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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Chester City  
0 - 3
 Mansfield Town
 Asamoah 47, Buxton 62, Larkin 78
Attendance: 2,648 (642 from Mansfield)
Date: 14th August 2004

The Stags picked up their first win of the season at Chester this afternoon. In the first half, the Stags were diabolical with no shape and no pattern. But a goal by Asamoah after 47 minutes changed everything and the Stags went on to claim a fine victory, with another goal from Buxton and a screamer from Larkin.

Manager Keith Curle once again left current supporters Player of the Year Rhys Day on the bench and the Stags were also without the injured Adam Eaton and suspended Lee Williamson. In came Jake Buxton at left back, and in a formation switch to 4-3-3, Joe O'Neill began alongside Derek Asamoah and Colin Larkin in a three pronged attack with Mackenzie, Curtis and Murray in midfield, Wayne Corden was dropped to the bench.

The Stags were dreadful in the opening 45 minutes. Only one fine piece of skill from Asamoah saw the Stags register a shot on target, which Brown saved, whilst at the other end Kevin Pilkington was extremely busy, pulling off several fine saves, but rather spoiling an otherwise excellent afternoon with the odd handling error from crosses. It was pretty much one-way traffic, but to the Stags defence credit, most of the attempts on goal were from distance and the best chances came towards the end of the half. Breaking through a very square Stags back-line Rapley could have done better with a lob which beat the stranded Pilkington but flew over the bar then on the stroke of half-time a cross from the right saw two Chester players completely unmarked yet both fail to head the ball goal-wards. Aside from the Asamoah effort, the only other Stags strikes on goal were long range efforts from Curtis, Mackenzie and two late Murray efforts, all which flew well wide.

Half-Time 0-0

The Stags needed a bright start to the 2nd half, if nothing else to stir the large away following into life. Mackenzie, who was one of the few to have had a good first half, saw an early long range effort fly over the bar before the Stags took the lead at the end of their best move, by some distance, of the match. Murray picked the ball up in midfield and found O'Neill, he spotted a run on the right by Larkin and put through a neat pass, Larkin still had plenty to do, but worked some space, knocked in a perfect low cross which Asamoah converted. For a few minutes the home side were stung back into action and forced a succession of corners. However, the Stags defended them well and regained control of the game and should have gone two ahead after a magnificent pass from Murray put Asamoah in the clear, however, the strikers shot was straight at Brown. Buxton then forced the home keeper into a splendid save after his header looked like it was looping into the far corner. However, Buxton was not to be denied the goal his performance had deserved. After a corner had only been cleared as far as Murray, the Stags midfielder found Artell in an unfamiliar right wing position, the big defender hooked the ball across with his left foot where Buxton was on hand to slide the ball past Brown. The Stags finally killed the game off with a magnificent third goal. Colin Larkin picked the ball up some 40 yards from goal and many thought he was about to thread a ball through to Asamoah who had broken free, however, he unleashed a superb right foot shot from 25 yards which flew past Brown into his top right corner.

This was a game of two halves, with the Stags poor in the 1st half but much, much better in the 2nd. The early goal in the 2nd half certainly helped but despite the great joy at the victory the performance overall was not a good one. Too often the ball was played long, especially in the 1st half, and only when the ball was played short did the Stags look a real threat through the pace of Asamoah and Larkin. For most of the match the Stags lacked any real width but it was great to see Adam Murray showing what a class player he can be at this level. However, man of the match was a choice between three players, Jake Buxton did an excellent job at left back, Colin Larkin scored one and set the other up, but as the Stags liveliest player throughout the match, Derek Asamoah was my man of the match.

Man of the Match: Derek Asamoah

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Some good saves and punches clear, but the odd handling error
McNiven 7 Very solid; his best performance of the season
Artell 6 Very strong in the air, but culpable on the deck. Did well to set up the second goal
Baptiste 7 Improved performance; very pacey when needed
Buxton 8 Excellent deputy for Eaton; solid defending and got forward well
Curtis 6 Did the ball-winner job well but let down by distribution
MacKenzie 6 Excellent first half, but disappeared in the second half
Murray 7 The pass of the season to put Asamaoah through (though the striker missed) and stamped authority in game in second half
O'Neill 5 Didn't win any headers, and struggled to get involved
Larkin 8 Quiet first half, but scored a fantastic goal and set up the first goal
Asamoah 9 Lightning pace and fantastic skill. Missed a one-on-one but overall was excellent
Sub Line Up:
Tate (for O'Neill, 67) 6 Put himself about a bit.
Subs not used: White, Day, Corden, Dimech.
Opposition Line Up:
Brown , Vaughan , Collins , Bolland , McIntyre , Drummond , Harris , Carden , Ellison , Branch , Rapley
Subs: MacKenzie , Clare , Hessey , Edmondson , Davies
A Penn (W Midlands) 5

Season 04/05 Reports