STAGS END WITH DRAW
Bury 1-1 Mansfield Town
Youngs 49. Baptiste 24.
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
STAGS SEASON ENDS WITH A POINT
Bury 1 Mansfield Town 1
Mansfield Town's injury hit last few weeks of the season took one final twist as Goalkeeper Jason White slipped coming out of the dressing room pre-match at Gigg Lane Bury. White strained his groin and had to be replaced by Carl Muggleton.
In a final few weeks to a campaign that has seen The Stags go within reach of the play off's to needing a vital win to ensure league survival, you can't help but think that the staff and supporters are relieved to literally limp over the finish line.
The game at Gigg Lane thankfully had nothing other than pride to play for as both side had done enough the previous week to guarantee League 2 football next season but any thoughts that the game would be an end to the season canter were dismissed early on as both Mansfield Town and Bury went full guns to end the season on a high.
With Billy Dearden away scouting for players, Assistant boss, Paul Holland took charge and despite the shock of losing White even before kick off, must have been pleased with the way his side performed.
The home side peppered away at the Stags back line early on but Hjelde and Baptiste were holding firm and Stags were coiled awaiting the opportunity of catching Bury on the break – that chance came when following a home side corner, Brown placed the ball into the path of Arnold. It looked like the young Stags player had done enough to escape the attention of two Bury defenders but just as he got to the edge of the area, they got back to put him off and Arnold lost control of the ball.
The Bury who were on a winless run of 12 home games were keen to finish on a high and almost took the lead when Mocquet wasn't picked up from a corner and forced Muggleton into a sharp near post save.
Stags responded and a through ball from Arnold set up a chance for Micky Boulding but unfortunately he sliced his effort wide.
Bury were slightly on the back foot but Kennedy still managed to lob in an effort from the 30 yard mark that went wide of Muggleton's right hand post.
Stags then had a spell of real pressure and were unfortunate not to take the lead. First Micky Boulding cut in from the left and superbly beat two defenders before unleashing a tight angled effort that was dramatically pushed away by Warrington in the Shakers goal, and then when the ball broke to Brown, his effort was weak and was blocked. The ball was then whipped back in and Conlon, after bringing it down on his chest, pulled the trigger but was denied by a desperate last-ditch toe from a Bury defender. The danger was not over however because the ball then fell to Mullins who then hit a powerful curling shot that was again pushed away by Warrington.
Stags pressure final told on 24 minutes when they scored the opening goal. Arnold floated in a superb free kick where an unmarked Alex John-Baptiste met it with his head and despite Warrington getting a hand to the ball the Stags defender, possibly playing his last game for the club, raced off in celebration.
Stags were now in dominant mood and were playing some nice football. The home sides support were beginning to get frustrated with the lack of chances their side were creating.
Stephen Dawson could not believe the referee did not award The Stags a penalty kick when he looked to be blatantly pushed in the area as Stags pushed forward hoping for a game killing second goal.
However the Shakers were almost level when a cross to the far post looked to be going out but was headed back by Kempson and Hurst acrobatically flung himself through the air with a spectacular overhead kick but the ball flew over the crossbar.
The experienced Woodthorpe was lucky to only be shown the yellow card when on 41 minutes he chopped down Boulding in full flight. Although Boulding was still a fair distance from goal, he was away with the net in front of him.
The 2nd half started with the Stags creating the first chance when Conlon laid on a chance for Simon Brown but he hurried his effort.
The home side though were level on 48 minutes and again it was a scruffy goal for the Stags to concede. Adams sent over a corner, which Hurst headed towards goal, Muggleton was in the way but Youngs was on hand to force the ball over the line from close range.
Bury were clearly boosted by the goal and had a period of pressure where they hoped to finally end their long winless home streak. Muggleton denied first Hurst and then Kennedy and then Hurst again forced Muggleton into parrying an effort away.
As the game petered out, Holland sent on Sleath for Dawson and then McGhee and Trimmer for Brown and Boulding.
Neither side then tested each other as the game strolled to its finish with both sides looking like they were grateful not to be involved in the final day's dramatics.
It has been a long hard season for Mansfield. A season where at times they looked one of the best sides in the Division but also like one of the worst. Billy Dearden though has done what he wanted and that is to keep league football at Field Mill. He will now be thinking that his real work starts now with having to sort out contracts and to bring in new players to make sure Stags have a successful 2007/08 season.
Another injury blow as Stags end season with a draw
Bury 1 Mansfield Town 1
MANSFIELD Town's amazing injury jinx gave us one last twist on the final day of the season as Stags ended the campaign with a 1-1 draw at Bury this afternoon.
Keeper Jason White strained his groin when slipping as he left the changing room pre-match and Carl Muggleton had to be drafted in to keep goal.
It was the second time Stags had lost a player pre-match in recent weeks with Gareth Jelleyman the other unfortunate player after getting injured in the warm-up
With nothing at stake and both sides safe, the game saw Bury dominate the early stages before Alex John-Baptiste headed Mansfield in front on 25 minutes.
After that the Stags rarely looked in any trouble as they out-played the home side with some of their best football for a long time.
But Tom Youngs was allowed to help himself to a sloppy equaliser from a corner three minutes after the break which seemed to force Mansfield back into their shells and the game never really caught alight after that.
Bury ended the season with just four home League wins in a truly appalling record at Gigg Lane.
With manager Billy Dearden away on a scotuing mission, assistant Paul Holland took charge of the team.
With six senior players on the injury list, Stags' midfielder Callum Lloyd was given no chance to play on Thursday with his hip injury.
But he surprisingly came through a fitness test to keep his place in what would have been a rare unchanged line-up had White not become the latest casualty.
Stags survived a few nervous moments in their 18 yard box in the opening minutes with Hjelde dominant in clearing danger.
Stags did break well from a home corner with Brown's superb final ball setting Arnold away on goal. However, pursued by two defenders, he lost control at the vital moment.
The Shakers hit back with two more corners, the first of which saw Mocquet force Muggleton to turn the ball round his near post to prevent it going straight in.
Youngs was wide with a hopeful 40 yard pot-shot soon after.
Hurst flicked on a long clearance from keeper Warrington to give Youngs a brief sight of goal until Kitchen got across to make a crucial tackle.
In a brief respite, Boulding had a half-chance from Arnold's pass at the other end but he sliced his finish well wide.
Stags cleared a free kick out as far as Kennedy 29 yards from goal and he lobbed the ball wide of Muggleton's right hand post.
But Stags enjoyed a great spell of pressure on 23 minutes as Warrington was forced into two good saves.
It all started when Boulding cut in from the left along the by-line and curled a great shot at goal which Warrington parried.
The ball ran to Brown whose follow-up volley was on target but lacked pace and was easily blocked.
The danger was not over and the ball was put back in again to Conlon who controlled on his chest with home players calling for offside. But, as he looked to pull the trigger with Warrington at his mercy, Kempson put out a leg to rob him.
The ball then rolled to Mullins whose powerful shot brought another good save out of the keeper.
The corner was swung over towards Hjelde who headed straight at Warrington.
But Stags' frustration turned to delight soon after on 25 minutes as they grabbed the lead.
Arnold put in a teasing free kick from the left of the box and John-Baptiste rose to power home a header that Warrintgon got a hand to but couldn't keep out.
After weeks on injuries and uncertainty of staying up, Stags were finally starting to play some decent football now and enjoyed some lengthy spells of passing.
Dawson was furious not to be given a penalty on 36 minutes as Arnold helped the ball on into the box where Dawson went down as Challinor challenged.
Three minutes later Bury were almost level in acrobatic style. Adams' far post cross was headed back across by Kempson and Mocquet was not too far over with his flying overhead kick.
Boulding was chopped down in full flight on 41 minutes, earning veteran Woodthorpe the game's first caution.
Mocquet was well over with a 30 yard free kick as half time approached with Stags in the driving seat.
Scott replaced Mocquet for the second half for the Shakers.
An early raid saw Conlon flick on Kitchen's clearance towards Brown but he was well off target with his hurried finish.
Stephens was equally wide of the mark for Bury from a half cleared free kick two minutes later.
However, Bury were level from a 48th minute corner.
Adams sent over a left wing corner which Hurst headed goal wards.
Muggleton was in the way but Youngs was able to help it over the line from close range as the ball ran loose.
Stephens' pass inside set up Youngs for an 18 yard blast which Muggleton easily dealt with.
The keeper also got down well at his near post to parry a 15 yard shot from Kennedy on 65 minutes.
A neat ball from Stephens put Hurst into the box and the busy Muggleton had to beat away his firm finish.
Rouse replaced Hurst for Bury and then Stags sent on Sleath for Dawson.
Stags also made a double change on 75 minutes as they withdrew Boulding and Brown to send on McGhee and Trimmer.
The sides huffed and puffed in the latter stages but neither team looked capable of finding a winner as the game and season petered out.
Report from official Bury site:
Good early pressure from Bury brought a quick succession of Dave Challinor throws and two early corners, all within the first three minutes, but it was a defensive clearance that nearly caught the Shakers out with Nathan Arnold breaking at the Bury goal, but as he took the ball into the Bury area, he comically slipped over the ball giving Warrington the chance to collect the ball.
From the Shakers keeper's clearance the ball fell to William Mocquet whose shot was fired at goal but Muggleton somehow managed to tip the ball out of play.
Tom Youngs saw the ball drop at his feet on the edge of the Mansfield box on eight minutes but a good challenge from Dawson saw the ball knocked back to Muggleton, from his long clearance, Boudling took the ball into the box and used his pace to get past Kempson but cannoned his shot high into the stand behind the goal.
Jason Kennedy was gifted half a chance on 20 minutes when a lazy clearance fell to his right foot, but slightly away from him, this attempted volley flew harmlessly wide of the target.
The Shakers burst from their own box on 21 minutes with Tom Youngs taking the ball to Mansfield's defence, but his ball wide to Mocquet failed to find the Frenchman and Mansfield broke quickly and peppered the Bury goal with a series of shots, all cleared or blocked before Callum Lloyd attempted to curl an effort at goal, but for a fine diving save from Warrington, the ball looked destined to find the back of the net.
Mansfield took the lead on 24 minutes when a free kick drilled into the box found the head of Alex Baptiste, his header found the back of the Bury goal despite Warrington getting a hand to the ball.
Goal:Bury 0 Mansfield Town 1 (Baptiste 24)
A Bury corner on 28 minutes brought a strange delivery with the ball being knocked into the centre of the park where Andy Parrish rifled the ball high over the crossbar from 35 yards.
Bury almost equalised on 38 minutes when a Nicky Adams corner to the back stick found the head of Darran Kempson, his powerful header back into the box found William Mocquet who attempted an overhead kick, but mon dieu, it went high over the crossbar from just inside the six yard box.
A rash challenge from Colin Woodthorpe on 40 minutes brought a yellow card for the veteran Shakers defender, sending Boulding tumbling to the floor halfway inside the Bury half of the field.
A Mocquet free kick on the stroke of half time failed to find the target as the Sunderland loanee blazes the ball high into the stand behind the goal.
Half Time: Bury 0 Mansfield Town 1
Bury made one change at half time with Paul Scott coming on to replace William Mocquet
Bury hit back on 48 minutes when a Nicky Adams corner was flicked into the box, Hurst headed at goal but keeper Carl Muggleton stopped the ball on the line where Tom Youngs poked it into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season
Goal: Bury 1 Mansfield Town 1 (Youngs 48)
Tom Youngs brought a fine save out of keeper Muggleton on 57 minutes when he received a short pass from Nicky Adams to the edge of the box, Youngs' crisp effort saw the keeper collect whilst diving to his right.
Jason Kennedy brought another good save from Muggleton on 64 minutes when he struck the ball at goal from the corner of the penalty area, with the Stags keeper diving to smash the ball away by the post.
Dale Stephens played a peach of a pass on 67 minutes to set the ball up nicely for Glynn Hurst as he burst into the box, but his snatched effort at goal again brought a fine save from Carl Muggleton to keep the ball out.
A Mansfield corner on 80 minutes brought a good catch from Andy Warrington and his quick clearance down the field came to nothing with the ball going out of play off Nicky Adams.
A clash of heads between Mansfield's Danny Sleath and Jason Kennedy saw both physio's briefly on the pitch, but thankfully both players were able to continue.
A long ball forward from Andy Parish on 86 minutes saw Domaine Rouse attempt to lob the keeper, but his effort was overhit and the ball flew to safety into the Cemetery End.
Finally the officials brought the season to a close with the Shakers collecting a point in their final game of the season.
Bury: Andy Warrington, Dave Challinor, Colin Woodthorpe, Tom Youngs, Nicky Adams, Jason Kennedy, Darran Kempson, Andy Parrish, William Mocquet (Paul Scott 46), Glynn Hurst (Domaine Rouse 69), Dale Stephens (David Buchanan 79)
Subs: Alan Fettis, Paul Scott, Richie Baker, David Buchanan, Domaine Rouse
Mansfield Town: Carl Muggleton, John Mullins, Ashley Kitchen, Jon Olav'Hjelde, Nathan Arnold, Stephen Dawson (Danny Sleath 71), Callum Lloyd, Simon Brown, Barry Conlon, Mickey Boulding
Subs: Carl Muggleton, Chris Wood, Rory Boulding, Lewis Trimmer, Danny Sleath
Latest | May 2007