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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
4 - 1
 Yeovil Town
Asamoah 8, Artell 67, Larkin 69, Corden 70
 Skiverton 24
Attendance: 3826 (359 from Yeovil)
Date: 30th August 2004

Keith Curle rang the changes, both in personnel and formation for the visit of on-form Yeovil. Out went Curtis, O'Neil, Murray and the injured Williamson, in came Corden, Neil, Day and Buxton as the Stags shifted to much more familiar 4-4-2 formation. There were positional changes too, to accommodate Rhys Day alongside Artell, the outstanding Baptiste was switched to central midfield.

Yeovil came out of the blocks first and almost caught the Stags cold when Johnson latched onto a bouncing ball to fire just wide from 20 yards. Referee J J Ross, absolutely oustanding in a Stags win over Hull City during our last promotion season, then began what for him, was a bad day at the office. After the award of a soft free kick the ball had gone some 20 yards up field, a Yeovil player blasted the ball back to where the kick was to be taken but it hit an unaware Alex Neil. The referee somehow decided Neil had kicked the ball away, cautioned the Stags midfielder and moved the ball 10 yards forward - a ridiculous decision but one which wasn't to prove fatal. The free kick came to nothing and in the next attack the Stags took the lead thanks to some brilliance by Colin Larkin. Picking the ball up on the right the Stags striker deftly beat the full back before putting a perfect low cross onto the right foot of Asamoah who slotted the ball home. Buoyed by the goal, the Stags were on top, Neil came very close with a powerful drive from the edge of the area and Corden, happily reinstated to the starting eleven, was just inches wide with his own right foot strike from 20 yards. However, Yeovil almost grabbed an equaliser when Gall, looking offside, broke clear only to see Pilkington pull off a terrific one handed save to deny his low strike. Sadly for the Stags this warning was not enough, though there was controversy about the free kick that lead to the goal. A clear dive by Jevons, who had knocked the ball too far forward, saw Ross award a free kick some 35 yards from goal. Johnson took a curling right foot kick deep into the Stags area where Skiverton rose above Day to powerfully head past Pilkington. This rocked the Stags and for the first time in the match Yeovil were on top, Pilkington denied Jevons with a fine two handed save from close range. From the corner, Pilkington's palm away only fell to Gall, but his goal-bound header was headed off the line by Day. The Stags then put together a couple of attacks themselves, Larkin again worked himself some space on the right but this time his excellent low cross flew across the goal-line with no Stags player on hand to tap home, Corden arriving at the far post saw his shot blocked as the Stags earned a corner. From the corner, the ball was cleared only as far as Mackenzie, but his powerful effort flew over the bar. Yeovil had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty when Tachulski fell under a challenge from Artell, but the fall was, to say the least, theatrical and the lack of protest from the Yeovil man suggest this was one decision Mr Ross got right. At half time, 1-1 was a fair reflection of what had been a decent half of football.

Half-Time 1-1

At Chester a couple of weeks ago, the Stags went ahead within a minute of the restart. They almost repeated the feat today. Asamoah found Larkin who sprinted clear of the Yeovil defence. Larkin looked to have beaten Weale, but somehow the keeper managed to get a boot to the ball and deflect it wide. Artell should have done better from the corner, with a free header at the far post he opted to head for goal when Day and others were available for a header across the goal. Neil was next to threaten the Yeovil goal, cutting in from the bye-line, his left foot shot was brilliantly saved by Weale. Again the corner found Artell, again he headed over but it was to be third time lucky for the Stags centre half on 67 minutes as he gave the Stags the lead with a great header from a free kick from Mackenzie. In fact, this was the start of a purple patch for the Stags, for two minutes later it was 3-1, again Mackenzie curling a free kick into the Yeovil area, this time Larkin managed to glance his header past Weale. Barely a minute later, the game was all over. A great move saw Asamoah break free on the right his low cross found Corden who slotted home at the far post. Yeovil threatened a couple of times towards the end but the points were secure and the Stags moved back to 9th place.

Overall this was an excellent performance against a strong, in-form Yeovil side. The switch to 4-4-2 was a clear factor in the improved display, players looked more comfortable and both Neil and Corden gave the Stags that dimension missing from previous games this season - natural width. Indeed, Alex Neil showed all the form he displayed in a wide right position in pre-season and was excellent, as was Neil Mackenzie, prompting in midfield. However, for me Colin Larkin was the Stags best player, he did miss a couple of chances, but scored again, set one up and was a real threat throughout.

Man of the Match: Colin Larkin

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington 8 One minor blemish, one superb save; generally excellent
McNiven 9 Absolutely outstanding. Faultless
Day 7 Pretty solid. Maybe a question over the Yeovil goal
Artell 8 Excellent goal capped a fine performance
Buxton 8 Didn't put a foot wrong; covered well at times
Neil 9 Comfortable. Never gave the ball away. Unlucky not to score
Baptiste 8 Excellent in unfamiliar central midfield role
MacKenzie 8 Creative, especially in the second half
Corden 8 Excellent on the ball, touches of class
Larkin 9 Despite a couple of missed chances, was a threat for the whole 90 minutes
Asamoah 8 A real menace; some great runs
Sub Line Up:
Murray (for Baptiste, 74 mins) 6
Curtis (for Neil, 74 mins) 6
Tate for (for Asamoah, 82 mins) -
Subs not used: White, O'Neill.
Opposition Line Up:
Weale , O'Brien , Skiverton , Fontaine , Rose , Gall , Way , Johnson , Terry , Tarachulski , Jevons
Subs: Miles , Caceres , Weatherstone , Collis , Mirza.
J Ross (Essex) 4 Appalling. Ridiculous booking of Alex Neil.

Season 04/05 Reports