REPORTS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
Football First match report:
By Richard Clark
transcribed by carole
A GOAL two minutes from time by Adrian Forbes gave Swansea the victory they deserved and lifted them to the heady heights of top place in the division.
Inspired substitutions by Swans boss Kenny Jackett brought about the win, as Forbes had only been on the field since the 75th minute.
He was left unmarked at the far post as a centre came over from Leon Britton, another replacement, and he sent his header back across goal and into the far corner of the net.
“I was on the bench today, so had a point to prove, and I think I made it with that header,” said Forbes. “It looked as though the match was heading for a draw, but then I found myself at the back stick and got the goal.
“It has taken a lot of hard work by all the players to get to the top of the division, and it will take even more hard work to stay there.”
Both goalmouths had narrow escapes in a hectic opening, but Swansea got on top and, had Andy Robinson and Paul Connor been on target, they could well have gone in at the interval ahead.
The second-half started as the first finished, with Brad Maylett rattling the visitors' crossbar early on.
Mansfield were left relying on breakaways, and Stags boss Keith Curle made a double substitution just after the hour, and for a few minutes it pepped up the visitors' attack, but in the end it came down to that one header by Forbes.
“I was very disappointed that, after a lot of hard work, we left with nothing,” said Curle. “We can take a lot of positives out of this display, even though we were beaten.”
Swansea City………Mansfield Town
44-----------Possession %---- 56
5------------Shots on Target----2
9------------Shots off Target---3
STAGS SHUT OUT IN BATTLE FOR THE TOP
Evening Post, 09 October 2004
The controversy which surrounded last season's clash between these two sides at the Vetch Field was replaced by a game which will be remembered for all the right reasons.
There was plenty at stake in Keith Curle's 99th game in charge of Mansfield, with both sides knowing a win could send them to the top of League Two.
And there was the little matter of national pride to play for as far as the fans were concerned in a Wales versus England clash, brought forward because of today's World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford.
Substitute Adrian Forbes' first goal for Swansea was a bitter pill to swallow, after Stags had held on for 89 minutes, but they were beaten by the better side on the night.
There were none of the farcical scenes of last season's game. Instead, supporters were treated to an entertaining clash between two of the division's top sides.
In truth, Mansfield strikers Colin Larkin and Derek Asamoah did not get much of a look in against the meanest defence in the division.
But it was a different story at the other end, especially in the first half, despite the presence of defender Alex John-Baptiste as a midfield holding player.
Swansea were twice denied by goal-line clearances by Stags defenders during the first 45 minutes.
Sam Ricketts' 16th-minute strike beat Kevin Pilkington, but Dave Artell got in the way of the goal-bound effort and knocked it over the bar.
Then, late in the first period, a brilliant goal-line clearance by Craig Woodman denied Paul Connor.
Swansea were the better side before the break and, although Mansfield did create a few first-half chances, the home side were in the driving seat.
Things did not get a lot better for Mansfield after the restart as the second half followed a similar pattern to the first.
The Swans' defence was so well organised that when Stags did create chances, they were presented with a brick wall or steered into a dead end.
Opportunities were few and far between for the visitors, and one of the main reasons for that was a Swans midfield which gave Mansfield very little time on the ball.
After the long journey down from Nottinghamshire, Stags were frustrated by the no entry sign which the home defence put up.
And Swansea continued to pose a threat going forward as they frustrated the visitors.
Stags' Larkin was denied in the 64th minute by a smart stop from Willy Gueret, then Curle made it clear he did not want his side to sit back and hold on for a point when he introduced Joe O'Neill as a third striker.
Swansea put the Stags defence under pressure late on, but were denied by some stubborn defending; Scott McNiven's superb challenge on Lee Trundle in the 77th minute typified Stags' resolve.
The defeat ended Stags' unbeaten six match league run and was a third game in a row without victory.
Swansea leapfrogged Yeovil at the top of League Two.
Swansea official site
A cold Friday evening saw the Swans go top of League 2 after a well earned victory against a hard working Mansfield team. An overall crowd of nearly 9,000 including approximately 150 away fans.
Kenny Jackett reverted to 4-4-2 following a change in formation at Chester last weekend.
Andy Gurney returned to the starting line-up, but Garry Monk wasn't available after being knocked out at Chester. Brad Maylett was chosen in favour of Adrian Forbes on the right wing. Keeper Brian Murphy was on international duty, so no substitute goalkeeper was selected in the squad.
Gurney Tate Austin Ricketts
Maylett O'Leary Martinez Robinson
Subs: Fisken, Britton, Nugent, Forbes & Fitzgerald
Mansfield lined-up as follows:
Pilkington, Artell, Baptiste, Day, McNiven, Corden, MacKenzie, Woodman, Asamoah, Larkin & Neil
Subs: White, Buxton, Curle, Curtis & O'Neill
The opening stages of the game saw Mansfield put the Swans under pressure. Early on Larkin was left unmarked in the area but put his shot over the bar from 12 yards out. After the first 5 minutes, Swansea showed signs of being able to take control of the game, when some nice interplay from the forwards, allowed Trundle half a yard to turn, the resulting effort was palmed away by Pilkington for the first corner of the match.
Swansea were creating chance after chance, but were unable to penetrate Pilkingtons goal. Soon after, Pilkington spilt what seemed to be a safe ball, it fell to Robinson, but he didn't react quick enough and the keeper was able to collect the ball. The Swans continued to attack and Robinson played a nice flick through to Ricketts on the overlap, he advanced into the area and placed a nice shot past Pilkington aiming for the far corner, it was on its way in until a Mansfield defender made an intervention, putting the ball high over his bar for a corner.
Mansfield tried to get back into the game when they gained possession, but Martinez and O'Leary were breaking down most attacks before they even got started. There were occasions when Asamoah and Larkin had chances but nothing came from them. After one attack, Alan Tate went to take a free kick, but Asamoah hadn't retreated fully, so the referee decided that a booking was deserved.
As the game neared half time, Trundle played a brilliant ball into the box towards Connor, he got a touch to the ball as he stretched, again having beaten Pilkington a defender got back in time to clear off the line. Not long after, Trundle won possession on the half way line, with few options he fought his way forward only to have his shot deflected for a corner.
The last attack of the first half was by Mansfield, as a long ball forward was mis-controlled by Tate and panic seemingly set in. Numerous last ditch tackles and blocks were made, O'Leary making the most important as a 25 yard strike was closed down quickly just as the referee signalled an end to the half.
Half-Time Score: Swansea City 0 Mansfield Town 0
Mansfield found themselves on top for the first 5 minutes of the second half, much the same as the first, but didn't create any clear cut chances. Jackett's men didn't take long before regaining control of the game. Brad Maylett was finding lots of space down the right and attacks were coming thick and fast. Some quick passing between Martinez and Trundle, followed by a pass out wide to Maylett saw a good chance develop. Maylett cut inside of his marker and fired over from 10 yards. Clear cut chances were few and far between in the game but the Swans were starting to dominate possession.
Mansfield went on the counter attack as Swansea looked for that elusive goal, Larkin broke free of the defence but Willy Gueret came up with an amazing stop to keep the score at 0-0. Tate took the ball from the rebound and kept Mansfield at bay.
On 65 minutes Keith Curle made a double substitution, bringing on Tom Curtis and Joe O'Neill for Neil MacKenzie and Wayne Corden. Play restarted from the throw in, but was soon out of play, allowing Kenny Jackett to make a double substitution himself. Kevin Nugent replaced Paul Connor and Leon Britton came on instead of Andy Robinson.
Trundle had a couple of opportunities of running at the Mansfield defence, he was able to pick the ball up from 35 yards out on the left and run into the area at an angle, any attempts were blocked or saved. One of these attacks was broken down by the Mansfield defenders and they were able to count. Willy Gueret sprinted off his line, barely beating the on rushing attacker to the ball, knocking it out for a throw-in. Gueret picked the ball up and ran back towards his goal, the referee called Gueret over to show him the yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Jackett used his final substitution. Forbes replaced a tiring Maylett who was full of running in the second half. It was around this time that Mansfield seemed to be getting back into the game as play became stretched and more open.
Time was running out and the Swansea back line had kept composed throughout dealing with most attacks comfortably. With only a minute of normal time remaining, Leon Britton floated a ball to the far post from the left. Nugent dragged 2 defenders with him to the centre of the goal, leaving Adrian Forbes with the task of directing the ball into the net, although he had to work for it. He leaped and powered the ball across goal into the back of the net. Only 3 minutes were left to play, not leaving Mansfield with any time to try to equalise.
Another solid performance all-round, the squad is looking in good shape with players still to come back and they move into top spot after Yeovil lost 2-1 away at Rochdale. The result leaving Swansea a point clear after 12 games.
Final Score: Swansea City 1 Mansfield Town 0
Stags fall to late blow as Swans go top
ADRIAN Forbes broke Mansfield hearts with an 89th minute goal to win the big game at Vetch Field tonight and send Swansea top of the table.
Stags, who began the night in seventh place and six League games unbeaten, had survived some scares with Craig Woodman and Dave Artell both having to clear off the line and Kevin Pilkington saving well from Lee Trundle.
But Stags, with Artell outstanding, defended well overall.
At the other end, it was hard going against the Football League's meanest defence.
Swans have only conceded six all season and only a curling shot from Colin Larkin brought keeper Willy Gueret into any serious action.
Swansea had the first half edge but Mansfield played much better after the break and looked set for a deserved point until Swansea new boy Forbes grabbed his first goal for the club at the death.
And the news that Rochdale had come from behind to beat leaders Yeovil was the icing on the cake for the home side.
Stags had 112 fans in the 8,868 crowd for a game that last year saw Stags pick up six yellow and two red cards.
This year's fixture was a much quieter affair with one yellow for Stags and three for Swansea, all but one for delaying the game.
Stags made two changes with Tom Curtis dropped to the bench and Adam Murray suspended.
Rhys Day came into the heart of defence with Alex John-Baptiste pushed into midfield while Neil MacKenzie came in for Murray.
There was also a change of official with the Football League replacing the controversial Lee Probert, who took charge of this fiery fixture last season, with Lancashire referee Graham Salisbury.
Mansfield made a good start, taking the game to the home side and winning a first minute corner.
Larkin then wasted a great second minute chance, blazing over first time from eight yards from Neil's right wing cross.
Swansea replied with a shot on the turn by Trundell which forced a good save from Pilkington to his right and the first of two corners for City.
Pilkington caused panic on seven minutes when he spilled a close range Robinson effort, allowing him a brief chance at a second opportunity before wrestling the ball back off his toes to rescue the situation.
Trundle swung a shot just wide from 30 yards on 11 minutes and, shortly after, Pilkington had to run to the edge of his area to beat Maylett to a through ball and clear.
Another 30 yard effort whistled over Pilkington's crossbar, this time from Robinson, on 15 minutes, as the home side continued to threaten.
On 16 minutes Artell came to Mansfield's rescue as a superb backheel by Robinson fooled the Stags defence and let in Ricketts in space on the left of the box. His curling finish looked like it may beat Pilkington, but Artell popped up to clear off the line for a corner.
Stags survived that and the three corners the Swans forced in quick succession shortly after, Trundle having a shot charged down and Robinson finally firing wide, both as Stags tried to clear the last of the three.
On 24 minutes Stags finally got one on target themselves. Gueret could only punch McNiven's free kick away at full length to Corden who sent a powerful header at goal by which time the keeper was back up to gather.
Asamoah was booked on the half-hour for delaying the taking of a Swansea free kick.
Robinson should have done better on 40 minutes when he was set free in acres of space down the left by Maylett's pas. But he tried to curl a first time finish round Pilkington and put it well wide of the near post instead.
The best chance so far came on 42 minutes when MacKenzie's loose ball in midfield gave Maylett possession. He quickly found Connor who stabbed a shot past Pilkington which looked a goal all the way until Woodman somehow got there to scoop it off the goal line.
Mansfield survived two more successive corners in first half stoppage time which took the Swans' first half flag kicks tally into double figures. But the half ended goalless.
Swansea produced the first threat of the second half when Maylett raced into the right of the box and, when everyone expected a cross, he tried a vicious drive from a tight angle which flew just over the bar.
Stags hit back with an attack that ended with a low MacKenzie drive from 20 yards straight at the keeper.
MacKenzie again gave the ball away cheaply on 56 minutes and this time Robinson blazed over from a tight angle on the left.
He tried to redeem himself a minute later as Swansea held their line on the edge of the box and McNiven squared a low pass to MacKenzie who fired low and wide from 30 yards.
Stags almost produced a breakthrough on 64 minutes when Larkin found himself onside from Artell's forward ball and with only the keeper to beat, tried to curl it round him only to see Gueret dive to his left to block.
Seconds later John-Baptiste blazed over from a tight angle.
And with Stags enjoying much more possession this half, manager Curle decided to up the stakes and play 4-3-3 with O'Neill and Curtis joining the action in place of MacKenzie and Corden on 65 minutes.
Kenny Jackett replied from the home bench a minute later by withdrawing Robinson and Connor and bringing on Britton and Nugent.
Nugent was booked for delaying the game within three minutes and keeper Gueret joined him for the same offence on 71 after taking the ball away with him following a whistle.
A wicked Neil free kick forced a Stags corner which was cleared.
The home side stepped up a gear and Nugent fed Trundle for a powerful shot which Pilkington beat away at his near post on 74 minutes.
A minute later Nugent got on the end of a long Martinez cross but couldn't direct his header on target.
And on 77 when Trundle looked set to race clear, McNiven came up with a brilliant last ditch tackle in the box.
Forbes replaced Maylett as the clock continued to tick down with the game still anybody's.
As the game reached 89 minutes a draw looked a certainty with both sides deserving a point.
But football can be cruel and so it proved as two of the Swansea substitutes combined to break Stags hearts.
Britton crossed long from the left to the far post where Forbes threw himself into a header that flew across Pilkington and inside the far post.
A minute later Forbes was booked for retaliation after a clash with Artell.
Match Stats (Swans/Stags):
14 Goal Attempts 5
5 On Target 2
9 Off Target 3
0 Hit Woodwork 0
7 Offsides 3
14 Corners 2
13 Fouls 3
Adrian Forbes' 89th-minute winner in front of almost 9,000 fans at the Vetch sent Swansea to the top of League Two.
Forbes, who had come off the bench 15 minutes from time, was left unmarked to head home a Leon Britton cross.
Swansea enjoyed near constant pressure but Lee Trundle, Paul Connor all missed decent opportunities to score.
Colin Larkin had Mansfield's best chance when he beat the offside trap, but his effort was well saved by home goalkeeper Willy Gueret.
Forbes Heads Swans To The Top
By Phil Sumbler
1 minute, 10 minutes or 89 minutes. It's goals that win football matches and Adrian Forbes precision header in the last minute fired Swansea to the top of the league tonight at the Vetch
It matters not in football when a goal is scored - it's scoring it that is the most important and for the second consecutive game, Swansea had to rely on a late one to secure the three points that their play for the 90 minutes deserved.
Last time Mansfield visited the Vetch there were endless debates about the quality of the refereeing but this time around there can be no complaints from opposition manager Keith Curle who had to rely on several scrambled clearances and poor finishing in the first half to keep his side in it for so long.
Andy Gurney had returned to the Swans side that secured a draw at Chester last week whilst Brad Maylett made what seems to be a rare start at the expense of the eventual hero Adrian Forbes as Kenny Jackett looked for his 5th successive Vetch victory after waiting for so long to secure the first one.
The first half was dominated pretty much by the Swans after a couple of scares early on fron the lively looking Asamoah and Larkin for the visitors. One half chance went over the bar but it was enough for the Swans to get their game into gear with some nice football that should really have had some reward by the time the 45 minutes was up.
Trundle was first to test Pilkington in the Mansfield goal with a sharp turn and shot. More amazingly from this the turn was to the left and the shot was with the right but it still took a low down stop to keep the score goalless. Next up was Robinson whose reaction was not quite quick enough when Pilkington spilled the ball under no pressure and jumped thankfully on the loose ball as Robinson tried to get it from under his own feet.
Swansea were forcing a succession of corners to keep their guests on the back foot but all too often the corners were finding a Mansfield head and not the Swansea one that we all hoped for.
On the right hand side of midfield there seemed plenty of space for Maylett not often enough used to his own frustration as Swansea looked to play more through the centre than in recent weeks.
The goal looked as if it was coming and there was a golden chance for Ricketts when Robinson played him in on the overlap but his shot was deflected over by a retreating defender with Pilkington already beaten denying the defender a second goal in successive home games.
Asamoah was slightly unlucky to be booked for not retreating at a free kick that Tate was trying to Tate - a fate that was also to befell Swans substitute Kevin Nugent in the second half as the game was taking a completely different outlook to the one of last August.
And from the Swans fans point of view they thought they were ahead just before the interval when Paul Connor was played in by a brilliant through ball from Trundle and lifted his shot over the advancing Pilkington only to find again that Mansfield defend as well as we do as the ball was cleared off the line to keep the score at the interval goalless.
Good news was given to me at half time when I was told that any previous split that there may or may not have been in the camp has now gone and all players are firmly 100% behind Kenny Jackett - evident perhaps in the performance of recent weeks which ended in us hitting the top tonight.
As the second half started it did become apparent very quickly that one goal would most probably be enough to win this match and the Swans started to utilise the space that Brad Maylett was finding and returned to trying to build their attacks down the flanks.
A couple of long range efforts from Robinson went just over and a header from Kevin Austin drew a very loud handball appeal from behind the East goal at the Vetch but there was nothing doing from the referee as both managers made their decisions to make a double change to try and make a difference to the end result.
From Jackett's point of view it was Britton and Nugent for Robinson and Connor as he looked for the pace of Britton and aerial ability of Nugent to unsettle the Mansfield defence.
But it was the visitors who could have taken an undeserved win when Larkin broke one on one and only a good stop from Willy and a clearance from his retreating defence prevented us going a goal down, very much against the run of play. Was this to be the night that the one goal went against us?
Forbes replaced Maylett and the game was running out of minutes when the decisive moment arrived. A superb cross from the left hand side was met at the back post by the springing Forbes and his header was directed well enough to give Pilkington no chance and the Swans a deserved three points.
As the news filtered through from Rochdale that Yeovil were behind it was a moment to savour as the Swans returned to the top for the first time in more than twelve months.
Yet again I don't feel that the scoreline reflected some of the clear cut chances that we created and on another night against another side then it could have been a different story with a three or four goal win possibly not that unfair a reflection.
Man of the match for me was a very tough call with no-one standing out but I would say a split between Martinez and O'Leary who did tend to dominate the midfield and both were always prepared to chase back and try and win the ball back.
And in terms of the referee, there were some not clever decisions in favour of both sides but on the whole he had a good game and thankfully on this occasion the talk can all be about the football.
SAY WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!
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