STAGS HELD BY BOTTOM CLUB CAMBRIDGE
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Cambridge United Attendance: 3557
Cambridge Utd 54%
Cambridge Utd 11
Cambridge Utd 7
Cambridge Utd 10
Cambridge Utd 1
Mansfield 0-0 Cambridge
Cambridge, League Two's bottom club, battled for a point in difficult conditions at Field Mill.
Mansfield keeper Kevin Pilkington saved well from Darren Quinton, while Stuart Wardley's deflected shot hit the post before being cleared off the line.
The Stags claimed their fifth clean sheet in six games but Simon Brown, Adam Murray and Wayne Corden shot wide while Colin Larkin headed just over.
Jake Buxton also forced a save from U's keeper John Ruddy from a narrow angle.
STAGS HELD BY BASEMENT BOYS
Evening Post website
Mansfield Town 0 v 0 Cambridge Utd
Bottom club Cambridge picked up an excellent away point after a goalless draw at windswept Mansfield.
The Stags had been going well recently under caretaker manager Carlton Palmer but the Us took the wind out of their sails with a gutsy performance in difficult conditions.
Only a great save from home goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington when Darren Quinton went through in the first half and a Stuart Wardley shot deflecting against the post before being cleared off the line after the break denied the visitors their first away win of the campaign.
Mansfield, who at least claimed a fifth clean sheet in six games, failed to make the most of the powerful wind at their backs in the first half, peppering the Cambridge goal with long shots. Simon Brown, Adam Murray and Wayne Corden all went narrowly wide while Colin Larkin glanced a header just over.
After the break Stags' defender Jake Buxton forced a save from keeper John Ruddy from a narrow angle but otherwise it was all Cambridge.
But they were unable to seriously trouble Pilkington with Mansfield's central defenders Alex Baptiste and Luke Dimech in fine form.
REPORT FROM Cambridge United Official Site:
Steve Thompson initially named an unchanged side for today's match, although he included defender Igor Latte-Yedo among the substitutes. The big Frenchman last played for the U's in the LDV defeat at Leyton Orient at the beginning of November. However as the teams lined up it became apparent that a late change had taken place and Jermaine Easter replaced Shane Tudor on the right of midfield while Ashley Nicholls was on the bench. Reports were that Tudor suffered an injury during the warm-up.
Stags boss Carlton Palmer made one change to the side that beat promotion-chasing Scunthorpe on Saturday, recalling Simon Brown to midfield in place of Paul Warne who has been recalled to Rotherham.
United had an early chance as John Turner chased a ball and was just beaten to it by John-Baptiste, and a minute later he chased a ball over the top from Quinton and struck from the edge of the area, forcing a good save from Pilkington who turned it wide for the first of two corners.
The home side were stunned into action and countered, with Brown lashing a shot wide from outside the area and Murray lifting one over the stand from 35 yards, while United's defence and Matt Somner in midfield battled like lions to restrict their opportunities with crunching tackles and big headed clearances.
On 15 the home side found their way through and the ball bounced around the area before a mis-hit clearance by Walker landed at the feet of Neil, but his rising shot cleared the bar.
As the high-tempo play continued a ball skewed off a United head and ran for striker Colin Larkin but a dangerous-looking break was ended by the assistant's flag, and in the 22nd minute United's defence was stretched on the break and two players collided as they went for the bouncing ball on the edge of the area. Matt Somner and Dan Gleeson both stayed down for attention after Corden fired wide and Somner was led down the tunnel with a head wound and suspected broken nose.
With United down to ten men Buxton snatched on a loose ball and tried his luck from 30 yards with a looping shot on the following wind, but Ruddy made it look easy and then midfielder Stuart Wardley came on for the missing Somner.
With the blustery wind at their backs, Mansfield looked dangerous on the break and continued to enjoy lengthy spells of possession, but United were alive to the counterattack and on 34 Webb latched onto a powerful headed clearance by Bimson and slid it through for Turner, but the ball was cut out just before the young striker got there. Mansfield broke away and Neil made a good run down the right but Larkin could only direct the cross wide of the far post.
Five minutes before half-time Corden had a shot plucked out of the air by Ruddy, Webb sent Turner running down the right channel but his cross drifted out of play, and then with stoppage time approaching a neat Mansfield attack ended with a powerful 30-yarder by Murray that flew wide of the post.
Referee Drysdale came to the fore in stoppage time, choosing only to speak to Jean-Baptiste for a bad challenge on Webb in the 45th minute, but booking Easter for dissent after catching Barker late while ignoring the Mansfield man's aggressive retaliation as he squared up to the U's striker.
United started the second half as they did the first and there was excitement in the opening seconds as Justin Walker had a teasing cross partially cleared and Stuart Wardley's snap shot was blocked on the line. The home side roared away on the counter attack and earned a free kick as Gleeson brought down Corden, but although the ball was worked to Buxton his shot was well parried by Ruddy and Andy Duncan completed the clearance.
The U's effort and work-rate continued and on 54 the alert Webb pounced on a clearance and tried his luck from 40 yards, forcing a save from the back-pedalling Pilkington, and then the travelling U's were on their feet in the 61st minute when Walker played his way out of trouble in the middle before launching a ball down the right for Easter to chase. The striker gave chase but was brought down level with the edge of the penalty area as Pilkington charged out of his area and challenged him in full stride, receiving a yellow card and not a red thanks to his covering defenders.
Walker lifted a shot wide moments later, and with United holding their line high up the pitch Turner was clattered in full stride within feet of the assistant, and then Walker was hacked down as he picked up possession and tried to bring the ball into the area. Boos from the away fans indicated their disgust at the lack of action against Buxton as Turner limped off for treatment.
United enjoyed a purple patch with 20 minutes left and a good move involving Walker, the impressive Wardley and Turner set up Easter on 73 but the striker's header cleared the bar. Soon afterwards Andy Duncan found the ball at his feet in the area following a Bimson free kick but lifted it wide, and then another neat move saw Turner and Easter link well but Easter's shot was turned behind for a corner and Quinton's shot was collected by Pilkington.
Turner's intelligent movement and Easter's pace in the channels were causing increasing problems and on 79 Webb met an Easter cross but had his header blocked, and as United continued to press Carlton Palmer's deafening yells from the sidelines became more and more urgent.
The hardworking Webb made way for Konte with four minutes left, coming off to praise from Steve Thompson, and the U's survived a rare attack from the home side as Rea and Duncan stood up well against the counterattack. A Mansfield free kick was awarded as three minutes added time were indicated but Walker nodded away Corden's deep cross and United withstood the late pressure before breaking away in support of Konte, who brought the ball forward and held it up well to ensure a valuable point for the U's.
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