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Archived News from March 2014

19th March 2014 18:24

Boss reflects on draw with Cobblers

Manager Paul Cox was pleased with our players' efforts after watching his team earn a valuable point in a 1-1 draw at Northampton Town today.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/boss-reflects-on-draw-with-cobblers-1423164.aspx?#OxjmS3LliAUKMhtl.99

Ollie Palmer fired us ahead in the first half, but Darren Carter equalised from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, following Darryl Westlake's sending off for allegedly handling the ball on the line.

We then survived over half-an-hour playing with 10 men to earn a crucial point at Sixfields Stadium, which moves us up to two places to 16th position in Sky Bet League Two.

“I thought the players worked extremely hard,” said Cox. “I never saw Northampton scoring to be honest. We weathered the storm for huge parts of the game, but to give a decision like Darryl Westlake's sending-off wasn’t right.

“After the first 15 minutes I thought we looked sluggish, but worked really hard. It was a typical, tight game like I thought it would be, and Northampton played a massive part in a very entertaining game.

“It was always going to be a tight game, but at the stage of going a goal up I couldn’t see Northampton Town breaking us down and I thought we would be good for a 1-0 win.

“When you go down to 10 men, you’re always going to be left open. They’ve got an experienced manager and experienced players so they certainly made that extra man count.

“I’m a bit frustrated, but it might be a point gained. The players have worked so hard on the training ground, day in and day out.”

Meanwhile, our manager praised the 744 travelling supporters who were in good voice at Sixfields Stadium this afternoon.

He continued: “The fans were brilliant today. They came down in their numbers and really got behind the boys. I just feel there is a bit of a sour taste in my mouth at the moment though.

“The score reads 1-1 and I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve and talking with a passion, because I care about the players and the football club and I feel like a cheap decision has cost us all three points.”

Cox was also happy with Ollie Palmer’s performance and believes there is a lot more to come from the 22-year-old.

He said: “Anyone who expected Ollie Palmer to come in and score 25 goals at this level is absolutely crazy.

“He is a young kid who has come up from non-league football. What he has at the moment is raw potential, so to play in League Two and jump a few divisions is a massive plus.

“He will get better and stronger and I believe that goal today will give him confidence to score more.”


Cox left seething over another referee

After Tuesday night’s horror show by referee Darren Drysdale cost Mansfield Town the game against York, manager Paul Cox was this evening left seething over another controversial decision the manager called ‘cheap’ that cost Stags a win.


This time referee Andy Haines decided Darryl Westlake had deliberately handled a goalbound effort and sent him off, Northampton earning a 1-1 draw from the penalty spot in the big six-pointer between two struggling sides..

Cox raged: “Once again we are left talking about a referee. That’s two games on the trot that referee’s decisions have cost us points.

“It was a cheap decision that has cost us three points. It is hard to pick my players up again after cheap decisions.

“I thought my players worked extremely hard and I couldn’t see Northampton scoring to be honest.

“I thought we had weathered the storm and were controlling large parts of the game.

“To give a decision like that and then to send the lad off as well.

“We had this referee at Bury and he sent me to the stands and I don’t know how he didn’t send me to the stands today as well as I told him a few home truths.

“Some of his decisions were really poor and I feel a bit cheated for the players and the fans.”

Cox said he believed Westlake when he said he was not guilty.

“Darryl is one of the most honest boys I have ever worked with, he is no kidder,” said Cox. “I will have to see the replay, but he is bewildered. He has told me he didn’t handle the ball.

“You just have to look at the reaction of the players around him, only one Northampton player really appealed for it.

“It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. I just thought it was a nothing incident. A lot of players went up together.

“Why can’t officials take five or six seconds to analyse a decision before they give it. It could have an amazing impact on our season or Northampton’s

“You ask referees for clarity and all you get is a stare and ‘go away’.

“The match went exactly as I thought it would and Northampton played their part in an entertaining game with little football played.

“It was always going to be a tight game. But I really couldn’t see Northampton breaking us down and we looked good for a1-0 win.

“With 10 men I thought we had the best chances to win it. Anthony Howell should have hit the target and Junior Daniel will wish he could have put the after-burners on to reach the ball before the keeper did.”

Stags took a noisy army of 744 fans to Sixfields to make a great atmosphere and Cox added: “I feel for the fan who have paid out all this money to travel here. I thought out support today was absolutely out of this world. It warms me up when I see that.”


Cox frustrated with penalty

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox was left frustrated by a penalty decision in his side's 1-1 draw at in-form Northampton Town.

The Stags lost by a solitary penalty against York City in midweek and at Sixfields Oliver Palmer gave Cox's side the lead at the interval but Darren Carter equalised with a second-half penalty after Darryl Westlake's handball, which resulted in his dismissal.

Cox said: "Once again I'm left talking about the referee and a decision that has cost my players all three points. That's two games now in which big decisions have gone against us.

"I suppose it's a good point in the end because we were down to 10 men. It was always going to be a tight game but at 1-0 up I couldn't see them getting back in it so I'm very annoyed.

"I couldn't see Northampton scoring until he gave them the penalty and to send Darryl Westlake off as well was extremely harsh.

"I thought the penalty was a nothing incident, several players went for the cross and it happens all the time. So to give a penalty for that is very frustrating and I just wish referees would give themselves a few seconds before making a big decision like that.

"Some of his decisions were very strange and some of those can have a major influence on the outcome of our season.

"I'm so annoyed, the players worked very hard against an experienced Northampton team and Alan Marriott made a couple of great saves in the second half after the equaliser. But even with 10 men we still had chances to win it and I thought Anthony Howell should have hit the target late on."


Furious Mansfield boss Cox hits out at referee Haines for ‘cheap’ penalty decision
by jefferson.lake@northantsnews.co.uk

Mansfield manager Paul Cox said the penalty awarded against his side at Sixfields was a ‘cheap decision’ and the Cobblers would not have got back in the game without it.

The Stags boss was furious with referee Andy Haines for awarding a spot-kick when right wing-back Darryl Westlake punched a cross away from Alan Connell close to his own goal line.

Darren Carter converted the penalty to make the score 1-1, and Westlake was sent off.

An animated Cox said afterwards that he felt his side would have gone on to complete a win through Ollie Palmer’s first-half strike.

“Once again I’m left talking about the referee and a decision that has cost my players all three points,” he said. “That’s two games now in which big decisions have gone against us.

“I suppose it’s a good point in the end because we were down to 10 men. It was always going to be a tight game but at 1-0 up I couldn’t see them getting back in it so I’m very annoyed.

“I couldn’t see Northampton scoring until he gave them the penalty and to send Darryl Westlake off as well was extremely harsh.

“I thought the penalty was a nothing incident, several players went for the cross and it happens all the time.

“So to give a penalty for that is very frustrating and I just wish referees would themselves a few seconds before making a big decision like that.

“Some of his decisions were very strange and some of those can have a major influence on the outcome of our season.

“I’m so annoyed, the players worked very hard against an experienced Northampton team and Alan Marriott made a couple of great saves in the second half after the equaliser.

“It was a cheap decision and it’s one that’s cost us three points.”


Cox feels let down, not for the first time
Nottingham Post, by Sarah Clapson

BOSS Paul Cox was left with 'a bitter taste' as he believed Mansfield Town were 'cheated' out of three points on Saturday.

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Cox-feels-let-time/story-20818360-detail/story.html#ixzz2wDDHjtJX

Ollie Palmer gave the Stags the lead against relegation rivals Northampton Town.

But referee Andy Haines sent Darryl Westlake off in the second half for an alleged handball, and Darren Carter equalised for the Cobblers from the resulting penalty for 1-1.

After being critical of referee Darren Drysdale following Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to York City, Cox once again found himself at odds with the officials.

"When your fans travel this distance and the players have worked so hard, I get so aggrieved when stupid decisions go against you," he said.

"You just want referees to take five or six seconds to realistically analyse what's happened before they give a major decision, because it could have an amazing impact on our season.

"It wasn't just that. I feel sorry for my players, they've worked hard and he's let them down with some of his decisions."

"I wear my heart on my sleeve and I'm talking with a passion because I care about my players and care about my football club. I just feel a little bit aggrieved that a cheap decision has cost us two points.

"If Northampton had scored a great goal for 1-1, you would have heard no complaints out of me. But there seems to be some cheap decisions going against us at the minute and that's hard to take because these players are working extremely hard.

"When that happens, it's hard to pick them up."


Paul Cox and Jose Mourinho both furious at referees: Match analysis: Northampton Town 1 Mansfield Town 1
Nottingham Post by Sarah Clapson

IF PAUL Cox had calmed down by the time he returned home from Northampton, his Saturday night viewing may just have got his hackles raised again.

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Paul-Cox-Jose-Mourinho-furious-referees-Match/story-20818361-detail/story.html#ixzz2wDDrNaei

Eighty-three places and several million pounds separate Mansfield Town and Chelsea; in most senses, they are poles apart, but when it comes to referees, their two managers are on common ground.

"This is not about convention, this is about common sense," Jose Mourinho railed after he was dismissed to the stands and two of his players sent off by Chris Foy against Aston Villa.

Amen to that, might well have been Cox's response.

For the second game running, the Stags boss' post-match thoughts centred around the officials.

On Tuesday, it was Darren Drysdale, who oversaw a controversial game against York City. On Saturday, it was Andy Haines.

The referee from Tyne & Wear had dismissed Cox and defender John Dempster in Mansfield's match at Bury earlier in the season, and the former admitted to being surprised he didn't receive his marching orders again.

The bone of contention at Sixfields came in the 63rd minute.

The visitors were a goal to the good and looking reasonably robust at the back, until a cross came in from the right hand side.

Darryl Westlake went up to challenge for the ball, along with Alan Connell, and as one tried to head it, Haines adjudged the other to have handled it.

Westlake went for an early bath and Darren Carter equalised for the Cobblers with the resulting penalty.

"How I didn't get sent to the stand in this game, I don't know," said Cox. "I told him (Haines) a few home truths.

"Some of the decisions were really poor and I feel a little bit cheated.

"Westy is one of the most honest players I've worked with. He said in the dressing room, it didn't hit his hand.

"He's flummoxed. He's not a kidder, he's an honest boy. You just have to look at the reaction of players around him - they're gobsmacked.

"I think there was one Northampton player who really appealed for it.

"I just thought it was a nothing incident. A group of players have gone up together, heads have clashed and bodies have clashed, that happens 99 per cent of the time when a corner comes into the box.

"You want some clarity off referees but all you get now is a stare and a 'go away'."

If there was a managers' convention to discuss officials yesterday morning, you suspect Cox would have been battling Mourinho to be first through the door.

In truth though, whilst the manner in which it was achieved caused some debate, the Cobblers were worthy of their point.

Their lowly status belies a team in form and full of confidence, and it would be no surprise if they managed to avoid the drop this season.

They know though, they are in a race against time - and that was evident in the way Chris Wilder's team started at a frenetic pace.

Within two minutes they had forced Mansfield goalkeeper Alan Marriott into a save when Brennan Dickenson beat the offside trap and raced through one-on-one.

And they continued to press forward, with Emile Sinclair - the striker Cox had come close to signing in January - eager to prove a point, and Carter almost squeezing a corner straight in.

The Stags hadn't created a great deal of chances up until that point, but with little more than half an hour gone, they snatched the lead.

Adam Murray clipped a ball over the top, Ollie Palmer gave defender Zander Diamond the slip and coolly rolled his shot beyond Matt Duke into the far corner. Nicely done.

Still, the Cobblers haven't given themselves a shot at survival without showing some mental fortitude, and they responded by once more applying the pressure.

They ended the half on top as Dempster blocked Chris Hackett's attempt, then picked up where they left off after the break.

Connell's effort sailed inches too high, while lively sub Ian Morris went even closer, with Marriott required to tip his fierce strike over.

For the most part, the boys in blue dealt with the threat.

However, with an hour gone, the referee deemed them to have done so illegally.

It was difficult to make a call at the time, and replays still appeared inconclusive, but Haines had no hesitation in dishing out his red card and pointing to the spot.

Marriott dived the right way, though had no chance of stopping Carter's thunderbolt from 12 yards.

The 700-strong travelling support had been in good voice up until then, but, given the circumstances, could have been forgiven a little anxiety going into the last half hour.

That the worst didn't follow was in part down to the Stags' resolve, as well as the hosts' inability to fully capitalise on the opportunity.

Aside from a woeful miss from Hackett, after Connell's cross from a quick break on the counter, Northampton failed to really raise the blood pressure.

Indeed, it was their opponents who raised their game and worked the better openings as Anthony Howell fired into the side-netting and Colin Daniel just lost out on a race to the ball with Duke.

There was no parking the bus, as Mourinho might say, but a point ensured Mansfield remain in the driving seat to steer a course to safety.


Goal will boost confidence - Palmer

Striker Ollie Palmer says his goal in today’s 1-1 draw with Northampton Town will boost his confidence ahead of our remaining nine matches in Sky Bet League Two this term.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/goal-will-boost-confidence-palmer-1423444.aspx?#pzMKEO7PY6VLDXGR.99

The 22-year-old, who started for the first time since January at the Sixfields Stadium, produced two fine pieces of individual skill to bag our opener just after the half-hour mark.

Palmer showed superb upper-body strength to fend off Zander Diamond’s challenge and reach Adam Murray’s long ball, before he retained his composure to slot past Matt Duke from five yards out.

“It probably wasn’t my easiest [goal of the season], but it is one I’m happy with,” said the youngster.

“I had a conversation with JJ (James Jennings) last night about having that confidence [in front of goal] so that when I do get a chance I take it early.

“My job is to score goals, so that’s going to help myself, and help me to perform better for the team.”

Our team moved up two places in Sky Bet League Two with the point they earned this afternoon, but would have registered all three points had it not been for Darren Carter’s second half spot-kick.

The Cobblers’ midfielder converted from 12 yards on 64 minutes after right-back Darryl Westlake was shown a straight red card for an apparent handball on the goal-line.

“I personally don’t think it was a sending-off at all and I thought it was very unfortunate,” said Palmer.

He continued: “The boys dug in deep as they have done on numerous occasions this season and you’ve got to give them credit for that.

“I came off when we went down to 10 men and the rest of the boys worked hard and grafted to make sure that we came away with something.”


Ollie hopes to hold onto his Stags shirt at last

Ollie Palmer is hoping his fifth goal of the season in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Northampton will finally see him hold onto his shirt.


Palmer is desperate to start the Chesterfield local derby on Saturday and said: “I hope I keep the shirt. Whether it’s injury or whatever, I have never yet started the following game after scoring a goal so fingers crossed I can hold onto my position.

“It probably wasn’t the easiest I’ve scored this season yesterday and it will certainly help me. I was talking to JJ (James Jennings) last night about having confidence. It is my job to score goals so this will definitely help me.”

Stags felt they were robbed of a win after Darryl Westlake was sent off for deliberate handball and the Cobblers levelled Palmer’s strike from the spot.

“We are disappointed not to win it but we would have taken the draw before the game,” said Palmer.

“We don’t think it was a sending-off. But the boys dug in really deep as they have done several times this season and all credit to them for that.

“The 10 men grafted and made sure we came away with something.”

Stags boss Paul Cox said: “Ollie is still a baby and anyone who expected him to come in and score 25 goals in his first season at this level was absolutely crazy.

“He is a young kid coming up from non-League. But he is better than Matt Rhead was at his age and, dare I say it, better than Jamie Vardy was at his age.

“He can only get better. Ollie has that raw potential. Today will give him a lot of confidence to go progress and score more goals.”


Northampton Town manager Chris Wilder told BBC Radio Northampton:

"Conditions suited them and their direct style of play, and their big lads, even though 3 or 4 of them, 6 foot 4 lads, went over at the drop of a hat,
and took about 20 minutes to get back up. But that's the way other teams set themselves up, that's for other teams to deal with."
“We deservedly got ourselves back level, and I don’t see any sort of argument about the penalty or the sending-off whatsoever."
“The boy’s handled it off the line, it’s pretty clear to me at the time and looking back on the DVD as well.”
(transcribed by Martin Shaw)


Read more at http://www.ntfc.co.uk/news/article/mansfieldh1314-cw-1217634.aspx#APFlKHYrcCL1YAQi.99
by Gareth Willsher
The views of the Cobblers boss

We are in a relegation scrap and always have been since we arrived but we are in a much better position now than a few weeks ago."
Chris Wilder
Chris Wilder stressed the need to stay calm after the Cobblers drew 1-1 with Mansfield Town at Sixfields on Saturday.

"We are very much taking the positives," he said.

"Yes we could talk about missed chances or a couple of times when we switched off defensively but we have kept our run going.

"We have to keep calm and make sure the players are calm. We cannot get ahead of ourselves. We are in a relegation scrap and always have been since we arrived but we are in a much better position now than a few weeks ago.

"There can be disappointment that we have haven't won today but there cannot be any doom and gloom.

"We need to be competitive in games but we have still got to play and show some quality and composure when required which we know we can do.

"It was a clear red card and penalty and I have seen it again on DVD. We are a point closer than we were this morning and that is the key thing."


Northampton Town: It was a penalty says Chris Wilder after Mansfield boss claims to feel 'cheated'
Read more: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/Sport/Cobblers/Northampton-Town-It-was-a-penalty-says-Chris-Wilder-after-Mansfield-boss-claims-to-feel-cheated-20140315194141.htm?#ixzz2w4ozbLra

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder believes his side deserved their point against Mansfield Town today - but batted away suggestions from Stags boss Paul Cox that the penalty that brought them level shouldn’t have been awarded.
The ten-man visitors had been leading thanks to Ollie Palmer’s first half-effort, but Mansfield gaffer Cox was furious with referee Andy Haines for awarding a penalty and sending off Darryl Westlake after he was judged to have handled deliberately on the line to prevent a goal.
Darren Carter fired home the resulting spot-kick, but the home side couldn’t force a winner in a match where a draw was almost universally accepted as being a fair result.
But Cox vented his fury at the decision to point to the spot and send his player off, saying he felt ‘cheated’ by the official.
Speaking to reporters post match, Cox said: “I told the referee some home truths. Some of the decisions were poor, I feel a bit cheated. The penalty decision, Westy (Westlake) is one of the most honest players I know and he says he didn’t handle it.
“He’s said he didn’t handball it and that he headed it against someone’s arm. I thought we came here and worked extremely hard.
“It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I just thought it was a nothing incident. For a referee to give that, and over the whole of the game, he has let our players down.
“The fans travel this distance, and I get so aggrieved when referees make those decisions. It could have an amazing impact on both our seasons. They should take five or six seconds to make a decision. We’ve had two games in a row now where referees have cost us points.”
But Cobblers boss Wilder - who has now led his team on a six match unbeaten run - didn’t feel there was any reason for Cox to contest the decision.
“We deservedly got back into it, and I don’t see any sort of argument that they have about the penalty,” said Wilder.
“The boy’s handled it on the line, it’s pretty clear to me at the time and looking back on the DVD as well.”
But Wilder also believes that his team should have defended Palmer’s goal more efficiently, and that they also rushed their football in the final third in a desperate bid to get all three points.
He said: “There can be disappointment that we’ve not shown enough quality in the final third. If we’d moved the ball about a little bit quicker we’d have put them to bed today.
“Sometimes we didn’t pass the ball around them enough, when we did we opened them up, but then we took too many touches in the final third.
“You have to get the balance right, it’s no good us smacking it forward, they’ve got three or four giants in their side and it will go straight to them. We needed to move it around a bit more. When we did get behind them or down the side, we did create chances.
“It wasn’t nervous or edgy, we just got a little bit anxious in those big areas. It just needed the final ball in.
“We’ve gifted them a goal from one long ball, which we knew was coming because that’s what they’ve done all day, stuck long balls on us.
“And we should have scored in the first minute and that would have settled everybody down. We’ve had the best opportunities.
“But it’s important that we all keep calm, and we’ve got to get that calmness into the players and make sure that things externally don’t run away from us.
“We’re in a relegation battle like we were eight weeks ago, but we’ve put ourselves in a fantastic position and there can’t be doom and gloom about the place.”
Before Wilder’s appointment Cobblers fans had become accustomed to defeat, but since the former Oxford man has been appointed he has transformed results.
And now that the team is good enough to pick up wins, supporters have undoubtedly become more demanding for three points than they were previously.
But while Wilder admitted a win would have been nice to ease any further worries, he still believes that it is a good point that will help his side in the long-run.
“I’m OK about the result today, I’m alright with it and everybody else should be,” said Wilder.
“We’ve had three wins and three draws in some tough weeks with a lot of travelling. Yes of course we should go on to win, but it’s not from the lack of trying.
“We need to keep calm and I know people will think that it has been an opportunity missed, but it’s another point gained.
“We’ve got some big games at home and it’s important that we all stick together. That league table looks a hell of a lot better than it did eight weeks ago and we still have ten games left.”
Cobblers are two points adrift of safety.


Midfielder Carter left to rue Cobblers’ lack of cutting edge in attack
by jefferson.lake@northantsnews.co.uk

Darren Carter felt the Cobblers lack of a cutting edge in attack was to blame for their inability to beat Mansfield at Sixfields on Saturday.

Carter, who scored Town’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw from the penalty spot, didn’t think there was anything wrong with the side’s work rate.

But he wasn’t happy with the way the team played around the Mansfield box and how the side was unable to translate their possession into goalscoring chances.

“Everyone was a little bit disappointed after the game and I think our quality in the final third let us down, (in the) first and second half,” he said.

“There were times when a better ball or a little bit of quality would have made the difference and we’ve had to grind it out.

“Going behind made it difficult because it meant Mansfield had something to cling on to, they did what they could to slow the game down and made it difficult for us to build a tempo.

“After we scored we worked hard enough but our final ball let us down.”

It was a sentiment echoed by manager Chris Wilder, who stressed he had tried to get the team to play as calmly as possible, especially when the contest went to 11 against 10 after Darryl Westlake was sent off for conceding the penalty.

Carter knows he and his team-mates should have been more considered with their passing but is confident the team, who are now two points off safety, will continue to progress over the coming weeks.

“Maybe we were too anxious and too quick on the ball at times,” he said.

“Perhaps we should’ve taken an extra touch or waited for the right pass in certain situations.

“There are 10 games left now and there is plenty of time for us to claw the results back.”


Ryan Tafazolli @RyanTafazolli
My boy @OliverJPalmer best player on pitch today. Well deserved goal too.

Lord Oliver Palmer @OliverJPalmer
A draw wasn't the worst result going down to 10 men today.. Looking forward to the derby fixture

Martin Riley @LifeofRiley6
Wow! Support was unreal again! On to the next one! #stags
“@ianbstag: @LifeofRiley6 Hiya Riles, still waiting for that goal!!!” Theve stopped sending me up now!

Alan Marriott @Mazza_78
Gutted!! So close to a vital 3 pts but point gets us closer to safety!! Great following too by the fans

James Jennings @JamesJennings03
Not a bad point today! Was a grind but we dug deep & great support from the all fans #stags



Saturday, 15th March 2014: Northampton Town 1, Mansfield Town 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas

A controversial red card for Darryl Westlake and subsequent penalty equaliser midway through the second half left Mansfield Town having to settle for a share of the spoils as their big relegation six-pointer at Northampton Town ended 1-1 this afternoon.


Stags, missing top scorer Sam Clucas through illness, will feel they should have won it, but at least avoiding defeat maintained the five point gap between the sides.

In a tense, exciting game, Ollie Palmer’s 32nd minute goal had put Mansfield into the driving seat.

But referee Andy Haines decided Westlake had deliberately handled a goalbound Alan Connell header and Darren Carter levelled from the spot for the in-form home side, who are now six unbeaten.

Chris Hackett could have broken Mansfield hearts and been the home hero near the end but blazed a golden volleyed chance over the bar.

Mansfield Thad suffered a morning blow when top scorer Clucas was ruled out with illness.

Lindon Meikle and Jamie McGuire were dropped to the bench and in came Lee Stevenson, Anthony Howell and Ollie Palmer.

Stags almost went behind with just over a minute on the watch as Connell curled a high through ball towards Dickenson.

Stags looked for an offside flag that wasn’t forthcoming and he was through one-on-one with Marriott

However, the keeper did well to get his body in the way and Dempster was then able to head the loose ball away from in front of goal and Stags had survived.

The home side then cleared Jennings’ first corner.

Sinclair got in on the action for the first time as he held the ball up well under severe pressure from behind by Riley and fed Hackett for a sliced shot wide of the near post on the right.

Kouo-Doumbe then did well to win the ball before Palmer could get in a shot in the box after Ravenhill had accidentally flicked on Dempster’s forward ball towards the striker in a promising position.

Connell swapped passes with Hackett and Westlake did well to nip in and prod the ball off him for a goalkick before he could cause any damage at the far post.

On 12 minutes Stags almost sneaked ahead from a second Jennings corner from the right. Northampton failed to clear it first time and Palmer was able to direct a header towards the top corner which Robertson managed to head off the line.

Thirty seconds later Stevenson wasted a good chance after being picked out by a superb pass from Westlake in from the right which found him in space just inside the box but unable to direct his finish on target.

On 15 minutes Rhead’s flick found Stevenson near the penalty spot and he quickly fed Palmer whose finish, under pressure, was tame and straight to Duke.

A quickly-taken free kick saw Sinclair earn the home side their first corner on 17 minutes, which was blocked at the near post as carter’s kick swung in dangerously low.

On 20 minutes Stevenson was penalised for climbing all over Hackett 20 yards from goal in a central position.

Hackett took responsibility for the free kick himself and drilled it through the wall at Marriott who did well to cling onto the ball and not offer any follow-ups.

An offside flag pulled up Stevenson as he looked set to race clear onto a Howell through ball as the action swung to the other end of the field.

But the visitors were a goal to the good on 32 minutes. A Murray through ball towards Palmer looked set to be cut out by Kouo-Doumbe. But the defender allowed palmer to get goalside of him and Palmer calmly slotted a low finish under Duke from eight yards.

Soon after Stags keeper Marriott was warned for timewasting at a goalkick.

Then a mix-up saw Marriott advance to collect the ball and Tafazolli stoop to try to head it back to him, only to send it past his own keeper and narrowly wide for a corner.

Taken short, the ball was eventually pumped in from the by-line and Marriott caught it safely.

Soon after Marriott had a rush of blood as he raced out his box to reach a ball he was never likely to beat Hackett to and was lucky the Cobblers man’s control let him down and the ball went into touch.

On 42 minutes Dickens went past Riley 25 yards from goal and was brought down. It produced a yellow card for him but was never going to be the red card the home fans were hoping for.

Carter fired the eventual free kick into the wall and Ravenhill flashed the follow-up over the bar.

Three minutes were added on during which a home break saw Sinclair set up Hackett for a shot that Jennings threw himself in the way of.

That produced a corner which Kouo-Doumbe met with a powerful near post header that flew over as the visitors went in with a narrow but crucial advantage.

The home side emerged early from the interval, hungry to get back on with it.

Within 20 seconds of the whistle the Cobblers had forced a left wing corner, taken by Hackett, which Westlake hooked clear.

Marriott was given a second warning about taking too long over a goalkick a few minutes later.

Marriott then beat Sinclair to a Connell through ball before Stags relieved the pressure with a couple of corners.

The home side made a change on 50 minutes with Morris on for Dickenson.

Mansfield cleared another home corner, then on 54 minutes, the ball deflected off the referee on the edge of the box, inviting Connell into a rising shot that was only inches over to the official’s relief.

Palmer incurred the wrath of the home fans when he twice rolled around after going down under challenges in a short space of time.

The second won a free kick that Jennings whipped in and it deflected up and over off a defender for a corner.

The home side struggled to clear it after Duke failed to claim it first time and some head tennis saw it away for a second corner which came to nothing for Mansfield.

Duke then did superbly well to punch away a perfect Palmer cross almost off the head of Rhead.

On 61 minutes Stags let Morris roam 25 yards from goal and he was able to get away a powerful dipping shot that Marriott did well to tip over.

But the game took a major twist on 63 minutes.

A right wing corner for the home side reached Connell who headed firmly towards goal immediately called for a handball against Westlake.

The referee agreed and pointed to the spot, adding a further shock of a red card instead of a yellow for Westlake.

Although Marriott guessed the direction of the penalty correctly, the pace of Carter’s kick was perfect and he found the bottom right hand corner on 64 minutes.

From being in complete control, suddenly 10-men Mansfield faced a long 25 minutes.

Cox shuffled his pack on 68 minutes and sent on Daniel and Meikle for Palmer and Stevenson in a double change.

Rhead brought down Diamond on 70 minutes to earn a yellow card.

The Cobblers began to search for a winner and Diamond was too high with a header from a right wing corner.

Daniel then won Stags a corner of their own which Northampton laboured to clear. Eventually Jennings flicked a header to Howell to the left of goal and his low shot rattled the sidenetting with some Stags thinking it had found the net.

It was a temporary respite as back roared Northampton with corner number eight, which was punched away by Marriott.

Stags broke quickly and Meikle sent the ball into the home half with Daniel in hot pursuit and no defender in sight.

However, Duke raced out to win a crucial race and blasted the ball clear 20 yards outside his box.

Jennings was well over from distance as the home fans grew increasingly frustrated at their side’s lack of a killer blow for the 10 men.

The home side broke from a Mansfield corner on 86 minutes and really should have settled it.

Breaking three on three Morris timed his pass to Connell on the left to perfection and his cross set up a perfect volleyed chance for Hackett in space at the far post where he smashed his finish over the bar with Marriott at his mercy.

Dyer took over from Rhead as the lone Stags striker for the final four minutes of the 90.

Five minutes were added on and in the second of those Riley conceded a free kick just outside the box which saw Dempster head Carter’s kick away as the game ended all square.

NORTHAMPTON: Duke, McSweeney, Carter, Sinclair, Hackett (Lopez 88), Connell, Diamond, Kouo-Doumbe, Robertson, Ravenhill, Dickenson (Morris 50). Subs not used: Tozer, Snedker, Deegan, Moyo, Toney.?STAGS: Marriott; Tafazolli, Dempster, Riley; Westlake, Murray, Stevenson (Meikle 68), Howell, Jennings; Rhead (Dyer 86), Palmer (Daniel 68). Subs not used: Briscoe, Beevers, McGuire, Cain.?REFEREE: Andy Haines of Tyne & Wear.



Northampton Town 1 Mansfield Town 1 - Cobblers unbeaten in six as Carter earns point
Read more: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/Sport/Cobblers/Football-Northampton-Town-1-Mansfield-Town-1-Cobblers-unbeaten-in-six-as-Carter-earns-point-20140315191153.htm?#ixzz2w4p901rV

Northampton Town came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Mansfield Town today - but missed the opportunity to make up further ground on their relegation rivals after the away side were reduced to ten men.
Ollie Palmer had given Mansfield a first-half lead, but Darren Carter equalised from the penalty spot in the second half after Darryl Westlake had been sent off for a deliberate handball on the goal line.
Cobblers are now just two points off League Two safety after results went their way, and the draw added to an unbeaten run of six matches.
Alan Connell was drafted back into the starting-line up with John Marquis returning to parent club Millwall. Marquis’ replacement Cristian Lopez was named amongst the substitutes, the former Real Madrid B striker had only signed on loan from Huddersfield Town yesterday afternoon.
There was also a return for captain Ricky Ravenhill, who had served a one match suspension for his sending off against Scunthorpe last week. Gary Deegan dropped down to the bench.
And in such a crucial match in this relegation roller-coaster, the home side should have scored in the opening seconds.
Connell’s teasing through ball over the top found Brennan Dickenson who raced clear, but he couldn’t beat Alan Marriott one-on-one. It was a golden chance that should have been converted.
In a frenzied start Chris Hackett had the next effort for the Cobblers, but he shot well wide when a cross would perhaps have been a better option.
It had been a bright start from the home side, but Mansfield responded with some good chances of their own.
Ryan Tafazolli leapt highest to meet James Jennings’ corner, but his looping header was cleared off the line by Hackett.
And seconds later the Cobblers defence left Lee Stevenson completely unmarked in the box. The midfielder was thankfully unaware of how much time he had to get his effort away, and he fluffed the opportunity.
All this had taken place in the opening 11 minutes.
After that the game died down into a quieter affair, the Cobblers playing some patient football on the deck and occasionally breaking with pace, while Mansfield adopted a more direct approach up to their big front two of Matt Rhead and Palmer.
Mathias Doumbe had scored an infamous own goal on his Town debut away at Mansfield earlier this campaign, an effort he bagged from all of 30 yards. In recent games Doumbe has been bagging goals at the right end, but there was a sharp intake of breath when his attempted clearance hit his chin, but the comical clearance went wide to avoid a repeat episode.
But just past the half-hour mark Paul Cox’s men broke the deadlock.
Adam Murray hooked another long ball down the line, and Palmer managed to outmuscle Leon McSweeney and tuck the ball under Matt Duke.
It was a calm finish from the forward, the response of the away fans was anything but as they went into raptures.
It was harsh on the Cobblers, who had edged proceedings up until that point, but there had been some questionable defending as well at times, and it was dutifully punished by the Stags.
The Cobblers pushed hard for an equaliser before the break, their best chance coming when Martin Riley brought down Dickenson as he burst through.
The home crowd shouted for a red card, but referee Andy Haines called it right that he wasn’t the last man, brandishing a yellow.
Carter’s free-kick struck the wall, but Ravenhill picked up the rebound and hammered his shot just over.
They came close just after the break as well, when a handy, if inadvertent, set-up by the referee put Connell in a good position outside the box. His driven effort clipped the roof of the net.
The Stags, who were five points clear of Northampton, always looked a threat from set pieces, and they came close a number of times through their aerial presence, with the Cobblers trying everything to clear the ball.
But then on 63 minutes the path of the match was well and truly altered. The ball was launched into the box, a Cobblers head won the cross. As it sailed into the top corner Westlake was adjudged to have handled on the line.
Andy Haines pointed to the spot immediately, and was equally as quick in producing the red card to the full-back.
Carter expertly tucked away the penalty, despite Marriott guessing the right way, and suddenly the ball was in the Cobblers court to hunt down three points.
But the Stags had proven up until that point that they were a stubborn side, and breaking them down a further time would not prove an easy task.
And if anything they were the better side after. Woeful miscommunication between Ravenhill and McSweeney allowed Colin Daniel to nip in behind them. Mercifully Duke raced off his line and won the chase to the ball.
Anthony Howell also went close for the visitors, his effort that went into the side netting sparked mistaken celebrations from sections of the away support.
But Wilder’s men nearly made the extra man count on the counter attack, and when Connell crossed to the far post Hackett was given a big chance to score with the goal at his mercy, but his first time volley almost cleared the North Stand.
Lopez was introduced with just three minutes left, but the fabled last chance never materialised for the men in claret, and they were left to rue on a missed opportunity to gain further ground.
Northampton Town: Matt Duke, Leon McSweeney, Zander Diamond, Mathias Doumbe, Gregor Robertson, Chris Hackett (Cristian Lopez, 87), Ricky Ravenhill, Darren Carter, Brennan Dickenson (Ian Morris, 50), Alan Connell, Emile Sinclair.
Substitutes: Dean Snedker, Gary Deegan, Ben Tozer, Ivan Toney, David Moyo.
Mansfield Town: Alan Marriott, Martin Riley, John Dempster, Ryan Tafazolli, Darryl Westlake, James Jennings, Adam Murray (c), Anthony Howell, Lee Stevenson (Lindon Meikle, 67), Matt Rhead (Ross Dyer, 85), Oliver Palmer (Colin Daniel, 67).
Substitutes: Jamie McGuire, Lee Beevers, Michael Cain, Louis Briscoe.
Referee: Andy Haines
Attendance: 5,129 (744 away)


Carter penalty salvages point for Cobblers
by Jefferson Lake, jefferson.lake@northantsnews.co.uk

Darren Carter scored a second-half penalty to secure a draw for the Cobblers against a Mansfield side that played for half an hour with 10 men.

Town did not take advantage of the extra man and settled for a 1-1 stalemate that extends their unbeaten run to six games.

It will, however, go down as an opportunity missed, even if fellow strugglers Accrington, Wycombe, Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers were all beaten.

Exeter City, to whom the gap is now two points, play Newport County on Sunday.

Town were in behind Mansfield’s defence within two minutes of the game starting, Alan Connell spraying a pass for Brennan Dickenson to race onto and fire a left-footed effort straight at the advancing Alan Marriott.

The rebound fell straight to the winger but on his weaker right foot his effort was blocked by the covering defender with some ease.

Mansfield, though, had their chances - Chris Hackett had to be in the right place to head an effort from close to the goal line and Lee Stevenson should have done better with a blocked shot after finding space in the box.

And they took the lead on 32 minutes, Matt Rhead playing strike partner Oliver Palmer in behind the home defence.

Matt Duke stayed on his line, Mathias Doumbe hesitated and Palmer sidefooted the ball under the goalkeeper to put the Stags in front.

Town’s response was a muted one but they almost gained an advantage in the game when Martin Riley fouled Dickenson on the edge of the box at the end of a counter-attack.

The home crowd, predictably, wanted a red card for Riley but there was a covering player and the defender was booked, with Darren Carter hitting the free-kick into the defensive wall and Ricky Ravenhill thrashing the rebound over the bar.

Hackett saw an effort deflected wide after Carter had expertly threaded in Dickenson down the left and Emile Sinclair had held up play in the box.

Ian Morris was a lively introduction minutes after the interval and drew a good save from Marriott with a right-footed shot on the edge of the area.

Then came the controversy. A Hackett cross into the box was met at the back post by Connell but he was denied clean contact on the ball by Westlake, who punched the ball away.

Referee Andy Haines spotted it and awarded a penalty, sending right wing-back Westlake off in the process.

Although Marriott went the right way, Carter’s spot-kick had enough power on it to beat the goalkeeper and draw Northampton level.

Town’s best chance to win it came at the end of a Morris-led counter-attack, when Connell flighted a cross for Hackett to volley over at the back post.

But they did not have a long period of pressure at any point and did not create any other good chances.

Cobblers: Duke, McSweeney, Doumbe, Diamond, Robertson, Hackett, Ravenhill, Carter, Dickenson, Connell, Sinclair
Subs: Morris (for Dickenson 50), Lopez (for Hackett 88)
Not used: Snedker, Deegan, Tozer, Toney, Moyo

Mansfield: Marriott, Riley, Dempster, Tafazolli, Westlake, Howell, Murray, Stevenson, Jennings, Rhead, Palmer
Subs: Daniel (for Palmer 68), Meikle (for Stevenson 68), Dyer (for Rhead 85)
Not used: Briscoe, Beevers, McGuire, Cain

Attendance: 5,129
Away fans: 744


Jefferson Lake’s Northampton Town v Mansfield Town view and player ratings
by jefferson.lake@northantsnews.co.uk

The Cobblers are now unbeaten in six league games for the first time in more than three years but Saturday’s failure to beat Mansfield represents a huge lost opportunity.

Not since Ben Tozer’s goal secured a 1-1 draw with Aldershot at Sixfields in February 2011 has the club managed to go half a dozen league fixtures without being beaten.

On that day, they held on despite Shaun Harrad’s sending-off; yesterday it was the Stags who salvaged a point despite being short-handed.

A win would have put Northampton level on points with Exeter and, perhaps more importantly, would have deprived Mansfield of anything at all.

But that would have been more than Chris Wilder’s side deserved for this performance, in which they defended well enough against the opponents’ physical style but did not do enough to break them down.

They had a slow start and it appeared the only way they would get into the game would be through a moment of magic or a disastrous error - it was the latter, as it turned out.

Mansfield manager Paul Cox made some Football Association-baiting remarks after the game about the referee but will probably want to retract them when he sees a replay of Darryl Westlake’s punching away of the ball right before it made contact with Alan Connell’s forehead.

It provided Darren Carter with the chance to restore parity from the penalty spot, which he did with aplomb, but also gave Northampton what should have been their route to victory.

They should have created far more in the way of attacking play and goalscoring chances than they did, especially with the man advantage.

So why didn’t they?

One reason was that Mansfield defended very well; they were well organised right across the pitch and had plenty of strength and solidity about them, especially in defence.

With Connell playing as a withdrawn striker, it meant Emile Sinclair was often being marked by three centre-backs. He didn’t have a great game anyway but the odds were stacked against him.

Neither striker is a natural header of the ball and so when the central route was closed off, and the team went wide and crossed, the visiting defence dealt with it fairly easily.

There must be internal concerns about the lack of goals from the centre-forwards. Zander Diamond and Mathias Doumbe aren’t going to head in corners every week.

Connell has not scored for the club; Sinclair has no goals other than the admittedly excellent brace he bagged at Torquay a month ago. Cristian Lopez is a totally unknown quantity; David Moyo and Ivan Toney are absolute beginners.

John Marquis, who was recalled by parent club Millwall on Thursday, was badly missed against Mansfield.

This has been a pretty decent week and it’s important to note that, as frustrating as the performance in this game and the one at Exeter were, they can hardly be compared to the crisis form of earlier in the season because the side is still collecting points.

But it would have been nice to have rounded it off with a win and the team’s failure to do so means serious concerns remain - especially up front.

Player ratings


Stayed on his line for the goal when he perhaps should have left it to close the angle and put pressure on Palmer ...6


Completed his defensive duties well and managed to get forward on the overlap several times ...6


Typically robust against the agricultural qualities of Rhead and was in no way to blame for the Stags goal ...7


Hesitated to clear the ball in behind him which Palmer latched onto and put away for the goal; not up to his recent high standard ...6


No problems at all with the defensive basics and got forward several times, although on one or two occasions he chose the wrong option ...6


Another one not as good as his recent form - crosses were often drilled low or overhit and he needed a cool head to convert Town’s best second-half chance ...6


Northampton’s best player on the afternoon - his performance was not without its faults (set-piece delivery could have been better, for example) but he tackled well and drove the team forward in possession ...7 STAR MAN


Battled hard in the midfield where it often became little more than a war of attrition. Will be generally pleased with the way he played ...6


Perhaps a little unfortunate to come off as he’d had a good chance well saved and had been an outlet with his speed out wide but Morris did well in the position too ...6


Not a good day at the office for the striker whose powerful running all seemed to be in areas that did not hurt Mansfield. One to forget ...5


Saw lots of the ball in the number 10 position but struggled to do much with it against a deep-lying and well-organised Mansfield defence ...6


IAN MORRIS (for Dickenson, 50mins)

Improved the side and got into good areas but there was rarely anyone attacking his crosses with any real venom ...7

CRISTIAN LOPEZ (for Hackett, 88mins)

Did okay with the couple of touches that he had but no time to make an impression

Not used: Snedker, Deegan, Tozer, Toney, Moyo


Gripped by the Cobblers: The Tom Reed column - Irritated by Mansfield
Written by TOM REED
Read more: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/Sport/Cobblers/Gripped-by-the-Cobblers-The-Tom-Reed-column-Irritated-by-Mansfield-and-abject-against-Rochdale-20140319103653.htm?#ixzz2wQiOXyNa

A Cobblers fan asked for advice on an internet forum before the Mansfield match on taking two American teenagers along.
He needn’t have briefed the U.S youngsters on jargon such as the “long ball game” or doing a “job” on the opposition as they’d have had their fill watching Paul Cox’s Stags.
Indeed, the Nottinghamshire side came to Sixfields with a toe-curlingly frustrating game-plan which was all the more irritating because it worked.
Cox will say that he set out for a win but, given his players played for time after five minutes, one assumes that a draw was a favourable result for the away team.
Mansfield striker Ollie Palmer calls himself Lord on Twitter but the nearest he got to being a landed gentleman was sniffing the Sixfields pitch after repeated theatrical responses to workaday challenges.
The tetchy home support booed the Stags for their gamesmanship and the Northampton fans’ mood worsened on thirty-two minutes when Palmer was given a free route on goal.
The one thing that Palmer has is strength and the gangly forward was able to ease Mathias Doumbe off of a hit-and-hope Adam Murray ball before slotting past Matt Duke.
Frenchman Doumbe had veered round the box like a drunken wasp while Duke was back to the old routine of going down like an old, exhausted, greyhound.
No doubt about it, the Cobblers were “Boothroyded” with Mansfield continually looking for the ball over the top to Palmer and Rhead.
Yet the Stags forward pair dug in up front and showed the best of limited abilities with their hold-up play.
The Cobblers, conversely, could not make first-time balls stick, as Emile Sinclair had an off-day and Northampton were too keen to force an equaliser in this relegation clash.
Yet on sixty-four minutes Northampton managed to break down a frenzied Mansfield defence when Darryl Westlake hand-balled on the line.
Chris Hackett did a trademark step-over before sending a right footed cross to Alan Connell who headed down before Westlake’s arm intervened.
Basketball fan Darren Carter swept home the resultant penalty with a swish whilst Westlake got a red card for stopping a certain goal.
But the Cobblers couldn’t capitalise on the extra man, failing to take a touch when needed.
The home fans, too, were anxious whilst the 700 away fans backed their team with a wall of sound which, in a show of true support had little connection with what was happening on the pitch.
The Stags played the occasion better with bouncing balls forward on a hard pitch being picked up by runners in behind.
Anthony Howell could have tested both the Northampton goal and home fans’ constitutions when firing into the side netting on seventy-five minutes.
Then, with five minutes remaining, Connell found space to send over a delicious cross for an unmarked Hackett.
But the right winger decided to volley first-time with the ball heading into orbit. The match ended 1-1 and the success of the Stags’ job on the Cobblers was proven by the bitter insults of the home fans who had tasted the sourest of League 2 draws.



Latest | March 2014