STAGS BEATEN BY IMPRESSIVE POSH
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Peterborough United
McLean 38, Crow 66.
Attendance: 3550 (660 from Peterborough)
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
Mansfield were soundly beaten by impressive Peterborough United at Field Mill today. The Stags started both halves well and were unlucky when Johnny Mullins early header thundered off the crossbar, but a goal in either half, both as a result of poor marking from set pieces, was reward for the visitors who created many more chances than the Stags despite having less of the ball than the Stags. Indeed Carl Muggleton was the Mansfield man of the match, while Mark Tyler in the Posh goal barely had a save to make.
Bad day at the office as Posh rock Stags
Mansfield Town 0 Peterborough United 2
IT was a 'bad day at the office' for Mansfield Town as in-form Peterborough United won for a fourth successive game at Field Mill this afternoon.
Although John Mullins headed against the Posh crossbar after only nine minutes, the under-performing home side rarely looked capable of preventing polished United recording their seventh away clean sheet of the season.
And home keeper Carl Muggleton had made a string of saves before he was finally beaten by Aaron McLean six minutes from the break - his third goal in four games since joining Posh from Grays.
Danny Crow then sealed the points from close range on 67 minutes.
The two goals had stemmed from a corner and a free kick, despite manager Peter Shirtliff warning his side all week over the danger from Peterborough set pieces.
The goals came after Mansfield had kept three successive home clean sheets.
Mansfield boss Shirtliff said: "The bottom line is that we conceded goals from a corner and a long throw which we spoke about all week but haven't dealt with on the day.
"It is a problem for us that keeps rearing its ugly head.
"We were poor, though it wasn't down to a lack of effort. Too many of our players had poor performances in terms of what we are used to seeing from them.
"I am hoping this was just a bad day at the office and we can move on.
"I don't think there was that much between the teams apart from the two goals.
"We didn't create enough and didn't ask enough questions of their defenders. In and around their box our attacks usually fizzled out."
Stags gave a debut to new signing Charlton at left back with Jelleyman pushed up to left midfield and Michael Boulding dropping to the bench.
Charlton quickly won a header and then tried to send a ball over the top for Beardsley but an offside flag was raised.
But the visitors were settling down to play some near football and when Jelleyman wasted a chance to clear his lines on four minutes the ball ran to Huke whose low shot forced Muggleton to turn it aside as he dived to his right.
Stags cleared the corner as far as Holden on the left who crashed over a cross cum shot which cleared the far angle.
Mansfield won a corner of their own on nine minutes which Hamshaw swung away from goal and full back Mullins popped up to head against the bar.
Jelleyman curled a superb ball forwards towards Coke who was inches away from making contact in front of goal. Posh conceded another corner and that came back to Hamshaw who forced Tyler to his knees to save at his near post.
Posh replied with a corner and soon after Newton showed great skill to drag the ball between two opponents and let fly from 25 yards, Muggleton throwing himself full length to grab the shot out the air.
Hamshaw sent a tame 18 yard free kick into the Peterborough wall and also had a near post curling corner cleared. And both Hamshaw and Jelleyman sent tame crosses into the keeper's hands.
Muggleton produced a fine fingertip save on 32 minutes. A series of quick passes saw Posh work the ball into the Mansfield box and Crow slipped a pass to Newton who, with the keeper off his line, tried to dip a finish over him only to see it pushed over the top.
From the corner the ball ended up in the Mansfield net in untidy fashion but the referee had already spotted pushing.
Charlton did well to beat Crow to a through ball in the box and the ball sliced up into the air and was eventually grabbed by Muggleton.
Muggleton twice denied Butcher on 37 minutes. First he turned away his powerful 30 yard free kick. And, in the scramble that followed, Butcher hooked in an overhead effort which again found the keeper well placed.
On 38 minutes Crow's low shot was just wide of Muggleton's right hand post. But the referee ruled the keeper had made the save and gave the corner to the anger of the home fans and players.
Worse was to come as Holden floated over the flag kick and McClean buried a glancing header through a crowd of players into the net to put Posh in front.
It was the first time Stags had conceded a goal at home in 313 minutes of football.
Hamshaw twice had half chances to reply, the first time delaying too long and shooting tamely at Tyler and the second time getting blocked by Branston.
But Posh almost grabbed a second in first half stoppage time as the visitors broke quickly and Stirling found Newton whose shot was beaten away by Muggleton and McLean's follow-up was deflected wide.
The corner was met by Futcher who was inches over with his first time shot.
The referee was under fire from home fans as the sides left the field.
Stags immediately found themselves under pressure after the break from two long throws and a corner.
Muggleton also turned over a cross at the last minute as it threatened to dip under his bar.
For Stags Tyler needed two bites of the cherry to clutch a low Coke shot from 20 yards.
Coke just beat Crow to McLean's headed flick across the box, a vital challenge.
Shirtliff tried to pep thing up with Reet on for Beardsley on 54 minutes.
McLean was lucky not to be booked for leaving a foot in on Charlton who, to his credit, got up and walked away without any Premiership histrionics.
Mansfield made a further change on the hour, Boulding on for Charlton with Jelleyman dropping to left back.
On 62 a good run from Hamshaw saw put Barker in for a shot which Tyler parried with Reet unable to reach the lose ball.
Stags forced two corners, the first of which saw a huge scramble in the visitors' six yard box. But Posh survived.
And they went up field to extend their lead on 67 minutes. Another enormous Stirling long throw was flicked on by Branston and turned over the line from point blank range by Crow.
Coke delayed shooting as he skipped past three challenges on the edge of the box before leaving it to D'Laryea who fired over the angle.
Cain replaced Huke for Posh on 74 while Stags sent on Brown for Hamshaw two minutes later.
Ambitious McLean tried to loft one over Muggleton from 40 yards but the ball dipped too quickly.
It was his last action as Benjamin replaced him for the last 10 minutes.
Brown did well to get to the by-line but Coke headed over his cross at the near post.
Opara replaced Crow and a minute from time raced past John-Baptiste only to see Muggleton behind his finish.
Opara again broke down the right and fired across the face of goal in stoppage time.
Stags were booed from the field by home fans at the end of this disappointing defeat.
18 November 2006
Manager Keith Alexander will be pleased with his side's battling qualities as Peterborough United recorded a 2-0 victory at Mansfield Town thanks to goals from Aaron Mclean and Danny Crow.
It was Peterborough United who got the game underway at a blustery Field Mill lining up unchanged from the FA Cup first round victory over Rotherham United last weekend.
Youngster Shane Huke forced the experienced Carl Muggleton into the first save of the afternoon on four minutes, with the shot-stopper pushing the fierce drive around the post.
Mansfield were inches away from breaking the deadlock on nine minutes as Mullins climbed highest to a Hamshaw corner, but the powerful header rebounded back off the crossbar before Mclean cleared the danger.
Tyler made a decent stop with his legs to deny Hamshaw after the corner kick rebounded kindly for the former Sheffield Wednesday winger. A nice piece of skill from Newton created a bit of space for the midfielder and he managed to get a decent shot on goal, but Muggleton made a comfortable save.
On the quarter of an hour mark, Mansfield were given a presentable set-piece opportunity after Stirling upended Hamshaw, but the same player saw his 20-yard free-kick blocked by the wall.
The wind certainly appeared to be playing havoc with Posh struggling to put together any moves of note and struggling to clear their lines as they came under pressure. On 31 minutes Posh played the best football of the match as incisive passing involving Crow, Mclean and Newton ended with the latter forcing Muggleton into a fine save.
Posh had the ball in the back of the net moments later as the corner caused plenty of problems for Muggleton, however the official deemed that there was a foul at the near post before Charlton put through his own net.
Midfielder Butcher forced Muggleto to parry following a fierce 30-yard free-kick before Crow struck the outside of the post from distance as Posh began to get on top. The referee pointed for a corner to the anguish of the home support and they were fuming moments later as the resulting set-piece was headed into the corner by MCLEAN who rose highest to direct Holden's corner past Muggleton.
Aaron Mclean heads Posh into the lead
Hamshaw saw a weak curling effort easily held by Tyler on 42 minutes before Branston made a smart block to deny the same player who was certainly trying his luck. Posh were inches away from making it 2-0 as the first half entered stoppage time as Mclean played Newton in, but his shot was parried and then Mclean saw his follow-up effort cleared off the line.
Futcher then saw a volley drift past the upright as Posh finished the first period in the ascendancy.
A Stirling cross-shot was tipped over by the edgy Muggleton on 48 minutes as Posh tried to double the advantage early in the second period. Branston then met Huke's corner kick, but he directed his header straight at the goalkeeper. Coke then tested Tyler, with the goalkeeper saving at the second attempt.
Mansfield introduced Danny Reet to their attack as Beardsley made way to the delight of the home fans. Michael Boulding then replaced debutante Charlton as the Stags pushed men forward.
Tyler made a superb fingertip save to deny Barker on 62 minutes and the Posh number one also managed to push it away from Boulding who was sensing a rebound chance. The Stags were beginning to turn the screw and Futcher was in the right place at the right time to stab the ball wide as the ball threatened to fall for Baptiste.
Newton found the side-netting with a sliced volley at the back post following a long Stirling throw-in as Posh thought they had secured a second goal. On 68 minutes, Posh doubled the advantage as a huge throw from Stirling was flicked on by Futcher and CROW was on hand to stab home from close-range before celebrating in front of the large travelling support.
Baptiste lashed a long-range effort wide of the upright on 70 minutes after Newton had given the ball away in midfield. Futcher made a good block to deny substitute Simon Brown who came close to making an immediate impact on the Stags side.
Mclean saw a speculative volley saved by Muggleton on 78 minutes after a long ball nearly caught the Mansfield defence sleeping. Trevor Benjamin replaced the hard-working Mclean for the final 10 minutes of proceedings.
Coke flashed a header over the bar following a good run and cross from the lively Brown as Posh introduced Lloyd Opara to the fray with Crow making way. Substitute Opara nearly made it 3-0 after racing clear of Mullins, but his off-balance effort was saved by Muggleton.
The Posh fans show their support. Click on the image to enlarge.
Four minutes of stoppage time was indicated and Opara had another presentable chance after good play by Gain, but the striker slid his shot wide of the far post. The final whistle brought huge cheers from the 600+ in the away end as Posh continued their good recent form.
Final Score: Mansfield Town 0-2 Peterborough United
Referee: Mr P Walton (Northamptonshire)
Attendance: 3,550 (660 Posh fans)
A FALSE DAWN AS THE STAGS GET A LESSON
Evening Post, 20 November 2006
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Peterborough United
As any long-term fan of the club knows only too well, believing the Stags have turned the corner is a dangerous thing.
Because, just when it seems the team have found that elusive winning formula, they are likely to go and lose at home to someone like, say ... Peterborough.
With three wins on the bounce at Field Mill without conceding a goal, there were whispers of optimism around the ground prior to kick-off.
Skipper Richard Barker was certainly feeling that vibe and in his programme notes remarked that ''at home we always fancy ourselves to score goals'' and that people were ''starting to take notice'' about the run of clean sheets. But, in the end, Mansfield could manage neither.
It meant they crashed to their first League Two defeat at home since the 4-2 defeat to Lincoln on August 26 as consistency continues to give them the runaround. Only once this season have Mansfield strung together back-to-back wins - a 3-0 victory over Wrexham followed by a 3-2 triumph at Macclesfield.
And until they can start to group a decent run of results they are never going to get much higher than their 16th position. On paper, the match should have been competitive with Peterborough also in good spirits, having won their last three games and sitting in the final play-off position.
But, in truth, the Stags were outplayed by a side who showed the kind of defensive steel and attacking invention to which they must aspire. The hosts got off to a lively start and had Johnny Mullins' ninth-minute header found the net for his first Stags goal rather than hit the bar, the match night have taken a different course.
From then on, though, Mansfield struggled to get out of first gear and the Posh took a firm hold and never let it go. So often when things have gone wrong for the Stags this season, defending has been the problem and, yes, the team were not infallible in that regard on this occasion.
Both goals came from set-pieces - a common bugbear for Mansfield - as markers failed to track their men. But by far the biggest disappointment for their supporters was that the team could not produce their usual cohesiveness going forward.
At Field Mill we are used to seeing the Stags pass the ball around on the deck with a reasonable amount of success.
However, some of the ropey footwork on display was reminiscent of the early contestants on Strictly Come Dancing as time and again promising moves broke down.
The crossing was way below standard.
All too frequently Tyler was able to come off his line to claim the ball or an attempted centre was sliced out for a goal-kick.
As manager Peter Shirtliff observed, it was not a lack of effort on the part of the Stags players. They kept going until the end and nearly made a breakthrough late on when Giles Coke headed just over.
No, the problems stemmed from Mansfield's inability to use the ball effectively once they were in possession.
As the Peterborough defenders were among the biggest they are likely to encounter all season, there was never the option of going aerial. But perhaps Shirtliff missed a trick in not introducing two of his quickest players - Michael Boulding and Simon Brown - earlier.
At least then the giant Ben Futcher and his sidekick Guy Branston would have been posed alternative questions for much longer.
The result was that the Posh were the first team - including Premiership Portsmouth - to shut out the Stags on their own turf this season. Peterborough's goals came in each half with Aaron McLean maintaining his terrific start following his move from non-league football with the opener in the 39th minute.
He netted his third in four games with the simplest of headers at the near post following a corner from Dean Holden.
The tally was doubled in the 67th minute with the simplest of strikes. Jude Stirling launched a long throw into the Mansfield box, Branston flicked on and Danny Crow tapped in from close range.
In between, it took an athletic stop from Tyler to prevent the Stags getting back on level terms as his fingertip save at full stretch kept out Barker's angled drive.
There was no doubt that Peterborough were deserving of their victory and the score could have been more emphatic but for a regular supply of fine saves from Stags keeper Carl Muggleton.
The full-time whistle brought a chorus of boos and chants of ''Haslam out'' from sections of the Mansfield faithful.
By that time they knew full well that talk of turning the corner was most certainly a false dawn.
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