MORE REACTION, PLUS PALMER DOUBTFUL FOR TUESDAY
Palmer injury blow
CHAD website, 08 August 2005
PLAYER-manager Carlton Palmer will miss this week's two home games with a groin strain, starting with tomorrow night's first home match of the season against Rushden and Diamonds (7.45pm).
Palmer battled superbly through almost an hour of Saturday's 2-2 opener at Stockport County after tweaking the groin as early as the first minute.
"It began to get very sore as the game got stretched," he said. "I hope I will be fit again next eek but we will have to wait and see.
"Without me we will have legs in there but a lack of experience. Having said that, the only way they will gain experience is through playing."
Giles Coke, Gus Uhlenbeek and Callum Lloyd will all be hoping for the nod to fill the vacancy in the starting line-up.
But, whoever plays, Palmer is still confident his young charges have enough to see off Rushden if they can remain patient.
"Right now it is very important not to get beaten so early in the season," said Palmer.
"Rushden will come here and make it very difficult for us. We have to be patient and one goal may be enough.
"I spoke to Darlington manager Dave Hodgson over the weekend after their draw with Rushden and he said they will come with two banks of four players and sit on the edge of the 18 yard box.
"But these are dangerous games and we must make sure they don't catch us on the break. We have two home matches in a week and two good results would set us up nicely."
Rushen have injury problems. Already without Drewe Broughton (knee) and Andy Burgess (broken leg) they lost skipper Save Savage with a calf injury during Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Darlington.
Teenager Daniel Grainger stands by for a full debut.
HJELDE AIMS FOR FITNESS
Evening Post, 08 August 2005
Former Nottingham Forest defender Jon-Olav Hjelde says he should reach
peak fitness within the next two weeks.
After making his full Stags debut, he admits he was frustrated that
Stockport hit back from 2-0 down to salvage a point.
''We got a bit sloppy early in the second half and let them get back into
the game,'' he said.
''It's disappointing. We were quite solid in the second half, but they
were more enthusiastic after they got their first goal.
''As soon as they got a goal back, it gave them belief.
''It's a shame we didn't win, but it's always nice to play. It was good to
get a game: I needed it.
''I will probably have 100% fitness in a couple of weeks.''
'THAT WAS THE FAIREST OUTCOME'
Evening Post, 08 August 2005
Mansfield's assistant manager Peter Shirtliff says the 2-0 half-time lead
flattered the visitors.
''Realistically we had three or four shots in the first half and scored
twice,'' he said.
''Both goals came from shots outside the box, which is unusual, and in
some ways we were lucky to be 2-0 up at half-time.
''A draw was probably a fair result. Credit to Stockport, they stuck at
''They got a goal early in the second half and we lost our way a bit after
that. They continually put pressure on us.
''We had to weather the storm but I was disappointed we didn't create more
in the second half.
''Carlton would have loved to have won. He got some stick from the
Stockport fans and he was doing well but he tweaked his groin, so we put a
fresh pair of legs on.
''We missed a bit of his experience when he came off.
''After they got their second goal, it was pretty even after that. We
scored a couple of good goals, particularly Birchall's, and played some
''Our selection with passing could have been better. But things are
Chris Turner was in no doubt his side were worthy of at least a point.
The Stockport boss said: ''I was pleased. I was disappointed at half-time,
but we didn't deserve to be 2-0 down - 0-0 would have been a better
reflection of the first half.''
DRAW HAS TOUCH OF CLASS
Evening Post, 08 August 2005
As many a school report has read, it would be very easy to comment that
the Stags "could do better" after they blew a two-goal lead. But one of
the positives is that Mansfield Town are already a point better off after
one away game than they were after one home game at the same stage last
However, few, if any, fans were expecting anything other than victory
after their side took a 2-0 lead into the second half.
That wasn't just because they were two goals to the good. The first-half
performance was excellent and the visitors deserved to be ahead at the
Stockport boss Chris Turner didn't think so. He felt 0-0 would have been a
fairer reflection of the first half.
And in his post-match interview, Stags coach Peter Shirtliff said he
thought his side were lucky to be holding a two-goal advantage at the
The Stags were the better side in the first half and the 4-3-3 formation
which player-manager Carlton Palmer is keen to stick with worked well, as
Mansfield put pressure on the home side's defence with a series of raids.
But, ultimately, the main difference between the two sides at the break
was two moments of quality from two of Palmer's new signings.
Stephen Dawson and Adam Birchall were included in a group of seven players
making their competitive debuts for the visitors.
Jon Olav-Hjelde was one of them, keeping Jake Buxton out of the side,
while Fraser McLachlan's selection alongside Palmer was a surprise.
But the inclusion of Dawson and Birchall wasn't - and they proved that a
touch of class can make a big difference in League Two.
In truth, both Stags goals came out of the blue.
First, Dawson cleverly shifted the ball to his left after it had become
stuck under his feet, before firing low shot inside the far post from 25
yards to make it 1-0 midway through the first period. Then, former Arsenal
striker Birchall became the second Stag of the day to score on his debut
as he cut inside and found the back of the net with another low and
long-range effort to double the advantage.
And the wisdom of McLachlan's selection was becoming apparent.
Palmer is keen for the players in his big squad to know they have to work
for their places. And that is one reason why the young midfielder, who has
come in for some rough treatment from the Mansfield fans, earned his
But it wasn't the only reason.
McLachlan will surely admit that he is low in the Stags pecking order when
it comes to silky skills and general flair and creativity.
However, he is not afraid to chase, tackle and run. Palmer likes that.
And Palmer's inclusion alongside a player whose role includes destructive
work paid off in the first half.
As McLachlan made a contribution to stifling the attacking threat of the
Stockport midfield, and Palmer mixed defensive midfield duties with
creative play, other players were given freedom to test the home
There is no doubting Dawson's midfield talent - and Birchall, Matthew
Tipton and skipper Richie Barker will cause problems for any League Two
With 45 minutes on the clock, all was well in the Stags camp. The
Mansfield plan was working.
Palmer and assistant boss will hope that their side can repeat their
first-half display, but probably not their second.
It wasn't all bad after the break, but the Stags did lose their way.
Stockport threw a spanner in the works when new signing Jermaine Easter
pulled a goal back two and a half minutes after the restart - and Kevin
Pressman might be willing to admit he could have done better.
Palmer, who was quoted at 6-1 to be sent off against his former club,
hobbled off early in the second period with a groin twinge and the Stags
midfield lost some shape and edge after that.
Stags contributed to Easter's equaliser with some dubious defending.
But, all things considered, it wasn't a bad start for Palmer's men.
OPENING DAY DRAW FOR STAGS
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
Stockport County 2 Mansfield Town 2
(Easter 48. 66) (Dawson 22. Birchall 31)
Attendance – 4,790.
First half goals by Stephen Dawson and Adam Birchall looked to have given The Stags new campaign a dream start at Edgeley Park last weekend but a second half double by Stockport County's, Jermaine Easter meant a share of the spoils.
Carlton Palmer who began his managerial career at Edgeley Park was greeted by a chorus of boo's from the home crowd as his name was read out but received a warm reception from Mansfield's travelling army of just over 1,000.
Palmer took his place in the centre of midfield in an adventurous 4-3-3 formation which saw seven out of the starting XI making their debut as The Stags looked to get their 2005/2006 season underway in style.
Stockport, relegated at the end of last season, had themselves gone through a transformation on the playing front, Manager Chris Turner signing seven in the close season.
The opening period of the first half was a little disappointing as both sides struggled to find their new season legs but it was Mansfield who looked marginally the better of the two with Rhys Day looking commanding and assured at the centre of The Stags defence.
The first real opening for either side came when Stags Captain, Richie Barker beat County goalkeeper, James Spencer to the ball, but unfortunately lost his balance at a tight angle and his effort went well wide.
Stags took the lead from a sweeping move on 22 minutes. The ball was sent down The Stags right hand side where Tipton played the ball square to Stephen Dawson who fired home into the keeper's bottom left hand corner from 20 yards. It was a goal of efficient simplicity and one feels could be the first of many for the young Stags midfielder.
Moments later however, Kevin Pressman was called into his first serious bit of action as he got down well to an effort from County's, Keith Briggs.
Stockport though were looking shell-shocked as the visitors coped well with any danger and looked threatening when in possession.
On 31 minutes, Adam Birchall made it 2-0 to Mansfield with a drive that deceived Spencer in the County goal. The ball going in inside the keeper's near post. It was a surprising finish but gave The Stags a commanding two goal lead to take into the half time break.
It was hoped that Mansfield could withstand any early pressure from the home side, but it wasn't to be. Former Sheffield Wednesday manager, Chris Turner had obviously fired up his side in the interval because County came out in the 2nd half looking like different opposition.
The home side took just three minutes to gain a foothold in the game. Jermaine Easter from eight yards, was given time to control the ball with his back to goal and allowed to turn and hit a weak shot that although lacking power, had enough direction to nestle inside Pressman's right hand post with the Stags keeper rather flat footed.
With the score standing at 2-1, Giles Coke was introduced into the fray, replacing Player Manager, Carlton Palmer who was given a standing ovation from the travelling fans but predictably booed by the home fans. Palmer had took a knock early on in the encounter, but more than played his part and deserved the praise from The Stags support.
Stags gained a free kick some 20 yards from goal, Raynes having his name took by Referee, Mr Sutton, but Barker's effort smashed into the wall and County easily cleared the danger.
On 65 minutes, Turner chose to replace Harpel Singh with former Wednesday man, Matt Hamshaw and it was he who was to create County's equaliser. Hamshaw's free kick was misdirected towards his own goal by Gareth Jelleyman and touched over the line from close range by a delighted Jermaine Easter with again, Kevin Pressman rather rooted.
Palmer then sent on Rundle for Birchall as both sides went in search of the goal that would have surely won the game. Tipton seemed in eager mood but twice fired over the crossbar with vicious efforts whilst County's beat chance came when Easter arrived just a second too late to connect with a fine cross.
The last few minutes of the game saw Mansfield in dominant mood and they can count themselves rather unlucky not to have won the game when following a Tipton corner, Rhys Day headed just inches wide of the home keeper's left hand post. The chance was that close that the Stags centre half thumped the grass in frustration.
The whistle sounded to end the first 90 minutes of the new season and was greeted by a warm round of applause from both sets of supporters who had witnessed a classic game of two halves.
Observer Man of the Match – Stephen Dawson.
Spencer, Clare, Robinson, Briggs (82 Malcolm) Raynes (77 Greenwood), Williams, Wolski, Bramble, Singh (65 Hamshaw), Boshell, Easter.
Subs not used – Duke, La Fondre.
Pressman, Peers, Jelleyman, Palmer (56 Coke), Day, Dawson, Barker, Tipton, Birchall (66 Rundle), McLachlan, Hjelde.
Subs not used – Uhlenbeek, Buxton, Brown.
Referee – Mr G.J Sutton.
Stags happy with opening day draw
STAGS assistant manager Peter Shirtliff was happy with Mansfield Town's opening day 2-2 draw at Stockport – despite letting a 2-0 lead slip.
"I think a draw was a fair result in the end," he said. "If we are realistic we have had three or four shots and scored twice in the first half, both from outside the box, which is unusual.
"So, in some ways we were lucky to be 2-0 up, though we didn't look like we were going to concede, which was good.
"But in the second half they got the goal very early on which gave the home side momentum and, as a result of that, we lost our way.
"We just couldn't retain possession which meant we couldn't stop their pressure.
"They also had their crowd behind them now and we conceded a second.
"Credit to Stockport, they stuck at it and got their reward. We have to learn to deal with these situations.
"I am disappointed we didn't create more to score again. At 2-2 it was pretty even-stevens and either side could have snatched it.
"The grass was very long which didn't help the flow of the game."
Shirtliff confirmed player-manager Carlton Palmer had a groin strain and was doubtful for Tuesday's visit of Rushden and Diamonds (7.45pm).
Match report: Stockport 2 - 2 Mansfield
By Site staff - Andy H
County fought back from being two goals down to share the points at home to Mansfield today following a 2-2 draw. Stephen Dawson and Adam Birchell gave the Stags a 2-0 lead before a brace by Jermaine Easter in the second half earned County a share of the points.
Today for me was like waiting for Christmas. You wait ages for it but when it does come around you only feel disappointed and think about what could have been. At 3.45pm today I was feeling exactly like that. After three months of looking forward to the new season County contrived to concede two first half goals in a dour first half and made me wish that I was still lying on the beach on my summers holidays.
In a team unrecogniseable from last season, Chris Turner gave League debuts to Mark Robinson, Rob Clare (a second one!), Danny Boshell, Michel Wolski, Jermaine Easter and Tesfaye Bramble. Despite being slightly on top, County found themselves two goals down thanks to two long-range efforts from Mansfield.
After neat interplay on the edge of the County area, Stephen Dawson fired home low to beat James Spencer. Nine minutes later and former Arsenal player Adam Birchalls low shot beat Spencer at the near post. In my opinion Spencer should be disappointed with both efforts but we found ourselves 2-0 down at the break. I was already thinking about heading back to The Royal Oak.
However a new energetic County sprung out of the dressing room and with renewed impetus, County pulled one back. Jermaine Easter with his back to goal turned sharply to hook the ball past a surprised Kevin Pressman. The come back was complete on 66 minutes when Easter again got on the end of the impressive Hamshaw's cross to head home from close range. County could have sealed victory late on through Tes Bramble who found himself in space only to have his shot blocked.
Mansfield came close late on through Days header from a corner but the points were shared.
In summary it was a satisfactory start to the season, especially since we went two goals down. The second half performance was good and we didn't really look like conceding goals. Lets hope Jermaine Easter can continue in the same scoring form.
Spencer (6) - Poor for both goals but played well apart from these
Clare (7) - Good first game back at the club
Robinson (8) - Good game, looked solid and delivered several good passes
Williams (6) - Looked weak in the air and sliced several clearances
Raynes (7) - Must have impressed the watching Brian Robson with an assured performance
Singh (7) - Looked lively
Boshell (6) - Looked ok but needed more physical presence in midfiled. Played some nice passes
Wolski (6) - Again made some good tackles but looked a bit off the pace at times
Briggs (6) - Should have been played at centre mid however had a decent game
Bramble (7) - Held ball up well and contributed to both goals
Easter (8) - Scored 2 on debut. Looked pacy and lively. Can't ask for more than that!
Hamshaw (7) - Looked class when he came on. Set up second goal.
Greenwood (7) - Didn't do a lot but sound game at right back
Malcolm (6) - Didn't feature much but what he did he did well.
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