SPORT FIRST REPORT
Sport First match report:
By Jonny Miller
Thanks to Carole for the transcription.
Shrimpers fall to Corden bleu
WAYNE CORDEN'S controversial 12th-minute penalty helped promotion hopefuls Mansfield see off battling strugglers Southend in a disappointing game at Field Mill.
The fare on offer was a far cry from their first meeting at Roots Hall earlier in the season when an Iyseden Christie hat-trick saw Mansfield cruise impressively home.
But, with five first team regulars suspended, depleted Mansfield struggled to find anything like that kind of form, though Christie again took centre stage.
Trying to round visiting Darryl Flahavan in the 12th minute, he went down to earn a penalty tucked confidently away by Corden.
But the visitors, who created the better chances on the day, were adamant that Christie had dived, though they couldn't persuade referee Eddie Evans to agree with them.
Keeper Flahavan said: “That was never a penalty.
“He took a chance going over, and luckily for him the referee has given it. It's not going for us at the moment with official decisions.
“We are gutted. Mansfield are fourth, but we made them look ordinary.
“We were by far the better team and they didn't cause us too many problems.”
Southend caretaker boss Steve Tilson added: “My first reaction to the penalty was that Flahavan hadn't touched him, and he confirmed that to me at half-time.
“In the second-half, the referee booked Christie for diving when it was a good tackle, so I think he knew that he had made a mistake for the penalty.
“Before and after they scored we were in control and we totally dominated the second-half.
“We created two or three good chances, but couldn't put them away. And that was after we had scored four good goals against QPR in midweek. It's all down to consistency.”
The penalty aside, Southend had the better first-half chances, with Mark Gower, Leon Constantine and Leon Cort all going close.
The visitors stepped up the heat after the break, and wasted the two best chances – Drewe Broughton sending a free header wide of a post from Steve Clarke's cross, and Clark then slicing the ball with the goal at his mercy after home keeper Kevin Pilkington could only parry Constantine's finish.
Mansfield manager Keith Curle said: “Southend's position in the League was belied by their work rate, commitment and desire. I told my players we'd have to match them and earn the right to play. My lads worked hard for 90 minutes and I was proud of them – they came together and dug in.
“This was again where my players had to face up to the ugly side of the game, and we showed the desire to do it.
“The penalty was one of those sometimes the referee give them, sometimes they don't decisions. But I don't want to be talking negatively when we've won.”
Mansfield move to within one point of Oxford in the automatic promotion positions after this victory, while Southend remain just three points above the relegation zone.
44----------Possession %---- 56
3-----------Shots on Target----4
4-----------Shots off Target----6
Latest | January 2004