Craig Priest writes...
Fixture: Hyde Vs Mansfield Town
Competition: Blue Square Bet Premier – Game #23 [Re-Arranged]
Venue: Ewen Fields
Date & Time: Tuesday 19th February 2013 – 7.45pm
Match Referee: Anthony Blackhouse
Attendance: 675 (Est 300)
Another three points are on the board for Stags curtsey of Louis Briscoe’s left boot, whilst there may be frustration of again remaining in 6th spot – Stags kept up the pace and in truth, if it hadn’t have been for the excellence of young 19 year old Hyde shot stopper Chris Dilo, Stags would have again ran out heavy winners.
Last night for me Mansfield we’re excellent from back to front, the one mistake by Marriott and subsequence clearance off the line by Jones a mere smudge on Stags’ canvas – if they perform like that for the remainder of the season, the play-off’s may well be a backup plan as I belief in my heart, a title race is on.
I’m not getting carried away and I won’t look any further than the next game, I’ve always stressed that taking baby steps is the way to go. However as last night’s results proved, anyone can beat anyone as leaders Grimsby were easily beaten by mid-table Braintree. Wrexham now top the table and looking over their shoulder almost expecting us to catch them, they are eight points ahead of Stags who have two games in hand on them and have them too play both home and away – add to that the fact Stags still also have Grimsby and fourth placed Forest Green to play and the boiling pot is bubbling nicely – if it’s any teams for the taking, I think it’s us!
Anyway, back to last night, Louis Briscoe was tremendous and completely mauled Hyde captain Adam Griffin all evening down the right hand side whilst Green, Stevenson and Daniel all proved too hot to handle for the host defence. No offence to Scott McNiven’s side or the Hyde Fans, but the nickname Tigers didn’t suit them last night – they had all the bite of someone with false teeth eating toffee and all the roar of a child toy losing its battery!
The truth is Hyde whimpered throughout and as mentioned above, were extremely fortunate not to take an absolute hiding! I felt sorry for Chris Dilo at full time who headed back to the dressing room with a bowed head looking really down, if he performs like that week in week out then he’ll soon be back up in a higher division, parent club Blackburn Rovers have a good shot stopper on their hands.
One goal proved the difference in the end and that’s all you need, the way we played and battled, especially in midfield continues to impress and finally force teams into playing OUR game rather than us adapting to match them – prior to Christmas we played four different systems where as now we play the way we want and get results, long may that continue as we come up against teams whose shackles continue to fall off, Luton and Lincoln are both without managers and are beginning to fall from their respective grace, the Hatters unable to match their FA Cup form with just three wins from 14 league outings whilst nearby Imps, with just one win since we beat them in the FA Cup in November, are edging ever closer to the drop-zone!
Paul Cox stuck with his guns again last night naming the same side for the third and a half game running, the half time switch of Briscoe for Meikle against Dartford weeks ago hasn’t been looked back on since.
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, Nick Wright, Chris Clements, Matt Rhead.
Stags began brightly as they looked for an opener inside a minute, the offside flag foiled their plan as Green was judged to be offside from Lee Beevers’ directional pass from kick off, seconds later Junior Daniel tested the water as he saw an effort cannon off Tom Anderson after Green & Briscoe had combined to tee up the former Macclesfield man.
Hyde then briefly had Stags on the ropes on four minutes as the dangerous Scott Spencer earned the first of two corners, however despite testing delivery’s from Chris Sedgwick Mansfield were able to clear and begin their assault on the Hyde goal.
Louis Briscoe was first to pull the trigger on five minutes as he and Lee Beevers played a swift and sweeping give and go on the right hand side, Beevers slotting the ball through the legs of Griffin for Briscoe who dragged an effort wide of the mark, had Matt Green or Junior Daniel outstretched a leg Stags would have opened the scoring as the home defence were nowhere to be seen.
Hyde keeper Chris Dilo then made his first save of the afternoon as Daniel clipped a delightful pass into Green’s path, the leading marksman tearing through the gauntlet of Tom Anderson and Luke Ashworth to fire a low shot at goal, denied by the legs of Dilo who quickly collected the loose ball with eight minutes played.
Two minutes later Adam Murray blazed over following a delicate assist from Daniel once Briscoe had again tore shreds from Griffin, on 21 minutes James Jennings also hit a free kick over after Daniel had his heels clipped on the edge of the box by Kelvin Lomax.
Luke Jones was next to test the home defence as he flicked Jennings’ second successive corner over the bar on 24 minutes, Lee Stevenson and Matt Green then both saw driven efforts kept out by Dilo within the next ten minutes.
With three to go before the break Stags were agonisingly close to opening the scoring as a fine intervention from Beevers on the half way line saw him play a splitting pass into the path of the advancing Junior Daniel. Once inside the box with a neatly controlled touch, Daniel dragged his shot a blade of grass wide of the target as the visiting support, congregated largely behind the goal, raised the noise levels.
A minute later Dilo again kept the scores level as Green pulled the trigger following a strong assist from Briscoe, Hyde boss McNiven then made a change with seconds remaining as he withdrew Shay McCartan for Grant Spencer.
HALF TIME: Hyde 0-0 Stags
After the break it took Stags less than 17 seconds to take the lead as Briscoe hunted down a pass to Griffin and blocked the subsequent clearance, turning the full back inside and out Briscoe then swung in a left footed cross which swirled beautifully into the back of the net.
The Stags winger then was a lick of paint away from doubling the score line four minutes later as Junior Daniel held up play before releasing James Jennings – the left backs floating cross thunderously headed against the bar by Briscoe before Kelvin Lomax put the loose ball behind for a corner with Daniel about to pounce.
Seconds later Daniel was next to have a go as Lee Stevenson stroked a pass through to feet, keeper Dilo again pulled off the save to keep Hyde in the match. Stags then had a slight scare on 57 minutes as Scott Spencer and Chris Sedgwick played a 1-2 on the edge of the Mansfield box, Luke Jones closed Spencer down and ensure he had no room to get a shot on target.
Anthony Howell then glanced a header from a deep Jennings free kick over the bar on 65 before Matt Green fired wide of the mark on 70 minutes, two minutes later hearts were in mouths as all the hard work in front of the Hyde goal nearly came unstuck at the other end. Alan Marriott fumbled Sedwick’s teasing free kick and allowed a red shirt to flick towards goal, Luke Jones well positioned to spare Stags blushes as he twice belted away with all his might.
The remaining four minutes belonged entirely to Mansfield as Hyde were beaten from pillar to post, Matt Green nodded wide at the front post from a Jennings corner before substitute Lindon Meikle’s run proved too hot to handle but ran out of play for a goal kick. Green had one final effort with three to go as he scooped a volleyed shot from another Jennings set play into the hands of Dilo, his replacement Nick Wright hit the final shot of the match, firing narrowly wide from 20 yards from Stevenson’s assist in the final second of the encounter.
FULL TIME: Hyde 0-1 Stags
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