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Archived News from October 2005

26th October 2005 14:20

Evening Post, 26 October 2005
Millwall boss Colin Lee believes Peter Shirtliff must be given the Mansfield manager's job on a permanent basis.

He was impressed with the Stags' performance last night and said they were making massive improvements under the caretaker manager.

Lee said: "I have got all the reports on their matches and we have had them watched, and they all say they have improved game after game.

"But it does not look like he is certain to get it, which is a big shame.

"They have shown a lot of togetherness. How else can they come back from trailing 2-0 to a Championship team? Adam Rundle played very well and their centre forwards worked their socks off. There were too many players on our side who were below par and if we play like that in the Championship we are not going to win games."

Evening Post, 26 October 2005

Mansfield Town 2 v 3 Millwall

Millwall manager Colin Lee apoligised to Peter Shirtliff after a last-minute wonder goal dumped Mansfield Town out of the Carling Cup.

The Lions boss admitted his side were lucky to snatch a 3-2 victory so late on. A place in the fourth round draw now awaits the Championship's bottom club. But what is the Stags' reward for a hard-fought, quality and at times dominant performance? There is none.

Dave Livermore's 25-yard volley in the 90th minute meant Mansfield's comeback from two goals down was all for nothing. What looked set to be a third Championship scalp in this competition, following on from Stoke and Southampton, did not materialise.

But while the Mansfield players hurried away from the ground, dejected, there is something to be taken from last night's game.

The qualities they displayed in fighting back from two goals down; the way they cut open the Millwall defence with the guts and power of Richie Barker and the pace of fellow striker Simon Brown; the way Gus Uhlenbeek worked the right flank and Adam Rundle the left, his crosses causing panic in the Millwall defence every time he delivered.

Mansfield created the most chances on goal and enjoyed a lot of possession.

This kind of attitude and performance will see them move away from the bottom of League Two.

In the last two home games in the league, Mansfield have won 4-0 and this performance, in the opinion of caretaker boss Peter Shirtliff, was even better.

And had Barker scored from six-yards out just a few minutes from time with the scores level, it could have been the Stags through to round four.

Poor defending for the first two goals cost Mansfield dear, but if they continue to play in this fashion, not only with skill and pace but with the same fighting qualities, they will soon find comfort in mid-table.

Millwall may be bottom of the Championship, but they are two divisions above the Stags and last night Mansfield matched them in many departments.

The Lions were in the lead at half-time, although Shirtliff's side missed chances in an evenly-contested 45 minutes.

Simon Brown wasted a good opportunity early on for the Stags after cutting out a bad pass by Matt Lawrence.

Kevin Pressman was then called into action, diving low at his near post to deny Barry Hayles before Alan Dunne volleyed wide.

But Mansfield came back, Brown failing to make the best of a close-range opportunity from Rundle's corner before skipper Barker went close, heading his back-post effort across the goal and wide from right-back Jake Buxton's supply.

It was to cost them as they went behind on 25 minutes. Carl Asaba's hard work on the byline was rewarded once he had hooked the ball back into the six-yard box and Ben May rose highest to head home.

At the other end Rundle broke clear but his goalbound shot was blocked by a lunging Robinson before Brown rifled the side netting as half-time approached.

The second half started with Marvin Elliot firing a left-footed shot just wide from the edge of the box.

But Rundle continued to be a menace with his crossing and on the hour he worked the left again before finding Buxton, but from 12 yards the defender was stretching back and could not get power in his header.

A minute later Millwall extended their lead. Don Hutchinson put in a corner from the right and Robinson's header found its way past Pressman.

Mansfield pulled one back five minutes later. Andy Marshall did well to tip Uhlenbeek's 20-yard shot on to the post but Brown slid in to put the rebound into the net.

A minute later Barker got the equaliser. Brown cut the ball into the box from right to left and Barker took a touch before sliding it past Marshall.

With ten minutes remaining, Barker missed an easy chance. Uhlenbeek got down the right and crossed, but when Brown forced it across the six-yard box the striker somehow missed it.

And the Stags were made to pay when Jon Olav Hjelde headed Alan Dunne's free kick to Livermore who fired in a stunning volley which bounced awkwardly in front of Pressman as it flew into the net.

The Stags players left to a standing ovation from the home fans and praise from the Lions boss.

Evening Post, 26 October 2005
Peter Shirtliff, right, believes if Mansfield reproduce last night's Carling Cup performance in the league they will fly up the table.

"We did not deserve to lose," he said. "We were outstanding and we played better than we did on Saturday in the 4-0 win against Barnet.

"Colin Lee (Millwall manager) told me 'I cannot believe we have won that football match'. I'm just gutted for the lads but you could tell by the reaction of the fans what they thought. If they keep playing like that the fans will come in numbers and enjoy successful days."

Evening Post website, 25 October 2005
Mansfield Town 2 v 3 Millwall
Caretaker Stags manager Peter Shirtliff was proud of his side despite the loss and said: "We did not deserve to lose that game, no way, because we were outstanding all night.

"In fact Colin Lee came up to me after the game and said he couldn't believe they'd gone through.

"I told the players in the dressing room after the game that if we keep the spirit and those performance levels then we're going to be flying up the league table and the reaction of the fans shows you what they thought of the players too.

"We were disappointed to concede the first two goals, of course.

"But what spirit we showed to come back from 2-0 down and that shows you the strides we're making here.

"We are a good side and we're going in the right direction."

Lee also took time out to praise Shirtliff's contribution at Field Mill.

"The Mansfield fans ought to be pushing for Peter to get the job here," said the Millwall boss.

"We had them watched on several occasions and every match report we've got has said they've improved game after game.

"But reading the chairman's notes in the programme it doesn't seem by any means certain Peter will get the job full-time.

"That would be a shame because he's got a manner of playing and although it might not be a method which suits every team, it could certainly suit League Two."

Millwall manager Colin Lee breathed a sigh of relief after his side squeezed past League Two strugglers Mansfield 3-2 in the Carling Cup.

The London side reached the fourth round for only the second time in 28 years thanks to David Livermore's 90th-minute volley after the visitors had let slip a 2-0 lead at Field Mill.

The Stags had disposed of Championship outfits Stoke and Southampton in previous rounds but fell behind to goals from Ben May and Paul Robinson either side of half-time.

Two goals inside 60 seconds from Simon Brown and Richie Barker hauled the underdogs back on level terms before Livermore's last-gasp strike sealed the tie.

"A win is a win and it's nice to progress," said Lee.

"At 2-0 you never think it's game over because that's the wrong attitude to take and Mansfield really came back to bite us.

"We had four of our regular players missing for one reason or another but that's no excuse for what happened because we had too many who were below par out there on the park.

"And we know if we perform like that in the Championship then we're not going to be winning any games.

"But getting to the last 16 of the competition was a great incentive for us and if we get a big team in the next round then all well and good."


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