STAGS BEATEN BY TAMWORTH TO LOSE TOP SPOT
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Tamworth
Attendance: 2516 (160 from Tamworth)
Date: 4 September 2010
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at home by Tamworth on Saturday, and lost top spot in the table. Tamworth came with a plan to thwart the Stags and it worked perfectly, testament to excellent tactical skills of their manager Gary Mills. Tamworth defended resolutely and the Stags created precious few chances during the game. Tamworth had the best player on the park in midfielder Jay Smith, and their goal came from an excellent break down the left by Danny Thomas who fed Ben Wilkinson to score. Wilkinson's father Howard Wilkinson was in the stand to watch the goal. The Stags best chance came when Kyle Perry committed a foul right on the egde of the box, it initially looked as though the referee had awarded a penalty and several Tamworth players had their heads in their hands, but eventually a free kick was awarded, which Kiegan Parker chipped onto the bar. Parker also rounded the keeper in the first half and his shot was cleared off the line by a defender. The Stags started to run out of ideas in the second half, and the closest they came was a Briscoe shot cleared off the line.
Man of the Match: Kiegan Parker - the only Stags player to show the guile to open up Tamworth.
podcast of commentary from StagsPlayer
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Tamworth - FULL TIME
MANSFIELD Town were knocked off the Blue Square Premier top spot in suffering their first home defeat of the season as Tamworth ran out narrow victors at Field Mill this afternoon.
The visitors went in front in the first half with a strike from Ben Wilkinson that stunned the hosts.
Mansfield threw everything at the Lambs in the second period, but Gary Mills' men defended stoutly to hold on for the points.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Stags boss David Holdsworth in what was the third time in two seasons his side have failed to get the better of Tamworth on home turf.
After a scrappy start to the game, Tamworth were forced into a change after just nine minutes when Daniel Bradley clashed heads with Tyrone Thompson.
The teenage midfielder briefly continued but eventually had to be replaced by Jake Sheridan.
The hosts won the game's first corner soon after and, from it, the ball broke for Steve Foster, who blazed well over the top.
Chris Smith made an important interception for Mansfield after Alex Rodman had beaten two men down the right flank before Kyle Perry was too high with his 20-yard effort.
Mansfield attacked with gusto in the 21st minute but Paul Connor's drive was charged down and Gary Mills well over the top with his follow up.
Midway through the half, Kevin Sandwith swung in a free-kick that Keigan Parker met with his head but Ross Atkins saved with a degree of comfort.
Substitute Sheridan tried his luck for the Lambs as the ball sat up invitingly on the edge of the box, but he failed to test Alan Marriott.
The visitors went in front on the half hour mark after a slick break that caught Mansfield cold.
Danny Thomas beat Louis Briscoe in a foot race down the left and cut the ball back for Ben Wilkinson, whose low shot found the left-hand corner with the aid of a deflection.
As Mansfield looked to hit back quickly, Mills combined well with Parker but the striker's attempted pull-back from the byline, intended for Louis Briscoe, was cut out.
The Stags were unfortunate not to equalise as half-time approach when Parker's free-kick from just outside the box clipped the left-hand upright with Ross Atkins rooted to the spot.
In first half stoppage time, Thompson's through pass released Parker who touched the ball past the advancing Atkins but was unable to find an accurate cross from out wide.
Tamworth were indebted to Atkins for keeping them on level terms as the second half resumed when he blocked Louis Briscoe's goalbound shot in a crowded goalmouth.
Both Perry and Chris Smith were lucky to avoid punishment in the 57th minute when they clashed off the ball.
Tamworth broke well soon after and Rodman eventually went for goal only to see his drive rise over the top.
Mansfield made a double switch in the 66th minute, with Tyrone Thompson and Louis Briscoe replaced by Kyle Nix and Luke Medley.
Rodman threatened again when he kept the ball in on the right byline and cut into the box, only to drill wide of goal.
At the other end, Parker picked out Medley in the box but his shot on the turn was straight into the arms of Atkin.
Thomas might have done better when he shot straight at Marriott after his pace had earned him the opportunity.
A burst from Gary Silk saw him feed Parker whose shot was well blocked by an alert Tamworth defence.
Sheridan might have killed off Mansfield as he broke clear, only to drag his shot well wide of the right-hand post.
Perry might have capped a triumphant afternoon when he had two glorious chances late on, but failed to take either.
First he headed wide when totally unmarked from a free-kick and then he hammered wide of the right-hand post when one-on-one with Marriott.
In the dying seconds, Mansfield's Medley crossed for Duffy whose header was pushed away by Atkin under pressure from Connor.
Mansfield: Marriott, Silk, C. Smith, Foster, Sandwith, Briscoe, Mills, Thompson, A. Smith, Parker, Connor. Subs: Collett, Nix, Naylor, Duffy, Medley.
Tamworth: Atkins, Tait, Marshall, Wylde, Barrow, J. Smith, Bradley, Wilkinson, Rodman, Perry, Thomas. Subs: Mitchell, MacKenzie, Lake-Gaskin, Sheridan, Lyttle.
Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland).
Mansfield Town 0 Tamworth 1 - Saturday, 4th September 2010
CHAD.co.uk, 4 September 2010, By John Lomas
A LONE goal by Ben Wilkinson sent unlucky Mansfield Town tumbling from the top of the table as Tamworth stole a win at Field Mill this afternoon.
The Lambs defended superbly to restrict home chances, though Keigan Parker did rattle the woodwork with a free kick soon after going behind.
But the visitors spoiled the day for Mansfield on the half-hour mark as Danny Thomas got away down the left and pulled the ball back for Wilkinson to turn it into the net with the help of a deflection.
Though the Stags failed to get into the stride that had taken them to the top of the table, they deserved at least a point on a frustrating afternoon when nothing dropped or broke for them.
Tamworth had clearly done their homework and restricted Stags' space and supply to their wide men with chances at a premium.
Table-topping Stags were unchanged for a third successive game.
That meant former Tamworth skipper Chris Smith squared up against his old club as did ex-Stags striker Kyle Perry who was the Lambs' lone striker.
Marriott came for and confidently caught an early Tamworth free kick.
There was a third minute stoppage after a clash of heads between Thompson and Bradley.
Both men continued but Bradley was clearly struggling and after he went down again the visitors thought it wise to replace him with Sheridan on nine minutes.
Lambs' keeper Atkins did well to backpeddle and chest down a big, overhit backpass by Wylde that briefly threatened to dip over his own keeper.
Stags forced the game's first corner which the visitors failed to clear properly and a scramble ended with home skipper Foster snatching at a shot and slicing well over and out of the ground over the South Stand roof.
After a scrappy start Stags were now starting to put their game together, Tamworth struggling to clear another corner and then hacking away a clever backheeled ball into the danger zone by Parker.
Rodman embarked on a dangerous run down the right which took him to the Mansfield by-line. But as he tried to pulled the ball back low, Chris Smith did well to intercept.
Perry gave Silk a torrid time in chasing a long ball forward but Marriott was able to come out and clear. Then Chris Smith caught Wilkinson late but advantage was played and the ball ran to Perry who drilled well over from 20 yards.
Stags resumed their offensive and Connor had a shot on the turn charged down while Mills was too high from 30 yards.
Adam Smith was brought down in full flight by a Wilkinson lunge on 23 minutes to earn the Tamworth man a booking. Sandwith curled the free kick into the box where Parker brought a save to his right from Atkins from his well-placed header.
Marshall fired in a good long distance effort on target which Marriott grasped above his head and just under the bar.
There was a warning for Perry for a foul on Foster which saw the Stags skipper react angrily.
Sub Sheridan was off target with a right-footed effort.
But the visitors were ahead on the half-hour mark.
Thomas broke in acres of space down the left after a Mansfield free kick was cleared and Briscoe sold himself in a crucial tackle and allowed Thomas to romp to the by-line unchallenged.
He pulled the ball back low and Wilkinson's low finish took a deflection on its way low into the net from 12 yards.
Smith saved the day for Tamworth on 36 minutes with a timely tackle after Mills had laid a neat ball for Parker who drew the keeper and then tried to feed Briscoe for a tap-in.
Perry was clearly determined to mark his physical stamp on the game and another challenge that left Chris Smith on the floor earned him his final warning with the home crowd incensed.
And seconds later he was finally shown a yellow card on 40 minutes as the home side conceded a free kick a foot outside the box.
Sandwith shaped to take it left footed but Parker ran in and curled a right footed effort over the wall and against the angle with Atkins rooted.
Back roared Tamworth and Rodman and Wilkinson had successive shots blocked.
Rodman was also wide with a powerful half-volley from 30 yards.
A fantastic pass from the outside of his right boot by Thompson sent Parker into space on the left. He managed to nick the ball past the advancing keeper as he was forced wide but he couldn't quite manage to pull it back towards Connor with the keeper out of position and the chance was gone.
Stags were unlucky to be behind at the interval though the visitors had done well in closing them down and restricing chances for the home side.
The visitors comfortably cleared two early Stags corners.
A better spell of pressure brought a third which reached Connor at the far post. He worked it back inside and the ball eventually reached Briscoe whose low shot was parried by Atkins.
A clash between Perry and Chris Smith after another coming together might have seen two red cards for kicking each other but the moment escaped the attention of both referee and assistant.
Stags defenders were furious with Perry's shoving in winning the ball, but the referee played on and Perry's lay-off was fired over the bar by Rodman.
On 66 minutes Stags made a double swap, bringing on Medley and Nix for Briscoe and Thompson.
Rodman's persistence as Sandwith tried to shield the ball out for a goalkick saw him keep it in play and whip a shot wide of the far post.
At the other end Medley drilled in a low 15 yard shot straight at Atkins.
Sheridan might have tied things up 10 minutes from time when he broke away on the left from a Perry flick and fired a tame finish across Marriott and wide of the far post.
Duffy was given the last nine minutes in place of Parker.
Perry really should have settled it on 84 minutes but, having been put clear by Tait, he flicked his header wide with only Marriott to beat.
Pushing forward desperately, Mansfield continued to leave holes at the back and Perry was just wide of the near post with a rasping shot.
Deep into stoppage time Medley crossed from the left of the box and Duffy headed goalwards, Connor just unable to get the vital touch as Atkins punched away above his head.
STAGS: Marriott; Silk, C. Smith, Foster, Sandwith; Briscoe (Medley 66), Mills, Thompson (Nix 66), A. Smith; Connor, Parker (Duffy 81). Subs not used: Collett, Naylor.
TAMWORTH: Atkins; Tait, Marshall, Wylde, Barrow; Rodman, Bradley (Sheidan 9) J. Smith, Wilkinson, Thomas; Perry. Subs not used: Mitchell, MacKenzie, Lake-Gaskin, Lyttle.
REFEREE: Scott Duncan of Northumbria.
ATTENDANCE: 2,516 (160 away).
Match report: Mansfield Town 0 Tamworth 1
Evening Post considered report
THEY came, they booed, but, ultimately, he conquered.
Kyle Perry was always going to bear the brunt of stick dished out by the Mansfield Town supporters as he returned to Field Mill in Tamworth colours.
But while he was given little respite through the 90 minutes, he had the last laugh as his side made the short trip back down the A38 with all three points.
Although an interesting sideshow as the archetypal pantomime villain, Perry's contribution to Tamworth's success was, in the end, minimal.
The burly striker made a nuisance of himself as a lone front man, but it was not one of his better days.
As well as a first half booking, he missed two good late opportunities to seal victory and also brought guffaws of laughter from the home fans as he fell flat on his back trying to control a high ball midway through the first half.
It was in midfield where Tamworth won this match, their superior numbers in that department certainly helping their cause.
The Stags' Tyrone Thompson and Gary Mills have been quietly effective in the middle of the park during the opening weeks of this season.
But they were largely second best on this occasion as visiting skipper Jay Smith ran the show.
The former Notts County man has been on trial at Field Mill during David Holdsworth's tenure as manager.
And it is easy to see why his opposite number Gary Mills was so keen to snap him up after an authoritative display that inspired his team.
Tamworth journeyed north with a game plan that they carried out perfectly to make it two wins and a draw without conceding a goal in three visits to Field Mill over the course of the last two seasons.
They defended deep and in numbers but broke quickly and capably at pace with the quicksilver Danny Thomas their most potent threat.
It was from that source they scored what proved to be the match-winning goal on the half hour.
Springing quickly from a Mansfield set piece, Smith worked the ball out to Thomas on the left.
He was closed down by Louis Briscoe, but the Mansfield man missed his tackle, leaving Thomas space to pull the ball back from the left byline for Ben Wilkinson, whose deflected effort found the left-hand corner.
With famous dad, Howard, of Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, Notts County and England fame, watching in the stands, the midfielder's delight was matched only by that of the Tamworth supporters, who celebrated joyously in the corner of the North Stand.
After that, Tamworth were more than happy to defend what they had – and they did it very effectively too.
There were points when Mansfield threatened to get back on level terms.
Keigan Parker was desperately unlucky in the closing stages of the first half when his direct free-kick beat the defensive wall but clipped the outside of the left-hand post.
After the restart, Tamworth keeper Ross Atkins came to his side's rescued as he pulled off an instinctive save to keep out Louis Briscoe's goalbound effort.
And in the closing stages, the Lambs shot-stopper did well to turn aside substitute Rob Duffy's header under pressure from Paul Connor.
On the whole, though, the home side had very few clear sights of goals despite winning ten corners in the match – eight of them during the second period.
Every time Tamworth looked stretched, they managed to get a vial foot in, block a shot or prevent a cross.
Their two central defenders, Michael Wylde and ex-Eastwood Town man Tom Marshall, enjoyed particularly successful afternoons and did well to nullify the aerial threat of the usually-dangerous Connor.
Is it one thing to attempt to defend and frustrate, but another thing entirely to carry it out.
So it is to their credit the Lambs did so very professionally, even after the early loss of influential midfielder Daniel Bradley through injury.
In the end, as Mansfield threw more and more players forward, the victory margin could have been more emphatic.
Thomas fired straight at Marriott from a good position; Jake Sheridan broke away and shot horribly wide; Perry planted a free header wide of the left-hand post and then blazed wide on the run.
It was, though, academic. Tamworth had already done enough to earn their first away success of the season and follow up their previous weekend's success over well-fancied Luton Town.
For Mansfield, the defeat was very much a missed opportunity having swept to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier table with a thumping 4-0 win at Altrincham in their previous outing.
The cynics would say it was typical fayre from the Stags – just when they get a better crowd in and things are looking up, they suffer a setback.
The way for the squad to prove the doubters wrong now is to hit back and record positive results at Southport and Newport in their next two games.
Both are going to be difficult matches for Holdsworth's team but, if they are to break the habit of poor Septembers in their previous two seasons, they are hurdles that need to be overcome.
Mansfield remain third in the table, so all is most definitely not lost.
Perry had the pleasure of winning this battle, but the Stags can still win the overall war if they retain their confidence, composure and belief.
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