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Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca Cola League 2
4 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Lafferty 6, Sodje 53, Clarke 58, Martis 65.
Attendance: 4282 (306 from Mansfield)
Date: 28 January 2006

So where to start this report, at the end would be better for then I wouldn't have to write about the match itself. Sadly, a match report wouldn't be a match report without talking about the match, so I guess I have to relive the abject 90 minutes once again. The Stags made several changes to the side beaten in midweek. Pressman, suffering from an injured foot was replaced by Jason White, Buxton (back injury) was replaced by Jacobs, the suspended Barker was replaced by Simon Brown and Adam Birchall started on the right in place of Gus Uhlenbeek. For those who are yet to visit the new stadium at Darlington, it is excellent and this season they have put in place a giant video screen in the corner of the away end which showed instant replays of all the key events. Great, not only do you see the calamity live, but you can then relive it moments later.

After a fairly even start the home side took an early lead, as Darlo broke at pace down the left Jacobs was caught two on one, Johnson was released and got to the byeline to knock in a cross which fell to Lafferty on the far post, he took his time (time he was given by the Stags defence) and drilled a low shot past the helpless White. The Stags tried to fight back almost instant, Birchall wriggled his way into some space but his right foot shot was well struck but well wide of Schmeical's left hand post. Darlo were next on the attack, this time the attempt was much closer, Dickman evading two challenges from Dawson and firing just wide with White desperately diving to his right. The Stags did look to have a decent penalty shout, Brown was felled inside the area as the Darlo defender failed to make any contact with the ball, however, the referee waved away the protests of Brown and Reet and gave a goal kick. Indeed, this was pretty much the way it went with the referee all afternoon. Logan then tested White who produced a fine save and White again claimed the subsequent corner confidently. As the half drew to a close the Stags almost grabbed an equaliser, a long through ball caught the defence square and Dawson ran on, beat Schmeical to the ball but the keeper managed to grab hold as Dawson tumbled - at first it looked like the keeper hadn't got the ball, but the replay showed it was actually good keeping from a youngster who impressed all afternoon.

Half Time 1-0

If the first half wasn't too bad, the second half was woeful. A warning sign should have been the acres of space Sodje had in the heart of the Stags defence, luckily he fired the ball over the bar and had been flagged marginally offside, but it was a lucky escape that the Stags failed to capitalise on. A few minutes later it was 2-0 and this was a real story of woe. Hjlede inexplicably hit an aimless pass netiher back to his keeper nor to his full-back, Sodje pounced on the loose ball and on the byeline headed goalwards. White clearly thought he was looking for a pass across the 6 yard box and allowed Sodje a gap in the near post and Sodje fired home. We only had to wait another 5 minutes before we were again looking at a replay of a Darlo goal, which came immediately after Lloyd replaced the ineffective Rundle. A corner from the right was headed down towards goal where Clarke was on hand to fire past a stranded White. As chants of Haslam Out echoed from the away end, it got even worse on 65 minutes. Given the freedom of Darlington, Martis headed past White to make it 4-0. At this stage it really did look likely to be 6 or 7. However, thankfully Darlington took a couple of their good players off and brought on ones a little less able. It also helped the Stags that they then had a player injured and played the last 15 minutes with ten men, though to be honest I didn't even know they were down to ten men until after the game. The Stags did create a few more chances as Darlo settled for just the four, but three times Reet headed weakly over the bar.

That's it.

This was poor, the Stags are lightweight and short on experienced players - they missed Barker and do miss Day in the centre of the defence. Without new blood the Stags are truly in a relegation fight, on this form I wouldn't bet against us getting out of it. Vastly more negatives than positives, but Callum Lloyd did more in 30 minutes than the other midfielders managed between them - he looked eager and certainly got his foot in. Without Baptiste, again the Stags could have conceded even more. We desperately need a new centre half to cover for Day and a strong central midfielder. Sadly, we all know who our Chairman is and will probably have to try and survive with what we have.

Man of the match: Callum LLoyd

Report by: Rob Wheldon at the TFM Arena

Line Up:
White 5 One bad error otherwise pretty solid - needs to eliminate errors if he is to become regular number one
Jacobs 5 Given a pretty tough time
Baptiste 7 At times it looked like he was the only defender we had
Hjelde 4 Woeful again, slow, at fault for the vital 2nd goal
Jelleyman 5 Weak defensively and ineffective further forward
Birchall 6 A battling performance without any real end product
Dawson 5 Tried hard but second best all game
Coke 5 Another performance lacking in impact
Rundle 4 Anonymous and rightly subbed
Brown 5 Worked really hard, but looked a little rusty
Reet 5 Missed some decent chances
Sub Line Up:
Lloyd (for Rundle, 57) 7 Got his foot in where it hurt, made a difference as soon as he entered the game
Uhlenbeek (for Dawson, 67) 5 When he got the ball, he lost it
Arnold (for Brown, 77) 5 Looked very lightweight
Subs not used: Pressman, Russell.
Opposition Line Up:
K Schmeichel, R Valentine, S Martis, M Clarke, J Kendrick, S Johnson, C Keltie (67 P Stamp) , J Dickman (68 A Peacock) , C Logan, A Sodje, K Lafferty (58 P Hopkins)
Subs: M Appleby, J Norton.
Scott Mathieson 5 A homer and as officious as usual

Season 05/06 Reports