BUXTON: WE ARE NOT GETTING MUCH LUCK
IT'S ALL SO UNCLEAR FOR THE SQUAD
Evening Post, 17 October 2005
Full-back Jake Buxton said it was a case of Carlisle taking their one opportunity to condemn Mansfield to another defeat.
And he admitted he doesn't know what will happen next at Field Mill.
He said: "We huffed and puffed but came away with nothing. We are digging in but not getting much luck.
"They only really had one chance and they took it - and that was after their fans had booed them all afternoon.
"We did well last Friday and everybody then expected us to come up here and get something, but a draw would have been a great result for us.
"There are plenty of games coming thick and fast but we don't know where the next point is coming from.
"I am more comfortable on the right than I was on the left but you don't know what is going to happen.
"We might bring a new right-back in, someone on the left or someone up front.
"A new manager might come and bring ten new players. We just don't know at the moment."
DAY-TRIP'S TOO MUCH FOR STAGS
Evening Post, 17 October 2005
Carlisle United 1 v 0 Mansfield Town
It is hard to believe that it is now a month since Carlton Palmer left Field Mill.
And while chairman Keith Haslam appears content with the limbo the club is in under caretaker-manager Peter Shirtliff, Saturday's game at Carlisle demonstrates just what a tough task it will be to keep Mansfield in the Coca-Cola League.
Whether it is Shirtliff who will remain in charge or somebody else, things just cannot dribble along as they are.
Their showing at Brunton Park followed a classic recipe for teams that find themselves in trouble.
They made the long trip to find a relatively large and hostile crowd, anticipating three easy points, slaughtering their own players because they weren't three up inside the first ten minutes.
In the first half, the Stags played pretty well, although they lacked the fluency that brushed Shrewsbury aside at Field Mill eight days before.
The back four looked pretty tight and they managed to create a few opportunities.
Naturally, the biggest problem was they weren't taken, with Simon Brown perhaps unlucky but maybe a bit nervy as he hit the post when sent clean through by Gareth Jelleyman before half-time.
The Cumbrians could not have played as badly after the break in a game which was verging on the dire for most of its distance.
But the Stags, although not doing that much in the final third during the second half, and continuing to display their attributes as masters of the hospital ball, were holding firm.
With 15 minutes to go though, they were on their last legs - the 8.30am start from Mansfield taking its toll.
Karl Hawley has to be credited for finishing his goal well with a fine lob over Kevin Pressman, and that brought the inevitability of a hard-earned defeat.
Watching recent performances, there is an abundance of inconsistency and that is why it seems plenty of people are positive about the immediate future.
Perhaps too much so. They have potential but a young side cannot perform to their optimum level every week, and asking them to do it after a long trip on the motorway taken the morning of the match is just not realistic.
Staying up is but it looks like their home form is going to have to be the cornerstone of any survival push.
Stags are not the same team when they are not playing at Field Mill, but it is hard when the manager doesn't know whether he is going to be in a job next week and the players find it all a little insecure as well.
Giving Shirtliff a chance to do the job would at least provide a little bit of stability.
They have been doing a lot better since he took over.
Apart from a disappointing defensive display against Leyton Orient and a mad first half against unbeaten Wycombe, they are looking a lot more solid at the back.
That was essentially the biggest problem for a team that has scored plenty, and the caretaker has gone a long way towards at least making their goals-against column look more respectable.
On occasions on Saturday the football was not eyecatching but Mansfield are more than capable of pushing up the table.
Whoever comes in is not going to suddenly turn them into a side that can be compared to the Brazil team of 1970.
Having said that, it is not a good division they are in and they can do it.
At the moment they all need to know where they stand so the club can move forward.
There has been a reluctance to rush into an appointment but that time has now past.
If more insecurity abounds and, consequently affects their confidence, the Stags might not recover.
PLAYERS WERE TOO WEARY - SHIRTLIFF
Evening Post, 17 October 2005
Caretaker-boss Peter Shirtliff said fatigue was the reason the Stags were unable to hold on to a point at Carlisle on Saturday.
Karl Hawley settled the match with an 80th-minute goal to leave Mansfield on the bottom of League Two.
After his team travelled the 200 miles to the match on the day of the game, Shirtliff said: "I think we ran out of steam. When you get tired, the thought process disappears a little bit - and making three substitutions really didn't make much of a difference.
"It is quite a long way. We stopped off for lunch at Preston and then had another hour-and-a-half on the coach, but no one would have been talking about that had we won.
"It is not going to just turn around overnight.
"We have got to be a bit more resilient and more clinical in our finishing because that would have given us something to hold on to.
"You cannot come to Carlisle and expect them to give you the three points.
"I think a draw would have probably been a fair result.
"We had the better of the first half and they had the better of the second without many clear-cut chances being created.
"It was always going to be one goal that decided the game and I was disappointed we didn't get it."
Evening Post, 17 October 2005
Carlisle manager Paul Simpson was delighted to have "stopped the rot", even though he thought his team could play a lot better.
Karl Hawley's winner halted a run of four consecutive defeats.
The former Manchester City and Derby winger said: "There is such a nervousness about the players and the whole ground. It was a relief to everyone that we got the goal. It is a big three points for us.
"We know the performance, particularly the first half, wasn't good, but it is a big three points that stops the rot."
Carlisle United 1 Mansfield Town 0
By Lee Rooney
United ended a run of four defeats in a row with a scrappy 1-0 win over bottom of the table Mansfield Town at Brunton Park. A sixth clean-sheet of the season and Karl Hawley's fifth goal of the current campaign was enough to move United up from 12th place to 9th.
With United having lost their last four league games in a row, a home game against Mansfield Town was seen by many as a bit of a welcomed relief.
Coming into the game, Mansfield were bottom of the Division and had the worst defensive record. But, more worryingly with United's recent defensive frailties, they still had the 6th best scoring record, with 20 in 13 games.
With that in mind, Paul Simpson decided to stick with almost the same team that narrowly lost to Oxford 8 days earlier, with the only change being Simon Hackney replacing on-loan Newcastle winger Alan O'Brien.
United were looking to start well and Raphael Nade, playing upfront with Karl Hawley in the 4-4-2 formation, powered his way towards the Mansfield area but his shot was saved well by ever-so-slightly rotund keeper Kevin Pressman.
Nade was in the thick of it again shortly after, as he played a ball down the right for Hawley. Just as Hawley was about to play the cross in, Nade was hauled down by Alex-John Baptiste just inside the area.
After the ball was cleared for a corner, there were furious protests from the United players to referee/clown Lee Mason (the same idiot who gave Southend a penalty for a non-handball at Brunton Park two years ago) waived away the protests.
The Mansfield defence was struggling to cope with United on the break and could easily have been 1-0 down on 8 minutes. A cross from the right by Adam Murray went all the way through to Simon Hackney on the left-hand side of the area. His shot was smashed into the ground and bounced just inches wide of Pressman's left-hand post.
After a bright opening spell from United, it was Mansfield who then had two decent chances to take the lead after 20 minutes.
The first chance came when Kevin Gray was easily dispossessed by Stags striker Simon Brown, but his low shot from 20 yards was straight at United keeper Kieren Westwood.
A few minutes later and Brown was again guilty of wasting a good chance. After using his pace to beat the United offside trap, Brown found himself one-on-one with Westwood. Drawing out the United keeper, he then aimed his shot for the far post only for Westwood to get a slight hand on to the ball and turn it on to the post.
As the ball broke to the edge of the area, Gus Uhlenbeek charged with the ball only to go flying to the floor like a sack of excrement. Thankfully (or is that amazingly?), Mason was not fooled by his theatrics and simply waved play-on as United cleared their lines.
Despite having a few chances early on, United had barely tested Pressman in the Stags goal. But on 27 minutes, he was called into action as United gave him something to do (yes yes, he does need the exercise afterall).
Hackney jinked his way down the left wing and found space to whip in an inviting cross. Nade managed to get a head to the ball and it seemed certain to be the opener from United.
But somehow (I'm still trying to work out how!) Pressman managed to lift himself off the ground to pluck the ball out of the air with ease, showing the class that had made him a regular in the Premiership with Sheffield Wednesday for so many years.
The rest of the half was pretty much a non-event, with only one Hackney cross that managed to miss everyone being the talking point.
Ever the unsatisfied, a large number of United fans booed the half-time whistle, frustrated that United were still at deadlock against the team bottom of the league.
With that reaction and a team-talk/rollocking from Simpson and Dennis Booth, you'd have expected the United players to come out and look to quickly take the advantage in the second-half.
But it was Mansfield who had the first two chances of the half, with Simon Brown heading wide from a Baptiste cross and Giles Coke unable to get on the end of a Uhlenbeek cross thanks to a clearing header from Beharall.
United forward Karl Hawley, who had mainly been involved in the build up to chances during the first-half, had his first real chance to score on 50 minutes.
Picking up a pass from Adam Murray after he'd won the ball in midfield, Hawley ran towards goal before unleashing a powerful drive that went just wide of Pressman's post.
Just four minutes later and United fans were cheering as the ball was in the back of the net, but Mason once again baffled the crowd by disallowing the "goal".
Adam Murray's cross from the right saw Pressman go to challenge for the ball with Nade and one of his own defenders. All afternoon, Pressman struggled with crosses (insert "found it hard to get off the floor" joke here) and had constantly flapped, dropped and punched them. Once again, he flapped and dropped the ball, which kindly fell to Simon Hackney who placed his shot into the empty net.
Mason on the other hand, had other ideas. He awarded a free-kick to Mansfield, insisting that Nade had obstructed Pressman, even though it seemed to be his own defender if anyone that had obstructed him!
Brown continued to be lively for the visitors but once again was guilty of wasting a good chance. After tackling Billy in midfield, Brown advanced towards the United goal but again his shot was straight at Westwood.
Despite this chance, United continued to be the better side and Hawley went close with a dipping header that dipped just over the crossbar.
It was game-over for Mansfield's former United winger Adam Rundle in the 73rd minute as he hobbled off injured and was replaced by Adrian Littlejohn. Rundle showed United exactly what they'd been missing since he left the club, with several pin-point crosses to the opposite corner flag.
The Mansfield defence was proving hard to break down but the arrival of Derek Holmes in the 67th minute and Alan O'Brien in the 74th minute freshened up the United attack.
Finally, the deadlock was broken on 80 minutes and it was a moment of true class that put United into the lead.
After Nade had won the ball on the edge of the United area, a superb 60-yard pass from Chris Lumsdon found Hawley, whose superb lob over the stranded Pressman (I think we've exhausted the digs at his weight now) landed in the back of the net to give the former Walsall forward his fifth league goal of the season.
United now looked to play out the rest of the game and the pace of O'Brien and Nade was constantly used as an outlet to run down the clock.
At the end of the 90 minutes, the fourth official held up the board to signal 4 minutes of added time. This was no surprise, as Mansfield's players had spent most of the game on their backsides complaining of strange injuries, often occuring with no other players within 10 yards of them.
There was one late chance for Mansfield, as Coke was brought down by Nade 30 yards out. Coke got up to swing in the free-kick himself and Westwood came out only to drop the cross at the feet at Bapstite, whose weak effort dribbled wide of the goal. Not that it mattered, as Mason had yet again blown his whistle for an imaginary foul.
United didn't have to hold on much longer and the final whistle was meant with cheers and many sighs of relief as United had stopped the rot to record their first win in five attempts.
It may not have been a pretty performance, but what mattered was the result. Hawley's goal could have come off his backside for all most United fans cared, but it was a sublime finish from an excellent pass by Lumsdon, which showed just what United's players are capable of.
It's off to Oldham on Tuesday night as United take on the League One side in the LDV Trophy, and with Simpson likely to pick the same first-team for this fixture, he'll be hoping for more of the same results wise, but maybe a little more in the performance.
Latest | October 2005