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Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 0
 Oxford United
Reet 84
Attendance: 3480 (701 from Oxford)
Date: 1 April 2006

The Stags assured virtual safety and an outside stab at the play-offs after a hard-fought win over strugglers Oxford. Central defender Rhys Day failed a late fitness test so Alex-John Baptiste returned to partner Hjelde. Jelleyman was also on the injured list and so Wilson dropped to left back to allow Rundle to come in on the left wing. The only surprising change was the decision to leave Dawson on the bench and bring in Coke into the centre of the Stags midfield.

The first half was a pretty scrappy, untidy affair which the visitors probably just about had the better of. The only action worthy of note was a rather theatrical dive by Reet in the penalty box which was waived away and a terrific piece of defending by Baptiste who used his pace to clear a very dangerous counter attack by N'Toya. Pressman came to the Stags rescue midway through the half. Basham broke through the Stags rearguard but Pressman came to the edge of the area and blocked the strikers shot with his feet. However, moments later Pressman had a little fortune when he got nowhere near a left wing cross but was relieved to see Basham head over. It was a poor first half, the Stags looked disjointed and too often passes went astray.

Half Time 0-0

In the opening minute of the 2nd half the Stags almost conceded - Hjelde dwelt far too long on the ball inside his own area and was dispossesed by N'Toya, however, his attempt on goal was deflected wide for a corner which was gathered by Pressman. The Stags stopper was again involved just before the hour, making a superb save from N'Toya after the striker had easily beaten Hjelde to the ball. Reet, involved much more in the second half, twice tested Guatelli but twice found the Portsmouth loanee in the right place. Pressman was again called into action, this time Hargreaves let fly from 20 yards but could only hold his head in his hands as Pressman flew to his right to tip the ball past the post. Then from the corner a free header struck Pressman and fell to a Stags defender to clear. The Stags replaced the ineffective Rundle with Birchall and within a few minutes the sub thought he had broken the deadlock. A fine cross from the right by Coke was met by Birchall but much to the Stags players amazement the offside flag was raised, against who nobody is too sure, but it certainly didn't look like it was Birchall. Just seconds later the same Assistant gave a ridiculous offside decision against Barker, who was clearly walking back and not involved in play - Uhlenbeek was booked for his protests. However, the official's mixed afternoon took a turn for the better from a Stags perspective. Uhlenbeek hit a fine cross which was headed back towards goal by Barker where Reet headed goalwards. It looked from my angle that Guatelli had managed to palm the ball away before it crossed the line, but the Assistant flagged to give the goal. Twice in the same end the Stags have been fortunate with goal-line decisions, against Northampton a ball clearly over the line wasn't given - I guess we are due a few bad ones now!! Oxford players were clearly annoyed at the decision, Guatelli was booked and a couple of Oxford fans who were clearly devoid of brain cells decided it would be a good idea to run onto the pitch. This lead to more Oxford "supporters" racing down to the corner to confront home supporters and lead to a 4 minute delay before the match could restart. Eventually, with the idiots removed, the match was able to restart and Reet almost made it two when he hit a close range shot against the outside of the post.

All in all a below par performance but a good result which just about assures the Stags status in League 2 and gives them just a slight sniff of the play-offs. Uhlenbeek did well on the right, putting in some telling crosses and Reet had a good 2nd half after a rather poor first 45 minutes (he was not on his own!!). Coke and Rundle, such talented players, again disappointed. Baptiste was his usual excellent self but man of the match for several excellent saves was Kevin Pressman.

Man of the Match: Kevin Pressman

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pressman 9 Excellent display and some truly outstanding saves at crucial times
Buxton 5 Poor distribution marred a defensively sound game
Baptiste 8 His pace helped out the Stags many times
Hjelde 5 Caught in possession and almost cost his side a goal, good in the air, too slow on the deck
Wilson 7 Accomplished display, though not involved as much as he could
Uhlenbeek 7 Decent display from Gus, some dangerous crosses
D'Laryea 6 Hard working display but must improve his passing
Coke 5 Barely got into the game at all and seemed frightened to shoot
Rundle 5 Like Coke, struggled throughout
Reet 7 Poor first half, big improvement in the second half, needs to shed some weight in the summer and really needs to stop diving
Barker 6 The usual powerhouse display up front without ever really threatening to score
Sub Line Up:
Birchall (for Rundle, 64) 7 Quite lively on the left
Subs not used: White, Jacobs, Dawson, Arnold.
Opposition Line Up:
A Guatelli, B Quinn, C Willmott, L Mansell, J Dempster, C Hargreaves, J Smith, J Brooks (45 W Goodhind) , L Horsted (73 S Gemmill) , S Basham (73 T Sills) , T N'Toya. Subs: B Turley, L Roget
Dedman 4 Pretty dreadful

Season 05/06 Reports