DISJOINTED STAGS FALL TO SUCKER PUNCH
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Rushden & Diamonds
Attendance: 3402 (243 from Rushden)
Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Field Mill
Mansfield Town fell to a hugely disappointing defeat in the first home game of the season this evening, against a Rushden team who are expected to finish in the bottom four. The Stags started brightly for 15 minutes but faded for 30 minutes and received a sucker punch just before the break from a well-worked Rushden corner. In the second half, the Stags changed to a more effective 4-4-2 formation with width from substitutes Brown and Rundle, but were still unable to crack open a tight defence supported by an excellent goalkeeping display.
Stagsnet report now in the Match Centre.
Rough for Stags as Diamonds win
MANSFIELD Town's long-anticipated first home game of the season became a damp squib as Rushden and Diamonds poached all three points with a 1-0 win at Field Mill last night.
Carlton Palmer's new-look side impressed greatly in a first half they dominated.
But, despite creating chances, they just couldn't find the net.
And they were made to pay in the last minute of the half as Graham Allen turned home a David Bell corner.
The second half was a more even affair as Stags pressed and Diamonds looked ever more dangerous on the counter-attack.
But, even after going 4-4-2 from the original 4-3-3 formation, Stags could not find a way through Diamonds' resolute defence, as the visitors notched their first away win since October.
With player-manager Palmer out suffering a groin strain, in came Uhlenbeek to play right of midfield with McLachlan in the centre.
Rushden included on-loan midfielder Ashley Nicholls, who joined the Diamonds earlier in the day from Cambridge United.
Stags made a storming start and twice came close in the opening three minutes.
A corner from the right found Tipton who, from 10 yards, saw Pearson clear off the line.
Stags kept the pressure on and, as they were appealing for handball in the box against a defender, the ball ran to Dawson whose low shot skidded straight through to keeper Young.
On 10 minutes Uhlenbeek's flick sent Tipton down the right and he let fly with a superb blast that Young did well to block on his left hand post.
Chillingworth released Pearson for the visitors' first break on 15 minutes. But Hjelde did well to stay with him and force him to shoot into the side netting.
Young gave Diamonds the jitters when he failed to hold a scuffed Birchall shot first time. Birchall was also too high with a first time effort from Uhlenbeek's square ball.
The visitors then forced two successive corners, Kelly rifling well over from the second.
Uhlenbeek, given space to run, drilled a firm shot straight at Young on 31 minutes and Tipton and McLachlan exchanged quick passes to set up Dawson with a low first time chance he sent wide five minutes later.
The home side continued to pile on the pressure with three successive corners. But Rushden tried to break from the third and when Dawson lost possession, Bell raced on to bring a fine save out of Pressman with a piledriver of a shot.
The corner was only cleared as far as Gulliver who fired narrowly wide from 25 yards.
However, the visitors snatched an unexpected lead in the last minute of the half from their fifth corner.
Bell rolled it low to the edge of the six yard box at the near post where Allen had timed his run well to stroke home a low finish and give Diamonds a shock interval advantage.
Palmer made a defensive change at half-time with Buxton replacing Hjelde.
Nicholls was well over from 30 yards for Rushden in the opening seconds after the interval.
At the other end Birchall just couldn't reach Barker's low cross in front of the Rushden goal.
Bell hit a powerful shot over from a well-worked free kick from 30 yards on 53 minutes.
Stags were struggling to get going and Palmer decided to pep up his midfield on 55 minutes when he sent on Brown for Uhlenbeek and went 4-4-2.
Barker turned well to release Birchall down the left on 59 minutes, but he failed to beat Young on his near post.
Rundle replaced Tipton on 64 minutes as Palmer played his final substitution card, sending Brown up front and Birchall on the right,
McLachlan brought another fine save from Young two minutes later, the keeper diving to his right to keep out the midfielder's well struck 25 yard effort.
Chances were few and far between in the second half. But a neat bit of skill in midfield by Chillingworth saw him make space for a low shot had Pressman sprawling to save at the foot of his right hand post.
After Birchall had sliced well over for Stags, Pressman was again in action on the second of three successive Rushden corners, tipping Gulliver's header over his crossbar.
Stags broke quickly after the third and Rundle raced away on goal and saw Young's fingertips just manage to keep out his low shot, the ball going for a corner before Dawson could get there.
Kelly pulled a 30 yard shot well wide for Diamonds as the clock ticked down.
Chillingworth almost went clear on another lightning Diamonds break after more Mansfield pressure but he was brought down by McLachlan, the midfielder booked for his trouble, and Bell hit the free kick into the wall.
Brown came so close on 87 as his low shot was saved by Young but threatened to roll way from him towards goal before he recovered.
In stoppage time a Barker free kick took a deflection but Young was still there in the way.
STAGS: Pressman, Peers, Jelleyman, Uhlenbeek (Brown 55), Day, Dawson, Tipton (Rundle 64), Barker, Birchall, McLachlan, Hjelde (Buxton h/t). Subs not used: Lloyd, Beardsley.
RUSHDEN: Young, Gulliver, Hawkins, Allen, Gier, Pearson (Taylor 69), Bell, Chillingworth Okuonghae 86), Nicholls, McCafferty, Kelly. Subs not used: Woodman, Wark, Grainger.
REFEREE: Mr N. Swarbrick of Lancs.
SCORERS: Rushden - Allen 45.
CAUTIONS: Mansfield - McLachlan 82 (foul on Chillingworth).
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Richie Barker.
Latest | August 2005