RHEAD HEADER WINS IT FOR STAGS IN 89th MINUTE
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 0 Forest Green Rovers
Attendance: 2019 (60 from Forest Green)
Date: 12 October 2012
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium
A back-header by Matt Rhead from an Exodus Geohaghon long throw with just a minute left was enough to earn Mansfield Town a welcome three points against early pace-setters Forest Green Rovers at Field Mill this afternoon. It brought huge relief to home fans, players and staff alike after a run that had seen the Stags drop off the pace in the league table. A very even game could have gone either way, with both sides playing some good football. The Stags were denied a penalty when Rhead appeared to be pushed in the back on 85 minutes, while both keepers made fabulous saves with Liam Mitchell saving superbly one handed from Matty Taylor, and Sam Russell making a great save from a Colin Daniel volley.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Mansfield Town 1-0 Forest Green Rovers, Saturday 13th October
CHAD report by By John Lomas
MATT Rhead was the late hero for Mansfield Town this afternoon as his 89th minute leader saw Stags win for the first time in five matches and beat high-flying Forest Green Rovers.
It seemed the Stags were heading for a second successive 0-0 home stalemate in five days until the giant Rhead got his head onto a long throw by Exodus Geohaghon to snatch the victory and sentence big-spending Rovers to a third successive defeat.
Ed Asafu-Adjaye did have a first half effort disallowed for offside for Forest Green while Junior Daniel forced a great save from Sam Russell in a tight 45 minutes.
There were few chances in the second half too, though on-loan keeper Liam Mitchell did get down to make a smart one-handed save to thwart Matt Taylor.
Stags welcomed back giant defender Geohaghon from injury. He replaced Ryan Tafazolli, who failed a pre-match fitness test on a hamstring problem.
Rovers defended Stags' first corner in the third minute while an offside flag halted the visitors' first counter-attack a minute later.
Some poor defending by the Stags saw a harmless left wing cross allowed to bounce through everyone to Norwood at the back stick and Mansfield were grateful for Sutton's block on Norwood's finish.
Taylor pulled a low shot wide from 20 yards as Rovers finally began to press with some purpose on 11 minutes.
And they should have been ahead on 15 minutes when Brogan spread a pass wide from right to left that stretched the home defence and offered Klukowski the chance to burst into the box and run at goal only to slip his finish wide with only Mitchell to beat.
Geohaghon could not get any direction on his header from a Roberts free kick on 20 minutes.
Russell finally had a save to make on 22 minutes as a Roberts shot was blocked and rolled out to Daniel 30 yards from goal who lashed a rasping first time half-volley at goal that was dipping under the bar before the keeper turned it away at full stretch.
Russell then rode his luck from the corner as he rose to grab it but dropped it and was relieved to see no Stags players able to capitalise.
Green was too high with his dipping shot from distance soon after.
Roberts was booked for hauling back Brogan on 26 minutes for his sixth caution of the season so far.
Dempster did well to slide in and concede a corner on 34 minutes as Klukowski tried to pick out Taylor in front of goal, Mitchell confidently leaping to clutch Rovers' first flag kick.
You could almost hear a pin drop around the stadium at this point with a total lack of atmosphere.
Forest Green were beginning to get back on top and a good run from Forbes saw him fire across Mitchell and narrowly wide of the far post with Norwood just unable to get there in time to divert into the net.
Norwood then outjumped Geohaghon at the far post to head over in their next raid.
Mitchell was fortunate on 40 minutes when he failed to get any distance on an attempted punch to clear a Hodgkiss cross and Asafu-Adjaye turned the loose ball into the net only to see a raised offside flag against him.
In the last minute of the half Todd's shot was controlled by Green who was in a better position, only to see Green slide in to make a crucial block.
It wasn't the best of halves for the home side but at least they were not booed from the field as the fans stayed patient.
On 51 minutes, after a spell of home pressure, the fans finally began to chant 'Yellows' for the first time.
A long Geohaghon cross was met by a Dempster backheader, which was on target but an easy catch for Russell.
Murray picked up his fifth booking of the season on 57 minutes for bringing down Asafu-Adjaye which ruled the skipper out of next week's cup trip to Workington.
Rovers almost snatched the lead on 63 minutes as Hodgkiss launched a cross into the centre where Taylor looked to have beaten Mitchell with his header only to see the big keeper get down well and make a superb one-handed stop.
At this point Meikle was sent on to replace Green – a move that inevitably attracted books from the stands.
Rovers also sent on dangerous Brazilian Vieira in place of Green.
Dempster headed over from a Roberts free kick from the right by-line as Stags continued to labour in search of a goal.
Then Rhead was inches wide with an 18-yard snapshot as a clearance bounced towards him.
An error by Sutton allowed Rovers possession, Taylor spinning well in the box but firing over.
Briscoe was given a run out for the last 12 minutes in place of Todd as Rovers continued to hold firm.
Mansfield forced three more corners for no reward, then Dempster looked to be pushed in the back in the box, but the game continued.
Wright's through ball almost put Taylor in for a late winner, Mitchell getting there first but seeing his clearance hit Geohaghon before Sutton cleared.
But, with one minute left, Rhead popped up as the hero of the day.
Geohaghon hurled a long throw to the near post from the right where Rhead leapt powerfully to power home the header and put a smile back on the home fans' faces.
Briscoe forced Russell to save low to his right in three minutes of stoppage time while Speight was booked for hampering the keeper's attempt to kick the ball upfield.
STAGS: Mitchell; Sutton, Geohaghon, Dempster, Daniel; Roberts, Murray, Todd (Briscoe 78); Speight; Green (Meikle 64), Rhead. Subs not used: Howell, Beevers, Stevenson.
FOREST GREEN: Russell; Hodgkiss, Turley, Racine, Asafu-Adjaye; Forbes, Green (Vieira 65), Brogan (Wright 75); Norwood (Koroma 87), Taylor, Klukowski. Subs not used: Styche, Rowe.
REFEREE: Ross Joyce of Billingham.
ATTENDANCE: 2,019 (60 away).
CAUTIONS: Stags – Roberts 26, Murray 57, Speight 90+4.
GOAL: Stags – Rhead 89
Stags boss Cox proved right in his decisions as Mansfield win
Nottingham Post report by Stevie Roden
DURING this game, it was almost the calm after the storm.
After the midweek goalless draw with Lincoln ended with such vile abuse towards the Mansfield manager Paul Cox and some of his players, you would have thought the club was in a relegation dogfight.
The boos, the language, the venting of anger was a lot to take but Cox promised he would stand by his convictions, deliver the results that would end in fruition come the end of the campaign.
Last season, despite a slow start, he led the Stags to third in the Blue Square Bet Premier, to a points total of 27 – more than any of the other three seasons outside the Football League under other managers.
But at the weekend, there was a more than subdued atmosphere against Forest Green Rovers, third going into this match, so at least the negativity had disappeared to a degree, even if the ground felt empty. It was that quiet.
That was until Cox decided to make a substitution on 64 minutes – and not just any substitution.
On Tuesday night, the Stags boss was criticised for not making a change, claiming he was damned if he did, damned if he didn't.
But on Saturday, as he stood in his technical area in front of the unused Bishop Street Stand, he faced up to the main stand knowing what was about to come.
He instructed the fourth official to put up the numbers and with the game goalless, brought on Lindon Meikle in place of last season's 30-goal top scorer Matt Green.
Forget calm after the storm, it turned to the usual storm.
It was time for a wave of disgruntlement to sweep from the Ian Greaves Stand across the pitch to the isolated dugouts on the opposite side of the pitch.
A few boos, then chants of 'you don't know what you're doing' rang out. There was discontent, plenty of anger aimed towards Cox for a few seconds.
But the fact was Green had been off the pace, not at his best. And Cox decided a change was needed and the burly Matt Rhead and Jake Speight should stay on in the striking department.
However, it was more than that. Cox long believes politics are behind the disproportionate amount of criticism, given his side are tenth, won five, drawn two and lost just once on home soil, that being the opening day against current leaders Newport. Also, they are just a few points off where they were at this stage last season. It is no dire straits.
Cox's programme notes pointed to as much. He stated in the two seasons before he took over, the Stags led the league at this stage. What he did not mention, leaving to the fans to probably remember and work out for themselves, was that by the end, they were out of even the play-off chase by the time Easter came around, never ending with more than 62 points.
And as he substituted Green, it was not only to make a proactive change but a statement to point out who is the boss and no matter what the criticism he will stick to his beliefs, his ethos, his convictions.
So, as Rhead rose on the edge of the six-yard box with a minute remaining, positioning and posturing, before planting a header into the top corner from Exodus Geohaghon's bullet-like diagonal throw-in from deep, it was a great moment for all concerned.
Cue pandemonium. The criticism had suddenly disappeared. Green who?
Relief was the main feeling among the home crowd and a massive three points against a top team surely will instil some much-needed belief into players and supporters alike.
A somewhat forgettable game for the majority, a Colin Daniel thunderbolt 30-yard volley spectacularly tipped over by the Forest Green goalkeeper in the first half and a stunning one-handed save from Mansfield's Liam Mitchell denying Matt Taylor in the second half were the only moments to be recognised before the late winner.
But in the end, Rhead's late goal produced not just three points in a dramatic end for the Stags, and a second consecutive clean sheet but a message from Cox that he will not be bullied into changing his ways.
The opening 14 games have not been the best, Cox has made wrong choices and performances have not been the best, especially away from home.
But Cox proved last season he can identify what needs to be done and rectify it. And in tenth, six points off the play-offs with a game in hand, they are in a healthy place.
Saturday was more than just an important victory, it was a message from the manager that he believes in what he can do – no criticism will weaken him.
And that is why it was so fitting that the man who was Cox's linchpin at Eastwood, the uncompromising figure of Rhead, was the winner at the weekend.
The striker, at 28, only turned full-time professional in the summer, after joining part-time back in January. He gave up his secure job that provided him and his family with a comfortable living in the summer because he believed in his long-time mentor Cox and the belief he could get them back into the Football League.
He believes, Cox believes. Now they have the task of making the fans, like last season, believe again.
Time will tell but if it follows last season's resurgent pattern, there is not a lot to worry about.
One thing is for sure, whatever happens, Saturday proved Cox will act with conviction, not under duress.
Whether that is enough come the end of the campaign, time will tell.
One thing is certain, it's sure to be an interesting journey.
Stags: Mitchell, Todd (Briscoe, 78), Sutton, Dempster, Geohaghon, Daniel, Roberts, Murray, Speight, Green (Meikle, 64), Rhead. Subs: Howell, Beevers, Stevenson
Forest Green: Russell, Hodgkiss, Turley, Klukowski, Forbes, Taylor, Asafu-Adjaye, Norwood (Koroma, 88), Racine, Green (Vieira, 65), Brogan (Wright, 75). Subs: Styche, Rowe
Referee: Ross Joyce (Billingham)
Attendance: 2,019 (60 away fans)
Mansfield Town 1, Forest Green Rovers 0: Rovers feel the force as Stags strike late
Monday, October 15, 2012 The Citizen
THE Blue Square Bet Premier's answer to Stoke City inflicted a third straight defeat on Forest Green – a triumph of force over finesse.
A mostly drab game was settled in the 89th minute by Matt Rhead, converted from an Exodus Geohaghon long throw that would have given Rory Delap an inferiority complex.
Talk of bubbles bursting is surely premature, but the promotion champagne some may already have put on ice has turned decidedly flat since the onset of October.
Rovers suffered late disruption to their preparations, Chris Stokes injuring his thigh during the warm-up to usher in Jared Hodgkiss for his first appearance of the season.
Jamie Collins was also missing with a knee problem, meaning a midfield role for Paul Green, with Jamie Turley donning the captain's armband alongside the recalled Aarran Racine.
A shaky start was therefore not wholly surprising, and a Mansfield free-kick in the second minute was scrambled frantically clear as Jake Speight prepared to pull the trigger.
Eventually the visitors settled, and James Norwood had two shots blocked before a golden chance went begging in the 14th minute.
Yan Klukowski was the culprit, the normally clinical midfielder racing clear in the left channel and dragging wide of the far post with Steve Brogan screaming for a pass in the middle.
The Stags responded in the shape of a spectacular 25-yard volley from wing-back Colin Daniel, which had to be helped around the post by the alert Sam Russell.
Green and Kieron Forbes both chanced their arms from similar range but were unable to direct their efforts on target.
Rovers looked much the likelier side to break the deadlock as the first half drew to a close, and Norwood was disappointed to head over from a deep Hodgkiss cross.
The second period was a much scrappier affair, the home supporters' frustrations abundantly clear from the groans and jeers which greeted every misplaced pass and substitution.
Forest Green needed to make the most of that, but they did not seriously threaten until the 63rd minute when Matty Taylor met Hodgkiss' cross with a header that brought a sharp low save from Liam Mitchell.
Set plays always looked like Mansfield's best route to a breakthrough, and there was a scare when John Dempster got on the end of an Adam Murray free-kick and nodded over.
Stags substitute Lindon Meikle was a whisker wide with a curling shot from the edge of the box, while Taylor could only blaze over when handily placed at the other end.
The game looked to be drifting to an unremarkable stalemate, but it was the hosts who snatched all three points when Geohaghon's long throw into the area was headed past the helpless Russell by Rhead from close range.
Mansfield Town: L Mitchell; E Geohaghon, J Dempster, R Sutton; A Todd (L Briscoe 78), G Roberts, A Murray, J Speight, C Daniel; M Green (L Meikle 64), M Rhead. Subs not used: A Howell, L Beevers, L Stevenson.
Forest Green: S Russell; J Hodgkiss, J Turley, A Racine, E Asafu-Adjaye; K Forbes, P Green (M Vieira 65), S Brogan (B Wright 76); J Norwood (O Koroma 88), M Taylor, Y Klukowski. Subs not used: J Rowe, R Styche.
Referee: R Joyce (Billingham)
Star man: Jared Hodgkiss: Thrown into the team at the last minute but as assured as ever at right-back
Stags strike late to dispose of Rovers
Matt Rhead's last minute goal condemned Forest Green to another disappointing defeat, their third in a row, at Field Mill, writes Richard Joyce.
The powerful striker's header in the final moments ensured Rovers slipped further away from top spot and continued their awful league record at Field Mill which has yielded defeat in the league at the Stags home on all five occasions.
Only an FA Cup replay win in 2009 has seen Rovers enjoy any success away in Nottinghamshire, but it was the threat of Exodus Geohaghon's persistent long throws that eventually did the damage – the only heartbreak for Rovers was that it was in the final minute.
The former Kidderminster defender has a synonymous reputation for his incredible long distance throwing technique, and after bravely defending all of the central defenders long range tosses for nearly the entirety of the game, his final thrown effort of the afternoon saw Rhead direct the ball past a helpless Sam Russell.
Eddie Oshodi's continued absence at the back saw Aarran Racine earn a recall to the centre of Rovers defence meanwhile Chris Stokes pulled out with an injury picked up in the warm up which allowed Jared Hodgkiss his first action of the season.
After an early Mansfield scare that was eventually blown away, Rovers set the early pace with a low Matty Taylor shot skittling wide and Yan Klukowski, featuring in the front three, driving wide after Stephen Brogan had fed Rovers top scorer.
Russell was then called upon to make a great stop to deny Colin Daniels from smashing in a fine opener as his thunderous volley was padded away by the Forest Green keeper.
Paul Green, starting in a defensive midfield position with Jamie Collins out injured, then tried a speculative effort of his own from distance but his attempt on goal flew over Liam Mitchell's bar.
Forest Green very much bossed the rest of the first half with Kieron Forbes and James Norwood both having chances and David Hockaday's side did eventually have the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out by referee Ross Joyce.
Hodgkiss's fine cross from the right was dropped by Mitchell and Forbes stabbed in only for Joyce to rule it out for a questionable shove on the keeper.
If Rovers had dominated the first period, then they would be the side that would find themselves under pressure for much of the second.
Early Mansfield pressure was dealt with and just past the hour mark Rovers had their closest opportunity of the game.
Another terrific Hodgkiss cross on to the head of Taylor was excellently powered towards goal however Mitchell got down low brilliantly to ensure he held on to his clean sheet.
The hosts, with the home support on their back, then came in to their own in the final twenty minutes with John Dempster's header going just over from a Gary Roberts free kick the pick of the first few efforts.
Rhead's snap shot from the edge of the box shortly after flew wide while Taylor down the other end for Rovers saw a shot fly over after he had turned well in the box.
Geohaghon's immense throw in ability had been well guarded over by Rovers all afternoon, but the bubble finally burst just when it looked like both sides would be settling for a point.
The defenders flat throw in towards the near post from the right by-line connected with the head of Rhead who added the touch necessary to send Mansfield's winner flying in to the back of the net.
A relieved Field Mill crowd celebrated as Forest Green stared a disappointing third loss in a row in the face.
Rovers will get the opportunity to freshen up next weekend when league action takes a back seat as the FA Cup comes to town, the only difficulty for Hockaday's side is that they entertain high flying league rivals Dartford – time for a bit of cup magic to be sprinkled on The New Lawn
Mansfield Town 1 Forest Green 0 - full time
by Pete Orchard, The Citizen
MANSFIELD TOWN 1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 0
FOREST Green suffered their third straight Blue Square Bet Premier defeat at Field Mill to slip six points off the summit.
A mostly drab game was settled in the 89th minute by Matt Rhead, a huge relief to under-fire Stags boss Paul Cox.
Rovers suffered late disruption to their preparations, Chris Stokes injuring his thigh during the warm-up to bring in Jared Hodgkiss for his first appearance of the season.
A golden chance went begging in the 14th minute when Yan Klukowski raced clear in the left channel and dragged wide of the far post with Steve Brogan screaming for a pass in the middle.
The Stags responded in the shape of a spectacular 25-yard volley from wing-back Colin Daniel, which had to be helped around the post by an alert Sam Russell.
In the 63rd minute Matty Taylor met Hodgkiss' cross with a header that brought a sharp low save from Liam Mitchell.
The game looked to be drifting to an unremarkable stalemate, but it was the hosts who snatched all three points when Exodus Geohaghon's long throw into the area was headed past the helpless Russell from close range.
See Monday's Citizen for Peter Orchard's match overview, match reaction and pictures.
Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Hodgkiss, J. Turley, A. Racine, E. Asafu-Adjaye; K. Forbes, P. Green (M. Vieira 65), S. Brogan (B. Wright 76); J. Norwood (O. Koroma 88), M. Taylor, Y. Klukowski; Subs not used: J. Rowe, R. Styche
Latest | October 2012