STAGS OUT OF JP TROPHY
Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern Section Round 1
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Rotherham United
Attendance: 1578 (356 from Rotherham)
Date: 4 September 2007
Evening Post report:
New injury blow for beaten Stags
The fact Mansfield are out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy this morning will not particularly concern manager Billy Dearden.
What will, though, is the ever-decreasing number of central midfielders available to him.
With Jonathan D'Laryea still recovering from ankle surgery, Lee Bullock nursing a thigh strain and Lee Bell suspended, what the Stags boss wanted more than anything was to get through last night's game without a further setback in the centre of the park.
So when Stephen Dawson limped off after just five minutes against the Millers with a hamstring injury, it handed Dearden another headache ahead of Sunday's trip to promotion favourites Peterborough.
It will not be until later in the week that the true extent of the Irishman's injury will become apparent and the decision taken on whether he will be fit to run out at London Road.
But if he and the on-loan Bullock are unable to play, it leaves Mansfield with none of their first-choice central midfielders available.
Wide men Dan Martin and Matt Hamshaw could take both of those vacant slots, leaving other players to come in on the flanks.
But if Dearden fails to bring in a new face before taking on the Posh, as he hopes to do when the window re-opens for emergency loans on Saturday, then he is more likely to utilise one of those two with Danny Sleath.
So often the 20-year-old from Derby has flattered to deceive in his first-team appearances despite impressing for the reserves, appearing to freeze on the big stage.
But for the first time last night, Sleath seemed comfortable with his game and showed flashes of why Mansfield have so much faith in him.
His passing was crisper and his touch on the ball more assured than in the games he played at the end of last season and his solitary start in this one at Morecambe. He even got his foot in when required as well.
The Stags fans will just hope it gives him the confidence to produce his best more often.
Sleath was not the only fringe player to be given a run out as Michael Boulding was rested along with Martin McIntosh, who had stitches above his eye following an injury picked up against Stockport.
New signing Ian Holmes was handed his full debut up front while Chris Wood and Nathan Arnold also started and Dan Martin played almost a full game as the early replacement for Dawson. Holmes was eager, but lacked the service to make any real impression, and Arnold again struggled to prove he is not just explosive off the bench.
But Wood looked more than competent at right-back while Martin came into the game more and more as it went on.
At no point were either side dominant, with Rotherham the better in the first half and Mansfield having the edge after the break.
But it was the Millers who carved out the clearest opportunities and scored the only goal - denying their hosts a sought-after clean sheet once more.
Andy Warrington's shut-out at the other end was also the first occasion the Stags have failed to score this season, and it was not until 11 minutes from time he was forced to make a save of consequence.
After Rotherham's Dale Tonge, Ryan Taylor and Danny Harrison had all been off target, Derek Holmes finally tested Muggleton in the 35th minute but the home keeper got across well to tip a shot from distance around his right-hand post. The nearest Mansfield came in the first period was a 30-yard effort from Sleath which dipped late but not enough to sneak under the crossbar.
It was four minutes after the restart the decisive moment came. Stephen Brogan's free-kick found the head of central defender Ian Sharps and he headed into the top right-hand corner.
Marcus Bean should have sealed the Millers' passage to round two on the hour but he fired wide of goal as Muggleton advanced.
That let-off set up an interesting finish as Mansfield piled bodies forward.
Martin came closest to finding a goal when his 25-yard volley was too hot for Warrington to hold but a Rotherham defender got back to clear as the home side's attackers looked to pounce.
The defeat means the Stags' only realistic chance of getting to Wembley - play-offs aside - has gone for another year.
But as Dawson's injury in such a low-priority competition highlights, that may be no bad thing
Single goal ends Stags' JPT hopes
By John Lomas
IAN Sharps booked Rotherham United's passage to the next stage of the JPT with the only goal of the first round tie at Field Mill tonight.
Stags' League Two neighbours just about deserved it on chances created.
But Stags boss Billy Dearden will take heart from the performances of one of two of his younger players with Danny Sleath having his best game yet in the Mansfield midfield and Chris Wood and debut-making Ian Holmes both impressive in the first half.
Stags made four changes with Bell suspended, Martin McIntosh and Lee Bullock (injured) and Michael Boulding rested.
Sleath and Arnold came into midfield, Wood into right back and Holmes made his full debut up front, Mullins covering for McIntosh at centre half.
Wood made three excellent early interceptions, but Stags were dealt an early blow when Dawson limped off after only five minutes with what appeared to be a hamstring problem, Martin taking over.
Tonge was not far wide of the Stags' far post, and in the Millers' next raid Holmes shielded the ball before laying off to Harrison who was a foot wide with a low right foot shot from 18 yards.
Taylor headed over from a Holmes cross but soon after Holmes was on target with a powerful 20 yarder on 34 minutes that Muggleton had to turn aside for the first real save at either end.
Tonge dribbled into the box from the left and wasn't far wide of the near post as the visitors continued to create the better chances.
For Stags Sleath unleashed a superb shot from 30 yards but it dropped too late to trouble Warrington.
A short Millers corner saw Harrison feed Brogan who, as Stags defenders were caught napping, whipped a low shot wide of the near post.
On 43 Newsham turned superbly in the box and Muggleton did well to drop on the ball at his feet before he could capitalise on his piece of skill.
Then Taylor crashed a shot into the side netting from the left as the half ended in stalemate.
But the Millers grabbed the advantage within four minutes of the restart as Sharps rose well to guide his header just under the far angle after Brogan had hoisted a long free kick across from the right.
A Bean cross sailed right in front of goal without anyone able to turn it home, then Stags broke and McAliskey's acrobatic volley was blocked from a Hamshaw cross.
From the corner McAliskey rose and got in a header but didn't quite get over it and the ball sailed over.
That was his last action as Reet was given a run in his place on 56.
Buxton was too high with his header from Mansfield's next corner.
Then a superb through ball by Sleath put Arnold round the back and his cross passed in front of goal with Brogan there ahead of Reet at the far post.
United should have been 2-0 up on the hour as Taylor slipped Bean through on goal only to see him fire wide from 15 yards with only Muggleton in his way.
Newsham might have sealed the win on 72 after Todd got to the by-line and pulled a low ball back into his path but he blazed over.
Martin finally tested Warrington 11 minutes from time with a 25 yard piledriver that hit the keeper in the chest and a defender managed to put out for a corner.
With three minutes remaining Duncum broke for Rotherham but Martin chased and made a superb saving tackle in the area.
MANSFIELD: Muggleton; Woods, Mullins, Buxton, Jelleyman; Hamshaw (R. Boulding 62), Sleath, Dawson (Martin 5), Arnold; McAliskey (Reet 56), Holmes. Subs not used: White, Kitchen.
ROTHERHAM: Warrington; Tonge, Coughlan, Sharps (Hurst 72), Brogan; Joseph (Duncum 65), Holmes, Newsham, Taylor (Todd 65); Bean, Harrison. Substitutes: Cann, O'Grady.
REFEREE: M. Haywood of West Yorkshire.
SCORERS: Rotherham - Sharps 49.
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Sleath
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