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Archived News from July 2007

30th July 2007 22:06

Michael Boulding and John McAliskey
Attendance: 2,980 (918 visitors). stevie.roden@nottinghameveningpost.co.uk
Evening Post report

Key players like Richie Barker and Giles Coke have been lost, midfielder Jonathan D'Laryea is out injured for the start of the season and only three players have been brought in. It is fair to say expectation has not been high for the coming campaign.

Many have talked about survival being the first priority, believing the Stags will be in a dogfight for the majority of the season.

Even manager Billy Dearden has erred on the side of caution, saying he is simply looking for a top-half finish in League Two.

This before the Stags have really played. With the Leicester game cancelled, only an outing at Belper Town had taken place before this match with Premiership new boys Derby County.

But, after this clash, the mood will be more upbeat.

It was a friendly after all and no one will get carried away. But the performance at least offered reason to look forward to the season, rather than dread it.

It is a young squad - and maybe the experience is not there - but there was plenty of hunger and desire in this first game at Field Mill. And that, with a bit of quality, produced a 2-0 win.

Mickey Boulding was the main threat for Mansfield in the first half, showing signs of the player that made a name for himself earlier in his career.

But it was Derby who had the first chances. The Rams could have taken the lead after just three minutes, Robert Earnshaw putting Gary Teale through but he blazed his first-time half volley over the bar.

The Stags escaped soon after when the duo combined again. This time Earnshaw's superb overhead kick from Teale's cross came back off the underside of the bar.

But after Dearden's side escaped punishment, they came into the game.

Alex John-Baptiste showed just why Stags were prepared to offer him such a big contract with an inspired piece of defending.

Teale was played clear down the right but his square ball to Steve Howard, who would certainly have scored, was intercepted by the defender's leg after he slid in towards the near post.

But on 18 minutes Boulding started to make his mark when he had Stephen Bywater scrambling down to his left to save his 25-yard left-foot shot that was heading for the bottom corner.

Boulding then saw a glancing header from Matt Hamshaw's corner cleared off the line by Jay McEveley.

But four minutes after his first chance, Boulding gave the Stags the lead through a bit of good fortune.

A piece of skill from Dan Martin set him up for a shot but that was blocked, only to hit Matt Oakley on the head and send the ball beyond his own defence.

And Boulding took full advantage down the left of the box as he slid the ball past Bywater into the corner of the net.

With Stags getting on top, Martin McIntosh rose to meet a corner but his header was saved.

Boulding almost had another when he closed Bywater down as he looked to clear and blocked it, only to see the rebound bounce just wide of the post.

It was a quiet opening to the second period, only Jason White parrying away a strike from McEveley from the edge of the box of any note.

That was until almost 20 minutes in when the Stags doubled their lead.

A defensive mistake saw Boulding pick up the ball behind the defence in the box, but Bywater got down to save his effort. But as it looped back into the air, John McAliskey was composed and headed over the goalkeeper to score on the rebound.

White was on form again to save from Jon Macken after both sides made a number of changes. It disrupted the game although Craig Fagan headed wide from close range with five minutes remaining and White saved Mo Camara's free-kick in the final seconds of the match.

But Stags did not care, nor did their fans. The defence looked solid, Stephen Dawson was excellent in the middle of the park and Boulding was a threat up front against a side that will line up against Manchester United and Chelsea next season.

The big test will be producing similar performances in the bread and butter of League Two.

But at least for now a little bit of optimism is starting to shift the gloom and doom from around Field Mill.

Mansfield: White, John-Baptiste, Buxton, McIntosh, Jelleyman, Hamshaw (Arnold, 77), Bell (Mullins, 66), Dawson, Martin (Kitchen, 84), McAliskey (Reet, 66), M Boulding (R Boulding, 66).

Derby: Bywater (Price, 71), Mears, McEveley, Davis (Moore, 46), Leacock (Todd, 46), Pearson, Jones (Camara, 62), Oakley (Bearsley, 71), Howard (Fagan, 62), Earnshaw (Macken, 62), Teale (Malcolm, 71).

Referee: Andy Woolmer.

Attendance: 2,980 (918 visitors). stevie.roden@nottinghameveningpost.co.uk

Stags stun Premiership neighbours
CHAD report
By John Lomas
A GOAL in each half from Michael Boulding and John McAliskey saw Mansfield Town enjoy an excellent 2-0 success over Premiership new boys Derby County in their pre-season friendly clash at Field Mill this afternoon.

The Rams started the match strongly and Gary Teale fired just over while Robert Earnshaw hit the bar, both in the first five minutes.

But Stags, with Michael Boulding a real handful, fought their way into the contest and Boulding was rewarded for his work with the 22nd minute opener.

New signing McAliskey headed the second on 64 minutes and keeper Jason White made sure of a clean sheet at the other end with three good second half saves to leave the Rams red-faced as they tasted an unexpected defeat to their League Two neighbours

Stags were almost caught out in the third minute as Earnshaw looped a ball over the defence into the path of Teale's run, but he crashed a dipping finish just over from the edge of the box.

The same combination almost worked in reverse two minutes later as Teale chipped in a cross from the right and Earnshaw produced a superb overhead volley which cannoned back off the Stags crossbar.

Stags threatened on 10 minutes as Boulding and McAliskey found themselves behind the advancing Rams' defence as Buxton headed forward only to see Bywater smartly off his line to grab the ball ahead of Boulding.

On 14 minutes Howard's cutting pass released Teale down the right and his low cross was destined for Oakley in front of goal until John-Baptiste crucially stretched out a leg to concede the corner.

White was always safely behind Jones' 25 yard shot after another spell of Derby pressure.

On 18 minutes Bywater had his first to make as Martin teed up Boulding for what looked an almost casual swing of the leg from 30 yards which had the Derby keeper diving to his left.

Boulding came even closer three minutes later as his glancing header onto a Hamshaw corner almost sneaked inside the far post until McEveley cleared off the line.

But Boulding got his reward within 60 seconds as he grabbed the home side a 22nd minute lead.

Martin's shot crashed into Oakley and span invitingly into Boulding's path. He still had to work to do but managed to tuck a finish expertly past Bywater.

McIntosh forced Bywater to grab an on-target header from Hamshaw's second corner.

Earnshaw created a bit of space on 31 minutes but was well over with his finish at the end of a promising run.

The Welsh international should have done better on 35 minutes when Teale got the ball to him in the box and his first time blast flew over with White at his mercy.

Two minutes later Stags were almost gifted a second goal.
Bywater took too long to clear a Davis back pass and allowed Boulding to close in and make a block which saw the ball spin over the keeper and agonisingly drop just wide.

Derby hit back with a corner that Howard nodded over at the far post while White gathered a tame low Earnshaw shot.

But Stags held on to their interval lead.

The Rams replaced central defensive pair Leacock and Davis with Moore and Todd for the second half.

Earnshaw's header was well over from Pearson's left wing cross in the visitors' first raid after the break.

White has his first major save to make on 55 as McEveley cut inside Hamshaw on the left and drilled a shot at goal which the keeper had to beat away.

McIntosh was well wide as he got a head onto a Hamshaw free kick.

Derby made a triple change on 61 with a new strike force of Fagan and Macken joining the action and Camara on for Jones in midfield.

But it was Mansfield who struck again three minutes later.

McAliskey slid in to win a tackle 12 yards from goal which saw the ball roll for Boulding. Bywater got down to save his effort but could do nothing as the ball bounced back out to McAliskey who headed over him into the empty net.

It was his last action as he and Michael Boulding, along with Bell, left the field to be replaced by Reet, Rory Boulding and Mullins.

White made a crucial save on 69 minutes as Macken met a Camara cross at the near post and the keeper superbly smothered it.

Both sides continued to ring the changes as Derby struggled to make any inroads against the League Two side.

They almost clawed one back four minutes from the end when a superb chipped cross from Macken picked out strike partner Fagan in front of goal, be he powered his header wide.

And in the final minute White did well again to turn aside a powerful Camara free kick from almost 30 yards to preserve the clean sheet.

MANSFIELD: White, John-Baptiste, Buxton, McIntosh, Jelleyman, Hamshaw (Arnold 77), Bell (Mullins 66), Dawson, Martin (Kitchen 84), McAliskey (Reet 66), M. Boulding (R. Boulding 66, Wood 84). Sub not used: Muggleton.

DERBY: Bywater (Price 71), Mears, McEveley, Davis (Todd ht), Leacock (Moore ht), Pearson, Jones (Camara 61), Oakley (Malcolm 71), Howard (Macken 61), Earnshaw (Fagan 61), Teale (Beardsley 71).


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