EVENING POST REPORT AND REACTION
RICHARDSON: DEFEAT 'A KICK IN THE TEETH'
Evening Post, 30 September 2002
Only Mansfield Town's inability to take their chances prevented them from getting a result at Northampton on Saturday, according to assistant manager Neil Richardson.
The Stags fell behind to a Marco Gabbiadini penalty after just two minutes but dominated much of the second half without making the most of their opportunities.
The Cobblers sealed the win with an 80th-minute goal by Paul Trollope.
The 2-0 defeat leaves the Stags two points adrift at the bottom of Division Two.
Richardson said: "At half-time, we told them they were still in the game if they upped the tempo and, in that respect, they were different class in the second half.
"We said that we would create chances, which we did, but it is all about putting the ball in the net and we can't seem to do that.
"We feel that we have been kicked in the teeth by the result.
"People say that you make your own luck but we have worked our socks off and are getting absolutely nothing.
"In the first half they shaded it, but in the second there was only one team in the game.
"The crowd were getting agitated and I have got to say that our fans were absolutely superb. But we had enough good chances to do it and we couldn't score.
"The facts are that you have got to win games and you have got to win points and, until we start to do that, we are going to be adrift.
"It would be nice to get some of the injured lads back. That would be a start because we cannot keep going into games with 12 injured players.
"That is not an excuse and if the lads show the same commitment and effort that they showed on Saturday, hopefully they should be okay."
Richardson was pleased with the way Colin Larkin and Iyseden Christie combined up front.
It was the first time the two summer signings had played together and Richardson believes they will prove a force.
He said: "What we have got with those two is blistering pace and we have got to use that to our advantage. Iyseden is pretty strong and Colin's speed and touch will cause defences problems.
"We have just got to keep on going and doing the same things - but put the ball in the back of the net."
MISSED CHANCES COST STAGS DEAR
Evening Post, 30 September 2002
Northampton 2 v 0 Mansfield
Manyamong the 597 Stags fans leaving Sixfields on Saturday must be fearing that what they had witnessed will become symbolic of a season of struggle.
To those who were not privy to viewing the afternoon's events, it would be easy to dismiss the 2-0 reverse as yet another defeat against the sort of team they should be getting a result from and, for some, further reason for a change of management.
But it would be impossible for anyone at the game to reach that conclusion, because the Stags were definitely the best side in the second half, even though they headed back up the M1 without the points to show for it.
Of course, every team can name the games when they didn't get their just rewards during the course of a season but, for the Stags, it is getting a bit familiar.
Regular acquaintance with a problem, however, enables a team to do something about it and, for Stuart Watkiss's charges, the solution appears to be within their own grasp.
In every game they have played away from Field Mill this season, they have had a period of dominance and, if they are going to get out of the relegation picture, those times of superiority have to spawn goals.
The match was so typical of what Stags followers have seen this season.
First of all, they make life difficult for themselves by giving away a penalty in the first couple of minutes.
Then, with the home fans expecting the team at the bottom of the pile to capitulate, the Stags manage to see a bit more of the ball and look dangerous.
After gaining more confidence from the amount of possession they have enjoyed, chances start to appear but that extra bit of luck or finishing quality is lacking and they cannot take advantage as the home supporters become increasingly agitated.
Then, just when you think they can get something from the game, or even grab a couple of goals in the last ten minutes to take the points, they concede against the run of play.
Shouts of 'Aaarrrgghh!!' must have been heard in the directors' box, the bench and among the Stags faithful. They were certainly audible in the press box.
It was the familiar fortune a team at the bottom of the table is required to endure but, if Stags continue to show the endeavour they demonstrated in the second half when they had Northampton on the rack, then they can get out of trouble.
From what has gone on before, however, that is a big if.
But if they are greeted by the sort of following they were blessed with on Saturday, who were relentless in their encouragement, there is no reason why they cannot put things right against Tranmere this weekend.
The way they played after half-time left us clutching at a few positives.
But the chances have got to be taken and, the way Colin Larkin and Iyseden Christie combined up front, that might not be that far away.
If both can put their injuries behind them, the standard of their play together can only improve and that thought should keep us all going in these times when the league table looks particularly ugly.
The result was a blow but the performance was not.
However, that was said after Wycombe, Stockport and Derby, so it will be up to the team to ensure they can bounce back this time and give everyone cause for hope in what is becoming a tough task.
ARJAN van HEUSDEN: Nightmare first minute on his debut to give away a penalty. Had little to do after that..............6
JAMIE CLARKE: Defending seemed okay but his distribution was poor............6
NEIL MOORE: Put in a competent performance and wasn't put under much pressure.....................................................6
MARK LEVER: Headed the ball away well generally, but was turned too easily on occasions..................................................5
DAMIEN DELANEY: Made two outstanding goalmouth interceptions and distributed the ball well. My man of the match.........................................................8
NEIL MacKENZIE: Appears to be playing out of position on the right but still did well. Always keen for the ball, he produced some incisive passing...............7
CRAIG DISLEY: Won several 50-50 balls and fought well in the midfield..................7
LIAM LAWRENCE: Had a good game in central midfield. Probably would do better on the wing...............................................7
SCOTT SELLARS: Crossing was not up to his usual standard. Set pieces seemed to find their way onto defenders' heads....6
COLIN LARKIN: Unlucky with a couple of chances. Did okay, but gave the ball away twice in dangerous positions...........6
IYSEDEN CHRISTIE: Missed Stags' best chance but was always a handful for the opposition defence..............................7
WAYNE CORDEN (Sellars, 78): Not on long enough to have much influence on the proceedings....................5
Subs not used: J White, Reddington, Holyoak, A White.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN: Harper, Sampson, Harsley, Gabbiadini (Forrester, 89), Carruthers, Rickers (Hope, 78), Trollope, Burgess, Hargreaves, Gill, One (Asamoah, 72). Subs not used: Abbey, Lincoln.
REFEREE: Mick Fletcher (Worcestershire)
2 MINS: Gabbiadini flicks the ball through to Trollope and he is up-ended by Van Heusden. The Stags keeper is booked and Gabbiadini sends him the wrong way from the spot.
11 MINS: Harsley swings in a free-kick from the right and Hargreaves heads the ball against the post and it rebounds into Van Heusden's arms.
32 MINS: Sampson heads over form close range after a free-kick.
44 MINS: Lawrence lays the ball back to MacKenzie who fires over.
47 MINS: MacKenzie chips the ball into the box but Larkin's glancing header goes just wide.
49 MINS: Sellars releases Christie down the left but he fires wide when through on goal.
51 MINS: Delaney finds Larkin with a deep ball and the striker cuts inside Carruthers but only manages a weak shot.
52 MINS: Sellars presents a clear opportunity for Christie but the striker is unable to connect.
62 MINS: One beats the Stags defence but is only able to fire across the face of the goal.
80 MINS: Asamoah chops the ball over to Gabbiadini and Trollope manages to hook it into the top corner for the second.
Posted by Martin Shaw
Latest | September 2002