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Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
2 - 2
 Darlington
Brown 9, 64
 
 Clarke 39, Ndumbu-Nsungu 74
Attendance: 2803 (465 from Darlington)
 
Date: 10 September 2005

The Stags made two changes from the side beaten at Chester last week. Out went Jason Talbot and Jake Buxton, in came Stephen Dawson and Adam Rundle with Alex John-Baptiste dropping back to centre half and Jelleyman back to left back. Few would argue that this was probably the best Stags line-up available to the manager. After heavy rain the pitch was sodden and the lines were barely visible.

It was the Stags who started the better of the two sides, the pace of Brown causing the visiting defence problems. The Stags took the lead on 9 minutes, but there was more than a touch of fortune about the goal. A right wing cross found Barker on the edge of the area, he fired his volley towards goal and found Brown on the far post, certainly looking a couple of yards offside, but with no flag Brown prodded the ball home. The visitors were incensed and had a player booked for protesting. The Stags continued to look the better side and played some very good football, Coke in particular catching the eye, but as the half wore on Darlington exerted pressure of their own and Pressman had to make an outstanding point blank save to prevent an equaliser. However, after a succession of corners, Darlington finally levelled on 39 minutes, a left wing corner was headed towards goal, Pressman, who had stayed on his line managed to save the header only to see the ball fall to Clarke who back-heeled into the net. The Stags inability to defend set pieces had struck again, but the defence had been under increasing pressure, conceding a number of corners and not once did the Stags keeper come off his line to try and ease the pressure.

Half-Time 1-1

As they did in the first half, the Stags began strongly and could have retaken the lead on several occasions. The best of the early chances fell to Brown, who was put clear through by a neat Barker flick on only to send his shot into the side netting with just the keeper to beat. The Stags forced several corners and whilst Rundle's delivery was good, each time the ball bounced loose it did not fall to a Stags player. However, just as it seemed the Stags good spell would count for nothing, a howler from Darlo keeper Bossu gifted the Stags the lead. Barker chased down a back pass, the keeper took a touch and then kicked the ball straight to Brown who fired into the open goal, it was a huge error. Bossu was again the culprit for the Stags next chance, this time throwing the ball straight to Uhlenbeek, he put Brown clear but instead of crossing he shot to see Bossu redeem himself with an excellent one handed save. That was pretty much as good as it got for the Stags as the visitors dominated the last 20 minutes, with Jelleyman given a very uncomfortable time on the left. It was no real surprise when Darlo equalised, again the problems caused on the left, this time when the cross came in an unmarked Ndumbu-Nsungu headed past a static Pressman. Only in injury time did the Stags threaten to win the game, but before then there were several nervy moments in the Stags area.

Overall a draw was a fair result, though perhaps the Stags created the best chances. What was worrying is that the home side started both halves strongly whilst the visitors had the better of the latter stages of each half, suggesting that the much talked about higher fitness levels aren't quite as high as they should be. There was much to be positive about though, Brown looked very sharp in attack and although he squandered two fine chances, the two goals he scored should give him confidence. Giles Coke had his best game of the season, some fine passing and really got about the pitch. My take on the set piece problem is that Pressman did not come out to collect one corner today, many of which were headed clear inside the six yard area. His lack of mobility is a big worry, though his save in the first half was outstanding. Gareth Jellyman had an afternoon to forget, but Gavin Peers was very solid and should retain his place in the side.

Man of the Match: Giles Coke

Report by: Rob Wheldon



Line Up:
K Pressman 6 One outstanding save, but lack of mobility is costing us
G Peers 7 Solid defending throughout
G Jelleyman 5 Had a torrid 2nd half
R Day 7 Excellent in the air
A Baptiste 7 Nice to see him back at centre half, defended well
S Dawson 6 Promised much at times, but delivered little
G Uhlenbeek 5 Not his best game, some woeful delivery from set pieces
G Coke 8 Fine performance from Giles, good distribution and very mobile
A Rundle 6 Fairly quiet
R Barker 6 Worked hard, one great flick on for Brown which should have secured the game
S Brown 7 Two good goals but missed a couple of great chances to secure the win
Sub Line Up:
Lloyd (for Dawson, 73) 6 Struggled to get involved
Birchall (for Rundle, 77 mins) 6 Like Lloyd, came on when Darlo were dominant and didn't change it
Subs not used: Buxton, Hjelde, Arnold.
Opposition Line Up:
Bossu, Valentine, Clarke, Hutchinson, Martis, Wainwright (Ndumbu-Nsungu 70), Dickman (Jameson 34), Peacock, Logan, Sodje, Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Wijnhard, Thomas, Duke.
Referee:
P Miller


Season 05/06 Reports