STAGS BEATEN AT ROCHDALE AFTER POOR SECOND HALF
Rochdale 1 - 0 Mansfield
Att 2431 (338 from Mansfield)
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
SINGLE GOAL SINKS STAGS
Rochdale 1 Mansfield Town 0
You could forgive all at Field Mill if their minds where elsewhere what with the continuing 'take over' saga rumbling on and a live TV appearance in the FA Cup being on the horizon but there was a stark realisation for Billy Dearden's men as another League defeat tumbled The Stags to just one place above the relegation zone.
It's now ten visits to Rochdale and no wins for Mansfield Town following this recent set-back and although the 1st half promised so much, from the time returning striker, Lee McEvilly put the home side in front in the 67th minute, Stags let themselves down in every department.
In a rain soaked encounter both sides tried to play the game in the right way and early on it was Mansfield who although not having the lion's share of the possession, did though look the more likely side to score. Perhaps if one of those chances had been put away then it would have been a happy story to tell instead of one of misery.
The Stags once again went with a Boulding brother double act up front and on three minutes the Rory part almost struck Stags in front. He was allowed time and room to get off a fierce shot that look destined for the bottom left hand corner, however home keeper Russell had other idea's and stretched out a hand to divert it out for a corner.
There was then a lengthy delay when the Referee decided that a hole in the pitch was too dangerous to continue and demanded that sand was found to fill it in. It was a strange situation where the players knew what was happening but the rest of the ground didn't.
Dale, with former Stags Rundle in their line up where looking to find the bustling McEvilly who was causing Buxton and Baptiste problems with his physical striking style. The Dale front man had left Spotland two years previous stating he was leaving for bigger and better things only to return to familiar soil after time with Accrington Stanley and Wrexham. It was to prove in the end a successful homecoming.
Jelleyman did well to get in a dangerous cross that Rory Boulding was only inches away from converting as both sides went in search of the opening goal, Martin being the hero for Stags at the other end as McEvilly did well after a Baptiste slip to fire the ball across the Stags six-yard box towards Murray. Rundle eventually heading the ball over the crossbar.
The home side were looking dangerous from the flanks but Stags were coping well and holding firm, although Buxton had to be on hand to block a Higginbotham volley that flew out for a corner.
20 minutes in and Stags should have taken the lead. Bell weaved a bit of magic in the centre of midfield before perfectly setting away his partner Dawson who raced on towards goal. However the Dale keeper did well to save his goal-bound effort and when the ball rebounded, it hit Dawson but frustratingly rolled away harmlessly and gave Dale chance to clear. It was a chance that was to prove costly for Mansfield.
Stags looked hungry for goal and Micky Boulding saw a chipped effort saved easily before Bell wrapped his foot around the ball and agonisingly saw his shot go narrowly over the bar.
Dale thought they had taken the lead five minutes before the break but the offside flag came to The Stags rescue. McEvilly fired in the ball into the Stags six-yard box to where Buxton reacted and slide the ball into his own goal.
Dale upped the tempo and ended the half the more dangerous.
Five minutes into the 2nd half, former-Stag Adam Rundle could and should have shattered Mansfield hearts but after Muggleton had pushed away a tempting cross, Rundle just 6 yards from goal and with Muggleton at his mercy elected to hammer the ball over the bar. It was a big let off for the Stags.
Murray then wasted a great opportunity when he put a free header wide of the mark as Dale peppered away at the Stags rearguard.
Russell was on hand to once again deny Dawson, as it looked only a matter of time before either side achieved the breakthrough goal.
There were calls for a penalty kick when a ball into the area found Muggleton and Murray on a one on one but the Dale player elected to sling himself into the mud before the Stags keeper made contact and play was waved on.
On 55 minutes Dale made a double substitution soon after, Hamshaw was replaced by D'Laryea and then on 67 minutes, McAliskey replaced Rory Boulding as both sides tried to shake up the pack to find the answer.
Seconds later though Stags were to find themselves a goal behind. McEvilly firing in a shot that took a slight deflection off of Buxton, the turn on the ball proving just enough to evade the outstretched finger tips of Muggleton to reach the keepers bottom right hand corner.
Dale were then on a high and Stags were struggling to get back into the game as dangerous wing-play forced Stags to defend more than attack.
Lee McEvilly was replaced by former Stag, John Doolan who took no time in warming Muggleton's hands as he let fly with a typical blast.
As the rain hammered down and time ticked away it looked less likely that Stags were going to get back in a game which if first half chances had been converted would have been a different story. As it was the goal energised the home side and left big question marks against the Stags ability to compete effectively. It was both frustrating and disappointing to see Dearden's men struggle when there seemed no need.
Holmes came on in the last four minutes as Stags boss Dearden tried to rustle up something to gain his side a point but it was the home side that threatened to go further ahead. Muggleton saving with his legs from LeFondre
The visitor's goal breathed a sigh of relief in added on time when Doolan calmly side-footed an effort which cannoned off the foot of the post before dropping invitingly to the feet of LeFondre, who could do nothing other than put the rebound wide.
The final whistle was greeted with low heads from the Mansfield side that had simply not been good enough since going a goal behind.
This weekend Stags take on Harrogate Railway in the 2nd Round of the FA Cup. The game, live on BBC on the Sunday will no doubt be a tricky encounter where the nation outside Mansfield will be hoping to witness a Cup shock. Good news though for Mansfield is that striker Simon Brown, if returning to sprinting by the middle of the week, could be in contention for a place in the line up.
Rochdale 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Rochdale secured their third home win of the season against Mansfield in a rain lashed affair at Spotland. Match report from Leedsdale now online.
Rochdale 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Lee McEvilly hit the winning goal at a rain lashed Spotland in a 1-0 defeat of Mansfield Town. Leedsdale's match report now online.
Rochdale 1 Mansfield Town 0
No matter what season it is, and no matter which set of players have been assembled by their respective managers, a home win against Mansfield is something of an inevitability. Not wanting to disappoint, the current crop of Dale players turned in a solid performance against a lacklustre Mansfield side to claim a very important three points, something that they haven't done enough of this season.
Dale lined up in a familiar 4-4-2 formation, with Sam Russell keeping his place in goal from James Spencer. There was only room for one Nathan in the starting line up this week, which meant that the first instalment of D'Layrea v D'Layrea will have to wait until later on this season. Up front there was a little bit of a surprise as Lee McEvilly was given a starting berth after he completed his loan move from Accrington this week, however if he keeps turning in performances like this one then he will be starting every game! Le Fondre must be wondering what he has to do to be given a start, as yet again the club's leading scorer had to make do with a place on the bench.
To be fair to Mansfield, they did actually start the game quite brightly, and it looked like it might be another frustrating afternoon for the home faithful. Rory Boulding was the first player to get a shot on target in the game, thankfully Sam Russell was on hand to make the save. Stephen Dawson was next to try his luck after being played in with a superb pass, but Russell once again was alert and rushed out to block the shot. After a shaky start Rochdale began to dominate possession and tried to play some passing football, despite the torrential conditions. Lee McEvilly was at the heart of most of what was good about Rochdale in the first half, and despite needing to do some work on getting his weight down, his bustling style and sheer determination made sure he endeared himself to the home fans on his second debut. Another player having an excellent game was striker-turned-right winger Kallum Higginbotham. Since being given his chance after Ben Muirhead's failure to find the form of last season, Higginbotham has flourished. Time and time again yesterday he wriggled away from his marker and looked to play a telling ball into the box. There is still plenty of work that he can put into his game, but the 'uncut diamond' that Hill signed in the summer certainly looks like he can play a vital part in our season. Despite dominating possession, Rochdale were struggling to create any real chances of note to test the Friar Tuck lookalike in the Mansfield goal. Higginbotham had a ferocious volley blocked, and there was a goal ruled out for offside after good work by McEvilly down the left flank. The best chance of the half came when McEvilly, once again, broke free from two markers and squared the ball for Jones. He opened his body and tried to side foot the ball into the net, it took a huge deflection but Muggleton was able to shift his body weight and make a fine save.
The second half started with more Dale pressure and an early chance for Adam Rundle. Higginbotham slipped the ball one side of his marker and chased around him to collect the ball, before delivering a superb cross to the back post where former-Stag Rundle was unable to score, choosing to fire the ball over the bar instead. The best chance of the game came soon after, and it was the mis-firing Murray who missed it. A cross from the left by Jones found Murray in acres of space, and whilst many were looking for an offside flag, Murray planted his header wide from 6 yards out. It was horribly reminiscent of the missed header at Morecambe, and to add to his frustration he was denied what looked like a certain penalty shortly after when it appeared he had been brought down by Muggleton in the box. This capped off another disappointing afternoon for the front man. It was not that Murray was missing chances, which were at a premium, but his all round play was a bit lethargic and he was knocked off the ball too easily, too many times. I don't take pleasure in criticising performances, so hopefully having McEvilly at the club will help bring back Murray's form. His afternoon was brought to an end soon after as Hill made his now trademark substitution early in the second half. Alfie and Prendergast came on for Murray and Rundle. Dale didn't have it all their own way however, Sam Russell made a fantastic one handed save from Dawson, when it looked for all the world as if the shot was arrowing towards the bottom corner.
The breakthrough came with 20 minutes of the game remaining, and the script was written for the returning McEvilly to grab the goal. A Perkins ball forward was controlled by Le Fondre into the path of McEvilly, who drilled a left footed shot past Muggleton. Having watched the replays on TV this morning it seems as though there may have been a slight deflection off the Mansfield defender who came across to block the shot, but that matters not. McEvilly certainly wasn't complaining, and with Doolan warming up down the touchline somewhere, he ran to the bench and jumped on the only man capable of withholding a man of his stature, Flickers. The game became something of a damp squib after the goal, and it wasn't until the introduction of Doolan for McEvilly that Dale created any more chances of note. After a long (by his standards!) run through the midfield, and under instruction from me to "Hit the f*****g thing!" he had a left footed effort well saved by Muggleton, and then managed to hit the post after Prendergast played him in from the left hand side. Mansfield tried to find an equaliser, but were thwarted by the excellent centre-back pairing of Holness and Stanton. It has been painfully obvious that we have been missing Stanton's presence and pace at the back, and this was highlighted yesterday in another flawless performance from the former Scunthorpe man. The final chance came in the dying minutes as Higginbotham was put through one-on-one but Muggleton yet again made another good save.
The performance did not quite reach the heights of last season's efforts, but it represents a definite improvement on recent weeks. Rochdale dominated possession, tried to get the ball wide and there were some very pleasing performances. The only criticism would be that there were not that many chances created, and the players could do with taking on board Hill's comments about trying to shoot on sight more often. That said, we are now up to 14th, and a win against Wrexham next Saturday could take us up to 9th, so there is plenty to be hopeful about!
Up the Dale!
Rochdale 1 Mansfield 0
ROCHDALE returned to winning ways with a much improved performance and could have won by a wider margin.
Much the better side, especially in the second period, the only surprise was that it took them so long to get ahead.
Lee McEvilly capped an excellent return by firing his side ahead on 69 minutes with a well struck shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Late in the game Dale could have stretched their lead even further but former Mansfield John Doolan saw his shot from the edge of the box rebound off the foot of the post
Rochdale 1 Mansfield Town 0, Saturday 24th November
By John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town's appalling record at Rochdale continued at rain-soaked Spotland this afternoon.
Returning hero Lee McEvilly, back on loan at his former club, grabbed the 67th minute winner to ensure Stags lost for the ninth time in 10 visits, the other being a draw.
Overall this was a disappointing performance for Stags after their decent displays of late.
But they did have two good chances to take the lead inside the first 19 minutes which could have changed the script drastically.
However, home keeper Sam Russell saved well from both Rory Boulding and Stephen Dawson.
In the end Dale fully deserved the three points as Stags failed to trouble the home goal in a dreadful last half-hour with visiting keeper Carl Muggleton called upon to make several stops.
Mansfield made one change with John-Baptiste back from a back strain the heart of defence.
Mullins moved back to right back and Bell to centre midfield.
That meant Jon D'Laryea found himself back on the bench and, with twin brother Nathan not even named in the Dale 16, the first ever occasion the brothers have faced each other on a football field was not to be today.
Rochdale named former Stags winger Rundle in their starting XI,, but ex-Mansfield midfielder Doolan could only make their bench.
John Hartson lookalike McEvilly was back on loan at his former club from Accrington and proved a physical handful for Buxton and John-Baptiste.
Buxton knocked him flying with a thunderous header in the opening seconds as the game kicked off in heavy rain.
Then a misplaced header from Jones to Jelleyman saw him slightly overhit his pass and it ran into touch before Micky Boulding could reach it.
On three minutes Rochdale allowed Rory Boulding some room 20 yards from goal and he struck a low shot destined for the bottom left corner which keeper Russell did well to stretch and tip round for a corner.
Bizarrely, we then had a lengthy hold-up after the referee demanded that a deep rut in the pitch be filled in.
Rory Boulding was inches away from getting a decisive touch onto Jelleyman's dangerous cross in front of goal on the restart.
Stags defended a home corner. Soon after a John-Baptiste slip allowed McEvilly to get in a cross which saw Martin just get in ahead of Murray and Rundle finally headed over.
Rochdale's crosses from the left were causing problems and after a couple of scrambles, a Higginbotham volley on target thankfully cannoned into Buxton and out for a corner.
The visitors should have gone ahead on 19 minutes. Bell's superb run through the midfield saw him lay the perfect ball into the path of Dawson who took it on into the box but his first attempted finish was blocked by the keeper and the ball came back out to hit Dawson and roll to safety.
Micky Boulding came back from an offside position to try to hook a Jelleyman header over the keeper but the catch was comfortable in the end. Soon after Bell struck a first time effort just over from the edge of the box.
There was a let-off for Mansfield five minutes from the break as an offside flag went up as McEvilly drilled in a low cross from the left of the box and Buxton slid in to put the ball into his own net.
Soon after a low Higginbotham cross flew across the six yard box with Murray and McEvilly both narrowly failed to turn it home.
On 43 minutes Jones saw his shot take a wicked deflection which brought a good save from Muggleton stretching to his left.
Stags finished the half under pressure with two more home corners but the half ended scoreless.
Rochdale wasted two golden chances to break through within six minutes of the restart.
On 49 minutes Higginbotham drilled in a right wing cross which Muggleton pushed away from goal. Rundle controlled seven yards from goal but lifted his finish over the top with the goal and keeper at his mercy.
Two minutes later Rundle's cross caught the visiting defence out of position and, with Stags calling for offside Murray planted a free header wide of the target when he really should have scored.
A minute later Dawson shot from 20 yards at the other end but once again Russell was there to make the save.
Rochdale were calling for a penalty when Muggleton skidded into Murray as he tried to go round him. But the Dale man was going down before the contact and play was continued.
Home boss Keith Hill made a double swap on 55 minutes as Rundle and Murray made way for Prendergast and LeFondre.
Four minutes later Mansfield responded by swapping Hamshaw for D'Laryea.
Lack of communication between Stags defenders saw a ball that should have been cleared taken on by LeFondre and drilled across the face of goal.
McAliskey joined the Stags attack in place of Rory Boulding on 67 minutes.
But seconds later Mansfield were behind. Stags were trying to defend their 18 yard line where McEvilly powered a in a low shot that took a slight deflection off Buxton which was just enough to beat Muggleton's fingertips and nestle inside keeper's right hand post.
More home pressure saw Buxton again get his body in the way of a McEvilly blast.
McEvilly was given a noisy ovation when he was brought off nine minutes from time to be replaced by Doolan.
Holmes was given the last three minutes in place of Jelleyman and immediately Rochdale broke with LeFondre getting behind Martin and clear only to see Muggleton keep out his low finish with his legs.
Muggleton then had to beat out a Doolan rocket shot from 20 yards as time ran out.
The away goal somehow survived again seconds after Perkins' low ball rolled invitingly to Doolan who tried to place a sidefooted finish which came back off the post and too quickly at LeFondre who couldn't turn it home from close range.
Muggleton was again in the way of Higginbotham's shot after he twisted and turned just inside the area as we entered four minutes of stoppage time.
But Stags simply hadn't done enough in the second half to warrant taking anything home.
ROCHDALE: Russell, Ramsden, Kennedy, Holness, Stanton, Higginbotham, Jones, Perkins, Rundle (Prendergast 55), McEvilly (Doolan 81), Murray (LeFondre 55). Subs not used: Spencer, Crooks.
STAGS: Muggleton, Mullins, Martin, Buxton, John-Baptiste, Hamshaw (D'Laryea 59), Jelleyman (Holmes 87), Bell, Dawson, M. Boulding, R. Boulding (McAliskey 67). Subs not used: White, McIntosh.
REFEREE: Colin Webster of Tyne and Wear
Latest | November 2007