IMPRESSIVE STAGS RECORD FIRST WIN OF THE NEW CAMPAIGN
Observer report By Steve Hartshorn.
Mansfield Town 3 - 0 Torquay United
Rundle 14, Peers 42, Brown 81
First half goals from Adam Rundle and Gavin Peers and a second half strike by Simon Brown ensured that Mansfield finally got their season well and truly underway as Stags secured their first three points of the new campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory over Torquay United at Field Mill last weekend.
Manager, Carlton Palmer shook up his pack following the midweek home defeat by Rushden & Diamonds and reverted to a more orthodox 4-4-2 instead of his more favoured 4-3-3 formation. The injured Hjelde was replaced by Jake Buxton and Adam Rundle started the game in place of Gus Uhlenbeek.
The game started in heavy rain, making conditions difficult for either side and it was the visitors who were first to threaten but Pressman easily saved Matt Hockley's 25 yard drive.
On 15 minutes, Mansfield took the lead. Tipton did excellently well to avoid a desperate challenge on the edge of the visitors six yard box before squaring the ball across where Lawless' prevented Barker from finishing, but could do nothing about the waiting Rundle who slotted home from close range past the stranded Marriott.
Stags were creating chances aplenty, McLachlan was next to go close when he was fed the ball by Dawson, but a decent last ditch challenge by Steve Woods denied the industrious Stags midfielder.
Peers caused Marriott's heart to flutter when his cross come shot looked to be dipping under the crossbar, forcing the former Forest keeper to tip the ball over.
Stags went a further goal ahead two minutes before the half time break. A corner from Adam Rundle was met by Gavin Peers who powerfully headed home his first career goal for his new club, much to his obvious delight and that of his team-mates.
The 2nd half began in similar vain with the home side looking the more confident and dangerous. Indeed the second period was only seconds old when Marriott had to save a drive from Rundle.
The expected 2nd half revival from the Gulls never really materialised, Hill bringing Pressman into action on 49 minutes providing scant reward for Gulls boss, Leroy Rosenior's half time team-talk.
Stags were searching for a game killing 3rd goal and McLachlan can count himself unlucky when following a one-two with Birchall, his effort deflected wide.
Still The Stags probed away at the visitors, this time Tipton forced Marriott into action.
The visitors made a change, Priso, who was making his debut was finally booked and replaced by Alan Connell who almost instantly provided United with a lifeline but was denied by Pressman.
Mansfield seemingly upped another gear to quell any threat of a comeback for The Gulls. A good piece of play from Richie Barker set up a great chance for Adam Rundle but unfortunately Rundle was unable to add to his and Stags' goal tally and fired wide of an open goal.
There was a danger of the visitors gaining a foothold in the game when Lawless and Kaffour both had chances but poor finishing and the steadiness of Kevin Pressman in The Stags goal denied them.
Carlton Palmer chose to make a number of changes during the 2nd half bring on Uhlenbeek, Brown and Beardsley and it was the 2nd of those substitutes who in the 81st minute, scored the game killing 3rd. A fine through ball from Dawson found the speedy, Simon Brown, who raced through and confidently lobbed the ball over Marriott.
The Stags were in dominant mood and could have scored a 4th but Beardsley's low drive thumped into Marriott and in the final seconds, Brown fired over following a superb cross by Uhlenbeek.
Next weekend The Stags travel to London Road, Peterborough. The Posh are many peoples favourites for automatic promotion but have not had the best of starts. They did however record their first win of the campaign with a 3-2 away victory over Bristol Rovers last weekend and will no doubt be a stern test for a buoyant and confident Stags.
Observer Man of the Match – Fraser McLachlan.
Mansfield: Pressman, Peers, Buxton, Day, Jelleyman, Rundle (Brown 70), Dawson, McLachlan, Birchall, Barker (Beardsley 82), Tipton (Uhlenbeek 76).
Subs Not Used: Coke, Lloyd.
Goals: Rundle 15, Peers 43, Brown 82.
Torquay: Marriott, McGlinchey, Woods, Taylor, Lawless, Hill, Hockley, Garner (Coleman 53), Sow (Sako 45), Priso (Connell 65), Kuffour.
Subs Not Used: Sharp, Villis.
Booked: Sow, Priso, Woods.
Ref: S Mathieson (Cheshire).
STAGS MAKE IT EASY AS ONE, TWO, THREE...
Evening Post, 15 August 2005
Mansfield Town 3 v 0 Torquay United
It really was third time lucky for Mansfield Town.
For Lady Luck seemed to have been against them in their first two games as they failed to find that elusive opening win of the season.
At Stockport County they gave up a two-goal lead on the opening day and against Rushden and Diamonds in midweek they were beaten in a game they dominated.
So it was relief all round that they took newly-relegated Torquay United to the cleaners on Saturday, with plenty to spare.
Mansfield began this season with a young but highly-talented squad that seemed dark horses in the race to achieve something.
And that promise became a sparkling reality on Saturday.
Like Rushden before them, Torquay were expected to come to Field Mill to try to frustrate the home side.
But those plans went out of the window when Adam Rundle steered home Matthew Tipton"s low cross after only 15 minutes.
It was all Stags after that and little surprise they went 2-0 up just before the break, though the goalscorer was a surprise as right-back Gavin Peers popped up to head home from five yards from Rundle's corner.
The only worry during an excellent 45 minutes was the weather. The incessant rain was beginning to sit on the surface of parts of the pitch and it is hard to see how the game could have continued if it had the downpour had not stopped by half-time.
Thankfully the gods seemed to be on Mansfield's side: the rain eased and Stags came back out to continue their domination.
To their credit struggling Torquay brought on two enthusiastic young substitutes, in Alan Connell and Liam Coleman, and had a go, even finishing up with three strikers.
But Kevin Pressman stood firm for his first clean sheet of the campaign, and it was left to substitute Simon Brown to seal the win with the pick of the goals on 81 minutes.
After his substitute displays in the first two games, Brown could consider himself unlucky not to be starting. And again he came on to add pace, excitement and, on Saturday, a superb finish.
Stephen Dawson threaded the ball through and Brown, spotting Andy Marriott off his line, simply lifted a perfect finish over the stranded keeper.
This performance and win does leave injured player-manager Carlton Palmer with a quandary over formations.
He set his stall out pre-season to go 4-3-3 all campaign. But, with Tipton struggling for enough fitness to play the wide right front role, he changed to 4-4-2 for this one - the formation many supporters were calling for him to play.
But Palmer insisted afterwards that, despite this result, he still wanted to play 4-3-3.
He will now find that decision even more under the microscope - particularly if it fails to achieve results.
There is no doubt the side looked more solid on Saturday with the back four comfortable, Dawson combining superbly with the energetic Fraser McLachlan to take command of the centre of the park, Rundle and Adam Birchall wreaking havoc down the flanks and Richie Barker pleased to have Tipton working closer alongside him up front.
It will take a brave decision by Palmer to change this for the trip to Peterborough next Saturday.
Another big decision he will have to take this week is what to do about the return of teenage defensive ace Alex John-Baptiste. He has missed the first three games of the season with a carried-over suspension which he completed on Saturday.
But the anticipation of his return next week is now confused by the excellent displays of Rhys Day and Jake Buxton in helping secure a clean sheet and John-Baptiste may struggle to walk back into the side.
Indeed, the only down side to Saturday's win was the paltry size of the home crowd.
Allowing for the 192 hardy souls who made their way up from the English Riviera, only 2,440 Stags fans turned out for the first Saturday home game of what everyone had been looking forward to as a possible season of success - a massive disappointment
PROUD MANAGER SAYS FANS WILL BE ENTERTAINED
Evening Post, 15 August 2005
Carlton Palmer was a proud - and relieved - man after seeing his young charges finally live up to their potential.
The Stags player-manager said: "I thought we had played some excellent football in the games so far but, this time, it was just a case of eradicating the mistakes from set-pieces which have been a fine line for us.
"I was delighted for the fans, who were magnificent again. That was definitely the best football they have seen here for a long time.
"In the end we could have had more goals than we ended up with.
"The lads were a bit disappointed we didn't get more than a point from the first two games but we stayed positive and worked hard in training. When you are conceding from set-pieces it is down to bad defending and not bad luck.
"They are a great set of lads who really want to do well and the fans just need to stay patient with them as they are young boys learning the game. But I am sure, if they do, they will give them something to cheer about this season."
Palmer had particular praise for winger Adam Rundle and central defender Rhys Day.
Rundle, one of the stars of the second half of last season, was making his first start of the campaign, while Day, who seemed set to leave the club in the summer, also had an outstanding game.
"It was a close call who would make the starting line-up, but now Adam is back in the side I want to see him kick on like he did last season," said Palmer.
"I was delighted with Rhys as it is absolutely outstanding what he has achieved in the time allotted. He has worked hard almost every day during the summer and I don't believe there is a better central defender in our division right now."
Palmer still intends to send Jason White out on loan this season.
White looked set for a spell at Burton Albion - and played in a pre-season friendly for Nigel Clough's side.
But Palmer has not yet found what he feels is a suitable deputy standby keeper.
"The keeper that I had in mind was recommended to me but I wasn't quite comfortable with him," said Palmer.
"I won't let Jason go until I get someone else in who I'm happy with, because otherwise if we get an injury in the warm-up we could be in trouble."
ROSENIOR: WE WERE ABSOLUTE RUBBISH
Evening Post, 15 August 2005
Torquay manager Leroy Rosenior was horrified at how his side caved in to rampant Mansfield Town.
The Gulls were plying their trade in the division above last season but they have now gone three games without a win in the basement division.
"We were absolute rubbish from start to finish, apart from the young lads who came on and gave us some mobility in the second half," he said, pledging to bring them in for extra training yesterday morning.
"I feel so sorry for our supporters. They were different class to come all this way to watch that. We were an absolute disgrace."
He added: "I feel let down and that's never happened to me before. Even last season when we were losing we showed effort and application which we didn't against Mansfield."
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