{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca Cola League 2
Notts County  
2 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Palmer 43, Chillingworth 76
 Wilson 61, Barker 64
Attendance: 9779 (3743 from Mansfield)
Date: 4 March 2006


Svante Bernhard at Meadow Lane

The Stags followed up their unbeaten February with another game unbeaten, their first in March. Despite being 1-0 down at half-time following a Palmer strike just before the interval, the Stags turned the game around on the hour mark with two goals within two minutes. The usual introduction of Simon Brown proved fruitful. But County equalized through sub Chillingworth fourteen minutes from time with a simple tap-in. And in injury time, Giles Coke was unlucky not to be a derby hero, as his shot hit the post after having rounded ex-Stag goalie Pilkington.

Mansfield Town had two players back in action after serving suspensions. In came Jelleyman and Coke, on the bench went Uhlenbeek and Rundle, the latter not coming on at all, while Notts County, having lost their last five league games, fielded ex-Stag goalie Kevin Pilkington, who was greeted with boos fram the Stags faithful every time he touched the ball. The reasons for that were obvious, as Pilkington was involved in the challenge in which Chris Beardsley broke his leg at Field Mill on August Bank Holiday Monday.

The Stags had the better of the first chances. After just one minute, Barker shot wide. Loanee Wilson did the same a couple of minutes later. The rest of the first half was a scrappy affair with few chances for either side. Derby nerves jangling? On 19 minutes, Reet fouled Pilkington inside the area and was yellow-carded by Premiership ref Walton, who later in the game missed some free-kicks which should have gone in Stags’ favour.

Just when the first half seemed to end goal-less, disaster struck. After too many high balls and not-so-good clearances, Palmer curled a shot from 25 yards giving Pressman absolutely no chance. Just before the goal, County were forced into a substitution, Dadi, having received a couple of knocks in the first half and limped off injured and was replaced by Chillingworth. It proved to be County’s best substation.

HT 1-0

In recent games, the introduction of Simon Brown has proved very vital in turning the fixtures in favour of the Stags. It proved fruitful at home to Wrexham a fortnight ago as well as it did at Torquay last Saturday. And the massive following of Stags faithful (even though the official figure was 3743, there were more than 4000 Stags inside situated at the Kop end) simply couldn’t wait for Brown to enter Meadow Lane. But before he did that, the Stags had already made a substation. Dawson was replaced by Uhlenbeek, who, too, was to make an impact on the game. A few minutes after Uhlenbeek coming on, the Stags survived a scare. Sheridan, one of the best County players on the day, pulled the ball back to Chillingworth, who shot under the bar, but Pressman tipped over for a corner. Enter minute 57. And the disappointing Reet was subbed for Simon Brown – and every Stags fan got to their feet as the move was announced. Now the Stags weren’t to be denied for much longer with Brown making an instant impact on the attack, his pace being far too much for the County defence. Chillingworth conceded a foul on Hjelde, and Buxton fed Brown. Latter tried to find Barker, but Brown was able to find Wilson. The Everton loanee (will the loan deal be extended?) was on target and his left-foot shot slid under Pilkington for his first Stags goal, sparking wild celebrations. For Wilson, it was coming as he had minutes before created two great chances. First a shot being tipped over by Pilkington, secondly from the following corner, feeding Buxton, whose shot was blocked by County’s Kelvin Wilson.

The hordes of Stags fans had barely gotten down to their seats, before the next strike came. Once again it was followed by a free-kick. This time around, Ullathorne with Premiership experience from Norwich and Leicester a decade ago, fouled Uhlenbeek. Wilson crossed into the area, where Baptiste, excellent as usual, towered and headed onto Barker. The Stags’ main danger man guessed correctly with his head and nodded home from close range for goal number twenty of the campaign. No wonder why the thousand of Stags fans went wild – and much more than that. A second successive Stags League win at Meadow Lane was in sight.
On 72 minutes, Coke had a penalty appeal turned down, apparently having been tripped by Palmer. Coke was yellow-carded for dissent in that sequence. County were forced to up the derby if they were to avoid their sixth successive league defeat. After having forced several corners, the Magpies got their equalizer. But it was a soft one. Sheridan crossed onto Chillingworth, who tapped in from close range. In this situation, Pressman should have done better.

Now, both sides went on to get maximum points and the game could have gone either way. With three minutes remaining, Kelvin Wilson fouled Coke on the edge of the penalty area, but outside, and was rightly booked. And in the first minute of three minutes’ added time, Coke was so close, so close, to be a derby hero. Uhlenbeek made a breakaway and set up Coke nicely. Having rounded Pilkington, Coke was very unlucky to see his shot hit the post with the empty net gaping. And in the final minute of stoppage time, Crooks volleyed over the last County chance.

Now the Stags are six league games unbeaten, their best run in one year and a half, and are eight points ahead of the drop zone. And the pleasing fact is that the Stags have scored twice in each of their last five fixtures. In the last three, the introduction of Simon Brown has proved vital. Credit, though, to Notts County, for presenting a great playing surface considering the fact that half of Saturday’s League Two programme was called off due to frozen pitches and a bitter cold. Quite a difference to the pitch at Torquay one week earlier, Meadow Lane being many, many Swedish miles better than Plainmoor.

The first half was a bit scrappy, the second much more entertaining – and in the end, a draw was a fair result. The introduction of Simon Brown added spice to the Stags attack and it was easy to see why the strike force of Brown and Barker have contributed to lots of Stags goals this term. But several midfield battles were lost. Still, the Stags may move further up the table. And the next clash will be at home to Boston next Saturday. My man of the match is undoubtedly Simon Brown. For reasons why, see above.

Man of the match: Simon Brown

Report by: Svante Bernhard at Meadow Lane

Line Up:
Pressman 6 – Could have taken the second goal, otherwise ok
Buxton 7 – Some decent actions in the air
Baptiste 8 – Solid as usual, set up the Stags’ second goal
Hjelde 7 – Solid display, fouled before the Wilson strike
Jelleyman – 7 Good defensive actions, did ok
Dawson 6 – Faded a while before being subbed
Coke 8 – Unlucky to hit the post in injury time
D'Laryea 5 – Not one of his best games
Wilson 8 – Scored his first stags goal, solid in midfield
Barker 7 – Sometimes out of the game, but headed home the vital second goal
Reet 5 – Not at his best, booked and subbed
Sub Line Up:
Uhlenbeek (for Dawson, 52) 7 – Some good challenges after coming on
Brown (for Reet, 57) 9 – Changed the game definitely, dangerous
Lloyd (for Wilson, 81) – Not on long enough to be rated
Subs not used: White, Rundle.
Opposition Line Up:
K Pilkington, N Doyle, J Baudet, K Wilson, R Ullathorne (69 L McMahon) , D Pipe, M Edwards, L Crooks, C Palmer, J Sheridan, E Dadi (40 D Chillingworth). Subs: S Marshall, B O'Callaghan, N Sissoko.
Peter Walton (Northamptonshire) 6 – Missed a couple of free-kick decisions, should have done better for a Premiership ref

Season 05/06 Reports