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Archived News from December 2013

STAGS WIN AT LAST WITH FINE DISPLAY AT CHELTENHAM
31st December 2013 15:19


Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Cheltenham Town 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Jombati 86. Howell 21, Rhead 45+2.
Attendance: 2928 (166 from Mansfield)

Date: 29 December 2013

Martin Shaw at Whaddon Road

Mansfield Town came in to this game without a win in 13 league games (and in more than 3 months), and just one game away from equalling the club record of 14 games without a win, set in 2000. Cheltenham were 11 games unbeaten. The Stags were so bad at Rochdale that it was hard to see where the next win was coming from. But the Stags turned the form book upside down with a thoroughly deserved 2-1 win. The Stags were incisive going forward, creating plenty of good chances, and defended very well (... generally, though there were some worrying lapses). The returning Ryan Tafazolli produced an outstanding performance at centre half, especially in the second half. The also returning Matt Rhead was very effective up front and deserved his goal. Ollie Palmer worked tremendously hard going forward, typified by a bad miss on 45 minutes, but almost immediately he did really well to earn a corner, from which the Stags scored. And there were some other good performances, but more than anything the Stags played well as a team. Anthony Howell put Mansfield in front on 21 minutes, with a shot that took a deflection. He had missed a much easier chance earlier on. Rhead made it 2-0 with a header from a corner. Cheltenham had caused Mansfield a lot of problems down the right side in the first half through the impressive former Bath City right back Sido Jombati, who gave James Jennings a torrid time, but Jennings improved significantly in the second half to somewhat nullify the threat. In the second half, the Stags defended solidly, until Cheltenham pulled one back with a header by Jombati from a corner, on 86 minutes; disappointing defending. Despite five minutes of stoppage time being added, Mansfield held firm for the win. I have to admit I feared we would concede an equaliser in those last few minutes, just because we seem to have forgotten how to win. Relief was enormous at the final whistle, and hopefully this result will be a springboard to an upturn in form.

Stagsnet report here

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Sunday, 29th December 2013: Cheltenham Town 1 Mansfield Town 2
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas

Jubilant Mansfield Town finally ended their barren run of 13 League games without a win with a gutsy, nervous and hard-earned 2-1 win against Cheltenham Town at the Abbey Business Stadium this afternoon.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/sunday-29th-december-2013-cheltenham-town-1-mansfield-town-2-1-6341394

Stags were desperate to avoid equalling the club’s worst-ever run of 14 League games without victory from 13 years ago and first half goals from Anthony Howell and Matt Rhead did the trick.

But the Robins, who were unbeaten in their previous 10 League games, battled hard near the end and forced a grandstand finish when Sido Jombati pulled one back four minutes from time.

The home fans, who had seen their side draw their last four home games before this, roared them on through the five minutes of time added on, but Mansfield clung on for dear life.

Matt Rhead made a huge difference up front on his recall, defending well too and adding a goal for good measure, working well as a pair with the hard-working Ollie Palmer.

The back three were immaculate while Junior Daniel was highly effective in a central midfield role for the second half.

The win lifted Mansfield up two places and three points from the drop zone with Burton Albion the visitors this Wednesday.

Stags had made another five changes. Into a 3-5-2 came Ritchie Sutton, Ryan Tafazolli, Jamie McGuire, James Jennings and Matt Rhead.

Left out were Adam Murray, Ross Dyer, Calvin Andrew, John McCombe and Lee Beevers.

John Dempster was available again after a two-game ban but could only make the bench.

Stags immediately won a throw on the left from which Jennings tried to burst into the box, only to be halted after the referee spotted a foul by Howell.

The home side responded with a raid down the right that earned them their first corner on two minutes, headed clear by McGuire.

On five minutes Jombati made a good run down the right and laid an inviting pass inside to McGlashan, whose first time sidefooted finish was ballooned well over.

Harrison nodded a header just wide seconds later from another right wing cross as the Robins asked the early questions.

Stags then almost broke through on seven minutes as Rhead brought down a long ball forward into the box.

Neither he nor Palmer were able to turn and get in a shot, but the ball ran to Howell, who did manage to turn but could only hook a left footed finish into the sidenetting from five yards out.

Mansfield then laboured getting the ball clear from their own box and Marriott took charge and grabbed the ball before Cureton could pounce.

Marriott punched away a dipping ball by Richards, then Rhead got a great head-on from a long Marriott clearance to try to send Howell through, his first touch letting him down.

On 17 minutes Taylor’s running worked an opening for Harrison who was only just over the far angle from 20 yards.

Richards fired a 25-yard free kick straight into the visitors’ wall.

But it was Mansfield who grabbed a surprise lead on 21 minutes.

Clements began the move wide on the right, coming inside to pick out McGuire in space. He fed it on to Howell to his left who, from 20 yards drilled a low shot inside the right post with Brown rooted to the spot.

That lead was threatened soon after as Jombati crossed hard and low from the right and the ball bobbled temptingly through a crowded box and out for a goalkick.

Richards lifted a 25 yard free kick over the Stags wall from the right, but Marriott was across at his near post to make a comfy catch.

The Robins played a series of near passes along the edge of the box from where Taylor’s low drive deflected wide for a home corner.

Rhead raised jeers from the home fans when he blazed the ball right out the ground.

From the throw Jennings somehow managed to put a cross back in front of own goal from almost by the corner flag which Cureton headed over to spare the defender’s blushes.

Stags conjured up some more pressure on the home side after they failed to clear a left wing corner and Rhead was eventually bundled over by Noble just outside the box.

That brought a free kick from 20 yards which Clements sent straight into the wall.

Noble almost opened up the visitors three minutes from the break as he drew defenders to him 25 yards from goal before lifting a superb cross into the centre where Harrison just failed to get over it with his header.

A minute later and Cheltenham came close again as Jombati broke into the box on the right and crossed low and hard, the ball was blocked but rolled back to him and he blazed a shot inches over.

Mansfield then wasted a great chance themselves in the last minute as Clements cut the home side open with a brilliant defence-spliiting pass to set Palmer away between two defenders only for the big striker to see Scott Brown beat away his finish.

But the second goal did arrive for Mansfield in the second of two added minutes.

Jennings launched a corner in from the right which Rhead buried with a close range far post header.

McGuire strained his groin in that first half and failed to reappear for the second half with Daniel coming into the action as a direct replacement as one of the three central midfielders.

The home fans were getting more disgruntled by the minute as Stags gave away some early fouls only to see home players waste passes.

But Mansfield knew it was vital they gave nothing away in that first 15 minutes and offer any hope to the Robins.

They even threatened briefly on a superb break only for Westlake to see his final ball in blocked for a corner.

At the other end Harrison saw a close range header deflect wide for a corner from McGlashan’s teasing cross in from the right.

From that Brown headed the ball straight to Marriott.

On 58 minutes the home side, needing a tonic, made a double change, Roofe and Gornell on for Braham-Barrett and Harrison.

On 63 minutes Howell fed Palmer into the left hand side of the box from where he pulled a pass for Daniel who hooked a low shot wide of the far post.

A minute later Daniel tricked his way into the box on the left and, beating the last defender, forced Brown to get in the way of his finish from close range.

It was end to end as Cureton nodded well wide under pressure as he got a head onto a hanging left wing cross from Richards from just six yards.

Palmer volleyed a Daniel cross back in front of goal where a defender hacked it away on Mansfield’s next raid.

The Robins won another free kick outside the box on the left. Richards dinked it into the middle where Marriott watched it all the way for a perfect catch.

Howell was booked on 78 minutes for sliding in on Roofe with home fans calling for a red for showing his studs.

Gornell had two opportunites in a minute, Clements taking the ball off his toe on the first one as he shaped to shoot from 15 yards, and then blazing over from a little further out as we entered the last 10 minutes with the home side becoming increasingly desperate.

That desperation showed in Roofe’s hurried 25-yard effort two minutes later, which was always going over with other options either side of him.

Jennings brought down McGlashan on 83 minutes to pick up a booking, the free kick easily cleared to home groans.

The Robins continued to press and forced three corners, and from the third of those earned themselves a lifeline.

Roofe sent in a far post ball and Jombati headed in from close range.

Suddenly the home fans were in full cry for the first time all afternoon and McGlashan, sliding in at full stretch, was just unable to reach Roofe’s ball in and touch it past Marriott.

It was already agony to watch and made worse when the referee found five minutes to add on at the end.

The tension rose even further when Howell conceded a foul 20 yards from goal centrally with just over two minutes of it left, but Roofe sent his effort at the wall.

Seconds later the ball broke in the box for Brown, who snatched at it and was well over.

As we passed over the five minutes, there was still time for Gornell to nod tamely wide and the game was finally won.

STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli; Westlake, McGuire (Daniel HT), Howell, Clements, Jennings; Palmer (Meikle 80), Rhead. Subs not used: Dempster, Beevers, Stevenson, Deakin, Dyer.?CHELTENHAM: S. Brown, Taylor (Deering 75), T. Brown, Cureton, Harrison (Gornell 58), McGlashan, Goldson, Richards, Jombati, Brahan-Barrett (Roofe 58), Noble. Subs not used: Roberts, Penn, Vincent, Ajala. ?REFEREE: Stephen Martin of Staffordshire.

ATTENDANCE: 2,928 (166 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Rhead.

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Cheltenham Town 1 Mansfield Town 2: Match report
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny

IT could be the most important victory of Mansfield Town’s season - and of Paul Cox’s management career to date.

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Cheltenham-Town-1-Mansfield-Town-2-Match-report/story-20377299-detail/story.html#ixzz2otfql500

After three months and 13 games without success, the Stags finally found the winning formula in the heart of Gloucestershire and, in doing so, earned their under-fire manager some much-needed breathing space.

It was, it has to be said an unexpected venue at which the team ended their torrid run, given opponents Cheltenham were riding high on the back of a ten-game unbeaten run in League Two.

But football is nothing if not a strange game and the form book was turned completely on its head as Mansfield ran out winners - just.

It’s true that the visitors had their fair share of scares, but, for once, they were not punished thanks to some profligate finishing.

The good thing from a Mansfield point of view was that they took full advantage with a thoroughly committed and professional showing led by a superb performance by the returning Matt Rhead.

The big striker has had his detractors since stepping up to the Football League but on this occasion he was immense and set an example his team-mates followed.

The former Eastwood man was one of five changes from the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat at Rochdale - the others were Ritchie Sutton, Ryan Tafazolli, Jamie McGuire and James Jennings - in a 3-5-2 system.

That was at the expense of Calvin Andrew, John McCombe, Lee Beevers, Adam Murray and Ross Dyer. In Murray’s absence, rested with three games for the team to play inside a week, McGuire took the captain’s armband.

It was Cheltenham who threatened first as David Noble fed Sido Jombati and his low centre picked out Jermaine McGlashan, only for the striker to shoot well off target.

At the other end, Mansfield might have taken the lead as Rhead and Ollie Palmer battled for a high ball in the area and, as it bounced for Anthony Howell, his shot from six yards found the side-netting when he should have tested Scott Brown.

Howell was culpable again as he mis-controlled at the vital moment when a better touch would have given him the chance to let fly after Rhead had flicked on Alan Marriott’s long punt forward.

And Rhead ran out of angle as he attempted to reach a deep cross from Darryl Westlake, meaning Scott Brown was able to make a simple save.

In the 16th minute, Jombati caught out Jennings and had an age to pick out a Robins team-mate in the centre, but fortunately for the visitors, failed to do so.

Byron Harrison then went close for the hosts with a rising shot from just outside the area that flew inches over with Marriott at full stretch.

The Stags were rewarded for a decent start when they went in front in the 21st minute. Chris Clements picked out McGuire on the edge of the box and he shifted the ball sideways to Howell, who needed no invitation to shoot and duly found the bottom right-hand corner from 20 yards out.

On the half hour, McGuire conceded a dangerous free-kick and though Matt Richards got his effort on target, Marriott was always behind it and claimed comfortably.

A miscued clearance from Jennings turned into a cross for Jamie Cureton, but his header was too high, much to the left wing-back’s relief.

As half-time approached, the hosts twice went close as Harrison headed over Noble’s inviting centre before the marauding Jombati blazed over from eight yards out.

Mansfield should have doubled their advantage with the break imminent as Clements split the defence with a precise through ball for Palmer, whose low shot was pushed away by Scott Brown diving to his left.

But there was no mistake from Rhead in the second minute of added time as Mansfield doubled their lead.

Jennings’ inswinging corner from the right was deep to the far post where the burly front man arrived to bury a header inside the post from no more than two yards.

The Stags were forced into a change before the second period began as McGuire failed to reappear and was replaced by Colin Daniel.

As expected, Cheltenham came out determined to get back into the game, but Marriott showed calm handling to cut out Troy Brown’s header back across goal following a corner.

Mansfield still had the odd foray forward, though, and from one Daniel dragged his shot well wide after being teed up by Palmer.

An even better opportunity to kill the game was of Daniel’s own making as he tricked his way into the box, but saw his low, angled drive blocked by the advancing Scott Brown.

But Cheltenham began to have more and more possession and Clements made a timely challenge just as substitute Terry Gornell was about to pick his spot.

There was to be a nervous finish for the Stags as, with four minutes to go, Jombati steered a header home from close range following Kemar Roofe’s corner.

It was not to lead to a late collapse like against Accrington, though, and Mansfield will hope it is the first step to brighter times.

Cheltenham (4-3-3): S. Brown, Jombati, T. Brown, Goldson, Braham-Barrett (Roofe 58), Taylor (Deering 75), Noble, Richards, Cureton, McGlashan, Harrison (Gornell 58). Subs not used: Roberts, Penn, Vincent, Ajala.

Mansfield (3-5-2): Marriott, Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli, Westlake, McGuire (Daniel 46), Clements, Howell, Jennings, Palmer (Meikle 80), Rhead. Subs not used: Dempster, Beevers, Stevenson, Deakin, Dyer.

Attendance: 2,928 (166 visitors).

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).

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Report at http://www.ctfc.com/fixtures-results/match-report/?matchid=3631896&tcmuri=924293#pXAWuhhcRIsk4sWK.99

Full Time: Robins 1, Stags 2
29/12/13 Abbey Business Stadium
Sido Jombati (86) 1 - 2 Anthony Howell (21) Matt Rhead (45 +1:42)

By James Brown

Cheltenham Town's unbeaten run was ended by Mansfield Town here at the Abbey Business Stadium this afternoon by a 2-1 scoreline.

Positivity had surrounded the Abbey Business Stadium ahead of kick off but Mansfield drew first blood in this match with Anthony Howell's deflected shot. Cheltenham had chances to get themselves back in the game but it was Mansfield's Matt Rhead that took advantage of his opportunities by netting right before half time. The Robins made changes to formation and personnel in the second half and they had a glimmer of hope towards the end of the game with Sido Jombati's headed finish but it wasn't to be and they were undone by a delighted Mansfield Town.

The unbeaten run was over and the Robins brought back to earth with a bump but 2014 was approaching quickly with a chance to react away at Bristol Rovers' Memorial Stadium.

The final game of 2013 promised so much for Cheltenham Town ahead of kick off. Mark Yates' men were 11 games unbeaten and had just recorded their first back to back wins of the season with victory over both Fleetwood and Exeter. On the other hand, Mansfield hadn't won a game for 92 days and if they failed to win here this afternoon then it would equal a club record that no Stags supporters wanted on their history books. Of course the form book had been thrown out of the window in League Two long ago so a solid performance from the Robins was required here today. The only concern for Mark Yates ahead of kick off was that of the fitness of David Noble. The Rotherham loanee had taken a hefty knock to his knee in the 1-0 win over Exeter but he passed a fitness test ahead of the game to ensure he would remain part of the diamond midfield.

The Stags were desperate for a result today but Cheltenham certainly weren't keen on allowing Mansfield an easy run here this afternoon and early chances for Jermaine McGlashan and Byron Harrison promised a positive start after just 5 minutes. Mansfield weren't without their early threats however and they really should have had an opener when Anthony Howell found himself free on the back post but his swinging effort struck the side netting much to the frustration of the travelling Stags fans. Members of the Mansfield press team were pleasantly optimistic with their team's start to this game and their next effort on goal helped settle the Stags down into the game although Rhead's back post header had been an easy save for Brown. In the opening 15 minutes Cheltenham were very much at their best when they played patient passing football and Byron Harrison almost capitalised on some of that football with a thumping strike 25 yards from goal. The ball was knocked about between Jason Taylor and Sido Jombati before Harrison's strike had Marriott wheeling back towards his goal but it was inches over the bar.

One thing to take away from this game at this point was that Mansfield certainly didn't look like a side without confidence and they soon had a goal to their name on 21 minutes. The Stags were pressing Cheltenham's backline and a 20 yard strike from Anthony Howell was deflected past Scott Brown to hand Mansfield a lead. The few hardy souls that had travelled down from Field Mill were jubilant whilst the home fans were silent. The Robins could have had an instant react with some deep crosses teasing a Cureton finish but the Stags were holding their lines well and were causing Cheltenham early frustration. A Richards freekick was saved, a Noble strike was deflected wide and a Cureton header dropped over the bar - all cause for optimism as Cheltenham started to test the Stags but the closest they came was on 42 minutes when Noble's drifted lob into the area and Byron Harrison headed over from 6 yards. The striker had another good chance just minutes later when Jombati slipped past two defenders before threading a ball in but the striker couldn't get his boot behind the ball and Jombati's rebound was smashed over the crossbar.

Promising stuff from Cheltenham but they almost found themselves 2-0 down with a beautiful through ball placed for the emerging Oliver Palmer but his effort was well saved by Scott Brown to deny Mansfield a second goal. They weren't able to deny Mansfield second before half time however when Matt Richards handed the visitors a corner. The set piece was whipped in and Matt Rhead powered into the area before stopping low to head the ball into the back of the net for 2-0. A big blow to the Robins and their unbeaten run.

Half Time: Cheltenham Town 0-2 Mansfield Town

A response will have been politely asked for by Mark Yates at the break and they were certainly looking for the early goal in this half but there was a lack of quality in front of goal and in the attacking build-up which was cause for concern considering the Robins looked at their best when playing the passing game. Byron Harrison had another good effort just wide of the post from a stooping header but the head of Sutton pushed it out for a corner. That proved to be Harrison's last action of the game with Mark Yates replacing him with Terry Gornell just before the hour mark and Craig Braham-Barrett was another casualty with his day proving over after being replaced by Kemar Roofe. Attacking intent from the Robins chief and it was needed because the Robins looked lacking in ideas.

Patience was needed but frustration was bubbling over for the Robins support and the players too. Colin Daniel missed an effort 63 minutes into the game with a shot dragged wide of goal but the substitution almost sealed the match one minute later when he sailed through on goal only to be denied by Scott Brown who was quickly at his feet. It was tight and Mansfield were not giving Cheltenham any freedom to create anything of note in front of goal and Mark Yates brought Sam Deering on for Jason Taylor in an effort to force something in this game. The game itself could have turned on it's head when Howell produced a two footed challenge on Roofe which forced the referee to show a yellow card despite it looking like a red card offence. An effort from Terry Gornell moments later was whipped just over the bar as we reached the 80 minute mark and Cheltenham were still not creating the wholesale chance they needed to get themselves back into this match.

A glimmer of hope was handed to the Robins minutes before full time when Sido Jombati headed home from the corner to pull a goal back for the Robins which sent an eruption of noise from the home crowd. There was still a lot of work to do for the Robins but they had given themselves the foundation to grab an unlikely equaliser and the fourth official lifted the board to show 5 minutes additional time. Tense scenes within the Abbey Business Stadium as the home fans roared them team on and a freekick in injury time handed Cheltenham the perfect opportunity but Kemar Roofe's freekick was thumped into the wall. A late chance for Troy Brown flew over the bar but it was game over as the referee called time on a frantic finish handing Mansfield a first win since September.

Cheltenham Town's 11 game unbeaten run in Sky Bet League 2 was over and 2013 ended with defeat.

Full Time: Cheltenham Town 1-2 Mansfield Town

Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2 Diamond): S. Brown (GK); Jombati, T. Brown, Goldson, Braham-Barrett (Roofe 58); Noble, Taylor (Deering 75), Richards, McGlashan; Harrison (Gornell 58), Cureton.
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Penn, Ajala, Vincent

Mansfield Town FC (3-5-2): Marriott (GK); Sutton, Riley, Tafazoli; Westlake, McGuire (C) (Daniel 46), Howell, Clements, Jennings; Palmer (Meikle 80), Rhead
Subs not used: Deakin (GK), Dempster, Dyer, Beevers, Stevenson

Referee: Mr. Stephen Martin

Attendance: 2,928 (166 from Mansfield)

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Cheltenham stunned as Stags get out of their rut with surprise victory
By Western Daily Press
Read more: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Cheltenham-stunned-Stags-rut-surprise-victory/story-20378788-detail/story.html#ixzz2owwv3j00

Cheltenham Town's 11-match unbeaten run was brought to a shuddering halt by lowly Mansfield at a disbelieving Abbey Business Stadium.

The form book was well and truly torn to pieces by a Stags side who arrived without a win in their previous 13 League Two games.

Goals from Anthony Howell and Matt Rhead were enough to inflict Cheltenham's third home defeat of the campaign, more than they suffered during the whole of last term.

Cheltenham's brightest player Sido Jombati scored his first goal of the season from substitute Kemar Roofe's corner in the dying seconds, but it was too little, too late.

It was Cheltenham's first setback in League Two since Rochdale won 2-1 at Whaddon Road on October 19.

Robins boss Mark Yates was able to name the same starting XI that faced Exeter three days earlier, with David Noble passed fit after recovering from a knee injury.

Mansfield, who started with a 3-5-2 formation, had a good chance to open the scoring in the seventh minute when Howell arrived at the far post, but he contrived to miss.

It was an even enough start, with Byron Harrison smashing a first time effort over the bar in the 17th minute and Matt Richards seeing a free-kick safely gathered by Stags goalkeeper Alan Marriott.

However, it all started to go wrong in the 21st minute when Howell found the bottom right corner with a shot from just outside the penalty area.

Mansfield's confidence visibly increased, while Cheltenham looked edgy, with midfield creator Noble struggling to influence proceedings.

Howell stuck to him like glue and he was pushed into a more attacking role later in the half, with Jason Taylor dropping to the base of the diamond.

Noble created some space for himself with some neat footwork in the 42nd minute and his left-footed cross should have been converted by Harrison, but he failed to keep his header down from six yards.

Harrison wasted another chance two minutes later when Jombati delivered from the right after a strong run, but the striker's attempt was wayward, presenting Jombati with a chance of his own, which he thumped over the bar.

Mansfield threatened again in the 45th minute when a fine pass from Chris Clements released Oliver Palmer, but Scott Brown blocked well. The Stags did beat Brown again however, with burly front man Rhead using his strength to reach James Jennings' corner at the far post in the second minute of time added on.

Yates reshuffled the shape of his team for the start of the second half, adopting a flat four-man midfield with Jermaine McGlashan and Craig Braham-Barrett on the wings and Richards at left-back.

Harrison, without a goal in ten games, made way for Terry Gornell, with Roofe also going on in place of Braham-Barrett just before the hour mark.

Scott Brown denied substitute Colin Daniel in the 64th minute as Mansfield looked to make the game safe.

With ex-Robins centre-half Martin Riley and his backline in command, Cheltenham never seriously looked like forcing their way back into the game until the 87th minute when Jombati restored some hope.

There was a late push and Troy Brown blazed high and wide in the final seconds as Mansfield held on for a deserved three points.

Cheltenham's inconsistency at home ensured 2013 ended on a disappointing note and they must show a vast improvement if they are to get anything at Bristol Rovers on New Year's Day.

Cheltenham: S Brown, Jombati, T Brown, Goldson, Braham-Barrett (Roofe 58), Taylor (Deering 75), Noble, Richards, Cureton, McGlashan, Harrison (Gornell 58). Not Used: Roberts, Penn, Vincent, Ajala.

Goals: Jombati 86.

Mansfield: Marriott, Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli, Howell, Westlake, Clements, McGuire (Daniel 46), Jennings, Palmer (Meikle 80), Rhead. Not Used: Dempster, Stevenson, Dyer, Beevers, Deakin.

Booked: Howell, Jennings.

Goals: Howell 21, Rhead 45.

Attendance: 2,928.

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).

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