Green fires Stags to victory
Mansfield Town recorded their first home win of the Blue Square Bet Premier season with a victory over Hyde at One Call Stadium.
In what proved to be a game of few chances, Matt Green finished from close range to fire his side into a sixth minute lead.
Lindon Meikle and Jake Speight spurned separate opportunities to extend that advantage, though the visitors from Greater Manchester struggled to create many meaningful goal scoring opportunities and the Stags held on to record a comfortable win.
Regular Hyde goalkeeper David Carnell was replaced by Ashley Frith in the Tigers starting line-up after he sustained an injury during the warm up, and the debutant goalkeeper was tested in the opening few minutes when he kept out Luke Jones’ powerful header from 10 yards out.
With only six minutes on the clock, Green claimed his third goal of the campaign to the fire the Stags ahead. Louis Briscoe linked up with the talisman on the left hand side, before Green advanced into the box and unleashed a vicious low strike which flew into the bottom corner.
Mansfield continued to dominate proceedings and almost extended their advantage soon afterwards. Gary Roberts picked out Matt Rhead in the box with a superbly floated cross from the right flank and the big target man saw his downward header turned over the bar by Hyde centre-back Robbie Williams.
Hyde created their first opening on ten minutes when Scott Spencer fired straight at Alan Marriott with a low drive from the left-edge of the area, and strike-partner Phil Jevons came no closer when his 25-yard free-kick was comfortably held by the Stags shot-stopper on 22 minutes.
The Stags continued to look a threat whenever they found themselves in the opposition half and Green almost doubled his tally for the afternoon when he chased down a sloppy back pass from Luke Ashworth and forced Hyde keeper Frith to clear quickly under pressure.
Green picked more holes in the Hyde defence with a beautiful reverse pass that set-up Meikle on 28 minutes. However, Frith advanced from his line and did enough to distract the former Eastwood Town winger, who ultimately blazed over from the edge of the area.
Josh Brizell saw his speculative 35-yard shot fly wide of the woodwork at the opposite end as Hyde began to grow frustrated, but with 37 minutes on the clock, last season’s Blue Square Bet North champions created easily what was their best opportunity of the half.
Jevons played a fabulous through ball from the middle to put Spencer clear on goal, but with Marriott advanced from his line in an attempt to reduce the angle, the Hyde striker delayed his shot and Junior Daniel produced a well-timed challenge to end the danger.
Nevertheless, Mansfield soon flexed their superior muscles once again and created two further chances prior to the interval. Frith was called into action when he tipped a powerful low drive from Green round the post, before John Dempster headed over on the cusp of half-time.
Roberts and Green almost linked up to devastating fashion five minutes after the re-start as the Stags continued to control the momentum, although there was a flash of danger when Spencer cut inside from the left and skipped past Ritchie Sutton and Anthony Howell, before aimlessly blazing a shot over the target.
Both Meikle and Green were foiled by an assistant referee’s flag as Mansfield continued to press forward, though they were nearly caught out again on 65 minutes when Jevons drilled a low 20-yard shot inches wide of Marriott’s goal after Hyde broke quickly out of defence.
Despite chances being few and far between, the Stags were only inches away from finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow that had emerged in the skies over One Call Stadium on 72 minutes.
Substitute Speight rose highest inside a crowded six-yard box to plant his head to Meikle’s near post cross from the left flank. With Frith removed from his line, Speight directed the ball towards the target, but Ashworth and fellow centre-back Williams desperately scrambled back and between them they did enough to prevent a second goal.
Jamie Hand replaced Briscoe for the closing ten minutes, but despite enjoying more than their fair share of possession, Hyde continued to struggle in their quest to find an equaliser.
Spencer failed to hit the target with a free-kick on 88 minutes and two minutes into stoppage time substitute Lewis Tomsett came no closer with a speculative attempt from 30 yards out, as Mansfield comfortably held on to record their first home win of the campaign.
Attendance: 2,203 (64 away supporters).