STAGS FIGHT BACK FOR WELL-EARNED POINT
Mansfield Town 1 – 1 Cambridge United
O'Hare 52. Brown 32.
Attendance: 3,171 (526 from Cambridge)
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill
Mansfield Town drew 1-1 at home to Cambridge United on Saturday, to end the sequence of 5 home wins. But against an impressive Cambridge outfit, the manner of the performance especially in the second half continued to give room for optimism that this can be a successful season. The Stags had fallen behind to a fine goal in the first half, but came out all guns blazing in the second and deservedly equalised through Alan O'Hare's header and could have gone on to win the game with a little more composure in front of goal.
Stagsnet report now in the Match Centre
Stagsworld commentary audio highlights here. Apologies for distortion (recording software set at wrong level)
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
STAGS BATTLE BACK TO EARN DESERVED POINT
Mansfield Town 1 Cambridge United 1
A cracking crowd of over 3,000 watched a thrilling game as Stags surrendered their 100% home record coming from behind to draw 1-1 with fellow promotion chasers, Cambridge United.
Both sides had lost seven days previous and were obviously eager to bounce back to wining ways to be able to keep amongst the Blue Square Premiership pace setters.
Visiting hot shot, Lee McEvilly was the first to threaten goal but his low shot was saved easily by Gamble. But in a game which was to sway from side to side, Michael Blackwood responded on 4 minutes with an effort that flew unfortunately, high and wide.
It was obvious from the football on show that both sides will be involved in the shake up come the end of the campaign, in fact the only downside on the whole afternoon came with Referee Brown's somewhat strange decisions for both sides, triggering chants of, “You don't know what you are doing,” from all around the ground.
Still the game flowed well with Mansfield looking to get the ball wide and to keep up a constant supply of crosses for the hungry Jason Lee, who made a welcome return to the side after missing three weeks due to injury and Mark Stallard. Aaron O'Connor not having trained all week, not included in the 16.
Blackwood and Jeannin created a great chance on 9 minutes for Somner, but the midfielders header flew up in the air instead of through it and the chance came to nothing.
Just two minutes later and Jason Lee reacted well to get on the end of a cross from Blackwood but again the ball went wide of the mark.
As the game heated up, the tackles began to fly in. Lee looked to have been fouled on 13 minutes but nothing was given, but the follow up challenge by Somner was clearly a foul and as Hatswell rolled in pain, the first yellow card of the afternoon was shown to the Stags midfielder, Somner.
Referee Brown seemed unsure of his handling of the game and spoke at length to Jason Lee, and later on in the game, booking Mark Stallard, after the Stags striker had spent most of the game kicked by his opponents.
Stallard threatened for Mansfield on 20 minutes as tempers began to be raised.
The visitors had a superb chance of taking the lead on 26 minutes but after getting on the end McEvilly's free kick, Felino Jardim headed wide from 6 yards when it looked easier to score. It was a massive let off for Stags.
However on 32 minutes, that is exactly what they did and what a superb goal it was. Silk had done well to put in a challenge on the right hand side, the ball going out for a throw in. The ball was then slung in at pace and from distance and to one and all, it looked like Mansfield had cleared the danger when Lee rose well to head away, but Brown had other idea's and hit a stunning left footed volley that gave Gamble in goal, no chance at all.
Stags tried in vain to get back into the game but the visitors defence were standing firm.
The home crowd greeted the half time whistle with load boo's, obviously displeased with the Referee's first 45 minute performance.
Stags started the 2nd half in a hurry and took just six minutes to draw level. Arnold's enterprising run was halted just outside the area, a decision given by the assistant rather than the Referee. From the resulting free kick by Blackwood, O'Hare rose powerfully to head the Stags level.
Cambridge tried to respond and McEvilly shot wide, following another long throw-in.
The tackles were flying in and one mistimed tackle resulted in Jason Lee finding his way into the book. More a case of a little late than bad intent.
Both side were continuing to try and play good football with the visitors looking more to keep hold of their point and Mansfield looking the more dangerous going forward.
There was a mistake by Blackwood 20 minutes into the 2nd period when he misplaced his pass in midfield but United failed to capitalise, Chris Holroyd shooting rather tamely at Gamble.
McEvilly also put the ball into the net, but it was easily ruled offside.
On the 75 minute mark, a great move by Mansfield almost resulted in Stags taking the lead but D'Laryea's powerful shot was saved at the stretch by Potter in the United goal. However from his clearance, Jeannin fed Stallard who was unlucky to see his effort crowded out by desperate defending.
Jason Lee was next to go near but after close skill his effort flew high over the bar, much to the big strikers frustration.
As the game entered added on time, Stags created the best move of the game and almost took all three points. Stallard and Silk combined well to set up D'Laryea but he hurried his effort and his left foot shot flew wide of the mark.
The final chance of the game came when Jeannin slung his body in the way of a shot by McEvilly.
In the end the result was fair, the performance pleasing and the only disappoint aspect was that Stags just failed to do enough in front of goal to gain what would have been their six straight home win.
Next weekend Mansfield make the three and a half hour journey to Salisbury, who themselves are riding high in the Blue Square Premiership table.
Observer Man of the match – Matt Somner - Took a booking but battled hard throughout in the centre of midfield.
report from http://www.cambridge-united.co.uk
Mansfield Town vs Cambridge 1 - 1
Referee: M Brown
Competition: Blue Square Premier
Weather at kick-off: sunny, warm
United: Brown 33'
Mansfield: O'Hare 51'
Paddy Gamble, Gary Silk, Adie Moses (c), Alan O'Hare, Alex Jeannin; Nathan Arnold, Matt Somner, Jonathan D'Laryea, Michael Blackwood; Mark Stallard, Jason Lee.
Subs not used: Luke Herriot, Tom Shaw, Jamie McGhee, Gavin Hurren, Anthony Robinson.
Booked: Somner foul 14', Lee foul 58', Stallard foul 79'
Danny Potter, Dan Gleeson, Phil Bolland, Wayne Hatswell, Anthony Tonkin; Jon Challinor, Paul Carden (c), Danny Brown (Danny Crow 77'), Felino Jardim; Chris Holroyd, Lee McEvilly.
Subs not used: Steven Drench, Josh Coulson, Mark Convery, Chris Jones.
Booked: Gleeson foul 46', Challinor foul 68'
Cambridge United became the first team to take a point from Field Mill this season as they fought out an entertaining draw and maintained our unbeaten record on the road.
Gary Brabin made two changes to the side beaten 1-0 at home by Torquay, recalling Dan Gleeson and Felino Jardim in place of Mark Convery and Mark Beesley (injured) and reverting to a 4-4-2 line-up.
Mansfield boss Billy McEwan made one change to the side beaten 2-1 at Crawley, calling up veteran striker Jason Lee in place of Anthony Robinson, who dropped to the bench.
Kicking off in bright sunshine and with both sets of supporters creating a great atmosphere, United had the first shot inside 25 seconds when Lee McEvilly's 30-yard drive was collected by Nottingham Forest loanee Paddy Gamble.
Four minutes later Michael Blackwood tried a similar shot at the other end that Danny Potter was equal to, but a proliferation of free kicks awarded by referee Brown made it hard for the game to get going.
Mansfield earned a corner in the seventh minute and soon afterwards Alex Jeannin made a strong run into space and crossed for Stallard, who flicked the ball on to Lee but he was closed down by the defence and Potter was able to claim the ball.
United had an opening when Chris Holdroyd chipped the ball to McEvilly in the area and the striker controlled the ball on his chest, but he was prevented from turning by the tight grip of a defender and his appeals to Mr Brown were ignored.
Mansfield threatened again on 12 with an overlapping move down the left, Jeannin crossing for Lee who got above Tonkin at the far post but headed wide, and two minutes later former U's player Matt Somner was booked following an untidy clash with Hatswell.
Mansfield were forcing United deeper into their own half and Jeannin and Silk both had crosses hacked away by backtracking U's players, and on 20 Mr Brown, who had penalised both centre-forwards for what he regarded as over-physical play, delivered a final warning to Jason Lee for his repeated pushes on Hatswell.
Stallard was presented with a goalscoring opportunity soon afterwards but was stumbling as he struck the ball and it was easy for Potter, and United had a great opportunity on 25 when Somner brought down Jardim and the Dutchman's free kick was headed over the bar by McEvilly, who was slightly under the ball as he met it six yards out.
Jardim was beginning to exert increasing influence in the game and three minutes later Somner escaped a second yellow card for his knee high challenge on the lively Dutchman, Mr Brown choosing to issue another final warning.
Mansfield had the ball in the net on the half hour when Blackwood arrived unmarked at the near post and tucked the ball in at the second opportunity, but he was denied by the offside flag and three minutes later United took the lead.
The white-clad visitors had gained ground down the flank through Jon Challinor and a long Tonkin throw-in was flicked on by Phil Bolland, headed away by a defender, and dropped for Danny Brown to volley low into the bottom corner from 16 yards. It was the former skipper's first goal of the season following a long lay-off after a shoulder operation and his quality strike was acclaimed as such by the United following.
Still the home side were dangerous down the left and Jeannin's cross was cleared with an important header by Hatswell on 35, but for United Jardim was also enjoying more space as the already-booked Somner had to be careful in his challenges and the rest of the Mansfield defence were cautious.
Lee McEvilly had missed training on Monday through illness and four minutes before half-time he dropped to his haunches, clearly unwell, and and vomited on the pitch, raising doubts about his ability to continue after the interval.
Two minutes later Jason Lee escaped from McEvilly and Hatswell following a free kick and had a low shot from 12 yards smothered by Potter, and the big Mansfield striker also forced Hatswell into conceding a corner as play entered stoppage time, while United had a late Jardim free kick cleared before a satisfying first half drew to a close.
Half-time summary from match commentator Mark Johnson:
"No Mark Beesley and Lee McEvilly is ill, but United are in front with a sweet strike from Danny Brown from a great training ground move. Plenty of football to come in a stop-start match, but the longer it goes on the more that will suit the U's."
McEvilly reappeared for the second half with the rest of his team-mates and the first action saw Dan Gleeson booked for a foul on Blackwood inside the first minute, closely followed by a free kick in a dangerous position as Carden upended the same player a yard outside the area as the home side came out with all guns blazing.
There was a contentious moment five minutes in when winger Nathan Arnold was brushed aside by Tonkin as he burst forward, and it proved costly for United. The referee played on but his assistant on that side signalled and after checking with him Mr Brown awarded a free kick, which was crossed in by Blackwood to the far post where defender Alan O'Hare rose above Hatswell and headed Mansfield level.
United tried to bounce straight back and McEvilly volleyed wide two minutes later while Hatswell curled a shot over, but there followed a heated few minutes as the atmosphere threatened to boil over.
Mansfield fans were furious with the referee when he stopped a breakaway move when Danny Brown stayed down after a clash of heads, and they were even less pleased on 58 when he booked Lee, who had received a final warning in the first half, for a foul on Gleeson.
Gleeson was involved again two minutes later when he and Stallard collided in an aerial challenge and the U's defender fell hard on his back and stayed down for treatment from Greg Reid before continuing, and the game went through an entertaining spell as both sides attacked and Jardim and Holroyd both had crosses cleared after enterprising forward raids.
Paul Carden was the next man booked on 68 for leaving his foot in on Stallard, and then Felino Jardim gave a demonstration of his close control as he skipped inside and evaded two challenges before backheeling the ball for Gleeson to cross for Holroyd, whose shot was deflected to Gamble.
United had the ball in the net again on 73 when Jon Challinor fed it to McEvilly and the big striker took the ball past the keeper and rolled it into the net, but the flag was already up to rule it out. Two minutes later former Man City trainee D'Laryea drilled a 20-yard angled shot from the left that was saved by Potter, and there was a scare as the U's keeper bowled the ball out but it was intercepted by a Mansfield player and Jardim challenged back to regain possession.
Gary Brabin made his first change on 77 to send on Danny Crow on for for the tiring Brown, with Holroyd dropping back to the right wing and Challinor moving into the middle A spell of United pressure led to a corner soon afterwards but the action was open and Mansfield counterattacked for Lee to head a Silk cross over the bar.
Mark Stallard was booked for clattering into Challinor and United threatened with a well-worked free kick as it was flicked on by McEvilly and chested down by Crow to Holroyd who was quickly closed down by the defence.
Forest keeper Gamble was called upon again with four minutes left when O'Hare fouled McEvilly and the big striker met Jardim's free kick with a header that the keeper clutched, and he also made a brave save in front of Holroyd as the former Chester man was inches from connecting with Crow's cross.
Mansfield threw men forward in stoppage time as they sought the goal to maintain their 100% home record and the United defence was almost caught out as they were double-teamed in the area, Challinor and Hatswell both making desperate blocks before the ball ran to D'Laryea who lashed it well over the bar.
There was time for one last breathless breakaway and Chris Holroyd brought the ball down and teed up McEvilly but he was squeezed off the ball just as the final whistle brought an exciting game to a close.
Referee: Mr. M. Brown
Att: 3,171 (away 526)
Match Summary by match commentator Mark Johnson:
"The U's took a hard-fought and thoroughly deserved point to end Mansfield's 100% home record. Despite being without the injured Mark Beesley and Lee McEvilly being physically sick on the pitch, United took a first half lead through Danny Brown's sweetly-struck volley but Mansfield levelled in controversial fashion after the break. The referee saw no foul until the linesman drew his attention to an infringement and Alan O'Hare nodded in the resulting free kick. But United have character aplenty and finished the stronger in a match between two sides sure to be involved in the end of season shake-up."
Mark's Man of the Match:
"Danny Brown - a solid performance in front of the back four and a cracking goal to boot. Honourable mentions to Paul Carden who was the epitome of a player-manager on the pitch, Wayne Hatswell and Phil Bolland who snaffled nearly everything up at the back, and Lee McEvilly and Chris Holroyd who ran themselves into the ground."
Ref: Mr Brown - picky, with a distaste for playing advantage, which meant he stopped the game unnecessarily, but he got most of his decisions right and improved after the break. 6/10."
report from cambridgeunited.rivals.net
Mansfield Town 1-1 Cambridge United
By Christopher Vessey - 21/09/2008 22:02
A wonderstrike from Danny Brown almost gave Cambridge all three points at Mansfield, but yet again slack defending at set-pieces cost United dear, gifting the Stags a second half equaliser...
Cambridge United now sit in sixth place, joint fourth, after the hard-fought 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town.
Buoyed on by 526 United fans, Cambridge set about disturbing Mansfield's 100% home record by taking a point from Field Mill. Danny Brown struck a magnificent volley after 30 minutes to send the travelling faithful into raptures.
The first half had been a cagey affair, not helped by an over fussy referee who was intent on blowing his whistle every three seconds. Despite the Stags' previous good form, Cambridge took the game to their hosts, with Felino Jardim's trickery causing some concern for the Town defence.
Chances were hard to come by though, and other than the goal, and early scuffed shot from McEvilly was the only shot on target for both sides. Mansfield had looked quite threatening at times during the first period, but the excellence of Wayne Hatswell repelled any sort of chances Town were trying to create.
Speaking of top-scorer McEvilly, he almost missed the game through a virus, and was physically sick on the pitch during the game, but unbelievably battled on to complete the full 90 minutes.
As expected, Mansfield came out of the traps in the second half, battering away at the U's defence, causing a few more problems for Hatswell and co. and it was on 52 minutes that they controversially equalised. Nathan Arnold was felled under a challenge to which the ref waved away and shouted play on, but the linesman flagged for a foul. Rather than over-rule his assistant, he gave the free-kick anyway.
As soon as it was floated in, O'Hare was left unmarked at the back post to nod across Danny Potter's goal and into the net. Quite how the defence could leave a 6 foot 4 inch central defender unmarked was beyond belief.
After more Mansfield pressure, Cambridge decided to fight back and through the skill of Jardim and Holroyd, started to carve out more opportunities. Holroyd was adjudged offside when through on goal, which was the right decision, although it looked a tighter one when McEvilly rounded Gamble to tap home, only to see a late linesman's flag rule the effort out.
As the game neared the end, the United fans were embroiled in a match of their own, with the brutish actions of the Mansfield 'stewards' attracting the interest of some angry supporters, annoyed at the way their fellow fans were being treated.
The draw was a fair result, and whilst a tough place to come, that's now one win in six for United, and dropped out of the play-off positions for the first time in 56 matches, something which they hope to change come Tuesday night, away at Oxford United.
Mansfield: Gamble, Silk, Moses, O'Hare, Jeannin, Blackwood, Somner, D'Laryea, Arnold, Lee, Stallard. Subs Not Used: Herriott, Shaw, McGhee, Hurren, Robinson.
Booked: Somner, Lee, Stallard.
Goals: O'Hare 51.
Cambridge Utd: Potter, Tonkin, Hatswell, Bolland, Gleeson, Jardim, Carden, Brown (Crow 76), Challinor, McEvilly, Holroyd. Subs Not Used: Coulson, Convery, Jones, Drench.
Booked: Gleeson, Carden.
Goals: Brown 33.
Att: 3,171 (526 away fans)
Ref: M Brown (England).
Travellers' Tales v Mansfield
Posted on: Mon 22 Sep 2008
Match: v Mansfield Town - Blue Square Premier
Date: Saturday, September 20th, 2008
Result: Mansfield 1 Cambridge United 1
Departure Time: 10.30am
Arrival at Ground: Road works on the A1 brought long tailbacks at Stamford, so the journey wasn't as pleasant as it might have been. The final section was along roads that twisted and turned like a twisty-turny thing as they took us into Mansfield. We reached the ground at about 1.15pm.
At The Ground
The Ground: Although we are happy enough to visit some of the more 'quaint' grounds in the Blue Square Premier, it was nice to visit a 'proper' football stadium again - albeit one with only three serviceable sides.
On our last visit, a small, old-fashioned wooden stand was in such a poor state of repair that they would only allow the press to use it! This season though it was considered too derelict even for us, so the only person entering that part of the ground - presumably at his own risk - was a ball boy, who had to wear a hard hat on his retrieval missions.
With the old haunt out of bounds, the press was despatched to the upper tier of the stand that runs along the opposite side of the pitch. A massive, steeply raked stand with a booming tannoy system, an area just below the press section is allocated to directors and disabled supporters. To accommodate both groups who, on our visit turned out to be mutually exclusive, the area consisted of a wide platform for wheelchairs and a couple of rows of seats. However, as these seats were for the directors, they were in front of the wheelchair platform - a configuration that, on the face of it, might make viewing something of a challenge for anyone actually in a wheelchair. A wide concourse runs inside the stand, where the refreshment and toilet facilities are located. The view from this stand is quite spectacular; both of the pitch and the town that runs in terraces up the surrounding hills.
There are further all-seated stands at either end of the ground, each with a savannah of space between the stands along either side. The one to the left of the main stand is allocated to away supporters and is filled with blue seats. The word 'Stags' is picked out in yellow amongst those seats, although the position of the yellow-painted steps of an aisle turns the first S into a Dollar sign.
Another all-seated stand is behind the opposite goal. Almost a mirror image of the away end, this stand is filled with yellow seats and blue letters. Unusually, the tunnel from which the players emerge is at one corner of this stand. Despite the excellent facilities, not every need is catered for inside the ground. A chapel is visible over the corner between this stand and the closed-off area, but it doesn't look to be accessible from inside the stadium, so those who find themselves in need of spiritual assistance during a match have to seek out the club chaplain.
The space between the various stands is home to the floodlights. These sit atop tall, spindly poles that have a worrying wide band of what looks like rust about halfway up on each of them.
Tannoy: Field Mill is one of those grounds where the tannoy should have a silent 't'. 'Booming' doesn't begin to describe it. I don't know what it was like elsewhere in the ground, but in the press box - even wearing headphones - it was so loud you could barely hear yourself think. It all started with announcement that the turnstiles were being opened - an announcement that commenced with the words, "Now hear this, now hear this". At that volume, you had no choice but to hear it. And as for the tune played when they scored... thank goodness they only scored once - my ears are still ringing.
View from Away End: With no pillars in the way, the view was excellent.
United Fans: In a modern stand that provided good acoustics, U's fans certainly made themselves heard... well, other than the one who was ejected immediately on entering the ground, for being drunk - but not before accepting his admission money first. Another left earlier than he planned for 'larging it' after Mansfield's goal.
Police/Stewards: Stewards tried repeatedly and unsuccessful to get U's fans to sit down. They started hauling people out early in the second half, which turned the atmosphere a bit nasty for a while and had no effect in getting United fans to avail themselves of the seats provided. One steward in particular was so confrontational that he had to be moved.
Home Fans: Mansfield fans were loud - eventually. Until their side scored, they spent long periods of the game getting on their players' backs and abusing the referee. Some, in the main stand, were so vehement in shouting that I half expected the steep rake of the stand to make them overbalance and tumble to the pitch like pheasants during shooting season. Some waited outside the away turnstiles after the game. They were quickly dispersed by the police, who scuttled out of the ground in double-quick time in a style last seen in a Keystone Cops film.
Programme: 64 pages, the outer cover of which was a glossy laminate. The front cover was notable for a photograph of a player, in casual gear, sitting on the side of a road, no fewer than five different categories of match sponsor for the game and no mention of the price. With loads to read, plenty of photos - including a fold-out centre page and a very unflattering picture of the local MP - Mansfield's programme will certainly turn out to be one of the best in the Conference this year.
Food/Drink: Pricey. Tea, at £1.60, costs about three times what some Conference grounds are charging this season and you'd think they'd be able to make sure it was hot for that that price. £2.90 for a hot dog or a lukewarm burger and £1 for a bar of chocolate. Home fans also had access to beer, whiskey and vodka from the tea bars inside the ground. Not surprisingly, these options weren't available to travelling supporters.
State of Toilets: Plentiful enough, if not spotlessly clean. The warm, sunny day had sent those in the away end into holiday mood judging by the amount of sand that had, for reasons that weren't entirely obvious, been spread under the sinks.
The Journey Home: Luck was on our side on the way back. Having stopped for a bite to eat, we saw cones being readied to close the A1 and we avoided having to use a convoluted detour that would have put a dampener on the day by about 45 minutes.
Mileage: 226.4 miles
Total Distance for Season: 1,296.1 miles
Mark Johnson, with additional reporting by David Gray, Paul Johnson, Ryan Johnson and Gordon McMillan
Latest | September 2008