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EVENING POST REPORT AND REACTION
20/January/2003 13:06:19

GANNON: BRADLEY HAD TO SEE RED
Evening Post, 20 January 2003

Mansfield assistant manager John Gannon said referee Paul Robinson had no option but to send former Stags striker Shayne Bradley off - if he did spit at Rhys Day.

Bradley came on as a 67th-minute substitute for Chesterfield but was sent off three minutes later without even touching the ball after an off-the-ball incident involving Day.

Stags managed to seal their first win over the Spireites in eight years with a Liam Lawrence header five minutes into injury time.

"I couldn't really make head nor tail of the sending off," said Gannon.

"I couldn't understand the decision but I am led to believe it was for spitting. If he has done that, he deserves to go."

Gannon could not hide his delight as the Stags took themselves out of the relegation zone with the 2-1 win.

The home side had taken the lead through a Marcus Ebdon penalty in the 37th minute, but the Stags got back on terms through Craig Disley two minutes before the break.

Gannon was delighted with the spirit the team showed in securing their third away success of the season.

And Lawrence could have settled it earlier had he not seen a 78th-minute shot hit the post.

Gannon said: "We left it a little bit late but we felt that the goal was coming and it arrived in just the nick of time.

"We are all delighted for all the fans who came here and the players. It is an excellent result.

"We made a lot of chances and we were unlucky not to have scored earlier in the game. We have always been making chances and you go through periods when they don't go in.

"Liam's one that came off the post could have gone to anybody from our side but it didn't.

"But we persevered and we kept going. We kept the belief that we could score the goal and the boys fully deserve it."

He said he was disappointed Chesterfield were awarded a penalty after referee Paul Robinson judged Matthew Gadsby's handball to be deliberate.

Gannon said: "I was shocked by the decision. It looked like the linesman went to put his flag up and put it down and the referee was probably in a better spot than he was."

He was delighted Disley had managed to score his third goal of the season, having missed a succession of good chances in recent games.

"I'm very pleased for Craig because, in the last four games, he has probably had four golden opportunities and unfortunately has missed them."

"His workrate is unbelievable and he gets himself forward at times and I'm so pleased that he finished up with a goal."


IT'S JUST PERFECT FOR THE STAGS
Evening Post, 20 January 2003
Chesterfield 1 v 2 Mansfield Town

May saw the election of the first mayor of Mansfield and, should he wish to put his name forward in the future, Keith Curle wouldn't have to do much canvassing to ensure his election as the second.

After firming up the country's leakiest defence and now directing Saturday's last-gasp victory over arch-rivals Chesterfield, their first for eight years, many would applaud an elevation to freeman of the borough.

Stags fans are witnessing what seems to be the longest honeymoon period in football history as the rollercoaster season takes yet another twist.

This morning's chance to gloat at Spireite work colleagues will have been the icing on the cake as Stags finally got themselves out of the relegation zone.

Anyone of an amber-and-blue persuasion could not have dreamed it could have gone so well.

They saw Liam Lawrence score a winning goal deep into injury time and they witnessed former Stags striker Shayne Bradley - who had filled column inches with anti-Mansfield mutterings last week - sent off without touching the ball.

For Bradley to spit at Rhys Day was a disgusting act.

But, for Curle's followers, a dismissal has never been so delicious and provoked a hysterical reaction that could have only heightened Bradley's acute embarrassment as he trudged off down the tunnel.

You could have heard the laughter at the other end of the A617.

Instead of scoring the winning goal as he prophesised, he turned the game in his old club's favour.

After battling their way back into the match and finding themselves up against ten men, Stags sensed a chance of getting their third away win of the season and they grabbed it.

And the fact they showed the desire to get three points and went for it meant it was a merited achievement.

It was the spirit they showed that was perhaps the most impressive component of their play.

Lining up with a team that was missing suspended Iyseden Christie, you did wonder where the goals might come from and the fact Curle - who was himself missing with a calf injury - selected a bench containing youth-teamers, fans could be excused a touch of concern.

Then they went behind to an unlucky penalty, but the fact they got back on terms quickly with a long-awaited goal for Craig Disley undoubtedly increased their belief and they deserved to take the full compliment of points.

They demonstrated just the sort of fighting qualities that will be needed for the remainder of the season to ensure that 18th position is a platform to build on rather than looking back at the placings in May and seeing it as the best it got.

While some will be content for the Stags to now lose every game for the rest of the season, they now have the opportunity to kick on and, despite the emotions that a win over Chesterfield is bound to generate, it can only be viewed as another great step forward.

Again, they demonstrated the transformation in front of Kevin Pilkington - who had another impressive game between the posts - proving their defensive improvements are no fluke.

Day, who has now signed an 18-month contract, was imperious again and could soon become a firm fans' favourite, particularly in response to his enthusiastic reaction to the final whistle, while Ben Doane fitted in well at left-back in his first game on loan from Sheffield United.

But it wasn't really the sort of day to concentrate attentions on individual performances because it was the result that means so much.

Not only have they managed to restore a bit of local pride but, with other results also going in their favour, they now stand in a good position to build.

It will be a day that will live long in the memory of every Stags fan, but it could also be seen as the weekend when they started to pull clear from trouble.

And, if he can direct them to the achievement of that goal, Curle will never need his wallet in a Mansfield pub ever again.




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