PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY: HEDNESFORD 0 STAGS 2
Tuesday 17 July 2012
Hednesford 0-2 Mansfield Town
Stevenson 19, Tolley 50
Att: not available
First half line up (4-3-1-2): Marriott; Todd, Pilkington, Jones, Owens; Clements, Hand, Howell; Stevenson; Rhead, Green.
(one change from the second half team vs Leamington, Howell for Tolley)
Second half line up (4-3-3) : Redmond; Beevers, Sutton, Dempster, Sam Benjamin (trialist); Tolley, Poku, Roberts; Dyer, Meikle, Wright.
(two changes from the first half team vs Leamington, Tolley for Briscoe, Dyer for Hutchinson)
out injured: Thompson, Murray, Speight.
Paul Cox told Craig Priest on Takeover Radio/Mansfield Matters:
We did well in both halves. Pleased with both elevens.
Massive headaches now for the next games as need to starting giving boys 60-70 minutes.
All 3 boys up front in 2nd half looked very lively. If they are showing that hunger, then we have got a headache
We're getting some rustiness out of us now, we're looking a bit sharper now, but loads of things to work on.
We looked a real threat. A good competitive game for us. I was really chuffed. Another clean sheet. And our threat in terms of scoring goals was incredible. With a bit more sharpness in and around the 6 yard box and 18 yard box we might have had a few more. We created numerous chances. It bodes well.
At Shepshed on Thursday, the younger players like Scott Rogers, Shaw, will get a run-out (the other two are injured). And some of the boys who haven't featured tonight.
(transcribed by Martin Shaw)
Paul Cox broadside for dropped Stags pair Louis Briscoe and Ben Hutchinson
STAGS pair Louis Briscoe and Ben Hutchinson were on the receiving end of an angry blast by manager Paul Cox before being dropped for last night's 2-0 friendly win at Hednesford.
The pair's efforts failed to impress Cox last weekend and he said: “Both were dropped last night as I needed more from them than I got last weekend.
“I hope this is the kick up the backside that jolts them as both are excellent footballers.
“Standards have to be raised here and I won't put up with people wanting to stroll through matches.
“If this means upsetting footballers then so be it.
“I have spat my dummy out a bit with them as it's my job to get players into the best possible form.
“At Hednesford I thought both sets of forwards showed me what was needed and raised the bar.
“But the door is open for Ben and Louis. It's up to them.”
Stags won 2-0 but it could have been many more as they squandered a succession of golden chances in a game in which Cox used two sets of 11 player, one in each half.
“I was very pleased with them all and, if they carry on like that, we will have some selection headaches ahead,” he said.
“We looked sharper and more cohesive than at Leamington and we created a lot of brilliant chances.
“We always looked a real threat and take nothing away from Hednesford, they were almost promoted to the Blue Square North last season and gave us a good, competitive game.
“With a bit more sharpness around the 18-yard box we would have a few more. But we did get another clean sheet too.
“I was really pleased with our work ethic and desire. But I know we can get better.
“I thought we lost our shape and a bit of discipline at the end of both halves. It is something we can improve on.”
Big characters key to Stags, says new boy Jamie Hand
Thursday, July 19, 2012 Nottingham Post
MANSFIELD Town new-boy Jamie Hand believes the amount of big characters in the squad means any complacency will be jumped on within seconds.
The 28-year-old has arrived from Hayes and Yeading and joins the likes of Jamie Tolley, Adam Murray and Gary Roberts in the central midfield department boasting vast experience.
And at the back, the Stags have central defenders John Dempster, George Pilkington, Luke Jones, John Thompson and Ritchie Sutton all vying for places.
But Hand said the way the 11 new signings have started to fit into the squad only bodes well for this season, as the Stags look to build on their third-place finish under Paul Cox last time out, a campaign that ultimately ended in play-off failure.
Hand said: "We have a lot of big characters and if they do not get on it could be a bit of a disaster, but the way we have gelled together straight away is quite frightening really.
"We have a lot of jokers, but when it gets to playing we are very serious.
"The gaffer does not even have to demand anything off us, we demand it from ourselves.
"The experience we have got, especially at centre half and in midfield, will stand us in very good stead.
"We have competition for places all over the pitch, that will keep everybody on their toes."
Mansfield travel to Shepshed Dynamo tonight (7.30pm).
Hednesford Town 0-2 Mansfield Town
Pitmen Endure Tough Workout Against Stags
Hednesford Town's encouraging new look squad were put through a serious test against impressive Conference outfit Mansfield Town on Tuesday night and manager Rob Smith, pointed to a very useful fitness test for his players despite losing 2-0.
'We had to work very hard in that game and it was a great workout for the players, much more difficult than the previous two fixtures. You just have to look at the quality Mansfield had all over the park and remember that, with due respect to Frickley Athletic, we are not playing Mansfield in our first game.'
The Pitmen defended admirably in the first half with a barrage of attempts on goal from The Stags as the difference in divisions showed but goalkeeper Dan Crane made a string of superb saves to keep his team in the match.
Despite a scrappy opening goal by Lee Stevenson on nineteen minutes, top drawer blocks from Rhead and Green and another point blank save from Stevenson kept the away side at bay as The Pitmen battled well in midfield against the athletic Conference team.
The second half was a more even affair as Mansfield made a raft of substitutions but the second goal came on fifty-five minutes when Jamie Tolley fired a superb shot from twenty-five yards which gave Crane no hope.
Michael Lennon looked very lively in attack for The Pitmen and linked up well with Sean O'Connor to test Redmond in Mansfield's goal and Jamey Osborne brought a save to match the heroics of Crane with a superb free kick with five minutes to go.
New signing from Northwich Victoria, Nathan Woolfe, a player who has a superb pedigree and was the subject of strong interest from the likes of Halifax and Stockport County, made his debut for the home side and Smith was keen to point out the quality his team showed in attack despite failing to register a goal.
'We've got real quality and a combative midfield with MacPherson, Clarke, Durrell and Osborne and of course Woolfe, who will be a massive signing for us and one I have been chasing all summer long.'
The Pitmen move onto their next home game against Bedworth United on Saturday at Keys Park, 3pm KO, before travelling to Walsall Wood next Tuesday night, KO 7.45pm.
Hednesford Town Crane, Disney, Campion, Bailey, Hoffmann, Clarke, Durrell, MacPherson, Rey, Harvey, Woolfe,
Subs O'Connor, Lennon, Osborne, Melbourne, Crookes, Hendrie, Dunleavy,
Mansfield Town Marriott, Todd, Pilkington, Jones, Owens, Clements, Hand, Howell, Stevenson (19), Green, Rhead,
Subs Redmond, Beavers, Dempster, Sutton, Benjamin, Roberts, Tolley (55), Polu, Meikle, Dyer, Wright,
Hednesford 0-2 Stags
Goals from Lee Stevenson and Jamie Tolley ensured Stags' second win of pre-season after a 2-0 victory at Keys Park, Hednesford.
Stags, who again fielded two separate teams in each half, should have won by a larger margin after missing a hatful of chances in a dominant first half performance.
It was Hednesford, however, who were first to test goal when Elliott Durrell crossed from the right, only for Nathan Woolfe to sky his volley.
Then, new Stags' full back Andy Owens struck low from the left only to see his shot saved, before Matt Green was also denied following a defensive block from 12 yards.
On 17 minutes, Lee Stevenson pulled it back to the edge of the box for Chris Clements, who fired over on his return to Keys Park.
Stevenson turned from provider to finisher when he found the net two minutes later. Owens' left-sided throw was flicked on by Pilkington, and Stevenson picked up on the loose ball as the hosts failed to clear, slamming home in clinical fashion from 12 yards.
On 21, Green broke clear of the back four after latching on to Matt Rhead's throughball, but was thwarted by the home goalkeeper as he struck low.into his legs.
Stags came close again when Owens hurled a long throw into the box for Rhead to head against the bar.
Moments later, following a Clements' corner, Owens was denied by the keeper and should have hit the target with the follow up effort but smashed it into the stand.
Howell was then next to miss a gilt edge chance. Stevenson whipped it in from the right to Rhead, whose pass found the onrushing Howell but the midfielder side-footed it wide with the goal gaping.
Stags missed another good chance to add to their tally after Hednesford defender Ben Bailey misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing Rhead a clean sight of goal - but Dan Crane, the home 'keeper, made a superb fingertip save to divert it wide from ten yards.
The home side had a brief spell at the end of the first half where they tried to claw a way back into the game, but Stags, after changing their entire 11 players, were soon on the scoresheet just five minutes into the second period.
Nick Wright flew by two players after cutting in from the left but saw his final shot blocked. But Jamie Tolley, the midfielder, left the net bulging with a fabulous 25-yard piledriver.
The game kept its high tempo despite a second half of fewer clear-cut chances.
On 68, Redmond was called upon to keep out a shot from Michael Lennon before Nick Wright dragged a shot wide at the other end following good work from Ross Dyer and Lindon Meikle.
Hednesford's Sean O'Connor tried his luck on 73 minutes but his effort flew into the stands.
On 85, Redmond pulled off a fine save by tipping over a rasping free kick from Jamey Osbourne.
After the match Paul Cox said: "We looked a little more sharper and I was pleased with the whole 90 minutes.
"Even though we won 2-0, there are still things we can improve on.We lost our shape and a little bit of discipline at both ends of each half - but there were some good things to come out of the game."
1st half Team: Marriott, Todd, Pilkington, Jones, Owens, Clements, Hand, Howell, Stevenson, Rhead, Green
2nd half Team: Redmond, Beevers, Dempster, Sutton, Benjamin (Trialist), Roberts, Tolley, Poku, Meikle, Dyer, Wright
Pre-season friendly win for Mansfield Town at Hednesford Town
CHAD.co.uk report, by John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town eased to a 2-0 pre-season friendly win at Northern Premier League Premier Division Hednesford Town tonight.
Lee Stevenson gave them the interval advantage at Keys Park with a 19th minute strike. But, lacking sharpness in front of goal this early in the summer, the wasteful Stags could and should have put the game out of reach by the break.
Instead, after changing the entire team at half-time, it took a Jamie Tolley blockbuster to seal victory in a quieter second half from the chances point of view.
Matt Rhead winning everything in the air and the long throws of Andy Owens were two of the visitors' chief weapons in a one-sided first half in which centre halves George Pilkington and Luke Jones once again impressed, while the running of Nick Wright was the highlight of the second half.
It was a second win in two pre-season outings for Paul Cox's men with trips to Shepshed and Gainsborough ahead on Thursday and Friday.
Hednesford created the first chance on three minutes when they were given the benefit of the doubt over a ball that seemed to have gone out for a throw and Nathan Woolfe launched a deep cross towards Elliott Durrell whose return ball back across was volleyed wide by Woolfe.
But Stags began to force their way into the game and Owens and Green both had shots blocked from situations created by the presence of Rhead.
Clements, making a quick return to the club he has just left, did well to chest down a Stevenson cross to tee himself up on 17 minutes but couldn't keep his hurried half-volley down as it beat the crossbar.
But two minutes later, when the home side struggled to clear their lines from an Owens throw, the ball eventually rolled temptingly to Stevenson who seized his chance to whip home a low finish inside the right hand post from 16 yards.
It should have been 2-0 on 21 when the referee allowed the advantage after a nasty late tackle on Howell, Rhead putting Green in on goal only to see keeper Dan Crane block his low finish.
Rhead headed a long Owens throw against the bar on 23 minutes and, from the corner by Clements, Owens saw Crane block his first finish and then sky his follow-up into the stand with the goal at his mercy.
Mansfield were in total control at this stage and Rhead should have hit the target when set up by Clements 20 yards from goal.
Another golden chance went begging when Rhead nodded a far post Stevenson cross into the path of Howell who put his first time finish wide.
On 34 minutes Ben Bailey missed the ball completely to allow Rhead to waltz clear. But he somehow allowed his finish to clip the helpless Crane and go for a corner.
Home skipper Dave Macpherson blocked a low Green shot almost on the line before the home side finally roused themselves into a spell of pressure before the break with no end product.
Stags emerged with a full new 11, the Pitmen making two changes, and within seconds of the restart Wright's flick set up Roberts for a shot that was blocked.
Had Ronny Hoffman got more on his header from a Hednesford corner soon after it would have all been level, Redmond able to grab the loose ball.
Wright was making a very lively start and on 50 minutes, when his shot was cleared as far as Tolley, the ex-Wrexham man crashed an unstoppable 25 yard piledriver zipped past a rooted Crane and inside the keeper's left hand post to finally double Stags' advantage.
A mistake by Sutton in the box allowed O'Connor to feed Michael Lennon, who bundled a shot at Redmond.
Then Redmond lost control in the box and almost let in Lennon but did just enough to keep possession under pressure and clear.
Dyer and Meikle did well to give Wright sight of goal, but a challenge was enough to force him to shoot wide.
Sean O'Connor curled a great effort just over the far angle for the Pitmen as we entered the last 15 minutes.
Redmond finally had real work to do when he tipped over Jamey Osbourne's 18 yard free kick as it dipped.
The ever-dangerous Wright chipped Crane and the bar near the end of another excellent workout.
HEDNESFORD TOWN: Crane, Disney, Campion (Dunleavy 90), Bailey, Hoffmann, Clarke (Osborne HT), Durrell (Melbourne 62), Macpherson (Crookes 62), Rey (Lennon HT), Harvey (O'Connor 37), Woolfe (Hendrie 62).
STAGS FIRST HALF: Marriott; Todd, Pilkington, Jones, Owens; Clements, Hand, Howell; Stevenson; Green, Rhead.
STAGS SECOND HALF: Redmond; Beavers, Dempster, Sutton, Benjamin; Roberts, Tolley, Poku; Meikle; Dyer, Wright.
REFEREE: Mr M. D'Aguilar
BLOG: Finding the key – Hednesford Town 0-2 Stags
Craig Priest reports.... for Mansfield Matters.
Fixture: Hednesford Town V Mansfield Town
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly (#2)
Venue: Keys Park, Hednesford
Date & Time: Tuesday 17th July – 7.30pm
Match Referee: M D'Aguilar
Now two games into our pre-season schedule, we are still no closer to figuring out what Paul Cox's preferred eleven is as last night he again opted to field two different sides, very similar to those who took on Leamington on Saturday. However the fact we still have no clear picture on what side will start the season doesn't bother me, these warm up matches are all about finding the key, whether it be the key partnership, the key set piece movement or the key to the ground – oh sorry that's just for me and James Williamson who came very close to being locked inside Keys Park last night!
That's another story for another day as I sit here and reflect on what was another tough test for the Stags against strong opposition who have achieved a play-off finish in the last three seasons.
Again there were those that stood out and areas that didn't but in general things had stepped up a level in the improvement stakes which is pleasing, as I'll write in the Shepshead preview later it will be interesting to see some of those yet to feature get a run out and then things begin to build on Friday at Gainsborough.
Back to last night's game and after enjoying a peaceful build up to the game it was soon kick off time without a team sheet, fortunately Paul Cox as ever was on hand to give me the team, after trying to claim we had Steve Messi on trial – I will never fall for that, not after last time anyway!
As mentioned it was two sides taking to the park, the first half side was the second half team from Leamington bar one as Anthony Howell came in for Jamie Tolley, who took his place in the other eleven.
FIRST HALF LINE UP [4-3-1-2] Alan Marriott – Andy Todd – Luke Jones – George Pilkington (C) – Andy Owens – Chris Clements – Anthony Howell – Jamie Hand – Lee Stevenson – Matt Green – Matt Rhead
Once again it took a while for Stags to settle into the game with the lively hosts applying early pressure three minutes in. Andy Todd's looping clearance was controlled well by former pitmen star Chris Clements on the half way line however he gave possession away with a misplaced pass and allowed his former employers to attack down the left flank. The initial cross was two deep but the Stags hesitance allowed Hednesford to put another square ball to the edge of the box, fortunately the snap shot from the Hednesford man was over the top of Marriott's bar.
Four minutes later it was the Stags on the charge after Alan Marriott had collected a deep free kick from the hosts. His quick release down field was headed away but picked up y the assured Todd who chipped a well weighted pass over for Matt Green, the nippy front man raced onto the ball and rounded the onrushing keeper however the move was brought to an end as Stevenson volleyed the loose ball wide for offside against Green.
End to end action then followed on 12 minutes as the Stags failed to make the most of an Andy Owen long throw. The looping ball was flicked up into the air by Rhead before both Stevenson and Green saw shots blocked. Hednesford played the ball out of trouble in quick fashion and soon outnumbered the Stags on the attack, a cross park ball had Mansfield stretched however George Pilkington, who donned the captain's armband for the evening, read the situation well and mopped up with a strong clearance.
With time ticking on Mansfield began to control things a lot more in the Hednesford half and on 16 minutes registered another effort following a strong flowing move left to right with Jamie Hand getting the ball wide for the advancing Todd. Despite his cross being a poor one he still picked out Lee Stevenson ho kept possession well to the right of the box before finding Clements central. It was the former Hednesford man that then struck, his effort landing narrowly over the bar from 18 yards.
Two minutes later the first goal did arrived as the long throw proved affective once more. Lee Stevenson earned the throw on the left hand side and it was he who converted, Andy Ownes provided the danger from the left with Matt Rhead nodding into space for Pilkington who got the faintest of touches to Stevenson, the former Eastwood man watched the flight of the ball well and stuck left footed into the bottom left hand corner for the Stags first of the evening.
Hednesford 0-1 Stags
Three minutes after the restart the Stags had opportunity for a second when Anthony Howell won possession back on the half way line. Chris Clements picked up the second ball and clipped a ball to Green who dropped off the defenders shoulder well to remain onside inside the box. The hit man who bagged the winner at Leamington on Saturday pulled the trigger with venom but was denied by the keeper who got down low to keep the drilled effort at bay.
Crane could do nothing two minutes later as another Owens throw, this time from the right, caused all sorts of problems. Matt Rhead was a menace inside the area moving away from two markers to connect with the ball, thundering his header against the bar before the hosts scrambled away for a corner. Chris Clements delivered well to the back stick where Andy Owens had opportunity for a shot following Jones' knock down, the left back failed to keep his shot down though and blazed over.
Matt Rhead showed good composure to progress through the middle from Howell's low pass before curling narrowly over on 24 minutes, roles we're reversed three minutes later as Rhead battled well on the left to fend off his marker and deliver into the middle. Anthony Howell was furthest forward unmarked inside the box but failed to find the target, side footing wide.
As the first half moved into the final three minutes, numerous Hednesford crosses put Mansfield under the cosh, George Pilkington and Andy Todd the two on hand to rescue the Stags and maintain that one goal lead as the half time whistle blew.
The linkup between Green, Stevenson and Rhead particularly impressive with Rhead again looking agile and beneficial of the move from part time to full time football, at the other end Luke Jones and George Pilkington again played well together with Jamie Hand having a quieter game than Saturday but still influencing many of the first half moves.
HALF TIME: Hednesford 0-1 Stags
Once again it was all change at the break as Paul Cox fielded the side bar two that started against Leamington, Louis Briscoe and Ben Hutchinson the ones to miss out.
SECOND HALF LINE UP [4-3-3]: Shane Redmond – Lee Beevers – John Dempster – Ritchie Sutton – Sam Benjamin (Trialist) – Gary Roberts – Jamie Tolley – Godfrey Poku – Ross Dyer – Lindon Meikle – Nick Wright
Good movement from Meikle saw the second half begin as he earned a throw in following the flick from Ross Dyer, however the Stags failed to register a chance from the resulting throw with the second half two minutes old.
Three minutes later good movement from Nick Wright, on the left of the front three, opened up space which he moved into. With Dyer and Meikle in support for a threaded pass into the box Wright opted for glory and saw his shot cannon away off the Hednesford man – Jamie Tolley was first to the loose ball some thirty yards from goal, thundering an effort into the top corner with his right boot, a wonderful finish to double the lead for the Stags.
Hednesford 0-2 Stags
The hosts had opportunity to get a goal back two minute after the restart earning a corner, however Shane Redmond was more than equal to it and collected with ease. Nick Wright was then looking hungry at the other end linking up with Meikle, the latter's chipped return pass a little too strong with an hour on the clock.
Shane Redmond was the more tested keeper in the second half, and he was the hero with seven minutes to go as John Dempster gave away a free kick 23 yards from goal. Redmond sprang across to his left to tip over the goal bound set piece.
Gary Roberts, Nick Wright, Ross Dyer and Lindon Meikle all registered efforts as the clock ticked down but none were close enough to effect the game, the Stags keeping hold of their two goal cushion by controlling the ball well in the middle and keeping play flowing.
FULL TIME: Hednesford 0-2 Stags
The second half may have been light in chances but it did again prove a worthwhile 45 minutes of football, Shane Redmond one of the standout performers – he looks to have returned with a refreshed mid set and looks capable of fighting for the number one shirt. Jamie Tolley and Gary Roberts did ok together with Poku the most impressive of the trio in my opinion, several strong challenges were key to winning possession back for Stags.
After the game as I mentioned at the top of the piece myself and James we're nearly locked inside the stadium, escape through the boardroom was on hand though and it's next stop Shepshed as the busy pre-season schedule continues – stay tuned for the match preview!
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