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Archived News from March 2016

STAGS DRAW WITH POMPEY IN PULSATING GAME
22nd March 2016 18:28


Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Portsmouth
Green 26. Tafazolli OG 44. Shearer saved pen 21.
Attendance: 3980 (1192 from Portsmouth)

Date: 19 March 2016

Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town and Portsmouth drew 1-1 in a pulsating game in a tremendous atmosphere at the One Call Stadium this afternoon. The Stags came into the game on the back of three 1-0 defeats and this performance lifted the fans even though it wasn’t quite enough to force a victory. Portsmouth could have been in front when they were awarded a penalty on 21 minutes. McNulty swivelled past Daniel Alfei, heading for the byline, Alfei hooked his leg around McNulty, got the end of his boot on the ball to make it slightly change direction, but got all of the man, and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. It was an unwise challenge from Alfei. McNulty stepped up himself and fired low towards the bottom right corner. Scott Shearer dived the right way and made a magnificent save with his left hand, pushing it away for a corner. Shearer’s third penalty save in the last 4 home games, after his two against Morecambe. The Stags were in front on 26 minutes, Stags debutant striker Mani Dieseruvwe controlled a long kick from Shearer, and laid perfectly into the path of Matt Green, who took one touch into the area before firing left footed, to the right of the keeper and into the net from 12 yards. Portsmouth equalised in bizarre circumstances on 44 minutes. Ben Davies’ corner from the right flew just over the head of Collins and hit the unsighted Tafazolli on the knee and rebounded into the net, from 3 yards. There was no Pompey player anywhere near. Collins will be disappointed that he didn’t head away, and Shearer might feel he should have come for it, as he had for some earlier crosses. It was gutting for the Stags to be pegged back in that manner just before half time. The second half was very even with neither side able to force a winner, though not for the lack of effort. The point was deserved by both sides. It was a spirited and more attacking performance from the Stags, with several players impressing, especially Mitch Rose who was our man of the match, new signing Mani Dieseruvwe, Collins in front of the back four, and Pearce in defence. But no-one played poorly.

The Stags drop to 13th, 7 points behind the play-offs with 9 games to go. It is the first time since the opening day of the season that the Stags have been in the bottom half of the table.

FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE

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MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town 1, Portsmouth 1
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Saturday 19 March 2016

A Ryan Tafazolli own goal saw Mansfield Town agonisingly held to a 1-1 home draw by play-off rivals Portsmouth at One Call Stadium this afternoon.

The Stags gave as good as they got against their wealthier and more illustrious opposition and had Scott Shearer to thank for another great penalty save, having saved two in one game against Morecambe last month.

Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/match-report-mansfield-town-1-portsmouth-1-1-7806776#ixzz43O7jEYmC

Mansfield even grabbed a lead through Matt Green’s 12th of the season, with an assist for debut-making Mani Dieservuwe, as Stags ended a goal drought of 302 minutes.

But Tafazolli could do little as Ben Davies’ corner found the net off his legs just before the break.

Neither side could then go on and grab a winner with a draw little help to either side at this stage of the campaign.

Pompey had won three of their last five and often looked the more cultured. But Stags dug in deep with superb displays by Krystian Pearce, Tafazolli, Lee Collins and Mitch Rose.

Mansfield gave a debut to loanee Chesterfield striker Dieseruvwe for today’s big home game against play-off rivals Portsmouth.

The 6ft 5ins hitman was selected to partner Matt Green up front.

A big surprise today was the absence of winger Reggie Lambe, called up by Bermuda and set to miss the next three games.

In came Fulham loanee Sean Kavanagh for only his second Stags start.

Along with Lambe, also missing from the side that lost 1-0 at Bristol Rovers was Matty Blair, relegated to the bench.

Stags were looking to halt a run of three straight 1-0 defeats and no goals in 276 minutes of football to keep their play-offs dream alive.

After a frantic start, Stags might have had a penalty after six minutes had the referee spotted a blatant pull by Burgess on Dieservuwe in the box. But nothing was given.

Then on 11 minutes Rose controlled an Alfei throw and weaved his way inside three opponents on the right of the box before blasting a vicious shot at goal that Fulton blocked at his near post.

Stags defended the first corner with Collins blocking a Burgess shot before Stags broke quickly and Fulton had to leave his box to clear before Green reached the ball.

However, Mansfield had a let-off on 21 minutes.

Alfei brought down McNulty as he turned him on the left of the box and the referee pointed to the spot.

But Shearer once again came to the rescue as he dived to his left to turn it aside.

Instead it was Mansfield who broke the deadlock on 26 minutes.

Dieseruvwe laid the ball in front of Green and he sped into the box on the left before delivering a cool low finish across Fulton and inside the far post.

Two minutes later Webster went down under Dieseruvwe’s challenge and out came a yellow card for the new boy.

On the half-hour Rose was booked for delaying a free kick and home fans were baying a minute later as Green was cautioned for the same office.

That was three home bookings in as many minutes.

On 38 minutes a loose ball came out to Rose 25 yards from goal and he quickly sent in a snapshot of the outside of his right boots that fizzed just wide of the near post.

However, two minutes from the break, Stags agonisingly conceded - and it was an own goal by Tafazolli.

Davies curled in a wicked corner from the right and Tafazolli, facing his own goal made contact but could do little other then watch it fly past Shearer.

In added time more Portsmouth pressure saw Shearer bravely drop at the feet of two opponents just wide of his right post to make sure the sides went in all level at the end of a highly entertaining first half.

Green almost wriggled clear down the centre early in the second half only for Webster and Davies to quickly shut the gate on him.

Then Smith managed to cut inside Pearce from the left only to send a low shot straight to Shearer.

A Stags broke saw Green do well to make space, but with Rose screaming for the ball in space to his left, he played it instead to a heavily marked Dieservuwe and the moment was gone.

On 62 minutes Green looked to be heavily shoved in the box again, but once more no penalty for Stags.

A minute later Blair took over from Kavanagh on the left.

Pompey forced three corners on the trot, Bennett unlucky from the first as his goalbound shot deflected wide, but Stags finally broke and Stevens brought down Dieseruvwe in full flight to earn a booking. From the free kick, Tafazolli headed at goal, but Fulton was there to grab.

On 72 minutes Rose tried his luck with a low shot from over 30 yards which Fulton turned round his post. And from the corner Green’s flicked header was grabbed by Fulton.

A Portsmouth attack ended with a tame shot from Smith straight to Shearer,

On 78 minutes Shearer seemed to fumble a 25 yard blast from Doyle, but saw it round the post for Pompey corner No.10.

Before it could be taken we had to wait for an injured linesman to be replaced by the fourth official.

Thomas replaced Green with 12 minutes to go and quickly found Blair to his left, his low cross just too hard for Dieseruvwe to turn home.

On 86 minutes Daniel was thrown into the fray for Rose. But, despite six added minutes, it ended a point apiece.

STAGS: Shearer, Benning, Rose (Daniel 86), Pearce, Collins (C), Clements, Green (Thomas 78), Tafazolli, Dieseruvwe, Kavanagh (Blair 63), Alfei. Subs not used: Jensen, Chapman, Beardsley, Baxendale.

POMPEY: Fulton, Davies, Stevens, Webster, Burgess, Doyle, McNulty (McGurk 70), Naismith (Chaplin 85), Smith, Bennett (Tollitt 67), Hollands. Subs not used: Bass, Barton, Clarke, Evans.

REFEREE: Carl Boyeston of East Yorkshire.

ATTENDANCE: 3,980 (1,192 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Krystian Pearce.

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Mansfield 1 Pompey 1 - Neil Allen’s match report
by NEIL ALLEN, Portsmouth News

The crowd had long since departed when Paul Cook settled into the home dugout.

A moment of quiet reflection, his thoughts punctured only by the drone of the Field Mill lawnmower during its rattling laps.

Read more: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/sport/football/pompey/mansfield-1-pompey-1-neil-allen-s-match-report-1-7286409#ixzz43Wup0ulU

The necessity to recover his composure before publicly deconstructing Pompey’s latest choking performance prompted their manager to seek his own company.

Of his 47-game tenure so far, never had Cook outwardly appeared so demoralised.

Moments earlier, he emerged from the dressing room with bottle of water in hand to sooth his fractured voice after tearing into his below-par side.

Still visibly seething, Cook calmly asked the waiting media for a ‘couple of minutes’ before heading across the Mansfield pitch.

Never entirely comfortable in his post-match address where feelings are often so dangerously raw, on this occasion he sought out time to catch his breath.

The fury needed to subside, the equilibrium restored. Yet the temptation to rip off the mask must have been almost overpowering.

A sluggish draw at Mansfield during a period when victories are essential has left the Blues dropping a little further behind in pursuit of automatic promotion.

Bristol Rovers marched to a fifth successive triumph, while Accrington made it seven points out of nine since a comprehensive defeat to Pompey.

In contrast, Cook’s side have now picked up one point from their last two fixtures, occasions in which their performances have been bafflingly poor.

The erratic nature of the Blues’ season has long concerned, particularly the on-going failure to string together more than two league victories.

They may have collected the most wins in a campaign since 2007-8, yet 15 draws have anchored the team into a League Two role of also-rans during this promotion chase.

On Saturday, rarely could there have been a more undeserved point during Cook’s regime, such was the alarming inadequacy of his side.

Indeed, it took a fortuitus own goal from Ryan Tafazolli shortly before half-time to intervene, ironically during the Stags’ best spell of the match.

We had awaited a response to that dismal Newport County defeat, a sign in the skies to suggest a bright finale to the season lay in store.

What unfolded was a lacklustre reaction to raise more doubts over promotion credibility.

The Blues have slammed the gear into reverse since that notable Crown Ground victory, the encouraging build-up of momentum evaporated.

Clean sheets have deserted them, creating chances has become a struggle while, as the last two games testify, form has completely disintegrated.

At a time when several of their rivals are emerging strongly from the chasing pack to take advantage of Plymouth self-combusting, Pompey are locked in their own crisis of confidence.

It is reasonable to highlight that a gap of five points off third spot with nine games remaining ensures hope still exists.

Or as Cook labelled it to Radio Solent: ‘We might as well be five points off the moon at the minute’.

Cue his ire at his underachieving players inside that Field Mill changing room, before seeking sedation in a seat his opposite number occupied earlier.

Only the sight of Mark Catlin in the directors’ box stationed in the facing stand broke the spell of lengthy deliberation.

Pompey’s boss waved at the chief executive before returning across the pitch to make his company, where chairman Iain McInnes also waited.

Then it was finally onto carrying out his press duties, although firstly instructing Michael Smith and Christian Burgess not to fulfil their organised interviews.

‘The players aren’t speaking, we do too much talking in my opinion,’ was his reasoning.

It is the first time since arriving at Fratton Park Cook has taken such a stance, yet certainly there are many of the Fratton faithful who would agree.

At a time which Pompey’s players are required to show their worth, too many are shrinking away.

No amount of positive words and chest-beating speeches can rectify glaring inadequacies on the pitch which threaten to keep the club in League Two for a fourth season.

Even if the play-offs should arrive, the Blues’ inconsistencies still retain the potential to wreck.

And the manager’s patience has shown increasing signs of snapping during the past week.

For the trip to 11th-placed Mansfield, Cook recalled Michael Smith and Kal Naismith to his starting line-up.

With Gary Roberts sidelined by a one-match suspension following his sending off against Newport, Smith returned to lead the line.

Gareth Evans, who had recovered from the ankle injury which forced his off at half-time last weekend, dropped to the bench.

In came Naismith to occupy the right flank for his sixth start for the club as he continues trying to make inroads into Cook’s plans.

Meanwhile, Ben Tollitt came onto the bench, although once again there was no place for Ben Close following his sustained run in the side at the turn of the year.

Cook must have thought his team was getting off to the ideal start when they won a penalty after 21 minutes.

Enda Stevens slipped the ball inside to McNulty who wriggled past Daniel Alfei only to be brought down by the ex-Pompey loanee.

With regular penalty taker Roberts sat in the dug out courtesy of his suspension, top-scorer McNulty took on the duties.

Yet he was thwarted by Scott Shearer brilliantly flinging himself to his left to keep out the striker’s right-footed effort.

To add to the agony, within five minutes the Stags broke the deadlock through their leading scorer.

Debutant Manny Dieseruvwe, a midweek loan signing from Chesterfield, helped the ball on and Matt Green did the rest with an angled finish for his 12th of the campaign.

The hosts then seized the initiative forced Pompey in their own half as the strongly push for a second.

Yet on 43 minutes Ben Davies’ right-wing corner struck Tafazolli at the far post and entered the net, without a Blues body nearby.

The visitors did improve after the break, yet their creativity continued to frustratingly elude and a point it was, albeit in disappointing circumstances.

And certainly plenty for Cook to think about.


Adam Webster was named The News’ Pompey man of the match in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Mansfield.

But do you agree with chief sports writer Neil Allen’s choice and the rest of his match ratings?

Let us know by posting your comments.

Match Ratings

Ryan Fulton: Assured showing - 7

Ben Davies: Lacked usual energy - 6

Christian Burgess: Decent enough display - 7

Adam Webster: Supreme in the air - 8

Enda Stevens: Steady but lacked his spark - 6

Danny Hollands: Gave absolutely everything - 7

Michael Doyle: Dug deep - 6

Kal Naismith (3): Had some good moments - 6

Kyle Bennett (1): Subdued - 5

Marc McNulty (2): Day to forget - 5

Michael Smith: Most encouraging Pompey display yet - 7

Subs:

(1) Ben Tollitt (68min): Added directness - 6

(2) Adam McGurk (70min): Pepped things up - 6

(3) Conor Chaplin (85min)

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