STAGS BEATEN BY WREXHAM
Blue Square Premier
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Wrexham
Attendance: 2520 (152 from Wrexham)
Date: 3 April 2010
Stags dreadful Easter home form continues:
The Stags haven't won an Easter home fixture since April 3, 1999 (exactly on the day eleven years ago!) when Brighton were beaten 2-0 at Field Mill.
Since then, the Stags' Easter home fixtures have resulted like this:
April 24, 2000 (Easter Monday): Mansfield 0, Swansea 1
April 14, 2001 (Easter Saturday): Mansfield 0, Torquay 0 (Note: Game at Southend on Easter Monday April 16, 2001, abandoned due to a tragic incident concerning a referee)
March 30, 2002 (Easter Saturday): Mansfield 1, Rushden & Diamonds 4
April 19, 2003 (Easter Saturday): Mansfield 0, Barnsley 1
April 12, 2004 (Easter Monday): Mansfield 0, Bristol Rovers 0
March 25, 2005 (Good Friday): Mansfíeld 0, Chester 0
April 15, 2006 (Easter Saturday): Mansfield 0, Leyton Orient 1
April 7, 2007 (Easter Saturday): Mansfield 0, Bristol Rovers 1
March 22, 2008 (Easter Saturday): Mansfield 1, Grimsby 2
April 11, 2009 (Easter Saturday): Mansfield 2, Barrow 2
April 3, 2010 (Easter Saturday): Mansfield 0, Wrexham 1
That makes four draws and seven defeats in eleven Stags Field Mill Easter fixtures since the turn of the milennium. Scoreline 4 for, 13 against. Depressing.
Last time the Stags won an Easter fixture was a 3-1 at Kidderminster on March 28, 2005 in League Two. Since then, Easter games (before the one at Cambridge on Easter Monday) have yielded the Stags just a single point.
Compare that to 1963-1964 when Peterborough were beaten 4-1 on Easter Saturday March 28, 1964 and Bristol City being thrashed 4-0 on Easter Monday March 30, 1964 - and in our second 1970's promotion season when beating Chesterfield 2-1 at home on April 11, 1977 (Easter Monday) and Shrewsbury 1-0 at home the following day.
Then, teams often played three fixtures over the Easter period.
Details compiled and checked by Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag
Stags 0 Wrexham 1, Saturday, 3rd April, 2010
Wrexham continued their dominance of Mansfield Town over the past two seasons with a single-goal victory at Field Mill this afternoon.
Mark Jones' 42nd minute strike ensured Dean Saunders' men enjoyed their second successive double over the Stags along with an FA Trophy win last season.
But Mansfield did deserve at least a point on the day as they had the lion's share of possession and saw the Dragons produce two goal line clearances in two minutes after the break to keep out efforts from Jake Speight and Jon Challinor.
The Stags completely bossed the first half of the opening 45 minutes without ever really threatening Chris Maxwell's goal.
But the last 20 minutes of the half belonged to Wrexham during which time they grabbed the lead when Jones netted from six yards to punish an error from Andy Nicholas.
It was all Stags again after the break but, on a muddy, carved up surface, they were unable to breach Maxwell's goal as they went a fourth game at home without a win.
Stags were unchanged, but Matt Somner and Ryan Williams replaced Scott Garner and Kyle Nix on the bench.
Perry did well to hold off Obeng on the left before swivelling to drill in a low cross in front of goal to no one in the first attack of the game.
Immediately Stags were playing good passing football with the Dragons barely able to get a kick.
But it took the home side eight minutes to give keeper Maxwell work to do as he safely held on to a Burgess free kick from just outside the box.
Foster was furious when, after taking the ball off Mitchley, the Wrexham man tripped him but a corner was given instead of a free kick. Thankfully Burgess was there to clear at the near post.
A Perry free kick from 30 yards was straight at the Wrexham wall as the wet pitch began to show early signs of cutting up.
Mansfield maintained the pressure and won two corners.
On 19 minutes O'Leary was booked for catching Mills in a tackle which left the Stags man grounded for a while, requiring treatment.
Wrexham half-cleared Mansfield's third corner to Challinor only for him to send the ball straight into the arms of Maxwell.
As Briscoe was crowded out on the right after a powerful run, Perry went down off the ball holding his face next to Westwood. He got up and looked at the linesman but nothing was given.
Marriott had his first real action on 25 minutes as he slid down at the feet of Mitchley before the Wrexham man could reach an inviting pass in the box.
Neil Taylor became the second Wrexham player cautioned on 26 minutes for felling Briscoe.
Mitchley twice caused problems, first forcing Marriott to smother his low cross from the left and soon after cutting side to blast a fierce finish over the top.
Assoumani almost broke the deadlock on 40 minutes as he managed to turn a left wing corner wide from eight yards as Foster slipped alongside him.
Mangham was too high from 20 yards as the visitors continued to enjoy the upper hand.
And they were finally ahead on 42 minutes after some dreadful home defending.
A low ball drilled in from the left somehow got through everyone to the far post where Nicholas made a hash of clearing and allowed Jones to control, step inside him and bundle the ball past a helpless Marriott from six yards.
Despite a blatant push by Briscoe, Stags were awarded a corner on the left on the second minute of the second half but Maxwell grabbed a tame header, sent Mangan on his way down the right and Mitchley was only just wide with his first time flick at the near post.
The yellow card was out again on 51 minutes as Jones stuck out an arm while on the floor to knock the ball away from Perry's feet.
But Mills sent the eventual free kick straight to Maxwell who, soon after, did well to punch a cross off the head of Perry.
A cutting pass from Burgess sent Silk into space, but all he could do was win a corner from which Perry and Nicholas got in each other's way.
The change was the crowd were waiting for came on 58 minutes as Briscoe made way for Speight, Stags fans hoping he could once again change a game.
And within seconds he flashed a great effort just wide of the far post from 18 yards.
Brough needed treatment for a kick to the face after a stooping header.
He eventually continued with a bandage round the wound.
Taylor and the Welsh fans behind the goal were screaming for a penalty when he claimed he had been blocked off while going for the return pass of a one-two, but play went on.
Stags then had the agony of seeing two goal line clearances in as many minutes.
On 68 minutes the visiting defence failed to cut out Perry's ball forward and Speight nipped in, rounded Maxwell but, from a tight angle, Westwood got across the block on the line as the ball almost squeezed inside the near post.
A minute later Brough headed a left wing corner towards Challinor who planted a firm header towards the far top corner where Taylor rose to again thwart Stags on the line.
This was much better from Mansfield and, with Duffy coming on for Perry, they continued the pressure with Burgess seeing a powerful shot blocked and Duffy sending a searing shot rising above the crossbar.
Speight was again unlucky when Maxwell could only punch as far as him and he hooked the ball towards the empty net but it went narrowly wide with Sturrock stretching in vain to try to turn it home.
On 79 minutes Wrexham made two changes while Williams joined the action for Stags in place of Burgess.
Sturrock cut inside on the right to shoot over the far angle with Duffy shouting angrily at home for a return pass.
Even deeper into the five added minutes Williams' cross from the left dropped for Foster seven yards from goal but the ball reared up as he shot and was unable to get any power on it as it flew straight to Maxwell.
Stags were predictably booed from the field once again at the end of a frustrating afternoon against a side that clearly has the 'Indian sign' over the Stags these days.
STAGS: Marriot; Silk, Foster, Brough, Nicholas; Briscoe (Speight 58), Challinor, Mills, Burgess (Williams 79); Sturrock , Perry (Duffy 68). Subs: Collett, Somners.
WREXHAM: Maxwell; Obeng, Westwood, Assoumani, Brown; Jones, Fleming, O'Leary, N. Taylor; Mitchley (G. Taylor 79), Mangan (Cieslewicz 79). Subs not used: Baynes, McCluskey, Edwards.
REFEREE: Scott Duncan of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Full time: Mansfield Town 0 Vs Wrexham 1
Evening Post report
MANSFIELD Town's recent poor home form continued as they were beaten by bogey side Wrexham at Field Mill this afternoon.
The Red Dragons had won three previous league games and an FA Trophy tie against the Stags since both dropped into the Blue Square Premier two seasons ago.
And Dean Saunders' men once again come out on top with the help of a determined defensive effort.
The deciding goal came three minutes before the break from Mark Jones, who netted after sloppy defending from the home side.
In the second period, Mansfield pushed hard for an equaliser and went close on more than one occasion, but could not find a way through.
It meant it was a fourth game without a win for the Stags at Field Mill, including the games with Tamworth, York and Altrincham.
As Mansfield lined up unchanged, Kyle Perry did well to fire an inviting centre across the six-yard box early on, but no team-mate was there to capitalise.
The Stags started well with their passing but a poor final ball let them down on a couple of occasions.
Andy Burgess got in the first shot on target direct from a free-kick but it was straight into the arms of keeper Craig Maxwell.
With the playing surface cutting up, neither side were able to knock it around with any fluency.
Kristian O'Leary was the first in the book as he crashed into Gary Mills late, in the opinion of the referee.
Louis Briscoe was unlucky just past the midway point of the first half when outpaced Aaron Brown, only to be dispossessed by a covering Wrexham defender.
The visitors almost caught Mansfield cold when Danny Mitchley looked to be in the clear until Alan Marriott raced off his line to clear the danger.
The Stags keeper did well again when he smothered Brown's powerful low free-kick just past the hour before Michael Brough's last-gasp tackle denied Andy Mangan.
With little to test either goalkeeper, Mitchley tried his luck from distance after cutting in from the right but the ball was always rising over the top.
The Red Dragons should have gone in front as half-time approached but Mansoor Assoumani volleyed wide after getting goalside of Luke Foster form Jones' left-wing corner.
But as the pressure increased on the Mansfield goal, Wrexham made the breakthrough.
A low left-wing centre squirmed through to Jones, who cut back inside Andy Nicholas and shot past Marriott from eight yards.
Soon after the restart, Wrexham broke quickly and Mangan's cross was turned into the side-netting by Mitchley at the near post.
Maxwell just got the better of Perry as the two challenged from an aerial ball flighted in by Briscoe.
It was to be Briscoe last real involvement as he made way for Jake Speight in the 58th minute.
Within seconds the substitute went close as he flashed a half-volley just wide of the right-hand post from just outside the box.
The Stags almost equalised twice in quick succession but were denied by last ditch defending.
First, Speight latched onto a poor touch from a Wrexham defender and went round Maxwell only to see his shot cleared off the line by Ashley Westwood.
From the resulting corner, Brough headed into the danger zone for Jon Challinor, who nodded towards goal, only for Taylor to clear from the foot of the post with Maxwell beaten.
That was after Neil Taylor had appeals for a penalty waved away after he had burst into the Mansfield box.
With the Stags throwing bodies forward, it would still not go for them as Speight hooked just wide from a poor Maxwell punch.
As a last throw of the dice, manager David Holdsworth threw on Ryan Williams for Burgess.
With time running out, Blair Sturrock cut in from the right onto his left-foot only to curl over the ankle.
In stoppage time, a left-wing Williams cross dropped for Foster but he miscued his volley, allowing Maxwell to make a save diving to his right.
Stags not good enough as they lose again
Evening Post report
IT was a 90 minutes that made a mockery of Mansfield Town's genuine, pre-game notion that they could still force their way into the play-offs.
Ahead of Wrexham's visit to Field Mill, boss David Holdsworth, first team coach Gareth Holmes and players Luke Foster and Jon Challinor were equally indignant that the Stags still had a part to play in the promotion shake-up.
The premise was that the Yellows could still go on a terrific winning streak and other results could go their way.
That by flexing their muscles with a Bank Holiday double against the Red Dragons and Cambridge it would put the pressure on.
That the likes of Rushden and York could yet panic if they had a wobble.
But by being consigned to their fourth home defeat of the season, all that talk instantly flew out of the window.
For Holdsworth and his players it was a crushing blow that would have driven home the message that a miracle wasn't going to happen, even if it has been the correct, professional approach to never give up hope.
For the majority of supporters, however, it merely confirmed beyond all doubt what they had suspected since losing a crucial 'six-ponter' against York City in mid-March.
Seeing Mansfield huff and puff without being able to blow down the house that was Wrexham's defence was a frustration that has become increasingly commonplace and mystifying since the end of October.
Back at the start of the campaign, the Stags were every bit the big, bad wolf, blitzing teams and scoring goals for fun.
They hammered four past Crawley and Barrow and three past Ebbsfleet, Hayes and Yeading and Altrincham. They even inflicted a first defeat of the season on the then-flying Oxford United.
At that point, after the FA Cup defeat of the Robins, the Stags' record on home turf was seven wins, one draw and one defeat.
But, since then, Holdsworth's men have won just two of 13 games in front of their own faithful, not counting the deleted fixture against Chester.
Six have ended in draws – dropping points against strugglers Histon, Grays and Tamworth – and five in defeats (one in the FA Cup and one the FA Trophy). On seven of those occasions Mansfield have failed to hit the target, adding credence to the manager's belief that his players are not ruthless enough.
Taking all that into account, it is easy to see why the home faithful have become so frustrated – and why the club's play-off charge has hit the buffers.
How Holdsworth must now yearn for his team to get back to form that saw them unbeaten at Field Mill for more than half a season after his arrival.
What was a fortress is his early days now, unfortunately, lays in ruins waiting to be re-built.
On the back of an encouraging point at Kettering, Mansfield fielded an unchanged side.
Initially, the signs looked good for them as they passed the ball about swiftly and incisively, pinning Wrexham back. But clear-cut chances were few and as the half wore on, the pitch began to cut up badly and hamper their build-up play.
Wrexham also started to get a foothold in the game and keeper Alan Marriott had to twice be alert to foil Danny Mitchley and Aaron Brown.
Mansfield, though, switched off for a moment three minutes from the break and were duly punished. A left-wing centre squirmed through to Mark Jones at the far post and, as Andy Nicholas slipped, the midfielder cut in on his left foot to slam past Marriott from eight yards out.
The visitors were only too happy to sit on their lead in the second period and looked to hit Mansfield on the counter, which they almost did when Mitchley fired into the side-netting.
For the most part, though, they strung men across the middle of the pitch and Mansfield had no answer.
Things might have been different had substitute Jake Speight provided the inspiration he so often does.
First he whistled a half-volley past the right-hand upright and then he was foiled by Ashley Westwood's goal-line clearance after he had rounded Chris Maxwell. Jon Challinor's goalbound header was also cleared off the line by Neil Taylor.
Afterwards, even the optimists in the home camp were conceding the game was up. With just 15 points left to play for and a ten-point gap to the play-offs, they really could do little else.
For much of the season, it did look as if Mansfield would have the kind of consistency to claim a place in the top five – and earn the right to fight for a place in the Football League.
As it has turned out, though, they have not been able to deliver at the 'business end' of the campaign.
It is only human nature to think back to where it went wrong. Followers can analyse until the cows come home why the Stags have failed in their quest for a top-five slot.
But it is much easier to sum it up in one simple six-word sentence: They are not quite good enough.
Mansfield Town 0 Wrexham FC 1: Dean Saunders hails 'great three points'
DEAN SAUNDERS hailed Wrexham FC's 1-0 win at Mansfield Town as "a great three points".
Wrexham FC boss Saunders praised midfielder Mark Jones for the way he took his 42nd-minute goal, and recent signing Kristian O'Leary for creating the winner.
The win virtually assured Wrexham FC's Blue Square Premier safety.
Saunders said: "It's a great three points, we knew it was going to be a tough game. "Kristian O'Leary's run made the goal and then Mark Jones has took the goal well, apparently it was a penalty anyway."
He added: "We tried to frustrate them, we knew the crowd might turn against them... we knew we would have to defend in the second half."
Jones grabbed the only goal three minutes before the break when Andy Nicholas failed to clear and Jones was able to slot home from eight yards.
Danny Mitchley almost made it 2-0 after the break but his effort went wide.
The Stags pressed for an equaliser, and Jack Speight and Jon Challinor both had efforts cleared off the line.
Mansfield Town: Marriott, Nicholas, Foster, Brough, Silk, Burgess (Williams 79), Mills, Challinor, Briscoe (Speight 57), Perry (Duffy 70), Sturrock.
Subs Not Used: Collett, Somner.
Wrexham FC: Maxwell, Brown, Assoumani, Westwood, Obeng, Neil Taylor, O'Leary, Fleming, Jones, Mitchley (Gareth Taylor 78), Mangan (Cieslewicz 78).
Subs Not Used: Baynes, McCluskey, Edwards.
Booked: O'Leary, Neil Taylor, Jones.
Goals: Jones 42.
Ref: Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear).
Wrexham FC Mansfield Town 0 Wrexham 1: Mark Currie's verdict
by Mark Currie, Daily Post
A FINE one-handed save by goalkeeper Chris Maxwell in the third of five minutes added time at Mansfield Town on Saturday ensured Wrexham for once managed to hold onto a lead and reap the rare reward of what was only their fourth away league win of the season.
Given the Dragons' previous track record of regularly dropping two points – and sometimes three – from a winning position during the current campaign, there would not have been many of the 150 travelling fans, or indeed, many on the Wrexham bench who would have fancied Dean Saunders' side to successfully defend their 43rd-minute goal scored by Mark Jones.
That they did so was down to teamwork, some excellent handling from Wales under-21 international Maxwell and a couple of timely goal-line clearances during a second 45 minutes in which the home side made most of the running, but were ultimately frustrated as much by the hard-working visitors as their own limitations in the final third of the field.
The Stags, who saw their hopes of a late surge into the play-offs rendered nigh-on impossible by the defeat, were booed off the pitch and manager David Holdsworth also was not immune to some pretty vocal criticism from supporters impatient for an end to Football League exile.
Wrexham boss Saunders, with a far less impressive record than his Stags counterpart over the course of this season, has been subject to similar pressures. Armed, though, by an extension to his contract, he expressed solidarity with Holdsworth, praised his record and suggested that anything less than automatic promotion for former Football League clubs was failure by another name.
The Dragons' season cannot be regarded as anything less, but there are grounds for believing that the Racecourse boss is learning from his mistakes, the recent recruitment of Kristian O'Leary and Aaron Brown supplying years of experience and a degree of robustness that promising young players like, for example, Nathan Fairhurst and Sam Williamson simply do not possess.
And while it may be no more than coincidence that in the new duo's three games to date Wrexham have banked seven points from a possible nine, their sheer physical presence has also bulked up a defensive unit that on Saturday clocked up a 19th clean sheet from 44 outings.
Physique and strength were central to the Dragons performance on a Field Mill playing surface that home striker Kyle Perry later described as “not fit for pigs” and the visitors also needed to exercise a fair degree of discipline with regards to shape and formation in a testing opening 20 minutes that saw the home side well on top in terms of both possession and territory.
As early as the second minute Perry got the wrong side of Mansour Assoumani, but with none of his team-mates in support his low cross was wasted, as was the free kick he won at the defender's expense, Andy Burgess firing the ball straight at Maxwell.
It wasn't until nearly midway through the half that Wrexham threatened, Andy Mangan pulling his marker away for Danny Mitchley to run into the space and force a brave save from Alan Marriott at the edge of his penalty area.
The on-loan Blackpool striker, selected ahead of Gareth Taylor, was never going to win much in the air, but he linked well with Mangan and O'Leary's reassuring anchor role allowed Andy Fleming, Mark Jones and Neil Taylor to make runs forward in what was Wrexham's best spell of the afternoon.
When Luke Foster needed two bites to stop Mangan surging through, Brown's stinging free kick brought a fine save from Marriott and the goalkeeper was grateful to his defence for two important blocks, denying first Taylor and then Mangan, whose goal-bound effort was deflected behind.
The hard-working Fleming picked out Mitchley who cut inside from the left to drive another chance over the bar, and Assoumani spurned a superb opportunity six minutes before the interval when he volleyed over from a Jones corner.
The Mansfield defence had failed to pick up the big Frenchman, but a more costly error was punished in the 43rd-minute when O'Leary pushed up and invited Mitchley to cross low from the left. Defender Andy Nicholas failed to cut it out and Jones was at the far post to notch up his second goal in three games.
The Dragons might have doubled their advantage in the 47th minute when Maxwell's long kick was taken on by Mangan, who cut the ball back to Mitchley for a shot that flew into the side-netting, but the remainder of the game saw the visitors pretty much penned back in their own half of the field.
Mansfield substitute Jake Speight went close to making a sensational impact, his first touch a vicious shot that flew narrowly wide, and when the striker forced a hasty and under-hit backpass from Ashley Westwood, he went around Maxwell but was denied an equaliser as the Wrexham skipper got back to clear off the line.
From the subsequent corner, Neil Taylor did the same, heading away Jon Challinor's goal-bound effort and as the home side continued to press Rob Duffy wasted another chance after Assoumani miscued an attempted clearance.
Speight went close again, latching onto a poor punch from Maxwell to hook wide of the target before the introduction of substitutes Gareth Taylor and Adrian Cieslewicz for the last 10 minutes gave the overworked visitors' defence an out ball.
Even so, Mansfield might have snatched a draw with two minutes remaining, but Maxwell, who had rarely been directly tested, proved equal to Luke Foster's last-gasp header.
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