STAGS BEATEN BY LEADERS WIGAN
Reports from Daily Telegraph, CHAD, Press Association, Manchester Evening News:
Jewell's men recover their stride
By Peter Gardner (Filed: 29/01/2003)
Mansfield (0) 1 Wigan (2) 2
Wigan confidently recovered from their first defeat in 22 games, at Swindon on Saturday, when overcoming resilient Mansfield at a chilly Field Mill last night.
It enabled them to extend their lead at the top of the Second Division to an impressive 12 points, although the visitors were forced to defend desperately in the last quarter of a richly entertaining encounter.
Wigan, who possess the most outstanding away record of any club in the four divisions, secured an 11th victory on tour thanks to two goals in four minutes, shortly before half-time.
The first came from leading scorer Nathan Ellington - his 17th of the season - while Andy Liddell finished with aplomb for his 12th. Yet Mansfield, despite their precarious position at the foot of the table, gave as good as they received in a rousing game that provided a plethora of opportunities at both ends.
Wigan's lead was halved five minutes into the second period, the strike from Iyseden Christie - his 16th of the season - providing Mansfield with inspiration and impetus.
Paul Jewell, the Wigan manager, said: "It was important to bounce back after Saturday. Conditions were difficult because of the gale-force wind but we were excellent, particularly in the first half, and scored two terrific goals."
The attacking agenda was set from the outset and Wigan continued to assert their authority although it was not until the 39th minute that they snapped home resistance. Ellington marginally beat the offside trap to accept the splendid through ball from Paul Mitchell before rounding Kevin Pilkington to tap in from close range.
Sixty seconds later Ellington again went close when set up by Liddell who eventually secured the second on 43 minutes following splendid approach play by Ellington and Teale.
Five minutes into the second half Andy White exposed slack Wigan defending and crossed from the right for Christie to finish from close range.
While Ellington hit a post and Lee McCulloch also went close, it was the home side who grasped the nettle to finish stronger.
Mansfield 1-2 Wigan:
League leaders Wigan Athletic extended their lead at the top of Division Two to 12 points thanks to a 2-1 win against Mansfield at Field Mill.
The Latics, who suffered their first defeat in 21 games at Swindon on Saturday, bounced back like champions, dominating for long periods of the first half.
They took the lead on 39 minutes when Lee McCulloch sent Nathan Ellington through on goal and 'the Duke' rounded Kevin Pilkington before slotting into the empty net.
Four minutes later Wigan grabbed a second when Gary Teale found Andy Liddell on the edge of the area and the Scotsman ran past Pilkington before rolling home.
The Stags responded well after the break, and Iyseden Christie bundled the ball over the line on 50 minutes for his 16th goal of the season to give Town what proved a consolation.
Stags lose to leaders - Stags 1 Wigan 2
BATTLING Stags were left with nothing to show for their brave fightback against wealthy runaway Second Division leaders Wigan at Field Mill last night.
Mansfield weathered some intense first half pressure in a game played at a breathtaking tempo before being rocked by two goals in four minutes just before the break.
Stags felt hard done to with Nathan Ellington looking well offside before rounding Kevin Pilkington.
But a superb move shortly after saw Andy Liddell add a second and Mansfield wree on the ropes.
However, Iyseden Christie pulled one back early in the second half to mark his return from suspension, and Wigan, beaten for the first time in 21 games last weekend, certainly knew they had been in a game by the end, but wasted several good chances to put it beyond the home side.
Wigan produced the first goal attempt of the night when Dinning fired a foot wide of the left hand post from 20 yards with a first time drive from Teale's squared ball on two minutes.
Then Doane got in the way of a vicious Ellington drive.
But Mansfield burst into life on five minutes when Andy White laid the ball off to allow Christie to burst through the centre and stab a shot that clattered into the back stanchion.
The lively Teale was again the provider for the visitors as he raced down the centre on a swift counter-attack and fed Ellington, Pilkington getting behind his low stinging shot.
The dangerous Ellington then found himself completely in the clear from a lofted punt forwards on 13 minutes. Looking a good two yards offside, he was allowed to continue but Pilkington did well to dive at his feet at the right moment, and the Wigan man was then penalised for a late challenge.
Stags were all at sea at this point as the leaders cut them apart with ease and Eaden found Teale in space in the box, only to see him blaze his hurried finish over from 12 yards.
Corden, under pressure, managed a hopeful first time flick at Filan for Mansfield's first on-target attempt on 23 minutes.
Stags threatened again on the half-hour when White slipped at the vital moment as he tried to round Filan and had to settle for a corner. From that, Day's header brought a huge cry for a handball in the box, and Curtis then hit the loose ball over the top.
Christie's shot on the turn shortly after lacked power, but at least forced Filan to dive to his left as Mansfield finally managed to put the visitors under some sustained pressure.
Wigan hit back with a scramble in the box, but Stags somehow survived and then forced their first corner which the towering De Vos headed narrowly over.
Stags were dealt a cruel blow on 39 minutes as Wigan finally swept into the lead. Ellington again looked well offside as McCulloch slotted the ball through the home defence, but again he was allowed to go on, and this time rounded Pilkington to net his 18th goal of the season.
Pilkington did well to just manage to divert Eaden's low cross off the foot of Ellington right in front of goal a minute later to avert further disaster.
But Mansfield were carved open again by the speedy visitors on 43 minutes. Ellington broke down the left and set Teale on his way, and he squared to the unmarked Liddell who rounded Pilkington and rolled the ball home.
Stags were fortunate when Liddell scuffed his finish at Pilkington two minutes after the restart.
But the game exploded into life on 50 minutes as Mansfield pulled a goal back. Curtis set White on his way down the right and he crossed hard and low behind the defenders for Christie to tuck away from six yards.
The Latics hit back with two corners and from the second Ellington shot against the foot of the near post with McCulloch's follow-up only finding the side netting.
The visitors were again building up a head of steam and Ellington skipped past several challenges before cueing up Liddell whose low shot passed inches wide.
Ellington sent a free header wide from 10 yards from a long right wing cross. Then McCulloch showed great control to bring down Eaden's long cross and force a magnificent parry from Pilkington at his near post.
Stags sent on teenager Mitchell for White on 62 minutes but were left with two inexperienced teenagers up front eight minutes later when the limping Christie was helped off and replaced by Beardsley.
Doane saw a wicked 25-yard free kick drop just over the angle.
STAGS: Pilkimngton, Christie (Beardsley 70), Lawrence, Doane, Disley, Corden, A. White (C. Mitchell 62), Curtis (Williamson 74), Gadsby, Day, Hassell. Substitutes not used: J. White, Baptiste.
WIGAN: Filan, P. Mitchell, Jackson, De Vos, Liddell (Roberts 87), Ellington, McCulloch (McMillan 90), Kennedy, Dinning, Eaden, Teale (Jarrett 89). Substitutes not used: Breckin, Beasant.
REFEREE: Peter Walton of Long Buckby, Northants.
SCORERS: Stags- Christie 50.Wigan - Ellington 39; Liddell 43
CAUTIONS: Stags - Doane 79 (foul on Ellington); Williamson 88 (foul on Teale). Wigan - Mitchell 34 (deliberate handball); Filan 78 (time wasting).
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Matthew Gadsby.
Mansfield Town 1 Wigan Athletic 2
Manchester Evening News, www.manchesteronline.co.uk
IT was happy hunting all round for manager Paul Jewell and his Wigan braves as the Latics made up for Saturday's blip against Swindon.
Big chief Dave Whelan spent his day shooting and Latics gunned down the Stags with goals from Nathan Ellington and Andy Lidell.
The dynamic duo struck in the first-half to sink Keith Curle's talented Town team.
Wigan boss Paul Jewell termed this Field Mill thriller a very important victory.
"We scored two terrific goals and had a lot of good first-half opportunties," he said.
"Conditions were very difficult but we were excellent in the first-half.
"We could and should have had more goals. Before the match, I made a point of stressing the importance of the game to my players.
"I told them if they win promotion, they'll no doubt end up on a beach and have time to reflect and realise success came from that crappy night in Mansfield."
Flying Scot Gary Teale ran Town ragged in the first-half as Wigan's intense pressure eventually told.
Ellington beat former Manchester United keeper Kevin Pilkington in a one on one for his 18th goal of the season.
A telling Teale break then engineered a second for Liddell.
Iyseden Christie reduced the deficit after the ball went in off Matt Jackson but Wigan always held the upper-hand and were worthy winners.