MURRAY AND RUNDLE FIRE STAGS TO VICTORY
Bury 0 - 2 Stags
Murray 38, Rundle 81
Martin Shaw at Gigg Lane
Goals from Adam Murray and Adam Rundle fired the Stags to a fine 2-0 win at Bury this afternoon. Bury had conceded just 11 goals in 16 home league games but the Stags chose this game to register two goals in a game for only the second time since October 16th.
Stagsnet Player ratings now in the Match Centre
Observer Report by Steve Hartshorn.
SUPER STAGS STUN SHAKERS
Goals from Adam Murray and Adam Rundle gave Stags an excellent away win against a Bury side who had conceded just 11 goals in their previous 16 Coca Cola League Two encounters.
Despite their lowly position The Shakers are pretty miserly at their Gigg Lane home, so for Mansfield Town to score two goals without reply was an outstanding achievement especially considering The Stags hadn't scored more than one goal in a game since the 2-0 away victory over Shrewsbury Town on December 18th.
Stags took to the field in an unhealthy looking kit of amber shirts with orange shorts and socks, but there was nothing sickly about the performance as Mansfield showed great character in bouncing straight back from the previous weeks disappointing defeat at home to Cheltenham Town.
Stags now sit just behind the Play Off picture and if the current run is continued then a Play Off position is well within their grasp. This weekend The Stags travel to struggling Rushden & Diamonds but then have two consecutive home games against Shrewsbury Town and Oxford United, giving Carlton Palmers' men a marvellous chance of progressing up the League table.
The Gigg Lane pitch was well weathered and made a fine passing game almost impossible. In fact it was almost 15 minutes before either side fashion a clear-cut chance, Flitcroft firing wide from the edge of the Stags box.
It was Mansfield though, who should have broken the deadlock on 22 minutes. A fine corner from Rundle found the Bury keeper rooted to his line and presented Fraser McLachlan with a great opportunity of heading The Stags in front, unfortunately his header hit the roof of the net instead of the back of it.
Colin Larkin had harsh claims for a penalty turned down and from a fine cross from Alex Neil, Richie Barker headed wide as The Stags began to take the game to the home side.
The Stags took a deserved lead on 38 minutes with a goal that oozed quality. A kick from Pilkington found Adam Rundle who delightfully floated the ball over the Bury defence into the path of the front running, Adam Murray. He let the ball bounce just once before hitting an unstoppable half volley from the edge of the area into the top right hand corner of the Bury net.
The expected home sides revival appeared in force for the first fifteen minutes of the 2nd half but bar from a scramble in The Stags area where it seemed almost everyone had a swipe at the ball, The Stags defence held firm.
With the Bury storm weathered, it was the visitors who once again began to threaten as Rundle had a speculative effort tipped over the bar and from the resulting corner, Buxton saw his header cleared off the line.
On 78 minutes the pitch decided to play a part in the proceedings. Colin Larkin raced into the Bury box but with the ball difficult to control, it bobbled and gave the Bury keeper the chance to claim the ball when all expected Larkin to add Mansfield's second goal of the game.
That deserved second goal though was not long in coming. Barker did well to get to a ball that looked all on to be the keepers and squared the ball across the six yard box where a touch from Murray laid on a simple tap in from 2 yards for Adam Rundle.
Moments later The Stags could have been three up, but Neil's cross was headed just over the bar by a desperate looking Bury defender.
The remaining minutes saw Mansfield in total control and the final whistle was greeted by loud cheers from the travelling Stags support.
Overall it was an impressive away performance from a Stags side who have now won three of their last four games and who on this kind of form could still provide a season of cheer.
Observer Man of the match – Alex John-Baptiste- never put a foot wrong all afternoon.
7TH HEAVEN - STAGS IN SIGHT OF PLAY-OFFS
Evening Post, 21 February 2005
Whisper it, but Mansfield Town are back in the play-offs reckoning.
Carlton Palmer is trying to remove any pressure his young troops may be feeling by insisting the play-offs would just be a bonus.
But a third win, and third clean sheet in four matches, at Bury on Saturday was proof enough that this season is far from over for the Stags.
When Mansfield faltered at home to Cheltenham, Palmer insisted it was just a blip caused by the tiredness accumulated in those magnificent wins over Notts County and Swansea City inside four days.
He insisted they would be back on song at Bury - scene of one of last season's tamest surrenders by the men from Field Mill.
Lo and behold, Palmer delivered on his promise and Stags are now just three points off the coveted seventh spot thanks to goals in each half by Adam Murray and Rundle.
Anything above that looks a tall order now with only 13 games left and an eight-point gap.
But Mansfield are without doubt one of the leading contenders among the batch of sides chasing seventh and their fixture list over the next few weeks looks very kind to them.
Bury was freezing cold and Gigg Lane offered a rutted, uneven surface in which quality football was a no-go.
So it was down to sheer will-to-win and the ability to dig in and scrap out a result.
And Mansfield won that battle hands down, starting from the back where goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington exuded a contagious confidence by making it all look so easy.
He commanded his box, caught most of the Shakers' 12 corners and rarely looked in any trouble.
His back four were again superb, with Alex John-Baptiste and Alex Neil in particular catching the eye.
But it was in midfield where the battle was won. And Fraser McLachlan - so often lauded by Palmer - showed his qualities to great effect.
Palmer has already told Stags fans what McLachlan can't do. Do not expect 50-yard pinpoint passes or fancy dribbles.
But McLachlan, he insisted, is the type of player every side needs. He will win you the ball in midfield and then give it to a team-mate. Simple and effective. And that is just what he showed at Bury.
McLachlan has struggled to win fans over as he has struggled with fitness. The last time he showed anything like his capabilities, at Boston, he was injured midway through the first half.
But on Saturday, still not fully match fit, he showed how effective he could be in the run-in.
Over 400 Stags fans in the 2,529 crowd watched both sides labour to string passes together, or even control the ball, on the tricky surface in a poor first half.
Desperate Bury boss Graham Barrow even changed his formation after just 28 minutes, going from five at the back to four to the obvious disgust of a very disappointed Colin Woodthorpe as he trooped off sulkily.
Both McLachlan and Richie Barker failed to hit the target with headers from excellent positions before Stags produced the one real quality move of the first half on 38 minutes.
Breaking quickly from a Bury corner, Rundle raced away down the left, looked up and delivered the most inviting of crossfield balls to the incoming Murray. He let it bounce once before dispatching a clinical finish across Andy Marriott from just outside the box.
Bury did go up a gear after the interval. But with giant on-loan Reading striker Bas Savage well policed by John-Baptiste and Jake Buxton, they rarely looked like beating Pilkington, apart from one hectic goalmouth scramble when anything could have happened.
Instead teenage winger Rundle, having set up the first goal, crowned another enthusiastic display with his maiden goal for the club, to kill off the Shakers eight minutes from time.
Barker took possession on the right of the box and, with Marriott trying to narrow his angle, Barker drilled the ball low past the keeper. Murray got a nonchalant flick on and Rundle, all alone at the far post, simply made sure the ball crossed into an empty net.
Bury complained he was offside but it was all academic by that stage.
So Stags go into Tuesday night's home game with away specialists Wycombe Wanderers under more pressure from the stands than from the manager.
Having been to Cardiff last year, some Stags fans will see anything less this season as failure.
But with so much upheaval on and off the field this season, it is a small miracle that they are still in with a shout while Palmer - apparently still doing the job for free as caretaker - is quietly building a promising young side that could do much in the future.
Wonder goal sets up Stags victory
One of the best goals ever seen at Gigg Lane gave Mansfield Town a half time lead which was extended late on thanks to incompetent officiating by a linesman. It was yet another poor display at home by the Shakers who rarely looked like getting a result.
Supporters in the Gigg Lane main stand may have been directing their frustrations at the dreadful linesman in front of them but even the yellow flagged Mr Yates couldn't be blamed for the shocking lack of creativity that Bury produced in a 2-0 home defeat to Mansfield Town.
The passing football seen earlier on in the season so often cut apart the opposition defences but there was nothing similar on show today as Bury panicked and hoofed the ball away with only a five minute spell in each half to show what they could really do.
A terrific through ball by Gary Harkins almost set Jon Newby free early on and the striker had Bury's best chance in the first half when he connected with a right wing cross but fired just wide from inside the six yard box. The referee strangely gave a corner but all of the home sides set-pieces during the match were poorly directed and never found their intended target.
The Shakers were seriously lacking ideas and the Stags were casually confident in their own play with the odd counter attack showing that they possessed a number of pacey threats going forward.
Seemingly playing three up front, the Bury defence began to have difficulty picking up their men with players coming forward from midfield too. Colin Woodthorpe picked up an unlucky booking after a Stags player overeacted and was soon taken off as Bury switch to 4-4-2 and therefore avoiding a red card for the veteran defender.
The new formation failed to produce anything new for Bury who rarely threatened going forward with Bas Savage on his home debut struggling with the heavy Gigg Lane pitch.
Alex John-Baptiste headed inches over from a corner with twenty minutes gone but Carlton Palmers men took the lead shortly afterwards by netting one of the best goals ever seen at Gigg Lane.
Adam Rundle floated a cross to the edge of the box from the left hand side and the impressive Adam Murray hit a sweet volley into the opposite corner giving Andy Marriott no chance at all. The goal was applauded all around the ground.
After half time, Bury appeared to step up a gear without really troubling until a Newby volley was blocked on the goal line and a number of other efforts were hacked away in a desperate goal mouth scramble. It was a mystery how it didn't cross the line. Only nine minutes were left when the Stags sealed the game and scored a controversial second goal.
Richie Barker beat Marriott to the ball as they both raced at it in the six yard box. Barker knocked the ball to Murray who's cheeky back heel found Rundle stood two yards offside in front of an empty net to score an easy goal.
The Bury players complaints fell on def ears and despite the linesman being flag happy in the first half and getting almost every decision wrong, he chose not to flag this time and the hardworking visitors had wrapped up three points from a scrappy and uneventful game.
Y3K PLAYER RATINGS
Andy Marriott: 7
Seemed to have his defence organised and handled well when called upon.
Lee Unsworth: 6
The change of formation didn't help him but he did okay at the back.
Tom Kennedy: 6
Made a few good tackles to take the ball off his opponent.
John Fitzgerald: 7
Again showed that he can do the simple things well in a no thrills display.
Colin Woodthorpe: 5
Substituted but was playing well before he was booked for a foul in midfield.
Dave Challinor: 7
Worked hard to keep the Stags out and won a lot of headers in the air.
Dave Flitcroft: 7
Was the best Bury player in the first half winning tackle after tackle.
Brian Barry-Murphy: 4
Seems so unsure of his own role in the side and his passing wasn't productive.
Gary Harkins: 7
Regularly tried to get his foot on the ball and play it forward.
Bas Savage: 5
Struggled to make a mark going forwards but okay with his back to goal.
Jon Newby: 6
Made plenty of good runs but nobody had the vision to find them.
Simon Whaley: 6
Looked confident and forward thinking but struggles to beat his opponents.
League Two Result
Saturday 19th February
Bury 0 Mansfield Town 2 (Murray 38, Rundle 82)
Att: 2,529 (405 visitors)
Football First match report:
By Trevor Baxter
transcribed by carole
Murray opener fires up Rundle
ADAM RUNDLE rounded off a fine performance by scoring his first Mansfield Town goal.
The Durham-born youngster, signed recently from Dublin City in the League of Ireland, had the simplest of tap-ins eight minutes from time.
It was nothing more than Rundle and Mansfield deserved despite suspicions of offside following a build-up involving Richie Barker and Adam Murray.
It had been Murray who scored the opening goal after 38 minutes courtesy of Rundle's exquisite cross-field pass. The move originated by keeper Kevin Pilkington, also featured Gareth Jelleyman and was finished in some style from 20 yards by midfielder Murray.
The same players also forced home keeper Andy Marriott into action in the second period. Marriott, whose contract at Gigg Lane expires at the end of the month, had to deal with another long-range Murray effort, while tipping Rundle's dipping left-wing centre away for a corner.
No wonder caretaker boss Carlton Palmer, on his return to Greater Manchester, was delighted.
“It's our third win in four games and a clean sheet,” explained the one time Stockport County chief. “Our keeper didn't have a save to make against a good Bury side.
“We probably had it too easy in the first half and that's when you get sloppy and start to make mistakes.
“That's what happened at the start of the second half but overall I thought we thoroughly deserved our win,” added Palmer, pleased with the individual efforts of Rundle, top scorer Colin Larkin and returning midfielder Fraser McLachlan.
McLachlan and Barker went close to scoring with headers before Murray gave Mansfield the advantage with this goal-of-the-season contender.
Bury were fired up by the half-time team talk of manager Graham Barrow and on-loan striker Bas Savage briefly flickered into life on his home debut.
But Savage, impressive the week before at York Street, was largely ineffective, as were the majority of the Bury players.
“It was probably our worst performance in a while,” said Barrow. “I could make plenty of excuses but I'm not going to. The bottom line is we've got to start winning football matches again. We can do it but it's not going to be easy.”
Buy …………………….. Mansfield Town
5--------------Shots on Target-------6
4--------------Shots off Target-------4
Stags bounce back to win 2-1 at Bury
MANSFIELD Town bounced straight back from last weekend's disappointment with a hard-earned 2-0 win at struggling Bury this afternoon.
Adam Murray and Adam Rundle bagged a goal in each half as Stags dug in on a rutted Gigg Lane surface which hardly helped what was overall a poor game of football.
But that made it three wins in four games for Carlton Palmer's men and kept those outside play-off hopes alive after last Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Cheltenham Town.
A superb strike from Murray broke the deadlock on 38 minutes after Fraser McLachlan and Richie Barker had spurned good headed chances.
And, after comfortably holding an improved Bury at bay in the second half, Rundle delivered the killer blow eight minutes from time - his first goal for the club.
Stags made one change with Fraser McLachlan coming into the centre of midfield and last week's debutant, Goma Lambu, left out.
Larkin was moved to the right of the front three in a 4-3-3.
The visitors were first to threaten when McLachlan headed over from a Rundle corner on four minutes.
Stags safely defended two Bury corners while on 14 minutes Flitcroft was just wide of the far post from 25 yards.
Mansfield were happy to concede a third corner when Newby had a near post effort deflect wide from Unsworth's low cross.
McLachlan should have put the visitors ahead on 22 minutes when, from Rundle's corner, he sent a free header from just four yards over the top.
The first yellow card of the afternoon was shown to Woodthorpe on 24 minutes for his late lunge at Barker near the halfway line.
Stags continued to press and Larkin's shot was blocked from Neil's pull-back and then Rundle sent a low shot straight at the keeper.
Soon after Barker headed wide from another Neil cross.
Woodthorpe was replaced by Whaley on 28 minutes as Bury abandoned their five-man defence to go 4-4-2.
Stags threatened again when Neil pulled another ball back towards Larkin. But Larkin sliced his shot and, when the ball ran to Rundle, he did the same at the far post.
But Stags grabbed a 38th minute lead with a quick break up field from a Bury corner. Rundle lofted a superb crossfield ball to Murray who let it bounce before unleashing a powerful finish across Marriott.
Bury replied with a corner that was only cleared as far as Challinor who lashed well over as Stags reached half-time a goal to the good.
Barry-Murphy had the first sniff of goal after the break with a low shot from 20 yards which was straight at the keeper.
Bury twice came close as Newby had a near post effort deflect narrowly wide and then, amid a goalmouth scramble as Stags failed to clear the corner, Harkins saw his effort cleared off the line and Flitcroft had a backheeled effort blocked.
Stags broke quickly up field and the move ended with Murray shooting from 18 yards to bring a good save out of Marriott.
Rundle almost fluked a goal with a long cross that Marriott had to claw from under his bar. And from the corner John-Baptiste had a header blocked just in front of goal.
Unsworth blazed over from Bury's next corner as the home side tried to up the pressure.
But Larkin almost added a second as his touch let him down from Pilkington's big clearance and Marriott was able to pounce before the striker could round him.
However, Stags did grab a crucial second goal eight minutes from time to kill off the game Shakers.
Barker latched onto the ball on the right of the box and, with Marriott coming towards him, he slotted the ball low past the keeper, Murray flicked it on and a delighted Rundle turned home his first goal for the club at the far post.
Fitzgerald was cautioned for dissent in the final minute to crown a miserable afternoon for the Lancashire side.
Smeltz replaced Barker and Lloyd came on for Murray, both in stoppage time as Stags wasted a few more precious seconds.
Bury 0-2 Mansfield
Adam Rundle netted his first goal for Mansfield as Carlton Palmer's side claimed a deserved victory at Bury.
The visitors should have taken the lead through Fraser McLachlan and Richie Barker but Adam Murray scored just after the half-hour mark.
And Rundle, back in League Two after a spell in the League of Ireland, settled the matter in the closing stages, after good work by Barker and Murray.
The Shakers were poor all over the pitch and did not force a single save.
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