STAGS BEATEN AT YORK
Blue Square Bet Premier
York City 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Reed 59, 69. Naylor 28.
Attendance: 2,261 (128 from Mansfield)
Date: 15 March 2011
Stags play-off dream left in tatters
YORK substitute Jamie Reed rocked new-look Mansfield Town with two goals in 11 second half minutes to turn this game on its head at Bootham Crescent and leave the Stags' play-off hopes in ruins last night.
A Stags side showing six changes had been firmly in charge for the best part of an hour and led against a lethargic York side who had showed nothing of the form that had brought them six straight home wins.
Tom Naylor's first goal for Mansfield on 28 minutes separated the sides at the break as Stags looked set to extend their unbeaten run to nine ahead of Saturday's big game at Luton.
But after Reed levelled against the run of play on 59 minutes soon after coming on, the tide turned firmly in York's favour as the play-off chasing Minstermen gained some revenge for that 5-0 mauling at Field Mill back in September.
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Evening Post Match report: York City 2 Mansfield Town 1
IN a week when Mansfield had one eye on the famous surrounds of Wembley, a visit to Bootham Crescent might have provided a sense of grounding.
Nestled within a maze of terraced houses, a visit to York City's humble home is like taking a step back in time, to an age before modern stadia were hewn out of concrete like a lego kit.
As an early evening fog drifted across the pitch, a grove of trees loomed over the back of one stand as a curious neighbour peered out of his bedroom window.
This is the kind of ground where every shout from the stands is perfectly audible – and the mood of the fans was a perfect barometer for the way the game unfolded.
In the first half, as Stags took a deserved lead through Tom Naylor, there were cries of frustration from the home fans, who berated the referee, the managers and the players with growing enthusiasm.
But, when the home side fought back in the second to claim an ultimately comfortable success, their mood was understandably more content.
As far as Stags fans were concerned, they, like manager Duncan Russell, always had half a mind on the events of this coming weekend.
As a hopeful crowd of Stags fans jostled for position in the lengthy queue for fish and chips from a shop that itself was a throwback to the early 80s, the only topic of debate was over what kind of team their side would field.
The answer was simply one that was very different to the one that they had seen at Field Mill on Sunday afternoon.
Russell insisted it was as much due to the demanding run of fixtures Mansfield have left as it was because of the weekend's FA Trophy clash with Luton that he made wholesale changes.
There were six alterations from the side that defeated the Hatters 1-0, as the Stags boss handed a debut to 18-year-old striker Niall O'Rafferty, who replaced top-scorer Paul Connor in a new look front-line, alongside Danny Mitchley.
Mansfield did have Adam Murray available again, with the skipper not allowed to play against former club Luton in the cup competition.
Steve Foster, Paul Stonehouse, Steven Istead and Adam Smith were also brought back in, with Kevin Sandwith, Louis Briscoe, Kyle Nix and Connor dropping to the bench and Gary Silk and Tyrone Thompson rested altogether.
It was York, on the back of seven successive home league wins and still holding a chance of making the play-offs, who threatened first, as Danny Racchi looped a free-kick over the defensive wall and down towards the bottom corner, where David Grof did well to push around the foot of his post.
But, despite the restructuring of their side, it was Stags who began to take a grip on the game.
Mitchley showed impressive vision to thread the ball into the path of Ashley Cain, who surged beyond defender Chris Smith and rifled a low shot that keeper Michael Ingham spread himself well to block.
The York stopper was tested again moments later, from an almost identical passage of play, with Dan Spence this time foraging forwards from full-back to power into the box from the right and hit a rising shot, which Ingham managed to push onto his bar.
The home side's frustration was perfectly illustrated by two early bookings, for Chris Smith and Scott Kerr, for overly-enthusiastic, crunching tackles.
For Stags, O'Rafferty was making a solid first impression, with his strength and composed touch belying his age and inexperience.
A moment of guile from Jonathan Smith almost carved out an opening for York, as the midfielder conjured up a shot out of nothing that had Grof scrambling across goal to make a smart save.
But, when Ingham failed to show the same level of certainty at the other end, Stags took full advantage, taking the lead through Tom Naylor in the 28th minute.
There seemed to be little danger when Murray lifted a free-kick into the box and the defender rose to plant a soft header goalwards but the keeper allowed it to somehow slip through his grasp and drop into the net.
At this stage, York's confidence seemed fragile, with Mitchley coming within a foot of adding an immediate second, flashing a shot narrowly wide with the home defence in a blind panic.
But Grof was still busy, making a third solid stop of the first half, this time after Michael Rankine had produced a swivelling turn and shot from the edge of the box.
Shortly after the break, York boss Gary Mills, who had plied his trade in Nottinghamshire with Nottingham Forest and Notts County, made an inspired substitution, with Jamie Reed equalising less than three minutes after coming on, firing a decisive finish beyond Grof from ten yards after the Stags defence had failed to properly clear.
That goal came in the 59th minute and, in the 69th, Reed netted his second to put York ahead for the first time.
This time the powerful figure of Rankine was the instigator, as he rampaged into the box and let fly with a shot that Grof could only push against the bar and, when Peter Till collected the rebound, he cut the ball back to lay on a simple chance for Reed .
Mansfield, despite bringing Connor, Briscoe and Nix off the bench, were looking short of ideas, with Smith forcing a simple save from Ingham when he might have done better and Briscoe failing to hit the target with a spectacular, but inaccurate overhead kick.
They will need to be sharper when they visit another old ground, Kenilworth Road, this weekend. But then, the Stags side that takes to the pitch there, is likely to have a different look to it from the very start
York City v Stags match stats
York: Ingham, Darville, Meredith, Jonathan Smith, Parslow, Till (Boucaud 79), Rankine, McDermott (Hatfield 75), Racchi (Reed 56), Kerr, Chris Smith. Other subs: McGurk, Constantine.
Mansfield: Grof, Foster, Smith, Naylor, Stonehouse, Istead, Spence, Cain (Briscoe 65), O'Rafferty (Connor 57), Murray, Mitchley (Nix 75). Other subs: Marriott, Sandwith.
ATTENDANCE: 2,261 (128 away)
REFEREE: Peter Bankes.
York 2: Reed 59, 69.
Mansfield 1: Naylor 28.
Shots on: Y 7 M 8
Shots off: Y 1 M 5
Corners: Y 5 M 4
Offsides: Y 0 M 2
Fouls: Y 9 M 9
York 2: Chris Smith (foul 4), Scott Kerr (foul 15)
Mansfield 1: Mitchley (failing to retreat from FK 75)
Man of match: David Grof. The keeper made a string of smart saves to deny York the lead when it would have been against the run of play in the first half and was unlucky not to deny Jamie Reed his first goal, having pushed Michael Rankine's shot onto the bar
York City 2 Mansfield Town 1: City maintain their promotion push
York City fought back in magnificent style to gain their eighth successive home win and keep up their challenge for a promotion play-off place.
Substitute Jamie Reed proved the hero, coming off the bench to score both York goals.
Danny Racchi went close to putting York ahead in the first minute, his 25-yard free-kick being well saved by David Grof.
But it was no surprise when the visitors took a 27th-minute lead through Tom Naylor, whose header somehow eluded City goalkeeper Michael Ingham.
York came out strongly after the break and got their rewards when Reed equalised in the 59th minute with a fine low shot on the turn. York snatched the lead on 69 minutes when Grof tipped Michael Rankine's shot against the bar only for the ball to find its way to Reed for a simple goal.
York City: Ingham; Darville, Parslow, C Smith, Meredith, Till (Boucaud 79), J Smith, Kerr; McDermott (Hatfield 75), Rankine, Racchi (Reed 56). Unused substitutes: McGurk, Constantine.
Mansfield Town: Grof; Spence, Naylor, Foster, Stonehouse, Cain (Briscoe 65), Istead, Murray, A Smith; O'Rafferty (Connor 56), Midgley (Nix 75). Unused substitutes: Marriott, Sandwith.
Referee: P Bankes (Bootle).
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