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Archived News from January 2014

STEVO BRILLIANCE EARNS DRAW IN FRONT OF HUGE CROWD
23rd January 2014 0:18


Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Portsmouth 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Taylor 78. Stevenson 50.
Attendance: 14,686 (607 from Mansfield)

Date: 18 January 2014

Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Fratton Park

Mansfield Town picked up a deserved draw at Portsmouth in front of a massive 14,686 crowd, with a superb and supportive 607 strong away following, and on another day the Stags could have won the game. It was the biggest crowd the Stags have played in front of since the Wembley FA Trophy final, and before that since St James Park against Newcastle in the FA Cup. There was nothing in it in the first half but the Stags had the better of the chances as Jennings went close with a free kick and Dempster with a header, while at the other end Jennings did well to block a Patrick Agyemang shot. The Stags were in front on 50 minutes with a tremendous goal as Westlake’s deep cross from the right was headed back by Jennings and Stevenson acrobatically fired an overhead kick past the keeper. The Stags were firmly on top for the first 25 minutes of the second half and had chances to increase the lead. And on 71 minutes, a game defining moment as Westlake crossed low from the right and Dyer hit the near post from close range. Had that gone in, the consensus even amongst the home members of the press was that the game would have been over. Pompey brought on former Republic of Ireland international David Connolly off the bench and he changed the game with a superb final 20 minutes. On 77 minutes, Connolly’s shot from 20 yards was magnificently turned on to the post at full stretch by Marriott. But a minute later Connolly put Ryan Taylor in space on the left and Taylor got into the box and fired a shot across Marriott and into the right corner of the net. In the final 15 minutes, Pompey put the Stags under pressure and had a couple of chances to win the game but couldn’t take them and the Stags ended the game with a corner which was cleared. The final result was fair for both sides.

Mansfield Town’s only previous visit to Fratton Park was exactly 37 years ago today, 18 January 1977, a 2-2 draw with the Stags goals from Ernie Moss and Johnny Miller, while David Kemp scored both Pompey goals. The Stags went on to win the Division 3 (now League One) title that season.

Stagsnet report here

Man of the match: James Jennings

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

Saturday, 18th January 2014: Portsmouth 1 Mansfield Town 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas

Mansfield Town had to settle for a point at fellow strugglers Portsmouth when debutant Ryan Taylor bagged an equaliser for Pompey 12 minutes from time at Fratton Park this afternoon.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/saturday-18th-january-2014-portsmouth-1-mansfield-town-1-1-6382125

Lee Stevenson’s spectacular overhead finish five minutes into the second half had put Mansfield in sight of three desperately needed points.

But Pompey, who had only won one of their previous 11 League games, saved the day thanks to a sterling cameo role by sub David Connolly.

The home side had failed to hit a shot on goal all afternoon until he came on in the 68th minute and on 76 minutes he fired in a shot that Alan Marriott had to turn onto his post.

Two minutes later Connolly released Ryan Taylor who then marked his debut with a superb low finish.

Pompey had enjoyed the best of a poor first half in which neither keeper had a real shot to deal with.

Stags upped a gear after the break and for 38 minutes had the lead, only to see Taylor strike to grab the former Premier League giants a share of the spoils.

Ross Dyer replaced Ollie Palmer up front in the only change to the side that lost 2-0 at home to Scunthorpe. That meant Martin Riley and Jamie McGuire, both fit again after injury, could only make the bench.

It also meant no new players still for Stags in the transfer window while the home side had four in their starting 11 and another on the bench.

Before the game there was a minute’s applause for two former Pompey players who recently passed away.

Mansfield threatened first and Stevenson won a free kick 30 yards from goal on three minutes left of centre which Jennings curled up and over the wall and narrowly wide of the near post.

Four minutes later Taylor got a flicked header onto a long Wallace free kick which dipped over Marriott and only just over the bar.

Pompey forced a 12th minute corner, taken short, which Jennings blocked at the near post for a second corner, headed away by Sutton.

Having weathered a spell of home pressure, Stags got themselves back into the Portsmouth half and a 20 yard deflected Clements shot brought Mansfield their first corner.

That picked out Dempster at the far post. But under pressure and not quite over the ball enough, he wasn’t able to direct his header on target, the ball bobbling tamely wide.

Dempster then conceded a foul right on the edge of the box on the left which Wallace whipped at goal only to see Stevenson get in the way.

Rhead then cleared a Shorey corner at the near post as we reached the midway point in the half with neither keeper tested.

Pompey were enjoying the lion’s share of possession and came close on 28 minutes as Shorey’s brilliant pass between two defenders sent Wallace to the by-line. He pulled the ball back for Agyemang whose low shot was superbly blocked by Jennings.

Tafazolli was booked for chopping down debutant Fogden on the right by-line soon after.

The game’s first on-target effort took half-an-hour to arrive, Stevenson lobbing a hopeful tame effort into the hands of Carson from 20 yards.

A long range effort from Painter brought Pompey a fifth corner on 33 minutes. The home players and fans believed it struck a Mansfield hand in the box, but the referee played on.

Three minutes later Taylor wasn’t far over from 20 yards, his effort dropping just over the left angle.

Wallace was then well over from 30 yards with a free kick on 41 minutes.

After good work by Rhead to reach a Dempster header, Jennings played a good one-two with Dyer before lifting a 25-yard shot over the home bar as a poor first half ended scoreless.

Three minutes after the restart Clements was just wide with a low 20-yard effort after Stevenson had been unable to turn and get his own shot away so laid it back for his team mate.

The home side lost midfielder and skipper Ferry to injury a minute later.

But another minute on and the visitors were ahead against all the odds on 50 minutes.

Rhead found Westlake wide on the right. His deep cross reached Jennings at the far post and he headed back into the six yard box in front of goal where Stevenson dispatched a textbook overhead effort past a helpless Carson.

It was just the tonic Stags needed on an afternoon when they had created little.

Rhead and Agyemang both needed treatment for an almighty collision on the halfway line, but both were able to continue.

Howell was added to the book for a foul on 56 minutes.

Pompey forced another corner which Rhead headed firmly away.

Then sloppy home defending saw Portsmouth give the ball away cheaply and Rhead forced a corner, which was cleared.

Clements wasn’t far wide with a first time shot from the edge of the box from Howell’s fine pull-back on 63 minutes as Stags went in search of a second goal.

Home boss Barker made a final throw of the dice on 68 minutes as he made a double change with Jervis and Connolly coming on for Fogden and Wallace.

On 71 minutes Dyer almost settled things as he did well to get a touch on a low Westlake cross at the near post which brought a smart save from Carson and huge relief around Fratton Park as the ball hit the post.

Cox replaced some tiring legs 15 minutes from time as Stevenson and Dyer were replaced by Meikle and Daniel.

It took the home side 76 minutes to get a shot on target as Connolly fired in a low 18 yard effort that Marriott pushed away to his right and was happy to see it hit the post and stay out.

But Pompey finally found a way through on 78 minutes. Connolly threaded a pass through for Taylor in space on the left of the box and he ran on to drill home a low finish under Marriott.

With four minutes left the home side won another corner which Shorey sent in from the left and, unmarked on the edge of the six yard box, Agyemang swung a leg at it and completely missed the ball.

He could scarcely believe it as a golden chance to win the game had gone begging.

Mansfield sent on McGuire for Rhead on 87 minutes with the frustrated home fans booing how long the switch was taking.

Racon was lucky not to be booked for a deliberate tumble over Tafazolli’s legs in the box and a raised arm for a penalty appeal.

More Connolly magic saw a right wing cross reach Racon slice a volley into the ground and off a a Stags defender for a corner as the pressure on Mansfield ramped up.

Four minutes were added on in which time Marriott had to gather a low shot on his near post.

But in the final minute Stags won a corner on the right which the home side scrambled away to leave it honours even.

PORTSMOUTH: Carson, Devera, Bradley, Painter, Alfei, Ferry (Racon 49), Shorey, Fogden (Jervis 68), Taylor, Agyemang, Wallace (Connolly 68). Subs not used: Smith, N’Gala, Barcham, Ertl, Racon.
STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Dempster, Tafazolli; Westlake, Howell, Stevenson (Daniel 75), Clements, Jennings; Rhead, Dyer (Meikle 75). Subs not used: Deakin, Riley, Beevers, McGuire, Palmer.
REFEREE: Darren Sheldrake of Surrey.

ATTENDANCE: 14,686 (607 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Darryl Westlake.

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twitter.com/shawma1 Martin Shaw:
The last report from the excellent writer @matthalfpenny
http://www.nottinghampost.com/Portsmouth-1-Mansfield-Town-1-Boss-Paul-Cox/story-20466465-detail/story.html
The Nottm Post's new reporter will have much to live up to

Portsmouth 1 Mansfield Town 1: Boss Paul Cox is confident of survival
Nottingham Post by Matt Halfpenny

STOOD waiting to record a radio interview at the back of the South Stand with microphone in hand, Paul Cox voiced the words 'I Will Survive', as if singing Gloria Gaynor on karaoke.

In what was his first post-match press conference since the defeat to Rochdale on Boxing Day, Cox was noticeably more chipper and had a spring back in his step. Gone was the forlorn figure who had the world on his shoulders at Spotland.

Part of that could be down to the fact he believes he is imminently to bring in one, maybe two, strikers to bolster Mansfield's attacking options that will also be strengthened with the return of top scorer Sam Clucas in the next couple of weeks.

In the main, though, what has given him significant heart is the way he feels his troops are gradually getting their heads around the task of keeping Mansfield in the Football League - and picking up the results at some far flung destinations to prove it.

Saturday's 1-1 draw - following on from victories at Cheltenham and Exeter - means the team have now lost just once in their last five matches, which is all the more encouraging coming off the back of a 13-game winless streak.

Yes, there have been setbacks, with the 2-0 home defeat to Scunthorpe that preceded this long trip a case in point.

Yes, the Stags are not playing the kind of free-flowing football that many fans would like to see. In fact, it ain't often pretty.

And yes, there are those who are still adamant that Cox is not the right man for the job at League Two level, despite winning promotion last year.

But coming on the back of wins at Cheltenham and Exeter, this was another step in the right direction for Mansfield, who fight hard and scrap for everything, even if the quality their manager and supporters might yearn for is not always there.

On what is the biggest stage the team will play on in League Two this season - almost 15,000 attended this South Coast clash and were keen to make themselves heard - the Stags were not to be intimidated.

For the first half, kicking against a strong wind, they rarely threatened the Pompey goal but, at the same time, neither did the hosts make use of their superior possession by testing Alan Marriott.

After the break, however, the Stags were on top for the first 25 minutes, took the lead and could easily have doubled their advantage.

There seemed little danger when James Jennings headed Darryl Westlake's 50th minute deep right-wing centre back across the face of goal, given the ball was heading behind Lee Stevenson and at an uncomfortable height.

Yet the midfielder found an inventive and perfect solution by means of a spectacular overhead kick that thundered into the corner for his fifth of his season.

Stevenson does have his critics, but his propensity for popping up in the box and scoring goals is a very much-valued asset for Mansfield right now.

It was in the 71st minute that came a pivotal moment as another whipped Westlake delivery into the box eluded the home defence and found its way through to Ross Dyer.

The recalled striker reacted instinctively as the ball arrived at him at pace, but so did Trevor Carson in the Portsmouth goal, tipping the ball onto the left-hand post.

Had the Stags gone two goals in front at that point, they would likely have gone on to pull off a famous victory.

As it was, the introduction of David Connolly with just a single goal deficit to overcome, saw Portsmouth's fortunes instantly transformed.

It was the former Republic of Ireland international who brought a fine save out of Marriott as the Mansfield keeper tipped the ball onto the right-hand post and he who threaded an inch-perfect through ball for Ryan Taylor to lash home a 78th minute equaliser.

From then on, it was backs-to-the-wall stuff for the visitors as they sought to hold onto what they had and while they were untroubled for the most part, they were almost undone from one lapse of concentration.

Patrick Agyemang looked destined to score a late winner from Nicky Shorey's right-wing corner as he took aim from inside the six-yard box, only for the front man to miss his kick, bringing a collective sigh of relief from the Mansfield fans massed behind that goal.

A defeat, though, would have been harsh on the Stags. Portsmouth may have finished strongly, but their contribution to the game in the first three quarters of it did not merit the full three points.

Of course, the fear of relegation still hovers over Mansfield and has done for quite some time now, but the new year has at least brought a slightly more optimistic outlook.

Certainly, if they can continue picking up points on the road while at the same time turning around their woeful home form, there won't be any doubt about it: Cox will survive - and so, too, will his team in League Two.

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Toast 7#24 - Pompey point Taylor made
Read more: http://www.portsmouth.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=540099#ixzz2qprhYjc9

Pompey picked up a point yesterday afternoon coming from behind in a 1-1 draw. Strangely Mansfield have only ever been to Fratton Park once in their history and that curiously that too was on 18th January but back in 1977. That day Stags player manager Peter Morris ran the game and they were 2-0 up in twenty minutes. Call for Dave Kemp who was the league's top scorer and he delivered once just before the break and then with ten minutes left. Pompey nearly won it at the death when Micky Mellows hit the bar and Kemp could not convert the rebound.

Mansfield were Division Three champions that season and played for the only time in their history in the second tier of English football. On our way up we passed them going down. Yesterday of course they are just back from a spell in the Conference.

Back to yesterday and the game was a pretty affair on a bog like pitch until with Pompey 1-0 down Richie sent on David Connolly and Jake Jervis to give the home side four strikers and eventually the pressure that created chances and a deserved equaliser through hard working Ryan Taylor.

Pompey had four players making their Fratton Park debuts in Danny Alfei, Nicky Shorey, Ryan Taylor and Wes Fogden. They all had an impact on the game with Alfei's forward foraging, Shorey's raking passes and Fogden's nonstop running and harrying of opponents. It was Taylor though who really caught the eye though. After a quiet start he began to get involved more and more, showing some nice touches and neat flicks and a desire to get involved in the action. These are the qualities that Richie signed him for and he more than deserved his goal.

Taylor had earlier been close with a header and a long range effort but until Stags keeper Alan Marriot turned a Connolly shot onto the post Pompey had not had an effort on target. Connolly effort however got the crowd going and minutes later Shorey and Connolly opened up the visitors defence like a can of peas and Taylor was left to cut in from the left and coolly shoot home. In my mind never has a goal been so justly deserved.

Taylor of course does not have a great scoring record and his likeness to Dave Kitson had a small number of fans booing him at Oxford apparently. Why?? Here he was the hero and Toast's man of the match; in fact the PA announcement that the man of the match was Jed Wallace was rightly greeted with derision by the crowd of over 14,600. Quite how those decisions are made is rather baffling to me, unless after he was substituted Jed spent time voting for himself by text!

Pompey have become difficult to beat now but wins are necessary to pull away from the drop zone. The back four looked pretty solid and it took a very good goal to breach them as a Darryl Westlake delivery was headed back across goal by Jennings and Lee Stevenson acrobatically volleyed home.

Joe Devera and Sonny Bradley now look a solid partnership and full backs Alfei and Marcos Painter also look the part. Both got forward as much as they could but sadly both need to work on delivery when they get to the by-line. Midfield is not an area where the manager has plenty of choice. He has three wide men in Wallace, Barcham and Holmes with Ferry, Racon, Ertl and now Shorey in the engine room. What formation does he opt for? Pompey have played two out and out wingers so far but does he go for a narrower line-up?

When he came on yesterday Connolly played in the hole behind the front three and that too worked well so there are plenty of options for Richie to work with - a plan B and C so to put it. Up front Taylor will have earned a starting spot but Patrick Agyemang had a very disappointing day with nothing going right for him as hard as he tried. Taylor and Jervis might be the next partnership.

Bit worrying too was Simon Ferry picking up another injury hopefully not his same problem.

Pompey go off on their travels for the next two fixtures and both to grounds new to the club. Morecambe at Highbury next week, followed by Wycombe Wanderers the next Tuesday at Adams Park. Points needed from those matches methinks.

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Ryan to the rescue as Pompey are held
by Jordan Cross jordan.cross@thenews.co.uk
http://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/news/article/pompey-1-mansfield-1-1302114.aspx?

Ryan Taylor rescued a point for Pompey against Mansfield today.

It was the introduction of subtitute David Connolly, along with Jake Jervis, which changed an increasingly turgid clash after a bright opening from Pompey.

It is now one defeat in five but also just one win in 14 for the Blues, who remain two points off the League Two drop zone.

Pompey handed a debut to Wes Fogden following his arrival from Bournemouth this week, with a place on the bench for Jervis.

It was a high-tempo start for the home side, but James Jennings was the first to threaten for the visitors as he whipped a 25-yard free-kick just wide after three minutes.

Taylor nearly gave Pompey the lead five minutes later as he flicked Jed Wallace’s free-kick just over.

Mansfield again threatened from a set-piece after 15 minutes when skipper John Dempster headed a corner wide.

The best chance of the half fell to Patrick Agyemang after 27 minutes when he was teed up by Wallace, but he dallied long enough to allow Jennings to block his effort from six yards.

Taylor fired just over from 30 yards nine minutes before the break, but the early energy of the game had dissipated as the interval arrived.

It was Mansfield who upped it after the break and took the lead after 50 minutes.

Darryl Westlake’s cross was headed back across goal by Jennings for Stevenson to acrobatically volley home.

Pompey had completely lost their way, with Ross Dyer and Chris Clements having chances for a second for the visitors.

But a double change from Barker changed the face of the game with 22 minutes left.

The introduction of Jervis and particularly Connolly invigorated the Blues.

Connolly cracked the post with 13 minutes left from 20 yards.

He then freed Taylor with a lovely ball which he angled home 60 seconds later.

It was one-way traffic from there as Pompey launched a late onslaught.

Agyemang had a complete air shot when free a couple of yards out from Nicky Shorey’s corner.

And Jervis had shouts for a penalty ignored as he went to ground from a Ryan Tafazolli tackle late on.

But it was a point Pompey had to settle for despite their late pressure.

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Pompey 1 Mansfield 1
Read more at http://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/news/article/pompey-1-mansfield-1-1302114.aspx?#rLm8BxDCHiJO8Jlz.99
by Neil Weld at Fratton Park

Taylor's goal rescues a point for Blues

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of former Pompey stars Johnny Phillips and Albie McCann"
Ryan Taylor scored on his home debut as Pompey came from behind to draw with Mansfield.

After a largely lifeless first half, the visitors broke the deadlock through Lee Stevenson’s over-head effort.

The Blues did not look like mounting a comeback, until David Connolly came off the bench and hit the post before teeing-up Taylor for the equaliser.

Richie Barker made one change from the side that drew at Oxford seven days earlier.

Wes Fogden was handed his debut in place of Thery Racon in midfield, while Jake Jervis had to make do with a spot on the bench.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of former Pompey stars Johnny Phillips and Albie McCann, who both passed away recently.

Both sides had an early set-piece opportunity once the game did get under way, with the visitors first to threaten.

Sonny Bradley was penalised for a foul on Ross Dyer and James Jennings stepped up to curl a shot narrowly wide.

And Taylor then went close at the other end, flicking Nicky Shorey’s dangerous free-kick inches past the post.

But Mansfield’s direct style, coupled with the pitch cutting up because of the recent wet weather, meant free-flowing football was at a premium.

Pompey created a good opening on 27 minutes, however, after Jed Wallace and Marcos Painter combined to tee-up Patrick Agyemang.

The striker controlled the ball and tried to fire it into the bottom corner, but Jennings made a great block to divert the shot wide.

Taylor then cut inside from the right and flashed an audacious long-range effort narrowly over the crossbar.

But, aside from a booking for Stags defender Ryan Tafazolli following a foul on Fogden, there was little else to excite the crowd in the remainder of the first half.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Mansfield 0

Barker was forced to make his first change four minutes into the second half when skipper Simon Ferry hobbled off to be replaced by Racon.

And the Blues found themselves behind moments later as a Darryl Westlake delivery was headed back across goal by Jennings and Stevenson acrobatically volleyed home.

They might have had another on 61 minutes after Wallace had gifted away possession, but Matt Rhead’s curling strike was diverted wide by Bradley.

And Chris Clements then sent an effort bouncing past Trevor Carson’s dive and narrowly wide of the post.

With Pompey struggling to create much at the other end, Barker made an attacking double switch on 68 minutes.

Jervis and Connolly replaced Fogden and Wallace, leaving the Blues with four strikers on the pitch.

And it was Connolly who almost pulled Pompey level on 77 minutes, with his drive just about tipped onto the post by Stags keeper Alan Marriott.

But the striker played a key role when the hosts did equalise seconds later, threading a pass through for TAYLOR to coolly stroke home.

Connolly’s arrival seemed to have totally reinvigorated the hosts, although he could not quite get a touch to convert Painter’s dangerous low cross on 81 minutes.

Pompey were now in control and would have gone in front had Agyemang not slipped as he tried to convert Shorey’s corner.

And there were desperate cries for a penalty when Tafazolli appeared to trip Jervis in the box, although the man who mattered - referee Darren Sheldrake - was uninterested.

The Blues went pouring forward in search of a late winner, but despite four minutes of stoppage-time, they had to settle for a point.

Pompey (4-4-2): Carson; Alfei, Devera, Bradley, Painter; Fogden (Jervis 68), Ferry (c) (Racon 49), Shorey, Wallace (Connolly 68); Taylor, Agyemang
Goals: Taylor 78
Subs not used: Smith, N’Gala, Ertl, Barcham

Mansfield (3-4-1-2): Marriott; Sutton, Dempster (c), Tafazolli; Westlake, Clements, Howell, Jennings; Stevenson (Daniel 75); Rhead (McGuire 87), Dyer (Meikle 75)
Goals: Stevenson 50
Booked: Tafazolli, Howell
Subs not used: Deakin, Riley, Beevers, Palmer

Referee: Darren Sheldrake

Attendance: 14,686 (607 away fans)

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