STAGS PEGGED BACK BY BARROW IN PULSATING 2ND HALF
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town 2 - 2 Barrow
Williams 47, O'Connor 79. Bond 52 pen, Rogan 90+4.
Attendance: 2122 (150 from Barrow)
Date: 11 April 2009
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
Mansfield Town were denied victory in a rip-roaring second half at Field Mill by Barrow's 94th minute equaliser, which was quickly followed by the sending off of Stags keeper Alan Marriott. After a quiet first half, the game burst into life after 47 minutes, when Ryan Williams fired in a fantastic goal. Fed by a good ball from Daryl Clare, Williams cut in from the left, and shot powerfully, right footed, into the far corner of the net from 20 yards. Barrow were level from the penalty spot on 54 minutes when Scott Garner was harshly adjudged to have handballed. From studying the match DVD, Garner was around a yard from Lee McEvilly, who headed the ball on, and hence it could not have been deliberate. The second similar harsh decision against Garner on consecutive Saturdays. Five minutes later, Mansfield were denied a blatant penalty when O'Connor was tripped in the box, but the appalling referee booked O'Connor for diving. The match DVD confirms a blatant trip. O'Connor then put the Stags in front on 79 minutes. Marriott's long kick was headed on by Clare on the edge of the box and O'Connor ran on to it and fired in through the keeper leg's from close range. But Hotchkiss gave away a silly free-kick 20 yards out on 94 minutes. Sheridan's free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar by Marriott, but Rogan headed in the rebound. From studying the match DVD, what happened next was that Barrow defender Jones rubbed Marriott's face and hair as the Stags keeper lay on the ground. Marriott kicked out at Jones and, as Barrow defender McNulty said something, Marriott got up and headbutted him. Marriott had to go, and the ref duly showed him the red card. A disappointing end to a tremendous game.
Full Stagsnet report in the Match Centre.
Highlights from the Stagsworld audio commentary with Nigel Pinnick and Martin Shaw, here
Podcast of Stagsworld commentary,
1st half --->
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
STAGS FRUSTRATED BY BARROW-BOYS
Mansfield Town 2 Barrow 2
There were thrills and controversy all the way at Field Mill as relegation threatened Barrow twice fought back against The Stags to secure a draw in a game that should have been best remembered for Ryan Williams spectacular opener but will be more than likely be set in the mind due to the questionable performance from matchday referee, J Simpson who angered the home crowd all afternoon with several questionable decisions.
Stags made just one change from the side which had kept the Holdsworth unbeaten home record intact with a 2-0 midweek win over Ebbsfleet United that being the introduction of young Conor Higginson into the sixteen at the expense on the bench of Neil MacKenzie who was suffering from illness.
The visitors who began the day just three points above the relegation zone, but on a good recent run of away form contained a familiar face in their ranks, that of former Stags defender, Gareth Jelleyman who had joined the club on loan from Rushden & Diamonds.
The first real chance of the game came when from a corner, big centre back, Steve McNulty headed just inches over the Stags crossbar.
The game was being played at a high tempo but without too much hard graft for each Custodian. The best Mansfield could offer in the opening moments was a couple of industrious runs and crosses by the evergreen, Ryan Williams, one of which was headed over his own crossbar from Jones, Duffy just over from the resulting corner and the other coming when Williams cut in from the left and sent over an inviting cross that was just inches away from the incoming, Louis Briscoe.
Mansfield most industrious play was emanating from the tricky feet of Ryan Williams and it was he who once more sent over a dangerous cross only to be frustrated at the lack of team-mates in the area, but the ball was recovered by Somner, whipped back in and Duffy headed narrowly wide.
Powerhouse visiting striker, Lee McEvilly almost knocked over the entire Stags defence when he went on a bustling run. With the Stags defence trying to halt his progress it took an outstretched punch from Marriott to end the strikers progress.
Rob Duffy, who on 16 minutes had required treatment, again went down and eventually left the field, replaced by Aaron O'Connor.
The 2nd half started in explosive style with what must surely be the Stags goal of the season. Williams collected the ball out wide left, came inside and from 25 yards and on his favoured right unleashed a spectacular drive that flew into the top corner of the net.
The lead didn't last long however. From a long throw in the Referee decided that the ball had struck Scott Garner on the hand and so pointed directly at the penalty spot. Midfielder, Andy Bond stepped up to send Marriott the wrong way and level the game at 1-1.
In the 58th minute Stags were left cursing their luck when Briscoe's low drive struck the foot of the post, the rebound put wide by Williams.
A minute later and there was more controversy when the Referee produced a yellow card for O'Connor who he accused of diving in the Barrow area whilst in a challenge with Bond.
Stags were peppering away in search of what they hoped would be the winning goal, O'Connor seeing a powerful close range shot beat away by Deasy in the Barrow goal.
Mansfield should have taken the lead on 68 minutes but luck was with the visitors and not the home side. Clare in a one on one race with the last defender, Jones was denied when Deasy just managed to get a hand to the ball. Clare though did not give up and steadied himself before curling a shot that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar. The ball rebounded off the woodwork invitingly onto the head of O'Connor who was denied by the outstretched hand of Deasy who tipped it over the bar for a Stags corner.
Next to go close for Mansfield was Ryan Williams. O'Connor showed great skill out wide before chipping over a delightful cross that was met by the head of the incoming Williams, unfortunately Deasy managed to save it at the far post and right on the line.
Stags though finally got their noses in front when a neat headed flick on from Clare dropped nicely at the feet of O'Connor who made no mistake in blasting the ball into the back of the net despite the best attempts of Deasy.
Barrow desperate for something from the game made a double substitution but it was right back Spender who almost drew the sides level with a terrific 25-yard drive that flew inches wide. The frustration on the defenders face was clear for all to see.
With just 60 seconds left of the 90, Clare was replaced by Arnold, but the home crowd drew gasps when the 4th official held up the board with 5 minutes of added on time displayed.
With just a minute to go, Oliver Hotchkiss was guilty of giving a free kick away just outside the Mansfield 'D'. Sheridan took the kick and saw it tipped onto the crossbar by the fingers of Marriott. Unfortunately the ball fell neatly onto the head of Nick Rogan who from virtually on the line was left with the simple task of nodding the ball home. The wild celebrations then went chaotic when Marriott was shown the red card. In the midst of celebrating visiting skipper, Paul Jones rubbed the Stags goalkeepers face and head as he was on the ground. Marriott kicked out and as the other Barrow centre back, McNulty said something, Marriott got up and head butted him giving the referee no other option than to show a straight red.
Jason White came on and went in goal for the last few seconds in place of Williams as the final seconds played out in a scene of disorder.
The end result may not have been what the majority inside Field Mill wished for but for entertainment value, it was second to none.
Observer Man of the match – The one, the only, Ryan Williams.
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