SENSATIONAL STAGS CRUSH CRAWLEY
Mansfield Town 4 - 0 Crawley Town
Perry 15, 43, Duffy 40, Speight 82.
Attendance: 3264 (59 from Crawley)
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill
Mansfield Town started the season in sensational style with a crushing 4-0 win over Crawley Town at Field Mill. The Stags were rampant with outstanding performances throughout the team, against a Crawley side that were actually not that bad at all. Kyle Perry was probably the pick of the bunch with two first half goals, and setting up the fourth goal for substitute Jake Speight. Rob Duffy scored the other goal after a tremendous ball from Craig Armstrong. Crawley keeper Simon Rayner made 3 fabulous saves in the second half to keep the score down, while Alan Marriott also made some good saves and showed faultless handling. There was controversy as Crawley were unhappy with the Stags first and third goals. For the first goal a Crawley defender went down and claimed a foul, but the Stags played on and Perry scored, while for the third goal it did appear that Perry was yards offside as he ran through to score. We are in possession of the only working copy of the match DVD, which we will study later and add our further comments here, while I will make highlights for mansfieldtown.net on Sunday morning.
Full Stagsnet report in the Match Centre
Mansfield 4 Crawley Town 0
Crawley Town have endured a nightmare start to their season as they were thrashed by Mansfield in the first game of the campaign.
Steve Evans and Paul Raynor led a furious protest by Reds players at the half-time break, clearly unhappy with the performance of the referee and the role his decisions played in a comprehensive defeat for Crawley.
Fielding six new summer signings, the visitors seemed to have weathered a spirited start by Mansfield with Simon Rayner making two saves from Kyle Perry and Ryan Williams, while Ben Smith drew a flying save from Alan Marriott at the other end.
But the game turned on an incident after just 15 minutes. Crawley captain and debutant Karl Broadhurst was caught by Perry's boot as he headed the ball away, but referee Paul Curry bizarrely chose not to award a free-kick.
It left centre-back Broadhurst lying prone in the penalty area with a head injury - another opportunity to stop the game spurned by Mr Curry - and playing the Mansfield strikers on side. Ironically it was Perry who took full advantage of the referee's decision, his shot deflecting off the boot of the recovering Broadhurst and looping over Rayner into the net.
It was a cruel blow for Crawley and it was one from which they never recovered. Charles Ademeno had a chance to equalise but took too long over his shot, and Mansfield compounded the visitors' misery in the 40th minute.
Rob Duffy collected a long ball from Craig Armstrong and although Rayner saved the striker's first attempt the ball ran nicely for Duffy who fired home from a yard.
Still there was more bad luck in store for Crawley though, as a minute before the break Mansfield added a third. Perry appeared offside as he collected a through ball, and even seemed to think so himself. But no flag came despite the appeals of the Reds defence and Perry strode on to slot the ball under the exposed Rayner.
Crawley came out with purpose in the second half but that fizzled out quickly as they looked devoid of ideas and frequently suffered lapses in concentration, particularly in a defence missing the injured Adam Quinn.
It was left to Rayner to keep the damage to a minimum, the big keeper making two superb one-handed saves from Kyle Nix and ex-Crawley striker Daryl Clare, tipping both efforts over the bar.
Mansfield substitute Jake Speight rubbed salt into the Reds' wounds by adding a fourth goal with nine minutes left, wriggling away from Sam Rents and slotting into the bottom corner of the net.
Jamie Cook tested Marriott with a late curling free-kick but at the other end Rayner was still being kept busy, saving a one-on-one with Speight and a header from Perry in injury time.
It was a dispiriting afternoon for the 59 Crawley fans who made the journey to Field Mill and Evans will have his work cut out to pick his players up before Tuesday's home game against Forest Green Rovers.
Mansfield: Marriott, Gardner, Mills (Somner 10), Jones, Garner, Briscoe (Speight 67), Duffy (Clare 75), Williams, Armstrong, Perry, Nix. Unused subs: Sandercombe, Graham. Goals: Perry 15, 43, Duffy 40, Speight 82. Booked: Jones.
Crawley: Rayner, Wilson (Rusk 22), Giles, Broadhurst, Rents, Cook, Hutchinson, Smith (Cogan 52), Powell (Malcolm 52), Ademeno, Louis. Unused subs: Forrest, Jordan. Booked: Giles, Broadhurst, Smith.
Star man: Simon Rayner.
Mansfield Town 4 Crawley Town 0
CRAWLEY Town suffered a terrible 4-0 defeat in their opening game of the season in the Blue Square Premier away to Mansfield Town.
Reds can feel more than a little unlucky in the way they went behind against the former Football League club in the 15th minute when Kyle Perry kicked Town captain Karl Broadhurst in the head and the new signing had to carry on playing when referee P.E.Curry did not give a foul.
Perry then scored the opening goal for the Stags with a shot which the injured defender then deflected wildly into his own net over the head of keeper Simon Rayner.
Immediately following the goal, Broadhurst, a former Hereford player, fell to the floor requiring treatment to his head injury and a flock of Crawley players surrounded the referee who ruled the goal would stand.
It was a desperately unlucky start to the season which Reds have prepared so well for with an impressive series of good results in pre-season friendlies.
Crawley's situation was made worse after 22 minutes when right-back Glenn Wilson hobbled off and was replaced by Simon Rusk.
The manner in which they conceded the first goal set the tone for the match and Crawley never recovered. In fact they seemed rattled by the incident and soon conceded two more goals so that it was effectively game-over at half-time.
Mansfield's attack looked dangerous whenever they went forward and Rob Duffy waltzed round the Crawley defence to score an easy second goal in the 40th minute.
It was as if the Reds were shell-shocked in the way they allowed him through without managing a challenge.
Feeling confident after such as great start, Mansfield made it 3-0 just three minutes later and again Crawley had reason to grumble about a refereeing decision.
Perry was put through into in Crawley's third by Craig Armstrong after an attack was only half-cleared and looked clearly offside. The Mansfield player checked as if he was expecting the whistle to blow - it didn't and he went on to beat Rayner from 12 yards.
The writing was on the wall and the home side were certainly helped on by a sizable and highly audible 3,000 strong crowd which created an intimidating atmosphere for a visiting side to play in.
It could all have been so different for Steve Evans' side as they had looked to be playing well before they the first goal went in.
Evans handed six of his new signings league debuts, and one of them, Ben Smith, had a dangerous shot on target from 25 yards in the eighth minute which was tipped over the bar by keeper Alan Marriott.
Charles Ademeno lifted a decent chance over the bar from 15 yards as Crawley had looked threatening before the decisive turning point came.
Then after the break both Smith and Ademeno forced early saves from free-kicks.
Mansfield did not rest on their laurels in the second half as Kyle Nix hit the crossbar direct from a free-kick rubbed salt into the wound with a fourth goal on 82 minutes.
Substitute Jake Speight took advantage of a pass into his path under pressure by Sam Rents and was able to male an easy sprint towards goal to underline Mansfield's dominance.
MANSFIELD:Marriott, Gardner, Mills (Somner 9), Jones, Garner, Briscoe (Speight 65), Duffy (Clare 72), Williams, Armstrong, Perry, Nix. Unused subs: Sandercombe, Graham.
CRAWLEY:Rayner, Rents, Hutchinson, Giles, Broadhurst, Ademeno, Louis, Cook, Wilson (Rusk 22), Smith (Malcolm 52), Powell (Cogan 52). Unused subs: Forrest, Jordan.
REF: PE Curry
Reds well beaten in opener
By Bruce Talbot »
Crawley made a miserable start to the new Blue Square premier campaign after defensive blunders contributed to a 4-0 defeat at Mansfield today.
Reds started with six new faces in the side and were first to settle but they fell behind in controversial circumstances after 15 minutes when Kyle Perry's shot took a deflection off Karl Broadhurst and looped over the helpless Simon Rayner.
Broadhurst had only just got back to his feet after going down in the area but the referee waved away their appeals to allow him to be treated.
Mansfield took control with two goals in two minutes just before half-time.
Craig Armstrong's pass released Perry in space inside the box and he picked his spot with ease.
Then as Crawley appealed in vain for an offside flag, Perry made it 3-0 with his second goal of the game.
Reds gave a decent account of themselves in the second half and deserved a consolation but it was the hosts who scored again seven minutes from time when Perry's pass took a deflection off Sam Rents' boot and substitute Jake Speight beat Rayner to make it 4-0.
Crawley badly missed skipper Adam Quinn at the heart of their defence and the creativity of Thomas Pinault in midfield but will be confident of bouncing back at home to Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday.
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