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Archived News from September 2005

21st September 2005 20:57

How Arrogant Are We ?
By Nick Illingsworth
Date: 21/9/2005

Harry Redknapp showed an arrogance to Mansfield in fielding a reserve side at Field Mill last night that the Nottinghamshire team or its supporters did not deserve, what they did deserve however was the enjoyment of a cup victory.

Mansfield did not ask for the arrogance shown to them by Southampton Football Club last night, as we fielded a reserve side, perhaps its the state of the game today but in the past Club's had the duty to put out their strongest team, and the contempt Saints showed for their opponents was disgusting, not to mention the travelling Saints fans who in some cases were attending their 3rd away game in 7 days and the time and costs involved.
The truth was that a side so inexperienced was never going to gel and the two players who were experienced enough to try and lead in Rory Delap and Neil McCann were candidates for the worst players on the pitch.

Just what Harry Redknapp hoped to gain out of this game is hard to see, yes put out a side packed with youngsters, but at least leave in the spine of the first team to give them some shape and leadership, what actually has been gained however is a dozen promissing youngsters have now have a little more confidence knocked out of them and have been rubbished in public by their manager to boot.

So congratulations to Mansfield, you out fought and outplayed us, enjoy your triumph and good luck in the next round.

Evening Post, 21 September 2005

Southampton boss Harry Redknapp blasted his players and said they let themselves down against Mansfield.

He fielded a completely different side from that which drew with Derby on Sunday to give his younger players a chance. Yet his team still included Northern Ireland international Chris Baird and players from last season"s Premiership campaign including Dexter Blackstock, Rory Delap and Paul Smith.

Redknapp said: "I gave them the chance to experience real football. And unfortunately they could not handle it. They got after us, worked us, hurried us up and we found it very difficult.

"These players need to realise what real football is all about."

Evening Post, 21 September 2005

Mansfield caretaker manager Peter Shirtliff staked his claim to the job on a full-time basis.

Shirtliff took charge at Field Mill on Monday after Carlton Palmer resigned and last night his side beat Championship Southampton 1-0 in the Carling Cup after a terrific second-half display.

Shirtliff said: "I challenged them to start with but it is a cup game. I don't want to take anything away from the performance. I was pleased they started playing with a bit of passion, commitment and a lot of ability. It went very well and I was pleased with them all. They all contributed and showed a bit of confidence creeping into their play as the game went on.

"We have got to take that into Saturday against Wycombe. The players know we need to pick up points and improve our league form but if we can take something out of the game last night, then great."

Shirtliff knows he needs to produce more than one win against Southampton.

He said: "Time will tell. I will take one game at a time and prepare the best I can, which is what I have done at every club I have been at."

And he knows who will be most excited about the third round draw on Saturday when Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal all enter the hat.

He said: "The chairman will be looking forward to it. It will be interesting. If he gets Chelsea away or Manchester United away I'm sure he will be rubbing his hands together."

Evening Post, 21 September 2005
Mansfield Town 1 v 0 Southampton

Peter Shirtliff stepped into the Mansfield hot seat and wasted no time in his pre-match press conference in staking his claim for the job on a permanent basis.

Many would have put Carlton Palmer"s former assistant as a long shot but last night he did his chances no harm at all.

Just 72 hours after Palmer walked out on the Stags, they claimed the scalp of a second Championship side in the Carling Cup after Stoke in the first round.

Caretaker-boss Shirtliff saw his side look a completely different team from that under Palmer - yet only two changes were made from the side that was dismal on Saturday against Rochdale, leading to Palmer"s resignation.

A 4-4-2 formation was preferred to the 4-3-3, cum 4-5-1, formation that Palmer used, to the bewilderment of most fans.

Fast, flowing football and a battling spirit saw Mansfield dominate in the second half.

Shirtliff asked for a reaction, for a competitive attitude and for his players to express themselves. His players produced it on the pitch.

Although Southampton were a mixture of fringe and youth players, with a complete change from the side that drew at Derby on Sunday, this was no easy task.

But the Stags" confidence grew as the game went on and players like Simon Brown, Giles Coke and Adam Birchall caused problems with their quick thinking, fast feet and vision.

The fans started off subdued, expecting the worst. But as the intensity of Mansfield"s play got stronger, so did the noise.

And on 68 minutes, Coke got what proved to be a deserved winner when he struck the ball past Paul Smith after being played in behind the Saints defence by Brown.

In the first half Mansfield held their own, enjoying possession without creating any clear-cut chances until late in the half.

But although Stags looked comfortable in possession, the Championship side had the better chances in the half.

The Saints could have been up within two minutes. Kenwyne Jones got the better of Alex John-Baptiste but from inside the area shot straight at Pressman. Then Jones and Dexter Blackstock both went close for the visitors.

But their best chance came when Blackstock met Yoann Folly's cross from the right only for Pressman to produce a superb save.

Mansfield twice went close in the closing stages of the half.

Birchall, restored up front alongside Barker, almost turned his fellow striker"s cross in when he flashed it across the six-yard box from the byline.

And then he burst down the right of the Southampton box to take Coke"s long pass forward but his powerful shot was tipped over.

Saints full-back Martin Cranie gave the Stags a scare on the stroke of half time, his 25-yard shot being parried away by Pressman.

The second period saw the Stags build on their good finish to the first. Rory Delap should have scored five minutes in from just four yards.

But either side of that Mansfield went close. First Jelleyman"s dangerous ball across the face of goal managed to avoid Birchall and Barker who both slid in.

And then Smith got down well to his left to deny Brown"s low drive into the bottom corner. Brown twice flashed a shot just over the bar from long range before Jelleyman"s back post header was well held by Smith.

On 68 minutes the Stags got the breakthrough. Brown played a sublime ball to put Coke in behind the Saints defence and the teenage midfielder made no mistake.

Mansfield stayed strong, McLachlan twice going close.

But despite pressure near the end, the Stags dug in and battled for a deserved victory and place in the third round when Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all come into the competition.

Shirtliff could not have asked for a better start and already the fans are warming to him.

But Saturday brings a different challenge in high-flying Wycombe.
Coke is Carling Cup hero
CHAD website
TEENAGE midfielder Giles Coke celebrated his first senior goal which saw Stags take the prize scalp of Southampton in the Carling Cup second round at Field Mill last night.
Coke's 68th minute strike proved crucial and the 1-0 win also gave caretaker boss Peter Shirtliff the ideal start to his tenure after manager Carlton Palmer quit following Saturday's defeat at Rochdale.
"It was a great time to score my first goal and, playing in the cup against Southampton, what a great game to score it in," said Coke.
"I thought we played well all the way through and deserved it.
"Nothing has changed much since the weekend but the players have just got together as a team.
"Rochdale is in the past now and we just want to forget it and move on."
On the goal, he added: "Simon Brown put me through and I thought the keeper should have come. But he didn't and I slotted it, I am very happy.
"The fans were right behind us tonight and that's what we need - we want more of that. Now we need to build on this in the League.
Shirtliff added: "I was delighted for the players tonight.
"After the weekend I challenged them and they responded in exactly the right way.
"They showed the passion and commitment I wanted and you could see the confidence creeping into their play as the game wore on.
"We played particularly well in the second half and I though the fans were top class and created a great atmosphere for us.
"As far as the manager's job is concerned we will just have to wait and see. It is only one game and all I am thinking about now is the game against Wycombe on Saturday."
Saints boss Harry Redknapp said: "I made 11 changes tonight and everyone who came in thought they were good enough.
"But they couldn't handle how hard Mansfield worked us. They didn't take their chance.
"They can stroll around at youth and reserve team level, not a problem. But in real football like this you are put under pressure and Mansfield worked their socks off and some of my players found it difficult.
"That's why I believe in the loan sytem as you can see if they can do it in real football.
"If I told some of those players they were going out on loan to Mansfield next week they would look at me as if I was some kind of an idiot!
"They would tell me they were better than Mansfield. But it proved tonight that Mansfield are better than they are.
"There were no real shining lights out there for us tonight and I learned nothing. It was poor.
"I had a feeling all along that this could happen tonight and it did."


Rory Delap is backing the club's youngsters to learn from last night's Carling Cup ordeal.

A young Southampton side suffered a shock 1-0 exit to a Mansfield side third from bottom in League 2 and without a permanent manager following the departure of former Saint Carlton Palmer.

Delap skippered the side as Harry Redknapp made 11 changes to give a run-out to his fringe players and emerging talent.

It was a sharp reality check for many of them but Delap is confident they will come good.

He said: "We let down ourselves, the fans and the manager and his staff and we all need to take a long hard look at  what went wrong.

"It was a terrible night. We played for about five minutes in each half and got dragged into knocking long balls forward.

"It was hard for the youngsters but they will learn from it. They have to think about what happened and put it right.

"I don't think it was a case of pitching them in too soon. If kids are ready, how long do you wait? You see top players at other clubs coming into the side at 18 or 19 and doing a job.

"It can be hard for young players if there is too much hype about them and they might find it tough to live up to that.

But they are all good players and are all capable of making it. Maybe it would help one or two to go out on loan to toughen them up and get them used to a different way of playing?

"It can be a bit too nice in the Reserves and youth team where the games are not as competitive. At first team level, the challenges come in at every turn.

"But we have some good talent and they must learn from what was a very dismal night. Although promotion is the priority, we wanted to go through.

"You don't mind as much if you are beaten by a good team or if you put in a performance but Mansfield played well and we did not."

By Graham Hiley at Field Mill

Hopefully this will prove to be a case of short-term pain for long-term gain!
Harry Redknapp gave youth a chance, making 11 changes and fielding what was effectively a Reserve side.

The line-up was packed with promising Orchard Homes Academy scholars - and this could be the best lesson they will ever have.
There is no better way of learning than through experience, however painful it might be.

Of course it hurt losing to a team which, statistically, is the third worst in the league right now.
In fact, it should be a gut-wrenching humiliation which stays with them throughout their careers, a reminder of something they never want to go through again.

And if that toughens them up and gives them the steel to go with their style, then somehow it may be worth it.
It is not the set-backs in life which matter but how you react to them.

And this young crop of talent will be better for this sharpest of learning curves as they somehow surrendered a game they should have won.
Over recent seasons, success has come easily in the all-conquering Academy sides and even with the high-flying Reserves.

And maybe they expected an equally comfortable win, especially after dominating the opening stages.
They sliced through with ease early on with Kenwyne Jones having a shot blocked and Dexter Blackstock hooking the rebound wide after just two minutes.

But gradually the underdogs began to realise that there was not a lot of substance to this Saints side and there was nothing to fear.
From then on they began to raise the tempo and Saints failed to respond; in short the League 2 strugglers wanted it more.

They ran and chased to deny Saints space with Day and Baptiste keeping tight rein on Blackstock and Jones who barely got a sniff in the final hour, although they did not get much service from a lacklustre midfield.
Blackstock did have a close range header blocked by Fareham-born veteran keeper Kevin Pressman while Jones fired wide after turning well.

But in the second half, Pressman did not have a serious save to make - even after the Stags had gone in front on 68 minutes.
It is bad enough having to play in the Coca-Cola Championship this season with being dumped out of the Carling Cup by a player named Coke!

Giles Coke it was who scored his first senior goal as he sprinted onto a long diagonal ball by the outstanding Brown.
Matthew Mills and Paul Smith seemed to leave it to each other allowing the youngster to dart through and slot past the keeper rooted to his line.

That should have been the signal for a panic stations assault on the home goal - but managerless Mansfield were able to see out the game in relative comfort.
The nearest Southampton came to levelling was a header by Day towards his own goal and Pressman caught it under the bar.

Even the introduction of Theo Walcott and David McGoldrick failed to spark any real response from a team desperately lacking leaders.
It needed someone to roll up the sleeves and to cajole and encourage the floundering young stars but the handful of senior players were having just as bad a time of it.

It seemed no-one was prepared to take responsibility and drive the side on and there was not one player to emerge with any real credit.
However this kind of shock defeat is just as important a part of learning as the comfortable victories the boys have enjoyed at youth level.

Now they have to show they have the mental toughness to ride this reverse and to bounce back strongly.
There is no doubt they all have good ability - and maybe it was asking too much to pitch them all in together at the same time and with little help from more experienced players?

With no more "low-key" cup games until the New Year, it may now be a case of feeding the youngsters in gradually, one or two at a time and ideally into a winning side with plenty of leaders to help them if they get into trouble.
Undoubtedly this was a set-back in their development - but, handled correctly, it can also become an important stepping stone.

Mansfield: Pressman, Peers, Jelleyman, Day, Baptiste, Barker, Birchall, Talbot, Coke, McLachlan, Brown. Subs: Uhlenbeek, Buxton, Rundle, Littlejohn, White (gk).

Saints: Smith, Baird, Kenton, Mills, Cranie, Dyer, Folly (Walcott 72), Delap, McCann, Blackstock (McGoldrick 81), Jones. Subs: Tejera, Gillett, McNeil (gk).

Referee: Brian Curson (Leics). Attendance: 3,739 (including 354 Saints fans)

Pictures by Paul Watts

Match Report
Mansfield 1 Saints 0 - report

By Graham Hiley at Field Mill

Harry Redknapp made 11 changes from the side which drew at Derby on Sunday as he took the chance to rest a few bumps and bruises and to look at his fringe players.

It was still a strong side though as Kenwyne Jones led the line with Dexter Blackstock ahead of Delap, McCann and Folly in midfield with Dyer wide. David McGoldrick's goalscoring exploits for the Reserves and Under 18's won him a place on the bench alongside new Uruguayan Marcelo Tejera, both getting a first senior call-up.

Mansfield's biggest change was the manager following the weekend departure of former Saint Carlton Palmer who quit after the defeat at Rochdale with his side third from bottom in League 2. Former Sheffield Wednesday defender Peter Shirtliffe has taken over as caretaker boss.

Mansfield: Pressman, Peers, Jelleyman, Day, Baptiste, Barker, Birchall, Talbot, Coke, McLachlan, Brown. Subs: Uhlenbeek, Buxton, Rundle, Littlejohn, White (gk).

Saints: Smith, Baird, Kenton, Mills, Cranie, Dyer, Folly (Walcott 72), Delap, McCann, Blackstock (McGoldrick 81), Jones. Subs: Tejera, Gillett, McNeil (gk).

Referee: Brian Curson (Leics). Attendance: 3,739 (including 354 Saints fans)

Delap led out the side and Saints almost went in front inside two minutes as Smith's long ball bounced in the opposite box for Jones whose close range shot was blocked by the keeper with Blackstock hooking the rebound wide.

Folly sliced well wide after Delap's long throw had been headed out and then Jones won a corner in the right from Baptiste. But McCann overhit it beyond the far post for a goalkick.

McLachlan tried to slide a diagonal ball through but McCann brought it out of defence and found Dyer who played it through for Blackstock in the inside right channel. But Baptiste denied him space for a clean shot which looped into the arms of Fareham-born keeper Pressman.

Kenton blocked a powerful 20-yard blast from Birchall and then Jelleyman chipped tamely into the arms of Smith.

Jones turned sharply but hit his low 20-yard drive well wide of the right post on 15 minutes. Dyer zipped past Talbot but Jones was penalised as he went for the cross.

A foul by Day on Jones gave Saints a free-kick on the left. McCann's chip was headed back across goal at the far post by Jones but it was nodded clear by Baptiste.

Dyer's pace saw him reach a Jones flick but he overhit the cross as he burst through on 27 minutes and then Baird had a blast charged down. But generally it was a scrappy game with little son far to rouse the sparse crowd.

A slip by Dyer gave the ball to Jelleyman whose low drive lacked the power to trouble Smith. Kenton tracked Birchall and blocked the cross at the expense of a corner on the right. Baird nodded clear and Saints broke at pace with McCann's chip winning a corner but Pressman was fouled as he went for the inswinger.

Saints almost took the lead on 33 minutes when Folly worked space for a cross from the right. It was too high for Jones but Blackstock powered in behind him. However his bullet header was blocked at close range by Pressman.

But they survived a scare three minutes later when Barker kept the ball in by the left goal-line and crossed but it was inches too far in front of Birchall who right have got it if he had launched himself for a diving header. Then Smith showed safe hands to clutch a powerful cross-shot from Brown on the right edge of the area.

Kenton was booked for a centre circle foul on Brown after38 minutes. Mansfield were coming more into it and Birchall lashed in a powerful angled blast from the right edge of the area but again Smith was equal to it.

Cranie cut in from the left and his meaty low left foot shot came back off Pressman with no-one able to capitalise.

Half-time: Mansfield 0 Saints 0

Smith beat Birchall in a race for the ball in the opening minute of the second half then Barker screwed an 18-yard shot well wide.

Saints escaped on 48 minues when Barker just failed to get a clean contact from his lunge at a left-wing cross by Jelleyman.

There was a carbon copy chance at the other end as Jones crossed from the right and Delap failed to get a strong touch two yards out and the ball squirted wide.

Jones nodded wide from a cross by McCann and then Brown hit a strong low left-foot shot which Smith smothered well to his left on 51 minutes.

Jones played a one-two with dyer but delayed the shot too long allowing Baptiste to block then McLachlan was booked for a bad foul on Folly after 54 minutes.

The ever-dangerous Brown fired over from 30 yards and then Smith saved Jelleyman's header as the home side enjoyed a good spell. Brown cut in from the right and tried another left-foot shot which flew over the bar with 61 minutes gone.

Mills looked set to collect his first senior goal but Peers blocked his powerful 12-yard shot. At the other end Kenton threw himself in the way of Birchall's blast.

Three home players had stabs in a goalmouth scramble before Saints finally got the ball clear and then Coke was only just wide with a 40-yard attempt to catch Smith off his line.

The home side's pressure was rewarded on 68 minutes when Brown played a good ball over the top and through the inside right channel. Smith stayed rooted to his line as COKE ran through to slot in from the right of goal.

Day almost headed into his own net but Pressman caught under the bar. Redknapp's response was to send on Walcott for Folly with 18 minutes remaining. Birchall's 28-yard free-kick hit the wall and flew over

McLachlan failed to get any power as he stretched to meet a left-wing cross and then he saw another shot deflected but Smith reacted well to save to his left.

McGoldrick came on for his debut with nine minutes remaining, replacing Blackstock. Dyer got free down the right but massively overhit the cross as Saints struggled to threaten an equaliser.

Saints were given three minutes of stoppage time to force extra-time as Mansfield continued to dig in and block at every turn. And the home side kept the visitors penned in their own half to deny chance for the equaliser.

Full-time: Mansfield 1 Saints 0


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