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Archived News from December 2004

7th December 2004 13:15

FA Cup Round 1 replay
Colchester United  4 - 1  Mansfield Town

Garcia 10, Curtis 14 o.g., Fagan 67 (pen), Williams 90 (pen)  

Neil 87. sent off: John-Baptiste 66

Attendance: 2492 (95 from Mansfield)
Evening Post, 24 November 2004
Colchester Utd 4 v 1 Mansfield Town

It was, on the face of it, a disastrous night for the Stags.

Forced to field an inexperienced side, they were 2-0 down inside 13 minutes after shoddy defending at two set-pieces.

It went from bad to worse when the experienced and lively Adam Murray was carried off on a stretcher.

A bad case of concussion could see him out for the weekend's home game with Leyton Orient.

And surely it was more than the 50 diehard Stags fans who had trekked to Essex could bear when skipper Alex John-Baptiste - a solid and calm presence until that point - was shown a red card having given away a penalty which made it 3-0.

It got worse as the ten men of Mansfield had to cope with a session of shooting practice - luckily most of it wayward - from their hosts.

There was one bright spot - Alex Neil's first goal for his new club but even that was followed shortly afterwards by Colchester's fourth, a soft penalty in injury time.

But after watching his side outmuscled, outgunned and on the wrong end of some dubious refereeing decisions, was Carlton Palmer downhearted?

Well, no he was not.

"Once it's sorted out here and we get some more players in and I have time to start working with them then we will turn this club around and we will start winning football matches," he said.

Palmer, still officially the caretaker-manager pending an investigation into alleged bullying under Keith Curle, has certainly drawn up his plans for the Field Mill outfit and pledges to go banging on chairman Keith Haslam's door with a list of those he wants in and those he wants out.

He has brought in two players already with the promise of perhaps two more this week.

The former Stockport boss has told the players he wants to build from the back, adding more solidity to John-Baptiste's promise but on last night's evidence other areas need addressing, too.

Colchester are a mid-table League One side but until last night, they had not won a game in ten attempts.

Yet their midfield had it largely all their own way and by half-time the visitors, with just Colin Larkin operating up front, had failed to force one proper save from keeper Aidan Davis.

The Stags' problems are well-known. Left-winger Wayne Corden and defender Rhys Day were out and striker Derek Asamoah suspended following his red card in the teams' first meeting ten days ago.

New signing Jason Talbot was unable to play as he was not registered in time for that game and so could not feature in the replay. In came Callum Lloyd to the midfield, on to the bench alongside Jason White, went youth-team players Austin McIntosh, Dean Hankey and Danny Heron.

It was Mansfield, however, who had the first chance after five minutes. Tom Curtis floated a free-kick from the half-way line into the Colchester box, Colin Larkin laid it off and Jake Buxton thundered in only to scuff his shot tamely at Davis.

The opening goal came at the other end and it will be one the defence and Kevin Pilkington will want to forget. John White crossed from the left and the unmarked Richard Garcia stole in to plant a weak header into the corner.

Four minutes later, Sam Stockley crossed from the right and the ball was deflected off Tom Curtis's outstretched leg to wrong-foot the Stags keeper and double the U's lead.

Mansfield were now looking rattled and were giving the ball away too easily. Curtis had some bright spells and Alex Neil is promising but Mansfield just could not compete in the midfield.

And yet they had a couple of decent chances before half-time. Curtis played a great ball out to Neil on the right wing and he beat his man before crossing. Davis flapped and only palmed the ball out to Murray whose header looped over the bar.

There was the unusual sight of Luke Dimech bursting out of defence and haring down the right wing before driving a low cross just in front of the onrushing Murray and Larkin.

But the best chance fell to Neil MacKenzie who sold centre-half Liam Chilvers a tremendous dummy to leave himself one-on-one with the keeper who spread himself to save well. Had they gone in at the break 2-1 down there just may have been an upset.

But four minutes into the second half, disaster struck. A crunching but fair tackle from John White left Murray motionless.

He was unconscious for several minutes on the Layer Road turf and after coming round was later sick in the dressing room.

Palmer had changed his 4-5-1 formation for a more attacking 3-4-1-2, bringing on youth-team striker Heron for midfielder Callum Lloyd and pushing MacKenzie into the hole behind Heron and Larkin.

But his plans had to change again as he was forced to give youth skipper Chris Wood a first taste of first-team action on the right side of midfield and push Neil into the middle.

Larkin, too, raced and chased everything but posed little threat.

Colchester seemed to have settled for 2-0 when the referee at first waved play on after striker Craig Fagan went down in the box. But they were soon 3-0 up after Hill spotted his assistant's flag and trotted over.

The result was a harsh-looking penalty and red card for John-Baptiste. Fagan put away the spot-kick.

Colchester were camped in the Stags" half for the final 15 minutes. Pilkington pulled off a spectacular flying save, tipping over substitute Gareth Williams" curling 30-yard effort.

And Neil netted a consolation, turning to fire home left-footed after Larkin's shot was blocked.

Four minutes of extra-time saw referee Hill award another harsh-looking penalty for Luke Dimech's challenge on Richard Garcia which Williams put to Pilkington"s left as he dived the wrong way.

Palmer faces the twin tasks of bringing in new players and lifting those he has left for the visit of Orient on Saturday. He has confidently pledged to get the side winning. Fans can only hope his confidence is well-founded.
U's See Off Stags In Comfortable Victory
coluonline.com , By Graeson, 23/11/2004

The U's are through to a 2nd Round tie with Rushden & Diamonds following a 4-1 win over Mansfield Town tonight. Richard Garcia headed the U's into an early lead, double by an own goal from Tom Curtis. Craig Fagan and Gareth Williams both struck second half penalties.

Colchester United eased into the Second Round of the FA Cup - and with it a trip to Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday week - with a comfortable 4-1 victory of League One side Mansfield Town at Layer Road this evening. Richard Garcia set the U's up with a ninth minute header before the tally was double by an unfortunate Mansfield Town defender. Craig Fagan and Gareth Williams both stroked home penalties - one of which saw visitors defender Alex John-Baptiste dismissed for serious foul play.
After Saturday's performance - and with precious little options - U's manager Phil Parkinson kept faith with the side that had drawn with Huddersfield Town on Saturday. This meant a continuing roll up front for defender Greg Halford with Richard Garcia tucked into midfield. John White, who came back into the U's line-up for the first fixture at Field Mill retained his place at left fullback.
In all honesty, the U's never really got out of second gear - but that all that was needed against a Stags side that looked ready to settle for penalties from the off. It looked as though the U's only danger was by making a mistake of their own and Gavin Johnson almost helped them to the precious goal they were so desperately after before they attempted to shut up shop for the night. The former Ipswich Town midfielder was caught unawares not realising that the visitors had won a free-kick rather than a throw in. As he desperatly looked for the man he was supposed to be marking, he challenged Baldwin for the ball but thankfully, the ball fell to a U's player and the U's were able to reorganise.
And how they did so as they then took control of the match - with Mansfield efforts few and far between for the rest of the encounter. A quick freekick from Watson saw Halford head Stockley's cross but the ball seemed to hit Joe Keith. It didn't matter as the U's took the lead soon after.
It almost seemed to come out of the blue. John White took a throw over in front of the barside, and after receiving the ball back from Johnson, swung the ball into the centre of the goal where and unmarked Garcia headed the ball downwards and towards goal. It seemed to lack any pace whatsoever but it was positioned perfectly just inside the post and Pilkington failed to get across to it.
The U's added a second soon after Johnson had headed Keith's corner over the bar. This time Watson was the achitect with a wonderful crossfield ball which found Sam Stockley in acres of space down the right. When challenged he simply came inside his marker, and swung the ball in towards the near post where a deflection from Tom Curtis (as the PA Announcer so gleefully told us ten minutes) put the ball past Pilkington. Two nil down and surely Mansfield had to try and change tactics to get back into the match?
The boys in blue continued their march towards the next round by looking for that crucial third goal which would surely kill the tie off. Fagan tried to get between two players inside the box but was stopped - the referee waving away any penalty claims before Mansfield tried their luck at the other end of the field. MacKenzie's corner was headed wide by Larkin before Alex Neil did well down the right-hand side. His cross was palmed away by Colchester keeper Davison where Adam Murray - - who has previously been linked with a move to Colchester whilst with Derby County - headed wide.
The front two of Halford and Fagan were causing the three man defence of Mansfield all sorts of problems and the two almost combined to give the U's a third goal of the night. Halford's strength saw off Dimech - a Maltese International - but with the goal seemingly at his mercy, he selflishlessly decided to square the ball to Fagan who just inches away from sliding it home.
Midfielder Kevin Watson was pulling the strings at this stage and another strong challenge in the middle of the park allowed Joe Keith to go on a typically jinking run. He timed his pass to perfection for the overlapping Watson to run on too but from the chipped cross, Halford could only head back into the six yard box where no U's player could convert.
All the danger from the home side was coming down the right-hand side. Stockley struck in a fine cross which initially appeared to have been headed over by Halford. The angle was very deceiving however, as the ball never left the field of play! Another long cross-field pass to the right saw Joe Keith and Stockley combine once again only for Fagan's ambitious overhead kick fail to connect with the ball.
Mansfield's best chance came just before the break. Mackenzie got the better of Baldwin and went into the penalty box only for Davison to block the former Blackpool man's effort. They followed that up with a header wide from Artell from Mackenzie's freekick as referee Hill brought first half proceedings to a halt.
Needings two goals to get into the game, Mansfield's temporary manager Carlton Palmer (Keith Curle still suspended pending a club investigation) made a change by bringing on Danny Herron for the awful Callum Lloyd. He had to make another change shortly after the break after a challenge from White saw Murray receive a knee to the head. The player concerned was groggy but will be okay - he was replaced by Chris Tate who has made a remarkable recovery after being in a wheelchair after a plane crashed into his house whilst living in Emmerdale.
To be fair the first quarter of an hour or so of the second half dragged on tremendously. The home side were confident that Mansfield simply did not have the ability or the class to score twice and allowed them to have the ball, happy to play on the break. It was one such move that saw Fagan release Halford down the inside right channel. I felt he should have shot first time but maybe the angle was against him, but instead his cross was blocked and no one challenged for the loose ball despite it bouncing just by the penalty spot. That's how casual the U's were.
Parkinson made a chance by bringing on Bobby Bowry for Joe Keith and yet again the Kitts & St Vincent International turned the game by creating the third goal. It was his header over the top of a square defence that allowed Fagan to get the wrong side of John-Baptiste. As he fell in the box it looked as though the Mansfield man had been pulling him back but initially referee Hill waved away the penalty claims. However, the assistant referee on the far side had a far better view of the incident and, after grabbing the referee's attention, signalled for a penalty. Not only that, but because John-Baptiste had prevented Fagan a clear goalscoring opportunity, he was shown a red card as well. That was perhaps harsh on The Stags best player on the night, but it was strictly in accordance with the laws of the game. Pilkington had saved a penalty on Saturday against Boston United but couldn't repeat the trick as Fagan thumped the ball straight down the middle.
That was more-or-less Fagan's last action for the evening. After a spat with central defender Artell which led to both players being booked in seperate incidents, Parkinson withdrew his number one striker, replacing him with Gareth Williams while Gavin Johnson left the field in exchange for Stephen Hunt.
The U's could now sense the kill and went looking for more blood. Stockley's cross was headed behind by Halford before a cute ball into the box from Garcia - now playing out on the right - caused trouble at the back with Artell eventually conceding a corner under pressure from the sliding Halford. Garcia then headed Bowry's chip into the box downwards but this time straight at Pilkington before Halford robbed Dimech of the ball but fired across the target - the shot of a tired man.
Two corners in quick succesion both almost led to goals. After the initial ball into the box was cleared to John White, he picked out Watson with a lovely crossfield ball, and when the ball was returned into the danger area, Hunt's header not only hit the post, but also bounced twice on the line just to the left of the near post. The second corner saw Halford seemingly thump a header into the crowd at The Clock End but the referee awarded the U's another corner which came to nothing.
Halford, who had scored the goal at Field Mill which had given the U's a replay, looked was though he might get his just rewards for his hardwork after Stephen Hunt's pass from the halfway line picked out his run. The lanky striker was clear of his marker and spotted Pilkington off his line but from just inside the penalty box, could only head over the ball with his attempted "dink".
You might think I'd forgotten Mansfield at this stage but surprisingly, and right out of the blue, they scored - but there was a tremendous bit of luck involved as Pat Baldwin's attempted clearance struck the backside of Larkin. Credit to the striker though as he recovered quickly to have a go himself only to see that shot blocked. The ball came to Neil who fired past Davison from twelve yards - though there may even have been a deflection on that shot too!
Colchester United weren't finished though as the last ten minutes became the Gareth Williams show and for the first time since his return to the club at the start of Septemeber, he looked like the player we knew. Firstly, a great run from the halfway line saw him dribble his way past two Mansfield defenders and let fly with a left foot shot which looked destined for the top corner of the net until Pilkington produced the save of the night to tip it over. Then Williams held the play delightfully before playing in Stockley who, after looking to see where the goalkeeper was, fired into the crowd from ten yards. He fully deserved a goal following tonight's performance in which he was exceptional.
With a minute to go to fulltime, the U's got another penalty - though I'm not as sure about this one as I was the first. Garcia's run was abruptly halted by Dimech and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Williams, as calmly as you like, placed the ball past Pilkington from twelve yards and set the U's on the way up the A14 to play Rushden & Diamonds for the right to play in that crucial Third Round tie.

Graeson's MOTM: Sam Stockley was simply exceptional tonight. Indeed, the only thing missing was the goal that he should have scored after being set up by Williams in what was perhaps, his only individual error on the night. He produced a stream of excellent crosses into the box as he got forward far more than we've seen him in recent weeks. Its a wonder what playing in your natural position can do for a player hey Parky?

U's: Davidson, Stockley, Baldwin, Chilvers, White, Keith (Bowry), Garcia, Watson, Johnson (Hunt), Fagan (Williams), Halford
Subs not used: Bowditch and Gerken

CHAD report:
Stags' cup dreams over
DEPLETED Mansfield Town's hopes of a money-spinning FA Cup run ended in a tame first round replay defeat at Colchester last night.
United were gifted two early goals and the side from a higher division never looked like allowing the injury ravaged Stags a way back.
To make matters worse for the out-of-form Third Division side, midfielder Adam Murray — recalled to replace the injured Wayne Corden — was himself stretchered off at the start of the second half with what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury.
Midway through the second half Alex John-Baptiste was controversially sent off as Colchester won a penalty and in injury time the home side converted another spot kick to seal victory.
Carlton Palmer, with only 10 available outfield players from his first team squad, had drafted in youngsters Austin McIntosh and Chris Wood for their first taste of senior action on the substitutes' bench — and gave Callum Lloyd another start, with fellow youngster Danny Herron also on the bench.
The Stags got off to a terrible start in their bid for a second round tie at Rushden as two goals in the space of 13 minutes saw them on the back foot early on at Layer Road.
After a scrappy start, the tie burst into life in the ninth minute when Richard Garcia headed in unchallenged.
Three minutes later more misfortune saw Mansfield fall further behind when Sam Stockley's cross from the right was deflected in by Tom Curtis at the near post under pressure from Craig Fagan.
The Stags' luck returned in the 16th minute when referee Keith Hill waved away Fagan's appeals for a penalty after he had been felled on the edge of the area by Jake Buxton.
And in the 20th minute they almost got back into the tie when Adam Murray narrowly headed over after Alex Neil's crossshot had been parried by keeper Aidan Davison.
The Us should have extended their lead in the 33rd minute, Fagan missing a clear chance by just a few inches after Greg Halford had wrestled the ball off Artell inside the area.
At the other end the Stags hit back seven minutes later when Neil Mackenzie squandered a great chance. The midfielder sidestepped two challenges after picking the ball up near the centre circle, but his final shot lacked the power to beat Davison.
Herron got his big chance as a half-time substitute, replacing Lloyd to join Larkin in attack. Then Wood came on for his debut, replacing the injured Murray just a few minutes later. Murray went down and failed to move for several minutes after clashing with John White when the home side cleared a Curtis cross.
Following a lengthy delay Wood came on for Murray, who appeared to be clutching his left shoulder as he was carried off.
Things went from bad to worse for the Stags in the 68th minute.
Fagan was brought down in the area, but the referee waved play on before his assistant brought play back. A penalty was eventually awarded, John-Baptiste was red carded and Fagan converted the spot kick, blasting the ball straight down the middle past Kevin Pilkington.
McIntosh was also given his debut in the closing stages and three minutes from time the Stags grabbed a consolation, Neil smashing a 20 yard drive past a static Davison.
But in injury time Luke Dimech was penalised for a foul and Gareth Williams completed Mansfield's misery from the spot.
Alfreton Town's FA Cup giantkilling dreams were also ended last night when they went down 2-0 in their replay at Third Division Macclesfield Town, after having a first half 'goal' ruled out.
Colchester official site:
Colchester United progressed to the Second Round of the FA Cup on Tuesday night as they saw off Mansfield by a 4-1 scoreline on a disastrous evening for the visitors.

The U's grabbed an early double salvo to settle the nerves after their recent winless run and from there found the match a relatively easy proposition as the evening went from bad to worse for the Stags.

The second goal was an own goal, midfielder Adam Murray was stretchered off with a shoulder injury and Alex-John Baptiste was sent off in controversial circumstances.

Whilst Phil Parkinson's men didn't always find top gear, they did enough to get through to the next round against Rushden and Diamonds, with another strong defensive display only spoilt by a late Stags strike.

And the hope will be that, with a lengthy trip to Torquay at the weekend, the victory - and the extension of the unbeaten run to five games - will provide a confidence boost to allow the U's to kick on into the festive period.

After the 0-0 draw against Huddersfield Town on Saturday, U's boss Phil Parkinson stuck with the same starting eleven for the match against the Stags.

The weekend result had evidently put several off coming again on Tuesday night, with Layer Road sparsely populated for this particular game.

The U's were busy in the early stages, working hard to close down their opponents - especially in their own half - to ensure that they were not able to settle on the ball. It worked to some extent, although the home side didn't test the opposing keeper in the first five minutes.

In fact, the first goalkeeper with work to do was Aidan Davison. The U's struggled to clear the ball from a free kick and as the ball came out to Jake Buxton, his effort was at first blocked and then deflected into the path of the U's shot stopper, which he held well.

Awoken by that warning strike on their own goal, the U's pressed onto the opposing goal and they took the lead ten minutes into the game.

A clever cross from the right by John White found Richard Garcia in a decent position in the box and, whilst his header was not powerful, it was well directed and Pilkington was unable to get to it as it crept in.

The goal gave the home team the fillip they needed and they carried on thrusting forward, doubling their lead 13 minutes into the game. A fantastic cross field ball from Watson was taken in his stride by Stockley and, checking back onto his left foot, he sent over a low cross.

The ball was whipped into the near post and, under pressure from Garcia, Curtis stretched out his boot and unfortunately diverted it past his own goalkeeper. The second goal was the boost that the U's would have been looking for and the first time they had a two goal advantage since their last win against Port Vale.

Colchester were buzzing at this stage and, with Mansfield wasteful in possession, they kept on pushing forward, looking for a third goal. Fagan thrust into the box on 17 minutes and under a challenge from Lloyd, fell to the ground, but had his appeals for a penalty waved away.

The visitors very nearly pulled one back on twenty minutes. Alex Neil picked up the ball and had a superb run past White. He fired over a cross that Davison could only punch away and, well placed, Murray lofted his header over the bar with the U's keeper still finding his feet.

The U's had lost a little of their momentum and found themselves under a little bit of pressure for the next ten minutes or so. It was only some disappointing play in the final third that prevented Mansfield testing the U's further.

The home team could afford to have a little spell of consolidation, however, having taken that two goal lead, but they would need to continue their earlier good work if they were to extend their advantage.

Around the half hour mark, the two right backs provided an attacking threat as both Dimech and Stockley bombed down their respective flanks to fire over a cross. On each occasion, however, the centre eluded the few players in the box.

The U's should have had a third on 33 minutes. Artell was bumped off the ball by Halford and, completely unselfishly, he opted to centre the ball to Fagan rather than shoot. The U's number nine threw himself at the ball six yards out from goal but could look on in despair as it zipped past him.

A minute later, a dinked cross from Watson - slid in by Keith - again found the U's number two and his header back across goal was just beyond the reach of awaiting home players. And, to complete a hat-trick of near misses, the young forward headed wide after good work by Stockley.

The home team were finishing the half strongly, knowing a third would kill off the game within the opening forty five minutes. Yet the visitors were nearly back into the game on the stroke of the interval as Neil MacKenzie broke in on the U's goal.

He was put through by a quick free kick and, cutting inside Chilvers, he lashed in a low shot which Davison did well to get down and block - probably only his second save of note during the first half.

Mansfield made a change at the start of the second half to try and spice things up a bit, but the early part of the second period saw two players - Murray and Neil - both taking early knocks, something that killed their early rhythm.

In fact, Murray didn't move at all after being on the end of a hard but fair tackle from White and, after a prolonged period of treatment for what appeared to be a shoulder injury, the former Derby County midfielder was stretchered off.

It was not the best start for the Stags to the second period, yet the break up in the play also affected the U's as they struggled to get their game going after the restart.

The first quarter of an hour of the second half had little to offer in fact, until Halford had a half chance on the hour mark,. Fagan slipped in his strike partner in the right channel and, as he set himself for the shot, his effort was well blocked by the visitors defence.

The U's made their first change shortly after that, introducing Bobby Bowry for Joe Keith and the substitute had an immediate impact.

With a loose ball up in the air, Bowry won a header that saw Fagan try and spin John-Baptiste just inside the box. The U's striker went down half heartedly as the defender grabbed his shirt and although the ref was not interested in the penalty claim, the linesman saw it differently and waved his flag to pull play back.

The spot kick was given on the assistant's advice and, with the Mansfield man being the last player as Fagan went for the ball, he was sent off for a professional foul. The U's number nine picked himself up and slammed the ball home for his first goal since the West Brom stunner in September.

It was a real hammer blow for the visitors who could feel harshly done by and Artell fouled Fagan shortly afterwards to go in the book, shortly followed by the Colchester man as the two players again came together.

With just under twenty minutes remaining, Fagan was replaced by Gareth Williams and, with the game more or less won, it was an opportunity for Stephen Hunt to shine on the wing as he replaced Gavin Johnson down the left side.

The U's came on strong once again with time running out in the game, Garcia's strong run toward the box ending in a low cross that just evaded U's feet. A minute later, Bowry's cross was headed toward goal by Halford but without much power.

The Colchester number two then used his weight to shove Dimech out of the way and bear down on goal. He appeared to be clean through on the goalkeeper, but dragged his shot well wide with his weaker left foot.

Having had another couple of half chances, the visitors then pulled a surprise goal back. A cross from the left was not fully cleared and Neil was able to turn sharply in the box to fire the ball home past Davison.

It was hard on a Colchester defence that had again marshalled their opponents excellently, but the three goal margin was nearly re-established shortly afterwards. 

The U's broke swiftly and Williams picked up the ball midway inside the Mansfield half. As he headed toward goal on his own, he spotted Pilkington marginally off his line and fired in a great shot.

It seemed destined for the top corner as it fizzed off his left boot, but the Stags keeper rose well to tip the ball onto and over the crossbar. Minutes later, Garcia repeated the feat as his long range effort pinged just over the upright.

The drama was not over, however, and the U's had a late penalty as Dimech fouled Garcia in the penalty area as the U's finished strongly. Williams stepped up and tucked the penalty away for his second goal since joining from Palace.

It was job done for the U's and Rushden & Diamonds await in Round Two.

Att: 2,492 


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