SORRY STAGS BEATEN AT LOWLY ROCHDALE
Rochdale 2-0 Mansfield Town
Dagnall 24, Doolan 41
Att 2378 (373 from Mansfield)
Shirtliff apologises to fans for 'inept display' at Spotland
Rochdale 2 Stags 0
MANSFIELD Town boss Peter Shirtlifff apologised to travelling supporters for his side's 'inept' performance as they meekly surrendered to a third successive League Two defeat at the hands of struggling Rochdale at Spotland this afternoon.
It was only Rochdale's second home win of a miserable campaign and left Dale's former Stags manager Steve Parkin with a big smile on his face.
"I can't think of enough adjectives to describe how bad we were today - I am embarrassed," said a furious Shirtliff.
"We were inept, out-run and out-played in every department.
"I can only apologise to our fans on behalf of the players who I hope are embarrassed by their performances.
"We are not creating many chances as we are simply not working hard enough.
"In October we were unbeaten, In November we can't create anything. Yet it is the same players that did so well earlier in the season and I refuse to defend them or take the flak. How can it be the manager's fault they are suddenly doing this badly?
"Commitment was sadly lacking in a number of individuals today.
"I said at half-time that if some players thought they were in the safety zone they can think again. The transfer window opens in five weeks and if I have to change things round I will - if I am still here!
"They have to accept responsibility, The fans are shouting for 'Keith Haslam out'. That's not down to the players and they are hiding behind that at the moment."
Stags started brightly enough but the home side, desperate to improve their poor home record, seemed to find that extra yard and took over with on loan Sunderland winger William Moquet running riot on the right.
He eventually set up their first goal - a free header for Chris Dagnall on 24 minutes, Dale' top scorer's ninth of the campaign.
And ex-Stags midfielder John Doolan sealed the points directly from an 18 yard free kick four minutes from the break.
Rochdale should probably have had a penalty too when Alex John-Baptiste appeared to bring down Glen Murray on 16 minutes.
Territorially, Mansfield had a much better second half as they pushed up and played more in the Rochdale half of the field,
But they rarely looked like finding the net, although Richie Barker did head against the crossbar on 72 minutes and home keeper Matthew Gilks saved well from Simon Brown in the last minute - embarrassingly, their first shot on target all afternoon.
In the Mansfield goal, Carl Muggleton also made several fine saves and, when he was beaten by Morika Sako's curling finish on 88 minutes, the ball struck his left hand post.
But overall Stags will be very disappointed by this result from a game which offered a realistic opportunity of away points.
And the away fans continued the protests against club chief executive Keith Haslam throughout the miserable 90 minutes.
Mansfield made two changes, Reet replaced Beardsley up front and Michael Boulding came in for new signing Asa Charlton, who had spent all week struggling with an ankle knock from the midweek reserve friendly with Notts County. Jelleyman was switched to left back.
Sunderland midfielder Moquet made his debut for Dale after joining this week on a month's loan.
The home side immediately went on the offensive and Moquet burst down the right before crossing low and square along the 18 yard box, the ball running to Cooksey who blasted wide of the far post with his first time effort.
Boulding was not far wide with a low shot on three minutes after D'Laryea and Coke had worked the ball to him.
Then Reet's right wing cross reached Barker at the near post and it took a good block from Stanton to prevent the Stags striker testing the keeper.
Barker was then too high with a header from a Hamshaw free kick.
Tenacious work from Jones released Murray and John-Baptiste kicked away his shot for the home side's first corner.
John-Baptiste also got in the way of a Dagnall shot as the Dale front man tried to work an opening.
The Stags defender breathed a sigh of relief on 16 minutes as he got to a challenge with Murray a fraction late in the box and caught his opponent, bringing him down in the box. But no penalty was awarded.
Hamshaw tried to send Boulding away on the right of the box but Brown got in a good block on his shot to give Stags their third corner.
But it was Rochdale who swept ahead on 24 minutes. The tricky Moquet made space on the right and sent over a cross which found Dagnall unmarked six yards from goal where he was able to bury a free header.
Only a superb reaction save from Muggleton prevented them adding to it six minutes later as Murray rose well to get in a close range goal bound header onto Jones' cross and Muggleton quickly got his hands up and in the way to turn it away.
Mansfield were really under the cosh now as crosses flew in from both wings and they conceded a string of corners.
D'Laryea won the ball well in midfield and raced forward before hurrying a poor finish well wide from 25 yards.
But ex-Stags Doolan made it 2-0 on 41 minutes. Stags conceded a free kick centrally on the edge of the box and Doolan stepped up to drill it low into the bottom right hand corner of Muggleton's goal.
Gilks was finally forced into action in the 45th minute as he athletically managed to keep out a sliced clearance from one of his own defenders as it caught on the wind and threatened to drop under his bar.
And when the ball was hooked back across by Hamshaw, Barker headed wide at the far post,
In stoppage time Moquet whistled a shot just over the near angle as Stags went in trailing 2-0.
Reet had the first chance of the second half on 52 as Mullins fed him inside the box and Reet turned well before blasting over the top from 20 yards.
That was his last action as, within seconds, he was replaced by Brown.
Boulding crashed an ambitious long range shot well over a minute later.
The towering 6ft 7ins Sako replaced Murray for Rochdale on 54 minutes and was immediately involved in a tangle with Hjelde which earned both men a lecture.
Stanton felled Boulding with a two-footed tackle for which he was lucky not to be booked. But the Stags free kick routine saw the ball rolled to Barker who steadied himself before firing too high.
A mistake by Hjelde almost let in Sako as the Norwegian defender allowed a through ball to bounce past him. But Muggleton was alert and spread himself to deny the Dale sub with a fine block.
Lloyd replaced Hamshaw on 68 minutes and almost straight away Barker fired just wide from 18 yards.
Stags almost grabbed a lifeline on 72 when Brown, who was causing Dale problems, crossed from the right and found Barker who saw his seven yard header bounce up off the ground and come back off the crossbar.
Brown then sliced a shot wide from the edge of the box as he tried to turn.
Defender Buxton replaced Coke on 75 minutes and took up Coke's role in central midfield.
Hjelde was booked on 84 after he and Sako again squared up following a Hjelde foul.
Former Stag Clarke replaced Moquet a minute later, the Frenchman having long since faded out the game after his dazzling first half.
Muggleton denied Doolan another free kick success with a superb tip over and seconds later was also there at his near post to stop a much tamer Doolan effort.
Sako ought to have made it 3-0 two minutes from time after a John-Baptiste error allowed him to get away, poke the ball past last defender Hjelde and, with only Muggleton to beat, curled his finish against the post.
In the final minute a great pass from Buxton sent Brown into the box. But Gilks denied the visitors a consolation as he beat away the striker's powerful shot.
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