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Archived News from January 2004

25th January 2004 0:18

Mansfield Town 1 Southend United 0
by Mark Wallis
The Little Gazette

THEY always say that teams get no luck when they're at the bottom of the League and and Southend United fan present at Field Mill on Saturday afternoon will certainly vouch for that as United crashed to an undeserved defeat against Mansfield Town...

Following the previous Tuesday's 4-0 thimping of Second Division pace-setters Queens Park Rangers, an unchanged Southend sis were most definately fancying their chances against a Mansfield side who, despite occupying a play-off place, were missing Tom Curtis, Jamie Clarke, Bobby Hassel and Lee Williamson through suspension.

Indeed, it was confident United who dominated proceedings from start to finish, but despite a series of attacks, especially in the second half, the Shrimpers just could not find a finishing touch. Southend's miserable afternoon was compounded when the Stags winning goal arrived from a highly controversial twelfth minute penalty.

The home side had already enjoyed an early chance when Neil Mackenzie fired a free kick wide of the post before the moment of madness from referee Eddie Evans arrived. An overhot through ball by MNackenzie saw Darryl Flahavan push the ball wide of the post for a corner, but Stags frontman Iyseden Christie, who netted a hat-trick at Roots Hall in August, rushed in and flung himself over the top of the Blues custodian, incredibly Evans immediately pointed to the spot. Needless to say United players and fans alike were furious but winger Wayne Corden cofidently tucked away the resulting spot kick despite Flahavan diving the right way.

After that, despite very few clear cut chances, it was ll one-way traffic as Southend charged forward whilst Mansfield seemed happy enough to simply sit back on their single goal lead.

Mark Gower saw ex-Manchester United shot-stopper Kevin Pilkington tip a shot over the crossbar and the same player brilliantly robbed Jake Buxton of the ball before crossing to the far post where Leon Constantine stabbed a shot over the top.

The home side created a half chance on 40 minutes when Corden's dangerous centre drifted wuide of the post with Junior Mendes just failing to get a touch onto the ball. The final opportunity of the first period then saw a Gower cross headed off target by Leon Cort.

United started brightly after the interval, and just three minutes into the half Steven Clark did very well to beat Tony Vaughan before cuttimg inside and delivering a superb cross to the back post where Drewe Broughton somehow headed wide of the post from close range.

Town's only chance of the second half, on 65 minutes, saw Christie turn and fire a shot wide of the upright following a Mendes cross before, back at the opposite end of the pitch, a Gower cross saw Constantine's fierce drive blocked before the ball looped up perfectly for Clark but the Blues winger scuffed his attempted volley woefully off target.

The chance chance just just the 70 minutes mark, and despite their best efforts, the Shrimpers could only muster one more decent chance, and that came in injury time when substutute Mark Bentley drove a low shot just wide of the post.

Southend's efforts at Field Mill could not be faulted, but for all their possession Steve Tilson's side really should have created a lot more than they did, and the few chances that where there should probably have been finished off. There is no doubt however that goalscoring has been United's main frailty this season with just 23 League goals in 26 games. Let's just hope that the Shrimpers can find a solution to their problems sooner rather han later.

MANSFIELD TOWN (4-4-2):- Kevin Pilkington; Jake Buxton, Tony Vaughan (Dave Artell 75), Rhys Day, Luke Dimech; Meil Mackenzie, Alex John-Baptiste, Craig Disley (Colin Larkin 80), Wayne Corden; Iyseden Christie, Junior Mendes. Unused subs - Jason White, Andy White, Thomas Curle.

SOUTHEND UNITED (4-4-2, with ratings out of ten):- Darryl Flahavan 7; Duncan Jupp 7, Jamie Stuart 7 (Michael Kightly 83), Mark Warren 8, Leon Cort 7; Kevin Maher 7, Jay Smith 6 (Mark Bentley 90), Steven Clark 8, Mark Gower 6; Leon Constantine 5, Drewe Broughton 7. Unused subs - Neil Jenkins, Che Wilson, Carl Emberson.

This was an impressive defensive performance from the Shrimpers and other than a rediculous penalty which they could do nothing about the Shrimpers rearguard, with Warren inspiring the lot, were commanding all afternoon.

Goal: Mansfield: Corden 12 (penalty. Goal timed at 11 minutes 53 seconds)
Booked: Mansfield: Christie (71 - foul). Southend: Warren (48 - foul).
Total Goal Attempts: Mansfield 9, Southend 10
Shots/headers on target: Mansfield 3, Southend 1
Shots/headers off target: Mansfield 5, Southend 6
Blocked shots: Mansfield 1, Southend 3
Hit woodwork: Mansfield 0, Southend 0
Free Kicks: Mansfield 11, Southend 16
Corners: Mansfield 3, Southend 4
Caught Offside: Mansfield 2, Southend 5
Match Time: First half: 46:30. Second half: 49:44. Total: 96:14.

Attendance: 4,292 (approx 190 away fans)

Referee: Eddie Evans (Manchester) 2 out of 10- Evans was awful! The Mancheser-based official certainly set his standards when he awarded that amazing early penalty and he continued in the same vein throughout. One thing he somehow didn't notice was the Mansfield players booting the ball into the stand everytime a free kick went against them.

Programme Cover: Iyesden 'Cheat' Christie.


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