STAGS WIN AT LEADERS IN AMAZING GAME
Blue Square Bet Premier
Wrexham 1 - 3 Mansfield Town
Fowler 64. Wright OG 40, Green (pen) 67, Connor 90+5
Attendance: 3,478 (130 from Mansfield)
Date: 27 September 2011
Martin Shaw at the Racecourse Ground
Magnificent Mansfield bounced back from the disappointing defeat at home to Kidderminster on Saturday to beat leaders Wrexham 3-1 this evening in a fabulous game at the Racecourse Ground. It was a game that had everything: a penalty, two sendings off, an own goal, and a 95th minute goal. It was one of the best games the Stags have been involved in for a long time.
The Stags were nearly behind after a minute but Alan Marriott made a magnificent save from Fowler's free kick, somehow clawing it away from going in at the top corner of the net. I think it was the save of the season so far. The Stags were generally under the cosh for the opening half hour, but came back strongly in the next 15 minutes, and Adam Murray struck the bar with a piledriver from 30 yards, before the Stags opened the scoring on 40 minutes. Luke O'Neill (installed as set piece taker with Kendrick not playing) firing in a free kick from the left and it was powered into the net from close range. Initially I thought it was off Naylor, as did other members of the Mansfield media, but after the game I asked Tom himself and he admitted it came off a defender and it was not his goal. The Stags nearly went 2-0 ahead in incredible circumstances as Nathaniel Knight-Percival played a backpass to his keeper not realising the keeper was out of his goal, but the ball rolled into the side netting, when if it had been a yard to the left it would have been a goal. The Stags were harrying and ratting and not giving an inch, but Wrexham equalised on 64 minutes. They say lightning doesn't strike twice but it did here as Howell, who otherwise had a fine game, gave the ball away just inside his own half, Fowler took the ball forward and buried a low finish past Marriott. It was a near carbon-copy of Telford's sickening equaliser 7 days ago. Incredibly within 3 minutes the Stags were back in front and Wrexham down to 10 men. Matt Green got goalside of defender Knight-Percival inside the box and Knight-Percival bundled Green down. It was as clear a penalty as you'll see and Knight-Percival picked up a second yellow. It was perplexing that it was not a straight red but that didn't matter. Green took the longest run-up in history (from about 10 yards outside the box) and coolly slotted the ball into the left corner of the net as the keeper went the wrong way. After the game I said to Green it was the longest run-up I'd ever seen, and he said people always say that and he has done it before. He looked thrilled to have got the victory. On 82 minutes, an appalling decision by the referee handed the impetus back to Wrexham - Naylor appeared to be fouled on the near touchline, but the referee gave a free kick against Naylor and booked Naylor - his second yellow. There was no dissent from Naylor (before the booking anyway). It was a ridiculous decision, acknowledged by the home media as well. After the game I asked Naylor about the incident and he was very unhappy and felt hard-done-by, rightly so. He will now be suspended for two games, having already had a red card this season. Wrexham were rampant then and twice came within a whisker of equalising but the magnificent Stags defence stayed firm and it was left to sub Paul Connor to seal the win 5 minutes into stoppage time coolly slotting the ball under the keeper when through 1-on-1, to spark scenes of joy from players and fans alike.
The Stags made three changes from the side that started against Kidderminster: Naylor, Worthington and Andy Todd, replacing Kendrick, Meikle and the suspended Briscoe. Naylor slotted in at right back where he had played so well for Fulham reserves against Manchester United reserves a couple of week ago, O'Neill moved to left back, and Worthington and Todd took their place in a 5 man midfield (opinions varied on whether this was 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, but for me Green was on his own up front). Todd played on the left in a role where one minute he was in the defence and the next he was in attack.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Wrexham 1-3 Mansfield Town, Tuesday 27th September
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
MANSFIELD Town made the perfect comeback from Saturday's home humiliation by Kidderminster when they pulled off a sensational 3-1 away win at table-topping Wrexham last night.
It meant that Stags had now showed their mettle after both of their only two defeats of the season, the last time going on an eight-game unbeaten run which was ended at the weekend, this time shocking the leaders in their own back yard.
So often an unhappy hunting ground for Mansfield, this was Stags' first league win at the Racecourse Ground in just under 26 years, when they won 2-1 in February 1986.
After a torrid first 15 minutes, Mansfield found their feet and deserved their interval lead through Danny Wright's 39th minute own goal, Adam Murray also rattling the crossbar.
Lee Fowler levelled for the Welsh side on 64 minutes. But when Nat Knight-Percival's foul on Matt Green in the box gave away a penalty and saw the Wrexham man sent-off for a second bookable offence, Green bagged his eighth goal of the season from the penalty spot.
However, Stags also finished with 10 men in a nailbiting last six minutes when Tom Naylor also saw a controversial second yellow card, before a late Paul Connor strike made it safe.
Green often found himself isolated up front as Stags defended with a 4-5-1 formation before Andy Todd and Ross Dyer pushed up in possession to go 4-3-3. But the combination worked a treat and produced a fourth successive away win.
To read a match report, buy this week's Chad on sale from Wednesday
mansfieldtown.net report by Mark Stevenson
Resillient Mansfield Town emerged with three points from the Racecourse Ground for the first time since 1986 after an enthralling match which saw both sides finish with ten men.
In a tightly-fought contest, Stags knocked their Welsh counterparts off the top of the table with a workman like performance to make it four wins in succession on the road.
It was a perfect response from Mansfield after Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Kidderminster and now sees the Stags deservedly amongst the chasing pack after this superb win in North Wales.
Paul Cox's decision to change formation to 4-5-1 proved to work a treat, but the game wasn't without its scares for the Stags as they came up against one of the league's best passing sides.
Goalkeeper Alan Marriott was called upon just two minutes into the match after Ross Dyer had conceded a free kick on the edge of the box. Wrexham's Lee Fowler struck beautifully but Marriott's superb one handed stop just under the angle of post and bar prevented the hosts from an early lead.
Fowler then sent Jay Harris into space through the middle after Stags had given away possession cheaply, but Harris scuffed his shot and Mansfield were let off the hook.
Wrexham experienced their first nervy moment on 18 minutes when they had Dean Keates to thank for clearing off the line. Stags won a corner, their second of the match, through brilliant work from Anthony Howell and Andy Todd. Luke O'Neill's delivery found Tom Naylor amid a crowded penalty area who tried to poke it over the line, but Keates was there to make the stop.
At the other end, burly forward Mothias Pogba cut infield on the right before delivering a tasty cross, but no one could meet it in the centre.
The home side won another free kick midway inside the first half when ex Stags' front man Jake Speight burst through the middle but was stopped in his tracks by Ben Futcher, who will now miss Saturday's game at Forest Green Rovers after collecting five bookings.
On 24 minutes, Pogba found space on the right and powered a piledriver towards goal, which Marriott did well to get across to turn behind. Stags survived moments later when they somehow cleared amidst a scramble in the area.
With 30 minutes played, Stags' skipper Adam Murray worked his magic in midfield, turning, before sending a perfect ball towards the advancing Matt Green. The in-form striker cut inside his man to fire goalwards which home goalkeeper Chris Maxwell had to get across to save.
Murray continued to impress and rattled the bar with a blistering shot from all of 25 yards, after the midfielder had again got the better of his man in midfield.
It was Stags, through all their hard work, who broke the deadlock on 39 minutes. Green was tripped on the left side of the area to win Stags a free kick from a dangerous area. Luke O'Neill, at the heart of Stags' set pieces, delivered an inch perfect cross into the middle which hit the head of Danny Wright and into his own goal.
O'Neill provided again on the stroke of half time, this time with a low pass to Worthington in the centre, who curled a shot at goal which was comfortably saved by Maxwell.
Wrexham started the second half as they did the first, by bursting out the traps. Wright made a surging run down the line before sending a dipping cross just wide.
Pogba, Wrexham's chief tormenter, almost set up an equaliser on the stroke of the hour. Powering down the flank, Pogba glided by two defenders before playing it low inside the area for Speight who missed the target.
But the hosts were soon level, just four minutes later. Anthony Howell gave away possession in the middle of the park, allowing Fowler to advance and shoot which Marriott managed only a hand as it went into the net.
The game was back in Stags' favour in only the blink of an eye. On 66 minutes, Nat Knight-Percival received a second yellow card for pulling back Matt Green inside the area. And Green, true to form, stepped up from 12 yards to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and grab his eighth goal of the season in the process.
Jon Worthington made way for Paul Bolland with 15 minutes to play.
With a little over ten minutes to play, Murray showed his defensive abilities, with a crunching tackle on Jamie Tolley.
Paul Connor took to the field on 82 minutes replacing Matt Green as the lone front man.
Stags were reduced to ten men two minutes later after a bizarre decision by the referee. Tom Naylor appeared to win the ball fairly down the flank against Adrian Ciesiewicz, but the referee adjudged the challenge warranted a home free kick and a second yellow card for the Mansfield defender to leave the Stags bench totally baffled.
In a nail-biting finale, Ben Futcher did well to turn the ball behind, almost putting it in his own goal, after a telling right wing cross with three minutes left to play.
Wrexham player manager Andy Morrell threw himself on as a substitute shortly after the fourth official indicated five minutes of additional time.
But Stags had no need to worry as they bagged a third in the last minute of the game. Ross Dyer set up Paul Connor through the middle, and the big striker kept his cool to slip the ball beyond Maxwell from close range
Match report: Wrexham 1 Mansfield Town 3
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
JUST when many were suggesting the wheels had come off, Mansfield Town bounced back brilliantly to prove nothing could be further from the truth.
On the back of a 3-0 home thrashing by Kidderminster at the weekend, the Racecourse Ground Wrexham could hardly have been a less inviting trip to follow.
Matt Green scored Mansfield's second from the penalty spot
Not only were the Red Dragons the league leaders, despite the recent departure of Dean Saunders, but they had also not lost in eight league matches against the Stags in Wales, dating back to 1986.
But under manager Paul Cox, Mansfield have already shown this season that reputation and past history means very little to them.
And they once again demonstrated a steely resolve at difficult points during the game in recording their fourth straight away success to move back up into the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off places in fifth.
Both sides finished with ten men as the referee Richard Wigglesworth endured something of a shocker.
Nevertheless, Mansfield maintained their concentration to bag the points from an eventful game with an own goal, Matt Green's eighth of the season and a stoppage time strike from substitute Paul Connor.
It was no surprise to see the Mansfield boss make three changes to the side dismantled by the Harriers.
Out went Joe Kendrick, Lindon Meikle and the suspended Louis Briscoe and in came Tom Naylor, Jon Worthington and, most surprisingly Andy Todd, in what equated to a 4-3-3 cum 4-5-1 formation,
Naylor was chosen at right-back, with Luke O'Neill switched to left flank, while Worthington took his place alongside Anthony Howell as one of two holding midfielders, with Adam Murray playing in a more advanced position.
In attack, Todd – playing for the first time since the opening-day draw against Bath City – and Ross Dyer were employed either side of central striker Matt Green.
Wrexham won a dangerous early free-kick right on the edge of the Mansfield box after a clumsy tackle by Ross Dyer and they almost made the early breakthrough from it.
Lee Fowler curled a shot over the wall that was heading for the left corner but Alan Marriott got across the tip the ball around the post.
Mansfield's first sight of goal came in the 18th minute from their second corner of the game.
The hosts failed to clear O'Neill's left wing delivery to the far post and as Naylor stabbed goalwards from close range, Dean Keates had to hack off the line.
Ben Futcher picked up his fifth booking of the season – meaning he will miss Saturday's clash at Forest Green – as he brought down Jake Speight, but Keates curled his free-kick into the Mansfield wall.
Midway through the half, Pogba was put into space on the right corner of the box and his early shot was pushed for a corner by Marriott.
From the flag kick, Speight looked set to put the hosts in front but his shot on the swivel was blocked amid a sea of bodies.
Murray was desperately unlucky as the Wrexham defence stood off him, inviting him to shoot, and he thudded a 25-yard screamer against the crossbar with Chris Maxwell beaten.
But there was no mistake from the Stags in 39th minute as they went in front as a reward for their spell on top.
Green was fouled close to the left byline and O'Neill whipped in an exquisite free-kick that only needed the merest of touches and came, inadvertently, from the head of Danny Wright under pressure from Naylor.
With both the Stags' full-backs getting forward at every opportunity, and the visitors passing the ball with increasing assuredness in the lead up to the break, O'Neill threaded inside for Worthington, who fired into Maxwell's midriff.
As the second period got under-way, Nat Knight-Percival almost put through his own goal in calamitous style as he miscued a back pass inches wide of the right-hand post with Maxwell nowhere in the picture.
The Red Dragons should have been level just past the hour when Pogba dummied his way past Ritchie Sutton and squared for Speight who skied over the top when it seemed easier to score.
But the hosts were level in the 64th minute when Lee Fowler dispossessed Howell and advanced to the edge of the area unchallenged before threading a shot just inside Marriott's left-hand post.
However, within three minutes, Mansfield were back in front and also had an extra man as Knight-Percival, booked in the first half pulled down Green in the area to give the Stags a penalty.
Green picked himself to keep his cool amid the home boos and send Maxwell the wrong way, finding the left-hand side of the goal.
Despite their numerical advantage, Mansfield were increasingly pinned back and substitute Adrian Cieslewicz was not too far away with a snapshot.
Incredibly, Naylor was shown a second yellow card with six minutes to go when he appeared to be tripped by a frustrated Cieslewicz.
That saw Wrexham throw everything at Mansfield in a bid to land a point and Futcher almost put through his own goal late on.
But it was the Stags who made sure of victory when Dyer flicked on for Connor, who shook off the last defender to slide past the advancing Maxwell.
It was, in the end, a win that was just about deserved
Wrexham FC 1 Mansfield Town 3: Mark Currie's verdict
by Mark Currie, Daily Post
CARETAKER-manager Andy Morrell won't feel much like celebrating his 37th birthday this morning after watching Wrexham FC go down to a second successive home defeat and the first of his fledging career in the hot seat.
But there could have been few complaints from neutrals about last night's entertainment value from the Racecourse clash with Mansfield Town who achieved a first-ever victory between the sides since both lost their Football League status.
A hard, uncompromising contest saw a man apiece being sent off in the second half, but it has to be said referee Richard Wigglesworth made a rod for his own back with a flurry of unnecessary first-half cautions.
There was an unfamiliar face working alongside Morrell following the departure of Brian Carey after a 20-year association with the Dragons to join Dean Saunders at Doncaster Rovers.
Morrell has turned to ex-Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday coach Billy Barr to help out, but the team selection was very much his own as Curtis Obeng and Danny Wright won immediate recalls after completing suspensions at the expense of Chris Westwood and Adrian Cieslewicz, who both featured in Saturday's 3-1 victory at Grimsby Town.
For his first home game in charge, Morrell was given a standing ovation by the Racecourse faithful, the Supporters' Trust members among the crowd needing little excuse to celebrate after Monday's confirmation that they had finally taken ownership of the club following months of long drawn-out negotiations.
That being the case, the attendance of just under 3,500 was a tad disappointing, especially as their team had started the evening back at the summit of the Blue Square Bet Premier League.
But the Dragons did their best to get the party of to a flying start when Neil Ashton was fouled on the edge of the visitors' penalty area by Ross Dyer, who was booked for his indiscretion.
Goalkeeper Alan Marriott, however, was equal to Lee Fowler's wickedly curling free kick, clawing it away from under the cross bar for a corner.
Once the Stags settled, though, Morrell's men found themselves embroiled in a rugged contest and visiting midfielder Andy Todd's intelligent run won a corner from which defender Tom Naylor saw his close-range shot cleared off the line.
Three minutes later it was the Dragons who were cursing their luck after a superb cross-field pass from Fowler picked out Obeng, who laid the ball off to Mathias Pogba.
The unorthodox striker did well to make space for a goal-scoring opportunity but hedged his bets and drove the ball across the six-yard box where no-one was waiting to tap in.
There was no hint of indecision, however, in the 24th minute when he forced another fine save from Marriott and from the subsequent corner Nat Knight-Percival's effort was blocked on the line.
Increasingly more reliant on the quick counter-attack, Mansfield had a chance of their own when Matt Green got the better of Knight-Percival but was denied by Chris Maxwell and the home defence then retreated to allow skipper Andy Murray to rattle the home crossbar with a fierce drive.
It signalled a good spell for the visitors and Wrexham were not so lucky in the 39th minute when Obeng foolishly shoved Green in the back to concede a free kick on the edge of the box and O'Neill's delivery was inadvertently turned into his own net by Wright.
It might have been worse for the home side two minutes later after Jon Worthington was allowed a free run into the penalty area, only to steer his shot straight at the goalkeeper, so it was the home side that were grateful to hear the whistle for the interval.
Within two minutes of the restart Wright went close to making up for his earlier faux pas when he latched onto Pogba's pass and was unfortunate to see his effort graze the top of the woodwork.
But a misjudged back-pass by Knight-Percival invited Mansfield to resume where they had left off and the home defence endured some nervy moments as their opponents looked to extend their advantage.
Pogba, though, reignited the crowd with a superb run from halfway, although his final effort lacked conviction and a falling Jake Speight could only hook the loose ball over the top of Marriot's goal.
It was the Frenchman's final contribution as he made way for Cieslewicz and the switch signalled a change in the home side's fortunes within a minute when Jay Harris played in Fowler who advanced and struck a stunning equaliser with a low drive from 25 yards.
But the Stags struck back almost immediately and won a penalty when Green was adjudged to have been baulked by Knight-Percival, for whom a second caution meant an early bath.
Green got up to convert the spot-kick, leaving the home side with a mountain to climb, and the response could not be faulted, Harris in particular seeming to regard the one-man disadvantage as a personal insult as he redoubled his efforts.
From a corner Cieslewicz saw his shot ricochet off two defenders before dropping comfortably into Marriott's arms and the winger then drew a foul from Naylor that resulted in a second yellow for the defender which evened up the numbers.
Thereafter the visitors had to work hard to maintain their slim advantage and as Wrexham threw caution to the winds, Mansfield confirmed their right to the three points with a third goal from substitute Paul Connor deep into added time
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