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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 Macclesfield Town
 Sheron 40
Attendance: 3816 (259 from Macclesfield)
Date: 6th November 2004

Report by: Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag at Field Mill

In the last couple of league and cup games, the Stags have had problems finding the net. And this pattern continued on Saturday, when Macclesfield visited Field Mill in front of the lowest home crowd since August 16, 2003. And the game was one of those days that weren’t to be Mansfield’s.

This was proved four minutes before half-time when Graham Potter put up a left-wing cross which was missed by Dimech, one of several players not on in the LDV Vans tie a few days earlier. Veteran striker Mike Sheron capitalized by heading home the only goal of the game into the top corner. Pilkington was definitely not at fault with the strike. This strike also ensured Macclesfield’s first-ever league win at Field Mill, also proving to be the first time that the Stags failed to score in a home fixture against the Silkmen.

Compared to the LDV crash in Silkmen Country a few days, the Stags rang several changes. Pilkington back in goal for Jason White – Buxton, Tom Curle and Lloyd not selected, while Murray had to be content with the bench without coming on. Rhys Day was still out due to injury. Apart from Pilks, McNiven, Dimech and Neil were in the starting line-up, while the Silkmen fielded an unchanged starting eleven.

After just two minutes, Neil headed a free-kick wide after a foul on Baptiste. At the other end, the Stags had their first scary moment in the fifth minute when Harsley was fouled by Baptiste. The Macc main danger man Tipton, who scored in the LDV game as well as in both league ties last season, went very close to giving Macc the lead, but his effort hit the post.

Neither side was able to carve out clear-cut chances in a much-below par first half. Significantly, it took 35 minutes before the Stags had their first dangerous shot on target. Asamoah shot over Macc goalie Fettis and the bar.

Six minutes later, disaster struck when the above mentioned goal situation occurred. And the Stags attack was unable to find the way back before the half-time whistle, and the team was booed off.

HT 0-1

At half-time, it was apparent that changes had to be made if the Stags were to get anything. Dimech was subbed for Ipoua, and the ineffective Corden gave way for MacKenzie.

And it proved much better. Already two minutes after the restart, MacKenzie tried his luck, but shot wide. Ipoua had a chance a few moments later, also without any luck. Later on, Neil had an effort blocked by the Macc defence, getting many players behind the ball. Colin Larkin also wasted a good effort to put the Stags level.

On the hour mark, the Stags forced three corners in succession, and from one of those Asamoah had an effort blocked by the strong Macc defence.
The former Northampton striker was subbed for O’Neill twelve minutes from time, but that had no effect on the – upon this day – weak Stags attack.

On the other hand, Macclesfield were close to go 2-0 up, when a Jon Parkin effort was brilliantly saved by Pilkington. Tipton limped off ten minutes from time with the fear of a knee injury. How long will he be out for Macc? Three minutes of injury time were added, but the Stags got no opportunities to gain a precious point, due to the fact that the Silkmen defence stood firm.

FT 0-1

All in all, an unnecessary and frustrating Stags second home league defeat of the current season. The effect of that one was a slide into mid-table tedium, just two points below our next league opponent Boston – and also just three points above Notts County. Easily, it was the Stags’ worst game in the current campaign.

Only one point from two consecutive home fixtures without a goal scored is an appalling return for the Stags – while maximum points had seen in promotion challenging position. Just one goal scored from the last four league games show where the problems are at the moment.

And for the first time since April 2003, the Stags have failed to score in consecutive home fixtures. And just one win in eight league games have contributed to the slide down to mid-table – three points on Saturday would have seen the Stags leap-frog the Silkmen in the playoffs hunt.

The Stags now need to put a string of results together to get back into the playoffs frame and haven’t amassed three consecutive league victories since this time of last season. The problems lie in the size of the squad and Keith Curle is searching for a striker in hope to turn things around.

The loanees Ipoua and O’Neill played their last games for the Stags, having been recalled by Doncaster and Preston, respectively. While Woodman is unavailable for the cup-game against Colchester – might be a welcome distraction from the league affairs – due to Bristol City not wanting him cuptied. This leaves Keith Curle with just fourteen players for the cup game.

That Neil MacKenzie was man of the match on just the second half says a lot of the display on Saturday. Another choice might have been Woodman. For the Silkmen, Potter and Harsley were the best players.

Come back you Stags – this is urgently needed. And why not bring Boston down to earth after their away 4-0 thumping of Kidderminster? A vastly better display than Saturday’s is badly needed if the Stags are to do that.

Man of the match: Neil MacKenzie.

Report by: Svante Bernhard (aka Sweden Stag) at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 – Made some good saves, not at fault at the goal
McNiven 7 – Did his job well
Woodman 8 – Faultless display, tried to go forward
Dimech 6 – Probably at fault at the goal, subbed at half-time
Artell 6 – Not at his best, especially before half-time
Baptiste 6 – Conceded some free kicks early on, better when moved from midfield in the second half
Neil 7 – Did ok, unlucky with an effort after the break
Curtis 7 – Tried to bolster the midfield throughout the game
Corden 5 – Out of sorts without any service, rightly subbed at half time
Asamoah 7 – Unlucky in front of goal
Larkin 5 – Didn’t get much service
Sub Line Up:
Ipoua (for Dimech, 46) 6 – A good effort early on, but not much more
MacKenzie (for Corden, 46) 9 – Superb game. Why didn’t he start?
O’Neill (for Asamoah, 78) 6 – Didn’t get much involved
Subs not used: White, Murray.
Opposition Line Up:
Fettis, Carragher, Barras, Weaver, Harsley, Potter, Widdrington, Whitaker, Parkin, Tipton (Miles 80), Sheron. Subs Not Used: Wilson, Welch, Briscoe, Rooney.
Mark Cowburn (Blackpool) 5. Whistle-happy at times, inconsistent throughout the game

Season 04/05 Reports