STAGS DON’T KNOW WHEN THEY`RE BEATEN
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Fleetwood
Geohaghon 90+2. Vardy 81
Att: 3132 (104 from Fleetwood)
Date: 13 March 2012
GEOHAGHON STRIKES AS STAGS DON'T KNOW WHEN THEY'RE BEATEN
Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Field Mill
Mansfield Town showed remarkable resilience to fight back from a late Jamie Vardy goal to rescue a deserved point with an Exodus Geohaghon thumping header from a Luke O'Neill corner in stoppage time. Fleetwood started the goal powerfully but it was the Stags who had the best chance in the first half when Ross Dyer's header was saved at point-blank range from a Luke O'Neill free kick. In a pulsating game, especially in the second half, either side could have taken the lead, before Vardy showed frightening pace to nip in between the centre backs and get to the ball before Alan Marriott and slip it into the net on 81 minutes. The Stags threw the kitchen sink at Fleetwood after that and got their reward when Geohaghon headed home, to spark the first pitch invasion since the last home game of last season when Louis Briscoe's late goal beat Gateshead.
The Stags came into this game with 8 wins from the last 10 games. But even that was eclipsed by Fleetwood who had won 9 from the last 10. The Stags had won the last 5 games at home, and had not won 6 at home on the trot since since March 1977. The Stags had also won 5 successive games home and away, and had not won 6 successive games since October 1991. Interestingly both the 1976/77 season and the 1991/92 season were promotion seasons.
The Stags made two changes from the side that won at Tamworth with Adam Murray returning from injury in place of Gary Roberts, who is suspended for two games. And Worthington came in for Briscoe, Worthington slipping in just in front of the back four, in a slightly more defensive formation.
Man of the match: Martin Riley / Luke O'Neill - can't separate them
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Mansfield Town 1 Fleetwood 1, Tuesday 13th March
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
GIANT defender Exodus Geohaghon popped up with a precious equaliser a minute into stoppage time to deny big-spending leaders Fleetwood Town victory at the end of a thrilling clash at Field Mil tonight, reports John Lomas.
It seemed goal machine Jamie Vardy's agonising 81st minute goal would be the winner against a Stags side who had been on a five-game winning streak.
Vardy sped away to beat Geohaghon and Alan Marriott to a hopeful ball forward and bag his 25th goal of the season.
However, the gangling Geohaghon then rose to power home an unstoppable header from the immaculate Luke O'Neill's corner to deny the Cod Army maximum points in what had been a bruising thriller against a talented side that had not lost for 22 games and had won nine of their previous 10.
Stags had opted for caution with their 4-3-3 formation with Jon Worthington brought in for Louis Briscoe and Adam Murray replacing suspended key midfielder Gary Roberts which was a big blow for Paul Cox's men.
Although they often looked anxious, gutsy Mansfield dug in deep and, despite Fleetwood's possession and promise, Ross Dyer forced the only real save of a tense first half as Scott Davies kept out his header.
However, overall Fleetwood always looked a class above on the ball and twice Marriott saved Stags' bacon as he thwarted Fleetwood in one-on-one situations while Jamie McGuire rattled the woodwork.
But, just as it seemed all hope was gone, up popped Geohaghon to spark wild celebrations at Field Mill and grab one of the Stags' hardest-earned points of the season in a game that the officials sometimes did their best to spoil with a string of decisions that left both camps puzzled.
Don't miss Wednesday's Chad for a full ,atch report and lal the latest Stags news
Match report: Mansfield 1 Fleetwood 1
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
IF this game served as a guide of how close Mansfield Town are to becoming a side capable of winning the Blue Square Bet Premier, then they are closing the gap all the time.
Leading into last night's eagerly-awaited clash, the Stags had done brilliantly to surge into the play-offs in recent weeks following their disappointing return to action after the cold snap with a 1-0 defeat at struggling Newport.
Five victories in a row over Darlington, Lincoln, Cambridge and Tamworth, both home and away, had catapulted them up the table and put them in serious contention for a top-five place.
Even so, there was still a significant question mark when it came to Mansfield's chances against the might of the league leaders, who had gone a remarkable 22 league games unbeaten ahead of their trip to Field Mill.
But the Stags proved any doubters wrong with a battling performance that, with the help of one or two moments of good fortune and a dramatic, late leveller from Exodus Geohaghon, saw them hold their powerful, big-spending opponents.
Fleetwood were the better side in terms of possession and territory, but Mansfield battled from first to last to make it exceptionally hard for them at a rocking Field Mill.
And, crucially, they kept going until the bitter end when the chips looked down.
Of course, it is way too late for Paul Cox's men to join the race for the top spot, and they are still clearly missing certain ingredients, but at least they are starting to find the consistency their boss has been calling for all season.
Mansfield stretched their impressive run to just that one defeat in South Wales in the 13 games they have played since Christmas.
They are also now six games unbeaten – and it was all achieved without talismanic midfielder Gary Roberts, suspended after reaching ten bookings.
That all adds to the positive vibe going into the last nine games of the season, when only the return with Fleetwood, home clash with Wrexham and trip to Kidderminster are anything like as tough on paper.
Of course, Mansfield have to keep their ship sailing firmly on the same current course. As they found in the autumn, you can be blown in the wrong direction by a poor run of form, injuries to key players or some bad luck.
But, as it stands, the Stags are looking ever-more assertive in their quest to finish in the play-off spots – as this determined display illustrated.
Mansfield made two changes from Saturday's 1-0 win at Tamworth with Roberts and Louis Briscoe making way for Jon Worthington and Adam Murray.
As Stags reverted to a 4-5-1 cum 4-3-3 system, Jon Worthington was handed his first start since the 3-1 defeat to Southport on October 15, while skipper Murray was back in after recovering from an ankle injury that had seen him miss the Stags' previous three games.
The first danger from Vardy saw him fly past Ritchie Sutton down the right wing and cross low for Steve Brodie, but he was dispossessed by Martin Riley as he shaped to turn and shoot.
In the 11th minute, Matt Green and Anthony Howell got in each other's way, just as one or the other might have raced away, allowing Fleetwood to clear.
The Cod Army were starting to pin the hosts back and forced three successive corners that were, in the end, comfortably dealt with.
At the other end, there was almost a moment of disaster for Scott Davies when he fumbled O'Neill's long ball forward when it looked a routine take but recovered just before Howell could capitalise.
Vardy showed his intent just past the midway point of the half when he ghosted across the face of the area before getting off a low drive that Alan Marriott pushed around his right-hand post.
For all the visitors' possession, Mansfield nearly went in front in the 33rd minute when O'Neill's free kick from the left, after a foul on Lindon Meikle, was met powerfully by Dyer but Davies got across to make a parrying save.
The Mansfield crowd were doing their best to get behind their side, but Fleetwood continued to look more threatening in the lead up to half-time as Steve Brodie did well to dig out a centre from the left and Jamie McGuire's header was only just too high, dropping onto the roof of the net.
Fleetwood came out of the traps quickly at the second period and Cavanagh's long-range drive was deflected inches wide from Andy Mangan's square pass.
In the 55th minute, Fowler's free-kick into the box was flicked on deftly by McGuire and looked goalbound only to hit the inside of the post and rebound straight into the arms of Marriott.
With an hour gone, Brodie was put clean through but looked yards offside, but Marriott did well to narrow the angle and make a block, with Riley completing the clearance.
The hosts had a sight of goal when Murray picked out Dyer on the right and he teed up O'Neill whose first-time blast was too high.
Vardy had a golden opportunity to put Fleetwood in front when Geohaghon mistimed a clearance letting in the Cod Army top scorer but he drove too close to Marriott, who made another decent save.
Mansfield's response saw Dyer's 20-yard effort blocked after a backheel from Murray and neat pass from O'Neill had worked the opening.
But Fleetwood broke the deadlock in the 81st minute with a touch of class from Vardy. He outpaced Geohaghon to a flighted pass in from the right and just managed to nick the ball past the advancing Marriott.
Mansfield immediately brought on Matt Rhead and his low shot on the turn had to be pushed away by Davies.
And as they kept going to the bitter end, they were rewarded in the first of four minutes of stoppage time with a leveller.
O'Neill swung over a right-wing corner and Geohaghon rose highest to thump home an unstoppable header past a rooted Davies.
Field Mill simply went mad.
Mansfield: Marriott, O'Neill, Geohaghon, Riley, Sutton, Howell, Worthington (Rhead 82), Murray, Dyer, Green, Meikle (Briscoe 79). Subs not used: Redmond, Hutchinson, Andrew.
Fleetwood: Davies, Beeley, McNulty, Pond,'Goodall, Cavanagh, Fowler, McGuire, Vardy, Brodie (Till 76), Mangan (Seddon 85). Subs not used: Stephenson, Charnock, Rose.
Referee: Ross Joyce (Middlesbrough).
Attendance: 3,132 (104 visitors).
Fleetwood denied by a late Exodus
blackpoolgazette.co.uk report by David Mitchell
Mansfield Town 1, Fleetwood Town 1. Fleetwood stretched their unbeaten league run to 23 games but an injury-time equaliser by Exodus Geohaghon denied the Conference leaders a 12th win out of 13 in 2012.
Top scorer Jamie Vardy's 28th goal of the season looked to have sealed the points for Micky Mellon's side with nine minutes left on the clock only for Geohaghon to rise to meet a corner and earn the fourth-placed Stags a precious point in their quest to secure a play-off place.
That equaliser was particularly well received at Wrexham, who moved within three points of Town – with a game in hand – after their 5-0 win at Ebbsfleet, where player-boss and former Seasiders striker Andy Morrell netted twice. The Welshman now have an identical goal difference to Town.
Midfielder Lee Fowler kept his place in Fleetwood's starting line-up after making an influential contribution as an early substitute in Friday's win at Kidderminster. Town were otherwise unchanged.
Mansfield, on a five-match winning run and beaten only once in 12, conceded successive free-kicks as the game gathered pace and Town dominated the early exchanges.
Vardy almost produced an opportunity for Richard Brodie and the tall striker looked full of running in front of a vociferous crowd at Field Mill.
There was some good interplay by Town in the final third, prompted by Fowler from midfield.
Stags goalkeeper Alan Marriott was tested for the first time when Vardy found some space before hitting a left-foot shot which the keeper tipped wide to his right after 25minutes.
Two minutes later, Fowler tried to surprise Marriott from almost halfway as the keeper failed to get distance on his clearance.
In the opposite goal, Scott Davies had to be at his instinctive best just after the half hour, when Luke O'Neill's floating free-kick was met by Ross Dyer in front of goal.
The Town keeper got his frame behind the ball and danger was cleared. There were bookings for former Town player Jon Worthington and for the visitors' Peter Cavanagh, for a foul on Worthington.
Brodie hit a free-kick embarrassingly wide after 37 minutes, but he almost atoned just before the break with a high cross from the left which Jamie McGuire headed on to the top of the goal.
Town started the second half brightly, with Cavanagh earning a corner from a crisp right-foot shot.
McGuire then had two chances from free-kicks by Fowler. The second of these was headed against the post before rebounding into Marriott's hands.
Brodie had the best chance so far when one-on-one with Marriott just before the hour but could not capitalise.
Vardy was booked for a challenge on Marriott and then fired straight at the keeper in the 65th minute, causing a split second of anxiety as he made contact following up.
Mansfield created pressure but Town defended resolutely. Murray was booked for dissent in the 70th minute, one of a number of refereeing decisions which did not please the large home contingent in the 3,132 crowd.
Brodie fired wide after 72 minutes, having shrugged off his marker. He was replaced by Peter Till five minutes later, while Meikle was replaced by Louis Briscoe for Mansfield.
Vardy then made the decisive breakthrough. The prolific striker chested down a ball from Fowler before firing past Marriott to the delight of the Cod Army behind the goal.
Immediately after play restarted, Davies came to Town's rescue, tipping a shot by Matt Green wide for a corner as it seemed destined to go inside the far post.
Gareth Seddon replaced Mangan for the closing moments but it was Geohaghon who had the final say.
After he headed in a corner from the right, the Stags supporters raced down the stand behind the goal to share their team's joy as Town narrowly failed to hang on for a 16th away win of the season.
Mansfield: Marriott, Riley, O'Neill, Sutton, Geohaghan, Worthington (Rhead 82), Murray, Howell, Green, Dyer, Meikle (Briscoe 79), not used: Redmond, Andrew, Hutchinson
Fleetwood: Davies, Beeley, McNulty, Pond, Goodall, Cavanagh, McGuire, Fowler, Brodie (Till 76), Mangan (Seddon 84), Vardy; not used: Stephenson, Charnock, Rose.
Ref: R Joyce; Att: 3,132
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