SUPER STAGS DO DOUBLE OVER COUNTY
Notts County 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
Att 10,055 (3600 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at Meadow Lane
Mansfield Town put in a superb away performance to earn a thoroughly deserved 1-0 win at Meadow Lane this afternoon. The Stags were roared on by a magnificent following of 3600 fans and a headed goal by man of the match Richie Barker was enough to win the game, thanks to a an excellent defensive display which limited the Magpies to very few chances.
Barker's derby glory:
Notts County 0 Stags 1
RICHIE Barker wrote his name into the Mansfield Town history books this afternoon when he scored the only goal in Stags' 3,000th League game as the visitors won for only the second time ever at neighbours Notts County.
The tireless Barker, who had a magnificent game despite a night without sleep, struck with a header on 21 minutes and the Magpies simply had no reply.
Stags certainly had the more defending to do, particularly in the second half. But the Mansfield defence - with out-of-position Jake Buxton outstanding - superbly soaked up all the home side could throw at them and keeper Kevin Pilkington had few real saves to make on the afternoon.
What Stags fans or assistant manager Carlton Palmer didn't know until afterwards was that hero Barker had been at the hospital until 4.30am after his son took ill.
"Richie kept that from me and the players until after the game as he didn't want it to be seen as an excuse," said Palmer.
"He then shot off after the game to be with him which shows what a good professional he is."
On the victory he added: "I told my players before the game that they had to represent what I am about. And they did me proud with a great show of commitment and grit.
"Yes, you want to play football, and we played some good stuff at times. But in local derbies you have to win the battle and we did.
"I had 11 honest boys out there who wanted to pull on a Mansfield shirt and work hard and that's all I can ask of them.
"With an average age of just 22 it bodes well for our future.
"The supporters today were also magnificent, especially in the second half when we had to dig in.
"We've not had the rub of the green recently when we've played well and we should have another nine points than we have right now.
"But you have to enjoy the good times and we will enjoy this - though not too much as we have another game on Tuesday and that means everyone will be back in work in the morning."
You have to go back to the 1958/59 season for Mansfield's only other victory at Meadow Lane. But this one completed a double for this season, Stags having won 3-1 at Field Mill earlier in the campaign.
With Colin Larkin and Simon Brown dropped and Luke Dimech starting a three-game ban, Stags moved Alex Neil to right back and Buxton into the centre of a real makeshift defence.
In came Derek Asamoah on the right of midfield and there was a full debut up front for New Zealand international Shane Smeltz.
Notts welcomed their former striker, Mark Stallard, back on loan from Barnsley.
Stags emerged from the tunnel to a fantastic welcome from a 3,600 away fans packed into the Kop stand behind the goal and the game kicked off amid a superb atmosphere with a big derby crowd of 10,055 in full cry.
Notts had the first goal attempt in the second minute as a long throw was headed cleared to Ullathorne 20 yards out and he volleyed wide.
Stags replied as Rundle sent in a powerful low left wing cross which came at Smeltz too fast for him to get on target and the ball bobbled wide.
Notts came close on 13 minutes when Pilkington the ball to Neil and the full back saw his pass blocked and Gill on his way. He squared a ball to Pipe on the right who shot hard and low across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
Shortly after Pipe tried another effort from a similar position as the ball bounced loose. But Pilkington was behind it at his near post.
On 19 minutes Stags struggled to clear their lines from Gill's throw and Gordon eventually sent a powerful header narrowly wide.
But Mansfield grabbed a 21st minute lead. Rundle, who also had an outstanding afternoon, sent in a free kick from the left of the box and Barker rose superbly on the far side to loop a header over Deeney and under the far angle.
On 29 minutes Jelleyman tested Deeney with an 18-yard shot that the keeper was comfortably behind and within a minute Gordon had nodded wide at the other end from a right wing cross.
Stags then had to weather a fearsome spell of home pressure but stood firm.
And they almost added a second themselves on 35 minutes when Murray's angled pass sent Asamoah on a thrilling run which saw him dribble past two defenders before sending his finish dipping inches over the far angle.
The Magpies then came as close as they had all afternoon on 38 minutes as Gordon's flick put Gill in on goal. But Pilkington was quickly off his line to smother Gill's close range poke.
Stags wasted the afternoon's first corner when Rundle curled it behind and Stags easily cleared County's first flag kick shortly afterwards.
Right on 45 minutes Gill's intelligent pass put Pipe in space. He burst between two defenders but drilled a shot wide of the far post from 25 yards to leave the visitors ahead at the interval.
Tempers flared within four minutes of the restart as Smeltz fouled Ullathorne and the Notts man appeared to throw an arm at Smeltz in retaliation. But Mr Dean, after speaking to his assistant, kept his cards in his pocket.
The Magpies then launched a raid through a good run by Stallard which saw him find Scully whose finish was wide of the far post.
Asamoah then played a one-two down the right. Asamoah crossed low into the box and Smeltz's cheeky attempt at a backheel finish was blocked.
Gill became the first yellow card of the afternoon on 57 minutes for a late tackle on Curtis.
Palmer made a change on 59 minutes, sending on Brown for Smeltz, Asamoah pushing up front. Notts responded by replacing Scully with Palmer.
There were boos from the home fans for Barker who stayed down injured and then got up and raced off after the ball was put out of play.
County quickly hoisted another high ball into the Mansfield box only to see Baudet snatch at his shot and fired well over.
On 68 minutes Notts won a free kick just outside the box on the right. Up stepped Palmer to curl the kick just over the far angle and Mansfield could breath again.
Murray was well over from 25 yards a minute later.
A superbly flighted ball forward by Baudet picked out Gill's run down the left and he met it on the full with a left foot volley that sailed over the bar with Stags wide open.
Baudet then left the field to be replaced by Oakes as Stags fans willed the clock to count down quicker.
There was a moment of huge panic as John-Baptiste miscontrolled a low Stallard cross from the right and Pilkington had to be quick to clear before Notts could pounce.
A long Pipe cross found Gordon at the far post. But he could only head straight at Pilkington as the home fans grew in frustration.
County forced their second corner which was taken short and clutched by Pilkington at the second attempt.
Murray was booked for a foul on Oakes. Oakes took the free kick and Gordon nodded over at the far post as the game entered its last five minutes.
Gordon was booked on 87 for a foul on John-Baptiste and Notts then withdrew defender Ullathorne to send on a third striker in Hurst.
Stags won a free kick near the Notts corner flag, Bolland booked for his protests. But it was cleared and Murray blazed well wide as the ball came out to him.
Three minutes were added at the end to stretch Mansfield nerves to the end before the celebrations could begin. But, in truth, Notts never looked like being able to produce a late rabbit out the hat as Stags stood firm for a famous victory.
To make matters worse for Notts, it was a third defeat and a third game without a goal.
Stags now prepare for the visit of high-flying Swansea City on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Mansfield Town have waited a long time for a league success at Meadow Lane, their only previous win being back in 1958 which made this victory taste all the sweeter.
The Stags had plenty of defending to do before they sealed the victory. The young central defensive pair of Jake Buxton and Alex Baptiste played with the cool aplomb of veterans and the longer the game went on, the more they gained in stature and authority.
County had brought back their former striker Mark Stallard on-loan from Barnsley to seek to cure to their chronic goalscoring problem and although he linked up well and carried a threat he did not contribute a single shot on target.
Neither Stallard nor strike partner Gavin Gordon should be too fiercely criticised because the hard-working midfield lacked the creativity to prise open Mansfield's rearguard.
The contest was settled in Mansfield's favour - enabling them to complete the double - with a preventable first minute goal.
Adam Rundle fired a free-kick to the back post where Richie Barker out-muscled young defender Kelvin Wilson and deceived badly-placed goalkeeper Saul Deeney with a fine header.
The Stags nearly doubled their lead ten minutes before half-time when a thrilling run by Derek Asamoah finished with him curling a shot just over the angle.
Three minutes later Mansfield keeper Kevin Pilkington made his only serious save of the afternoon when he kept out Matthew Gill's close-range effort.
The second half was better from Notts' point of view although they were never convincing as they sank to a third successive league defeat.
Notts County 0-1 Mansfield
Mansfield Town celebrated their 3,000th league game with a derby day victory over local rivals Notts County.
Richie Barker bagged the winner by rising above Kelvin Wilson to head home Adam Rundle's free-kick 20 minutes in.
Winger Derek Asamoah almost doubled the lead after a mazy run that ended with a floated shot which flew just over.
Kevin Pilkington saved bravely from Gavin Gordon as County threatened while Chris Palmer also went close and Shane McFaul hooked a shot over late on.
Football First match report:
By Craig Bowles
transcribed by carole
Barker heads home for landmark victory:
RICHIE BARKER headed Stags to victory to help them celebrate their 3,000th League game in style.
The big man out-muscled his marker Kelvin Wilson and rose to nod in a curling free kick from Adam Rundle.
The goal was enough to earn the visitors their first victory at Meadow Lane in 46 years.
Stags began brightly, but Notts responded through David Pipe, who flashed a shot wide after a powerful run down the right.
Soon after Gavin Gordon latched onto a Mark Stallard's looping flick and powered a header into the side netting. But stags struck on 21 minutes to send their 3,600 travelling fans into delirium.
They could have easily doubled their lead minutes later when Derek Asamoah cut in from the right and shot inches over.
After the break, county, who haven't scored in seven of their last nine League games continued to struggle.
And when Notts defender Shane McFaul also hooked a stoppage time effort into the stand the game was won for Mansfield.
Manager Carlton Palmer was delighted. “We had a team talk before the game and I told the lads I had made my decision about leaving out Wayne Corden and Colin Larkin, so now prove me right,” he said.
“Had we got beaten I would no doubt have come in for a lot of criticism, but they did me and the club proud. I don't like to single out people for praise, but Ritchie Barker was outstanding, especially when you consider he was at the hospital until 4.30 am as his little boy is ill.
County player-boss Ian Richardson was disappointed after a third consecutive defeat.
“It's hard to take because I thought we were the better side. Kelvin let their striker bully him for their goal and I'm never happy when we concede from a set piece.
“We can take credit from the game, however, because we worked so much harder than we have done in the last two matches.
Notts County ……………… Mansfield Town
4-------------Shots on Target---------2
13------------Shots off Target--------5
Latest | February 2005