GREEN WINNER KEEPS IT IN MANSFIELD'S HANDS
Blue Square Bet Premier
Hereford United 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Bowman 8. Green 37, 90+2.
Attendance: 2,141 (627 from Mansfield)
Date: 16 April 2013
GREEN INJURY TIME WINNER KEEPS IT IN MANSFIELD'S HANDS
Martin Shaw at Edgar Street
Mansfield Town kept title hopes in their own hands with the most dramatic of late wins at Hereford as Matt Green scored in the second minute of stoppage time to spark celebrations the like of which have rarely been seen in Mansfield's history.
The permutations for the final day of the season on Saturday are now as follows: Mansfield are at home to Wrexham, who are already in the play-offs. Kidderminster are at home to Stockport, who are trying to avoid relegation. If we win, we're promoted. If we draw, and Kidderminster lose, draw or win by one goal, we're promoted. If we draw, and Kidderminster win by two goals or more, Kidderminster are promoted. If we lose, and Kidderminster lose or draw, we're promoted. If we lose, and Kidderminster win, Kidderminster are promoted.
BBC Radio Nottingham commentary of Matt Green's winning goal at Hereford here.
HEREFORD UNITED 1-2 MANSFIELD TOWN, Tuesday, 16th April
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Two-goal Matt Green was once again the toast of Mansfield Town as his stoppage time winner earned Stags one of the most important victories in their history to win at Hereford and keep the title destiny on their own hands.
Mansfield had let themselves down with a 2-1 defeat at Braintree on Saturday, leaving them the massive task of winning at Edgar Street to keep their noses in front of rivals Kidderminster Harriers in the title race.
Now Mansfield know that, whatever Kidderminster do at home to relegation-haunted Stockport on Saturday, a home win for the Stags against Wrexham (5.15pm) will be enough to ensure a return to the Football League after a five-year spell in the Conference wilderness.
It had all looked grim at Edgar Street as a Hereford side who, despite desperate financial problems, had won four and drawn two of their last six games and grabbed an eighth minute lead through Ryan Bowman.
But Stags, despite losing Lee Beevers with a dislocated shoulder, fought back to level through Green on 37 minutes.
After Lindon Meikle, Adam Murray and Green had all failed to put away great chances in a 12-minute second half purple patch, it seemed Stags’ chance to win it had gone and left Saturday a lottery.
But Green struck right at the death with his 26th goal of the season to send Stags two points clear with one game to play and the 627 away fans into a frenzy.
Stags made a determined start and Meikle forced a save out of Bittner after just 14 seconds, chasing a poor defensive header and getting in a low shot which the keeper blocked wit6h his body, while Green also had a shot saved, before seeing an offside flag up, all inside the first 40 seconds.
But it was the home side who sent a dagger blow through Mansfield hearts on eight minutes with a well-constructed goal from the right.
Sharp played a square pass inside towards Clucas whose superb dummy allowed the ball to run on to an unmarked Bowman who raced in to pick his spot past an exposed Marriott.
Briscoe did well to get past two down the right and curl in a cross on the run, but there was no one there to get a finish on it.
In the meantime, Beevers had stayed down off the pitch for treatment after a sliding challenge on the by-line and was eventually led away, gingerly holding up his right arm, and was replaced by Sutton on 26 minutes.
It was possibly a recurrence of the dislocated shoulder he suffered at Luton and a real blow for Mansfield to lose such a consistent performer in such an important match.
After a consultation between referee and assistant, Green was booked on 28 minutes for something they had spotted.
There was a home shout for a penalty when a Bush free kick was helped on and Jones tries to chest it out for a corner, but a corner was all the home side were given.
At this stage, Stags desperately needed anything out of anywhere. And it was that man Green who once again came to their aid with a precious 37th minute equaliser.
Meikle did the hard work by getting to the left by-line and crossing and offering Green a close range header for one of his easiest, but possibly, most important of his 25 goals this season.
Chapman was booked for dissent on 40 minutes.
Stags were almost caught by a Hereford break, Murray forced to bodycharge Sharp to take a booking and end the danger.
In stoppage time Clucas got in an excellent cross from the left which Stags laboured to clear, Watkins eventually seeing Dempster in the way of his stabbed effort on the line to keep it all square at the break and hopes still alive after a largely traumatic first 45 minutes.
The Bulls opened the second half with two corners, which Stags defended comfortably.
On 53 minutes Clucas was narrowly wide with a low 18-yard effort.
But Meikle really should have put the visitors’ noses in front. Green worked the ball to the left of the box where Meikle was running in unchallenged. His low finish from 12 yards was on target but straight at Bittner who again got his body in the way to deny the winger.
Bush shuffled forward with a promising run before slicing a poor finish well wide.
At this point, with 63 minutes gone, Rhead took over from Stevenson to give the Stags something different up front in their search for a winner.
Murray wasted another golden chance for Mansfield on 65 minutes. Briscoe helped on Taylor’s forward ball towards the skipper, who did well to lift it over a defender but then drilled a half-volley across the face of goal.
A minute later as another scramble erupted, Green hooked a dipping finish over Bittner which the keeper did superbly well to reach up and bat away with Mansfield claiming it had crossed the line.
This was edge-of-the-seats stuff now as Mansfield threw everything they could at a very good Hereford side.
Rhead was well over with a snapshot from a poor home clearance.
A 20-yard Clucas free kick curled wide at the last minute for the home side, then Bittner needed a second attempt to hold a Chapman free kick with Murray nibbling away for the loose ball.
With eight minutes to go, Jones was too high with his header from Stags’ first corner of the half.
With Mansfield throwing everything forward, Watkiss forced Marriott into a save on a break and Watkiss wasn’t far wide from distance as we entered four minutes of stoppage time.
But goal machine Green still had one more trick in his locker as he raced onto a Rhead flick in the box and dispatched a powerful 16-yard finish across Bittner to spark riotous scenes of joy as away fans raced onto the pitch surround to celebrate with the players.
With almost the last kick, Bush headed narrowly wide and Stags were home and dry.
HEREFORD UNITED: Bittner, Connor, Graham, Watkins, Sharp (Jackson, 73), Stam, James, Clucas, Bowman (McDonald, 83), O’Keefe, Bush. Subs: Heath, Jones, Smikle.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott; Beevers (Sutton, 26), Jones, Dempster, Taylor; Murray, Chapman, Stevenson (Rhead, 63); Briscoe (Daniel, 83), Green, Meikle. Subs: Speight, Howell.
REFEREE: Lee Swabey of Plymouth.
SCORELINE: Hereford: Bowman (8). Stags: Green (37, 90+2).
ATTENDANCE: 2,141 (627 away)
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Green
Mansfield thuggery prevails in tense encounter
The Bulls finished their home fixtures on a loosing note when Mansfield’s Villain in Chief Matt Green struck twice after escaping justice for the worst assault witnessed at Edgar Street this season. His two ill-gotten goals, when he shouldn’t have been on the pitch, sadly eclipsed a well-constructed and executed opener from Ryan Bowman.
Martin Foyle named a strong opening line-up with Chris Bush returning to first team action while Rod McDonald joined the bench.
A couple of early chances fell to the visitors with Bittner coming to the rescue with the first and a linesman’s flag for the second. Adam Chapman received a lecture from referee Swabey for overstepping the mark with the verbals before Bowman was strangely penalised when a Mansfield player ran into his back. Then, on 8 minutes The Bulls took the lead with a fine goal.
Chris Sharp got behind the defence and pulled the ball back across the box where Clucas deceived the defenders by stepping over the ball leaving Ryan Bowman to fire home from 12 yards.
Then came the incident which, had it been spotted, should have put The Bulls in pole position. Matthew Green swung an arm and caught Luke Graham hard in the face leaving him requiring lengthy treatment. There can be no doubt the action merited a dismissal and how the referee, his assistant and the fourth official all missed it simply beggars belief.
Mansfield fullback Beevers fell awkwardly damaging his shoulder and had to be replaced by Sutton before Green was yellow carded for another wild swing of the elbow. Kingsley James complained of a late challenge in midfield that went unpunished and when Luke Jones was climbing all over Bowman Swabey awarded a kick to The Stags.
Chris Bush’s dangerous free kick from the left was blocked away for a corner from which, ultimately, Mansfield drew level. The keeper claimed a poor flag kick and quickly released Meikle on the left. He got past stand-in fullback Joe Connor and his pinpoint cross was met at the back post with a firm headed finish by Green on 37 minutes.
Stefan Stam was on the end of a lunge by Briscoe before Chris Sharp was next to suffer at the hands of the increasingly cynical Stags when he was body-checked by Adam Murray as he broke into the danger area. Murray was rightly carded and may have been dismissed had there not been a covering defender.
The half finished with three added minutes and an almighty scramble in the Mansfield goalmouth as shots rained in including one from Kingsley James that was blocked by what looked suspiciously like an arm.
HT Bulls 1 Mansfield 1
The Bulls were quickly on the offensive after the break following a timely Stam clearance that was picked up by Kingsley James. KJ made good ground down the right playing a one-two with the overlapping Connor before whipping in a fine cross which Bowman chested just wide of the upright.
Chris Sharp worked hard to earn a corner and when the flag kick came in James was unlucky to have the ball bounce up and strike his hand when a shot on goal was imminent. Sam Clucas cut in from the left to unleash a shot that was deflected wide but Swabey defied all logic by awarded a goal kick. Chris Bush’s surging run ended with a shot that was dragged wide.
Matt Green released Meikle into the box but Bittner did exceptionally well to spread himself and block the shot. Mansfield continued to build the pressure and The Bulls were fortunate to see Murray shoot wide when Stam misjudged a bounce to allow him in on goal. There was a shout for a penalty when Marley Watkins tumbled under pressure then, at the other end, Meikle dragged a shot wide from 15 yards and substitute Rhead blasted out of the ground from 10 yards.
Mansfield continued to launch their crude forward balls and Connor was penalised when Meikle was clearly backing in. Meikle then fouled Watkins and from the free kick, Clucas saw his shot fly just wide. Another bombardment from the visitors ended with Bittner making a fingertip save from Green as a slightly miss-hit shot threatened to creep over the line.
Chris Bush’s misdirected clearance went for a corner from which Dempster headed over. Stam displayed all his expertise to shadow Green away from goal before getting in a clearance and in the next attack Green floored his marker long after the ball had gone but once again it escaped the notice of the blinkered officials.
As the four minutes of added time commenced, a corner on the right from Clucas fell for Kingsley James but his volley from just outside the box skidded wide of the post before Mansfield grabbed a late winner.
Green held off the attentions of Luke Graham before firing in on the angle from 10 yards to prompt an undisciplined pitch invasion from the Mansfield bench and send home the 627 Stags in a crowd of 2141 home on the edge of promotion back to the Football League.
FT Bulls 1 Mansfield 2
Hereford: Bittner, Connor, Graham, Stam, Bush, Watkins, O’Keefe, James, Clucas, Bowman (McDonald 88), Sharp (Jackson 72). Subs not used: Heath, Jones, Smikle.
Mansfield: Marriott, Beevers (Sutton 26), Jones, Dempster, Taylor, Murray, Chapman, Stevenson (Rhead 63), Briscoe (Daniel 83), Green, Meikle. Subs not used: Speight, Howell.
Not for the first time this season (Sandell at Newport?) The Bulls were undone by a player that should not have been on the pitch. Mansfield were a strong side not without quality but a father was seen taking his child out of the groud before half time saying he didn’t want his son to watch so-called sportsmen behaving in the manner the Mansfield players did in the opening thirty minutes.
Just as well he wasn’t around at the end to witness the throat-slitting gesture from one of the Stags backroom staff aimed at Bulls fans as the players left the field.
All in all it was a sad excuse for football that won the match and The Conference is probably better without them.
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