RESERVES: WREXHAM 1-3 STAGS, STEVENSON&OWENS SCORE
Reserves win at Wrexham
mansfieldtown.net, 11th September 2012
Andy Todd's reserve team recorded an impressive 3-1 victory over Wrexham to earn their first three points of their Central League campaign.
Artful midfielder Lee Stevenson opened the scoring with 26 minutes played, before trialist Michael Boateng and Andy Owens (pictured) added to our tally late on. Wrexham gained a late consolation as George Pilkington could do little but put the ball in his own net during the dying embers of the contest
The Stags commanded play from start to finish at Colliers Park and could have won by a margin far greater than two goals, had it not been for the sheer brilliance of Wrexham goalkeeper Andy Coughlin.
Lee Stevenson grabbed his first goal of the season with a ferocious drive on 26 minutes, before substitute Michael Boateng doubled the advantage with a fine strike midway through the second period.
Andy Owens finished from close range to add a third goal, though Wrexham grabbed a consolation in the dying minutes when Stags skipper George Pilkington put through his own net.
But the game will best be remembered for the spectacular and sensational saves which Coughlin produced, as he continuously foiled and frustrated the Stags frontline.
On a glorious afternoon in North Wales, midfielder Chris Clements created the first opening after six minutes when he set about on a driving run through the middle, before flashing a low shot narrowly wide of the target.
At the other end, Reds striker Matty Owen fired over from the edge of the area following a lay-off from Simon Hackney, but it was not long until the Stags started to dominate in all areas of the pitch.
Industrious midfielder Jamie Hand almost put Nick Wright clean through on goal with a near inch-perfect pass, whilst Ryan Tafazolli headed wide after a set-piece delivery into the area from Hand.
Wright first warmed the hands of an inspired Coughlin, with a teasing cross-cum-shot towards the back post, before Stevenson tried his luck with a powerful drive on 13 minutes.
The Stags attacked with venom and class throughout the encounter, and again came close to an opener when Wright arrowed a shot wide of goal after Lee Beevers' delightful left-wing cross was expertly flicked on by Owens.
Wrexham rarely troubled Shane Redmond, but there was a moment of temporary danger for Mansfield when Tafazolli had to intercept a dangerous low ball through the six-yard box on 24 minutes, in order to prevent Nick Rushton from enjoying a simple tap-in.
Stags' mercurial playmaker Stevenson then opened the scoring moments later as he struck the ball home with unadulterated venom to fire his side ahead.
The talismanic midfielder combined with the tireless Wright deep on the inside-right channel, before he looked up and hammered a devastating drive into the top corner, beyond the desperate reach of a despondent Coughlin.
Kyle Parle glanced a free header wide of goal as the hosts threatened an instant response, though the Reds soon suffered a huge blow when Kevin Thornton appeared to dislocate his shoulder during an innocuous fall on the half-hour mark.
Mansfield then created numerous chances prior to the half-time interval, yet somehow failed to extend their one goal advantage.
Coughlin twice denied Wright in quick succession, firstly with an instinctive reaction save following a low 20-yard drive, and secondly with a spectacular one-handed diving save after the target man had headed goalwards from point blank range.
The Stags had two separate penalty appeals turned down, either side of Beevers trying his luck with a speculative shot from distance that flew straight into the arms of the Wrexham custodian.
Stevenson enjoyed the last clear-cut chance of the first period when he raced on to a fabulous through ball from Beevers and saw a low drive turned away by the feet of Coughlin, before Ross Ankers hooked away the resulting loose ball.
The Stags continued to create chances in abundance after the interval, but were left frustrated on most occasions due to Coughlin's sheer shot-stopping expertise.
Hand arrowed a long-range drive straight at the 'keeper shortly after the re-start and Beevers came close to causing chaos when he whipped a fabulous delivery across the face of goal, which almost found Stevenson at the back post.
An unmarked John Thompson then thrashed a powerful header wide of the target, and the Stags onslaught continued when Stevenson smashed a powerful shot against the woodwork only seconds later.
Beevers hit an intelligent ball down the right flank for Stevenson to run on to, and after some intricate footwork saw him peel away from his marker, Reds defender Paul Carney, the midfielder hammered a shot goalwards that cannoned off the post and fell fortuitously into the arms of Coughlin.
Wright saw an effort palmed over the woodwork as the game approached the hour and from the resulting corner, Coughlin was again called into action as he bravely smothered the ball at the feet of Owens on the goal line.
Owens enjoyed a much better opportunity moments later when he latched on to a brilliant through ball from Hand. Under pressure from Ankers, however, Owens was unable to find the target and the Reds defence breathed another sign of relief.
Wright and Clements both angled speculative shots over the woodwork, though the Stags second-string almost came unstuck when an unmarked Owen lashed a low shot into the side netting after a lay-off from Colbeck.
The hosts had begun to see more of the ball as the game entered its final quarter, but nevertheless, it was still Mansfield who looked the more dangerous of the two teams.
With 20 minutes remaining, Stevenson had a golden opportunity to double the lead when a delicate flick from Ben Hutchinson put him into in a one-on-one with Coughlin. The odds seemed stacked against the Reds shot-stopper to keep the ball out of his goal on this occasion, though yet again he remained entirely unfazed as he pulled off another incredible reflex save.
Hutchinson was again involved in the next attack as Mansfield finally doubled their lead.
With his back to goal inside the area, the powerful striker expertly held the ball up and played a short pass to Boateng, who fired a sumptuous left-foot shot into the bottom right-hand corner, which left his team-mates applauding.
The floodgates soon threatened to open as the Stags further extended their lead in the next attack.
Clements and Owens combined with a quick one-two on the right channel, before Owens advanced into the box and finished off a smart passing move by slotting past Coughlin from the cusp of the six-yard box.
Owens would have doubled his tally for the afternoon in the closing stages had it not been for defender Danny Devine clearing his goal-bound attempt from 18-yards off the line, after the Stags full-back had rounded the keeper.
Scott Rogers hit a rasping left-foot shot inches over the target after a delicate lay-off from Boateng on 83 minutes, whilst at the other end of the pitch, Redmond saved well from Colbeck as Wrexham enjoyed a rare foray up field.
The Reds grabbed a much undeserved consolation goal only two minutes from time.
Hackney cut inside from the left flank and floated a vicious high ball into the six-yard box, which flew past Redmond at his near post and ricocheted off the knee of an unfortunate Pilkington to land in an empty net.
Despite not holding out for a clean sheet, Mansfield still threatened to finish with a flourish and in stoppage-time Coughlin produced his final save of the afternoon when he held a low 20-yard drive from Owens.
Wrexham: Coughlin, Ankers, Carney, Devine, Parle, Thornton (Salathiel 30), Hackney, Clarke, Colbeck, Owen, Rushton.
Mansfield Town: Redmond, Beevers, Owens, Thompson, Tafazolli, Pilkington, Hand, Stevenson (Rogers 75), Wright (Boateng 75), Hutchinson (Jake Green 85), Clements.
Young Wrexham FC reserves side crash to Mansfield Town
by Rob Griffiths, DPW West, Sep 12 2012
A YOUNG and inexperienced Wrexham reserves side went down to a 3-1 defeat at home against Mansfield Town yesterday in the Reserves Central League.
Lee Stevenson opened the scoring after 26 for Andy Todd's Stags outfit before trialist Michael Boateng and Andy Owens added late goals to ensure the win.
Joey Jones' young Dragons pulled back a late consolation strike as George Pilkington could do little but put the ball in his own net during the dying embers of the contest.
To make matters worse for the Dragons, trialist Kevin Thornton was forced off after barely 20-minutes and taken to hospital with what is believed to be a dislocated shoulder.
Thornton was one of three trialists on show for the Dragons yesterday with midfielder Simon Hackney and defender Danny Devine also enjoying a run out.
Meanwhile, the ongoing saga regarding international clearance for striker Andy Bishop is still be be resolved.
More paperwork was sent back to FIFA yesterday from the Dragons as they look to gain clearnace to play Bishop in Saturday's match at Kenilworth Road against Luton Town.
Bishop signed for Wrexham on loan until the end of December on transfer deadline day, but has been left kicking his heels on the sidelines as the Dragons await permission from the governing body