REPORT FROM DERBY SITE
FT: MANSFIELD V DERBY COUNTY (Tuesday 10th September)
At Field Mill
MANSFIELD TOWN 1
Williamson s/off 2
DERBY COUNTY 3
Following an incident-filled opening ten minutes the Rams battled for another hour before two goals in six minutes saw them safely through to the second round of the Worthington Cup.
Despite seeing Lee Williamson dismissed within two minutes Mansfield took the lead through Neil Moore six minutes later. Lee Morris levelled for the Rams in the 10th minute before Mansfield fought hard to stifle the Rams.
Malcolm Christie's cute finish put Derby 2-1 in front with twenty minutes to go and then Ian Evatt (pictured) – on at centre-forward in place of the injured Branko Strupar – ended the contest with a close-range header in the 76th minute.
Only 90 seconds had elapsed when referee Paul Danson dismissed Mansfield Town's skipper Lee Williamson. Williamson could have no complaints following a reckless challenge on Adam Bolder in the midfield but Mansfield responded well to the setback and although Brian O'Neil headed over the Stags' bar shortly afterwards the ten men from the second division went ahead in the 8th minute.
The home side won a pair of corners to shape their chance. Warren Barton cleared the first but the second reached Iyesdon Christie who headed the ball back across the Rams' six-yard box where it was superbly met by Neil Moore who lifted his shot in off the crossbar to put the Rams behind.
The Rams equalised within 90 seconds as they tore apart the Stags' defence with a superbly constructed goal. Rob Lee fed Branko Strupar who flicked the ball on to Malcolm Christie. Derby's leading scorer twisted into space in the Mansfield box and pulled the ball back towards Lee Morris who gleefully thumped home his first goal of the season.
It was time for Derby's travelling support to take a breath after the frantic start to the game. The Rams had done well to level so quickly after going behind to such a simple goal against ten men. O'Neil, in his first start of the season, and Rob Lee began to pick up possession more in midfield and chances gradually came the way of the Rams as the game took on it's 21-man shape.
Branko Strupar's low header forced former Manchester United goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington into a fine save after O'Neil's cross while Bolder could have done better from a good position as the game headed towards the 20th minute.
The home crowd had not warmed to Mr Danson following Williamson's dismissal but the referee chose not to use any card when Stuart Reddington caught Branko Strupar from behind to leave the striker clutching an ankle. Strupar received treatment but was visibly struggling with the knock and Ian Evatt was summoned from the bench to provide replace height with height in the Derby frontline.
The injury to Strupar will be a major concern for John Gregory ahead of the trips to Leicester City and Crystal Palace. Fabrizio Ravanelli is making progress with his Achilles injury but Deon Burton is injured and Marvin Robinson has yet to appear for the first-team this season.
Evatt who has already appeared at centre-half this season and originally began his first-team career in midfield was a willing replacement for Strupar at Field Mill and he linked up well with Barton to win a corner from which the Rams could have taken the lead.
There was half-an-hour gone when Boertien swung in a cross that found it's way to O'Neil the Scottish international curled his effort goalwards but it was somehow blocked on the line before a goalmouth scramble ended with Christie shooting wide. Christie then crossed towards Evatt but goalscorer Moore showed his defensive qualities with a fine clearance for a corner that was cleared.
The Rams were beginning to dominate using the extra-man as the game headed towards the 35 minute mark. Bolder could have done better with a header from Morris' cross as John Gregory's side squeezed the Stags into their own half.
As half-time approached Mansfield were improving and although Evatt put a pair of headers wide John Gregory was likely to be asking for a lot more from his side in the second-half.
There were no further changes at half-time as the Rams entered the second period knowing that they needed to improve. Paul Boertien earnt an early booking for a challenge on Lawrence and then Christie fired in a shot that was only just wide.
Malcolm Christie was looking much more threatening in the early stages of the second-half. The England under-21 international almost found Evatt with a speedy cross and then saw Clarke block out his goalbound effort. Bolder fired in a shot as the Rams stepped up the pace and then Evatt was then hauled back by Reddington who was booked.
Adam Bolder again fired in a shot before Giorgi Kinkladze entered the fray to the cheers of the travelling support who broke into song before the Georgian introduced himself to the action with a typically deft touch before the ball ran away from him.
Brian O'Neil ended his pre-season with a goal at Notts County and he continued to try his luck by testing Pilkington who saved well before Kinkladze blazed over after he was picked out by Boertien only ten yards out.
The Rams were dominating possession now and Evatt was denied a penalty as he turned inside the Mansfield box before Iysedon Christie went down under a challenge from Chris Riggott at the other end. The referee waved away the Mansfield protests much to the disgust of Stuart Watkiss on the home team bench.
With extra-time and penalties on the menu the Rams needed to convert possession into chances as the game entered the final quarter all square. Neat play between Christie and Kinkladze on the edge of the box almost created a chance for Evatt but Pilkington was out quickly and then Moore was more alert than Malcolm Christie when the Georgian poked a ball through.
The goalscorer was seemingly ubiquitous as the Rams attacked again and again this time he blocked out Evatt but there was nothing that Moore or any Mansfield player could do as the Rams finally got their second goal with twenty minutes to go.
Paul Boertien fed in a quality low cross that Christie anticipated well, flicking the ball low and hard past Pilkington for his fifth goal of the season to the delight of the Derby fans behind Mart Poom's goal. Derby and Christie in particular had earnt their goal after a period of sustained pressure and the goal prompted Stuart Watkiss to sacrifice Reddington for White in an attempt to save the game for the home team.
Mansfield won their second corner of the night and the ball fell to McKenzie who fired over the bar but the Rams were to put the game out of reach with a goal from makeshift frontman Ian Evatt. Boertien was again involved and his looping cross reached Evatt whose powerful close-range header was half-stopped by Pilkington before dribbling over the line to the delight of the 21 year-old.
In an unfamiliar role alongside Christie, Evatt had done well for John Gregory and he almost added a second when his low shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Pilkington. Evatt began his first-team career as a substitute for the Rams back in May 2001 and Lewis Hunt followed his example by getting his first appearance in the first-team at right-back in place of Warren Barton who was warmly applauded by the Derby County supporters.
Hunt began well and the Rams might have scored again in the final moments on the break with Christie unable to reach an Evatt cross and Kinkladze couldn't find the target after mesmerising Mansfield.
Kinkladze will be hoping that his second-half performance will give him the chance to play at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday and give him the chance to Leicester City as he did at Filbert Street last season. The Foxes have won five of their seven games so far this term and will provide a stiffer examination than the Stags did tonight.
* The Worthington Cup second round draw will also be made on Saturday, at 2:30pm and the next round will be played in the first week in October.
Referee: Paul Danson
Mansfield Town:Pilkington; Clarke; Reddington (White 72) MacKenzie; Moore; Clark; Lawrence; Disley; Williamson; Corden (Hurst 89) ; Christie I (Bacon 85;)
Derby County: Poom; Barton (Captain) (Hunt 85); Higginbotham; Riggott; O'Neil; Boertien; Lee; Bolder- (Kinkladze 55); Strupar -(Evatt 28) ; Christie; Morris;
Subs: Grant; Kinkladze; Evatt; Hunt; Twigg
Latest | September 2002