AT LAST - IT`S THREE POINTS FOR STAGS AT SHREWS
Goals from Derek Asamoah and Adam Murray gave the Stags a much needed 3 points at Shrewsbury this afternoon.
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FESTIVE CHEER AS STAGS SLAY SHREWS
Report By Steve Hartshorn.
The Mansfield & Sutton Observer
The Stags celebrated Christmas early when goals from Derek Asamoah and Adam Murray gave them a deserved win at Shrewsbury Town last weekend.
The victory ended a barren run which had brought The Stags just one win in the previous 17 League and Cup games. The 2-0 scoreline was also the first time that Mansfield had scored more than one goal since their stunning victory over local rivals, Notts County.
The importance of the victory over fellow strugglers, Shrewsbury Town was not lost on Caretaker Manager, Carlton Palmer, “We've had a lot of problems and the situation hasn't helped but the players have been first class and they've done what was required to get the three points today.” For the record, this was Mansfield Town's first success away from home since their fine 3-0 win at Chester City, way back on the 14th August.
Carlton Palmer stuck with the same starting eleven that had done everything but score the previous week against Rushden & Diamonds as he went in search of his first win as Caretaker boss. There was a few changes to the bench with Fraser McLachlan making a return following his injury at Boston United and new non-contract signing, Joel Kitamirike both being handed a shirt.
The early kick off obviously favoured Mansfield Town as they, particularly down the right hand side, dominated possession early on and restricted the home side to hurried and misplaced clearances. Derek Asamoah, who once again partnered Richie Barker up front, was causing the Shrews defence a multitude of problems with his close skill and dangerous pace.
However, the first real opportunity of the game fell to the feet of Shrews striker, Luke Rodgers. Tom Curtis looked to have been fouled but the Referee waved play on. From the resulting play, Ryan Lowe crossed the ball to Rodgers, but from eight yards out, the Shrews hit man flashed his effort wide of Pilkington's right hand post.
Neil Ashton was the next to threaten Stags goal, but after being well found by Lowe, the Shrews midfielder sliced his left footed effort high and wide from just outside the area.
On 22 minutes, Derek Asamoah, who had been causing the Shrews defence problems throughout, headed down the right hand channel in a one on one race with Shrews defender, Trevor Challis. It looked to all like the nippy Stags striker had nudged over the Shrews left back, but thankfully the Referee waved play on. From then on in there was only going to be one outcome as Asamoah wrong footed two other Shrews defenders before squeezing the ball past Scott Howie in the Shrews goal. The 300 or so hardy souls from Mansfield erupted in pure delight.
Moments later, Asamoah again caused trouble down the right and his dangerous cross was only inches away from Barker, who if he had made contact, would have surely added to Mansfield's tally.
Tommy Curtis who was having a fine game in the centre of The Stags midfield along side Adam Murray, working himself an opening but his effort lacked real power and was comfortably saved by Howie.
As the half time break approached a Stags attack was broken when there was confusion between Corden and Murray on the edge of the Shrews box. The home side broke with speed and Mansfield were grateful for a well timed tackle from Luke Dimech as Luke Rodgers prepared to fire towards The Stags goal.
In first half injury time, Asamoah was upended 30 yards from goal. The resulting free kick from Wayne Corden was well pushed aside by Howie for a Stags corner. From the 2nd successive corner, Barker got his head to the ball but unfortunately his firm header flashed past the upright.
Shrews Manager, Gary Peters must have had some stern words for his side during the break as The Shrews came out in the 2nd half eager to get a foothold in the game. First Curtis fluffed a clearance on the edge of the area, Pilkington weakly punched the ball away which fell to the feet of Lowe who's effort was blocked by Murray, Challis then fired the ball high and wide.
Then just minutes later, Lowe raced into the Stags area and brought a good save out of Pilkington.
Stags were grateful for some woeful finishing from the home side. A snap effort from Tolley was deflected wide for a corner and from the resulting kick, Shrews central defender, Liam Burns blasted high and wide.
On 59 minutes, Carlton Palmer decided to take off Asamoah, replacing him with Simon Brown, as Palmer explained afterwards, “I felt that Derek had run himself into the ground. The pitch was very sapping.”
There then followed a spate of bookings, Dimech was first to go in the book for a foul on Rodgers, but Liam Burns for Shrewsbury quickly followed after hacking down Brown who at the time was in full flow. Shortly afterwards, Burns was lucky to escape a 2nd yellow when he was penalized for upending Adam Murray.
Shrews boss, Peters had one last throw of the dice and made a double substitution but it was the visitors who on 74 minutes virtually made the game safe.
Alex Neil put in a low cross where Kevin Street slipped and made a hash of his clearance, with Barker being crowed out by a desperate looking Shrews defense, the ball broke conveniently for Adam Murray who made no mistake from 5 yards.
On 82 minutes, The Shrews had their best chance of the game, a low cross from Rodgers was diverted towards goal by Jamie Tolley, as the ball went past Pilkington, and with both Langmead and Tolley trying desperately to force the ball over the line, in stepped Jake Buxton to clear away the danger from the goal line.
The final whistle was greeted with clenched fist celebrations from both Mansfield players and supporters alike. As the players left the field, each and every one received congratulations from Chairman, Keith Haslam, who at the final whistle had made his way down to the tunnel area from his seat in the Directors box. The most heartwarming of congratulations being saved for Caretaker Manager, Carlton Palmer.
Stags will be hoping to build on their first points of the festive period when struggling, Cambridge United visit Field Mill on Boxing Day. With four points from their last two games, Stags will be eager to achieve another victory and begin their climb back up the Coca Cola League 2 table.
Football First match report:
By Derek Smythe
transcribed by carole
Palmer's leadership lifts Stags
CARLTON PALMER emerged as a leading contender to take over from sacked manager Keith Curle after masterminding the Stags' first win in 11 games.
But just 24 hours after Curle was fired following an investigation into bullying allegations, caretaker manager Palmer refused to discuss Mansfield's behind-the-scenes problems or to confirm he will be applying for the vacancy.
“The Keith Curle situation is over and done with and I am not going to talk about it,” Palmer said.
“I shall be seeing chairman Keith Haslam on Monday and we shall just have to wait and see what happens. I don't want to pre-empt anything at the moment.
“Swansea came here flying high at the top of the league and got beaten 2-0.
I told my players it was going to be horrible and ugly on a bobbly pitch, and their response today was first-class.”
Mansfield's victory, their first since mid-October, deepened the gloom over Gay Meadow and left Shrewsbury's new boss Gary Peters contemplating an outsize job to revise their fortunes.
The Shrews were denied the services of three key players – Martin O'Connor, Darren Moss and Dave Walton – through suspension, and Peters' makeshift side had a doomed look from the moment Trevor Challis' gaffe gave the Stags a 22nd-minute opener.
Challis slipped on the edge of a muddy penalty box and Derek Asamoah gobbled up his gift opening by cutting inside Darren Tinson and firing home a left-footed shot from eight yards out.
Kevin Pilkington's splendid save denied Ryan Lowe an equaliser in Shrewsbury's best spell just after the break.
But as the Shrews became increasingly desperate, another defensive howler stitched it up for Mansfield.
Barely five minutes after replacing Lowe, substitute Kevin Street lost his footing as he made a hash of attempting to clear Alex Neil's centre, and Adam Murray could scarcely miss from the six yard line.
Shrewsbury boss Peters lamented: “We made two bad individual errors and they cost us the game. We had some great chances ourselves – we had two good ones after we went two down, but we still could not put them away.”
Shrewsbury Town……Mansfield Town
45-----------Possession %---- 55
6------------Shots on Target----4
6------------Shots off Target---1
Shrewsbury 0-2 Mansfield
Mansfield moved away from the bottom of League Two with a win over fellow strugglers Shrewsbury Town.
Mansfield went ahead when Derek Asamoah took advantage of a slip by Trevor Challis to shoot home from eight yards.
Keeper Kevin Pilkington pulled off a fine save from Ryan Lowe to deny Shrewsbury an equaliser early in the second half.
But the Stags wrapped up a rare win after Kevin Street's slip let allowed Adam Murray to score from close range.
Palmer off the mark at last
CARLTON Palmer finally enjoyed his first win in charge of Mansfield Town this afternoon when Stags ended a dreadful run of 11 games without victory with a 2-0 success at Shrewsbury Town.
Caretaker-manager Palmer had seen his charges draw three and lose three of his six games at the helm.
But, just 24 hours after it was announced manager Keith Curle had been officially sacked, Stags were celebrating their first away win since 14th August at Chester City.
It was also the first win and the first time they had scored more than once since that sparkling win over Notts County on 16th October. And it was a second successive clean sheet.
On a dreadful heavy pitch, Stags held the interval advantage thanks to a fine solo goal by Derek Asamoah on 22 minutes.
The visitors then had to soak up some pressure from the home side early in the second half before Adam Murray finally put the Shrews to the sword on 74 minutes, finishing from close range.
Stags were unchanged from the side held by Rushden last week.
Mansfield put on the early pressure and a good overlapping run by Buxton saw the youngster put in a dangerous cross which Challis was happy to head out for a corner.
Tolley dived into a challenge on Curtis which left the Stags man down on eight minutes. But the referee waved play on and Lowe crossed in from the left towards Rodgers who put his first time finish wide.
Then a Lowe free kick from the left was bent in low towards the near post, causing a momentary panic before it was cleared.
Another Stags corner was defended by the home side as Mansfield tried to regain that early momentum.
But the Shrews had another shooting chance when a long cross from Lowe on the right reached Ashton who lashed it high and wide first time.
Pilkington had his first real save to make when Ashton's free kick found the head of Burns on 21 minutes, the keeper well placed to keep the ball out.
But it was the Stags who broke through a minute later. Asamoah's pace had caused earlier problems for the Shrews and this time he cut in from the right, went past two defenders to get sight of goal and simply squeezed a neat finish inside the keeper's near post.
Moments later Asamoah created more havoc with a dangerous low cross right in front of the home goal which skidded past everyone.
Pilkington comfortably caught Shrewsbury's first corner on the half-hour mark.
Curtis tried his luck from 35 yards but Howie was always behind his shot.
Stags were almost caught out on 43 minutes when Corden and Murray got in each other's way and the home side broke quickly. But Dimech got in a saving tackle in the box as Rodgers tried to go clear from Lowe's threaded through ball. From the corner Langmead headed over with Pilkington crowded out.
In stoppage time Tolley's foul on Asamoah conceded a foul almost 30 yards from goal. Corden took it and curled it superbly, Howie just managing to throw himself to his left to turn it round.
That gave Mansfield the first of two successive corners, the second of which was headed firmly wide by Barker as Stags went in ahead.
The home side had an early opportunity when Curtis sliced a clearance high into the air in his own box.
Pilkington managed to get a punch on it but the ball ran straight towards Lowe whose first time blast was blocked by Murray. The ball then ran to Challis who was well over.
Lowe again came close two minutes later as Langmead's pass set him free in space on the right. He took the ball on into the box before shooting low only to see Pilkington down well to save.
Stags had another let-off when they allowed Tolley space to get in a low 30 yard shot that took a slight deflection for a corner. When that came in, the ball dropped for Burns who snatched at his shot from eight yards and lashed it well over.
Stags were struggling to get into the game at this stage so Palmer sent on Brown for Asamoah on 59 minutes.
Dimech was booked for fouling Rodgers seconds later and, when Ashton deliberately handled to stop Warne going past him a minute later, he too was cautioned.
Burns was next in the book for attempting to hack down Brown on his first attack.
And when he brought Murray down with a mistimed challenge shortly after, he was lucky to escape with a last warning.
By now Stags had weathered the early second half pressure and were controlling the game.
Shrewsbury, desperate to regain their earlier momentum, made a double substitution on 69 minutes with Lowe and Challis replaced by Street and Grant, changing to a 3-4-3.
But it was Mansfield who extended their lead on 74 minutes. Street slipped and sliced his clearance as Neil put in a low cross from the right. The ball ran invitingly loose in front of goal and, when Barker was crowded out as he tried to capitalise, it was Murray who popped up to finally dispatch it into the net from just four yards.
At this stage the home fans began to pour out of the ground.
Eight minutes from time Rodgers drilled a low cross into the box and Tolley turned it towards goal past Pilkington. Both Tolley and Langmead then tried to force it over the line as it slowed in the mud but Buxton was quickest and ran across to clear off the line before they could finish.
The home side's afternoon was summed up on 89 minutes when a beautifully flighted cross by Whitehead picked out Grant. But the substitute guided his header wide of goal from just seven yards.
Recently installed Shrewsbury Town boss Gary Peters this week cancelled his players' Christmas Party and there would have been nothing to celebrate anyway after his side crashed to a 2-0 home defeat against Mansfield Town.
The Stags won this dour encounter with a goal in each half from Derek Asamoah and Adam Murray to record their first win in 11 matches, just 24 hours after finally dismissing manager Keith Curle.
Peters was forced to make two changes after the stormy draw at Chester last Saturday, with the red cards shown to Darren Moss and Martin O'Connor ensuring they will sit out the hectic Christmas period. The Shrews boss recalled Jake Sedgemore and handed a first start to former Port Vale centre-half Liam Burns.
Despite an encouraging start for the home side, during which striker Luke Rodgers was inches away from netting his first goal in 13 games, it was Mansfield that took the lead - scoring against the run of play after 22 minutes.
Asamoah won a tackle from Shrews defender Trevor Challis and cut inside to drill a shot beyond Scott Howie at his near post.
Booed off at half-time things got a little better for the home side after the break, and Challis, Jamie Tolley and Ryan Lowe all brought saves from Stags goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington.
Shrewsbury's best chance of an equaliser fell to Burns - but he blasted over from six yards.
It proved costly as with 16 minutes remaining, Murray put the issue beyond doubt - netting from close range after Shrewsbury substitute Kevin Street slipped when trying to clear.
Town are forced to make changes with Darren Moss and Martin O'Connor suspended with Liam Burns and Jake Sedgemore coming into replace them.
Town had a few hairy moments in the opening exchanges as the visitors got the ball forwards quickly, Lowe and Challis did well on separate occasions to clear from within the Town box. Asamoah get in behind Challis and looked to be in on goal but Burns did well to come across from right-back and stop Asamoah.
Ashton did well on the left to pick up a ball that looked to be going out, he nicked the ball down the left but Neil got in a block, the ball dropped in between Tolley and Curtis and Tolley flew in to get the ball but also caught Curtis who stayed down, ref Cowburn sad nothing wrong with the challenge and let Tolley continue, he played the ball out to Lowe who crossed first time to find Rodgers but his shot zipped just wide of the post.
The best attacking moves were coming from Town, first Lowe nearly snuck in at the backpost and then a nice move saw Town break down the right after Lowe had showed good skill to nick past his marker, he played the ball to Rodgers who broke down the right, he crossed into the run of Langmead but he let the ball run to Ashton who drove in a great shot but it flew over the upright.
Town were still having the better chances and the defence were starting to get into the act, the ball was played into the box and there was Burns with a lovely flick on but Pilkington was there to hold on well.
The visitors took the lead against the run of play when Asamoah broke down the left, he showed good skill to turn the ball past Challis and was away with Challis on the ground, he then cut into the box past Tinson and drove in low shot that gave Howie no chance at his near post.
Town were pushing for the equaliser and created some good openings in front of Pilkington's goal, Langmead was looking dangerous and was unlucky to pulled up when he went in shoulder on shoulder with Buxton, Lowe was nearly in after he found himself behind the Mansfield defence and Rodgers was causing a lot of problems for the Mansfield defence.
When Town hit Mansfield on the break they looked at their most dangerous, Lowe nicked the ball after two Mansfield players missed the header on the edge of the Town box and powered down field, he took the ball over the halfway line and then put a great through ball into the run of Rodgers, he continued his run and looked to be in on goal but when he attempted to get his shot in Dimech had managed to get back and blocked for a Town corner. Lowe whipped in the corner and Langmead rose above everyone but his header flew just over the bar.
Just as the game neared the halfway mark the visitors were awarded a free-kick after Tolley was adjudged to have fouled Asamoah. Corden was the one to take the kick and he curled a lovely shot round the Town wall but Howie was quickly across his area to pull off a great save.
Town had a good chance right after the restart after Rodgers broke down the right, he put in a hanging cross that Pilkington came out to punch, he got the ball clear but only as far as Lowe who drove in a low drive but Pilkington was down quickly to collect. Then moments later the ball came to Challis and he put in a vicious drive from 30-yards that flew just over the bar.
Town's best chance of the game after another quick break saw the ball played into Langmead, he held the ball up well and then laid it off to the right for Lowe and he powered into the Mansfield box on the angle, he drilled in a great drive but again Pilkington was equal to it and the Stag's stopper held on well.
Rodgers got in before Dimech could control the ball and cut in field, he played a lovely ball in to the run of Tolley who steadied and then drove in a low shot which was deflected behind for a Town corner. Lowe swung the ball into the backpost where Whitehead nodded it back down to Burns, but he skewed his first time shot over the bar.
Town picked up two bookings in quick succession, first Neil Ashton was booked for a deliberate handball and then Liam Burns was somewhat harshly carded after he slid into tackle Simon Brown.
With 20-minutes remaining Gary Peters made a double switch with Kevin Street on to replace Ryan Lowe and John Grant on for Trevor Challis.
The visitors got a second on 74-minutes when Street looked to have a dealt with a Neil cross, he slipped as he attempted to clear and the ball fell to Adam Murray and he made no mistake smashing the ball past Howie to make it 2-0.
Town were having no luck and when Rodgers got in behind the Mansfield defence on the left, he cut the ball back into the Stags box and first Tolley had a stab, then Langmead and then Tolley looked to have got the ball in the net but Buxton got in and cleared the ball off the line.
Rodgers was still causing problems and he did well to win the ball in the corner, he pushed it back to Street who in turn moved the ball to Whitehead, he curled in an excellent cross to the backpost which found the head of John Grant, but he managed to put his header wide of the gapping goal.
In the end it was a poor performance from Town, they worked hard, had chances but couldn't get that all important goal.
Mansfield didn't look that good in the opening exchanges but the more they got into the game the better they looked. The thing they did better was that they took two of their chances.
Man Of The Match
Jake Sedgemore, Stuart Whitehead, Kelvin Langmead and Luke Rodgers had solid games but we'll give it to Jake, he came into the side in the centre of midfield and had a solid game.
Latest | December 2004