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Stags: Striker Stallard making his mark
Evening Post, 12 September 2008
STRIKERS are notorious for claiming goals that are not theirs.
The last attacking touch on own goals, toe-pokes on the line when the ball is already on its way and the slightest flick to curling free-kicks that drift straight in are just three examples.
But Mark Stallard has a point when he says his total for the season has been incorrectly recorded in various sections of the media..
There was little doubt about the goal in question, his first of the season at Ebbsfleet, which salvaged a point for the Stags.
But the goal was, for some reason, awarded to Jason Lee, who had tried and failed to get in a header from Michael Blackwood's cross.
Yet while he is not about to give up on that strike, Stallard is content with his contribution this season, his first at non-league level.
And the 33-year-old is hoping to continue being a steadying influence in the Stags side through the winter and beyond.
"It is an easy mistake to make, confusing Jason and me for the goal at Ebbsfleet," joked Stallard..
"I thought they had corrected it but it seems like they are still a few who have got it down wrong, but I'm sure I'll be given it eventually.
"People looking at things from the outside just to tend to look at the games you have played compared to the goals you have scored.
"The most important thing is for the team to do well, but it is pleasing to start the season well from my point of view."
Of his collection so far, his right-footed drive in last weekend's 3-1 home victory over Eastbourne was his most spectacular.
Picking up a pass from Jonathan D'Laryea he turned to smash the ball into the top left-hand corner.
Stallard said: "I'm not one for scoring with shots like that regularly; I'm more one for getting in the six-yard box and pinching goals from close range.
"They all count. Those from half a yard are just as important as those from long range."
Mansfield are still searching for their first away victory of the season at Crawley tomorrow, despite having won five league games at Field Mill already.
But Stallard points out the team have not performed too badly on their travels.
"We have not won away yet, but then there has only been one game where we haven't come away with anything," he said.
"Crawley have a bit of money behind them and are one of the sides wanting to do something in this division, but we have drawn a lot of confidence from our results so far."
Stags boss Billy urges leaders Mansfield to kick on
CHAD.co.uk, 11 Sep 08, By John Lomas
SO far this season, every time a side has gone top of the Blue Square Premier they have been replaced the following game by new leaders.
But Mansfield Town boss Billy McEwan has urged his table- toppers to kick on at third-placed Crawley Town on Saturday and get used to being the side in pole position.
"Barnet are a great example of what can be done a few years ago and how to kick on when you get to the top and by Christmas/New Year they were 17 points clear," he said.
"I am not saying we will do that but we are definitely not looking back - we are only looking forward now.
"Opponents raise their game when you are top because they know you are a good side and will turn them over if they don't. They pull out all the stops to knock you off.
"After Saturday's game someone told me we had gone top but I didn't believe it until I went upstairs and everyone told me we were definitely top.
"It is certainly better than being at the other end but we know there is a long way to go.
"It just strives us on to get better and keep working hard.
"The pleasing thing is that I know we are only scratching the surface of what this group of players can produce. They have been good but I knew they can only get better.
"I am not being harsh on the players when I say that – they know what I mean. I am delighted where we are right now but I know there is a lot more to come from them from a coach's point of view."
McEwan is well used to the pressure of leading the way as league leaders and thinks his side can cope.
"I have had this before at previous clubs so it's not new to me but it may be new to some of the players," he said.
"Every game is hard. But we have enough experience in the changing room to deal with it. I have brought in mostly players with League experience so I am sure they can handle it.
"We want our first away win on Saturday but we know Crawley will be geed up. I don't know what the bookies are saying but we will go there well prepared, do our homework, know the enemy, and know what we have to do."
Stags' chances have been boosted by a club decision to allow McEwan and the players to again stay overnight in Sussex rather than attempt the long haul in a day.
"It is very kind of the club to allow us to go overnight," he said.
"It gives us the chance to prepare the best we can, even though I know it costs a lot of money.
"It doesn't give us a divine right to win but it gives us a better chance and makes sure the players do not have the excuse of having to play after a long bus journey and early start.
"I know a lot of clubs do still win away after making those early starts on the day, but going overnight leaves you more relaxed about getting there on time and ready to play.
"I have been in the game a long and like to think I know the best way to prepare my teams."
Stags have three injury worries with Jason Lee and Alan O'Hare spending the week having treatment for ankle injuries and Aaron O'Connor struggling after taking a kick last weekend.
But all are improving and Lee and O'Hare trained today and the club will monitor them for any overnight reaction.
McEwan: Stags fans will be back
Evening Post, 12 September 2008
Billy McEwan is confident the crowds will return to Field Mill - if his Mansfield side keep producing the goods.The Stags moved to the top of the Blue Square Premier with a 3-1 win over Eastbourne Borough on Saturday, watched by 2,536.
New chief executive John Hemmingham has stated his desire to get attendances regularly above 3,000.
And McEwan believes that will happen if the team provide the entertaining football he wants them to play.
He said: "The fans will come back. They did at York, where we had some really good crowds when I was there, and they will do here.
"It was because we had a reputation for playing good football and hopefully we will soon have the same reputation at this club.
"We can't be disappointed with the crowds we have had so far because there have been a lot of home games in a short space of time . People have only got so much money.
Hemmingham believes it is important to make coming to Mansfield games a more enjoyable experience.
He said: "Norwich City have capacity crowds every week - even though they finished in the bottom half of the Championship last season.
"Their fans enjoy the whole experience of going to games. That is what we have to try to make sure happens here.
"But what happens on the pitch has a big effect and the team have been doing their bit."
Evans: 'We can win the league'
10 Sep 08
REDS hero Steve Fletcher is set to start for Crawley on Saturday as they take on top of the table Mansfield in one of the biggest games at the Broadfield Stadium in years.
The centre forward, known to his team-mates as 'Big Fletch', scored Crawley's 90th minute winner at the weekend after coming on as a substitute against Rushden & Diamonds.
If Crawley beat Mansfield on Saturday and go top, it will be the highest league position the club have ever had.
They are currently third and if they become league leaders on Saturday evening, Reds boss Steve Evans reckons his side are in with a chance of winning the league.
He said: "It's a massive game on Saturday and it would be great if all the supporters in the town could come down and cheer on the team.
"Fletcher's in line to start, he's got a lot of experience and is a massive presence, and he will have the opposition talking when they see his name on the team sheet.
"If we win and go top it will be for the first time in this club's history that they have been top of this division.
"I think they went second before but that was without any hope of winning it.
"Other teams in this league know we are a good side and that we will be up there challenging."
He added: "I don't see why we can't win the league.
"Most managers say the league takes shape after 10 to 12 games and we could be top after nine games on Saturday."
For full story including Steve Fletcher's reaction see this week's Crawley Observer.
Also read Steve Evans' column exclusively in this week's paper.
8th September 2008
Reds manager Steve Evans has called on the support of the town following Saturday's dramatic victory at Rushden & Diamonds.
Striker Steve Fletcher struck deep into stoppage time to record all three points at Nene Park and seal a third straight victory on the bounce.
Evans has inspire his talented side to an unbeaten run of five games, which has lifted the club into third place in the Blue Square Premier table, just a single point off league leaders and next opponents Mansfield Town.
The Stags are the visitors to the Broadfield Stadium this coming Saturday for what is undoubtedly one of the biggest games in West Sussex in a long time. Victory could see the Reds top the Conference table for the first time in the club's history, and Evans believes with the support of the town anything is possible.
A big crowd is expected at the Broadfield on Saturday and the Reds manager has sent an early message to the Crawley public.
He said “The league leaders come to town on Saturday and they will bring a large support with them and we need your help to win.
“Mansfield Town have quality players and we will face a tough afternoon, but if we win then we can be at the top of the Blue Square Premier on Saturday night, and that is where every team wants to be. That would be magnificent and we can do it.
“We have a great bunch of lads and they are working so hard. When we get the maximum effort out of every one of them we are a decent team. They certainly have the ability and the spirit to achieve so much this season but I know how tough this Blue Square Premier is.
“This team deserves the Crawley public to turn up in big numbers next week. The boys are playing terrific football and at times I have joined in the applause such has been the quality the boys have shown.
“We are not expected to be able to compete with the big clubs in this league but the very least we can do is give it a go.
''We are all looking forward to Saturday and we can get a positive result. We can do that best by preparing properly this week and that means working hard in training to make sure we are focused to win. We are certainly capable of winning but I have the greatest respect for the opposition who will more than play a part.''
3rd September 2008
Crawley Town Chairman Vic Marley has confirmed that he and his fellow directors are disappointed and bemused that Setanta Television has excluded the Reds from any live TV matches in their early seaosn schedule.
Torquay United, York City, Cambridge United, Mansfield Town and Oxford United are amongst many that have appeared several times but as yet the Reds are still to feature.
The financial benefits to those clubs appearing 'live' are self evident with Setanta Telelvision rewarding clubs for each individual 'live' match so already a number of clubs are financially better off as a result of them having the television cameras.
Chairman Marley who has watched Steve Evans guide his club into the top 5 in the Blue Square Premier by playing some outstanding football added;
“I have to admit we are disappointed that we have not been selected and won't be before the middle of October.”
“It appears that some clubs have been favoured but that may itself be misleading. We will get a further insight into that when we see the next allocation of 'live' matches. It will be interesting.
“We have some terrific fixtures between October and December. When you consider we host the likes of Cambridge United, Ebbsfleet United, Kidderminster Harriers and two big local derbies against Eastbourne Borough and Woking there should be plenty of reasons why we have a few live slots here at the Broadfield Stadium prior to the end of year.”
“We are a progressive club with new owners and we have put together a quality team that plays attacking football so we will welcome Setanta Television every time. We are sure to give the viewers pleasant viewing.”
“Setantas' product and offering as a satellite television company is getting better all the time and we obviously want to be part of that excitement. As I said the new schedule will be interesting.”
Latest | September 2008