IT`S PIRACY AS SUPER STAGS ARE ROBBED BY REFEREE
Bristol Rovers 4 - 4 Mansfield Town
Williams 21, Walker 45 pen, Agogo 82 pen, Forrester 88.
Barker 19, 49, Larkin 46, Lloyd 68.
Attendance: 5,294 (189 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at the Memorial Ground
Mansfield Town produced a super display at the Memorial Ground this afternoon on a warm afternoon of thrilling entertainment, but two hugely controversial penalties enabled Bristol Rovers to scramble an undeserved point.
Stagsnet Match report now in the Match Centre.
STAGS ROBBED BY PIRATES
Observer Report by Steve Hartshorn.
Carlton Palmer's Stags turned in a stunning display but only returned =
with one point from their trip to Bristol Rovers last weekend.
Entertainment was the name of the game as two sides stuck in mid-table =
obscurity produced a thriller that finished 4-4.
It could and should have been much better for an under fire Mansfield =
side that had lost so disappointingly at home to Oxford United the =
previous week but the Referee decided to award two controversial =
penalties to the home side, one of which on the stroke of half time saw =
Stags Manager, Carlton Palmer banished to the stand for the 2nd half for =
remonstrating about the decision.
Palmer was forced into a number of changes, Giles Coke making his debut =
in The Stags midfield and there were also starting places for Callum =
Lloyd Jake Buxton, Fraser McLachlan and Colin Larkin.
The first quarter of an hour of the game saw both sides feeling each =
other out, but on 17 minutes Stags could have taken the lead if it were =
not for a fine save from Ryan Clarke in the Rovers goal. Richie Barker =
nodded the ball down invitingly on the edge of the area for Lloyd to =
rifle. The shot looked destined to find the back of the net but was =
turned over the crossbar by the flying keeper.
Stags did manage to break the deadlock however just two minutes later. =
Rundle cut the ball back to Scott McNiven who unleashed a shot that the =
home Keeper could only parry into the path of the predatory Richie =
Barker who made no mistake from close range.
The celebrations had hardly finished when Rovers fashioned an equaliser. =
Ex-Stag, Ryan Williams was afforded acres of space and ran in to coolly =
slot the ball under Pilkington.=20
The home side, who had looked well short of idea's up until then raised =
their game and there was relief all round for Mansfield when an effort =
from Junior Agogo cannoned off the top of the near post.
On 27 minutes, following a Rovers corner, Neil was on hand to clear off =
the line from Richard Walker.
On 32 minutes it was Mansfield's turn to rattle the woodwork, again it =
was Rundle who fed the ball to McNiven who's fierce shot from 20 yards =
came back off the Rovers goal frame with Clarke well beaten.
After 42 minutes, Williams again raced towards the Mansfield goal, this =
time Stags were grateful for a fine save from Pilkington.
However on the stroke of half time, Referee Grant Hegley caused =
controversy. McNiven challenged Haldane by the by-line and when the =
Rovers front man went down, the Referee pointed to the spot. The ground =
strangely went silent in amazement and there were looks of disbelief on =
the faces of the Stags players.
Richard Walker confidently sent Pilkington the wrong way to send Rovers =
into the half time break in the ascendancy. As the players left the =
field, Alex Neil and Carlton Palmer let the Referee know their feelings =
about his decision to award the penalty, Neil was booked, whilst Palmer =
was banished to the stands for the 2nd period.
Just 44 seconds into the 2nd half The Stags were back on level terms. =
Rovers defender, John Anderson had an option to pass back to his =
Goalkeeper but instead laid the ball into the path of Colin Larkin who =
fired home in clinical style from the edge of the Rovers area.
The Stags supporters had not yet calmed down before incredibly The Stags =
scored a third goal, the first time they had netted three goals in a =
game since the home victory over Notts County way back on the 16th =
October. This time it Alex Neil supplied a superb cross into the area =
where Barker headed the ball home.
Stags were in dominant mood Coke going close and Clarke again being at =
his best to deny a header from Larkin.
The home keeper was almost caught out when a 40-yard free kick from =
McNiven caused concern but the Keeper recovered enough to clutch the =
ball under his crossbar.
On 67 minutes, Rovers boss Ian Atkins introduced former Stags hero, =
Craig Disley into the fray, but just a minute later The Stags went a =
further goal ahead. McLachlan's excellent ball found Barker in the box, =
he then in turn laid the ball back to Callum Lloyd who gleefully with =
the help of a slight deflection slotted the ball away to score his first =
Stags had chances to go further ahead as the game entered its last =
fifteen minutes, both Rundle and Coke having efforts blocked and =
McLachlan caused Clarke worries from 30 yards.
Rovers looked well beaten but were thrown a lifeline by yet another =
controversially penalty awarded by Referee, Hegley. A Ryan Williams free =
kick was floated into the area where Buxton headed the ball back to =
Pilkington but to everyone's amazement with help from his assistant, The =
Referee again pointed to the spot. Agogo slotting away the kick.
On 85 minutes, Lloyd again tested Clarke in the Rovers goal, but the =
keeper was equal to it.
Two minutes later and the home side were level. A ball into the box =
wasn't claimed by Pilkington who was under pressure from two Rovers =
players, and Jamie Forrester was on hand to slot the ball home from =
Rovers were on the up and Agogo had the chance to win the game but was =
denied by Pilkington. Disley also had a chance but with glory in his =
eyes, headed weakly wide of the far post.
It was a terrific performance from Mansfield who did more than enough to =
come back from Bristol with all three points instead of the one. This =
week Stags take on two sides battling for league survival. On good =
Friday Chester City come to Field Mill, fresh from their 3-2 victory =
over Notts County and then on Bank Holiday Monday The Stags come face to =
face with ex-Manager, Stuart Watkiss when they travel to Kidderminster =
Football First match report:
By Lou Lansdowne
transcribed by carole
Palmer angry at having to pay penalties:
CARLTON PALMER was banished from the touchline as two controversial penalties cost Mansfield a victory.
The Stags boss was unable to take his place in the dugout for the second half after making his feelings plain to referee Grant Hegley in the heat of an amazing game.
Palmer said: “I was sent off for asking what the first penalty was given for as we left the field at half time.
“It was never a penalty and once again decision making by a referee who had a poor game has cost us.
“Overall, I was delighted with the way we played, but some unforced errors let Rovers back into the game when we seemed to have it under control.”
Rovers manager Ian Atkins said: “We showed terrific character at 4-2 down, but again we shot ourselves in the foot with some poor defending at a corner.
“People look at the back four, but I also blame our attacking players for not doing their job. We don't get rolled over by opponents. We gift them points.”
Mansfield struck first through Richie Barker's close-range finish on 20 minutes, but almost immediately Ryan Williams fired a low equaliser and seconds before the interval Rovers went in front through Richard Walkers spot-kick after Alex Neil had been harshly judged to have tripped Lewis Haldane.
It all went wrong for Rovers early in the second half as John Anderson's mistake led to an emphatic finish from Colin Larkin after 46 minutes. Barker headed his second five minutes later and Callum Lloyd made it 4-2 before Junior Agogo replied with an 82nd minute penalty.
This time it took an eagle-eyed assistant referee to spot some shirt tugging on Agogo, an offence missed by the referee Hegley and most of the crowd.
The resulting goal inspired a frantic Rovers finale and substitute Jamie Forrester levelled the score after 88 minutes with a low finish after Mansfield goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington had failed to collect a cross.
Both sides hit the woodwork, Agogo with a 24th minute shot and Mansfield's Scott McNiven with a brilliant dipping effort seven minutes later.
There were plenty of other chances in a thrilling open game as Rovers recorded their 19th League draw of the campaign.
There could even have been an injury time winner for Agogo but Pilkington atoned for his earlier error by diving to his right to keep out a stinging drive.
Bristol Rovers………. Mansfield Town
44-----------Possession %---- 56
9------------Shots on Target----9
3------------Shots off Target----3
Bristol Rovers 4-4 Mansfield
Bristol Rovers rescued a point with two goals in the closing eight minutes.
Richie Barker's close-range finish put them ahead only for Ryan Williams to level with a low shot.
Rovers went 2-1 up with a Richard Walker penalty, but Mansfield hit back as John Anderson gifted a goal to Colin Larkin and Barker headed in his second.
Callum Lloyd made it 4-2 before Junior Agogo replied from the penalty spot and substitute Jamie Forrester secured a point with two minutes remaining.
Despite being locked in mid-table obscurity Bristol Rovers and Mansfield produced a thrilling 4-4 encounter at the Memorial Stadium.
First Mansfield turned around a 2-1 deficit after the break to race into a 4-2 lead only to then throw it away in the final 10 minutes following a furious late Rovers rally which carried them to their 19th draw of the campaign.
The game hinged on two controversial penalties both scored by Rovers.
The first, right on half-time, slotted in by Lewis Haldane left Mansfield reeling and brought a booking for defender Alex Neil as they walked off.
The second was given on the say so of a linesman that was equally as decisive as Junior Agogo sparked Rovers' fight back.
Mansfield's stunning second half revival had looked certain to give them a sixth away win and put them past the holy grail of 50 points.
They scored two in the first four minutes of the second half with a great strike from Jamie Forrester and a well placed header from Richie Barker.
It looked all over for the demoralised Rovers when their uneasy defence handed a further goal to Callum Lloyd.
Rovers had put themselves under early pressure by conceding too many free kicks deep in their own half. When John Anderson clipped Fraser McLachlan's ankle they had to survive not only the free-kick, but also two corners.
The advantage was with Mansfield and, after Ryan Clarke had tipped a fierce shot from Lloyd away for another corner, it came as no surprise when they went ahead through Barker on 20 minutes.
After losing 3-1 at home to Oxford seven days earlier, Mansfield had taken a verbal lashing from new manager Carlton Palmer who made six changes.
This left, first Agogo, and then Ryan Williams with as much space as they needed down Rovers left flank.
Within a minute of taking the lead a Mansfield allowed Rovers a goal as Williams broke from the half way line to slip his shot past Kevin Pilkington.
Stags held in eight-goal thrillerMANSFIELD Town hit top form again this afternoon, but were rocked by two Bristol Rovers goals in the last eight minutes that earned the Pirates a remarkable 4-4 draw.
Stags, under fire for their poor display last week, had the perfect answer as they grabbed a 19th minute lead, went 2-1 down before the break to a controversial penalty, and then raced into a 4-2 lead in the second half.
But Rovers snatched an unlikely and undeserved point with their two late strikes, the first another highly controversial penalty decision and the last a mistake by keeper Kevin Pilkington just two minutes from time that allowed substitute Jamie Forrester to steal an equaliser.
While no one expected an eight-goal shoot-out, a draw was hardly a surprise as this was the home side's 19th of the season - extending the new club record of last week. Indeed, it was a fourth successive stalemate for the Pirates who had not won in their previous eight matches.
But Mansfield, themselves without a win in four matches at the start, will have left the ground much the happier as the makeshift side dominated for long spells and could and should have scored more than the four that hit the net.
Both sides also rattled the woodwork in a real thriller.
Manager Carlton Palmer, who was banished to the stand for the second half after haring his views with referee Grant Hegley at the break, said: "That was a very good performance and I was delighted with them, particularly the young lads.
"We dominated the game and were the better footballing side.
"But again it was a referee's decision-making that cost us. The referee was poor throughout and gave us nothing.
"I think it's wrong that you can't even talk to referees now, he sent me off at half-time, and if you say they are poor you get into trouble. But he was poor.
"The first one definitely wasn't a penalty. The linesman gave nothing, no one appealed and the boy went down very late. He was never going to get the ball and can't be accused of trying to stay on his feet.
"The second one I will have to see on the video again. But if Luke Dimech has pulled a shirt then it was stupid thing to do.
"I was particularly pleased with the three young lads who won the battle in the midfield for us. Fraser again showed what he can do, Giles and Callum did well, as did Adam Rundle.
"Richie Barker led the side superbly and I thought that was Colin Larkin's best game for me. He was outstanding.
"I am just disappointed we were leading 4-2 near the end and the manner of the goals we gave away.
"The Stags fans who came all this way today were superb and gave the lads a chance. I hope the home fans will do the same on Friday, as they did before the Oxford game."
Still depleted, Mansfield made five changes from last weekend's 3-1 home defeat by Oxford United.
Out went Rhys Day, who is still well short of being fit, injured trio Gareth Jelleyman, Adam Murray and Tom Curtis, and Andrew Barrowman, who was relegated to the bench.
In came new signing 18-year-old Kingstonian midfielder Giles Coke for his debut, Jake Buxton, Colin Larkin, Callum Lloyd and Fraser McLachlan.
Inexperienced duo Lloyd and Coke were both busy and made good contributions, but the rutted pitch in the centre of the park made control difficult for them.
Rovers dropped former Stags favourite Craig Disley to the bench though there was a place for another former Mansfield Town, Ryan Williams, who was eventually named man of the match for the home side.
Stags, playing in their home yellow shirts and away orange shorts, lined-up 4-4-2 with McNiven moving across to left back and Neil at right back in another makeshift back four.
Mansfield comfortably survived Rovers' early pressure which included a poor corner by Williams.
In Mansfield's first raid a Rundle cross from the left floated onto the roof of the net.
On 12 minutes Mansfield forced two successive corners. But on a well-worn surface, play was generally scrappy.
But Lloyd almost broke through on 17 minutes when Barker nodded the ball down just outside the box and it sat up invitingly for Lloyd to drill a shot that keeper Clarke did well to turn over his crossbar.
However Stags were ahead on 19 minutes. Rundle fed the ball back to McNiven on the left. He cut inside and, offered time and space, he let fly with a good shot that Clarke could only parry. And Barker was well positioned to tuck the loose ball away, despite Clarke getting a hand to it.
But before the celebrations had died down Rovers were level two minutes later.
Williams was afforded acres of space down the left and simply ran on with the ball before slotting it under Pilkington from just inside the box.
Agogo penalty appeals were ignored as he went down under Neil's challenge. And seconds later another Agogo run ended with a fierce left foot blast that came back off the top of the near post.
On 27 minutes Stags had another let-off as a scramble ensued following a Rovers corner and Neil had to clear Walker's attempted finish off the line.
A Hinton cross from wide out on the right threatened to creep under Pilkington's far angle and the keeper just managed to turn it over.
But on 32 minutes Rundle again fed McNiven and his 20 yard blast came back off the Rovers crossbar.
Mansfield survived another scramble from Rovers' 42nd minute corner.
And in the final minute of the first half Neil sold himself in a challenge on Williams which left the former Stags man in space for another good run which this time ended with an excellent save from Pilkington.
But in stoppage time Mansfield were rocked by a penalty decision.
McNiven went into a tackle on Haldane on the by-line and Haldane went down.
None of the Rovers players or supporters called for a penalty. But referee Mr Hegley pointed to the spot and Walker obliged by sending Pilkington the wrong way.
The half-time whistle blew seconds later and Palmer let the referee know what he thought of the decision before he went down the tunnel.
Neil did the same and was booked for his troubles while Palmer was banished to the stands for the second half.
It was a blow from the blue for the Stags who had thoroughly deserved to go in level.
Haldane was replaced by Forrester for the second half.
And within 44 seconds of the kick-off justice appeared to have been done following the penalty controversy as Rovers gifted Mansfield an equaliser.
Instead of playing the ball back to his keeper Anderson played it into the path of Larkin who, from the edge of the box, lashed home a superb clinical finish with Clarke helpless.
Better was to come as on 49 minutes minutes Mansfield swept back in front.
Neil curled in a splendid cross from the right and Barker was there five yards from goal to bury his header. It was the first time since 16th October against Notts County that Mansfield have netted three times in a game.
Neat footwork by Coke created an opening three minutes later but his right foot shot was well over the crossbar.
Home fans were furious when Agogo tried to flick the ball past Dimech to go clear and it struck the Maltese international on the arm, the referee waving play on.
Then Lloyd found himself in space and tried to go clear but went down too easily under the first challenge and the moment was gone.
On 57 minutes McNiven floated in a ball which Larkin got a head onto and Clarke made another good save to tip it round for a corner.
McNiven took a free kick from over 40 yards and almost caught Clarke napping with a surprise attempt on goal, the keeper clutching it under his crossbar.
Former Stags star Disley finally joined the action on 67 minutes, replacing Hinton, drawing applause from home and away fans alike.
However, the visitors struck again on 68 minutes for their first four-goal haul since 5th September.
McLachlan's excellent long ball forward found Barker. The big striker still had work to do to keep it in play but superbly laid it back towards the incoming Lloyd who struck a sweet first time finish past Clarke to spark joyful celebrations for his first goal for the club.
Rovers looked for a quick reply but Forrester's perfectly-weighted cross was headed straight at Pilkington by Walker.
Barker then almost punished Rovers for struggling to clear their lines but guided a header inches wide after a defender headed across his own box.
Mansfield, 4-2 up away from home with 15 minutes left, continued to press and both Rundle and Coke had shots blocked while McLachlan was only just over from 30 yards with Clarke backpeddling.
McNiven crashed a 25-yard free kick into the Rovers wall.
But, incredibly, Rovers were awarded another controversial spot kick with eight minutes to go to give them a lifeline.
Stags were defending a Williams free kick and the referee pointed to the spot as the ball came into the box, adjudging a Stags defender to have fouled Agogo.
This time Agogo sent Pilkington the wrong way and we were all set for a grandstand finish.
On 85 minutes Clarke was again forced into a tip-over save, this time to keep out Lloyd's dipping 18 yard effort. That won Stags the first of two corners as the clock ticked down.
But with only two minutes left Rovers were level again. Pilkington, under pressure from two opponents, dropped a lofted ball into the box and Forrester was on hand to squeeze the ball in from five yards.
In the last minute Pilkington had to win the race to the ball ahead of Agogo as he chased Walker's flick-on.
We entered four minutes of stoppage time and Agogo got in a fierce shot which struck Pilkington in the chest and Neil completed the clearance.
Agogo threatened to get away again, but chose to head for the corner flag and win a long throw. That was cleared and knocked back in again for Disley to rise and head wide at the far post, missing a chance to shoot down his old club in the most dramatic fashion.
But it would have been very cruel as Stags can feel aggrieved that two penalty decisions like that went against them in the same game and they have proved they can score goals.
Indeed, their away from has been good recently, unbeaten in the last four on their travels.
A section of home fans have been very quick to get on their backs at Field Mill when things have not been going their way. So it will be interesting to see what reception they get this Friday when Chester City are the visitors.
Bristol Rovers Official Site
FOUR GOALS ALL IN DRAW THRILLER
REPORTED BY: Ian Cole at the Memorial Stadium
Rovers and Mansfield Town shared the spoils this afternoon in an entertaining and topsy-turvy 4-4 draw at the Memorial Stadium.
Both sides were leading the contest at some stage during the 90 minutes, and both sides will have reasons to believe that they should have claimed all three points.
The game started off at a somewhat sluggish pace, and it wasn't until the 16th minute that either goalkeeper was tested, with Ryan Clarke brilliantly tipping a Callum Lloyd effort over his crossbar.
Three minutes later Mansfield edged themselves into a one-goal lead, as Scott McNiven saw his shot palmed out by Clarke, before Richie Barker stabbed home the loose ball from close range.
The Stags' lead was short-lived though, with Rovers back on level terms within two minutes.
Richard Walker played in Ryan Williams down the left side, and after running through on goal with only Kevin Pilkington to beat, the former Hull City man calmly slotted home beneath the goalkeeper.
Junior Agogo nearly made it 2-1 within seconds as he smashed a shot against the woodwork from the left side of the penalty area, and then Walker saw a header cleared off the line by Alex Neil.
McNiven was unlucky as his shot from 25 yards rattled against the Rovers crossbar, and then Lewis Haldane directed his header wide of the goal after a Williams cross.
Williams was denied by Pilkington after a superb shot and save, before a foul on Haldane by McNiven in the dying stages of the first half saw the referee award a spot-kick, and Walker stepped up to confidently fire home from 12 yards out to give Rovers a half-time lead.
The start of the second half saw Mansfield come out all guns blazing, and two strikes in the space of just three minutes turned the game on its head.
The first came after a low drive from Colin Larkin from the right side saw Clarke beaten, and then some sloppy defending moments later saw Barker head home after Fraser Maclachlan was given all the time in the world to play his cross into the box.
Giles Coke fired high and over, Larkin saw a header superbly saved by Clarke, and McNiven went close with an audacious 45-yard free-kick as Mansfield pressed for more goals, before eventually the Stags did increase their lead on 68 minutes.
Their fourth goal came after two Rovers defenders missed a Barker cross into the box, before Lloyd stole in to fire the ball home, albeit via a slight deflection.
Rovers came back into the match in the latter stages of the second half, with Walker heading straight at the goalkeeper from a Jamie Forrester cross, and Forrester himself shooting wide from the edge of the area.
With just eight minutes remaining Rovers were awarded their second penalty of the match after a linesman spotted Jake Buxton's tug on Agogo's shirt. This time it was Agogo who stepped up to take the spot-kick, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to reduce the deficit to just one goal.
Clarke tipped a Lloyd shot over the crossbar as Mansfield pushed forward on the counter, before another Rovers comeback was completed with two minutes of the match remaining thanks to a Forrester strike.
The equaliser came after a Steve Elliott ball into the box was flapped at by Pilkington, and after taking a couple of neat touches, Forrester composed himself well before firing into the corner of an unguarded net.
With four minutes of added time being played at the end of the game Rovers could have even gone on and taken all three points.
Agogo saw Pilkington make a great save after he stole in between two defenders before rifling a ferocious volley goalwards, and then virtually the last move of the match saw a Williams cross to the head of Craig Disley headed three yards wide of the left post.
The final whistle was greeted with warm applause by the home fans, who had witnessed an eight-goal thriller, and what was on the whole an entertaining game of football.
Walker 45 (pen)
Agogo 82 (pen)
Forrester 88 4-4 MANSFIELD TOWN
Barker 19, 49
BRISTOL ROVERS: Ryan Clarke, Craig Hinton (Craig Disley 67), John Anderson, Steve Elliott, Robbie Ryan, Aaron Lescott, James Hunt, Ryan Williams, Lewis Haldane (Jamie Forrester 46), Richard Walker, Junior Agogo
Unused Substitutes: Kevin Miller, Paul Trollope, Christian Edwards
MANSFIELD TOWN: Kevin Pilkington, Alex Neil, Richie Barker, Giles Coke, Jake Buxton, Fraser Maclachlin, Colin Larkin, Callum Lloyd, Adam Rundle, Scott McNiven, Luke Dimech
Unused Substitutes: Kevin Jason White, Simon Brown, Andrew Barrowman, Austin McIntosh, Adam Murray
REFEREE: Grant Hegley
Latest | March 2005