POINTS SHARED IN HARD-FOUGHT BATTLE
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 York City
Green 10. Henderson 63.
Attendance: 3551 (931 from York)
Date: 26 December 2011
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at Field Mill
Mansfield Town were pegged back by York City in an entertaining and fully committed battle at Field Mill this afternoon. The Stags took an early lead through Matt Green with his 15th goal of the season, latching onto a bad backpass from David McGurk to round the keeper and slot home on 10 minutes. The Stags were the better side in the first half with most of the possession without creating clearcut chances. Mansfield had two glorious chances to open up a two goal lead in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Ross Dyer missed both and the Stags were made to pay when York equalised on 63 minutes as Henderson fired home clinically after a scuffed shot fell to him. It was a bit unfortunate for Mansfield as for the second game running a loose ball fell kindly for the opposition. After that it was York who looked the more likely winners and it took a great save from Marriott to tip a shot over the bar on 80 minutes, and then York headed a chance wide in the last minute of stoppage time. A fair result, but the Stags drop further behind the play-off places and are now 7 points adrift. It is clear that the Stags are badly missing another goalscorer alongside Matt Green, and it is to be hoped that Ben Hutchinson, who should sign on New Years Day, will be a missing piece of the jigsaw.
Mansfield made two changes from the side that lost at Southport with Martin Riley coming in for the suspended Sutton, and Aman Verma coming in for Briscoe who had a virus but was fit enough for the bench. John Thompson was out and is going for a scan on his neck/shoulder in what is feared to be a secondary injury from his assault at Ilkeston. The Stags played a 4-4-2 formation, with Dyer and Green up front, Verma on the right of midfield and Meikle on the left. York were without leading scorer Jason Walker. Former Stags defender Chris Smith was the York captain, and playing in front of the defence. Former Stag Jon Challinor was on the bench. York lined up in a 5-3-2 formation, and switched to 4-4-2 in the second half.
Man of the Match: Lindon Meikle, by a short hair from the four defenders.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Monday, 26th December - Stags 1 York City 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
DESPITE another decent display, Stags saw the gap to the play-offs stretch to seven points after York's second half fightback held Mansfield to their 11th draw of the league season at Field Mill today.
In a full-blooded Boxing Day cracker, Matt Green's 15th goal of the season had given Stags the interval advantage.
He pounced on a poor 10th minute backpass as the home side edged a feisty first half in which York were shown three yellow cards and Mansfield one.
But a moment of fortune for Liam Henderson offered him a brief chance which he buried with aplomb on 63 minutes to give promotion-chasing York a deserved share of the spoils.
Stags dominated the first half hour with Alan Marriott having little to do. But City began to look increasingly dangerous on the break as we neared half-time.
Mansfield then had the wind in their favour in the second half and the hard-working Ross Dyer had two chances to seal a win before York's equaliser but couldn't find the net with either.
Once Green had limped off, troubled by a knock he took when scoring the goal, it was York who looked the more capable of winning it with their pace on the break and it took a superb display from the home back four plus a couple of good Alan Marriott saves to deny them all three points.
The sides now meet again at Bootham Crescent on New Year's Day with Stags desperate to end a frustrating run of one win in 11 games which is leaving them a lot to do in the second half of the season.
With Ritchie Sutton suspended and John Thompson suffering with a neck/shoulder problem, Martin Riley returned to the centre of defence as one of two changes for the home side – and he and John Dempster were superb, outshone only by another great showing from Luke O'Neill at left back
Louis Briscoe dropped back down to the bench with Aman Verma coming back into the midfield of a 4-3-3 line-up.
York included ex-Stag Chris Smith as a holding midfielder in their 5-3-2 formation with another former Stags man, Jon Challinor, on the bench.
Before the game a minute' silence was held for Stags fans Emma Stamp and Carol Bowskill, who passed away this week.
Mansfield began the afternoon in menacing fashion, pressing York well down the right and winning a corner.
That early momentum was halted when Oyebanjo went through Murray near the halfway line and was shown a yellow card while the midfielder underwent lengthy treatment.
But, once play restarted, York festively gifted Stags a 10th minute lead.
McGurk's backpass was short and allowed Green to race onto the ball, cut inside helpless keeper Ingham and slotted home, also getting a knock in the process that required treatment.
O'Neill was a third Stag in the wars early on. Once he had recovered from his knock he sent in a free kick which Dyer eventually sent just wide, low on the turn.
Riley was booked on 22 minutes, but Stags quickly turned defence into attack as O'Neill's searching pass down the left put Meikle on the run.
He fed Green inside but neither he nor Dyer were able to get a clean goal attempt away and Verma eventually chipped the ball into the keeper's arms.
Marriott finally found himself in action on 24 minutes as McLaughlin's ball down the centre gave Blair a sniff of a chance, the City striker firing low and straight at the keeper.
A feisty clash then saw Kerr and Murray lectured by the referee.
Still the tackles flew in and, when Smith went in very late to take Freeman's standing leg as the youngster cleared up the line, out came the yellow card again.
Meikle's rising shot from 20 yards was always over the far angle as the Stags tried to get back to the football.
York almost sneaked themselves level on 38 minutes as Kerr's tempting ball curled across the face of goal saw Meikle do just enough at the far post to stop Oyebanjo turning it home.
McGurk's challenge on Dyer four minutes from the break saw yellow card number three for the visitors.
Blair went on a powerful run that needed a great well-timed tackle from O'Neill to stop him going clear.
But Stags went in a goal to the good as the end of a tough, tight first 45 minutes.
Chambers replaced Fyfield for the second half for York as they went with four at the back.
York came back out with a real spring in their step and took the fight to Mansfield.
But the Stags should have doubled their lead on 53 minutes when Verma sent Green to the right by-line and he pulled the ball back to Dyer who, six yards from goal and centrally placed didn't connect with it well and turned a low finish wide.
That was Green's last action as he was replaced by Briscoe two minutes later as his first half dead leg finally got the better of him.
But Dyer was immediately close again as Meikle's superb run saw him lay the ball to his left in the box and Dyer hammer a low shot at goal which keeper Ingham blocked.
York almost levelled the game with a stroke of luck when Meredith went down the left and crossed to the far post where the ball threatened to sneak inside the far post until Marriott clawed it away.
City then won a free kick 20 yards from goal in a dangerous central position only to see Chambers get his sights well off target.
O'Neill caused problems when he lost the ball to Chambers who then went past Riley before O'Neill recovered superbly to win it back.
But York were level on 63 minutes with a stroke of luck and a good finish.
Oyebanjo's poor shot from the edge of the box deflected straight to the feet of the unmarked Henderson 15 yards from goal who looked up and curled an immediate perfect finish around Marriott and inside the right hand post with keeper and defence helpless to stop him.
After that the game became more and more stretched with both sides looking for a winner.
York might have snatched it on an 81st minute break down the centre.
Thankfully O'Neill slid in to tackle as Blair prepared to pull the trigger, with only Marriott to beat, and then, when the ball rolled back out to Reed, the sub saw Marriott make a great save to turn his finish over the bar.
Both sides huffed and puffed as we entered four minutes of stoppage time and, although York finished the strongest, they couldn't find a winner, Smith going close with 94 minutes complete, heading wide from McLaughlin's long thrown.
It would have been cruel on Mansfield as both sides deserved a point from a good Boxing Day battle.
STAGS: Marriott; O'Neill, Dempster, Riley, Freeman; Verma, Howell, Murray; Dyer, Green (Briscoe 54), Meikle. Subs not used: Redmond, Stevenson, Day, Kelly.
YORK: Ingham; Oyebanjo, McGurk, Parslow, Fyfield (Chambers ht), Meredith; Smith, Kerr, McLaughlin; Henderson (Reed 75), Blair. Subs not used: Potts, Boucaud, Challinor.
REFEREE: Jeremy Simpson of Lancs.
ATTENDANCE: 3551 (931 away).
GOALS: Stags – Green 10mins. York – Henderson 63mins.
CAUTIONS: Stags – Riley 22mins. York – Oyebanjo 7mins, Smith 30mins, McGurk 41mins.
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Luke O'Neill.
Match report: Stags 1 York 1
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
YOU have to wonder how many times it is going to happen before the penny will drop.
How many times, that is, that Mansfield Town will draw games where they have failed to kill teams off after going in front.
No less than six previous times this season the Stags have gone in front only to be pegged back and then held.
Those statistics tell their own story as to why Mansfield are not in the play-off positions as 2011 comes to an end.
Perhaps most frustratingly for Stags fans, though, is that on the majority of those occasions, there has been the opportunity to avoid such fightbacks by killing opponents off.
This encounter was no exception. Leading 1-0 in the early stages of the second half, Ross Dyer had a gilt-edged opening to put York away.
He missed, and the rest of the story is one well known to those on the terraces as York hit back to take a point – and, truth be told, they could have gone on to bag all three.
If Mansfield could improve just one thing going into the New Year, then having a greater sense of killer instinct would surely be top of their list.
Having played well until reduced to ten men in their 3-1 defeat at Southport in their last game before Christmas, it was something of a surprise to see Mansfield boss Paul Cox opt to revert back to 4-3-3 from 4-4-2.
Suspended Ritchie Sutton, sent off at Haig Avenue, was replaced by Martin Riley with John Thompson (shoulder/neck) unavailable.
The other change saw Louis Briscoe dropped to the bench as Aman Verma came into the three-man midfield. York were missing their top scorer Jason Walker through injury.
Before the game, a minute's silence was impeccably observed in memory of Emma Stamp and Carol Bowskill, two Stags fans who have sadly passed away during the Christmas period.
Mansfield started well, but Verma twice failed to deliver decent crosses from good positions on the left-hand side of the box.
However, the Stags went in front in the tenth minute after a howler from York central defender David McGurk.
There looked little danger when Luke O'Neill played a hopeful ball into the inside right channel.
But a woefully botched back pass from the visitors' number five allowed Matt Green to nip in, round Michael Ingham and roll home for his 15th of the season.
As Mansfield went back on the attack Verma's free-kick was helped on by Green for Ross Dyer whose shot on the turn was wide of the left-hand post.
Both teams had decent chances within a matter of seconds with first Ingham clutching Verma's chip following a build up involving O'Neill, Lindon Meikle and Dyer.
At the other end as York swept the field, Patrick McLaughlin played in Matty Blair but his low drive from the edge of the box was too close to Alan Marriott.
York brought on Ashley Chambers for Jamal Fyfield at the break and immediately went on the attack.
Yet the Stags should have doubled their lead in the 53rd minute when Verma put Green away down the right and his low cross teed up strike partner Dyer, who shanked wide from six yards.
It was Green's last involvement as he made way for Louis Briscoe, because of a dead leg.
Mansfield again went close when a superb run from Meikle enabled him to feed Dyer, only for his shot on the run from 12 yards to be blocked by Ingham.
Marriott reacted quickly to push over a goalbound cross-cum-shot from James Meredith before Chambers skied a free-kick well off target.
But York were back on level terms just after the hour with the help of a touch of good fortune.
Oyebanjo completely mis-hit his shot, which dropped kindly for Liam Henderson and he kept his cool to curl a neat finish into the right-hand corner from 15 yards.
With nine minutes to go, York seemed set to capture the points when Blair was set haring away through the middle, only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from O'Neill.
From the follow-up, substitute Jamie Reed took aim but Marriott pulled off a terrific stop to preserve the parity.
The Minstermen pressed strongly in the closing stages, but Chris Smith headed wide from a throw in.
It means Mansfield have now won just once of their last 11 games and drawn 11 in league competition.
Better finishing at key times and it could all be so different
Match facts: Mansfield v York City
Mansfield: Marriott, O'Neill, Riley, Dempster, Freeman, Howell, Murray, Verma, Dyer, Green (Briscoe 54), Meikle. Subs not used: Redmond, Stevenson, Day, Kelly.
York: Ingham, Oyebanjo, McGurk, Parslow, Fyfield (Chambers 46), Meredith, Smith, Kerr, McLaughlin, Henderson (Reed 75), Blair. Subs not used: Potts, Boucaud, Challinor.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancs).
Attendance: 3,551 (931 visitors).
Goals: Mansfield: Green (10). York: Henderson (63).
Shots on target: Mansfield 4 York 4.
Shots off target: Mansfield 3 York 2.
Fouls: Mansfield 13 York 12.
Corners: Mansfield 3 York 5.
Offsides: Mansfield 1 York 2.
Bookings: Mansfield 1 (Riley, 22, foul) York 3 (Oyebanjo, 7, foul; Smith, 30, foul; McGurk, 41, foul).
Sendings off: Mansfield 0 York 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Lindon Meikle. The left-sided forward must have covered every blade of grass for the Stags' cause and typified the spirit the team showed against a strong York side who are going well in the Blue Square Bet Premier
Henderson returns with York equaliser
YORK CITY: Liam Henderson's first goal for York earned his team a 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town in the Blue Square Premier.
Henderson, who arrived at Bootham Crescennt from Watford in the summer, marked his return from a one-month loan spell with Forest Green Rovers by grabbing a 63rd-minute equaliser.
Mansfield had earlier taken the lead following striker Matt Green's 15th goal of the season. He was gifted his 11th-minute goal courtesy of a terrible mistake by York centre-back David McGurk. His weak back pass was intercepted, and Green went on to round visiting goalkeeper Michael Ingham.
York threatened very little at the other end before the break although Matty Blair did force a low save from Stags goalkeeper Alan Marriott on 24 minutes.
Ross Dyer had two great chances to extend the hosts' lead early in the second period but missed the target with one and shot straight at Ingham with the other.
But the Minstermen were then spurred into action with Henderson curling a 15-yard effort inside Alan Marriott's left-hand post on 63 minutes.
Blair might have gone on to win the match but was denied by an excellent sliding challenge by Martin Riley.
City captain Chris Smith then headed wide from a Paddy McLaughlin long throw in stoppage time
Match report: Mansfield Town 1, York City 1
By Dave Flett
AWAY day draw specialists York City shared the spoils on their Blue Square Bet Premier travels for a fourth successive game against Mansfield Town on Boxing Day.
Having garnered a point from each of their last three league trips to Telford (0-0), Forest Green (1-1) and Barrow (0-0), the Minstermen received the same reward from their festive fixture at Field Mill.
Following Monday's error-prone 3-2 home defeat to Kidderminster Harriers, it was David McGurk's turn to play Santa Claus yesterday as he gifted Stags striker Matt Green an 11th-minute goal with his woefully under-hit back pass.
But, after a poor first hour, the visitors dominated the rest of the match and, following Liam Henderson's 63rd-minute equaliser, might have taken maximum points on the road for the first time since October's 4-2 win at Hayes & Yeading with Matty Blair, Jamie Reed and Ashley Chambers all threatening with late chances.
Handing Henderson his first league start was one of four changes Mills made to the side that kicked off against Kidderminster, with Daniel Parslow, Chris Smith and Lanre Oyebanjo all earning recalls as City reverted back to 3-5-2.
Oyebanjo was preferred at right-wing back to Jon Challinor, while Jamal Fyfield started in the same role on the opposite flank before swapping with left-sided, centre-back James Meredith.
The Minstermen struggled to make first-half inroads down the sides, however, prompting Mills to utilise substitute Ashley Chambers' injection of pace at the break and switch back to 4-3-3.
Earlier, Green had celebrated scoring his 15th goal of the season after he easily intercepted McGurk's weak pass to Michael Ingham, following a hopeful ball down the right channel by Luke O'Neill.
The on-loan Oxford United striker then rounded Ingham and found the unguarded net with his left foot.
On 16 minutes, Ross Dyer fired wide with a shot on the turn and Aman Verma's attempted lob was grabbed out of the air by Ingham, who had charged off his line after Meredith had blocked a Green strike.
From that effort, City launched a counter attack that was to provide their only first-half shot on Alan Marriott's goal, but Blair's low drive was directed straight at the home 'keeper.
Other promising Minstermen attacks, meanwhile, broke down due to a lack of quality in the final third.
Fyfield was a culprit on a couple of occasions, while Blair also ran down a blind alley on the left flank when an unmarked Scott Kerr was screaming for a square pass having charged to the edge of the penalty box.
Early in the second half, Dyer failed to convert two opportunities to double the Stags' lead.
First, he scuffed a six-yard shot across the face of goal after Green had wriggled his way past Parslow and pulled the ball back from the byline.
Then, on 55 minutes, the eager and elusive Lindon Meikle occupied a host of visiting challenges as he ran purposefully at the heart of the City defence before feeding the galloping Dyer, who was overlapping to his left.
But the Stags striker's low shot was kept out by the feet of Ingham at his near post.
With the injured Green having departed, City never looked in danger again and grew in confidence during the final half-hour.
First, Chambers curled a free-kick into the away end holding an impressive 931 supporters before Henderson scored his first senior goal for City.
After a Meredith shot was cleared, Oyebanjo's wildly miscued 35-yard drive fell to the feet of Henderson.
The former Watford striker, making his first appearance since returning from Forest Green on loan, then curled a 15-yard effort inside Marriott's left-hand post to level the scores.
At the other end, Chambers showed great commitment to the team cause when he charged back to even up a two versus one situation and made a timely interception as Dyer tried to find Meikle.
Hesitancy from Blair, though, allowed Martin Riley to make a recovery tackle after Paddy McLaughlin's through ball had released his team-mate for a clear run on goal and then Reed's follow-up effort was deflected inches over.
Chambers' composure also let him down during the latter stages in promising positions while Smith headed the final chance of the match wide from McLaughlin's long throw in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Mansfield Town 1 (Green 11), York City 1 (Henderson 63)
York City: Michael Ingham 7, James Meredith 8, David McGurk 6, Daniel Parslow 6, Lanre Oyebanjo 7, Chris Smith 7, Scott Kerr 8, Paddy McLaughlin 7, Jamal Fyfield 6, Liam Henderson 7, Matty Blair 7.
Subs: Ashley Chambers 7 (for Fyfield, 46), Jamie Reed (for Henderson, 75).
Subs not used: Potts, Boucaud, Challinor.
Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.
City's star man: Kerr – up for the battle and always ready to drive City forward from the middle of the park.
Mansfield: Alan Marriott, Luke O'Neill, Martin Riley, John Dempster, Kieron Freeman, Aman Verma, Adam Murray, Anthony Howell, Lindon Meikle, Ross Dyer, Matt Green (Louis Briscoe, 54).
Subs not used: Shane Redmond, Lee Stevenson, Rhys Day, Marcus Kelly.
Booked: Oyebanjo 7, Dempster 23, Smith 30, McGurk 41.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Carnforth) – erratic at times to both sides' frustration.
Attendance: 3,551 (931 from City).
Miss of the match: Dyer's six-yard chance should have tested Ingham.
Save of the match: Ingham proved equal to the same player's shot at his near post
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