STAGS HELD AFTER ADAM SMITH RED CARD CHANGES GAME
Gateshead 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Kay 80. Connor 29.
Attendance: 1,046 (324 from Mansfield)
Date: 2 October 2010
Martin Shaw at Gateshead International Stadium
Mansfield Town were left frustrated after a 1-1 draw at Gateshead this afternoon. The Stags were in control of the game, thanks to a goal by Paul Connor on 29 minutes after great play by Louis Briscoe down the right, and should have been 2-0 in front on 53 minutes when Connor's close range effort from another Briscoe cross somehow didn't cross the line. But the sending off of Adam Smith for a high studs-up challenge on Gateshead's new signing from Sunderland Michael Kay changed the game completely. It was a decision that the Stags could not really complain about, though could have equally seen just a yellow card. From then on, the home team gained momentum and with the crowd behind them, put Mansfield under a lot of pressure. Alan Marriott made some great saves, but Kay headed home from a corner on 80 minutes, after the Stags thought a corner should not have been given. Gateshead looked the more likely side to win after that, as Kris Gate missed two good chances, but it ended all square.
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Gateshead 1-1 Mansfield Town
Evening Post report
TEN-MAN Mansfield Town were glad to cling on for a point at Gateshead this afternoon – after looking like they would win the game for a decent chunk of it.
The Stags went in front through Paul Connor's sixth goal of the season after bossing the first period.
And they should have doubled their lead in the opening stages of the second half when Connor missed a sitter.
But the dismissal of Adam Smith for a high tackle changed the course of the match.
With Mansfield suddenly on the back foot, Gateshead came storming back and restored parity through Michael Kay.
And in the closing stages the visitors were left hanging on for dear life and were thankful that Kris Gate did not bring his shooting boots, as the midfielder spurned two gilt-edged chances.
The Tynesiders started well and Gary Mills had to be alert to clear from the path of Gary Mulligan after Craig Nelthorpe's cross from the left had looked to give the striker a clear shot on goal.
But the Stags hit back quickly and Adam Smith might have scored when he stabbed wide after Connor had headed down Louis Briscoe's hooked ball in from the right byline.
After a poor clearance from James Curtis, Gary Mills picked out Connor in the box, who scuffed his shot when he might have done better.
In the 13th minute, Gary Silk and Adam Murray helped switch play to Adam Smith who beat Kay only to have the sting taken out of his shot by Gate, allowing Tim Deasy to save easily.
A move involving Mills, Connor and Murray culminated in Louis Briscoe letting fly with a thumping shot from a tight angle that Deasy did well to push away.
At the other end, Naylor did well to block Mulligan's attempted shot after he had been released by Nelthorpe.
Midway through the half, a long throw was flicked on by Jon Shaw for Mulligan whose shot flashed just past the left-hand post.
But Mansfield were knocking the ball around well and they got their reward just before the half hour.
Briscoe made a tremendous burst past two defenders and whipped in a terrific near-post ball that was met on the half-volley by Connor, who found the right-hand corner, despite Deasy's touch.
The Stags went in search of a second and when Adam Smith was fouled 25 yards from goal, Kevin Sandwith curled the resulting free-kick over the top.
Another opportunity came and went when Curtis' header dropped for Kyle Nix, who volleyed over from the edge of the area.
Murray was orchestrating things in the hole just in front of the Gateshead defence and, as he found Briscoe, the winger smashed in another shot that Deasy pushed around the left-hand post.
Mansfield were having problems dealing with Kay's long throw and Shaw's deflected shot forced a re-adjustment from visiting keeper Alan Marriott.
Makeshift Stags skipper Chris Smith was booked five minutes from the break as he pulled back Mulligan. Martin Brittain curled the free-kick that followed wide of goal.
The hosts put on the pressure in the lead up to half-time, but the Mansfield defence held firm.
After the restart, a mistake in the Mansfield rearguard let in Mulligan but Marriott was alert to smother the ball at the forward's feet.
The Stags should have been two to the good when Murray's angled 40-yard ball found Briscoe in space, whose shot was parried by Deasy to Connor. He looked to have a simple task to slot into an empty net, but didn't get enough on his side-footed effort and the home keeper scrambled back to clutch the ball close to the line.
Not long past the hour, Nix tried his luck with a 30-yard drive that Deasy held, diving to his right.
Ian Bogie's side might have levelled when Nelthorpe's pinpoint left-wing cross picked out Shaw six yards from goal, but he headed straight at Marriott.
Mansfield's hopes took a blow in the 62nd minute when Adam Smith became the second Stags player in as many games to be sent off.
He challenged for a high ball and caught Kay. It looked a booking, but a red card seemed harsh.
Gateshead should have drawn level soon after when Kay's low ball across the six-yard box was shanked straight at Marriott by Gate when it looked easier to score.
As Gateshead up the tempo, Nelthorpe mis-controlled at the vital moment before Phil Turnbull's drive following Brittain's corner was well held by Marriott.
By now, Mansfield were clinging on as Shaw failed to divert a Nelthorpe blast on goal.
And it was no surprise when the hosts equalised from their seventh corner, taken short.
Brittain whipped the ball in from the left over several Mansfield defenders for Kay to stoop and head home from close range.
Almost immediately, Gateshead missed a golden chance to go in front when Gate headed into Marriott's arms following another Brittain centre, this time from the right.
And Gate was left holding his head again when he volleyed over a more difficult opportunity, Shaw having flicked into his path.
Four minutes of injury time saw both sides go for a winner but neither fashion a clear opening to take all three points.
Gateshead 1 Mansfield Town 1, Saturday 2nd October 2010
CHAD report, Sat Oct 02 2010
A RED card for Adam Smith and a late equaliser for Gateshead spoiled the afternoon for Mansfield after they had turned in another fine away display on Tyneside today.
Paul Connor had given the visitors a deserved 29th minute lead, but on 54 minutes he failed to turn the ball into an open goal from four yards which would have probably settled the game.
Instead he was left to rue his miss as the second half swing Gateshead's way eight minutes later
Adam Smith was shown a straight red card on 62 minutes for a high boot in a challenge on Michael Kay, although it looked accidental and probably only merited a yellow card.
That was the lift they needed and Gateshead began to pile on the pressure for the first time all afternoon, finally levelling with a far post header from Kay on 80 minutes.
But Kris Gate missed a hat-trick of chances to win it when he only had Alan Marriott to beat, so the day could have been worse for Mansfield.
Only Fleetwood had managed a goal against Gateshead at the International Stadium all season and were the only side to win there.
But, had they kept 11 men on the park, Stags looked a good bet to take all three points.
Instead a second red card of the week again proved costly for Mansfield.
Although young Tom Naylor did well at the back, Stags missed the presence of suspended skipper Steve Foster while manage David Holdsworth was also forced to sit in the stand with the directors after his 'sending-off' at Luton.
But Adam Murray made a superb 'debut' to mark his third spell with the club, playing in the hole behind lone striker Paul Connor and involved in everything.
Chris Smith took over the captaincy on a fine afternoon on Tyneside with a following of 324 away fans in the 1,046 crowd in the giant stadium.
Mills did well to get in a challenge before Brittain could turn the ball home from a low cross in the first attack of the afternoon.
Mansfield responded and Briscoe put the ball over from the right by-line, Connor headed down for Adam Smith. It seemed to take an eternity before had a stab at goal from six yards but got under it and the ball sailed well over.
Mills' pass found the feet of Connor in the box and he turned on it but didn't quite have the ball where he wanted before he poked a tame effort straight at Deasy.
Silk and Murray spread the ball from right to left for Adam Smith who twisted and turned the defenders before shooting, the ball clipping Gate on the way and Deasy doing well to grab it at full length to his left.
The home keeper had more work to do on 21 minutes as Murray fed Briscoe to his right and the winger took the ball in his stride and crashed a powerful snapshot from a tight angle that caught everyone by surprise, Deasy forced to parry at his near post.
Two minutes later Nelthorpe tried to send Mulligan clear for the Tynesiders but Naylor stuck to his task well, stayed with him and finally slid in to concede a corner.
There was more danger as Mulligan lashed wide of the far post after Shaw had flicked on a long Kay cross from the right.
But a moment of brilliance from Briscoe and a great finish from Connor put Mansfield ahead on 29 minutes.
Briscoe showed great pace and strength to burst down the right and whip in a cross to the near post where Connor expertly turned the ball home first time against one of his former clubs.
Sandwith was too high with a 20 yard free kick after Adam Smith had been fouled.
Mills was even higher over from the same range soon after and then Briscoe again tried to blast the ball inside the near post from a Murray pass and again the keeper had to block.
Marriott had to grab a deflected Shaw shot from another long Kay throw.
Then Mulligan tried to go clear on a dangerous run but was upended by Chris Smith 25 yards from goal who was booked for his troubles. Brittain took the free kick but was well over the bar.
Stags won an early corner after the break when Adam Smith's shot was deflected wide, another soon followed but neither produced a goal threat.
A moment's hesitation between Naylor and Chris Smith almost allowed Mulligan in but Marriott was down bravely at his feet.
How Connor didn't double his and Mansfield's tally on 54 minutes he will never know.
Murray sprayed a superb ball wide to Briscoe on the right. He put the ball into the middle where Deasy turned it away as far as Connor who, with an empty net in front of him, somehow didn't get enough purchase on the ball and allowed Deasy enough time to get there before it crossed the line.
Nix forced another save out of Deasy with a hopeful 30-yard effort that skidded along the surface.
Former Stags Shaw might have levelled the game on the hour but headed straight at Marriott from six yards from Nelthorpe's left wing cross.
But the visitors were rocked by a 62nd minute red card for Adam Smith.
He went in high for a challenge that caught debut-making Sunderland loanee Kay in the chest. The referee reached for his pocket and instead of the expected yellow, produced red.
Smith was furious but the decision was made and the winger began the long walk to the portable dressing rooms behind the running track.
Kay then went in late on Nix and Stags fans thought the numbers might be evened up but he was shown only a yellow.
Gate should have equalised on 66 minutes when Kay sent in a firm, low cross through everyone and Gate, with only Marriott to beat, turned a tame finish straight to the keeper with the goal at his mercy.
Briscoe shot over from Chris Smith's nod down a minute later and on 68 minutes Nix was replaced by Stonehouse.
Gateshead looked to make their man advantage count and forced two corners, the second of which was pulled back low for Turnbull.
Newport won the game against Mansfield from an almost identical effort last month. But this time Marriott was down to smother.
Briscoe was booked for his foul on Clark but Brittain sent his free kick into the Mansfield wall.
Then Nelthorpe sent a powerful ball into the box which Shaw stretched to poke wide with a first time touch that could have flown anywhere.
Istead came on for Briscoe for the last 14 minutes as Stags tried to close down the home side.
But the Head were level on 80 minutes. From a short corner on the left, Brittain crossed the far post where Kay nodded home.
Gate should have made it 2-1 a minute later as he sent a close range diving header at Marriott from Brittain's cross.
Amazingly Gate missed another chance six minutes from time after Shaw had flicked on another Brittain cross and he stretched to send a volley over the bar with Marriott again left exposed.
Gateshead turned up the heat with a string of corners and four minutes were added on, but Mansfield at least finished up with a point to take on the long journey home.
GATESHEAD: Deasy, Heckingbottom, Gate, Curtis, Clark, Brittain, Turnbull, Shaw, Nelthorpe, Mulligan, Kay. Subs: Baxter, Ferrell, Fisher, Cook, Marwood.
STAGS: Marriott; Silk, Smith, Naylor, Sandwith; Briscoe (Istead 76mins), Mills, Nix (Stonehouse 68mins), A. Smith; Murray, Connor (Medley 84mins). Subs not used: Duffy, Collett.
REFEREE: Peter Bankes of Bootle.
ATTENDANCE: 1,046 (324 away).
Big day turns sour for Stags striker Paul Connor
OF all the days that Paul Connor wanted everything to click into place, this was it. With a whole legion of family and friends having made the short journey from his native Bishop Auckland to Gateshead, the Mansfield striker was desperate to have an afternoon to remember.
Initially it looked as if the striker would get his wish as he opened the scoring for his side with an immaculately taken strike on the half hour following a superb run and cross from Louis Briscoe.
The Stags bossed the first period and went in at half-time with a deserved 1-0 lead. Everything in the garden was rosy.
But it was after the restart that Connor's day began to turn slightly sour.
He got himself in the right place at the right time so that Briscoe's shot was parried by keeper Tim Deasy straight into his path, all after a superb 40-yard pass from the returning Adam Murray.
Yet, somehow, with the goal gaping in front of him, he could not find the requisite power or direction to steer the ball over the line, allowing Deasy to scramble back and flop on the ball.
For a man of Connor's calibre and experience it was a bad miss, and he knew it, clutching the back of his head with his hands as play got back under way.
He knew that there would most likely have been no recovery from 2-0 down by the hosts; that it would put the Stags on the path to a fourth away win in seven attempts on the road.
Instead, it left the proverbial door ajar for Gateshead and, when Adam Smith was the third Mansfield player in as many away games to be sent off, Ian Bogie's team barged through it to such an extent they might have gone on to win the game.
In the first hour Mansfield were in almost total control as their passing, prompted by the excellent Murray, left Gateshead, at times, chasing shadows.
The new boy – back for his third spell at Mansfield on loan from Luton, having previously played under Stuart Watkiss and Keith Curle – had only briefly trained with his new team-mates.
Yet his authoritative performance did not suggest it and merely underlined why boss David Holdsworth was so keen to snap him up.
Playing just behind target man Paul Connor, Murray continually asked questions of the Tynesiders' back line with his adept ball control and accurate passing.
As a consequence, the biggest surprise was that Mansfield did not score more than the once they managed in the first 45 minutes.
Louis Briscoe twice forced reaction saves from Deasy while Connor fluffed his lines after being teed up by Gary Mills. Kyle Nix and Adam Smith also had sights of goal but failed to make the most of them.
In the second period, Mansfield continued to look the more threatening, even if ex-Stag Jon Shaw did head straight at Alan Marriott when he should have converted Craig Nelthorpe's cross.
And with Gateshead seemingly running out of ideas, there was hope for Connor that his miss would not prove too costly. However, the 62nd minute dismissal of Adam Smith changed the course of things irrevocably.
He was given his marching orders for a high tackle on Michael Kay, but he clearly had his eyes on the ball and a booking might have been a fairer punishment.
After looking at ease throughout the game to that point, central defenders Chris Smith and Tom Naylor – playing his first game of the season in place of the suspended Steve Foster – suddenly found the pressure intensifying. And as Gateshead threw more and more bodies forward in search of a leveller, the opportunities were created.
Kris Gate failed to convert one that, like Connor's, looked easier to score, while Alan Marriott kept Phil Turnbull at bay.
The pressure inevitably told ten minutes from time when a short corner was whipped over by Martin Brittain and Kay – in his first game after joining on loan from Sunderland – headed in from close range.
At that juncture, Gateshead sniffed what had a few minutes earlier seemed an unlikely victory.
With better finishing from Gate, who twice failed to net when in good positions, they would have secured the three points.
But as the minutes ticked by, Mansfield regrouped and saw out stoppage time with relatively few alarms to ensure they secured a draw.
In the context of Gateshead's season so far, the point Mansfield took back down the A1 was a creditable one.
Only Fleetwood had previously scored at the International Stadium and also managed to take home all three points.
Gateshead were also high on confidence after consecutive victories over Luton and Histon.
Former Mansfield player Paul Heckingbottom, who played left-back for the Tynesiders was impressed by what he saw from the visitors and said afterwards he believes they will do well this season.
He felt there was a method to the play of David Holdsworth's side, the kind that he had not seen during his time at Field Mill.
So while Connor may have taken some light-hearted stick from his loved ones on Saturday night, he may have the last laugh come the end of the campaign if the Stags go on to secure a play-off place.
Gateshead 1-1 Mansfield Town
02/10/2010, by Jeff Bowron, gateshead-fc.com
This is a game both sides will feel they could have won but also one that respective managers Ian Bogie and David Holdsworth will be relatively satisfied with a point.
Gateshead were second best in the first half and Stags scorer Paul Connor should have put the game beyond the hosts early in the second half.
But the dismissal of midfielder Adam Smith on the hour saw Gateshead lay siege to the Town goal in the final half hour, eventually gaining a point through Michael Kay's 80th minute header.
Kris Gate's ability to get forward, however, should have brought a Gateshead win as the midfield man had four chances, two of them sitters.
Unfortunately none were converted and ten man Mansfield hung on for the draw they deserved for their performance in the opening hour with 11 men.
Gateshead had a great opening in only the second minute but Martin Brittain's cross and Craig Nelthorpe's lay-off saw Gary Mulligan just unable to convert.
A Connor header saw Smith shoot over at the other end and then a poor James Curtis clearance saw Gary Mills set up Connor who shot over from close range.
Smith then eased past Kay to cut inside, his deflected shot held by Deasy diving to his left.
Louis Briscoe had the first of two stinging volleys blocked by Deasy as a slick Town poured forward at every opportunity, debutant Adam Murray pulling the strings in midfield.
A good Nelthorpe ball into the left channel saw Mulligan's shot deflected wide and then Jon Shaw flicked on Kay's long throw for Mulligan to go close with a great volley on the turn.
It was shaping up to be a cracking game and it was the Stags who made the breakthrough on the half hour with a well worked goal.
A great run and cross from Briscoe saw former Gateshead loanee Connor get in front of his marker to volley home his 6th of the campaign at the near post.
Mills volleyed over from another Curtis clearance while Shaw had a shot deflected wide and Brittain curled a 25 yard free kick over the bar before the break.
After the restart Mulligan got on the end of a ball over the top as the Stags defence hesitated only for the advancing Marriott to block the striker's shot.
A sweeping crossfield ball from Murray should have seen Mansfield open up a two goal lead on 54 minutes.
Deasy, at full stretch, could only parry Briscoe's cross into the path of Connor who looked a certain scorer from six yards but miscued his shot and Deasy got back to save on the line.
Deasy then held on to Kyle Nix's 30 yard drive while Shaw sent a powerful header from Nelthorpe's measured cross straight into the hands of a grateful Marriott.
A minute later Smith landed a high boot into the chest of Kay in midfield and was handed a straight red by Merseyside referee Peter Bankes.
From then on it was all Gateshead with Mansfield riding their luck as they were caught short at the back on several occasions.
Kay's low cross found Gate unmarked inside the six yard and with the goal at his mercy but he miscued his shot straight at an exposed Marriott.
Brittain's corner then picked out Phil Turnbull whose well struck 24 yard low drive was capably dealt with by Marriott who was now having plenty to do.
Nelthorpe drilled the ball into the danger area where Shaw could only deflect the ball wide before Gateshead finally levelled ten minutes from time.
A short corner saw Brittain's cross headed into the bottom corner by the unmarked Kay to cap an eventful debut for the Sunderland defender..
Brittain then volleyed in a dangerous cross that picked out Gate whose diving header was straight at Marriott, the schemer having earlier missed another good opening.
Mansfield, however, survived as Gateshead made it just one defeat from their last seven games, and only one defeat on home soil this season.
GATESHEAD: Deasy, kay, Heckingbottom, Gate, Curtis, Clark, Brittain, Turnbull, Shaw, Mulligan, Nelthorpe. Subs (not used): Cook (gk), Baxter, Ferrell, Marwood, Fisher
Goal: Kay (80)
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott, Silk, Sandwith, Mills, Smith, Briscoe, (Istead 76), Nix, (Stonehouse 68), Smith, Naylor, Connor (Medley 86), Murray. Subs (not used): Collett (gk), Duffy
Goal: Connor (29)
Referee: Peter Bankes (Bootle)
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