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Archived News from July 2003

31st July 2003 10:49

Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Coventry City
Konjic 58.
Attendance: 2819 (approx 100 from Coventry)

Stags: Pilkington; Hassell (Buxton 85); Clarke; Artell; Dimich (John-Baptiste 75); Curtis; Lawrence (MacKenzie 65); Williamson (Disley 65); Larkin (Mendes 54); Christie (Beardsley 80); Corden (AWhite 67)

Subs (not used): Day; JWhite; Mitchell.

Booked: Curtis 78.
CHAD website report:
Battling Stage pipped by Coventry
Stags gave an excellent account of themselves against quality opposition in tonight's 1-0 friendly defeat against First Division Coventry City at Field Mill.
Only a stroke of luck for Gary McAllister's side on 59 minutes proved the difference between the sides as Jamie Clarke's clearance struck team mate Tom Curtis on the back and then rolled invitingly to Mo Konjic to drill in a deadly finish.
But Stags enjoyed an equal share of possession and chances in a very entertaining high tempo first half for a crowd of 2,819.
The pace dropped a little after the break as did the number of chances with City only once finding a way past the outstanding Kevin Pilkington all night.
Mansfield fielded on-trial centre halves Dave Artell and Luke Dimich, who has skippered the Maltese national side, and both did well against First Division strikers.
The pitch proved hard to master with several heavy downpours of rain. But the game was taken so seriously by both sides that both Patrick Suffo and Tom Curtis saw yellow cards and there were several flashpoints as the challenges flew in.
City keeper Scott Shearer had to tip over an inswinging Wayne Corden corner as Mansfield started the stronger.
Konjicthen had to be calmed down after a late change from Iyseden Christie before Stags went close again as Christie rifled over from 18 yards after latching onto a poor backpass.
In City's first raid on 11 minutes, Pilkington raced out his box to slide into a tackle on the incoming Graham Barrett and, shortly after, the keeper did well to spread himself at the far post to deny the unmarked Doyle as he tried to put away Konjic's cross.
Stags threatened again as the tireless Lee Williamson, back to his best in the centre of the park, got power but not direction on his finish and, from a Williamson cross four minutes later, Dimich headed just wide.
Wayne Corden also put Colin Larkin away down the centre but the striker's control let him down.
Coventry enjoyed a good spell mid-half and Pilkington beat way Suffo's powerful attempt to beat him at his near post and was then relieved to see Suffo's curling free kick end up in the netting.
Suffo was in the thick of it again as his flick set up Ayun Jephcott but he fired wide and Suffo was then booked for leaving his foot in on Dave Artell.
Larkin glanced a header just wide for Mansfield from Corden's free kick, and then came even closer as he turned smartly on Clarke's through ball and stabbed the ball inches wide in the same movement.
Coventry should have gone ahead three minutes from the break when Suffo was left for a free header six yards from goal from Michael Doyle's free kick only to see Pilkington again come to the rescue with a superb save.
And in stoppage time Pilkington came for an Andrew Whing cross only to see Dimich get there first and head the ball narrowly wide of his own goal.
An interval downpour eased off in time for the second half which saw Coventry make four changes.
Curtis sent a free kick just over early in the half while Pilkington was again out his box ahead of Gary McSheffrey.
But disaster sruck on 59 as McSheffrey crossed from the left and Clarke, covering his central defenders, volleyed clear near the far post only to see it hit the helpless Curtis and fall invitingly for City to snatch the lead.
Stags began to make changes at regular intervals and went 4-3-3 for the last 22 minutes.
Craig Disley found himself crowded out at the far post after good approach play by Junior Mendes while Neil MacKenzie was halted just as he looked set to waltz past the entire City defence.
Calum Davenport headed against the Mansfield crossbar 11 minutes from time and Pilkington saved Yazid Manouri's low 20-yard effort on 83.
Stags' last hope in stoppage time saw an offside flag thwart Chris Beardsley from Jake Buxton's through ball.
STAGS: Pilkington, Hassell (Buxton 86mins), Clarke, Curtis, Artell, Dimich (John-Baptiste 76mins), Lawrence (MacKenzie 66mins), Williamson (Disley 66mins), Larkin (Mendes 55mins), Christie (Beardsley 81mins), Corden (A. White 68mins). Subs not used: Day, J. White, Mitchell.
COVENTRY: Shearer, Whing, Warnock (Lelegalt 45mins), Konjic, Davenport, McAllister (Pead 45mins), Barrett, Doyle (Jorgensen 45mins), Manouri, Suffo (McSheffrey 45mins), Jephcott (Hall 69mins). Subs not used: Ward, Osbourne.
REFEREE: Fraser Stretton on Nottingham.
report from http://www.ccfc.co.uk
The Sky Blues graft out a one-nil victory over Third Division Mansfield in a scrappy encounter at a wet and miserable Field Mill.

Mo Konjic scored the winning goal for City early in the second half after an opening period where both teams had missed a number of chances. Once again Gary McAllister made a number of changes at the interval with new trialist Claus Jorgensen getting a run out in the second period as well as Gary McSheffrey.

City lined up with the same back four as against Oxford but with different midfield and attacking options and had to weather an early storm from the home side.

Shearer tipped Corden's in-swinging corner over the bar but Davenport soon made a rash challenge on Larkin to concede a free-kick 20 yards from goal although the chance was wasted. The Stags were very tidy in possession and ex-City man Iyeseden Christie was gifted the ball although his long-range effort went well over.

City's most promising play was coming through Barrett and Suffo and on 12 minutes the former Arsenal man – featuring in the centre of midfield alongside Macca – played a lovely through ball to put Suffo clean through although the assistant referee gave a marginal offside.

Doyle had a decent opportunity to give City the lead when Konjic crossed towards the far post although Mansfield 'keeper Pilkington managed to get a touch to his rising effort to tip it over.

Trialist Mansouri was hungry for the ball and though he was positioned on the right of midfield, he regularly drifted inside looking for give and goes with his teammates. The Algerian tried an audacious flick from a Whing cross to put Coventry ahead but failed to get any purchase on his effort.

City's best effort on goal came after 24 minutes. Warnock showed his passing range with a pinpoint 50-yard ball to Suffo which the Cameroon international controlled impeccably on his chest before bursting down the right flank. He cut inside and blasted an effort on goal which Pilkington managed to parry away.

On 38 minutes Suffo received the first yellow card of the game for a late challenge on Artell. City were not looking particularly organised as the half progressed and Larkin went close with a superb curling effort, after he had turned Konjic but fortunately the shot went just wide of the target.

It was then City's turn to go close when Suffo had a free header from an excellent Warnock free-kick. Pilkington saved the glancing header with his legs but in all honesty Suffo should have done better from six yards out. Dimich then nearly headed into his own net on the stroke of half time but his effort went narrowly wide.

With the heavy rain turning practically into a monsoon during the interval City made four changes. Pead came on for Macca, Wengert for Warnock, new trialist Jorgensen replaced the disappointing Doyle and McSheffrey came on in place of Suffo.

The transfer-listed striker looked very lively and had a key role to play in the opening goal on 58 minutes. Shortly after Macca had told Graham Barrett to look for balls down the flank he took heed of the manager's words and did just that. His pass released McSheffrey who crossed deep and although a Mansfield defender cleared, it rebounded off another man and fell to Konjic. The centre half took one touch to control before smashing the ball home.

With just over 20 minutes remaining Andy Hall replaced Avun Jephcott after Mansfield had made four changes of their own. The youngster played in the hole just behind the front two of Barrett and McSheffrey and showed some neat touches as well as a huge hunger to win the ball.

City were not creating a huge amount of chances but their approach play was very neat as they looked to work some clinical moves. With ten minutes to go a move which incorporated pretty much every member of the team ended with Mansouri hitting a 20 yarder on target but straight down the throat of Pilkington.

In the dying stages Mansfield rallied as they looked to get an equaliser, but City held firm to come away with the win and much for McAllister and his coaches to contemplate prior to Saturday's friendly with Wolves.

Coventry: Shearer; Whing; Konjic; Suffo (McSheffrey 46); McAllister (Pead 46); Barrett; Doyle (Jorgensen 46); Davenport; Warnock (Wengert 46); Mansouri; Jephcott (Hall 68)

Subs (not used): Ward; Osbourne

Booked: Suffo


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