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Season 04/05 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
Day 90+2. Day missed pen 1.
 Wijnhard 66
Attendance: 3569 (559 from Darlington)
Date: 16th April 2005

The Stags made two changes from the side beaten at Yeovil, with Kevin Pilkington out for the rest of the season after suffering a dislocated shoulder in training during the week, in came 19-year old Jason White to make his full league debut. Fit again Alex Neil came in to replace Scott McNiven who dropped to the bench. The Stags rather disappointingly once again began a home game with a negative 4-5-1 formation, despite the manager stating many times he prefer's a 4-4-2.

Within the first minute the Stags were handed a golden chance to take the lead. Adam Rundle ghosted into the area and knocked the ball between two Darlo defenders, contact was made and the penalty was rightly awarded. Rundle appeared as though he was to take the kick himself, but Rhys Day, successful from the spot a week earlier took the ball from the Stags winger - he probably now wishes he hadn't. Day's spot kick can only be described as woeful, although after the match Darlo manager Proctor describes his keepers save as "terrifc", the truth is Day's weak, low right foot shot could have been saved by an Under 10 keeper. A good battle developed on the Darlo right, with Wainright and Jelleyman involved for long spells, when the Darlo winger did manage to get the better of the Stags full back, invariably his crosses were poor and handled well by White. The game had descended into a dull affair, neither side created anything meaningful and it took half an hour before White actually had a save to make, a low effort from Thomas and the Stags only meaningful effort from Rundle after a fine solo run by Lloyd. It was a poor first half, low on entertainment and broadly in line with home performances in recent months.

Half time 0-0

Surely the second half had to get better with more attempts on goal? Marginally, yes. The Stags almost took the lead within 5 minutes of the restart, Rundle, looking the Stags biggest threat, was fouled on the left and took a free kick some 20 yards which rebounded off the wall straight back to the Stags winner who hit a terrific low half volley which Russell saved well. White suffered his only nervy moment of the match when Wijnhard blocked his attempted clearance, but the ball flew straight behind for a goal kick. Darlo took the lead on 66 minutes, Wainright had broken clear with Jellyeman out of position and his low cross was met by Wijnhard who slotted the ball home. Stags boss Palmer finally admitted the 4-5-1 wasn't working and brought on Jake Buxton for Callum Lloyd, moving Buxton to right back, Neil to right midfield and putting Brown alongside Barker, probably to the relief of the Stags striker. However, Darlo were on top and White did well to block another Wijnhard effort with his legs. Heron replaced the injured Neil, which meant Brown's stint up front was a short one. Heron could have made himself a hero almost immediately as the ball fell to him at the far post, had his first touch been better he would have been left with a clear attempt on goal, however, his touch was poor and the chance was lost. White had to be alert when St'Juste ran through the Stags defence, claiming the ball at the feet of the Darlo sub. As fans began to leave the Stags mounted a late challenge and in the final minute of added injury time, Rhys Day powered home a Rundle corner to give the Stags a point. Indeed, it could have been all three as Darlo seemed to lose concentration at the back and conceded another corner but sadly for the Stags Day could not repeat his earlier effort.

All in all a poor game, low on quality, which highlights how poor this division is as Darlo are in the play-off zone. Jason White had a hugely impressive game on his full league debut. However, the Stags were again weak in central midfield and once more Richie Barker was left isolated as a lone striker as the Stags failed to create many real chances. The Stags only goaland creative threat came from Rundle, who just pipped White to man of the match.

Man of the Match: Adam Rundle

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
White 7 Very impressive handling, some good saves, one bad kick but otherwise a splendid full league debut
Neil 6 Fairly solid, didn't get forward as much as he can
Day 6 Mixed afternoon, woeful penalty but great header to earn a point
Baptiste 6 Given a tough afternoon by Wijnhard, but just about coped
Jelleyman 6 Comfortable and linked well with Rundle
Brown 6 When involved, looked a threat
Coke 5 Very quiet but there are some good signs, needs an experienced head alongside him
McLachlan 5 Anonymous in the 1st half, marginal improvement in the 2nd
Lloyd 5 Like McLachlan, very much 2nd best most of the afternoon, though one great run almost produced a goal
Rundle 7 The Stags biggest threat, fine game
Barker 6 Lacked support all afternoon
Sub Line Up:
Buxton (for Lloyd, 69) 6 Solid enough
Heron (for Neil, 76) 5 Had one great chance but poor control let him down
Dimech (for Coke, 86) 6
Subs not used: Lonsdale, McNiven (no goalkeeper)
Opposition Line Up:
S Russell, R Valentine, C Fleming, M Bates, J Kendrick, N Wainwright, S Thomas, M Appleby (59 B Close) , B Petta (70 J St'Juste) , C Wijnhard, A Armstrong (79 A Sodje)
Subs not used: M Price, M Convery.
T Parkes 7 Eccentric but got most things right

Season 04/05 Reports