MORE REPORTS AND REACTION
DAWSON'S DOUBLE IS REAL TONIC
Evening Post, 01 August 2005
Mansfield Town 3 v 3 Rotherham United
Mansfield Town will start the new campaign at Stockport on Saturday with an entirely different line-up from the one that played against Bristol Rovers in the first game of last season.
And several recent recruits look to have played their way into the starting 11 for the opening fixture.
There were a few clues on the side Carlton Palmer will select for Saturday during a highly entertaining friendly against Rotherham.
The Stags boss has already said he will persist with a 4-3-3 formation - a system which has served Mansfield well in four pre-season friendlies.
And undoubtedly the first name on the team sheet at Stockport will be Kevin Pressman.
The former Sheffield Wednesday keeper has been in excellent form. He was outstanding against Rotherham. Time after time in the first half he kept the visitors at bay and laid the foundations for a 1-0 Stags lead at the break.
Without Pressman's intervention, Rotherham could have been leading comfortably at the break - and to think he was not Palmer's first choice as a replacement for Kevin Pilkington.
"It's about fine-tuning," said Pressman. "For me pre-season is the same as it is for the outfield players.
"I appreciate what football has given to me. I enjoy it and I want to keep playing. But I want to win as well. It"s always been the same thing for me, I want to be successful.
"Everybody wants promotion this season and it"s a realistic target with the squad we"ve got."
Nobody deserves a place in the starting line-up at Stockport more than Pressman after his first-half heroics.
The home side were cut open by Rotherham with ease as the visitors created a series of chances, only for Pressman and some poor finishing to deny them. And, inside the final minute of the first half, Mansfield capitalised on their good fortune by taking the lead, courtesy of a clever finish by Stephen Dawson.
Former Derby man Deon Burton, one of the guilty men up front for Rotherham in the first half, levelled for the Millers at the third attempt following a double save by Pressman, then David Worrell fired the visitors in front.
It looked like Mick Harford"s men would make it a third defeat in four pre-season games for Mansfield when ex-Stag Lee Williamson put Rotherham 3-1 up.
But one of the encouraging signs for Palmer"s new-look outfit is that they showed enough character to respond and clinch their second successive draw against higher division opposition.
Dawson, who was again in impressive form, made it 3-2 as he doubled his tally for the Stags, and it was left to Richie Barker to head the equaliser against his former employers.
Mansfield Town: Pressman, Peers, Jelleyman, Day (Hjelde 63), Buxton, Palmer (Coke 71), Dawson, Uhlenbeek (McLachlan 80), Barker, Birchall, Rundle (Brown 68). Subs not used: White, John-Baptiste, Talbot, Lloyd, Beardsley.
Rotherham United: Montgomery, Worrell, Barker, Murdock, Campbell-Ryce, McLaren, Butler, Robertson, Williamson, Burton, Minto.Subs: Gilchrist, Ostemboor, Hoskins, Duncum, Mullin, Hurst, Vernazza, Monkhouse, Newsham, Pullen.
'SIGHTS SET ON PROMOTION'
Evening Post, 01 August 2005
Mick Harford, who was caretaker manager at Nottingham Forest last season, was pleased with his side's display.
"Overall I thought it was the best performance we've had in pre-season," said the Millers boss.
"We had chance after chance in the first half and could have been 4-0 or 5-0 up.
"We controlled the game in the second half but we got a bit sloppy and gave them a couple of goals.
"I'm delighted with the way we are playing. We just needed to be slightly better in both boxes."
Mansfield's skipper Richie Barker, who earned the draw with a goal against his former club, admits the Stags rode their luck in the first half.
"We were very lucky to go in 1-0 up at half-time," he said. "They created a lot of chances in the first half.
"It was an important game for us and it was good to play against a lot of old friends.
"We showed a lot of character and Dawson's two goals came at the right times.
"We've got a good strong squad and we've set our sights on promotion."
Latest | August 2005