STAGS GRIND OUT DESERVED POINT AT TORQUAY
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Torquay United 0 - 0 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 2473 (347 from Mansfield)
Date: 19 October 2013
Martin Shaw at Plainmoor
Mansfield Town ground out a deserved point at Plainmoor this afternoon which in the end perhaps should have been three. The Stags had marginally the better of the opening 20 minutes and should have taken the lead when Riley headed wide. But for the rest of the first half, Torquay were on top and had several great chances to take the lead, notably when Billy Bodin struck the inside of the post. Marriott produced a brilliant save in the first minute of the second half with a one handed save from Ade Azeez. The game entered a quiet spell until Torquay were reduced to ten men on 68 minutes when Krystian Pearce was sent off for a second bookable offence when he brought down Clucas who was running at goal. The Stags had a quarter of the game to make the one man advantage count, and dominated the rest of the game but were unable to score, coming closest with a couple of Ben Hutchinson efforts. There was a bit of controversy in stoppage time when Lee Beevers claimed that Elliot Benyon had bitten his arm following a free kick. The DVD proves inconclusive as there is not enough clarity. Overall this was a fair result and a good point for the Stags, who are three points behind top spot, only out of the play-off places on goals scored, and 11 points above the relegation zone. At the risk of repeating myself, I maintain that in order for the Stags to be genuine promotion contenders, we need to bring in a quality goalscorer to replace Matt Green. On to Bury on Tuesday night and another chance to pick up points against a team towards the bottom of the table and who are currently managerless. Hopefully Bury won’t appoint a new manager before Tuesday as there tends to be a “new manager effect” even if short-lived. Come on Mansfield!
The Stags were roared on by a tremendous following of 347, many of whom were staying down on the English Riviera for a night or two. The team themselves also stayed over on Friday night to ensure the correct preparation. Unfortunately the blue away kit didn’t travel down with the team, due to a mistake by kitman Mez Merriman. I didn’t see Mez but I gather he was embarrassed about his mistake. Everyone makes mistakes and it was just one of those things. Last week, Mez was lauded in the Stagsnet report for a tremendous pitch in atrocious conditions. Fortunately the mistake was realised just early enough that the away kit could be driven down (I think by a relative of Paul Broughton according to Andy Johnson) and arrived in time for the team to play in it. There was some ridicule from Torquay folk, but they had a short memory as I pointed out to them as they had to play in a purple Stags kit a few years ago when they turned up with a kit too similar to our own.
Boss Paul Cox made three changes from the side that drew with Bristol Rovers: Jennings for Daniel, McGuire back from suspension in for Howell, and Rhead for Andrew. Rhead got his reward for a good performance and a goal in the reserves at a strong Hull side in the week. Cox reverted to three central defenders, with Beevers and Jennings as wing-backs, and Stevenson playing behind the front two of Clucas and Rhead. New loan signing midfielder Jack Blake, signed from Nottingham Forest, was on the bench.
Stagsnet report here
Saturday, 19th October 2013: Torquay United 0, Mansfield Town 0
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Mansfield Town had to settle for a point at struggling 10-men Torquay United this afternoon.
Ex-Notts County defender Krystian Pearce was sent-off for his second bookable offence of the game on 69 minutes, but Mansfield were unable to push that advantage home against a side that had just lost five of their previous six outings.
Overall it was a poor game, spoiled by a strong swirling wind and some fussy refereeing from Mick Russell.
Torquay had the best of the first half as Stags struggled to get out of their half with the wind in their face, and the Gulls did hit the post.
But they failed to cause too many problems for Alan Marriott in the Mansfield goal.
The Stags had a better second half but the result was probably a fair one in the end, and a point from Plainmoor is never anything to be sniffed at.
Mansfield didn’t have the best of starts to the day after discovering they had forgotten their kit.
The Gulls offered to lend them their away kit if the Mansfield one didn’t arrive, but the club managed to speed it down to Devon in time for kick-off.
Mansfield made three changes to the side.
Matt Rhead replaced Calvin Andrew up front, Jamie McGuire returned from a one game suspension to replace Anthony Howell in midfield, and James Jennings took over from Junior Daniel.
Jack Blake, signed on a month’s loan from Forest this morning, had to be content with a place on the bench and didn’t get on in the end.
Murtagh’s handball conceded a free kick in the centre circle in the opening minute which was hit long and drifted wide off the head of Pearce.
Otherwise the opening 10 minutes were largely uneventful with Rhead winning everything in the air up front for Mansfield but no one able to capitalise.
Riley headed a far post Nicholson free kick for the first corner on 13 minutes which was overhit and drifted harmlessly for a throw.
A minute later Stags allowed a long ball into the box to bounce around dangerously and Hawley was able to cue up Mansell for a shot that Jennings got in the way of to concede another corner.
Stags survived that and won a corner of their own on the left on 16 minutes from which they should have gone in front.
No one picked up Dempster as Jennings’ flag kick came over, but his free header went wide of goal from 10 yards.
After Pearce had been booked for a foul, Bodin then came so close to drawing first blood for the home side as he sidestepped Sutton just inside the box and fired a low shot that hit the foot of the right hand post and skewered away across the face of goal to safety.
Two minutes later Chapell’s ball in from the right saw Hawley lift the ball over the angle with a first time half-volley.
Hawley won the Gulls a free kick 20 yards from goal and Bodin saw his kick fly well over the goal.
Bodin was closer a minute later with a superb volley that took a deflection for the home side’s third corner.
Little else of note happened until the 37th minute when Azeez’s 25-yard effort took a slight deflection but Marriott kept his eyes on it and was well placed for a comfortable catch.
McCourt was booked for a dive two minutes later as he went down under Stevenson’s challenge.
Riley headed wide from a Jennings free kick for the visitors as we entered the last five minutes of a poor first half.
An extra minute was added but the referee, clearly agreeing with the crowd over the quality of the fare on offer, decided to blow a few seconds early.
Within two minutes of the restart, Marriott had to make a smart save, getting down and sticking out a hand to block a low Azeez finish almost on the line after a Chappell mis-kick had seen the ball veer towards the home striker.
Chapell then went down in the box and he and the home fans behind the goal screamed for a penalty unsuccessfully.
Mansfield produced their first on-target effort of the game on 49 minutes.
McGuire sent in a cross from the right which saw Rhead do really well to stoop and manage to get power and direction onto a header that Rice had to save.
Hawley was the next to call for a penalty on 54 minutes as he went down shoulder to shoulder with Riley in the box, again the referee unimpressed.
Hutchinson replaced Stevenson in the 56th minute for the visitors.
A long Marriott clearance sailed all the way downfield for Clucas to run onto, but he was unable to get any power on his finish as Nicholson challenged him.
Clucas’ persistence earned Stags their third corner of the afternoon which Jennings swung in and saw it pass right across the face of goal with no one able to turn it home.
Andrew joined the Stags’ forward line in place of Rhead on 63 minutes.
Riley slipped as he tried to halt Azeez’s run into the box from the right and was relieved to see the striker pull a low, tame shot into the sidenetting.
At the other end Andrew set up a shooting chance for Hutchinson which was powerful and on-target and the home side were glad Pearce managed to get his body in the way.
Torquay broke well from that and Sutton took a booking with a cynical trip on Azeez.
That conceded a 68th minute free kick, fully 30 yards from the Mansfield goal, which Nicholson dipped over the wall and inches over the bar.
The home side were reduced to 10 men on 69 minutes as Pearce, already booked, hauled down Clucas as he tried to turn away from him and go clear on goal.
When the free kick was taken, Hutchinson played a cheeky short ball to his right where McGuire sidefooted a first time shot at goal that caught on the wind and flew over.
Stags began to pile on the pressure and the Gulls survived an almighty scramble with everyone swinging a foot at the ball six yards from goal after Rice failed to grab a cross from the right.
Stags went for broke and sent on Palmer for Sutton.
Soon after Hutchinson forced Rice to beat away a stinging 30 yard blast on the run.
A Beevers cross from the right touchline again somehow passed through everyone, but caught a Torquay player en route to give Mansfield another corner.
That reached Dempster at the far post where he was unable to get any direction on his header.
Clucas was also wide with his header from a Hutchinson cross as Mansfield tried to make their man advantage count.
Riley was upset when he felt Azeez had shoved him in the back as he shepherded the ball out to give away a corner. But Marriott was safely there to make the catch.
Palmer almost unlocked the home defence when he flicked the ball to Andrew and then went for the return, O’Connor coming up with a crucial tackle in the box which left him down hurt for a time.
In the 90th minute Stags won a corner on the right which found Dempster at the far post where the angle was far too tight to make his header trouble Rice.
Into stoppage time, Craig sent a free kick from wide on the right just over the far angle after which there were some ‘handbags’ following a clash between Beevers and Benyon in which Beevers claimed he had been bitten on the arm by his opponent
Palmer won another corner in the final minute of stoppage time, but the ball was cleared and both sides had to settle for the draw.
TORQUAY UNITED: Rice, Tongue, Nicholson, Pearce, Mansell, Hawley (Benyon 81), Bodin (Cruise 70), Chapell (Craig 63), McCourt, Azeez, O’Connor. Subs not used: Lathrope, Cameron, Sullivan, Lavercombe.
STAGS: Marriott, Sutton (Palmer 73), Dempster, Riley; Beevers, McGuire, Stevenson (Hutchinson 56), Murtagh, Jennings; Rhead (Andrew 63), Clucas. Subs not used: Daniel, Howell, Meikle, Blake.
REFEREE: Mick Russell of Hertfordshire.
ATTENDANCE: 2,473 (347 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: John Dempster.
Torquay United 0 Mansfield Town 0: Match report
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
IN hindsight, perhaps the writing was on the wall from the moment home mascot Gilbert the Gull waddled out to the centre circle prior to kick-off to strut his stuff to the sound of 90's pop act Whigfield.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Torquay-United-0-Mansfield-Town-0-Match-report/story-19962100-detail/story.html#ixzz2iHUeX0kH
The old bird did his best to gee up the Plainmoor crowd in the English Riviera's gorgeous autumn sunshine, but, in all honesty, his performance fell a little flat.
The very same thing could be said of the football that followed.
Both sides went at it hammer and tongues, yet it was a definite case of enthusiasm outweighing quality.
It's true that a strong wind blowing the length of the pitch did not help play.
Nor an over-zealous referee, whose intervention brought no less than 34 free-kicks which ensured that this was very much a stop-start affair.
Even so, the game was crying out for someone to put their foot on the ball and take a hold of the game. It was the type of match where Mansfield could really have done with calling on the services of the injured Chris Clements.
But they couldn't, and with no Gulls player able to grasp the nettle either, too many balls were played high down the pitch over waiting strikers' heads. It will certainly not be a spectacle remembered by many, that's for sure.
Although a point is never seen as a bad result away from home, there was no doubting Mansfield - for whom James Jennings, Jamie McGuire and Matt Rhead replaced Colin Daniel, Anthony Howell and Calvin Andrew in the starting XI - were left disappointed not to have claimed all three.
It was not so much that their opponents were a lowly 22nd in the table, nor that they came into the game on the back of three straight defeats.
It was more from the fact the Stags were playing against ten men for the final 20-odd minutes after the dismissal of former Notts County man Krystian Pearce - for a second yellow card - that was the source of their angst.
Especially as they did not make the Gulls work hard enough to take a share of the spoils.
On the balance of play, the outcome of the match was entirely fair as Torquay were undoubtedly the better of the two sides in the first half, even though Stags skipper John Dempster failed to hit the target from a free header following from a left-wing James Jennings corner.
First Billy Bodin was desperately unlucky when his well-struck low shot struck the inside of the right-hand post with Alan Marriott beaten and cannoned almost along the goal line before rolling out for a goal kick. It could just have easily have ended up in the back of the net.
And then Karl Hawley, another ex-Magpies player, shot over the top from Jordan Chapell's right-wing cross. It was a moment that left him holding his head in his hands, as he was just eight yards from goal at the time.
As the match wore on, though, the Stags began to take control with the gusty breeze in their favour.
There was the odd moment of panic, particularly when the ball broke for Ade Azeez in the box and Marriott had to get down sharply to claw the ball to safety, and when Kevin Nicholson's 30-yard free-kick was only inches too high.
But generally, Mansfield were a little brighter once they had introduced Ben Hutchinson from off the bench.
He had one goalbound thunderbolt blocked in the nick of time and a second, from further out, well pushed away by Martin Rice.
In the closing stages, too, there was a flicker of hope when another substitute Andrew, fed a third, Ollie Palmer, only for Anthony O'Connor to dive in and make a crucial block.
On the whole, though, there was a lack of spark, invention and creation from the visitors, meaning they failed to capitalise on the possession they had.
It remains to be seen if that missing something can be provided by Jack Blake, the 19-year-old signed on the eve of the game from Nottingham Forest.
While the midfielder is said to be immensely talented, it is asking a lot for him to come in and be an instant hit in the rugged world of League Two.
It is likely to be a similar test of Mansfield's credential in this tightest of leagues - they are just three points off top spot despite being knocked down to eighth and just outside the play-offs - when they make the much shorter trip to Bury tomorrow night.
The managerless Shakers are struggling just as much as Torquay, but are sure to see the visit of the Stags as a possible starting point for a resurgence.
Cox, meanwhile, knows his side will have to be a little bit more considered in their approach at Gigg Lane to continue Bury's miserable start and get their own ship fully back on course.
Just like the routine of Gilbert the Gull, there is definitely room for improvement.
UNITED 0 MANSFIELD 0
Read more at http://www.torquayunited.com/news/article/united-0-mansfield-0-1121811.aspx#O6zdBZLJiR5UGp4e.99
NO goals but plenty of action on yet another intriguing afternoon at Planet Plainmoor.
Mansfield came to spoil and the Gulls were determined to end a difficult recent run, but the final, vital component of luck once again refused to fall United’s way.
After hitting the post and heaping on the pressure, the Yellows had to change their philosophy in the final 20 minutes when Krystian Pearce was dismissed for two cautions and the point, in the end, was better than nothing.
United manager Alan Knill made three changes from the side that lost 3-2 at Wycombe last weekend. Billy Bodin returned from international duty to replace Elliot Benyon in a slightly amended attacking formation that saw the Welsh youngster operating in a more central role.
In midfield, Jak McCourt made his full debut in place of Damon Lathrope and Anthony O’Connor also came back from international duty. The Irish youngster slotted in at centre-back, dropping Tom Cruise down to the bench.
Mansfield boss Paul Cox also made three tweaks to his team after the home draw with Bristol Rovers seven days ago. Jamie McGuire, James Jennings and Matt Rhead were the new faces for the Stags, who were just relieved to be wearing their normal away strip at the start of the game after the shirts had been left at Field Mill by the kitman.
A trundling start in the October sun enabled both sides to settle, as the early action was limited to an exchange of set-pieces easily cleared by two well-marshalled defences.
When the Gulls did construct a flowing move, the instigator was Bodin surging through the middle to supply McCourt for a whipped cross. Karl Hawley muscled the Mansfield defence and Lee Mansell came steaming into the box to lash the loose ball at goal, but his opposing skipper, John Dempster, was on hand to produce a superb block-tackle.
Moments later, Dempster was at the other end to rise highest from a Sam Clucas corner and Yellow goalkeeper Martin Rice was more than relieved to see the header drift narrowly wide.
The game was slowly sparking to life and Bodin had Plainmoor cooing with appreciation on 20 minutes, as he danced into space on the edge of the area and cracked a terrific low shot past the dive of Alan Marriott.
The ball, however, decided to add its own twist on United’s recent misfortune by smacking against the inside of the far post, across the face of goal and away to agonising safety. To their credit, the Gulls continued piling forward and Hawley came close with an improvised flick from a Jordan Chapell cross that floated just over.
There was a pleasing sharpness and tempo to United’s work in forward areas, and Mansfield supported that theory by conceding a number of needless fouls in dangerous positions.
The next Yellow move saw McCourt racing down the right to deliver a cross for Pearce, who was beaten to the ball by Ritchie Sutton but Bodin was perfectly placed to send in a first-time volley that was deflected wide.
After a brief lull, Ade Azeez sought to inject some pace back into the game with a jink inside and shot from distance, but a Mansfield foot took all the venom out of the effort to make it a comfortable save for Marriott.
As the game meandered toward half-time, United could rightly claim they had done more than enough to be in front but the Stags were able to resist for a goalless first period.
The second half started with the Gulls again asking questions of the visitors but Azeez was unable to steer the ball past Marriott after tidy work down the left channel from Bodin and Kevin Nicholson.
Mansfield responded with a low cross from McGuire that forced the huge figure of Rhead to stoop when cushioning a clever header toward the near post but Rice got down quickly to conjure a terrific save in his first real action of the afternoon.
The game had definitely increased a notch and huge Yellow praise to Bodin, who was enjoying an impressive afternoon playing in the hole behind Hawley. Yet another twisting run had Mansfield chasing shadows but Hawley was just muscled out of the final threaded pass.
Cox had seen enough and dipped into his replacements with the introduction of Ben Hutchinson for Stevenson to add a fresh impetus to their attack, although United were the side with real momentum.
Knill turned to his bench just after the hour, removing Chapell for Nathan Craig, while Mansfield’s next change was to bring on Calvin Andrew for Rhead. Moments later, McCourt found Azeez in the left channel but the final shot dribbled wide.
The Stags came back with a dart down the right from channel and his pass inside found Hutchinson for a snap-shot, but Pearce was alive to the danger and did well to throw his body in front of the effort.
Nicholson then stepped forward for a 30-yard free-kick and came within a inch of capping an excellent individual performance for the left-back, as Marriott could only watch the curling shot shave his crossbar.
Disaster then struck with a loose pass in midfield allowing Clucas to get the wrong side of Pearce and when the big defender tugged on the shirt of his man, referee Mick Russell had no option but show a second yellow card, and the inevitable red.
The departure of his centre-back forced Knill to sacrifice Bodin for Cruise and reshuffle his troops, although a rare lapse of concentration from Rice almost compounded the concern, as United’s custodian failed to collect a long throw and needed O’Connor to spare his blushes with a hurried clearance.
Oliver Palmer replaced Ritchie Sutton in a move that showed Mansfield’s attacking intent with the extra man, but Rice was quickly back to his best with a full-length save to deny a long-range drive from Andrew.
Everything had changed, and Mansfield were now cranking up the pressure with a series of crosses into the Yellow box, and United responded by removing Hawley for the fresh legs of Benyon.
O’Connor was the Yellow hero on 88 minutes, bravely sliding in to thwart Palmer after a swift break down the left from Mansfield and it would prove to be tackle that earned United a welcome point in the circumstances.
United [4-4-2]: 13 Martin Rice; 2 Dale Tonge, 5 Krystian Pearce, 29 Anthony O’Connor, 3 Kevin Nicholson; 12 Jordan Chapell [20 Nathan Craig 64], 7 Lee Mansell [capt], 17 Jak McCourt, 10 Billy Bodin [21 Thomas Cruise 70]; 9 Karl Hawley [26 Elliot Benyon 82], 23 Ade Azeez. Substitutes [not used]: 6 Damon Lathrope, 11 Courtney Cameron, 31 Daniel Sullivan, 34 Daniel Lavercombe [GK].
Booked: Pearce 16, McCourt 39
Sent-off: Pearce 69
Mansfield [3-5-2]: 1 Alan Marriott; 2 Ritchie Sutton [36 Oliver Palmer 74], 4 John Dempster [capt], 6 Martin Riley; 16 James Jennings, 23 Jamie McGuire, 11 Sam Clucas, 8 Keiran Murtagh, 17 Lee Beevers; 9 Matt Rhead [24 Calvin Andrew 64], 10 Lee Stevenson [18 Ben Hutchinson 56]. Substitutes [not used]: 13 Anthony Howell, 20 Lindon Meikle, 26 Jack Blake, 30 Colin Daniel.
Referee: Mick Russell
Attendance: 2,473 [347 away].
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