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Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
Coke provides the fizz as Stags thump Shrews
Mansfield Town 4 Shrewsbury Town 0
Coke 6, Rundle 65, Barker 69, Uhlenbeek 71.
It turned out to be a fantastic Friday for Mansfield Town as The Stags comfortably beat Shrewsbury Town 4-0 at Field Mill.
The win, a first for The Stags in 10 league attempts lifted the Club off the bottom of the league, albeit briefly.
With Peers injured and Adam Birchall away on international duty, Caretaker Manager, Peter Shirtliff was forced into a number of changes, introducing Adam Rundle to the left hand side of midfield, Uhlenbeek on the right and Buxton and Jelleyman in full back roles.
The visitors, who previously had only conceded 5 goals in their previous five away games were put on the back foot as early as the sixth minute when following a corner that was only half cleared by Walton, Giles Coke brilliantly volleyed in his third goal in five games. The goal clearly eased the nerves and provided an instant confidence boost to a side that desperately needed a change in fortunes.
Shrewsbury, who had not been victorious at Field Mill for 30 years threatened very little and caused Kevin Pressman little heartache as Mansfield dominated the early exchanges.
Stags could and should have added a second on nine minutes, but after a superb ball from Dawson, Brown, in space at the far post, sliced his shot wide of the mark.
Stags were peppering away at the visitors goal forcing Hart to keep well and truly on his toes. Brown and Barker forcing the Shrews keeper into action.
The Shrews, looking nothing like a side that with a win could have forced themselves into the play off positions only offered a weak shot by Denny that Pressman took with ease.
The Stags ended the half with a powerhouse shot from Rundle that Hart did well to save.
The start of the 2nd half saw Shrews manager, Gary Peters reshape his forces bringing on Stallard and Langmead for Darby and Herd and reverting to a 4-3-3 formation. The changes had an immediate effect with the visitors looking more a threat in the opening five minutes of the 2nd period than what they had during the whole of the first 45. However, The Stags held firm.
On 54 minutes, Pressman was forced into action when he saved a header from McManiman. Stallard then shot wide as the visitors threatened to get back into the game.
Stags should have made it 2-0 on 61 minutes. A cross by Buxton was neatly headed back by Barker into the path of Simon Brown but incredibly from just five yards the Stags top goalscorer headed inches wide. It looked easier to score.
Another good move by Mansfield, just four minutes later produced their 2nd goal of the game and finally put pay to the Shrews fight back. Good work involving Baker and Brown saw Brown head to the bye-line and fire the ball across the face of goal where Rundle was on hand to slam the ball home from close range.
Within four minutes, The Stags had added a third. Brown robbed Sorvel on the edge of the Shrews box, his ball found Rundle who unleashed a powerful drive that Hart could only parry into the path of the prowling Barker, who made no mistake.
The rampant Stags added a fourth on 71 minutes. Again Buxton provided the ammunition this time his cross found Gus Uhlenbeek who after bringing the ball under control slammed home his first goal for his new club from 10 yards.
Littlejohn was introduced for Brown and Lloyd came on for Uhlenbeek. However there was a bit of concern on 85 minutes when following a challenge, Stephen Dawson was forced to leave the field, replaced by McLachlan.
Overall it was a pleasing night at Field Mill. This weekend Stags make the trip to the football outpost known as Carlisle United. Carlisle who last season won promotion back to the football league will be a stern test for The Stags, but it is hoped that the new found confidence acquired by convincingly defeating a previously well organised Shrewsbury side will be in evidence and The Stags season can grow from strength to strength.
Pressman, Dawson (McLachlan 85), Jelleyman, Uhlenbeek (Lloyd 83), John-Baptiste, Barker, Buxton, Coke, Rundle, Brown (Littlejohn 79), Hjelde.
Subs not used; Day, Talbot.
Hart, Whitehead, Sharp, Walton, Sorvel, McManiman, Ashton, Herd (Stallard 45), Darby (Langmead 45), Denny, Hope.
Subs not used; Smith, Thompson, Cowan.
Attendance – 3,334 (488 Visitors).
Referee – Mr E L Ilderton.
Observer Man Of The Match – Giles Coke.
SHREWS TAMED BY THE RAMPANT STAGS
Evening Post, 08 October 2005
Mansfield Town 4 v 0 Shrewsbury Town
When Adam Rundle sat in the Field Mill reception and predicted that Shrewsbury were going to get hammered, it was difficult to take him seriously.
The Stags were bottom of the Football League and most of everyone else's pre-match talk was about demonstrations aimed at the chairman.
In the end, the number of fans involved in the protest may have increased ten-fold on the one organised several weeks ago ? but that still only meant ten turned out to voice their dismay.
But there was still the sort of atmosphere around the ground that wouldn't have had you confidently predicting Mansfield were about to dish out a right thumping.
Nevertheless, last night's victory over Shrewsbury could have far-reaching effects.
Certainly it will come as a massive boost to confidence in the camp, even if Rundle's words demonstrate there might not be that much of a problem in that regard.
However, with the club currently under the guidance of caretaker manager Peter Shirtliff and Chairman Keith Haslam has admitted he is in no rush to make an appointment following Carlton Palmer's departure.
And the man currently in charge on a caretaker basis, Peter Shirtliff, is doing himself no harm when it comes to trying to establish himself in the manager's office on a permanent basis. Another three points and a similar performance when they make the long journey to Carlisle would only improve his prospects.
Shrewsbury had already lost to Bury and Torquay on their travels and the tone of the evening was set early on. Six minutes in and Giles Coke rifled one into the top corner. You just got the feeling it was going to be their night.
Stags got the ball down and played and, with Gus Uhlenbeek and Rundle employed on the wings, they appeared to have a better shape than the last couple of games. Managing seven shots on target before the break, they should have gone in with a much healthier lead.
And the chances that went begging looked to have been costly as Shrewsbury emerged with fresh urgency in search of an equaliser.
But Mansfield's response was timely. When it came, the second goal also exemplified the neat passing that was a feature of the Stags' play all night.
Just as the Shrews looked like getting back into it, Rundle was on hand to tuck the ball away after neat work between strikers Richie Barker and Simon Brown.
That came in the 65th minute and, six minutes later, the game was all over for the visitors.
Barker was afforded another simple chance when the highly-rated Shrewsbury goalkeeper Joe Hart was unable to hold Rundle's shot.
And then Uhlenbeek fired home with a neat shot on the turn to make it 4-0.
The thumping was complete and the talk will now be about corners being turned. The kind of optimism demonstrated by Rundle prior to kick-off suddenly looks a whole lot more justified.
There seems to be hope for the future again at Field Mill. A good showing and a win at Carlisle on Saturday will only add to that belief.
And it might just bring the stability that all Field Mill followers have been craving.
Evening Post, 08 October 2005
Caretaker boss Peter Shirtliff was delighted with the victory which will have done his chances of landing the job full-time no harm at all.
Their second victory of the season took the Stags off the bottom of League Two.
He said: "I thought it was an excellent performance.
"Performances have suggested we are better than a team at the bottom of the league but we will keep our feet on the ground and try and get a good result at Carlisle next week. Psychologically, coming off the bottom of the table is very important.
"I have had five games (in charge) and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Things have a habit of sorting themselves out and I have told the players performances and results will keep them in the team.
"They will govern what happens with my situation as well."
Testing time after Town hammering
By JAMES GARRISON
Shrewsbury manager Gary Peters has admitted his team face their biggest test of character as they bid to recover from the hammer blow of last night's 4-0 defeat at Mansfield.
For the third time this season, Town were beaten by the Football League's bottom club away from home and left Field Mill reflecting on another missed opportunity.
A dour-faced Peters emerged from the away dressing room after a 20-minute inquest admitting his team had badly under-performed.
After witnessing the heaviest defeat of his reign, Peters is hoping his players will bounce back in the best possible way.
"It was a very disappointing night because not one of my players came out with any credit at all," said Peters.
"It's now up to us to make sure it doesn't happen again and that's what we will be working on next week."
Peters was convinced his side were enjoying the best spell of the game when they conceded three goals in a whirlwind six- minute spell.
Skipper Kevin Sharp paid tribute to the 488-strong travelling support who continued to back their team to the full-time whistle.
"The supporters have been magnificent home and away all season and they didn't stop singing again here," he said.
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