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Archived News from January 2008

6th January 2008 23:17

Sunday Telegraph:
Another League Two side, Mansfield Town, also enjoyed their best day of the season with a 2-1 victory at League One Brighton. Goals from Matthew Hamshaw and Ian Holmes earned them a place in the fourth round.

The Observer:
Mansfield were without their leading scorer Michael Boulding at Brighton. Still, Mansfield manager Bill Dearden's pre-match FA Cup habit of taking his squad out for a walk and a bonding day on the Derbyshire moors certainly seemed to do the trick, with Matthew Hamshaw scoring his first goal of the season to put them ahead and, after an Alex Revell equaliser, Ian Holmes restoring their lead.

Sunday Times:
Mansfield were without their leading scorer Michael Boulding at Brighton. Still, Mansfield manager Bill Dearden's pre-match FA Cup habit of taking his squad out for a walk and a bonding day on the Derbyshire moors certainly seemed to do the trick, with Matthew Hamshaw scoring his first goal of the season to put them ahead and, after an Alex Revell equaliser, Ian Holmes restoring their lead.

Independent on Sunday:
round-up: Elementary for Holmes
Meanwhile, on the South Coast, Matt Hamshaw and Ian Holmes scored as Mansfield made light of their League travails to beat Brighton 2-1.

Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
The beauty of the game of football is its unpredictability. Not many if any at all fancied a 3rd Round victory for struggling Mansfield Town away against a steady looking Brighton & Hove Albion side who sit handily placed among the League 1 challengers but win they did and in some style.

Billy Dearden's squad for the game was at bare minimums but to a man those players who pulled on the amber shirt of The Stags at a rain-soaked Withdean Stadium can hold their heads high in providing what is hoped will be a massive turning corner in the Clubs whole season.

The Brighton players and indeed their supporters ambled along to the game no doubt with their heads filled of ease. They were on a good run of form and were facing a FA Cup 3rd round tie against the team sat 91st in the whole football league. A team who had tasted away success once all season and a team missing their leading goalscorer. What they ended up getting was a cold shudder and a reminder that nothing at all can be taken for granted, especially in FA Cup football.

Stags now face the prospect of pulling one of the major players in English football in a round they have not reached since the 87/88 season. That season in Round 4, Stags narrowly lost 2-1 to the eventual winners, Wimbledon.

It was certainly a day of shocks all round and the travelling 400 Stags fans must have known it was to be their day when Matt Hamshaw slotted away the first Mansfield goal on 9 minutes. The ball was played to him from D'Laryea and although deflected, there was enough of Hamshaw's tight angled shot to fly into the net to give Stags the perfect start.

It was no fluke either for Mansfield right from the start they seemed more up for the game than their hosts. They tackled better, they passed better and rightfully so, deservedly went into the lead.

On the quarter hour mark, Butters had a great chance of pulling the home side level, but shot wide. Although Brighton had a great deal of possession, they did little or nothing with it and it was Mansfield who looked the more dangerous. Ian Holmes could and maybe should have put the Stags 2-0 up on 19 minutes but after being fed by Brown, screwed his shot wide of the left hand post.

Against the run of play though Albion pulled a goal back. Stephen Dawson was punished for what the Referee thought was a high foot and from 30 yards; Cox floated a perfect ball onto the head of striker, Alex Revell who, unmarked, headed the ball into the net despite the outstretched hand of Muggleton.

Anyone though expecting the league 1 side to put their lower league opposition to the sword was mistaken. Stags, who had clearly gained confidence from their early goal, set about the hosts once more. It was certainly a performance, which belied Stags lowly league placing.

Dawson went close and from corners, Mansfield were causing a mumble or two from the home support, clearly not impressed with their sides performance whilst the rain soaked travelling support from Mansfield grew louder and louder.

On 40 minutes and again against the run of play, Brighton almost went in front. Nicky Forster got the wrong side of the Stags defence and his cross come shot eluded the hand of Muggleton but thankfully the in rushing boot of Revell.

Stags were still playing fine football and as the half drew to its close, Hamshaw fed Holmes who then passed the ball to Arnold. There was nothing wrong with the young midfielders technique but his curling shot was well saved by Kuipers.

Then came a moment to savour with one of the best goals of the weekend. Stags were defending in the bottom corner near their left corner flag, won the ball and worked it out into midfield, the ball was passed neatly between D'Laryea, Brown Hamshaw and Mullins before Mullins superbly played the ball across the Brighton six yard box where Ian Holmes delightfully finished off the move. It was a goal of real quality and one worthy of winning any game of football.

The half time chat amongst the home support was that Albion needed a early 2nd half goal if they were to at least get a replay and they struggled to believe that Mansfield were in threat of relegation. High compliments indeed.

As expected Albion came at Mansfield right from the start of the 2nd period, but The Stags held firm despite giving away several silly free kicks in dangerous positions, Mansfield to a man defended with style, whilst hoping to catch Brighton on the break. One such move presented Dawson with a great chance, but Kuipers came to the Seagulls rescue.

On the hour mark there was a scare for The Stags when El-Abd crossed over the ball from the left hand side and it looped onto the top of the crossbar. Revell also had a great chance with a header but Muggleton denied him a 2nd goal.

On 65 minutes The Stags had a wonderful chance of going further in front when Holmes shot was blocked and Simon Brown followed up by shooting wide.

On 74 minutes Rory Boulding came on for Ian Holmes, who had led the Mansfield Town line superbly.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Mansfield once again were provided with the opportunity of putting the game safe. Brown had a shot from close in which looked for all to be heading into the back of the net but it was hacked clear only for Arnold to steer the ball wide with the keeper nowhere. It was Arnold's last touch on the afternoon as he was replaced by Bell.

Brighton were now desperate and tried to throw everything at the Stags. Muggleton though and his defenders were having nothing of it but he did have to be at his best to get down low to save a header by Elder.

As the final few minutes were played out, Stags defended with might and frustration grew, as the seconds seemed like minutes and the minutes like hours.

Finally the whistle blew and the party began. It may not have been the FA Cup final and Brighton may only be a league above The Stags but the feeling at the end of the game could not have been better if Stags had actually won the Cup itself.

Stags will now be hoping for one of the big boys in Round 4 but more importantly will be hoping to take the confidence gained in this most important result, into their league form. Perhaps the Stags season has finally begun.

Flying High, the unofficial home of BHAFC

Match Report: Inept Albion crash out of cup: Brighton 1 - 2 Mansfield
Posted by David Snowball at Sunday, January 06, 2008

Inept Brighton crashed out of the FA Cup to the side second from bottom of the League - and they've only themselves to blame.

Talented defender Joel Lynch isn't quite as good a player as he thinks he is, and his slackness on the ball against hungry opponents led to both goals.

Mansfield hadn't won away in the league all season - and had lost their last five games on the road - so you can imagine how surprised and delighted their fans were.

Lynch, back in the side after illness, slotted in at left back and was exposed for the first time after only 10 minutes, failing to deal with the raiding right winger Hamshaw, who burst through and shot straight through Kuipers to open the scoring.

Although Alex Revell pulled a goal back with a free header from a Dean Cox free kick on 23 minutes, Albion failed to capitalise on the 'get-out-of-jail' equaliser and went behind again in added-on time at the end of the first half. Lynch again failed to deal with a move down the right wing and this time the ball was crossed for youngster Ian Holmes to tap in with ease.

The more natural left-back, Sam Rents, was introduced at the start of the 2nd half, replacing the injured Guy Butters, with Lynch moving into the centre, but there was no real spark to Albion's effort. They badly missed Dean Hammond in central midfield where Paul Reid struggled to make an impression and Tommy Fraser looked unwell or unfit. Substitute Doug Loft took his place but fared no better.

Considering all the pre-match fuss and bluster about signing David Martot in time to be included, it was amazing that he was kept on the bench as the game patently needed something positive to come from wide positions. Revell nearly made it happen when he dropped a good ball onto substitute Nathan Elder's head, but the keeper made a comfortable save.

Adam El-Abd burst through and saw what was obviously a cross graze the crossbar.

But that was all the Albion had to show for the second half, which was simply not good enough.
Brighton 1 Mansfield 2 - FA Cup round 3


RESULT; 1-2 - Revell . (ht 1-2) . SHAPE; various . PITCH; blameless, if slightly wet.
WEATHER; cool and showery . GATE; 5857 . REF; R Beeby - couldn't make him the reason for defeat.
ATMOSPHERE; seething frustration and open criticism of all things Albion.
TEAM; . . . . . . Kuipers
. . El-Abd, Elphick, Butters, Lynch
. . . Robinson, Fraser, Reid, Cox
. . . . . . . . . Revell, Forster

bench; Sullivan, Rents (46), Loft (62), Elder (79), Martot,

Prices had been slashed for this knockout encounter and on a showery afternoon, a sub six-thousand crowd wasn't too bad for pre 12th night numbers. Visitors had brought a few down, who held up small banners having a dig at their Board. Both clubs had got to this stage by beating inferior opposition, albeit via a replay in the case of Brighton at round1. Mansfield had been on TV for round2 and shown they could tough it out on foreign fields, even if League2 away form was diabolical. Brighton fans looked forward to a nice draw in round4 and settled back to watch the goals go in.
Whing phone in sick and Wilkins reshuffled his back line. El-Abd went to right back and Lynch to left. Hammond was injured and so Fraser paired with Reid in central midfield. On paper Brighton had a strong enough line-up to progress, we just needed rub of the half decent Withdean green.

GOALS; 10 min. Something was wrong, Brighton were nervous and didn't appear at all assured. Stags stuck it up us and scored on the near post. 0-1 - Wilkins came down to the dugout.
23 min. Albion had won a free-kick and Cox slung it over. Revell rose to head an equaliser. 1-1 - back to square one.
45+ min. Brighton nodded off just before coffee-time and a tackle or two would have been much appreciated. 1-2 - could we get a replay?

90 MIN MARE; the whole Brighton team was a shambles for the whole of this tie. Butters went off injured, so Rents came on for the second half. Loft replaced Fraser and Robinson swopped with Elder. It made no difference at all. It continued to be a shameful performance.

HIDEOUT; Wilkins became a stooped figure close to the bench. There were no raised voices, no gesticulating, no positive body language, no motivation and no bottle. Each man has his limitations. In football these are displayed in front of thousands.

ALBI HOVE SAID; 'everyone is gutted. We didn't turn up. We'd put out a reserve side and had nothing in reserve. It was obvious that some of those players have gone as far as they can go. Being a pro footballer is a lot more than having a P45 and a pair of flashy Nike boots. We looked an amateur outfit at best and unfortunately mostly worst of times'.

BOO HOO; Brighton fans booed, kids were crying and mums, wags and other assorted female attendees were reminded of that family Christmas argument when things were said. The trouble is you can't see this set of awkward arses being all smiles, by open invitation to a match-day sixteen in future.

TOWN UNITED; whatever their troubles, Mansfield's football was far from down and out. They were the better team, good luck to 'em and hope you guys can beat the drop.

Fatman Slims
Act now to stop Albion's season falling apart
By Andy Naylor
Brighton Argus
Albion 1 Mansfield 2.

ALBION must act and act quickly to prevent a season which promised so much less than a fortnight ago from totally disintegrating.

Chairman Dick Knight needs to push the boat out to ensure that Dean Hammond signs a new contract and that, at the very least, replacements of similar quality to the departed Matt Richards, George O'Callaghan and Bas Savage are landed during the January transfer window.

No more excuses, please, at the end of the month about who was targeted and why the Seagulls missed out on them.

They can forget about a play-off challenge without some serious re-strengthening.

A repeat of last season's second half nosedive towards a relegation scrap is far more likely with the squad in its current fragile state.

Resolving the injured Hammond's future is essential. Knight should have sorted that out in the summer.

The chairman is not the captain's biggest fan but surely he can see how important he is to the team?

Hammond's quiet efficiency was badly missed in the middle of the park as Albion made a humiliating and costly exit from the FA Cup.

Manager Dean Wilkins said: "If you look back at the games he missed last year as well I don't think we picked up too many points.

"He is a manager's player, a coach's player, a players' player, not so much dare I say a supporters' player, but he is very influential."

Hammond was not the only key absentee. Andrew Whing woke up on Saturday morning feeling unwell, prompting Wilkins into what turned out to be a catastrophic defensive re-shuffle.

Joel Lynch, who, like Hammond's replacement Tommy Fraser missed the Bournemouth victory through injury, had a nightmare at left-back in the opening 45 minutes but he was not the only one.

Albion, even without five of the players who contributed to the encouraging first half of the campaign, really ought to have been good enough to secure a place in the fourth round for the first time in 15 years and with it £40,000 in prize money and the prospect of greater riches from a plum draw.

Sudbury, Kingstonian, Leatherhead, Walton and Hersham ... now Mansfield Town can be added to the list of FA Cup horrors.

True, the others were all non-League teams, but the staggering Stags are the next-best thing.

Beset by off-field turmoil, they arrived at Withdean one place off the foot of the Football League, without both an away win all season and their 15-goal danger man Michael Boulding and with only 16 fit senior players.

They left worthy winners, which puts Albion's shocking display into perspective.

Make no mistake, this was no fluke. Michel Kuipers was the Seagulls' best performer. Without two fine second-half saves by the Dutch keeper their embarrassment would have been even more acute.

The script was tossed aside within ten minutes, as Matthew Hamshaw ran onto Simon Brown's pass inside Lynch to find the net from an acute angle via Kuipers' body.

Albion did not deserve an equaliser but they were gifted one midway through the first half.

Alex Revell, unmarked from a Dean Cox free-kick, expertly guided in a header, his fifth goal in three games.

That should have been the signal for the Seagulls to impose themselves but, uneasy at the back, over-run in midfield and punchless up front, they continued to play second fiddle.

Mansfield, composed in possession and better than their position in the table suggested, scored what proved to be the winner in first-half stoppage time. First Lynch and then Adam Al-Abd, reverting to Whing's right-back berth, failed to react quickly enough as John Mullins crossed low for Boulding's replacement, Ian Holmes, to side-foot into the roof of the net.

The back four had to be re-jigged again for the second half, with Guy Butters forced off by a calf injury.

Lynch moved into the middle and Sam Rents, whose confidence must be shot to pieces by the lack of faith shown in him, was introduced at left-back.

Wilkins rang the changes. Doug Loft replaced Fraser and Nathan Elder was thrown on for Jake Robinson but Albion were still almost as poor as they were in the first half.

Kuipers bettered a diving deflection at full-stretch from Stephen Dawson's low drive with a one-handed stop from Brown's shot through a ruck of players.

Elder almost spared Albion's blushes late on but his downward header from Revell's cross forced Mansfield's veteran custodian Carl Muggleton into his only serious save.

They need to replace in the remaining 24 days of January the combination of solidity, creativity and unpredictability provided by Richards, O'Callaghan and Savage.

And they must stop leaking soft goals. That is nine let in now in four matches, while the last of only two home clean sheets came back in early October.

Some of the younger players must also develop thicker skins if they are going to fulfill their potential.

Wilkins is guilty of over-protecting them at times. He remarked on barracking by fans, which occurred both at half-time and full-time, but what did he and they expect after such a shambles?

All is not lost just yet. The complexion will change if Albion can emulate their erstwhile captain Charlie Oatway, now Havant and Waterlooville's assistant manager, and somehow conjure up a result at Swansea tomorrow night.

ALBION (4-4-2): Michel Kuipers (GK), Joel Lynch (LB), Guy Butters (CB), Tommy Elphick (CB), Adam El-Abd (RB), Jake Robinson (RM), Paul Reid (CM), Tommy Fraser (CM), Dean Cox (LM), Alex Revell (CF), Nicky Forster (CF), Subs: Sam Rents (for Butters 46), Doug Loft (for Fraser 62), David Martot, Nathan Elder (for Robinson 79), John Sullivan, YELLOW CARDS: Lynch 69 (foul).

GOALS: Revell 23.

MANSFIELD (4-4-2): Carl Muggleton (GK), Johnny Mullins (RB), Jake Buxton (CB), Gareth Jelleyman (CB), Daniel Martin (LB), Matthew Hamshaw (RM), Jon D'Laryea (CM), Stephen Dawson (CM), Nathan Arnold (LM), Simon Brown (CF), Ian Holmes (CF).

Subs: Rory Boulding (for Holmes 74), Lee Bell (for Arnold 81), Danny Sleath (for Brown 89), Jason White, Chris Wood.

YELLOW CARDS: Buxton (foul) 53, Brown (retaliation) 69.

GOALS: Hamshaw 10, Holmes 45.


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