CROSSBAR DENIES UNLUCKY STAGS
Wycombe Wanderers 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 4,754 (252 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at Adams Park
Mansfield Town were so unlucky to be beaten 1-0 at high-flying Wycombe Wanderers this evening. The game turned on a dramatic five minute spell in the second half, during which Mansfield hit the bar twice and Wycombe scored the only goal. On 55 minutes, Simon Brown chipped a delightful shot onto the crossbar from 18 yards with the keeper well beaten. Three minutes later, Wycombe scored the only goal of the game as Jermaine Easter scored from close range after Muggleton had failed to hold onto Betsy close range header. It was Easter's fourth goal against the Stags in little over a year. Then two minutes after that, a brilliant Stags move saw Mullins play Hamshaw in on the right. Hamshaw's measured cross was met powerfully by the head of Barker, but the Wycombe keeper Jamie Young, making his league debut, brilliantly turned the ball onto the underside of the crossbar and away.
The Stags had other good chances, notably Brown who missed a sitter at the end of the first half, and Barker, whose header was cleared off the line in injury time.
Wycombe had chances of their own, but the Mansfield defence was massively improved from last Saturday and could feel aggrieved that their performance didn't earn at least a share of the spoils.
After the game, Stags boss Peter Shirtliff said his side has not been getting the rub of the green this season, but he is a big believer that luck evens itself out over a season. No-one could argue with this point, and it is to be hoped that he is right. Certainly a return of 6 points from 6 games does not reflect the Stags performances to date.
EASTER SEES OFF STAGS
Jermaine Easter grabbed his sixth goal in four games to secure the points for Wycombe with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Mansfield.
Jermaine Easter grabbed his sixth goal in four games to secure the points for Wycombe with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Mansfield.
In an evenly-contested first-half, Wycombe went close early on when Mike Williamson's header was saved by Carl Muggleton.
But the Stags created the better chances and Michael Boulding saw an acrobatic volley fly just over before Wycombe's Jamie Young saved well from Simon Brown on the stroke of half-time.
Brown was again unfortunate in the 52nd minute when his curling effort struck the crossbar and six minutes later Wycombe broke the deadlock when Easter prodded the ball home at the far post. Mansfield almost responded immediately but again hit the woodwork after Young superbly tipped Richie Barker's header onto the bar.
But Wycombe hit back and Tommy Mooney forced Muggleton into a fine save while Williamson and Kevin Betsy also went close.
In a frantic finale, Barker's far post header was cleared off the line and as Wycombe counter-attacked Muggleton denied Mooney when he was clean through.
Wycombe W 1 Mansfield Town 0
JERMAINE Easter was once again a thorn in Mansfield Town's side as he grabbed the only goal of a thriller at Wycombe Wanderers tonight.
Easter, who netted three times in two games for Stockport against the Stags last season netted the winner on 59 minutes.
But once again Lady Luck failed Mansfield as they twice hit the crossbar and saw home keeper Jamie Young make two crucial saves to deny Simon Brown and Richie Barker.
The first half saw Stags recover from early scares to finish the half on top but there were few real opportunities.
But the game exploded after the break with chances at both ends and Mansfield will feel they deserved a share of the spoils from this one.
However, the stark truth is they have only won one League game this season and not won in the last four League Two outings. So, all of a sudden, those early season draws that they couldn't turn into wins look all the more disappointing.
Wycombe has been a relatively happy hunting ground for Stags who, after losing their first game there, had picked up four successive draws against the Chairboys.
But this was Wycombe's fourth successive victory and left the visit of Hereford United looking all the more important for the Stags in eight days time as they look for a change in luck.
The visitors were unchanged from the side beaten at home by Lincoln last weekend with Giles Coke not even managing a place on the bench despite returning from injury for a reserve game in midweek.
Wycombe's early threats came down the left through Palmer. But Mullins did well in getting in some superbly-timed tackles on the former Notts County man to halt his progress.
However, Palmer did get a chance to get the ball in on 11 minutes from a free kick wide on the left. This was lofted towards the towering Williamson who got in a firm header on target but he found Muggleton well placed to make the save.
A minute later Easter dragged a tame 20 yard shot wide of Muggleton's right hand post.
There was a lengthy delay for treatment to Palmer with what eventually looked to be a dislocated shoulder. Finally he was helped off in obvious agony and taken to hospital, to be replaced by Goldbourne.
Goldbourne's first involvement saw his boot make contact with the head of Mullins as the defender put his head in where it hurts as the winger tried to cross and threw his foot in high.
The referee had a word with him while Mullins was treated but no card was produced.
There was more danger for Stags as Muggleton left his line to go for a Betsy cross but was crowded out and relieved to see Mooney head over.
Torres made space on the edge of the box to turn and get away a shot that contained power but was never going to dip quickly enough.
Stags had their first shot on target on 22 minutes as Antwi's clearing header flew to Barker who shot low and hard straight at keeper Young.
Stags survived the first two home corners and then Grant was well over with a 30 yard dipping volley after some neat ball skills.
But the home side were looking the more dangerous as the game reached the half-hour mark.
Barker was only just over with an acrobatic effort on 32 minutes after Dawson picked him out from Hamshaw's short corner.
Mooney might have done better on 35 minutes as Stags made hard work of clearing a corner and the ball dropped invitingly for Mooney 12 yards out who bundled a first time effort wide of goal.
D'Laryea sent a delightful ball forward which dropped into the path of Brown, but was just too hard and the keeper was able to get there first.
Stags were down to 10 men for a time after Barker went off to get treatment to a facial wound.
Stockley got in a timely tackle to prevent Dawson getting on the end of Brown's through ball as Barker returned with a bandage wrapped round his head.
With so many knocks there were five minutes added on. And during those Stags had two chances.
First Dawson was afforded space and fired a low shot towards the near post where Young was down to save.
An even better chance came seconds later as Boulding won the ball superbly a few yards outside the box and fed Barker. He might have shot but calmly looked up and unselfishly passed to Brown right in front of goal. However, Young was down quickly again to get in the way of his finish.
Even deeper into stoppage time Dawson was booked for bringing down Betsy.
But half-time arrived with the Stags looking more settled and creating chances after those earlier scares.
Wycombe won an early corner which Barker headed out to Oakes and the former Notts man lashed well over.
Then Torres was not far wide with a first time touch onto a Betsy cross from the right.
Stags were under the cosh but managed to carve out a chance o 53 minutes as Hamshaw switched play to the left where Boulding flicked a cross into the six yard box and Brown headed straight at Young.
Brown was desperately unlucky not to break the deadlock on 56 as a massive Muggleton clearance bounced over the defenders and gave Brown a shooting chance which he saw crash back off the crossbar and the home side survived Barker and Hamshaw's attempts at follow-ups.
But Wanderers also came close two minutes later as Muggleton did well to dive full length to his right to turn Stockley's low drive aside as it looked certain to find the far corner.
However, the home side didn't have long to wait before they roared ahead. Mooney's long cross from the left found Betsy at the far post. Muggleton got in the way but was helpless as Easter followed up to lash home from close range on 59 minutes.
It was end to end thrills now for the 4,754 Friday night crowd and Hamshaw's cross from the right picked out Barker three yards from goal on 61. His header looked a goal al the way but Young brilliantly pushed it up and against the underside of his bar and it was cleared.
Muggleton was there to save from Mooney and then Williamson was only just wide from a half cleared corner as the home side tried to get that all-important second goal.
Next Betsy turned superbly 25 yards from goal but his shot was always curling the wrong side of the Mansfield post.
With Grant down injured, Stags made a change with 20 minutes to go as Reet replaced Boulding with Hamshaw going left wing and Brown dropping to the right.
Easter had been having a ding-dong battle with Buxton all night and when he shoved the Stags man as he tried to take a free kick, the referee finally showed Easter a yellow card.
Oakes fired one on target from 20 yards on 72 minutes but Muggleton was there.
Stags' 252 away fans were booing furiously after the game was held up yet again as Easter went down off the ball, feeling the effects of a tackle with Dawson.
Before he got up Dawson was replaced by Lloyd for the final 14 minutes.
There was yet another stoppage when Jelleyman was hurt going for a drop ball and fans began to wonder if the game would finish before midnight as the physio was back on.
Stags' continued to peg away and Hamshaw show good skills in flicking the ball over an opponent 20 yards from goal before sending a dipping volley over as it fell.
Grant was booked for bringing down Mullins. But Wanderers were able to scramble away Hamshaw's free kick.
Brown was then cautioned for a shove on Goldbourne in front of the home fans who were screaming for a red.
John-Baptise was fortunate in the final minute as he allowed the ball to run towards Muggleton with Mooney always favourite to get there if the Stags man didn't kick clear and Muggleton was forced to save the former Oxford hit man's goal attempt.
Four minutes of stoppage time were added and Goldbourne was booked for bringing down Brown.
The free kick reached Barker at the far post and he headed across the face of goal only millimetres too high for Reet who just couldn't get a head on it from point blank range.
Wycombe broke quickly down the left and Easter spotted the run of Mooney down the centre as he out-paced Buxton to get there but again Muggleton spread himself to deny Mooney.
Wycombe Wanderers 1 Mansfield Town 0
Paul Lambert's Wycombe side extended their unbeaten run to three games with a 1-0 win against Mansfield in an absorbing encounter at Adams Park.
The Stags who have not won in four games will be left ruing a host of missed chances after hitting the woodwork twice in the second half.
Wycombe had the better of the opening stages and created the first chance in the 10th minute when Chris Palmer delivered a free kick to the back post. Michael Williamson rose above the Stags defence but could only find the keeper from six yards.
Wycombe suffered a setback in the 13th minute when Palmer came off with a suspected dislocated shoulder. He had been a constant menace down the left flank.
However, right-back Johnny Mullins' relief was short-lived. When replacement Scott Golbourne entered the field, his first action was to find the defender's neck with a stud high challenge.
Tommy Mooney twice went close in the first half when he headed over from a superb Anthony Grant cross in the 18th minute and then fired wide when Mansfield failed to clear a Sergio Raul Torres corner.
Mansfield finished the stronger and could have scored twice but for smart saves from Jamie Young.
Stephen Dawson cut inside and forced Young into a low save to his left hand side from 25 yards. He then saved brilliantly to deny Simon Brown, the striker combined with Richard Barker and fired from inside the box.
The second half was far more open, as Stags boss Peter Shirtliff's half time words clearly had a desire affect on the team.
Brown hit the bar from 25 yards on 55 minutes when Williamson misjudged Carl Muggleton's clearance allowing Brown to burst clear. And his effort had beaten Young before he had a chance to react.
Wycombe's response was to score the game's only game on 58 minutes.
Mooney, crossed to the back post finding Grant, whose effort was saved at point-blank range. Jermaine Easter reacted quickest, finding the net from two yards to notch his fifth league goal of the season.
Michael Boulding then hit the bar on 60 minutes. Matt Hamshaw did well to get down the right and get his cross in and Boulding's header from 10 yards was brilliantly pushed onto the bar by Young.
The closing stages were end to end but neither side could find the finishing touch.
Jermaine Easter continued his superb run of scoring form by blasting Wanderers to a 1-0 victory over Mansfield Town on Friday evening.
The striker, who has now scored six goals in four games, further enhanced his ever growing reputation amongst Blues fans when he connected with a delicate Tommy Mooney cross to break the deadlock in what was a very tight game at Adams Park.
With chances falling to either side in the second half you got the impression that whoever scored first would take all three points. And it was Wycombe who found the net at the second time of asking after Carl Muggleton had parried the initial header from Kevin Betsy.
Mansfield had hit the bar twice earlier on in the half and in the dying stages Callum Lloyd just failed to reach Barker's header across the box. It produced a blistering counter attack from the home side and after Easter turned provider by squaring the ball for Mooney, the captain, who had raced the full length of the pitch to join the attack, was thwarted by the legs of Muggleton.
The second period was certainly livelier than the first following a scrappy opening where either side failed to maintain any sort of rhythm. It didn't help that play was constantly held up with niggling injuries seeing players seek medical attention left, right and centre.
Unfortunately for the Blues one of those was Chris Palmer who was forced off the field after 13 minutes following an innocuous collision. Latest reports from the management claim that he's suffered a dislocated shoulder which could mean an absence of several weeks and a huge blow to Paul Lambert.
It was his inswinging cross that set up the first chance for Wanderers when Mike Williamson rose to head straight at veteran stopper Carl Muggleton. But where one 'keepers career is arguably coming to an end another is just beginning in the form of Jamie Young.
With Ricardo Batista on international duty the Brisbane born stopper was handed his League Two debut for the Blues and he didn't disappoint, denying Simon Brown a golden opportunity to put the away side ahead on the stroke of half time.
Simon Dawson stole possession in midfield and when his pass was touched on by Barker, Brown had just Young to beat but saw his shot saved by the legs of his opponent.
Wanderers had half chances when Mooney failed to convert crosses from Betsy and Torres and the Argentinian arrowed an effort high and wide after his trickery opened up space on the edge of the area. At the other end the visitors could have taken advantage of some exposed gaps in the Blues backline had their positioning been better and both Barker and Dawson squandered chances when in space.
After the break Brown was denied by the crossbar when Williamson and Sam Stockley misjudged a giant Muggleton drop kick but he was to rue missing the target as Easter volleyed in the opener two minutes later.
Anthony Grant, who was fantastic throughout the entire contest for Wycombe, displayed his passing quality by finding Mooney and once Betsy had done well to climb above Gareth Jelleyman to head towards goal, Easter lurked with intent and was quick to react to the rebound by netting for the fourth game running.
Whether it was the evening fixture or not but the Blues support always seem to have an extra gear when playing under floodlights and the atmosphere at Adams Park appeared to be well above the 'roar' that judged them the 15th loudest in League Two this season.
The noise generated in the stadium spread to the pitch and after Easter's strike the game sprung into life. Mansfield very nearly equalised within three minutes but Young's heroics again kept them out. A patient build up on the edge of the box involving Jonathan D'Layrea and Johnny Mullins eventually set Matty Hamshaw on his way down the right and after dinking a ball back into the danger zone Barker's header looked odds on for the back of the net. Young however had different ideas and showed superb agility to palm the effort onto the bar.
A Torres block on an unimpressive Mullins' clearance was almost capitalised on by Mooney on 63 minutes and moments later Williamson dragged his half volley wide before Grant was grounded by a heavy Jake Buxton challenge which slowed proceedings down. It wasn't the first time that the Chelsea youngster hit the deck and it won't be his last as his style of play is one that sees him cover every blade of grass but at a price too.
Changes were made by Stags boss Peter Shirtliff and right at the death one of his substitutes in Lloyd could have been the saviour but despite the leaps of Barker and Buxton to direct a cleverly worked free kick across the face of goal, his small frame couldn't connect.
Mooney rolled back the years to outpace Jelleyman on the counter attack but with a chance to wrap the game up in emphatic style, Muggleton ruined the party with a fine stop.
However, the win sees Wanderers shoot up to third in the League Two table and pleased a manager who believes his side is growing with every game.
"I don't care how we win, I just want to win," he said.
"Mansfield were a decent side and perhaps were unlucky not to get something from the game. But that is the game - we stuck it out and got a goal. This is a big, big win for us. Jamie Young in particular was terrific and his save onto the bar was sensational."
Wanderers: Young, Stockley, Antwi, Williamson, Grant, Oakes, Torres, Betsy, Palmer (Golbourne,13), Easter, Mooney (Dixon,90).
Subs not used: Thornton, Gregory, Fernandez.
Booked: Easter (71), Grant (84), Golbourne (90).
Mansfield: Muggleton, Mullins, Jelleyman, D'Layrea, Baptiste, Hamshaw, Dawson (Lloyd,76), Barker, Brown, Boulding (Reet.70), Buxton.
Subs not used: White, Beardsley, Birchall.
Booked: Dawson (45), Brown (86).
Attendance: 4754 (252)
Evening Post report:
EASTER RETURNS TO HAUNT STAGS
Though they have come very close on one or two occasions, Mansfield have never won at the Causeway Stadium since Wycombe were elected to the Football League in 1993.
But with a larger slice of fortune they might have brought that run to an end at the sixth time of asking last night.
The Stags had three of the best chances in the game but were unable to take any of them as a combination of luck and good goalkeeping denied them.
And that left Wycombe to plunder the points and make it four wins on the spin as Jermaine Easter struck the only goal of the game his sixth of the season - in the 59th minute.
It was also the fourth time he has netted against the Stags after scoring three times in two games for Stockport last season before his move south.
While the home side did have a fair share of opportunities, especially as Mansfield pushed up in search of a leveller, a defeat was rough justice on Peter Shirtliff's side.
They deserved at least a draw but a second defeat of the season now, suddenly, means the team are without a win in four matches.
The positive news for Stags fans is that the team again competed well and surely the gods will begin to smile on them again before too long.
The 11 players that started in the 4-2 defeat to Lincoln were given the chance to redeem themselves in an unchanged starting line-up.
The home side threatened but Easter's shot was well wide of target as he tried his luck from outside the box.
In the 16th minute, ex-Notts County man Palmer was forced to leave the field with a suspected dislocated left shoulder. He was replaced by Scott Golbourne.
Within seconds, Golbourne was receiving a dressing down from the referee after his high boot made contact with the face of Johnny Mullins.
Barker tried his luck when Will Antwi's header dropped invitingly for him, but the resulting shot was easily saved by Jamie Young.
Barker went close when his acrobatic volley was narrowly over the top.
Mooney had an excellent chance to put the home side in the lead in the 35th minute but he volleyed well wide.
Barker picked up a cut to the head as half-time approached, but Stags fans were relieved to see their captain return after treatment.
In first-half stoppage time Dawson found himself in space to shoot from the edge of the box but his effort was saved by Young.
The Stags should have scored when Boulding won the ball and fed Barker. The skipper unselfishly squared to his strike partner Brown to put him away and clear, but his shot from ten yards was well parried by Young. Wanderers created the first opening of the second period as Betsy raced down the right to centre to the near post where Torres hit the ball high into the crowd.
Brown's luck was out in the 56th minute when he latched on to a long clearance from Muggleton and worked in a terrific curling effort that came back off the crossbar.
As the game began to open up it was Wycombe who struck the first when Mooney crossed from the left for Betsy to head goalwards.
Muggleton pulled off a superb stop but the ball dropped straight to Easter and he tapped in from close range.
The Stags hit the woodwork for a second time two minutes later when Young got a vital touch to divert Barker's header on to the crossbar.
In the closing stages the game became stretched and either side could have scored.
The nearest Mansfield came was when Barker headed a Hamshaw centre back across the face of goal and Reet was inches away from converting at the far post.
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