STAGS WIN AT SCARBOROUGH
Scarborough 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
Att: 635 (150 from Mansfield)
STAGS ON CREST OF WAVE BY SEASIDE
Evening Post, 04 August 2003
A Day trip to the seaside with the sun baking down may be the perfect way to spend your Saturday during the summer.
But there was no strolling along the beachfront or sitting in beer gardens for Keith Curle's men as the few hours they spent on the East Coast were far from a summer holiday.
It may have been just another pre-season friendly but it was the last real chance for Curle to try out his tactics before the season kicks off on Saturday.
Games against Worksop tonight and Arnold on Wednesday will see a mix of youth and fringe players taking part and the Stags boss admitted he probably had his team for the pending trip to Kidderminster already picked before the visit to the Conference outfit at the weekend.
And going on their showing against Russell Slade's side, the Mansfield players are looking sharp atthe start of their bid to bounce back to Division Two.
Apart from a poor first 20 minutes, not helped by the fact that heavy traffic had prevented the Stags' bus from arriving less than an hour before kick-off, it ended with the players carving out chance after chance as the game wore on.
Centre-back trialists Dave Artell and Luke Dimech put on a good first-half showing in their last chance to impress for a contract and they were replaced at half-time by Alex Baptiste and Rhys Day, who were solid at the heart of the defence. New signing Tony Vaughan did not play because of a slight reaction to an old ankle problem, but is expected to be in the squad for the Division Three opener.
Iyseden Christie gave a performance that will fill the Stags faithful with optimism.
The striker looked lively and, on another day, could have had a hat-trick. Add to that the way Mansfield looked a constant threat from Liam Lawrence's corners and how they tried to play flowing football, and it looks as though the Stags have all the ingredients to get themselves promoted.
But all the hard work over the last few weeks, both on and off the pitch, will count for nothing unless the fight is there and it is all put into practice consistently over the coming months.
It remains to be seen but more pluses came out of the friendly with Scarborough than minuses. Kevin Pilkington was again looking on top form as he produced an excellent save with his legs from what seemed a certain goal from Quayle.
Christie created his own chances and Colin Larkin also saw a stinging drive whistle passt the post from just inside the area following some excellent passing football.
The major confidence-booster came to Junior Mendes, who scored the only goal of the game.
Curle switched him from the right wing to up front after the interval and he repaid the boss four minutes later when he held the ball up well on the edge of the Scarborough box before turning and striking first time low into Walker's bottom right-hand corner.
Curle was delighted: "I'm pleased for him. It will be good for his confidence. He struggled getting the ball in the first half but the switch worked or him," he said.
"But the first half, especially the first 20 minutes, was not the best by any stretch of the imagination but the preparations were not exactly as they would be usually. However, they knew themselves they did not wake up until after 20 minutes.
"Overall, it was a good workout and the game was played at a good tempo. We have got a fit bunch of lads and they are trying to play the game in the right way, trying to get the shape and the balance of the team right. Most of this pre-season campaign has been very pleasing."
And going into the opening game at Kidderminster next Saturday, Curle admits he already has his starting 11 in his head. And he is pleased to see striker Larkin looking sharp again after missing most of last season with hamstring problems.
"I have a good idea what I would like to start with, I had that before this game and today has given me another look," he said.
"I was also impressed with Colin Larkin. The important thing is that he is looking fit and sharp. I replaced him at half-time, we do not want fatigue setting in, and we want him for the whole season."
SCARBOROUGH: Sollit (Walker, 45), Hotte (Pounder, 70), Price, Redmile (Davidson, 68), Baker (Senior, 45), Gilroy (Raw), Kerr (Henderson, 79), Quayle (Downey, 79), Rose, Williams, Gill.
STAGS: Pilkington, Williamson, Clarke, Artell (Day, 45), Dimech (Baptiste, 45), Disley (Buxton, 61), Lawrence, Curtis (Corden, 45 - comment from Martin: incorrect, Corden replaced Larkin), Mendes (A White, 70), Larkin, Christie.
CURLE TO SIGN DEFENDERS
Evening Post, 04 August 2003
Stags conceded 97 league goals when they were relegated last season.
Former Lincoln City defender Dimech, 26, had been on trial at Rushden and Diamonds this summer.
He has spent most of his career at Sliema Wanderers in the Maltese Premier Division.
Artell was released by Rotherham United and spent part of last season on loan at Shrewsbury.
Curle said: "There are still a few things to be ironed out and if the players are happy with what is being offered, they will sign. The contracts will be short-term."
Mendes sinks sunny Scarborough
JUNIOR Mendes was the match winner for Mansfield Town with the only goal of this pre-season friendley game on a scorching hot afternoon at Conference club Scarborough today.
Mendes produced some nimble footwork to dance his way into space 18 yards from goal before firing a low finish just inside the keeper's right hand post four minutes into the second half.
Overall it was another pleasing pre-season display from the Stags who started slowly but finished by far the stronger of the two teams which underlined their excellent fitness levels.
Bobby Hassell, Tony Vaughan and Adam Eaton missed out with knocks, but trialist centre halves Luke Dimich and Dave Artell again did well and will find out on Monday if they are to be offered a deal.
Kevin Pilkington was called into action twice in the first seven minutes to save from Scott Kerr and Mark Quayle.
And former Notts County defender Matt Redmile sent a header against the visitors' crossbar on 14 minutes from Jaques Williams' cross.
But Stags gradually found their rhythm in the sweltering heat and, after a good spell of pressure, Mendes fired a loose ball into the sidenetting.
Colin Larkin also forced Adam Sollitt into a save with a low shot at the far post while Christie showed great strength to hold off two opponents before slipping Larkin through only to see his strike partner fire wide of the far post.
On 42 minutes Liam Lawrence released Mendes on the right and he squared to Larkin who, with the goal beckoning, was robbed by a brilliant last ditch block by Steve Baker.
Scarborough swept straight upfield and Karl Rose hooked the ball over a square defence to put Quayle away on goal.
Pilkington was well off his line but Quayle elected not to chip him and the Stags keeper then did superbly to get a hand to his finish.
With both sides making three interval changes, Mendes finally broke the deadlock early in the second half.
The game then burst into life with chances at both ends over 15 thrilling minutes.
New keeper Leigh Walker saved a Rhys Day header from a Lawrence corner and then a low Christie cross passed in front of goal with both Mendes and Tom Curtis unable to finish.
At the other end Kerr had a shot blocked but the ball span up into the air to offer Chris Senior a close range header that he should have at least hit the target with.
Loose play from Day in the box then allowed Senior to nip in and hurry a shot wide.
Pilkington was firmly behind a 30-yard curling free kick from Kerr as the non-League side slowly began to run out of steam.
Day again headed a Lawrence corner at Walker six minutes from time as Stags dominated possession.
And in the final minute Andy White forced Walker to turn his low 20-yard drive around for a corner.
Stags fans formed a large part of the 635 crowd who enjoyed the seaside sunshine as much as the football action.
Now all eyes are on next Saturday when the serious business of Division Three starts at Kidderminster.
SCARBOROUGH: Sollitt (Walker 45mins), Hotte (Pounder 70mins), Redmile (Davidson 68mins), Baker (Senior 45mins), Gilroy (Raw 83mins), Kerr (Henderson 79mins), Quayle (Downey 79mins), Rose (Price 45mins), Williams, Henry, Gill.
STAGS: Pilkington, Clarke, Williamson, Curtis, Lawrence, Disley (Buxton 61mins), Christie, Mendes (A. White 70mins), Larkin (Corden 45mins), Artell (John-Baptiste 45mins), Dimich (Day 45mins). Subs not used; J. White, MacKenzie, Beardsley, Mitchell.
Latest | August 2003