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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
2 - 0
 Grimsby Town
Brown 35, Rundle 85
Attendance: 3,424 (397 from Grimsby)
Date: 2nd April 2005

The Stags made three changes from the side victorious at Kidderminster, in came Rhys Day, Gareth Jellyeman and Colin Larkin, with Callum Lloyd, Giles Coke and Scott McNiven dropping to the bench to take their places alongside Danny Herron and Jason White.

The opening half hour was a quiet, typical end of season affair with neither side creating any good chances. The closest the Stags came was a shot from Jelleyman after some nice approach play on the left, the full back cut inside but his right foot shot was always curling wide. The Mariners had the best chance of the opening half hour when a counter-attack caught the Stags short at the back and a quick series of passes ended when Harold curled a shot past the post when he really ought to have hit the target. Larkin was replaced on 22 minutes by Coke, in what appears to have been his last game for the Stags, Brown switched to striker as Neil moved to right midfield. The game was brought to life on 35 minutes as rather unexpectedly the Stags took the lead. A fine move down the left saw Rundle break through towards goal, his shot was saved by Williams but the ball fell to Barker, the Stags striker thought he had scored but Williamson again made a fine save only to see the ball rebound to a Stags player for a third time, this time it was Simon Brown who was able to rather unconvincingly scramble the ball over the line. The Stags, buoyed by the goal, played their best 10 minutes of the match before half time as twice Rundle and once Brown had good efforts on goal.

Half-Time 1-0

McLachlan was booked early in the 2nd half and just moments later could have been sent off when he failed to retreat from a free kick, Stags boss Palmer obviously saw the incident and replaced McLachlan almost immediately, Callum Lloyd slotting in. Grimsby had the better of the opening exchanges and Stags keeper Kevin Pilkington, surely one of the Stags players of the season, twice prevented the visitors taking the lead with splendid saves. The first, a one-on-one with Gritton saw the Stags stopper not just save, but also gather the ball. Then, with the Stags defence caught out again on the left, Soames ran through only to be denied once more by Pilkington. The game then descended to the fare of the opening half hour, with neither side appearing to want to claim the points, but the home side sealed the victory five minutes from time when Rundle scored a superb second. Released by a perfect pass from Barker, Rundle cut in from the left into the area and hit a cracking right foot shot past Williams. Indeed, Barker could have capped a fine display with a goal as he broke through on the right hand side but blasted his shot over the bar.

So a good performance by the Stags, though it has to be said Grimsby looked a side ready for the summer break. Enough promise to keep a Stags fan optimistic for next season, but there are a few areas, particularly central midfield and a reliable partner for Richie Barker, which certainly require some attention. Once again Alex Neil proved the pick of the midfield and simply must not be allowed to leave, the back four did OK defensively but need to sharpen up their passing and Coke showed a few more glimpses of promise without ever reaching the heights of his performance against Chester. Richie Barker was again a powerhouse leading the line and just pips Pilko and Neil to man of the match. A rare word of praise for the referee, who was excellent throughout.

Man of the Match: Richie Barker

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Two good saves and good handling throughout
Buxton 6 Solid enough at right back
Jelleyman 6 Got forward well, though caught out too far forward a couple of times
Baptiste 6 Good defensive display marred by average distribution
Day 6 Looked solid and is getting back to full match fitness
Brown 6 When involved looked good, but not involved enough
Rundle 6 Scored and excellent goal, perhaps on the periphery too much, but like Brown, looked good when he got involved
Neil 7 Pick of the Stags midfield again, very good when moved onto the right
McLachlan 6 Had a reasonable first half, subbed when it looked like he might get sent off
Larkin 5 Ran about a bit and then limped off, looks like the manager has had enough, as have many of the fans
Barker 8 Could prove to be one of the best signings our club has made for decades
Sub Line Up:
Coke (for Larkin, 22) 6 Some nice touches
Lloyd (for McLachlan, 52) 6 Better doing the same job than McLachlan
Heron (for Rundle, 86) 6 Quite bright, would like to have seen more of him
Not Used: White, McNiven

Opposition Line Up:
Grimsby: Williams, Crowe, Whittle, Forbes, McDermott, Parkinson, Pinault (Soames 58), Coldicott, Fleming, Gritton (Ramsden 80), Harrold.
Subs Not Used: Jones, Heggarty, Crane.
L Mason 8 probably best ref of the season

Season 04/05 Reports