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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Shrewsbury Town  
0 - 2
 Mansfield Town
 Asamoah 22, Murray 74
Attendance: 3469 (280 from Mansfield)
Date: 18th December 2004


Martin Shaw at Gay Meadow

Mansfield Town at last came home with three points, for only their second win in 18 league and cup games. It’s been a long wait and it was a crucial win as the Stags had been hurtling towards the bottom of the table, but thoughts can now once more turn towards the top of the table.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that had peppered the Rushden goal with over 20 goals attempts a week ago but failed to hit the net.

The Stags made a lively start and Jake Buxton put in a fine cross from the left which was headed away as Barker looked to get in a header. But moments later, after the Stags should have been given a free kick following a foul on Curtis, the dangerous Ryan Lowe crossed for towards Luke Rodgers who put his shot wide. Then another cross from Lowe reached Ashton who shot over the bar.

On 20 minutes Pilkington made a great save low to his right after a header from a free kick floated into the Stags box.

But on 22 minutes the Stags took the lead with a great individual effort from Derek Asamoah. The Stags striker broke down the right, neck and neck with Challis, and as he cut inside, Challis went down. It looked like a foul to me but the referee waived play on. Asamoah cut past another defender, and shot left footed inside the right post giving the keeper no chance from around 10 yards. Stags fans went wild, I went wild, and I apologise if any StagsWorld listener’s speakers were burst by the commentary.

Within a minute it should have been 2-0. Asamoah again broke down the right and from the byeline he smashed a ball across the face of goal, but neither Barker nor Corden was able to get a touch on it to guide it into an empty net.

Then Curtis had a left footed shot from 30 yards which took a deflection and ended up straight at the keeper. Just before the break, Dimech got in a superb tackle on Rodgers just as the little striker prepared to pull the trigger following another ball from the dangerous Ryan Lowe. And from the resulting corner Pilkington was horribly caught out as he came to catch the ball but missed it and Langmead headed over the empty net.

On 44 minutes the Stags had two gilt-edged chances to take a two-nil lead. Asamoah was fouled around 23 yards from goal. Corden took it and curled it towards the near post, but Howie produced a great save turning it past his left hand post. It was such a shame for Corden who hasn’t produced many free kicks of such quality in recent times. The corner then led to a second corner, which was headed just over the bar by Barker.

Al half-time we worried that it might be a case of deja-vu. At Darlington after a fine first half by the Stags, Corden struck the bar with a free kick on 46 minutes, and the Stags went on to lose the game. Surely lightening couldn’t strike twice could it?

Half time 0-1

The second half started with the Stags on the back foot and for 25 minutes it felt like the Stags would surrender the lead.

Early on there was panic in the Stags box when Curtis ballooned a clearance and Pilkington should have been able to catch it but mysteriously attempted to punch it clear, but got no purchase on it allowing Lowe a free shot, but fortunately it was blocked by a Stags defender, before the rebound was belted over the bar. The Stags keeper redeemed himself minutes later when Lowe shot towards the bottom corner but Pilkington was quickly down to pull off a fine save. Then centre half Burns somehow sent a shot from inside the six-yard box over the bar following a corner, when it looked easier to score.

The Stags were on the back foot, and on the hour Asamoah, who was my man of the match, was strangely withdrawn with Brown coming on in his place. Asamoah had done well to at least hold the ball up front, but caretaker-manager Palmer later explained that he thought the little striker was running out of steam.

Eventually the Stags started to get back into the game and on 74 minutes came the decisive moment of the game. Alex Neil put in a cross from the right, Shrewsbury substitute Kevin Street seemed to slip allowing Murray time for a free shot around 8 yards out. He took his time and placed his shot inside the left hand post. It was a massive moment in the Stags season and the Stags players and fans knew it. The game was effectively over, and we immediately noted the home fans leaving in droves.

On 83 minutes the Stags were grateful for a terrific goal-line clearance by Jake Buxton. A ball was crossed into the Stags box and Jamie Tolley squeezed the ball past Pilkington and seemingly towards the net, but just as two Shrewsbury players seemed destined to force the ball over the line, the Stags left back somehow stuck out a boot to clear the ball away. Then as the game entered stoppage time substitute Grant headed wide from a cross.

As the game ended, the Stags players celebrated famously, just as a team would that had only won once in 17 games. Chairman Keith Haslam made his way down to the tunnel entrance to shake the hand of every Stags player and then embraced caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer. This was a huge win for the club and one that will hopefully provide a springboard to heading back up the table. With Cambridge coming to Field Mill on Boxing Day the Stags could not ask for a better opportunity to record back to back wins.

Man of the match: Derek Asamoah

Report by: Martin Shaw at Gay Meadow

Line Up:
Pilkington 6 Made a couple of good saves, but also flapped at a couple of crosses. Looked nervy early in the second half.
Neil 8 Fine game at right back. Pushed forward well too.
Dimech 7 Very solid. Made a couple of crucial last ditch tackles too.
John-Baptiste 8 Good game throughout, even when others were rocking early in the second half.
Buxton 7 Did well, including a fine early cross. Superb goal-line clearance at 2-0.
Warne 5 Disappointing. Gave the ball away too easily.
Murray 8 Great game in central midfield and deserved his goal.
Curtis 7 Did well, winning lots of crunching tackles in the middle.
Corden 6 Did well defensively in the first half, but didn’t put enough quality crosses in to the Shrewsbury box.
Asamoah 8 Caused the home side all sorts of problems; scored one and nearly created another.
Barker 7 Held the ball up well and unlucky with one header over the bar at the end of the first half.
Sub Line Up:
Brown (for Asamoah, 59) 6 Showed good pace.
Subs not used: White, Kitamirike, McLachlan, Maxwell.
Opposition Line Up:
Scott Howie, Jake Sedgemore, Trevor Challis, Darren Tinson (c), Jamie Tolley, Stuart Whitehead, Liam Burns, Neil Ashton, Ryan Lowe, Kelvin Langmead, Luke Rodgers

Subs: Joe Hart, Dave Ridler, Duane Darby, Kevin Street, John Grant

G.Cowburn 5 Some strange decisions along with his assistants. But thankfully allowed the Stags first goal to stand.

Season 04/05 Reports