 1-0 Hyde
It was again a bright start for The Stags, Louis Briscoe struck wide from distance before Anthony Howell saw a shot cannon away. On 50 minutes Anthony Howell and Gary Roberts combined to feed Matt Green into the box, despite tight control Hyde managed to scramble the ball away.
As the hour mark came and went Jake Speight was introduced for Matt Rhead, however the lively front man could only watch on as Phil Jevons broke through the middle for the visitors. Despite a momentarily lapse in concentration The Stags were spared their blushes as Matt Blinkhorn fired wide.
On 73 minutes Jake Speight couldn’t believe his luck as he was denied thrice by the visiting keeper, after Lindon Meikle had sent in a teasing cross from the left.
Jamie Hand then made his Mansfield debut with 12 minutes left as he replaced Louis Briscoe, his pass on 83 minutes saw Matt Green flagged marginally offside. With a minute remaining Nick Wright replaced Matt Green in attack, The Stags seeing out the remainder of the game to collect all three points and a well deserved clean sheet.
FULL TIME: Stags 1-0 Hyde
The Stags now move on to Bank Holiday Monday were they face a trip to Grimsby in a 3pm kick-off, those of you not going to the Cleethorpes based outfit can catch full match commentary via our MM-live page from 2pm.
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