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Season 05/06 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
0 - 5
 Cheltenham Town
 Gillespie 35, Vincent 45+1, McCann 49, Bird 81 pen, Odejayi 84.
Attendance: 3728 (561 from Cheltenham)
Date: 6 May 2006


Report by Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town crashed to their heaviest defeat since September 2002 (Oldham 6-1) and their heaviest defeat at Field Mill since August 2002 (Crewe 0-5). It was a poor end to the season as Cheltenham ran riot in their build-up to the play-offs. It was a rather surreal day with owner Keith Haslam pulling out a surprise just two hours before kick-off announcing that Peter Lee would be joining the club in June as the new chairman, with Haslam himself remaining as the chief executive and managing director. It was also a surreal day in that there was huge interest in the relegation places at the bottom of the league, with Notts County going so close to the Conference, and the scores elsewhere changing constantly through the afternoon.

Stags boss Peter Shirtliff made two changes with Jacobs replacing the injured Buxton and Birchall replacing Coke, who dropped to the bench. Birchall played on the right side of midfield, while Callum Lloyd started on the left, and Dawson in the middle. Young Danny Sleath was named on the sub’s bench, a few days after signing a contract, but mystery surrounded why he then appeared in the West Stand and was replaced on the bench by Adam Rundle.

The game got off to a quiet start. The best chance arrived on 17 minutes when the Stags at last put together a good move, involving Lloyd, Dawson and Arnold, and Arnold’s cross was just too high for Barker at the far post. On 26 minutes, Dawson put in a great tackle on the halfway line, and played the ball for Barker, whose neat touch played in Arnold. Arnold ran forward but fired his effort high and wide.

But Cheltenham took the lead on 35 minutes. Bird played in Stephen Gillespie in the box. Gillespie made a great turn in the box, about 12 yards out, and sent a very weak shot which somehow squeezed past White and just inside the far post. Such was the lack of power in the shot that White would have been very disappointed to concede the goal.

On 43 minutes, Callum Lloyd had a Chris Brass moment when he tried an overhead kick and fired the ball into his own face. But unlike the Bury midfielder, Lloyd’s cock-up was in the middle of the park and did not concede a goal.

In the first minute of stoppage time, Cheltenham made it 2-0 out of the blue, thanks to a terrible error by Baptiste. Baptiste missed the ball on the halfway line and Vincent ran clear fully 40 yards before shooting under White.

Half time 0-2

It was 3-0 on 49 minutes, and this time it was a brilliant goal that the Stags could not blame themselves for. The hugely impressive Grant McCann took a short corner to Vincent who gave him a return pass on the right hand corner of the penalty area. McCann unleashed a superb left footed shot that flew into the top left hand corner of the net.

Russell and Rundle replaced Arnold and Dawson on 57 minutes. Lloyd switched from the left to the middle.

On 60 minutes, the Stags had a rare chance when, following a corner, Wilson sent a fine volley which was deflected wide. On 63 minutes Rundle sent a brilliant ball forward for Russell. But Russell’s first touch was terrible and he went too wide before sending a dreadful shot well wide. Then a Rundle cross dipped onto the roof of the net as at last the Stags stepped up a gear. On 67 minutes, the Stags had a free-kick from 30 yards. It was played sideways for Rundle to shoot. His effort was scuffed, but fell perfectly for Russell, completely unmarked 8 yards out. But somehow Russell completely missed the ball.

Uhlenbeek came on for Birchall on 68 minutes, with no positional changes. On 76 minutes, Russell had a shot into the ground and into the keeper arms.

But on 81 minutes it was 4-0. A corner to the far post was headed goalwards by Caines and it hit Day’s raised arms. The referee immediately pointed to the spot and it was probably the right decision. To great cheers from the Cheltenham fans, Bird stepped forward to take the kick. He sent White the wrong way.

On 83 minutes, Jacobs put in a good cross, but Barker headed over. Moments later, sub Odejayi, being watched by a scout from Coventry (so he told me in the bar before the game) chipped over the bar.

But it was 5-0 on 84 minutes. Odejayi broke into the Stags box, but Baptiste made his second crucial mistake and Odejayi was able to score from inside the box.

On 87 minutes, White made a great save to deny Brian Wilson and avoid a sixth goal.

The game ended in farce with stewards rugby tackling young Stags fans who tried to invade the pitch at the final whistle.

A disappointing finale and there wasn’t even the consolation of seeing Notts County relegated to the Conference. By conceding 5 goals, the Stags annoyingly dropped below Chester on goal difference. But a final position of 16th place would have been gratefully received at Christmas by all Stags fans. Now we will wait to see who stays and who goes as Shirtliff announces his retained list next week.

Man of the match: Callum Lloyd

Report by: Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
White 5 At fault for the first goal and possibly one other.
Jacobs 5 Didn’t impress.
Baptiste 5 Mistakes costs two goals. An outstanding season for Bap, but today was not his day.
Day 6 Did ok, but gave away an unnecessary penalty.
Wilson 6 Did ok.
Birchall 5 Never really got into the game.
D'Laryea 6 Sponsors’ man of the match. I thought he was average.
Dawson 6 Started very well, but got worse.
Lloyd 7 Did well especially when on left side of midfield.
Barker 6 Missed a couple of chances.
Arnold 6 A great run early on, but should have done better with the shot.
Sub Line Up:
Russell (for Arnold, 57) 5 Poor. Missed a great chance from a superb Rundle pass.
Rundle (for Dawson, 57) 7 A couple of superb passes showed what he is capable of.
Uhlenbeek (for Birchall, 68) - .
Subs Not Used: Pressman, Coke.
Opposition Line Up:
Higgs, Bell, Caines, Duff, Gallinagh, Wilson, Bird, McCann (Connolly 65), Vincent, Guinan (Odejayi 74), Gillespie (Spencer 60). Subs Not Used: Brown, Wylde.
K Hill (Hertfordshire) 7 More or less unnoticed so must have done well.

Season 05/06 Reports