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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Wycombe Wanderers  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Birchall 60.
 Asamoah 46.
Attendance: 4215 (410 from Mansfield)
Date: 23rd October 2004

Martin Shaw at The Causeway Stadium


Mansfield Town had to settle for a point at a soaking Causeway Stadium this afternoon despite going ahead early in the second half and having chances to secure the points, before Wycombe equalised on the hour. In the final 20 minutes it was the home side who looked more likely to claim the three points and no one could argue that the draw was not a fair result.

The game started in pouring rain and it was to rain for almost the entire 90 minutes. It was noticeable that Stags manager Keith Curle only appeared from the dugout when the rain stopped, a point your Stagsnet reporter, and StagsWorld commentator for the afternoon, put to the Stags boss in the post match press conference. Curle replied with a big smile that he has his Grecian 2000 to think of.

The Stags made two changes from the side that lost at Cheltenham on Tuesday with Dimech in for the injured Day, and John-Baptiste replacing Murray. Murray was apparently dropped "for tactical reasons". Surprisingly Neil was fit and took his place on the right side of midfield.

The first half was a quiet affair with chances at a premium, in conditions that made ball control almost impossible.

There was an early scare for the Stags when Pilkington made a real howler to nearly gift Nathan Tyson a goal. On-loan left back Tony Craig clipped a ball into the box, Pilkington came to try to claim it but was horribly positioned as Tyson flicked a back-header over the Stags keeper and just wide of the far post. Early on Mansfield played for around 10 minutes with ten men as Colin Larkin had to leave the field with a head wound which required 5 stitches. Asamoah was causing the home side plenty of problems and was repeatedly fouled, earning free kicks which came to nothing. It was starting to look like the Cheltenham game all over again as Mansfield had lots of possession but were not creating clearcut chances. The Stags first good chance came when Woodman crossed from the left and Ipoua sent a powerful header two yards wide from just inside the box.

There was danger on 35 minutes as Tyson raced towards goal, but Pilkington did brilliantly to come out and slide in with a tackle on the edge of the box. It was terrific keeping as wrongly timed it could have been a goal, or a penalty and a sending off. Moments later Dimech slipped at the crucial time as a cross came in from the right and former Plymouth striker Stonebridge sent a free header wide from 10 yards with Pilkington motionless.

Then Mansfield had the best chance of the half as Asamoah found Neil in loads of space in a central position 35 yards from goal. Neil moved forward but shot from outside the box and it was a weak effort that Talia in the Wycombe goal saved easily low down. It was a really poor effort especially as Neil had time to get closer to goal and bury it. Then at the other end Stonebridge tried to chip Pilkington but the Stags keeper leapt high to catch the shot.

Half time 0-0

Within 30 seconds of the restart Mansfield were in front. Ipoua won a header which put Larkin away on the left. Larkin broke clear of the defenders and could have shot but instead measured a perfect ball into the path of Asamoah, who was unmarked, and scored with a low right footed shot under the keeper from 8 yards. The Stags players and fans celebrated enthusiastically.

The Stags entered a purple patch and incredibly should have been further ahead within another two minutes. A Woodman free kick into the box pinged around until it fell for Asamoah to get in a shot. The ball was around waist height as he did a sideways scissors kick which was well on target but Talia made a terrific save. Then following a Neil corner, Curtis sent a left-footed shot fizzing just over the bar from outside the box.

During the commentary we were noting at this stage that the Stags needed a second goal to kill the game, which at that stage they clearly deserved, but the pressure couldn’t last, and on 60 minutes the Stags were rocked by an undeserved equaliser. Artell needlessly conceded a free kick 40 yards out and from it the ball eventually looped to Birchill who volleyed his shot into the ground and the ball bounced up into the net over Pilkington giving the Stags keeper no chance. It was poor defending to concede the kick and again in the box.

Minutes later a partridge entered the field of play from near the tunnel area though neither side had attempted to make a substitution. Incredibly the referee allowed the game to continue for literally two or three minutes as the partridge wandered to the other side of the pitch and then back again. Eventually the referee did stop play and Talia, showing immaculate handling as usual, picked the partridge up and handed it to a steward near the tunnel. The steward took the partridge down the tunnel and off for his tea.

Midway through the half, Curle brought on O'Neill on for Ipoua. But this was to coincide with the home side getting on top for the final 20 minutes as the Stags could do no more than hold on. Tyson broke down the left and from an impossible angle fired in a low shot that ended up going for a throw-in. On 75 minutes Larkin set up Asamoah for a low shot from just outside the box but Talia easily saved low down. It was a better effort than Neil’s in the first half but still not enough power.

Two minutes later the Stags had a massive let off. A corner from the left went over everyone to the far post where Nethercott slid in a shot across goal and just past the other post. It looked as though Artell should have been picking him up. Then Danny Senda fired in a shot which Pilkington saved well low down and managed to just hold onto at the second attempt. Pilkington did well again late on racing out his box and diving to head the ball away from the dangerous Tyson. Corden replaced Neil after 86 minutes, and deep into injury time the Stags conceded a free kick just outside the box on the byeline. It was like a short corner and hearts were in mouths as the ball flew across goal and inches wide of the far post. It was the last action of the game and the Stags were happy to settle for a point in the end.

In terrible conditions both sides did well to serve up decent entertainment. The Stags had lots of possession in the first half but didn’t create enough chances. But they did enough early in the second half to win the game. However having wasted chances, they allowed Wycombe back into it and ended up just hanging on for a point. Still, a point away from home against a side who will surely end the season in the top half of the table is a good return, and the Stags will now be looking to pick up maximum points from home games against Bury and Macclesfield, both of which can be described as winnable.

Man of Match: Derek Asamoah

Report by: Martin Shaw at The Causeway Stadium

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Early mistake to gift Tyson a chance, but after that played well and was confident on crosses.
McNiven 6 Did ok in tricky conditions.
Artell 6 Struggled with a few clearances but generally solid. Needlessly conceded free kick in lead up to Wycombe’s goal.
Dimech 8 The pick of the defence; dealt superbly with the tricky Tyson. Slipped at a bad time in first half to allow Stonebridge a free header.
Woodman 6 Defended solidly but not his most effective game moving forward.
Neil 6 Did not create much down the right, but did ok. Wasted a glorious opportunity in the first half.
Curtis 7 Won several crunching tackles and did well in holding role.
John-Baptiste 6 Did ok in central midfield, but failed to create anything going forward.
Larkin 7 Did well to set up the goal. Had one chance when he had more time than he realised.
Ipoua 6 Showed good strength and unlucky with a long range header.
Asamoah 8 Caused Wycombe problems all afternoon. Constantly fouled. Scored one and denied another by a brilliant save moments later. Man of the match.
Sub Line Up:
O’Neill (for Ipoua, 67) 6 Failed to make any impression at all.
Corden (for Neil, 86) - Only had time to put one cross in, which was straight to the keeper.
Subs not used: White, Buxton, MacKenzie.
Opposition Line Up:
Talia, Burnell, Silk, Nethercott, Williamson, Senda, Craig, Bloomfield, Tyson, Stonebridge, Birchall.
Subs Not Used: Williams, Johnson, Uhlenbeek, Ryan, Abbey.
R Olivier, W Midlands 6 Dealt with the game ok but clearly should have given the pheasant a red card.

Season 04/05 Reports