Craig Priest & Emily Sykes write....
Fixture: Southport Vs Mansfield Town
Competition: Blue Square Bet Premier – Game #29
Venue: The Mersyrail Community Stadium (Haig Avenue)
Date & Time: Saturday 19th January 2013 – 3pm
Match Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Attendance: 804 (80)
Another three points collected on the road, wow how times have changed! Yesterday was another example of Mansfield’s fighting spirit as they came behind at Southport to win 2-1, only the second time all season Stags have won a game after conceding the game’s first goal – If Paul Cox’s side can take this attitude and desire into Tuesday’s home game then who knows where our one game at a time climb could take us.
Too be fair Stags remained ice cool yesterday after conceding the first goal as Southport, a team with one defeat in five prior to the match, made a bright start – however the attitude of the players and the work rate too match helped negotiate Paul Cox’s side over the ice. The whole team deserves credit but I must note the performances of Ritchie Sutton and Luke Jones, both immense in the air – Adam Murray determined in the anchor man role, and most importantly, Lee Stevenson who for me ran the show.
Paul Cox has stated Junior Daniel was his man of the match, whilst the former Macclesfield man impressed yesterday, the positions Stevenson got into and some of the passes he played along with the vision he showed, were at the next level and without him I believe we wouldn’t have created so many chances – I hope Cox sticks with him for a while and lets the quality which saw so many teams chasing his signature last summer shine through for us now.
There’s little left to be said about yesterday in honesty, there were some shaky moments as there are in every match, but another win on the road – our fourth consecutive away league wins, puts us back in a positive position and gives us confident ahead of the Nuneaton game on Tuesday, weather permitting – Stags certainly need to re-ignite there early season home form after three consecutive defeats at home, all-be-it one coming against Liverpool in the FA Cup.
Paul Cox stuck with what worked and named an unchanged side from the midweek trip to Stockport, despite Jamie Tolley being brought back out of the Quarry Club there was no sight of him, instead Andy Owens (on loan from Stags to Southport) provided the antics pre-match as he ran round in his Stags top and Southport shorts!
Line Up [4-2-3-1] Alan Marriott, Ritchie Sutton, John Dempster, Luke Jones, Lee Beevers, Adam Murray (C), Anthony Howell, Lindon Meikle, Lee Stevenson, Junior Daniel, Matt Green
Substitutes: John Thompson, Louis Briscoe, Nick Wright, Chris Clements, Matt Rhead
A small number of volunteers cleared the pitch of roughly an inch of snow prior to the game and watched on as the two sides locked horns, Stags registering the first effort on three minutes as Junior Daniel found space on the edge of the area, however the impressive wide man failed to make it two goals in as many games as he blazed widely into the terraced stand behind the goal.
The 804 supporters where beginning to enjoy the rather picturesque views of the surrounding fields sprinkled in snow when on six minutes an attempt for Mansfield to go forward was cut out by Karl Ledsham. Despite the best efforts of Murray, Southport can forward at a canter, Shaun Whalley collecting on the right hand side before turning onto his left foot, advancing into the area and striking powerfully beyond Marriott to give the hosts an early lead.
It took Stags a little while to respond but on 18 minutes they came agonisingly close, Lee Beevers’ cross after his initial throw finding Matt Green at the front post, the hit man’s header held well by Tony McMillan in the Southport goal.
A minute later though Mansfield were level as Lee Stevenson swept wide to the left hand side for Junior Daniel. Showing pace to beat full back Andy Parry, Daniel pulled square for the advancing Murray whose forceful initial shot was pushed away by Tony McMillan – the Stags captain showed desire and sprung forward quickly to latch onto the rebound, with McMillan grounded Murray lashed into the back of the net to put Mansfield back on level terms.
Three minutes later Mansfield should of been ahead Stevenson again found Daniel, however this time the wide man was in a more central position an drilled a powerful low shot towards goal, McMillan springing down low to his right to keep out Daniel’s fierce effort. McMillan’s opposite number Marriott had little to do but was alert on 23 minutes to claim Alan Moogan’s curling effort.
Anthony Howell was next to register an effort for the Stags however he couldn’t keep down his 24th minute effort, two minutes later Adam Murray’s corner caused danger before Junior Daniel curled wide of the target.
Ritchie Sutton was alert on the half hour mark as Steven Tames tried his luck, the remainder of the half pretty much belonged to Mansfield as Matt Green, Lee Stevenson, John Dempster and Junior Daniel all came close to adding a second for the Stags – as it were the Stags went in at the break at level terms.
HALF TIME: Southport 1-1 Stags
The hosts made a change at the break as they looked to liven things up, Michael Bakare looked to pressure Lee Beevers with numerous runs however they were well matched with stern tackles from the Stags left back.
On 54 minutes Stags pressured well down the right hand side with right back Ritchie Sutton earning a throw from the boot of James Smith. The throw proved the catalyst for Stags as Matt Green collected the ball he teed up Lee Stevenson, the attacking midfielder turned well to get out of trouble on the edge of the box before firing a well placed effort beyond the reach of McMillan to put the Stags ahead.
Two minutes later Lindon Meikle and Matt Green combined in a fluent move, Green’s driven effort collected low by McMillan. Minutes later Junior Daniel collected a yellow card for a strong challenge on Parry, tempers soon simmered down in the cool conditions.
Stags continued their search for a third goal on the hour mark as Stevenson, Green and Meikle combined to earn Stags a corner, however Murray’s delivery was just a little too strong for Jones at the back post.
Matt Green then tried his luck on 66 minutes as his low shot was palmed away by McMillan, Stevenson was on hand to pick up the loose ball but failed to keep his feet, Southport clung on as Junior Daniel swung in another follow up cross.
Three minutes later Alan Marriott held on to Bakare’s curling effort, Shaun Whalley also wasted an effort scooping well over the bar on 75 minutes. Five minutes later a long ball forward from McMillan saw Southport force a corner, Alan Marriott fail to really connect to his attempted clearing punch, Lee Beevers the man to rescue Stags as he headed a goal bound shot off the line. Four minutes later Marriott held on well to Carl Ledsham’s shot.
In the final three minutes Louis Briscoe replaced Junior Daniel, in the dying seconds he came close to adding a much deserved third goal, striking the bar from distance after a forceful driving run – the resulting kick forward from McMillan saw the referee blow his full time whistle and Stags celebrating their fourth consecutive league away win.
FULL TIME: Southport 1-2 Stags
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