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Season 07/08 Stagsnet Match Report
Coca-Cola League 2
Mansfield Town  
0 - 4
 Jones 26, 56, Le Fondre 46, Howe 66.
Attendance: 2,351 (373 from Rochdale)
Date: 8 March 2008

Martin Shaw and sw19Stag at Field Mill


Mansfield Town were hammered 4-0 at home by Rochdale this afternoon. After the game as we waited for the post match press conference, Billy Dearden walked past us and was led into a meeting with Stephen Booth and James Derry. Ten minutes later, the press were ushered into a room where we met Stephen Booth and James Derry. Stephen Booth announced that Billy Dearden was leaving the club by mutual consent with immediate effect. James Derry gave his thanks for the work that Billy had done, and Stephen Booth added that they hoped to announce a successor before Tuesday’s game. Full audio and photographs to follow around 9pm. A few minutes after the press conference had finished, Billy Dearden emerged and got into his car saying that he didn’t really want to talk about it until Monday. He looked stunned and upset and drove off, stopping his car and winding his window down to talk to Matt Hamshaw who was the only player in the car park at that time. Moments later, Dearden left the car park. As we went back into the club offices and played out some of the press conference on tape, Paul Holland came in and listened to it briefly, and was visibly shocked by the news and upset.

Full audio and photographs from Stephen Booth and James Derry press conference here

Back to the game. Well the Stags were not too bad in the first half, but a bad mistake by Jelleyman gifted Rochdale a cheap goal they didn’t really deserve. The second half however saw a complete capitulation by a team that showed no idea, no toughness, no resilience, no tactics, and very little skill. In short the second half was pathetic, to quote James Derry in the press conference. Rochdale couldn’t believe their luck coming out to face practically no opposition, and with Adam Rundle, Le Fondre, Howe and Higginbottom embarrassing the Stags defence time and again, they scored three and squandered several more very good chances. By the end the ground had half-emptied and the players left to a chorus of boos and chants of Dearden Out. The rest as they say is history.

Billy Dearden brought in Alex John-Baptiste after an injury lay-off since December, and Stephen Dawson also returning from illness, to replace Wood and Jon D’Laryea who dropped to the bench. Mullins moved to right back. Rochdale had Nathan D’Laryea on their bench and before the game the two twins lined up on the pitch for photos. On an overcast and windy afternoon, the game started slowly and it soon became clear that the wind was not going to offer either time an advantage. The opening 15 minutes were quiet and the first chance of the game fell on 15 minutes to Briggs whose shot was blocked after Hamshaw’s run and a one-two with Mullins. A minute later, Dale had their first chance when Howe shot wide. On 18, Atkinson made a good run forward and passed to Hamshaw whose cross disappointingly hit the first defender.

Out of the blue the Stags were behind on 26 minutes. Jelleyman tried to shepherd a ball out for a goalkick but Higginbottom nicked the ball off him and Howe crossed for the unmarked Gary Jones to fire into the net from close range.

On 29 minutes, the Stags nearly equalised as Hamshaw’s corner was met by Briggs’ header that was cleared off the line just inside the right post. After a scrappy period, Rochdale broke on 44 minutes and a cross from the left found Howe who headed wide as Jelleyman astonishingly didn’t jump to challenge for the header. On 45 minutes, Briggs shot wide from 22 yards, a similar position to the goal at Wrexham, but this time it just missed Boulding’s outstretched foot.

Half time 0-1

D’Laryea replaced Jelleyman at the start of the second half. Jelleyman had been poor in the first half, but also may have been injured after a clash of heads. Briggs moved to right back and Buxton to left back.

Within a minute it was 2-0. The impressive Adam Rundle crossed from the left and somehow Le Fondre was able to squeeze the ball home past Muggleton in front of Baptiste from an almost impossible angle.

Stags were all over the place as Rochdale missed a couple of chances, and on 56 minutes it was 3-0. Buxton gave away an unnecessary free kick on the angle of the penalty box. Rundle’s kick was cleared to the edge of the box where Jones fired low into the bottom right corner of the net.

Rochdale were now running rings around Mansfield. On 62 there was a rare Stags break and Dawson did well to get to the byeline to cross for Louis who headed wide. Arnold replaced Baptiste on 64 as the Stags went to three at the back.

Within 2 minutes it was 4-0. Howe was put through by a flicked header and looked a yard offside. But he ran at goal from 45 yards, rounded Muggleton and slotted into the empty net.

Wood replaced Briggs on 68. Rundle forced Muggleton into a great save and Louis was lucky to escape with a yellow card after a rash challenge. On 76, Boulding scooped a shot over the bar from 6 yards after the ball rebounded off Atkinson when it seemed easier to score. On 81 minutes Dale missed a sitter. Rundle crossed from the left, Le Fondre missed it and Muirhead hit the inside of the post from 6 yards. On 85 came a moment that summed the Stags up. Louis had a shot from slightly left of centre, 6 yards out, and it went out for a throw-in on the right.

So a disastrous afternoon for the Stags and one which saw Billy Dearden pay the ultimate price. It was a sad occasion as Dearden has been a great servant to the club over many many years. Ultimately having to do the job with one hand tied behind his back proved just too difficult. Good luck to the next man in charge - he’s going to need it. The Stags are now in a very perilous position, to state the bleeding obvious.

Man of the match: Alex John-Baptiste

Report by: Martin Shaw and sw19stag at Field Mill

Line Up:
Muggleton 6 Not responsible for any of the goals.
Mullins 6 Did ok at right back and then in central defence.
Buxton 5 Gave away free-kick for third goal. Poor.
Baptiste 6 Looked ok considering he’s been out for a while.
Jelleyman 5 Horrible error for first goal. Went off at half time.
Hamshaw 5 Lacked confidence running at the defence.
Briggs 5 Innocuous.
Dawson 6 Tried very hard.
Atkinson 5 Never got into the game.
M.Boulding 5 No service. Not his day.
Louis 5 Caused the defenders slight problems physically and won a few headers, but flick-ons too often directed at defenders.
Sub Line Up:
J.D'Laryea (for Jelleyman, 46) 5 A shadow of the player from last season.
Arnold (for Baptiste, 64) Had no effect on the game.
Wood (for Briggs, 68) -
Subs Not Used: White, Holmes.
Opposition Line Up:
Spencer, Kennedy, Stanton (Holness 40), McArdle, Ramsden, Rundle, Jones (Basham 69), Perkins, Higginbotham (Muirhead 70), Le Fondre, Howe. Subs Not Used: N.D'Laryea, William Buckley.
Paul Armstrong (Berkshire) 7 Handled the game well.

Season 07/08 Reports