MARRIOTT EARNS POINT AS ROVERS GRAB LATE EQUALISER
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Bristol Rovers
Stevenson 22. Santos 84.
Attendance: 3275 (432 from Bristol Rovers)
Date: 12 October 2013
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town were held to a 1-1 draw by Bristol Rovers at Field Mill this afternoon. The Stags led from the 22nd minute until 84 minutes, yet Bristol Rovers fully deserved their point, having put Mansfield under considerable pressure for most of the second half and some of the first. The Stags had kept them at bay through a superb goalkeeping display from Alan Marriott and some last ditch defending including lots of good blocks from the defenders. Lee Stevenson scored his first Football League goal to put Mansfield in front, a fine header arriving late to meet a superb Calvin Andrew cross. Marriott made a couple of fine first half saves including a great block from a close range effort. Marriott continued to keep Rovers at bay in the second half. Mansfield were close to a decisive second goal when Clucas’s superb corner was met by sub Matt Rhead with a bullet header at the far post and it thundered into the chest of keeper Steve Mildenhall, who knew nothing about it but was in the right place at the right time. Bristol Rovers had lots of shots at goal and in the end it took a lucky deflection to beat the superb Marriott, on 84 minutes. From a short corner, sub Alefe Santos shot goalwards. It would have been a comfortable low save for Marriott, but Murtagh stretched out a leg to try to block the shot and only succeeded in deflecting it into the net. As a sidenote, some outlets are referencing this as an own goal, but the rules on such things are clear: only if an effort is off target and is deflected in by a defender is it an own goal. This was certainly on target, albeit it would have been saved. After that, Mansfield pushed for a winner, and sub Ollie Palmer was fouled a yard outside the box, but the resulting free kick from Murtagh was cleared. It was the last action of the game and Murtagh finished it with his head in his hands, but it wasn’t his fault, just a bit of bad luck. Overall a draw was a fair result, and this was a good game in difficult conditions with rain having poured down all night, all morning, and throughout the game. Actually it’s only right to pay great credit to Mez Merriman and his team of groundstaff for producing a pitch that played so well considering the horrendous conditions.
Time to quickly take stock after 3 games in 7 days at Field Mill in which two were lost and one was drawn. With a quarter of the season gone (11 games out of 46), the Stags are two points clear of the teams outside the play-offs. I don’t think there would be many fans who wouldn’t have bitten your hand off before the season started for a position like that, I know I would. In order for the Stags to be genuine promotion contenders, I remain convinced that we need to bring in a quality goalscorer to replace Matt Green. Two away games coming up in the next ten days against teams in the bottom four. We have very quickly learned, if we didn’t already know it, that there are simply no bad teams in this league though. The Stags will need to be better than they were today to pick up the points but after a week’s rest and regrouping, should go to Plainmoor in confident mood. Come on Mansfield! Congratulations to the manager!
Meanwhile this was Paul Cox’s 103rd league game in charge of the club. His record now stands at 60 wins and he has reached a milestone of 200 points, and a remarkable average of 1.94 points per game.
Cox made just one change from the side that played so well against Chesterfield in the JPT on Tuesday, and that was an enforced one with McGuire suspended for 5 yellow cards, replaced by Howell. Great news was that Ritchie Sutton, injured on Tuesday leading to a 10 minute delay in the game, was back on the pitch already. Clucas was on the right of midfield, probably not an ideal position for him. Godfrey Poku was on the bench, and remarkably, having joined the Stags at the start of last season, this was the first time he has ever got as far as the subs bench in a first team competitive game. No Adam Murray in the Stags dugout today, after he had been there on Tuesday. No Adam Murray in the Stags dugout today, after he had been there on Tuesday. It was very unfortunate that SkySports.com chose the morning of a game to publish a rebuttal by Adam Murray’s agent of newspaper quotes attributed to Paul Cox. Not appropriate timing on the morning of a game when the focus should be 100% on the match come what may; something I have always believed is there should be nothing to distract the players on the morning of a game. As I commented on BBC Radio Nottingham before the game, it is terribly disappointing that relations have broken down like this, but Murray’s status will always remain legendary for what he achieved as captain last season, and his previous efforts with the club. UPDATE: Adam Murray messaged me on Sunday morning to say that the article should not have been published on Saturday morning and the timing became out of his control due to the reporter.
It’s not very often that a game contains two goalkeepers who have both scored goals with huge punts at the same ground. But it happened today: Alan Marriott for Mansfield against Wrexham of course, and Steve Mildenhall when he was playing for Notts County in a League Cup game at Field Mill a few years back.
Rovers were managed by John Ward and assisted by popular former Stags midfielder Darrell Clarke, who left his role as Salisbury manager in the summer having just guided them into the Conference.
Stagsnet report here
Man of the match: Alan Marriott
Saturday, 12th October 2013: Mansfield Town 1, Bristol Rovers 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Mansfield Town surrendered two points when visitors Bristol Rovers bagged a deserved 86th minute equaliser at One Call Stadium this afternoon.
The Stags looked well off the pace on a soaking wet afternoon and played second fiddle to a lively Rovers side for much of the game, the visitors belying their lowly position.
Nevertheless, Lee Stevenson’s first Football League goal on 22 minutes gave Paul Cox’s men the advantage.
Had Steve Mildenhall not saved superbly from Matt Rhead’s header on 66 minutes, the home side might then have wrapped up the victory.
But Rovers were well worth at least a point on the day and it came on 86 minutes as Alefe Santos drilled in a low shot from a tight angle on the right, and it found the net off the leg of Keiran Murtagh with keeper Alan Marriott likely to have blocked it otherwise.
But, as the original shot was on target, the goal was given to Santos - his first for his club.
It was a disappointing afternoon for Mansfield who once again looked to be carrying a tired hangover from the midweek derby battle with Chesterfield.
They can take credit from some superb defending on the day and Marriott did his job well, even if most of Rovers’ shots came in from 18 yards or further. But it was still a third home game without victory in eight days.
Anthony Howell came in to replace the suspended Jamie McGuire. Otherwise manager Cox stuck with the side that performed so well in midweek.
With Adam Murray out on loan, McGuire suspended and Chris Clements injured, Cox was also forced to include Godfrey Poku on the bench, who has rarely figured in the squad since joining the Stags two summers ago.
Stags were bidding to avoid a third straight home defeat in eight days and faced a Rovers side that had only won once all season and not won in their last league five games.
The game was slow to catch alight, Rovers having the edge on possession.
On six minutes Brown went down the left and looked set to cross hard and low but, instead chose to try a low shot to beat Marriott at his near post from a tight angle which the keeper easily smothered.
Stevenson then found space in the Rovers box on the left but ended up drilling a low ball wide of the far post with no one remotely near to capitalise.
Howell got his body in the way of Clarke’s attempted effort from just inside the box.
But Brunt was able to get a shot away from the same distance on nine minutes, the ball sailing wide of the right post with Marriott at full stretch in case.
Clucas offered Andrew a ball down the left where the striker chose to check his run and pull it back low to Clucas for a low first time shot wide of goal.
Then Stevenson tried to set Clucas clear, a tight offside decision halting home hopes.
On 14 minutes the visitors were almost gifted an opener as Andrew missed a clearance in the box which gave Clarkson a shooting opportunity which wasn’t far wide of the far post.
Three minutes later Howell did well to win the ball and cue up Stevenson for a low 25 yards effort that skidded wide as the heaven began to open even more.
Then Andrew saw a defender get a leg in as he let fly from 20 yards which dropped wide for a corner that was punched away by Mildenhall.
However, on 22 minutes Mansfield made the breakthrough.
The goal was carved out by Andrew’s approach play wide on the right, and he lifted the perfect cross over into the path of the incoming Stevenson who jumped to place a firm header wide of Mildenhall.
Dempster wasn’t far wide with a header from a Clucas corner on 29 minutes.
A short corner by the visitors caught Mansfield napping but Bond, policed by Howell, was unable to get in a shot so rolled a pass for Clarke who sent the ball straight at Marriott through a crowd of players.
On 33 minutes Dempster lost out in an aerial challenge and the ball ran loose to Clarkson who forced a low save out of Marriott.
Six minutes later, from a throw on the right, Smith’s cross was cleared out as far as Clarkson whose thunderous finish was safely clutched by Marriott.
With two minutes to got to the break Clucas put a header wide from a long Murtagh free kick from the right.
Then a series of passes ended with Smith playing a one-two with Clarkson only to see Marriott spread himself at his feet before he could pull the trigger and the chance was gone.
Rovers ended the half on the offensive with two successive corners, Keary heading wide from the second of them as the visitors went in unlucky to be trailing.
Three minutes into the second half it took a good challenge from Murtagh in the box to put off Clarke as he tried to direct Bond’s low pull-back on goal but fired wide.
Still Rovers were dominating possession and on 59 minutes Rhead came on for Andrew up front for the home side.
Bond’s low 25-yard first time shot failed to trouble Marriott, but Clarke had more time and space on 63 minutes and screwed it wide from 18 yards.
Marriott was also well-placed to get behind a firm Richards shot from 15 yards as the visitors eagerly beavered away for an equaliser.
But on 66 minutes they had Mildenhall to thank for a fine save.
Rhead got his head on the end of a Clucas corner and Mildenhall produced a reaction block.
Riley then had to make two tremendous challenges at the other end as Rovers broke, initially halting Richards’ break as he tried to go clear and then getting in the way of Brunt’s shot.
Clucas called for a penalty as he broke forward and went down under Lockyer’s challenge, but Clucas should probably have got his shot away quicker and a penalty would have been a harsh one on Rovers.
But the visitors finally hauled themselves level six minutes from time with a modicum of deserved fortune.
Santos fired in a low shot from a tight angle towards the near post where Marriott tried to go down to smother, only to see Murtagh slide in with an outstretched leg and lift the ball over him into the empty net.
Now Rovers wanted a winner and Dempster threw his body in the way of an O’Toole effort as the game ended honours even on an absolutely sodden pitch.
STAGS: Marriott, Beevers, Riley, Dempster, Sutton, Murtagh, Stevenson (Meikle 71), Howell, Daniel (Palmer 87), Andrew (Rhead 59), Clucas. Subs not used: Jennings, Hutchinson, Poku, Mitchell.
BRISTOL ROVERS: Mildenhall, Smith, Parkes, Clarkson, Brown (Keary 23), Norburn (Richards 56), Bond (Santos 71), Clarke, Brunt, Lockyer, O’Toole. Subs not used: Gill, Gough, Goddard, Southway.
REFEREE: Scott Duncan of Northumberland.
ATTENDANCE: 3,275 (432 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Martin Riley.
DESERVED POINT AT MANSFIELD
Much improved performance earns an away point
Mansfield Town 1
Bristol Rovers 1
Rovers returned from Mansfield with a well-deserved point, and disappointed it wasn’t three as they outplayed and out passed their opponents for most of the game.
Lee Stevenson’s goal, from Mansfield’s only quality first half attack, separated the sides at the break.
Relentless second half pressure from John Ward’s side finally paid off after 83 minutes when a shot from Alefe Santos was deflected past home keeper Alan Marriott by the outstretched leg of defender Keiran Murtagh.
Deflection or not, it didn’t stop Santos celebrating wildly in front of the travelling Rovers supporters.
Ward made two changes to his starting lineup, as Ollie Clarke and David Clarkson returned to the starting in place of Mark McChrystal and Seanan Clucas.
Rovers started brightly and Lee Brown went close in the early stages but his low effort was saved by Marriott at his near post.
Clarke saw his left foot volley blocked on the edge of the area and Ryan Brunt saw his left foot effort drift just wide of the upright.
At the other end Sam Clucas hit a shot wide of the mark, but Rovers were soon on the attack again and Clarkson, whose movement was causing the home defence problems, saw a rocket of an angled drift inches wide of the upright.
The home side hit back and Stevenson and Calvin Andrew both went close before the two of them combined for the opening goal.
Andrew got down the right and skipped past the injured Le Brown before crossing into the box where Stevenson nipped in between the two central defenders to head past Steve Mildenhall.
Brown left the field to be replaced by Pat Keary but Rovers continued to take the game to their hosts. Clarke hit a shot straight at Marriott, and the keeper saved two more efforts from Clarkson.
Michael Smith was inches away from an equaliser, but just couldn’t get a touch on a delightful ball played into him by Clarkson and the half ended with Keary heading wide from Ollie Norburn’s corner.
Ward’s side took the game to their hosts from the start of the second half and it was almost one way traffic towards Marriott’s goal.
Clarke fired wide from Andy Bond’s cross early on and Marriott held on to John-Joe O’Toole’s long range effort.
Clarke hit another effort just wide of the target, while Marriott made a comfortable save from Eliot Richards.
The home side’s best, and only, chance of the second period arrived with 67 minutes on the clock. Substitute Matt Rhead met a corner from the right and directed a powerful header towards goal. However
Mildenhall made an outstanding block with his chest and Rovers resumed the task of getting back in the game.
Their pressure paid off seven minutes from time with that deflected effort from Santos and although Mansfield did exert a little bit of pressure in the closing stages, it was nothing that Rovers couldn’t cope with.
Team: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Tom Lockyer, Lee Brown (Pat Keary, 23) Ollie Norburn (Eliot Richards, 57), John-Joe O’Toole, Ollie Clarke, Andy Bond (Alefe Santos, 72), David Clarkson, Ryan Brunt
Substitutes: Matt Gill, Conor Gough, Jordan Goddard, Josh Southway
Mansfield Town: Alan Marriott, Ritchie Sutton, John Dempsey, Martin Riley, Lee Beevers, Sam Clucas, Lee Stevenson (Lindon Meikle, 72), Colin Daniel (Ollie Palmer, 87), Keiran Murtagh, Anthony Howell, Calvin Andrew (Matt Rhead, 60)
Substitutes: James Jennings, Ben Hutchinson, Godfrey Poku, Liam Mitchell
Referee: Scott Duncan
Rovers Supporters: 432
Latest | October 2013