Inept Town punished

Last updated : 14 March 2005 By Matthew Gamble
It was a hugely frustrating day for all Town fans. Despite being deprived of a handful of players, Manager Gary Peters was still able to field a strong-looking team.

The defence was packed with height and aerial ability and up front was the little and large partnership of Kelvin Langmead and Luke Rodgers. It was obvious that there wasn't going to be much pretty passing from Town today.

The Shropshire side never really looked in trouble at the back, but could not muster a threat up front. The ball was too often humped forward to Langmead, but his knockdowns were invariably gathered by the Mansfield midfield.

Indeed, this was probably the difference between the two sides. Mansfield had a midfield; too often Town's pairing of Jake Sedgemore and Jamie Tolley were bypassed.

Mansfield's goal was the only part of the first half which didn't follow the long-ball pattern. Nippy Derek Asamoah exposed the immobility of Town's defenders and finished sharply from inside the box.

The second half was largely the same as the first. Many long balls forward - little to show for it. On one of the odd occasions where Town did win a second ball, Ryan Lowe was played in, but failed to convert. Other chances saw off-target long range efforts from Tolley and Trevor Challis, and a weak header from Langmead.

Needing a goal, manager Peters opted to make changes, switching to three at the back and throwing on the tall John Grant up front. Grant was soon to miss a free header from six yards.

The second part of the double substitution saw Kevin Street enter the fray. And it was his mis-control in the box which lead to Mansfield's second, which Adam Murray gratefully snaffled up.

The crowd were a very unhappy bunch, with the majority of criticism aimed at Peters and Tolley. Peters' signings were called in to question, but Danny Murphy look-a-like Neil Ashton worked hard on the left and looks to be worth a chance.

Similarly, Liam Burns at centre-half was assured in the air, an although his tackling was a bit late, his distrbution was not as bad as the rest of the defence.

Town: (4-4-2) Howie - Whitehead, Tinson (c), Burns, Challis - Lowe, Tolley, Sedgemore, Ashton - Langmead, Rodgers