Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Alfreton Town 3 v Mansfield Town 6 - BSBP

Left click to enlarge team sheet image

Tuesday 20th March 2012
At the Impact Arena, North Street, Alfreton
Blue Square Bet Premier
Alfreton Town (3) 3
Moult 6, Jarman 21, Brown 45+2
Mansfield Town (4) 6
Howell 17, 43, Briscoe or Riley 31,
Green 33, 90+4, 89
Admission £12, Programme £2.59,
Attendance 3,354
1,956 paying spectators in the away end

The 31st minute goal was awarded to Louis Briscoe, but it seems that Martin Riley has claims on it too.
I'll leave them to decide between them who's getting credit for it.
Either way, Mansfield Town scored and that's what matters.You've really got to wonder about the mentality of the powers that be who decided that tonight's game would be a pay on the gate fixture, with no need to buy a ticket in advance.
Alfreton Town's biggest crowd for 48 years, packed into the 'Impact Arena', while others looked on from nearby vantage points dotted around the ground.
Someone in authority is very lucky that nobody got hurt when the perimeter wall at the away end buckled under the strain of having 1,956 Stags supporters packed in behind it. Not through any acts of vandalism or wrongdoing on the part of the Mansfield fans I hasten to add.
Note, that figure is based on those who paid; add on the complimentary ticket holders who were ushered in, club staff and others who changed ends after paying at the home turnstiles and it paints a truer picture of how many were really in there. The fact that a couple of hundred (approx.) Mansfield fans were in the Alfreton sections too, also shows how outnumbered the Reds fans actually were tonight and how many glory hunters are riding on the crest of the Stags recent run of results, that has taken them up to third in the table.
Our little clique, opted to go into the 'home' sections of the ground, it proved to be a sensible option.
The police decided they didn't like the look of some 'naughty looking blokes' from Mansfield and after rounding them up, escorted them to the away end too, regardless of the fact that it was already overcrowded and the wall was starting to fall down.
We stayed put and the police surveillance guy stayed close by videoing us for a few minutes before clearing off along the touchline to join up with his colleagues.
Why us?
No idea!
The chaos off the pitch blew over quite quickly, everybody was here to watch an eagerly anticipated local derby (Alfreton is 9 miles from Mansfield) and it would be fair to say that though the two clubs are close geographically, there isn't much animosity or serious rivalry between the majority of Alfreton and Mansfield fans.
In fact I know a lot of people who watch both of these teams regularly.
The Reds even had well known Mansfield fans on duty in the ground tonight, selling programmes etc.
Though the chaos off the pitch was short lived, the chaos on it ... well, for the first 45 (+2) minutes, it was frantic to say the very least.
At half time my friend asked if I'd ever witnessed such an unhinged stampede on a football pitch before.
Actually I had ... it was the highlight of an otherwise really shit film that I'd been dragged along to the Retford Majestic Cinema to see sometime in the 1970's, by a well meaning (but ultimately, hopeless with kids) relative.

See what I mean!?

Green, Dyer and Briscoe could've all scored for the Stags in the opening exchanges and the upright came to Alfreton's rescue too.
But it was the home side who took the lead when Jake Moult headed home Nathan Jarman's cross from the left on six minutes.
Marriott then had to pull off a class save a few minutes later to stop Moult scoring again.
Former Reds player Howell (booed by their fans when he came out onto the pitch) equalised, bulging the roof of the net when he put the final touch on the end of two blocked shots, the first from Green, the second Meikle.
It was proving to be a night when goalkeepers and defenders weren't entirely covering themselves in glory.
Hopefully the Stags back four won't play like this when they visit League leaders Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
On 21 minutes Alfreton had a good call for a penalty waved away, but Jarman latched onto the ball and fired them back in front anyway.
Then the contentious 31st minute goal came.
Exodus Geohaghon launched a long throw into the mix, Martin Riley headed it towards the goal and the Stags had equalised again, or maybe Briscoe got the final touch ... debate amongst yourselves.
It went in, they all count!Two minutes later the Stags were finally in front, when Matt Green knocked a goal bound Geohaghon header over the line.
Alfreton hit both the crossbar and right hand upright and the frenetic pace didn't let up for a minute, but just before half time Howell whacked home his second and Mansfield's fourth from some twenty yards.
It appeared that the Stags now had some breathing space and a two goal cushion to take into the break.
But deep into first half injury time, Alfreton had other ideas. Jarman hit a free kick through Mansfield's defence, Alan Marriott couldn't hold onto the ball and Anton Brown was on hand to make it 3-4 at the interval.
A great first half if you like lots of goals and 'thundering about', but there wasn't much finesse or passing football on display.
At half time you had to wonder if the game might finish 7 apiece, or similar, but both defences had obviously had their arses kicked during their respective team talks and were much tighter after the restart.
Most of Mansfield's better moves came through Luke O'Neill who worked his socks off down the right wing.
It would've been impossible to maintain all the end to end huffing and puffing of the first half, but the game could've still gone either way right up until the final minute.
Alfreton gave a good account of themselves and they're seemingly hell bent on staying in this division, after a terrible start to the season.
I reckon they will too, now that they've clawed their way off the bottom of the pile.
There are several teams who look like far more likely candidates for the drop now and the North Street side have been putting a few good results together of late too.
89 minutes ... O'Neill's corner finds Geohaghon ... 3-5!

In the last minute of normal time, Luke O'Neill, the stand out player of the night by my reckoning, swung in a right wing corner, that Exodus Geohaghon got on the end of, in a crowded penalty area, to finally make the game safe and guarantee the Stags three vital points.
Four minutes into added on time, with a backdrop of Alfreton fans walking towards the exit, Matt Green muscled his way into the box and came out on top in a one on one with Alfreton's keeper Jon Stewart to drill home a sixth goal for the visitors.
Maybe the margin of victory flattered the Stags a bit, but on a night when intrigue and bewilderment took the limelight away from ingenuity and guile, Paul Cox's side had shown that they were willing to dig in and battle for the cause right until the final whistle.
Graft, not craft, a never say die determination and some bloody hard work won the night for Mansfield.
Alfreton must be wondering how they ended up losing by a three goal margin.
But I'm not going to grumble about a team that's just scored 6 goals away from home in a local derby.
A bit of focus at the other end won't go amiss at the weekend though!
THE66POW apologises for the disturbing image contained on
this programme cover reproduction and hopes the "Heehaw!"
Nicky Law head shot doesn't upset anybody too much.