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I BELIEVE IT WAS A HAT-TRICK
Evening Post, 11 September 2006
Richard Barker walked off with the matchball after Mansfield's win and said: "I'm claiming a hat-trick."
There was no doubt the Stags' captain scored Mansfield's second goal from close range and the fourth from the penalty spot.
But the opening strike that Barker is taking credit for appeared to be netted by Hereford central defender Tamika Mkandawire.
The striker's shot deflected on to the bar before Mkandawire headed into his own goal after a mix-up with keeper Scott Tynan.
But Barker said: "I have spoken to the referee and he said he had given it to me as the last Mansfield player to touch the ball.
"I've heard Alan Shearer say on television that if a person doesn't shoot in the first place then there would never be a goal. If a Hereford player hadn't touched the ball then I think the ball would have spun back into goal anyway.
"I'm hoping it's just going to go through and I get the goal because I have never scored a hat-trick in the Football League.
"Whatever happens though, I have got the match ball so I'm not going to give that back now!"
On a more serious note, Barker was well aware of the importance of Mansfield's first victory in five league games.
He said: "If we hadn't won we'd have been back in the bottom and with two games at the other end of the country to come.
"It shows how tight the league is because now we are looking upwards towards the play-offs."
PETER SAYS STAGS DESEVED SOME LUCK
Hereford manager Graham Turner was furious with his side as they suffered the backlash of Mansfield Town's frustrating run of four games without a league win.
The Stags were still smarting from two successive defeats from their last two games in which they had performed well with no reward.
However, this time made sure they got what they deserved against a Bulls side that had started the season well since their promotion from the Conference.
But following a 4-1 defeat Turner snapped: "The simple fact is we are not working hard enough and we are not competitive enough.
"We have stepped up a division and so are playing against better quality players. But we are allowing them too much space and too much time.
"There were too many basic defensive errors which we must put right and, of course, the first goal was an absolute joke."
In stark contrast a delighted Mansfield boss Peter Shirtliff said: "We had a bit of luck with the first goal which got us going - but that was the first bit of luck we've had all season.
"Richie Barker had the initial shot which I though he should have got away sooner. But it was a bit confusing after it hit the crossbar and I didn't see who put the ball in the net.
"Overall I thought we were full value for the victory, though.
"We were 2-0 up at half-time and I told the players that Hereford would come out and have a go after their manager had got into them.
"I told them what we needed to do to counter that and they showed good initiative straight away as they put pressure on Hereford and forced them back into their own third before we got a third goal which was very important.
"We created a number of chances and had other good situations where nothing came of it and we should have done better.
"But I was disappointed we didn't keep a clean sheet and I have told them so. We have got to keep high standards as if you do that you have a chance of success."
SHIRTLIFF HAPPY WITH THE WAY HIS TEAM KEPT UP PRESSURE
Evening Post, 11 September 2006
Peter Shirtliff praised his side's professional second-half performance as they cruised to a first win in five league matches.
With the Stags leading 2-0 at the break thanks to Tamika Mkandawire's own goal and a strike from Richard Barker, it would have been easy for the Stags to ease up.
But the boss was happy his troops responded well to his calls to avoid complacency. "I said to the players at half-time they are going to come out and have a go because their manager is going to get into them," he said.
"I made our players aware what they needed to do to combat that and they did very well.
"We kept them in the final third of the pitch for quite a while and got the third goal which was so important.
NO MERCY FOR OLD FRIEND
Evening Post, 11 September 2006
Mansfield 4 - 1 Hereford United
HAVING been signed by him for Wolves as a player, Peter Shirtliff has always been good friends with Hereford manager Graham Turner.
But the Stags boss did his old mentor no favours when their teams came face to face at Field Mill.
The visitors arrived on the back of a decent start to their first campaign back in the Football League after promotion from the Conference, but they left with their tails between their legs as Mansfield scored four and could have had more.
Leading up to the game, Shirtliff spoke of his respect for sides coming out of the Conference, having seen Carlisle go straight through League Two last season at the first time of asking.
But, on this evidence at least, the Bulls are not going to be following in the Cumbrians' footsteps.
Up front, they have a dangerous predator in the shape of Wales under -21 international striker Stuart Fleetwood. But, for the most part, Hereford put in a poor performance and, with their midfield failing to compete with Mansfield's, it left their defence thoroughly exposed.
Turner clearly felt the Bulls' efforts were not good enough. An hour after the game he had still not let his squad leave the dressing room.
Part of the reason for their disappointing showing, though, was that they were not allowed to get into their stride by a Mansfield side who were quicker to every loose ball.
With two testing away trips at opposite ends of the country to come - Hartlepool tomorrow and Torquay on Saturday - it was important for the Stags to get a win on the board having not managed that in their last four league games.
The home players seemed well aware of that too.
Although Mansfield suffered the frustration of having three second-half goals ruled out, they did, unlike in their previous two games, have the rub of the green at the right time.
After taking control of the match, the Stags spent the first 19 minutes peppering the Hereford goal with shots.
It appeared their luck was out again when Richard Barker's shot deflected off Dean Beckwith, over keeper Scott Tynan only to crash against the bar.
However, in a dramatic twist, Tamika Mkandawire headed the rebound out of Tynan's hands and into goal when there was no pressure on either player.
With Simon Brown's pace and movement causing the visitors huge problems, it was no surprise when he was involved in the move that made it 2-0 in the 36th minute.
After Hereford gave the ball away in their own half, Stephen Dawson put Brown away in space down the right and he kept his cool before passing the ball into the six-yard box for Barker to slide home.
The celebrations were cut short, however, as Brown had injured his quad muscle in the build-up and was replaced by Danny Reet.
Nevertheless, the near-constant pressure continued either side of the interval and it was soon 3-0 as Reet stooped to head home at the near post after Tynan had been deceived by a deflection on a Matt Hamshaw cross.
Reet was again involved for Mansfield's fourth when his shirt was pulled in the box by Trent McClenahan and the referee pointed to the spot.
Barker - sporting a bandage to protect the five stitches in his head he needed during last week's game at Wycombe - confidently hammered home.
Perhaps the only disappointment was that the Stags could not go on to secure a clean sheet for goalkeeper Jason White - drafted back in for Carl Muggleton.
Hereford netted their consolation in between Reet and Barker's strikes when substitute Alan Connell fired in after some lax marking from a right-wing corner.
The next seven days will be tough and are likely to shape Mansfield's season.
Two good results with home games to follow could see them establish themselves as likely play-off contenders.
But two defeats would leave them struggling near the bottom and all Stags fans know from last season just how hard it is to get back in the top half of the table from that position.
If the Stags keep it tight at the back, they have the ability to triumph at Victoria Park and Plainmoor.
Mansfield: White, Sheehan (Coke 89), Buxton, John-Baptiste, Mullins, Boulding, D'Laryea, Dawson, Hamshaw, Barker (Beardsley 81), Brown (Reet 37). Subs not used: Muggleton, Lloyd.
Hereford: Tynan, Giles, Mkandawire, Beckwith, McClenahan, Purdie (Connell 45), Rose, Ferrell, Travis, Sills (Williams 62), Fleetwood. Subs not used: Thompson, Gulliver, Sheldon.
Referee: Dave Foster (Newcastle).
Attendance: 3,242 (382 visitors).
Bulls Not At The Races
Report By Richard Kemp
Hereford United fell to heavy 4-1 defeat away from home against Mansfield Town on Saturday afternoon. The Bulls were never at the races once the home side had taken the lead, as the Mansfield side scored twice in each half. The loss has seen Hereford drop down to a still respectable 11th place in their first season back in the Football League, while Mansfield have climbed to just one place below Hereford after their second home win of the season.
Hereford started quite brightly with Stuart Fleetwood going close from long range after returning from International duty with Wales Under 21's last weekend. Fleetwoods shot from 25 yards going past Mansfield goalkeeper Jason White's left hand post. White was to have a quiet afternoon in the home goal as the home side were soon to take charge.
Mansfield came close to opening the scoring on ten minutes when a shot from home man of the match Alan Sheehen went wide of Scott Tynans post. The resulting goal kick was soon returned by the home side who got in behind the United back four, Simon Browns' cross-come shot avoiding everyone in the box. Hereford meanwhile won a corner through Rob Purdies good work down the left hand side. Purdie himself took the corner but former Cardiff striker Fleetwood's shot was hit wide as he was crowded out by the home defence.
Mansfield pressured the United midfield throughout the game, not allowing Hereford any time on the ball. A stray pass led to a Mansfield attack which resulted in a double corner. The second corner was deep and found midfielder Alex Jon-Baptiste whos shot was seen wide by Tynan.
Mansfield were looking more and more confident as a through ball found Simon Brown, Dean
Beckwith blocked the shot as Mansfield won their third corner in the space of two minutes. Hereford cleared their lines but they soon found the ball back in danger terrority as home sriker Richard Barker saw a deflected shot loop up onto the bar. Tynan and Bulls' skipper Tamika Mkandawire both tried to clear as the ball looped back down, only for Mkandawire to put into
his own net. The lack of communication saw Hereford go one nil down after twenty minutes.
The game then had a quiet ten period which saw both teams fail to string any number of passes together. On the half hour mark another long home ball from Jonathan D'Laryea gave Brown another chance to get a dangerous cross in, although the cross came to nothing, the signs were not good for the 382 travelling HUFC fans.
Sure enough it was the excellent Brown at the heart of the Mansfield second goal. A through ball from Stephen Dawson found The Stags' striker in a similar position as before, this time his cross found fellow strike partner Richard Barker who turned in his first goal of the afternoon from close range.
Mansfield were still not finished for the first half as they forced another corner on the right hand side. The corner was volleyed wide by Jake Buxton as Tynan breathed a sigh of relief. Half time couldn't come quick enough for United as the home side looked to press home their advantage.
Boss Graham Turner made a change at half time, with former Torquay striker Alan Connell replacing Rob Purdie. With it came a change in formation as GT looked to get his troops up for the fight in the second period. Hereford could hardly of had a worse start after the interval as they went further behind after just three minutes of play.
More fine play down the right hand side saw Martyn Giles drawn out of position as Matt Hamshaw's cross found substitute Danny Reet who fired home Mansfield's third, and with it, seemingly the three points.
The home side could smell goals as they continued to press forward, winning several corners that saw The Bulls send all ten outfield players back to defend. A D'Laryea shot went fizzing wide after fifty five minutes.
Youngster Andy Williams came on for the last half hour, replacing Tim Sills who had a frustrating game up front. Almost straight away his introduction led to some much better football from the visitors as a Fleetwood shot won a corner. A neat build up from Andy Ferrell and Williams saw United win another corner five minutes later. Ferrell's kick finally fell
to Connell who poked the ball home from close range to give Hereford a sniff of a point. It was the blonde strikers first goal for his new club.
Any hope the away travelling army had of a point was snatched away from another controversial penalty given against United for the second game running. The referee, Mr Foster, deciding that a Hereford defender had in some way illegaly stopped a Mansfield attack. No one in the ground seemed to appeal, from either the stands or the pitch. Barker gratefully accepted the gift as he slotted home his second and Mansfield's fourth of the afternoon.
The final fifteen minutes were pretty scrappy. Fleetwood continued to cause the odd headache for the Mansfield defence without creating any real chances. Mansfield also looked to extend their lead even further and had the ball in the visitors' goal twice late on, only for both to be rightly wiped out for offside.
Bulls fans entertained themselves with goings on off the field rather than on them. Chants of "We're gonna' win 5-4!" did help lift the spirits after what had been a tough afternoon for all involved with Hereford.
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