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Archived News from November 2004

22nd November 2004 17:22

Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
The Stags earned a point in a 0-0 draw at Boston United last weekend but it was more a case of two points lost rather than one gained for Mansfield missed a catalogue of chances and failed to capitalise on the fact that for a large percentage of the game, the home side had been forced to play with ten men following the sending off of centre back, Lee Beevers.
Carlton Palmer having his hand forced by injuries and suspensions had drafted in Jason Talbot on loan from Bolton Wanderers at left back and had again to play Colin Larkin as a loan front striker.
Boston, who in the week had signed former hero, Daryl Clare from Chester City also made a number of changes and surprisingly left Clare on the bench.
United are undefeated at York Street this season, so there was no doubt that the fixture was going to prove a tough test for a Mansfield side short of goals.
Stags started the game brightly but early on the home side mainly won the midfield battles, however, the Stags defence were more than holding firm with young Captain, Alex John-Baptiste again in outstanding form.
United, who had former Forest star, Jason Lee leading their attack tried to work down the flanks but both Jake Buxton and Jason Talbot defended stoutly and throughout the game kept a good eye on the dangerous and speedy left winger, Danny Thomas.
The Stags first real goalscoring opportunity came on 13 minutes when a free kick from Neil MacKenzie was deflected and headed towards goal by Dave Artell, unfortunately though, United custodian, Nathan Abbey pulled off a superb save and tipped the effort over the bar.
Fraser McLachlan was working hard in the centre of the Stags midfield but on several occasions found himself dumped to the floor by Lee Beevers, one of which pushed the referee a little too far and resulted in the United centre half receiving a booking, which was to have a large bearing later on. McLachlan also found himself in the Referee's notebook albeit rather harshly when he was accused of diving.
On 26 minutes, McLachlan and Corden both needed treatment, Corden thankfully recovered but unfortunately McLachlan was forced to leave the field and was replaced by Adam Murray.
The encounter erupted into confusion on 37 minutes when Dave Artell went down in The Stags area to load cries of, “Off, Off, Off!” from the travelling Stags support. The Referee, Mark Warren promptly went over to Lee Beevers, showed a 2nd yellow and then a red. As the United centre half trotted off the field, the Referee went over to chat to his assistant and then gave Artell a yellow and pointed to the spot for a penalty to the home side. Artell had been accused of fouling Beevers and the United man had reacted.
Tam McManus stepped up to take the penalty but his effort was saved well by Pilkington, much to the delight of the travelling Stags faithful.
The Stags, who now had a clear advantage over a 10-man Boston, tried in vain to search for the goal that their overall play deserved. Neil MacKenzie blasted over several times but the best opportunity fell at the feet of Dave Artell who shot wide from 6 yards. Nathan Abbey produced a spectacular save from Alex Neil and Adam Murray put a header wide.
Boston introduced Daryl Clare but although looking lively each time he had the ball, he failed to seriously worry Pilkington who was having a great game commanding his box.
It looked like Mansfield were going to rue their missed chances when late on in the game, Ellender crossed the ball, Clare missed it with his head but the ball fell conveniently for Jason Lee who for once had escaped his marker, Artell, but incredibly he blasted over from all of two yards.
As the match entered its final minute, Stags had a marvellous chance of winning the game. MacKenzie weaved his way into the Boston area and fired towards goal, but Nathan Abbey was equal to it.
This weekend Stags face Leyton Orient at Field Mill as they look for a much needed three league points. The O's sit in 4th place in Coca Cola League Two but last weekend lost 2-1 at home to Wycombe Wanderers. The Stags though are only 4 points behind the Londoners but sit a massive 8 places below in the League table.

Observer Man of The Match – Kevin Pilkington.

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12:00 - 22 November 2004
Boston Utd 0 v 0 Mansfield Town

As civil war continues to rage at Field Mill, Mansfield Town's players shrugged off the unrest to poach an excellent point at high-flying Boston United on Saturday.

Any hopes of having the managerial situation resolved before the weekend were not to be realised.

Neither was the intention of bringing in at least one striker to take the burden off Colin Larkin's shoulders - the only senior striker on the books just now.

So caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer had another big test, to play against a Boston side unbeaten in the League at home all season.

Yet, for the second successive week, Stags produced an excellent display which, like the first half of last week's Colchester game, showed how good they could be if they could find a finisher.

True, former Nottingham Forest striker Jason Lee did waste a glorious close-range chance to earn Boston all three points four minutes from time, one which would have brought back painful memories for Reds fans of a certain age.

And Kevin Pilkington had to save a first-half spot-kick - awarded after a stunning sequence of events which also saw the Pilgrims reduced to ten men for 53 minutes.

With Boston the only one of all 92 League clubs to have its press box behind the goal, it was inevitable that the afternoon's biggest talking point would happen right at the other end - and off the ball.

Stags' fans behind that goal would have had the best view, while many others watched the ball sailing out of touch on the halfway line.

But, it would seem, Dave Artell was guilty of a foul that saw Beevers react angrily, shoving Artell.

The referee saw the shove and, having already booked Beevers for an earlier foul, raced over to calm the players down and showed him a second yellow and a red.

Then he trotted over to consult his assistant about what started the trouble and returned to book Artell and award a penalty as three sides of the ground scratched their heads.

However, Pilkington guessed correctly and superbly saved the spot-kick from Tam McManus.

Perhaps it was more telling that, on the amount of possession and domination the visitors enjoyed, Boston keeper Nathan Abbey was made man of the match.

He made several saves, one an absolute stunner, tipping away a goalbound Artell header at full stretch from under his angle.

He also did well to block piledrivers from Neil MacKenzie and Alex Neil.

But Stags - without the pace - just didn't have what it takes to unlock the home defence.

The buzz around York Street was over the return of their former terrace hero Daryl Clare, who rejoined the club in the week from Chester City.

He began the day on the bench and was brought on for the last 21 minutes to give him a real chance to be the returning hero. Yet, although lively, he couldn't escape the shackles of Alex John-Baptiste who policed him well.

Most significantly, the arrival of Palmer as caretaker-manager seems to have brought out the best in MacKenzie.

A bit-part player under Keith Curle, Macca has always shown he has it in him to boss the centre of midfield, but failed to do so on a consistent basis.

But last week against Colchester - certainly for the first half - and at Boston for the full 90, MacKenzie was magnificent, pulling all the strings in the centre of the park and looking the visitors' major goal threat too with a shoot-on-sight policy.

We even saw glimpses of the real Fraser McLachlan, who after a solid if unspectacular debut last week, was much more involved at Boston.

Sadly, it looks like that will be all we see of him now after the midfielder limped off with a potentially serious knee injury after just half an hour of his second game on loan.

Debut-making on-loan left-back Jason Talbot slotted in nicely, though with Stags doing most of the attacking, he will have far busier days.

There was also a recall for Alex Neil to fill in for Asamoah on the right and Palmer will have been impressed with his first look at the former Barnsley man.

Palmer has stated that, if given the job full-time he wants to play 4-4-2 and would bring in players to his wafer-thin squad to enable him to do so.

But this 4-5-1 formation has earned him two draws so far and, hopefully the situation can be sorted out and players brought in before Leyton Orient visit on Saturday.

After seven games without a win, Stags desperately need a victory now - and the players need to know who is in charge.

Following all the wrangling behind the scenes, exonerated or not, it is hard to see suspended pair Curle and John Gannon returning to the helm.

But, for now, all Palmer can do is prepare his threadbare troops for the long trip to Colchester for the FA Cup replay tomorrow - and plan in the short-term.

Man-of-the-match: Neil MacKenzie

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12:00 - 22 November 2004
Despite the continuing upheavals off the pitch, caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer watched his Stags side turn in another good display at Boston.

Stags fans are keen to see the current inquiries into suspended manager Keith Curle and assistant John Gannon concluded and the whole sorry chapter settled one way or another.

But chairman Keith Haslam is still unable to put a time scale on the issue.

Although the unrest is far from ideal, Palmer said: "I have just got to get on with it. That's life and I don't make excuses."

And he believed it wasn't affecting his players adversely either.

"I think the performance tells it all today," he said.

"Just like last week, they are getting on with it and being professional.

"Playing against ten men is not really an issue," he said. "At the end of the day we were the better side, played the better football and created chances.

"But their keeper got man of the match and he made two wonderful saves.

"That says it all. The players are really disappointed as they know how well they played.

"The most important thing is that we performed very well and I am delighted with them.

"I know the results will come.

"It was a good point at Boston, but I wanted all three points and we deserved all three points - there is no argument about that.

"I didn't see the penalty incident so I will have to look at the video.

"But it was a good save from Pilks.

"I thought MacKenzie was outstanding. But he's got to perform at that standard on a regular basis."

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12:00 - 22 November 2004
Boston manager Steve Evans was unhappy his side had not gone on to win the game - despite being reduced to ten men for almost an hour.

"If you have real hopes of making the play-offs, a point against Mansfield Town at home is not good enough," he said.

"It was hard for Daryl Clare to come into a game that was blood and thunder. But Jason Lee had a great chance from three or four yards out."

Speaking about the red card and penalty flashpoint in the first half, Evans said: "My players tell me their lad stamped on Lee Beevers after the ball had gone.

"I saw Lee push the player and if you raise your hands to someone after you have already been cautioned then you are going to go, aren't you?"

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12:00 - 22 November 2004
Mansfield Town will head to League One Colchester United tomorrow for their FA Cup first-round replay with their last ten fit and available senior outfield players.

With Derek Asamoah suspended, Fraser McLachlan now injured and on-loan left back Jason Talbot unavailable, the Mansfield squad is down to the bare bones with youth team players required to fill the bench.

Caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer is desperately trying to bring new faces to the club, especially a striker, but no one can come in for a replay if they were not registered for the initial tie.

"It's difficult but we will just go to Colchester and do our best," he said.

"It seems Fraser may have a bad knee injury, probably ligaments. He will have to have a scan on it today.

"But I want to bring quality players to this football club and I thought Jason Talbot was excellent on his debut on Saturday.

"We will get out and watch games this week, though obviously we've got one ourselves on Tuesday. But I am looking for a particular kind of centre-forward and I made an offer for one last week.

"We will just have to see. We will keep working at it."


Latest | November 2004