FREAK GOAL LEAVES STAGS HANGING BY THREAD
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Rotherham United
Attendance: 5271 (917 from Rotherham)
Date: 26 April 2008
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
A freak goal coupled with wins for Dagenham and Notts County leaves Mansfield Town's football league status hanging by a thread. The Stags need Chester to lose their remaining two games (against Stockport on Tuesday and Macclesfield on Saturday) whilst the Stags would have to win at Dagenham on Saturday, to stay up. If Chester get a point on Tuesday, the Stags are down to the conference.
A draw for Mansfield would have ensured that they could overtake Dagenham next weekend, but on 70 minutes disaster struck as Yates struck a ball into the Mansfield sky from 40 yards, wide out on the touchline. Jason White watched the ball all the way and allowed it to fall under his crossbar and into the net. It was a ridiculous error by White and one that ultimately caused the defeat. In the games White has played, his error rate leading to goals has been way too high.
The real reason that the Stags will most likely be relegated is not of course Jason White though. It is owner Keith Haslam.
The game ended with around 90% of the home fans vociferously shouting for Haslam Out, while hordes of fans tried to get into boardroom to get up close and personal with Haslam himself. We later found out that Haslam had been punched by one person and then kicked in the head by another as he lay on the ground. He was taken to hospital for an MRI scan.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre.
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
FIELD MILL IN DESPAIR
Mansfield Town 0 Rotherham United 1
Mansfield Town's 77-year League history is balancing on a knife-edge following the Stags 1-0 home defeat by Rotherham United. Coupled with the fact that both Notts County and Dagenham won, and that Chester City only need one more point from their remaining two games it looks increasingly likely that Field Mill will host Conference football next season.
The day, which started so brightly with a plus 5,000 crowd, most wishing to witness another episode in the 'Stags escape to victory' saga, ended in chaotic scenes with fans venting their anger towards Stags' owner, Keith Haslam. Scores of fans tried to get into the boardroom to confront Mr Haslam, a few succeed and actually assaulted him, leaving him having to go to Kings Mill hospital for a MRI scan. Police arrested a local 45-year-old man in suspicion of assault at 5am on Sunday morning.
All this detracts from the fact that with a lifeline for league 2 survival being given out to them, Stags couldn't muster a goal that could equalise the freak goal scored by the visitors. An equaliser for Mansfield would have given Stags a real hope of going to Dagenham for next weekends final match of the season, knowing that a win would assure them their league status, as it is, the only team left now that Mansfield can catch are troubled, Chester City. However, with two home games left to play on Tuesday v Stockport and then on Saturday v Macclesfield and City only needed one more point from those two games to become un-catchable, it seems almost certain that Field Mill will be hosting Non-League football next term.
A slight hope still remains but it is no longer in The Stags hands. It could have been so very different though, the Stags buoyant from their win over Shrewsbury seven days previous surely must have fancied their chances against a Rotherham United side, who as well as having nothing to play for are deep in off the field problems, but it wasn't to be.
Stags started the brighter and on 12 minutes good work from Louis and Boulding resulted in Boulding shooting towards goal only to see his effort tipped away by Warrington.
The visitors had a great chance to take the lead on 17 minutes when Cahill cut inside Mullins and shot from 8 yards, thankfully Jason White was on hand to save well.
The game was fairly open but there was obvious tension and both teams were being well backed by their supporters.
On 24 minutes, Holmes let fly with a left footed shot that didn't go too far wide of White's left hand post. On 41 minutes, Nathan Arnold was denied by Warrington, who did well to save his shot from the edge of the area. Hamshaw also let fly but his effort flew high into the ranks of the visiting support. Just before the break, Louis and Boulding combined well once more, only for Boulding's shot to be blocked.
During the half time break, things were rosy inside Field Mill; with Mansfield drawing and Dagenham losing 1-0, it meant that The Stags needed just one point the following week to stay in the league. During the next 45 minutes, the mood and the picture changed dramatically.
First though Stags started the 2nd period like they meant business with Louis going on a mazy run that took him to the edge of the box before he was tackled. Boulding also saw an effort saved by Warrington before Hamshaw crossed delightfully in for Louis but the big Stags striker failed to make contact.
On 66 minutes, Paul Holland chose to take off Louis in place of Simon Brown leaving most inside Field Mill slightly puzzled.
Just 4 minutes later and the Stags world came collapsing in all around them. Yates, who had earlier come on as a substitute, lofted the ball skywards from the far touchline fully 40 yards from goal. The ball sailed up into the air and with White back peddling he failed to judge the flight of the ball, which dropped under his out-stretched hands and under the crossbar into the net. It was a calamitous mistake from the young goalkeeper and one that was to prove costly.
Boulding had a great chance to equalise but shot wide from close range after getting on the end of a fine cross from Arnold, however Field Mill was stunned as news also came in that Dagenham had taken the lead 3-2 at Darlington and that the home side had gone down to 10-men. Within a few moments the whole atmosphere had changed.
Rotherham wasted a couple of chances to go a further goal ahead as the game entered its last desperate minutes. Mullins, who had earlier picked up the Chad and Supporters player of the year awards had the chance to make himself a local god when he got on the end of a right sided cross from Hamshaw, unfortunately the ball flew agonisingly off the mark. Brown was then presented with a near post header, which he wasted.
As the seconds ticked by the visitors had two more great chances of scoring a 2nd, first Hudson fired over an open goal and then with everyone up for a Stags corner, including keeper, Jason White, Rotherham broke away but failed to make the opportunity count.
The final whistle was the catalyst for emotions to overflow with the majority of the anger being directed towards Stags owner, Keith Haslam.
Stags have but 90 more minutes to go in what has been a troubled season both on and off the field.
Mansfield owner vows to sell despite 'fan attack'
'The girls in the boardroom are very distressed and upset'
guardian.co.uk, Monday April 28 2008
Photo at --->
After being attacked by an irate fan in his own boardroom, the Mansfield Town owner Keith Haslam has insisted he still intends to sell the club. Haslam's plans have angered supporters and, after Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Rotherham all but confirmed the club's relegation from League Two, the owner was barricaded into his director's area by police and stewards.
Following loud protests for Haslam to quit, including a half-time pitch invasion, three fans are thought to have forced their way into the boardroom after the final whistle, where one allegedly assaulted the club owner.
Haslam, who suffered minor head injuries and was admitted to hospital, said: "I am fine. I am shaken, yes, but I am not too bad. Obviously I cannot talk about the incident." But, despite the fans' objections to his proposals to sell, he insisted that his plans have not changed. "I want to sell, this has not changed that," he told the Mansfield Chad.
Police confirmed that a 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault. He was questioned in relation to the incident at Mansfield police station on Sunday.
"We are all shocked," said the club's chief executive, Stephen Booth. "Keith is obviously very shaken by it. How can you justify behaviour like that? The girls working in the boardroom are very distressed and upset."
Mansfield will drop out of league football on Tuesday should fellow strugglers Chester draw with Stockport.
League Two ups and downs
Keith Haslam, the owner of relegation-threatened Mansfield Town, was attacked by angry fans after his team fell to a 1-0 defeat against Rotherham.
Haslam was driven to hospital with minor head injuries and a man was arrested following the assault at Field Mill. Jamie Yates scored the winner with a dipping shot in the 71st minute.
Several hundred supporters protested after the final whistle chanting "Haslam out", and police officers had to remove some fans from the directors' box.
Mail on Sunday, 27Apr2008
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