STAGS SQUANDER TWO-GOAL LEAD AT WYCOMBE
Wycombe Wanderers 2 - 2 Mansfield Town
Mooney 54, Oakes 77. Hjelde 26, Barker 32.
Attendance: 5041 (184 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at The Causeway Stadium
Mansfield Town produced a Jekyll and Hyde performance this afternoon to come away with a point from the Causeway Stadium against Wycombe. But it could have been so much more, after a good first half performance saw them 2-0 ahead at the break, and deservedly so, after goals from Hjelde, his first for the club, and a Barker free-kick. But the Stags were on the back foot throughout the second half and were consistently second to the ball allowing Wycombe to apply significant pressure, and score twice to earn a draw. In the end a draw was a fair result. Both teams will be happy with their performance in one half of the game, but not the other. Wins for Rushden and Stockport now leave Mansfield in serious danger near the trapdoor.
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre
Wycombe 2-2 Mansfield
Title-chasing Wycombe completed a second-half comeback to claim a point.
After 26 minutes Mansfield's Jon-Olav Hjelde glanced Adam Rundle's corner into the net, and then Richie Barker's 25-yard free-kick skidded home.
But in the 52nd minute Tommy Mooney headed a lifeline for the home side past visiting keeper Kevin Pressman.
Jermaine Easter hit the bar, before Stefan Oakes lashed home the equalising goal with 13 minutes left, and Wycombe could even have won but for Pressman.
Wycombe Wanderers and Mansfield locked horns and shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.
The first half saw the visitors take a two-goal lead before the promotion-chasing hosts came back strongly in the second half.
Wycombe, striving to return to the summit of League Two, started the first period the stronger.
They had the ball in the net after 18 minutes, Tommy Mooney chipping the ball invitingly to the far post where the chance was buried by on-loan Ipswich frontman Dean Bowditch. However, the flag of the assistant referee stopped the home side's celebrations.
The Stags took the lead slightly against the run of play on 26 minutes. Adam Rundle delightfully delivered a corner from the Mansfield right and Jon Olav Hjelde flicked the ball home with a deft header.
Eight minutes later the visitors were two up. Giles Coke had caused absolute panic in the home defence with a surging run and the only way he could be stopped was to be fouled. From the resulting free-kick Richie Barker buried his strike in the bottom corner.
Wycombe were right back in the game nine minutes into the second half. Veteran striker Mooney, who headed in his 15th of the campaign, met a deep cross by Kevin Betsy.
The home side continued to press for the equaliser with deadline day signing from Stockport County Jermaine Easter rattling the woodwork on 63 minutes.
The equaliser did come for the Chairboys on 77 minutes. Betsy played the ball in from the right and, after a couple of Wycombe players had cleverly let the ball run, it reached Stefan Oakes. who beat veteran keeper Kevin Pressman with a well-placed left-foot shot.
Wanderers saved themselves from a secon successive defeat with yet another comeback in the second half against Mansfield Town.
The visitors had stormed into a 2-0 lead with just half an hour gone through Jon Olav Hjelde and Richie Barker but after the arrival of Sergio Torres shortly after the interval the Blues sparked into life.
A heroic leap from Tommy Mooney reduced the deficit ten minutes after the restart before substitute Stefan Oakes rifled in the equaliser, all be it with a little help from Jake Buxton who tried in vain to prevent the ball from going in.
With manager John Gorman away due to family commitments, it was left to Steve Brown and Keith Ryan to take charge of the troops and full home debuts were handed to Dean Bowditch and Jermaine Easter.
In came Frank Talia between the sticks following the sudden departure of Matt Duke back to Hull City earlier in the week and a reshuffle of the side was completed with the return of Danny Senda. That moved Russell Martin down to the bench where he sat alongside Oakes, who was still feeling the effects of a knock picked up at Northampton Town.
For Mansfield ex-Blue Gus Uhlenbeek was in the starting line up with Adam Birchall amongst the substitutes.
A scrappy beginning to the game saw Wanderers have the better of possession in the opening 20 minutes and had it not been for the linesman's flag, Bowditch would have claimed his first goal since arriving on loan from Ipswich Town.
Jermaine Easter begun the move which was taken over by Matt Bloomfield on the edge of the area and after his wide ball had reached Mooney, the striker's first time cross landed perfectly in the danger zone.
Bowditch was on hand to tap into an empty net but following a moments cheer, a tentative glance over his shoulder was greeted with flourescent orange and yellow held firmly aloft.
Midway through the half, the agonisingly familiar scene of a premature Joe Burnell withdrawal was witnessed again when Oakes replaced the midfielder.
On first impressions however, it looked as though Oakes wasn't ready for action when a sloppy ball to Adam Rundle prompted the Stags wide-man to embark on a driving run from inside his own half.
After reaching the by-line his cross was blocked by Mike Williamson and the follow up from Danny Reet thundered off the thigh of Senda. The resultant corner was a dangerous one and it ended up in the back of the net when Hjelde's cheeky flick on beat everyone in the box to put the Stags into an unexpected lead.
Ten minutes later and it was two. The midfield pairing of Jonathan D'Laryea and Giles Coke were beginning to get a foot hold in the game and their willingness to get the ball and move it on quickly was working in the visitors favour.
Indeed it was Coke who exposed gaps in the Blues defence and forced Williamson to upend him right on the edge of the area as the 19 year old appeared to be through on goal.
Much to Coke's frustration the defender was just booked but that was soon forgotten as the following set piece from captain Barker squirmed it's way through holes in the Wanderers wall and found it's way into the net.
Rundle then had a decent 25 yarder pushed wide before Easter volleyed straight at veteran stopper Kevin Pressman, who had earlier denied the striker with his only other chance of the half.
The second half saw an instant change once Torres entered proceedings and it was he who started the move that got Wycombe back into the game.
Kevin Betsy wound up with the ball on the right and his cross was met forcefully by the head of Mooney who rose above Kyle Jacobs to begin the fightback with a good half an hour left in the contest.
Parity should have been restored eight minutes later when a cleared Oakes corner was returned with interest by Williamson. Unfortunately however Easter failed to convert from inside the area when his instinctive shot smashed the crossbar.
He was then thwarted by Buxton who was the quickest to react out of the two when Senda's fizzing ball was headed back across the six yard line by Oakes.
The type of play Wycombe fans had been waiting for all game eventually arrived on 78 minutes and it coincided with the leveller. Betsy's forward pass looked to be heading towards Mooney but a clever dummy by the frontman was then copied by Torres as the ball reached Oakes in achres of space.
With a left foot that isn't to be taken for granted, the 27 year old crashed it beyond Pressman to set up a rousing finale.
However, a viscious Mooney free kick and an Ian Stonebridge volley, on for Easter, were both parried by Pressman and Wycombe had to settle for their 16th draw of the season.
Results elsewhere mean that the Blues are just two points adrift off Grimsby Town at the top of the table, who beat Boston United 1-0 at Blundell Park.
Steve Brown told wwfc.com. "I was pleased with our second half performance as I was disappointed with our first half show. Once more we have rallied to climb off the canvas and collect a point after it looked as if the game was over at half time.
"Bringing Sergio Torres on at the start of the half changed the pattern of the team and we put more pressure on the Mansfield goal that finally brought us dividend.
"With a bit more luck we could have snatched all three points but for two very good saves from Pressman. It was important we did not lose today and we have maintained our top three position so credit to the players for their efforts."
Stage grab excellent point at title-chasers
MANSFIELD Town picked up an excellent point in a 2-2 draw at title-chasing Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon.
But it could have been an even better return as Stags were leading 2-0 and firmly in charge at half-time before League Two's second-placed team began their fightback.
Jon Hjelde's 27th minute opener was followed by Richie Barker's 33rd minute second.
But Tommy Mooney put the game back in the balance on 54 minutes and, after Stefan Oakes, had squared things up 12 minutes from the end, it took two outstanding saves from Mansfield's veteran keeper Kevin Pressman to ensure the visitors went home with a deserved share of the spoils.
Stags, playing in all-white, made just one change, though a crucial one. Star central defender Alex John-Baptiste missed out with a groin strain and that saw an immediate return to the side for Hjelde after missing out last weekend with suspension. Hjelde managed to open his goalscoring account for the club but it was defensive partner Jake Buxton who really caught the eye with another solid display.
Wilson, who arrived on loan from Everton on Thursday, had to make do with a place on the bench but showed his pace and crossing ability when he eventually joined the action.
Stags comfortably defended Wycombe's early probing before breaking down field from a long ball by Jacobs to create the first goal threat on five minutes.
Barker held it up well before feeding Uhlenbeek whose long cross was controlled by Reet. But his hurried shot on the turn was well off target.
A poor Rundle free kick was then easily headed clear by the home defence.
Wycombe were upset when the referee decided an early Buxton tackle was legitimate. And Burnell immediately pointed over to where that tackle was when he dived into a challenge on Coke in the centre circle on seven minutes. But the referee quickly produced the first of eight yellow cards - four per side.
There was more controversy when Buxton saw the ball out for a goal kick and the referee gave a corner.
Buxton then beat Easter in a chase for a through ball and elected to clear for a throw rather than chance waiting for the ball to reach Pressman.
Mooney's superb touch put Bowditch into the left of the box and it took a good interception from Jelleyman to put his dangerous low cross away for a corner.
Mooney's header on then gave Easter a brief sight of goal and he got away a fierce shot which Pressman turned round his near post.
Two minutes later Mansfield had a huge let-off. They gave Mooney far too much space on the right and he lifted a pinpoint ball to the far post where Bowditch turned it home. However, a raised offside flag saved the visitors.
Burnell, already booked, was replaced by Oakes after only 22 minutes.
Reet was caught offside on 24 minutes. There was a clear whistle but he still lobbed Talia into the net and was inevitably booked.
However Stags had the ball in the Wycombe net again on 27 minutes - and this time it did count.
Reet's shot at the near post was cleared for a corner by Senda. Rundle took that and it was met by a flicked header at the near post by Hjelde that somehow found its way in of the inside of the far post, despite the best efforts of defenders to reach it.
A lightning-quick break from Stags, involving some glorious passing, saw the ball eventually reach Coke who set off on a powerful run at goal. However, he was brought down by Williamson just as he looked to be entering the box.
Stags were furious that only a free kick and a yellow card were given, particularly as Williamson was the last defender. But justice was done as Barker stepped up to drill a low free kick at goal which took a slight deflection before nestling in the net just inside Talia's left hand post on 33 minutes.
Stags were now firmly on top and Rundle brought a great save out of Talia from 25 yards, the keeper diving to his right to turn the ball away one-handed.
From the corner Barker was too high with an overhead effort.
Good control and a reverse pass from Barker cued up Uhlenbeek. But he scuffed his shot which was easy for Talia to keep out.
Uhlenbeek then got in another low shot which was better but still not powerful enough to seriously trouble the keeper.
Wycombe forced a first half stoppage time corner, but Hjelde hooked it clear. And with the last kick of the half Easter sent a volley straight into Pressman's arms from 15 yards as Stags went in a deserved two goals up.
Birchall replaced Reet up front for Stags for the second half.
Bowditch should have done better with a pass from Easter in the box. But his first touch allowed Jacobs to clear.
Wycombe made a change on 53 as Torres replaced the disappointing Bowditch.
And they were back in the game a minute later. Mooney's flick found Betsy on the right. And he crossed to the far post where Monney rose to powerfully head home his 15th goal of the season.
Birchall was booked for diving on 56 minutes.
But it was the home side who were raising the temperature and on 63 minutes, from the third of three successive corners, Williamson's low shot was flicked at goal by Easter who saw his effort come back off the crossbar.
Wilson came on for his Stags debut on 64 minutes in place of Rundle.
Three minutes later Jelleyman saw the game's sixth booking for kicking the ball away as Wycombe wanted to take a throw-in.
Pressman was then warned for time-wasting as Stags tried to take the sting out of the home side.
Easter required treatment for a knock and was eventually replaced by Stonebridge with 16 minutes remaining.
And Wycombe were level on 78 minutes. A low ball from the right went through everyone towards Oakes. And he beat Pressman with a sweet low finish.
Mansfield immediately sent on Dawson to shore things up in place of Uhlenbeek.
Mooney almost snatched victory on 83 with a well-struck 25-yard free kick. But Pressman produced a vintage save, diving full length to his left to keep it out.
A minute later Pressman made another excellent save, again to his left, to keep out a low Stonebridge shot from 18 yards.
Wilson's pace brought Stags' first corner of the half and a momentary respite from the home pressure, but it was cleared.
Dawson was booked for a late tackle on Bloomfield as the game entered the three minutes of stoppage time in which Easton was also booked for bringing down Coke.
But neither side could produce a winner.
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