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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Lincoln City  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Toner 53, Yeo 82
 Dimech sent off 66
Attendance: 5511 (1264 from Mansfield)
Date: 29th January 2005

The Stags lined up in a 4-5-1 formation (though the manager claims a 4-3-3) with Barker in a lone striker role. There were two changes from the side that drew with Southend, as Curtis returned from injury to replace Larkin, and Rundle came for his debut in place of Corden who has been told he can leave the club.

The Stags began brightly with a couple of early crosses from the left by Rundle cleared by the giant Lincoln centre half. At the other end Lincoln forward Butcher saw his low shot easily saved by Pilkington. On 19 minutes the Stags put together their best move of the half, Buxton doing really well on the right to create some space for a low cut-back to Barker whose turn and shot was saved by Marriott. Lincoln hit back and whilst Baptiste appeared to be fouled, the ball fell to Taylor-Fletcher whose low cross evaded everyone and went out for a goal-kick. Francis Green then broke clear, but Baptiste recovered well and Green's shot was easy for the Stags keeper to handle. Rundle and Jellyman combined well down the Stags left, Rundle got to the byeline but his cross was cut out for a corner, from the kick, the first of many, Marriott managed to palm the ball away to safety. Buxton again got forward well on 40 minutes, some great skill beating the Imps left back before cutting the ball back to Barker who mis-hit his shot wide. Just a minute later Barker had another chance, Murray just managed to poke the ball through before being scithed down, Barker stretched to reach the ball but couldn't get any real power on his shot and Marriott saved easily. The Stags shaded the opening half, but were clearly missing a strike partner for Barker, who won numerous headers only to find himself isolated.

Half-Time 0-0

The Stags again began the 2nd half brightly, Rundle breaking clear on the left, his cross was blocked but came straight back to him, his second effort flew just over the head of Barker and Brown was unable to keep the ball in play. On 53 minutes Lincoln took an undeserved lead, Murray was fouled but not for the first time the referee allowed play to continue, the ball was given to McAuley on the left who whipped in an excellent cross, from our view it looked like the ball hit a Stags defender and hit the bar, but one thing for sure, Toner was on hand to tap the ball in from a yard. At last this saw Stags caretaker boss Palmer spring into action and get a positive bone in his body, one that has been sadly lacking so far. On came Asamoah for Curtis and instantly the Stags looked a greater threat. Within a minute of being on, Asamoah had latched onto a Barker flick and created Havoc in the Imps area to force the first in a succession of corners. Indeed, the Stags forced around 10 corners, but of the injuries the Stags have at present, it is surely those to Day and Artell which are costing us the most, for the Stags rarely threatened from any of these set-piece plays. Larkin replaced Brown on 71 minutes as the Stags looked for the equaliser. However, the Stags hopes of a recovery were dealt a fatal blow on 66 minutes with the dismissal of Luke Dimech. From a Stags corner, the ball broke clear and Dimech was caught napping, Green nipped past him and Dimech appeared to bring him down - little doubt about the free kick, but the red card was extraordinarily harsh, Green still had fully 70 yards to run with the ball, with Stags defenders chasing him, the referee could hardly claim Dimech had denied a goalscoring opportunity!! Still, referee Ilderton is well known in these parts, and his overall performance, notwithstanding the dismissal, was dreadfully biased. Despite this set-back, the Stags continued, mostly through Asamoah, to create chances, Brown saw his shot saved by Marriott and the Stags best chance of the match came when Asamoah survived being shoved and pushed to put in a low cross which Larkin met perfectly only to see Marriott produce an excellent save. With ten men the Stags had to continue to press and as a result gaps were left in the Stags backline, but again it was left to Ilderton to give the Imps a hand. Green burst through the Stags defence but appeared to stumble with no Stags player in sight, as he lost possession Ilderton awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. Sandwith's low shot bounced just in front of Pilkington who got his body behind the kick but could not grasp the ball, the rebound falling kindly for Yeo to make the game safe.

Overall the Stags did not deserve defeat, but the negative approach to the match adopted by the manager meant that goalscoring chances would be limited. Barker was isolated for an hour, until Asamoah and Larkin were brought on, only then did the Stags possess a genuine goal threat. The most bizarre substituion was the removal of Rundle, an attacking left winger, for McLachlan, who I am still not quite sure what role he can perform, when a goal behind. Rundle made a decent debut and there were some signs that he could form a useful partnership with Jellyman. There were a few excellent performances, notably Buxton and Neil continue to impress, but Alex-John Baptiste was imperious at the back, always first to the ball, excellent in the air and today his distribution was sound.

Man of the Match: Alex-John Baptiste

Report by: Rob Wheldon at Sincil Back

Line Up:
Pilkington 6 Some great saves but at fault for the second goal.
Buxton 8 Solid. Good going forward.
Baptiste 9 Pure class. Won every header, every 50/50 ball.
Dimech 6 Harshly sent off. Reasonable game.
Jelleyman 7 Solid defensively. Didn’t get forward much.
Brown 5 Poor first touch. Never really got involved. One decent shot.
Curtis 6 Looked lacking in match fitness.
Neil 8 Pick of the midfield.
Murray 6 Off the pace. Didn’t dominate.
Rundle 6 A couple of decent crosses but no end product.
Barker 7 Worked tirelessly throughout but no support. Switched to centre half after the substitutions.
Sub Line Up:
Asamoah (for Curtis, 59) 8 Should have been on from the start. Looked a real threat.
Larkin (for Brown, 61) 7 Looked sharper than recently.
McLachlan (for Rundle, 68) 5 Why was he brought on, with Smeltz available?
Subs not used: White, Smeltz.
Opposition Line Up:
Marriott, McCombe (Gain 45), Morgan, McAuley, Bloomer, Butcher, Toner, Sandwith, Green (Blackwood 80), Taylor-Fletcher, Yeo (Westcarr 85).
Subs Not Used: Hanlon, Richardson.
E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear) - 4 Another woeful display

Season 04/05 Reports