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Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
FA Cup Round 1
Rotherham United  
3 - 4
 Mansfield Town
McLaren 30, 38, Talbot (og) 54
 Brown 28, Coke 37, Barker 75, 90+2
Attendance: 4089 (app 1050 from Mansfield)
Date: 5 November 2005

The Stags turned in a stunning display at League 1 Rotherham to progress into Round 2. It was also a great day for new boss Peter Shirtliff as two of his major tactical decisions worked almost instantly, the first a switch of centre half, the second a switch in formation. The new manager was forced into two changes from the side which won at Cheltenham last weekend, Jason Talbot replaced suspended Gareth Jelleyman and Stephen Dawson replaced on loan Jonathan D'Laryea who Manchester City had said could not be cup tied. Otherwise, there was a familiar, settled look to the side. Former Stags midfielder Lee Williamson, recently recovered from a sinus problem, was on the Millers bench.

Roared on by a vociferous support, it was the Stags who started much the brighter with the excellent front pairing of Brown and Barker working so well together, though despite some excellent wing play from both Uhlenbeek and Rundle, neither had a clear attempt on goal. At the other end Pressman had a comfortable save to make from 18 yards and a low right foot shot had Pressman scrambling but the ball flew wide of the far post. Just before the half hour the Stags took the lead and it was a beautifully crafted goal. Crisp passing in midfield between Buxton and Dawson eventually saw the Stags right back find Uhlenbeek, his cross was met at the near post by Brown who's deft header flew past Montgomery. However, the away fans joy was very short lived. In the very next attack the Stags failed to clear their lines, a Buxton challenge deflected fortunately into the path of McLaren but his half volley was superb and flew past Pressman. Rundle should have put the Stags back ahead, put clean through by a slide rule Barker pass his left foot shot was brilliantly tipped past the post by Montgomery. However, the Stags were soon back ahead with an element of controversy. Uhlenbeek put a ball in from the right which was headed only as far as Coke, his header from 10 yards crept into the corner of the net with Millers defender appealing for offside against Barker. Clearly Barker was in an offside position, but did not touch the ball which can be the only reason he was not flagged - had I been a Millers fan I would have been unhappy, but if the rules are that you must touch the ball to be offside then Barker wasn't. Oddly, just a minute later Brown was given offside when he didn't touch the ball!! Sadly for the Stags, once again they were unable to hold on to the lead, McLaren again hitting an unstoppable shot from 20 yards past the helpless Pressman. It was about now the referee began sending his Christmas cards out early, I lost count of how many he booked but every challenge appeared to be met with a card - it was a shame because this was an excellent cup tie.

Half time 2-2

The 2nd half began much quieter for the Stags and for the first time in the match the home side were on top. On 52 minutes the home side were ahead for the first time. A right wing corner flew over a static Pressman and Talbot could do nothing but turn the ball into his own net. The goal will be credited against Talbot, but once again the error was Pressman's, the ball bounced a yard from goal, where was the keeper? Clearly things were not going as planned, Hjelde was often caught out due to his lack of pace and after being booked for a succession of fouls, was rightly replaced by Day. Suddenly the Stags looked more solid and more threatening from their own set pieces, Day giving the Rotherham centre halves a tough time in the air. Indeed, from one Day headed Brown should have scored, but his shot flew over the bar. Hard to say from our angle if the ball was going in from Day's powerful header, but Brown should have brought the Stags level. Shirtliff made a further switch, replacing Talbot with Birchall which saw the Stags switch to 3 at the back, Buxton joining Day and Baptiste at centre half. This bold move worked almost instantly, Birchall did well on the Stags right and knocked in a perfect cross for Barker to blast home. Day, who up to now had made an impressive entry to the game, blotted his copy book was a weak back-pass, Pressman making some amends for his earlier error with a good save at the feet of Butler. Meanwhile, former Stag Williamson was introduced to a chorus of boos, markedly different from the ovation Barker received from the home fans just before kick-off. It was end to end stuff, either side could have won the game in the last ten minutes and with the referee booking anyone that moved, it was also inevitable that someone would walk. In the end as Keane and Uhlenbeek had already been booked, it was no surprise when they clashed on the right both were sent off, but the straight red card given to both was symptomatic of a referee who started the game well, but lost control. Uhlenbeek, clearly aggrieved at the straight red card, had to be restrained and lead off the field. I've no idea how many cards were handed out, but there were very few bad challenges in what was a full-blooded but fair cup tie. As Stags fans contemplated a replay at Field Mill, Richie Barker netted a winner against his former club. Coke headed the ball back into the Millers area after a poor clearance from Gilchrist, Barker nipped in just ahead of Montgomery to volley home and send the Stags contingent wild. A last minute Millers free kick blazed over the bar signalled the end and great celebrations as the Stags had made it to Round 2.

So a superb cup tie, full-blooded and full of chances and one the Stags deserved to win. Some excellent performances throughout the side though still a few questions defensively. It was also a good day for Peter Shirtliff, his tactical decisions made during the game worked though I still think Day should play ahead of Hjelde and the goalkeeper just does not command his area. Barker and Brown were once more a handful and Jake Buxton had a fine game at full-back and when switched to centre half. However, man of the match was Alex-John Baptiste, who was fantastic today. Final word for the supporters of MTFC, for a side 20th in the bottom division, the support given to the players, not just when ahead but also when behind, was nothing short of phenominal.

Man of the Match: Alex-John Baptiste

Report by: Rob Wheldon at Millmoor

Line Up:
K Pressman 6 Didn't claim the corner for the 3rd goal, but one fine save made amends
J Buxton 8 Excellent from Jake, solid defensively
A Baptiste 9 Back to his best, pace and some great tackling
J Hjelde 5 Struggled whenever the ball was on the ground, struggled in the air 2nd half too
J Talbot 6 Unfortunate with the own goal, did OK
G Uhlenbeek 6 Not his best game and capped it off with a sending off
S Dawson 7 Given a hard time in midfield but held his own
G Coke 5 Game passed him by somewhat and a few very loose passes
A Rundle 7 Did well first half, quieter 2nd half
R Barker 7 Not having the best game, but scored two!!
S Brown 7 Missed a sitter, but scored again and a real livewire
Sub Line Up:
Day (for Hjelde, 64) 6 Made a big difference defensively, though an error almost cost a goal
Birchall (for Talbot, 69) 7 Instant impact with the cross for the equaliser
Subs not used: White, Lloyd, Littlejohn.
Opposition Line Up:
G Montgomery, D Worrell, S Barker, P Gilchrist, P Hurst, J Mullin (L Williamson 70), P McLaren, G Leadbitter (A Monkhouse), M Keane, M Butler, D Burton
Subs: N Cutler, C Murdock, M Newsham.
D Drysdale 5 Had a decent 1st half, too many cards in the 2nd

Season 05/06 Reports