Introduction to the blog...

Hi, my name's Toby Wildgoose. I'm a 20 year old who's obsessed by sport, so much so, that I am looking to become a sports journalist/media officer in later life.

I've set up this blog not only so that I can improve and refine my writing skills, but also to provide a platform for potential employers to view my work.

I have already developed a small portfolio of my work, with my experience in the industry including: written match reports for junior football teams, published work at numerous EFL clubs in a variety of formats, and work experience placements at Chesterfield FC and Rotherham United Community Sports Trust - to see my full portfolio click here:

I hope to post as often as possible on this blog about anything that is sport related. Please find the time to read any of my posts.

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Start Date: 11/12/12 (Aged 15)

Monday, 5 August 2013

Match Report: Scunthorpe United 2-0 Mansfield Town

Scunthorpe United kicked-off their League Two campaign with a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Conference champions Mansfield Town on Saturday afternoon.

Goals from Matt Sparrow and Sam Winnall would seal a crucial three points for the Iron on the day that saw Scunthorpe play League Two football for the first time since 2005.

Brian Law’s new-look side started with six of his summer signings in the starting 11, with Deon Burton, Matt Sparrow, Terry Hawkridge, Andy Dawson, Andy Welsh and Sam Winnall all in the side. This also, however, meant places on the bench for fellow summer signings Chris Iwelumo, Jordan Clark and Sean McAllister.

Despite the early buzz around Glanford Park, it would in fact be Mansfield who would have the first chance of the game. Lee Stevenson, however, whilst under pressure from Iron defenders, would fire his low shot just wide of the left hand post.

A second chance soon followed for Mansfield when, after 16 minutes play, Sam Clucas fought his way down the left hand side of the pitch before firing a shot at the Iron goal. The shot, however, was a tame one and Sam Slocombe saved comfortably.

The Stags’ pressure would only continue as the game grew older and Clucas was once again involved in the 19th minute, winning the Stags a free-kick within dangerous territory around the Iron box. The host’s wall would stay strong though and the danger was soon cleared.

Scunthorpe’s first real chance of the game wouldn’t come until the 22nd minute after a free-kick was won on the edge of the Stag’s 18-yard box. The set piece was whipped into the box by Andy Welsh only to be cleared away by the Mansfield back line. The ball, however, fell to Scunthorpe Captain Michael Collins who blazed high and wide of the goal on the half-volley. 

Despite Mansfield’s numerous early chances and pressure, it would in fact be Scunthorpe who would take the lead on the stroke of 30 minutes. After some good build up play between the Iron midfield, it would be Welsh to cross the ball into the box for the returning Matt Sparrow to fire home on the volley into the top right corner. The score was now 1-0 to the iron.
Scunthorpe almost doubled their advantage immediately when Terry Hawkridge was awarded a free-kick after being brought down on the edge of the area in the 31st minute. Andy Dawson stepped forward to take the set piece, however, he saw his curling effort brilliantly saved by the Mansfield number one, Alan Marriott.

The lead would be doubled in the 41st minute though, when debutant Sam Winnall raced onto a long-ball from Hawkridge, before rounding the stranded Mansfield ‘keeper Marriott to comfortably slot home and send the Iron into the break with a two goal lead.

It did appear as if the Stags would pull a goal back before the interval though, as Matthew Rhead saw a thunderous header ricochet back-off the crossbar, however, the officials would ultimately adjudge the forward to be offside and maintain Scunthorpe’s lead going into half-time.

Half-time: Scunthorpe United 2-0 Mansfield Town

The tempo would only continue from Scunthorpe in the second-half, and a third goal could have been added straight from the kick-off when an early corner was won. The ball was played short to Hawkridge who subsequently fired the ball into the box, however, the necessary finish couldn’t be applied and the danger would be cleared.

The first substitution of the game came in the 51st minute, when Stags boss Paul Cox brought on Lindon Meikle for Lee Stevenson with the hope that the 24-year-old striker would provide a route back into the game.

Ex-Corby Town striker Matt Rhead would be the first player in the referee’s notebook after 57 minutes play, when a blatant push on Iron defender David Mirfin was spotted by the officials and the 6”4 Mansfield man couldn’t escape unpunished.

Despite the Stags bringing on Meikle, it would be another chance for the Iron that came just minutes later. Eddie Nolan, however, saw his pin-point header narrowly miss the target after some more good build up play between Collins and Welsh.

Scunthorpe would continue to press for the third and after some stern determination from Andy Dawson, Mansfield defender John Dempster was pressured into giving the ball away. The ball then fell to Welsh, however, his shot would be well blocked.

Just as the game appeared to be slipping away from Mansfield, defender Lee Beevers placed a dangerous ball into the box which Ross Dyer met with a diving header. However, the ball rolled just inches wide of Slocombe's goal.

Mansfield’s best chance to score though would come in the 89th minute after a penalty was awarded against Eddie Nolan for a hand ball on the edge of the area. To make matters worse for the Iron, the defender had already been booked, and so the referee had no choice but to give him his marching orders. Substitute Louis Briscoe stepped up to take the penalty, however, his effort blazed over the bar and there would be no consolation for the Stags.

Full-time: Scunthorpe United 2-0 Mansfield Town

Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Nolan, Mirfin, Canavan, Dawson, Hawkridge, Sparrow, Collins, Welsh (Clark 88), Burton (Iwelumo 81), Winnall (Godden 77)

Unused: Severn, Ribeiro, McAllister, Howe

Mansfield Town: Marriott, Beevers, Dempster, McCombe, Jennings, Murray, Howell, Stevenson (Meikle 51), Clucas, Dyer (Briscoe 70), Rhead (Palmer 61)

Unused: McGuire, Sutton, Speight, Deakin

Attendance: 5241 (1500)