now 657 minutes since City last scored a goal as they
once again failed to find the net in this latest defeat
at Mansfield Town. The Blues sent out an inexperienced
young side with an average age of 20 and, despite a
battling performance, they were completely outclassed
by the Stags outfit.
But for some fine saves from John Danby in goal the
scoreline could have been a whole lot worse as the home
side managed 14 shots on target during the 90 minutes.
With Tim Ryan picking up his tenth booking of the season
against Salisbury the City skipper began a two match
ban which left the door open for midfielder Sam Coulter
to make his full debut. The Blues could only name four
substitutes on the bench.
As expected, Mansfield’s experienced showed up
in the opening exchanges. Both Louis Briscoe and Ollie
Hotchkiss saw chances fly just wide of the City goal.
A slip from Shaun Kelly seemed to set up Rob Duffy but
a last-ditch block from Glenn Rule prevented the Mansfield
striker from opening the scoring. Duffy had another
chance moments later but Rule once again thwarted the
player with a goalline clearance despite unsuccessful
appeals from the home crowd for a handball by the City
Danby made a great save to tip a Hotchkiss shot over
the bar before the deadlock was finally broken on 24
minutes as Luke Jones headed home unchallenged from
a Ryan Williams corner for his first goal in Mansfield
colours. Less than ten minutes later he notched his
second as he once again headed home from a Williams
On 36 minutes the home side added a third. The build
up was familiar, Jones heading a Williams corner goalbound
but this time Danby saved but the ball fell to Jake
Speight whose shot was deflected into his own goal by
the unfortunate Ben Jones. Danby produced another fine
save to deny Duffy and Rule once again cleared off the
line, this time to deny Jones his hat-trick, as the
Stags took a comfortable three goal advantage into the
Michael Lea and Ben Wilkinson combined to clear a Louis
Briscoe effort as the Stags continued to pile the pressure
on after the break. Despite seeing little of the ball
City’s youngsters held firm though. Williams and
Duffy continued to pepper the City goal and ten minutes
from time City conceded a fourth. Substitute Blair Sturrock
saw a shot deflect into the path of Speight who made
no mistake from just inside the box to wrap up the scoring.
crowd of only just over 400 were at Deva Stadium to witness
the eighth home defeat of the season at the hands of Salisbury
City. The fans certainly voted with their feet. Following
the appointment of controversial Director of Football
Morrell Maison and the subsequent departure of the popular
Jim Harvey, combined with yet another winding-up order
in the high court next week have proved the last straw
for the long-suffering support.
Those who did venture out made their feelings of the running
of the club by the Vaughan family and departure of Harvey
known through their chanting in the opening stages of
Maison took charge of first team affairs, a touchline
ban until the end of the season saw him forced to observe
from the sparsely populated main stand.
The Blues were in action for the first time since a defeat
at Kidderminster Harriers on Boxing Day and Maison made
two changes to that side. Ryan Davidson and Rhys Meynell
replaced James Owen, who’s since left the club and
The busiest man early on was referee Lee Metcalf who booked
both Shaun Kelly and Tim Ryan for late challenges. The
visitors had the first real opportunity of the game as
Jamie Turley headed over following after meeting a Sean
Clohessy cross. Referee Metcalf waived away penalty appeals
as Ben Wilkinson went down following a Daniel Webb challenge.
Youngster Ben Jones was presented with a great chance
but he couldn’t connect with a Kevin Roberts knock-down
and the ball drifted harmlessly wide.
visitors were still creating though and top scorer Matt
Tubbs headed wide with just John Danby to beat midway
through the opening period.
Just before the interval Bradley Gray saw an effort
blocked by City skipper Tim Ryan to preserve the status
quo at the interval.
The quality of the game left
a lot to be desired with passes going astray but City
were presented with a golden opportunity just after
the hour mark as a pin-point Lloyd Ellams cross found
Jones in the box who blasted over from just six yards.
At the other end Tubbs found too much space again to
break through but shoot tamely straight at Danby. The
visitors looked more and more likely to break the deadlock
as the game reached the final stages. James Bittner
in the visitors goal, was however called on to make
a double save to deny Roberts and Ellams from close
Four minutes from time the deadlock was broken. Roberts
was adjudged to have handled Gray’s and Tubbs
duly dispatched the spot-kick past Danby for his 17th
goal of the season and condemn City to defeat.