EVENING POST REPORT AND REACTION
CORDEN'S GESTURE MEANT 'NOTHING'
BY CHRIS WATERS, Evening Post, 11 November 2002
Wayne Corden today admitted he shouldn't have wound up Notts County's supporters after Mansfield's opening goal, but insisted: "It was just a bit of banter."
Corden gestured towards Notts' fans in the Jimmy Sirrel Stand after Liam Lawrence had given Mansfield the lead.
Corden had earlier infuriated the home crowd by escaping punishment from referee Jeff Winter after raising an arm to Notts defender Simon Ramsden.
"I lifted my hands up to the Notts fans after we scored, but it was nothing," Corden declared.
"I probably shouldn't have done it, but it was just a bit of by-play.
"As for the incident with Simon Ramsden, I lifted my hand but I certainly didn't hit the player.
"It was a hot-blooded local derby and passions ran high at times, as you would expect."
Ramsden played down the clash with the Mansfield midfielder, insisting: "It was nothing really. I fouled him and then his foot came down on my leg, tempers flared a little bit and that was that.
"Things got a little bit out of hand but we shook hands after the match."
Of more importance to Corden was the loss of two points - after Mansfield created the better chances.
"We definitely deserved three points. We had the more clear-cut opportunities and were disappointed to only come away with a draw," he said.
"We were the better team and showed a lot of character."
STAGS CLAW BACK FOR A POINT
Evening Post, 11 November 2002
Notts County 2 v 2 Mansfield Town
"Ref, ref, thanks for your help today, you had a really great match," grumbled a passing Notts fan in the reception at Meadow Lane.
"Thanks, I really value your opinion," came the reply, laced with equal amounts of sarcasm.
I had been assured, repeatedly, that I was wasting my time waiting to talk to match official Jeff Winter.
But, after waiting for almost 45 minutes for him to emerge from his dressing room, having seen most of the players, management and staff from both sides depart the ground, he was happy to give the Evening Post an audience.
"You will have to be quick though, I am in a hurry," he said, after handing his driver the keys.
In the end though, you could not argue with his perspective on the afternoon's proceedings.
Winter, after all, is only human. He makes mistakes. And, apparently, he is prepared to learn from them.
It is just unfortunate that the mistakes he made on Saturday afternoon will provide the abiding memories - and talking points - from what was otherwise a thoroughly entertaining local derby.
It was a shame that, after a typically full-blooded affair, it was from the referee, I was instructed, that I simply must get post match quotes.
A match that had everything you could want, in terms of entertainment - goals, chances, aggression and incident - was marred by a referee grabbing the spotlight.
To set the record straight early on, this was a match which Mansfield Town deserved a point from, at the very least - if not more.
If there is one lesson Stuart Watkiss will already have learnt in his short managerial career, it is that in football you don't always get what you deserve.
After a committed, determined display in which his side again proved themselves capable of playing incisive, entertaining football, he can at least console himself with the knowledge that his side do not look like one destined for relegation.
But, ultimately, it was his counterpart, Billy Dearden, for whom you felt most sympathy.
For, following his years in the game, he will know this was a match his side should have won.
Deserved or not, Notts County will feel a massive sense of injustice at being robbed of what they will see as a vital three points.
Yes, Mansfield Town had dominated for long periods of the match.
And they had carved out more numerous and more telling opportunities in front of goal. To all intents and purposes, they were the better side.
Watkiss claimed afterwards that justice had been done. But the manner in which that justice was dealt out was anything but fair.
Without condoning his actions for one second, you could certainly see why one Notts fan was impelled to race onto the pitch to confront Winter.
After initially indicating that three minutes of injury time would be played, we were well into the 94th minute when Matt Gadsby hammered a long ball from the half-way line.
At that point, three Mansfield players were offside, by a distance of at least five yards.
The ball deflected off the head of Darren Caskey and perfectly into the path of Iyseden Christie, who made amends for missing two previous gilt-edged chances by hitting a volley which bounced up high into the net.
Of course, the two sets of fans in an impressive - and highly vocal - crowd of 10,302, will have totally different perspectives on the match.
It will certainly be the Mansfield fans who will have been the happier as they made the short journey home.
For the Notts fans, there will have been double disappointment.
Obviously, there was the manner in which they saw three points disappear in injury time.
But there was also the dismay at seeing their side again produce another under-par performance at Meadow Lane.
It was only when Darren Caskey had been introduced as a substitute, early in the second half, that the Magpies really got into their stride.
Marcel Cas, who had made little impact prior to Caskey's inclusion, suddenly provided some width on the right to match the endeavour of Richard Liburd - who had replaced the injured Paul Bolland - on the left.
Stags had enjoyed the majority of the chances in the first half and Liam Lawrence's 43rd minute opener had been no more than they deserved.
But Notts persevered after the break and were rewarded when Liburd bundled home Cas's cross from close range.
Caskey then capped an encouraging display of his own with a trademark free-kick five minutes from time, providing what should have been the winning goal.
After that, Stags fans will say justice was done, Notts supporters will claim they have been done an injustice.
Perhaps Mr Winter will let us know, once he has seen the video.
REF JEFF: I'M ONLY HUMAN
BY PAUL TAYLOR, Evening Post, 11 November 2002
Under-fire referee Jeff Winter today insisted: "I'm only human".
The Premiership match official caused controversy at Meadow Lane on Saturday, when he allowed Iyseden Christie's injury-time equaliser to stand, despite the fact that three Mansfield Town players were clearly offside.
The incident, which came four minutes into injury time - after it was indicated that only three would be played - sparked fury.
Notts County manager Billy Dearden had to be restrained by stewards, while a Magpies supporter did manage to get onto the pitch to confront the Stockton-on-Tees match official.
He has now been charged by police and is facing the prospect of a lifetime ban from Meadow Lane.
The goal was no more than Stags had deserved, after a furious local derby in which they had dominated for long periods.
But that was no consolation to Notts, who thought they had secured a vital three points against their fellow Division Two strugglers.
Winter, however, stands by his decision.
"I am only human," he said. "I can only make a decision to the best of my ability out on the pitch.
"In this case, I looked over to my linesman and he indicated that the players were onside in the first phase of play, when the ball was initially played.
"And he says that they were onside when the ball came off the defender too."
Winter says he is always keen to learn from his mistakes and will review a video of the game, in which his performance was also heavily criticised by Stags boss Stuart Watkiss.
"It is normal practice in the Premiership for me to review a video of the match," he said.
"As things stand I have not been offered a copy of the video by Notts County, but I will be requesting one. I am always happy to admit it if I have made a mistake.
"Just like anyone else I like to learn from my mistakes and if I have made one this time, I will learn from that too.
"But, as I said, I can only make a decision to the best of my ability out on the pitch. I do not have the benefit of video replay during the match."
General manager Tony Cuthbert insisted Winter had been offered a video of the game: "Billy wanted him to watch it straight away."
But he also confirmed that Notts would be considering action against the supporter who raced onto the pitch to confront Winter, something the referee says he will be including in his official report.
"A fan did come onto the pitch and confront me after the final goal and I will be including that in my report," said Winter.
"He didn't make physical contact with me, but I will still be mentioning it."
Cuthbert confirmed the fan had been arrested.
"The police have charged him for entering the field of play and he will go through the court system," he said.
"It is club policy not to take action until that has happened, but it is likely that he will be banned from attending matches here.
"You do have a certain amount of sympathy for him, because there didn't seem to be any intent to actually attack the ref.
"He only wanted to say what 7,000-odd Notts fans wanted to say to him.
"But you just can't condone what he did. If you enter the field of play you have to realise what the consequences will be.
"We apologised to Mr Winter immediately after the game and we have launched an investigation into how the fan managed to get on there.
"It is something we take very seriously and it is likely the club will consider banning the supporter concerned."
At the end of the game, Notts boss Dearden had to be physically restrained by assistant Gary Brazil, as he remonstrated with Winter.
Afterwards he admitted his side had not been at their best, but he was still disappointed that they were denied three points having led 2-1 deep into injury time.
"The lad was at least five yards offside when he scored the goal," said a clearly furious Dearden.
"It was the first time we had cleared properly in the game and the decision has gone against us.
"Referees are only human and mistakes are made, but I've had a chat with him after watching the video.
"If he watches it, he should be disappointed with the linesman, who didn't put his flag up.
"The ball did flick off Darren Caskey's head - if it hadn't I think Jon Ashton was there ready to clear it.
"But when the ball was initially played there were at least three players offside and it is not as if we are talking about a close decision, we are talking five yards."
NICHOLSON VOWS TO BOUNCE BACK
BY PAUL TAYLOR, Evening Post, 11 November 2002
Kevin Nicholson today pledged not to become the latest victim of the Notts County injury jinx.
The full-back looked likely to become the sixth Magpies defender to fall foul of injury in the past few weeks when he limped off early in the second half on Saturday.
But, despite limping away from Meadow Lane on a crutch, Nicholson is hopeful of being fit for Saturday's FA Cup clash with Southport.
And he says the Magpies must use the match to eradicate the disappointment caused by missing out on three points on Saturday.
"I have injured my ankle, but I don't think it is too bad," he said.
"It hurts a heck of a lot now, but it looks as though it is only bruising, so hopefully I should be OK for Saturday.
"I hope I will be anyway as we have had enough defenders out with injury in recent weeks."
Nicholson probably had the best perspective on Iyseden Christie's controversial injury time equaliser than any other Notts player.
"I had just come out the dressing room, where I had been having treatment," he said.
"It was clear to see he was offside, three of them were. It was by about five yards as well, it was completely obvious.
"Mansfield did play well and they may have felt they deserved a draw.
"But the manner in which their goal came about did leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
"I can't understand how it could have been given to be honest.
"But at least the referee was consistent, I think that is the best thing you can say about him.
"And it was often the same for both sides.
"We just have to bounce back next weekend."
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