REPORTS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
Football First match report:
transcribed by carole:
By Brad Jackson
Curle happy with a point
MANSFIELD bounced back to end Lincoln's “Indian sign” over them and share the points at Field Mill.
City plundered all six points from last season's clashes and when Simon Yeo curled them into a 2-0 lead just before half-time in this one it seemed the points were once again heading back for Sincil Bank.
But Adam Murray gave the Stag's a lifeline in stoppage time with a far post header almost immediately after Yeo's goal.
Then teenager Alex Jon-Baptiste popped up with his first senior goal six minutes into the second-half to secure a point.
Mansfield struggled to cope with the hype of the visitors and it was no surprise when Gareth McCauley headed home a corner in the 15th minute.
Debutant Martin Carruthers had already shot against a Mansfield post on five minutes.
The Stags then fell further behind when Yeo was afforded space to look up and curl a finish around Kevin Pilkington.
But Murray and John-Baptiste pulled Mansfield level and both sides had chances to win it, with Wayne Corden inches over for Mansfield and Francis Green forcing Pilkington to save full-length.
Mansfield boss Keith Curle said: “If you give any team a two goal start it's going to be difficult. The pleasing thing was we stuck to our task.
“We knew they would be an aerial threat from the personnel in their team and they punished us for slack defending on their first goal. Then a basic mistake led to their second which was a great finish.” Curle added: “Lincoln will probably be very disappointed with the goals they conceded with the aerial strength they have in the box.
“But credit to them, Lincoln stood their ground for the rest of the game.
“But we scored our goals at the right time and Adam's goal gave us a foot hole in the game. Once we scored our second I thought there would only be one winner.
Lincoln manager Keith Alexander, a former player and Assistant manager at Field Mill said: “This is a difficult place to come and I thought we played very well for an hour, but gave them a goal at the wrong time. But I am not going to be too critical as Mansfield have beaten teams like Yeovil with four goals so this is an excellent point.
“We battled well and got back to doing the basics and with a bit of luck we might had won it.
“The players worked really hard and we need to keep building on this unbeaten run.
“I felt Mansfield's first goal was a sloppy one to concede as I thought that great finish from Simon Yeo which put us 2-0 up had killed the game off.”
A draw seemed fair in the end.
Mansfield Town………Lincoln City
49-----------Possession %---- 51
4------------Shots on Target---5
5------------Shots off Target---2
Match Stats (Stags / Imps)
9 Goal Attempts 7
4 On Target 5
5 Off Target 1
0 Hit Woodwork 1
5 Offsides 3
6 Corners 7
10 Fouls 13
John-Baptiste the hero
ALEX John-Baptiste was Mansfield's unlikely goalscoring hero as Mansfield came from 2-0 down to force a draw with a Lincoln side that beat them home and away last season.
The Imps looked set to continue that hoodoo over their not too distant neighbours at Field Mill when they romped into a 2-0 first half lead, the second goal coming in the 45th minute.
But Adam Murray pulled one back in the second of three minutes of stoppage time before teenage defender John-Baptiste's first senior goal six minutes into the second half squared things up again.
Stags' games with Lincoln are rarely less than entertaining and this was no exception.
Not for the first time, Lincoln – managed by former Stags player and assistant manager Keith Alexander – once again arrived with what seemed like cast members of Land of the Giants.
They were tall, they were muscular and, with a swirling wind blowing, Mansfield found it hard to gain any rhythm or penetrate a solid Imps defence.
Indeed, Stags had already had a let-off on five minutes when Martin Carruthers – a transfer target of Mansfield's earlier in the season – marked his debut for the visitors with a sweet right foot shot which beat Kevin Pilkington and came back of the foot of the left post after good approach work from Simon Yeo and Peter Gain.
And on 15 minutes Mansfield fell behind to a goal from the towering Gareth McCauley.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher sent his left wing corner towards the far post and, with Pilkington unable to get near it, McCauley was left to bury a close range header.
Although they won a couple of corners, Stags were struggling to find a way through the visiting defence, despite beginning to dominate possession.
On 37 minutes Alex Neil lifted a ball into the path of Derek Asamoah – one of several players declared fit after injury and illness – but McCauley's challenge was enough to force him to shoot wide.
Lincoln then produced a second goal right on 45 minutes.
This time Taylor-Fletcher played the ball to Yeo on the edge of the box and he had time to look up and curl a splendid finish around the helpless Pilkington.
That could have knocked the stuffing out of Mansfield, but they hit back within two minutes – a perfect reply just before the interval.
Tom Curtis floated the ball to the far post and Murray somehow got on the end of it amid the giant defenders around him, the ball going inside the far post off what looked like a combination of his head and shoulder.
Whatever, it was a real tonic and Mansfield came back out with their tails up and grabbed an equaliser within six minutes.
Ben Futcher had already had to pull off a perfectly timed tackle a minute earlier to rob Asamoah as he tried to go clear from Wayne Corden's long header over the defence.
But Stags did not have long to wait as Alex Neil's corner found John-Baptiste and the delighted youngster powered home his header.
Both sides had half-chances as the minutes ticked away.
And seven minutes from time Corden almost snatched victory as his 20-yard shot dipped over Alan Marriott but cleared the bar and came back of the rear stantion.
The Imps also came close in the last minute as substitute Francis Green forced Pilkington to dive to his left to keep out a low goal-bound shot.
But it finished honours even and saw Lincoln take their unbeaten run to five games and Stags to six.
However, failure to win saw Mansfield drop to seventh spot with a tough trip to Swansea ahead on Friday.
They will need every last drop of the battling spirit they have shown in recent League games to get anything from a hostile Vetch Field.
But, on recent results against Lincoln and after going two goals behind, this has to be seen as a point gained for Keith Curle's men.
ALEX THE HERO FOR UNBEATEN-IN-SIX STAGS
Evening Post website
Mansfield Town 2 v 2 Lincoln City
Alex John Baptiste was Mansfield's hero as his first goal for the club ensured they extended their unbeaten run to six league games with a 2-2 draw with Lincoln.
But they had to come from 2-0 down after Lincoln had controlled the first half until the last few minutes of added time.
Lincoln pressed early on and got their reward when a Gary Taylor-Fletcher corner was headed home by Gareth McCauley.
Then late in the half Taylor-Fletcher found Simon Yeo, who bent the ball past Kevin Pilkington to make it two.
However, the visitors responded immediately and equalised when Adam Murray headed Tom Curtis' cross home.
Then, after the break, Mansfield dominated and Alex Neil's corner was buried by Baptiste.
As Mansfield pressed for a winner late on Wayne Corden was unlucky to see his curler smack against the woodwork.
Highly-rated teenage defender Alex John-Baptiste grabbed his first goal for Mansfield to salvage a point in a thrilling 2-2 local derby draw with Lincoln.
The Stags fought back from two goals down to extend their unbeaten league run to six games and keep their early season promotion push on track.
Away-day specialists City, still to win at home this season, stretched their own unbeaten league run to five matches to claim another priceless point at the other end of the table.
Imps boss Keith Alexander, back at the club where he was once a player and assistant manager, almost celebrated an early goal from his new signing Martin Carruthers.
Carruthers, making his full league debut two months after being rejected by Mansfield, was cleverly released by Peter Gain and Simon Yeo and his low 20-yard drive beat the diving keeper but rebounded to safety off the foot of the post.
However, Alexander was celebrating in the 15th minute when Gareth McAuley out jumped the home defence at Gary Taylor-Fletcher's left wing corner and planted a firm header past the stranded Kevin Pilkington, who had misjudged the flag kick in the strong, swirling wind.
It took Mansfield 37 minutes to threaten, Alex Neil's incisive pass finding Derek Asamoah racing through on goal, only for McAuley to force him to shoot wide.
After intense home pressure City broke away to double their lead in the final minute of the first half. Taylor-Fletcher was again the provider and this time Yeo curled a delightful 20-yard shot into the bottom corner.
The derby clash looked over, but remarkably Mansfield grabbed a lifeline before the half-time whistle.
Two minutes into injury time Tom Curtis's right-wing cross picked out Mansfield's small midfielder Adam Murray amongst Lincoln's giant defenders and he deflected the ball in for his first goal since rejoining the Stags in the summer.
Just six minutes later Mansfield were level when John-Baptiste headed in Neil's right wing corner after more intense pressure.
Both sides then had chances to win the game in an end-to-end second half, Wayne Corden and substitute Joe O'Neill going close for Mansfield while Lincoln substitute Francis Green twice saw shots saved at the other end.
Imps Forced To Settle For A Point
Despite taking a two goal lead at Field Mill, the Imps were forced to come away with a share of the spoils following an entertaining game against Mansfield Town on Saturday afternoon.
The Imps had gone two goals up through Gareth McAuley's towering header and Simon Yeo's excellent strike but, seconds before the break, Mansfield got back into the game when Adam Murray beat Alan Marriott with the ball going in off his shoulder.
The Stags then levelled matters six minutes into the second half when Alex John Baptiste met an Alex Neil corner and, although both sides looked dangerous on the break, the rest of the match was goalless with the game ending two apiece.
Alan Marriott, Paul Morgan, Matthew Bloomer and Nathan Peat all returned to the City starting line-up for this Coca-Cola League Two match between the Imps and Mansfield Town at Field Mill.
The quartet all missed the midweek LDV Vans Trophy defeat against Doncaster Rovers and their availability saw Simon Rayner, Jamie McCombe, Peter Folkes and Kevin Sandwith make way. One other change from the side that started against Doncaster saw Simon Yeo come in for Ciaran Toner.
After an early afternoon shower, bright sunshine greeted both sets of players as they made their way out of the tunnel and, once the pre-match formalities had taken place, referee Andre Marriner got the game underway with the home side kicking off.
The Stags started the match at a fast pace and only a fine challenge by Gareth McAuley stopped Derek Asamoah from getting a sight of goal when his second minute run saw him put the Imps' defence under pressure.
The Imps responded with some fantastic footwork by Peter Gain seeing him leave the home defence chasing shadows. He then fed the ball through to Martin Carruthers who let fly but he could only look on as the ball came back off the right hand post with home 'keeper Kevin Pilkington well beaten.
A hopeful ball forward by Ben Futcher shortly afterwards saw Pilkington carry the ball out for the game's first corner but, after a quick flag-kick routine had caught the home defence out, Nathan Peat's delivery was poor and Pilkington easily gathered the ball.
At the other end, it was Mansfield's turn to win a corner with nine minutes on the clock but fit-again Alan Marriott did well to claim the ball under pressure from Dave Artell.
It was an encouraging start by the Imps as they looked to put the pressure on the Mansfield back line and a great cross field ball by Gain to Gary Taylor-Fletcher saw City force their second corner of the game - and this one led to the opening goal.
Taylor-Fletcher was the provider and his deep 15th minute centre was met by the towering head of centre-back Gareth McAuley and the Northern Ireland 'B' international planted a firm header past Pilkington for his first goal in the Football League.
The goal was nothing more than City deserved following their enterprising start and from their next attack Simon Yeo was unlucky to be penalised for hand ball as he looked to latch on to Richard Butcher's ball forward.
The home crowd's frustrations began to show when Asamoah blazed an effort well wide and when the same player was flagged offside it was referee Andre Marriner's turn to feel the Stags' wrath.
On 25 minutes, a deft chip forward by Alex Neil forced City scorer McAuley to head behind but Martin Carruthers was back there helping out and he headed away to safety.
A late challenge on Peter Gain by Tom Curtis, which went unpunished by referee Marriner, saw Keith Alexander leap to his feet and the West Midlands based official was forced to have words with the Imps' boss. Seconds later, a chuckle went round the press box as assistant referee Glyn Mellor donned a baseball cap in order to shield his eyes from the sun.
A late foul by Artell on Simon Yeo was deemed worthy of a caution on 35 minutes though with Mr Marriner dishing out the game's first yellow card in the direction of the Mansfield centre-back.
A rare Mansfield attack a couple of minutes later saw some brave goalkeeping by Alan Marriott force Asamoah stab the ball wide after the former Northampton Town striker had latched on to an Alex Neil ball forward and shortly afterwards Matt Bloomer handed the hosts their third corner of the afternoon, which came to nothing.
Five minutes before the break Simon Yeo was yellow carded following a challenge from behind on Artell and a similar outcome when Scott McNiven felled Taylor-Fletcher should have been forthcoming but for some reason referee Marriner waved play-on, deciding that the hefty challenge was fair.
With the half approaching added time, the Imps doubled their advantage and it was a classy finish that made the score 2-0 to the men in red and white. Some good work by Martin Carruthers started the move and when he laid the ball into the path of Gary Taylor-Fletcher who then spotted Simon Yeo. It was all Yeo then as he brought the ball under control, set his sights and produced a fine finish to curl the ball past Pilkington.
Just as the Imps looked as though they were going to take a two goal advantage into the interval, the home side pulled one back from their first shot on target. Colin Larkin was the architect and his dangerous cross from the right saw the ball come off Adam Murray's shoulder before going agonisingly past the outstretched arm of Alan Marriott.
HT: MANSFIELD TOWN 1 LINCOLN CITY 2
Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and it was the Imps who got the second period underway, attacking the end behind which sat around 1,000 travelling City supporters.
After seeing their two goal lead halved seconds before the break, keeping the Stags out during the opening few minutes of the second half was going to be crucial for the Imps if they to emerge victorious at the final whistle.
This didn't prove forthcoming though as, after Alex Neil took an age to take a 51st minute corner kick - Mansfield's second of the half - but when he did it take it, it was perfectly flighted for defender Alex John Baptiste to plant a header into the back of the City net.
As the Imps looked to regain the advantage, appeals for handball against the home side when Yeo tried to cross the ball were waved away with referee Andre Marriner only giving a corner. Nathan Peat then forced Artell to hurriedly clear the ball behind but the home defence stood firm and replied by going forward themselves.
On the hour mark, Gary Taylor-Fletcher was replaced by Franny Green with the former clearly not fully fit as he made his way towards the Lincoln dug out. Shortly after this switch home defdender Artell required treatment after going down heavily on the halfway line.
A dangerous centre by substitute Green almost fell to Yeo in the home penalty area as the Imps pressed forward, and when the ball was cleared, a timely interception by skipper Paul Morgan saw him nip the ball off the feet of Larkin as the Stags' striker attacked at pace.
It was certainly an open affair as the half reached its midway point and, a couple of minutes after the game entered its final quarter, home boss Keith Curle replaced Derek Asamoah with Joe O'Neill.
The corner count became five apiece when Yeo saw his goalbound drive deflected behind after Gain launched a City attack from midfield but Green's flag-kick failed to find its intended target as Futcher was outmuscled by three Mansfield defenders.
Appeals for penalties at both ends were waved away with Pilkington's challenge on Carruthers and O'Neill's shot which hit McAuley to shouts of handball both coming to nothing.
With 11 minutes remaining, Neil Mackenzie came on for Adam Murray in the Stags' midfield as the home side went in search of a potential winner. Wayne Corden came close to this as his long range effort flew a couple of feet over the Imps' bar.
Just before Mansfield could take an 86th minute corner, Jamie McCombe replaced Martin Carruthers, who had worked tirelessly up front on his full Lincoln League debut.
A superb interception by Gareth McAuley saw him block a net-bound O'Neill effort and, as the Imps responded by going on the attack, Franny Green saw his low effort tipped behind by Pilkington. Peat's flag-kick was flicked on twice by City players but no-one was there at the far post and when the ball was played back in, the offside flag stopped the Imps.
Another deflected Green effort led to another corner in the second of three minutes' added time but Pilkington did well to punch clear Peat's left-footed inswinger. Shortly afterwards, on the opposite side of the field, Peat was booked for a late challenge on Alex Neil. He was then withdrawn for Kevin Sandwith and at the same time Rhys Day replaced Neil.
Neither player had chance to touch the ball before referee Marriner brought an entertaining game to a close.
FT: MANSFIELD TOWN 2 LINCOLN CITY 2
Francis Green (for Taylor-Fletcher 60)
Jamie McCombe (for Carruthers 86)
Kevin Sandwith (for Peat 90+)
Goals: McAuley (15), Yeo (45)
Bookings: Yeo (40), Peat (90+)
Alex John Baptiste
Joe O'Neill (for samoah 70)
Rhys Day (for Neil 90+)
Goals: Murray (45+), Baptiste (51)
Booking: Artell (35)
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Assistants: Glyn Mellor & Mark Weaver
Fourth Official: Dave Naylor
Attendance: 5,349 (1,024 City supporters)
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