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Archived News from December 2003

21st December 2003 22:18

Match Statistics (TIgers/Stags)
8 Goal Attempts 6
3 On target 2
4 Off target 4
1 Woodwork 0
5 Corners 6
10 Fouls 9
6 Offside 6

Sport First report:
thanks to Carole for the transcription:
Tigers mauled

By Craig Hemmings:

MANSFIELD Town overtook Hull here with a late goal from Neil MacKenzie in a tight top-of-the-table battle.

MacKenzie grabbed the winner within minutes remaining to claim the points for the visitors.

Hull City boss Peter Taylor was boosted by the return of striker Danny Allsopp after four games out, but the former Notts County man had to settle for a place on the bench as Taylor opted for a three-pronged attack in the form of Jason Price, Ben Burgess and Stuart Elliott.

Neither side could take a stranglehold on the game in the opening exchanges with both teams cancelling each other out.

Hull won a free-kick when David Artell saw yellow for a bad challenge on Northern Ireland international Elliott. Kevin Pilkington saved Marc Joseph's 30-yard drive, but Peter Taylor's men then won another free-kick when Price was felled by Tony Vaughan and former Scunthorpe man Andy Dawson's fierce effort deflected off the defensive wall.

Striker Iyseden Christie had Mansfield's first real effort just after the half-hour mark but he drilled over the crossbar from the edge of the area. This seemed to spark the visitors into life and Junior Mended had two great chances before the interval.

Giant Hull striker Ben Burgess then had a fine chance in first-half injury time but his fierce shot crashed back off the woodwork.

After the restart Burgess was once again denied when Pilkington pulled off a top-drawer save to prevent his powerful header from giving Hull the lead.

The impressive Williamson tried his luck from 25 yards but his drive sailed over Boaz Myhill's goal. Taylor tried to freshen things in attack by bringing on Allsopp and France, but the visitors went close again when Vaughan's long- range effort was caught by Myhill.

If any side looked like they were going to break the deadlock it was Mansfield and Hull defenders were forced to clear some penetrating crosses.

Hull were under the cosh and Mansfield pressed forward and were unlucky not to take the lead when Wayne Corden's curling shot flew over the bar.

Mansfield's resolute defence continued to frustrate the hosts, who were caught offside on several occasions, but the visitors finally got their reward when youngster MacKenzie, who came on for the injured hitman Christie, volleyed past Pilkington (Myhill) from the edge of the area.

Hull nearly grabbed a last-gasp equaliser as they pressed upfield but substitute Allsopp headed agonisingly wide off the post following a deceptive cross from Green.

CHRISTMAS came early for Mansfield Town on Saturday with Neil MacKenzie's spectacular winner earning maximum points in Saturday's 1-0 victory at promotion rivals Hull City.
There were few chances on the day, but substitute MacKenzie's 25-yard volley was the perfect match winner.
"I told Neil before he went on that if he got sight of goal to have a shot as, in those, conditions, with a greasy pitch, anything can happen, said manager Keith Curle.
"I said to John Gannon after 15 or 20 minutes that it was probably going to take a wonder goal or a blatant mistake for someone to win the game.
"We probably had a bit more of the ball than Hull in the first half, but there wasn't much goalmouth action.
"It was two teams with good footballing reputations, who have had some good results this season, testing each other out. The important thing from my point of view was making sure my players' mindset was that they believed they were capable of getting a result.
"In such a big game there was bound to be trepidation and uncertainty, so at half time I had to earn my money by keeping their belief going."
He added: "It was a good three points on a magnificent stage. It is a superb stadium and we deserve to be playing at stadiums like that. We have no need to be scared of anything.
"Our fans were absolutely magnificent from start to finish. They gave us great vocal support and really enjoyed their day out at such a great arena for football."
Curle added that Iyseden Christie had taken a hefty knock to his hip which resulted in him coming off in the second half, but hoped he would still be fit again for the visit of Rochdale on Boxing Day.
Hull manager Peter Taylor said: "I think it should have finished 0-0 to be honest.
"Mansfield are a very good side side, a very polished team who can handle the ball.
"I think they had more of the ball in midfield than us which disappoints me. But they didn't create any more chances than us.
"It was a very good strike from MacKenzie that won the game, though I am disappointed he was left unmarked.
"MacKenzie has been out the Mansfield team recently so perhaps he thought he was kicking Keith Curle to get his place back in the side when he hit it! He hit it from a long way and hit it very well too.
"I am not delighted to see we've now slipped to fifth, but there's an awful long way to go yet."
CHAD report:
SUBSTITUTE Neil MacKenzie gave Mansfield Town the perfect start to their festive fixtures with a late winner at promotion rivals Hull City on Saturday.
MacKenzie struck the only goal of a tight game five minutes from time as Stags comfortably tamed a high-flying Tigers in their own back yard, despite surviving a couple of late scares.
On a wet surface and with neither side wanting to start the festive period with a defeat, the game was never the Christmas cracker fans had hoped for.
But Mansfield rarely looked in trouble, although Ben Burgess did rattle their post in first half stoppage time.
Stags striker Christie was recalled to the side alongside Mendes with Corden dropped to the bench and Disley slotting in the left midfield berth.
Despite the heavy morning rain, which continued to fall at kick-off, the pitch was in magnificent condition for this eagerly-awaited clash with a huge following from Mansfield behind the goal making themselves heard.
Elliott made a promising run down the centre on 10 minutes only to be unceremoniously hacked down by Artell who earned himself a booking. But Joseph's free kick was tame and easy for Pilkington.
Both sides won early corners to no avail. On 14 minutes Stags won two more in succession without profit. But, as Hull broke, Hassell's backpass fell short and Pilkington had to leave his box to clear ahead of Price.
Then Green had a penalty appeal turned down as he went down under Vaughan's challenge from a flick on by Price.
It took 21 minutes for Stags to raise a real threat as Mendes turned well on the right of the box and drilled a dangerous low cross in front of goal with Disley unable to reach it.
Then, after a neat string of first time passes, Wiliamson's threat was snuffed out in the box by a timely challenge from Green.
Hull won a free kick 25 yards out but Dawson's effort was deflected wide off a team mate for a goal kick.
Stags came close on 38 minutes when Myhill lost out to Christie in a jump for the ball and Joseph had to head clear off the line before Mendes saw his follow-up blocked by Delaney.
The pace of Mendes won Stags' fourth corner and, as City laboured to get the ball clear, Williamson dinked one over the top for Christie on the penalty spot to volley the dropping ball first time wide with the keeper helpless.
Hull threatened briefly thanks to a lucky deflection which gave Green sight of goal. But an offside flag was up as he went on to force a great double save from Pilkington, blocking his first shot and smothering the follow-up.
In stoppage time Hull forced their third corner. It was swung to the near post by Keates where Burgess got a touch that came back off the foot of the far post.
But it would have been an injustice on Stags had it gone in as their comfortable, controlled first half display deserved to have them at least on level terms at the interval.
Mansfield posed the first threat of the second half as Williamson's long cross was met by Lawrence on the far side of the box with a rasping shot that struck Dawson. Lawrence screamed for a penalty but nothing was given.
Elliott then sent over a dangerous cross from the left on 52 minutes which was met with a firm header just wide by Price.
Hull's first corner of the half went straight into Pilkington's hands and, a minute later, Stags came close as Williamson made space just outside the box before firing narrowly over.
Hull made a double change on the hour with Allsopp and France entering the fray in place of Price and Keats as the Tigers tried to breath some life into their attack.
Vaughan got a 25 yard free kick on target on 62 minutes but it was always straight at Myhill.
Mansfield also made a change on 64 minutes with Christie, shaken by a challenge just before, replaced by MacKenzie with Mendes left to plough a lone furrow up front.
Pilkington failed to gather Hull's next corner but Green's far post header was wide.
Pilkington caused Stags hearts to flutter when he tried to dribble past two opponents and ended up slipping just outside his box with the ball thankfully rolling to safety.
Corden was given the last 16 minutes for the visitors in place of Disley.
There followed a good spell of Mansfield pressure, ending with a corner. That was cleared to Corden who stepped inside a defender before curling a promising finish onto the roof of the net.
City won a free kick 20 yards from goal seven minutes from time which Green curled inches over. The Tigers immediately replaced Burgess with Holt.
But it was Stags who struck five minutes from time to finally break the deadlock.
Hassell struck a free kick from the Mansfield half deep into the Hull box and it was cleared as far as MacKenzie. The substitute let fly with a rocket right foot shot which skimmed low just inside the near post from 25 yards.
It was a stunning shot and a perfect time to silence the big home crowd.
A minute from time Green crossed to the near post where Allsopp's glancing header beat Pilkington but also passed wide of the far post. And in stoppage time it took a brilliant tackle from Day to rob Allsop before he could finish.
Even deeper into added time Allsop bundled his way through the centre but Pilkington managed to get a fingertip to his low poked finish.
Hull City 0-1 Mansfield Town - match report
By National Tiger

It's been in the post, and despite the usual Christmas delays, it finally arrived today. City lose for the first time at home, a 1-0 defeat to the might of Mansfield, and duly continue their slide down the table.

Sigh… Well, that was good wasn't it? Whatever is written from here, I would suggest the prose before you, will be viewed merely as sour grapes. Apparently, no opinion will be catered for, if we don't accept a 1-0 home defeat with grace and dignity. Well, I'm bucking the trend. What I saw was a dismal game. I accept the match was not helped by poor conditions, but putting the weather to one side, it will be remembered in my eyes as the least entertaining game ever staged at The Circle. By contrast, the pre-match hype beforehand, had the game billed as a must see encounter between two attacking football teams. Forgive me, but did I miss something? Certainly, neither arrived.

In predictable away fan style these days, Mansfield conformed to the now customary 'wow' factor when visiting our humble abode. Typically giving it large in Premiership surroundings, thinking they are being original and loud, and I bet a pound to a penny that the immortal phrase 'No-one will take as many to Hull as we have' was uttered at some point in the North Stand. Boasting a magnificent army of fans (not as many as others in Division 3), minus the same amount of empty seats amazingly not snapped up in the away end, it was a big day out for our visitors. Just like it is for all the other teams that visit us these days.

Remember though, we are not a BIG CLUB, a phrase we repeatedly get rammed down our throat by all and sundry, because we are only in Division 3. Yeah right, that was the thought that had me chuckling as I surveyed our starry-eyed visitors from Nottinghamshire who made up but a fraction of the 15,005 in attendance for this 'not even a derby' run of the mill, Division 3 fixture. It had Boaz Myhill making his debut, Dawson, Delaney, Joseph and Hinds in defence, Green, Ashbee and Keates in the middle, with Elliott and Price in limbo-land between the trio of midfielders and Ben Burgess. It didn't work…

The rain lashed down, the atmosphere was muted, and Mansfield fans persisted with a ridiculous 'Yellow' chant that sounded like a wail for help, made even more absurd and nonsensical by the fact their side were actually clad in sky blue. The hosts by comparison offered precious little contribution to the acoustics, but the game before us hardly inspired us to, either. It was awful. No chance worthy of note occurred for a significant amount of time, and when the first ten minutes of the half had ebbed away, so did the Tigers for the rest of the half. Until the very last second of it anyway…

Mansfield huffed and puffed at City, but the free scoring, all action, 'see you in hell' with all guns blazing side that we are all led to believe, and the one I'm prepared to dispel the myth about, were mysteriously left on the team bus. Well, I can only assume so, because they were nowhere to be seen on the pristine pitch, at least. No doubt Keith Curle and the boys had it all cunningly worked out, and planned to precision a tactical game to trick those nasty Tigers and play a much more low key game today. Yawn… oh anyway, sorry, there was this game going on… and it's between two of the division's best, right… and… ZZZ

So let's talk about players instead. It was very hard to judge Boaz Myhill on today's showing. The guy comes across as ultra cool, calm and confident, or, no… lets not even go there just yet. If Paul Musslewhite warrants being dropped after his recent performances, then the kid is obviously going to be a legendary goalkeeping superstar one day. I'll reserve judgement on that one for now. I remember writing similar verses regarding Damien Delaney after his debut at Plainmoor last season. Since that heady day, Damien has gone from zero to hero in many people's eyes. Playing in his rightful centre back berth today, the lad certainly did not deserve to be on the losing side.

Delaney was the one bright spot amongst a dark and dreary day for the Tigers. He was calm, re-assuring, and a real pleasure to watch. It's not rocket science. Just play players in their natural position, and hey! It really works! And contrary to popular belief, it's not all done by mirrors… Does anyone still shudder at those left back, centre midfield, stick him were you can, days? You wouldn't believe it is the same player. But why did it take two thirds of a season to work it out though? Dear me… Delaney was easily the man of the match for my money, and then some. You can see why the visitors got a tad miffed when we signed him while out on loan at Field Mill.

I suppose I should mention the Mansfield chance that scooted across goal with comfortably a yard to spare for the Tigers, and harmlessly rolled away from City's goal line, and the Ben Burgess header that crashed against the base of the post right on half time, but it was terrible fare to enjoy in reality. A point is enough I kept hearing during the interval. Is it? Are we going up this term, or are we just pretending for the eighth season running? A point will not be enough in my eyes. By my reckoning, Peter Taylor at half time, had to start earning his corn. The comfort zone for Taylor was, it couldn't possibly be any worse than the preceding 45 minutes.

The second half panned out much the same as the first, chiefly, non-descript drivel. The discussion around me was, exactly who was enjoying the best of it. The argument was widely rounded and agreed upon that, Mansfield had 'shaded' it. A very grey area of conclusion, and the pun is fully intended. What is the definition of 'shading' it? Having more possession? Having more shots on goal? Having more on target, even? Territorially winning the game? Well? The upshot in my eyes is, when you shove it all in the mixer, what comes out at the other end, is an enormous pile of footballing dross. In fact, I'm watching it right now! That's incredible! This game, so emphatically proved the case.

The game was coming to a close, dragging its feet along the way, and angling towards the final whistle when all that discussion was to be put on ice, for the vast majority anyway, but not by me, oh no. The defining moment of the game had now, uninvitedly I might add, arrived. Neil Mackenzie became 'super sub' and out of nothing, hit a 25 yd daisy cutter goal wards. Through a forest of legs, and beyond a surely unsighted Myhill, it swept into the bottom corner of the net. 1-0 Mansfield, and just six paltry minutes remained on the clock. The scales of justice had deemed Mansfield now undeniably had 'shaded' it. And, apparently, if you shade it, then that by all accounts, now decrees a team warrants all three points and a fully deserved win. Really? Dear me… sigh…

It is with the uppermost irony that not quite as good a super sub, Danny Allsopp, returning after a month on the sidelines, almost matched his sky blue clad 'super sub' compatriot. With two gilt edged chances in the dying moments, a point was up for grabs for the Tigers, but were duly spurned by the clearly 'off pace' Aussie. On another day however, and all this 'shading' guff and gubbins, blah, blah, and… Listen… it just wasn't meant to be. The game ended to a crescendo of noise made way over in the North Stand. A richly deserved win was the Stags prize for 'shading' it.

Leaving the ground at the end, the discussion had evolved from the 'shaded' argument, to what was now becoming 'a draw would have been a fair result' debate across the car park. My two penneth for what it's worth was this; a draw wasn't a fair result, it was all either side deserved. Actually no, if no points each could have been awarded, then that would have made it all the better still. And even more fair to be precise. Both teams were shocking, well below standards expected.

In truth, fairness doesn't even come into it. When has football ever been fair? The fact one team has gone on to win the damn game is probably the sole reason why we all keep coming back for more. Tonight though, it's our turn yet again to swallow the bitter pill. So, are we all ready for Bootham Crescent this Friday, then? Right now, I'd be as bold to say the best result we can hope for come 4.45pm this particular Boxing Day based on what I've just witnessed, is the one that reads…

Hull Daily Mail
Hull City 0 v 1 Mansfield Town
Hull boss Peter Taylor was upset at the final whistle after his side slipped to fifth in the table after a home defeat.
Mansfield's Neil MacKenzie struck six minutes from time to condemn the Tigers to a crushing loss.
"That should have been a 0-0 to be honest," said Taylor. "We started well and then Mansfield got on top.
"Overall it wasn't a good performance but Mansfield are a very good side, a polished team, who handle the ball well.
"The disappointing thing was we didn't play enough football. Maybe Mansfield did better in midfield, where their players got hold of the ball a little bit better than us.
"There were very few chances but it was two decent sides in this division that didn't want to attack.
"We both wanted something out of the game. They didn't create any more chances than us but scored a very good goal. I was disappointed he was unmarked."


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