PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY: STAGS 2 ROTHERHAM 3
Saturday 4th August 2012
Mansfield Town 2 Rotherham United 3
Stevenson 47, Green 71. Arnason 26, Nardiello 37, Bradley 70.
Att: 1300 (253 from Rotherham)
Stags: Marriott; Thompson, Beevers, Pilkington, Jones; Tolley, Howell (Roberts 65 mins), Meikle (Wright 70 mins), Stevenson (Clements 56 mins), Green (Speight 70 mins), Dyer. Subs not used: Redmond, Dempster, Speight, Briscoe, Wright, Rhead, Hand, Tolley, Poku.
post match audio interviews with Cox and Beevers from Mansfield 103.2
Millers grab narrow victory
Sat 04 Aug 2012
mansfieldtown.net report: Craig Priest Reports from the One Call Stadium...
League Two outfit Rotherham United ended Mansfield's hopes of an unbeaten pre-season this afternoon as they ran out 3-2 winners at the One Call Stadium in The Stags' final warm up game ahead of the new season.
On a bright afternoon at the One Call stadium it was the Stags to trouble first, nearly grabbing a 38second lead when Ross Dyer's right sided cross narrowly missed Stevenson much to the delight of the visiting defence. The Stags troubled again five minutes later as Jamie Tolley's right sided picked out Pilkington, the Mansfield captain's hook back into the danger area floating behind for a goal kick.
The Millers took heed from the early scars and began to stamp their authority on the game, Daniel Nardiello saw his ferocious effort well saved by Marriott in the Mansfield goal before Kieran Agard headed wide from the resulting corner as the Stags failed to track his run.
Marriott was again the Stags saviour on 15 minutes as Agard latched onto Jason Taylor's crisp pass, the Stags shot stopper clung onto the final shot but could do little ten minutes later as the visitors grabbed the lead in emphatic fashion.
Steve Evans' Millers side played good quick football down the left hand side with Laurie Wilson advancing from full back, it was his pass inside which set the goal, midfielder Kari Arnason drilling into the top corner from 25 yards as the Stags failed to close him down.
Matt Green then looked to break the Rotherham barrier on the half hour mark as he latched onto Ross Dyer's flick on, the pacey front man halted by a well timed sliding intervention by the onrushing Andy Warrington in the Rotherham goal.
Six minutes later Green again looked to trouble from a left sided Lee Beevers through. The leading marksman proved to be the Stags undoing however as he lost possession on the edge of the Rotherham box and allowed the visitors to break and ultimately add a second of the afternoon.
With the long clearance made Kari Arnason turned goal scorer into goal provider, holding the ball up long before sending Daniel Nardiello into the box.
The former Barnsley and Exeter hit man made no mistake, firing beyond Marriott into the roof of the net.
Lee Stevenson nearly pulled one back with five minutes of the first half remaining as George Pilkington started a fine Mansfield move, clipping a ball down the left for Lee Beevers. After laying a give and go with Meikle, Beevers delivered towards the far post where Stevenson nodded narrowly wide from six yards, the half time whistle seeing Stags in a total reverse of the previous evening at Boston, trailing by two goals to nil as opposed to leading.
Two minutes into the second half it was again Stevenson in the thick of the action as he restored some hope after what was a frustrating first half against tough opposition. Matt Green was the creator as he weaved down the left hand side, cutting in before feeding Stevenson just inside the box. The lively attacking midfielder took one touch to set himself before blasting into the back of the net from 16 yards leaving half time substitute keeper Scott Sheerer with no chance, Stevenson netting his third goal of pre-season.
Matt Green then saw his path blocked from a Beevers throw a minute after the restart and was inches away from levelling proceedings on 57 minutes, Scott Sheerer pulled off a strong save as Green headed John Thompson's deep free kick towards goal moments after Chris Clements had replaced Lee Stevenson.
The visitors felt the pressure again continuously searched for a third of the afternoon, Alan Marriott denied substitute Gareth Evans from close range on 65 minutes but could do nothing five minutes later as a long throw from the right saw the Stags undone, Mark Bradley tapping home from four yards at the back post in acres of space for 3-1.
Immediately from the restart the Stags grabbed anther back, Lindon Meikle winning back possession on the half way line before making a wonderful solo run to tear the visitors apart. The creative wide man unselfish played Green through on goal, the deadly front man making no mistake tucking beyond the onrushing keeper.
Late on substitute Jake Speight, who scored in last night's 2-1 victory at Boston, fired narrowly wide from Nick Wright's right sided cross as the duo replaced Green and Meikle in attack. The visitors also saw a late chance to add a forth as Alex Revell latched onto a sloppy Thompson back pass, fortunately the Stags regrouped and breathed a sigh of relief when Evans curled wide the final shot from Revell's lay off.
The Millers may have ended Stags unbeaten pre-season but Paul Cox will still have been pleased with the energy his side showed along with the fight in the final stages.
Referee: Russell Booth
Attendance: 1300 (253)
STAGS: Marriott, Thompson, Jones, Pilkington (C), Beevers, Tolley, Howell (Roberts), Stevenson (Clements), Dyer, Green (Speight), Meikle (Wright) NOT USED: Redmond, Dempster, Briscoe, Rhead, Hand, Poku.
Saturday 4th August 2012 - Mansfield Town 2 Rotherham United 3
CHAD report by Stephen Thirkill
Mansfield Town ended their impressive pre-season campaign with a 3-2 defeat against a classy looking Rotherham United side at Field Mill on Saturday, writes Stephen Thirkill.
Stags were unable to repeat their memorable victories over neighbours Nottingham Forest and Derby County after being outplayed for large parts of the first 45 minutes.
A superbly hit shot from distance by Kari Arnason and a typically cool finish by Daniel Nardiello just before the break left Paul Cox's men with a tough task.
Stags, who kick off their BSP season at home to Newport on Saturday, came out fighting and made a good contest of the second half.
Lee Stevenson pulled a goal back two minutes after the restart to give the home side vital lifeline after excellent build-up play by Matt Green.
Substitute Mark Bradley then doubled The Millers lead on 70 minutes with the simplest of tap-ins after Mansfield switched off and failed to deal with a long throw.
But the title-chasing home side once again showed their characteristic fight to pull a goal back just a minute later.
Lindon Meikle showed a superb turn off pace to burst through the midfield before playing in last season's top scorer Matt Green. Green, who bagged 29 BSP goals during the last campaign, needed no second invite as he cooly slotted the ball in through the legs of Scott Shearer.
But it was too little too late as the lively looking visitors controlled the closing stages Mansfield Town went into the game looking to wrap up a memorable pre-season, which includes wins over Championship neighbours Nottingham Forest and Derby County, with victory.
Stags made 11 changes from Friday night's 2-1 win at Boston United as Paul Cox continued to explore all the options available to him. Former Field Mill favourite Johnny Mullins, the only survivor from the last time the two clubs met when defeat by The Millers condemned Stags to relegation in April 2008, was named in the visitor's starting eleven.
The South Yorkshire side, who are pre-season favourites to lift the League Two crown, arrived at Field Mill in good form having already beaten Oldham, Barnsley and Doncaster in pre-season.
And it was Rotherham who had the first sniff at goal when the pacey Daniel Nardiello found space to burst through midfield and fire just wide with the aid of a deflection on 9 minutes.
Stags were left breathing a huge sigh of relief from the resulting corning when Rotherham new-boy Kieran Agard beat Luke Jones to head wide from close range with the goal beckoning.
Jason Taylor was next to go close for the visitors on 11 minutes when he also headed over the bar after Alan Marriott had flapped at a corner.
Another silky move down the left flank saw the increasingly confident visitors once again threathen.
But David Noble was the latest Miller to lack the necessary composure as he guided his header high and wide from 12 yards when he should have scored.
Agard then fired weakly at Marriott on 16 minutes after a good ball by Taylor had played him through wide on the right side of the box as Rotherham continued to carve their way through the Stags rearguard.
But the deadlock was finally broken on 26 minutes when midfielder Kari Arnason rifled a sweetly hit strike from 28 yards into the top right corner of Marriott's goal after Stags had allowed him far too much time on the ball.
It was a well deserved lead for the confident League Two side, who finished 10th last season, following a sustained spell of pressure and incisive passing by the visitors.
And more flowing football saw the impressive Rotherham side extend their lead on 37 minutes when Stags were left cruelly exposed on the counter attack as the visitors broke with five men against three defenders.
Arnason then threaded the perfect throughball into the feet of Nardiello who crisply slotted past Marriott to give Rotherham a commanding two goal cushion.
At the other end, Lee Stevenson headed over from an outswinging Lee Beevers cross on 40 minutes as struggling Stags looked to find an unlikely route back into the game.
But with just two minutes of the second half gone Stags found a way back into the game after a determined run from Matt Green. Green, who was top scorer last season with 29 goals, cut in from the left flank before jinking his way past three defenders.
He then laid the ball into the path of Lee Stevenson, who fired past Shearer with a well-placed shot from just inside the box.
It was the perfect response to Paul Cox's half-time team talk as Mansfield Town came out with an improved purpose.
Stags survived a huge scare on 65 minutes when Marriott's outstretched boot denied sub Gareth Evans after he had burst well into the box before shooting at the near post.
Evans then feed the loose ball back into the path of the onrushing Taylor, whose cushioned header sent Marriott the wrong way before Thompson hacked the ball off the line at the expense of a corner.
Substitute Mark Bradley doubled Rotherham's lead with 20 minutes to go after he was left with the simplest of tap ins from four yards after Stags had failed to clear a long throw. But just a minute later it was game on again after Lindon Meikle showed a fantastic turn of pace to burst through the midfield.
He then picked out the perfect defence-splitting pass for the supporting Matt Green who raced on to the ball before slotting home through the legs of Shearer in cool fashion.
Luke Jones came close to levelling the entertaining contest with a header on 75 minutes after he rose well to meet a Jamie Tolley free-kick.
But any hopes of a dramatic comeback were dashed deep into injury-time when Jake Speight fired over from inside the six yard box after a defence-splitting cross from Nick Wright.
MANSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3): Marriott, Thompson, Beevers, Tolley, Pilkington, Jones, Meikles (Wright 70 mins), Stevenson (Clements 56 mins), Green (Speight 70 mins), Dyer, Howell (Roberts 65 mins). Subs not used: Redmond, Dempster, Speight, Briscoe, Wright, Rhead, Hand, Tolley, Poku.
ROTHERHAM UNITED (4-4-2): Warrington (Shearer 45 mins), Vidal, Wilson (Revell 56 mins), Sharps, Mullins, Taylor (Woods 84 mins), Arnason (Pringle 75 mins), Odejayi (Bradley 56 mins), Nardiello (Ainsworth 66 mins), Noble, Agard (Evans 56 mins). Subs not used: Johnson, O'Connor.
REFEREE: Russell Booth (Nottinghamshire).
MATCH RATING: 4 out of 5.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Beevers.
Stags counting down to the big kick-off
MANSFIELD Town suffered their first pre-season loss – a 3-2 defeat at home to Rotherham – in their final friendly game before the big kick-off this weekend.
The Stags start their Blue Square Bet Premier campaign against Newport County at the One Call Stadium on Saturday after just missing out on promotion in the play-offs last season.
And manager Paul Cox saw plenty in the defeat against the Millers to encourage him for the campaign ahead.
The Stags found themselves trailing 2-0 at the break after Kari Arnason fired a 25-yard effort into the top corner and then Arnason turned provider, as he released Daniel Nardiello to add a second past Alan Marriott.
The Stags pulled a goal back at the start of the second half as Matt Green teed up Lee Stevenson and the midfield player thumped the ball home from the edge of the box for his third goal of pre-season.
But Mark Bradley restored the visitors' two-goal lead from close range on 70 minutes, only for Stags' Lindon Meikle to win possession from the restart and released Green to score.
Stags boss Cox said: "That was a real test against a very good side. We learned a lot. There are a number of lads in contention for this weekend, champing at the bit to be in the starting 11.
"I wanted a game that would ask us questions and I got that and we have one or two things now we can go away and work on."
MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town 2 Rotherham United 3
By Les Payne
ONE suspects this won't be the last time Kari Arnason makes a significant contribution to a Rotherham United success this season.
The Iceland international supplied a real quality strike for the opening goal; a perfectly-timed pass for the second one and the third came from something that will be a handy weapon in the team's armoury this season - his long throw.
“You'll not see a better goal than that,” reckoned manager Steve Evans of the effort Arnason struck from around 25 yards high into the far top corner.
As Daniel Nardiello's pass rolled to him, Arnason knew full well he had to strike 'across' the ball and he executed his contact with technical perfection. From the moment the ball left his foot, it was a goal all the way.
It set them on the way to a victory which might have been more emphatic but had one or two stutters in the second half although numerous changes disrupted the flow.
“It was just the type of game we wanted at this stage,” said Evans. “Mansfield will be one of the Blue Square Premier favourites, they were in the Play-offs last time. I knew we'd be tested.
“I wanted us to be away, where we would have a test and I could see a bit more of the players in a different setting and environment. So, on that score, it was good.”
Evans would have enjoyed his team's dominant early spell. Not the near misses however.
Kayode Odejayi put a good header just wide from a corner; Jason Taylor and David Noble both headed chances off target and Kieran Agard fired at the keeper from a Taylor pass. So ended the first quarter-of-an-hour!
Arnason's opener came on 25 minutes and it was 2-0 on 37 minutes when a break from deep, sparked by Noble, saw Arnason send Nardiello through to finish.
Lee Stevenson, who missed a good chance at the end of the first half, struck a fine 18 yarder to reduce the deficit two minutes into the second half and Rotherham had some defending to do.
Taylor had a header cleared off the Stags' line before, on 70 minutes, Arnason's long throw glanced off a defender and Mark Bradley (on at left back by then) stole in to sidefoot home - who would have thought he'd be top scorer in pre-season? Within 60 seconds, Mansfield - for whom ex-Millers midfielder Gary Roberts came on - pulled one back through Matt Green. In stoppage time, Luke Speight missed a great chance to equalise and there was still time for Gareth Evans to rattle the bar from 25 yards. The Millers took another look at on-trial right back Javan Vidal but Evans was non-committal on a decision over his future.
Tomorrow, Evans sends a team to Stamford, the club where he first went into management.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott; Thompson, Jones, Pilkington, Beevers; Howell (Roberts 65), Tolley; Dyer, Stevenson (Clements 55), Meikle (Wright 72); Green (Speight 72).
ROTHERHAM UTD: Warrington (Shearer ht); Vidal, Sharps (Johnson 84), Mullins, Wilson (Bradley 55); Taylor (Woods 83), Noble, Arnason (Pringle 74); Agard (Evans 55), Odejayi (Revell 55), Nardiello (Ainsworth 66).
Referee: Russell Booth (Notts).
RUFC - Evans 'it was a comfortable win'
Read more: http://www.rotherham.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=289088#ixzz22kjPTWpC
Rotherham United Manager Steve Evans said that the game against Mansfield was just the type of game he wanted.
Speaking to MillersPlayer after the win yesterday, the Millers Boss said, 'There is no doubt that Paul Cox and the Chairman at Mansfield have built a side capable of challenging at the top of the Football Conference and I think the supporters are in for a treat here after previous seasons.
'I think we've come here and won fairly comfortable. I used a different system to try something different today, using different personnel and made changes in the second half to allow everyone apart from Michael (O'Connor) to get a run-out.
'We've shown our versatility now and we can play three at the back or four-four-two or four-five-one but we will continue to mix it up in respect of the opposition we're playing.'
Asked about Kari Arnason, who scored a scorcher of a goal to open the scoring yesterday, Evans said, 'He's shown some of the quality why we signed him today. He was magnificent for a couple of games then went down a little when he had a bit of a groin strain which stopped him getting down to the training ground but he said that he was fine on Thursday and Friday and his performance today was commanding. And, if Mansfield Town play for the next ten seasons I don't think they will see a better goal than his today.
'Daniel Nardiello is a very clever footballer and I always maintained that if he gets a run of games he'll score goals.
'We told them in the dressing room today that there wasn't a player there we wouldn't want among us on the journey we are about to take and all being well they will do us proud. We have put a team together who can pass and entertain and try and score although there are going to be times when we go away and we have to dig in to get a result.'
Speaking about yesterday's following (officially two hundred and fifty-three - though those of us who went think there were more) the Millers' boss said, 'We've come away from home and brought a sizeable support for a pre-season friendly. They've been loud and I hope they've gone away and seen the type of Rotherham United they want to get on the road with.'
Evans not taking Vidal interest any further
Rotherham United RSS Feed Boss Steve Evans watched his side get another useful workout in yesterdays 3-2 win at Mansfield and gave a few thoughts to the clubs official website earlier.
In a game that saw Evans experiment with several formations and personnel at Field Mill as he made eight changes throughout the match, Kari Arnason, Daniel Nardiello and Mark Bradley were the men who found the target in another useful pre-season affair.
Evans explained: "I wanted to ensure we got a real stiff test prior to the new season starting and we got that from the game for sure.
"They have signed some excellent players and will challenge for promotion so it was always going to be a test. We changed the shape of the team and some individuals to have a look at something different and I was pleased with a lot of what we did.
"I really felt we would have been capable of stepping up another couple of gears if we had to and the win was fairly comfortable, but the lads worked hard for that ease to come."
Evans also had a second look at full back Javan Vidal who featured at Stocksbridge last Wednesday night, but added that his interest in the young defdener won't be going any further for the moment.
"Our young trialist did well but it is not something we will be taking any further at this stage," said the gaffer.
The Millers travel to Stamford on Tuesday night (7.45pm) as Evans takes a team to Lincolnshire to face his old club.
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