REPORTS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
STAGS PASS TOUGH TEST
Evening Post, 31 August 2004
Dave Artell says Mansfield were expecting a stern examination of their capabilities by Yeovil.
"They were there or thereabouts last season, they did ever so well," said the defender after bagging his first goal of the campaign.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game and we knew we had to perform.
"There was a stiff breeze behind us in the second half and we were quietly confident in the dressing room at half-time that our passing would come good and that's what happened."
Artell admits he was pleased to get on the scoresheet after missing a good chance early in the second half.
"I'm not really under pressure to score but it's nice to get one," he said.
"It's good to get a win straight after a defeat. We needed to bounce back."
Meanwhile, Yeovil boss Gary Johnson blamed his side's failure to deal with set pieces and a lack of finishing power as the two main reasons for defeat.
"You've got to be able to defend set plays but one or two of the players didn't quite do their jobs," said the former Latvia boss.
"You don't give free kicks away in dangerous areas.
"The wind was pretty strong in our faces and Mansfield played the wind a lot better than we did.
"They were dangerous from set plays and we needed to be a lot stronger in stopping them.
"We created chances, but you need that mental toughness to get the ball in the back of the net and you need to show composure.
"We didn't have the players who could do that."
NOW, THAT'S MAGIC!
Evening Post, 31 August 2004
Mansfield Town 4 v 1 Yeovil Town
Keith Curle compared himself to Paul Daniels after his side conjured up an impressive victory.
And there was a degree of magic about the way Stags made a Yeovil outfit, who many people have been tipping for promotion, simply disappear.
It's still early in the season, but this was a big test for Curle's men, who desperately wanted to avoid a fourth defeat from six games.
The manager took the decision to make four changes to the side. Lee Williamson was left out of the 16, although he will be fit for selection for Sunday's game against Northampton, after taking a whack on his ankle last Saturday.
Adam Murray, Tom Curtis and Joe O'Neill all dropped to the bench, with Rhys Day, Jake Buxton, Wayne Corden and Alex Neil returning to the starting line-up.
Curle said: "That's what I get paid for. I get paid to pick the players to go out and get results.
"I did a Paul Daniels and shuffled the pack - and I got the right response."
With the game evenly poised in the second half, the Stags pulled a rabbit out of the hat with three goals in four minutes.
The right wing had looked like it could be Mansfield's best route to victory in the first half, with some trickery on the flank causing the visitors problems.
And the Stags produced a winning hand with three trump cards from that side of the pitch in quick succession after the break.
The first bit of magic came from Derek Asamoah as early as the eighth minute when he nutmegged visiting goalkeeper Chris Weale from close range to give Stags an early lead, after some excellent work on the right by Colin Larkin.
But Stags didn't have it all their own way in the first half and Terry Skiverton put Yeovil back on terms in the 24th minute, heading a free kick inside the post.
Good magic shows are entertaining and feature a big finale - and the home fans got both.
Mansfield's first attempted second-half trick failed though.
Asamoah hooked the ball to Larkin from deep in his own half a minute after the restart to set up a one-on-one chance.
But Larkin fluffed the opportunity and, from the resulting corner, Artell nodded over when he looked likely to score.
Midway through the second period, Neil MacKenzie emerged as the game's chief magician.
He conjured up an identical goal to Yeovil's equaliser, sending over a free-kick for Artell to atone for his earlier miss.
MacKenzie had another trick up his sleeve with a second goal-making set piece from the right two minutes later.
It was Larkin's turn to make amends as he connected with MacKenzie's centre for 3-1 and Wayne Corden popped up out of the blue to convert Asamoah's ball in from the right before Yeovil had a chance to work out just what had hit them.
Curle the conjurer had presented a show which David Copperfield would have been proud of.
His first move had been to make four changes to the side, switching to a 4-4-2 - with Corden given licence to roam and therefore change it to a 4-3-3 as often as he could.
Curle had started with a popular move by handing a first start of the season to Rhys Day.
He managed to do it without dropping Artell or Alex-John Baptiste - who was moved into central midfield.
Day was clearly a happy man. The partnership with Artell worked, albeit with the help of Kevin Pilkington
"After Saturday's game we needed a response and we got one," said Corden.
"It was fairly tight but we got a couple of free-kicks and the delivery was good from Neil MacKenzie. After that, we never looked back."
MacKenzie added: "We couldn't really play a passing game in the first half because the wind was against us.
"We had a game plan and we stuck to it. They lost their discipline in the second half and gave away a few free-kicks - it was a good win, because it keeps us up there."
As Curle added: "Yeovil came here on the back of some great results and in a bouyant mood.
"But they met a Mansfield team which had been hurt by the result on Saturday - and we're a dangerous team when we need a reaction."
MANSFIELD TOWN 4 YEOVIL TOWN 1
Asamoah 8 mins Skiverton 24 mins
by Steve Hartshorn
Super Stags got back to winning ways on Bank Holiday Monday when they trounced Yeovil Town 4-1 at Field Mill.
Stags, who had disappointingly lost 2-0 away at Grimsby on Saturday desperately needed the boost of a good, confident performance and received just the tonic with a sensational three goals in three 2nd half minutes.
Manager, Keith Curle rung the changes, with no fewer than four changes to the side which had started at Blundall Park. The major surprise being the positional change of young, Alex John-Baptiste who found himself given a midfield birth whilst Rhys Day came into the side to partner Dave Artell in the centre of The Stags defence.
Curle had also changed the formation, reverting back to a 4-4-2 instead of the recently tried, 4-3-3.
It took Mansfield just 8 minutes to gain the lead. Colin Larkin skipped down the right flank, took the ball to the touchline before crossing low into the six yard box for his striking partner, Derek Asamoah who nipped in to poke the ball past Chris Weale in the visitors goal.
Neither side dominated proceedings and the visitors were giving a good account of themselves with Kevin Gall and Phil Jevons keeping the Stags back line to be on their toes.
On 15 minutes a foul by Terry on livewire Stags striker, Asamoah resulted in Wayne Corden hitting a 20-yard free kick towards goal that Weale only just managed to parry away to safety.
On 22 minutes, Yeovil thought they had equalised when the speedy, Kevin Gall raced clear of the Stags defence only to be denied by a fine diving save from Pilkington who brilliantly tipped Galls seemingly goal bound effort around the post for a corner.
Just a minute later and the visitors were indeed level. A free kick conceded by Jake Buxton saw Yeovil's, O'Brian knock the ball over from the right hand side to where a powerful header by Terry Skiverton gave Pilkington no chance whatsoever.
On the half hour mark, the visitors began to get a foothold on the game with Kevin Pilkington having to be at his shot stopping best tipping over an 18-yard effort by Jevons.
From the resulting corner, Pilkington was again called into action but this time following the corner, Stags centre half, Rhys Day was on hand to head away the danger.
Colin Larkin was next to threaten the visitors goal, but his shot from 25 yards was caught by Weale in the Glovers goal.
With the game now swinging the way of the hosts, Neil MacKenzie testing Weale's from 25 yards as the half time whistle approached.
The 2nd half started in dramatic style when after only 50 seconds, Colin Larkin sprinted away from the Glovers defence and headed towards goal. Unfortunately for the in-form Stags star, Weale in the Yeovil goal managed to get a hand to Larkin's effort and tipped it around the post.
On 58 minutes the visitors almost went ahead when substitute, Adrian Caceres was given an opportunity to strike at goal by shot wide of the right hand post.
On the hour mark, Stags had two opportunities to take the lead when first, the impressive, Alex Neil danced his way past three of visitors defence, only to see his tight angled shot tipped around the post by Weale. From the resulting corner, Artell should have done better when presented with a free header from the 6-yard box, but put his effort over the bar.
Just five minutes later though, Artell made no mistake. A foul by Darren Way on Colin Larkin resulted in Neil MacKenzie firing over the ball from where Artell brilliantly got up to powerfully head the ball into the Yeovil net, giving Weale no chance.
The home crowd inside Field Mill had hardly settled down again when Stags went a further goal in front. Another free kick in a similar right-sided position by MacKenzie, this time found the head of Colin Larkin who made no mistake and headed the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Stags completed an incredible three minutes when a ball played across the six yard area by Derek Asamoah was gleefully put away by Wayne Corden.
Stags were in total control whilst the visitors looked shell-shocked.
On 74 minutes, Stags manager, Keith Curle made two changes, bringing on both Curtis and Murray, replacing John-Baptiste and Alex Neil.
The visitors to their credit never let their heads go down and Caceres had an effort from 18 yards tipped around the post by Pilkington.
Towards the end, Derek Asamoah was replaced by Chris Tate, the Stags fans giving Asamoah a resounding round of applause.
It was a good performance from Mansfield as they bounced back from the defeat at the weekend to record a victory, which will make the rest of the Division take note.
Next weekend, Stags face Northampton Town at Field Mill. The two sides know each other well and no doubt the Cobblers will be looking to put on over a Stags side that knocked them out of last season's Play Off's with a dramatic penalty shoot out.
The game takes place on Sunday afternoon.
Stags performance ratings. (Out of ten)
Subs not used
Observer Man of the Match – Alex Neil.
Stags bounce back to trounce Glovers
MANSFIELD Town quickly overcame the disappointment of defeat at Grimsby on Saturday with a thrilling 4-1 rout of in-form Yeovil Town at Field Mill this afternoon.
Yeovil had won three and drawn one of their last four and more than played their part in a thrilling first half.
But, after seeing the Glovers wipe out their early lead to go in level at the break, Stags stepped up a gear and rocked the visitors with a marvellous three goals in five minutes spell to seal victory.
"This was the tonic victory we needed, not just for myself but for the supporters and players as well." declared delighted manager Keith Curle.
"Yeovil are a very good footballing team that will create chances. But we cut them open and created a lot of chances ourselves.
"Anyone who didn't go to Grimsby on Saturday will see we lost 2-0 and assume we were outplayed. But that's far from the truth.
"We had the majority of the play there but didn't take our chances.
"Against Yeovil it was simply a continuation of that performance at Grimsby."
Curle rang the changes with four players left out from the side beaten on Saturday.
With Lee Williamson injured and Joe O'Neill, Tom Curtis and Adam Murray dropped, in came Jake Buxton to left back, Alex John-Baptiste pushed into a midfield role along with Alex Neil while Wayne Corden came in to provide width on the left. Rhys Day was also given his first start of the season in central defence.
"I am paid to pick the team and those lads had been waiting in the wings for an opportunity and all came in and gave good accounts of themselves," added Curle.
"Getting the early goal gives you a platform. Yeovil caused us problems and equalised. But we began the second half at the right tempo and the response of the players was superb.
"I have said there are goals in this team all season and we showed it on Saturday. It was nice to have another game so soon after Saturday. It was pleasing that my players' attitude after the Grimsby game was that they wanted a game straight away.
"This win and the four goals will give them the belief they need."
Slack defending from Mansfield almost cost them a goal in the second minute when a loose ball was allowed to run to Johnson who sent a vicious first time right footer inches wide of the post from 20 yards.
Neil was unlucky to be booked in the third minute. Neil was standing over the ball to prevent a quick free kick from the visitors, but the ball was deliberately kicked straight at him and he was penalised.
Manager Curle was then warned for his remonstrations.
But smiles were back on Mansfield faces on eight minutes as Stags swept ahead.
Larkin got in a low cross from the right bye-line to the near post where Asamoah beat Weale to the ball and turned it home from close range.
Looking for an immediate reply, Way tried his luck from 18 yards but pulled his shot well wide.
Jevons then had a pot from 40 yards out which went even further wide of the mark.
Stags came close again on 16 minutes after winning a free kick to the left of the Yeovil box. Corden curled it in towards the near post where keeper Weale parried, the ball ran to Neil who saw his follow-up blocked, and Neil then did well to make space for another shot which forced Weale to turn it round his near post.
That corner was cleared as far as Corden whose rasping shot from 20 yards wasn't far wide.
But Stags had Pilkington to thank for keeping them ahead with a superb 22nd minute save.
Way's cuting through ball sent Gall clear on goal. But his low finish was diverted just wide by the keeper's fingertips after diving full length to his left.
But the Glovers were not to be denied and two minutes later they were on level terms.
Johnson pumped in a free kick from the left and Skiverton rose superbly to beat Pilkington with a firm header.
Yeovil were now firing on all cylinders and Jevons was left in far too much space to receive Skiverton's pass and it was down to Pilkington to save his side again as he turned Jevon's 16 yard finish over the bar.
Stags made hard work of clearing the two subsequent corners.
Larkin warmed Weale's hands with a rasping 25-yard shot that flew straight at him.
And a minute later the lively Larkin got in a low cross from the right which went across the face of goal with on one able to apply a finish.
Yeovil then laboured in clearing a corner which ended with MacKenzie sending a first time blast wide.
The midfielder was also wide from 18 yards two minutes later.
Mansfield once more allowed Yeovil too much space in which to play on the edge of their box and, after Jevons had twisted and turned, he laid the ball to Tarachulski who went down under Artell's challenge but failed to impress the officials who continued play.
Larkin wasted a break away down the left when, with players in support, he over-hit his low cross.
Then McNiven's forward ball looked to have got Larkin away, but O'Brien tracked back well to rob him in the box,
In stoppage time Corden touched a 25 yard free kick to MacKenzie whose low shot took a deflection which sent it narrowly wide for a corner.
Mansfield almost made the perfect start to the second half as, within 50 seconds, Asamoah hooked the ball forward and the pace of Larkin took him clear. He seemed to have done everything right as he took the ball central and got in a low shot which Weale managed to get just enough of a touch on to take it wide.
From Corden's corner Artell rose well to head wide of the far post.
Caceres replaced Fontaine for the visitors on 55 minutes and when John-Baptiste brought him down two minutes later, the Stags player was booked.
The susbstitute then swept a shot wide from 18 yards after Tarachulski had pulled the ball back into his path from the left.
Stags then twice came close inside a minute. Neil cut in from the right, beat two defenders and saw his shot deflect inches wide of the far post. And when Corden put that flag kick across, Artell should have done better, sending a free header over at the far post.
But the big central defender made amends on 67 minutes. MacKenzie flighted a free kick to the far post from the right and Artell buried a powerful header to regain Mansfield the lead.
Three minutes later MacKenzie lined up another free kick from a similar position and this time Larkin got in a stooping header that beat Weale to make it 3-1 and earn Stags some breathing space.
Incredibly it was 4-1 a minute later. Larkin found Asamoah who crossed hard and low across goal and Corden was there at the far post to tuck home from close range.
Curle then changed his midfield, taking off Neil and John-Baptiste to give Murray and Curtis a run out.
Yeovil almost pulled one back on 80 minutes. But Way's low cross flew at Gall too quickly and hit his team mate in front of goal where he was unable to control and get the ball on target.
Tate was given the last seven minutes in place of Asamoah.
Day was then forced to hook the ball inches wide of his own goal to block Gall's cross.
Three minutes from time, Gall found Caceres in the box and his blast was well saved by Pilkington. The keeper was also in the way of a last minute Jevons shot as Stags enjoyed their first ever win over the Glovers, following last season's draw and defeat.
Mansfield 4-1 Yeovil
Three goals in four second-half minutes helped Mansfield to an impressive victory over Yeovil.
Derek Asamoah converted Colin Larkin's cross from close range to put the Stags ahead, but Yeovil hit back with a Terry Skiverton header.
But after the break, Dave Artell began an incredible spell for Mansfield, heading in Neil MacKenzie's free kick.
MacKenzie then delivered for Larkin to supply a similar finish and Wayne Corden completed the win with a tap-in.
Evening Post website:
STAGS PUT FOUR PAST GLOVERS
Mansfield Town 4 v 1 Yeovil Town
Mansfield secured an impressive 4-1 victory over Yeovil thanks to three goals in four second-half minutes at Field Mill.
The Stags took control of the game in the eighth minute as Derek Asamoah poked home Colin Larkin's pass from inside the six-yard box.
But the Glovers were soon back on terms though when Terry Skiverton headed home Lee Johnson's 24th-minute free-kick.
Mansfield stepped up a gear and went close on a number of occasions before the break.
Larkin also missed a one-on-one chance seconds after the restart and central defender Dave Artell headed over the bar.
But midway through the second half Artell headed in MacKenzie's free-kick to restore the lead for the Stags.
Within three minutes Larkin met another MacKenzie free-kick with a glancing header for an almost identical goal to give Town a 3-1 lead
And Wayne Corden completed the demolition job by tapping home Asamoah's cross.
Match Stats (Stags/Glovers)
15 Goal Attempts 13
10 On Target 7
5 Off Target 6
0 Hit Woodwork 0
4 Offsides 3
5 Corners 8
14 Fouls 11
Three goals in five explosive second-half minutes sent Yeovil tumbling to their first defeat since the opening day of the season.
The Glovers, who had deservedly equalized in a thrilling first half, were punished for poor marking at free-kicks as reshaped Mansfield secured their third win in four games.
The Stags, featuring four changes from the team beaten two days earlier, got off to the perfect start with an eighth-minute breakthrough. Colin Larkin broke clear down the right wing and crossed to the near post for Derek Asamoah to poke in his second goal for the club.
In the 16th minute the home side wasted three chances to double their lead. Keeper Chris Weale dropped Wayne Corden's in-swinging free-kick, but recovered to help block Alex Baptiste's follow-up.
With Yeovil struggling to clear, Alex Neil's low drive was then acrobatically tipped way for a corner by the flying Weale and from the resulting flag-kick Corden's 25-yard volley flew narrowly wide.
A superb save by Kevin Pilkington denied Kevin Gall an equaliser midway through the half. The midfielder sprinted clear of the defence to reach Darren Way's raking pass, only for the keeper's fingertips to defect the ball narrowly wide through the post.
There was no escape for the home defence in the 24th minute when Terry Skiverton rose highest to majestically head in a Lee Johnson centre.
Another vital save by Pilkington foiled Phil Jevons on the half hour. The striker seeing his fierce drive tipped over for corner after a clever pass from Skiverton.
In an end-to-end first half Larkin squandered three chances on the break and in the first-half injury-time Neil Mackenzie's free-kick brushed the outside of the post.
Less than 60 seconds into the second half. Larkin again wasted a one-on-one chance, this time keeper Weale's outstretched leg denying him a goal.
On the hour Mansfield squandered two more clear chances as Neil's cross-shot was defected wide and from the flag-kick the unmarked David Artell headed onto the roof of the net.
However, the Stags and Artell were eventually rewarded for their persistence in the 67th minute when the big central defender headed in a Mackenzie free-kick.
Two minutes later Yeovil again failed to clear a Mackenzie free-kick and this time Larkin glanced his header beyond the stranded keeper.
Within two minutes the game was over when Larkin broke clear yet again, passed to Asamoah and his low cross was drilled in at the far post by the unmarked Corden.
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