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Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
STAGS LET LEAD SLIP AGAINST SILKMEN
Mansfield Town 1 Macclesfield Town 1
Rundle 57 Swailes 78
Attendance 2,901 Visitors 247
Stags were left again with 'what could have been' after letting two points slip away from their critical clash with Macclesfield Town at Field Mill. Stags had taken the lead through Adam Rundle on 57 minutes but were left frustrated when Danny Swailes equalised for the Silkmen 12 minutes from time.
The day had started with a march and demonstration that had been organised by Team Mansfield, but ended once more in a nervous look over the shoulder at the clubs below in League 2 as Mansfield once again failed to kill off a game in which they had took the lead and looked comfortable in.
Manager, Peter Shirtliff made numerous changes to the side that had so disappointing lost away at Darlington seven days previous. Stags, in a desperate need for all three points to put a little distance between them and the clubs fighting for their lives at the foot of the League took the battle to their visitors, who despite only just being ahead of Mansfield in the league table had only lost two in 17 games.
A well-worked corner from Stags presented Giles Coke with an opportunity of a strike at goal, however he was fouled on the edge of the area and from the free kick, Rundle hit a vicious effort just over the bar.
There was plenty of endeavour from both side, the Stags just edging the contest, however neither keeper was truly tested in the opening 20 minutes although it can be pointed out that Macclesfield seemed more interested in keeping Mansfield out rather than displaying any real adventurous forward movements.
The first real attempt on target came on 35 minutes when Rundle pulled back a corner to Uhlenbeek who's low hard shot from the edge of the area was saved by Fettis. Moments later Barker got in a header from a Jelleyman cross but his effort was too high.
Wijnhard, who so often in the past has been a thorn in the Stags side laid off a perfect pass to McIntyre but the move was ended by a superb tackle by Jake Buxton as the visitors tried to achieve the breakthrough.
The last real chance of a poor first half saw Danny Reet turn and shoot towards goal, but Fettis saved easily.
As in recent home games, the supporters hoped that the 2nd half would bring better fair and indeed the half started with Stags on fire. A fine move involving Coke and Rundle saw a chance created for a blast at goal by Jelleyman, his effort was parried away by Fettis, Coke was then denied by a block by Swailes and then Rundle was denied by another block save from Fettis.
It was all Mansfield at this point of the game with Rundle and Coke going close before a superb cross by man of the match Kyle Jacobs was met by the head of Richie Barker, but the big strikers effort flew wide of the post.
D'Laryea was next to threaten but his poke at goal from an Uhlenbeek cross went just wide.
Soon after though Mansfield achieved a deserved breakthrough. Jacobs sent over a precise long ball over the back of the Silkmen defence where Harsley attempted to clear but lurking behind him was Adam Rundle who fired home an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net. It was a real classy finish and it looked like The Stags would go on and gain their first win in three.
Rundle looked to add a second Mansfield goal, but fired over following a cross from Barker.
The visitors though began to find a little heart and following a foul by Giles Coke, in which Alex John-Baptiste received a booking for kicking the ball away, Sandwith blazed just wide.
On 71 minutes, Manager Peter Shirtliff decided to rest Danny Reet, bringing on Adam Birchall in a straight like for like change that saw Birchall up front alongside Barker.
On 77 minutes Pressman produced a good save to push away a well placed powerful shot from Swailes but just 60 seconds later Pressman was picking the ball out of the back of the net and the big Macclesfield centre half was being congratulated by his team mates after providing the finishing touch to a scramble inside the Stags 6 yard box.
Both sides were trying to win the game, Coke was unfortunate to see his effort go wide and a Harsley cross was headed on towards Wijnhard who's back-header went over the crossbar.
Stags tried to force the issue in the final few minutes but Fettis denied both Birchall and Barker and then was forced to parry away a thunderous effort from Jacobs. The final chance for Mansfield came in added on time, but this time Rundle drive from 25 yards flew narrowly over.
This weekend Stags make the arduous journey to promotion favourites, Wycombe Wanderers before taking on another team riding high in Coca Cola League 2 when Grimsby Town visit Field Mill the following Tuesday.
Pressman, Jelleyman, John-Baptiste, Uhlenbeek, Barker, Buxton, Coke, Rundle, Jacobs, D'Laryea, Reet (Birchall 71).
Subs not used – Dawson, White, Lloyd, Arnold.
Fettis, Sandwith, Morley, Swailes, Bullock, Harsley, Whittaker, McIntyre, Teague, Navarro (Miles 58), Wijnhard.
Subs not used – Townson, Lee, Briscoe, Smart.
Man of the match – Kyle Jacobs.
Referee – Mr P Miller
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