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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Southend United
Murray 52.
 
 Gower 57.
Attendance: 3894 (401 from Southend)
 
Date: 22nd January 2005

STAGS UNLUCKY NOT TO BEAT SOUTHEND

Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Field Mill

The Stags put in a strong performance at home to fourth placed Southend United at Field Mill but were denied the three points by a fine goalkeeping display from Daryl Flahavan and a poor decision to award a foul against Adam Murray which led to Southend’s equalizer. The Stags were the better side in the first half with a flurry of chances near the break and should have been ahead. Adam Murray did break the deadlock on 52 minutes, and a minute later Flahavan made an incredible save from Baptiste’s header. But Southend equalized in controversial circumstances on 57 minutes.

Gareth Jelleyman came in at left back for his debut, with Buxton moving to right-back. Neil moved from right back to central midfield, alongside fit-again Adam Murray, with Maxwell and McLachlan dropping out of the side.

The Stags started brightly with Barker putting Larkin through in the opening minutes but a touch from the little Irishman and the chance was gone. The first we saw of Southend came on 6 minutes when a shot was deflected for a corner by Dimech. The corner was excellently caught by Pilkington, who has improved that part of his game recently. On 11 minutes Larkin and Neil combined but Neil declined an opportunity to shoot and Larkin was caught offside. Two minutes later more good play from the Stags finished with Murray shooting powerfully wide of the left post from outside the box. On 17 minutes, the Stags had a claim for a penalty when Brown cut one back and it looked like handball but the ref waved play on. Two minutes later, the dangerous Eastwood had a rare opportunity for the Shrimpers but shot straight at Pilkington.

On 22 minutes Southend had a great chance to take the lead. A low corner found its way to Adam Barrett who blazed over the angle from 6 yards. We thought Barrett would be a danger with his head not his feet. But on 24 minutes the Stags were denied by a terrific save from Flahavan. Great passing movement put Larkin through, for once he controlled the ball well and his curled effort was destined for the far right corner of the net but the keeper somehow tipped it round the post.

On 34 minutes Brown made a good run and his shot from a tight angle was nearly spilled by the keeper at the feet of Barker. Two minutes later Pilkington had to be alert to collect the ball well at the feet of a Southend striker after a fine through ball from the impressive Gower. On 39 minutes, Corden floated in a free kick from the right, and Baptiste headed a yard over. It was at least encouraging that the Stags’ captain was in the right place.

On 43 minutes the Stags had a flurry of chances. First, from a corner on the right, Buxton had time just inside the box, to take aim and fire a volley which was destined for the top corner, but deflected inches over the bar. From the resulting corner from the left, Jelleyman placed a header low to the right of the keeper, who somehow got down to tip it around the post. From the next corner, Brown had a free shot but sent his effort well wide from a good position.

At half time we reflected that the Stags should have been ahead from one of those late chances, which would have been justified on the balance of play. At half time, much of the talk was about the impressive Jelleyman who had slipped into the left back role with great aplomb.

Half time 0-0

At the start of the second half, Asamoah, who has been in great form recently, replaced Larkin, who has conversely looked out of touch. The Stags were well on top in the opening stages of the second half. On 47 minutes Corden hooked a short wide of the right post. Then Barker headed at the keeper from a Brown cross.

Finally on 52 minutes the pressure paid off and the Stags were in front. Baptiste’s free-kick from just inside the Southend half was superbly flicked down by Barker into the path of Murray who made a late run into the box to be completely unmarked and fire low into the net. A fine goal.

A minute later and it looked like 2-0 all the way. A free kick from Corden from 35 yards out was beautifully met by Baptiste who powered a header towards the top right hand corner of the net, but it was athletically tipped over by Flahaven. Had this gone in, the result would have been different.

Instead Southend were level out of the blue of 57 minutes. Murray was absurdly penalized for a good tackle 40 yards from goal. Southend took the free kick quickly, with the Stags caught cold, and with a great move, Gower swept the ball powerfully into the roof of the net. It was a fine goal but rough justice on the Stags.

On the hour Asamoah made a good run and was fouled a yard from the corner of the box. Corden took the free-kick and curled his effort just over. How he needs a goal! On 65 minutes Southend forced two corners and Barrett headed over from the second. Three minutes later, Asamoah’s long cross-field ball found Brown, who crossed from the right, and after the ball eluded Barker, Corden sent a powerful volley the wrong side of the post. Two minutes later, the Stags had 4 on 4, but it ended with a disappointing powder-puff effort from Brown when other players were better placed.

The game entered a quiet period and on 80 minutes Brown’s cross didn’t quite reach the head of Barker. On 87 minutes, Southend had a rare chance to steal it when Nicolau, whose sexuality had been questioned by some of the home fans throughout the second half, crossed from the left, and Bramble just failed to get a touch in front of goal under pressure from the Stags defence.

But Murray had a golden opportunity to seal a man of the match performance two minutes from time. Barker again headed down into his path, and Murray controlled the ball with his chest before volleying just over the bar from the edge of the box, under a little bit of pressure.

This was two points dropped after a good performance, though Southend will reflect that they had deserved something from the game at Roots Hall less than a month ago. The Stags have been thwarted by excellent goalkeeping performances in two of the last four home games, with the now-disgraced Turley of Rushden keeping the Stags at bay in December. There were some fine performances today, notably from Jelleyman, Dimech, Neil (restored to midfield), Murray and Barker. The form of Larkin is a worry, and Corden desperately needs a goal. The jury is still out on Brown, though he shows great pace and keeps going for the 90 minutes.

Man of the Match: Adam Murray - tight call between several players, but Murray pinches it with the goal.


Report by: Martin Shaw & Jeff Barnes at Field Mill



Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Good handling: caught every cross and looked in great form.
Buxton 6 Defended ok. Needs some time to settle into right back position. Didn’t combine with Brown very well.
John-Baptiste 7 Commanding as usual.
Dimech 8 Another great performance, won every tackle.
Jelleyman 8 Outstanding debut, particularly in the first half, and unlucky not to score.
Brown 6 Disappointing second half when he had plenty of the ball. Crosses need to be better. OK in the first half.
Neil 8 Worked very hard in the midfield ball-winning role. Also created things going forward with good distribution.
Murray 8 Outstanding game, getting back to his best form. Great goal arriving late in the Paul Holland style.
Corden 6 Improved performance but needs a goal.
Larkin 5 Unlucky with one effort well-saved, but first touch too often let him down.
Barker 8 Great game. Constant threat with flick-ons and physical presence. Fine header to Murray for the goal.
Sub Line Up:
Asamoah (for Larkin 46) 6 Industrious but didn’t create much.
Subs Not Used: White, Maxwell, Rundle, Smeltz.
Opposition Line Up:
Southend: Flahavan, Barrett, Prior, Hunt, Wilson, Gower (Gray 75), Maher, Pettefer, Nicolau, Eastwood (Bramble 75), Dudfield.
Subs Not Used: Jupp, Kightly, Holloway.
Referee:
K Friend (Leicestershire) 6 OK, but bad decision to give a foul against Murray which led to Southend’s goal.


Season 04/05 Reports