STAGS GUTTED TO CONCEDE LATE EQUALISER
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Kettering Town
Sandwith 20. Ashikodi 87
Attendance: 2089 (88 from Kettering)
Date: 24 August 2010
Mansfield Town 1 v 1 Kettering, Tuesday 24th August 2010
LUKE Medley was rewarded for his superb second half display in Saturday's 3-1 win at Kidderminster with his first start for the club, Parker the man to make way in tonight's match at home to Kettering.
A splendid Kevin Sandwith free kick on his full debut on 20 minute had proved the difference between the sides up until then in an often fiery game.
Stags dominated the first half and could have been further ahead.
And, although battling KetterADVERTISEMENTing made them dig deeper after the break with their pressing, the visitors still failed to draw a meaningful save out of Alan Marriott until he was beaten by Ashikodi's fine finish just 25 minutes after joining the action.
Disappointed Stags, who again didn't do a lot wrong over 90 minutes, will now be looking for better in their Bank Holiday fixtures at home to Cambridge United on Saturday and at Altrincham on Monday afternoon.
Kevin Sandwith also made his full debut, replacing the injured Stonehouse.
Kettering, without a win and only one goal from three games so far, included ex-Stags central defender Graham.
Both keepers were down well to smother dangerous early crosses from Connor and Taylor respectively.
But on five minutes Chris Smith launched a long ball over the retreating Kettering defence and Medley skipped by them but failed to get a decent contact on his finish which he scuffed wide of the far post from 12 yards.
Then Adam Smith did well to get in a low cross under pressure which Medley struck goalwards on the turn and saw it deflect for a corner.
A quickly taken free kick had Stags backpeddling quickly and the home side were relieved to see Marriott grab Marna's high cross.
Connor might have opened the scoring had he got better contact onto Mills' 17th minute corner but the ball skimmed off his head and wide.
But three minutes later it was 1-0 to the Stags. Connor was fouled almost 25 yards from goal to offer Mansfield a free kick from a promising position just left of centre.
Mills looked like he would take it right footed but dead ball expert Sandwith ran in quickly from the right to curl it left footed over the wall and under the near angle.
It was the first goal between these sides at Field Mill in 200 minutes of football following two scoreless draws in two seasons.
In reply Taylor whistled a powerful 20 yard shot over Marriott's near angle four minutes later.
But the home side were starting to play some excellent football and three more Mansfield corners followed which saw Kettering stand firm.
Poppies' keeper Abbey then showed good positioning to block a powerul, low on-target effort from Connor after the ball had broken to him on the right following a bout of head tennis.
Briscoe was also on target with a difficult snapshot that flew into the ground before flying straight at Abbey.
Connor did have the ball in the net on 35 minutes with a sweet low finish, but the assistant's flag was already up for offside against the strike from Mills' pass.
A late tackle from Briscoe that left Taylor in pain earned the Stags man a caution as both sides squared up for some pushing and posturing.
Adam Smith managed to nod down a long Briscoe cross at the far post but Connor, almost right next to him, poked the ball tamely wide.
Medley was slow walking away from a Kettering free kick but, with his back to ball, keeper Abbey blasted the ball at him. The referee, not seeing the full picture, went over and booked Medley to the crowd and Medley's disgust.
The half-time whistle blew almost immediately which promoted the quickest sprint of the evening so far as Stags boss David Holdsworth raced towards the referee to give him a very animated piece of his mind.
But it had been another good display from the Stags who could have gone in with more of a cushion than Sandwith's lone strike.
Marriott got a decisive punch onto a dangerous early Dance cross.
The Foster raised cheers as he chased back to win the ball back with a wholehearted tackle before finding Adam Smith with a long searching pass who drilled wide of the near post.
Sandwith was then too high with an ambitious free kick from over 30 yards.
Westwood was booked for an earlier foul on Adam Smith, the referee allowing play to go on. But Westwood protested he wasn't the player involved in the foul and soon after Dempster was shown the yellow car, presumably the referee getting his man at last!
At this point Stags sent on Parker for Medley, who had shown some neat touched but not produced the frightening running of Saturday.
Briscoe's pass inside for Mills saw the midfielder wait intelligently before knocking the ball into space behind a defender for the onrushing Silk to blaze a rising shot over.
Parker had a half-chance at the far post soon after coming on but couldn't find his touch.
From Connor's pull back two minutes later Parker tried to curl one towards the far corner but got little behind it and Abbey easily caught it.
The home fans had been on Abbey's back since the Medley incident and his kicking deteriorated under the pressure and boos.
Graham caught Mills fractionally late with a tackle on 70 minutes which earned him a booking.
The Poppies were far from finished, however, and they won themselves two corners to set home hearts pounding.
Another corner followed which saw Connor get his head bravely in the way of Graham's shot.
Stags boss Holdsworth was lectured by the referee for angrily kicking the ball away in frustration over the way decisions were going and was lucky not to be sent to the stands.
Stags broke well from another Kettering corner only for Briscoe's poor final pass to Parker to fall short.
There was a hold-up while the referee went over to his assistant who had pulled up injured and the fourth official took over.
With such a slender cushion, it was a tense finish for the home supporters.
But, with just three minutes left, they were stung by a Poppies equaliser.
Struggling to fully clear a high ball into the box, the ball bounced invitingly just inside the box for sub Ashikodi to lash an unstoppable right foot rocket into the top left hand corner.
Mills forced Abbey to a great diving save to his right with a hopeful 20 yard shot on 89 minutes.
Nix and Duffy were thrown on for Adam Smith and Connor in stoppage time to no avail as a yellow card for Mills for a foul on Ashikodi with 95 minutes on the watch was all left to trouble the statisticians.
The home fans at least applauded their side off for their efforts, saving their vitriol for the officials and the visitors, shamefully one fan having to be wrestled to the ground by stewards as he tried to launch himself at the Kettering players near the tunnel.
STAGS: Marriott; Silk, C. Smith, Foster, Sandwith; Briscoe, Mills, Thompson, A. Smith; Connor, Medley. Subs: Collett, Naylor, Nix, Duffy, Parker.
KETTERING: Abbey, Graham, Westwood, Dempster, Boucaud, Furlong, Marna, Taylor, Dance, Makofo, Noubissie. Subs: Cooper, Roper, Ashikoli, Wrack, Solkhon.
REFEREE: Jez Simpson of Carnforth.
Evening Post Match report: Mansfield Town 1 Kettering Town 1
GIVEN past history, it was an entirely predictable outcome – but one that deeply frustrated hard-working Mansfield Town.
After successive 0-0 draws in the previous two years of Stags-Kettering fixtures, it was no surprise a third stalemate materialised under the Field Mill floodlights.
What did irk the Stags, though, was that they came within touching distance of earning an excellent victory, only to be denied by a late Kettering leveller.
It was a brilliant free-kick goal from debutant Kevin Sandwith that had given the Stags a deserved first-half lead.
But as the second period wore on, the visitors pressed increasingly, pushing Mansfield further and further back.
The hosts defended valiantly, and it appeared they had done enough to seal their third win in four games at the start of the new campaign.
However, it was not to be as substitute Moses Ashikodi netted with an arrowed shot into the top corner to break Mansfield hearts.
The Stags had gone into the match with two changes from the side that started Saturday's 3-1 victory at Kidderminster; one enforced, one tactical.
Luke Medley was given the chance to build on his impressive substitute showing at Aggborough as he was preferred to Keigan Parker up front. Sandwith was the other switch, brought in for thigh injury victim Paul Stonehouse.
Kettering threatened first as veteran Paul Furlong was crowded out at the near post after he looked to latch onto Greg Taylor's low cross from the left.
Mansfield countered with a ball over the top from Chris Smith that Medley latched onto through the inside right channel only to drag his shot wide.
The Stags' second corner was taken from the right by Gary Mills and though Paul Connor rose to win the header, he directed it wide of the left-hand post.
The Stags were in front in the 20th minute with the first goal in 200 minutes of Blue Square Bet Premier football between these two sides in north Notts.
Connor was fouled 25-yards from goal and left-back Sandwith stepped up to curl a superb shot beyond the diving Nathan Abbey into the top left-hand corner.
Kettering tried to respond quickly but Greg Taylor's blast from way out was never troubling Marriott's goal.
Connor had an opportunity to double the hosts' lead just before the half hour as he took Louis Briscoe's header in his stride and got in an angled drive that keeper Abbey did well to push away.
Briscoe was the next to try his luck for Mansfield but he shanked his volley from just outside the box.
A lung-bursting run from the back saw Gary Silk pull the ball back behind three Mansfield players before Connor had the ball in the net, only to have his effort ruled out for offside.
By now, Mansfield were playing with increasing confidence, but Connor could not gather in Adam Smith's knockdown following Briscoe's run and cross in the run up to half-time.
As the second half began, Connor flicked on for Medley who would have had a shot on goal but for a poor touch at the vital moment.
Sandwith tried his luck from another free-kick, this time from further out, but his drive was too high.
Another fine break from Silk saw him pick out Mills but his goal-bound strike deflected over for a corner. From it, the ball skimmed through to Parker but he could only shoot tamely at Abbey.
The Scot tried his luck again from the edge of the box with a curler but it was too close to the keeper.
As Kettering started to press strongly for an equaliser, Luke Graham fired a shot on target that Connor did well to head away from danger in a crowded box.
But the Poppies were back on level terms when Mansfield could not clear a high ball and as the ball dropped for Ashikodi, he thumped it into the top left-hand corner from 16 yards.
A point in the end was by no means a disaster for the Stags as they continue their encouraging start to the season.
Even so, it was still bitterly disappointing for Mansfield supporters – they knew it could have been more.
Mansfield: Marriott, Silk C. Smith, Foster, Stonehouse, Briscoe, Mills, Thompson, A.Smith (Nix 90), Connor (Duffy 90), Medley (Parker 61). Subs not used: Collett, Naylor.
Kettering: Abbey, Dempster, Westwood, Graham, Taylor, Noubissie (Solkhon 80), Boucaud, Dance, Makofo (Ashikodi 62), Furlong, Marna. Subs not used: Cooper, Roper, Wrack.
Referee: Jez Simpson (Lancashire).
Attendance: 2,089 (88 visitors).
Goals: Mansfield: Sandwith (20). Kettering: Ashikodi (87).
Shots on target: Mansfield 6 Kettering 2.
Shots off target: Mansfield 5 Kettering 1.
Fouls: Mansfield 11 Kettering 10.
Corners: Mansfield 5 Kettering 5.
Offsides: Mansfield 4 Kettering 1.
Bookings: Mansfield 3 (Briscoe, 35, foul; Medley, 45, unsporting behaviour; Mills, 90, unsporting behaviour) Kettering 2 (Dempster, 61, foul; Graham, 70, foul).
Sendings off: Mansfield 0 Kettering 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Tyrone Thomspson. Again impressed with his energy and work-rate to make it difficult for Kettering to get through and must have been disappointed as anyone to see the equaliser go in.
Mansfield Town 1 Kettering Town 1
After a poor first half performance at Field Mill tonight, and going in 1-0 down to a Kevin Sandwith free kick after 19 minutes, the Poppies gave a spirited second half performance to snatch a deserved 1-1 draw. The all-important equaliser came from a Moses Ashikodi drive on 86 minutes.
Mansfield Town: (4-4-2):
1 Alan Marriott
2 Gary Silk
3 Kevin Sandwith
4 Gary Mills
5 Stephen Foster (Captain)
6 Chris Smith
7 Louis Briscoe
8 Tyrone Thompson
11 Adam Smith (10 Kyle Nix 90)
22 Luke Medley (21 Keigan Parker 60)
23 Paul Connor (9 Rob Duffy 90+4)
16 Tom Naylor
25 Neil Collett
Yellow cards: Briscoe,35;Medley,45;Mills,90+4.
27 Nathan Abbey
2 Luke Graham
4 Ashley Westwood (Captain)
6 John Dempster
8 Andre Boucaud
9 Paul Furlong
10 Jean-Paul Marna
12 Greg Taylor
14 James Dance
18 Serge Makofo (7 Moses Ashikodi 60)
23 Patrick Noubissie (19 Brett Solkhon 80)
5 Ian Roper
13 Niall Cooper
16 Darren Wrack
Yellow cards : Dempster,60:Graham,69.
Mansfield included both Kevin Sandwith and Luke Medley, with Keigan Parker reverting to the substitutes bench, and Paul Stonehouse not included in the squad. The Poppies were unchanged, although on the bench, the suspended Lee Harper was replaced by Niall Cooper, and Darren Wrack replaced Martin Smith.
The Stags quickly took control of the first half as Paul Connor's early cross was cut out by Kettering keeper, Nathan Abbey. With a quick break, Kettering had a good chance as Greg Taylor got free on the left, but Paul Furlong could not get a good contact on the cross. Still in the first 5 minutes, Gary Silk slotted a great ball through to Luke Medley who scuffed his shot wide of the left upright. Then, five minutes later, Medley's turn and shot was deflected wide by Ashley Westwood.
Mansfield keeper, Alan Marriott, collected a Jean-Paul Marna cross at full stretch, before at the other end, former Poppy Gary Mills' corner from the right was headed wide by Connor.
The home team went ahead on 19 minutes. Westwood conceded a needless free kick and Kevin Sandwith curled a beautiful free kick around the wall and beat Abbey at his right post. The Poppies tried to respond and Taylor's shot was wide.
As the game exited the first quarter, it was the Stags who looked more likely to score and increase their lead. Paul Connor got clear, and Abbey made a sharp save diving to his right. Louis Briscoe had a shot saved, before he was yellow carded for a nasty challenged as tempers flared.
Mansfield controlled the rest of the half, without really threatening Abbey's goal, albeit that Connor did have the ball in the net from a crisp drive, only to find that the assistant had caught him offside moments before.
The home crowd were not happy with Referee, Mr. Simpson at the interval, who also incurred the considerable anger of Manager, David Holdsworth.
Half Time:Mansfield Town 1 - 0 Kettering Town
The Poppies changed the formation on the resumption, and immediately began to look more lively. James Dance got in a telling cross and Marriott had to punch clear. Mansfield countered and Adam Smith shot wide and another Sandwith free kick this time sailed over the bar.
On 55 minutes, Dance got through on the right and into the penalty area only to be barged off the ball- but no infringement was spotted by the Referee. A few minutes later, Mills set up Gary Silk for a shot which was deflected over the bar for a corner. From the restart, substitute striker, Keigan parker found the ball at his feet at the far post, and, unchallenged he tamely poked the ball to Abbey.
Abbey that held Parker's curling shot from the left- but the Poppies were really coming into the game now and beginning to cause problems for the home defence. Moses Ashikodi replaced Serge Makofo- and a number of corners were won- with pressure being put on the Stags' rearguard. A firm Luke Graham drive was headed clear by Connor, and then Marna's shot was blocked. Brett Solkhon replaced Patrick Noubissie and his first real touch saw him meet Dance's low cross- but the shot was well blocked.
The equaliser came on 86 minutes. Kettering pressed forward down the right, and as John Dempster's cross was partly cleared, Ashikodi adjusted well and drove an unstoppable shot past Marriott and high into the net from 15 yards.
Mansfield tried to press forward and Mills' shot was saved by Abbey, and Tyrone Thompson's cross from the right was poked wide by Connor.
Full Time:Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Kettering Town
Attendance: 2089 (Poppies fans 88)
Poppies Man of the Match: Luke Graham
Frustrated Ashikodi is the man to grab point
Mansfield Town 1 Kettering Town 1
northantset.co.uk, 25 August 2010, By Jon Dunham, Sports reporter
Moses Ashikodi showed just why he will be so important to Kettering Town as he salvaged a thoroughly deserved point.
The striker was a frustrated man during pre-season as he recovered from knee surgery and it was always going to be a matter of time before he took that frustration out on someone.
Unfortunately for them, it was Mansfield Town who paid the price asADVERTISEMENTthe frontman – who entered the fray with 29 minutes to go – hammered home a superb strike with just three to go.
And no-one inside Field Mill could argue that Kettering weren't worth at least a draw for their excellent second-half display.
To be honest, things hadn't been great at half-time.
The Stags were deservedly in front thanks to Kevin Sandwith's fine free-kick and it could have been worse as the Poppies threatened to continue their barren spell in front of goal.
But whatever was said at half-time, and bear in mind Lee Harper was only in contact by mobile phone due to his one-match touchline ban, worked as the Poppies dominated the second period.
Finally there was some grit and determination to make things happen in front of goal and Ashikodi ensured they were rewarded.
The Poppies started the game brightly enough but it was in spectacular style after 20 minutes when Sandwith's brilliant 25-yard free-kick gave Nathan Abbey no chance after Ashley Westwood had been penalised for a foul on Paul Connor.
The Stags wasted little time in going straight for the throat and Abbey had to be at his best to keep out Connor's good strike.
The striker had an effort ruled out for offside before Lewis Briscoe's challenge on Greg Taylor sparked a full-on brawl. The home winger was booked before order was restored.
Kettering enjoyed more possession after the break and there's no doubt that Ashikodi gave them an extra dimension when he was introduced for the final 29 minutes.
Ashley Westwood wrongly received a yellow card for a foul John Dempster had committed on Adam Smith and Luke Graham bravely blocked Gary Silk's goal-bound effort.
But the Poppies took a grip on proceedings and Graham had a volley hacked clear as it headed for goal before Jean-Paul Marna saw a decent strike blocked as the visitors started to upset the locals.
Substitute Brett Solkhon had another effort blocked but, despite a valiant effort, it seemed the home defence would hang on.
But then enter Ashikodi. John Dempster's cross went up in the air as Furlong challenged and Ashikodi took it down and hammered it into the far corner.
The Poppies looked the more likely to win it even later on but another chance wouldn't come.
Their stirring fightback was well rewarded and Mansfield didn't like it one bit.
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