MORE REPORTS AND PARKIN REACTION
SHAKY STAGS WERE NEVER AT THE RACES
Evening Post, 27 November 2006
Rochdale 2 - 0 Mansfield
When Mansfield last won at Rochdale on April 5, 1997, just down the M62 in Liverpool the Grand National was being abandoned because of an IRA bomb scare.
Almost ten years later the Stags are still searching for an elusive win at Spotland - and this latest attempt was just as much as a non-event as that fateful Aintree afternoon.
Quite simply, the Stags were never at the races with a desperately poor performance that lacked cohesiveness, conviction and class.
If last week's defeat at home to Peterborough was Mansfield's worst home display of the season, then this must surely have been their worst on their travels.
Of course, Peter Shirtliff's men have lost by a wider margin - 4-0 at league leaders Walsall was their biggest hiding.
But this was against a Dale side short on confidence and below the Stags in the League Two table. It was a Dale side they should have been capable of beating.
Instead, the 2-0 defeat - the same scoreline here last year brought about the resignation of Carlton Palmer as Stags boss - was Mansfield's eighth reverse in nine attempts at what is an unhappy hunting ground.
So abject was the Stags' showing that some of their supporters left at half-time for the warmth of the pub. And they didn't miss much as Dale, for the most part, still looked the most likely team to score.
It was quite obvious that the home players wanted it more than those in the dark navy blue of Mansfield
The result left not only former manager Steve Parkin with a smile on his face but also an ex-player too, as Rochdale notched only their second home success of the season.
Midfielder John Doolan was a popular figure at Field Mill during the 1990s when he signed from Everton as a promising youngster making his way in the game.
The Liverpudlian has vast experience of life in the lower leagues and he used that to good effect, alongside his captain Gary Jones.
Doolan also smashed home Rochdale's second goal four minutes from the break with a powerful free-kick that gave what appeared to be an unsighted Carl Muggleton little chance.
It followed a 24th-minute opener for top scorer Chris Dagnall who converted the simplest of chances from a superb centre from new loan signing William Moquet.
Much of Mansfield's defensive troubles stemmed from the fact that crosses were being played into their box far too easily.
Not enough pressure was put on Rochdale's players in wide areas - and that meant their strikers could rely on good quality balls for much of the 90 minutes.
There were moments of hope for the Stags. But they were never converting into anything concrete. Early in the second half, Danny Reet had a sight of goal but shot over the bar and, midway through the half, skipper Richard Barker headed against the face of the bar from substitute Simon Brown's cross.
Had either of those opportunities been taken, then it could have made for an interesting end to the game.
As it was, the hosts cruised to victory and twice went close to extending their winning margin as Morike Sako was denied first by a diving stop from Muggleton and then the right-hand post.
The look on the faces of the Mansfield players as they trooped dejectedly off the pitch said it all. They knew they had let their manager down badly, not to mention the fans who had journeyed north.
Of their last eight away games, Mansfield have now picked up just four points and scored only four goals - three of those in one game at Macclesfield. Six of those matches have ended in defeat.
The question is, where do they go from here in their away fixtures?
Well, for a start, the appetite for the fight has to be much greater. Things are not going to improve unless every player starts giving their all.
Too often, certain members of the team go missing for long periods. At this level, that is not good enough.
They have to start being more attack-minded and create more opportunities by pushing forward.
What is clear. If Mansfield have too many more performances like this one, a relegation battle beckons.
STEVE Parkin heaped praise on the performance of goalscorer John Doolan as Rochdale cruised to victory over Mansfield.
Boss Parkin and midfielder Doolan were together at Field Mill in the 90s and were understandably delighted to get one over on their former club.
"We have missed John while he has been out ? it's as simple as that," said Parkin.
"He has experienced that only players who have played for as long as he has can give you.
"I'm pleased for him because he played well. His goal was just the icing on the cake."
Parkin was relieved to end Dale's poor run of form on their own ground but has never felt that his job has been under threat.
He said: "I didn't feel at any stage that my position was in jeopardy. But you can't enjoy things as much when you are losing.
"The one thing we haven't lost is our belief that we are not a bad team."
D'LARYEA: WE MUST NOT BE BULLIED BY OPPOSITION
Evening Post, 27 November 2006
Jonathan D'Laryea says Mansfield must toughen up their act if they are to improve their woeful away record.
Mansfield have won just once on the road in League Two this season and never looked likely to add that tally at Rochdale.
Midfielder D'Laryea is adamant that the Stags must start matching their opponents' appetite for a battle and not be intimidated if they are to turn things around.
"It seems that every time we come away from home we are not doing ourselves justice and I think at times that is because we are being bullied," he said.
"When it gets physical we are not competing enough.
"The teams we play are not necessarily bigger than us. I just think it is a mental thing. We need to stand firm and get through the difficult part of matches without conceding.
"The most disappointing thing is when you are beaten by a side that is not a better footballing team, but they have just worked harder.
"We need to keep a high level of performance for the whole 90 minutes and not just in flashes."
Boss Peter Shirtliff blamed the players for the defeat in his post-match interview and D'Laryea agrees.
He said: "It is the players' fault. Everyone was happy with the side that was picked and the preparation in the week leading up to the game was fine.
"The boss did everything he could and once the game starts it is up to us to perform and we know that we didn't."
D'Laryea also felt for the fans, who once again made the journey home knowing their team had been well beaten
"All I can say to them is to stick by us. They need to know that we are just as gutted as they are and that we are desperate to put it right," he added.
"We can only say sorry for the way we have played in our last two games - we know we have not been good enough."
BLAST FOR 'INEPT AND OUTRUN' MANSFIELD
Evening Post, 27 November 2006
Furious Mansfield boss Peter Shirtliff blasted his players after the 2-0 defeat to Rochdale.
"I can't think of enough adjectives to describe just how bad we were," he said.
"We were embarrassing, inept, outrun and outplayed in every department.
"I can only apologise on behalf of the players who I hope are embarrassed by their performance.
"I can't defend them after that and I won't. But I refuse to take the flak for that. It can't always be the manager's fault because the bottom line when the match starts is that it is up to them."
Shirtliff has warned his players that they must improve quickly otherwise they could be shown the door at Field Mill.
"I said at half-time that those who think they are in the comfort zone can forget that," he said.
"I will change things around in four or five weeks when the transfer window opens if I have to. It is time for the players to take responsibility.
"The fans were shouting 'Keith Haslam out', but what happened on the pitch was down to the players and they have to stop hiding.
"We were totally inept. I don't know what has changed - it's the same players - but that is probably why they are playing at this level.
"I want to win at Darlington (tomorrow) and I hope the players do as well because I am not accepting what happened."
Rochdale boss Steve Parkin admitted he was pleased in many ways after seeing his side score just their second home win of the season.The performance, the showing of the new on loan winger, a goal for veteran John Doolan and of course the result all added to a good day for Rochdale.
"I'm pleased with the general overall performance from everyone today," said Parkin. "I was bitterly disappointed with the goals we conceded against Barnet and we had to do something about that.Now we have played two games and kept two clean sheets and that gives us a base to build on.
"It's a young back four in terms of age and experience and I thought they looked pretty solid and that is a very good sign for the future of this football club."
With a poor run of results finally ended the Dale boss admitted there was pressure to turn things around, though Steve admitted it was something that didn't involve his position at Spotland.
"I never feel in jeopardy with regards to my job at this club, it's the pressure of not enjoying life and football when you have lost.It feels a lot better when you win and when you lose it does get you down.You have to keep picking yourself up and keep believing and the belief is something I've never lost."
The introduction of on loan Sunderland winger Will Mocquet who joined the club on Thursday added the excitement of a player willing, and on today's showing, able to get down the line and service the front men.It was a ploy that served Dale well, not just in scoring the first goal of the game, but in relieving the pressure at the back.
"We knew that bringing Will to the club would give us nothing defensively but we are aware that with his pace and direct play he can take you up the pitch.That's a good thing to have when you have been conceding goals like we have lately.If he can do that and then produce what he did today in the final third then great, but even if he doesn't the ball is in the oppositions half.
"We had a word with the front men on Friday and told them to be aware that if he gets half a yard he'll put the crosses in and Chris Dagnall took advantage of that with our first goal.His play excites the fans and it excites us on the bench when we see dangerous balls going into the box.
"I'm also pleased for John Doolan for his goal because like us he enjoys winning, he's a good lad in the dressing room and we have missed him when he's not played this season.He has vast amounts of experience and it was the icing on the cake for him to score today."
Stuart Ashworth at Spotland
Rochdale scored their first Saturday win at Spotland this season in comfortable fashion thanks to striker Chris Dagnall and a John Doolan free-kick. Against a lacklustre Mansfield team a strong first-half performance capped by the two goals were enough to virtually end the game as a contest.
Steve Parkin gave Sunderland loanee Will Mocquet his debut on the right-wing and he received a standing ovation from the Dale faithful and pats on the back from his new colleagues on the pitch when substituted late in the game. The highlight of his performance being a run and cross that laid the opening goal on a plate for top-scorer Chris Dagnall.
Mocquet was a threat for the majority of the game and although a little rough around the edges he looks a good prospect and his manager will have been happy with his debut.
Parkin made changes to his starting line up with Mocquet taking up station on the right in a four man midfield with Ernie Cooksey on the opposite flank and the centre marshalled by skipper Gary Jones and former Stag John Doolan who had just returned from injury.
Nathan Stanton and Rory McArdle, both contenders for Man of the Match, formed the rock in front of 'keeper Matt Gilks with Alan Goodall and the ever impressive Gary Brown keeping a check on the wings.
In the striking department Glenn Murray and Chris Dagnall got the nod over Morike Sako and on loan Blackburn man Keith Barker who failed to even make the bench.
The heavy overnight rain that continued well into the morning certainly tested out the recently installed drains under the Spotland pitch and the investment clearly came out on top, though the pitch was heavy in places.
It was slippery too with plenty of players failing to stay on their feet on occasion but it didn't detract from an open and even start to the game.In fact the home side could have taken the lead inside the first minute after Sunderland loanee Will Mocquet raced down the flank and drilled a low ball along the edge of the area. Ernie Cooksey arrived to smash the ball goalwards but his effort flew wide of the mark.
With 15 minutes played referee Mathieson waved away claims from Rochdale for a penalty after Glenn Murray's path to goal was blocked by John-Baptiste inside the box. Murray crashed to the ground after bouncing off the defender, but Mathieson was having none of it.
Four minutes later Dale broke from their own half through the very lively Chris Dagnall who picked up the ball just outside his own box following a Mansfield corner. Dagnall, with Mocquet in support on the right, continued his run until he was sadly crowded out on the edge of the Stag's box before he could get a shot away.
The opening goal arrived on 24 minutes. Good wing-play on the right by Mocquet saw him leave full-back Gareth Jellyman floundering and his pinpoint cross found the unmarked Chris Dagnall who had the simplt task of heading in from 6 yards out. The Dale faithful rose as one to salute the creation by the Frenchman and with service that like Dagnall could hardly miss.
Just before the break Dale made it two from a 20-yard freekick after Mansfield's flimsy wall broke apart and former Mansfield man John Doolan peered through the gap to see his shot end it's journey in the back of Muggleton's goal. The free-kick itself appeared a little harsh as Murray appeared to go to ground easily but that doesn't excuse the poor defending that followed.
The second-half lacked the goals but chances were there though they did come much later in the game. The introduction of Morike Sako for the injured Glenn Murray brought a little more panic in the visitors defence though the rangy Frenchman was kept out do to a combination of keeper when through on goal in the 64th minute and the post as the game entered the final moments and he went through one-on-one again.
Mansfield, who failed to register a shot on target in the first half manged to get two in the second period, the first coming off the head of the unusually quiet Ritchie Barker.A cross from the right by lively substitute Callum Lloyd was headed down by the striker, but after bouncing inside the six yard box the ball brushed the face of the crossbar and over.
The Stags' only other effort arrived in stoppage time when another substitute Simon Brown found a little space on the edge of the box, but his firm effort was easily dealt with by Gilks with his first save of the game.
It was certainly a much needed win for Rochdale with teams around them picking up points, but with two clean sheets in two games and a forward line looking likely to score goals Steve Parkin's side will be looking to move away from the battlers at the bottom.
Scored, though it was his sheer work-rate, touch and willingness to run at people that edged out Stanton and Jones.
Came on as a late substitute and did more in his brief time on the pitch than his colleagues who'd been on throughout.
Managers Comments in Brief
"We deserved to score more goals than we did but I'm pleased we got the points."
"Out-paced, out-played and out-fought. I just hope the players are as embarrased about the display as I am."
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
DISAPPOINTMENT AT DALE
Rochdale 2 Mansfield Town 0
Dagnall 24, Doolan 41.
Att – 2,378.
“I am embarrassed!” Not the words of the unhappy Mansfield faithful as they drearily moped off from their sides latest defeat at Rochdale but those of their teams manager, Peter Shirtliff, who also added, “ I can't think of enough adjectives to describe how bad we were today. I can only apologise to our fans on behalf of the players who I hope are embarrassed by their performances.”
It was a sorry day all round for a Stags side who have endured so far what has been a miserable month of November with three league defeats, all without scoring a goal. The only bright light being the FA Cup victory over Accrington Stanley.
Rochdale who's 2-0 win over The Stags was only their 2nd home victory of the season, the previous coming from a tight win over Grimsby way back in September, could hardly believe their luck when faced with a Mansfield side who struggled all afternoon.
Stags made two changes, Reet in for Beardsley and Boulding in for the injured Charlton but it was the home side that started the game much the brighter with Cooksey blasting wide with a first time effort.
Boulding got on the end of a fine midfield move involving D'Laryea and Coke but his effort flew wide of the keeper's left hand post.
Stags were at least in the early stages looking like they were hoping to end the recent poor league form, with Barker being presented with a couple of headed chances but they ended in disappointment.
On 16 minutes, Rochdale had good claims for a penalty turned down when Alex John-Baptiste caught Murray in the area but thankfully for the Stags the appeals were waved away by Referee Mathieson.
The breakthrough came on 24 minutes when Moquet, making his Dale debut tricked his way down the right hand side, Baptiste seemed to back off enough for the winger to deliver a perfect cross onto the head of Dagnall who made no mistake from close range.
Muggleton was called into action on 30 minutes to deny a Murray header. It was a smart reaction save from the Stags custodian.
Dale were piling on the pressure at this point as Stags struggled to keep possession of the ball.
D'Laryea did provide a brief spark when he burst forward from midfield only to finish with a shocking attempt on the Dale goal.
It was 2-0 four minutes from the break and it was ex-Stags player, John Doolan who did the damage. Stags conceded a free kick on the edge of the area and Doolan calmly steered the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
As the half time mark approached Gilks in the Rochdale goal finally was called into action as he managed to claw away a sliced clearance from one of his own defenders, Hamshaw headed the ball back towards Barker, who headed wide of goal.
The first real chance of the 2nd half came on 52 minutes when Reet turned and shot from 20 yards, it was though to be his last action of the afternoon as just seconds later he was replaced by Simon Brown.
Stanton then felled Boulding but from the resulting free kick routine, after looking slightly off balance, Barker fired well wide.
Thankfully, Muggleton was alert when a mistake by Hjelde let in the giant Sako, the Stags keeper racing out to deny the Dale substitute with a fine save with his legs.
On 68 minutes, Lloyd replaced Hamshaw, seconds later Barker fired wide.
It proved it wasn't to be Mansfield's day when after a good cross from Brown, Barker saw his header bounce on the ground and clip the frame of the Rochdale goal. Simon Brown frustrated when after trying to turn, he fired an effort wide of the mark.
Buxton came onto the field as he replaced Coke on 75 minutes.
Former Stags' player and local boy, Darrell Clarke replaced Moquet with five minutes to go
Doolan almost added to Rochdale's tally near the end but was denied by a good save from Muggleton and Sako should have made it three when after a mistake by Baptiste, the big striker curled his effort against the post.
In the final minute, Buxton played a perfect ball to Brown, but Gilks denied him as he beat away his powerful shot.
All in all it was a miserable day for The Stags, who despite a slightly better 2nd half showing, failed to impress.
This weekend FA Cup fever comes to town when 1st Division Doncaster Rovers come to Field Mill. Stags will be eager to gain a much-needed confidence boosting result, which will see them into the hat with the big boys in Round 3.
Latest | November 2006