SOLID STAGS DENIED BY KEEPER BUT STOP LOSINGSTREAK
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
AFC Wimbledon 0 - 0 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 3900 (220 from Mansfield)
Date: 14 December 2013
Martin Shaw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, Kingsmeadow
Mansfield Town came into the game with six consecutive defeats in the league, and a 7th today would have equalled the club record, set in 1947. But despite ending the losing streak, the Stags came away frustrated to only earn a point after home keeper Ross Worner produced three truly outstanding saves in the final 13 minutes to keep it at 0-0. The promise shown in the last week’s 1-1 draw at Oldham continued at Kingsmeadow as the Stags again looked hard to beat, with a good shape and very solid in defence. Despite the promise shown, the reality is that the Stags are now 11 league games without a win; the winless run in the league being the worst since March-Sep 2000 when the Stags went 14 games without a win, which is the club record. The first half was quite even with Luke Moore going close for Wimbledon, denied by a fine Marriott save with his legs after a defensive slip by Dempster (the only real mistake of the afternoon by the Stags defence), and at the other end Clucas shooting into the side netting when he should have scored. The second half continued to be quite even until the final 15 minutes as the Stags finished the game on top. On 77 minutes, Worner made a great save on his line to keep out a Rhead header. Then on 83,Worner made an even better save, low to his right, to keep out a Clucas header. Finally, Worner made an incredible save on 88 minutes as Dyer’s header seemed destined to win the game until he somehow tipped it over. So encouragement for Mansfield, but this must only be the start, with the team just four points above the relegation zone. On to a big night on Tuesday and the cup replay against Oldham in the FA Cup, with a visit to Anfield at stake, and, by my rough calculations, about £380,000 in gate receipts and prize money for the winner. Come on Mansfield!
Paul Cox named an unchanged starting eleven (for the first time in two months, following various suspensions etc) after the encouraging display at Oldham. There was one change on the bench as Clements returned from injury in place of Black. AFC Wimbledon included Charlie Sheringham, fresh pulling out the ball for Oldham/Mansfield in Sunday’s FA Cup draw.
Stagsnet report here
Man of the match: Adam Murray
Saturday, 14th December 2013: AFC Wimbledon 0, Mansfield Town 0
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Only three top class saves from AFC Wimbledon keeper Ross Worner in the last 13 minutes denied Mansfield Town all three points as they continued to show the shoots of recovery with a point in a 0-0 draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium this afternoon.
The Stags may now be 11 League games without a win, but they battled hard at a difficult venue to visit and earned their first ever point against AFC after four defeats in their four previous meetings.
It also meant Paul Cox’s men avoided an unwanted new club record of seven straight League defeats.
Mansfield battled well for the first hour with Alan Marriott denying Luke Moore in a one-on-one in the first half in the game’s only real clear opportunity.
But a double substitution on 62 minutes finally brought Stags to life as an attacking entity and Worner made three fine stops to thwart Sam Clucas, Matt Rhead and Ross Dyer as Stags ended the game looking by far the side most likely to win it.
Stags were almost inevitably unchanged following last week’s much-improved display in the 1-1 FA Cup draw at Oldham.
There was also the welcome sight of influential midfielder Chris Clements returning to the bench after getting through a midweek reserve friendly.
It was the first time Paul Cox had kept an unchanged side since 5th October at home to Hartlepool.
Stags caused early problems when Dempster met a Murray free kick at the far post until the referee spotted pushing and blew for a Dons free kick.
But it was a determined start by the Stags with the Dons barely getting out of their own half for the first six minutes.
However, it was the home side who created the first threat when Murray conceded a foul 30 yards from goal and Kennedy dipped a free kick over the wall and just over the bar.
Marriott then confidently caught a first time centre from Fenlon from wide on the right.
Meikle played a square pass to McGuire on 14 minutes for a low first time shot from 20 yards that saw keeper Worner gather low to his right but seemed to be drifting wide anyway.
Daniel headed a Kennedy free kick out for a corner on 16 minutes which came off a defender for a second corner on the other side that Marriott fisted away. That was knocked back towards goal where Marriott just beat the incoming Sheringham to the ball.
Mansfield replied with a corner of their own, which was headed clear.
The game was lacking quality, but on 20 minutes the Dons built the best move so far from the back with a string of passes that ended with Sheringham putting Smith in space in the middle 20 yards from goal from where he dipped his finish over the top.
Marriott had to be alert on 22 minutes when Sheringham spread play to the right from where Moore’s lofted cross-cum-shot almost found its way inside the far post, Marriott clawing it round. The corner was cleared back towards Moore who this time was too high.
When Smith got the best of Riley in the box, Murray slid in to save the day and concede another corner from which Moore saw his volley clip a team mate and sail wide.
Murray did almost pick out Meikle in a good position with a high ball into the box, but the winger was just unable to make any contact with which to test Worner.
Good strength from Dyer in the box, as he got on the end of a high Murray ball, saw him lay it back for Clucas, whose first time shot was blocked.
Francomb was caught late by a Howell challenge in the Dons half but he had already launched the ball forward high and long and Marriott had to make sure it didn’t catch him out as he reached up to palm the ball down to safety.
On 32 minutes Clucas picked up a loose pass and let fly with a low shot that deflected narrowly wide for a corner.
Stags won another soon afterwards which was cleared.
The Dons almost grabbed the lead on 40 minutes after Sweeney won the ball from McGuire and fed Sheringham who, from a good position 10 yards from goal, was only able to skewer a shot wide thanks to a last ditch challenge from Meikle of all people.
A Daniel challenge at the other end saw the ball roll invitingly to Clucas at the far post where the angle was so tight he was only able to send the ball into the sidenetting.
But we finally had a clear cut chance on 42 minutes.
Dempster completely miskicked his clearance, which left Moore with only Marriott to beat. But the keeper stood up well to get his body in the way of the low finish and was fully deserving of Dempster’s thanks as the sides went in all square.
Riley returned with his head heavily bandaged after suffering a nasty cut near the end of the first half.
Clucas wasn’t far wide with a low shot from 25 yards inside the opening 60 seconds of the second half.
Dempster was penalised for pushing at Mansfield’s first corner of the half.
Stags then survived a home corner, given away needlessly by Clucas.
Two more followed, Marriott fisting the first away and Meikle only able to hook the second away as far as Fuller, who almost managed to squeeze it home from the by-line. He claimed Marriott had turned it over but the referee awarded a goalkick.
Francomb was afforded a lot of time and space to run at Stags down the centre only to see Riley get a leg in the way of his shot.
Paul Cox boldly made a double swap on 62 minutes, withdrawing Howell and Meikle and sending on Rhead and Hutchinson.
Within seconds Rhead sent a tame header at the keeper which represented Stags’ first on-target effort of the day.
The Dons then cleared another Mansfield corner.
In reply Smith saw an effort deflect for a corner as we awaited the breakthrough.
McGuire, spotting the keeper out of position, tried a cheeky curler from 40 yards which sailed wide.
Stags took an eternity to hack clear another home corner which ended with Fuller sending a tame, low shot wide.
On 77 minutes Mansfield had their best chance. McGuire curled in a superb ball from the right and Rhead stooped to get in a firm, low header that Worner did superbly well to block almost on the line.
Clucas tried to turn on the edge of the home box only to see Daniel pop up, take over and lift a poor effort over the bar with eight minutes to go.
A minute later Worner was the Dons’ hero again with another top drawer save.
This time Rhead headed a long Marriott free kick back across goal and Clucas met it with a close range header that saw Worner stretch out a hand and somehow keep it out.
Stags were very much in the ascendency now and two corners followed, the second an inswinger from Hutchinson that almost crept in at the far post until Worner got a hand to it.
Porter was booked on 87 minutes for banging into McGuire as he clapped the linesman for a decision giving him a foul.
Worner made yet another fine save two minutes from time as he turned a close range Dyer header over after the ball had bounced invitingly from a long Marriott free kick.
Fenlon almost caught Marriott out with a long range swerving effort in stoppage time, but the keeper was able to palm it away and grab at the second attempt.
It would have been rough on Mansfield had it gone in as they were well worth at least the point they left with.
AFC WIMBLEDON: Worner, Fenlon, Kennedy, Francomb, Frampton, Fuller, Mohamed, Sheringham (Midson 75), Smith, Sweeney, Moore (Porter 68). Subs not used: Sainte-Luce, Brown, Antwi.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott; Westlake, Dempster, Riley, Daniel; Clucas, Murray, Howell (Rhead 62), McGuire, Meikle (Hutchinson 62); Dyer. Subs not used: Rhead, Deakin, Beevers, Palmer, Hutchinson, Tafazolli, Clements.
REFEREE: Mike Bull of Chelmsford.
ATTENDANCE: 3,900 (220 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jamie McGuire.
Stags denied morale boosting win by keeper in late drama
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
IT said much that the announcement of Kaid Mohamed as the home sponsors' man of the match brought scoffs and guffaws of laughter.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Stags-denied-morale-boosting-win-keeper-late/story-20326597-detail/story.html#ixzz2ndEGYTzZ
There was only one person deserving of that honour - the man who somehow denied Mansfield Town a much-needed victory.
Ross Worner is not a name many Stags fans would have conjured with prior to their trip to south-west London, but they will certainly remember the goalkeeper from now on.
The young keeper was not called in action for the first 75 minutes and was virtually a spectator. For so long, the biggest threat to him looked to be a risk of frostbite in his fingers from a chilly wind sweeping across the ground.
But they say the sign of a talented custodian is one who can maintain the concentration to pull off a top drawer save after a period of inactivity - and the former Woking trainee did so not just once, but three times, in a frenetic finale that saw Mansfield well on top.
First substitute Matt Rhead, then Sam Clucas and finally Ross Dyer were thwarted by spectacular stops when manager Paul Cox admitted he was already turning away ready to celebrate.
It meant a morale-boosting three points for the Stags was not to be thanks to Worner's spectacular brilliance. No wonder those standing in the Eco House End gave him a long and hearty ovation come full-time.
The long trip back up north left plenty of time for the visiting management, players and fans to ponder how they had not secured a first victory in 11 matches, albeit the draw was enough to end a run of six consecutive League defeats that would have equalled an unwanted club record had it been stretched to seven.
Even so, following on from the display at Oldham, it must have been of considerable consolation to all concerned that Mansfield looked far more composed and methodical than during their recent bad run.
There was a steel and determination reminiscent of better times.
Certainly Cox was a great deal more chipper than in recent weeks in delivering his post-match assessment.
While insisting the team had not yet turned a corner, he acknowledged the green shoots of recovery, the 'building blocks' as he likes to call them, are being put in place.
Key among those is the tightening up of a defence that had started to spring worrying leaks through the autumn.
A tight rearguard gives confidence to the rest of the team, so a first shut-out in nine games will undoubtedly be a boost.
The back four and keeper Alan Marriott were helped by a well-drilled and disciplined midfield who did their level best to cut off the supply to Wimbledon's attacking players.
Hunting in packs, the Stags pressed the Dons high up the pitch and gave them little time on the ball.
Only once did Mansfield's resolve look like being broken when John Dempster inexplicably fresh-aired an attempted clearance in the lead up to half-time to leave Luke Moore one-on-one with Alan Marriott.
But the Stags keeper bailed out his centre back by racing off his line to make a smart block. It wasn't just Worner who earned his crust between the posts.
The only thing still lacking from a Mansfield point of view was goals, and for the first two thirds of the game the visitors seemed happy to play out a stalemate and take a point.
However, the double substitution of Matt Rhead and Ben Hutchinson for Anthony Howell and Lindon Meikle galvanised the Stags so that they suddenly began to look a threat in the final third.
But they had reckoned without Worner. In the 77th minute, a pinpoint McGuire cross found the head of Rhead eight yards out who headed for the corner only to see his effort clawed away and gathered at the second attempt.
A few minutes later, Clucas went even closer and was holding his head in his hands when the Dons keeper sprung to his right to keep out a goalbound header after Rhead had nodded the ball back into the danger zone.
And perhaps the most gutted of all not to net was Ross Dyer, who chased a long free-kick forward from Marriott and steered the ball towards the top corner with his head only for Worner to react instinctively and turn the ball to safety.
Of course, those Mansfield fans not in attendance will lament another goal-shy performance, and the result is hardly likely to stem calls for Cox to draft in a proven goalscorer during the January transfer window.
But on this occasion, as the 220 who made the trip will testify, it was not poor finishing that undid the Stags. It was first-class goalkeeping.
Still, not every number one is going to perform to Worner's standard and, at some point, Mansfield are going to get a few breaks.
Until then, the Stags have to keep the faith and ensure they remain competitive enough in games to take full advantage when the ball does bounce in their favour.
Moore misses for goalless Dons against Mansfield
By Paul Warburton
AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Mansfield Town
Luke Moore wasted the best chance of the game - but Ross Worner earned his wages in the second half.
Even so, this was a turkey of a game.
The scramble in the Christmas shops for this year’s must-haves saw more action than a dull first half at Kingsmeadow.
After 15 minutes, Callum Kennedy free-kick a foot over from distance, along with wild swings from Michael Smith and Charlie Sheringham were balanced by a bouncing ball that dropped to Ross Dyer and demanded Andy Frampton put his body on the line to block the Mansfield striker’s low drive.
The Stags had a second go when Sam Clucas took aim from the left and this time Worner got a finger-tip to make sure it went round the post.
Moore had the best chance of the game right at the end of the first half when Darryl Westlake’s air shot fell kindly to the winger, but one-on-one with the keeper from 10 yards, he tamely fired against Alan Marriott’s legs.
A busy spell 10 minutes into the second period brought back-to-back corners for Dons.
On the end of the second was Barry Fuller with a hook on the half volley tipped over by the keeper but missed by the ref.
The wicked deflection from Smith’s shot was more clear cut and would have beaten Marriott by a margin, but arced over the bar.
Worner switched from spectator to spectacular when he got down smartly to snuff out a low header from sub Matt Rhead.
The Dons shot-stopper did even better on 83 minutes when Rhead’s header across goal was met by Clukas at the back post and brought an instinctive right-hand save.
Worner might have been a bystander for much of the game, but he then did better still to tip a crashing header from the onrushing Dyer up and over.
Jim Fenlon obliged the 3,700 home fans beseeching him to shoot from distance in the last minute, and his swerver needed Marriott to fist away - but goalless as it finished the four changes to the Dons line-up was a whole heap better than the 3-0 debacle at Bristol Rover last time out.
Dons, 4-4-2: Worner; Fenlon, Fuller, Frampton, Kennedy; Mohamed Sweeney, Francomb, Moore (Porter 68); Sheringham (Midson 75), Smith; subs not used: Saint-Luce, Brown, Antwi
Worner shutout earns Dons a point against Mansfield
By Adam Harwood at Kingsmeadow, london24.com
League Two: AFC Wimbledon 0 Mansfield Town 0
AFC Wimbledon played out their first goalless home league draw since their elevation to the Football League in a tepid encounter at Kingsmeadow.
The Dons, without a league win now in four, took on a Mansfield side themselves, bereft of confidence, having now gone 11 without securing maximum points, and the lack of confidence in both sides showed for long periods during the game.
But it was Mansfield who ultimately will feel more aggrieved not to have stolen the points, after home keeper Ross Worner produced three outstanding saves to deny the visitors late in the second half.
Wimbledon shaded the opening half in a game of precious few chances, with Callum Kennedy’s free kick going just inches over the bar, and a Luke Moore cross shot needed to be tipped over by Mansfield keeper Alan Marriot to deny the Dons an opener.
At the other end, Mansfield enjoyed plenty of possession but only seriously tested Worner once, top scorer Sam Clucas’ angled drived being tipped just round the far post.
Just before half time, a dull encounter exploded to life. First, Charlie Sheringham was played in by the on-loan Kaid Mohamed but he ballooned a shot well wide of the far post from the edge of the area.
Then Clucas had too much time and space at close range, but his shot hit the outside of the post when he really should have found the target.
But the best chance of the lot fell to Luke Moore following a Martin Riley mistake at the back. Moore was through with just Marriot to beat, but his shot was hit straight at the keeper.
Wimbledon turned up the pressure in the early periods of the second half, and looked a threat from set pieces. Sheringham was just denied by the boot of a Mansfield defender when shaping to shoot, but the ball fell to captain Barry Fuller at the back post whose shot was hit down into the ground and looped up hitting the bar on the way over.
Manager Neal Ardley threw Jack Midson and George Porter on in an attempt to claim the three points, but the substitutions seemed to unsettle the Dons, and Mansfield seized the initiative.
A long cross from Jamie McGuire was headed on at the back post by substitute Matt Rhead, who didn’t quite connect well enough with the header, but nonetheless Worner did well to stop the chance.
Then from a Mansfield corner, a Clucas header was expertly stopped by Worner with a one-handed save.
And with time running out, another Rhead header, this time angled towards the top corner, produced another outstanding stop by Worner to turn the ball over the top.
The two teams may both be short of confidence, but given the pattern of the last 20 minutes of the game especially, it is Wimbledon who go away more greatful for the point.
AFC Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Kennedy, Frampton, Fenlon, Sweeney, Sheringham (Midson), Smith, L Moore (Porter), Francomb, Mohamed
Attendance: 3,900 (220 Mansfield fans)
Latest | December 2013