HALF TIME: Mansfield Town 1 Kettering 0

Mansfield Town are on course for their first win of the season at half-time as they lead 1-0 against Kettering Town, reports Stephen Thirkill.

Louis Briscoe opened the scoring with a simple tap-in in the 11th minute after excellent work from Murray and Meikle.

Stags have also rode their luck with George Taft missing two excellent chances to level the game for the poppies.

As predicted, Stags named the same starting eleven which performed so well in the draws with Braintree and Luton Town.

But Ritchie Sutton made a welcome return from injury to earn a place on the bench at the expense of Nick Wood.

Stags won the first corner of the game in the second minute when Matt Green put in a testing cross which Phil Ifil cleared to safety.

A minute later Briscoe saw another cross blocked behind for a corner as Stags piled on the pressure in the early stages.

Defender Martin Riley should have opened the scoring in the third minute from the resulting O’Neill corner, when he found space before directing a diving header wide.

Fantastic work by Adam Murray sent Stags on their way to the opening goal on 11 minutes.

The tenacious tackling and never-give-up attitude of Murray won the ball just outside the Kettering box after both Howell and Green had seen efforts blocked.

He then played in winger Meikle who rolled the ball across the face of goal to give Briscoe the simplest of tap-ins.

Stags continued to push forward and nearly made it two when Futcher rose well above his man before nodding a Kendrick free-kick wide of Walker’s goal.

Kettering came back into the game with a series of corners as Stags dropped their pace and lost momentum.

And it was nearly 1-1 on 26 minutes when George Taft connected with a clearance from Williams’ corner.

But his well-hit volley from 12 yards out was cleared off the line to safety by Futcher.

Taft then blew a glorious chance on 28 minutes when he headed a Jerel Ifil cross wide from inside the six yard box as The Poppies turned up the heat further.

Mansfield weathered the storm and forced Walker into action in the 42 minute when Green combined well with Meikle after a fast break through midfield.

But the frontman was unable to get the ball out of his feet as he fired a tame shot low to Walkers left.

A minute later Meikle nearly opened his Mansfield Town account thanks to a superb cross from Briscoe.

The flying winger burst down the right wing before firing in an inviting cross deep into the six yard box.

But Meikle’s flying volley back across goal was saved in fine style by the diving Walking.

Stags had Marriott to thank deep in injury-time when a Phillip Ifil free-kick beat everyone in the box before Marriott scrambled across to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.

The Mansfield shot-stopper was again in action a minute later when he flapped at a Williams corner.

But the dangerous Taft was once again denied a goal when his shot from eight yards was blocked by a crowd of lunging defenders.

ddsfd

MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott, Kendrick, Riley, Futcher, O’Neill, Briscoe, Murray, Howell, Meikle, Dyer, Green. Subs not used: Redmond, Worthington, Stevenson, Connor, Sutton.

KETTERING TOWN: Walker, P. Ifil, Davis, Williams, J. Ifil, Ashikodi, Verma, Marma, Meechan, Taft, Navarro. Subs not used: Kelly, Thomson, Clapham, Noubissie, Haxhia.