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Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Carling Cup Round 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
Coke 68
Attendance: 3739 (354 from Southampton)
Date: 20 September 2005


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town made it a Championship double by dumping Southampton out of the Carling Cup at Field Mill, having disposed of Stoke City in the first round. And there was no doubting that the Stags deserved their success against the South Coast club with the only goal coming from Giles Coke. Southampton made 11 changes from the side that had played on Sunday and had a team of promising youngsters but it was 18 year old Coke, probably the youngest player on the pitch, who stole the show.

It was the Stags’ first Second Round victory for 11 years and the memorable win over Leeds United over two legs. Hopefully the Stags will get a better draw than Millwall this time.

Caretaker manager Peter Shirtliff made two key changes from the side that started at Rochdale, with Peers and Birchall in place of Uhlenbeek and Hjelde. Birchall played up front rather than in midfield, with Brown in right midfield. Jelleyman played in left midfield with Talbot at left back. Dawson remained injured. Given the players in the squad at present you could probably argue that Shirtliff’s side would be that chosen by most fans, with the exception of Rundle in for Jelleyman and Dawson (when fit) in for McLachlan.

The Stags were in trouble after two minutes when Baptiste uncharacteristically allowed a long ball to bounce into his own box, and Kenwyne Jones’s effort from close range was very well blocked by the ample figure of Pressman. Fortunately Dexter Blackstock knocked the rebound over the bar.

The Stags had a good spell of play and on 11 minutes created their first chance. Peers crossed from the right and Barker swiveled but his first time effort flew well over the bar.

There was a lack of real chances in the opening 20 minutes but the Stags were holding their own, with the defence considerably more solid than of late. The Saints demonstrated good pace up front, and Baptiste was having to be at his best, after that early mistake.

On 23 minutes, McCann crossed from the left into the Stags box, it was headed goalwards by Kenwyne Jones but Talbot headed the ball off the line. There was a comedy moment on 27 minutes. Nathan Dyer raced towards goal, and under pressure from Day, tried a shot. Incredibly his effort went out for a throw-in midway between the corner flag and halfway line. Possibly the worst shot we have ever seen!

On 33 minutes, Folly crossed from the right byeline, Blackstock got in a powerful header from 6 yards, but Pressman was equal to it, pulling off a fine save. Just two minutes later there was danger at the other end as Barker chased a ball over the top, he reached it on the byeline and crossed, but it was just behind Birchall who had surged into the 6 yard box. Two minutes after that the Stags had another chance when a ball found Brown wide on the right. The little man got in a powerful shot but it was straight at keeper Smith.

On 39 minutes, Coke played a superb ball forward, Birchall ran forward, and had a fine shot which was tipped over the bar by the keeper.

That was the last meaningful action of the half, which was very even. It was a good half especially for the Stags defence, with Baptiste, Day and Talbot shining. In midfield, young Coke looked excellent, while Birchall and Barker played very well up front.

Half time 0-0

On 48 minutes Jelleyman made a great run down the left and put in a fine ball across the 6 yard box. Barker slid in and made a connection but couldn’t direct it goalwards. Two minutes later, there was an incredible miss at the other end. Kenwyne Jones crossed from the right and Rory Delap somehow failed to turn the ball in from two yards. Moments later, a fine cross from McCann was met by a towering header from Jones that went wide.

On 51 minutes, Brown received a ball on right, slipped the ball back, beat his defender, and sent a powerful low shot towards goal, which was well saved by keeper Smith down by his left post. On 59 minutes, Brown crossed and Jelleyman got his header on target, but the keeper saved well again. Three minutes later, Brown cut inside, but from a good position shot over the bar. Brown seemed to be involved in everything!

Southampton weren’t in it at this stage, but served a reminder of their presence on 64 minutes, as a ball pinged around the Stags box until Peeers did well to block a shot from Mills. The ball was straight to the other end and there was a huge scramble in the Saints box but half chances came to nothing.

On 67 minutes, Coke tried a left footed shot from fully 40 yards which was just wide, though the keeper seemed to have it covered. But it was just a sighter for young Cokey and he found the net a minute later!

The lively Brown played a fine ball forward into space. It was surely the keeper’s ball though. But no, he stayed rooted to his line, and Coke gratefully accepted the invitation to run onto it and slide it over him from close range. Field Mill erupted and all the woes of recent weeks were momentarily forgotten. It was just what the Stags deserved for a powerful second half display.

The Stags stayed on top as an anticipated Saints fightback never materialized. On 77 minutes McLachlan had two chances to break his scoring duck within 60 seconds. First the excellent Birchall ran along the byeline and into the box, and passed to McLachlan and the young Scot’s shot was heading into the net until a deflection took it straight into the keeper’s midriff. McLachlan’s second effort was a shot going well wide but a deflection took the shot goalwards and keeper Smith saved well.

On 82 minutes the Stags got a free kick from 30 yards; it was rolled to Coke but his shot was deflected wide.

As the minutes ticked by, the Stags held onto the ball well and never looked like conceding. Indeed the Saints never got a sniff of a goal. The defence was rock solid, such a contrast to pretty much the whole season to date. The final whistle sparked joyous scenes of celebration. What an amazing contrast to the Rochdale game, the barracking of Carlton Palmer, and the immediate resignation of the manager. Thoughts immediately turned to possible third round opponents: any premiership club would be nice. But of more immediate concern is the desperate need for League Two points. If the Stags fail to beat Wycombe on Saturday, they could drop into the relegation zone for the only time in the club’s history (save for the first four games of the 1999/2000 season after that infamous opening day 6-0 defeat at Brighton).

After the game, Stags chairman Keith Haslam stated that he won’t be looking at managerial applications until after the Macclesfield game next Tuesday, but immediately ruled out Peter Reid stating that he is “out of our league”.

Man of the match: Adam Birchall

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pressman 7 Some good saves early on. Not tested in the second half.
Peers 7 Fine game. Adds an aerial presence to the defence.
Baptiste 8 Excellent game throughout. Dealt superbly with Southampton’s pacey forwards.
Day 8 Commanding performance in the air.
Talbot 7 Did very well at left back.
Brown 8 Some great runs down the right, created plenty of chances, and had several shots. An all-action display.
Coke 8 Fine game in midfield, capped by his first senior goal.
McLachlan 7 Probably his best game in a Stags shirt. Won most of the 50:50 balls.
Jelleyman 6 Strange choice ahead of Rundle in left midfield. Did ok.
Birchall 8 A touch of class up front, as well as braun. Looked a fine player.
Barker 7 Ran all night, and did defensive duties when needed.
Sub Line Up:
Subs not used: White, Uhlenbeek, Buxton, Rundle, Littlejohn.
Opposition Line Up:
Smith, McCann, Jones, Cranie, Delap, Baird, Kenton, Folly (Walcott 73), Blackstock (McGoldrick 81), Mills, Dyer. Subs not used: McNeil, Tejera, Gillett.
Brian Curson of Leicestershire 7 Handled the game well.

Season 05/06 Reports