STAGS BEATEN IN THRILLER
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 2 - 3 Wrexham
Briscoe 39, Thompson 45+2. Pogba 8, Morrell 71, Harris 90.
Attendance: 3,266 (498 from Wrexham)
Date: 29 January 2011
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
The Stags were beaten in the last minute by Wrexham at Field Mill. Wrexham arrived unbeaten in 11 games, but the Stags played with terrific spirit and played some superb football, with a purple patch at the end of the first half that was the best of the season. Great goals from Briscoe and Thompson overturned an early goal from Wrexham that came as a result of dreadful defending. The Stags started to play deeper and deeper as the second half wore on, and paid the penalty when Wrexham equalised on 71 minutes with more dreadful defending from the Stags. Wrexham nearly won it on 88 minutes when Collett made a great save from Harris's piledriver, but Harris did score the winner two minutes later when his shot from the edge of the box was deflected into the top corner of the net. A heart-breaking end for the Stags to a fabulous game.
Late heartbreak for Stags - Mansfield Town 2 Wrexham 3, Saturday 29th January
CHAD report by John Lomas
JAY Harris stole a late, late winner for play-off hopefuls Wrexham to break home hearts at the end of a sensational five-goal thriller at Field Mill this afternoon, reports John Lomas.
An eighth minute defensive lapse had seen the outstanding Mathias Pogba give Wrexham an eighth minute lead.
But spurred on by a big home crowd and amid an atmosphere recalling Stags' Football League days, Mansfield roared back to lead at the break with two goals in eight minutes at the end of the half.
Stags deserved it after edging the first half, but Wrexham had the better of the second and drew level 19 minutes from time.
That would have been a fair result, but the Welsh club, now 12 games unbeaten, had the final say with a eflected effort to send almost 500 away fans crazy behind the goal.
Both sets of fans had come together before the game to unite against the clubs' respective landlords, but that solidarity was short-lived when the game kicked off with police called in to quell trouble in the away end.
The cheaper admission prices saw the crowd bumped up to 3,266 and none of the home fans will have gone away disappointed with the spectacle and the effort, only the result.
Mitchley needed treatment for an early injury in a frantic start.
But it was the Dragons who grabbed an eighth minute lead.
Stags' marking lapsed as Mangan was left all alone at the far post to receive a long Obeng cross.
He seemed to try to guide it back over the keeper but the ball flew across the box, Keates helped it back into the centre and Pogba was there to drill home from 10 yards.
Stags responded with four corners in three minutes, the first of which saw Connor get a head to it and the ball finish on the roof of the net off the head of Sinclair and the third ending with Briscoe having a low shot blocked from Foster's pull-back.
As Stags continued to press, Connor got down the left well and poked a low pass into the centre which went just behind the incoming Mitchley six yards from goal.
The Mansfield wall did its job to keep out a Keates free kick. But Creighton hoisted the ball back into the middle and Pogba should have done better then heading it straight at Collett.
Soon after a section of Wrexham began jostling with stewards down in the West Stand Corner of the North Stand. One ran on the pitch and was tripped up by Murray as he went to take a corner which drew big cheers from the home fans.
Police then joined the stewards to settle the visitors down while Cain took the corner and Connor guided a dipping header over the far post.
On 32 minutes Cain's free kick was headed on by Foster and Silk met it with a tame close range header straight to Maxwell.
But Stags were soon deservedly on level terms. Maxwell then did well to fist away a dangerous Cain cross after he had left two men on the floor on the right in his wake on 39 minutes.
But the ball only went out as far as Briscoe who steadied himself before blasting home a superb net-bursting finish down the centre from 20 yards.
Another good burst of pace by Cain took him into the right hand side of the box in stoppage time and his low finish was blocked.
But Stags swept ahead in the second minute of stoppage time. Briscoe twisted and turned in the box, trying to create space for a finish. When he finally pulled the trigger, the ball was blocked but sailed towards Thompson who controlled and then crashed it high into the net from six yards.
It was a thrilling end to a thrilling half of football with a real atmosphere around the ground.
The visitors were almost level three minutes after the restart. A corner was only cleared as far as Keates who pulled the ball back for Morrell to blaze over from 18 yards.
Mangan went past Silk down the left and was pulled back for his troubles, earning the full back the game's first booking on 57 minutes.
On 63 minutes Smith replaced Mitchley for the home side. Smith went to left wing and Briscoe moved up to play in the hole behind Connor.
Ashton was not too far over as he whipped in an 18 yard shot from a half clearance as an exciting game continued to ebb and flow.
On 68 minutes Connor brought a good save out of Maxwell with a 20 yard drive after turning well onto Murray's through ball, the keeper turning it round his right hand post.
Pogba continued to look dangerous and Sandwith was booked for fouling him.
But the visitors were back all square on 71 minutes. During another spell of Wrexham pressure, Creighton put the ball into the near post from the right and Morrell stole in first unchallenged to guide a close range header past a helpless Collett, the Wrexham player cautioned for over-celebrating.
Sinclair almost put through his own net in clearing a Briscoe cross at his near post after another thrilling counter-attack by the Stags, Sandwith then heading over from the corner.
A scramble at the other end saw Collett down at the feet of Mangan to grab the loose ball.
Cain was added to the book on 76 minutes after a challenge with Ashton.
The game was building to an exciting climax and Collett punched away a long Obeng throw under pressure.
Briscoe accidentally caught Creighton with a boot in a flying challenge to earn Stags' fourth yellow card seven minutes from the end.
Wrexham came close again a minute from time as Briscoe gave the ball in midfield and Harris took it on before unleashing a superb 30 yard dipper that Collett reached up and touched onto the bar and out for a corner.
But there was still a sting in the tail in this game as Wrexham edged back in front a minute into stoppage time, a left wing cross being volleyed at goal by Harris from 18 yards and flying in off the head of Stags skipper Murray, giving Collett no chance.
It was heartbreaking for Stags after such a good display in front of such a big crowd.
STAGS: Collett; Silk, Foster, Sandwith, Stonehouse; Cain, Murray, Thompson, Briscoe; Connor, Mitchley (Smith 63mins). Subs not used: Nix, Naylor, Istead, Medley.
WREXHAM: Maxwell, Obeng, Ashton, Blackburn, Harris, Mangan (Andrews 90+2), Morrell, Keates, Sinclair, Creighton, Pogda (Knight-Percival 89). Subs not used: Brown, Cieslewicz, Tolley.
REFEREE: Stephen Smith of Co. Durham.
ATTENDANCE: 3,266 (498 away).
CAUTIONS: Stags – Silk 57mins, Sandwith 70mins, Cain 76mins, Briscoe 83mins. Wrexham – Obeng 59mins, Morrell 71mins.
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Kevin Sandwith.
Mansfield Town 2-3 Wrexham
Evening Post report by Matt Halfpenny
MANSFIELD Town suffered a heart-breaking stoppage time defeat to promotion chasing Wrexham at Field Mill this afternoon.
The Stags contributed massively to a hugely entertaining game and went in at the break 2-1 up as strikes from Louis Briscoe and Tyrone Thompson followed Mathias Pogba's early opener.
But second-half goals from Andy Morrell and Jay Harris snatched victory for Dean Saunders' side and condemned the hosts to their first defeat in four matches.
That was harsh on Mansfield, who played some of their best football since Duncan Russell took permanent charge just after Christmas.
Wrexham took the lead in just the eighth minute from the first serious attack of the game.
Curtis Obeng's centre from the right found Andy Mangan unmarked at the far post. His scuffed shot flew to Dean Keates at the far post, whose lay off to Pogba was thrashed home first time from 10 yards out.
Mansfield tried to respond but twice Paul Connor crosses failed to find their intended targets in the middle.
The Stags won the game's first corner and from Ashley Cain's deliver, Connor's headed deflected off Frank Sinclair and few inches over the top.
A nifty turn from Connor saw him get to the left byline only for his cut back to be just out of the reach of Danny Mitchley.
After soaking up a spell of pressure, the visitors might have gone two goals in front when Mark Creighton headed across for Pogba but he could only nod straight at Neil Collett.
Connor again went close from another Cain corner with his header dropping just over the right angle.
Just past the half hour mark, Gary Silk had a chance to level but headed straight at Chris Maxwell from Steve Foster's knock down.
More Mansfield pressure followed and a well-deserved equaliser arrived six minutes from the break.
Cain got away down the right and as his centre was punched away by Maxwell, Briscoe took aim before finding the roof of the net from just outside the box.
Cain's pace helped tee up a shooting chance for himself but his drive was beaten away by Maxwell with Connor in close attendance.
But Mansfield did go in front in stoppage time as Thompson netted his first goal for the club.
Cain's deep centre found Briscoe, whose drive was blocked but the ball broke for Thompson, who lashed past Maxwell.
Wrexham started the second half well, only for Any Morell to blast over after being picked out intelligently by Keates.
As a terrific game flowed from end to end, Paul Stonehouse and Silk made important interventions before Connor was denied at the other end by a last-ditch defensive header from Cain's ball in.
Neil Ashton tried his luck as the game moved into the last half hour but sliced his drive wide of the left-hand upright.
Mansfield almost scored a third when Connor's shot was tipped away by Maxwell after Murray had supplied the pass.
But Wrexham were back on level terms in 71st minute after a sustained spell of pressure.
Creighton headed across goal for Morrell to beat Collett to the ball and nod in from close range.
Back came Mansfield and Sinclair almost put through his own goal from Briscoe's centre before Kevin Sandwith headed over from a corner.
Wrexham almost stole a winner a minute from time when Harris' 30-yard drive was bound for the top corner until Collett tipped it on the bar and over.
But the Red Dragons did grab all three points in the first minute of stoppage time when Harris' volley took a deflection of Adam Murray to fly into the top right-hand corner
Sloppy goals cost Stags in enthralling match
Evening Post considered report by Matt Halfpenny
IT was almost like being transported in a time machine back to three or four years ago.
There were the protestors against Keith Haslam, a big-game atmosphere that comes with a 3,000-plus crowd and a terrific, enthralling match that would not have looked out of place in the Football League.
Sadly for Mansfield Town followers, though, also on show was their seemingly perennial habit of conceding sloppy goals.
It was a habit that undermined the enterprising football they played and cost them three points against promotion-chasers Wrexham.
Before kick-off supporters from both clubs united to protest against their landlords and unfurled a banner that read: This Ground is for Football.
In Mansfield's case their battle with Haslam is bound for court on February 17 when they will find out whether they can stay put or will be rendered homeless again, as they were briefly before Christmas.
On the field, there are signs of progress under new manager Duncan Russell that, some would argue, has been assisted by the Stags fielding a settled side in the last few games.
It brought wins over Newport and Histon and a midweek draw at Darlington that had buoyed confidence and re-ignited play-off talk.
But the fact the unbeaten run was not extended to four games and the play-off spots are now some seven points away is down to basic, elementary mistakes.
Yes, Mansfield could consider themselves unlucky with Wrexham's winning goal, when Jay Harris' shot took a deflection off Adam Murray's head to deceive keeper Neil Collett and fly in the top corner.
But the fact was Harris was given too much space to get in his shot, as was Andy Mangan in the build up to Mathias Pogba's opener and Andy Morrell when he headed in to make it 2-2.
They are errors that keep happening time and again and explain why Mansfield are unable to find the consistency to mount a play-off bid. Conceding three goals in a game is not conducive to a victory.
It is a shame to be talking once again about the team's defensive frailties, because they ran Wrexham – a team coming into this clash 11 games unbeaten in the league – mighty close.
Ashley Cain was a delight to watch down the right flank, the passing was crisp and, at times, inventive and the endeavour and work-rate spot on.
Yet it was all in vain because the Stags could not keep their own back door shut.
A third defeat in five home games since the turn of the year was also the sixth time in seven matches Mansfield have lost to Wrexham since both were relegated out of the Football League.
The opening exchanges did not hint what was to come as the two sides started cautiously.
But when Wrexham did threaten in the eighth minute, they made a breakthrough to hit unchanged Mansfield hard.
As Mangan dropped off to the far post, no-one went with him, leaving him to run onto Curtis Obeng's diagonal ball over the top.
As it was, he miscued his volley but Dean Keates teed up Mathias Pogba, who made no mistake from ten yards.
Mansfield came roaring back and pinned Wrexham in their own half for long periods.
It seemed as if their blitz would go unrewarded but their persistence paid off with two quick goals in the lead up to the interval.
First, in the 39th minute, Maxwell punched away Cain's right-wing centre only as far as Louis Briscoe who returned it with interest, thumping into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.
And then, in first half stoppage time, Tyrone Thompson scored his first goal for the Stags when he lashed powerfully into the roof of the net from eight yards after Briscoe's deflected shot had fallen to him.
Wrexham came out after the restart determined to get back into the game, only for Morrell to be too high with a drive from Keates' cut-back.
But, by and large, Mansfield looked assured at the back and Connor almost added to their lead when his shot was pushed away by Maxwell.
However, as the minutes ticked by, the hosts began to drop deeper and deeper, which only invited pressure.
Wrexham continued to ask questions and Mansfield eventually had no answer when Mark Creighton's header dropped in between a flat-footed defensive line and goalkeeper Collett for Morrell to gleefully pounce from close range.
Collett appeared to play Mansfield's get out of jail free card when he spectacularly finger-tipped Harris' rasping 30-yard strike onto the bar and over.
He was helpless just a few seconds later, though, when midfielder Harris cracked in another shot which, via Murray's head, found the net to spark wild celebrations in the North Stand that hosted the 500 Wrexham fans.
As the final whistle blew, there was a sense of injustice at the result.
Yet it may be a feeling they are experiencing again in the future unless the players can acquire the concentration needed to see out games when in a good position.
In that regard, maybe a trip in the aforementioned time machine to see the likes of George Foster and co in action wouldn't go amiss
Match facts: Mansfield Town v Wrexham
Mansfield: Collett, Silk, Foster, Sandwith, Stonehouse, Cain, Thompson, Murray, Briscoe, Connor, Mitchey (Smith 63). Subs not used: Nix, Naylor, Istead, Medley.
Wrexham: Maxwell, Obeng, Sinclair, Creighton, Ashton, Pogba, Keates, Harris, Blackburn, Mangan, Morrell. Subs not used: Andrews, Brown, Cieslewicz, Tolley, Knight-Percival.
Referee: Stephen Smith (County Durham).
Attendance: 3,266 (498 visitors).
Goals: Mansfield: Briscoe (39), Thompson (45 +2).Wrexham: Pogba (8), Morrell (71), Harris (90+1).
Shots on target: Mansfield 5 Wrexham 5.
Shots off target: Mansfield 4 Wrexham 3.
Fouls: Mansfield 12 Wrexham 3.
Corners: Mansfield 8 Wrexham 3.
Offsides: Mansfield 2 Wrexham 3.
Bookings: Mansfield 4 (Silk, 57, foul on Silk; Sandwith, 70, foul on Pogba; Cain, 77, foul on Ashton; Briscoe, 83, foul on Creighton) Wrexham 2 (Obeng, 59, foul on Mitchley; Morrell, 71, unsporting behaviour).
Sendings off: Mansfield 0 Wrexham 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Ashley Cain. A constant menace to the Wrexham rearguard. Provided countless crosses for Mansfield's front men to attack and is growing in stature with every game.
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