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STAGS BACK TO LOOKING HARD TO BEAT
11th December 2013 20:05


The FA Cup with Budweiser - Round Two
Oldham Athletic 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Smith 28. Clucas 45.
Attendance: 3429 (379 from Mansfield)

Date: 7 December 2013

Martin Shaw at Boundary Park

After six consecutive defeats in the league, Mansfield Town finally got back to looking hard to beat in this deserved draw at League One Oldham Athletic this afternoon, to earn a replay in the FA Cup round 2. The Stags will therefore be in the hat for the draw for round 3 (ITV at 4.10pm on Sunday). The Stags welcomed back both Adam Murray and Jamie McGuire into central midfield and this added enormous steel and composure to the side. Added to that the defence looked as solid as a rock with Martin Riley faultless, and Alan Marriott back to his best in goal with steady handling and shot-stopping. Going forward, Ross Dyer put in an impressive showing, and Sam Clucas thundered in a great free kick. It was an uncharacteristic mistake from McGuire that gifted Latics captain Korey Smith the ball on 28 minutes, in the Oldham half, and Smith went on a super run and capped it with a fabulous shot into the top right corner to give Marriott no chance. The Stags were deservedly level with Clucas’s thunderous free kick from 20 yards on the stroke of half time. The second half saw the Stags start on top and then Oldham finish on top but no-one could argue that a draw wasn’t a fair result. The importance of today’s performance is huge in my opinion, and with key players back, I expect the Stags to arrest the alarming slide that has seen 10 league games without a win and 6 league defeats on the trot, with 2 big games coming up against AFC Wimbledon and Accrington. In between those 2 games will be the tasty replay of this game.

Paul Cox made three changes from the side that lost to Morecambe. Beevers was dropped after several poor performances. Daniel moved from left midfield to left back. Meikle came in to the right side of midfield (for only his second start of the season, and his first since Tranmere), with Clucas moving to the left. Palmer missed out as Cox switched from 4-4-2 last week to 4-4-1-1, with Howell switching from central midfield to play in front of the midfield 4, just behind Dyer who was on his own up front. Murray and McGuire came into the centre of midfield. Clements missed out with a back injury (Cox was hopeful he should be fit for next Saturday). Oldham included Adam Rooney, who has scored against the Stags for Bury in two games.

The surface was zippy with some light rain having fallen on it.

Stagsnet report here

Man of the match: Martin Riley

--------------------------------

Saturday, 7th December 2013, FA Cup Round Two: Oldham Athletic 1, Mansfield Town 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas

Mansfield Town’s FA Cup First Round hero Sam Clucas today earned them a Second Round replay and a place in Third Round draw for the second successive year tomorrow with a crucial equaliser in the 1-1 draw at League One Oldham Athletic.

http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/local-sport/saturday-7th-december-2013-fa-cup-round-two-oldham-athletic-1-mansfield-town-1-1-6302425

The game, which marked the return of Adam Murray to the fold, was not the best of spectacles as gutsy Stags comfortably soaked up almost everything the in-form home side could muster to throw at them.

Man of the match, home captain Korey Smith, did find a way past the impeccable Alan Marriott with a brilliant solo effort on 27 minutes.

But Stags were always well in the contest in a fast and furious first half and deserved to go in level when Clucas, voted national Player of the Round for his four-goal haul last month, smashed home a free kick just before the break.

The second half saw Stags threaten little but defend superbly from the front and snuff out the Latics to bring them back to One Call Stadium on Tuesday week.

Murray made an instant return to the Mansfield side - and was handed back his captain’s armband.

Murray and manager Paul Cox appear to have settled their differences after falling out earlier in the season when Murray went out on two loan spells.

The midfield ace then had to prove his fitness this week before being given the nod today.

Also back in the Stags’ midfield in a 4-5-1 formation was Jamie McGuire after completing a three-game ban, who gave his all with a typical energetic display.

Lindon Meikle was another player given an outing, his first and onlu other start since Tranmere back in August, with Lee Beevers, the injured Chris Clements and Ollie Palmer missing out.

Stags were looking to end a run of four defeats since the first round 8-1 win at St Albans City while the in-form Latics had only lost two of their previous 13 games.

On a grim, grey North-West afternoon, with rain clouds gathering overhead, the crowd and teams joined together for a minute’s applause for the life of Nelson Mandela before the game.

Westlake flattened Dayton as he powerfully won the game’s first header.

But Rooney was fouled soon after and Marriott had to stretch to safely hold onto Dayton’s long free kick, all in the first minute.

Marriott had to leave his box to prevent Rooney reaching a through ball, his hands never leaving the box, but his body out of it. With the home fans shouting for a handball, Rooney then swung a late leg at the keeper, who clung on bravely.

Instead it was Mansfield who had the first shy at goal of the game as, following a right wing throw, Dempster curled a cross in towards the near post which Clucas headed powerfully wide of the post.

Rodgers saw a 20-yard shot deflect wide for a Latics corner which Stags eventually got clear.

Dyer then tried to lead a breakaway but was unceremoniously halted by the challenge of home skipper Smith who could have little argument over his yellow card really, though tried his hardest to make a case.

Murray floated the free kick in and it was cleared out to McGuire, 30 yards out, who was well off target with his ambitious shot.

On 11 minutes a loose pass from Schmeltz saw McGuire quickly step in and feed a pass into the path of Dyer forward to his right, the striker drilling a low shot across the face of goal from not the best of angles.

Keeper Oxley was only just there first as Dyer raced onto a high forward pass by Clucas.

Then Marriott was down comfortably to smother a low Smith shot from 20 yards, soon after grabbing a dangerous Dayton cross.

But Stags should have been ahead on 19 minutes. Dyer held the ball up well in the box and paid it back to Meikle to cross. That picked out Clucas six yards from goal in the middle where, unchallenged, he failed to get enough purchase on the ball and saw his header glance wide with Oldham hearts in mouths.

Rodgers almost caught Marriott napping with a free kick from wide of the left that he drilled at goal instead of crossing, the startled keeper only punching away instead of catching and Stags then having to survive a few seconds of scrambling to clear.

But Howell did well to beat Tarkowski on the edge of the Oldham box before lifting an attempted finish well off target as Mansfield to continued to more than match their League one opponents.

However, the Latics drew first blood on 27 minutes after a piece of magic from Smith.

Beating Murray to a loose pass from McGuire, he took possession wide on the left 15 yards inside his own half before accelerating away down the line.

Coming inside he jinked past Riley and then, from the edge of the box, curled an unstoppable finish over Marriott and under the far angle for a truly superb individual goal.

Almost immediately Mansfield won a corner on the left which Murray in and, with Oxley unable to claw away, saw Dempster reach it but unable to turn it on target at the far post.

Clucas was booked on 38 minutes for arguing with the referee after a foul was given against him.

On 40 minutes Daniel was caught hanging on to the ball too long and Dayton was able to send over a far post cross where Philliskirk was left completely unmarked but just unable to jump high enough to be able to get his header on target.

As we entered the first minute of stoppage time, Murray was fouled just outside the box, slightly left of centre, and Mansfield were to deservedly the game from that opportunity through Clucas.

The Stags’ four-goal first round hero stepped up to power a superb free kick through the home wall and screaming past Oxley into the net.

The early stages of the second half were tense until Westlake won Stags’ second corner of the day on 54 minutes which Murray put in and Riley headed just over.

The home side knew they needed to up a gear and made a double change on 56 minutes, Clarke-Harris and Petrasso on for Schmeltz and Dayton.

Straight away they won a free kick on the right, taken by Rodgers, which picked out Rooney, who headed powerfully at Marriott.

Soon after Philliskirk crossed from the other flank and Rooney again got a head on it, but it lacked power and Marriott was easily able to gather.

Murray marked his return with a booking on 61 minutes following a body check as Oldham tried to move out of their half.

Rodgers wasn’t far wide with a 30-yard free kick that looped up and over the wall before bouncing wide of the keeper’s right hand post.

Tarkowski made a promising run forward before finding the feet of Petrasso in the box, who spun well only to shoot straight at Marriott.

Philliskirk then was only inches wide from 20 yards as the home side began to build up a good spell of pressure.

Palmer replaced Meikle for the last 12 minutes, Dyer dropping back into a midfield role on the right.

Two minutes later Meikle was safely behind a stinging low Harris shot before Murray left the field to applause from the away fans to be replaced by Hutchinson.

This was a fine battling second half display from the visitors and the home fans were getting more and more impatient for the Latics to pull a rabbit out the hat and avoid a replay.

So Tarkowski’s skewed 35-yard effort that went miles wide brought groans and jeers from the two home stands.

Smith looked at the referee after going down in the box under Howell’s challenge, but it never looked like a penalty.

Into three minutes of stoppage time and Marriott had to deal with a rocket 16 yard shot from Clarke-Harris zipping in low from the left to the near post where the keeper was perfectly positioned.

As we went into a fourth minute Daniel brought down Petrasso wide on the right, earning a booking.

Grounds put the free kick into the six-yard box where Marriott left his line to fist away.

That left the keeper out of position and the ball dropping to the feet of Petrasso.

The whole ground held their collective breath as he then hurried the chance well over and the whistle saw Stags hurry over ton their fans to salute their noisy part in helping them into a replay.

OLDHAM: Oxley, Grounds, Tarkowski, Schmeltz (Schmeltz 56), Smith, Rooney, Rodgers, Lanzoni, Dayton (Clarke-Harris 56), Plummer, Philliskirk. Subs not used: Brown, Mellor, Winchester, Belezika, Rachubka.

STAGS: Marriott; Westlake, Dempster, Riley, Daniel; Clucas, McGuire, Murray (Hutchinson 80), Howell, Meikle (Palmer 78); Dyer. Subs not used: Rhead, Deakin, Tafazolli, Black, Beevers.

REFEREE: Iain Williamson of Berkshire.

ATTENDANCE: 3,429 (379 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Alan Marriott.

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Returning Murray leads from front in battling FA Cup draw
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny

WELCOME back the real Mansfield Town - it's fair to say you've been missed.

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Returning-Murray-leads-battling-FA-Cup-draw/story-20298065-detail/story.html#ixzz2my0xkfzm

After weeks of looking downbeat, ragged and shorn of ideas, the Stags finally rediscovered something like the form that made them so hard to beat over the course of their previous two seasons. They were dogged, hard-working and disciplined.

And as far as the management and fans are concerned, the proof Mansfield can get back to the basics that heralded an eight-game unbeaten run earlier in the season - and made them so devastating at the back end of last season - has come not a moment too soon.

Yes, this battling FA Cup 1-1 draw at Oldham did not end their barren spell in League Two that has stretched to ten matches, nor would it have done even if the team had won at Boundary Park.

But it does provide the platform that gives the Stags every opportunity to rebuild their season during the Christmas period and pull away from the drop zone, which, if they play like this, is a target well within their reach.

Oldham may have had that little extra quality on the ball and had the greater possession but, boy, did they find it hard to play against the Stags and break them down.

So often in the past under Paul Cox, Mansfield have not always played pretty football, but have still come away with the points and been effective.

This showing was the closest they have been to emulating that 'mode', as the manager has been known to call it, for a while - certainly since the heady days of early season.

It was the FA Cup tie against Liverpool, despite a 2-1 defeat in controversial circumstances, that seemed to kick start Mansfield's league campaign into life in 2012-13, and supporters will be hoping the same will happen 12 months on.

Without doubt, they have every chance to do that if they can reproduce more of the same in their next two outings. Both AFC Wimbledon away this coming weekend and Accrington at home to follow are winnable games. There is nothing to fear at all.

Realistically, it's important they do pick up some points, too, because the Stags' slump down the table has become increasingly alarming as the defeats have stacked up. There's a clear necessity to end that quickly.

As Cox clambered up to the back of the stand to conduct his post-match interviews it was the first time in a good while he had things to smile about.

So while he admits the team can get better - notably in the final third where, at times, the flair players lacked that bit of composure - he saw his back four defend robustly and error-free, with the Odlham goal stemming from a misplaced pass from Lindon Miekle and a terrific finish from Korey Smith, who cut in from the left before drilling into the top right-hand corner.

Another big plus was the performance from his midfield engine room boosted by the return of Adam Murray as captain following his loan exile at first Rainworth and then Worksop, along with Jamie McGuire, back available after serving a three-game ban.

They were two of three changes that also saw Meikle recalled in a 4-5-1 formation where Colin Daniel moved to left-back and Lee Beevers, the injured Chris Clements and striker Ollie Palmer stood down.

Murray and McGuire's experience is exactly what Mansfield have been missing of late and in tandem they were a forced to be reckoned with, mopping up and getting their foot on the ball, while Anthony Howell bombed on in front of them.

And let's not forget Ross Dyer up top who did a brilliant job leading the line on his own.

With the right player alongside him - someone Matt Green-esque - he will be a handful for Football League defenders, just as he was in the Conference.

Perhaps most pleasing of all for Cox, though, was the way his troops refused to buckle after an encouraging start went unrewarded and then Smith pounced to put the Latics in front with his strike just before the half hour.

Another setback followed when John Dempster missed a far post sitter, heading wide from inside the six-yard box, but it only seemed to strengthen Mansfield's resolve and they were elated when Sam Clucas fired yet another goal with a 20-yard free-kick that found a gap in the wall and fizzed past keeper Mark Oxley.

Almost inevitably in the driving rain which made for a greasy pitch, the second half lacked the intensity and cohesion of the first as both sides tired and threw on substitutes in a bid to snatch a winner.

In truth, Oldham looked the most likely to do so yet, at the same time, never created a glaring opportunity until the last seconds of stoppage time when Alan Marriott could not get enough on it as he tried to fist away a free-kick and Michael Petrasso blazed over from 10 yards.

It was the slice of luck the visitors have been craving for some time.

As the Mansfield players clapped an admirably strong visiting support given the recent woeful run, the cheer they got back was as loud as for many past wins.

That's surely because the fan base sense, like Cox, that while the Stags have yet to fully turn a corner, they now at least appear to be part way around that particular bend.

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Oldham 1 - 1 Mansfield
Read more at http://www.oldhamathletic.co.uk/fixtures-results/match-report/?matchid=3686926&tcmuri=1218790#oIvBBkqdySrMXOYL.99

Sat 07 Dec - 15:00
Oldham V Mansfield
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Venue: Boundary Park
Attendance: 3,429
Referee: Iain Williamson
Match Stats
Oldham 1 - 1 Mansfield
Possession: 56% 44%
Shots on target: 7 2
Shots off target: 7 8
Corners: 1 2
Offsides: 2 4
Fouls: 15 14
Yellow Card: 1 3
Red Card: 0 0
Scorers
Oldham:
Korey Smith (28)
Mansfield:
Sam Clucas (45 +0:10)

Cards
Oldham:
Korey Smith (7)
Mansfield:
Sam Clucas (38)
Adam Murray (61)
Colin Daniel (90 +3:03)

Latics held in cup tie
Lee Johnson admitted Latics were well below par as they were held at home by League Two side Mansfield Town in the second round of the FA Cup with Budweiser.

"It was flat and reminiscent of a reserve game, and I blame that on our players because we didn’t have any spark in the match apart from Korey Smith with the wonderful goal he scored," explained Latics' manager.

Johnson continued: "We are lucky to get out of it, though they (Mansfield) didn’t have any real chances, but we were poor on the day.

"I thought we were comfortable as they didn’t have too many shots. The disappointing thing was how flat we were.

"We live to fight another day, are still in the hat and the good thing is that I am sure we will go there for the second game and can't be that bad again.

"If we turn up like that again on Tuesday (for the Northern Area Semi Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Chesterfield) we will get beaten."

Johnson added that the absence of James Wesolowski, ruled out through a hamstring strain, was a blow.

He continued: "It was disappointing because we missed the spark he gives us and that Gattuso-like aggression that sometimes whips up the crowd.

"We are still in the cup and our unbeaten run continues and we can learn from it. We are a young group and it is going to be a spiral and we just dipped on that spiral. Hopefully we will produce a better performance on Tuesday.

"I feel bad for the crowd because we have had a good run and I am keen to enhance the reputation of both the club and the players.

"I could feel the grumbles and could understand the grumbles. I would have been grumbling as well had I been a fan."

The positives were that Latics extended their unbeaten run to eight games while Smith scored a spectacular solo strike, his first goal for the club in his 35th appearance.

Johnson brought in Anton Rodgers for Wesolowski while Adam Rooney was preferred to Jonson Clarke-Harris up front, the second change from the side which kicked off against Bradford City lasy Saturday.

Both sides had chances to open the scoring before the breakthrough came in the 27th minute.

Rodgers had a 30-yard effort deflected just wide while Smith forced a diving save from keeper Alan Marriott.

Mansfield's top scorer Sam Clucas failed to hit the target with two headers while Ross Dyer pulled a shot wide when well placed.

A spark was needed to break the stalemate and Smith provided that with a fabulous solo effort.

Smith picked up the ball on the half-way line and burst down the left before cutting in and curling a shot into the top corner off the crossbar. The two photos are of Smith celebrating his goal.

Stages' centre-half John Dempster headed narrowly wide from a corner before Mansfield drew level on the stroke of half time.

Sidney Schmeltz committed a foul 25 yards out and Clucas rifled home the free kick, aided by a deflection off Rodgers who was in the defensive wall. It was his 11th goal of the season.

Dempster, a danger at set pieces, headed just over from an Adam Murray corner early in the second half.

Johnson made a double changes just short of the hour as Schmeltz and James Dayton made way for Jonson Clarke-Harris and Michael Petrasso as Latics looked for that missing spark.

In fairness, Latics were brighter in the last half hour, but still lacked a cutting edge.

Rooney had a great chance, but headed straight to Marriott, Rodgers and Philliskirk saw drives flash just wide while Clarke-Harris brought a save from the Stags' keeper.

And right at the death in stoppage time, Latics had two further half chances to win the tie.

Clarke-Harris, on the left of the box, saw his drive parried by Marriott. Then Petrasso fired over from the edge of the box after a poor punched clearance from the keeper following Jonathan Grounds’ free kick.

It was not to be as it proved a frustrating afternoon for Latics who, at least, live to fight another day and they are still in the FA Cup.

Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Lanzoni, Tarkowski, Grounds, Plummer; Schmeltz (Petrasso 57), Smith, Rodgers, Dayton (Clarke-Harris 57); Rooney, Philliskirk. Subs (not used): Brown, Mellor, Winchester, Belezika, Rachubka.

Mansfield (4-4-1-1): Marriott; Westlake, Dempster, Riley, Daniel; Meikle (Palmer 78), Murray (Hutchinson 80), Clucas; Howell; Dyer. Subs (not used): Black, Rhead, Tafazollo, Beevers, Deakin.

The goals: Smith (27) for Latics. Clucas (45) for Mansfield.

Bookings: Smith (7) for Latics. Clucas (38), Murray (62), Daniel (90+3) for Mansfield.

Referee: Mr I Williamson.

Attendance: 3,429 (379 visitors).

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Latics held: Oldham 1 Mansfield 1
By Mike Keegan
http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/match-reports/latics-held-oldham-athletic-1-6383170?

Oldham will be in the draw for the FA Cup third round but they face a replay against Mansfield

Oldham will be in the velvet bag of fate - but they will have to win a replay at Field Mill if a place in the FA Cup Third Round is to be their destiny.

Despite taking the lead through a sensational effort from captain Korey Smith, Lee Johnson's men were rocked by a rocket of an equaliser by Mansfield top scorer Sam Clucas.

And although there was plenty of effort a disjointed performance from the home side, missing influential midfielder James Wesolowski through injury, failed to produce an expected win against the spirited League Two strugglers.

Before the game Johnson had warned of a potential banana skin. The visitors even wore yellow shirts, but there was little sign of it as Latics pressed early on.

Last season this competition provided a number of magical moments at Boundary Park with Liverpool put to the sword and Everton held to a dramatic draw.

And on 28 minutes the excellent Smith served up another. Picking up the ball on halfway he beat two men before curling a beauty into the top right-hand corner.

The ovation provided by a crowd 3,429 of continued long after Oldham's midfield general had marched back to the centre circle.

It was the tireless Smith's first goal for the club after initially signing on loan at the back end of last season but it was certainly worth the wait.

The Stags, however, almost hit back immediately when strapping centre-half John Dempster rose unmarked at the far post from a corner but could only head wide.

But on the stroke of half-time they had their leveller.

Referee Ian Williamson, who won himself no fans among the home support, waved play on after a foul on the edge of the box by Sidney Schmeltz but then changed his mind.

And from the resulting free kick Clucas, who hit four in the last round, blasted a fearsome shot right through Oldham's wall and past keeper Mark Oxley.

Oxley, who had no chance, had the startled look of an England batsman after Mitchell Johnson has uprooted one of his stumps. He may not have even seen it.

In a dishwater dull second half Anton Rodgers hit a free kick wide while Danny Philliskirk skimmed an effort from the edge of the box but Latics struggled to create chances against well-drilled, physical opposition who were happy to get men behind the ball.

Sub Jonson Clarke-Harris thundered two efforts at Mansfield keeper Alan Marriott and fellow benchwarmer Mike Petrasso side-footed over in injury time but it was as close as Johnson's men got in a contest that, goals aside, matched the dreary conditions it was played in.

Oxley 6, Grounds 6, Tarkowski 6, Schmeltz 5 (Petrasso 57, 6), Smith 7, Rooney 6, Rodgers 6, Lanzoni 7, Dayton 6 (Clarke-Harris 57,7), Plummer 5, Philliskirk 6

Subs (not used): Brown, Mellor, Winchester, Belezika, Rachubka

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Latest | December 2013