The Stags bounced back from Saturday’s disappointment with a controlled win over Stansted. The game was memorable for the excellent defending from the Stags and the fact that the forwards plugged away at the Stansted defence until it broke late in the game.
Ian Barnes came back into the defence with Pasa Karabulut getting his first senior outing of the season and Hasan Kardal starting up front. Indeed it was he who showed the early promise getting past his defenders and to the goal line on three occasions in the first five minutes.
Stansted then settled and began to use the useful, if not beautiful, tactic of clearing the ball quickly then following it out even more quickly. This often work for teams with speedy players such as those in the Stansted midfield but they had nobody up front to convert the forward pressure into goals.
The first real chance of the match fell to Dewayne Ckarke after 20 minutes, once again operating down the inside right channel. He managed to shake off his defender Bennett to shoot into the side netting from an acute angle.
It was Clarke again who was unlucky on thirty minutes, this time shaking off three defenders and bearing down on goal from 40 yards out. With the goal in range he shot only to wee ‘keeper Wright touch the ball onto the left upright for a corner.
The final action of the half saw Hasan Kardal have an excellent close range shot saved by Wright down at the right post.
The game lost its way for the first twenty minutes of the second half but came to life on 70 minutes when after an almighty scramble Stansted’s Prince passed the ball back to his ‘keeper on his own line. Wright missed it the first time but somehow managed to get back to claw the ball of the line. The clearance was poor and allowed Danny O’Sullivan to attack down the right wing. He crossed the ball and found Karem Bashkel who, once again, scored with his first touch of the game.
O’Sullivan was really getting into the game now and soon sent in another cross, this time a little too high for Clarke but the Stansted defence was beginning to open up more as the game went on.
Forest’s ‘keeper Gavin King made his first save of the night on 89 minutes when the home side gave away a free kick on the edge of their penalty area. Penfold took the kick and brought a great stop from King diving high to his right to keep the ball out of the net.
The game was closed out in the next minute when O’Sullivan picked up the corner from the clearance and swung in an early ball for Clarke. There was a suspicion of off side but he had run along the line from behind a defender. In any case, Clarke was on his way towards goal and this time made no mistake slotting home from 15 yards under Wright’s body.