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Archived News from January 2011

CONNOR HEADS LATE WINNER
29th January 2011 0:03


Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 0 Histon
Connor 90+1
Attendance: 1880 (8 from Histon)

Date: 22 January 2011

StagsPlayer commentary of the winning goal, listen here.


Text commentary by Martin Shaw:

Stags unchanged, so Collett in goal and Sandwith at centre half, with Pilkington and Naylor on the bench.

8 away fans counted in the North Stand. Equals the lowest away following since records began (Grays Athletic)

20 Connor hits bar

24 Adam Murray down, no penalty

25 Parker into side netting

32 Briscoe great shot, great save

HT 0-0 No efforts by Histon

51 Collett makes decent save from Zak Mills

Kiegan Parker poor game, replaced by Mitchley. Parker not happy.

79 Thompson shoots well wide after decent play by Cain

89 Silk wide from 4 yards

4 minutes time added on

90+1 1-0 Connor heads in from corner

90+4 Connor 1-on-1 fires at keeper

FT 1-0

Deserved win. Histon defended well, but only tested Collett once.

Stonehouse sponsors man of the match.
Thompson StagsPlayer commentators man of the match.
Adam Murray my brothers man of the match.

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Mansfield Town 1-0 Histon
Evening Post report (Saturday)

A LATE strike from Paul Connor lifted Mansfield Town to within five points of the play-off places in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/sport/Mansfield-Town-v-Histon-team-news/article-3133547-detail/article.html?

The Stags had appeared set for a frustrating afternoon against bottom team Histon at Field Mill when Connor's header gave them all three points.

It is the first time since September the Field Mill outfit have managed to win back-to-back games.

The match had been largeley uninspiring, particularly in the first 45 minutes.

The Stags enjoyed the better of the possession and play without often testing visiting keeper Joe Welch.

After a quiet opening, Mansfield sprang into life when Paul Connor raced down the left and tried to pick out Louis Briscoe, who just failed to take the ball in his stride as he burst into the box.

The Stags should have gone in front in the 14th minute when Adam Murray played an inch-perfect through ball for Keigan Parker.

But the Scot inexplicably chose not to shoot first time and the chance was gone.

The Stags were within a whisker of going ahead in the 20th minute when Paul Connor's header at the back post skimmed the bar with Welch beaten following Ashley Cain's deep cross.

Connor's determination saw him pick out Louis Briscoe on the left soon after and his dinked ball to the far post saw Parker fire into the side-netting.

Just past the midway point of the half, Connor tried his luck from distance but the effort was always flying well off target.

Mansfield kept up the pressure and just past the half hour mark, Briscoe cut in to unleash a shot bound for the top right-hand corner that the diving Welch did superbly to push around his post.

A swift Stags break saw Parker perhaps play the wrong pass, but Paul Stonehouse nevertheless tried his luck, only to drill wide.

Histon got in their first shot on goal seven minutes from the interval when Zac Attwood curled a free-kick well over the top. Soon after, it was a similar story for Briscoe at the other end.

The second half looked like it was also going to be goal-less, in spite of late pressure from the home side.

And the pressured paid off when Connor popped up to nod home the winner.

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Stoppage-time strike from Connor gives Stags all three points
Evening Post report (Sunday)
A STOPPAGE time strike from top scorer Paul Connor saw Mansfield Town snatch all three points against bottom-of-the table Histon at Field Mill.

The Stutes looked to have done enough to secure a share of the spoils as the Stags were far from their best.

But, to their credit, Mansfield kept pushing for a winner and got it when Connor popped up to nod home his 13th goal of the season from a corner.

It gave the hosts back-to-back home wins for the first time since September following on from last weekend's FA Trophy victory over Newport.

It was also the Stags' first league clean sheet in ten games.

After a quiet opening, Mansfield sprang into life when Paul Connor raced down the left and tried to pick out Louis Briscoe, who just failed to take the ball in his stride as he burst into the box.

The Stags should have gone in front in the 14th minute when Adam Murray played an inch-perfect through ball for Keigan Parker.

But the Scot inexplicably chose not to shoot first time and the chance was gone.

The Stags were within a whisker of going ahead in the 20th minute when Paul Connor's header at the back post skimmed the bar with Welch beaten following Ashley Cain's deep cross.

Connor's determination saw him pick out Louis Briscoe on the left soon after and his ball to the far post saw Parker fire into the side-netting.

Just past the midway point of the half, Connor tried his luck from distance but the effort was always flying well off target.

Mansfield kept up the pressure and just past the half hour mark, Briscoe cut in to unleash a shot bound for the top right-hand corner that the diving Welch did superbly to push around his post.

A swift Stags break saw Parker perhaps play the wrong pass, but Paul Stonehouse nevertheless tried his luck, only to drill wide.

Histon got in their first shot on goal seven minutes from the interval when Zac Attwood curled a free-kick well over the top. Soon after, it was a similar story for Briscoe at the other end.

Mansfield made a lethargic start to the second period and were almost caught napping when Zac Mills was allowed to advance to within 20 yards and power in a shot that Collett did well to push away before Paul Stonehouse completed a clearance.

After Danny Mitchley had been introduced for Parker in the 54th minute, the substitutes' first action saw him overrun the ball as he latched onto Connor's pass and looked to cut in and shoot.

Histon close after winning a succession of corners as Jim Stevenson headed just past the post from Lee Smith's left-wing corner.

As Mansfield responded, Mitchley was adjudged offside bursting onto Cain's through ball, but his shot was saved by Welch anyway.

The Stags finally got in a legitimate effort on goal but Steve Foster's header, from a Cain corner, whistled past the near post.

Another opportunity came and went for the hosts when Cain was released down the right and cut in on his left foot only to blaze over the top.

Tyrone Thompson had a rare strike at goal but probably wished he hadn't when he thumped into the advertising hoardings.

With time running out, Murray was pulled off and replaced by Kyle Nix.

But just as the crowd's frustrations had reached fever pitch, Mansfield made the breakthrough in the second minute of added time.

From their seventh corner of the game, Nix's inswinger was headed home by Connor from six yards out to spark wild celebrations.

Connor had chance to seal victory in the time that remained after breaking clear, but his low finish was blocked by the advancing Welch.

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Last gasp Connor the hero: Mansfield Town 1 Histon 0, Saturday 22nd January
CHAD report

TOP scorer Paul Connor was once again Mansfield Town's hero with his stoppage time winner against battling bottom side Histon at Field Mill on Saturday afternoon.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-fc/last_gasp_connor_the_hero_mansfield_town_1_histon_0_saturday_22nd_january_1_2957830

Histon arrived with a record of 10 games without a win and rarely looked like scoring on the day, Neil Collett pocketing a clean sheet on his full league debut.

But Stags laboured to find a way through, despite dominating possession in a drab and frustrating game, until the second minute of stoppage time at the end when Connor headed his 13th goal of the season to break the Stutes' hearts

Stags were unchanged which meant reserve keeper Collett kept his place following his fine display in the FA Trophy last weekend.

The game had survived two pitch inspections earlier in the day after a week of heavy frosts and it began with a bitter wind blowing across the ground.

In a tentative start Stags first threatened with a good run down the left by Connor only to see Briscoe unable to reach his square pass inside the box.

After an uneventful first 12 minutes, Stags forced the game's first corner on the left which Murray prompt over-hit for a goalkick.

Two minutes later a superb curling through ball from Murray gave Parker sight of goal. The striker needed to hit it first time but tried instead to check inside a defender to create a better angle and was quickly crowded out and the moment was gone.

It took 20 minutes for a real threat on goal to materialise as Cain launched a hanging cross from the right to the far post where Connor rose to send a header back across goal only to see it come back off the top of the post.

Parker was wide at the far post from a lofted Briscoe ball forward, then Connor was well wide on the turn as the home side continued to plug away, looking for the opener.

On 32 minutes Briscoe forced Welch into a flying save to his left to turn aside a powerful shot after Briscoe had come inside from the left unchallenged.

Next, Stonehouse went on a good run down the left, checked inside and drilled a low shot wide, the ball passing just too far in front of Connor to get what would have been a decisive touch in front of goal.

It took Histon 39 minutes to fashion a chance as Atwood blazed a 25 yard free kick well over and soon after Briscoe was too high with a free kick from a similar range for Mansfield.

Histon almost stole a march on the Stags seven minutes into a lacklustre second half as Mills was allowed to run between three opponents and poke a low shot goalwards which needed Collett to dive full length to his left to turn away.

Clerima was booked for bringing down Parker whose disappointing afternoon was brought to an early end soon after when he was replaced by Mitchley, Parker clearly upset by the decision to withdraw him.

The visitors suffered a blow on 64 minutes when midfielder Attwood stayed down after a challenge with Silk in agony and was eventually stretchered off.

Mansfield were struggling to get going and might have been punished on 69 minutes when Stevenson got a glancing header wide onto a Smith corner, the Stutes' fourth of the half after not winning one in the first 45 minutes.

Foster headed powerfully wide from a Cain corner on 73 minutes.

The biggest cheer of the afternoon so far came when it was announced there were eight Histon fans in the crowd of 1,880.

Cain provided Stags' best moment of the half to date as he raced away down the right just inside the Histon half, cut inside and fired over from 18 yards.

But Thompson was well wide a few minutes later after being found lurking just outside the box from Cain's square pass.

Nix replaced Murray for the final eight minutes. But Stags continued to labour.

A minute from time a far post corner reached Sandwith who knocked the ball to the near post where Silk poked first time wide.

It seemed Histon were going to escape with a hard-earned point. But they had reckoned without goal ace Connor.

Nix sent in a right wing corner in the second of four stoppage time minutes and Connor buried an unstoppable header past Welch from six yards.

As Histon pushed forward desperately Mitchley broke clear with no offside flag only to see Welch deny him with his legs with the four minutes up. But it didn't matter as the points were in the bag.

STAGS: Collett; Silk, Sandwith, Foster, Stonehouse; Cain, Thompson, Adam Murray (Nix 82), Briscoe; Parker (Mitchley 54), Connor. Subs not used: Pilkington, Naylor, Istead.

HISTON: Welch; Okay, Oyebanjo, Clerima, Mills; Smith, Wootton, Stevenson, Attwood (Sparkes 64); Rize, Antonio Murray. Subs not used: Lawton, Taffe, Livermore, Okojie.

REFEREE: Ross Joyce of Middlesbrough.

-------------------

Connor snatches the points for Mansfield with late goal
Evening Post considered report

THE familiar, frustrating 'After the Lord Mayor's Show' script was about to be fulfilled yet again – but top scorer Paul Connor clearly hadn't read it.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/football/Connor-snatches-points-Mansfield-late-goal/article-3133774-detail/article.html?

So many times in recent seasons, Mansfield Town have followed up an encouraging performance with one to lament. Lows have followed highs and disappointment has come hot on the heels of cautious optimism.

As this largely uninspiring game unfolded, it seemed this would be the latest to insert into that particular catalogue as the home side could find no way through the rearguard of plucky bottom-of-the-table opponents Histon.

While offering little in terms of threat going forward, the visitors – with Lanre Oyebanjo outstanding at the heart of their backline – were relatively comfortable themselves and limited Mansfield to just a handful of opportunities.

Yet, for once, there was a happy ending for the relieved hosts, sending the supporters home happy with the result, if not their team's display. And it was the ever-reliable Connor, the Stags' man for all seasons, who once again made the difference.

In heading home his 13th goal of the season from Kyle Nix's 92nd minute corner, he once again underlined why he is so important to Mansfield's fortunes – and why other clubs are rumoured to preparing bids before the close of the January transfer window.

Lesser players might have given up the ghost after, as he did, heading against the bar in the first half and then being shut-out by Oyebanjo and his colleagues.

But his will to win was never more evident than when attacking the ball powerfully amid a ruck of players to find the back of the net in the dying seconds.

Of the 11 games Connor has scored in this season, Mansfield have won seven of them and lost only once.

No-one is irreplaceable, but his presence in the starting line-up certainly seems to give the team a lift and he has undoubtedly been one of the Stags' most consistent performers in 2010-11.

The last-gasp triumph carried Duncan Russell's team to within five points of the play-offs and was the first time they had won back-to-back home games since September's thrashing of York and Eastbourne.

It was also a welcome first clean sheet in the league since Kettering were beaten 2-0 at Rockingham Road in David Holdsworth's penultimate game in charge.

Despite those positive stats, it could not, nor should not, disguise that this was a generally poor performance.

Yes, Histon were hard-working and well-organised and did not make it easy for Mansfield. However, there was a worrying lack of creativity once Adam Murray faded somewhat.

There's no doubting that the Stags will have to play a heck of a lot better when they entertain Dean Saunders' Wrexham this coming weekend if they are to make it a third home win on the spin.

Unlike Histon, the Red Dragons will undoubtedly pose an attacking threat with the likes of Andy Mangan and Andy Morrell as attacking options.

Having scored a rare victory against a promotion-chasing side in their previous week's FA Trophy success over Newport, Russell chose to send out the same starting XI.

That meant Neil Collett retained his place in goal despite Kevin Pilkington being back available, while Kevin Sandwith remained in a central defensive position as Tom Naylor, fit again after hamstring trouble, was forced to settle for a place on the bench. The early stages set the tone for what was to come as it took the Stags until the 14th minute to fashion a serious opening.

Murray played a superb ball in for Keigan Parker, who should have rifled in a shot first time, but delayed, giving the Histon defence time to recover.

After Connor skimmed the bar from Ashley Cain's deep centre, Parker fired into the side-netting from an acute angle before Louis Briscoe cut in from the left to produce a fine from Joe Welch, who pushed a shot bound for the top right-hand corner around his post.

Collett looked more likely to suffer damage to his fingers from frostbite than Histon shots in the first period.

But while the home crowd were hoping Mansfield would speed out of the blocks on the resumption, they instead began lethargically, meaning the young keeper was soon called into action.

Zac Mills took advantage of hesitancy from the Stags to rifle in a low 20-yard drive that Collett did well to claw away before Paul Stonehouse completed a clearance.

As time began to run out, Steve Foster headed wide and Cain raced away on the break to drill over the top, but, in reality, openings for Mansfield were few and far between.

It seemed like the biggest cheer of the day, an ironic one at that, would be reserved for the announcement of a visiting following of just eight Histon fans, surely the lowest total recorded for a league game at Field Mill.

But just as some disgruntled Mansfield supporters started to head for the exit, Connor popped up to alleviate much of the frustration.

The Stags now head north tomorrow night for a meeting against a Darlington side who are reported to be leading the chase for Connor.

-------------------

Late heart-break for Histon at Mansfield
By Matthew Gooding
http://www.cambridgefirst.co.uk/sport/late_heart_break_for_histon_at_mansfield_1_781596?

Mansfield Town 1 - 0 Histon

VETERAN striker Paul Connor broke Histon hearts with a late winner for Mansfield at Field Mill on Saturday.

Connor headed home a corner two minutes into stoppage time to snatch all three points for the Stags and leave David Livermore's team deflated.

They had looked like earning a point thanks to some dogged defending which kept promotion-chasing Mansfield at bay for most of the match.

In the first half Connor had hit the post, while Louis Briscoe had brought a fine save from Joe Welch and Keigan Parker missed a good opportunity after a good pass from Briscoe.

Histon offered little in attack, but had a good chance to open the scoring at the start of the second half when Zac Mills got forward but directed his shot too close to Neil Collett, who made a good save.

And the Stutes suffered a blow when Zac Attwood was stretchered off after a clash with Gary Silk, Daniel Sparkes his replacement.

Mansfield kept up the pressure, though Jim Stevenson directed a header wide from a corner on a rare Stutes foray forward.

But the pressure eventually told, with Connor met Kyle Nix's corner and headed past Welch to send the Mansfield fans home happy.

*Were you at Field Mill? If so, send us your 20-word match report to matthew.gooding@archant.co.uk, or via http://twitter.com/cambfirstsport

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