WILLIAMS RESCUES POINT FOR STAGS
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Histon
Williams 90+3 Simpson pen 83
Attendance: 3162 (50 from Histon)
Date: 31 October 2009
Last-gasp Stags sour Adam's day
Mansfield 1 Histon 1 - Blue Square Premier
AFTER his best performance in a Histon shirt, Adam Bygrave deserved to be on the winning side.
The young defender stepped up to the plate and showed maturity beyond his years in the absence of captain Matt Langston, who was struck by illness.
The more experienced Adam Tann was alongside him at the heart of the Stutes' defence, but it was Bygrave who took control and showed total authority.
He won countless headers as he ruled in the air and was alert to the danger posed by Mansfield's strikers Rob Duffy and Kyle Perry on the deck.
And he drove his troops forward with plenty of verbal encouragement as he shouted and cajoled throughout the contest.
If Bygrave was bypassed by the hosts, then his defensive colleagues backed him up and Lanre Oyebanjo and Gareth Gwillim were also on fine form.
The two full-backs put their bodies on the line on numerous occasions and were in the right place at the right time to clear goalbound efforts.
And, when the Stags did manage to get through Histon's back four, goalkeeper Danny Naisbitt came to the rescue and produced several acrobatic saves.
Bygrave and his team-mates were seconds away from claiming the three points they had battled so hard to earn through Josh Simpson's 83rd-minute penalty.
The spot-kick was earned by John Kennedy, who burst into the box following good work from Billy Crook and Jamie Barker, and tumbled over Mansfield's advancing goalkeeper Alan Marriott.
Simpson, who came to life in the second period after a quiet first half, coolly converted.
But how Danny Wright had not opened the scoring before that only Marriott will know. The shot-stopper pulled off a wonderful point-blank save to deny the striker from six yards.
And the Stutes could have doubled their lead in stoppage time when a quick counter-attack resulted in substitute Sam Long having a powerful effort blocked in the area by a defender.
As the clock ticked into the fourth minute of added time, that man Bygrave leaped highest to clear a corner with his umpteenth header of the clash.
But there was nothing he or any of his colleagues could do when the ball dropped 25 yards out and was brilliantly smashed into the top corner by Ryan Williams on the half-volley.
It was a cruel blow for Bygrave, who had shone all afternoon. And an away victory against a team in the top five would have been most welcome.
But the visitors showed they are very much up for the fight of trying to claw their way back into the race for the play-offs, and have set a benchmark that they must continue to reach for the rest of the campaign.
Saturday 31st October 2009 - Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Histon FC - BSP
A cruel last gasp volley from Mansfield Town's Ryan Williams made sure that the Stutes weren't heading back to Cambridgeshire with all three points, in a near faultless display from the Stutes. Josh Simpson had given Histon the lead from the spot with just 5 minutes to go, after John Kennedy was hauled down in the box by Stags keeper Alan Marriot. But a goal in the third minute of injury time denied them a deserved three points.
There were two changes to the side that started the outing in the F.A Cup last weekend, Adam Tann forming a central defensive partnership with Bygrave, in the absence of an ill Matthew Langston. Billy Crook also came in, replacing Neil Andrews in midfield, with Gwillim assuming the role of captain in the absence of Langston on the left of the Histon back four.
And the Stutes started the better, Knight-Percival testing Alan Marriott with a header from an Oyebanjo set-piece a couple of minutes in.
Lanre Oyebanjo then cut loose in himself in the 8th minute, only finding the side netting however. But despite having a few decent early openings, Mansfield were making inroads too, and both Gwillim and Tann had to be alert in the opening stages to keep the Stags at bay.
As the half wore on, Mansfield began to dictate, and on 25 minutes, Gwillim was in the right place at the right time to clear the ball off the line. It was safe to say, that without Gwillim on the pitch, Histon could have easily been behind on the half hour mark, putting in a captains performance in the absence of usual captain, Langston.
Whilst Mansfield were pressing, they were leaving themselves vulnerable at the back, and Knight-Percival got his head to another ball into the box just after the half hour mark, Marriot getting down to push the ball around the post. From the resulting corner, Histon went even closer to opening the scoring, Adam Tann crashing his header off Marriot's left upright, who was left rooted to the spot.
A real open contest, it was then the hosts turn to go forward and threaten, Naisbitt pulling off two crucial saves to keep the scores level. First was down to his right, to repel a fiercely struck shot from Kyle Perry. And the second, from Ryan Williams, who thought he had opened the scoring with a curling freekick, only for Naisbitt to superbly deny him.
Now living on a knife edge, it would be a good scoreline at 0-0 for the Stutes to go in at during the break. And Gwillim made sure that was so, clearing the ball off the line once again for the Stutes, although it did appear that Naisbitt could have got there.
The second half was a lot better from Histon's perspective, despite the half starting with Mansfield in the ascendancy.
Craig Dobson's dipping effort from range was tipped over by an alert Danny Naisbitt, refusing to let the Stags take the lead. Oyebanjo was then the saviour for Histon from the resulting corner, deflecting Gardner's goal bound header off the line.
Marriot up the other end was refusing to be outdone by Naisbitt in goal for Histon, and he pulled off arguably the save of the match, a truly outstanding piece of goalkeeping. Wright's turn and volley was a matter of yards out, and what can best be described as a strike of luck, Marriot stuck out an instinctive yet telling right fist to divert the ball to safety.
That seemed to galvanise the Stags, and they went on the offensive, a goal mouth scramble ensued up the other end. A series of saves and blocks from Histon kept Mansfield out, most notably Lanre blocking a volley from Robert Duffy. Luke Jones went close a couple of seconds later, his back post header coming back off the post.
The game now starting to level out, chances were coming at a premium, that was until the 85th minute, when Simpson had an opportunity to give Histon a late lead. John Kennedy weaved his way past the Mansfield defence, and after rounding Marriot, the latter brought him down, leaving referee Wright with no choice but to point to the spot. Lucky not to see red, Marriot faced Simpson, who calmly stepped up, and sent the keeper the wrong way, sliding home into the bottom left corner to send the travelling Stutes contingent into celebration.
It looked as if that would be enough, but in the last minute of injury time added on at the end of the 90, a long throw was cleared as far as Ryan Williams, who belted a volley from distance into the bottom right hand corner, past a helpless Naisbitt. It was a sucker punch for Histon, who quite rightly could have felt aggrieved, after falling at the last hurdle, in what would have been a fantastic three points away from home.
“Keep your discipline” was being bellowed from the sidelines, and in hindsight, in the closing stages, discipline is exactly what the lads could have done with.
Report by Jamie Smith
Mansfield: Marriott, Heckingbottom (Armstrong 57), Jones, Garner, Silk, Williams, Mills, Hotchkiss, Dobson (Speight 61), Perry (Sturrock 76), Duffy.
Subs Not Used: Eley, Istead.
Booked: Mills 37, Silk 65, Duffy 83.
Goal: Williams 90+4.
Histon: Naisbitt, Oyebanjo, Gwillim, Tann, Bygrave, Knight-Percival, Kennedy, Crook, Simpson, Barker, Wright (Long 89).
Subs Not Used: Welch, Andrews, Frew, Sparkes.
Booked: Kennedy 41.
Goal: Simpson 84 pen.
Ref: P Wright (Southport).
Mansfield Town 1 Histon 1
Evening Post report, October 31, 2009
A STUNNING strike from Ryan Williams rescued a point in the dying seconds of stoppage time as Mansfield stretched their unbeaten run to five matches against Histon at Field Mill.
Josh Simpson looked to have earned the plucky visitors all three Blue Square Premier points with an 83rd-minute penalty.
But in the fourth minute of added time and from the Stags' last attack, a half-cleared throw in from the left dropped to Williams and he volleyed past a rooted Danny Naisbitt from 20 yards.
Although Histon were left kicking themselves and Mansfield cock-a-hoop, a draw was a fair result from a closely contested game.
The game started slowly with the early exchanges fought out in midfield.
The visitors had the first shot on goal in the eighth minute when Lanre Oyebanjo cut in from the right only to drill into the side netting.
Mansfield responded with a swift counter that saw Kyle Perry tee up Gary Mills in the box but he was thwarted by Gareth Gwillim's last-ditch tackle.
Ryan Williams gave Rob Duffy the space to shoot soon after only for his effort from just inside the box to fly straight into the hands of Danny Naisbitt.
Kennedy tried his luck for the Stutes at the other end but Alan Marriott was well behind it at the foot of his right-hand post.
Naisbitt was called into serious action for the first time in the 19th minute when he was forced to tip over Duffy's looping header from a right-wing Gary Silk cross.
The hosts could have taken the lead midway through the half from their fourth corner when Luke Jones won the first header from Mills' delivery but Craig Dobson failed to connect when well placed inside the six-yard box.
Histon almost went in front twice just before the half hour mark.
First Oyebanjo's cross was headed on target by Nat Knight-Percival but Marriott was alert to flip the ball over the bar.
Then, from the half-cleared corner, Oyebanjo's ball back in was headed against the outside of a post by former Notts County man Adam Tann.
As the Stags came roaring back, Dobson picked out Perry in the box, his well-struck drive being pushed away by Naisbitt.
The Histon keeper made another decent save as half-time approached, getting his hands to a curling free-kick from Williams.
In first-half stoppage time Luke Jones headed powerfully towards goal from another corner only for Gwillim to clear in a crowded goal mouth.
Naisbitt was again called into action soon after the restart as he turned over a well-struck 20-yard Dobson drive.
Oyebanjo then hooked away a goal-bound header from another well-placed Jones header, just ahead of Scott Garner.
In the 56th minute, Histon looked to take the lead from a long throw that bounced through to Danny Wright, who hooked the ball goalwards.
But he reckoned without the reflexes of Marriott, who somehow clawed the ball around the post from point-blank range.
A sustained spell of pressure from the Stags saw shots from substitute Jake Speight – on for Dobson – and then Duffy blocked before Perry's cross-cum-shot was hacked away from the visiting goal mouth.
In the 71st minute, Duffy headed well wide from an inviting Williams before Mills and Perry were inches from turning the ball home from point blank range as Duffy was this time the creator.
However, with seven minutes left, Histon were awarded a penalty after Kennedy was brought crashing to the ground by Marriott in the box.
Simpson stepped up to take the spot kick and comfortably picked out the left-hand corner as the Mansfield keeper went the other way.
The Stags pushed forward in the closing stages and looked to be out of luck until Williams' brilliance lifted the roof off Field Mill.
Mansfield Town 1 Histon 1 - Saturday, 31st October
CHAD report, 31 October 2009
By Stephen Thirkill
RYAN Williams was the hero as he rescued a point for Stags with a wonder volley deep into added on time.
With Stags looking down and out the tricky winger lashed home a volley from 20 yards after latching on to a defensive clearance three minutes into stoppage time to send Field Mill into raptures.
It was a deserved point for Stags who had bombarded the solid Histon rearguard all afternoon.
Histon, who kept 10 men behind the ball, attempted to hit Stags on the break throughout the game and saw their doggedness rewarded on 83 minutes when Kennedy won a penalty.
Alan Marriott foolishly felled John Kennedy as he chased an innocuous throughball, with the striker clearly looking to draw the foul from the goalkeeper.
Josh Simpson then stepped up to stylishly convert the penalty as he sent Marriott the wrong way.
Although it was definitely one point won after trailing deep into stoppage time, the result could have been so much better for Stags who spurned a number of excellent chances to put the Cambridgeshire side out of sight.
Captain Mills and Luke Jones on two separate occasions were denied by superb last ditch challenges from inspired Histon captain Gareth Gwillim.
Kyle Perry was also guilty of missing a good chance as Stags continued to bombard the Histon goal.
Mansfield now travel to Forest Green in the FA Cup on Saturday looking to keep their momentum going and seal their passage into the next round.
Loan midfielder Oliver Hotchkiss started for Stags against Histon in place of the suspended Matt Somner.
Hotchkiss, who is on a three month loan from Leeds United, was making his first start during his second spell at Field Mill.
Somner is serving a one game ban after picking up his fifth booking of the season last Saturday in the 3-0 win over Altrincham.
It was the only change made by boss David Holdsworth as Stags look to make it four wins in a row.
Histon have lost just one of their last eight Conference games, but were embarrassingly knocked out of the FA Cup Qualifying stages against Hinkley in their last match.
The match began in cagey fashion as Stags looked to break down the red and black Histon wall.
Stags came close to opening the scoring on eight minutes with the first chance of the game when captain Danny Mills was played through by Kyle Perry.
But just as he pulled the trigger Gareth Gwillim lunged to block with his foot and divert the ball for a corner.
Moments later Duffy tested Naisbitt in the away goal with a tame shot after Williams picked him out just inside the box.
At the other end John Kennedy warmed the hands of Alan Marriott with a speculative shot from 22 yards.
Stags began to up the pressure on the Cambridgeshire side with a serious of quick corners.
But despite their dominance of possession Mansfield struggled to get into their creative stride as Histon, with 10 men behind the ball, denied Stags time and space on the ball.
Defender Luke Jones nearly headed Stags into the lead as he leapt well in a crowded goalmouth to power his header goal-bound from a Ryan Williams corner.
But as the Field Mill faithful prepared to celebrate Gwillim once again saved his side with a goal-line clearance.
Histon then had the best chance of the game on the half hour mark when Oyebanjo was picked out after some neat trickery by Knight-Percival down the right wing.
But, with the well directed header dipping under the bar, Marriott leapt well to tip over with his left hand.
Two minutes later hot-shot striker Kerry Perry perhaps should have scored when he found space in the box as the game finally began to kick into life.
But his attempts to steer the ball into the right side of the goal was thwarted as Danny Naisbitt beat the shot away.
Then the lively Williams nearly broke the deadlock as he whipped in a curling free-kick from 25 yards which was well saved by a flying Naisbitt on 41 minutes.
Stags continued their one-way onslought as time ran out in the first half with another flurry of corners testing the visitors resilience.
And with one minute to go Jones was once again denied by Gwillim as he used his arial dominance to direct a header goalwards from a Mills corner.
Fired up Stags started the second half where they had left off and winger Dobson nearly found the top corner with a dipping lob from the right side of the box.
Marriott kept Stags in the game on 55 minutes when he pulled off a wonder save after lone striker Daniel Wright latched on to a fizzing ball, before spinning and shooting from six yards out.
And from the resulting corner pacey Josh Simpson also threatened with a header as the visitors enjoyed their best spell of the match.
Stags made two substitues in quick succession as they looked to seize the initiative back, with Jake Speight nearly finding the back of the net with his first touch and Rob Duffy also seeing a firm drive blocked.
Mansfield continued to push for the winner and were agonisingly close with 19 minutes to go when Rob Duffy whipped in a low ball across the six yard box, which just evaded the onrushing strikers.
As the minutes ticked away Histon kept up their defensive masterclass as they flooded their defensive third with defenders to preserve their one point.
With eight minutes to go Histon took the lead after Marriott tripped John Kennedy as he chased down an innocuous throughball to the fury of the Field Mill faithful.
Josh Simpson then stepped up to stylishly convert the penalty as he sent Marriott the wrong way.
But as Mansfield looked dead and buried Ryan Williams finally found a way through the Histon door deep into injury time with virtually the last kick of the game.
It was a superb finish from the winger who lashed home a 20 yard volley after latching on to a clearance from a long throw-in to break the visitors hearts.
STAGS: Marriott, Silk, Jones, Garner, Heckingbottom (Armstrong 55mins), Dobson (Speight 60mins), Hotchkiss, Mills, Williams, Duffy, Perry (Sturrock 76 mins). Subs: Ely, Istead, Sturrock.
HISTON: Naisbitt, Tann, Gwillim, Bygrave, Kennedy, Barker, Knight-Percival, Crook, Oyebanjo, Wright (Long 89 mins), Simpson. Subs: Welch, Andrews, Frew, Sparkes.
REFEREE: P. Wright, of Southport.
BOOKINGS: Stags - Hotchkiss, dissent; Silk, foul. Histon - Kennedy, foul.
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