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Archived News from October 2005

EVENING POST REPORT AND REACTION
24th October 2005 15:11


STANDING FIRM UNDER PRESSURE
Evening Post, 24 October 2005
by Ian Wilkerson

Caretaker boss Peter Shirtliff said the improvement in his side's ability to withstand pressure was the most pleasing aspect of their second 4-0 home league win on the bounce.

Two goals from skipper Richie Barker, which were punctuated by efforts from Simon Brown and Adam Rundle, gave the Stags victory.

Shirtliff believes the Stags are continuing to improve and, with Torquay and Macclesfield drawing, the result not only took them off the bottom of League Two but out of the relegation zone as well.

He said: "I thought it flattered us a little bit, even though we created a lot of chances.

"But the most important thing for me was that when we came under pressure in the second half, we stood firm, defended well and put our heads in where it mattered.

"You are not going to dominate for 90 minutes and all credit to the players because they are starting to perform and are looking like a good side.

"There has been an improvement because we have let in two goals in our last four games and taken seven points from our last six games.

"I am just delighted for the players because they are starting to get the results their hard work and ability deserve."

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THE GOALS FLOW AS CONFIDENCE GROWS
Evening Post, 24 October 2005
by Ian Wilkerson
Mansfield Town 4 v 0 Barnet

Peter Shirtliff hailed Mansfield's move out of the bottom two into a position that would satisfy many a Stags fan in a season of upheaval.

"That's a huge psychological thing," said the caretaker boss.

Yet again on Saturday, they put in a display against Barnet that belied their status as League Two strugglers. Barnet, who are in freefall themselves, held an on-pitch inquest for 20 minutes after their 4-0 thumping.

Shirtliff's side demonstrated that all they have been lacking is confidence.

You cannot doubt their ability. They are not world-beaters but, when their tails are up, you can see what Shirtliff means when he says any team in League Two is capable of turning over anybody else.

Certain things went in their favour.

They were fortunate to gain a ninth-minute penalty but not in the usual respect that the referee showed a questionable interpretation of an incident.

No, it was Barnet defender Simon King's judgment that came into question.

He decision to upend Simon Brown, chasing a lost cause with no one to cross to, was unbelievable.

From the moment former Forest academy keeper Scott Tynan was unable to keep out Richie Barker's penalty, Stags were in control.

In all areas of the pitch they were stronger.

Alex John-Baptiste put in the sort of performance at the centre of defence that justified all the hype, even though Jon Olav Hjelde's role could not be dismissed as merely supportive.

Brown and Barker caused all sorts of problems for Barnet at the back but it was the heart of the pitch where they controlled the game.

On-loan Jonathan D'Laryea brought a cocktail of calm assurance and controlled aggression to the middle of the park, and Giles Coke responded alongside.

Couple that with Gus Uhlenbeek looking a completely different player at Field Mill than he does on his travels, and the dominance was complete.

It was not only the scoreline that matched the recent win over Shrewsbury.

They got the second goal 25 minutes from the end after showing a bit of steel to withstand some Barnet pressure.

This time Brown tucked in Uhlenbeek's cross and they turned the screw with a third just three minutes later when Rundle beat Tynan with a near-post effort which was the only blot on the former Tricky's copy-book.

Then they ran riot and could have had eight, but settled for just one more when Barker rounded the keeper to ensure a solid victory with seven minutes remaining.

But again, fans were left scratching their heads as to how the situation had come to be so grave in the first place. Again it was a big improvement and the longer it goes on like this, the more difficult it is going to be not to give Shirtliff the job.

I fancy we might get an affirmative answer in that respect this week.

And, with Millwall coming to town in the Carling Cup tomorrow, there is no reason why they should not be confident.

Their three wins this season have seen them score 11 goals without conceding.

Perhaps it would be better if those were spread out a bit.

But those three victories - the other coming against Torquay - demonstrate exactly what this team is capable of.

All we need now is to see it on a more regular basis.

And then relegation can really become somebody else's problem.

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VICTORY IS BIG BOOST FOR CARLING SHOWDOWN
Evening Post, 24 October 2005
by Ian Wilkerson
Mansfield man-of-the-match Simon Brown said the victory was a huge boost to the League Two strugglers and will give them a lot of confidence for tomorrow's Carling Cup showdown with Millwall.

Brown scored the second goal in the win over the Bees and was a constant thorn in their side.

And now he hopes he can be equally troublesome to Colin Lee's Lions who will be looking to avoid the fate that befell Championship colleagues Stoke and Southampton in the same competition.

Brown said: "We have not been playing that badly this season and it has been a case of letting in too many goals, but we seem to have sorted that out.

"We have had some big league wins and I would much rather we were scoring a lot of goals than winning 1-0 all the time, even though there will be times when we have to do that.

"But the way we have been playing recently has given everybody lots of confidence.

"In the last four or five games, I have been getting in positions but they have not been going in, so I was delighted to get one against Barnet.

"It's going to do my confidence the world of good and everyone is looking forward to the Millwall game.

"Hopefully we can keep it up and see them off, like we did the other two Championship teams."

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