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Archived News from August 2006

28th August 2006 23:58

EVENING POST, 28 August 2006

There can only have been a handful of occasions when a team has got in 21 shots on goal - 14 of those on target - and still be beaten so comprehensively.

Yet frustrated as the Mansfield players must have been at the final whistle on Saturday, they only had themselves to blame.

For though the bare statistics hinted that the Stags were unlucky to go down to their first loss of the season, the evidence of the game suggested otherwise.

The home side's shooting was not good enough. Although there were plenty of shots on target and visiting keeper Alan Marriott made a clutch of fines saves, better finishing would have rendered his input irrelevant.

A number of Stags' players - Michael Boulding and Simon Brown in particular - were guilty of missing straightforward opportunities they really should be scoring. And the real thing to hurt Stags was those misses came at vital times.

Boulding ought to have netted 60 seconds after Lincoln had taken the lead - and had Richard Barker's penalty just before the break gone, it might have given the Stags hope at 3-1 down.

As it was, chance after chance went begging and it was only when it was too late - when Peter Shirtliff's men were already 4-0 down - that they managed to at last find a way through the Imps' resistance.

What must be more disturbing for the Stags boss is his team's defensive fallibility. Mansfield were all over the place at the back and were opened up by Lincoln at will in the first half.

City players were left unmarked in the box and with too much time to pick out a pass or work in a shot.

What made the Mansfield performance doubly disappointing was it came on the back of a terrific Carling Cup display at Huddersfield where they looked to have buried their defensive demons. At the Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield's strikers struggled to get involved in the game as Mansfield were able to cut off their supply line.

But they seemed unable to do that against supposedly lesser opposition as the Lincoln forwards ran riot.

Part of the reason was perhaps that City - unlike in previous seasons - played some excellent passing football on the floor. Instead of playing the ball long into target man Mark Stallard, as many home supporters might have expected, the Imps patiently worked their openings.

Even so, that could not excuse Mansfield's shortcomings and chief beneficiary of their slapdash defending was diminutive frontman Jamie Forrester.

He netted four times in what was the first hat-trick of his career with the kind of ruthless predatory that was lacking at the other end. The Imps only had five shots on target, but on-fire Forrester scored with all four of his - two from open play and two from the penalty spot.

His first came in the 15th minute when Alex John-Baptiste, trying to halt the progress of Lee Frecklington, mistimed his challenge and chopped down the midfielder.

Carl Muggleton got his hand to the spot kick but he could not keep it out and he was soon picking the ball out of the net again when Forrester doubled his tally in the 23rd minute.

The former Bristol Rovers man was given too much space to turn in the area and he used it to devastating effect to curl an unstoppable shot into the top right-hand corner from 15 yards.

It was 3-0 on the half hour as Forrester completed his treble by firing home the rebound after his first header had been superbly saved by Muggleton. The Stags tried to get back into the match and it seemed they would when Michael Boulding was felled in the box two minutes from the break.

But Marriott guessed right to push away Barker's effort and six minutes after the restart Forrester showed the Mansfield captain how it should be done when Paul Mayo was fouled by Mullins and he sent Muggleton the wrong way.

Encouragingly, the Stags did not lay down and die and kept going to reduce the deficit to just two.

Danny Reet - who made a decent impact off the bench - made the Mansfield breakthrough when he fired through Marriott's legs in the 68th minute.

And in stoppage time - as the home side were awarded another penalty, this time for handball - Barker put his earlier miss behind him by thumping home.

EVENING POST, 28 August 2006

The man who masterminded Mansfield's first defeat of the season still thinks the Stags will be among the promotion challengers come May.

Lincoln boss John Schofield watched as his players humbled the hosts with an impressive 4-2 victory.

"All credit to Mansfield - they kept going even at 4-0 down and I think they showed they are a good side," he said.

"Peter Shirtliff has got them sorted since he has come here."

Ex-Mansfield player Schofield saw striker Jamie Forrester score all four Lincoln goals, two of them from the penalty spot, and he had special praise for the diminutive forward.

"I was quite surprised to find that it was Jamie's first hat-trick so it's obviously the first time he has scored four in a game, too.

"I understand the last Lincoln player to get four in a game was ex-Mansfield player Tony Lormor, so it's quite an achievement for Jamie.

"He took his goals superbly but it was an absolutely top drawer display all round that got us the points."

EVENING POST, 28 August 2006

Assistant manager Paul Holland slammed Mansfield's woeful defending.

He admitted he and was hugely disappointed with the performance at the back.

"You can't concede four goals at home and expect to get anything from the game - that's the bottom line," said Holland.

"The defensive shape of the team was not good and the players know that they have let themselves down.

"We know we have to do better than that as a squad. We need to defend as a team and we didn't do it.

"But it is up to us now to work hard and rectify the problems to make sure this type of thing doesn't happen again."

Mansfield might have got back into the game going into the second period when Michael Boulding earned the Stags a penalty two minutes from the break.

But captain Richard Barker saw his spot kick brilliantly saved by visiting keeper Alan Marriott to preserve the Imps' 3-0 lead going into half-time.

Holland admitted a goal at that point could have changed the game, but that the Stags had to look at the real reasons they lost the game.

He said: "You have not really got much of a chance when you are 3-0 down at half-time. We know we have goals in the side and we have proved that already, but we have to start keeping some clean sheets.

"It was disappointing that Richie didn't score the first penalty because things might have been different but you can't knock his record since he has been here.

"Despite the scoreline at half-time, we still went out for the second half with the belief we could get something, but then we shot ourselves in the foot by conceding another penalty, which they scored, and then we had an even bigger hill to climb."

EVENING POST, 28 August 2006

Keeper Carl Muggleton believes the Mansfield squad must take collective responsibility for cutting out defensive errors.

The Stags were punished for some sloppy play at the back on Saturday.

But Muggleton insists the players must stick together and get back to basics on the training field.

"The Lincoln game was not a good performance from us. We have to get our heads right for next week, put this result behind us and react in the right manner," he said.

"We know it's not good enough and we need to get back to earlier performances.

"But we can't dwell on the result. We have to get out there and train hard and put things right and the quicker we can do that the better."

Muggleton admitted it was a poor display in front of their own fans.

"You want to win your games at home and we have done well here, so to lose our unbeaten record here is disappointing," he said.

"You know you are going to lose games away from home so if it goes in one of those games then fair enough but you don't want it to happen on your own ground."

Alex-John-Baptiste and Johnny Mullins gave penalties with mistimed tackles on a sorry day for the Stags.

But Muggleton stressed everyone would be doing their utmost to eradicate them as much as possible.

"You have to learn that people make mistakes and sometimes you get freak results - and we hope this is one of them," he said.


Latest | August 2006