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Archived News from January 2005

4th January 2005 20:21

Evening Post, 04 January 2005
Tom Curle says he is as determined as ever to make a name for himself at Mansfield Town.

The young winger, son of former Stags boss Keith, does not want to leave the club.

He admitted his father's suspension and subsequent sacking affected him, but he remains determined to prove he can make an impact for the first team.

"It's been hard for me because it involved my father," he said. "I felt a bit lost, but I just knuckled down and got on with my work.

"I can't say too much. There are some things I could say, but I want to stay professional.

"Now I just want to try to prove myself to this manager and earn another contract."

Chelsea are still keeping tabs on Curle junior, who watched yesterday's win against Scunthorpe from the stands.

"They said they will keep an eye on me and they are going to send a scout to every youth-team game," he said.

The rearranged date for Mansfield's home game against Cambridge United has been confirmed as Tuesday, January 11 (7.45pm).

The fixture, originally scheduled for Boxing Day, was postponed because of a frozen Field Mill pitch.

Tickets already purchased for the first date are still valid.

Evening Post, 04 January 2005
Carlton Palmer believes Mansfield should be celebrating a fifth successive win today.

The Stags caretaker-boss is still fuming with West Midlands referee Andy Penn, who sent Derek Asamoah off at Northampton on Saturday.

He believes bad luck prevented his first win in charge in the 0-0 draw against Rushden & Diamonds at Field Mill on December 11 - and remains adamant Mansfield would have recorded a third straight away win against Northampton had Penn not dismissed Asamoah.

"Everyone was a bit down after Saturday. It was an injustice. I'm sure we would have gone on to win the game.

"But that's still ten points from 15 and another clean sheet. We had to dig out a result against Scunthorpe but the lads were fantastic.

"They did themselves proud and I want to say a big thank you to the supporters. They were magnificent."

Now Palmer wants his players to build on a good run of performances - and he believes defensive stability has been a key factor in the three wins and a draw in five games.

"We've got the best defensive record in League Two at the moment and we've got a resolve about us," he said.

"Their keeper made some good saves, but Kevin Pilkington didn't have a lot to do. Now we need to look at where we can improve and show a bit more quality."

Palmer is still short of defensive cover but opted to bring midfielder Alex Neil back in at right-back and drop new signing Joel Kitamirike to the bench.

And although he is keen to bring a new left-back in, he was full of praise for Jake Buxton, who played well in the role. "Alex has got more quality on the ball than Joel, but sometimes you need a bit of height and that was the case at Southend," said Palmer

"We're desperate to get a left-back in, but Bucko's been superb."

Mansfield's squad was further depleted ahead of yesterday's clash with Tom Curtis ruled out with an ankle injury sustained on Saturday.

But Palmer is confident the players who are available are good enough to beat any side in the division.

Match-winner Adam Murray was superb in the centre of midfield and Palmer said: "He was outstanding. He's an all-action midfielder but he just needs to simplify his game."

With no game on Saturday, the players who beat Scunthorpe will get a couple of days off.

Evening Post, 04 January 2005
Mansfield Town 1 v 0 Scunthorpe United

One of the alternatives to seeing Mansfield take on League Two leaders Scunthorpe was staying home to watch classic Michael Caine film Zulu.

But there were a few of the never-say-die qualities of that Bank Holiday favourite about a superb Stags victory yesterday.

Some heroic contributions secured a deserved victory; there was high entertainment value; and a tense finale as the visitors launched their own raids.

Stags caretaker-boss Carlton Palmer got his tactics spot on and his foot soldiers won the battle for him as they carried out his instructions with gusto.

After failing to engineer a win in his first six games in charge, Palmer is unfortunate that Mansfield have not collected more than ten points from their last five fixtures.

The turning point was the clash with Rushden & Diamonds at Field Mill early last month.

Mansfield did enough to win, only to be denied by poor luck: and they were looking good at Northampton on Saturday until referee Andy Penn dropped a clanger and decided the visitors should continue the game without Derek Asamoah.

The other three games in the five-match run have ended in victory. Two away wins on the trot, including a success at high-flying Southend, were bettered by a tremendous performance and result against Scunthorpe.

Now the wave of optimism apparent at Field Mill during a purple patch early in the campaign - which included successive 4-1 triumphs against Yeovil and Northampton - has returned.

The Keith Curle saga is over, the win at Southend was achieved with eight players missing and two in the side who were affected by flu, and a crop of new players are on board.

Against a side which conceded five goals at Field Mill last season, victory against Scunthorpe was the icing on the cake at the end of a productive Christmas and New Year schedule.

Asamoah and Tom Curtis were ruled out, but Colin Larkin looked sharp as he made his first start since November - and there are more players to return in the next few weeks.

Things are suddenly looking rosy again in the Field Mill garden.

A handful of points adrift of the play-off zone, a long way to go until the end of the campaign and Stags fans are already discussing the possibility of a local derby against Nottingham Forest next season.

An excellent display, full of character, good organisation and fitness levels secured maximum points against Scunthorpe - and the contributions of Adam Murray, Richie Barker and Luke Dimech cannot be understated.

Murray was immense in midfield, Barker industrious up front and Dimech continues to perform solidly at the back.

After a bright start by the visitors, Larkin's enthusiasm was apparent in a promising early spell - and it went from good to even better in the first half as they dominated the leaders.

Wayne Corden was a threat on the left and Alex Neil turned in another accomplished display in the right-back spot, offering good support going forward. Neil has proved he is a capable defender as well as a competent midfielder.

On nine minutes, a spectacular tip-over save by visiting keeper Paul Musselwhite kept out an equally impressive effort by Larkin and, ten minutes later, a great spell of play by the home side was capped with a magnificent strike by Murray.

Corden cut the ball back and Murray's low drive from 25 yards arrowed into the bottom right-hand corner.

It was almost 2-0 two minutes later, but Corden's powerful shot flashed just the wrong side of the near post - and Larkin went close with a similar effort soon after.

The home side were in control and the Stags defence coping comfortably with a Scunthorpe attack which did not have the kind of potency you might expect from the division's top side.

Peter Beagrie caused Mansfield a few problems and speedy striker Michael Rankine did have his moments, but generally the Stags rearguard contained him without too much fuss.

Scunthorpe finished the first half strongly and were on top for long spells in the second, but Mansfield held firm.

Rankine, Beagrie and former Stag Ian Baraclough went close before the hour, and the pressure mounted in the closing stages.

Mansfield lost some impetus after Larkin made way for recent signing Simon Brown midway through the second half, but it was Brown who squandered a glorious opportunity late on.

Corden's pass set him up, but the midfielder's shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Musselwhite.

Brown wasted another stoppage time chance, but it didn't matter as Mansfield secured a fourth clean sheet in five games.


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