Match preview: Mansfield Town v York City
Tuesday 16th March 2010
By Dave Flett »
YORK City will visit a Mansfield Town team tonight currently at war with their own supporters.
Stags fans booed the side off the pitch and chanted “what a load of rubbish” at the end of Saturday's 0-0 stalemate against Tamworth, leading on-loan Luton player Andy Burgess to moan afterwards: “I would rather they didn't turn up and we played in front of one man if that's how they're going to be.”
The latest abuse came just seven days after one spectator threw his season ticket at manager David Holdsworth even though Mansfield were winning at the time and went on to secure a 4-2 victory over Salisbury.
Despite a record of just two league defeats at home all season against Gateshead (0-2) and Stevenage (2-3), however, Holdsworth's men have won just two of their last ten Field Mill fixtures and failed to net during five of the last seven encounters on their own soil.
It is a sequence that has left the Nottinghamshire outfit six points adrift of a play-off place and lying ninth in the Blue Square Premier standings.
The Stags also boast the 14th-worst defensive record in the division, conceding 44 goals during their 34 league fixtures.
Former on-loan Minsterman Luke Foster, signed from Oxford during the transfer window and made captain, has been tasked with improving that record and the Stags have managed clean sheets during two of their last three matches – the 0-0 home draws against Tamworth and Luton either side of that Salisbury triumph.
Foster is expected to be fit to face his old club despite hobbling at the end of the Tamworth game after all three substitutions had been made.
At the other end of the pitch, another ex-Bootham Crescent loanee Jon Shaw has been brought in to help increase the Stags' attacking options.
Shaw, who had previously been loaned out to Gateshead and Barrow this season from League Two leaders Rochdale, has netted three times in seven games since being recruited by Holdsworth.
Mansfield are the fifth-highest scorers in the Blue Square Premier and the former Sheffield Wednesday forward is expected to start alongside 13-goal leading marksman Rob Duffy this evening.
Duffy, though, has only netted once in nine home matches – a run stretching back to October 3.
One-time Scarborough striker Jake Speight, who has started just ten games but netted nine times this season, could also make the bench after recovering from a knee problem that has seen him sidelined since the start of February.
Midfielder Jon Challinor remains a doubt, however, after missing the Tamworth game due to injury, while Burgess, now fully recovered from a recent illness, could return to the staring line-up in place of Ryan Williams.
Tonight's game will be Mansfield's fourth successive home match and, despite the fans' frustrations, Holdsworth's team are undefeated in five games.
Mansfield (probable): Marriott, Silk, Foster, Brough, Nicholas, Briscoe, Nix, Mills, Burgess, Duffy, Shaw.
David Holdsworth and Gary Silk video interviews --->
Boss calls on Stags fan to unite behind the players
CHAD.co.uk, 15 March 2010, By John Lomas
STAGS boss David Holdsworth asked supporters to unite behind the players and encourage them for tomorrow night's crucial home clash with play-off rivals York City (7.45pm).
Stags dropped down to ninth after being held 0-0 at home by Tamworth on Saturday and, a week after a Stags fan threw his season ticket at Holdsworth when the side were winning, there was a big outpouring of frustration at the end on Saturday with boos and chants of 'what a load of rubbish'.
The Stags players were very upset by the reaction with Andy Burgess saying he would rather those fans didn't turn up if that was how they were going to be.
Boss Holdsworth said: "This week I felt throughout the game the crowd supported the players, though you will always get the odd person who wants to hammer them.
"At the end they showed their frustration and I don't have a problem with that.
"As a manager and a player you can react differently and the lads were very quiet after the game.
"So fans must ask themselves if that is the best way to motivate the players.
"Everyone has a bag of confidence and that can be affected by fans. I thought Andy Burgess' reaction was understandable. He has played at a number of clubs and never been abused as such.
"There is an element here who come to slaughter the players and slaughter the manager and they are never happy. It was recently put to me that having four home games on the trot was a good thing for us. But I knew what might happen if we had one bad result.
"Fans pay their money and are entitled to an opinion. And I have been in the game long enough to know you'll never please everybody.
"But we are working very hard here and we do have some very good supportive fans. I have had more wonderful e-mails from them this week for which I am grateful.
"All I will say is that fans must remember that players will respond a hell of a lot differently if they are supported and encouraged."
Despite the disappointing result on Saturday, Holdsworth remained positive and said: "We have taken four points off Tamworth now and it is a good time to go on an unbeaten run. But the fact is we wanted all three points on Saturday.
"There was only one team that were going to win it. Credit to Tamworth, they defended very well with 11 players and got the point they came here for.
"You can talk about the blustery weather or the bobbly pitch. But it takes two teams to make a football match. We just didn't have that special moment in front of goal.
"I think I would be embarrassed to ask my goalkeeper to slow the game in the first minute.
"This is what teams are doing at Field Mill now and we need a bit of imagination and luck in front of goal."
Answering accusations from some fans of turning Stags into a long ball team, he added: "Chelsea go long to Drogba and he wins his headers and we can go long with Rob Duffy and he wins his headers.
"Intelligent people in football will understand that if a side sets up 4-5-1 and doesn't let your full backs out then your goalkeeper is going to have to kick it and bypass his central defenders.
"We don't have a Bobby Moore or Alan Hansen in the centre so it would be foolish to try to dribble it out of defence.
"But we played two wingers plus players like Gary Mills, Kyle Nix and Andy Burgess so we hardly can hardly be accused of playing a long ball game."
Tomorrow's visitors York have slid to a place and a point out of the play-offs following a poor run of five defeats and two draws in their last seven games.
Holdsworth said"York had a wonderful cup run last season which enabled them to invest heavily on some very good players.
"They had a tremendous run prior to Christmas, though have struggled of late. But they are a good side with some very capable players."
Ollie Hotchkiss and Jake Speight are not yet fit enough to play but Luke Foster should shake off an ankle injury from Saturday while Jon Challinor has half a chance after a scan showed no stress fracture of the ankle.
Striker Jon Shaw is also having treatment for a knock from Saturday.
Stags have also had good news on defender Luke Jones' ankle which, although still swollen and black and blue, has no major damage and he could be back in two or three weeks.
Central midfielder Levi Mackin begins a two-game ban for 10 bookings with Alex Lawless, Chris Carruthers and Neil Barrett out injured and central defender David McGurk only 50-50.
York's 27-goal star Richard Brodie will be aiming to end his worst spell of the season after eight without a goal.
Stags can't afford York defeat – Marriott
Evening Post, March 16, 2010
ALAN Marriott has warned defeat for Mansfield Town in tonight's clash with York City could end their Blue Square Premier play-off hopes.
The Stags are ninth after the 0-0 draw against Tamworth on Saturday that saw the players booed off the pitch at Field Mill.
If they are to finish in the top five, they need to make up ground quickly on their closest rivals, with the Minstermen among those sides.
But while a win would be a massive boost for Mansfield, Marriott insists it is just as important not to lose.
"I was saying to Jon Challinor about the Luton game and the same can be said about this one – it's a game we have to make sure we are not turned over in, even if we don't win," he said.
"It we get beaten, we are pretty much out of the equation but at least a point keeps us still in there.
"If we were to lose, we are not completely out of it because we still have a lot of games against the top teams and can influence how things pan out.
"But it would make it very tough for us because York are one of the teams we are looking to overhaul."
Marriott classes Mansfield's 3-0 defeat at York on Boxing Day as one of their worst of the season.
He expects City to provide another stiff examination, even though their form has dipped since then.
Marriott said: "York put on a fantastic team performance on that day, worked very hard and were well-organised.
"The manager said then we had to aspire to that level and I think a few people have taken that on board.
"They will be out to take us out of the equation but we can't let that happen."
Martin Foyle urges banned York City midfielder Levi Mackin to 'grow up'
10:40am Monday 15th March 2010
By Dave Flett »
SUSPENDED midfielder Levi Mackin has been told to “grow up” by annoyed York City manager Martin Foyle.
Mackin picked up his tenth booking of the season during Saturday's 0-0 draw at Altrincham after shoving Chris Denham to the ground. The yellow card means Mackin will now be banned for tomorrow night's trip to Mansfield and Saturday's home match against another fellow play-off contender in AFC Wimbledon.
It will mean Mackin will now join injured midfield trio Alex Lawless (hamstring), Neil Barrett (hamstring) and Chris Carruthers (ankle) on the sidelines. Top scorer Richard Brodie was also cautioned for a 12th time at Moss Lane, moving him to within three bookings of a three-match suspension.
Foyle said: “Levi Mackin's last four or five bookings have been silly and Saturday's was as well. I wasn't going to play him (at Altrincham) because I wanted to make sure he would be available for Mansfield and Wimbledon, but the decision he made has cost us and we need to grow up very quickly.”
Former Scunthorpe midfielder Paul Harsley, signed on loan from Chesterfield, is now poised to make his full debut at Field Mill tomorrow after replacing Mackin during Saturday's second half.
Harsley played under Foyle when the City chief was in charge of Port Vale and, at 31, will be the eldest member of the Bootham Crescent playing staff other than 40-year-old goalkeeper coach Simon Miotto.
Having plied his trade in the Football League throughout a 14-year career, Foyle is hoping Harsley's experience will prove beneficial to the squad.
He said: “During the last three or four games, we have needed more people wanting the ball and expressing themselves and he got right among the action as soon as he came on at Altrincham even though the tempo was high.
“He will settle us down and get us playing football, while bringing others into the game.”
The Minstermen managed 18 goal attempts compared to the hosts' four, with Foyle adding: “We didn't get the three points we thoroughly deserved after playing some excellent football in the second half having defended well against a strong wind in the first.
“We created enough chances to win a game, as we did against Salisbury and Forest Green, but couldn't get the ball in the net although their 'keeper made a fantastic save from Richard Brodie.
“Michael Ingham didn't even get his gloves dirty and there were a lot of good things to take from the performance, but we are under pressure now to get something from the Mansfield and Wimbledon matches.”
Foyle fielded two out-and-out wingers in Adam Smith and Courtney Pitt against the Robins, but admitted he would be reluctant to follow suit at Bootham Crescent due to damaged turf on the flanks.
About Saturday's tactics, the Minstermen boss, who made four changes to his starting line up, said: “The pitch was very good and I'm trying to find a winning formula. That's my job and that's why we keep chopping and changing.
“I want to play with wingers, but you can't do that at our place.”
Foyle also expressed his gratitude for the away support in Cheshire, saying: “I'd like to say a big thank you to our supporters, who were excellent and clapped the lads off.”
Latest | March 2010