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Archived News from September 2011

GREEN GOALS GIVE SUPER STAGS 3 WINS ON THE TROT
8th September 2011 8:54


Blue Square Bet Premier
Darlington 0 - 2 Mansfield Town
Green 5, 14
Attendance: 2647 (296 from Mansfield)

Date: 3 September 2011

Martin Shaw at the Darlington Arena

Mansfield Town turned in a first class performance at the Darlington Arena this afternoon to gain partial revenge on Darlington for the FA Trophy final. Two cracking goals from Matt Green in the opening 15 minutes set up the victory and although Darlington had long spells of possession, it was the Stags who created the better chances during the rest of the game to thoroughly deserve the victory. The Stags were effective in both boxes with solid defending, and often last ditch defending typified by two terrific blocks from Joe Kendrick, and powerful performances from central defenders Ben Futcher and Ritchie Sutton. Murray and Howell put in really good performances in the middle with Howell doing the ugly side of the game so effectively, consistently breaking up Darlington play. Indeed Howell ran Green close for my man of the match, but Green has to get it for his early double strike and he was so unlucky not to claim a hat-trick when he hit the inside of the post near the end. Only three of the Mansfield starting eleven were at the club when we played at Wembley in May and of course the management team has changed as well, so this result perhaps meant more to the fans in terms of revenge than to the players and manager. It certainly felt very sweet to the terrific Stags following of 296, who never stopped backing their side throughout the game, even when the team were under pressure. So the Stags picked up a third straight win, the first time we have won three league games on the trot since October 2009. Three clean sheets on the trot too, the first time since August 2009. And the first time we have won three on the trot all with clean sheets since October 1991. Next up Newport County next Saturday in a televised game, and a game that Paul Cox recognised Mansfield will have work equally as hard to pick up the points.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that won at Stockport on Monday. Tom Naylor returned from suspension to take his place on the bench at the expense of Nick Wood. The Stags have made only one change to the side in the last 5 games, with Sutton in place of Riley. Manager Paul Cox made it clear that he doesn't believe in changing something if it isn't broken. In a change from the Stockport game, Briscoe played on the left and Meikle on the right. Darlington had only four players in the starting eleven that started at Wembley, one more than Mansfield. Former Stag Adam Rundle was in the side. Rundle played under Carlton Palmer at Field Mill and in the same side as Adam Murray.

Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre

Man of the Match: Matt Green

---------------

podcast Radio Nottm commentary from Darlington

1st half and pre-match
http://www.stagsnet.net/interviews/DarlingtonA_1sthalf_RadioNottmIan+Martin_3Sep11.mp3

2nd half
http://www.stagsnet.net/interviews/DarlingtonA_2ndhalf_RadioNottmIan+Martin_3Sep11.mp3

---------------------------------

Darlington 0-2 Mansfield Town, Saturday 3rd September
chad.co.uk report by John LOmas

MAGNIFICENT Mansfield stormed to their third consecutive win and third straight clean sheet in eight days as an early Matt Green brace won the day at Darlington.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-fc/darlington_0_2_mansfield_town_saturday_3rd_september_1_3741956

It was the first time since October 2009 that Mansfield had won three league games on the bounce and winning away to another of the fancied sides after Monday's win at Stockport, sends a strong message to the rest of the league about Stags' capabilities this season.

It was a far cry from when the sides met at Wembley Stadium in May in the FA Trophy final and it took a last gasp winner for the Quakers to see off a patchwork Stags side that couldn't even name a full bench.

This time, in the North-East rain, Paul Cox's men completely dominated the first half-hour with Green finding the net on five and 14 minutes.

Darlington had the edge of possession for the last hour and managed to chalk up 15 corners.

But Stags' defending was again magnificent and the majority of the chances were at the other end as only a fine save from Sam Russell and then a post denied the rampaging Green a hat-trick.

Stags were unchanged while Darlington, who, like Stags, had lost only once this season, included former Mansfield winger Adam Rundle. But the Quakers were unable to play new Spanish star signing Jonatan Sanchez-Munoz as his international clearance had not arrived in time.

The opening exchanges were even as both sides probed the opposition in the pouring rain.

But a moment of magic from Green gave Stags the perfect start on five minutes.

Meikle laid the ball into space on the right which Green chased and reached.

He then cut inside and, ignoring Dyer to his left, went inside one defender, delayed the shot, went inside another and then drilled an inch-perfect low left-footed finish inside the far post.

Better was to come as Stags controlled play, kept possession and doubled their lead on 14 minutes.

Howell was fouled 35 yards from goal, Briscoe drilled an ambitious free kick at goal, and the ball flew at Green who controlled, turned and steered a high finish into the net off the inside of the near post.

Three minutes later Futcher got up well to head just wide of goal from Kendrick's long free kick as the home fans grew increasingly impatient with their side's early failings.

The home frustration was evident on 18 minutes as Bowman left a foot in on O'Neill as the full back cleared, the yellow card shown as O'Neill received treatment.

It took Darlo 22 minutes to have a shy at goal, a loose pass from Futcher allowing Darlington possession and ending with Rundle flashing a shot wide.

A great run down the centre by Meikle saw his attempt to set Dyer clear on goal thwarted by an offside flag.

A spell of sublime possession football followed for the visitors as they completely dominated the game, leaving Darlington chasing shadows.

Briscoe pumped another free kick into the box which came off Green towards Howell who saw his shot deflect over for the game's first corner.

Tempers began to flare and Murray was warned for a tackle from behind on Arnison.

Then Arnison went down under a Briscoe challenge in the box but no penalty was given.

Arnison grabbed the ball and remonstrated with the referee as players from both sides squared up, the end result being a booking for Arnison.

Darlington at last began to enjoy a spell of their own and Lee was too high with his header from the home side's first corner, taken from the right by Arnison.

Then Marriott went up to safely grab Lee's looping header from a long Arnison free kick under the near angle.

Darlington won another corner in first half stoppage time which curled dangerously through everyone, clipping off a Stags player in front of goal for another corner.

This one was half-cleared to Rundle whose dangerous ball back in was punched clear by Marriott. The pressure ended with a poor effort sliced over by Arnison.

Kendrick was shown a yellow card in the second minute of three added on for his foul on Purkiss. Rundle sent the free kick in and Lee outjumped the giant frame of Futcher at the far post but was over with his header.

Seconds before the whistle Kendrick threw himself in the way of a Rundle shot to preserve Stags' well-deserved two-goal interval advantage.

The game restarted with Mansfield knowing how important it would be to avoid conceding a goal in the first 10 minutes of the half.

But it was the visitors who threatened within three minutes as Miller had to head clear before Green's dinked cross found an unmarked Dyer.

Green then had a chance to score himself as a defender slipped while trying to cut out Meikle's pass and Green dragged a low finish wide of the far post.

Futcher headed clear from the Quakers' first flag kick of the second half.

On 51 minutes home keeper Russell made a fine save to turn away a Dyer blast after O'Neill's accurate pass had put Green in space and seen the striker get to the line and pull a tempting low ball back towards the edge of the box.

Dyer needed treatment for a facial injury as he helped clear another home corner.

The Darlo pressure continued as O'Neill conceded a free kick 30 yards form goal, but Campbell's effort was wild and high.

But they came desperately close on the hour when Campbell's low 25 yard shot was deflected narrowly wide and then home sub Atkinson was too high from the half-cleared corner.

Stags threatened briefly on the break but Dyer's final pas for Meikle lacked enough pace to carry the attack forward quickly and, eventually, Russell was down to smother at the feet of Briscoe.

The home side continued to rack up the corner count, but Kendrick produced a great block as Lee let fly just inside the box.

The increasingly desperate Quakers had used all three substitutes by the 63rd minute as they looked for a way through Mansfield's resolute defence.

As the Quakers pushed forward, Meikle led another Mansfield counter-attack from which Briscoe finally sent a low shot wide of the far post.

It was Meikle's final action as he was replaced by Connor, Dyer dropping back into midfield.

There was a huge cry for handball against O'Neill. But the defender was trying to head clear and the ball clipping his hand was the last thing he needed and was certainly not deliberate.

On 74 minutes another chance passed by for the home side.

Grey Taylor did well to reach the by-line and pull the ball back for Walshaw. Marriott saved his shot but failed to hold onto it and the ball bounced against the incoming Atkinson but mercifully rolled wide of goal.

Futcher's name was added to the book 15 minutes from time for hacking down Walshaw.

The ever-dangerous Green's snapshot forced Russell to save well to his right three minutes later.

When Stags failed to clear yet another home corner, Miller saw a close range effort deflect wide in a scramble.

From the second corner Kendrick had to kick clear from almost on the line. And from a nailbiting third corner Stags stood firm and cleared upfield to ease the pressure.

However, Stags almost sealed it on 82 minutes as Dyer saw his close range finish, from Kendrick's free kick, blocked by a firm outstretched arm from Russell and Connor had a follow-up charged down.

Rundle lashed over at the far post at the other end soon afterwards as a long cross was helped onto him at the far post to huge groans from the home fans.

On 86 minutes Green thought he had grabbed his hat-trick goal from Connor's pass but, although the ball beat Russell, it came back off the inside of the left post.

Marriott turned away a Greg Taylor shot in the final minute as the Quakers forced another two corners in vain.

DARLINGTON: Russell, Purkiss, Miller, Lee, G. Taylor, McReady (Hatch 59), Arnison, Bowman, K. Taylor (Atkinson 40), Campbell (Walshaw 63), Rundle. Subs: Chandler, Bridge-Wilkinson.

STAGS: Marriott; O'Neill, Futcher, Sutton, Kendrick; Meikle (Connor 68), Murray, Howell, Briscoe (Worthington 87), Green, Dyer. Subs: Naylor, Stevenson, Redmond.

REFEREE: Karl Evans of Greater Manchester.

CAUTIONS: Darlington – Bowman 18, Arnison 33. Stags – Kendrick 45 (+2), Futcher 75.

ATTENDANCE: 2,647 (296 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Green

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Full-time: Darlington 0 Mansfield Town 2
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny

TWO goals from livewire striker Matt Green inside the first 14 minutes helped resilient Mansfield Town gain revenge on FA Trophy winners Darlington and make it three wins in a row for the first time since October 2009.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/time-Darlington-0-Mansfield-Town-2/story-13259756-detail/story.html

The Quakers had beaten the Stags in May's showpiece non-league final to bring heartbreak to almost 15,000 fans from north Nottinghamshire.

But this time it was the Mansfield fans who were celebrating come full-time after an ultra-professional showing from Paul Cox's men.

There were just five minutes on the clock when Green thundered in a terrific left-foot shot after collecting a Lindon Meikle pass and cutting on from the right.

The striker then took his goal tally to four for the season – this time with a right-foot strike – when he scored via the right-hand post to double the Stags' lead following Louis Briscoe's free-kick.

Much of the rest of the game saw Darlington pressing to pull goals back and Mansfield trying to hit their hosts on the break.

In the second period, the visitors had several chances to kill the game off, but both Green and Dyer were denied by keeper Sam Russell, while the former hit the inside of a post.

Chris Atkinson missed Darlington's best opportunity from close range after Alan Marriott could not hold Jamie Walshaw's effort.

The hosts also had two penalty shouts turned down, won plenty of corners and dominated possession, yet rarely forced Marriott into a serious save.

Mansfield's defence was excellent throughout, as well as enjoying their moments of fortune, to keep a third clean sheet in a row

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Match facts: Darlington v Mansfield
Nottingham Post

Darlington: Russell, Purkiss, Miller, Lee, G. Taylor, Arnison, McReady (Hatch 58), K. Taylor (Atkinson 40), Rundle, Campbell (Walshaw 63), Bowman. Subs not used: Chandler , Bridge-Wilkinson.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-13267883-detail/story.html

Mansfield: Marriott, O'Neill, Sutton, Futcher, Kendrick, Briscoe ( Worthington 88), Howell, Murray, Meikle (Connor 68), Dyer, Green. Subs not used: Naylor, Stevenson, Redmond.

Referee: Karl Evans (Greater Manchester ).

Attendance: 2,647 (296 visitors).

Goals: Mansfield : Green (5 and 14).

Shots on target: Darlington 3 Mansfield 8.

Shots off target: Darlington 11 Mansfield 5.

Fouls: Darlington 7 Mansfield 12.

Corners: Darlington 15 Mansfield 5.

Offsides: Darlington 3 Mansfield 0.

Bookings: Darlington 2 (Bowman, 18, foul; Arnison, 33, unsporting behaviour) Mansfield 2 (Kendrick 45+3, foul; Futcher, 75, foul).

Sendings off: Darlington 0 Mansfield 0.

Mansfield's man of the match: Anthony Howell. Matt Green was terrific once more with his two goals and excellent running that ran the Darlington defence ragged, but Howell typified everything that was good about a resilient Mansfield performance, unselfishly harassing, tackling, heading and blocking in the midfield engine room

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Green double sinks Quakers
darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk
By Craig Stoddart, Deputy Sports Editor

Darlington 0 Mansfield Town 2

Darlington paid the price for a woeful start to today's match with Mansfield Town which saw them fall 2-0 behind after only quarter of an hour.

http://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/sport/football/9231851.Green_double_sinks_Quakers/

There was no coming back after that for Quakers as they sank to their first home defeat of the season, a result that takes them down to sixth.

Having defeated Grimsby and Lincoln last week, Darlington named an unchanged team and hopes were high that they could win a third successive league game for the first time since November 2008.

But those hopes were shattered when Matt Green scored twice early on. The striker, who had a short spell on loan with Darlington during Dave Penney's time in charge, got the first after five minutes when he dribbled past Graeme Lee before firing low past keeper Sam Russell.

His second came on 14 minutes following a free-kick taken by Louis Briscoe. It was blocked by in the penalty area, but it fell to the unmarked Green who lashed home from around 12 yards.

It was a dreadful start for Darlington and manager Mark Cooper soon arrived in the technical area having watched the opening stages from the directors' box.

From there he had a better view of Darlington's midfield which created little and allowed Mansfield, particularly captain Adam Murray, to dictate the play.

Though Quakers were not assisted by referee Karl Evans who dropped a major clanger just after the half hour mark when not awarding a penalty.

Paul Arnison was bundled over, but Evans somehow saw nothing. As Arnison got to his feet he handled the ball, clearly assuming he had won a penalty as did most at The Northern Echo Arena, but Evans booked him for handball.

In response Cooper booted some water bottles in anger and soon after, in a display of his frustration with the midfield, hauled off the ineffective Kris Taylor and replaced him with Chris Atkinson.

By the break Quakers improved, though had not tested keeper Alan Marriott, and soon after the restart it was Mansfield who twice came close to another goal.

Lindon Meikle slotted a ball through to Green who rolled his shot narrowly wide, and then Russell was needed to beat away Ross Dyer's 18-yard shot after Green's pull-back.

But Darlington recovered and went on to enjoy the majority of the possession as they forced back the visitors who forced to throw men in front of the ball to defend their lead.

A John Campbell shot rolled narrowly wide and Atkinson had a shot deflected over from 20 yards for a corner – one of 15 Quakers won by full-time.

As Cooper sought a way to conjure a goal he made two more substitutions, sending on Liam Hatch and James Walshaw for John McReady and Campbell. That meant that play-maker and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and Jamie Chandler stayed on the bench.

Darlington were again let down by Evans when he mistakenly played on despite the Stags' Luke O'Neill benefitting from the ball rolling down his arm in the penalty area, but Quakers continued to push forward.

After Greg Taylor played a one-two with Adam Rundle, the left-back played the ball into the area for Walshaw whose shot was saved by Marriott, but Atkinson sidefooted the loose ball wide from six yards.

It was not all Darlington in the second half as Mansfield had chances of their own during an open game. After Paul Arnison lost the ball cheaply in the opposition's half, a Stags counter-attack finished in Briscoe shooting wide, and Green hit the woodwork.

This time it was after Taylor lost the ball on the touchline and that led to Green shooting from 16 yards and he succeeded in beating Russell, but the ball rebounded off the inside of the post.

In the final minute Richie Sutton blocked a seemingly goal-bound Taylor effort with his feet. The incident was typical of the second half during which Darlington attacked but could do little to get past a determined defence.

Cooper's men are next in action next Saturday at ninth-placed Luton. The Hatters drew 1-1 at Stockport last night, a game that Cooper and assistant Richard Dryden attended.

*Today's game may have been Ben Purkiss' last for Darlington as his loan from Oxford United has now expired. Cooper said a decision on Purkiss' future will be made soon.

Darlington (4-3-1-2): Russell; Purkiss, Miller, Lee, G Taylor; Arnison, K Taylor (Atkinson 40), McReady (Hatch 59); Rundle; Bowman, Campbell (Walshaw 63). Subs (not used): Chandler, Bridge-Wilkinson

Goals: None

Bookings: Arnison (33, handball) Mansfield Town: Marriott, Futcher, Kendrick, Murray, Briscoe (Worthington 88), Dyer, Green, O'Neill, Sutton, Howell, Meikle (Connor 68). Subs (not used): Redmond (gk), Naylor, Stevenson

Goals: Green (5, 0-1), Green (14, 0-2)

Bookings: Kendrick (45, foul), Futcher (75, foul)

Referee: Karl Evans (Lancashire)

Attendance: 2647 (296 visiting fans)

--------------------

http://www.darlington-fc.net/page/MatchReport/0,,10339~60052,00.html
By Martin Walker

Darlington slipped to sixth in the Blue Square Bet Premier League with their second defeat of the season at home to Mansfield Town.

Quakers were undone by Matthew Green's quick-fire first-half double and struggled to recover, despite pressuring the Stags for most of the remainder.

And Mark Cooper was left seething by three refereeing decisions, denying Darlo what seemed to be at least two blatant penalties.

But his side failed to break down a resilient Mansfield defence, who deserved their victory.

The opening goal was embarrassingly easy. Green raced into space down the right wing and cut inside, leaving Graeme Lee for dead, before drilling a brilliant left-footed effort past Sam Russell.

And Green made it two after 14 minutes. Darlo failed to clear Louis Briscoe's poor free-kick, Green pounced and flashed a shot past Russell.

The rampant visitors almost scored a third just three minutes after the second when big centre-back Ben Futcher met a deep free-kick to the far post, but his header was inches wide of Russell's right-hand post.

Darlo had a strong penalty appeal turned down shortly after the half-hour mark just as the home side showed any sign of trying to get back into it. Paul Arnison was fouled by Ross Dyer in the box, but referee Karl Evans ignored the appeals and instead booked Arnison for deliberate handball.

John McReady's surging run a few minutes later sparked Quakers to life, winning a corner, but to no avail.

Cooper made an early change five minutes before half-time, with the ineffective Kris Taylor coming off for Chris Atkinson.

Darlington rallied towards the end of a forgetful first half, but they couldn't find a breakthrough despite Adam Rundle and McReady's best efforts.

Darlo started the second half positively, although it was Mansfield who almost grabbed a third just three minutes after restart. Green found space just inside the right side of the penalty box, but pulled his shot wide of Russell's right-hand post.

And Quakers had Russell to thank for denying a third with a point-blank save in the 50th minute. Green again found space down the right and pulled back for Dyer, whose powerful first-time shot was blocked by the Darlo 'keeper.

Liam Hatch replaced McReady in the 59th minute and the big striker caused problems within a minute of his introduction, laying off for Campbell 30 yards from goal and his ambitions shot was deflected wide.

Darlo almost gifted Mansfield a third when Arnison cheaply gave up possession to Lindon Meikle, who laid off for Briscoe just inside the box, but his shot was well wide.

Cooper's side should have pulled one back with the move of the game in the 74th minute. Greg Taylor played a smart one-two with Rundle before advancing into the box and crossed for substitute James Walshaw. His shot was blocked by Alan Marriott and Chris Atkinson's side-footed effort from five yards out was inches wide.

Green threatened to complete his hat-trick in the 7tth minute when he found space from Marriott's long ball, but Russell did well to stop his left-footed effort.

Darlo desperately pressed for a way into the game and a minute later Mansfield failed to clear Arnison's corner. Rundle's weak shot was smothered and Walshaw's shot was deflected wide for another corner, but the visitors continued to frustrate Darlo.

Russell was forced into action again in the 82nd minute when he did well to stop Dyer's close-range shot, and Paul Connor's rebound was blocked by Ian Miller.

Rundle should have done better with an 84th-minute chance. Walshaw did well near the right-side corner flag before laying off for Purkiss, who whipped a good ball into the box which Hatch could only flick on, but it found Rundle at the far post and his snatched shot blazed over Marriott's bar.

Green was again denied his hat-trick in the 87th minute when Connor squared to the striker on the edge of the box and his shot was deflected on to the post.

Darlo still pushed late on and Greg Taylor's 90th-minute shot on the edge of the penalty area summed up the game. Mansfield somehow managed to keep the ball out without knowing too much about it, compounded a frustrating day.

Matchfacts
Goals: Green 5, 14.
Bookings: Bowman 19, Arnison 32, Kendrick 45.
Darlington: Russell, Purkiss, G Taylor, Miller, Lee, McReady (Hatch, 59), Arnison, K Taylor (Atkinson, 40), Rundle, Bowman, Campbell (Walshaw, 63).
Unused: Chandler, Bridge-Wilkinson.
Mansfield: Marriott, Kendrick, Briscoe (Worthington, 88), Green, Murray, Dyer, O'Neill, Sutton, Howell, Meikle (Connor, 68), Futcher.
Unused: Naylor, Stevenson, Redmond.
Referee: Karl Evans.
Attendance: 2,647 (296 visitors).

--------------------------
----------------

Wembley taunts backfire on Quakers
darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk, By Craig Stoddart, Deputy Sports Editor

If Mansfield needed any further motivation for defeating Darlington on Saturday, they were handed it as they arrived at The Northern Echo Arena.

http://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/sport/football/9232277.Wembley_taunts_backfire_on_Quakers/

Emblazoned across the outside of the Arena is a huge poster of Wembley hero Chris Senior holding aloft the FA Trophy, won when defeating Mansfield at Wembley in May, and the Stags can't have failed to notice the silverware on display in reception.

They will also have glanced at framed photographs from May 7 that were hung in the corridor, prior to the season, that leads to the changing rooms.

Though only three of the Stags' starting XI on Saturday also played at Wembley, and they've since had a change of manager, it would have been natural to use such factors in ensuring they were at their best against their FA Trophy foes.

Mark Cooper, however, believed his team's 2-0 defeat was nothing to do with the Stags being keyed up and instead everything to do with his side's lacklustre midfield.

So ineffective was it during a costly first 20 minutes, Cooper reckoned he could have played himself.

That was his observation, made only partly in jest, after seeing his team swept aside during 14 first-half minutes, when Mansfield scored twice.

The visiting supporters were chanting about how easy it was and a disappointed Cooper fumed: "We let the Mansfield midfield have too much time, I think I could've played if that's how the modern-day midfielder wants to play.

"We didn't turn up for the first 20 minutes and gave Mansfield too much respect. We'd spoken about the game not being as easy as Lincoln. The message had been to get tight and let Mansfield know that they were in a game. But we didn't do it."

On the back of last Monday's impressive 3-1 win against Lincoln, which came two days after beating Grimsby, Cooper, understandably, named an unchanged side.

In hindsight, Jamie Chandler was needed in midfield to limit the time on the ball the opposition enjoyed.

Adam Murray and Lindon Meikle dictated play from the off. After only five minutes, right-midfielder Meikle played the ball up the line for striker Matt Green, who cut inside Graeme Lee before unleashing a low shot past Sam Russell for 1-0.

Green, on loan at Darlington for a short spell in 2007, added his second when Louis Briscoe's free-kick was not dealt with and that allowed the unmarked striker to lash home from 12 yards.

"You watch any level of football, even in the Premier League or international football, you've got to compete," added Cooper.

"You can play your pretty football like we do, but you also have to win the battle, which is something we didn't do for 20 minutes. We let Adam Murray get on the ball and play.

"Once we got that sorted out we looked a totally different team and had we scored in that spell just before half-time I believe we'd have had a totally different result.

"We had them camped in their half and they were relying on Green's pace to try to get breaks."

Darlington improved as the game went on, though they received no assistance from referee Karl Evans.

He mistakenly failed to award a penalty when Briscoe barged over Paul Arnison, then infuriated Quakers by booking Arnison, who had handled the ball in the belief that he had just won his side a penalty.

"I don't really want to talk about referees because that seems to be all we're doing at the moment," said Cooper.

"Paul Arnison's was a blatant penalty, and then there were three handballs in their penalty area in the second half, ridiculous.

"But I'm not going to use that as an excuse because had we started the game properly we would have won, I'm convinced of that."

Kris Taylor suffered the ignominy of being substituted before half-time. He was replaced by Chris Atkinson, but the on-loan midfielder was responsible for missing an open goal from close range after keeper Andy Marriott had parried a shot from substitute James Walshaw.

Quakers put the Stags under severe pressure after the break, as Mansfield were content to sit back on their lead.

Liam Hatch was sent on as Darlington kept the visitors hemmed into their own half, winning 15 corners, but Marriott was rarely tested.

In fact, closest to goal in the second half was Green, whose shot beat Russell but rebounded off the inside of the post.

After being held at home by Alfreton a fortnight ago, four players were axed. Now all eyes are on which players Cooper drops this time as he is sure to make changes for Saturday's trip to Luton.

The manager added: "For the last hour we were the better team, but that doesn't win you a game.

"I have to now make sure that the personnel I think are responsible don't play, or I make sure that they know if they do play again the same thing doesn't happen. It's going to be a massively tough week in training.

"At this level you have to constantly keep training players because they win two games and all of a sudden think they're Real Madrid."

Matchfacts

Goals: 0-1: Green (5, cut inside from the right past Lee and shot across goal inside the far post), 0-2: Green (14, collected Briscoe's free-kick around 12 yards from goal and fired in off the upright)
Bookings: Arnison (33, handball); Kendrick (45, foul), Futcher (75, foul)
Referee: Karl Evans (Manchester) – upset Darlington with his refusal to award a penalty, despite some clear infringements by Mansfield 6
Attendance: 2,647
Entertainment: ***

DARLINGTON (4-3-1-2)
7 Russell: Made several saves and not at fault for either of Mansfield's goals;
6 Purkiss: Another steady display from the right-back who may have been playing his final game
6 Miller: A typically defiant last-ditch block late on prevented Paul Connor from scoring
5 Lee: Sidestepped by Green which allowed the Mansfield striker to open the scoring
5 G Taylor: Cheaply lost the ball on the touchline late on which almost led to a goal;
6 Arnison: A handful of passes went astray, though he should have been awarded a firsthalf penalty
4 K Taylor: Hauled off before the break in a like-for-like swap following an impactfree run-out
7 McREADY: Offered Darlington something going forward with his willingness to attack, surprisingly subbed;
7 Rundle: Didn't see as much of the ball as in Monday's win over Lincoln, but a threat when he was in possession;
6 Bowman: Lost the ball occasionally when played as a striker before being switched to right-wing
5 Campbell: Subdued performance from the striker, though he did come close with a long-range effort at goal

Subs
Atkinson (for K Taylor 40): Missed a chance to drag Darlington back into the contest when he shot wide of an empty net from six yards 5
Hatch (for McReady 59): Showed plenty of determination in closing down defenders, but had little impact in terms of providing a goal 6
Walshaw (for Campbell 63): Denied from inside the six-yard box by the Mansfield keeper 6 (not used):
Not used: Chandler, Bridge- Wilkinson

MANSFIELD TOWN (4-4-2): Marriott 7; O'Neill 6, Sutton 6, Futcher 7, Kendrick 6; Meikle 7 (Connor 68), Murray 7, Howell 6, Briscoe 6 (Worthington 88); Dyer 6, GREEN 8. Subs (not used): Redmond (gk), Naylor, Stevenson

MAN OF THE MATCH
MATT Green – two goals for the pacey striker who had a short loan spell with Darlington in 2007

-------------------------

It's back to square one for Quakers
The Journal

Darlington 0
Mansfield Town 2

IT'S back to the drawing board for Darlington manager Mark Cooper after Quakers lost for the first time at home this season to a nippy Mansfield side.

Read More http://www.journallive.co.uk/newcastle-sports/football-news/2011/09/05/it-s-back-to-square-one-for-quakers-61634-29362364/#ixzz1X4D5WIdT

Cooper was furious with his team's lethargic start to the game, which Mansfield capitalised upon by scoring twice in the first 14 minutes.

“That has completely ruined my weekend,” he said. “We'd worked hard all week in training, and then it was completely wasted.

“We didn't turn up for 20 minutes, and by then Mansfield were two goals in the lead. Some players thought that just because we'd won two games, we were Real Madrid. We didn't close them down, and players didn't get a foot in.

“I know where the problems are, and I'll be making changes ahead of our next game.”

Cooper also wasn't happy with three penalty decisions by referee Karl Evans that went against Quakers – one in particular looked a push on Paul Arnison – and he said: “I'm not going to say too much about the referee, but it was ridiculous the foul on Arnison wasn't given, and then he was booked for handling the ball.”

Not many Quakers fans remembered Matt Green from a loan spell he had at the club in October 2007, but they knew who he was after he scored twice in the first 14 minutes.

In the fifth minute, a Darlington attack was broken up by Lindon Meikle, who released Green, who cut in from the right and placed a left foot shot into the net.

Green was slightly fortuitous with his second. Louis Briscoe was clearly trying to score direct from a 30 yard free kick, but he mishit the ball into the box where Green turned to fire into the top corner.

After Arnison's penalty claim was denied, Cooper hauled off Kris Taylor and replaced him with Chris Atkinson, but it wasn't until the last half hour when Liam Hatch came on that Quakers really got going.

John Campbell went close following a Hatch lay off, then Atkinson bundled the ball wide after Gregg Taylor's shot was fumbled by Mansfield keeper Andy Marriott.

DARLINGTON: Russell; Purkiss, Miller, Lee, Greg Taylor, Arnison, McReady (Hatch 59), Kris Taylor (Atkinson 40), Rundle, Bowman, Campbell (Walshaw 63). Subs (not used): Chandler, Bridge-Wilkinson.

Booked: Bowman, Arnison.

MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott; O'Neill, Futcher, Sutton, Kendrick, Briscoe (Worthington 87), Murray, Howell, Meikle (Connor 68), Green, Dyer. Subs (not used): Redmond, Naylor, Stevenson.

Booked: Kendrick, Futcher.

Goals: Green 5, 15.

Attendance: 2, 647.

Referee: Karl Evans (Lancashire).

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Latest | September 2011