DREADFUL STAGS BEATEN AT HOME AGAIN
Mansfield Town 1 - 3 Oxford United
Larkin pen 90. Basham 8, Hackett 33, 51.
Att 3030 (236 from Oxford)
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
Mansfield Town fell to their third defeat in four home games against Oxford United at Field Mill this afternoon, with only a draw sandwiched in between. It is a run that has finally put paid to any lingering play-off hopes. It was a truly dreadful performance from the Stags who played with no pattern or cohesion, and the defence which had been the second best in the league until today, were so poor that they could have conceded more goals.
Football First match report:
By John Lomas
transcribed by carole
Palmer is left fuming after horror show
CARLTON PALMER suffered the worst possible start to his career as full-time Mansfield manager with a tame home surrender to struggling Oxford.
The visitors had lost four of their previous five games, but looked a class above the Stags as they dominated from start to finish.
Palmer had suffered a rough ride from the home fans in his four months as caretaker boss, and was hoping for a good home win to silence the doubters who were against his full-time appointment last week.
But the Stags have now taken just one point from their last four home games, and this was easily the worst display of those four games.
A distraught Palmer said: I do apologise to the fans – we were poor throughout.
“We have had a talk and I really can't explain a performance like that. Oxford were first to everything all afternoon and we were well beaten.
“I have said that any team that goes out there to represent me won't go down with a whimper, and it won't happen again. Supporters don't pay to come and see rubbish like that. I can fully understand their booing as it was a dismal showing.
“At least a few questions were answered for me about certain players and I know what I need to do. When Fraser McLachlan and Simon Brown came on they showed more spirit than most, and I think Fraser was the only midfielder to win a tackle.”
Mansfield were rocked after only eight minutes when Steve Basham turned Rhys Day in the box to lash home. Then makeshift striker Chris Hackett beat the offside trap after 33 minutes to lob Kevin Pilkington and leave the home side booed off the field at the interval.
It was game, set and match within six minutes of the second half when a clearance came off home midfielder McLachlan's head and Hackett again ran clear to beat Pilkington comprehensively.
Stags had a consolation when Colin Larkin put away a twice taken penalty in stoppage time.
And they will take further consolation from the fact that cancer victim Scott McNiven managed 90 minutes against his old club after four months out of the game.
Oxford head coach Horacio Rodriguez said: “We were the better team. We had information that Mansfield weren't the quickest team at the back and we told the players to stay right on top of them and to stay in the channels. We have pace up front.”
Mansfield Town…… Oxford United
47-----------Possession %---- 53
5------------Shots on Target----5
5------------Shots off Target---1
Match Stags (Stags / Oxford ) Press Assoc:
10 Goal Attempts 6
5 On Target 5
5 Off Target 1
0 Hit Woodwork 0
2 Offsides 18
9 Corners 2
15 Fouls 21
CHAD website report:
Sorry Stags crash 3-1 to Oxford
MANSFIELD Town marked Carlton Palmer's first official match as manager with their worst home display of the season.
Oxford, with four defeats in their previous five games, coasted to victory as Stags were again booed from the field at half-time and at the end.
This time, however, it was hard to defend the team against their critics as Oxford outbattled and outran them in all departments.
Steve Basham put Oxford noses in front on eight minutes and it was all downhill from then on.
Chris Hackett made it 2-0 on 33 minutes and added his second six minutes into the second half to end any home hopes of a comeback.
Colin Larkin's twice-taken stoppage time penalty was scant consolation on an afternoon to forget as sorry Stags made it three defeats in four winless home games.
A disappointed Palmer said: "I do apologise to the fans for that - we were poor throughout.
"We have had a talk and I can't explain a performance like that. Oxford were first to everything and we were well beaten.
"I have said that any team that goes out there to represent me won't go out with a whimper and it won't happen again.
"Supporters don't pay to come and see rubbish like that. I can fully understand the supporters' boos today as it was a dismal showing.
"At least a few questions were answered for me about certain players and I know what I need to do.
"At least when Fraser McLachlan and Simon Brown came on they showed more spirit than most. I think Fraser was the only midfielder to win a tackle."
Stags made five changes to the side held by Shrewsbury last weekend.
Jake Buxton and Alex John-Baptiste missed out with injuries while Colin Larkin, Fraser McLachlan and Simon Brown were dropped to the bench.
There were welcome if unexpected returns in defence for Rhys Day and, against his old club Scott McNiven.
Day had been out since 13th November with an ankle injury while McNiven last played on 6th November before undergoing a life-saving operation for testicular cancer.
It was particularly nice for him to hear his old fans from Oxford chant his name before kick-off. He was also handed the captain's armband for the day in the absence of John-Baptiste and will be pleased to see out a full 90 minutes as will Day.
Andrew Barrowman, on-loan from Birmingham, was handed a full debut up front while Luke Dimech and Tom Curtis were also brought into the starting line-up.
Oxford created the first danger when Bradbury neatly controlled a free kick to cut inside Jelleyman and let fly with a shot that literally hit Dimech in the head before sailing out for a corner kick.
But Oxford swept ahead on eight minutes. Day's poor clearance was headed back in by Bradbury towards Basham. And he turned Day just inside the box before managing to find the top left corner with a mis-hit finish.
Murray warmed Tardif's hands with a 25-yard blast in Mansfield's first shot at goal on 12 minutes.
Stags wasted their first corner with a short effort that they failed to get across.
A lengthy spell of frustration followed for the home side as Oxford continued to look the more dangerous with Bradbury and Basham causing all sorts of problems and only a handful of offside flags denying the visitors going clear.
Tardif did well to hang onto a dangerous near post cross whipped in by McNiven and then he only just beat Barker to a Neil through ball.
Then Day headed a ball down to Rundle who lashed well over from 20 yards.
But Stags' square defence was caught out on 33 minutes. Robinson's through ball reached Hackett. And with no flag and Pilkington off his line, the Oxford striker expertly lifted the ball over him into the empty net from 16 yards.
Stags continued to struggle to make an impression, their next half-chance coming in stoppage time as Jelleyman fired well over from 18 yards from a Curtis pass.
Jelleyman also wasted a corner before the break as he saw it easily cleared at the near post.
The home fans, as asked, had stayed behind their side for the full first half, but the inevitable boos and 'Palmer out' chants began to sound as the players trudged off at half-time.
McLachlan replaced Rundle for the second half which, again inevitably, didn't go down well with some home supporters. Jelleyman pushed up to play wide left and Stags went 4-3-3.
But within six minutes the McLachlan had inadvertently contributed to Oxford's third goal.
McLachlan tried to head Tardif's big kick downfield. But it came off the top of McLachlan's head and Hackett was onto it quickly to race clear and confidently slot home past Pilkington.
Murray's pass almost gave Barrowman a sight of goal. But the youngster sliced his shot well wide.
Neil was replaced by Neil on the right on 55 minutes.
Two minutes later Barker headed down a McNiven free kick and Barrowman crashed a volley over from 15 yards.
A half-clearance on a McNiven cross saw McLachlan also send a volley over as Stags laboured for a way into the contest.
Bradbury fired a vicious shot in from a tight angle on the right for Oxford just before the visitors swapped Davies for Basham.
Argentinean Raponi joined the action in place of Robinson on 65 minutes.
A teasing Brown cross from the right saw McLachlan strain to head wide at the far post before Oxford made their third change in five minutes as Argentinean Diaz came on for fellow countryman Cominelli.
Brown's pace won Stags two corners, both cleared, and then his low cross was kicked out for another which Tardif caught comfortably. From that a clearance to Davies saw the Oxford man run at the home side and almost get through until Dimech popped up with a great tackle.
Larkin replaced Barrowman for the last 15 minutes for the Stags.
Nine minutes from time Jelleyman forced a save from Tardiff with a low 18-yard drive which the keeper was safely behind.
Stags won three more corners in their search for a late consolation to no avail.
Corbo was booked for bringing down Brown on 86 minutes.
Stags finally grabbed a goal in stoppage time when Colin Larkin tucked away a penalty. But he even needed two goes at that.
Jon Ashton brought down Brown to concede the spot kick.
Tardiff got his legs in the way of his first attempt. But referee Paul Danson had spotted Tardif was off his line and ordered a retake, Larkin this time sending Tardif the wrong way.
However, it wasn't enough to prevent the inevitable boos as the sides left the field.
Oxford head coach Horacio Rodriguez said: "We were the better team today.
"We decided to play Chris Hackett up front on Friday and it worked very well as he scored twice.
"We had information that Mansfield weren't the quickest team at the back and we told the players to stay right on top of them and to stay in the channels.
"We have pace up front and had to take advantage of the space. Sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn't. But today was our day.
"We watch a lot of games and knew what to expect. At the start it was difficult as Mansfield change shape from week to week. But we adjusted and did very well. "
Mansfield can't hackett
Chris Hackett scored twice to add to Steve Basham's opener as Oxford took advantage of another poor home performance from Mansfield.
Oxford dominated from the first whistle and went ahead after just eight minutes when Basham latched on to a header from Rhys Day's poor clearance.
Day then played Basham onside and the striker neatly turned and fired past goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington.
Matt Robinson then found Hackett, who cleverly lobbed Pilkington to make it 2-0 before half time.
Sub Fraser McLachan inadvertently flicked on Chris Tardif's long goal kick and set Hackett free to double his tally and end the match as a contest shortly after the break.
In injury time Simon Brown was brought down by Jon Ashton, and referee Paul Danson awarded a penalty. Tardif saved Colin Larkin's initial effort, but Danson ordered a retake and the substitute held his nerve to finally tuck away a consolation goal.
Carlton Palmer's reign as the official manager of Mansfield Town got off to the worst possible start as they collapsed to a 3-1 defeat against Oxford United at Field Mill.
Palmer, appointed in midweek after four months as caretaker boss, was booed off the pitch by disgruntled home fans for the second successive Saturday as Oxford marched to only their second win in six games.
The visitors' pace on the break destroyed a nervous Mansfield and, after being gifted an early breakthrough, Oxford then sealed victory through two Chris Hackett goals.
Palmer had made five changes, including giving a full debut to on-loan Birmingham striker Andrew Barrowman and bringing back long-term absentees Scott McNiven and Rhys Day after four-month injury lay-offs.
McNiven, who has won his fight with testicular cancer, was also made captain, but it was Oxford who went on to dominate from the kick-off.
After Lee Bradbury had gone close in the opening minutes Oxford finally took the lead in the eighth minute after two errors by the ring-rusty Day.
First his poor clearance went straight to Bradbury and, when the striker nodded the ball back into the area, a static Day allowed Steve Basham to shoot unchallenged into the roof of the net.
The Stags rarely looked like equalising in a scrappy opening half hour, with Adam Rundle blazing over and Adam Murray testing the keeper from long range.
In the 33rd minute Oxford doubled their lead. After narrowly failing to spring the offside trap on many occasions Matt Robinson finally succeeded and Hackett raced clear on to his pass to lob the advancing keeper.
Six minutes into the second half Oxford secured victory. Mansfield's substitute Fraser McLachlan inadvertently flicked on a long Chris Tardif goal kick and Hackett raced clear again to roll the ball past the stranded keeper.
Mansfield went close to a consolation when Barrowman volleyed over from an acute angle, McLachlan was twice off target and then Gareth Jelleyman's low drive was well held by the keeper.
But in the final minute the home side at last grabbed a goal. Substitute Simon Brown was tripped in the area by Jon Ashton and fellow substitute Colin Larkin netted from the twice taken penalty.
Mansfield 1-3 Oxford
Chris Hackett netted a brace as Oxford dominated this mid-table clash.
Steve Basham latched on to a header from Rhys Day's poor clearance before neatly turning to fire United ahead.
Hackett cleverly lobbed Stags keeper Kevin Pilkington to make it 2-0 and added his second after Fraser McLachlan flicked on Chris Tardif's goalkick.
Jon Ashton felled Simon Brown to earn the Stags a penalty, Tardif saved Colin Larkin's effort, but the referee ordered a retake which was converted.
Oxford United Official Site:
Mansfield Town vs Oxford United
1 - 3
United sealed their first double of the season as they put Mansfield through the mill at Field Mill this afternoon. A goal from Steve Basham and a brace from Chris Hackett gave United a win which a late penalty from Colin Larkin dampened but couldn't spoil.
Horacio Rodriguez made two changes to the team, recalling skipper Lee Bradbury and Leo Roget at the expense of Tommy Mooney and Juan Pablo Raponi.Scott McNiven made a welcome return for the Stags and was given a great reception by both sets of fans.
It was obvious straight from the kick-off that there was one surprise in the Oxford formation with Hackett playing in attack and Bradbury on the right.
The fans only had to wait for the 7th minute for Hackett to make an impact.The pacy forward chased a lost cause down the right, beat Luke Dimech to the ball and played in a cross that Rhys Day in the Stags defence could only clear straight to Bradbury.The skipper's header fell to Basham who skipped past a static Day and finished well on the half-volley from nine yards to give United the lead.
It was a fantastic start from United, but the real test was now to see if they could keep their concentration and the lead. They almost failed just two minutes later when Chris Tardif had to race from his line to deny Andrew Barrowman after the striker ran onto a Tom Curtis through-ball, but apart from that Oxford looked comfortable throughout the first half, while the home side looked short of confidence despite the repeated pleadings of manager Calton Palmer, who almost deafened most of the press from his place in the stand!
Bradbury was looking good on his return, winning important headers on the wing and getting the ball down and bringing his team-mates into the game and was causing all sorts of problems for the home side.Mansfield were playing a dangerous game at the back though often leaving two defenders back and you felt that if one of the Oxford midfielders were given enough time on the ball, then they would be able to play the killer ball through for Basham or Hackett.
United did not have wait long for that to happen. It was no surprise to anyone in the crowd, except perhaps the bellowing Palmer, when Oxford doubled their advantage.Hackett was looking sharp and was close to being played through on a number of occasions only to be flagged off-side.Practice definitely does make perfect though and in the 33rd minute he timed his run to perfection.Matt Robinson got the ball on the left and lifted a ball over the home defence into the path of Hackett and he kept his composure well to lob Kevin Pilkington from the edge of the box to score his third goal of the season.
This was a professional performance from Oxford on the pitch, and it was also a sign of the increased professionalism off the pitch as Coach Raul Marcovic had scouted The Stags in their last match and this team was picked to exploit the weaknesses that he had seen and reported back. Tactically, The U's were spot on and fully in control of the match as half-time approached and as the whistle sounded for half-time, Oxford could be extremely pleased with the performance and the score line.
Hackett was revelling in his striking role, and with Mansfield persisting with their ill advised offside trap at the start of the second half there was only going to be one outcome. It took seven minutes from the restart before Hackett was galloping away again, this time stretching his legs and advancing on keeper Pilkington before coolly picking his spot and placing the ball in the corner of the net with a minimum of fuss.
It may not rescue the play off dream, but trust us, it was a lot of fun to see.
The back four were solid, the brilliant Bradbury was bossing midfield (alliteration, we must have too much time on our hands writing this) and wherever you looked, United were first to the ball. Craig Davies and Juan Pablo Raponi were given around half an hour to make their mark, definitely a tactical change and no reflection on the excellent Basham and Robinson and there was even some time for some 'lost in translation' comedy as Bradbury's number was held up as the man to be replaced by Emiliano Diaz, and then hastily replaced by Lucas Cominelli's instead. I blame the English teacher.
The extra pace of Davies caused more problems for the over worked home defence, and twice he broke through only to be thwarted by last ditch tackles, while the wide open spaces were suiting Raponi as well. There was still time for Corbo to keep his card to game ratio going with a bit of a lunge at a passing forward, a mere 6/10 on the Corbo scale but maybe enough for a card.
The home side did rally in the final stages, and in the last minute conceded a penalty as Ashton scythed down Brown on the edge of the box. Tardif saved Larkin's first kick but was beaten by the retake after ref Danson judged he moved.
However, despite that goal again, the game was well and truly safe by then and the men in Black could reflect on a job well done.
Report Chris Williams and Julian Hitchman, pictures Darrell Fisher
Latest | March 2005