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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Portsmouth  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Taylor 78.
 
 Stevenson 50.
Attendance: 14,686 (607 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 18 January 2014

STEVENSON BRILLIANCE EARNS DRAW IN FRONT OF HUGE CROWD

Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Fratton Park

Mansfield Town picked up a deserved draw at Portsmouth in front of a massive 14,686 crowd, with a superb and supportive 607 strong away following, and on another day the Stags could have won the game. It was the biggest crowd the Stags have played in front of since the Wembley FA Trophy final, and before that since St James Park against Newcastle in the FA Cup. There was nothing in it in the first half but the Stags had the better of the chances as Jennings went close with a free kick and Dempster with a header, while at the other end Jennings did well to block a Patrick Agyemang shot. The Stags were in front on 50 minutes with a tremendous goal as Westlake’s deep cross from the right was headed back by Jennings and Stevenson acrobatically fired an overhead kick past the keeper. The Stags were firmly on top for the first 25 minutes of the second half and had chances to increase the lead. And on 71 minutes, a game defining moment as Westlake crossed low from the right and Dyer hit the near post from close range. Had that gone in, the consensus even amongst the home members of the press was that the game would have been over. Pompey brought on former Republic of Ireland international David Connolly off the bench and he changed the game with a superb final 20 minutes. On 77 minutes, Connolly’s shot from 20 yards was magnificently turned on to the post at full stretch by Marriott. But a minute later Connolly put Ryan Taylor in space on the left and Taylor got into the box and fired a shot across Marriott and into the right corner of the net. In the final 15 minutes, Pompey put the Stags under pressure and had a couple of chances to win the game but couldn’t take them and the Stags ended the game with a corner which was cleared. The final result was fair for both sides.

Mansfield Town’s only previous visit to Fratton Park was exactly 37 years ago today, 18 January 1977, a 2-2 draw with the Stags goals from Ernie Moss and Johnny Miller, while David Kemp scored both Pompey goals. The Stags went on to win the Division 3 (now League One) title that season.

Paul Cox made one change from the side that lost to leaders Scunthorpe, with Ross Dyer coming in for Palmer up front. Riley and McGuire returned from injury on to the substitutes bench. Marriott was fit after his bout of man-flu(!). Portsmouth were managed by Stags legend Richie Barker, who left the influential David Connolly on the bench. Quite a boost for the Stags.

The home side were roared on by the noisy and huge Fratton End, while Mansfield were backed by a tremendous following of over 600.

The Stags made a positive start and on 3 minutes, Stevenson was brought down 29 yards from goal. Jennings curled the resulting free kick just wide of the right post.

There was already good noise from the Stags fans.

On 7 minutes, Wallace curled in a free kick and Bradley flicked a back header well over the bar. On 12 minutes, a short Portsmouth corner and a shot from a tight angle was very well put behind for another corner by a sliding Jennings.

On 15 minutes, a Stags throw was deflected to Clements who struck a 28 yard shot into the ground and it was deflected for a corner. From the resulting corner from the left, Dempster headed just wide of the right post.

On 20 minutes, Dempster conceded a free kick on the edge of the area on the left. Wallace took the resulting free kick which was from a tight angle and it was blocked by the wall.

On 22 minutes, great play by Jennings down the left and he did well to get in a cross which Rhead headed down without power and it was cleared.

Portsmouth’s best chance came on 27 minutes when Agyemang had a sight of goal from close range but Jennings got in a great block. On 28 minutes, a silly tackle from Tafazolli near the edge of the area on the right earned him a yellow card.

On 30 minutes, Stevenson sent an ambitious left footed shot from 28 yards straight at keeper Carson. A minute later, a good header away by Tafazolli from Wallace’s cross from the left. On 33 minutes, Painter’s shot from 25 yards deflected off Westlake for a corner. On 36 minutes, Ryan Taylor curled a left footed shot over from 25 yards.

A minute later, a chance for the Stags came at the other end as a free kick from Jennings was headed across by Dempster and Rhead’s header towards goal was blocked. Then on 38 minutes, Dyer broke down the left and tried to find Stevenson with a cross but it was left short and cleared. On 40 minutes, Wallace’s free kick from 30 yards was well over. On 45 minutes, Jennings played a one-two with Dyer, Dyer nodded the ball down and Jennings fired over from 25 yards. On 45+1, a good take by Marriott from a hanging cross.

Nothing in it between the two sides at half time. The Stags had gone closest with the free kick from Jennings and Dempster’s header, while Jennings put in a great block from Agyemang’s shot at the other end. Not many chances for either side.

Half time 0-0

On 46 minutes, a ball forward from Jennings was chased by Dyer but he couldn’t quite get there.

There was a good move from the Stags on 48 minutes, Tafazolli dinked a ball into the box, Stevenson tried to tee up a shot for himself but it wouldn’t fall for him, the ball came back to Clements on the edge of the area who fired wide.

The Stags were in front on 50 minutes. Following a throw, Westlake crossed from the right to beyond the far post where Jennings headed back across goal and Stevenson sent a brilliant overhead kick into the net. A great finish for Stevenson and his fifth goal of the season.

On 56 minutes, Howell was booked for a late challenge.

On 60 minutes, a great ball from Howell to Dyer down the left and Dyer cut the ball back inside for Clements, but eventually the move broke down.

A chance for the Stags came on 61 minutes as Rhead was gifted the ball on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected for a corner. On 63 minutes, a great ball from Howell from the byline back to Clements who volleyed just past the left post.

It was the Stags with all the chances and the home fans were getting frustrated with the home players and with the referee.

On 65 minutes, a good tackle by Westlake on Agyemang was followed a minute later by a Pompey cross from the right and Dempster blocked in front of Agyemang.

On 68 minutes, I wrote on my notepad Connolly coming on... Astonishing to have a player of such quality (a) in League 2 and (b) on the bench.

A key moment came on 71 minutes as the Stags hit the post. Westlake crossed low from the right and the ball crashed off the right post from a combination of Dyer and a defender at the near post.

On 73 minutes, a great tackle by Westlake, and, a minute later, at the other end, the Stags were nearly through as Rhead found Dyer but the ball was cleared.

The Stags made a double substitution on 75 minutes as Meikle and Daniel replaced Dyer and Stevenson. Boss Cox explained afterwards that it was an attempt to stop Pompey’s full backs getting forward.

On 77 minutes, dangerman Connolly got in a great effort from 20 yards which Marriott brilliantly tipped on to the post. Moments later, a low cross from the left was claimed by Marriott.

It was 1-1 on 78 minutes. Connolly played a ball out to the left where there was too much space for Ryan Taylor as Westlake and Sutton went missing. Taylor got into the box and shot across Marriott into the net.

On 80 minutes, a Pompey cross from the left and Connolly flicked wide. On 86 minutes, a Pompey corner fell to Agyemang who swung a leg at the far post and shanked hopelessly wide.

McGuire replaced the tiring Rhead on 87 minutes, as Daniel moved up front.

On 88 minutes, a long ball into the Stags box and Pompey sub Jervis went down with Tafazolli nearby but it was clearly no penalty. On 90 minutes, a Pompey cross from the right was deflected for a corner which the Stags cleared. On 90+4, a cross-shot from a tight angle was straight at Marriott.

The Stags broke straight to the other end and won a corner, sending the big guns forward, but it was cleared and the referee immediately blew the final whistle.

A fair result and a pleasing draw and performance from the Stags.

Man of the match: James Jennings


Report by: Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Fratton Park



Line Up:
Marriott 7 Wonderful save tipping Connolly shot onto the post, and good handling in the first half. Otherwise had little to do.
Westlake 8 Defended solidly and got forward well as wing-back. A good cross that led to the goal, and a super cross that led to Dyer hitting the post.
Sutton 7 Some good tackles and clearances. Played well.
Dempster 7 Some good headers away. Solid. One silly challenge to conceded a free kick on edge of the box. Came close with a header from a corner; really needs to make some of these chances count in the opposition box.
Tafazolli 7 Good game, with some fine clearances. Silly challenge to pick up a yellow card.
Jennings 8 Very involved in the game. Great block from Agyemang shot in first half and kept the number of Pompey crosses down. Assist for the goal with a header back for Stevenson. A couple of good crosses. Decent free kick just wide.
Howell 7.5 Excellent second half after a quieter first half.
Clements 7.5 Some good creative play with some lovely passing, and put in a good shift chasing back and winning challenges.
Stevenson 7.5 Brilliant goal with an overhead kick. Supported the front two well.
Dyer 6 Could have been the hero but hit the post. Did ok.
Rhead 6 Won a lot of headers but didn’t create enough or have enough chances for himself. Was gifted one chance which was deflected wide.
Sub Line Up:
Meikle (for Dyer, 75) - Brought on to stop Pompey full backs getting forward.
Daniel (for Stevenson, 75) - Brought on to stop Pompey full backs getting forward.
McGuire (for Rhead, 87) -
Subs not used: Deakin, Riley, Beevers, Palmer.
Opposition Line Up:
Carson; Alfei, Devera, Bradley, Painter; Fogden (Jervis 68), Ferry (Racon 49), Shorey, Wallace (Connolly 68); Taylor, Agyemang. Subs not used: Smith, N’Gala, Ertl, Barcham
Referee:
Darren Sheldrake 8 Very good game. Didn’t fall for two weak Pompey penalty shouts.


Season 13/14 Reports