STALEMATE AS 100% STAGS HELD BY 100% KETTERING
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Kettering Town
Attendance: 4034 (249 from Kettering)
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
Mansfield Town, with a 100% home record took on Kettering Town, with a 100% away record. Something had to give, and perhaps a 0-0 scoreline was always on the cards. The Stags had the better of the first half, starting well, but there was a lack of goalscoring opportunities and Kyle Perry wasted the best chance sending a scissors kick right over the North Stand from 6 yards before the Stags controversially had a goal disallowed on 44 minutes when Rob Duffy was adjudged to have bundled a cross home with his arm. Kettering's first chance came in first half stoppage time when the normally reliable Marriott misjudged a corner and Exodus Geohaghan headed over an empty net. The Stags never really got going in the second half and the best chance came on 81 minutes when Briscoe set up Clare but from an awkward position he fired a close range shot well wide. Kettering had the game's best chance a minute later when Francis Green burst past makeshift left back Luke Graham and crossed for Gareth Seddon to head a glorious chance wide. That chance seemed to give Kettering the belief that they could win the game and it was the visitors who finished the game more strongly. Not a great performance from the Stags, but it was important not to lose against a team that is likely to be in the top 8 at the end of the season, and four points from the Bank Holiday weekend is not a bad return.
Man of the match: Luke Jones
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre
Another away point seals a good start
Mansfield 0 Kettering 0
By Jon Dunham
Kettering Town went head-to-head with another of the Blue Square Premier's big guns and once again came away with a more than useful result.
The Poppies turned in yet another solid display as defences were on top at Field Mill with neither Kettering nor Mansfield Town really able to create any clear-cut opportunities in a dull encounter.
The only problem that may be facing boss Mark Cooper right now is a lack of goals.
But there is little wrong defensively and a total of 12 points from the first seven games – which looked really tough at the start of the season – has to be seen as an encouraging start.
With it being the Poppies' second game in as many days, Cooper chose to rotate his squad with James McPike handed his first start in attack alongside Gareth Seddon and Danny Thomas while Francis Green and Damian Spencer dropped to the bench.
And McPike, in particular, made a real nuisance of himself as he held the ball up well and used it intelligently on his full debut.
The early exchanges were pretty uneventful with Andre Boucaud testing Alan Marriott from 25 yards being the best effort from either side.
But the game sparked into life when Mansfield wasted the best opening of the period as Kyle Perry went for a spectacular finish to Ryan Williams' cross when he had a lot more time.
The Poppies responded with John Dempster forcing Marriott to tip his firm header over the bar before former Kettering striker Rob Duffy had the ball in the net but was penalised for a handball.
Exodus Geohaghon headed over from a decent position as the Poppies ended the first half on top.
Things just didn't get going after the break as both teams failed to get a firm grip on the game while a number of substitutions didn't help the flow.
Chances finally arrived in the final 10 minutes as former Rushden & Diamonds striker Daryl Clare – on as a substitute for the hosts – side-footed wide.
But Kettering missed the golden opportunity just a minute later as substitute Green raced past his marker and crossed but the arriving
Seddon failed to connect with what looked like a simple header in front of goal.
Ian Roper went close soon after as he took the ball down well in the penalty area but there were no other real openings as the game got the result it deserved.
However, two points from two games over the Bank Holiday weekend when you consider the opposition, can't be seen as a bad result for Cooper's men.
Now they must take advantage of those draws by beating Altrincham and claiming their first home win of the campaign on Saturday.
Mansfield Town 0 v 0 Kettering, Monday 31st August
CHAD.co.uk, By John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town drew a blank at Field Mill for the first time this season as they were held to a 0-0 draw by a strong Kettering Town side.at Field Mill on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
Stags missed out on a chance to go top of the table before a huge August bank Holiday Monday crowd of 4,034 – their biggest since dropping into non-League football.
Mansfield had chalked up an impressive 11 goals in their first three home games of the season, winning the lot.
But Kettering had also won all three away games and showed why as they as they gave as good as they got in a game short on real chances.
Rob Duffy did get the ball over the line just before the break but the officials spotted it had come off his hand and the effort was ruled out.
Kyle Perry and Daryl Clare also both wasted decent half-chances, one in each half.
Kettering also had their moments, Alan Marriott saving from Andrew Boucaud and John Dempster while the outstanding Exodus Geohaghon sent a header over after Marriott had failed to get to a corner.
A point apiece was a fair result in the end though Stags know that a single goal would have sent them top after Oxford were surprisingly held at home by struggling Forest Green.
The Stags' cause was not helped when left back Craig Armstrong limped off with an injury just before half-time.
Winger Ryan Williams regained his starting place from Jake Speight, who had made his full debut in the 1-0 win at Chester on Saturday.
That was the only change to the starting XI - though captain Gary Mills returned as a sub for Istead - as Stags looked to retain their unbeaten home start to the season, which has seen victories over Crawley, Ebbsfleet and Barrow.
Holdsworth, unbeaten in 14 matches at Field Mill since taking over just after last Christmas, knew that Kettering would provide a stern test to that record though after winning their first three away matches - to lie fifth and four points behind the Stags.
The match kicked off in front of a buzzing Field Mill and the Stags biggest attendance - 4034 (249) - since that fateful home defeat to Rotherham which effectively relegated them from the Football League.
Kettering cleared an early Williams cross and Nix free kick.
But when they struggled to get away a second Nix free kick, Williams put the ball back into the centre and a scramble followed in which no one was able to tuck the ball away, Garner having the best opportunity but unable to get power or direction on it.
McPike briefly threatened to get goalside of Jones but the Stags defender did well to stick with him and marshall him wide to concede a throw.
That offered Geohaghon the first chance of hurling in one of his long throws from the right corner flag which saw Jones head clear as he and Marriott went for it.
The ball fell just outside the box to Boucaud who rifled it goalwards where Marriott parried and then grabbed at the second attempt.
Poppies keeper Harper punched away the next deep Nix free kick as Kettering survived a few more nervous exchanges in their own box.
Garner did well to police McPike 20 yards from goal, sliding in to block his first shot and then robbing him of the ball while the Stags man was still on the floor, earning huge applause from the home fans.
Harper was sharp to grab a Duffy flick on before Perry's outstretched leg could turn it home as Mansfield continued to look for the opening goal.
Geohaghon hauled Perry down from behind just outside the box to offer Stags a tempting free kick which Nix curled over the wall and into the keeper's hands.
Mansfield soldiered on with 10 men while Duffy left the field for treatment.
A timely tackle from Armstrong on the troublesome McPike conceded the game's first corner. But, before it could be taken, Garner and Geohaghon were warned for jostling.
In a tight half, Stags' first real chance arrived on 36 minutes as Williams broke down the left and dinked in a cross that Perry met with an acrobatic left foot volley. But it was a hard finish to execute as he fell and the ball flew up over the bar from seven yards.
In reply Seddon wasn't too far wide with a low 20 yard effort for Kettering.
On 39 minutes Dempster was allowed a free header from Fowler's second corner which Marriott had to turn away as it headed under the angle.
Armstrong had been feeling his leg since conceding the corner before and after a delay to take the next corner, Armstrong was given treatment and subsequently withdrawn, replaced by Graham.
Marriott finally punched away the corner before we had another stoppage as Jones needed attention following a clash of heads in the box.
In the final minute of the half Stags finally had the ball over the line as Perry headed a Nix free kick back in front of goal and the ball was turned over the line from point blank range by Duffy.
However, the ball last appeared to touch his hand and the goal was disallowed.
Duffy was booked for his protests and when he continued, skipper Jones was called over to speak to his team mate before a red card was produced.
Deep into stoppage time Kettering forced their fourth corner of the half which Marriott came for but failed to get near and Geohaghon powered a header over the crossbar.
Jones came back out for the second half with a dressing on a facial cut from that clash of heads and a fresh shirt.
Williams tried to burst into the away box in the first threat of the half but handled along the way.
Williams then beat two men and found Duffy who squared a pass for Perry that he failed to get any power behind as he sidefooted to Harper from 12 yards.
Somner's late tackle on Seddon earned him a 53rd minute yellow card.
The Poppies forced two more corners without profit while Stags showed good invention from their first flag kick with a training round move, but again it was cleared and the scores remained deadlock.
Sensing a change was needed, Duffy was withdrawn on 62 minutes and 'super sub' Speight introduced.
Kettering desperately defended another home free kick, the ball reaching Somner 25 yards from goal who forced Harper to dive sprawling to his left to make the save.
Clare took over from Williams for the last 20 minutes as Mansfield continued to search for that elusive opener.
Fowler was booked for halting Briscoe as he turned him 11 minutes from time, but Clare's free kick was straight into the Kettering wall.
Clare was almost the hero two minutes later as nix took a quick free kick which caught Kettering napping, sending Briscoe into space in the box. He laid the ball to Clare but the sub placed his six yard finish wide.
Soon after a Green cross from the right flew right in front of goal with Seddon just unable to reach it and head home.
Roper somehow got goalside of the home defence from a long forward ball as they looked for an offside flag. Somehow a combination of Garner and Marriott managed to thwart his attempt to finish.
Kettering were ending the game more powerfully, though Briscoe did see a shot charged down on 89 minutes.
Stags had to survive a couple of late long Geohaghon throws but the game ended with a deserved point for two battling sides.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott; Silk, Jones, Garner, Armstrong (Graham 41mins); Briscoe, Nix, Somner, Williams (Clare 70mins); Duffy (Speight 62mins), Perry. Subs: Sandercombe, Mills.
KETTERING: Harper, Jennings, Roper, Dempster, Fowler, Noubissie (Wrack 60mins), Boucaud, McPike (Green 73mins), Seddon, Thomas (Spencer 66mins), Geohaghon. Subs: Taylor.
REFEREE: Mr Lee Metcalfe, of Preston.
ATTENDANCE: 4,034 (249)
BOOKINGS: Stags - Duffy, unsporting behaviour 45mins; Somner, foul 53mins. Kettering - Fowler, 79mins, foul.
CHAD MAN OF THE MATCH: Luke Jones.
Latest | September 2009