MURRAY LATE WINNER DEFEATS POOR OXFORD
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 1 Oxford United
Tafazolli 39, Murray 88. Hylton pen 79
Attendance: 3042 (405 from Oxford)
Date: 16 August 2014
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town picked up the first win of the season with a goal after 88 minutes from assistant manager Adam Murray who fired home from 10 yards to send a relieved Field Mill into raptures. The Stags put in a good performance in the first half and deserved to lead at the break as Ryan Tafazolli headed in after a fine free kick from Chris Clements was tipped onto the post. Tafazolli had a chance to increase the lead just before the break when he headed wide from another fine Clements’ set piece. The Stags failed to capitalise on the lead in the second half as both sides made plenty of mistakes, but Oxford hadn’t looked like equalising until they were given a soft penalty on 79 minutes as sub Danny Hylton and Tafazolli tangled legs near the byline and inept referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot. The ref had given a similar spot kick against the Stags at Accrington last season. I spoke with Tafazolli after the game and he told me he was desperately trying not to touch Hylton but there was a tangle of legs. Hylton converted the penalty. The goal gave Oxford heart and they upped their game and could have won it when Sascha Studer made a fine save from Junior Brown on 86 minutes. Two minutes later the Stags got the winner as a poor clearing header fell into the path of Murray 12 yards out and he buried it. After the game, Murray told me as the ball fell to him he was thinking of his miss against Northampton and was overjoyed to find the back of the net. It was a wonderful moment for the assistant manager. At the end of the game, scenes of celebration including a fist-pumping Paul Cox. Newport are the next opponents on Tuesday night. The Stags will have Matt Rhead back from suspension and he will surely come straight back into the side. Today’s strike pairing of Fisher and Clucas caused Oxford far too few problems, and coming after the lunchtime news that Liam Hearn will be out until Christmas. With such a small squad and so few striking options, a loan striker signing would seem to be a necessity.
Mansfield Town 2 Oxford United 1 - 16th August 2014
chad.co.uk report by Stephen Thirkill
Adam Murray scored against his former club with just two minutes to go to earn Mansfield Town a 2-1 win at home to Oxford United.
It had looked like the points would be shared after Danny Hylton had levelled from the spot for Oxford on 78 minutes.
But Murray, who had been on the pitch for just three minutes, latched on to a loose ball before drilling a fierce effort from 16 yards low past George Long.
Mansfield had taken the lead on 39 minutes when defender Ryan Tafazolli fired into an empty net after Chris Clements’ free-kick had hit the post.
The commanding defender nearly doubled the home side’s advantage in first-half stoppage time when he headed Clements’ free-kick just wide.
The visitors were then given an unlikely lifeline on 78 minutes when Tafazolli brought down substitute Danny Hylton.
Hylton then stepped up to confidently bury the ball past Sascha Studer into the bottom right corner with a firmly hit strike.
But Murray struck at the death to earn Stags their first win of the campaign.
Stags were dealt a massive blow ahead of the game with the news that striker Liam Hearn has been ruled out until after Christmas.
Scans revealed that the summer signing tore cartilage in his knee in the Capital One Cup defeat against Sheffield United.
Sam Clucas came in to replace Hearn as the sole support to lone striker Alex Fisher.
But there was better news with Ollie Palmer taking a place on the bench after it had been feared he would be out injured for three weeks after going off against Northampton.
John Dempster came in to captain Mansfield and replace Martin Riley, who picked up a groin injury against Sheffield United.
Former Mansfield Town favourite Johnny Mullins lined up at the heart of the Oxford defence.
Neither side threatened the opposition goalkeeper in the opening stages as Stags too often fired long balls up to the isolated Alex Fisher with little success.
Sam Clucas finally registered Mansfield’s first effort on goal after 30 minutes when he stabbed Chris Clements’ flick-on wide of the post in what was a dour first-half.
Mansfield took the lead on 39 minutes when Clements’ long-range free-kick rattled against the post and fell into the path of Ryan Tafazolli.
The centre-back then had the simplest of tasks as he fired home into the empty net.
The commanding defender then headed Chris Clements whipped in free-kick just wide of George Long’s post in first-half stoppage time as Stags ended the half strongly.
Oxford United were given a life-line on 78 minutes when Tafazolli brought down substitute Danny Hylton.
Hylton then stepped up to confidently bury the ball past Sascha Studer into the bottom right corner with a firm hit strike.
But Adam Murray struck in the 88th minute against his former side to wrap up the points after rifling low and hard into the bottom right hand corner.
Mansfield Town (3-5-1-1): Studer, Beevers, Sutton, Dempster, Tafazolli, Taylor, McGuire(Murray 85), Clements (F. Bell 85), Heslop, Clucas, Fisher (Palmer 69). Subs not used: Jones, Marsden, Thomas, A. Bell.
Oxford United (4-2-3-1): Long; Hunt (Jakubiak 60), Mullins, Wright, Newey; Collins, Meades (Ruffles 71), Brown, Riley, Potter (Hylton 76), Morris. Subs not used: Raynes, Rose, O’Dowda, Crocombe.
Referee: Richard Clark, of Northumberland.
Man of the match: Simon Heslop.
Attendance: 3,042 (405 away)
Mansfield Town 2 (Tafazolli 39, Murray 88) Oxford United 1 (Hylton pen 79)
Oxford Mail report
OXFORD United's wait for a point in Sky Bet League Two goes on as two players with connections to the club were on target to give Mansfield Town victory.
Former United midfielder Adam Murray bagged the winner two minutes from time as a poor game sparked into life late on.
It sunk the visitors, who had looked set to pinch the game after Danny Hylton came off the bench to score for the second game running.
His penalty cancelled out Mansfield's opener, scored in the first half by Ryan Tafazolli, who went on tour to the USA while on trial at United two summers ago.
Michael Appleton made two changes from the side which started Tuesday's Capital One Cup win at Bristol City.
George Long replaced Max Crocombe in goal, while Michael Collins came in for Josh Ruffels, who was fit enough to be among the substitutes.
The U's were hoping to pick up where they left off at Ashton Gate, but did not get going in a first half desperately low on quality and notable incidents.
Mansfield worked hard to limit the visitors' time on the ball and when they won possession back, they were very direct.
Both defences dealt with what was thrown at them with few problems.
It took a mistake to create the first chance, on 18 minutes.
Long made a mess of bowling the ball out from the edge of the box, presenting it straight to Ritchie Sutton.
United were relieved it did not go to a more attack-minded player, as the centre back rushed his lob, which did not threaten the goal.
On the half hour mark a clever flick-on from Chris Clements teed up Sam Clucas, whose looped finish was just off target.
The dour stalemate was broken six minutes before the break.
Long got fingertips to an excellent free-kick from Clements, diverting the ball on to the inside of the post, where it bounced back across goal for Tafazolli to head in.
Falling behind briefly stirred a reaction from United before the break.
Carlton Morris, often an isolated presence up front, was picked out by a David Hunt throw and the striker's shot on the turn was parried by goalkeeper Sascha Studer at the near post.
United had work to do at the break, but their arrears were almost extended on the stroke of half-time, when Tafazolli headed narrowly wide from a Clements free-kick.
The visitors were sent out early for the second half, but it got no better for them when play restarted.
A careless back pass from Jake Wright almost put Long in trouble, but Clucas was unable to capitalise.
The striker fared better just before the hour mark, when he cut inside and curled a shot just wide.
United desperately needed some inspiration and Appleton looked to his bench for a spark.
Alex Jakubiak came on for his debut and instantly the visitors carried more of a threat.
But it was only after Hylton was introduced in the final quarter of an hour that they caused Mansfield problems.
Just two minutes after coming on, the striker latched on to an excellent threaded pass from Michael Collins.
Hylton shielded the ball well and lured Tafazolli into a lunge, conceding a penalty.
United's No 10 dusted himself down and although Studer dived the same way, the ball found the corner of the net.
Buoyed by the goal, the visitors went in search of a winner in the final ten minutes.
Jakubiak headed a decent chance over, while Brown had a shot well saved.
They looked the more likely to score, but two minutes from the end of normal time Mansfield grabbed the winner.
A cross to the back post was not cleared and no-one tracked Murray, who ran on to the loose ball and fired a low shot past Long.
It was the decisive moment and ensures United, who visit Morecambe on Tuesday, are one of five teams in League Two yet to get off the mark.
Oxford Utd: G Long, Hunt (Jakubiak 60), Mullins, Wright, Newey, Collins, Meades (Ruffels 71), Riley, Potter (Hylton 76), Brown, Morris.
Unused subs: Crocombe, Raynes, Rose, O'Dowda.
Mansfield: Studer, Sutton, Dempster (c), Tafazolli, Beevers, Taylor, Clements (F Bell 85), McGuire (Murray 85) Heslop, Fisher (Palmer 68), Clucas.
Unused subs: A Bell, Jones, Marsden, Thomas.
Referee: Richard Clark (Northumberland).
Attendance: 3,042 (405 visitors).
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