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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
3 - 1
 Notts County
Day 25, Woodman 45+1, Larkin 69<BR> Asamoah missed pen.
 Gorden 90+1.
Attendance: 7682 (1787 from Notts)
Date: 16th October 2004

The Stags produced a top drawer performance to beat a below par Notts County side in a very one-sided local derby at Field Mill this afternoon. Indeed, the scoreline flatters County as the Stags could have had at least 3 more goals, missing a penalty, hitting the woodwork and spurning several other excellent chances. The Stags sprung a surprise with the inclusion of on-loan striker Guy Ipoua who had joined the club on Thursday from Doncaster Rovers on an initial one-month deal. Making way for Ipoua was Wayne Corden, so often a thorn in County's side in previous encounters - Colin Larkin began the game in a wide left position with Asamoah partnering Ipoua in attack. The Stags were also without the injured Alex John-Baptiste which meant the partnership of Day and Artell at centre half continued. Leading the County attack was former Stags and Spireites striker Glynn Hurst.

The Stags began brightly but their first initial attempts at goal were weak, Murray headed wide from 8 yards, Neil shot tamely at Deeney from distance and after some excellent skill on the right, Asamoah's shot was also hit weakly at the Notts stopper. The Stags best chance of the early exchanges came on the quarter hour when Murray released Larkin through on goal, with Ipoua in acres of space to his left, Larkin chose to shoot from an acute angle and Deeney saved. Ipoua's reaction said it all, a simple cross field pass from Larkin and the Cameroon born striker would have been celebrating a debut goal. Day was next to test Deeney, a left wing corner from Neil found Day some 18 yards out, his right foot volley was tipped round the post by the County keeper. From the next corner Day again threatened, this time using his head but guiding the ball just over the bar. However, on 25 minutes the Stags got the goal they deserved. After Larkin had been fouled on the left touchline, the excellent Murray floated in a dangerous low cross which Day managed to deflect past Deeney. From my angle it was impossible to see if Day actually touched the ball, but judging from his celebrations, he certainly thought he did!! Ipoua almost capped off an excellent 1st half on his debut after a mazy run ended with him toe-poking a shot just wide. The Stags should have gone further ahead when the impressive Neil put Larkin clear on goal, the Stags striker looked to have done everything right, but his shot just missed the far post. County's only real threat actually came from a Stags player. A dangerous low cross from the right was diverted towards his own goal by Artell, but Pilkington produced an outstanding reflex save. Testament to the quality of the Stags keeper, it was his first real action of the half. As it looked like Notts would escape going in just one behind at half time, they were hit with a stunning second Stags goal. Finding himself in some space, Stags on-loan full-back Craig Woodman decided to let fly with his "wrong" foot, the ball fairly flew into the top corner leaving Deeney no chance. Even 2-0 was not a fair reflection of the half, the Stags could and should have had a couple more goals which would have justified a dominant and excellent 1st half display.

Half Time: 2-0

County briefly threatened early in the 2nd half, O'Grady blasting a shot from an acute angle into the side netting, but at the other end the Stags should have added to their lead. Asamoah used his pace to break free of the County defence but with Deeney in no-mans land, the Stags strikers lob was just not high enough and Deeney managed to palm the ball away. Neil then blasted over the bar when presented with a good chance 10 yards out after more good work from Ipoua. The game briefly threatened to explode as Day and Hurst clashed just inside the Stags half. However, both players eventually calmed down and to his credit Hurst reacted well to the "Spireite Reject" chants he got from the West Stand faithful. Ipoua was replaced to a standing ovation by O'Neil mid-way through the half and O'Neil's first touch was to head the ball across the County area to Larkin who finished well to put the Stags 3-0 up and give the scoreline a more true reflection of the Stags dominance. The Stags brought on Dimech for Day and Mackenzie replaced the excellent Neil. Soon after the Stags should have had a penalty when Larkin had his legs taken from under him and Baudet almost headed an embarassing own goal, the ball coming back off the post with Deeney beaten. The Stags were given the perfect opportunity to add a 4th when Asamoah was brought down inside the area, this time Dermot Gallagher had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Asamoah picked up the ball and despite Mackenzie being on hand as the regular penalty taker, it was Asamoah who took the kick but saw Deeney pull off yet another fine save to deny the Stags striker. O'Neill should have made it four but allowed Deeney to make a save as the number of chances continue to mount, Mackenzie also fired high and wide from close range and the ever-dangerous Larkin hit a low shot just past the post. The Stags performance was marred slightly by a late consolation for County when Gorden latched on to a long ball to give undeserved respectability to the scoreline.

This was a dominant display by the Stags and I have never seen a County side as poor. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Stags could have had at least 7 or 8 goals whilst County mustered barely a single strike on target. The Stags were solid at the back, creative in midfield and dangerous up front. The addition of Ipoua gave the Stags that extra strength up front and the pace of Larkin and Asamoah caused the County defence all kinds of problems. However, it was in midfield where the Stags made the most dramatic improvement. Alex Neil had a splendid game on the right whilst Tom Curtis did his usual hard-working, ball-winning job. However, my man of the match was Adam Murray, he oozed class on the ball and he looked more like the player who graced the Amber shirt during his loan spell in our last promotion season.

Man of the match: Adam Murray

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington 8 Excellent save from Artell’s near own goal. Handling excellent throughout.
McNiven 8 Solid at the back. Good going forward.
Woodman 8 Composed on the ball and a fantastic goal.
Artell 8 Very strong in the air. Dominant.
Day 8 Passing was excellent from the back. Strong in the air.
Neil 9 His best game for the Stags. Worked tirelessly throughout.
Curtis 8 Did his usual harrying and winning balls. Effective combination with Murray.
Murray 9 His best game since rejoining the club. Involved in everything.
Larkin 8 Played as inside left. Missed a couple of 1-on-1’s. Took his chance well. A threat throughout.
Ipoua 8 Looks like the answer to the big man up front we needed. Linked well with Asamoah and Larkin
Asamoah 8 Lively but not as good in front of goal, poor finishing. Looked threatening.
Sub Line Up:
O’Neill (for Ipoua, 68 mins) 7 Set up the third goal with a cracking header.
MacKenzie (for Neil, 70 mins) 6 Had one poor shot.
Dimech (for Day, 73 mins) - Possibly caught out for the Notts goal. But one brilliant interception.
Subs not used: White, Corden.
Opposition Line Up:
Deeney, Pipe, Whitlow, Baudet, Ullathorne, Bolland, Palmer (Scully 67), Gill (Wilson 45), Oakes, Hurst, O'Grady (Gordon 58). Subs Not Used: Mildenhall, Kuduzovic.
Dermot Gallagher 6 Controlled game well, but for such a top class referee, harshly booked several Stags players.

Season 04/05 Reports