BRAVE TEN MAN STAGS EARN DRAW AT CHESTER
Chester City 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Steele 62. Buxton 31. Conlon sent off 9.
Attendance: 2129 (335 from Mansfield)
The Stags earned a draw at Chester after Barry Conlon was deservedly sent off on 9 minutes for kicking a defender. Man of the match Jake Buxton, with his first goal since 2004, put the Stags in front on 31 minutes, but on-loan Lee Steele equalised on 62. The Stags survived second half pressure as the home side hit the post and had a goal correctly disallowed for climbing.
Photos showing the Conlon incident now here -> photos by Dan Westwell. Other photos from Chester are in the Match Centre.
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
STAGS EARN HARD POINT DESPITE CONLON SENDING OFF
Chester City 1 Mansfield Town 1
Steele 62 Buxton 31.
Att – 2129.
On fire Stags striker, Barry Conlon certainly saw red as he was dismissed after only 9 minutes of Mansfield Town's game at Chester City. Billy Dearden's men though almost took the points when Captain Jake Buxton put the side ahead but a Lee Steele equaliser meant in the end that the sides shared the spoils.
The Stags in buoyant mood following their win seven days previous over League leaders, Walsall would have been forgiven if they'd have thought they were in for an easy ride from a Chester side who have struggled at home recently but it wasn't the case, more so by the fact that for 81 minutes Mansfield had to battle with 10 men following Conlon's straight red-card.
City who were short of several first team players came at Mansfield with vigour right from the start, obviously eager to end their poor run of home results. The Stags minus the injured Mullins and Coke also had to reshuffle the pack with Hjelde coming into the centre of defence and Baptiste moving over to the right back birth.
However after just nine minutes, Billy Dearden's pre-match plans lay in shatters. A ball was played up towards Conlon, the ball then fell for Gritton to raid towards goal, however whilst most of the crowd were watching Gritton's run, the Referee was keeping an eye on Conlon and Bolland. It seemed as if the Chester man, in the challenge had raised his elbow to the face of Conlon, but what followed was rash as the in form Stags striker looked to take a kick at his opponent. The Referee at once produced the red card and Conlon left the field shacking his head.
City were getting frustrated and it was plain to see that they were a side low on confidence as they struggled to made any inroads into the Mansfield rearguard. Their best effort coming on 20 minutes from former Stags loanie, Lawrence Wilson who thundered in a shot from 25 yards that just went past the angle of the goal.
White was in action on 28 minutes when he saved Steele's volley but in the main, the home side were being reduced to shooting from long range with no effect both Hand and Martinez guilty.
On 31 minutes there was real cause for celebration as The Stags took the lead. Hamshaw floated in a beautiful free kick from the right and Captain Jake Buxton reacted first to powerfully head the ball home past Danby.
Buxton was proving to be Captain fantastic as City vainly tried to respond. First he denied Hand and then minutes later he was spot on to block an effort from Steele.
Wilson was then carried away injured, Sandwith replacing him as City tried to get back in the game but all they could muster were long range efforts that were proving no trouble to White in the Stags goal.
On 50 minutes, Gritton who was running himself into the ground as loan front man almost got on the end of a long clearance from White, but Danby in the City goal reacted well and came rushing out of his area to head the ball away from danger.
At this point in the game, City were pushing forward almost relentlessly as Mansfield struggled to keep possession of the ball and as such inviting pressure back on. From a corner on 58 minutes, Bolland headed on and Blundell's near post header was saved by White. Moments later, Blundell was guilty of blasting over from close range when perhaps he should have done better.
Steele then tried to con the Referee when he went down in the area following a challenge by Buxton. Whilst the City forward screamed “Penalty!” the Referee to his credit produced the yellow card to Steele for diving.
City though did create an equaliser on 62 minutes and it was the nippy Steele who scored it. Racing onto a through ball, he neatly took the ball around White before steering the ball home.
If there were any thoughts that Mansfield would now roll over then they were dismissed when Simon Brown had an opportunity of regaining the lead for the visitors but his effort went high and wide from just eight yards out. It was to be proved to be The Stags, best chance of the game.
City substitute, Holroyd caused panic when he rose to head the ball against The Stags post on 76 minutes as City through all they had in search of a winner.
As the minutes ticked by the home side seemed to lose a bit of steam and it was Mansfield who seemed to have the upper hand. Hjelde did well to get his head to a Hamshaw corner but it went frustratingly over the bar. Dawson also put in an effort high over the City goal.
Boulding came on for Mansfield on 80 minutes for Brown and Lloyd replaced Gritton who had given everything for the shirt.
On 87 minutes, White tipped over an effort from Sandwith and from the resulting corner, Allen headed the ball into the net, but the Referee ruled out the goal for pushing.
Three minutes of added on time saw The Stags hold on and in the end leave the field satisfied with a well-earned point.
This weekend, Stags take on Shrewsbury Town at Field Mill (3pm) hoping to carry on their good form and once again climb the League 2 table.
Hard-earned point for 10-men Mansfield
Chester City 1 Stags 1
STAGS' new goal hero Barry Conlon turned villain as he was sent off after only 10 minutes of this gripping draw at Chester City this afternoon.
But Mansfield's inspirational skipper Jake Buxton's 31st minute header gave the 10 men a shock lead and, despite Lee Steele's 62nd minute equaliser, they clung on for a deserved point.
There were major scares for the visitors as Chris Holroyd headed against a post, Graham Allen had a late 'winner' ruled out for pushing and Jason White made two good stops.
But Simon Brown and Stephen Dawson also had opportunites to snatch an unlikely victory.
John-Baptiste had recovered from his back injury to retain his place. But, with John Mullins ruled out with his ankle injury, John-Baptiste was moved across to right back and Hjelde came into the centre of defence.
Chester were missing three central defenders with former Stag Dave Artell and Paul Linwood suspended and Ashley Westwood injured.
They had also lost the services of striker Jon Walters who has just signed for Ipswich Town.
But Hessey was passed fit to play after an Achille's tendon injury.
Mansfield soaked up some early Chester pressure, White racing out his box to clear a through ball out the stadium and Blundell having a tame shot easily blocked.
But Mansfield suffered a major blow after only 10 minutes when Conlon was sent off.
Most people in the stadium were watching Gritton on the ball but the referee was watching Conlon as Bolland went down off the ball and the Stags' new hero turned villain as he was immediately red-carded.
Former Stag loanee Wilson almost gave Chester the lead on 20 minutes as Hjelde's headed clearance reached him 25 yards from goal and he whistled a powerful first time drive just wide of the angle.
Hand was also too high with an effort from another Hjelde clearance.
White had his first save to make on 28 minutes as Steele flicked the ball up before volleying on target from 20 yards.
Chester continued to try and find their range and Martinez was only just too high from 20 yards on the half-hour.
However, it was the visitors who took a shock lead on 31 minutes. Hamshaw sent in a free kick from the right of the box and Buxton rose to plant his header wide of Danby.
Two minutes later he was throwing himself in the way of a Hand drive at the other end as Chester sought a quick reply.
Then on 34 Buxton was there again to make a brilliant block in front of goal after Blundell had reached the by-line and pulled the ball back to Steele.
Stags survived two successive home corners as Chester piled the pressure on, though at this point both teams had 10 men as Wilson was off injured and was eventually carried away, Sandwith replacing him.
Hamshaw won a free kick just outside the box but Dawson sent it straight to the keeper.
Hand dipped a 30 yarder just over as Chester continued to try their luck from distance.
But it was the 10 men of Mansfield that went in ahead.
A huge White clearance almost put Gritton in as it bounced over the defenders on 50 minuets and Danby had to leave his box to head clear.
Chester won a corner which Stags struggled to get away until Sandwith finally sliced a shot well wide.
Another corner on 58 minutes saw Bolland head on and White forced to save a Blundelll header on his near post.
Pressure continued to grow on the visitors and from their fourth corner of the half Allen had a shot blocked and Blundell then blazed the follow up over the top to Mansfield's relief.
Steele collapsed in a heap in the box as he challenged with Buxton but no penalty was given and the Chester striker was booked for the dive.
But the seemingly inevitable equaliser came on 62 minutes. Hessey's through ball put Steele in space and he took the ball wide of White before slotting home off the inside of the post.
Brown might have restored the visitors' lead on 67 as White lifted a free kick into the home box and the ball bounced kindly for him to offer shot from only eight yards which he blazed over the top.
Hamshaw tried to send Brown away but his first touch let him down as defenders got back and he ended up just shooting at the keeper from 20 yards.
Stags had a let-off on 76 minutes as Holroyd got his head onto a left wing cross and sent the ball against the post.
Stags defended two more corners as the clock crawled slowly.
But a neat Mansfield move saw Hamshaw tee up a volley for Dawson who was too high.
At this point with only 10 minutes left it was the visitors who were suddenly going for the win and from a Hamshaw corner Hjelde was just over with a header.
Boulding replaced Brown for the last 10 minutes.
On 82 White safely grabbed Holroyd's spectacular overhead effort.
Holroyd sent a header over but a good interception at the other end by Dawson saw him fire inches wide with a low shot.
Stags sent on Lloyd for the exhausted Gritton while Rutherford took over from Steele for Chester.
White tipped over a Sandwith effort on 87 and, from the corner, Allen headed home only for the referee to spot pushing and rule the effort out.
Buxton was booked for bringing down Hand on 88 but White was there to save Sandwith's free kick.
The tension was unbearable as the clock ticked down and the game entered three minutes of stoppage time. But Stags hung on for a thoroughly deserved draw.
report from chestercityfc.net
After a fairly even start, Chester were given an early bonus in the ninth minute when Barry Conlon was given a straight red card for an elbow (comment from Martin: incorrect) on Phil Bolland. Both players had rushed in on a loose ball and unfortunately for Conlon the referee was well placed to see the infringement and had no hesitation in dismissing him from the pitch.
City could have taken the lead in the 19th minute courtesy of a long range shot from Laurence Wilson. He fired in a powerful 25 yard volley from the right hand channel which only just rasped past Jason White's right hand post.
Inevitably it was City with most of the possession, however many of their chances were from long range. Jamie Hand fired in a 20 yard shot on 25 mins which was well over and a few minutes later Lee Steele sent in a 25 yard volley which was saved easily by White. The Blues kept up the pressure though and Martinez tried his luck from 20 yards on the half hour mark but again was well over.
After failing to take advantage of several chances, Mansfield made the most of the missed opportunities by taking the lead on 32 minutes. A cross in from the right hand channel by Matthew Hamshaw was met by Jake Buxton who fired the ball home from close range.
To their credit City came right back at Mansfield and almost from the restart Lee Steele sent in a 10 yard shot which was parried away by White for a corner. However the bad news wasn't over yet and Chester were forced into a substitution before half time after Laurence Wilson took a knock resulting in him being carried from the field. He was replaced on the left hand side by Kevin Sandwith.
A frustrating half then for City who couldn't take advantage of the extra man and went in a goal adrift at the interval.
It was still City pushing forwards in the second half and they had a good chance in the 53rd minute from a Martinez corner. It was flicked on at the back of the box by Phil Bolland and met by Gregg Blundell who's header was just narrowly wide of the right hand post.
The Blues really should have equalised on 57 minutes with two chances in quick succession. Firstly, Dean Bennet's initial shot was cleared off the line, falling to Gregg Blundell who managed to slice his shot well wide.
The equaliser finally came just after the hour mark and moments after Chris Holroyd had replaced Dean Bennett. The goal came from a Sean Hessey ball which found Lee Steele well positioned to slot the ball home from about 10 yards.
City nearly took the lead on 75 minutes from a corner. It was played to the far post and knocked down by Blundell to Chris Holroyd who's shot came off the post. A few minutes later and again it was Chris Holroyd with a chance sending in a shot with an overhead kick which was well saved by Jason White.
With City failing to use their man advantage to kill the game off early doors, Mansfield still fancied their chances and nearly took the lead again on 85 minutes when a diagonal shot across goal from Stephen Dawson evaded John Danby's reach and only just rasped past the left hand post.
In the dying minutes of the game Graham Allen had the ball in the back of the net but it was disallowed as the referee had seen an infringmenet in the area.
So City finished strongly with Holroyd and Rutherford getting a long overdue chance in a first team fixture. However the Blues really should have turned the screw much earlier against a ten man side and have to be content with a share of the points.
Chester City: Danby, Marples, Allen, Hessey, Bolland, Wilson, Hand, Martinez, Bennett, Blundell, Steele. Subs: Sandwith, Cronin, Holroyd, Marsh-Evans, Rutherford.
Mansfield Town: White, Hjelde, Jelleyman, D'Laryea, Baptiste, Hamshaw, Dawson, Buxton, Brown, Conlon, Gritton. Subs: Muggleton, Lloyd, Arnold, Charlton, Boulding.
Referee: Mr. P. Melin
Latest | January 2007