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Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
FA Cup Round 3
Newcastle United  
1 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Shearer 80
Attendance: 41,459 (5500 from Mansfield)
Date: 7 January 2006


Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at St James Park

Mansfield Town were knocked out of the FA Cup by a late Alan Shearer goal in front of a crowd of 41,459 with 5500 travelling Stags fans at St James Park, this afternoon. The Stags fans were in good voice throughout, and had every reason to be proud of a brilliant performance from their team, in a game where you would not have known which were the Premiership team and which were the League Two strugglers. In the end it took a clinical finish from Shearer to separate the teams after 80 minutes to give Newcastle a win they did not deserve.

The Stags started the more confident of the two teams and as early as the third minute, Rundle crossed from the left but it was just too high for Barker at the far post, who headed well wide. With the vociferous Stags fans behind them, the Stags continued to press forward and two minutes later, Dawson fed Barker in the box, who just lost out to Shay Given, who was injured in the process. Sensible refering by D'Urso saved Barker from a booking.

Newcastle's first reply was on 7 minutes when Luque cut in from the left but only hit the side-netting. Two minutes later Newcastle won the first corner of the game on the left, but Baptiste cleared very well. On 15 minutes, Newcastle got behind Jelleyman down the right hand side, but the resulting cross was headed clear by Day, who was looking very confident.

On 17 minutes, the Stags best chance of the first half came. An outstanding Rundle driving run through the middle resulted in him feeding Russell, whose first time shot was just outside the box was blocked low down by Given. Only a minute later Uhlenbeek's cross from a short corner fell to Coke, who just missed the target on the left from 20 yards.

On 24 minutes, more excellent play by Rundle, keeping possession under great pressure, led to Barker just shooting wide. A minute later, Rundle again drove through the middle and was only stopped when brought down just outside the box.

The Stags were clearly on top at this stage but were just lacking the killer finish.

However the Stags were saved on 29 minutes, against the run of play, when a goalbound shot was blocked by Baptiste on the 6-yard line. On 32 minutes, a Stags free-kick by the right hand corner flag, was fed by Rundle to Uhlenbeek, whose shot flew just wide of the left post.

On 36 minutes, Shearer won a doubtful free-kick just outside the box, which was deflected for a corner, from which Day again headed imperiously clear. On 41 minutes, Stags fans' hearts were in their mouths as Day chose a back-pass to Pressman from the corner flag but his luck was in and Pressman cleared the danger.

On 43 minutes, Barker broke clear on the right hand side and went down under pressure in the box. But Stags won neither the penalty nor a corner. From our vantage point at the far end, it did not look like a penalty.

On the stroke of half-time, the irrepressible Rundle, had a shot deflected for a corner on the left. This was eventually played to the far post, where it eluded Buxton by inches.

Half time 0-0

It had been a first half that the Stags had much the better of, restricting Newcastle to one blocked shot. Day and Baptiste were very strong at the back. Dawson and Coke were bossing the midfield, and Rundle was on fire. Only the final touch was missing.

The Stags best chance of the game occurred in the first minute of the second half. Barker nutmegged the Newcastle defender, fed Uhlenbeek, whose first time cross found Rundle, unmarked, just inside the box on the left hand side. Rundle's sweetly struck right-foot shot was well beaten out by Given, and cleared to safety.

Newcastle responded almost immediately with their best move of the game, with Carr driving just over. Shortly afterwards, Boumsong's tame header was easily saved by Pressman.

The Stags were under pressure now as the home side started to play much better than they had done in the first half. But the Stags held out well, and two quick attacks came to nothing when Rundle and then Buxton's final balls were not good enough.

Jelleyman was pressing forward well, and on 66 minutes, a deep cross to the far post was expertly taken off Barker's head by the impressive Given. Three minutes later Jelleyman did great work at the other end with a fantastic block to save a certain goal.

On 71 minutes, a free kick from Newcastle from just outside the box had the Newcastle fans on their feet but the ball had just cleared the Stags bar by inches.

At this point the tiring Russell was replaced by Birchall, but Newcastle almost scored immediatley afterwards when a cross-shot from the left seemed to catch Pressman by surprise, but he scrambled to collect the ball.

On 77 minutes, Birchall's fresh legs allowed him to chase down a long ball which forced Given out of his box to head clear under considerable pressure. The ball to fell to Dawson 40 yards out, with the goal empty, but his connection was hopeless and a great chance had gone begging.

Uhlenbeek was replaced on 79 with the young Nathan Arnold coming on.

But unfortunately Newcastle scored the match-winning goal within a minute. Luque latched onto Solano's pass taking defenders with him, and did a clever backheel into the path of Shearer, who lashed the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net from 8 yards. The goal equalled the all-time Newcastle record held by Jackie Milburn. The home fans and players went wild, as much from relief as excitement.

To their great credit, the Stags fans replied with great support, and the Stags continued to play the excellent football they had been playing, and eventually forced a corner on the right. This was whipped in by Rundle but was just too high for Baptiste, who couldn't get over it and headed it over the bar.

This proved to be the Stags last throw of the dice, and after 2 added minutes, with Stags on the attack and Coke about to shoot from distance, the referee blew for time.

So, the Stags are out of Europe at last, but this was a brilliant performance to send the massive contingent from Nottinghamshire home feeling rightly proud of their side. What now needs to happen is for this effort and skill to be replicated in the league, to get them clear of the relegation zone, which even before today was the clear priority. The £200,000 plus windfall for the chariman from today's game must now be used to strengthem the squad during the transfer window. There can be no legitimate excuses if this does not happen.

Man of the match: Adam Rundle

Report by: Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at St James Park

Line Up:
Pressman 7 One or two good saves in 2nd half after a quiet first half.
Buxton 8 Brilliant defending, very strong, and did well going forward.
Baptiste 8 Looked very comfortable against a Premiership side - could do this every week.
Day 9 Outstanding. Had Shearer in his pocket for 79 minutes.
Jelleyman 8 Excellent going forward in support of Rundle. Generally defended well though caught out of position a couple of times.
Uhlenbeek 7 Played well until he tired and started losing the ball.
Dawson 8 Tireless, non-stop and terrific performance. Should have done better with empty net from 40 yards.
Coke 8 Some excellent flashes, missed a good chance in the first half.
Rundle 9 Best player on the pitch. Kept running at defence and getting past them; so unlucky not to score on 2 occasions.
Russell 7 His best game for the Stags, but shot shy.
Barker 8 Great target man; held the ball up well. No clearcut chances.
Sub Line Up:
Birchall (for Russell, 72) 7 Created one chance for Dawson with speed and strength. Did well.
Arnold (for Uhlenbeek, 79) - Chased the ball well; good pace.
Subs not used: White, Hjelde, McLachlan.
Opposition Line Up:
Given, Carr (Ramage 58), Bramble, Boumsong, Babayaro, Brittain (Chopra 64), Clark, N'Zogbia, Solano, Shearer, Luque (O'Brien 86).
Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper.
Andy D'Urso 8 Handled the game calmly with no cards being brandished, in what was a game played in excellent spirit.

Season 05/06 Reports