ABSURD SENDING-OFF RUINS STAGS CHANCES
Northampton Town 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Benjamin 53, Smith 77. Rowson 45+1 og. Asamoah sent off 43.
Attendance: 6,122 (827 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at Sixfields
Mansfield Town fell to their first defeat in five games at Sixfields this afternoon but all the talk after the game was about referee Penn, whose sending off of Stags striker Derek Asamoah was an appalling decision and one which cost the Stags dear. Asamoah had already been booked for allegedly diving in the Northampton box, when two minutes before half time, he went down under a challenge fom Westwood just outside the box. It seemed a clear foul. But the referee decided that Asamoah had dived again, despite Asamoah having little to gain from a potential free kick wide left and outside the box, and the referee brandished a second yellow card. After the game both managers, Palmer and Calderwood, confirmed that defender Westwood admitted that he had clipped Asamoah for the second incident. The Stags took the lead moments later, but were unable to hang on in a one-sided second half and went down 2-1.
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Cobblers 2-1 Mansfield
By Simon Sidwell
The Cobblers' first match of 2005 looked to be going the wrong way at half time, but thanks to second half strikes by newboy Trevor Benjamin and Martin Smith, Northampton produced their first comeback from behind in 2004/05 to finally gain justice over Mansfield Town.
Saturday 1st January 2005
Sixfields - Coca-Cola League 2
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 2 - 1 MANSFIELD TOWN
Smith 76 H/T 0-1
Att: 6,122 Rowson o.g. 45
Asamoah s/o 42
NEW YEAR BRINGS FOURTH VICTORY AS ASAMOAH SEES RED
Colin Calderwood's men continued their winning vein of form with a fourth straight victory over last season's rivals Mansfield Town, making sure the Play-Offs finalists went down to a 2-1 reverse - all this after Derek Asamoah was sent off for the visitors early in the first half.
Trevor Benjamin scored on his full debut for the Club after joining the Cobblers on a permanent six month deal yesterday, while Martin Smith nodded home the winner 14 minutes from time to ensure Town remained unbeaten in the League since November 6th. But Asamoah's red card lit proceedings just before half time.
The former Northampton striker was dealt with harshly on two occasions by referee Mr Penn. Firstly, he booked the nippy forward when Martin Smith appeared to catch Asamoah's trailing leg in the box. Three minutes before the break, the man in the middle produced a second yellow card as Asamoah went down under a non-challenge of Scott McGleish.
With the game goalless at this point, it seemed inconceivable that the Stags could take lead after such a blow, but Dave Rowson managed to flick into his own net following a swerving Paul Warne corner, shell-shocking the Cobblers into their half time cup of tea.
The game had a familiar tone to it during up to 40 minutes. Both keepers were rarely tested despite both teams doing their best to play football. McGleish fired well over in the first minute from Josh Low's cross. He could have made amends on 11 when Alex John Baptiste's poor backheader saw McGleish pounce and instead of lobbing the 'keeper, he went for glory inside the area and fired over Kevin Pilkington's bar.
Rowson had the crowd on their feet when he headed Martin Smith's corner shy of the left upright, with many in the West Stand thinking it had crept in. Benjamin was getting in amongst the Stags defence, winning some headers and generally causing a nuisance. He showed his class by muscling out two defenders to get his head to a Josh Low centre, bulleting high and wide.
A moment of panic inside the Cobblers' six yard box saw Asamoah in the thick of things, touching a scramble goalwards and forcing Lee Harper - with the help of defenders - to clear off the line. This was all from Paul Warne's shot saved by Harper, after he was allowed to progress back into the box unchallenged from the left.
The half was petering out after Ashley Westwood's tackle from behind received a booking - and a torrent of abuse from the victim Asamoah, until the striker was given his marching orders, and Rowson converted a corner inadvertently into his own net, giving Mansfield a 1-0 half time lead.
Inevitable as it was, 10 man Stags were not going to have it easy. Burly forward Richard Barker was running a lonely battle up front. Northampton's strikers were having a better time in terms of opportunities. Benjamin made a howler when he contrived to sidefoot wide completely unmarked on 47 minutes, from just 6 yards - an embarrassing moment on his debut.
He soon proved he can hit the target when he produced an equaliser. A deep left sided cross from Tommy Jaszczun saw the ball ping back across the penalty area for Benjamin to race onto, and slam home from 10 yards for his debut goal.
Low and Pedj Bojic went close to netting, the latter forcing another good save from a long distance shot. Paul Warne and Joel Kitamirike were cautioned as the Stags continued to get a bit rough with their frustration and tactics. Kevin Pilkington was the worst offender, taking nearly 30 seconds on each goal kick and at least 10 seconds with the ball in his hands!
However the winner was soon to follow with a trademark effort. Rowson spread the ball wide into space for Low, who curled a lovely cross for Martin Smith to rise above two defenders and head sweetly past Pilkington to ensure three points came Town's way.
Scott McGleish had two more late efforts to make sure the game remaining in Town's favour. The latter of the two he will cringe at. Sub Eric Sabin set his strike partner up by the penalty spot - instead of placing his kick either side of Pilkington, McGleish went for glory and hit an audacious volley just over the crossbar.
Undefeated since early November, Northampton's confidence is bounding from game to game. With the making's of a settled side, Town's immense talent in this League is beginning to show through, with 5th place closing on the leaders. 2005 has started well - it's up to the Cobblers to keep the form going.
Man Of The Match: MARTIN SMITH - darting runs, getting into the box and netting the winner. Smudge was showing his class yesterday in a team performance.
COBBLERS: Harper, Bojic, Willmott, Westwood, Jaszczun, Low, Hearn (Williamson 68), Rowson, Smith, McGleish, Benjamin (Sabin 84).
Subs: Chambers, Cozic, Galbraith.
BOOKINGS: Westwood (31).
MANSFIELD: Pilkington, Curtis (McLachlan 45), Murray, Asamoah, Brown (Larkin 79), John-Baptiste, Buxton, Warne, Dimech, Barker, Kitamirike (Corden 79).
Subs: Neil, White.
BOOKINGS: Asamoah (18), Warne (71), Kitamirike (73).
SENT OFF: Asamoah (42).
Northampton MATCH STATS Mansfield
21 Goal Attempts 5
9 (On Target) 4
0 (Bar/Post) 0
15 Corners 6
7 Fouls 17
3 Offsides 3
REFEREE: Mr A. Penn - 5/10
The referee had a poor game in fairness. Had a personal vendetta against Derek Asamoah, harshly sent off for two apparent dives when others went unpunished. Very inconsistent official in most areas.
Football First report:
By Steve Smith
TRANSCRIBED BY CAROLE
Smith late difference
MARTIN SMITH's late winner made it four wins on the bounce for Northampton as they came from behind to beat Mansfield at Sixfields.
New signing Trevor Benjamin marked his debut by cancelling out David Rowson's own goal, leaving Smith to head home the second-half winner. But while Benjamin was enjoying his Northampton debut, former favourite Derek Asamoah had an unhappy return to Sixfields.
Asamoah lasted just 42 minutes after being dismissed for a second caution, both for alleged dives by referee Andrew Penn, much to the frustration of Mansfield manager Carlton Palmer.
“At 1-0 up I never thought we would lose the game.” Palmer said afterwards.
“We didn't defend well for their first goal, but I can't criticise the players, they've been undone by the referee's decision.
“I am hoping that referee will look at Derek Asamoah's sending off again. Why would he go down when he was clean through?”
While Palmer was cursing his luck, Northampton manager Colin Calderwood was delighted with the way in which his side overturned their interval deficit.
“The game was evenly balanced in the first-half and I thought we could go on to win it in the second.” Calderwood said.
“But the own goal just before half-time made it very difficult for us and the players showed a great reaction in the second-half to get three more important points.”
Match Stats (Cobblers/Stags)
19 Goal Attempts 4
10 On Target 4
9 Off Target 0
0 Hit Woodwork 0
3 Offsides 3
15 Corners 8
7 Fouls 15
The Cobblers came from behind to win for the first time this season to give their new year a cracking start and keep them snapping at the heals of the Coca Cola League Two leaders.
But this match hinged on the controversial dismissal of Derek Asamoah, the former Northampton player who was making his first return to Sixfields since joining the Stags in the summer.
Asamoah was shown the red card by referee Andy Penn in first-half stoppage time for a second booking, both earned for apparently diving in the penalty area.
Within seconds of Asamoah going off, ten-man Mansfield grabbed the lead when Paul Warne, their match-winner at Southend on Tuesday struck a corner to the near post and David Rowson headed past his own keeper.
The home side stepped up the pressure after the break and Trevor Benjamin, who was making his debut after signing from Leicester 24 hours earlier, should have put them level two minutes after the restart but instead he side-footed wide.
Benjamin made amends six minutes later when Mansfield failed to clear his lines from a Martin Smith cross and he smacked the loose ball home.
Fierce wind and rain made conditions even more difficult for the visitors who were unable to escape from their own half, and the Cobblers secured their winner with 13 minutes to go. Rowson fed the ball in low from the right and his cross was headed in by Smith for his fifth goal of the season.
The victory was sweet for Northampton who were beaten by Mansfield in the play-off semi-finals last season and had also taken a 4-1 beating in the league at Field Mill this season.
Their only disappointment in notching a fourth consecutive league win was in not making the victory more emphatic, with top scorer Scott McGleish volleying over the crossbar from 12 yards in stoppage time.
Northampton 2-1 Mansfield
Martin Smith struck in the 77th minute to seal victory for Northampton against a Mansfield side who played much of the game with 10 just men.
Northampton trailed at the break when David Rowson headed into his own goal from a Paul Warne corner - moments after Derek Asamoah's second booking.
New signing Trevor Benjamin missed a sitter but scored in the 53rd minute by converting McGleish's knock-down.
The Cobblers grabbed the points when Smith headed in Josh Low's cross.
Asamoah off as Stags crashDEREK Asamoah was controversially dismissed as Mansfield Town's recent run of success was halted by a 2-1 defeat at Northampton Town this afternoon.
But caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer is hoping referee Andy Penn will change his mind over the red card which will currently see Asamoah miss Monday's visit from high-flying Scunthorpe United.
Asamoah, making his first appearance at Sixfields since his summer move to Mansfield, was shown the red card three minutes before the break for a second dive after the referee had already booked him for an earlier 'dive'.
The first was in the box and possibly a spot kick for the Stags, but the second was outside the box and looked even harsher.
Nevertheless, a David Rowson own goal in first half stoppage time was an unexpected bonus for the visitors.
But, against a strong wind, the second half was always going to be tough for the 10 men.
And the Cobblers turned it round with an equaliser by debut-making Trevor Benjamin on 53 minutes, shortly after a dreadful miss, and then a winner by Martin Smith on 77 minutes to make it a forgettable start to 2005 for Mansfield.
It was a far cry from the 4-1 beating Mansfield handed out to Northampton earlier in the season and a little revenge for the Cobblers after last season's Play-offs semi-final defeat by the Stags.
Palmer was furious with the officials and said: "I have got to be careful what I say but the officials today were very poor.
"The referee was a homer - he gave us nothing all afternoon and it was disgraceful.
"We were well worth our 1-0 lead at half-time and, with 11 men, we were never going to lose the game.
"I even said to Paul Holland just before half-time that we might have to pull Derek Asamoah off as I felt the ref was looking to give them something. And before we could he did.
"Why would Derek Asamoah go down when he was through? The first booking was a definite penalty for us. Even their players said so and, by and large, players do not lie.
"And Derek could have gone down under the first challenge for the second yellow card but stayed on his feet. He is too honest a player to go down.
"I am going to ask the referee to look at a video of the incidents and show him he has made a pig's ear of it. He has to hold his hands up and admit he has made a mistake.
"You don't mind getting beat if the opposition deserved it. But, even though we were not at our best today, I am very disappointed with what happened."
Stags, with 827 fans behind them among the 6,122 crowd, were unchanged for the 1pm kick-off at Sixfields with Neil, Corden and Larkin returning from illness and injury to make a stronger bench.
Murray conceded an early free kick when he brought down Bojic. It was taken early and Low crossed for McGleish to bundle a volley over.
Stags also defended an early Cobblers corner.
Asamoah, to the boos of the home fans, then won a corner for Stags which was taken short and wasted. Another followed on 10 minutes without profit.
John-Baptiste almost gifted Northampton a goal on 12 minutes with a poor header back towards Pilkington that was never going to reach him. McGleish was in quickly but, from 15 yards, blazed his finish over the bar.
Asamoah was booked on 19 minutes for taking a dive in the home box as McGleish stretched out a leg to tackle him. But the visitors were furious that a penalty had not been awarded instead.
Murray conceded a free kick just outside the area which Smith planted straight into the Mansfield wall.
Northampton twice came close in the 23rd minute. First a Smith corner was headed just wide by Rowson then, seconds later, Benjamin met Low's cross with a diving header at the near post which he couldn't direct on target.
Stags created their best chance so far on 29 as a Brown cross went through everyone to find Warne on the far side of the box with keeper Harper pipped to the chase. But, with Harper retreating, Warne's shy at the goal was deflected for a corner.
The Cobblers made hard work of clearing that as both Barker and Asamoah went up with Harper to win headers but couldn't find the net.
Westwood was cautioned for a foul on Asamoah on 32 minutes.
Stags weathered a spell of Northampton pressure which ended with McGleish directing a header well over the bar.
Mansfield replied with two successive corners and, soon after, Asamoah's pace saw him reach a ball on the by-line that he looked to have no right to get to but, with the angle almost impossible, he shot well off target.
Kitamirike wasted a chance on 42 minuets when he headed tamely at Harper from six yards from Warne's free kick.
But then Stags were hit with a massive blow as Asamoah was sent off. Already booked for a dive, he went down again just outside the box under a challenge and the referee again harshly decided he had dived and produced a second yellow and a red to stun the visitors.
McLachlan replaced the injured Curtis for Mansfield.
Stags then dramatically went ahead in first half stoppage time. Warne sent a corner to the near post where Rowson's header flew past his own keeper.
Stoppage time continued into a fourth minute and Stags almost netted an own goal of their own as a defender's head put it just wide for a corner from Smith's ball in.
From the corner, McGleish headed narrowly wide as the 10-men went into the interval ahead.
Benjamin should have levelled on his debut within two minutes of the restart. McGleish was afforded too much space on the right and his low cross picked out Benjamin just seven yards from goal. But, with the goal at his mercy, he put his finish wide.
Seconds later Low's low shot was saved by Pilkington as the Cobblers looked for an early reply as the rain began to come down on the Sixfields Stadium.
The keeper also had to tip away a Bojic cross for a corner when it threatened to drift in on the wind.
That produced the first of two successive corners as the home side pressed hard.
And their reward came on 53 minutes. A left wing cross struck Buxton's shin at the far post and flew back across goal where Benjamin was waiting to drill home from five yards.
The Cobblers turned up the heat with two more successive corners.
Pilikington did superbly well to beat McGleish to a through ball and drop onto it as the striker looked clean away.
Two more corners followed as the pressure increased on the 10 men.
Former Stags star Williamson joined the action on 69 minutes in place of Hearn.
Warne was booked for a foul on 72 minutes and Kitamirike joined him shortly after for bringing down Williamson by the corner flag.
Northampton finally broke through again on 77 minutes. Low crossed from the right and Smith was there six yards from goal to plant his header past Pilkington.
Barker tried his luck seconds later from 20 yards but Harper was perfectly placed.
Stags sent on Larkin and Corden for the last 11 minutes in place of Brown and Kitamirike.
Sabin then came on for Benjamin on 83.
Stags survived a scramble after the home side's 14th corner of the afternoon as time began to run out.
The visitors conceded a free kick 30 yard from goal which Smith put well over. And, seconds later, when Pilkington struggled to clear against a strong wind, the ball was pumped back towards him and, as he raced to the edge of his box, McGleish lifted the ball over keeper and bar.
McGleish should have sealed the points in stoppage time when Sabin's cross found him unmarked and six yards from goal. But, having controlled the ball, he somehow volleyed over the bar.
Hopes were raised when Stags won a late, late corner. But when that was cleared the whistle finally went and Mansfield's run of success was over.
Northampton Town Official Site:
Northampton Town 2-1 Mansfield Town
Benjamin 53, Smith 76 Rowson og 45
Asamoah sent off 42
ATT: 6,122 (827 away fans)
Northampton Town kicked off 2005 by welcoming Mansfield Town to Sixfields. New signing Trevor Benjamin was handed a debut, but injury once again ruled out Fred Murray (ankle), Chris Carruthers (ankle) and Marc Richards (knee) while a flu bug accounted for Tom Youngs. David Galbraith had shaken off his virus to be named on the substitutes bench, while Ashley Westwood regained the captain's armband. Both sides came into this game in good form, the Cobblers had won four of their last 5, while the Stags had won their last 2 games and had not conceded a goal for more than 3 games.
After an impeccably observed silence in memory of those who lost their lives in the Asian tsunami disaster, the Cobblers got off to a bright start and in just the first minute Scott McGleish volleyed a Josh Low cross over the bar.
Colin Calderwood's side were playing against a strong wind in the first half, but Trevor Benjamin's flick released Scott McGleish after eleven minutes. The ball just would not sit down for the Cobblers leading scorer and he ended up arrowing a shot narrowly over the bar.
Former Cobbler Derek Asamoah was cautioned after 18 minutes when he was adjudged to have dived under challenge from Martin Smith in the penalty area, while at the other end Martin Smith saw his free kick blocked by the Mansfield wall.
David Rowson then headed a Martin Smith corner narrowly wide, while a flowing move started by Trevor Benjamin ended when the Cobblers debutant headed a Josh Low cross narrowly wide.
Lee Harper touched a drive from Paul Warne behind for a corner on twenty eight minutes after a deep cross had caused problems for the Cobblers defence, while from the resulting corner Harper did very well to claw the ball away from the goal line after Derek Asamoah had headed the ball on.
Ashley Westwood was cautioned after thirty one minutes when he fouled Derek Asamoah, the first foul committed by the Cobblers in the game. The previously cautioned Asamoah reacted angrily to the tackle but escaped further punishment.
However soon Asamoah became the third former Cobbler to be shown a red card at Sixfields this season when he was adjudged to have committed the same offence that had seen him cautioned - simulation. He went over under pressure from Scott McGleish, and Mr Penn produced a second yellow card for the Stags striker.
The Stags had the lead in first half injury time when a Paul Warne corner was deflected past his own keeper by David Rowson, the first time the Cobblers had been behind in a league game since November 6.
Scott McGleish headed a free kick just wide before an eventful first half came to an end when Fraser McLachlan replaced Tom Curtis.
Trevor Benjamin passed up a golden chance to equalise in the first minute of the second half. A surging run from David Rowson allowed Scott McGleish to send over a cross that was met by Benjamin, but he sidefooted wide of the target.
Josh Low then saw his low shot saved by Pilkington, before the Stags keeper pushed a tipped shot from Pedj Bojic over the bar. Ashley Westwood's header from Hearn's corner was saved on the line by Pilkington.
The Cobblers were soon level, with Trevor Benjamin the man on target. Tommy Jaszczun's cross was headed back across goal by Scott McGleish, and Benjamin drove home at the far post to score the first goal conceded by the Stags in more than three and a half games.
Colin Calderwood made a change on sixty eight minutes, with former Mansfield Town midfielder Lee Williamson replacing Charley Hearn.
Paul Warne was cautioned for a foul on Josh Low after seventy one minutes, before the name of Joel Kitamirike followed for a challenge on Lee Williamson.
The Cobblers took the lead after seventy six minutes. David Rowson won the ball back in midfield before feeding a pass right to Josh Low. The Cobblers winger sent over an inch perfect cross for Martin Smith to head home.
Carlton Palmer responded by bringing Colin Larkin on for Simon Brown, and Wayne Corden for Joel Kitamirike. For the Cobblers, Eric Sabin replaced Trevor Benjamin, who left the field to a standing ovation.
Scott McGleish hooked the ball over the bar in the final minute of normal time, and then in injury time he volleyed over from inside the area after being set up by Eric Sabin.
The final whistle blew, and the Cobblers had begun 2005 with a victory.
Cobblers: Harper, Bojic, Jaszczun, Westwood, Willmott, Low, Rowson, Hearn (sub Williamson 68), Smith, McGleish, Benjamin (sub Sabin 84)
Subs not used: Chambers, Cozic, Galbraith.
Mansfield: Pilkington, Curtis (sub McLachlan 45), Murray, Asamoah, Brown (sub Larkin 79), John-Baptiste, Buxton, Warne, Dimech, Barker, Kitamirike (sub Corden 79).
Subs not used: Neil, White.
Booked: Asamoah (18), Westwood (31), Warne (71), Kitamirike (73)
Sent off: Asamoah (42)
Referee: Mr A Penn
Northampton Town Match Stats Mansfield Town
2 Goals 1
9 Shots on Target 4
12 Shots off Target 1
15 Corners 6
7 Fouls 17
3 Caught Offside 3
1 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 1
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