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Archived News from May 2006

8th May 2006 14:32

Mansfield Town 0 - 5 Cheltenham Town
Gillespie 35, Vincent 45+1, McCann 49, Bird 81 pen, Odejayi 84.

Attendance: 3728 (561 from Cheltenham)

Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield Town crashed to their heaviest defeat since September 2002 (Oldham 6-1) and their heaviest defeat at Field Mill since August 2002 (Crewe 0-5). It was a poor end to the season as Cheltenham ran riot in their build-up to the play-offs. It was a rather surreal day with owner Keith Haslam pulling out a surprise just two hours before kick-off announcing that Peter Lee would be joining the club in June as the new chairman, with Haslam himself remaining as the chief executive and managing director. It was also a surreal day in that there was huge interest in the relegation places at the bottom of the league, with Notts County going so close to the Conference, and the scores elsewhere changing constantly through the afternoon.

Stagsnet report now in the Match Centre.

Evening Post report:

Mansfield Town 0 - 5 Cheltenham Town
THERE can't have been many times that Mansfield have had their floodlights on for the final game of the season.

But they were needed on Saturday to pierce the Field Mill gloom that was as much down to Stags' performance as the dark clouds.

Before the game, manager Peter Shirtliff said he wanted to end the campaign on a high to give the fans a happy memory to take away with them over the summer. What they got was an abject display from a Stags team that appeared tired and bereft of inspiration and ideas.

Mansfield made certain of their League Two safety the week before, which meant the team had little to play for.

Dead game or not, though, the Stags' showing was dreadful and not what the supporters have become accustomed to at home over the past few months.

When your captain is throwing the ball away in frustration - as Richard Barker did in the closing stages - you know your side has endured a nightmare afternoon. Just a couple of hours before, Stags' top scorer swept the board to win every one of the player of the year awards being presented.

He would have been looking forward to capping a brilliant season with a final-day victory - and maybe even a couple more goals to add to his tally of 23.

Little did he realise that there would be no such luxury for him and that the Stags would be embarrassed by their worst hammering of the campaign. Of course, one game does not make a season and it would be easy to forget that the club have done well to dig themselves out of a hole after being bottom with 12 games played.

Shirtliff pointed out that a number of first-team regulars were absent through injury and suspension, namely Jon-Olav Hjelde, Gareth Jelleyman, Jake Buxton, Simon Brown and Danny Reet.

But the sense of disappointment from everyone at the final whistle was tangible. Cheltenham were bright and bubbly before the play-offs.

The Robins take on Wycombe in the first leg of their semi-final on Saturday and if they repeat the form they showed at Mansfield, they have a chance of promotion.

As much as the Stags could not seem to do anything right, everything John Ward's side tried came off.

They scored some terrific goals, competed when they needed to and even had the luck of being awarded a penalty for handball when Rhys Day had little chance of getting his arm out of the way.

The first half hour was fairly even and there were few scoring opportunities.

But as the half wore on, the visitors began to press and it was no surprise when they went ahead through Steve Gillespie.

He turned sharply in the box to beat the challenge of Alex John-Baptiste and placed his shot precisely in the left-hand corner.

It was 2-0 before the break as Stephen Dawson's pass to John-Baptisite was cut out by Ashley Vincent and he ran on to beat Jason White with a cool finish.

Hopes that the Stags might rally at the start of the second period were quickly dashed when Cheltenham netted again five minutes after the restart, Grant McCann scoring the goal of the game.

He took a return pass from Vincent and fired an unstoppable shot into the net, a strike that even drew applause from Mansfield fans.

Substitute Allan Russell had the Stags' best chances to salvage a consolation goal but he fired wide and then scissor-kicked the ball into the arms of Shane Higgs.

There was more agony for Mansfield as Gavin Caines' header struck the arm of Day and David Bird slotted home the first goal of his career from the spot.

Cheltenham netted a fifth in the 85th minute when Kayode Odejayi raced clear to thump the ball under White.

It was their biggest victory since winning a place in the Football League, while for the Stags it was a sixth game without a win.

Their season has come full circle, with them struggling at the end just as they had at the start. But despite this result, there is greater cause for optimism. They have shown in flashes they are able to compete on a level footing with the best in the division.

The key is to produce that form on a more regular basis
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn


Mansfield Town 0 Cheltenham Town 5

Gillespie 34, Vincent 45, McCann 50, Bird 81 (pen), Odejayi 85

Attendance – 3728 Visitors 561.

Mansfield Town ended their season in embarrassing style after Play Off semi finalists; Cheltenham Town cruised to an easy and emphatic 5-0 victory at Field Mill.

Stags, safe from any last day nerves due to the point won at Bury the previous week simply could not cope with a Robins side clearly full of confidence as they prepared to venture into what they hope will be a successful bid for promotion.

Peter Shirtliff's side was minus several players due to injury and suspensions but that did not satisfy The Stags manager who was clearly displeased by the display given by some of his players,

"I am disappointed in the players, but I won't be too critical because they have worked hard to get us in the situation where they achieved safety.
"I will just put this day down to experience and move on.
"It did answer a few questions about players I want to keep here for me. I had most of it in my mind anyway but today did confirm a few things.
"We have some players here who think they are better than they are.”

The first 30 minutes of the game trundled by, both sides labouring out the last game of the domestic season without troubling the opposition too much. Stags just edging it, but then on 34 minutes, Bird put a fine ball into the area to the feet of Gillespie who then turned neatly before shooting low into the bottom right hand corner of Jason White's goal. From then on in, Cheltenham looked every bit the play off side they are.

Any hopes that Mansfield had of gaining a foothold in the game before the half time break were ruined by two errors, which were punished in the worse possible way. Dawson's pass to Baptiste in the centre of the field was misjudged and when the Stags central defender failed to control the ball, Cheltenham's Vincent intercepted broke away and confidently beat White with a low finish.

The game was effectively over as a contest just five minutes into the Second half when McCann scored an absolute screamer. From a corner McCann played a one-two with Vincent before looking up and hitting a perfect shot from the right hand edge of the penalty area. The shot gave White no chance whatsoever as the ball flew into the top right hand corner.

Shirtliff tried to inject a bit of purpose into his side when he made a double substitution on 58 minutes bringing on Rundle and Russell for Dawson and Arnold.

Stags almost found a way through when a great ball from Rundle set free Russell but as the Stags striker broke into the area, his first touch sent him wide and his effort was disappointingly off target.

Moments later a dangerous looking free kick position for Mansfield resulted in a perfect summing up of the afternoon. A well-worked out move saw Rundle with a chance for a shot at goal, unfortunately he miss-hit his shot but the ball dropped towards Russell who was unable to get a foot on it as it flew past him. The move caused groans and moans from the Field Mill faithful who were still hopeful at that time of a remarkable Stags comeback.

On 77 minutes, Stags finally got the ball on target but Russell's acrobatic effort from a Rundle free kick was an easy save for Higgs.

Nine minutes from time, Cheltenham scored their 4th. Stags defender Rhys Day was adjudged to have handled Caines' header from a corner, giving the Referee no option but to point to the spot. Bird delighted the travelling Robins fans by confidently hammering the ball into the net.

Richard Barker, eager to add to his season goal-tally was just over with a powerful header whilst Odejayi tried a speculative long-range lob after spotting Jason White off his line.

On 85 minutes the visitor's added a 5th goal. Spencer sent a through ball for Odejayi to run onto, Baptiste looked favourite to get to the ball first but the big Cheltenham striker who was being watched by a scout from Championship side, Coventry City got to the ball first and hit a powerful shot from 12 yards that gave White no chance.

It was almost six two minutes from time, but White denied Wilson with a fine save with his legs.

It was a disappointing way to end what has been a season of mixed fortunes for Stags and it is to be hoped that next season will prove to be more memorable and that the name of Mansfield Town will be up there in the honours.

Mansfield Town

White, D'Laryea, Day, Baptiste, Dawson (Rundle 59), Barker, Birchall (Uhlenbeek 69), Lloyd, Jacobs, Arnold (Russell 59), Wilson,

Subs not used; Pressman, Coke.

Cheltenham Town

Higgs, Duff, Caines, Wilson, Guinan (Odejayi 74), McCann (Connolly 65), Bird, Vincent, Gallinagh, Gillespie (Spencer 60), Bell

Subs not used; Brown, Wylde.

Referee – Mr K Hill.

Observer Man of the match – Jonathan D'Laryea.

CHAD report:
Mansfield misery as Robins run rampant
Mansfield Town 0 Cheltenham Town 5
MANSFIELD Town were torn to shreds by Play-off semi-finalists Cheltenham Town in an embarrassing afternoon at Field Mill today.
Neither side had impressed in a toothless first half hour in which Stags played some neat football at times.
But from the moment Steve Gillespie put the Robins ahead on 34 minutes, the visitors took a firm grip on the game and had it all but won just after half-time by which time they were 3-0 up.
In the end it could have been six or seven and the disjointed and dispirited home side could not wait to hear the final whistle.
It was hardly what new Mansfield Town chairman Peter Lee wanted to see on his first game since accepting the chance to succeed Keith Haslam next month.
Even more upset was Stags boss Peter Shirtliff who said: "I am disappointed in the players, but I won't be too critical because they have worked hard to get us in the situation where they achieved safety.
"I will just put this day down to experience and move on.
"It did answer a few questions about players I want to keep here for me. I had most of it in my mind anyway but today did confirm a few things.
"We have some players here who think they are better than they are.
"Cheltenham have certainly got a chance in the Play-offs. They have got an organised unit and have a big physical presence about them.
"They have a way of playing they all understand which is what we want. They have 11 guys who go out and have a go.
"They are not a big club and expectancy levels there are not as high as somewhere like Grimsby. But they have got into the play-offs and good luck to them."
The Stags side showed two changes with Coke dropping to the bench and Buxton ruled out with his foot injury.
Jacobs was drafted in to play right back and Birchall was brought into midfield.
After a scrappy start by both sides, John-Baptiste got a block in on a 20 yard Caines drive after Day had conceded a free kick outside the Mansfield box.
The home side hit back with two successive corners at the South Stand end but couldn't make either count.
Mansfield made hard work of clearing a free kick conceded by Jacobs near the corner flag. The ball eventually reached Vincent 20 yards out and his shot flew through everyone into the arms of White.
Barker was well off target with Mansfield's first real effort at goal and, soon after, an Arnold cross was inches too high for him to get a head onto after good work from Dawson.
White gathered McCann's looping header from the second of two Cheltenham corners on the trot.
A neat touch by Barker put the ball into Arnold's path, but the youngster was well off target with his finish.
Cheltenham threatened on the break and when Gillespie retrieved Vincent's over-hit cross, he rolled it back across for Guinan who should have done better, narrowly missing the target from eight yards.
However, the visitors were ahead on 34 minutes. Bird found Gillespie in the box and he turned superbly before squeezing a low finish across White and just inside the far post.
Birchall saw the afternoon's first yellow card two minutes later for pulling back an opponent.
Worse was to come as, just before the break, a loose pass by Dawson was intercepted by Vincent who accelerated clear before slipping the ball past White and giving the Robins a 2-0 interval lead.
Wilson was lectured in the opening seconds after the break for going in on Vincent with his foot up.
And the visitors were 3-0 up on 50 minutes with a screamer from McCann.
McCann took a short corner to Vincent who gave him a return pass on the right hand corner of the penalty area.
McCann looked up and unleashed a superb shot that gave White no chance as it flew under the far angle.
Shirtliff tried to pep up his labouring side with a double change on 58 minutes as Dawson and Arnold were replaced by Rundle and Russell.
Cheltenham also made a change up front two minutes later as Gillespie made way for Spencer.
Stags won a corner which was cleared to Wilson who sent a powerful volley goal wards which deflected wide off a team mate.
Cheltenham won two more corners and, from the second, Stags broke away through John-Baptiste who fed Rundle. His ball over the top was inch perfect to put Russell in with a sight on goal. But his first touch was not the best and it gave Wilson enough chance to force him a little wider and ultimately fire a harmless finish wide.
A Rundle cross from almost by the corner flag dipped onto the roof of the net to cause keeper Higgs a momentary heart-flutter.
A free kick routine saw Rundle mis-hit his finish and Russell unable to get a foot on it as it flew past him.
Uhlenbeek replaced Birchall for the last 22 minutes.
Higgs finally had a save to make on 77 minutes albeit a relatively comfortable one as Russell acrobatically launched the ball on target as a Rundle free kick reached him just inside the box.
But White was picking the ball out of his net again on 81 minutes.
Day was adjudged to have handled Caines' header from the visitors' 11th corner. And Bird confidently sent White the wrong way to find the net low just inside White's right hand post.
That was his first ever goal in his 435th game!
Barker was just too high with a powerful header from a Jacobs cross and, seconds later Odejayi was just too high with a lob with White off his line.
But Cheltenham made it 5-0 on 85 minutes. Spencer's through ball sent Odejayi racing away on the right and, despite John-Baptiste looking to have got there in time, he still managed to get away a powerful low shot from 12 yards that rocketed past White.
More poor defending on 88 saw the ball reach Wilson. But, with only the keeper to beat, he was denied by White's legs to spare Stags the added embarrassment of a sixth.
Visiting boss John Ward was naturally all smiles and said: "I was absolutely delighted with that. That was something a bit different and a bit special.
"I have told the lads now to enjoy themselves but to keep next week in mind.
"That result will give us heart as we go into two big games.
"I made one or two changes with next week in mind but it couldn't have gone better. It showed that we are improving as a squad.
"We will enjoy this now but then must put it out the way and start preparing for next week.
"Another result like this would be great against Wycombe but I expect both games will be close with some good football. They want to play and we want to play."

Mansfield 0-5 Robins
By ElectricRobin.com
Date: 6/5/2006

Cheltenham went into this game with a bulk of players being rested for the play offs, but still managed to come up with their biggest away win since being in the league.

Cheltenham went into this game with a bulk of players being rested for the play offs, but still managed to come up with their biggest away win since being in the league.
5-0 away from home can only do your confidence good just before a couple of play off games and hopefully that's what will happen when the Robins face Wycombe.

Today's win was an easy one although it took 34 minutes to find the first goal but that came when David Bird set up Gillespie who celebrated getting back into the side by turning and beating the keeper at the far post.

It was 2-0 just before the break when Ashley Vincent was sent through on goal and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper.

Early in the second half Grant McCann struck the third from the edge of the penalty area to put the travelling Robins in dreamland

David Bird made it 4-0 from the penalty spot after Rhys Day handled a Gavin Caines header ten minutes from time.

And then substitute Kayode Odejayi finished things off when got away from Alex John-Baptiste and beat White five minutes before full time.

Mansfield: White, Wilson, Day, Baptiste, Jacobs, Lloyd, D'Laryea, Dawson (Rundle ,59), Birchall (Uhlenbeek ,69 ), Barker, Arnold (Russell ,58)

Subs not used: Pressman, Coke.

Cheltenham: Higgs, Bell, Caines, Duff, Gallinagh, Wilson, Bird, McCann (Connolly ,65), Vincent, Guinan (Odejayi ,74), Gillespie (Spencer ,60)

Subs not used Scott Brown, Wylde.

Bookings: Birchall (Mansfield)

Attendance: 3,728

Referee: K Hill (Hertfordshire)


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