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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Rotherham United  
3 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Bean 4, Newsham 20, Brogan 67.
 M.Boulding 76, Arnold 83.
Attendance: 3,881 (597 from Mansfield)
Date: 6 October 2007


Martin Shaw at Millmoor

An excellent last 15 minutes from Mansfield when they clawed their way back from 3-0 down to 3-2, and nearly nicked a point, should not detract from an absolutely appalling first half display when the Stags were 2-0 down and could have conceded several more.

The Stags fans were mostly in euphoric mood before the game, following the news on Friday that James Derry is buying the club from Keith Haslam, but the players hadn’t read the script and the gloom returned with a goal conceded inside 4 minutes, a start all too familiar this season. It was a first half horror show by the Stags, particularly in a defence consisting of Kitchen, Martin, Mullins and Baptiste, and they were lucky to be only two adrift at the break. A third goal midway through the second half seemed just to make matters worse as the Stags showed no signs of a fightback, but in the last 15 minutes, Mansfield played some stirring stuff and scored twice, and then came close to equalising. But another defeat, 6 on the trot in the league, and if this goes on much longer the Stags are going to need snookers.

This is our worst losing run in the League since the end of 1999-2000 season. Manager then was Billy Dearden.

Billy Dearden had to make further changes, with skipper Buxton, who finished the MK Dons game hobbling around the pitch, the latest casualty. Buxton failed a late fitness test and thus took up radio co-commentary duties that otherwise would have fallen to me. Young Ashley Kitchen, himself apparently not fully fit, was drafted in at right back, with Mullins moving to central defence (and taking the skippers arm band). Dan Martin kept his place in an unaccustomed role of left back. Muggleton had recovered from that bad knock against MK Dons to take his place between the sticks. Hamshaw was playing against the team he supported as a boy.

There was a healthy following of 600 Stags fans, though I had expected a few more given Friday’s goings-on. It didn’t take long for the familiar chant of “We want Haslam Out” to ring around, though the twist was that this time it was “We got Haslam Out”!

Mansfield started terribly with the defence all over the place as the Millers created three chances in the opening three minutes. In the fourth minute it was 1-0 and ridiculous as it may seem so early on, you could only say that the goal was coming. A corner from the right was cleared to the edge of the box and Bean’s low hard shot went through a Rotherham player’s legs 6 yards out, leaving Muggleton completely unsighted as it crashed into the net. In my opinion, you could not blame Muggleton for the goal, but some other fans disagreed.

On 6 minutes the early horror show continued as Kitchen was hopelessly outjumped by Holmes who headed just wide from the far post. Rotherham continued having half chances, but on 15 minutes came the Stags first chance as Hamshaw’s snap shot from 25 yards hit the stanchion behind the goal. A fine effort.

But it was 2-0 on 20 minutes. A cross from the left was headed back across goal by Holmes, and Newsham swept the ball on the volley into the net from 6 yards.

In a rare Stags attack, Bell shot wide after 23 minutes. Rotherham were still on top and had a number of corners but on 35 minutes Boulding was brought down after a fine run. Hamshaw took the free kick with a floater that Boulding headed just wide. Then on 40 minutes, Hamshaw’s fine cross from the right found Boulding again and his decent header was saved by the keeper, low to his left.

It had seemed like every Rotherham attack could end in a goal, and it was horrible. We were too lightweight, barely winning any headers in defence or midfield, not competing, and of course lacking a big strong number 9. Absolutely terrible.

Half time 2-0

White replaced Muggleton for the second half. Muggleton was apparently not feeling well, possibly something to do with the players in front of him during the first 45 minutes.

On 50 minutes Boulding broke from inside his own half and played a fine ball to Brown, totally unmarked. Brown fired well over the bar - a dreadful effort. Four minutes later, and with the Stags starting to look better, Boulding crossed low in for Dawson whose shot was blocked. Appeals for a penalty were turned down and rightly so. Almost immediately, Hamshaw’s cross found Mullins who did well to win a header at the far post and head back across goal but there were no Stags players to pick up the pieces.

Arnold replaced Kitchen, on 57 minutes, with Bell going to right back and Hamshaw to left midfield. A minute later, another fine Boulding run followed by a powerful low shot, but straight at the keeper.

Jason White made a great save on 64 minutes, following an impressive Millers move, as Newsham’s shot was kept out by the keeper’s legs.

But on 67 minutes it was 3-0. Newsham got in front of Bell and headed a cross over White onto the underside of the bar. The ball bounced out and Brogan headed into the empty net with no Stags defender anywhere near. On 69 minutes Dawson shot wide from the edge of the box. McAliskey replaced Hamshaw on 73 minutes. A minute later, a brilliant shot from Dawson that Millers keeper Warrington saved superbly tipped the ball away from the top left hand corner.

But from the resulting corner it was 3-1, as Boulding turned in the box and fired past the keeper from 12 yards. On 78 minutes, a fine Stags move as McAllister won the ball at the back, found Boulding, who eventually passed to McAliskey who shot just past the right post. Then Millers keeper Andy Warrington incensed the Stags fans and players alike as he accused Dawson of leaving a foot in as Dawson chased a loose ball. It was clear that Dawson had not touched the keeper. He must watch too much Champions League stuff from Scotland.

On 83 minutes, McAliskey got in a fine header at the far post from a corner but the keeper saved well. From the resulting corner it was 3-2. Brown's corner was headed down by McAliskey and Arnold turned and fired home from close range. The Stags were right back in it and now playing really well. Would it be too little too late?

On 89 minutes, White saved brilliantly at the feet of Cahill as Rotherham threatened a fourth, but the Stags were straight back on the attack as Martin’s shot was saved at the keeper’s near post, and then Dawson had the ball in the net in the final minute of stoppage time but the ref had already given a foul.

So the game ended in another defeat. The Stags are at rampant Barnet next Saturday. The run of league defeats, now standing at 6, has to be stopped immediately. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: McAliskey

Report by: Martin Shaw at Millmoor

Line Up:
Muggleton 6
Kitchen 4
Baptiste 5
Mullins 6
Martin 4
Hamshaw 6
Bell 6
McAllister 6
Dawson 7
M.Boulding 7
Brown 5
Sub Line Up:
White (for Muggleton, 46) 7
Arnold (for Kitchen, 57) 6
McAliskey (for Hamshaw, 73) 7
Subs Not Used: Holmes, Sleath.
Opposition Line Up:
Warrington, Tonge, Coughlan, Sharps, Hurst, Todd, Bean (Cresswell 72), Danny Harrison, Brogan, Newsham, Derek Holmes (Cahill 78). Subs Not Used: Annerson, O'Grady, Duncum.
David Foster (Tyne & Wear) 8 Handled the game very well.

Season 07/08 Reports