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Archived News from January 2004

17th January 2004 22:42

'Don't panic' says Stags' boss Curle
CHAD website
STAGS' boss Keith Curle insisted that there is no need to panic, despite Mansfield Town losing ground in the promotion race after a 3-1 defeat at The Matchroom Stadium this afternoon.
He said: "I know it is an old cliche, but it was a game of two halves. I thought we did well in the first half and got about them, acquitted ourselves well. But in the second period we didnt show enough urgency to win the battle.
"But there is no need to panic. Sometimes on your travels things won't go for you and we didn't get the run of the ball in front of hoal today.
"There is no reason to be despondent. There are people saying we are in a blip and we've lost only one game in five. I'd hate to hear what they would have to say if the wheels really did come off."
THERE was no doubting the mood of O's manager Martin Ling after his side's convincing win over Mansfield Town on Saturday.

After explaining away two poor performances since the turn of the year, Ling finally had the opportunity to discuss something he was pleased with.

And that something came in the form of the second half display which saw the promotion-chasing Stags stopped in their tracks.

“The second half was excellent, he purred. “It was a proper performance for 45 minutes and if I could get that for 90 I'd be delighted but 45 was enough to take the game.

“There was a purpose and a positive tempo to our play and a direction and it looked like a proper team that can go places.

“Mansfield were the better side in the first-half. We got the goal but then went on the back foot, we worked hard but stayed narrow when we had the ball and didn't have enough passing.

“But we treated the ball with a bit more care in the second half and we more than shaded it – I think it was a fair result as we were head and shoulders above them.

“We've worked on defensive work all week because we had Billy Jones and John Mackie coming in, but we used the ball to an effect that gave us chances.

Ling surprisingly handed the captaincy to Gary Alexander and the striker responded with a double strike to take his tally to the season for ten.

“I've got enough leaders in Matthew Joseph, John Mackie and Mark Peters at the back but the rest of the team is very young and Gary's the oldest one out of the six in midfield and attack, he explained.

“I need a leader amongst them and Gary's done a good job for me over the period I've been in charge so I thought it was the right thing to do to give him some responsibility.

And Mackie's debut was another plus point for the manager, who is hoping this performance can be carried on in to forthcoming matches.

“John was excellent, but he didn't do anything I didn't expect of him because I've watched him for a long time and he's a first division player. He and Mark Peters formed a good partnership and he's certainly a voice in the defence.

“We got ourselves in to 11th but then got hammered at Doncaster and people said we were in a false position.

“I'm not saying we're the finished article, we've got a lot of hard work to do, but this is a big result and there are still a lot of points to play for.”
Stags tight-lipped over Lawrence rumours
CHAD website
MANSFIELD Town's promotion hopes took a knock when they lost 3-1 at Orient this afternoon - their first league defeat in five games.
But the big talking point after the game was the non-appearance of wingman Liam Lawrence.
Lawrence did not travel to London and, after the match, manager Keith Curle would only say: "Liam wasn't fit to travel and play today, it's as simple as that."
However, rumours were rife today in south Yorkshire that Lawrence, the club's leading scorer, was due to join First Division Rotherham United on loan for three months.
Earlier in the season the Millers had a bid to sign Lawrence rejected by the Stags.
But, Curle refused to elaborate on the speculation surrounding Lawrence.
The uncertainty certainly didn't help the Stags on the pitch as they slipped to their first away defeat since October, after a disappointing second half.
They had battled back well in the first half despite falling behind to Gary Alexander's sixth minute breakthrough.
Teenage defender Jake Buxton marked a rare start when he headed the equaliser, his first goal for the club, although Colin Larkin may have got a touch as the ball crossed the line.
For the rest of the half the Stags dominated and Junior Mendes was twice denied a goal by the keeper.
But after half-time the visitors faded badly. Tom Newey's 70th minute screamer restired the O's lead and Alexander secured victory with his second goal nine minutes from time.
Rhys Day thought he had given the Stags a late lifeline, but his header was ruled out for pushing.
Late substitute Andy White, on his return to the side after being recalled from his loan spell at Kidderminster, also went close to forcing a tense finish, but his overhead effort was cleared off the line.
The Stags had made four changes from the team which beat Kidderminster a week earlier, Buxton and the fit again Dave Artell in for the suspended Jamie Clarke and Luke Dimech. Neil Mackenzie, wearing a cast to protect his broken fingers, also returned for Lawrence and Larkin was preferred in attack to Iyseden Christie.
Match Statistics (O's / Stags)
7 Goal Attempts 7
4 On target 5
3 Off target 2
0 Woodwork 0
3 Corners 10
11 Fouls 7
3 Offside 3
Press Association report:
Two goals from stand-in skipper Gary Alexander saw Orient stretch their unbeaten home run to seven as they dealt Mansfield's promotion hopes a bitter blow.

Alexander struck after just six minutes when he prodded home his eighth league goal of the season after Mark Peters had knocked on Justin Miller's long throw.

But after that dream start it was Mansfield who took a grip on the proceedings and it came as no surprise when they levelled on 33 minutes following their sixth corner, when Jake Buxton headed in from 12 yards.

Orient regained their composure in the second half in what manager Martin Ling described as the best 45 minutes since taking charge.

Orient regained their lead 20 minutes from time when David Hunt's corner was only cleared as far as Tom Newey and his effort from 25 yards took a wicked deflection and flew into the corner of the net.

Orient warpped things up ten minutes from time when Jabo Ibehre's wriggling run left two Mansfield defenders floundering and set up Newey to provide the perfect cross for Alexander to fire his ninth of the season.

After the game, Orient manager Ling said: "We were given a good start with the early goal but we failed to build on it and took a step backwards.

"In the first half I think Mansfield were a little bit better than us." Indeed, after Buxton's leveller O's keeper Glen Morris made two excellent saves to deny the ever dangerous Junior Mendes, while all Orient could offer before the break was a wild volley from Miller that flew over the bar.

But the second half was a different story and apart from the two goals Alexander almost hit the target again when he latched onto Hunt's astute through ball but fired just wide.

Disappointed Mansfield boss Keith Curle said afterwards: "It was one of those times when I didn't need to say anything. You could feel the disappointment in the changing rooms after the match."


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