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Archived News from October 2002

19th October 2002 20:21

report from downatthemac.com :
Smithy smashes Stags

Martin Smith scored two great goals at Mansfield to keep Town on the winning trail. It was another good all-round performance by the Terriers and another clean sheet.

Another good all-round performance by Town who had the player who looked a class above all others on the field, Martin Smith. His two well taken goals put the icing on a creative but disciplined display by the men in blue and white stripes. All the Town players played really well but mention must go to Nat Brown. He started the game nervously but by the end he was playing like an experienced professional. On this sort of form Town should soon start climbing the division.

The Town team was unchanged from last week's 3-0 win over Notts County. The fans were happy to see Danny Schofield on the bench. Town started brightly with a good cross by Thorrington and Stead just put his shot over the bar. Mansfield replied instantly and put pressure on the Town defence but couldn't take their chance because of a good save by Bevan.

Christie's pace was causing Brown a few problems as the centre back showed his inexperience. At the other end Stead was causing the Stag's defenders some worries. On 13 minutes Stead couldn't make the most of a one on one with the keeper. The game was threatening to produce a goal in this early part of the game but no player seemed capable of producing an end product.

Slowly the two sides started to get the measure of each other and the match quietened down. In the 35th minute after a good mave by Town Stead got in an overhead kick that went just wide of goal. Immediately afterwards there was a good chance for Smith but again no joy. Town were having most of the chances but not making them count. At the other end there was always the threat of Christie and both Moses and Brown had to remain alert.

There was some early pressure by the home side which had Brown doing some good work at the back. At last the breakthrough came on 53 minutes. A Mansfield defender made a poor backpass and Smith, showing awareness, latched onto it. He kept his cool, rounded a defender and the keeper before slotting home. A brilliant piece of football. Just 8 minutes later it was that man Smith again. A deep cross was contested by Stead and the ball dropped to Smith who rammed the ball home to put Town well in the driving seat.

Town were now relaxing and looking even more comfortable as the sat on a two goal lead. Mansfield now resorted, even more, to hopeful long balls up to the front men. Two minutes after Smith's second goal the Stag's manager made a double substitution to try and get something from the match. But Town were in no mood to concede a goal.

On 72 minutes Thorrington went of to warm applause from the travelling fans and Schofield came on to have a run out after his layoff. Town tightened up and Mansfield were getting hardly any chances. In fact it was the Terriers who looked the more likely to add to their tally. With 5 minutes to go a tiring Stead was replaced by McDonald. The final whistle was greeted with delight by the travelling fans as the form from last week had been carried on this week.
Report from htafc.com

Martin Smith bagged a second half brace to hand Town three valuable away points in another clean-sheet Town performance.

Town had the best of the opening exchanges, mainly through Jon Stead, in this exciting first forty-five minutes. We increased the pressure as half-time approached but failed to gain the vital goal.

Town created the opening chance of the game within the first minute, crafted down the right-hand side by Simon Baldry. The Huddersfield born winger, played into space by skipper Jenkins, floated an inviting ball into Jon Stead whose shot skimmed the cross bar and nestled on the roof of the goal.

Just a minute later the ball was at the other end and keeper Scott Bevan prevented Iyseden Christie from opening Mansfield's account. The attacker, well tracked by Nat Brown, made his way into the box, but his low drive was well saved by Bevan.

Town had a good penalty claim turned down on six minutes as the ball appeared to strike the hand of Neil Moore while inside his own penalty area. It came as a result of some Jon Stead industry down the left hand side and, as he lifted the ball into the box for the onrushing Mattis, it appeared top strike the hand of the Mansfield captain, but the referee ignored the shouts of the players and Town fans behind the Mansfield goal.

Ex-Town man, Scott Sellars registered Mansfield's next shot on target having been presented with time and space by Colin Larkin, but the midfielder's 20 yard low shot was weak and easy for Bevan to collect.

Jon Stead had Town's best chance to score on 13 minutes when he found himself one on one with Heusden. A great ball from Kevin Sharpe put Stead through and the youngster, attempting to place his shot into the bottom right of the goal, hit a low shot that unluckily hit the sole of Heusden's boot.

A busy Jon Stead was denied by the Mansfield keeper on 20 minutes when the youngster's weak, first-time shot from twenty-five yards was simple for Heusden.

A defensive error between Mansfield keeper and defender nearly gifted Town their first goal when a simple ball from John Thorrington, looking for Baldry at the back-post, was headed goalward by debutant Mark Hurst. Heusden scrambled on the floor to prevent the ball going over the line.

Town created more chances down the right hand side, the best coming on 28 minutes from the boot of Stead. Simon Baldry, holding the ball in midfield, played Jenkins into space down the right flank. The Town skipper hit a low cross that was just behind Stead but the youngster managed to get his boot to it but could only hook the ball over the bar.

Ten minutes before the break, the link-up down the right-flank undid Mansfield once again. Baldry sprayed the ball out right to Jenkins who lifted the ball over Hurst for John Thorrington. Thorrington's first time cross was acrobatically smashed goalward by Jon Stead's overhead kick that, unfortunately was off target.

Smith came equally close just a minute later when Stead turned provider but Smith's shot just shaved the top-side of the Mansfield bar.

Mansfield immediately countered through Colin Larkin but, with no where to go, tried his luck from twenty-five yards but his shot sailed high and wide.

Half-Time: Mansfield 0 Town 0

It was Mansfield who had the early chances after the break, in which no substitutions were made. Christie's strength and pace earned the Stags successive corners, but Town's defence dealt with the early danger.

However, it was Town who took the lead through Martin Smith on 51 minutes. Smith, picking the ball up thirty yards out, skipped past Mark Lever and headed for goal. The striker then danced round Heusden and hammered the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net from a tight angle.

Sellars registered the Stags' next shot after good work by Christie, but the midfielder's first-time shot was nearer the corner flag than Bevan's goal.

Town increased their lead on the hour, once again, through Martin Smith. More good work down the right flank by Jenkins saw the Welshman curl the ball into the danger area. The ball made it through the bodies and fell to Smith fifteen-yards out and Town's leading scorer made no mistake as he hammered the ball low into the bottom right-hand corner.

Mansfield made a double substitution minutes later when Williamson replaced MacKenzie and Corden replaced Sellars.

Watkiss was forced into his third and final substitution when Disley was stretchered off on 68 minutes. He was replaced by Andy White.

Simon Baldry became the first player in the referee's book when he was cautioned for a foul on Christie.

Williamson was booked a minute later for a foul on Chris Holland.

Mick made his first substitution on 72 minutes when John Thorrington was replaced by Danny Schofield.

Mansfield began working their way back into the game through substitute Williamson. The midfielder floated the ball into the path of Christie, who made a good run into the box, but his header from 16 yards was straight at Bevan.

Town began to increase the pressure again in the closing ten minutes of the game, earning numerous corners. The ball was rarely in Town's half and was dealt with with aplomb by the back four on the rare occasions that Mansfield threatened.

Mick made his second substitution two minutes before the end when Jon Stead was replaced by Scott McDonald.

The young Australian was called into action immediately. Quick feet by Danny Schofield at the by-line set up Scott McDonald but Heusden came off his line well to smother a double shot from the Town substitute.

Colin Larkin created Mansfield's best chance of the half as the official announced three extra minutes. Larkin created a shooting chance for himself but his powerful twenty-five yard shot was well held by Bevan, only his second save of the 90 minutes.

Full Time: Mansfield 0 Town 2

Attendance: 4998

Town attendance: 1069
Posted by Martin Shaw


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