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Archived News from December 2011

29th December 2011 10:50

Cox keen to tie Hutchinson to Stags
Nottingham Post, Saturday, December 24, 2011

BEN Hutchinson will be a Mansfield Town player by the time they run out to face York City at Bootham Crescent on New Year's Day – if boss Paul Cox has his way.


The former Middlesbrough and Celtic striker trained with the club on Wednesday and scored in Thursday's 1-1 friendly draw at Solihull Moors.

Cox has been pleased with what he has seen both in terms of attitude and fitness, having watched the 24-year-old get a full 90 minutes under his belt in the West Midlands.

The Stags manager is now ready to sit down with the former Arnold player and his agent in a bid to agree terms.

He will be helped by Paul Connor's departure to Gainsborough, Matt Bell's loan to Stafford Rangers and Nialle Rodney's return to Bradford City, which has freed up extra finance.

Hutchinson is under contract with Scottish club Kilmarnock until the year is out, but is a free agent from then.

"We are really keen on the lad, but now I suppose it is all down to pounds and pence," said Cox. "Ben has showed little glimpses in the two games he has played for us. There is no doubt about his ability.

"Preliminary talks with him went very well and now it's just a case of sitting down and talking terms.

"We are looking to sort it out over the next week and if it does go through, we would have to register him on the morning of the York away game."


Steep learning curve for Meikle in busy 2011
Nottingham Post, Saturday, December 24, 2011

IT'S been such a busy 2011 for Lindon Meikle, he's rarely had time to take stock.


But as Mansfield Town prepare for their final game of the year at home to York City on Boxing Day, the tricky winger must surely reflect on the last 12 months with a huge sense of pride and achievement.

?Meikle has started and ended the year with the one constant that Paul Cox is still his club manager.

But just about everything else has changed for the likeable 23-year-old.

Back in January, the Nottingham-born player was doing his best to help Eastwood out of a sticky situation at the bottom end of the Blue Square Bet North.

At the same time as playing for the part-time club, he was also earning his keep working in a clothes shop in his native city.

Things quickly got better at Eastwood as they surged up the table on the back of a 19-game unbeaten run to clinch a place in the play-offs.

But then there was to be heartache as the Badgers were unable to compete in the play-offs because of ground grading issues.

As both manager Cox and chairman Rob Yong subsequently quit, it was no surprise to see a string of players also move away from Coronation Park to pastures new.

In the case of Meikle, he followed his boss to Field Mill, quitting his day job in the process to turn professional for the first time.

Things began well and, as Mansfield got off to an excellent start, Meikle was called up for the England C team.

Although the clash with India was cancelled, he did eventually play for his country, donning the Three Lions in Gibraltar.

But it has not been all plain sailing for Meikle, who has four goals to his credit this term.

He exchanged words with angry Mansfield fans after the 0-0 draw at Telford.

And he has experienced a build up of pressure on the team after a recent blip in form that has seen the Stags win just one of their last ten matches.

Even so, the dream remains for Mansfield to clinch a play-off place in the second half of the season – and cap a real shift in impetus for Meikle's career.

"The lads are not happy with how things went at Southport last weekend because we lost, but if you are going to lose then you want to lose well, which is what I think we did," he said.

"There were a lot of positives to take out of the game.

"On the whole we would like to be a bit higher up the table, but that's the same as any team.

"But you have to remember there are only two or three players – Alan Marriott, Adam Murray and Louis Briscoe – who were regular starters last season. Some of the other teams have been together for three seasons.

"We would rather be in the play-offs, of course, but this is a hard league and there are a lot of good teams. We feel we can still get in there.

"From my point of view it has taken some adjusting getting used to the full-time game.

"I'm probably still doing that now. It is a step up, but then there are also a lot of good teams at the level we were at – as Droylsden proved against us in the FA Trophy (where Mansfield lost 2-1)."

Meikle has figured in both a 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 formation in recent weeks, either as one of a front three or as an out-and-out wide man.

He is happy to play either role and believes the greater flexibility has to come from regular striker Matt Green and the central midfielders.

In recent weeks, Meikle has had Forest loanee Kieron Freeman supporting him at left-back in the absence of Joe Kendick with a back injury.

"Kieron is still only young and this is the first time he has really played competitive games, aside from some reserve football," said Meikle.

"But you can see he is a very good player and I can't remember a winger getting the better of him and there are some good ones in this league.

"Whether Forest give him a chance or he goes somewhere else to play, I can see him doing well because he does the nitty gritty well and is also very good in possession."


Jamie Reed on red alert for return to York City front-line
yorkpress.co.uk Saturday 24th December 2011
By Dave Flett, Sports reporter

JAMIE Reed looks ready to return to York City's front line for the Boxing Day trip to Mansfield Town.


Former Bangor City striker Reed has missed the last three matches with a knee problem and, with Jason Walker also ruled out for Monday night's match against Kidderminster, Gary Mills opted for a three-man attack of Matty Blair, Ashley Chambers and Danny Pilkington that lacked a recognised centre-forward.

With Walker waiting on the results of a groin scan and the City chief still holding reservations about Moses Ashikodi's fitness levels, Reed is expected to get the nod at Field Mill over Liam Henderson, who has returned to Bootham Crescent following his loan spell with Forest Green Rovers.

About his attacking options for Monday's game, Mills said: “Jamie Reed is back in training so, hopefully, there will be no reaction and we will have a player back, which is good. Liam Henderson picked up a bit of a dead leg in his last game for Forest Green but he's back training with us now and he's another one in the squad.

“We sent him there to get fit and sharp and to find himself, if that's the right term. They wanted to take him on longer so they're disappointed but that shows he has done well.

“He's coming back at a time when Jason Walker is injured and Jamie Reed has been out for a couple of weeks so it's decision time for me as to whether I play him. Moses is still trying to get up to the speed we like to play and the fitness levels I expect from my players.

“He's not there yet but we're working hard to get him as sharp as possible. He knows he has to do that and the quicker he manages it the better for everybody.”

Jon Challinor, meanwhile, will return to his former club when City travel to face the Stags but Mills revealed that the 31-year-old utility man is yet to sign the extended deal he has been offered at Bootham Crescent.

Mills said: “Jon Challinor has been offered a contract until the end of the season but he's yet to sign it so, like Danny Pilkington and David McDermott, he remains here on a non-contract basis.

“Being non-contract obviously works both ways. They could go somewhere else at any stage or be released.”

The City manager added he is looking for a positive response following the club's first league defeat since the end of September.

He is particularly hoping for an improved defensive display with the 3-2 defeat to Kidderminster following on from a 2-2 draw to Solihull in the previous home game with all five goals conceded in the first half.

Mills said: “We've had a lot of clean sheets in the league of late so I was a bit bamboozled and gobsmacked by what went on on Monday.

“Earlier in the season, we were giving goals away in the last ten minutes of matches but we've conceded early goals in each of our last two homes games and that cannot keep happening. Monday was our first defeat in a long, long time and didn't feel nice.

“We're not used to losing and don't want to get used to losing but being beaten is part and parcel of what you must go through. It's how you react to being beaten that matters.

“Manchester United never lose the next game after a defeat. Defeats don't concern them, they make them stronger.”

Mansfield lie tenth in the table, seven points behind fourth-placed City ahead of a Christmas double-header, with the Stags visiting York on New Year's Day.

Mills expects Paul Cox's men to be highly motivated, saying: “They will know they can get closer to the top five if they can beat us.

“They are a direct team.”


Mansfield Town suffer Sutton blow for match against York City
yorkpress.co.uk Saturday 24th December 2011

MANSFIELD Town will play host to York City today having won only one of their last ten games.


The Stags will also be without centre-back Richie Sutton, who is suspended after being sent off during the team's last outing – a 3-1 defeat at Southport.

Sutton incurred a one-match ban for two cautions so will be available for the return fixture with City on New Year's Day, but his place is expected to be filled by 30-year-old former Nottingham Forest and Notts County centre-back John Thompson at Field Mill.

Other than that enforced change, manager Paul Cox is expected to keep faith with the side that started at Southport.

On-loan Oxford striker Matt Green, therefore, will be relied upon to provide the ammunition in attack, having netted 14 times this season despite being kept off the scoresheet in five of his last six league outings.

Cox has a fully-fit squad to choose from with Joe Kendrick back in training following a back problem.

Mansfield have failed to reach the play-offs in the three seasons they have been plying their trade in Conference football and currently sit tenth in this term's standings.

Their only victory in ten matches came during a 4-1 home triumph over Braintree on December 3 and, in that time, they have also exited the FA Cup and FA Trophy at the hands of Fleetwood and Droylsden respectively.

Mansfield are draw specialists, however, with Stockport the only side to have shared the Blue Square Bet Premier spoils on more occasions.

The Hatters have 11 draws to their name, while Mansfield boast ten.

At home, the Stags have also only been defeated by top-seven sides Southport (1-3), Cambridge (1-2) and Kidderminster (0-3).

That Kidderminster defeat, meanwhile, represents the only occasion Mansfield have failed to score at home in 13 fixtures this season and only the Minstermen (30), Kidderminster (25) and Luton (24) have netted more times than the 23 occasions in which Cox's men have hit the target on their own soil in 2011/12.

Team (probable): Marriott, O'Neill, Thompson, Dempster, Freeman, Briscoe, Murray, Howell, Meikle, Green, Dyer.

match facts
City have made three Conference visits to Field Mill winning once and losing twice.

They lost 1-0 in 2008/9, while a Courtney Pitt goal earned all three points in 2009/10.

Last term they went down 5-0 in a game which marked the end of Martin Foyle's tenure as manager. The line-up on September 21, 2010 was: Ingham, Courtney, McGurk, Parslow, Meredith, Till (Gash), Lawless, Barrett, J Smith, Rankine, Constantine (McDermott).

The club made 34 Football League trips to Mansfield between 1933 and 2003, winning nine times and drawing six.

Billy McEwan manged both clubs in recent years, while player links include goalkeepers Harold Searson, Graham Brown and Bobby Mimms, pictured, along with long-time City stalwart Tom Lockie. Others are: Jimmy Weir, Ian McDonald, Kevin Randall, Gary Ford, Brian Pollard, Luke Graham, Adam Smith and Chris Smith.

It happened on December 26

1936: Halifax Town were beaten at Bootham Crescent 4-0 and on the scoresheet were Alf Agar, Jimmy Hughes, Albert Thompson and Peter Spooner.

1938: Bob Mortimer (2), Len Milner and George Lee were the scorers in a 4-1 home victory over Crewe Alexandra watched by 8,182. The following day City crashed to an 8-2 defeat in the return fixture at Gresty Road.

1952: A Bootham Crescent attendance of 11,380 saw Tranmere Rovers beaten 2-0 and City were third in Division Three North. On the score-sheet were Steve Griffiths (penalty) and Billy Fenton.

1958: City were in the top four of the Fourth Division following a 1-0 home victory over Barrow watched by the biggest home crowd of the season – 10,382. Ernie Wardle was the scorer.

1964: City recorded their seventh successive league win when they beat Chesterfield 7-1 at home and were third in the Fourth Division. The crowd was 6,216 and on the scoresheet were Paul Aimson (2), Andy Provan (2), Derek Weddle, Norman Wilkinson and Billy Rudd.

1974: In front of 35,367 at Roker Park, City lost 2-0 to Sunderland and were 16th in Division Two (Championship).

1983: Keith Walwyn scored both goals as top of the Fourth Division City won 2-1 at Halifax Town.

1992: City came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Cardiff City and remain top of the Third Division (League Two). On target were Paul Barnes and Ian Blackstone, pictured right, (2).

1994: Paul Barnes hit a hat trick in a 4-0 home win over Blackpool. Glenn Naylor was the other marksman watched by 4,542 and City were in the top half of the Second Division (League One).

1998: A 3-3 home draw against Burnley with Rodney Rowe (2) and Wayne Hall the scorers. City were mid-table in the Second Division and the attendance was 5,630.

2005: Scarborough were beaten 3-1 at Bootham Crescent with Andy Bishop, Clayton Donaldson and David McGurk the marksmen in front of 4,921.

Compiled by David Batters


Mixed emotions for Stags boss Cox as year draws to close
Nottingham Post, Friday, December 23, 2011

NOT disappointed, nor contented. Not deflated, nor buoyant. Paul Cox's summary of the first half of his maiden season at Mansfield Town is one of mixed emotions.


On the one hand, the Stags manager has been pleased to see his new-look side find their feet relatively quickly, certainly better than other so-called big guns such as Darlington, Grimsby, Lincoln and Stockport.

Yet Cox also believes his side could be in better shape had they showed a greater ruthlessness in both boxes at key times during some of their tighter matches.

In school report terms, the former Eastwood boss would venture that Mansfield are akin to a promising pupil who could do better.

"I think the first half of the season we haven't done too badly at all," he said.

"If we'd had 40 points at the halfway stage, as we might have done, then you would be happy with that in any league.

"But we have let ourselves down in the cups – we have gone out cheaply in both games – and people will remember that.

"It is some of the players' first season together and they have had some tremendous results that sometimes get swept under the carpet.

"But if you look at the first half of the season, and the places where we have been, we have got good results at grounds where we might have expected to lose.

"Going into the second half of the season we have got games we can win. We are a club capable of going on a run.

"There is always a team that comes out of the pack and we are one of ten clubs who could do it.

"But there is a fine line between us being a top-ten side and one who gets into the play-offs."

Cox has few doubts why Mansfield have slid down to tenth in the table after starting the campaign well to be in the play-off slots.

In this case, he believes statistics tell their own story.

Cox said: "We have lost one game per month so far, so it is not pulling your hair out time.

"But it is the draws that have cost us in terms of a much better league position and a place in the play-off places at this point.

"If we'd have turned four of our draws into wins then we would be going into the Christmas period with everyone singing from the rooftops.

"A lot of those draws, we have been in front and not held on – and that is all about concentration levels.

"We have missed chances where other teams have taken theirs.

"It's about those fine margins and that has left us in a position where I think we are a little bit lower than we should be.

"When we've been 1-0 up we haven't got that second goal enough times and then we have ended up drawing 1-1.

"We have had chances to kill teams off a number of times and then it can come back to haunt you, so I can understand the supporters' frustrations.

"But there is a fine line and we have lost a total of 20 points with draws, some of which we could have won.

"We could have lost nine games at this point and be on a greater points tally by winning more games."

Next up for Mansfield is a difficult double-header with high-flying York City, at home on Boxing Day and at Bootham Crescent on New Year's Day.

But Cox has drawn some encouragement from the way his troops played in a 3-1 defeat at Southport, where he felt they were unfortunate.

He said: "Even if we played better, it was still a bad result. I would rather us be rubbish and pick up the three points.

"But it was much more what we were like earlier in the season and we have to take that as a massive positive.

"When we get back to playing like that then we can match anybody in the division and if we perform like that consistently then the wins will come.

"The players knew they had let themselves down the week before (at Droyslden in the FA Trophy) when they went to Southport because they are an honest bunch."

There will be no in between for Cox's feelings come the end of the season; it will be pretty cut and dried.

He just hopes it is all smiles, rather than sour faces, when he looks back on the campaign as a whole


Spotlight on Mansfield Town v York City
Nottingham Post, Friday, December 23, 2011

Mansfield (from): Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Thompson, Dempster, Riley, Day, Freeman, Kendrick, Briscoe, Murray, Howell, Stevenson, Verma, Worthington, Bolland, Meikle, Kelly, Green, Dyer.


York (from): Ingham, Oyebanjo, Parslow, McGurk, Meredith, Smith, Kerr, McLaughlin, Blair, Ashikodi, Chambers, Boucaud, Challinor, Pilkington, Moke, Fyfield.

?Team news: Mansfield hope to be selecting from a fully fit squad now Joe Kendrick has returned to training following back trouble.

Their only definite absentee is Ritchie Sutton who is suspended for one match following his sending off for two bookings at Southport.

York are waiting on the fitness of top scorer Jason Walker who is having a scan on a groin injury that could see him miss both games against Mansfield if it turns out to be bad news.

Natural replacement Jamie Reed is out with a knee problem, but Lanre Oyebanjo is back in contention after shaking off an ankle problem.

One to watch: Matty Blair. The former Kidderminster wide man has scored five goals in as many games as part of a Minstermen front three. The 21-year-old son of former Villa player Andy is considered a real prospect for the future.

Manager: Gary Mills. The former Nottingham Forest and Notts County manager has helped turn around York's fortunes since taking over from Martin Foyle part way through last season


Howell backs Briscoe to rediscover scoring touch
Nottingham Post, Friday, December 23, 2011

ANTHONY Howell today backed Mansfield Town team-mate Louis Briscoe to find his goalscoring touch in the New Year – just as he did at the start of 2011.


The winger netted only three times in the first half of last season before firing an incredible 16 in the second half of the campaign to finish with 19.

Briscoe started this season well by netting four goals in his first eight games.

But injury and his omission from the side means he has not netted since his double in the 5-0 home victory over Newport in September.

However, central midfielder Howell believes Briscoe has to be a key component for the Stags if they are to be a success in 2011-12.

"I have always felt since I played with him here in my last spell at the club that he was a good player and would be vital to the team," said Howell.

"He gets goals from anywhere and it's that kind of ability you need in the team.

"This season he has scored a few and then had a few injury problems, but there is no reason why he can't come back strongly in the second half.

"Once you have scored 16 goals in one half of a season you know what you are capable of doing and can do that again.

"Some goals from him or Lindon Meikle or anyone else, would really help out Greeny (Matt Green), who we have relied on for a lot of our goals."



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