FRIENDLY: MANSFIELD 0 LEICESTER 0
Mansfield Town 0 Leicester City 0
Tuesday 21st July
post match video interview with Holdsworth and Briscoe --->
report from Leicester Mercury:
Leicester City fail to break down resolute Mansfield defence in pre-season friendly
Leicester City found resolute opponents in their Blue Square Premier hosts as their friendly clash at Field Mill ended goalless last night.
Steve Howard had the two best chances for City in the first half and Andy King brought out a fine save from Alan Marriott in the Stags goal.
But the home side also threatened with Jonathan D'Laryea and Craig Armstrong going close.
The match marked first City starts for Richie Wellens and Dany N'Guessan with Aleksandar Tunchev making his return as a substitute after a six-month lay-off.
This was a night for the diehard City fans with heavy rain and stacks of cones on the M1.
But clearly Nottinghamshire has its attractions as former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is reportedly about to discover if he makes one of the most unlikely moves of the modern game to Notts County.
City started with a 4-4-2 formation with N'Guessan partnering Howard up front in place of the infection-hit Matty Fryatt.
Mansfield, who lost their Football League status at the same time as City were crashing out of the Championship, were pegged back early on by City and N'Guessan's cut-back almost let in Howard but he was denied by some sharp defending from the Stags.
Luke O'Neill, promoted to the senior squad for the Slovenia trip, delivered a terrific right-wing cross after nine minutes which Howard stooped to head but the attempt went over.
Wellens was pulling the strings in midfield and set up Max Gradel whose shot was pushed away by Marriott.
After 15 minutes, City keeper Chris Weale had to make his first stop, going down to his left to keep out a shot from D'Laryea while, at the other end, Marriott saved comfortably from Howard.
Gradel's cross to the far post a minute later picked out N'Guessan running in at the far post, but he could not make proper contact with his header. Gradel himself had another chance after 24 minutes but again was wide of the target.
After 41 minutes, N'Guessan reacted first to a quick City throw and unselfishly set up Howard when he should have perhaps had a dig himself.
Then, 30 seconds later, Gradel's cross was met by a Howard header and the ball flew just over the home crossbar as the half ended in a goalless deadlock.
At the start of the second half, manager Nigel Pearson replaced Bruno Berner with the evergreen Chris Powell, who made an immediate and timely block to deny Armstrong. Conrad Logan replaced Weale in goal while Paul Dickov went on for Howard.
There was plenty of frenetic goalmouth action at the other end as Stags keeper Marriott made a brilliant save to deny Andy King before the Stags' Armstrong had appeals for a penalty turned away.
Daryl Clare hit the target for the home side, who finished 14th in the Blue Square Premier last season, but the strike was ruled out for offside.
On the hour, Tunchev made his eagerly-awaited return for City, after six months out with a knee injury, in place of Wayne Brown with Nicky Adams making a less-heralded appearance in place of Gradel.
It was pretty feisty stuff from the home side, with Dickov getting a knock as the battle stayed confined mainly to midfield.
Inside the final 20 minutes, Ashley Chambers went on for Lloyd Dyer as N'Guessan switched to the wing but the change did not lead to any immediate reward.
City looked visibly quicker as the hosts started to tire.
There was another change as Astrit Ajdarevic replaced Wellens after the ex-Doncaster midfielder took a knock.
Logan made a smart save above his head to keep out Paul Heckingbottom's chipped attempt as both sides pushed to break the deadlock with Adams shooting over from distance five minutes from time.
Mansfield: Marriott, Gardner, Mills (Somner 76), Garner, Briscoe, Clare (Bradley 58), Williams (Silk 80), Armstrong (Heckingbottom 71), D'Laryea, Perry, Graham. Subs not used: Sandercombe, Jones, Naylor, Ryan.
City: Weale (Logan 45), O'Neill, Berner (Powell 45), Wellens (Ajdarevic 81), Morrison, Brown (Tunchev 60), Gradel (Adams 58), A King, Howard (Dickov 45), N'Guessan, Dyer (Chambers 72). Subs not used: Hobbs, Verma.
Referee: Russell Booth
Nigel Pearson says Leicester City have a lot of work to do
Nigel Pearson admitted that Leicester City still have a lot of things to work on after last night's goalless draw in a friendly at Mansfield.
The City boss said their Blue Square Premier hosts were looking for a scalp and it was just the test his players needed.
Pearson added: "I'm not going to gloss over anything and I know there are areas we need to work on. We're in a situation where we are playing against teams who want to claim a scalp and I like that."
Next up for City is a trip to League Two Shrewsbury on Saturday and Pearson is expecting more of the same.
He said: "I want to win games, all of them really, but the emphasis is on being ready for the start of the season."
Pearson welcomed back Bulgarian international Alek-sandar Tunchev after a six-month lay-off and handed starts to Richie Wellens and Dany N'Guessan.
Pearson said: "It's good to have Tunch back. The diagnosis was done quickly. He has had excellent medical support and he's a very determined character."
However, Pearson admitted he was frustrated by the continued absence of star striker Matty Fryatt, ruled out last night with a leg infection.
Pearson said: "Matty's got a nasty infection and he is on second course of antibiotics.
"He did train in Slovenia but it's frustrating that he's not been able to take part in matches so far."
With Fryatt out, N'Guessan partnered Steve Howard in the City attack.
"I thought Dany did well up-front and then later on when he went out wide," said Pearson.
New boy Wellens picked up a knock but reported afterwards that he was okay.
report from lcfc.com
Foxes Held At Field Mill
Leicester City were held to a 0-0 draw by a battling Mansfield Town side in their friendly at Field Mill last night.
The travelling support were heartened by the impressive displays of two new men making their first pre-season appearances, Dany N'Guessan and Richie Wellens, with the biggest cheer of the night from the Blue Army coming in the second half when star defender Aleksandar Tunchev entered the fray for the first time since his serious knee operation back in January.
City started with Luke O'Neill at right back, Michael Morrison and Wayne Brown in the middle of the back four with Bruno Berner at left back.
The attack had pace with Max Gradel on the right, Lloyd Dyer on the left and N'Guessan up front with Steve Howard, the central midfield comprising Wellens alongside Andy King who was also making his first appearance of the pre-season.
The Stags had ex-City man Scott Garner in their defence.
Right away City looked purposeful with the pace of N'Guessan and the drive of Wellens particularly impressive and in a fine move, an N'Guessan cut-back from the left was turned just wide by Howard.
At the other end, a snap shot from 20 yards by Stags midfielder Jonathan D'Laryea was well held by City keeper Chris Weale on a surface made treacherous by heavy rain beforehand and soon the pattern of City dominating was restored, an O'Neill cross proving too hot for home keeper Alan Marriott to handle, the clearance of the loose ball coming just in the nick of time before Howard had another shot saved.
Towards the break, great skill by N'Guessan touched the ball beyond the keeper but as Howard was about to finish, he was foiled by a last-ditch clearance.
For the second half, City made changes, Paul Dickov on for Howard, Chris Powell on for Berner and Conrad Logan in goal for Weale.
Soon City survived a scare when the Stags had the ball in the net only for an off-side flag to cancel it out.
At the other end, Marriott lost a high ball and N'Guessan just could not get the vital touch of the loose ball.
N'Guessan was in the thick of it again when Nicky Adams, on for Gradel, sent the attacker through on the right for a low drive a fraction wide of the far post.
Then came a great roar of welcome when Tunchev entered the fray for Brown on the hour mark and the Bulgarian looked as if he had never been away instead of out of action since January following a knee operation.
Play was pretty even in the closing stages with Logan making a fine save from Jason Bradley but the City defence, the cornerstone of last season, were never really in any great danger of being breached.
City 4-4-2 Weale; O'Neill, Morrison, Brown, Berner, Gradel, A King, Wellens, Dyer, Howard, N'Guessan. Subs Adams (58 for Gradel), Logan (45 for Weale), Hobbs, Tunchev (60 for Brown), Chambers (72 for Dyer), Dickov (45 for Howard),Powell (45 for Berner), Ajdarevic (80 for Wellens), Verma.
Mansfield Town Marriott; Gardner, Graham, Garner, Armstrong, Briscoe, D'Lryea, Mills, Williams, Perry, Clare. Subs Sandercombe, Silk (80 for Williams), Heckingbottom (70 for Armstrong),Jones, Somner (76 for Mills), Naylor, Ryan , Bradley (58 for Clare).
Referee R Booth.
Mansfield Town 0 Leicester City 0, Tuesday 21st July
By John Lomas
Mansfield Town produced a highly credible scoreless draw against Championship side Leicester City in the first pre-season friendly at Field Mill on Tuesday night.
Though the Stags rarely looked capable of netting against a strong Foxes line-up, there were many plus points for David Holdsworth's men against a club who ply their trade three divisions above them.
City dominated the first half with Steve Howard missing several good chances.
The pace of the game dropped after the break as the substitutions flowed freely.
But Stags did have a Daryl Clare goal disallowed for offside and the lively Louis Briscoe forced a late save out of Conrad Logan as Mansfield left the field with their heads held high.
Injured pair Rob Duffy and Kyle Nix missed out tonight after both suffered knocks in Saturday's 2-0 win at Newport.
The evening began with a round of applause for former Stags steward Jim Sheppard who was found dead after an apparent assault in Mansfield on 3rd July.
Stags wore their new 'Argentina-style' blue and white striped away shirts and Scott Garner skippered the side.
Gradel was well off the mark with the first shot of the night for the visitors after Gardner had been caught trying to dribble in his own box.
But Howard should have done better on nine minutes as O'Neill was allowed to make unhindered progress down the right in acres of space and curl in a cross that picked out the late run of Howard who sent a free diving header wide from seven yards.
The danger continued as Gradel had a shot blocked and Berner sent a cross across the face of goal.
Mansfield finally caused a problem on 12 minutes as they entered the Foxes' box for the first time and Briscoe bustled his way past two opponents before setting up D'Laryea for a tame low finish that Weale still had to stretch to gather.
Stags cleared after Marriott fumbled an O'Neill cross but the keeper redeemed himself as he got down behind a low Howard shot.
Gradel cut inside Armstrong on 18 minutes but lifted his finish over as the visitors continued to show pace and pedigree.
Four minutes from the break N'Guessan got to the left by-line and only a timely challenge from Armstrong prevented Howard tucking away his low pull-back.
Howard might have scored seconds later as Gradel picked him out with a superb cross from the right which saw him power a header over from six yards.
Howard should have had a first half hat-trick but Stags went in with their heads high at 0-0 at the break.
Mansfield began the second half in positive fashion, but it was City who almost broke the deadlock on 47 minutes as Dyer fed King for a low side-footed finish that Marriott did well to parry.
Sub Dickov, on for Howard as one of two City subs at the break, retrieved the ball on the by-line and swung it back across goal but no one was on hand to finish.
Stags might have had a penalty as King disposed Briscoe in the box and, as he fell, seemed to knock the ball out for a corner with his outstretched arm.
Mansfield had to settle for a corner which signalled their best spell of pressure of the night, putting over crosses from both flanks.
And on 51 minutes they had the ball in the Leicester net as Williams' deep right wing cross found Clare and Perry together at the far post. Clare seemed to get the touch over the line, but the flag was up, rightly, for offside against both strikers.
City responded with three corners which the home side defended.
Bradley was introduced in place of Clare on 58 minutes and the subs began to flow as City made two more changes with a big cheer from the away fans for the appearance of Tunchev.
Adams' pass set up N'Guessan for a low shot across goal from the right hand corner of the Stags box which sailed wide of the far post. Then Graham forced a good save from Weale with a powerful header from a free kick, though was penalised for pushing.
As the subs continued to roll on and off, Briscoe warmed sub keeper Logan's hands with a surprise snap shot from just inside the right of the box that the keeper parried at his near post with nine minutes to go.
City won a free kick 20 yards out on 86 minutes which King hoisted a mile over to the jeers of the home fans.
Soon after Adams was well over from distance as the night peterd out into stalemate.
STAGS: Marriott, Gardner, Mills (Somner 76), Garner, Briscoe, Clare (Bradley 58), Williams (Silk 80), Armstrong (Heckingbottom 69), D'Laryea, Perry, Graham. Subs: Sandercombe, Jones, Naylor, Ryan.
LEICESTER: Weale (Logan 56), O'Neill, Berner (Powell ht), Wellens (Ajdarevic 80), Morrison, Brown (Tunchev 60), Gradel (Adams 60), King, Howard (Dickov ht), N'Guessan, Dyer (Chambers 71). Subs: Hobbs, Verma.
REFEREE: Russell Booth.
Evening Post report:
Stags hold their own against the Foxes
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
WHILE there was little goalmouth action for the Mansfield Town fans to cheer as they returned to the Field Mill terraces for the first time in almost three months, the hearty applause come full-time nevertheless suggested their near-universal approval.
Taking on Championship Leicester, whose players will earn in a week what their Stags compatriots take home in a month, the home support knew full well a difficult evening was on the cards.
So the fact the Stags held out for a draw in such company was reason for encouragement ahead of the Blue Square Premier season.
At times, the difference in off-the-ball movement and pace was palpable – and that came as no surprise.
But what would have pleased Stags manager David Holdsworth – who watched the first half from the directors' box – is that his side matched their more illustrious opponents for work-rate and determination.
And when they are playing back in their own league, against players of their own stature, that will be critical if they are to compete at the top end of the table.
The best of Leicester's chances in the first period fell to Steve Howard, who Mansfield fans may remember at Field Mill from his days with Luton.
But he headed wide and over from Luke O'Neill and Max Gradel crosses while being denied by Craig Armstrong's last-ditch tackle as he looked to have a tap-in following Dany N'Guessan's good work.
Gradel should also have netted when he cut inside Armstrong on the right side only to blaze over the top.
The closest Mansfield came was when Louis Briscoe's persistence in the Blues box gave Jonathan D'Laryea room to shoot and he forced a diving save from Chris Weale.
After the break, Alan Marriott made a fine stop to parry Andy King's low effort before substitute Paul Dickov fired the ball across the six yard box with no Leicester play to turn it in.
But Mansfield – with Holdsworth back on the sidelines – had more possession in the second 45 and did get the ball in the net – albeit it was disallowed.
Daryl Clare swept home from close range after a pinpoint Ryan Williams cross had been flicked on, but he was adjudged offside.
With substitutions coming thick and fast in the closing stages, Briscoe also forced a smart save out of substitute keeper Conrad Logan with a powerful snapshot.
So, another positive performance for Mansfield. And, of course, they still remain unbeaten at home under Holdsworth.
Mansfield: Marriott, Gardner, Graham, Garner, Armstrong (Heckingbottom 69), Briscoe, D'Laryea, Mills (Somner 76), Williams (Silk 80), Clare (Bradley 58), Perry. Subs not used: Sandercombe, Jones, Naylor, Ryan.
Leicester: Weale (Logan 56), O' Neill, Brown (Tunchev 60), Morrison, Berner (Powell 46), Gradel (Adams 60), Wellens (Ajdarevic 80), King, Dyer (Chambers 71), Howard (Dickov 46), N' Guessan. Subs not used: Hobbs, Verma.
Stags boss thanks Leicester for strong side after goaless draw
CHAD.co.uk, By John Lomas
STAGS boss David Holdsworth thanked Championship neighbours Leicester City for bringing a strong squad for Tuesda night's scoreless home friendly.
"That was a great work out for us and I hope we gave Leicester the type of work out they were looking for," he said.
"And I am very grateful to Nigel Pearson for bringing the type of players he did here tonight.
"You read about all these 'youthful' sides the bigger clubs put out in these friendlies and it's no good playing an Inter Milan eleven if they are going to put out 11-year-olds!
"It is pleasing to have a good relationship with Leicester and Nigel.
"There were a lot of good things for us out there in a game in which our strikers were starting a match together for the first time as were our central midfielders.
"Louis Briscoe caused them problems and I thought Scott Gardner had a good game. We have finished up with another clean sheet and this time against a Championship side so I can't grumble."
He added that injured pair Kyle Nix and Rob Duffy, who missed the game, should both be available again for next Tuesday's home clash with Walsall.
Stags boss itching to take on big boys for real
DAVID Holdsworth says leading Mansfield against Leicester City has whetted his appetite for a successful cup run.
The Stags boss enjoyed competing against a Championship club, even though it was only a friendly.
But he hopes his charges can take on one of the Football League's big guns for real in 2009-2010.
“I love playing against the bigger teams and I would love nothing more than for us to do it in the cup,” said Holdsworth.
“It's given me a taste and I want more of it. I'm foaming at the mouth at the prospect of that.
“I would love to be able to afford some of the players Leicester have, but obviously you can't.
“We aren't going to play against those type of players every week, but I thought we competed well.
“I asked them to up the tempo and play a different style and there were some really good performances and a lot of pleasing aspects, which were encouraging.
“The effort, determination and work-rate were phenomenal.”
“You don't expect to win these games but I would like to think we gave them a decent run out and certainly Nigel Pearson (Leicester's manager) was very complimentary.”
Of another clean sheet, Holdsworth added: “You can't really ask for any more than that. In a league game, it gets you a point.
“We were not really troubled that much, although they hit us on the counter attack a few times. But other teams are not going to penetrate like they did.
“Scott Garner did very well captaining the side and Scott Gardner got better and better as the game went on.”
Stags' Briscoe bids to hit goal trail
Evening Post, July 24, 2009
MANSFIELD Town may have five frontline strikers competing to score the goals at Field Mill this season, but that does not mean Louis Briscoe does not want a piece of the action too.
The powerful and speedy former Port Vale attacker may find himself deployed out on the right flank as much as up front in the coming season with Daryl Clare, Rob Duffy, Jake Speight, Kyle Perry and Jason Bradley in the running for striker slots.
Yet Briscoe is nevertheless setting himself an ambitious target of 15 goals for the campaign.
And if the 21-year-old can come close to his hoped-for tally, then Mansfield should be in line for a very successful season.
"We have good competition for places in all areas and I don't mind where the gaffer wants to play me," said Briscoe.
"I'm just looking for a clear run of games with no injuries and I feel better than ever now my ankle injury has cleared up and I have had a good pre-season.
"I have set myself the aim of getting to 15 and I know my chances of getting there depend on where I play.
"I could still play up front if we have a few injuries and I'm needed to move up there.
"There is also the possibility of playing in a 4-3-3 formation as well as the 4-4-2 which I think have both worked when we have tried them.
"But I should get chances wherever I play because we have got some big lads up front who will be getting the flick-ons and I will be running through.
"Getting goals has always been a strong part of my game at the clubs I have been at before."
Briscoe was named man of the match by the sponsors in Mansfield's 0-0 draw with Championship Leicester City.
It was an accolade he deserved after looking the Stags' biggest threat going forward against a strong visitors' defence.
He almost broke the deadlock in the 0-0 draw ten minutes from time with a fierce snapshot that brought a smart save from City keeper Conrad Logan.
Briscoe is hoping he can open his account at Blue Square North side Alfreton Town as Mansfield continue their pre-season preparations tomorrow.
He said: "Alfreton will be a tough test and the kind of match that we will get week in, week out, when we start the league.
"It will be hard graft and they will be well organised, but that is the kind of game you want.
"We should have the support of quite a few of our fans going there because it is not far.
"I would love to get a goal or two in pre-season and to score there would be great start."
Briscoe feels taking on Nigel Pearson's men in midweek – and coming out of it with so much credit – will give the squad a big lift.
He has already been impressed with a couple of players in particular who have arrived at Field Mill over the summer.
"Leicester had some big names and we did well. For me I played against Berner and Powell and you aren't going to come up against that every week," said Briscoe.
"I felt we more than matched them and we might even have nicked it towards the end.
"Some of the new lads have started really well. Kyle Perry is big, strong and quick. I think he will fit in well in the Blue Square Premier and his strength will get him goals.
"Gary Mills is superb on the ball but that doesn't surprise you because the gaffer is not one to bring bad players in."
Briscoe has been given the number seven squad number for the new campaign.
And if luck's on his side, then he really will be one to watch.
Latest | July 2009