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Archived News from May 2005

9th May 2005 14:21

Evening Post, 09 May 2005
Carlton Palmer believes Mansfield did enough in the second half to earn a draw, despite a poor first half display.

And he did not pull any punches when pointing the finger of blame for Mansfield's problems before the break.

"We were very poor in the first half but we played well in the second half," said the Stags boss.

"We should have had a penalty in the last minute and I thought we deserved at least a draw.

"But I paid the price for being too honest. I'm fair with people and I decided to start with Alex Neil, Luke Dimech and Scott McNiven to let them have a send-off in front of the fans.

"I made a football decision with Scott McNiven and Alex Neil has chosen not to sign a new contract. They haven't been treated badly as has been suggested.

"I gave all three players an opportunity not to play if they didn't think their mind was right and I've been let down.

"I wanted to give players their last games. Alex is entitled to go elsewhere but I was disappointed with him.

"Callum Lloyd played ever so well and I thought Austin McIntosh did very well, but he needed protection from Alex Neil and didn't get it."

Palmer says he is not sure where he stands with Kevin Pilkington.

"I've got a wage structure and I've offered players what I think are fair contracts. I've asked Kevin to come to me with a proposal, but I haven't heard from him.

"I'm waiting for him to come back to me. I can't afford to pay him what he's on."

The Stags boss is hoping to secure the services of at least one new player this week.

"We want promotion next season, but it's not going to be easy. We are a mid-table team at the moment and we need to improve.

"There has been a shake-up at the club. Peter Shirtliff is coming in, but Paul Holland is still part of my plans.

"Peter is an organised and disciplined person and is a very good coach.

"I'm looking forward to next season. I will be bringing new players in and I want players who have got the right attitude.

"Players like Callum Lloyd have got desire, and if the players who have left had the same desire as him we would have done better this season.

"I'm meeting two or three players and their agents this week and the players have already indicated they are very interested in joining Mansfield.

"The fans can have a go at me if they want to, but we've got to be realistic. It's been a difficult season and I've bought some good young players in."

Evening Post, 09 May 2005
Leyton Orient 2 v 1 Mansfield Town

Carlton Palmer says his decision to let Alex Neil and Scott McNiven start in their final games for Mansfield Town backfired on him.

The Stags boss was unhappy with what he felt was a lack of commitment by the departing duo, after he gave them a chance of a last-game send-off in front of the travelling Mansfield fans.

McNiven has been told he will not be getting a new contract - and the full-back, who joined Mansfield from Oxford last summer, admits he would be interested in a move to Chester, where former Stags boss Keith Curle is manager.

Neil also looks likely to leave. He has rejected a new contract, because the offer is for less than he is earning now.

Palmer says he is not prepared to offer him more, especially after his performance at Brisbane Road on Saturday.

Luke Dimech was also playing in his final game in Stags colours - and there is no guarantee Kevin Pilkington will play for Mansfield again.

The goalkeeper has been offered a new contract, worth less than his current deal.

Pilkington has told Palmer he wants more money and the Stags boss has asked the former Manchester United man to come back to him with what he thinks is a fair deal.

But Palmer says he has not yet heard from Pilkington.

Palmer has made it clear he only wants players at Field Mill who have the right attitude.

But he has no complaints with Callum Lloyd.

The teenager continued his run of goalscoring from midfield on Saturday. His late strike took his tally to three goals in as many games.

Lloyd featured in the Stags" final nine games of the campaign and his goal was his fourth during that run of appearances.

It almost laid the foundations for an unlikely point for the Stags.

It's no surprise that Palmer expressed his anger with his side's first-half display.

They were second-best and Gary Alexander made the most of the visitors' shortcomings with a first-half brace which ultimately earned his side maximum points.

He was unmarked at the far post as he broke the deadlock on 25 minutes, and it wasn't long before his free header doubled his side's advantage.

The Orient skipper had chances to complete a hat-trick as his side secured a win which saw them leapfrog Mansfield into the top half of the table in League Two.

Defeat left Stags in 13th spot.

It was an eventful debut for Austin McIntosh.

The young defender looked assured in the early stages with some good touches.

But both Orient goals came as a result of left wing crosses and Palmer decided to take him off at the break.

The Stags boss explained that his decision to replace McIntosh was because the right back wasn't given enough protection - and that Neil was the culprit.

Palmer introduced Rhys Day and Giles Coke at the interval in place of McIntosh and McNiven, and Neil played for just short of an hour before being replaced by Fraser McLachlan.

Mansfield improved after the double half-time switch, although Orient still managed to create chances to add to their tally.

Lloyd grabbed what proved to be only a consolation for the Stags late on, and Orient were hanging on desperately at the end as Palmer's side piled on the pressure.

Mark Roach's Stags man of the match: Callum Lloyd.

Evening Post, 09 May 2005
There were emotional scenes at Brisbane Road as Andy Scott led out Leyton Orient for their final game of the season.

Scott was forced to retire earlier in the campaign after discovering he had a life-threatening heart condition.

And the Brisbane Road tannoy announcer was generous enough to give Scott McNiven a mention in recognition of his final game for Mansfield.

The defender had a spell out of action earlier in the season after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

But, in what Stags boss Carlton Palmer described as a "football decision", McNiven has not been offered a new contract.


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