Craig Priest writes
Fixture: Woking FC V Mansfield Town FC
Competition: Blue Square Bet Premier – Game #27 [Re-Arranged]
Venue: The Kingfield Stadium
Date & Time: Wednesday 6th March 2013 – 7.45pm
Match Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 1779 (140)
Stags kept the pressure on their competitors last night as they grabbed their six consecutive win and 10th victory in their last eleven matches, however the game was certainly marred by an after match confrontation as a Woking supporter smashed the Stags dressing room window.
The incident took place just moments after the players and management had left the pitch, initial reports suggested a brick had been used to smash the window and whilst it’s since been revealed the window was smashed by the supporters hand, it still caused considerable damage with keeper Alan Marriott suffering a small cut to the back of his head whilst, along with a glass filled floor to contend with, the players and boss Paul Cox were spat at by a minority of Woking fans.
The incident spilled out to the area below the press box and around the back of the stand and dressing rooms but was quickly brought to a halt by stewards – the incident a disgusting act by a minority which have, once again, shown an ugly side to the beautiful game – there really is nothing worse than a bad looser.
Turning the attention back to the match itself, it was a drab affair with numerous controversial moments, Stags opening goal and the Woking penalty in particular – that said, football is about points not performance at this stage and that’s exactly what Mansfield brought home. After Stockport on Saturday Paul Cox’s men face three of their title and play-off rivals on the spin, they WILL have to step their performance up to remain on track however we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, eye’s on the next game only.
Prior to the match Paul Cox brought in Adam Chapman on loan from Oxford United until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move in the summer, considering he’d only met his team mates yesterday he played fairly well and in my opinion has a lot more to give – could he be the signing to add that final spark to the fire?
The Oxford loan man went straight into the Stags line up as Paul Cox made two changes, Exodus Geohaghon was handed a recall in the heart of the back four as Ritchie Sutton made way, Chris Clements was the one to miss out for Chapman who was handed the number 27 shirt.
Line Up [4-4-1-1]: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers, Luke Jones, Exodus Geohaghon, James Jennings, Louis Briscoe, Adam Chapman, Adam Murray (C), Junior Daniel, Lee Stevenson, Matt Green
Substitutes: Ritchie Sutton, Lindon Meikle, Nick Wright, Chris Clements, Matt Rhead.
Stags began well as they visited the ground where they sealed a play-off space last term, two early corners from debutant Adam Chapman and James Jennings failed to really trouble the home defence.
Luke Jones then had to be dominant at the other end on ten minutes as former Lincoln man John Nutter swung in a free kick, seconds later Alan Marriott got down low to deny Bradley Bubb inside the box after excellent work from Kevin Betsy down the left hand side.
Junior Daniel then registered an effort for Stags on 21 minutes when he volleyed over from Lee Beevers’ long throw, despite Mansfield’s efforts it was the hosts on top and Marriott was again well positioned five minutes later as Betsy & Bubb again combined.
On the half hour mark the title chasing visitors came close again as Lee Stevenson and Louis Briscoe played a fine interchange on the edge of the box to tee up Daniel, the former Macclesfield’s mans effort narrowly wide of the target.
Four minutes later the Stags grabbed the opener much to the hosts’ frustration. It all stemmed from debutant Chapman who launched in a Geohaghon/Beevers-esk long throw from the left hand side which was flicked on by the former. The ball fell for Briscoe on the edge of the area who turned his tight marker well before curling an effort towards goal which Daniel seemed to have touched on the way through. The lines man on the near side immediately flagged for offside against Daniel but after protests from the entire Stags side, referee Lee Swabey went over to talk to his assistant. After long deliberation Swabey over ruled the linesman’s offside flagged an awarded Briscoe the goal, stating Daniel did not touch the ball and as such the goal should stand.
Woking were furious with the decision and stepped up their intensity to level the match with led to Alan Marriott requiring treatment with six minutes of the first half remaining – the Stags keeper was left with several stud marks and was able to continue whilst no booking was dished out to the Woking offender.
HALF TIME: Woking 0-1 Stags
Despite their slender advantage, Stags were rather poor during the first half and clearly had a rocket at the break, they started the second half with the intensity and hunger of a title chasing side. First debutant Chapman looked to get a debut goal but saw his effort saved by Seb Brown for a Stags corner with just over a minute of the half played.
Five minutes later Chapman’s midfielder partner and former Oxford team mate Adam Murray blazed over before Matt Green saw a curling effort held by Brown on 52 minutes.
The match then returned to its drab form with little incidents to note, Meikle replaced Briscoe on 62 before Junior Daniel was booked for a late challenge on 67 minutes. The resulting free kick nearly saw Daniel get his marching orders as was judged to have fouled Bubb inside the box, the Stags wing man escaped a booking for what looked like a foul on him rather than the other way round, but did watch on as Bubb tucked home the resulting spot kick despite Marriott guessing correctly.
Matt Rhead then entered the fray on 76 as he replaced Lee Stevenson, he made an immediate impact as he made the decoying run to allow Luke Jones to thunder home his sixth goal of the season and put Stags back in the driving seat from James Jennings’ corner.
Jones goal affectively killed the game as Woking began to lack any real conviction on the attack, a few embarrassing errors from Geohaghon went fortunately un-punished and Stags pretty much ran down the clock, brining on Wright for Green for the remaining eight minutes.
FULL TIME: Woking 1-2 Stags
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