REPORT FROM BARNSLEY SITE
MANSFIELD TOWN 0
BARNSLEY 1 (O'Callaghan 31)
BARNSLEY managed to battle their way to victory courtesy of a real collectors item for the 1,100 Reds supporters at Field Mill – a goal by defender Brian O'Callaghan.
Reds boss Glyn Hodges was forced into making five changes to the side that was so disappointing at Oakwell against Peterborough last week. Chris Morgan, Bruce Dyer, Lee Crooks and Gary Jones all were forced out of the game at Field Mill through injury so Antony Kay, Brian O'Callaghan, Chris Lumsdon and Kevin Betsy came into the starting eleven. The fifth change saw Matt Ghent replace Martin Taylor in goal after the on loan keeper picked up an injury in training yesterday.
Barnsley fielded arguably their youngest back line of the season with Kay and O'Callaghan lining up alongside England Under 20 international Neil Austin in defence. All three have come up through the Reds Academy. Young striker Rory Fallon was also named amongst the substitutes after two months on the sidelines with a fractured foot.
Mansfield were without first choice defensive paring of Rhys Day and ex-Red Keith Curle. Curle picked up a groin strain last weekend and missed the match so the Stags gave a debut to 16-year-old Alex John-Baptiste alongside Adam Eaton at the back.
Barnsley started the game brightly with Kevin Donovan and Mitch Ward pressing forward in the opening stages. However, Mansfield went close to opening the scoring with seven minutes gone as Liam Lawrence's cross looked to be heading straight to Isyeden Christie but for Kay's excellent clearance.
The Reds broke straight down the other end and Mike Sheron saw a good low drive blocked away after Betsy's forceful run.
Lawrence was having a field day down the Stags right and another jinking run on 16 minutes saw the winger ghost past David Mulligan and Lumsdon before crossing well only for the Reds defence to clear. Craig Disley smashed the clearance high into the stand from 22-yards.
More good play by Wayne Corden a minute later put Junior Mendes clean through but the striker put his effort high over Ghent's goal under pressure from Kay.
Barnsley looked dangerous on the break and Betsy combined well with Mulligan on 19 minutes to split open the Stags defence. The ball came back to Betsy in the area but the striker's goalbound effort was well saved by Pilkington.
Mansfield almost grabbed the lead a minute later with some neat play by Mendes on the edge of the area but his low shot was saved at the second attempt by Ghent.
Sheron then capitalised on a mistake by Baptiste to fire a shot inches over the bar on 28 minutes before Ward saw a shot deflected just wide a minute later.
Barnsley took the lead on the half hour when O'Callaghan marked his return to the first team with a wonderful looping header from Donovan's right wing corner. It was his first ever goal for the club.
The goal lifted the visitors and Betsy was inches away from doubling the lead on 37 minutes with a glancing header from Donovan's precision cross but his effort flew just wide of the post.
Betsy then became the first player booked on 42 minutes for throwing the ball away after giving away a free kick on the half way line. Lawrence then hit a shot from the free kick but Betsy was in the way to steer the ball away from danger.
Lumsdon quickly joined Betsy in the referees' notebook for a trip on Christie two minutes later.
Mansfield thought they had an equaliser in first half stoppage time when Corden's cross was headed goalward by Lawrence but Ghent pulled off a breathtaking point blank save to deny the winger a certain goal. Ghent also managed to snatch the rebound before a Stags player could turn the ball into the net.
The Reds began the second half as they finished the first with Mulligan forcing Pilkington into action with a curling cross on 46 minutes that the Stags keeper did well to hold.
Mansfield pressed forward and Mendes left Austin after a decent spell of pressure from the home side. Mendes escaped a booking for his challenge much to displeasure of Reds boss Glyn Hodges, who vented his fury at the linesman and fourth official in no uncertain terms.
Lawrence should have done better with a diving header from Disley's 50th minute long throw before Neil became the third Barnsley player cautioned after a tussle with Bobby Hassell.
Lumsdon then forced Pilkington into a save three minutes later after a flowing Reds break down the pitch from Betsy and Neil.
Stags defender Eaton almost grabbed a leveller on 57 minutes with a drive from the edge of the area that flew just wide on Ghent's right hand post.
Lawrence was again causing problems down the right and Ward brought his run on the hour mark to an abrupt end. Lawrence took the free kick himself and Christie was close to getting his name on the scoresheet with a glancing header that went just wide.
Lawrence's domination down the right was causing Mulligan all sorts of problems and the New Zealand international took out his frustration on the winger on 66 minutes with a wild lunge that earned him a booking. Eaton saw a good shot blocked away from the resulting free kick.
Mansfield substitute Lee Williamson almost had the perfect introduction to the action on 69 minutes with a good shot that forced Ghent into a smart diving save. Baptiste became yet another Mansfield player to escape a caution on 70 minutes after his wild challenge brought an end to Betsy's purposeful run.
Williamson was then lucky to escape a caution on 83 minutes was a kick out at Ward which amazingly went unnoticed by the referee despite only being yards in front of him.
Substitute Colin Larkin was inches away from netting a goal with virtually his first kick of the game when he raced into the area and shot across Ghent but past the far post.
The Reds almost got a second on 86 minutes as Betsy beat Baptiste to the ball on the edge of the area and did well to play in Sheron, who beat his defender and goalkeeper Pilkington only to have his shot cleared off the line by Williamson.
Barnsley went even closer a minute later as Sheron did well in the area to cross and Eaton made a complete mess of his clearance to allow Neil in but Pilkington was quick across his goal to save.
The referee finally showed a Mansfield player a yellow card in stoppage time when Christie cynically hacked down O'Callaghan as the Reds defender looked to clear the ball.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Pilkington, Christie, Lawrence, Eaton, Corden (Mitchell 87), John-Baptiste, Curtis, Hassell, Clarke (Williamson 68), Disley, Mendes (Larkin 79).
Subs: Welch, Buxton.
BARNSLEY: Ghent, Mulligan, Donovan, Kay, O'Callaghan, Austin, Ward, Neil, Lumsdon (Gibbs 79), Sheron, Betsy.
Subs: Parry, Gorre, Fallon, Rankin.
Latest | April 2003