REPORTS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
Match stats (Stags/Cobblers)
13 Goal Attempts 6
9 On Target 4
4 Off Target 2
0 Hit Woodwork 0
4 Offsides 2
2 Corners 6
15 Fouls 18
GOALS ARE AN ADDED BONUS
Evening Post, 06 September 2004
Keith Curle says the eight goals scored in the past two games have been an added bonus.
The Stags boss was pleased with the two 4-1 wins, which saw his side jump to fifth place in League Two, because the team played well and collected maximum points.
"The scoreline is not important, it's the performance level that we were looking for," he said.
"A lot of people will have wondered if the win against Yeovil was a flash in the pan and we proved it wasn't.
"We've played two very good teams who like to play the game in the right way, who have played against a Mansfield Town team who have been on fire."
Curle had some constructive criticism for his players at half-time and they worked, as two more goals were added after the break to make the points safe. He said: "We got the first goal then took our foot off the pedal and didn't keep the tempo as high.
"We demanded that from the players for the second half. I was confident we were going to score again but I told the players not to take their foot off the pedal because teams like Northampton can come back into it."
Derek Asamoah has been given a new lease of life since he signed.
Curle added: "He was a thorn in Northampton's side, as were all of our attacking players.''
SUPER STAGS PUT ON A SHOW
Evening Post, 06 September 2004
After the game, the tannoy boomed with Tina Turner's Simply the Best.
It was an appropriate send-off for the Stags fans. Their side had just won 4-1 for the second time in seven days and they were treated to high levels of performance, quality and goals.
Prior to the 2-1 win against Kidderminster, Mansfield had not won two games in a row since Boxing Day.
They've already managed the feat twice this season and yesterday's victory, which catapulted the Stags up to fifth in League Two, was their fourth in five games.
Keith Curle laid his cards on the table in pre-season, stating that winning was the aim for every game, adding that he wanted to see his side play well in the process.
Whatever it is the Stags boss is telling his players, he is getting the right response from them.
In the last two games his side have rattled eight goals past two of the pre-season promotion favourites - and the wins have been no flukes.
Northampton's nickname was apt yesterday, but, while Colin Calderwood's Cobblers side extended their poor run of results with a lacklustre display, much of their downfall was forced on them by their opponents.
The two defeats in the opening games already seem a distant memory, and Curle, who fielded an unchanged 11, was not surprised with the show his players put on.
He has suggested there will be more of the same to come this season.
There was barely a bad touch by any Stags player. Individually, they were all good, collectively they were far too strong for the visitors.
The game was set up nicely for Derek Asamoah - and he delivered.
He found the net against his former club, but did so much more than that, superbly setting up two of the goals in a tremendous individual display.
There were other performances which would rank in the outstanding category if there were not so many of them.
Wayne Corden capped a great display with two excellent strikes, Neil MacKenzie and Alex John-Baptiste controlled the game from the centre of midfield, Dave Artell was a rock at the back and Kevin Pilkington marked his 150th Stags appearance with a spectacular save late on.
It was not a great day for Paul Rachuba as the Stags repeated their play-off semi-final triumph against Northampton by putting four goals past the 'keeper who denied them promotion in the final.
Asamoah was not going to let the defenders' height advantage, or anything else, get the better of him.
He won an early header to set the tone and scored with his head to back up Curle's claims that his side do not need a big target man up front.
Stags were up for it from the kick-off. And, after a couple of full-blooded challenges, they should have gone in front.
Colin Larkin still misses one-on-ones, but he continues to convert other chances and, for the second match running, he made up for squandering a great opportunity by finding the target.
Asamoah's pass teed up his strike partner inside the first nine minutes for what could and probably should have been 1-0, and then he showed him what to do three minutes later.
The first goal was set up by Corden and scored by Asamoah - and Northampton had no response to those two players
Larkin is now up to five goals this season, with Asamoah and Corden on three each.
After a well-worked and well-taken opening goal, the best was yet to come.
The only sticky patch for Stags was a challenge by Jake Buxton which had Cobblers fans and players screaming for a penalty and a 37th-minute equaliser from Eric Sabin.
But a good game got even better when Asamoah sent a diagonal ball out to the left wing late in the first half. Corden cut inside before firing into the bottom corner.
Asamoah was on fire and, early in the second period, surpassed his first half contribution by controlling a long ball from MacKenzie and sending over an exquisite cross for Larkin to volley in.
In front of a crowd of more than 5,000, the best was saved until last, when Corden let fly from 30 yards to set the seal on a memorable victory.
WAYNE DOESN'T MIND HOW HE SCORES THEM
Evening Post, 06 September 2004
Wayne Corden says he will enjoy any scrappy goals which come his way just as much as long range strikes this season.
The winger scored his second and third goals of the campaign to help send Mansfield to a 4-1 win against Northampton yesterday.
Both goals were of high quality, but Corden said: "I always enjoy scoring no matter what, whether it's tap-ins or 20-yarders."
Corden was dropped earlier in the season but was part of an unchanged starting 11 against Colin Calderwood's side as Mansfield took their goals tally to ten in three home games.
He is level with Derek Asamoah in the goal stakes after Asamoah's strike against his former club, with Colin Larkin on target again to take his tally to five for the campaign. "Goals win games," said Corden. "We had good movement, the passing was good and we got goals at the right times.
"Derek's looking sharp. He scored and set two up, and Larks is looking sharp too. But so are the rest of the lads.
"It wasn't easy. It was tough for both sides in the heat, but luckily the goals went in and when the confidence is high the ball gets rolled about. They looked tired and we looked good.
"We're doing well at the moment. We've got to keep it going and put some wins together and get on a roll."
He added: "We're always a side to watch out for, hopefully this year we can get in the top three and stay there."
BAD DAY FOR CALDERWOOD
Evening Post, 06 September 2004
Northampton boss Colin Calderwood is getting fed up of Mansfield Town.
Keith Curle's side beat the Cobblers in the Division Three play-off semi-finals in May, and chalked up the biggest defeat of Calderwood's reign as Northampton boss yesterday.
The visitors started the season with two wins, but yesterday's defeat stretched their run of games without a win to five in League Two.
"It was a calamitous day and a calamitous result," said Calderwood. "It was a really poor performance.
"It was a bad day and there weren't a lot of plusses - but we're getting used to it against Mansfield.
"The third goal was decisive. We didn't look as if we could do anything to change it after that and there wasn't enough about us to get back into it.
"There were too many under par performances and we had to sit and suffer in the sun.
"We made lots of mistakes. Players need to take responsibility, but it looks like I picked the wrong team and I do take responsibility for that."
Asamoah is too hot to handle
Northampton Chronicle and Echo, http://www.northamptontoday.co.uk
Mansfield 4 Cobblers 1
Field Mill, Sunday September 5, 2004
COBBLERS boss Colin Calderwood is facing the biggest test of his short managerial career after his team was humiliated at Mansfield – and it was Cobblers old-boy Derek Asamoah who was the Stags' inspiration.
One of a clutch of players that exited Sixfields in the summer as Calderwood reshaped his squad, Asamoah was better than anything on display in a white shirt on a red-hot day at Field Mill – the tireless Eric Sabin excepted.
This was a dire display from Town who now haven't won in the league since the derby win over Rushden, and Calderwood admitted that he got his selection wrong. The fact is this team is currently a pale shadow of the side that ended last season on such a roll.
Just four Cobblers players remained from the play-off semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat at the same venue four months ago – Sabin, Marc Richards, Josh Low and Chris Willmott.
That night the Cobblers turned in a display full of passion, style and heart to win 3-1.
It turned out not to be enough, but on yesterday's evidence, the new players brought in are not capable of reaching such a level of performance.
In Calderwood's defence he is missing key men in Martin Smith, David Rowson and Lee Harper, but apart from those three, yesterday's line-up was supposedly the best the Cobblers have to offer.
The travelling support voiced their displeasure at the shambolic showing by chanting for Asamoah and former midfield battler Chris Hargreaves and then booing the team off, and Calderwood said: "I think the reaction of the crowd was understandable.
"In other defeats we've had you could see the effort, and although the boys tried they simply didn't get anywhere near giving the fans something to appreciate. You have to take that criticism and we accept that fully."
Calderwood must have been seething that his side allowed Asamoah to play such a pivotal role in this defeat, the little striker scoring the first and creating the second and third.
The Ghanaian was a big fans' favourite at Sixfields and Calderwood offered him a Town contract, but Keith Curle tempted him north with the first-team starting place he craved. It looks a move well made.
He almost inevitably opened the scoring after just 12 minutes, ghosting into the six-yard box totally unmarked to head home Wayne Corden's brilliant cross from the left.
Town were at least at the races in the first half and levelled on 37 minutes, when Sabin – who was denied a clear-cut penalty moments earlier – nodded home a looping cross from on-loan midfielder Mark Hughes.
But the Stags were back in front just before the break as Corden smashed home from 12 yards following an Asamoah pass and in the second half there was only one team in it.
Colin Larkin latched on to Asamoah's deft pass to make it 3-1 and, after Kevin Pilkington saved well from Pedj Bojic's header, the impressive Corden lashed in a stunning shot from 25 yards.
Mansfield 4-1 Cobblers - Report
ntfcunofficial.com , By Simon Sidwell
Northampton Town expected to visit Field Mill to recreate the Play-Off semi final that both clubs enjoyed back in May, but instead saw an old friend returns to haunt them. Derek Asamoah scored one and set up another to send the Cobblers to a 4-1 defeat at Mansfield. Away days get worse.
Colin Calderwood summed up the feelings of most Northampton supporters after witnessing the Cobblers go down to a 4-1 defeat at Field Mill - and after watching Derek Asamoah do what he did to teams whilst at Sixfields, the Town boss admitted: "It was a poor performance."
The Cobblers suffered their third away defeat on the bounce, as well as finding former striker Asamoah a real handful, with Mansfield showing why they are rising up the table after a poor start. To lose 4-1 should be a good wake-up call for the players, who are witnessing Town's slide down the League table first hand.
Calderwood only made two changes from the side that were beaten by Scunthorpe on Bank Holiday Monday - Eric Sabin rightly replacing Tom Youngs, and Paul Rachubka in for Lee Harper - and by the looks of things he will be re-dressing the balance with more team changes versus Notts County at the weekend.
"When you are in the team you have to fight for your shirt and battle to stay in the side. After today maybe we have to adjust a little for our next game." brooded Calderwood after the defeat. "You can't blame the referee or anyone else, this was a real defeat."
Asamoah obviously wanted to show Calderwood he was worth a two year contract, and did so superbly by heading home after only 12 minutes from Wayne Corden's centre. Although the first half was sparse of chances, Town struggled to get back into the game, and only managed it when Eric Sabin popped up for his third goal of the season, meeting a Mark Hughes cross.
The hammer blow came a minute before half time - the second goal conceded inside a week just before the break. The lively Corden was always a handful in the play-off matches, and proved himself with a fantastic strike that newboy Rachubka had little chance with.
Alex John Baptiste gained himself a booking for a foul on Eric Sabin, four months too late in some people's opinions, but the player he manhandled in the Play-Off semi popped up to supply his strike partner. Asamoah crafted a ball into the box for Colin Larkin to outbid Rachubka for Mansfield's third on 55 minutes.
After the away side went mightily close to snatching a goal back through Pedj Bojic, Wayne Corden stepped up to fire the Stags' 4th goal of the afternoon, whipping in a 25 yarder to make sure Rachubka's debut in a Cobblers shirt was probably one of the worst in his career.
The absences of Harper, Rowson and Smith are having a large effect on the side, and with Murray taking Galbraith's place on the left wing - even though the former Tottenham youth is now fit again - it is celar that a defensive approach is entirely different to the one that started the season.
Notts County on Saturday will give Northampton the chance to make amends in front of their own fans, but if they don't the unrest caused by the constant chnages in the team may result in the unrest of a highly critical Cobblers crowd.
Depsite the terrible run of form, the Cobblers can count themselves extremely lucky that they only lie 3 points away from the Play-Off zone, 15th place in League 2, and avenging the five match run without a win is top priority for Saturday
STAGS SOAR INTO PLAY-OFF SPOTS
SUPER Stags chalked up their second successive 4-1 home win as they produced their Sunday best to shoot down Northampton Town at sunny Field Mill this afternoon.
The two clubs were involved in two titanic matches in last year's play-off semi-finals.
But, even after Eric Sabin had wiped out Derek Asamoah's opener, Mansfield continued to create a hatful of chances and were worthy winners.
It was a sweet afternoon for all three Stags scorers too.
Paul Rachubka, the keeper who broke Mansfield hearts in the Play-off final at Cardiff with his penalty saves in the shoot-out for Huddersfield, arrived on loan at Northampton this week.
Asamoah started the goal rush with one against the club he left in the summer.
Wayne Corden, who saw his penalty saved by Rachubka at Cardiff, had his revenge with two superb finishes, while Colin Larkin, who had a 'goal' disallowed in the final after beating Rachubka in the final minute of the 90, bagged the other.
The win also put Stags into the play-off positions for the first time this season, rocketing up into fifth place.
Manager Keith Curle said: "The scoreline was immaterial, it was the performance level we were looking for. Some people were wondering if the Yeovil result was a flash in the pan, today's performance illustrated it wasn't.
"Yeovil and Northampton are two very good teams with very good managers who like to play football the right way. But today Northampton caught Mansfield Town on fire.
"At half-time I felt that when we got the first goal we took our foot off the pedal and didn't keep the tempo as high as I wanted. I demanded that we kept that tempo going in the second half and score the goals our play deserved. If not I know teams like Northampton have a habit of coming back and shocking you.
"It's pleasing we are sharing the goals around. Derek Asamoah will be a problem for a lot of teams this season as will Colin Larkin. And Wayne Corden is showing he is hungry and has the desire to keep his place after getting back in the team."
Mansfield were unchanged from the side which beat Yeovil Town so convincingly last weekend.
Northampton were without keeper Lee Harper, who broke a hand this week.
So they brought in on loan Charlton keeper Rachubka who kept goal for Huddersfield in the play-off final against Stags at Cardiff in May when he was on loan to the Terriers.
Stags survived a first minute scare when Sabin was caught offside as he received Low's through ball.
John-Baptiste conceded a free kick just outside the box but Murray's effort was blocked by the wall.
The McGleish completely missed and acrobatic attempt at a volley from a powerful Sabin cross.
It took Stags nine minutes to create a chance. But they should have gone ahead.
John-Baptiste won the ball superbly in midfield and found Asamoah. He slipped Larkin away and the Stags man was one on one with Rachubka. But the keeper managed to get in the way of his attempted finish.
But on 12 minutes they were ahead and it was Asamoah who found the breakthrough against his old club. Day directed a superb long ball out of defence to find Corden on the left. He crossed into the middle and Asamoah, from six yards, buried a firm header into the centre of the net.
Corden's pass gave Larkin possession in the box but his low shot provided a comfy save for Rachubka.
The visitors almost levelled on 31 minutes as Westwood headed just wide at the far post from Low's corner.
Two minutes later a long ball forward skimmed off Buxton's head towards his own box where Sabin took possession. He had to hold the ball up until help arrived but then squared to Low whose first time shot was straight at Pilkington.
Northampton then conceded possession at the other end and Asamoah fed Neil who was robbed at the last minute by Willmott's tackle.
Mansfield hearts were in their mouths as Sabin tried to burst past Buxton in the box. The Stags defender dived in with a tackle and Sabin looked round for a penalty. But the referee decided he had won the ball and waved play on.
However, the Cobblers were level when Stags struggled to clear a free kick. Murray helped the ball on towards goal where Sabin buried a close range header.
It was Mansfield's turn to have penalty appeals ignored on 39 minutes as an Asamoah shot hit Murray's feet and then flew up and struck his hand. Again the referee was unmoved.
Sabin was booked on 42 minutes for a late tackle on Buxton.
McNiven had a pot from 25 yards and, although the shot was well struck, it was wide of the angle.
But Mansfield were back in front a minute from the break. Asamoah found Corden in acres of space on the left. The winger's first touch took him inside Chambers and he then went past Willmott before drilling a splendid finish just inside the keeper's right hand post.
Northampton began the second half on the attack and Pilkington did well to control Artell's strong backpass and clear ahead of Sabin.
Neil had to go off to have a cut eye cleaned up after a high boot from Richards which only earned the Northampton man a brief warning from the referee.
John-Baptiste was cautioned on 54 minutes for tugging Sabin's shirt, though the striker did appear to be tugging back as well.
But Stags were celebrating a third goal on 55 minutes. Asamoah did supremely well to hold up a ball down the left, draw three defenders and then chipped a perfect ball into the path of Larkin who confidently volleyed home from six yards.
Sabin then went down very easily to win a free kick against Day. But Haslam's kick was headed over by Murray.
Northampton then could only clear a MacKenzie free kick as far as Corden who powered a low shot through a forest of legs and into Rachubka's midriff.
Seconds later Larkin went on a promising run but pulled his finish well wide. And then an offside flag halted Larkin as he tried to break onto Buxton's through ball.
Sabin went on a powerful run down the centre, accelerating past three opponents before Day halted him with a superb tackle 20 yards from goal that earned him warm applause from the home fans.
Stags won their second corner, taken by Corden, which Rachubka punched out as fas as MacKenzie who sent a crisp volley inches over the bar.
Cobblers made a double change on 73 minutes with Bojic on for Hughes and Galbraith replacing McGleish.
On the restart Murray was booked for a very late tackle on Larkin.
Asamoah somehow managed to wriggle away from three opponents and get into the box only to screw a poor finish well wide.
On 77 minutes MacKenzie was replaced by Murray for the Stags.
The visitors desperately needed a goal to set up a grandstand finish. And it almost came on 79 minutes from a corner.
Richards got in a powerful header which brought a great save out of Pilkington. But the ball continued to head towards goal where Day headed off the line and Buxton finally hooked clear.
O'Neill came on for Larkin on 85 minutes. And a minute later Corden produced more magic to make it 4-1.
Nipping in to take possession of a loose ball, he beat two opponents before beating Rachubka all ends up from 25 yards with a rocket finish.
Stags' final substitution saw Curtis on for John-Baptiste for the last two minutes.
Former Stags star Colin Calderwood, now Northampton boss, was far from happy with his side's efforts and said: "As sunny as it was, it was a black day for us. It was a calamitous day and a calamitous result from a really poor performance.
"The third goal was the decisive one. We looked like we could do nothing to change it. We didn't have enough about us to get back into it.
"There were too many under-par performances all over the pitch and we just had to sit and suffer in the sun.
"It's all about showing a bit of responsibility. On the face of it, it looks like I picked the wrong team. If you are in the side you fight to keep the shirt. After this I may have to make some adjustments.
"You can't blame bad luck or the referee. This was a good defeat and we always seem to get a good defeat by Mansfield once a season!
Latest | September 2004