SUPER STAGS WIN AWAY AT LAST
Cheltenham Town 0 -2 Mansfield Town
Barker 28, Brown 67.
Att: 3033 (321 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Whaddon Road
Mansfield Town won away from home for the first since March, after a terrific performance at Cheltenham this afternoon. The Stags were the better team throughout and scored fine goals from Barker and Brown to secure a comfortable victory, marred only by the sending off of Jelleyman deep into injury time.
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Cheltenham 0-2 Mansfield
Mansfield responded to their midweek Carling Cup defeat against Millwall with a battling win at Cheltenham.
The Stags took the lead when Adam Rundle's cross fell to Richard Barker, who crashed the ball in from six yards.
And Simon Brown lobbed Robins goalkeeper Shane Higgs from the edge of the area to seal the points.
Cheltenham's Gary Bradshaw and Mansfield's Gareth Jelleyman were sent off late on after Jelleyman lashed out out Bradshaw following a late tackle.
Away joy at last as Stags win 2-0 at Cheltenham
MANSFIELD Town finally chalked up their long-awaited first away win for seven months at Cheltenham Town this afternoon.
And this must all but cement the manager's job for caretaker Peter Shirtliff who is still waiting patiently for a decision on his future.
Cheltenham did force the pace at times and, starting the day just two points out the relegation zone, were no mugs.
But Stags defended superbly and grabbed a goal in each half with Richie Barker (29) and Simon Brown (68) both bagging their eighth successes of the season.
However, the afternoon ended on a sour note as Gareth Jelleyman and Robins sub Gary Bradshaw were shown straight red cards in stoppage time which will see both sit out the next three matches.
Jelleyman retaliated in anger after being on the receiving end of a nasty challenge and Jason Talbot is likely to find himself brought in for next Saturday's FA Cup trip to Rotherham United.
"I thought we did very well today," said Shirtliff. "We did particularly well in the first half against a very strong wind which made things awkward.
"We withstood some crosses into our box and I can't remember Kevin Pressman having a serious thing to save.
"It was nice to go in a goal ahead and it could have been more. It was a good cross and a good finish.
"We lost concentration just after half-time and their lad should have at least hit the target.
"That could have changed things. But we then defended well and, after scoring the second goal, the lads really settled down and started to play again.
"I was disappointed with Gareth Jelleyman's red card. There were only 20 seconds to go and he will now have a three-game ban. I have not spoken to him yet but you could tell by his face that he is disappointed as am I. That means I will have to make an enforced change next week.
"We have moved up to 20th but know there I still a long way to go.
"We just have to keep playing as we are doing.
"But I won't be pressing the chairman about the job. The most important thing is the performance of the players. The job will sort itself out one way or the other."
Both Stags and Cheltenham began the game with unchanged sides.
The home side enjoyed the early possession. But it was Mansfield who really threatened first when Higgs had to turn aside. Uhlenbeek's far post volley from Brown's 10th minute cross.
Pressman comfortably saved a low Melligan shot at his near post from a quickly-taken McCann free kick eight minutes later.
And a quick break then saw Higgs brought into action as he managed to grab Brown's low shot at the second attempt.
McCann was only just over from a free kick from a tight angle on the right and, soon after, he was inches wide from 15 yards after.
After defending so well, Mansfield finally got the reward they deserved at the other end as Barker edged them in front on 29 minutes.
Rundle managed to get to the by-line on the left and hammered in a low cross right across the face of goal to Barker at the far post who turned the ball into an empty net.
Cheltenham made a change with Victory on for McCann and almost produced an immediate equaliser.
Wilson's right wing cross picked out Spencer eight yards from goal. And he should have done much better, sending a powerful free header over the top.
Stags hit back and Brown strained but just couldn't quite get his head to Uhlenbeek's superb cross and, as the ball ran loose, Brown was left sprawling and calling for a penalty as Buxton finally blasted over.
Mansfield were clearly in charge at this stage and, when the Robins struggled to clear the second of two corners, Barker headed Brown's cross into the side netting.
But the home side steadied their nerves and came strong as half-time neared.
Connolly was narrowly wide from 20 yards and then Hjelde survived a penalty appeal for handball against him before being booked for illegally halting Odejayi's run.
But Stags hung on for the half-time whistle to go in a goal ahead.
The home side should have been level inside the first minute of the second half.
John-Baptiste allowed Odejayi to battle his way past him and win the race for a long ball down the right and watched in relief as the Cheltenham man's finish came back off the far post.
Connolly was then narrowly wide as Stags found themselves on the back foot once again.
Cheltenham were enjoying more of the possession at this stage, though Uhlenbeek did flash a shot just wide of the far post.
The Robins gave a debut to former North Ferriby United scoring sensation Bradshaw on 65 minutes, coming on for Spencer.
On 67 minutes Stags almost suffered a calamity as Pressman spilled a Melligan cross and Bird hooked the loose ball over the empty net.
But a minute later the visitors were given the cushion of a two-goal lead by Brown.
Pressman sent a long kick downfield and, when Duff failed to head clear, Brown was there to hoist the ball just under the near angle.
The home side made their final substitution when Gill replaced Connolly on 73 minutes.
Rundle hooked clear another Robins corner with 10 minutes to go.
D'Laryea's neat pas set up a chance for Brown which he crashed over with his second touch.
The visitors were buzzing now and Uhlenbeek's shot seemed to hit a home hand in the box before the ball reached Barker whose low blast on target brought the best save of the afternoon from Higgs one-handed to his right.
Frustrated, Armstrong put a foot in on Coke which earned him a yellow card six minutes from time.
A neat free kick routine saw Barker and Uhlenbeek work the ball for Rundle to zip another shot just over.
Home frustrations boiled over in stoppage time as Armstrong followed through with a nasty high challenge on Jelleyman.
Jelleyman retaliated with a head into the Robins striker's face and a hand round the throat.
Odejayi flew in to push Jelleyman over and the referee decided to send off Bradshaw and Jelleyman while only yellow carding Odejayi.The whistle left the Robins with three defeats and no goals in three successive home games.
Cheltenham official site:
A GOAL either side of half time condemned Cheltenham Town to a fourth consecutive defeat at Whaddon Road this afternoon. Mansfield deserved their first away victory for taking their chances while turning in a dogged defensive display to frustrate the home side.
The Robins lost Grant McCann after half an hour through injury but Mansfield had taken the lead with a well crafted goal by skipper Richie Barker. Simon Brown snatched a goal midway through the second half and the afternoon finished in frustration for John Ward when he saw debutant Gary Bradshaw dismissed for a rash tackle in injury time on Gareth Jelleyman. The left back was also sent for an early bath for his needless reaction.
Manager Ward made one switch to the side which conceded three late goals at Darlington last weekend. Michael Townsend was paired with Shane Duff in the heart of defence behind a five-man midfield while Gavin Caines dropped to the bench. New signing Gary Bradshaw had shaken off his groin problem to make his first appearance on the teamsheet and replaced Sosthene Yao as one of the five substitutes. Kayode Odejayi headed the 4-5-1 shape from the off.
Caretaker boss Peter Shirtliff named an unchanged side from the midweek Carling Cup tie at Millwall with Simon Brown and Richie Barker leading the line in a 4-4-2 formation.
Cheltenham made a bright enough start but the first real chance of the afternoon fell to Mansfield on their first attacking foray with ten minutes played. The Mansfield front pair combined well on the left to hand Brown an opportunity to send in a searching cross. Gus Uhlenbeek gambled at the back post and swept a low effort across the face of goal but Shane Higgs was alive to the danger and touched the effort away to safety.
Cheltenham were appealing for a penalty after quarter of an hour when Damian Spencer felt he was impeded in trying to connect with a decent centre by JJ Melligan but the referee adjudged Jake Buxton's leap to be fair. Mansfield attacked with confidence and a burst by Simon Brown earned him some space down the right channel three minutes later. The striker streaked clear and released his shot from 18 yards but Higgs gathered at the second attempt.
Grant McCann's cheeky in-swinging effort from a free kick on the right edge of the penalty area sailed inches over ten minutes later and David Bird's strong header from a similar distance failed to trouble Kevin Pressman from Craig Armstrong's low cross a moment later. A game of head tennis between Spencer and Odejayi created a half chance for Grant McCann just shy of the half-hour mark but the Irishman's swivel and volley dropped a foot wide from 10 yards. And with Jamie Victory stripped down ready to replace the injured midfielder came the first decisive moment of the afternoon.
Cheltenham looked shakey at the back in dealing with Mansfield pressure, and a slick move down the left saw the Stags carve open the home side with a well crafted opening goal. Brown played in Rundle and the left midfielder ghosted past Brian Wilson and whipped in a low ball to the back post for the unmarked skipper to fire in his eighth goal of the season from three yards.
McCann was withdrawn injured as the sides shaped up for the restart and Victory slotted in at left back. Armstrong moved ino the gap left vacant by McCann inside Spencer as the manager persisted with his 4-5-1 shape. Shane Duff pulled on the captain's armband for the remainder of the contest.
Spencer had a chance to level immediately with Cheltenham's best opportunity of the half but the big man failed to keep his free header from six yards from Melligan's cross under the bar. Despite the effort, Mansfield continued to probe dangerously and the home side were undone on the right a few minutes later. The defence again struggled to clear the danger with protestations from the Stag's that Spencer's untidy challenge on Barker merited a penalty. It didn't but the danger continued as did the unconvincing Cheltenham defence. Again the visitor's penetrated from the right and again the home side were very untidy in clearing the danger with skipper Barker the focal point of delivery. Adam Connolly was a whisker from recording his third goal in as many games with 36 minutes played from 20 yards but his low shot was inches from creeping inside the left upright.
The home side huffed and puffed and finished the half the stronger but Shirtliff's side had shaded the half over the 45 minutes and were desereved of their slender lead at half time. But with 60 seconds on the stopwatch after the break, the game could so easily have been level. A hopeful poke forward by Connolly had Gareth Jelleyman exposed by Odejayi's lightning turn of pace and the striker raced clear of the centre halve into the penalty area. He stroked the ball under the frame of the veteran 'keeper but could not beat the upright; the ball rebounded to safety. Connolly pulled the trigger from 20 yards a couple of minutes later following a comical moment by Odejayi in winning back possession by falling onto the ball before teeing up the young midfielder. The shot flew a foot wide of the right post.
The game became more open as the second half progressed with Cheltenham dominating the attacking play but the final ball was still missing in the home side's game. The opportunity for Mansfield to catch Cheltenham on the break was underlined on the hour when Giles Coke 50 yard pass was run onto by Barker but Wilson was back quickly to defuse the danger.
Applause greeted sight of Gary Bradshaw preparing to enter the field of play and after 64 minutes, the former North Ferriby striker replaced Spencer for his first appearance for Cheltenham Town. The diminutive forward had previously scored against Mansfield for Hull and the Whaddon Road crowd were expectant of a repeat result but the visitors hadn't read the script and doubled their advantage.
Kevin Pressman flapped at another cross from Melligan and handed David Bird a half chance to hook the losse ball back over the 'keeper's reach but the ball travelled wide. Then a regulation long ball forward caught Wilson flat-footed and Brown got in behind the right back and lifted the ball over the advanced Higgs. The ball bounced, and for a moment it appeared Victory would clear but the left back only succeeded in crashing the ball against the underside of the cross bar and into the back of the net.
Ward's last throw of the dice was to withdraw Connolly and put Jerry Gill into the right back role. Wilson moved in front of the substitute and Melligan switched to the left, with Bird and Armstrong in the centre but the third juggle of personnel appeared to disrupt the side's attacking rhythm.
With less than ten minutes to play, Higgs' fantastic reflex save denied Barker a second goal and kept Cheltenham in the contest but frustration crept into the Robins' game and Armstrong found himself the first player to find himself in the referee's book for a strong challenge on Coke with five minutes remaining. Rundle fizzed a cleverly worked free kick high into the C&G Stand as Mansfield closed in on their first away win of the campaign with some dogged defending.
In injury time, tempers boiled over and a rash tackle from substitute Bradshaw on the right touchline drew an angry response from Jelleyman. The left back got to his feet and appeared to push his head into the face of the debutant and recieved an immediate red card, much to the consternation of his manager. Seconds later, Mr Tanner brandished a red card in the striker's direction for the original tackle and his brief debut was cut short of the final whistle.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-5-1): Higgs; Wilson Duff, Townsend, Armstrong; Melligan, Connolly (Gill 73), Bird, McCann (c) (Victory 29), Spencer (Bradshaw 64); Odejayi. Subs not used: Caines, Brown (Gk).
NOTTS COUNTY (4-4-2): Pressman; Buxton, Hjelde, Baptiste, Jelleyman; Uhlenbeek, Coke, D'Laryea, Rundle; Barker (c), Brown. Subs not used: Day, Dawson, Birchall, White (Gk), Littlejohn.
REFEREE: S.J. Tanner (Somerset)
Poor Show By Robins
It's four defeats on the bounce now at Whaddon Road and the faster the visitors come, the harder Robins fall.
Mansfield were not one of the best sides that have visited Whaddon Road this season, but they were more than good enough to beat the Robins who put in one of those passionless displays that is happening all too often.
The news of another 4-5-1 set up probably did nothing to put any fear into the visitors and they just spent the afternoon taking the piss while certain members of the home side ran around cluelessly.
Such was the display of defending that Cheltenham were putting in it was no surprise at all when Mansfield went in front on the half hour mark.
Rundle all too easily reached the by-line and smacked the ball across the face of the goal and Barker had the simplest of tasks to score.
At the other end, the Robins threat of Spencer was of course wasting chances, he headed over the bar when it looked easier to get the ball on target.
The second half came and Kay was unlucky not to level things up, the post stopped him, Connelly also went close.
Gary Bradshaw made his long awaited debut and it was hard to tell wheter the enthusiastic applause was for him coming on or the fact that Spencer was going off.
The second goal came when Wilson was caught out by a long hoof, Brown got onto the ball behind him, lifted it over Higgs and despite Victory's attempt to clear, the goal still came and any slim chance the Robins had of getting back into the game went.
Higgs did pull off a superb save from Barker to keep the score down to two.
The game drew to an end with two players getting a red card, Bradshaw put in some sort of tackle that would have best been kept to flooring an escaping burglar, Jellyman didn't like it and went head to head with the debut boy.
Both received red cards making Bradshaws long awaited debut a shorter one than expected.
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