CHALLINOR RESCUES POINT FOR BELOW-PAR STAGS
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Eastbourne Borough
Challinor 68. McLaggon 45.
Attendance: 2922 (23 from Eastbourne)
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill
Mansfield Town rescued a point at home to lowly Eastbourne Borough on a wet and windy afternoon at Field Mill. The Stags were never in full flow and were a shadow of the excellent side that won so convincingly at Crawley in the previous league game. Eastbourne had taken the lead on the stroke of 45 minutes with an excellent goal from Kyle McLaggon who was making his debut on loan from Southampton. The Stags equalised on 68 minutes when Heckingbottom's fine free kick went in off Stags own debutante Jon Challinor, with the visitors claiming handball. We expected a grandstand finish from Mansfield but it never came, and the closest the Stags came to a winner was when Sturrock's superb turn and shot from the edge of the box went in off the inside of the post, but was disallowed, we think for a foul by Duffy who had flicked the ball on. It was really tough luck on Sturrock who would have made himself a hero.
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre
Highlights of StagsPlayer audio commentary here
report from theargus.co.uk
Borough earn hard-fought point
Saturday 21st November 2009
By Steve Hollis
Eastbourne Borough belied their poor form with a well deserved point at high-flying Mansfield.
Mansfield had only lost twice at Field Mill in 2009 but had to come from behind to rescue a draw.
Kayne McLaggon had put Borough ahead in the 44th minute when he cut in from the right and curled a fine shot inside the far post with the outside of his boot.
Mansfield were booed off at half-time but drew level in the 68th minute when a Paul Heckingbotham free kick hit Jon Challinor and wrong footed Danny Knowles.
At that point many expected Borough to fold but they stood firm and perhaps could count themselves unlucky not to have won.
Borough had the wind at their backs in the first half and, although Mansfield had more possession, looked dangerous on the break.
Paul Armstrong fired over from 25 yards, Simon Weatherstone drew a low save from Andy Marriott and Joe Benjamin should have done better when sent clean through only to put a weak shot straight at Marriott.
Mansfield's only real chance in the first half fell to Louis Briscoe but his heavy touch allowed Knowles to block with his legs.
The Stags had the wind at their backs in the second half but rarely troubled a makeshift Borough defence missing MArc Pullan and Neil Jenkins.
There was a whiff of controversy about their goal too with Danny Brown appealing furiously that the ball had hit Challinor on the hand.
Substitute Blair Sturrock did put the ball in the net again 11 minutes from time but was penalised for a clear handball while Benjamin wasted another sight of goal when his weak shot was fumbled around a post by Marriott.
Stags 1 Eastbourne Borough 1
CHAD.co,uk, 21 November 2009, By John Lomas
Debut-making Jon Challinor rescued below-par Stags a point with a second half equaliser as they struggled against Eastbourne Borough at home this afternoon,
Stags had been booed off at half time after a poor first half in which they trailed 1-0.
Louis Briscoe had earlier wasted a one on one opportunity on a cold, wet and murky afternoon.
Like on Tuesday against Forest Green, Mansfield failed to click into gear and were made to pay by Kayne McLaggon's deflected 44th minute striker.
It didn't help matters when Stags lost 10-goal striker Kyle Perry after only seven minutes with injury.
But a Paul Heckingbottom free kick went on off Challinor right in front of goal on 68 minutes with the visitors looking for an offside flag to give Mansfield an unlikely point.
Stags boss David Holdsworth made four changes, Out went injured pair Jake Speight and Gary Mills while Blair Sturrock dropped to the bench and Gary Silk served a one game suspension.
With Mills out and Brough covering for Silk at right back, Somner returned from suspension to partner new boy Jon Challinor, signed the day before on loan, in central midfield.
Briscoe came back in to play right wing and Duffy returned up front to partner Perry.
Keeper Knowles grabbed an early Stags corner at the second attempt.
In reply Armstrong wasn't too far over with a fourth minute attempt from 10 yards.
A Williams cross caused Borough problems as first Briscoe and then Duffy helped it on but the ball was eventually cleared.
But the Stags suffered a seventh minute blow as Perry, who had picked up some kind of injury, was withdrawn and Dobson sent on. Briscoe moved up front with Dobson on the right.
In their next raid Stags broke well from a quick thrown out by Marriott down the left. Wiliams found Dobson who fed Briscoe for a dipping shot over the top from 25 yards.
Crabb spilt the home defence with a pass behind Heckingbottom to give McLaggon space. But Heckingbottom was there to block his shot and Mansfield broke well with Duffy setting up Dobson for a shuit that flew over the top.
Soon after Duffy got to the by-line and sent back a low ball into the path of Briscoe whose low right footed finish was inches wide of the near post.
Williams picked out Jones with a 20th minute free kick from the left but, unchallenged, the central defender could only send a tame header into the arms of Knowles from 10 yards.
The visitors also might have done better four minutes later as Enver-Marum reached the right by-line and his pull back looked to have set up Armstrong who completely missed his kick, the ball reaching Weatherstone behind him who at least got a low drive on target but which never looked like it would seriously test Marriott.
On 29 minutes Briscoe wasted the best chance so far. The Borough defence failed to cut out Duffy's flicked header to Dobson who played the perfect square pass to leave Briscoe in on goal with only the keeper to beat.
But his first touch was dreadful and gave Knowles enough time to leave his line and get in a crucial tackle, the loose ball eventually sailing harmlessly wide.
As the rain swept down and the gloom deepened, Austin was booked for bringing down Dobson on 36 minutes.
Jones had to leave the field for treatment to yet another facial cut and change his shirt. And Borough almost took advantage as a long kick down the centre fell nicely for Benjamin who fired the ball straight at Marriott as Heckingbottom challenged him.
But the visitors were ahead a minute from the break. Eastbourne built down the right as a low ball to Enver-Marum saw him set McLaggon on his way down the right. And he cut inside and made space before seeing his eventual finish beat Marriott to the keeper's right with the help of a deflection.
The home fans did their best to get behind Mansfield on the restart.
And another chance went begging on 49 minutes as a long diagonal ball from the right somehow sailed through everyone to Williams right in front of goal whose first touch let him down as the ball rolled to Knowles without Williams either controlling or shooting.
There was momentary worry as Marriott left his box to head clear as far as Crabb who tried to help it back over him into the empty net but was well wide on the wind.
The visitors annoyed the home crowd as they took their time over a substitution, changing their minds which player to withdraw and both players ambling slowly to the dug-out. In the end Fraser replaced goalscorer McLaggon.
A quick free kick down the left saw Eastbourne threaten through Benjamin who cut inside before launching a shot well over.
Brown was booked for hacking down Dobson but Garner could only send a tame header at Knowles from the free kick.
Ineffective sub Dobson was himself replaced by Sturrock on 62 minutes and Sturrock almost scored within seconds as Williams crossed hard and low and keeper Knowles slid in to intercept with his foot to prevent the ball reaching the Stags sub right in front of goal.
However, Stags were level out of nowhere on 68 minutes. Heckingbottom sent in a long free kick from the right which evaded everyone and found the net off Challinor just three yards in front of goal after being left in there as the line advanced,
It seemed more to have just hit him than be turned home but it went in and Stags were level.
Knowles was booked for dissent, presumable for arguing he felt Challinor was offside, and Armstrong's name was added to the book for a late tackle on Williams soon after.
Marriott was down to gather a low deflected drive by Armstrong. Then Marriott was lucky after Benjamin turned well to shoot and the ball span out of the keeper's grasp but thankfully bounced just wide for a corner,
Sturrock thought he had put Mansfield ahead on 79 minutes as he crashed home a Duffy flick from 18 yards but the flag was up for pushing by Duffy and the effort ruled out.
Benjamin took the Eastbourne booking tally to five for his sliding late challenge on Brough.
In the final minute Williams was held up on the left so checked his run and laid the ball back to Heckingbottom whose cross was met with a stooping header on target by Sturrock which Knowles safely held onto.
Three minutes of added time were signalled in which Stags forced two corners, but time simply ran out on an afternoon to forget for Mansfield who have now failed to win in three successive games at their Field Mill stronghold.
STAGS: Marriott; Brough, Garner, Jones, Heckingbottom; Briscoe, Somner, Challinor, Williams; Duffy, Perry (Dobson 7, Sturrock 62). Subs: Eley, Armstrong, Hotchkiss.
EASTBOURNE: Knowles; Baker, Austin, Elphick, Brown; Benjamin (Johnson 90+3), Weatherstone, Armstrong, Crabb; McLaggon (Fraser 56), Enver-Marum (Atkin 90 +5). Subs: Taylor, Jordan.
REFEREE: Andrew Madley of Ossett.
ATTENDANCE: 2,922 (23 away).
Evening Post report: Stags 1 Eastbourne 1
AS a well-known television commercial would have described Jon Challinor's debut: "He did exactly what it says on the tin."
Overall, the midfielder did not enjoy the most auspicious of starts for Mansfield in an ugly game dominated by gusty winds and driving rain.
It was not the kind of first game to get the fans licking their lips with anticipation, nor talking fervently about his contribution.
At times in the first period he was virtually anonymous and towards the end he looked every bit the physically shattered figure of a man who has missed so much first team football at Cambridge United this season.
But what the new signing did give the team, which they have been lacking from central midfield this season, is that most precious commodity in football – a goal.
Mansfield's regular starters in the middle of the park this season – skipper Gary Mills, Matt Somner, Kyle Nix and, more latterly Michael Brough, have managed just one strike between them this season – Nix's free-kick in the defeat at Barrow.
Yet it took Challinor, a frequent goal-getter at the likes of Exeter and Aldershot at this level earlier in his career, just 68 minutes to open his account.
It was not a classic goal by any means, in fact, as the player admitted afterwards, Paul Heckingbottom's whipped free-kick, nodded on by Blair Sturrock, simply hit him, rather it being a deft well-placed finish.
But the most important thing was that Challinor was in the right place four yards out to accept the chance, however fortuitously.
It is for that precise reason that the Northampton-born player has been brought to Field Mill by manager David Holdsworth.
And if he can continue to find the net between now and the end of the season, while improving his game in other areas when his fitness improves, he could prove to be an astute acquisition.
Only time will tell on that front, but what Challinor certainly achieved in the short-term was avert a second successive home defeat that would have sparked discontent among some home supporters.
There were boos at half-time when their team trailed and while there were not too many clapping a disappointing draw come full time, the jeers of derision were few and far between.
From the fans' point of view, they had expected Mansfield to see off Eastbourne, a side without a win in seven matches and one who were beaten by the Stags at Priory Lane only last month.
The hosts went into the game in the play-off zone while their opponents were looking over their shoulders towards the relegation places.
But that counted for little once the action got under way and it quickly became clear Mansfield would not have it all their own way.
Any hopes Mansfield had of quickly settling into a rhythm were dashed when the hard-working Kyle Perry had to make way, seeing Louis Briscoe move up front and substitute Craig Dobson operating down the right.
It was makeshift striker Briscoe who failed to take advantage of the Stags' best two openings of the half as he drilled into the side-netting from Duffy's cut-back and then overran the ball when put in on goal by Dobson.
For their part, Eastbourne's Paul Armstrong should have done better when he mis-kicked following Liam Enver-Marum's neat skill to tee him up.
Another opportunity went begging when Joe Benjamin raced clear with Jones off the pitch receiving treatment, but he shot straight at Alan Marriott with the retreating Heckingbottom applying the pressure.
But the Sports were in front a minute from the break when Kayne McLaggon took Enver-Marum's neat flick in his stride, cut in from the right past Jones and found the left corner with an angled drive that deflected in off Brough.
Mansfield tried to respond after half-time only for Ryan Williams to lose control when in a fine shooting position.
The home fans grew increasingly restless each time a Mansfield pass went astray until midway through the second half Challinor struck.
With the introduction of Sturrock for Dobson livening things up, the Stags went in search of a winner.
The closest they came was when the Scotsman fired into the left-hand corner from the edge of the box but was adjudged to have handballed in controlling Duffy's flick and the effort ruled out.
The Stags have now failed to win in their last three home games having won seven out of their first nine games on their own patch.
But they will quickly get a chance to put that right when they play host again tomorrow as Luton Town visit Field Mill
Challinor may have some work to do to win over the doubters, but another goal against the Hatters wouldn't half do his cause some good.
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