PAUL CONNOR DOUBTFUL FOR WEMBLEY AS STAGS BEATEN
Blue Square Bet Premier
AFC Wimbledon 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Stuart's arm 68, Johnson 86. Thompson 14
Attendance: 3,613 (134 from Mansfield)
Date: 22 April 2011
Martin Shaw at Kingsmeadow
Paul Connor limped off with a torn calf during the first half of this game in the sunshine at AFC Wimbledon and is now a doubt for Wembley according to physio Jason Truscott. It is potentially a huge blow to the Stags' chances of winning the FA Trophy final at Wembley in 15 days time. The Stags took the lead after 14 minutes with a brilliant goal from Tyrone Thompson, firing home left footed from 25 yards. The Stags came within a whisker of doubling the lead ten minutes later when Luke Medley charged down a clearance from the goalkeeper, the ball rebounded into the ground, bounced up and landed on the roof of the net. Wimbledon had started the better but found the returning Neil Collett in good form, including an outstanding save tipping over a venomous Hatton free kick. AFC Wimbledon equalised on 68 minutes with a goal which should not have stood, as Jamie Stuart met a corner at the far post and video evidence confirms initial thoughts that the ball went in off his upper arm (left bicep). The home side won the game with another lucky goal on 86 minutes when sub Christian Jolley's shot took a big deflection off Johnson to give Collett no chance in the Stags goal. Whilst the two goals for the home side were fortunate, there was no denying that AFC Wimbledon looked a classy side and created so much more going forward than the Stags and ultimately deserved the win. The Stags defended well and Murray and Thompson were very good in midfield, but going forward the Stags were toothless and failed to create a single chance in the whole game apart from the goal and Medley's charge-down. The game showed again that the Stags squad are nowhere near good enough for promotion next season and are at least 6 new players away from being one that can challenge for promotion.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre.
AFC Wimbledon 2 Mansfield Town 1, Friday 20th May
CHAD report by John Lomas
WHAT had looked to be a very Good Friday for Mansfield ultimately ended in defeat as promotion hopefuls AFC Wimbledon came from behind to steal an 86th minute winner in the Easter sunshine at Kingsmeadow on Friday afternoon.
The classy Dons dominated the game but found themselves behind to Tyrone Thompson's 25 yard blast on 14 minutes against the run of play.
Stags' defence then stood firm against wave after wave of Wimbledon pressure with Steve Foster and Mark Preece outstanding and Adam Murray the pick of the midfield.
But it wasn't to last as Jamie Stuart finally found a way past Neil Collett on 68 minutes.
However, Stags looked to have at least taken a superb point until four minutes from time when sub Christian Jolley's shot deflected in off Brett Johnson, leaving the pair to argue over who scored the goal.
Either way, it was a second successive double for the Dons over Mansfield following that 5-2 Field Mill drubbing earlier this season.
Mansfield's injury problems didn't improve as Paul Connor and Conor Higginson, who had come on to replace him, both had to limp off while Dan Spence also ended the game limping.
It leaves physio Jason Truscott with plenty of work ahead of Monday's visit of Gateshead.
Stags again shuffled their tired pack and out went David Grof, Louis Briscoe, Kyle Nix, Conor Higginson and Paul Stonehouse while into the side went Collett, Spence, Thompson, Luke Medley and Ashley Cain.
It was Collett's first game in goal since the 3-3 draw with Newport County on 12th February but number one keeper Alan Marriott is expected back from his broken finger for Monday's home clash with Gateshead.
The home side, with their play-off place already booked, began with eight regulars, but brought in three fringe players, including young keeper Jack Turner.
The Dons threatened in the second minute with a neat exchange of passes between Mohamed and Moore which saw Mohamed eventually burst into the box before being halted by Foster's sliding tackle and Spence kicking clear right in front of goal.
On five minutes the home side really should have gone ahead as Moore helped the ball on for Mohamed to race clear from the halfway line with no offside flag.
But, with Collett at his mercy and Kedwell catching up alongside him as an option, he got it all wrong and harmlessly rolled the ball to a grateful Collett.
Jones curled a right-footed effort wide of the far post from the left of the box on nine minutes as the pressure continued.
Two minutes later Murray conceded a free kick 30 yards from goal which Hatton fired powerfully at goal only to see Collett making a great save with his fingertips to concede a corner.
Mohamed wasn't far wide with a low snapshot after Collett had punched clear to the edge of the box as Stags held on in the warm Easter sunshine.
But the visitors had a sucker punch waiting for the Dons as they grabbed the lead with their first attack and first real foray over the halfway line on 14 minutes.
Preece headed the ball powerfully forward and Thompson, offered some room 25 yards from goal, cracked a low finish inside the left hand post with Turner clawing at fresh air.
Medley was lucky not be booked when, after being caught offside, he carried on and put the ball into the net, escaping with just a lecture.
Medley almost fluked a second goal for Stags on 24 minutes.
Keeper Turner tried to clear a backpass with Medley closing him down and the ball struck the incoming Medley and rebounded towards goal but ended up bouncing onto the roof of the net.
Murray's second cynical trip of the afternoon, this time on Hatton, saw him booked on 26 minutes and Hatton dip the free kick over from 30 yards.
Stags' Wembley injury worries were increased when experienced striker Connor went off injured on the half-hour mark, replaced by youngster Higginson.
Kedwell threatened to get past Foster but the Stags defender stayed with him and did just enough to prevent Kedwell getting in a shot or being able to find Mohamed to his left.
Moore did well to fend off two defenders and fire a low shot just wide from Kedwell's square pass as the Dons continued to look menacing.
A brief Stags raid, which began on the right with Cain, saw him square to Smith who drew the defender before laying the ball left into space for Higginson to fire on target first time and force Turner to block his low effort.
A Yussuff free kick clipped the top of the Stags wall for a corner which, when cleared, ended up with Mohamed hitting the ball back goalwards and Moore backheading over the bar.
A fourth Dons corner on 42 minutes saw Collett fouled with Stags struggling to clear.
Gregory was well over from 30 yards as we entered the final minute of the first half.
In stoppage time, with Dons playing some neat football, Mohamed played a one-two with Jones in the box but, as he pulled his foot back to finish in slid Foster with a great saving tackle.
Wimbledon began the second half on the offensive and won a quick corner which Stags failed to clear, Mohamed eventually rifling well over.
Then a short corner on the left was chipped towards Gwillim at the near post who guided it over off his left instep.
On 53 minutes Higginson, who had replaced the injured Connor, also limped off injured, forcing Briscoe into the fray.
Collett had to keep his eye on Moore's deflected shot on 55 minutes but was in the right position to gather safely.
Desperate for a way back in, the Dons made a double substitution on the hour with Jolley and Mulley on for Jones and Yussuff.
Collett made another good stop a minute later as Kedwell turned a close range effort target from a far post header into the danger zone.
Kedwell showed great feet to turn Foster one way and then the other before getting away a powerful shot that deflected just over.
Wimbledon came as close as they had all day on 66 minutes as, from a right wing cross, Stuart headed firmly against the crossbar.
Another corner followed as the Dons turned up the heat and, from that, the home side had a deserved 68th minute equaliser.
Hatton's left wing flag kick caught out Collett and his defenders as it sailed over everyone to the far post where Stuart popped up to head inside the upright.
The home side could sense victory but Mansfield held firm after the setback of the equaliser and held the Dons at bay.
Istead came on for the tiring Medley for the final nine minutes as Stags won their first corner of the afternoon.
Within three minutes of his introduction Istead was added to the book for his challenge on Gwillim.
Spence came to the rescue on 85 minutes as Jolley's header beat Collett from Gwillim's cross only to see the Stags full back clear of the line.
But a minute later amid more pressure, Jolley's 16 yard snapshot was on target but took a wicked deflection off the backside of team mate Johnson and left Collett with no chance as the home side nosed in front for the first time.
Two minutes later Collett did well to grab the ball off the toes of Minshull.
Five minutes were added at the end in which Silk did well to block from Mohamed. Then from a corner Thompson kicked a Minshull header off the line as the home side hunted a third goal.
AFC WIMBLEDON: Turner, Hatton, Gwillim, Gregory, Stuart, Johnson, Jones (Mulley 60), Yussuf (Minshull 69), Kedwell, Mohamed, Moore (Jolley 60). Subs not used: Brown, Keirnan.
STAGS: Collett; Silk, Foster, Preece, Spence; Cain, Murray, Thompson, Smith; Medley (Istead 81), Connor (Higginson 30, Briscoe 53). Subs not used: Grof, Nix.
REFEREE: Chris Knowles of Northants.
ATTENDANCE: 3,613 (134 away).
GOALS: AFC Wimbledon – Stuart 68mins, Johnson 86mins. Stags – Thompson 14mins.
CAUTION: Stags - Murray 26mins (foul), Briscoe 74mins (foul), Istead 84mins (foul).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Steve Foster
It's so cruel on Stags as they are defeated by late goal
Evening Post by Matt Halfpenny
IT was oh-so cruel on Mansfield Town, having put so much into it on a sweltering, energy-sapping afternoon at Kingsmeadow.
The Stags looked to be heading for an unlikely draw at Blue Square Bet Premier promotion hopefuls AFC Wimbledon going into the closing stages.
They showed the kind of determination and fight that boss Duncan Russell had called for and was so lacking on their last visit to London when they lost 4-0 at Hayes and Yeading.
But just when a positive result seemed on the cards, they were denied by the most wicked of deflections, the kind that no-one can do anything about.
Christian Jolley's shot would certainly have tested Neil Collett as he fired goalwards from 15 yards.
But there was nothing the Mansfield keeper could do once it had struck Brett Johnson, diverting the ball into the opposite corner.
That was a bitter pill to swallow for Duncan Russell and his players having fought valiantly for long periods to hold onto a lead given to them by Tyrone Thompson's spectacular first half strike.
However, it has to be said that the Stags were rarely an attacking threat and it was exactly what Wimbledon deserved for knocking on the door time and again to first level and then nick their winner.
The obvious gap in standards between the two sides merely highlighted how much work Mansfield have to do this summer if they are to be contenders next season.
Watching chairman John Radford and his new team of directors will have surely taken note.
Mansfield made five changes, no doubt with Wembley in mind, from Tuesday's 2-0 home defeat against Grimsby.
Out went David Grof, Paul Stonehouse, Kyle Nix, Louis Briscoe and Conor Higginson, who were replaced by Neil Collett, Dan Spence, Tyrone Thompson, Ashley Cain and Luke Medley.
For goalkeeper Collett, it was a first start since February 12 against Newport and gives him the chance to get some playing time under his belt in case he is needed to play at Wembley.
Briscoe, meanwhile, was given a well-earned rest on the bench after playing all of Mansfield's four home games in a week.
The Stags were immediately put on the back foot.
Kaid Mohamed played a neat one-two with Luke Moore and burst into the box but his attempted finish under pressure was hooked clear by Dan Spence.
The Dons should have gone in front in the fifth minute when Moore's ball over the top put Mohamed away and clear but he scuffed his finish straight at Collett when he only had the keeper to beat.
The hosts continued to do all the attacking and when they won a free-kick 30-yards from goal, Sam Hatton fizzed on target for Collett to tip over the bar. Soon after, Danny Kedwell's header into the box was punched away by Collett as far as Mohamed, who screwed his shot wide.
The breakthrough was not long in coming, but it was a massive surprise that it went to Mansfield – and in spectacular style too.
It was the first time the Stags had got anywhere near the home goal when Mark Preece headed forward for Thompson, who carried the ball to within 25 yards of goal before unleashing an unstoppable left-foot strike that found the left-hand corner.
The visitors almost doubled their advantage in bizarre circumstances when Luke Medley charged down Jack Turner's attempted clearance, only for the ball to loop onto the roof of the net when it appeared it may drop in.
Worryingly for Mansfield, the injured Paul Connor went off with half an hour gone and was replaced by Higginson.
Moments later, Cain and Adam Smith combined to tee up Higginson, whose shot was fielded by Turner. Wimbledon were soon back on the attack, though, and Mansfield were relieved when Rashid Yussuff's free-kick struck the bar.
Foster then made a vital, last-gasp challenge to deny Mohamed who looked to wriggle free in first half stoppage time.
It was normal service resumed after the restart but Mohamed blazed well over after a spell of home pressure.
Mansfield were forced into another change up front when substitute Higginson limped off, Briscoe coming on for him in a straight swap.
As play resumed, a flowing Wimbledon move culminated in Moore's shot striking Yussuff, taking the sting out of his effort and allowing Collett to claim.
Collett made an excellent save from point-blank range to deny Kedwell with his legs when the Dons top scorer seemed certain to equalise.
Kedwell then turned Foster inside out but Preece managed to deflect the striker's drive.
The Dons could not get much closer to levelling in the 66th minute when Jamie Stuart headed a right-wing cross against the bar at the far post.
But the former Rushden and Diamonds man made no mistake two minutes later from Hatton's inswinging corner that deceived Collett, nodding home from close range to square things up.
As the game moved into the last ten minutes, Dan Spence cleared off the line from Jolley, but with four minutes to go, disaster struck for the visitors with Johnson's moment of luck.
In the five minutes of added time, Wimbledon almost extended their lead when Lee Minshull headed against a post.
That would have been tough on Mansfield, who were already thoroughly deflated having been within touching distance of an unlikely draw
Match facts: AFC Wimbledon v Mansfield Town
Wimbledon: Turner, Hatton, Stuart, Johnson, Gwillim, Jones (Mulley 60), Yussuff (Minshull 69), Gregory, Kedwell, Mohamed, L. Moore (Jolley 60). Subs not used: Brown, Kiernan.
Mansfield: Collett, Silk, Foster, Preece, Spence, Cain, Thompson, Murray, Smith, Connor (Higginson 30; Briscoe 53), Medley (Istead 81). Subs not used: Grof, Nix.
Referee: Chris Knowles (Northants).
Attendance: 3,613 (134 visitors).
Goals: Wimbledon 2: Stuart (68), Jolley (86). Mansfield 1: Thompson (14).
Shots on target: Wimbledon 7 Mansfield 2.
Shots off target: Wimbledon 10 Mansfield 1.
Fouls: Wimbledon 4 Mansfield 14.
Corners: Wimbledon 9 Mansfield 2.
Offsides: Wimbledon 4 Mansfield 2.
Bookings: Wimbledon 0 Mansfield 3 (Murray, 26, foul on Hatton; Briscoe, 74, foul on Gregory; Istead, 84, foul on Gwillim).
Sendings off: Wimbledon 0 Mansfield 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Adam Murray. The skipper led by example and, along with Mark Preece and Steve Foster, was the backbone of Mansfield's backs-to-the-wall effort. The only player in amber and blue to show continued composure on the ball and gave his all
AFC Wimbledon edge closer to runners-up spot with Mansfield win
Apr 22 2011, By Chris Slavin
AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Mansfield
DONS all but clinched the Blue Square Premier runners-up spot after a fortunate 86th minute winner from Brett Johnson today.
Substitute Christian Jolley took the plaudits for the winning goal, but his shot took a deflection off Johnson and deceived Mansfield goalkeeper Neil Collett.
If Luton fail to beat Eastbourne tomorrow or Dons win at Forest Green on Monday, then Terry Brown's men will be assured of second spot that has the advantage of playing the fifth placed team in the play-offs.
Boss Terry Brown shuffled his pack with young goalkeeper Jack Turner handed a rare chance in place of number one Seb Brown and Reece Jones having a first-team start.
It was a match that had an end-of-season feel about it with Dons already assured of a play-off spot and Mansfield having one eye on their FA Trophy final in two weeks' time.
Dons made the kind of flying start though that saw them score after just 11 seconds in the previous encounter between these two sides.
Kaid Mohamed missed two great chances to open his Dons account, first when he was put clean through by a Luke Moore pass, but Mansfield goalkeeper Collett was equal to his shot and Wimbledon's penalty appeals were turned down.
Mohamed then missed an even easier chance when he fired tamely at Collett after showing an impressive turn of pace to go through.
It was all Dons in the early stages with FA Trophy finalists Mansfield barely getting out of their own half and Collett was forced to tip a powerful 25-yard free-kick from Sam Hatton.
However, Turner was picking the ball out of the net in the 14th minute as Mansfield scored with their first chance.
The visitors snatched the lead with a goal out of nothing as Tyrone Thompson smashed home the sweetest of strikes from 20 yards that left Turner with no chance.
It nearly became a nightmare for Turner in the 24th minute when he struck his clearance straight at Luke Medley and was relieved to see it dip just over the crossbar.
Dons struggled to break down a resolute Mansfield side in the second-half, but the hosts finally created another chance on the hour for Danny Kedwell, but he shot too close to Collett.
The home side came even closer a few minutes later when Jamie Stuart's header thudded against the crossbar.
However, Stuart did find the key to the door in the 69th minute when he headed home emphatically at the far post from a Gareth Gwillim corner.
Substitute Jolley added much needed impetus and his header was cleared off the line near the end, before his shot was inadvertently deflected in by Johnson (pictured) for the winner four minutes from time.
AFC Wimbledon: Turner, Hatton, Gwillim, Gregory, Stuart, Johnson, Jones (Jolley), Yussuff (Minshull), Kedwell, Mohamed, L Moore (Mulley).
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