STAGS DOMINATE BUT HELD 0-0
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Rushden & Diamonds
Attendance: 3376 (187 from Rushden)
Match stats (Stags/Diamonds)
17 Goal Attempts 4
8 On Target 2
9 Off Target 2
0 Hit Woodwork 0
2 Offsides 6
15 Corners 2
13 Fouls 13
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
Lady Luck was certainly not smiling at Mansfield Town last weekend. The Stags, despite dominating Rushden & Diamonds did everything but score the goal their determined build up play richly deserved and in the end had to walk from the Field Mill pitch with just one point when not even the most ardent of Rushden fans could have denied them all three.
Caretaker boss, Carlton Palmer settled for the same starting line up that had lost in mid-week away at Darlington. Alex Neil once again found himself having to play full back, whilst new signing, Simon Brown had once more to settle with a place on the bench.
Ironically though it was the visitors who were first to threaten in what turned out to be their only real chance of the whole game. The ball was not cleared effectively from a Rushden corner and Stags had to be grateful for a fine block by Jake Buxton. From then on in, Mulligan and Drewe Broughton had a frustrating afternoon as they were expertly marshalled by The Stags centre-half pairing of Luke Dimech and Alex John-Baptiste.
The Stags were in full control without causing Billy Turley in the visitor's goal too much trouble, but it wasn't too long before the Diamonds custodian was busy when on 15 minutes, Derek Asamoah weaved his way through the heart of the Rushden defence only to be denied by a blocking dive from Turley.
Stags striker, Richie Barker, who had scored his first ever Stags goal in the 2-1 defeat at Darlington almost added to his tally but first saw his glanced header fly wide and then following excellent work from the dangerous, Wayne Corden was denied from 6 yards by the desperate body of Turley.
The Stags left the field at half time and must have been feeling hard done by.
The 2nd half followed a similar pattern. Mansfield Town dominated throughout but that single bit of luck needed to convert one of the many chances they created just eluded them and generated frustration all round.
Derek Asamoah can count himself as the main Stags player who lady luck must hate as on two occasions he was denied by bad luck more than anything else. On one occasion he put a spectacular effort onto the roof of the net when almost all in the ground thought he had scored, including Caretaker Boss, Carlton Palmer who leapt up from his Bishop Street vantage point thinking the ball had gone in and then shook his head in frustration when along with everyone else, he realised that it hadn't. The second came when Asamoah volleyed towards goal but saw his effort flash across the goal instead of in.
With Corden and Warne causing problems for the flat back 4, Rushden defence and the nippy and dangerous Asamoah linking well with his strike partner, Richie Barker, it was a case of pure puzzlement as to why The Stags had not gone on to recorded what would have been their first victory since the stunning home win over Notts County. As it was, it once again turned into an afternoon of frustrated annoyance.
The last chance of the game fell to the feet of Tom Curtis who's miss-hit cross flew towards goal and forced Turley into a save.
It was certainly a case of two points lost rather than one point gained. The players left the field to warm applause from most who recognised that every one of the players had given 110% effort. But sometimes, with that effort, you need that bit of luck.
This weekend The Stags face an early kick off (12.00) as they visit fellow strugglers, Shrewsbury Town. Stags will be desperate to turn around their fortunes and get that much needed win. And with the hectic Christmas period just around the corner, there is no doubt that a win for Mansfield Town is on each and every Stags supporter's wish list.
report by Footymad
Keeper Billy Turley denied Mansfield a first win in ten games with a brilliant solo display to earn Rushden a valuable point in their relegation fight.
The Stags now with just one league goal in 584 minutes and with caretaker manager Carlton Palmer still looking for his first victory totally dominated but failed to convert any of their 22 goal attempts.
In contrast, a poor Rushden team created just one opportunity - and that came as early as the second minute when Phillip Gulliver's low close-range shot was deflected for a corner.
Ten minutes later a mazy run from Derek Asamoah unlocked the Rushden defence but after beating four defenders his drive was parried by Turley.
The Stags again went close in the 21st minute. Adam Murray's sweeping cross-field pass picked out Jake Buxton on the left touchline and his first-time cross was headed narrowly wide by Richie Barker.
Mansfield's shoot on sight policy twice saw Corden test the keeper before Turley brilliantly kept out Barker's point-blank finish ten minutes before half-time when Paul Warne flicked on another Corden cross.
In the 41st minute Asamoah outpaced Gulliver only for Turley to push his final shot around the post for a corner.
The Stags again dominated the start of the second half with wave after wave of attacks.
Alex Baptiste and Barker both squandered close-range shooting opportunities and then Turley again denied Asamoah with a finger tip save for the third time, tipping his acrobatic finish around the woodwork.
Asamoah's clever overhead kick skimmed the bar and Warne's shot on the turn was deflected over as Mansfield's pressure became incessant.
Eleven minutes from time Turley performed more heroics with a fine double save to thwart Asamoah and Adam Murray to clinch a point.
Frustration as Stags are heldDespite a much-improved performance in which they dominated the entire game, Mansfield Town's frustrations continued as they were held to a goalless draw by struggling Rushden and Diamonds at Field Mill this afternoon.
Keeper Billy Turley was equal to everything Stags could throw at him while, at the other end, Kevin Pilkington did not have a serious save to make and was a spectator for long periods.
But, without a win in nine games before this one, Lady Luck still has her back turned on Mansfield.
"Obviously I wasn't pleased with a point but I was pleased with the performance," said frustrated caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer - still looking for his first win after six matches in charge.
"We should have won today - no question. But we were denied by an inspired goalkeeper. Our reports said that when Rushden lost 2-0 at Macclesfield, if he hadn't played it could have been six.
"They reckon Turley is the best keeper in our division and on today's showing they could be correct.
"You can't do anything more than what we've done. We showed commitment, passed the ball well and created chances. As a manager I was delighted with them.
"It was as one-sided a game as I can remember and I wouldn't have liked to have been the opposing manager watching that for 90 minutes.
"All that was missing was that bit of luck which we've not been having lately.
"I asked supporters to get behind the team today and I would like to say a big thank you to them for doing that. The players felt much better and they gave them a really good performance, even if they couldn't give them a goal and that was only down to the grace of God."
Stags were unchanged from the side beaten at Darlington in midweek.
Rushden were first to attack and forced two quick corners, the first of those seeing a scramble that ended with Gulliver having a low shot deflected wide off Buxton's heel.
Stags replied with a corner of their own which saw Turley gather Corden's cross after the Stags winger had worked it short with Asamoah.
Another Mansfield corner quickly followed, which was over-hit.
Diamonds were temporarily won the 10 men while Mulligan received treatment in front of the visitors' dug-out.
Buxton and Murray both had 20 yards shots blocked as the home side began to step up the pressure and, on 12 minutes, Asamoah wriggled through three challenges before getting in an 18-yard shot that Turley could only parry and needed a second bite to clutch.
On 21 minutes Murray spread the ball wide to Buxton on the left. And his cross was headed wide by Barker.
Mulligan tried to outpace John-Baptiste to a through ball only to see Pilkington get there first as he raced to the edge of his box to clear into the West Stand.
Barker flicked on a Pilkington clearance to Asamoah. He fed Corden and the winger's first time shot was at Turley.
Neil allowed Burgess to dispossess him just outside the box but the Diamonds man then pulled his low shot well wide of the far post.
Stags won a free kick wide on the left which Corden floated into the box and Buxton flicked it wide of the back post with a back-header.
Barker looked a certain scorer on 35 minutes when Warne flicked Corden's cross on to the far post where Barker, from point blank range, saw Turley spread himself to block the Stags' striker's goal bound finish.
Two minutes later Warne fed Neil on the overlap. His cross went through everyone to Corden who crashed a powerful shot wide of the far post.
Then Asamoah outpaced Gulliver down the right before forcing Turley to turn his low shot round his near post.
Broughton was booked for persistent dissent on 43 minutes after arguing another decision a few minutes after going down in the box under John-Baptiste's challenge.
So the sides went in level at the break with Pilkington untroubled and Stags creating chances without ever hitting top gear.
Warne swapped roles with Asamoah for the second half with Asamoah joining Barker up front.
Warne had the first pot at goal of the half, shooting just over after a neat turn on the edge of the box.
Then a Neil cross came off a defender to leave Turley having to tip the ball away. That forced a corner which saw both John-Baptiste and Barker with brief opportunities they couldn't convert.
Asamoah was denied by Turley for a third time on 52 minutes when he volleyed a Corden cross on target only to see the keeper touch it wide.
Diamonds, desperate to get some sort of foothold in a one-sided game, made a double change on 55 with Hay and Sambrook replacing Bell and Dove.
A low Corden cross to the near post saw Warne spin well and have a close range effort deflect wide for a corner. And, when that was half-cleared, Asamoah sent a an acrobatic overhead shot dipping just over the bar.
It was all Stags and Barker forced another save from Turley, coming inside three defenders from the left and firing low towards the near post where the keeper gathered diving to his right.
Gulliver was booked for bringing down Asamoah is full flight, but Murray over-hit the free kick .
Frustration was mounting as Asamoah sent Warne on a run and got into a good position to receive a return pass which saw him force another save from Turley on his near post and Murray then had a follow-up blocked.
Hay was booked for a nasty challenge on Curtis as Rushden clung on.
Stags' eighth corner of the half was cleared to Warne who blazed the ball well over on the volley.
Rushden brought on Taylor for Broughton three minutes from time.
Two more Stags corners followed without success for the home side as the referee added an extra two minutes on.
But Stags simply ran out of time and ideas against a resilient Rushden rearguard.
Rushden boss Ernie Tippett said: "We were under the cosh for most of the match and had to defend for our lives.
"I am not happy with the way we played and we will have to work our socks off, starting Monday.
"We have got a clean sheet away from home and Billy Turley was excellent. But I am not happy with the way we defended, I have told the players that and they know they can defend better.
"We were poor but we've ended up with a point.
"Most of the balls we've given to our front players were too hard and too high. We were relying too much on flick-ons and that's not the way we play.
"When you are low on confidence teams tend to get the better of you and perhaps we are low on confidence right now.
Stags now face a trip to struggling Shrewsbury next Saturday and will be hoping their injury list starts to clear up in time.
From BBC Nottingham online
Goalkeeping heroics by Billy Turley earned Rushden a hard-fought draw at Mansfield and snapped a run of four-straight league defeats.
Turley made a string of fine saves to deny Wayne Corden, Richard Barker and Derek Asamoah on four occasions.
Frustrated Mansfield remained winless in eight games.
But home stopper Kevin Pilkington also had plenty of work to do and had to be sharp to save efforts by Craig Dove and Philip Gulliver.
Quotes from Carlton Palmer:
"I think I've played over 700 games and I struggle now to think of a game I've been involved with where a team has dominated as much as that."
"We've had corner after corner, cross after cross, shot after shot ... but there is nothing you can do. On any other day we would have had three certain goals but the keeper has made three excellent saves."
"You can't play as well as that and not get three points ... but it has happened today."
Quotes from David Jackson:
"This was Mansfield's best performance since the victory over Notts County in mid-October but despite being virtually camped in Rushden & Diamonds half throughout the 90 minutes the Stags still failed to secure all three points ... a totally one-sided affair but the winner just wouldn't come."
"So, 11 matches without a win now but if Mansfield can match the commitment and level of performance against strugglers Shrewsbury and Cambridge Carlton Palmer's first win surely can't be far away."
MATCH REPORT V MANSFIELD
Mansfield Town 0 v 0 Rushden and Diamonds
Rushden and Diamonds put in a superb defensive display to claim a hard earned point at Field Mill.
The two sides came into the game towards the bottom end of the current League Two form table.Diamonds, with only two wins in their last eleven league games were desperate for a win to take into the Christmas period, as were the Stags whose form read just two wins in fifteen.Ironically both sides last league win came in home games with Notts County back in October.
Both sides named identical line-ups to those in their last match in midweek.Former Northampton live-wire Derek Asamoah started up-front for the Stags whilst Diamonds front pairing of Drewe Broughton and Gary Mulligan played out the last game of their current loan period.Both sides came into the game on the back of away defeats, for Mansfield 2-1 at Darlington and Diamonds a 1-0 reverse at Boston United.
Diamonds started brightly and threatened to test Kevin Pilkington in the Mansfield goal early on from a succession of corners, from one of them they saw Phil Gulliver's shot from 15 yards deflected away after he had controlled well from Stuart Gray's header, after three minutes.Mansfield were also lively on the attack with Asamoah threatening to race clear of the defence on a couple of occasions.
Alex Neil's ball though to Asamoah sparked danger for Diamonds as he turned Gier before smashing a low shot from just inside the area, after 12 minutes, which Turley had to dive low to claim and did so on the second attempt.Eight minutes later Richard Barker's header flashed just wide of Turley's left hand post after Wayne Corden's left wing cross. Corden then tested Turley as his angled drive from the left, 25 yards from goal went straight into his hands after 27 minutes.
After 34 minutes Stags carved out the best move of the game at that point.Connelly's headed clearance fell to Adam Murray who was able to feed Corden who crossed superbly from the left to find Richie Barker who was denied at the far post only by Turley's superb left footed save, with Craig Dove completing the clearance down field. Moments later Corden caused Turley to flap before the same player drilled a volley from the left, wide of the far post.
With Mansfield clearly in the mood for attacking Asamoah picked up the ball ten yards inside the Diamonds half before beating off the challenge of the desperate Gulliver and racing away to unleash a shot which Turley saved well down to his left for a corner.
As Diamonds looked desperately towards the half-time whistle and a respite from Mansfield's almost continual bombardment Broughton was booked for a succession of fouls after 42 minutes.
Mansfield started the second half where they left off in the first and missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring after 50 minutes.From the Stags left corner the ball fell to Alex John-Baptise 10 yards out, who put it through to Barker who miss hit allowing Turley to smother the ball.Turley was again to thank 2 minutes later as Asamoah found time to turn and smash a volley on target, which Turley saved superbly to his right to concede a corner.
Diamonds made a double substitution in a bid to turn the game on its head bringing off Dove for Alex Hay and replacing David Bell with Andy Sambrook, after 55 minutes.
Mansfield still posed a major threat and Corden's low cross from the left allowed Adam Murray the chance to turn and shoot but his shot, from 10 yards, was deflected well by Sean Connelly after 60 minutes.Minutes later Asamoah's head on Tom Curtis' right wing cross went straight into the hands of Turley as the one way traffic continued with the defence battling bravely to keep a clean sheet.
Turley saved low to his right after Barker had made space to shoot from the left of centre just outside the area, after 71 minutes.Two minutes later Broughton broke down the Diamonds right wing before unleashing a smart cross to the centre of the box, but Mulligan failed to connect with the ball and Pilkington was able to cut out the threat.
Gulliver was booked for a late challenge mid-way inside his own half on 74 minutes to blot an otherwise impressive performance at the heart of the Diamonds defence.
Brilliant play from Asamoah saw him cut a ball through the Diamonds defence which Paul Warne ran onto, before flashing the ball across the area towards Asamoah who ran inside from the left before shooting, with Turley desperately harrying to make the save, before the final threat was cleared by Hay, after 77 minutes.
As the game moved into the latter stages Hay hacked down Curtis to concede a free-kick and receive a booking after 81 minutes. Broughton was replaced by Jason Taylor after 87 minutes as Diamonds looked to play out time but also maybe catch Mansfield at the back late on.
Despite the change it was Mansfield who had the final say as Warne's crossed shot from the right from 35 yards had to be tipped over by Turley for a corner after 89 minutes as Mansfield desperately looked for the winner but the solid defence wasn't to be broken.
Diamonds earned the point with a solid display which would have delighted boss Ernie Tippett after recent defensive lapses by his team.Whilst going forward little came off, this type of solidarity as a team should be seen as a massive plus point and give the Diamonds something on which to build.Special mention should go to Turley in the Diamonds goal who was on top form and also Gulliver who was superb at the back alongside Gier, Connelly and Hawkins.
Pilkington, Buxton, John-Baptise, Diemech, Neil, Asamoah, Curtis, Murray, Warne, Barker, Corden.Subs not used: White, Brown, Maxwell, McIntosh, Wood.
Rushden and Diamonds:
Turley, Connelly, Hawkins, Gier, Gray, Bell (sub Sambrook 55), Burgess, Broughton, Gulliver, Dove (sub Hay 55), Mulligan.Subs not used: Allen, Worgan, Taylor.
Referee: Mr J Ross
Bookings: Broughton 42 (succession of fouls), Gulliver 74 (foul), Hay 81 (foul)
Attendance: 3,176 (Away: 187)
Diamonds Man of the Match: Billy Turley and Phil Gulliver (both superb in a solid defensive display)
By Richard Beeby
Football First match report:
By John Lomas
transcribed by carole
Palmer curses "Lady Luck"
When things are not going well, Lady Luck tends to desert you.
And Mansfield, now without a win in ten games, will rarely dominate 90-minutes of football like this without earning three deserved points.
But with goalkeeper Billy Turley in magnificent form and Stags never getting the rub of the green, Diamonds escaped with an unlikely point.
Mansfield caretaker boss Carlton Palmer said: “That was as one-sided a match as I can remember. All that was missing was that bit of luck.
“Obviously, I wasn't pleased with a point but I was pleased with the performance. We should have won – no question.”
Phil Gulliver saw a shot deflect wide for Rushden in the first two minutes. And that was their best moment as Mansfield penned them back.
Turley had saved well from Derek Asamoah and Richie Barker had headed just wide before Turley produced a brilliant save from Barker.
Wayne Corden flashed a shot across the face of goal, and Asamoah forced Turley to turn a low shot round his near post just before the break.
Further efforts by Paul Warne, Asamoah and Barker were also thwarted by Turley.
“We were under the cosh,” said Rushden manager Ernie Tippett.
Mansfield .......Rushden & Diamonds
49----------Possession %---- 51 (Stagsnet comment - presumably this is a joke)
8-----------Shots on Target----2
9-----------Shots off Target----2
EVERYTHING BUT THE GOAL FOR PALMER...
Evening Post, 13 December 2004
Mansfield Town 0 v 0 Rushden and Diamonds
Mansfield huffed and puffed, but couldn't blow Rushden away at Field Mill.
The Stags carved out a string of good scoring opportunities, but a combination of poor finishing, bad luck and superb goalkeeping by visiting goalkeeper Billy Turley made it no wins in 11 games for the home side.
Rushden travelled to Mansfield on the back of a run of five successive defeats, but the 6ft, 4in stopper made sure it was a frustrating afternoon for the Stags.
The 31-year-old, who joined Rushden from Leyton Orient five years ago, pulled off a string of good saves to deny the hosts, who have won just once inside 90 minutes in 17 games.
The result meant Carlton Palmer is still searching for his first victory after six games as Mansfield's caretaker-boss.
But, lack of finishing power aside, there were plenty of positives from the home side.
The Stags could and should have collected three points against League Two strugglers Rushden, who spent most of the game defending as Mansfield dominated.
The result left Stags in 17th place in the table, just six points ahead of third-bottom Shrewsbury - who Mansfield visit for a noon kick-off on Saturday.
Palmer was right to be pleased with his side's performance.
The Stags attacked relentlessly, showed plenty of spirit and determination and outplayed the visitors at times.
It was the best performance to date of Palmer's reign and the new look side showed signs it was starting to gel properly as a unit.
Defensively, Mansfield were rarely troubled. Alex Neil and Luke Dimech, who have both been told they are free to leave Field Mill, had excellent games at the back, as did Jake Buxton and skipper Alex John-Baptiste, who appears to have improved as a player since Palmer handed him the captain's armband.
There was more than one reason why Buxton turned in a positive display, as he is reported to have placed a £5 bet with Ladbrokes at odds of 50-1 that he would score the first goal.
Buxton got into positions from which he might have enjoyed a cash windfall had the ball dropped better.
And, generally, it looked a safe bet that Mansfield would eventually convert at least one of their chances.
But Turley had other ideas and, as chances continued to go begging, it became increasingly likely that Mansfield would fail to break down Rushden's defences.
The lack of a killer touch in front of goal has been a common theme for Mansfield in recent weeks.
In the 11 games since the 3-1 win against Notts County on October 16, the Stags have converted just four chances.
On Saturday's evidence, it is no surprise that Rushden are in a scrap at the bottom of the table.
Mansfield at least appeared to offer proof to the Stags fans that they have the players who can haul the side back up towards the play-off places.
And the combination of Richie Barker and Derek Asamoah looks to be a well balanced strike partnership.
But, while Turley was in inspired form, Barker and Asamoah had bad days when it came to finding the net.
Wayne Corden gave the visiting defence plenty of problems with his approach play down the left flank, but the visitors stubbornly held firm to prevent Mansfield's shoot-on-sight policy producing a first-half goal.
Barker wasted a chance to score late in the first half, denied by the impressive Turley at the near post, but Rushden players and fans were aggrieved that their side were not awarded a penalty when Broughton tumbled in the Stags box.
Before the game, Palmer had asked the fans to back the players and they did, spurred on by the Stags' wave of attacks.
Generally, the fans decided to give Palmer and hairman Keith Haslam a day off from the booing and chanting against them as their side laid siege to the Rushden goal.
Mark Roach's Stags man of the match: ALEX NEIL
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Rushden and Diamonds
Billy Turley proved yet again why he is probably the best goalkeeper in Coca-Cola League Two with a series of superb saves. His one-man show for Rushden & Diamonds ended a run of four successive defeats as last season's Division Three play-off finalists Mansfield Town made it 11 games without a win
But manager Carlton Palmer must be still wondering how the Stags only picked up one point at Field Mill on Saturday. The simple answer is Turley's unbelievable heroics to continue his magnificent form this season.
It would be daft to even suggest Diamonds defended well as a team - particularly when you see that Mansfield managed 27 attempts on goal without converting any of those chances. The home side should have won comfortably.
Ernie Tippett rightly admitted this was a poor performance with the exception of Turley. If only his colleagues could match the level of consistency being shown by the former Northampton Town shot-stopper.
Turley was first called into action to deny Derek Asamoah who, of course, moved up the M1 from the Cobblers last summer. After twisting past Rob Gier and Phil Gulliver on the edge of the penalty box, the little striker's effort was held at the second attempt.
Richie Barker and Jake Buxton both nodded wide while Wayne Corden provided a big threat down the left flank. In between a couple of shots himself Corden also found Barker unmarked at the far post, only for Turley to make a brilliant point-blank block.
Turley again denied Asamoah either side of the break and tipped over a deflection off Gulliver. Barker saw a low drive well held and Asamoah knew it just wasn't going to be his day when two more opportunities went begging. There was no way past Turley who claimed his first clean sheet in league duty for more than two months since the victory at Shrewsbury Town. He could be very busy next weekend too against runaway leaders Scunthorpe United.
Diamonds have now gone 320 minutes without scoring a league goal and they never really looked like breaking the deadlock here. Gary Mulligan headed high into Kevin Pilkington's hands midway through the first half with their only clear-cut chance. Despite changing the formation to 4-3-1-2 after the interval Diamonds didn't record any shots or corners in that period.
Instead they relied on Turley's sensational display. But how long before a bigger club take him away - or are they waiting until his contract runs out in six months to sign him as a free agent? On this form Turley will be badly missed when he eventually goes
Latest | December 2004