STAGS DEFENCE IS SOLID IN EVEN CONTEST VS EXETER
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Exeter City
Attendance: 3284 (272 from Exeter)
Date: 10 August 2013
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town’s first game at Field Mill back in the Football League ended in a 0-0 draw against Exeter City this afternoon. In an entertaining game with plenty of chances for each side, the Stags were solid at the back, after having given away sloppy goals in the away games against Scunthorpe and Tranmere. Stags boss Paul Cox sprung a surprise by playing three central defenders, Sutton, Dempster and Riley, all of whom played well, with Sutton particularly impressive in a man of the match performance, building on his fine display as substitute at Tranmere. Either side of the central defenders, Beevers and Jennings played in more advanced roles than usual. While behind them, Marriott was back at his best with a commanding performance in goal making several good saves and showing super handling. Howell had a fine game in midfield, making at least three superb tackles in the first half alone. Jamie McGuire was hard-working alongside Howell and nearly marked his Stags league debut with a goal on 84 minutes as his fine shot was brilliantly tipped over by the Exeter keeper. Sam Clucas played in a free role behind strikers Calvin Andrew and Ollie Palmer. Clucas was denied a goal on 57 minutes when he was through on goal but the Exeter keeper made a fabulous one-handed save. Palmer looked good early on, winning headers, and was unlucky when his flick over the keeper landed in the side netting in the first half, but he faded as the game went on. Andrew looked strong and came close in the first half when his header from a corner was cleared off the line; he also missed a chance earlier when he had time in the box but wasted it. Exeter had plenty of chances and were wasteful on occasion, such as when O’Flynn shot wide from 3 yards at the end of the first half, while Marriott saved well on other occasions. All in all, a fair result between two decents sides, and something for the Stags to build on.
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Man of the match: Ritchie Sutton
Mansfield Town 0 Exeter City 0, 10th April 2013
CHAD report by Stephen Thirkill
Mansfield Town won their first Football League point since April 2008 following a battling 0-0 draw with Exeter City today.
Stags showed they have adjusted to the step up in level after competing with their League Two opposition every step of the way during an entertaining encounter.
And it could have been so much better for Paul Cox’s men had new-boy Calvin Andrew managed to converted a couple of good first half chances.
The former Crystal Palace forward should have hammered Mansfield into the lead after just six minutes, but fired tamely at Artur Krysiak in the Grecians’ goal.
Andrew, who already looks to have formed a good partnership with strike partner Ollie Palmer, also saw a bullet header cleared off the line after 24 minutes as Mansfield continued to press.
Sam Clucas and Jamie McGuire also went close in the second half as newly-promoted Mansfield tried in vain to break the deadlock.
Exeter did have their chances to spoil the party with David Wheeler, Liam Sercombe and Jamie Reid all testing Alan Marriott.
The point and clean sheet delighted Mansfield boss Paul Cox who said Stags now had some solid foundations to build on as they prepare to travel to Wycombe Wanderers next Saturday.
Mansfield made four changes for the match with Calvin Andrew thrown straight in to the starting line-up to partner Ollie Palmer up front.
And Stags should have taken the lead in the sixth minute when Ollie Palmer showed great strength out wide before picking out Calvin Andrew with a perfect cross into the box.
But Andrew, who was officially signed by Stags on Thursday, fired a weak shot at Artur Krysiak after he had turned his man with ease.
Exeter showed their danger a minute later when a glanced header by John O’Flynn flew inches past Marriott’s upright.
Both sets of fans joined in a special round of applause in the ninth minute in memory of former Exeter striker Adam Stansfield to mark the third anniversary of his death.
James Jennings rifled a shot over the bar from distance in the 17th minute as Stags continued to press for their first goal since their return to the Football League.
The lively Andrew nearly put the home side ahead on 24 minutes when his bullet header was cleared off the line by the perfectly-placed Craig Woodman after Krysiak had flapped at Jennings’ cross.
David Wheeler then warmed the palms of Alan Marriott on 27 minutes after loose play in the Mansfield midfield gave him a sight at goal.
Liam Sercombe brought the best out of the Mansfield shot-stopper in the 35th minute when Marriott tipped his sweetly hit free-kick away for a corner as The Grecians turned up the heat.
Palmer fired against the side-netting from the left corner of the box on 40 minutes after Kysiak and Baldwin had failed to clear a Dempster balll over the top.
The lively Andrew headed a Jennings corner over the bar in the 49th minute as Mansfield started the second half strongly.
Baldwin came to Exeter’s rescue a minute later when he cleared a searching Jennings cross for a corner as Palmer waited to pounce at the back post.
John Dempster rose superbly on 51 minutes to power a header just over the bar from six yards out after a Jennings cross caused more trouble.
A last ditch block by Ritchie Sutton cleared the danger when Sam Parkin seemed certain to turn home a David Wheeler cross from close range for City on 55 minutes.
Winger Sam Clucas was thwarted by a superb save by Krysiak after he broke through the Exeter defence and attempted to dink the ball into the empty net.
But Krysiak stood firm and palmed the ball away before Palmer fired the loose ball wide on 58 minutes.
Parkin came close to getting on the end of a searching Woodman cross on 78 minutes as Exeter looked to break the deadlock.
Kysiak acrobatically turned the ball over from a dipping McGuire volley as Manfsield looked to claim their first win back in the Football League in the dying stages.
Jamie Reid then fired a tame free-kick at Alan Marriott in injury time to confirm a share of the spoils.
Anxious Stags still waiting to open their account in League
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
IT was the very first moment of significance in the game, yet in summing up Mansfield Town's fortunes during what has been a tentative return to the big time, it was also an undeniably pertinent one.
Read more: http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story-19646268-detail/story.html?#ixzz2bk6ym5gI
Just six minutes were on the watch when new striker, and debutant, Calvin Andrew's excellent first touch from fellow front man Ollie Palmer's left-wing cross left him with a clear sight of goal no more than eight yards out. The net was seemingly at his mercy.
But rather than waiting for the ball to drop, composing himself and slotting into either corner, the former Luton and Crystal Palace man tried acrobatically, but ineffectively, to volley at the top of the bounce and his tame effort was easily saved by Exeter keeper Artur Krysiak.
It was an anxious finish systematic of a team who had, and still have, to open their account for the season; an edginess apparent across the board, not just in Andrew, and one that will augment for as long as the goal drought continues.
However, you sense that once the duck is broken - Mansfield have now gone 270 minutes without a goal in two league games and one League Cup tie to open 2013-14 - a second, third and fourth strike will not be nearly so long in coming.
It's somewhat ironic that the very strength that propelled the Stags to the Conference title in April - scoring 92 goals, more than any other side in the division - has become a temporary glitch early in the new term.
It's hardly surprising, though, when the Andrew-Palmer strike force has hardly trained together, let alone played in tandem.
Even so, encouraging early evidence suggests that if the pair can find the right formula to hit the goals trail once bedded in, the rest of the team looks in decent enough shape to compete at this level - and there is certainly nothing of which to be scared.
Having conceded two goals against both Scunthorpe and Tranmere in their previous two outings, the Stags fielded wing-backs and a new-look back three cum five for their first home game back in the elite 92, an historic occasion that brought roving reporter Mark Clemmit and his BBC team to the One Call Stadium.
The inclusion of Ritchie Sutton and the fit-again Martin Riley in that rearguard were two of four changes made to the side - the others saw Andrew and Jamie McGuire given their bows - and resulted in the eyebrow-raising omission of Adam Murray, confined to the bench along with wingers Louis Briscoe and Lindon Miekle, along with John McCombe, who was axed from the squad altogether.
Defensively, that aided Mansfield as they coped admirably with the ever-present threat of hefty and experienced goal-getter Sam Parkin and the neat, passing football Exeter played around him.
The midfield, too, led by Anthony Howell, were a worthy match for their opposite numbers.
The Stags were combative and tenacious throughout, if not draw-droppingly effective in terms of slicing the visitors open.
But when you're looking to consolidate early in a new season at a higher level, who wants to be overly expansive?
Discretion was definitely the better part of valour on this occasion.
If Andrew was culpable with his early miss, he was a great deal more unlucky midway through the half when his goal-bound header was cleared off the line by alert former Mansfield loanee Craig Woodman.
It was part of a bright first half hour from the hosts and only as half-time approached did the Grecians gradually impose themselves on the game as Paul Wheeler warmed the hands of Alan Marriott, Liam Sercombe forced the Stags keeper to tip over from a free-kick and John O'Flynn dragged wide after getting the better of Lee Beevers, either side of a Palmer lob that beat Krysiak but landed in the side-netting.
After the break, the balance of power ebbed a flowed regularly, with both sides threatening to grab a winner. For the Stags, skipper John Dempster might have scored from a corner only to head over, while Sam Clucas was denied in a one-on-one by the outstretched arm of Krysiak. For City, Arron Davies volleyed wide when well placed, not that long after Sutton had brilliantly cleared from the path of Parkin with a breakthrough on the cards.
The healthy following of home fans did their best to galvanise their team in the closing stages and McGuire almost obliged them with a dipping drive from distance, but again Krysiak was equal to it, tipping over. Not even an opportunist effort could get Mansfield up and running.
How there were no goals come full-time was something of a mystery, although it was much easier to come to the conclusion that a draw was a fair outcome.
One point from six may not be the best of starts for Mansfield, but it's a start all the same - and better than the big, fat zero they had at this same stage a year ago.
Now all they need is their shooting boots.
Remember those, and this Football League business could quickly become to their liking.
Grecians have keeper Krysiak to thank as they remain unbeaten
By Stuart James
Read more: http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/story-19642869-detail/story.html?#ixzz2beOMFRpm
Exeter City’s unbeaten start to the League Two season continued with a goalless draw at Mansfield Town.
Goalkeeper Artur Krysiak made two brilliant saves to keep the scores level, but it was a game where defences dominated.
The Grecians were unchanged from the side that beat Bristol Rovers last weekend and the one change on the bench saw Myles Anderson come in for the absent Alan Gow.
It was Mansfield’s first game back in the Football since their relegation five years ago and a raucous Field Mill crowd welcomed the Stags to the pitch. But it was Exeter that threatened first when Arron Davies controlled the ball and hooked it over his shoulder, but the ball went wide of goal.
Calvin Andrew, making his debut for Mansfield had a similar chance moments later, but he could only hook the ball into the arms of Artur Krysiak.
The travelling Exeter fans remembered the third anniversary of Adam Stansfield’s death on nine minutes with a minute’s applause and the Grecians were forced into a change in 13 minutes when Jordan Moore-Taylor limped off and was replaced by Aaron Dawson.
The home side were getting in top and Craig Woodman came to the Grecians’ rescue with a brilliant goal-saving header off the line to deny Andrew, who then headed over from the resulting corner.
However, that seemed to kick Exeter into gear as they went on to dominate the final 20 minutes of the half. Sercombe was denied a brilliant goal by Alan Marriott as he tipped his free kick over the bar and from the resulting corner, Marriott palmed the ball away off the head of Sam Parkin, who looked ready to pounce.
Another Sercombe shot from distance then clipped the heels of Wheeler and dropped agonisingly onto the roof of the Mansfield net. Mansfield did threaten when Oliver palmer beat Pat Baldwin and Krysiak to the ball 20 yards out, but his first time shot landed in the side netting.
However, the best chance of the half fell to John O’Flynn when he gathered the ball eight yards out, but dragged his shot wastefully wide with the goal at his mercy.
O’Flynn won a free kick on the corner of the penalty box early in the second half, which he took himself, but fired weakly into the keeper’s arms.
Mansfield responded with John Dempster heading over from a James Jennings corner, before Wheeler’s low cross evaded both Parkin and O’Flynn for Exeter and Martin Riley cleared the danger.
Krysiak pulled off the save of the match when Clucas capitalised on Coles’s slip, but Krysiak was off his line quickly to stick out a hand and deny Clucas a certain goal. The Mansfield man retrieved the ball, but his shot went wide.
As the game wore on, chances became fewer. A quick City throw to Davies led to the winger shooting wide of the far post and Krysiak was again at his brilliant best to tip Jamie McGuire’s shot over the bar.
Mansfield Town (3-5-2): Marriott; Sutton, Dempster, Riley; Beevers (Murray 79), McGuire, Howell, Clucas, Jennings; Andrew (Rhead 82), Palmer (Stevenson 68). Substitutes (not used): Briscoe, Tafazolli, Speight, Meikle.
Exeter City (4-4-2): Krusiak; Moore-Taylor (Dawson 13), Baldwin, Coles, Woodman; Wheeler, Sercombe, Bennett (Doherty 86), Davies; O’Flynn (Reid 86), Parkin. Substitutes (not used): Pym (gk), Anderson, Gosling, Keohane.
Referee: S Mathieson
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