REPORT FROM HUDDERSFIELD SITE
Mansfield Town 3 v Huddersfield Town 3 (Full-time)
It was injury time heartbreak for the Terriers this afternoon as Mansfield equalised in the 91st minute to deny the Terriers the three points in an entertaining clash at Field Mill this afternoon. It was a vastly improved away day performance from the Terriers who were superb in the first half and were unlucky to go in just 2-1 up at the break. The second half brought the inevitable onslaught from the home side but it seemed that Town had just done enough to win the game through 2 Stead goals and a Schofield effort before the game had one last twist with Disley equalising for the home side right at the death.
Manager Jackson made one change to the starting line up that was victorious last Saturday with Lee Fowler replacing the injured Andy Booth. Fowler lined up in a 6-man midfield/wing back system with Jon Stead taking up the lone role up front.
The Terriers kicked off the first half wearing their blue and white stripes attacking the goal which housed the Mansfield home support. Town forced the early pressure and the first effort of the game came on 4 minutes when link up play resulted in Stead firing in a 20 yard effort which keeper Pilkington got down well to save.
Seconds later and Town had forced the first corner of the game when good pressure by Worthington resulted in the home defence conceding the set piece. The resulting Carss set piece was just too long for Brown and the ball was cleared to safety.
Town continued to enjoy the early possession and had settled into the new formation well with both Carss and Schofield taking every opportunity to get up from their midfield berth to partner Stead.
With just short of 15 minutes on the clock the Terriers earned their second corner of the game when a Carss blockbuster flattened Tom Curtis, the Mansfield midfielder, and went out
It was nothing more than the Terriers deserved when on 15 minutes they took the lead after Danny Schofield capitalised on a error by Pilkington. The Stags keeper misplaced his clearance straight into the path of Schofield who calmly lobbed the home keeper from 15 yards out.
The home side responded from the kick off and forced keeper Senior into his first save of the game when Mendes fired in from 20 yards out, fortunately for the Terriers the shot lacked any real power to trouble the Town stopper.
Midway through the first half Worthington was cautioned by referee Laws for a tackle on Curtis, the Town midfielder again on the receiving end of some harsh disciplinary treatment by a match official.
The home side earned their first corner of the afternoon when a mix up in the Town defence resulted in Hughes slicing the ball behind, when keeper Senior was rushing to collect. The resulting Lawrence corner was met by the head of Scott and cle
On 31 minutes it got even better for the Terriers when a ball down the right found Schofield who looked up and squared the ball into the path of Jon Stead. The young striker cleverly dummied keeper Pilkington and then stroked the ball into the back of the empty net to give the Terriers a deserved 2-0 lead.
5 minutes before the break Stead had another wonderful chance to add to the Town tally when a clever through ball by Fowler saw the 13-goal hit man bearing down on goal, only this time to be denied by the boot of Pilkington.
Mansfield finished the half on the offensive forcing two consecutive corners and it was from the second that they managed to pull a goal back right on the stroke of half time. Lawrence's corner from the home sides right found the head of Rhys Day whose header squeezed in at the far post to make the score 2-1 at the break.
It was a fantastic first 45 minutes for the Terriers which was only spoilt in the second minute of first half injury time (even though neither physio had been on the pitch). Goals from Danny Schofield and Jon Stead had given the Terriers a 2 goal lead but right on the stroke of half time the home side pulled a goal back from the head of Day. The new formation that manager Jackson had employed worked superbly with lone man up front Jon Stead receiving support from Carss, Schofield, Worthington and Brown and the Terriers thoroughly deserved their lead.
Mansfield made a change at the start of the second half with Christie replacing Corden, and they were nearly immediately level when a break down the right saw the ball find Mendes in the middle and just when it looked like the striker would equalise Phil Senior produced a superb save down at the feet of the striker to deny the Stags striker.
It signalled an intense few minutes of pressure by the home side, but it was Town who were next to threaten when good work by Fowler in midfield released Stead whose 25 yard effort beat Pilkington's dive but struck the wrong side of the keepers right hand upright and went out for a goal kick.
The home side were soon back on the front foot and keeper Senior had to be on his toes to thwart another Mansfield attack, again coming off his line to smoother the danger with Christie threatening.
Just when it looked like Town had managed to weather the early second half pressure the Stags drew level through a Artell strike. It came about after a Carss foul on half way and Lawrence floated the ball into the Town box and with the Town defence struggling to clear the ball fell into the path of Artell who buried the ball into the back of the net to the delight of the home fans.
The Terriers found the perfect response just two minutes later when a Schofield cross from wide on the right found the head of Jon Stead who made no mistake from 6 yards out and celebrated in style in front of the travelling Town fans.
Manager Curle made his second change of the afternoon on 69 minutes when Disley replaced Williamson.
Town continued to threaten on the break and Stead had another chance on 71 minutes when he was released down the left and he twisted and turned the Mansfield defence but unfortunately he couldn't beat the defender with his curling effort.
The next Town attack brought a diving header by Schofield who had managed to get on the end of a Carss cross after good work by Stead.
With five minutes remaining keeper Senior pulled off another superb stop when he dived smartly to his left to keep out a Mendes effort.
That was the last action for the Mansfield front man who was replaced by MacKenzie.
Wit two minutes remaining Paul Scott was cautioned for a foul on Curtis. Lawrence took the resulting set piece and Disley rose in the box but just failed to make the necessary contact to trouble keeper Senior.
The Stags remained on the front foot and after another Lawrence corner down the right the ball fell to substitute MacKenzie who from wide on the left swung in a cross cum shot which keeper Senior acrobatically saved at full stretch.
A minute later and Lawrence was again involved when his cross was collected by Senior under pressure from Christie who bundled the keeper over the line, but the challenge was adjudged to be a foul by referee Laws who booked the striker for his challenge.
As the fourth official signalled four minutes of added time Town hearts were broken when Disley equalised after Town failed to clear a cross from the left.
As the game entered injury time Nat Brown and Tony Vaughan were both booked for an altercation on the Mansfield dead ball line.
Full time: Mansfield 3 v Huddersfield Town 3
Town Fans: 1044
Latest | November 2003