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STAGS BEATEN 3-2 AT ACCRINGTON
17th January 2007 15:18


Accrington Stanley 3 - 2 Mansfield Town
Mullin 1, Welch 59, Whalley 83. Conlon 31, Dawson 43.

Attendance: 1234 (app 200 from Mansfield)
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ANOTHER FINE MESS... FOR STAGS AT STANLEY
Evening Post report

Although losing on the road is nothing new to Mansfield fans this season, they would have left Accrington Stanley more disappointed than from most away trips.


The Stags have often gone into matches against teams who were in much better form, meaning a defeat was slightly easier to take.

But after a highly-encouraging performance at Hereford on Saturday, Billy Dearden's men travelled up to the Fraser Eagle Stadium with a sense of anticipation ... and so did the supporters.

After all, Stanley had only won once in their previous 13 matches and not taken three points on their own patch since September.

So the fact the visitors choked and went away empty-handed left a bitter taste in the mouth.

With the rain hammering down for long spells and the wind swirling too, it was never going to be the best of games.

Neither side was able to pass the ball with any fluency and the match was littered with errors.

Mansfield just could not produce the same level of performance as at Hereford. It is typical of the campaign to date. Just when the team seems to be making some progress, they fall back to square one.

Yet despite their troubles, Mansfield still should have got a result of some kind with the opportunities that came their way.

Stanley took the lead after only 25 seconds. A lack of communication between Jason White and Alex John-Baptiste led the defender to knock the ball past his own keeper, when hoofing the ball into row Z - or with the size of Stanley's ground, more likely row G - would have been the safest option.

Paul Mullin duly ran the ball into the net for what surely must have been the simplest opportunity of his career.

Things got worse for Mansfield when Giles Coke was taken off on a stretcher in the 23rd minute with suspected ligament damage.

The home side bossed the first half hour and had Shaun Whalley's free kick strike gone in, rather than struck the left-hand post, the Stags may have crumbled.

But that let-off seemed to jolt Mansfield into gear and they levelled in the 32nd minute when Barry Conlon powered home his second in as many games for his new club after Coke's replacement, Simon Brown, had a shot cleared off the line.

Two minutes before the break, Stags found themselves in front as Matt Hamshaw's through-ball was turned in by Stephen Dawson. That should have been the platform for Dearden's men, but instead they sat too deep and the hosts took advantage. Their equaliser came on the hour when Michael Welch lashed home a free kick from 20 yards.

Stags could have hit back immediately when Michael Boulding was presented with a golden chance by an error from an Accrington keeper, just as when the sides met in the abandoned game before New Year.

Robbie Elliot, standing in for the injured Ian Dunbavin, slipped in trying to launch the ball forward and the ball dropped to Boulding, who was clear on goal. But, unlike in the ill-fated December clash, the former Grimsby man's finish was blocked.

Then in the 82nd minute Conlon went close to grabbing what would have been a likely winner when his lob over the charging Elliot dropped just past the post.

Less than a minute later Shaun Whalley netted a 25-yard cracker that was enough to see Stanley home.

One plus point for the Stags is that they netted twice to follow up their three at Edgar Street and two up in Darlington.

That success has come from a more attacking approach on the road, and long may it continue. Mansfield may lose just as many as they win, but at least now they look capable of getting results away, and that can only help their fight for League Two safety, even if things did not go to plan last night.

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Stags blow half time lead at Accrington
CHAD report
Mansfield Town were outgunned by the odd goal in a five goal thriller in their clash at fellow strugglers Accrington Stanley last night.
After a nightmare start when Stags gift wrapped Stanley a goal after only 25 seconds, the visitors survived Sean Whalley striking a post to fight their way into an interval lead through Barry Conlon and Stephen Dawson.
But a Michael Welch free kick levelled matters on the hour and, after Michael Boulding and Conlon had wasted great chances to grab the winner, for Mansfield, it was Whalley who drilled home the winner to make them pay with just seven minutes to go.
It was gutsy Accrington's first home win since September, although Stags played their part in a memorable end to end affair.
And after two successive away victories Stags deserved a point from this re-arranged fixture, but they now face runaway leaders Walsall in a tough test at Field Mill on Saturday.
Stags fans will be hoping for good news on Giles Coke who was stretchered off midway through the first half.
Mansfield were unchanged from the side which won 3-1 at Hereford on Saturday.
Ironically, after what happened at Accrington last month, heavy rain began to sweep down just before kick-off and continued through the half.
And Mansfield made the worst possible start as they went behind after only 25 seconds following a dreadful mix-up.
John-Baptiste and White suffered a communication breakdown and, instead of clearing into touch or laying back an easy ball for his keeper, John-Baptiste, facing his own goal, poked the ball firmly past White towards an empty net and Mullin simply raced after it to score the easiest goal he will ever get.
On six minutes Whalley sent over a free kick from the left by line which thankfully bounced through a crowded box and wide of the far post.
Mansfield fans behind the goal called for a penalty when Dawson's downward header struck Richardson on the hand but play continued.
There was more misery for Stags on 22 minutes as Coke was stretchered off after diving in to a tackle on Boco on the edge of the box to conceded a foul.
On came Brown with Dawson replacing Coke in the centre of midfield with Brown on the left and Hamshaw switching to the right.
Whalley finally hit the free kick into the wall only for the referee to order a retake and book Jelleyman for not retreating 10 yards.
At the second time of asking Whalley drilled the kick low past the wall and beat White but saw the ball rebound off the foot of the left post.
But Stags were level on 32 minutes. And again it was Conlon who struck.
Hamshaw whipped a superb free kick in from the right which Accrington couldn't clear. Brown had the first shot which was blocked but the ball fell invitingly for Conlon to bury it.
Stags broke quickly from home pressure and Conlon spun brilliantly to try to send Gritton clear and it took the close attentions of Williams to finally muscle him out.
Then an early Brown cross skidded just too far in front of Gritton in front of goal as Stags grew in stature.
But Stags swept ahead two minutes from half time as Gritton helped on a long White kick and Hamshaw delivered the perfect through ball for a delighted Dawson to slip the ball past Elliot for his first goal of the season.
Hamshaw almost gave Stags a superb start to the second half but was a foot wide with his low 20 yard free kick on 48 minutes.
Keeper Elliot beat Brown to a Conlon through ball but failed to hold on and Brown almost nicked it away from him.
But Mansfield had another let-off as Todd drilled a low ball across the face of goal with Mullin desperately close to turning it in.
However, White was beaten by a peach of a free kick on the hour.
Dawson conceded the kick left of centre outside the box. And up stepped Welch to thunder the kick high to White's left.
Gritton might have done better on 67 minutes as he beat a defender but, with Brown free to his left, chose to shoot and sent a dipping effort well over.
Edwards brought down Dawson to earn a booking but Dawson was also yellow carded for squaring up to him afterwards.
White was back in action to throw himself in the way of a low Edwards finish on 71 minutes.
Boulding replaced Gritton and missed a gilt-edged gift of a chance within five minutes after a howler by home keeper Elliot.
Under no pressure Elliot mis-kicked the ball straight to Boulding who had all the time in the world to find a way past him. But his finish was blocked by Elliot as he made amends.
Stags were almost made to pay within seconds as Stanley broke downfield and, from a tight angle, Whalley beat White and the far post.
Another golden chance went begging for the visitors on 82 minutes as Boulding's flick sent Conlon away. The keeper advanced quickly and Conlon tried the lob only to see it bounce just wide.
The inevitable happened at the other end within a minute as Whalley crashed in a low shot from 25 yards which just found its way inside White's left hand post.
Hamshaw's excellent ball found Boulding rampaging down the left. He cut inside Edwards but Elliot was down to make the save.
Hjelde replaced Jelleyman for the last three minutes.
Both Conlon and Buxton were booked for late fouls and Mullin had a stoppage time goal disallowed for offside as the night ended in misery for Mansfield.
ACCRINGTON: Elliot, Edwards, Williamson, Welch, Richardson, Todd, Harris (McGrail 78), Boco, Whalley, Mullin, D. Brown (Proctor 78). Subs not used: Fearon, Mangan, Jacobson.
STAGS: White, Mullins, Jelleyman (Hjelde 87), D'Laryea, John-Baptiste, Hamshaw, Dawson, Buxton, Coke (S. Brown 23), Conlon, Gritton (M. Boulding 71). Subs not used: Muggleton, Lloyd.
REFEREE: Jon Moss of Yorkshire.
ATTENDANCE: 1,234.
GOALS: Accrington - Mullin 1; Welch 60; Whalley 83. Stags - Conlon 32; Dawson 43.
CAUTIONS: Accrington - Edwards 69 (foul); Todd 79 (foul). Stags - Jelleyman 24 (failure to retreat); Dawson 69 (retaliation); Brown 76 (foul); Conlon 89 (foul); Buxton 90 (foul).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Barry Conlon.
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