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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
LDV Vans Trophy Round 1 North
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
After Extra Time.
 Stags won 4-3 on penalties
Attendance: 1651 (47 from Darlington)
Date: 28th September 2004

After Extra Time
Stags won 4-3 on penalties

Penalty details:
Valentine 0-1
MacKenzie 1-1
Convery 1-2
Larkin 2-2
Ian Clark 2-2 Pilkington saved
O'Neill 3-2
Kendrick 3-3
Murray 3-3 Russell saved
Craig Russell 3-3 hit crossbar
McNiven 4-3

Stagsnet report by Gary Tyldsley at Field Mill

Had I not missed 3 home league games already this season, I may have been tempted to give this one a miss. Even my youngest decided that football training was the better option!

The club displayed their lack of faith in having a worthwhile turnout by restricting home supporters to the upper West Stand and, rather strangely, opening the North Stand for the 47 visitors when the Quarry Lane End remained closed.

Following reports of many injuries and illnesses amongst the first team squad, it was not a surprise to see a couple of unfamiliar faces in the starting line-up and a bench made up entirely of youth teamers. Notable inclusions in the starting eleven were Callum Lloyd and the Manager's son, Tom.

Stags started brightly and Adam Murray went closest in the opening minutes before Kevin Pilkington started the evening cabaret with a quick ball juggle after a Darlington corner kick. The best move of the half came just after the ten minute mark. A superb turn by Tom Curle on the left gave him room to take the ball forward and pick out Joe O'Neill in the centre, who in turn laid on a great ball for Colin Larkin. With his recent run of goalscoring form it looked to be a formality but his shot cannoned off the inside of the post and away to safety.

The remainder of the half was a succession of half-chances or long range efforts going high and wide. For the interest of home supporters, Tom Curle was giving a very good account of himself, Callum Lloyd was working hard but probably finding it a little tough to get into the game and Rhys Day was having a bad time in a game where he would want to stake a claim for his first team place. On the topic of playing for a place in the eleven to face Lincoln on Saturday, Luke Dimech was doing himself a world of good with a great show in the centre of defence.

Just before the break, Stags should have taken the lead. A route-one ball was knocked down by Joe O'Neill to Colin Larkin and his reverse ball to Mackenzie was fired over the top of the Darlington crossbar. Whilst the Stags could, and should, have been in the lead at the interval, Darlington were far from out of the game and only needed a bit of luck to edge in front.

HT: Stags 0 Darlington 0

The second half became more of an even affair than the first and had a share of good work combined with poor decisions and one or two glaring misses.

Ten minutes into the half and Joe O'Neill had a great opportunity to set Tom Curle free but took too much time and allowed the impressive Clarke to steal the ball back. Just three minutes later, young Curle created his own opportunity but saw his shot saved.

The last quarter of the match belonged almost entirely to the visitors and they had a number of chances to take the game. In the final ten minutes of the game, Darlington wasted two great chances to take themselves through. The worst miss coming with just two minutes of normal time left when a free header was put wide from only six yards.

Then, against the run of play, Callum Lloyd almost snatched a last-gasp winner for the Stags but his excellent strike was blocked on it's way to goal.

FT: Stags 0 Darlington 0

The first period of extra time saw the Stags well on top again and Alex John-Baptiste twice came close to getting his first senior goal. In the first minute he headed a Mackenzie free-kick over the bar and on ten minutes his long-range floater to the far post almost embarrassed the visiting keeper, dropping just wide of the angle.

Young Tom Curle carried on his good work in the twelfth minute, taking a ball through the centre and letting go of a screamer that crashed against the bar and out to safety.

Just before the extra time interval, Stags had a good chance. The effective trio of Adam Murray, Colin Larkin and Joe O'Neill combined again to provide Joe with an opportunity but his shot was well blocked.

ET HT: Stags 0 Darlington 0

Darlington came back into the game again during the final period and had their own go at testing the woodwork at Field Mill. A long ball found a free man on the left and he advanced on goal before trying a direct shot from a tight angle. At first glance it looked wide but when it flew back out it was then obvious that it had hit the upright.

Alex John-Baptiste again went close with a header, this time from a Mackenzie corner, before the final chance fell to the visitors. At a time when it would surely have won the game, Kevin Pilkington pulled off another great save to keep out a well struck short-range effort, ensuring that we would be treated to yet another penalty shoot-out.

ET FT: Stags 0 Darlington 0

Surprisingly, the only miss for Stags was from Adam Murray. This was a shame after he had put in a solid and sound performance. Pilks had put us in prime position just before Adam's miss by saving Darlington's third spot-kick. Then with the score at four each, effectively sudden-death, the next Darlington kick struck the bar, went down and bounced out. Up stepped our new "Mr Dependable", Scott McNiven, and coolly put us into the draw for the next round of the competition.

Stagsnet Man of the Match: Luke Dimech

Report by: Gary Tyldsley at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 - Good performance and 2 excellent saves
John-Baptiste 6 - Played well but dropped into the centre too often
Day 5 - Poor first half and looks down on confidence
Dimech 8 - Outstanding display
McNiven 8 - Thoroughly professional performance - becoming our Mr Dependable
Lloyd 6 - Drifted in and out of the game but shows some promise
Murray 7 - Worked very hard, good first half, dropped a little in the second but overall very good
MacKenzie 6 - Started well and then faded in and out of the game
TCurle 7 - Tired towards the end but showed some great skill and unlucky with an effort against the bar
O'Neill 6 - Mixed performance from Joe - could, and should, have scored one
Larkin 6 - Good show from Col, unlucky with effort that struck post early in the game
Sub Line Up:
Richard Lonsdale (for TCurle, 118) - Not sure he touched the ball
Subs not used: Langford, Heron, Ryan Parks, Austin McIntosh.
Opposition Line Up:
Sam Russell, Clarke, Kendrick, Close (Convery 109), Valentine, Hughes (Clark 66), Maddison (Keltie 84), Gregorio, Thomas, Wainwright, Craig Russell.
Subs Not Used: Mason, Parkin.
G Hegley (Middlesex)

Season 04/05 Reports