FRIENDLY: MANSFIELD 1 - 2 NOTTS CO
Friday 15 Jul 2011
Mansfield Town 1 Notts County 2
Smith missed pen 22, Connor 26. Bishop 28, Bencherif 75.
Attendance: 2,353 (622 from Notts County)
Magpies claim victory but is comes at a cost for boss Allen
Nottingham Post, by James Pallatt
THE game ended 2-1 to Notts County, but it was irrelevant, in truth, because new Magpies midfielder Charlie Allen suffered a terrible injury in the first half at Field Mill.
Allen was hurt in a challenge with one of Mansfield Town's strikers, Louis Briscoe, and was taken to hospital after receiving lengthy treatment at the side of the pitch, as his dad Martin, the Notts manager, stood just yards away in the away dug-out. He needed oxygen as he was taken away on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.
It was a bad night for Notts because another one of their new summer signings, Ishmel Demontagnac, appeared to suffer a hamstring injury in the opening stages of the game.
Mansfield took the lead midway through the first half through Paul Connor, but Neal Bishop, playing his first game of pre-season, swiftly levelled before Hamza Bencherif scored his first goal for Notts to clinch victory.
It was already the Magpies' fifth pre-season sharpener, and Allen named his strongest team yet. Notts were significantly boosted by the presence of Bishop, their most influential midfielder and captain. After undergoing a hernia operation in May he made his return.
The Magpies team also notably boasted a trialist, Robbie Nielson. The former Rangers youth team defender, 31, is poised to leave Leicester City, who are managed by former Notts director of football Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Nielson was paired in central defence with Krystian Pearce, while Alan Sheehan, who spent two months on loan with the Stags at the beginning of his career almost five years ago, started at left-back.
With Lee Hughes, the Magpies' leading scorer in the last two seasons, having undergone a head operation because of a sinus problem hours before the game, Craig Westcarr led their attack.
Former Notts player Paul Cox took charge of his first game at Field Mill, after being appointed the Mansfield manager during the summer, and he named two trialists in his team, Alan Goodall and Steven Watt. Four of the Stags new signings, Ritchie Sutton, Jon Worthington, Lindon Meikle and Martin Riley, also started against the Magpies.
Mansfield were first to threaten, after only two minutes. Briscoe raced purposefully into the Magpies' penalty area and aimed a low cross across the six yard box that Pearce cleared.
Notts were dealt a terrible blow on five minutes when Demontagnac appeared to pull a hamstring as he pursued a terrific diagonal pass by Alan Judge. Inevitably, he was unable to continue, and he was replaced by John Spicer. Notts will now hope Demontagnac, one of their seven summer acquisitions, has not suffered a severe injury.
The Magpies first opportunity fell to Judge, but the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international miscued a low shot wide of the right-hand post of Stags' goalkeeper Alan Marriott from the edge of the penalty area on 15 minutes.
Notts went so much closer to scoring only two minutes later. Judge swung a corner into the box and Bencherif leapt above his marker and directed a header against the underside of the crossbar. The former Nottingham Forest trainee reacted rapidly to the rebound, but Adam Smith cleared his second attempt off the goal-line.
Bencherif threatened again soon after. After receiving a short pass from Nielson, he unleashed a powerful shot from fully 30 yards that flew narrowly over Marriott's crossbar on 18 minutes.
Mansfield then had a glorious opportunity to score on 22 minutes, but wasted it. Smith, the Stags' goal-line hero only minutes earlier, was brought down in the box by Bishop, but his penalty was terribly tame and Magpies' goalkeeper Stuart Nelson made a comfortable save, diving to his right.
It was soon all forgotten, however, because the home side went 1-0 ahead just four minutes later. Lindon Meikle sent Connor racing into the box and, entirely unmarked, he made no mistake. His finish was flawless, as he swept the ball low past Nelson, who has raced off his goal-line, and inside his left-hand post.
The Stags lead was ultimately shortlived. Notts levelled just three minutes later, as Bishop once again illustrated his importance. Westcarr crossed the ball into the penalty area from the right and Bishop directed a glancing downward header beyond Marriott and inside his right-hand post.
The scoreline swiftly became irrelevant, however, when Allen suffered his injury, which sparked a melee.
He was replaced by Ricky Ravenhill, and Notts made two further changes at the start of the second half, introducing Mike Edwards and Alex Wall for Julian Kelly and Bishop, who looked good in his first pre-season game.
Both sides had chances in the opening stages of the second half.
First, Pearce was denied by a good block inside the penalty area after seizing onto Edwards' header and volleying the ball at goal, Edwards then made an outstanding last-ditch tackle to thwart Stags' substitute Luke O'Neill as he strode into the box and minutes later Wall flicked a header at goal that the home side's substitute goalkeeper Shane Redmond parried past his post.
Westcarr went close to scoring on 73 minutes with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, and Bencherif scored the winning goal three minutes later. He pounced onto a left-wing cross into the box and hit a shot that Redmond saved. Rather fortunately, the rebound fell to the former Algerian Under-20 international and he drove the ball into the net at the second attempt.
Notts claimed victory, but it came at a terrible price, unfortunately.
Mansfield: Marriott (Redmond, 46), Sutton (Obed, 75), Watt, Riley (Nicholson, 79), Goodall (Kinniburgh, 54), Meikle (Mitchley, 88), Worthington (Howell, 68), Murray, Smith (Stevenson, 59), Connor (O'Neill, 51 - correction by Martin - should be Dyer), Briscoe (Todd, 46). Subs: Dyer, Bell.
Notts: Nelson, Kelly (Edwards, 46), Pearce (Sodje, 65), Nielson, Sheehan, Bencherif, Bishop (Wall, 46), Allen (Ravenhill, 34), Demontagnac (Spicer, 8), Judge (Whiteley, 84), Westcarr (Nicholas, 80). Subs: Burch.
Attendance: 2,353 (622 away).
Mansfield Town 1 v Notts County 2
THE bragging rights in a derby that Mansfield Town have often come out of on top in recent years, this time went back down the A60 with Notts County, as the Stags surrendered a lead then fell to defeat.
The two-league gap between the two teams was telling at times during this pre-season friendly, especially in the second half, but the Stags more than held their own up to half time, with keeper Alan Marriott having little to do.
But another missed penalty left Stags fans wondering if it could all have been different, with Adam Smith's tame effort easily being saved in the first half.
Star striker Paul Connor did put the home side in the lead on 26 minutes but the advantage was short-lived, as County captain Neal Bishop equalised a couple of minutes later.
Notts' new signing Hamza Bencherif then sealed the victory for the Magpies on 75 minutes.
The game started quite scrappily, with neither side able to get the ball down properly.
The first real chance of the game fell to Notts County, when an Alan Judge corner was headed powerfully against the crossbar by Bencherif.
A goalmouth scramble ensued but the Stags' defence eventually managed to clear for another corner, which was easily headed away.
Former Eastwood Town player Lindon Meikle was the Stags' main inspiration going forward, causing the Notts defence problems with his tricky footwork, skipping past his marker to force a corner from his cross.
The set piece itself came to nothing but as Stags players queued up for the rebound, Adam Smith burst into the penalty area and was felled by Magpies' captain Neal Bishop.
The referee pointed to the spot but Smith wasted the golden opportunity, hitting the spot-kick soft and low, making an easy save for County keeper Stuart Nelson.
The penalty brought the game and the crowd to life.
Soon after the Stags took the lead against their local rivals when Paul Connor ran onto Lindon Meikle's through ball and kept his cool to calmly slot the ball past Nelson.
But the lead was short-lived and just two minutes later Neal Bishop equalised for the Magpies with a header into the bottom corner from Craig Westcarr's cross.
A heavy tackle from Louis Briscoe on Notts' manager Martin Allen's son Charlie saw the youngster stretchered off and taken to hospital and replaced by Ricky Ravenhill.
The incident triggered a reaction from both sets of players, and the 'friendly' spirit suddenly found a bit of an edge.
Paul Connor was denied by an offside flag just before half time when he once again ran onto a Meikle pass and the sides went in at half-time at 1-1.
But as the second half got underway, the difference in quality between League One and non-league, began to tell.
Big defender Ritchie Sutton courageously blocked Bencherif's effort from just outside the six-yard line almost straight after the whistle, before County had a couple of half chances.
Adam Smith, who seemed to be struggling with an ankle injury, caused a few problems down the left but could carve no real chances out of his tricky runs.
A few full-blooded tackles kept the atmosphere spicy but the Stags could not create any real chances as they looked to get back on terms.
The impressive Lindon Meikle set the Stags off on another goal hunt, hypnotising three Notts County players with his skills on the left side.
He passed it square to Adam Murray who threaded it through to substitute Ross Dyer but the ball was put out for a corner, which was subsequently wasted.
Shane Redmond, in the Stags goal for the second half, was called upon more often than Marriott had been in the first half, and made a good reaction block from a short range shot, stopping a certain goal by putting the ball out for a corner.
But it was Notts County who were looking stronger, putting together some good passing moves in the centre of the park, with Mansfield's rhythm clearly interrupted by a succession of substitutions early in the second half.
Redmond made a good save down low when Westcarr got onto the end of a Nielson long throw into the box on 72 minutes.
But the County pressure was beginning to tell and when midfielder Bencherif scored on 75 minutes, capitalising on a rebound from his own shot as he broke into the penalty area, the away team took a 2-1 lead.
The Magpies' dominance meant that the Stags were getting penned in their own half, and it was perhaps only the lack of a sharper cutting edge in getting the ball into the last third that prevented them extending their lead.
But the match petered out for Mansfield, who failed to challenge the County goal enough in the second half while the defence looked too fragile on too many occasions.
The result was respectable but has left Paul Cox with much to think about as his preparations for the new season continue.
Stags – Marriott (46. Redmond), Sutton (74 Obed), Goodall (53 Kinniburgh), Murray, Watt, Riley (78 Nicholson), Smith (Stevenson 58), Worthington (67 Howell), Connor (50 Dyer), Briscoe (46 Todd), Meikle (87 Mitchley).
Notts Co – Nelson, Kelly (Edwards, 46), Pearce (Sodje, 65), Nielson, Sheehan, Bencherif, Bishop (Wall, 46), Allen (Ravenhill, 34), Demontagnac (Spicer, 8), Judge (Whiteley, 84), Westcarr (Nicholas, 80).
Attendance – 2,353 (622 from Notts County).
Man of the Match - Paul Connor
Stags 1-2 Notts
Matt Appleby reports from Field Mill
Stags were left to rue a missed spot kick as local rivals Notts County came from behind to win 2-1 at Field Mill.
Paul Cox's men had taken 26th minute lead through Paul Connor, after Adam Smith saw his first-half penalty saved.
County levelled two minutes later, Alan Judge's header floated past Alan Marriott, before Robbie Nielson scrambled home the winner for the visitors in the 75th minute.
County winger Ishmel Demontagnac was replaced by John Spicer after only seven minutes, with a suspected hamstring injury.
The first real chance of the game came in the 16th minute, Julian Kelly's cross was met by Nielson, whose effort crashed back off the bar, with a goalmouth scramble eventually cleared.
Nielson clearly had an appetite to get on the scoresheet, firing a long-range effort just wide of the mark two minutes later.
Stags came to life in the 21st minute, Adam Smith burst into the penalty area and was taken out by County defender Hamza Bencherif.
Smith stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Stuart Nelson saved the winger's tame effort to his right.
Stags caught County napping to take a 26th minute lead, intercepting a quick free-kick, Lindon Meikle played the ball through for Connor to pounce, running onto the ball and finishing low into the bottom corner.
Two minutes later, County were back level. Substitute Spicer found himself in space on the edge of the box and crossed for Judge to leap and flick the ball past Marriott.
The game was then held up by a lengthy stoppage, with Charlie Allen eventually replaced by Ricky Ravenhill after being stretchered off and placed straight into a waiting ambulance.
Tempers flared in the aftermath of the injury, with referee Russell Booth and his assistants having to calm both sets of players.
Stags were denied by the offside flag in the 40th minute, Meikle once again the supplier for Connor, who rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into the net, only to see the offside flag raised.
Andy Todd and Shane Redmond were introduced for the second half, replacing Marriott and a subdued Briscoe.
County almost scored within moments of the re-start, Neilson's acrobatic volley was well blocked by Ritchie Sutton, who took the full blow of the ball into his chest, leaving the defender grounded.
Stags' goalscorer Connor was replaced my fellow striker Ross Dyer and Alan Goodall was taken off by Cox after he felt the full force of a strong challenge and was replaced by Steven Kinniburgh.
Adam Smith woes continued when he was replaced by Lee Stevenson, before County substitute John Spicer ran onto the end of a long throw and saw his header deflect for Redmond to push behind for a corner.
Midfielder Jon Worthington and defender Sutton were taken off and replaced by Anthony Howell and Rhema Obed, before County were rewarded for their counter-attacking play.
Nielson made his way into the penalty area and saw his first effort saved by Redmond, but he was on hand to bundle the rebound over the line to give County a 75th minute lead.
Cox brought Oliver Nicholson late on for Martin Riley to inject some energy into a tiring defence and Danny Mitchley for Meikle, who impressed on the wing.
Stags: Marriott (GK), Sutton, Goodall, Murray, Watt, Riley, Smith, Worthington, Connor, Briscoe, Meikle.
Subs: Kinniburgh, Stevenson, Todd, Howell, Dyer, Nicolson, Obed, O'Neill, Bell, Mitchley, Redmond (GK).
County: Nelson, Kelly, Pearce, Nielson, Sheehan, Bencherif, Allen, Bishop, Demontagnac, Judge, Westcarr.
Subs: Burch (GK), Edwards, Sodge, Wall, Ravenhill, Spicer.
Attendance: 2353 (622)
Sponsor's man of the match: Paul Connor
Mansfield Town 1-2 Notts County
Attendance: 2,353 (622 Notts County supporters)
Notts County came back from a goal down to win 2-1 against Mansfield Town.
In a lively first half, Mansfield took the lead through striker Paul Connor, who produced a fine finish into the bottom corner. Neal Bishop, back from injury, didn't waste any time in drawing Notts level and found the corner with a magnificent glancing header.
Injuries to Ishmel Demontagnac and Charlie Allen forced the Magpies into two first half changes. Allen's injury looked to be serious, as he was stretchered to an ambulance, after extensive treatment.
The second period saw County put themselves ahead, with Hamza Bencherif rounding off a nicely worked attack. And, his finish proved to be the winner in a promising showing from Martin Allen's side.
Once again, Notts lined up in an adaptable 4-3-3 formation for the pre-season clash with Mansfield Town. They were being cheered on by a healthy away following, who, despite it being a friendly, were thirsty for a victory over their local rivals.
In the opening stages, Alan Judge picked out Ishmel Demontagnac with a superb diagonal pass and Notts looked set to create the game's first chance. But, as the wideman chased the ball, he pulled up clutching his hamstring and was quickly replaced by John Spicer.
Judge produced the first attempt at goal, after capitalising on a hesitation in defence on the edge of the box, but his shot was dragged wide. Moments later, Judge's corner almost created an opener, only for Bencherif's thumping header to be kept out by the crossbar.
Bencherif seemed eager to get his name on the scoresheet and came close again within minutes. Gathering possession halfway inside the hosts' half, he progressed to drive inches past the top corner.
Stags should have gone ahead on 22 minutes, when Bishop brought down Adam Smith inside the area. Smith stepped up himself to take the penalty but was denied by Nelson, who guessed correctly, low to his right.
Mansfield didn't have to wait long for the first goal of the game, though, as four minutes later they broke the deadlock. On the break, Paul Connor was played through on goal and proceeded to slot the ball past Nelson, under pressure from Krystian Pearce.
The Magpies were back on level terms almost immediately, when Craig Westcarr picked out Bishop with a bending cross from the right flank. Bishop connected with a glancing header, guiding into the bottom-left corner, out of home stopper Alan Marriott's reach.
A strong challenge on Charlie Allen by Louis Briscoe led to another forced change for Notts. Ricky Ravenhill was introduced, as Allen received extensive treatment from the club's medical staff on the sideline, before later being stretchered into an ambulance.
Half Time: 1-1
Two changes were made at the break. Mike Edwards and trialist Alex Wall replaced Bishop and Julian Kelly.
Notts almost went ahead shortly after the break from a diagonal ball, which Wall headed across goal. Following a flick-on by Edwards, Krystian Pearce volleyed powerfully but was denied by a fine block.
At the other end, Edwards was involved again, as Luke O'Neill was slid in on goal. Edwards tracked the midfielder and was able to prod the ball behind for a corner.
Stags sub-goalkeeper Shane Redmond was called into action by Wall, when the forward headed towards the top corner with his back to goal. The stopper leapt acrobatically to tip behind, denying a certain goal.
Westcarr then came close, with the home defence struggling to clear Neilson's long throw, though his low hit was kept out by a low save. Wall also threatened, after finding space down the right but his thunderous strike flew wide of the far post.
From a precise diagonal delivery from deep, Wall created Notts' second of the evening with a well-placed header. Bencherif hassled to get onto loose ball and tested the Redmond with a stern shot, before slotting home on the rebound in front of the County fans.
Full Time: 1-2
Mansfield Town Starting 11: Marriott (Redmond), Sutton, Goodall (Kinniburgh), Murray, Watt, Riley, Smith (Stevenson), Worthington (Howell), Connor, Brisoe (Todd), Meikle.
Subs From: Kinniburgh, Stevenson, Todd, Howell, Dyer, Nicholson, Obed, O'Neill, Bell, Mitchley, Redmond.
Notts County Starting 11: Nelson (Burch), Kelly (Edwards), Pearce (Sodje), Neilson, Sheehan, Bencherif, Bishop (Wall), Allen, Demontagnac (Spicer), Judge (Whiteley), Westcarr (Nicholas).
Subs From: Burch, Edwards, Sodje, Wall, Ravenhill, Spicer, Nicholas, Whiteley
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