BARKER CRACKER EARNS POINT
Rochdale 1 - 1 Mansfield
Tait 4. Barker 38
Att: 2576 (431 from Mansfield)
Stagsnet Player ratings in the Match Centre.
Football First match report:
By John Greaney
transcribed by carole
Super-goal Barker a cut above
ROCHDALE'S failure to finish of Mansfield at Spotland left manager Steve Parkin fuming.
Paul Tait gave Dale a fourth-minute lead and the home side went on to dominate much of the first half, but they couldn't turn chances into goals and a Richie Barker wonder-strike sent the Stags home with a point.
“Their goal really knocked us and it was a terrible one to give away,” said Parkin.
“It could have been over in the first-half. We scored a good goal, had one cleared off the line and created other good chances.
“The moral of the story is once you get 1-0 ahead, you stay 1-0 ahead. Everybody would like to win a game by two three or four goals, but it's not always possible.
“The equaliser was a good finish from Barker, but a poor one for us to concede. Once you get your noses in front you need to stay there and the players know I am not happy.”
Colin Larkin should have put Town in front inside of the first minute, but sent his snap shot high over the bar. Two minutes later Rochdale broke quickly through Leo Bertos and his cross was met by Tait's diving header to put the hosts in front.
Dale then went into overdrive. Grant Holt and Gary Jones were off target with long-range efforts before centre-half Greg Heald's header hit a post from a corner.
Wayne Corden tested keeper Matt Gilks with a low shot at the other end, but Mansfield didn't command enough possession to pose many problems.
That was until seven minutes before the break when Simon Brown sent over a hanging cross that Barker rattled home with a brilliant overhead kick.
Tait thought he grabbed a second with a flick header three minutes after the re-start, but it was ruled off side.
The game then deteriorated on a lumpy and sticky pitch.
Holt made the best effort of netting the winner. He turned quickly outside the Mansfield box and unleashed a swerving shot, but Kevin Pilkington tipped it over the crossbar.
Mansfield manager Carlton Palmer said: “It was a great point. We didn't start the game particularly well defensively, but I thought we were good going forward.
“We could well have nicked it with two or three chances in the closing stages.”
Rochdale ……………… Mansfield
53-----------Possession %----- 47
8-----------Shots on Target-----5
9------------Shots off Target----3
Rochdale 1-1 Mansfield - Full report and ratings
By David Chaffey
Rochdale had to make do with a point despite dominating Mansfield Town at Spotland. Dale remain 12th in the league following the match.
The weather was kind to Rochdale and the game went ahead despite all the reported problems and it was definitely a case of two points dropped today as Rochdale hosted former England International Carlton Palmer's Mansfield Town a Spotland. The game finished 1-1 with the much criticised Paul Tait getting Rochdale's goal and a wonderful effort from former Milkman Richie Barker levelling things up.
Rochdale went with an unchanged team despite Gareth Griffiths being available again after his suspension. Matt Gilks was in net with Wayne Evans, Daryl Burgess, Greg Heald and Alan Goodall in defence. The familiar three man midfield of Jamie Clarke, Gary Jones and Ernie Cooksey was once again in operation with Leo Bertos, Paul Tait and Grant Holt leading the line. Neil Edwards, Gareth Griffiths, Scott Warner, Tai Atieno and Leighton McGivern were on the bench.
Dale started the game superbly and looked the only team in the game for most of the first half and after just 3 minutes, Rochdale were ahead! A fantastic move was easily finished off by Paul Tait to make it 1-0 to Rochdale and gave him only his 3rd goal of the season. Grant Holt played a fantastic through ball with the outside of his boot to put Bertos in a great position to get a cross in which he did and Tait was there to meet Leo's good cross with a good diving header.
Steve Parkin's men couldn't have asked for a better start and they continued to take the game to the Stags. Dale had plenty of chances to increase their lead. Gary Jones blasted over the bar from the edge of the box and there were a couple of goal mouth scrambles as well which were eventually cleared by the Mansfield defence.
Greg Heald was next to come close for Rochdale when he got on the end of a Jamie Clarke corner which was flicked on by Paul Tait but Heald's effort only found the woodwork.
Holty once again found Bertos with a very good ball but Leo couldn't get his effort on target and the shot went wide of the post.
Dale striker Grant Holt has picked up a few too many yellow cards this season and for a while now, he has been on nine cards meaning he was one card away from an immediate two match suspension. That card came in the first half when he went into a 50/50 tackle with Luke Dimech who took exception to Holt's tackle but Holt decided he was to have the last word by squaring up to him and thanks to some of the most blatant acting I have ever seen Dimech went to ground like he had been shot! Both men received yellow cards and Holty now misses the next two games, Chester and Yeovil away.
Rochdale continued to pressure but with just over 5 minutes to go before the half time break, Mansfield got an equaliser and it was totally against the run of play but there was no arguing with the finish. Goodall and Burgess failed to stop Simon Brown getting a cross in and former Macc striker Richie Barker scored with a superb overhead kick that flew past Gilks into the left corner to make it 1-1.
The half time whistle blew and it was hard to believe that Rochdale weren't winning the game but I always thought we would get another and leave Spotland with three points.
With just a couple of minutes gone in the second half, Dale took the lead only for the linesman to rule it out for offside. A good ball in was headed in by Paul Tait and the Dale cheers soon ended when the linesman on the right hand side had his flag held out.
Gary Jones had another long range effort off target with the hour approaching. He let rip from 20 yards but his shot went miles wide.
Grant Holt nearly got his 20th goal of the season with a thunderous effort from a long way out. He turned well and just smashed the ball as hard as he could from wide and Pilkington was forced to tip the ball over from
Rochdale should have been allowed to continue with one attack but the linesman put his flag up to rule Holt offside despite Wayne Corden playing him onside by about 5 yards which left the fans, the players and the manager very angry indeed.
Mansfield had a great chance with the game nearing 90 minutes when substitute Shane Smeltz was left alone to get a free header in but his effort went wide of the post.
The game came to an end and 1-1 was a great result for Mansfield considering the amount of chances Dale had but if you don't take your chances, you won't win games. I think it shows how far we have come really in that we are expecting to win almost every game now whereas a point against Mansfield, even at home, would have been quite good earlier in the season and last season.
Matt Gilks 7 Not really troubled but dealt with crosses well and had no chance with the goal
Wayne Evans 7 Thought he had a decent game today. He got some good tackles and interceptions in which made up for some poor passes forward
Alan Goodall 7 Good game for Alan. Made several superb tackles and looked good
Greg Heald 7 Greg also had a good game I thought, won plenty in the air and looked solid for the most part
Daryl Burgess 7 Decent game for Burgess, thought he got some superb tackles in at times
Jamie Clarke 7 Looked good in the midfield and tried to create all the time though some of his long passes weren't brilliant
Gary Jones 6 Looked a little out of sorts today. His work rate was superb but his passing was very poor
Ernie Cooksey 7 Did well in the time he was on but was surprisingly taken off late on for McGivern
Leo Bertos 7 Thought he did well in the first half but was a little quiet in the second and was replaced by Atieno late in the second half
PAUL TAIT 7 Just shades the M.O.M award. Scored the Dale goal and his touch was excellent. Should have had a second but it was ruled out for offside
Grant Holt 7 Another good game for Holt but now misses the next two through suspension
Tai Atieno 6 Did little when he came on
Leighton McGivern 6 See Atieno
Barker strikes to earn point - Rochdale 1 Stags 1
MANSFIELD Town snatched a useful point at sodden Spotland this afternoon thanks to a brilliant equaliser by Richie Barker.
Barker's spectacular overhead finish on 38 minutes wiped out Paul Tait's third minute stunner for the home side.
Dale had dominated much of the first half and Grant Holt had struck a post.
But once they levelled against the run of play, Stags were more than equal to the Lancastrians as the rain poured down on the cut-up surface.
Tait had a header disallowed just after the break. But, after that, it was anyone's game.
Stags will be pleased with this point from a ground they rarely come home from with any reward.
But caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer has more injury worries with Fraser McLachlan again hurting his knee near the end and Stags having to finish the game with 10 men, having used all their subs.
With Adam Murray and Tom Curtis also out, McLachlan's injury leaves Palmer with a real headache this week.
"That was a great point," he said. "Rochdale could have run away with it but I thought we showed great character.
"I thought we looked better than them going forward early on but I wasn't happy with us defensively.
"Steve Parkin knows Alex Neil is not a right back and they tried to expose him. Second half I told him to just stay in the hole and we looked much better.
"I think the game was about to run away from us when we scored. But I think we shaded the second half and had two or three chances to nick it near the end.
"Considering the state of the pitch I thought it was a decent game and both sides tried to pass the ball.
"Rochdale probably thought this was three points guaranteed. All the talk before the game was about me not wanting to play the game but all I wanted was a decent surface."
This game had been in doubt right up until this morning due to the state of the Spotland pitch following a Rugby League game there last weekend.
But intense work all week saw the surface pass an initial inspection yesterday lunchtime and a subsequent second inspection first thing this morning before Mansfield set off.
Mansfield made one change with Layton Maxwell coming his for his Mansfield debut as Adam Murray had not recovered from the kick he took on his ankle in midweek.
Newcomers Shane Smeltz and Adam Rundle were both given a place on the bench.
Rochdale, managed by former Stags boss Steve Parkin, also included ex-Stag Jamie Clarke.
Stags were straight onto the attack as Simon Brown ran straight at the home defence.
He fed Corden who had a shot blocked. The ball was returned to Corden who crossed and Larkin stabbed a first time shot over from the penalty spot when he should have at least hit the target. Only 35 seconds had elapsed and it would have been a perfect start.
Instead it was Dale who grabbed the lead in the third minute.
Bertos got to the left by-line and crossed to the far post where Tait had stolen in to bury a close range diving header.
Rochdale threatened again on seven minutes when Jones flicked a clearance on and Holt wrestled himself goalside of John-Baptiste before hurrying a shot just wide from almost 30 yards.
On 13 minutes a promising Larkin run was halted. But the ball was fed to Maxwell whose 20 yard shot took a deflection. However, Gilks was still well placed to catch.
On 17 minutes Neil was robbed by Tait to start a move which ended with Jones driving over first time from 20 yards.
Stags pieced together a swift counter-attack two minutes later which saw Barker find Corden and the winger zip in a stinging shot from 18 yards which Gilks was again behind.
Jones got into a threatening position in the Mansfield box but Buxton produced a superb block to deny his shot.
The pitch was already cutting up and by now the rain had started to come down.
Stags defended two Rochdale corners successfully. But another on 25 minutes - Dale's fourth - saw Heald head firmly against the post.
On 31 minutes Holt slipped Bertos into space in the box and he pulled his finish wide of the far post.
Rochdale forced three more corners and a scramble ended with Bertos unable to dig a finish out of the mud.
But Stags were back in the match on 38 minutes with a stunning equaliser by Barker.
Brown managed to cross from the right at the second attempt and Barker shaped up to acrobatically bury a brilliant overhead volley from eight yards.
Holt was booked for a body check on Brown. Then, after Dimech had tackled Holt in the Stags box, tempers flared and Holt pushed Dimech over as he tried to get up. Both players were booked, though it seemed harsh on Dimech.
But the half ended all square, despite Dale having the edge on chances and possession.
Stags had another major let-off within three minutes of the restart as Rochdale had a goal disallowed.
Clarke's free kick from the left saw Tait leap well to head home just under the bar from six yards. But an offside flag brought their celebrations to a swift end.
As the rain continued to fall, passes increasingly went astray and players were slipping over.
Stags' first corner of the game came to nothing. Then Goodall's 20 yard shot took a deflection for another home corner and, seconds later, Jones drilled a dangerous cross right through everyone in the six yard box in front of goal.
Asamoah joined the action in place of Larkin on 57 minutes.
Another home corner was cleared to Evans 25 yards from goal and he took one touch to control before blazing a finish well over the top.
In a Mansfield raid, Barker headed tamely into Gilks' arms from Brown's cross and, shortly after, Bertos sliced an ambitious finish wide at the other end.
New Zealand international Smeltz made his debut in place of Brown on 63 minutes.
Rochdale made a change on 71 minutes with Bertos withdrawn and Atieno sent on.
Barker cut inside for the visitors a minute later and got in a good shot on target but straight at Gilks.
On 74 minutes Jones turned well for the home side and got in a vicious on-target drive which Pilkington did well to turn over his crossbar.
Their next attack saw a half-clearance shot back across goal and wide from 25 yards by Goodall.
McGivern replaced Cooksey for Rochdale for the last 10 minutes.
Stags won two corners but both were cleared, te visitors then defending one at the other end.
The tiring Maxwell was replaced by youngster Wood for the last six minutes.
Barker almost snatched a winner for Stags on 86 as he sent a diving header wide from eight yards from McLachlan's cross.
McLachlan needed treatment and eventually limped off to leave Stags with 10 men for the last three minutes.
The game then entered four minutes of strength-sapping stoppage time.
A last ditch Holt free kick flew straight to Pilkington and Stags had won their hard-earned point.
Dale boss Parkin said: "It could have been all over in the first half hour with the chances we had. But the moral of the story is once you have gone 1-0 up you stay 1-0 up.
"Everyone wants to win by two, three or four, but it's not always possible.
"We had our spell but didn't get a second and we should have gone in 1-0 up. Instead we conceded a poor goal from a goalkeeper's kick that wasn't contested properly, though it was a good finish from Barker.
"We are just not as ruthless as we were three weeks ago and the players know I am not happy. What we need is one or two new faces in the dressing room so players don't think their places are safe."
Rochdale official site:
Stuart Ashworth at Spotland
Dale failed to put in their bid to finish off Mansfield Town after hunting down the Stags, finding their prey and failing to find that killer touch.
The visitors began the game lively enough and created a great early chance that was squndered by Corden who volleyed over the bar with 45 seconds gone.
Dale's first real chance of the game came after referee Colin Webster played a superb advantage for Dale. Grant Holt set Bertos free with the outside of his right boot and the Kiwi crossed for Tait to head home at full stretch in the thrid minute.
Rochdale impressed with their passing game and efforts on Pilkington's goal arrived in abundance. Sadly all the efforts resulted in Dale supporters in the Sandy Lane ducking for cover.
Mansfield defence certainly earned their money and probably paid a bonus to the post after Greg Heald was unlucky to see his 25th minute header rebound out off the woodwork after Tait flicked on Clarkes corner.
Holt squeezed in Bertos with the half hour mark reached, but Bertos couldn't find the target curling his effort wide.
In 35th minute and Ernie Cooksey drove down the left and fired in a great cross that John-Baptiste did well to head over the bar under strong pressure from Tait.
Mansfield levelled the game against the run of play after Brown put in a cross that was fired into the back of the net in spectacular style by Richie Barker with an overhead kick from 12-yards.
With three minutes of the second half played Dale had the ball in the back of the net after Pilkington missed his punch and Tait headed home, but a linesman flag ruled the effort out.
57 minutes on the clock and more good football from the home side produced a chance for the Dale skipper. A delightful ball by Bertos opened the Stags' defence and Jones opting for power, blasted his effort in, but at the expense of direction.
Grant Holt almost put Dale back into the lead once more with a smart turn on the edge of the box and let fly with a superb shot from 20-yards that Pilkington pushed over the bar with two hands.
Rochdale manager Steve Parkin was left furious minutes later after an active Wayne Cordon looked to play every one on side and as the Dale front men broke free the linesman raised his flag.
Shane Smeltz almost stole the points for Mansfield at the end after a richoet fell kindly for the Kiwi and faced with just Gilks to beat, he failed with the Dale stopper making an excellent block.
It was two points dropped for Steve Parkin's side there can be no question of that and his side are left to rue chances created in the first half.
Rochdale Leo Bertos
Lively performance on a poor pitch. Always looked to beat his man and provided some superb crosses, one of which led to Dale's opener.
Mansfield Town Luke Dimech
Although he couldn't head a ball, he could certainly tackle. Put in some crucial challenges to thwart the Dale onslaught.
Managers Comments in Brief
"We need to finish this game in the first half an hour when we had chance after change - we need to find that ruthlessness in front of goal again."
"Both sides tried to play football, but the pitch was a leveler for sure
Rochdale 1 Mansfield 1 http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk
ROCHDALE set off like the proverbial house on fire taking an early lead and generally battering their visitors but went off the boil in the second period and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Paul Tait gave Rochdale the lead with a flying finish to a Leo Bertos cross on three minutes but after several chances came and went, including a Greg Heald header against the upright, Mansfield levelled on 38 minutes courtesy of a spectacular Richie Barker overhead kick.
Though Rochdale enjoyed the bulk of the second half possession they lacked their earlier spark and rarely troubled a stubborn Mansfield
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