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Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
2 - 3
 Wycombe Wanderers
Barker 66 pen, Brown 75.
 Betsy 1, 15, 43.
Attendance: 3237 (326 from Wycombe)
Date: 24 September 2005


Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town’s dreadful league form continued at Field Mill this afternoon with another defeat, this time against unbeaten Wycombe Wanderers. It was a game of two halves as the Stags were completely overrun in the first half to trail 3-0, but battled back with goals from Barker and Brown, and in the end nearly nicked a point. The defeat left the Stags in the relegation zone for the first time since automatic relegation to the conference was introduced, save for a four game spell at the start of the 1999/2000 season.

Caretaker manager Peter Shirtliff named an unchanged side from that which beat Southampton, with fit again Stephen Dawson taking his place on the bench in place of keeper Jason White. Wycombe included Nathan Tyson, the top scorer in League Two. Tyson played for Cheltenham Town at Field Mill in April 2002 when the Stags won 2-1 on the way to promotion. Alongside Tyson up front was Tommy Mooney who scored the winner for Oxford against the Stags last season. Wycombe also included former Newcastle and Charlton midfielder Rob Lee.

The Stags were shell-shocked on 50 seconds to concede a feeble goal. A cross from the left was floated into the Stags box, and as Talbot and Jelleyman dallied, Kevin Betsy turned and shot past Pressman. It was an unreal start; the lack of a challenge meant you were almost waiting for the referee to say “no goal”, but it never happened, mainly because there was no infringement; just appalling defending.

Wycombe remained on top and there was more bad defending in the Stags box as Rob Lee’s cross was headed wide by Mooney, when Day should have been heading it clear. The visitors extended their lead on 15 minutes. Betsy collected a pass and side-stepped two defenders, Day and then Peers, before having an age to pick his spot and shoot past Pressman from eight yards. It was more appalling defending. 2-0 down after 15 minutes and the Stags fans simply couldn’t believe it.

On 25 minutes the Stags should have had a lifeline. In the six-yard box, Barker was first to the ball and was heading away from goal, when Wycombe keeper Frank Talia clearly brought him down from behind. It was as blatant a penalty as you could ever wish to see, but incredibly the referee waved play on.

Wycombe were generally on top but Coke had a 30-yard shot just over the bar, and on 42 minutes Birchall had a shot easily saved by Talia. Within 30 seconds it was 3-0. Wycombe broke quickly and a Stags player was caught in possession, allowing Betsy time on the edge of the area to run past Talbot and fire an accurate shot in off the left post to complete his hat-trick. It was arguable that Pressman should have got down to save the shot.

At half-time Stags fans were in complete shock. Nigel Pinnock and I were commentating for StagsWorld and we could barely find words to describe just how poor the Stags had been defensively.

Half time 0-3

At the start of the second half, Shirtliff made two changes with Dawson and Uhlenbeek coming in midfield, replacing Talbot and McLachlan. Jelleyman moved to left back, while Brown moved up front and Birchall moved to left midfield.

Pressman made a good save early in half, as the pacey Tyson broke through, but Pressman thwarted him.

On 64 minutes, after a very quiet period, the Stags had a major let-off when a low cross from Betsy was rifled against his own bar by Peers.

Within 30 seconds the Stags had broken to the other end and won a penalty. Uhlenbeek played a ball across from the right, Dawson superbly dummied, leaving Brown with a clear run on goal. Brown moved forward and possibly dallied too long, but just when he was about to shoot, he was brought down from behind by Senda. As the last defender it had to be a red card, but after the referee pointed to the spot, he produced only a yellow. Barker stepped up to take the kick and hammered it just to the right of centre, as Talia dived the wrong way.

The Stags fans began to believe there could be a major comeback and started to get behind their team. On 70 minutes, the impressive Dawson crossed from the right and Barker dived for it but couldn’t make contact.

But on 75 minutes it was 3-2. Coke played a one-two with Barker and got in a shot from 25 yards, which was parried by Talia, straight into the path of Brown, who fired into an empty net from 6 yards. The Stags were really on fire and a point seemed a real possibility. Wycombe must have been wondering what was going on, especially as they had led 3-1 at half-time on Tuesday in the Carling Cup against Aston Villa, only to lose 8-3.

On 77 minutes Jelleyman got in a great swerving shot from 22 yards, which Talia palmed away at full stretch.

Rundle finally got a chance to come on 5 minutes from time, and a minute later the Stags were within a whisker of an equaliser. Birchall crossed from the left, following a corner, and Day towered above the defence to head against the outside of the right post. Day got in another header on 89 minutes but it was too weak, from a Dwason cross. Then two minutes into stoppage time, Rundle did well and sent a right-footed shot above the keeper’s head, but Talia caught the ball. Finally, Birchall crossed from the right and it was headed just past his own post by Rob Lee. It was a grandstand finish but the Stags failed to pull it back.

So the Stags slipped to another defeat. This was an incredible game. The Stags were so dreadful in the first half and Wycombe cruised into a 3 goal lead as Kevin Betsy ran riot, through appalling defending. The Stags finally got into gear 25 minutes from time, and in the end should have claimed a point. After dropping into the relegation zone it is vital that the Stags get something from Tuesday’s trip to Macclesfield ahead of Saturday’s trip to Leyton Orient. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the Match: Stephen Dawson

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pressman 5 Poor first half.
Peers 5 Woeful first half, but improved in the second half.
Day 5 Some very poor defending, though unlucky not to score the equaliser late on.
Baptiste 6 Pick of a shoddy defence.
Talbot 5 Very poor game at left back, against Betsy. Substituted at half-time.
Brown 7 Brought down for the penalty and scored the second.
Coke 6 Did ok in midfield.
McLachlan 5 Poor game. Substituted at half-time.
Jelleyman 5 Poor in midfield in first half; slightly better in defence in second half.
Barker 6 Unlucky not to get penalty in first half, and dispatched second half penalty well.
Birchall 6 Tried hard but not as effective as on Tuesday night.
Sub Line Up:
Dawson (for Talbot, 46) 8 Played well and helped turn the game around. Dynamic in midfield.
Uhlenbeek (for McLachlan, 46) 7 Played well in right midfield.
Rundle (for Jelleyman, 85) - Only on for 5 minutes.
Subs Not Used: Buxton, Littlejohn.
Opposition Line Up:
Talia, Senda, Easton, Johnson, Williamson, Oakes, Bloomfield (Stonebridge 68), Lee, Betsy, Tyson (Dixon 84), Mooney.
Subs Not Used: Martin, Williams, Torres.
J Moss (West Yorkshire) 5 Missed a cast iron penalty for a foul on Barker, and should have sent Senda off.

Season 05/06 Reports