STAGS BEATEN AT LINCOLN
Lincoln City 2 - 0 Mansfield Town
Toner 53, Yeo 82 Dimech sent off 66
Attendance: 5511 (1264 from Mansfield)
Steve Hartshorn's Observer report :
The Stags fell to their 2nd defeat in nine games when goals from Ciaran Toner and Simon Yeo provided local-derby heartache for The Stags at Sincil Bank last weekend.
Mansfield were undone in a disappointing 2nd half display that saw City score twice and centre half, Luke Dimech dismissed for a professional foul.
Carlton Palmer made a number of changes to the side including a debut for new signing, Adam Rundle.
Starting with a 4-5-1 formation, with Richie Barker as the loan forward, Stags spent the first 45 minutes almost without worry as Lincoln struggled to break down a resolute Stags back line which had only conceded 4 goals in their previous eight games.
In a strangely subdued derby-day encounter, neither side seemed to create enough to break the opposition down and at times the first half seemed consist of both sides giving away the ball. Stags though did look slightly the better of the two sides and looked to play the finer football, whilst the home side opted for a more direct approach.
Indeed it was Mansfield who should have broken the deadlock on 20 minutes, but after being neatly set up by Richie Barker, Adam Murray's tame shot was saved by Alan Marriott in The Imps net.
Lincoln fashioned a couple of chances themselves, the best one falling to Yeo on 43 minutes but after finding space on The Stags left hand side, The Imps striker blazed wide when he had time a plenty to do much better.
The Stags began the 2nd half passing the ball well but it was the home side that slightly against the run of play took the lead on 53 minutes. Yeo crossed over for Matthew Bloomer to thunder an effort against the underside of the crossbar, and up popped Ciaran Toner to poke in the rebound from virtually on the goal line.
Any real hopes of a Stags revival were ended in the 66th minute, when following a Mansfield corner, Stags centre half, Luke Dimech was sensationally sent off. Simon Yeo, in his own half, was running clear with the ball and had his run blocked off by Dimech, who as last man, gave the Referee no other choice but to send the Maltese international off for an early bath.
City clearly had their tails up and Stags were grateful for some important saves from Custodian, Kevin Pilkington.
However, Palmer shuffled his pack placing Barker at centre half, he introduced Larkin and Asamoah into the fray and it was the speedy front two who linked up well on 73 minutes only for Larkin to be frustrated by a fine one handed diving save from Marriott.
Stags pushed and pushed to try and fashion an equaliser, but eight minutes from time, The Imps scored a game killing 2nd. City won a free kick on the edge of The Stags box and Kevin Sandwith's effort looked to have been saved by Pilkington, but The Stags keeper failed to hold onto the ball and like lightning, Simon Yeo reacted first to poke the ball home.
Colin Larkin almost scored a consolation for Mansfield but his late effort sailed over the Lincoln crossbar.
This weekend The Stags make the short journey to Meadow Lane for the Nottinghamshire derby with struggling Notts County. Notts, who lost 2-0 away at Leyton Orient last weekend will be hoping to start to put together a run to claw themselves away from the bottom half of the Coca Cola League 2 table, but with Mansfield eager to put the bad Imps result behind them, it sure to be a hotly contested game with a large Mansfield following expected.
Football First match report:
By Dave Thompson
transcribed by carole
Terrific Toner on target for Imps
LINCOLN moved into a play off position with a comfortable victory over 10-man Mansfield.
Lincoln's second half performance destroyed Mansfield four match unbeaten run.
The home side took the lead after 52 minutes when Ciaran Toner scored his second goal in two games. Toner was on hand to slot the ball home from close range after a Simon Yeo cross was struck against the bar by Lincoln full back Matt Bloomer.
Mansfield tried to hit back but a shot from Simon Brown was well saved by Alan Marriott and then they were reduced to 10 men after 65 minutes when Luke Dimech brought down Yeo 60 yards from goal. Despite the protests referee Eddie Ilderton ruled Dimech was the last man (comment from Martin: the rule talks about "clear goalscoring opportunity", and not "last man") and showed him a straight red card.
Lincoln sealed the points in the 82nd minute when Town keeper Kevin Pilkington failed to hold a powerful free kick from Kevin Sandwith.
The ball came back to Yeo who scored his 13th goal of the season. Disappointed Mansfield boss Carlton Palmer admitted the visitors had gifted Lincoln the victory.
Palmer said: “For the first half we were the better team, the tactics we used were working brilliantly. Adam Murray should have scored in the first half, they only had one chance in the first half which came from three headers.
“We created our own problems and that was our undoing. I said to them it was the first cheap victory against us and it will be the last one. At half time we were comfortable, we should have been ahead.
“I said to them at the second half that they would come at us and we would need to weather the storm, but we've created our own problems.
“We've only lost one in eight games so I said to them this is the last one. We gifted them it. We were not clearing our lines, but when it was 11 against 11 we were the better side.”
Lincoln dominated the second half after Dimech was sent off with only Pilkington preventing the visitors conceding more goals.
Lincoln keeper Alan Marriott was rarely threatened but produced two good saves to deny Simon Brown and substitute Colin Larkin.
Lincoln boss Keith Alexander said: “I thought in the second half we played some good stuff.
“We did not convert all of our chances, last week at Grimsby they all flew in for Simon Yeo.
“Mansfield played a funny system with only one up front.
“At times we had five defenders marking only one forward so I moved Jamie McCombe up front, but I was not happy with it so I changed it at half time and brought on Peter Gain.
Lincoln City ……………… Mansfield Town
7---------------Shots on Target-----4
5---------------Shots off Target-----2
CHAD report: Dimech off as Stags crash at Lincoln
LUKE Dimech was sent off as Stags crashed 2-0 in their local derby at Lincoln City this afternoon.
Stags were the better side in a first half that was mainly a dull and tight midfield battle with few clear cut chances.
But two moments of lightning quick opportunism sank the visitors in the second half.
Ciaron Toner edged the Imps in front on 53 minutes from close range when Matthew Bloomer's shot bounced down the line from the underside of the crossbar.
And, with Dimech back in the dressing room for blocking Simon Yeo's run as last defender, City sealed victory on 82 minutes when Kevin Pilkington could only block a Kevin Sandwith free kick and Yeo reacted quickest to follow up and net from close range.
And were it not for two fine saves from Pilkington it could nhave been worse as Stags were forced to throw everything forward while a man down.
Carlton Palmer left out Wayne Corden and relegated Colin Larkin to the bench as Tom Curtis returned from injury and Adam Rundle finally made his Stags debut on the left of a 4-3-3 formation.
Stags started well and won an early corner.
But it was the Imps who produced the first threat as Butcher's low shot had Pilkington diving to his right in the eighth minute.
It took Stags 20 minutes to force a save from Marriott when Barker set up Murray in the box only to see a poor finish straight at the keeper.
Three minutes later Pilkington chased out his box to clear ahead of Green and then Yeo was inches away from connecting with a wicked Taylor-Fletcher cross right in front of goal, the ball eventually going wide of the far post.
Taylor-Fletcher robbed Buxton in the centre circle and tried to send Green clear with a cutting through ball. But Green wasn't quick enough to get away and eventually crashed a powerful 20 yard shot at Pilkington.
Stags forced three more corners and Rundle had a low free kick blocked from the right of the box as the visitors grew in stature.
Taylor-Fletcher was just wide from 25 yards after Jelleyman was caught in possession just outside the box.
Barker had a couple of brief opportunities on 42 minutes, sending a tame first looping first time shot at Marriott after good work from Buxton, and then firing wide seconds later.
Yeo should have given Lincoln the lead on 43 minutes when he was left in space to the left of the box. But, with more time than he thought, he blasted harmlessly into the side netting.
So the sides went in locked at 0-0 with real chances almost non-existent in a scrappy first half.
Gain came on for McCombe for the second half.
Stags began the second half well, playing some neat passing football.
But they found themselves behind on 53 minutes. Yeo's left wing cross pieked out the incoming Bloomer who drove a ferocious shot against the underside of the crossbar. And it was Toner who got to the ball quickest to stab it over the goal line and break the deadlock.
Mansfield's hopes of recovering from that body blow took a massive knock within 12 minutes when they were left with 10 men after Luke Dimech was sent off.
A Mansfield corner was cleared towards Yeo inside his own half. And as he tried to go past Dimech and clear, the Maltese international blocked his run and, as last defender, had to go.
Lincoln stepped up a gear as Mansfield rearranged with Barker going to centre half.
Pilkington made two great saves to keep Stags in the game.
First he thwarted Green from close range after a neat ball inside by Taylor-Fletcher's. And then he was behind a vicious 20-yard shot from Butcher.
Larkin nearly levelled on a breakaway on 73 minutes as Asamoah ran down the right and crossed, Larkin meeting it on the volley only to Marriott stretch out a hand to tip the ball over.
The game was now wide open with Stags throwing caution to the wind.
Indeed, Bloomer fired over with time and space to do better as Stags were inevitably caught stretched.
And the final nail in Mansfield's coffin was hammered home by Yeo eight minutes from time.
Lincoln won a free kick on the edge of the Mansfield box which Sandwith drilled low at goal. Pilkington was behind it but couldn't hold on and Yeo was in like lightning to poke over the line from close range.
Gain tried a shot from a tight angle near the end but Pilkington had his near post well covered.
Larkin was just over from 30 yards in stoppage time as he looked for a last ditch consolation.
Lincoln 2 Mansfield 0
A superb tactical change at half-time by Lincoln City, combined with a sending-off for Mansfield, helped to continue Lincoln's advance in the table.
Despite watching his side wallop their hosts 4-2 at Grimsby last Saturday, Imps' boss Keith Alexander opted against naming an unchanged side. Striker Francis Green, who was suspended for last week's match, was instantly recalled to the side at the expense of loanee Craig Westcarr. The Forest striker dropped to the substitute's bench, even though it appeared top-heavy with attacking players, as defender Jack Hobbs was the player to lose his place.
Within seconds of Mansfield kicking-off, Gary Taylor-Fletcher got stuck in, when he fouled Mansfield's Adam Murray to concede a free-kick. Mansfield won a corner in the 5th minute, which poised no danger as Lincoln easily cleared. Two minutes later, Lincoln had the first shot at goal when Mansfield goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington gathered Richard Butcher's long range shot. Then, in the 8th minute, Lincoln won their first corner, but Mansfield's defence cleared the ball.
After a bright opening ten minutes, the game lulled although Mansfield won an 18th minute corner that Imps' goalkeeper Alan Marriott had to punch clear. The ball went out was then blocked for a throw-in to Mansfield, so the danger remained. It ended when Marriott made a good save from Murray's right-footed shot.
Approaching the 30th minute of this cagey first half, Green tried his luck from distance but Pilkington gathered. Four minutes later, Mansfield won two consecutive corners but they were unable to convert either. They won another in the 35th minute, which Marriott punched clear, to prevent the goal that the game really required to make it more entertaining.
Mansfield's defensive formation proved hard to breakdown, and Lincoln were restricted to long-range shots, as illustrated in the 36th minute when Taylor-Fletcher shot wide. As the first half drew to a close, both Ritchie barker and Simon Yeo sent shots wide for Mansfield and Lincoln respectively.
In an attempt to unlock the stubborn Mansfield defence by creating more opportunities, Alexander elected to bring on midfielder Peter Gain for defender Jamie McCombe at the start of the second half. This entailed a tactical switch that saw Lincoln revert to a 4-4-3. Due to Mansfield's formation, McCombe had spent periods of the first half playing in attack.
The substitution proved an effective one as Lincoln took the lead after just eight minutes of the second half. It was a good attacking move that was started by Taylor-Fletcher when he passed to Yeo. He in turn raced forward before crossing to where Matt Bloomer was racing in on the opposite side to smash the ball goal wards. The ball rebounded off the crossbar but luckily, Ciaran Toner was able to score for the second consecutive week, for 1-0 to Lincoln.
In mid-December, Toner replaced Gain in the Imps' starting line-up after Gain had suffered a long-term knee injury. Now that Gain is fit, Toner's place is in jeopardy yet he is responding in a magnificent way that will make the decision to drop Toner an extremely difficult one. Quite possibly, his performances over the past two matches will cause Alexander to switch to a 4-3-3 on a permanent basis.
As the result of the goal, Mansfield had to abandon their defence stance and three minutes later, Jake Buxton forced Marriott into a routine save, while they also won a corner soon after. The game was now more open, and Lincoln won a 57th minute corner that should have led to second goal. Kevin Sandwith's delivery was headed on by Gareth McAuley to Green, who volleyed over the crossbar from 6-yards out. At which point, Mansfield opted to take off Tom Curtis for Derek Asamoah.
A 60th minute shot from Simon Brown that Marriott caught, proved to be Brown's last contribution to the match as he was taken off for Colin Larkin in Mansfield's second substitution. This prompted Mansfield to begin their best spell of the match, which included winning three corners in quick succession. Fortunately, Lincoln's defence held firm to preserve their lead.
Every game has a pivotal moment, and is occurred in the 65th minute of this match, when former Imps' youngster Luke Dimech was sent-off for Mansfield. Yeo had beaten Dimech via a clever piece of skill, causing Dimech to take drastic action of committing a professional foul. A free-kick was conceded and Dimech was shown a straight red card.
The free-kick was partially cleared to Taylor-Fletcher who supplied a dangerous cross into the penalty area. Connecting with the ball was Green, who was extremely unlucky to see his goal bound shot expertly saved by Pilkington although a corner was conceded. Alas, when the corner was played in, the referee spotted an infringement and awarded Mansfield a free-kick. Two minutes later, Butcher shot wide from distance, which allowed Mansfield's Fraser McLachlan to enter the play in place of Adam Rundle.
Butcher tried a closer shot in the 69th minute but Pilkington made an easy save. Despite their disadvantage, Mansfield refused to give up and won a 71st minute corner. Two minutes later, two of their three substitutes combined when Asamoah's cross was met by Larkin, but Marriott made a brilliant save to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Lincoln's supporters were able to finally breathe easily in the 82nd minute, when their side scored their goal of the afternoon. Murray fouled Taylor-Fletcher to earn Lincoln a free-kick. Once Michael Blackwood had replaced Green for Lincoln's first substitution, the free-kick was taken. Sandwith's shot was on target, forcing Pilkington into a parry, however, Yeo was waiting to pounce to make the score 2-0 to Lincoln.
At 2-0 the game was as good as over, despite eight minutes plus stoppage time remaining. Neither side tried too hard to score a goal, although in the final seconds, Larkin sent a 30-yard shot wide. The only significant event was a 85th minute substitution for Lincoln that saw Yeo replaced by Westcarr.
Lincoln City: Alan Marriott, Matthew Bloomer, Kevin Sandwith, Gareth McAuley, Paul Morgan, Jamie McCombe, Richard Butcher, Ciaran Toner, Francis Green, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Simon Yeo
Subs: Peter Gain (for McCombe h/t), Michael Blackwood (for Green 81), Craig Westcarr (for Yeo 86), Marcus Richardson, Ritchie Hanlon
Mansfield Town: Kevin Pilkington, Alex Neil, Luke Dimech, Alex John-Baptiste, Jake Buxton, Tom Curtis, Simon Brown, Adam Murray, Adam Rundle, Richie Barker, Gareth Jelleyman
Subs: Derek Asamoah (for Curtis 60), Colin Larkin (for Brown 61), Fraser McLachlan (for Rundle 69), Shane Smeltz, Jason White
Match report of this afternoon's home win in the clash against Mansfield Town
Lincoln turned on the style in the second half to destroy in-form Mansfield. Town went into the game with their confidence built up after only one defeat in their previous eight matches.
They had the better of the opening half but both teams found it difficult to create chances. Lincoln should have gone in front in the 43rd minute when Francis Green set up Simon Yeo. The striker failed to hit the target from 10 yards with only the keeper to beat.
But Lincoln changed things round at the break and never looked back after the introduction of substitute Peter Gain.
City snatched the lead in the 53rd minute when Yeo forced his way down the left flank and fired over a cross. Matthew Bloomer headed against the bar and when the ball came down Ciaran Toner prodded it in from close range.
Town keeper Kevin Pilkington then made a superb point blank save to keep out an effort from Green.
But Mansfield's chances of a point disappeared in the 65th minute when they were reduced to 10 men.
Central defender Luke Dimech wrestled Yeo to the ground as the Lincoln man tried to break clear from his own half. Referee Eddie Ilderton immediately red-carded the Town player for the foul.
Lincoln went on to waste a string of chances and when they did hit the target found Pilkington in excellent form.
The keeper made a superb save from Green when he pushed the ball away and then reacted quickly to complete the save as Gary Taylor-Fletcher moved in for the kill.
Richard Butcher wasted a glorious chance in the 71st minute when he shot straight at Pilkington.
Three minutes later Lincoln almost paid for their failure to find the net. A mistake by Gareth McAuley allowed Derek Asamoah to break down the right flank . The Town striker produced a perfect cross to find the unmarked Colin Larkin. The striker hit his shot well but Marriott produced an outstanding one-handed save.
Lincoln wasted another easy chance in the 76th minute when Taylor-Fletcher created the opening for Bloomer but the defender hit his shot into the stand.
Lincoln finally got their second goal of the game in the 82nd minute. Kevin Sandwith blasted in a 20 yard free-kick which came back off Pilkington. As the Town defenders watched, Yeo pounced for his 13th goal of the season.
Match stats (Imps/Stags)
12 Goal Attempts 6
7 On Target 4
5 Off Target 2
0 Hit Woodwork 0
10 Offsides 1
5 Corners 12
5 Fouls 8
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