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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Shrewsbury Town
Neil 63
 Rodgers 74
Attendance: 3278 (485 from Shrewsbury)
Date: 5th March 2005

Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town failed to win for the third game on the trot against lowly Shrewsbury Town at Field Mill this afternoon, The first half performance was truly dreadful and the Stags were lucky to be level at 0-0 at half time. The second half was much better and a fine goal from Alex Neil gave the Stags the lead but slack defending allowed Luke Rodgers to equalise after 74 minutes. The point saw the Stags fall further adrift of the play-off places and, with just ten games left, it will now take a remarkable run to see the Stags back into the top seven.

Mansfield made one change from the side that drew at Rushden with Simon Brown returning after a four game suspension while Luke Dimech dropped to the bench. Alex Neil reverted to full back with Jake Buxton moving to central defence. Loan signing from Birmingham Andrew Barrowman was on the bench alongside Rhys Day. It was great to see Day back even though, we understand, not fully fit. Shrewsbury arrived at Field Mill on the back of an impressive run of four wins and a draw from their past six games.

The Stags best chance of an awful first half fell in the very first minute. The Shrewsbury keeper just beat Colin Larkin to a ball over the top and cleared as far as Adam Murray fully 45 yards from goal. Murray sent a first time shot back over the keeper but it took one bounce up and over the left post.

The Stags had a huge slice of luck on 11 minutes. Shrewsbury were awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal just to the right of centre. Jake Sedgemore took it and slammed his shot against the inside of the right post and away to safety. On 21 minutes, there was a rare piece of good play by Mansfield as Neil did well to set up Murray but Murray chipped his shot wide from 20 yards.

In a truly appalling half of football there wasn’t another chance for either side until 41 minutes when Luke Rodgers was desperately unlucky to see his close range shot slam off the underside of the bar and away to safety for the Stags. A minute before the break, the Stags put together only their second decent move of the half, involving Brown, Neil and Murray and eventually Barker had a shot but it was weak and straight at the keeper. On the stroke of half time, Sedgemore crossed for Shrewsbury and Langmead headed straight at Pilkington.

The half ended to a chorus of boos. For the Stags, only Murray, Baptiste and Neil had played well and Shrewsbury were unlucky not to be ahead. McLachlan and Larkin were particularly awful, but the booing of McLachlan from the very first minute was a total disgrace and I was ashamed to be sitting amongst these supporters. McLachlan got steadily worse through the half and did not reappear for the second half, as Carlton Palmer explained after the game that he was distraught at the booing of the supporters. He was poor, actually very poor, but no home player should be given this reception and these fans should be ashamed of themselves in my opinion. We have seen players’ careers ruined by this sort of treatment - most recently Alistair Asher.

Half-time 0-0

Larkin was also replaced at half time as loan signing Andrew Barrowman and Tom Curtis were brought on. Adam Rundle reappeared for the second half with a head band having missed the last four minutes of the first half with a head injury. The Stags immediately upped their game and, just a minute into the second half, Barker fed Brown who burst into the box before tumbling down but claims for a penalty were turned away.

On 56 minutes, the excellent Baptiste, suffering from concussion, was replaced by Dimech. On the hour, Curtis, who had started the second half brightly, made a terrible mistake giving the ball away, allowing Langmead to break but his shot was deflected straight to Pilkington.

After 63 minutes, Mansfield took the lead. Brown played a ball to Neil who made a great run, cut inside on to his left foot and his shot from 14 yards took a deflection to beat the keeper. Two minutes later, Barrowman turned in the box but his shot was too weak. Moments later, Jelleyman made a great run down the left, played an excellent one-two with Barker and got into the box but his shot was saved from a tight angle. On 72 minutes, Shrewsbury created their first danger of the half when Ryan Lowe made a fine run down the right, cut inside and then back outside of Jelleyman before firing over the bar. A minute later, Neil almost repeated his goal when he got into the box again, cut inside and had a left footed shot, but this time it was blocked.

But a minute later, on 74 minutes, there was disaster for the Stags as Shrewsbury equalised. Substitute Sam Aiston outpaced Neil down the left wing and crossed into the middle where Rodgers had got away from his marker Dimech and met the cross first time firing it under Pilkington from 6 yards. Six minutes later, Rundle put in a fantastic cross from the left. Barker chested it down but couldn’t get any purchase on his shot and it was blocked.

On 84 minutes, the Stags should have had a penalty as Rundle broke into the box from the left wing and appeared to be blatantly tripped. But the referee was poorly positioned and waved play on despite massive protest from the Stags players. On 89 minutes, the Stags had yet another claim for a penalty when Brown’s cross from the right struck a Shrewsbury hand just inside the box but the referee must have deemed it was ball to hand as he again waved away the claims.

And so the game ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw with a chorus of boos, mostly aimed it seemed at Carlton Palmer. After the game, Palmer was clearly upset as he strode quickly from the pitch and later explained in the post match interviews that he would now reconsider whether he wanted to take the job as manager of Mansfield Town in the light of the treatment from some of the fans.

The Stags really didn’t do enough to win this game but, having had the good fortune still to be on level terms at half time, and then gone in front with a deflected effort, it was very disappointing to concede an equaliser through poor defending when Shrewsbury in truth created very little in the second half. The Stags will reflect on a couple of late penalty claims turned down but they need to be creating more clearcut chances if teams are to be dispatched from Field Mill. Fewer than 2,800 fans at the Mill today as the average attendance continues to drop alarmingly. Next up is Oxford United who visit in a week’s time and, by then, we should know if Carlton Palmer will take the job of manager.

Man of the Match: Adam Murray

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pilkington 6 Quiet afternoon.
Neil 7 Very good game, with a fine goal albeit deflected. But caught out for the equaliser.
Buxton 6 Did ok in central defence.
Baptiste 7 Played very well as usual. Continues to look a class act. Went off with concussion.
Jelleyman 7 Did well at left back and made a few probing runs.
Brown 6 Had a couple of penalty appeals turned down, but didn’t really create enough danger.
McLachlan 4 Awful first half. Gradually got worse and was affected by disgusting treatment from many home fans.
Murray 7 Fought well in midfield; unlucky with an effort in the first minute. Never gave up.
Rundle 7 Put in a few good crosses and surely should have had a late penalty.
Larkin 5 Poor game and substituted at half time.
Barker 6 Won his usual high proportion of headers, but didn’t create any danger.
Sub Line Up:
Curtis (for McLachlan, 46) 6 Started the second half brightly though one dreadful mistake nearly cost a goal.
Barrowman (for Larkin, 46) 6 Did ok and tried hard but rarely looked like scoring.
Dimech (for Baptiste, 56) 5 Seemed to be at fault for the equaliser.
Subs not used: White, Day.
Opposition Line Up:
Howie, Whitehead, Tinson, Walton, Challis (Aiston 67), Lowe (Edwards 86), Sedgemore (O'Connor 83), Tolley, Ashton, Langmead, Rodgers.
Subs Not Used: Grant, Hart.
B.Curson 7 Handled the game well though surely missed a blatant trip on Rundle in the box late on.

Season 04/05 Reports