DISAPPOINTING DRAW DESPITE BROWN DOUBLE
Mansfield Town 2 - 2 Darlington
Brown 9, 64 Clarke 39, Ndumbu-Nsungu 74
Attendance: 2803 (465 from Darlington)
Stags 2 Darlington 2
SIMON Brown netted twice for Mansfield Town, but Darlington twice battled back to earn a share of the points at rain-soaked Field Mill this afternoon.
The Quakers, unbeaten away from home and fourth in the table before the game, were second best in the first half but went in level at 1-1, Matt Clarke's backheel on 38 minutes wiping out Brown's ninth minute opener.
Stags then wasted three good chances early in the second half before Brown restored their lead.
But Stags again could not hold on as Darlington sub Guy Ndunbu Nsungu netted within four minutes of coming on.
That left Mansfield with only one win from their first eight League games and further fuel for those wanting Carlton Palmer out as manager despite what was overall a good display.
Stags made two changes with Dawson, shrugging off an ankle injury picked up while with Ireland U21s in midweek, starting while Rundle was also brought in.
Buxton, struggling with a dead leg, dropped to the bench while Talbot was left out. Birchall could only manage a place on the bench, having missed the Chester game through Welsh U21 duty.
Rumoured pre-match protests against Palmer failed to materialise and the manager even acknowledged a smattering of supportive applause as he walked out to the dug-out.
Stags won a corner after only 20 seconds and, sent over by Uhlenbeek, it was met with a glancing header well wide by John-Baptiste.
The saturated pitch was causing early problems with players struggling to stand up or judge how the ball was going to roll on the surface.
A poor kick by keeper Bossu saw Uhlenbeek try to thread Brown through, but the pass was just over-hit.
But it took a brilliant save from Pressman to keep out Darlington on five minutes.
Logan's free kick was met with a firm header by Sodje which looked a goal all the way until Pressman somehow thrust out a hand to keep it out.
Stags struggled to clear their lines before Logan finally rifled the loose ball wide and the danger had passed,
And four minutes later it was Mansfield who roared in front.
Uhlenbeek skidded a dangerous low cross in from the right which was only half cleared to Barker. He shaped up to volley a shot goal wards and Brown, five yards from goal, helped it on with a late hook that gave Bossu no chance.
A Logan free kick from a similar position to the one that almost produced a goal saw the ball curl through everyone and take Pressman by surprise, the ball bouncing off the keeper at his far post for a corner which was cleared.
The Stags keeper was back in action soon after, getting in the way of Sodje's sharp turn and low cross-cum-shot at the near post.
Stags won a free kick which Barker blasted into the Darlington wall.
On 34 minutes Coke turned his man to get to the by-line and cross and Brown sent a near post header wide of goal.
The Quakers made a change on 34 with the injured Dickman replaced by Jameson.
Darlington won four successive corners, Pressman having to tip the curling third from Logan just over his bar, before Mansfield finally managed the get the ball clear.
But Darlington were level on 38 minutes. Logan put in a free kick from the left which saw Sodje get a powerful header on target which struck Pressman on the line. The ball ran to Clarke who, back to goal and four yards out, delivered a cheeky backheel through a crowd of legs and into the net.
Mathis was just over with a 25 yard free kick soon after as the Quakers grew in confidence.
Coke saw the first yellow card of the game on 40 for a foul and Mathis followed him in first half stoppage time.
Brown should have restored Mansfield's lead two minutes after the interval when he was sent clear from Barker's head on. But, with Bossu at his mercy, he blasted into the sidenetting.
Stags wasted another great chance on 54 as Uhlenbeek's low cross went through everyone to Rundle at the back who, with time and space, sent his first time finish wide.
Mansfield forced a corner which saw a scramble that ended with John-Baptiste firing narrowly wide.
Darlington had been under heavy pressure but finally caused a threat on the hour when Jameson's through ball put Johnson into the box only to see him slip at the vital moment and slice harmlessly wide.
However, Bossu gifted Stags and Brown a second goal on 64 minutes.
Brown looked set to go clear with Hutchinson in pursuit. The Darlington man got a good tackle in to help the ball towards his keeper where he beat Barker to the ball but sent a dreadful clearance straight back to Brown who gratefully rammed it back into the empty net.
Within two minutes another awful Bossu clearance sparked a succession of shots which ended with Brown thwarted by a good one-handed block at the keeper's near post.
Bossu was wobbling alarmingly now and had to tip away the first of two successive corners as it threatened to drop straight in.
Ndunbu Nsungu replaced Wainwright for the last 20 minutes.
Dawson needed treatment for a knock and after trying to shake it off was replaced by Lloyd on 73.
Darlington lifted their game and a spell of pressure was rewarded with an equaliser on 74 minutes.
Johnson's right wing cross saw sub Ndunbu Nsungu make an immediate impact with a header past Pressman within four minutes of joining the action.
Mansfield threw on Birchall in place of Rundle on 77.
A Logan free kick was headed just over by Ndunbu Nsungu while Bossu had to cling onto a low Brown cross for dear life as both sides searched for the winner.
Hutchinson was booked for a foul on Brown four minutes from time.
Sodje was inches over with a volley from a long right wing cross on 88.
Stags replied with two late corners and a long throw but could not find a winner.
Super-sub guy saves a point
Guy Ndumbu-Nsungu earned Darlington a point in a 2-2 draw at Mansfield after coming off the bench in the final quarter.
Darlington had a good chance early on when Akpo Sodje saw his header blocked by a great one-handed save from Kevin Pressman.
The Stags went in front in the ninth minute after Darlington half-cleared Gus Uhlenbeek's cross as far as Richie Barker, whose acrobatic shot was helped into the net by Simon Brown.
Darlington equalised when Sodje's header was brilliantly saved by Pressman and Matthew Clarke back-heeled into the net from close range.
The Stags went ahead again on 64 minutes after a poor clearance from Bossu who, under pressure from Barker, cleared straight to Brown, who gratefully ran the ball into the unguarded net.
Darlington manager Dave Hodgson then made an inspired substitution, sending on Ndumbu-Nsungu in place of Neil Wainwright and within four minutes he equalised. Simon Johnson crossed from the right and Ndumbu-Nsungu rose to head home.
Darlington official site:
Darlington pay the price for keeper's mistake just as they start to look like winning encounter.
Mansfield Town welcomed Quakers on the back of just one league win all season. With the pressure mounting on manager Carlton Palmer the Stags were in desperate need of a result. Conditions around Field Mill were soaking ahead of the game and not much better as the match got underway. Manager Dave Hodgson recalled defender Matthew Clarke back to the starting line up having seen the big man serve a one game ban for his red card against Rochdale. This meant that defender Shelton Martis moved out to right back with the rest of the eleven unchanged from the one that drew against Notts County.
The saturated pitch, clearly very heavy and lacking any real markings was a trouble for Quakers early doors as the opening couple of minutes was dogged by slips and sloppy play. This handed the early intuitive to Mansfield Town who won a flag kick inside the opening sixty seconds which former Sheffield United player Gus Uhlenbeek dispatched onto the head of Alex Baptiste however the ball went wide of the far post. Darlington however had one of the best chances of the game just four minutes later. A Carlos Logan freekick down the left was swung into the box where Shelton Martis rose beautifully to head goalwards however Kevin Pressman rolled back the years with an outstanding save. The lose ball broke to Logan who volleyed just wide and it meant that when Mansfield did take the lead with just under ten minutes played that it was against the run of play. Quakers half cleared Gus Uhlenbeek's cross and it fell nicely for Barker who saw his shot, which appeared to be heading out, helped in by Simon Brown for the lead. Darlington had to weather the Mansfield storm as the hosts pressed on and showed brilliant energy when not in possession however Darlington always looked dangerous when given half a chance. A Logan freekick bounced of Pressman on twenty five minutes for a needless corner kick however the Stags keeper more than made up for it for a few minutes later when he got down well and smothered a low Sodje effort as the Darlington forward latched onto a Martis throw into the box. Manager Dave Hodgson was forced into a change midway through the first half as Jonjo Dickman came off nursing an ankle injury. The visitors however continued to worm their back into the game and enjoyed their best spell of the first half as they forced a series of corner kicks before eventually netting the equaliser. Carlos Logan darted between two Mansfield defenders and won himself a free kick out wide. The excellent position to cross was not wasted by Quakers, Logan himself dispatching, and Sodje's powerful header was blocked by Pressman however returning defender Matt Clarke back-heeled over the line from close range for 1-1.
Mansfield heads appeared to drop following the equalising goal and it took a half time talk for the Stags to come back like they started the game. The visitors again started the second half slowly and Mansfield spurned chances to take the lead just after the interval. First Simon Brown latched onto a route one ball from Pressman where he beat a static defence but hit a rising shot into the side netting. Ten minutes into the second half former Darlington winger Adam Rundle had a chance to reclaim the advantage as he slid Uhlenbeek's cross wide. Darlington's moments were few and far between as the hour mark approached however Simon Johnson should perhaps have done better when Peacock and Jameson combined well to send the forward through the middle. The former Leeds man however screwed his shot wide when he could have steadied himself better. Quakers however had appeared to survived the worst of Mansfield's pressure however just when they looked like they could seek the advantage themselves keeper Bossu made a terrible blunder to gift Simon Brown a second goal. The French shot stopper cleared straight to Brown who finished with ease. Darlington were forced to reshuffle due to the set back and switched to 3-4-3 system with Ndumbu-Nsungu coming on for Neil Wainwright. The change in system worked and the visitors pressed on to try and get themselves back into the game and it was the substitute striker who made the difference. Simon Johnson, moving out wide to the right, produced a fine cross for Ndumbu-Nsungu to head home the equalising goal. From then on, until the dying few minutes, it always looked like the visitors who would be more likely to take the points. With eight minutes left Carlos Logan's free kick from twenty five yards out was headed over by Sodje and with even less time left the forward stuck out a leg to try and guide in a Valentine cross however the ball arced over the cross bar and behind. Mansfield forced some late corners and with Bossu struggling to catch the result was never quite safe until the referee blew for full time.
When the disaster moment from Bossu struck Quakers looked like they were going to be the side chasing the winning goal however instead they found themselves behind. To their credit the visitors worked hard and an ambitious, but required changed from manager Dave Hodgson, worked wonders and played a huge part into his side claiming the point. Darlington struggled early on in the game but their equaliser was deserved as they had worked their way back into the game. Mansfield, for a side struggling, played some nice stuff however Quakers looked like they had done enough to ride out the storm before the Bossu mistake. Darlington, when given the chance up front always looked dangerous, but at times left spaces in midfield thanks to Peacock and Jameson pressing on. Thankfully however Mansfield never exploited this hole. In the end the point was about right as both teams looked dangerous coming forward however Pressman was by far the busier keeper in this one.
Mansfield: Pressman, Peers, Jelleyman, Day, Baptiste, Dawson (Lloyd 73), Uhlenbeek, Coke, Rundle (Birchall 77), Barker, Brown. Subs: Buxton, Hjelde, Arnold, Birchall, Lloyd.
Darlington: Bossu, Valentine, Clarke, Hutchinson, Martis, Wainwright (Ndumbu-Nsungu 70), Dickman (Jameson 34), Peacock, Logan, Sodje, Johnson. Subs: Wijnhard, Thomas, Duke, Ndumbu-Nsungu, Jameson.
Mansfield bookings: Coke.
Darlington bookings: Martis, Hutchinson.
Goals: Brown 9th min (0-1), Clarke 38th min (1-1), Brown 64th min (1-2), Ndumbu-Nsungu 74th min (2-2).
Latest | September 2005