{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
1 - 1
 Carlisle United
Barker 63
 Hawley 90+2
Attendance: 4488 (1592 from Carlisle)
Date: 22 April 2006

Well it was supposed to be the day Field Mill turned Cumbrian, however, in the end probably less than 1,500 Carlisle supporters ventured south to see if their club could win the point that would give them promotion. Ironic that it was almost 4 years to the day that the Stags gained promotion with a 2-0 win at Field Mill. With 2,500 empty West Stand seats staring on and displaced season ticket holders wondering why they had lost their seats, the Stags were forced into several changes from the Easter Monday defeat at Barnet. Jason White was given his chance in goal, Callum Lloyd started the game on the left of midfield, Gus Uhlenbeek came back in on the right hand side of midfield, Rhys Day came in at centre back allowing Alex-John Baptiste to move to right back and Simon Brown began up front. For the Cumbrians two former Stags returned to Field Mill, Kevin Gray and Adam Murray.

Carlisle began the stronger and came close twice with headers, one from Hawley just missing White's far post. At the other end Brown squandered the Stags best early chance, put through on the left he decided to shoot from an acute angle when Barker and Dawson were free in the middle, Brown's shot was deflected wide for a corner. Just past the twenty minute mark their were Carlisle shouts for a penalty when Hawley went down under minimal contact from Baptiste whilst Bridges mis-hit a cross which had White anxious as the ball drifted just over the bar. The rest of the half was pretty scrappy, the Stags were careless in possession, too often the final ball went astray and delivery from set pieces was abysmal. However, the Stags did look very solid at the back, with Day in particular making an impressive return.

Half Time 0-0

Following the Cantamus Choir miming a U2 song it was back to the action for the second half, it had to be better than the opening 45 minutes - and it was. Brown's pace got him past his marker but he fell under pressure and his protests were rightly dismissed. The Stags then enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure, first Wilson saw his attempted cross blocked and go wide for a corner which Westwood grabbed at the second attempt, then moments later Barker just failed to get his head to a Dawson corner, won by Brown. The Stags were hit with an injury blow just on the hour. Hjelde, in possession at the back appeared to pull up with a hamstring strain, he kicked the ball out and fell in agony a few yards from the touchline. Bizarrely, the referee insisted he roll off the pitch, Hjelde tried to struggle off but was clearly in a lot of pain and stayed where he was, the referee decided the game should continue with Hjelde still on the pitch still untreated. Wilson was booked for his protests. Hjelde eventually hobbled away to be replaced by Jacobs, Baptiste moving to centre half to allow Jacobs to play right back. Moments later Bridges lay injured yards away from the goal-line, this time the referee allowed the physio on the pitch, needless to say this provoked anger from the Stags players and supporters. Indeed, the injury to Bridges was far less serious and after a very short spell of treatment he was able to continue. However, the Stags fans anger turned to joy on 63 minutes when Brown pulled the ball back for Barker to slide home his 23rd goal of the season. Brown was replaced by Arnold a few minutes after the goal. Former Stags centre half Kevin Gray almost pulled the visitors level, a left wing corner was flicked on to the back post but the veteran defender just couldn't direct the ball goalwards and his header flew wide. Stags pacey young sub Arnold then broke clear and put in a fine lob which beat Westwood but sadly for the Stags also beat the crossbar, the ball landing on the top of the net. Baptiste, who had been struggling for a while with a groin injury, was replaced by Russell with Stags skipper Barker dropping to centre back. Arnold and Russell then combined brilliantly to create a great chance for Arnold, however, instead of lifting the ball over the advancing Westwood he chose power and the ball flew over the bar. Carlisle laid siege on the Stags goal as we entered injury time and after shots from Hawley and Bridges were well saved by White, Hawley fired home from short range to send the Cumbrian fans delerious.

The visitors probably shaded the first half, but the Stags were the better side in the second half and missed a couple of excellent chances to wrap up the game. Rhys Day made a strong return to the side and Nathan Arnold really caught the eye as a late sub despite the great chance he missed. Jason White had a very solid game, his catching was flawless and he made a couple of excellent saves. However, once again Man of the Match was a relatively easy task, Barker held the line well when the Stags were struggling, he then put his side ahead and ended the game as a centre half. He has had a superb season, who knows where we'd be without him!!

Finally, congratulations to Carlisle. They have overcome a whole raft of problems and have pulled through and will now deservedly be playing League 1 football next season. A little ambition is all it takes, Stags fans will hope that this ambition might hit the East Midlands this summer!!

Man of the Match: Richard Barker

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
White 7 Didn't put a foot wrong and some fine saves
Baptiste 7 Did well at right back, soldiered on as long as he could with an injury
Day 7 Very good display from Rhys, powerful in the air
Hjelde 7 Very solid, handled Bridges and Hawley well
Wilson 6 Unlike him to be wasteful in possession, but defended well
Uhlenbeek 6 When he got forward looked a threat, but didn't get forward enough
D'Laryea 6 Just about held his own in midfield
Dawson 6 Like D'Laryea had a tough battle in midfield
Lloyd 6 Looked very much out of position on the left, but never stopped working for the team
Barker 8 Lead the line superbly, scored again and then stepped in at centre half where he also did well
Brown 7 Created the goal and looked a threat, though when through on the left should have crossed instead of shooting
Sub Line Up:
Jacobs (for Hjelde, 61) 6 Looked a little shaky
Arnold (for Brown, 66) 7 Very lively, his pace caused real problems, but did miss a glorious chance
Russell (for Baptiste, 77) 7 Like Arnold, impressed when he came on
Subs not used: Pressman, Birchall.
Opposition Line Up:
K Westwood, P Arnison, P Murphy, K Gray (78 G Murray) , Z Aranalde, C Billy, A Murray (82 S Grand) , C Lumsdon, K Hawley, D Holmes (56 S Hackney) , M Bridges. Subs: A Williams, B McGill.
Darren Drysdale 4 Shockingly inconsistent

Season 05/06 Reports