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Archived News from February 2005

9th February 2005 19:38

Nottingham Evening Post, 09 February 2005
Carlton Palmer today said he will fine Simon Brown after he was sent off for head-butting Andy Robinson.

The young midfielder retaliated after being hacked down in the 68th minute - just five minutes after Swansea had a player sent off.

And the Stags boss said Brown's dismissal took the shine off a valuable victory for Mansfield last night.

He said: "We talked about discipline before the game because they are a physical side.

"They try to be niggling and be horrible but we had to keep our discipline. Browny is a young lad, he has had a volley and he's apologised.

"So as far as I am concerned, he gets fined and then we will get on with it. He has got to learn from that because he has let himself and the team down.

"He head-butted him in front of the linesman and that is very, very stupid. I know he has been whacked and I know he has been kicked but that is what he is out there for.

"He has got to take the kicks and be big enough. Chris Waddle used to want to get kicked so he knows the next time the defender has got nowhere to go. And as long as he kept running at them they would have a problem."

Palmer said he was delighted with his side's performance.

He said: "I thought we deserved the win. Pilks has had another quiet day and I'm delighted for them all. We set out to get a point and we got three. It is another clean sheet and I thought the back four was superb again.

"I said to Bucko and Baps that Trundle is a good player at this level but the one question mark is his level of fitness. And I said 'work him' and we stayed on the halfway line and if he wants to drop deep, he had to get back onside.

"I said make him work and that is what they did. I am proud of all of them, not just those two."

Nottingham Evening Post, 09 February 2005

Mansfield Town 1 v 0 Swansea City

After arriving at Field Mill amid the controversy of Keith Curle's suspension, Carlton Palmer took a look at the squad he inherited and proclaimed they needed to get match fit.

At the end of November after four games in charge and no wins, Palmer declared the Stags needed a mini pre-season to get themselves into shape.

Hardly the words the Mansfield faithful wanted to hear with their side having won just one league match out of their last 13 and sliding alarmingly down the table.

His words did little to win over the sceptics, but Palmer insisted on honesty rather than false promises.

He pointed out that if they followed his plan, by mid-January they would be match fit and ready to mount a push for the play-offs.

Some questioned his way of thinking, branding it absurd that he would write off the immediate future and still hope for success by the end of May. But slowly he is starting to win over his critics and what seemed a negative view ten weeks ago suddenly looks rather cunning.

Mansfield have lost just two of their last 11 matches and last night demonstrated they have the desire and mental toughness to mount a play-off push.

Swansea arrived at Field Mill joint top of the league and with the chance to put three points between themselves and fellow title chasers Yeovil and Scunthorpe.

Up front they had the experience of Lee Trundle, January's player of the month who has scored 17 goals this season.

But Mansfield showed all the battling qualities demanded by Palmer to earn a 1-0 victory and the fitness to hold on to the lead when earlier this season they would have folded.

A mixture of a clinical strike by Richie Barker, defensive solidarity and the engine of the whole team to continue closing down players and working hard for 90 minutes was rewarded with three vital points. It was a second 1-0 win in four days, after the victory at local rivals Notts County on Saturday, and the same combination of Adam Rundle and Barker got the goal.

Mansfield are now just four points off the play-offs after making the most of last night's game in hand. And they did it against one of the favourites for automatic promotion. Against Cheltenham on Saturday at Field Mill, where they have not lost since November 27, they can make serious inroads and begin to make themselves look like serious contenders for a place in the top seven.

Last night's match was a close and hard-fought encounter, but the young partnership of Alex John-Baptiste and Jake Buxton at the heart of the defence kept Trundle relatively quiet, his only two strikes on goal from the edge of the box being well saved by Kevin Pilkington.

Kevin Austin had a goal ruled out for the visitors early on when he headed home a cross but was adjudged to have fouled a Stags defender.

But what looked likely to end in a goal-less first half finished in dramatic fashion when Rundle's low cross from the left was met by a thunderous first-time shot by Barker which flew into the back of the net from 20 yards.

It came in stoppage time and in the second half Mansfield defended superbly to hold on to their lead. But the game erupted into life when Swansea midfielder Garry Monk was shown a red card on 63 minutes after two bad fouls in 60 seconds on Simon Brown and Derek Asamoah, respectively. It was his third dismissal this season.

It gave Mansfield an extra man and the breathing space.

However, Stags midfielder Brown lost his cool when Andy Robinson hacked him down and he retaliated with a head butt and was sent off.

With ten men apiece, Mansfield managed to keep their composure and Barker saw two efforts go just wide.

Yet instead of the nerves setting in, Palmer urged his men to continue working hard.

It was not just the result, but the performance that has sparked optimism among Mansfield fans.

For most, the idea of the play-offs had been written off a long time ago.

But six points in two games has changed that and the momentum has been building. The confidence is growing among the players and there is a belief that it can be done.

Last season, the Stags failed to win back-to-back games after Christmas but still made it to Cardiff, thanks to a strong start to the season.

This time they have already broken any such hoodoo, but to have the chance of extending their season beyond May 7 they have to show the same characteristics as last night on a consistent basis.

Nottingham Evening Post, 09 February 2005
Swansea boss Kenny Jackett blamed referee Paul Taylor for not allowing the game to flow in his side's 1-0 defeat last night.

He said: "I did not think we played as much controlled football as we can and did not pass the ball or get any real tempo to the game.

"But that is very difficult to do when the referee is blowing his whistle every 30 seconds.

"The game never really got going and it was stop-start, stop-start, with everybody contesting the decisions.

"It was not a dirty game and I was waiting for the game to open up and it did not. Under those circumstances, it is hard to play some controlled football.

"I think we got on the wrong side of the referee. Kevin Austin's goal in the first half looked a good one and I don't know why it was disallowed."
South Wales Evening Post:


Kevin Austin has launched a staunch defence of team-mate Garry Monk after the Swansea City centre-half was sent off for the third time this season at Field Mill last night. Monk received his marching orders after two yellow cards in the space of two second-half minutes scuppered Kenny Jackett's sides chances of going clear at the top of League Two.

A point would have seen them pull clear of Yeovil and Scunthorpe but five days after failing to go top after their draw with Southend, Swansea missed another opportunity.

Richie Barker's goal in first-half stoppage time was enough to take all three points for the Stags, but even though Monk's dismissal contributed to his team's defeat, Austin said his discipline - or lack of it - should be questioned, even though he has already seen red at Yeovil and Shrewsbury this season.

'''He put in a very disciplined performance right up until he got sent off,'' said Austin, ''and he's been doing that since he's been here.

''We all make mistakes, nobody is perfect, but I still felt he was harshly dealt with+

''Garry is a great player and he has done well since coming to Swansea.

''It's not like it's his temperament or anything like that, I just think that referees can be too fussy at times.

''He certainly didn't deserve a sending-off.''

Monk could now be handed a three-match ban by the FAW following his latest dismissal. He has already missed seven games through suspension.

Austin says the ex-Southampton man was unlucky to receive the first yellow card - which came after a foul on the edge of his own box - and was just the victim of circumstances when he committed his second offence - a trip on the half-way line.

'''I thought the first free-kick was a free-kick and nothing more,''' Austin added.

'''These things happen in the game. If you look throughout the match he has hardly committed a foul.

'''He gave away one free-kick, the referee has penalised him and on the second one he is looking for him.

''It is getting to a stage where you just can't do anything.''

Last night's defeat leaves Swansea level on points with Yeovil and Scunthorpe and Jackett was disappointed to have lost the chance to steal a march on his rivals.

'''These chances do not come around too often,'' he said, ''but we now have to focus on Saturday against Leyton Orient.''

South Wales Evening Post, 09 February 2005

Swansea City maybe knocking on the door of promotion to League One, but too many more missed opportunities like this and they might find it still locked in 15 games' time. Twice in the space of five days Kenny Jackett's side have had the chance to move clear of the chasing pack.

A 1-1 draw at home to Southend United last Friday saw them miss out for the first time, and last night at Field Mill they blew another chance, with Garry Monk seeing red for the third time this season.

Monk's dismissal, for two bookable offences in the second half, may not have been the major contributing factor to this Swansea defeat.

But the suspension, which could keep him out for three matches following his sendings-off at Yeovil and Shrewsbury, could mean the difference between going up or staying down.

Jackett will certainly want to keep a check on his side's disciplinary problems between now and the end of the season.

This was not a bad Swansea performance and, of course, that door to the higher division is still far from closed, but it was not the best display of this campaign.

Going into this match Jackett's men had the joint best away record in League Two; their seven wins, two draws and five defeats were equalled only by Lincoln City.

But Carlton Palmer, as you would expect from a player who based his game on high energy and an in-your-face attitude, has got this Mansfield side performing how he wants them to.

Standing for the whole 90 minutes in the stand behind the dugouts, the ex-England international bellowed out his instructions to his charges.

And for the most part it seems as if he got his message across.

Nineteen-year-old centre-backs Alex John-Baptiste and Jake Buxton stifled Lee Trundle, and Paul Connor had one of his more ineffective games in a Swansea shirt.

In midfield, Tom Curtis and Adam Murray won the battle against Roberto Martinez and Leon Britton, while Derek Asamoah's lightning pace caused problems all night for the Swansea back four.

And in Richie Barker, Palmer has an old warhorse who never stops running and deserved the reward of being the match-winner.

Too many more nights like this and Jackett will be wondering if his side do have the staying power to achieve their promotion ambition.

The Swansea boss will not want another slip up at Brisbane Road at the weekend following this disappointing defeat.

True, Swansea were not helped by the fussy refereeing of Hertfordshire official Paul Taylor, a point alluded to by Jackett after the game.

The referee's whistle blew so many times in the opening 45 minutes that Swansea's normal free-flowing passing game was not allowed to take shape, allowing the more high-tempo style of the Stags to take over.

''We didn't get any tempo to our game, but it's very difficult to do that when the referee is blowing his whistle every 30 seconds,'' said Jackett.

''The game never really got going. It was stop-start, stop-start and I was waiting for it to flow, which would have suited us, and it never did.

''I was waiting for the game to open up and under those circumstances it's hard to play some controlled football.''

Swansea did start the game in a controlled fashion, and with Britton to the fore early on were the better side.

It was a promising opening and had Kevin Austin's powerful header after 12 minutes been allowed to stand, we could have been looking at a different outcome.

Austin looked to have broken the deadlock when he rose high to meet Andy Robinson's free-kick.

But to the surprise of most in the ground, referee Taylor ruled it out, the first of many decisions that bemused Jackett.

''Sometimes you get refereeing decisions that go with you and sometimes you don't,'' he said.

''We were unfortunate tonight - as regards the refereeing decision - not to go one up.

''It looked okay to me, but I haven't asked too many others their opinion and I don't know the general consensus on whether it was a foul or not.''

Austin did not believe it was, although there was a feeling that the match official had decided a Swansea player had crept offside.

Whatever his reason, he disallowed the goal, and although Lee Trundle tested Kevin Pilkington with a low shot soon after, it seemed Swansea's best chance of sneaking a result had slipped from their grasp.

Mansfield had survived the early blitz and, even though their play was predictable and one-dimensional at times, it was effective and unnnerved the men in red.

Another Austin back-header just drifted wide, but Palmer's men had seized the initiative and in first-half injury-time they took their opportunity.

Alan Tate was, just like Mark Cueto for England against Wales last Saturday, caught between cutting out an inside pass or staying with his man on the wing.

Adam Rundle took advantage and his low cross was beautifully dispatched on the half-volley by Barker from just inside the box.

It was already looking tough for Swansea to come back into the game, although Connor and Trundle, who was just over with an audacious chip from 30 yards, did have chances to pull them level.

But all chance appeared to be lost with Monk's sending-off. Red-carded at Yeovil and Shrewsbury, Monk was given his marching orders again for two fouls inside two minutes.

Simon Brown was then dismissed for apparently aiming a butt at Robinson, throwing Swansea an unexpected lifeline.

Trundle almost accepted it right at the last, but his header fell easily into the arms of Pilkington, though an equaliser then would have been harsh on the home side.

Swansea will be hoping to keep knocking on that promotion door with a win at Leyton Orient on Saturday, and Kevin Austin knows just what they have to if they want to find the key to League One.

''We just have to keep positive,'' he said. ''If we start worrying about this defeat then we don't deserve to be up there.

''There's a long way to go in the season yet and there will be a few more twists and turns, not only from us but other teams.

''We have come up against this sort of performance before. Sides have come down the Vetch, they have packed the midfield and tried to get in our faces.

''I remember at Shrewsbury they did that and that knocked us out of our stride.

''But if you want to get promotion, you have to deal with things like that and overcome the problems put in front of you.

''We are a talented bunch of players and we can overcome things like this.''


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