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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
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. Finally on the stats front: this was the first time the Stags have ever avoided defeat against AFC Wimbledon, at the fifth time of asking. 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. It was again a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Howell in front of the midfield 4, just behind Dyer who was on his own up front. 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. Wimbledon were only able to name 5 subs due a number of injuries and suspension in the camp.

In the first minute, a Murray free kick was headed back across goal by Dempster but the Stags were offside. On 9 minutes, a high ball into the Wimbledon box held up in the wind but Dyer couldn’t quite control it. On 11 minutes, Kennedy sent a free kick from 25 yards a couple of yards over the bar. Then on 14 minutes, Meikle tee’ed up McGuire whose low shot from 25 yards lacked power and was saved low to his right by Worner. On 16 minutes, an unnecessary foul given away by Daniel, level with the edge of his own area, and from the resulting free kick taken by Kennedy, Daniel redeemed himself with a header out for a corner.

On 20 minutes, a good ball from Sheringham to slip in Smith into the area and he stepped past Riley and fired over the bar. On 22 minutes, a cross-come-shot from the right by Luke Moore was tipped over the angle by Marriott.

On 23 minutes, Murray did brilliantly to get back and clear after Smith had got into a shooting position in the box. From the resulting corner, a piledriver by Kaid Mohamed was deflected just past the left post. On 25 minutes, a Murray cross was just over the head of Meikle.

A minute later, Dyer did really well to win a header in the box giving Clucas a chance to shoot and he hit a piledriver that struck Kennedy and bounced to safety. On 29 minutes, Marriott had to be alert to pluck out a bouncing ball struck from the halfway line, just underneath the angle.

On 32 minutes, a good run and shot from Clucas that was just past the right post from 20 yards via a deflection. From the resulting Murray corner, Dempster got his head to it but it went nowhere near the goal. On 40 minutes, there was really good defending from Meikle as he did enough to pressurise Sheringham into shooting wide from 12 yards.

On 41 minutes, a great ball from Murray picked out Clucas on the right who took it superbly but sent his right footed shot into the side-netting when he should have done better.

Then on 42 minutes, a great save by Marriott with his legs as Luke Moore got clean through on goal after Dempster had slipped at an inopportune moment. From the resulting corner, Smith headed over the bar and over the stand. On 44 minutes, half-hearted claims for a penalty from the Stags as Dyer may have got a little push in the back but correctly, no penalty was given.

A pretty even first half, the Stags looking reasonably solid apart from Dempster’s slip, but in truth only Clucas looked like scoring for Mansfield.

Half time 0-0

Mansfield had the wind behind them in the second half.

On 46 minutes, Clucas fired just wide of the right post from 20 yards after a Murray effort had been blocked to him. On 51 minutes, Murray showed great determination to charge down keeper Worner but fortunately for Worner the ball bounced away to safety. On 58 minutes, Marriott punched away a corner under pressure. From the resulting corner, Marriott tipped over a shot as it bounced up off the ground. A fine save yet a goal kick was given! On 61 minutes, Francomb broke forward unchallenged but Riley did well to block his shot.

On 62 minutes, a double change for the Stags as Hutchinson replaced Meikle, and Rhead replaced Howell. Hutchinson and Rhead went up front, Dyer to right midfield, in a 4-4-2 formation.

On 64 minutes, Daniel played a diagonal ball into the box and Rhead nodded down but it was straight to the keeper. Moments later, a fine cross from the right from Westlake with his left foot was just headed out of the path of Clucas. On 66 minutes, Wimbledon came close as a shot from Smith took a huge deflection off Riley just over the bar with Marriott wrong-footed. On 71 minutes, a Murray snapshot was blocked. On 73 minutes, Dyer squared to McGuire 40 yards out but his speculative chip was well wide. On 75 minutes, Fuller shot well wide from outside the box after Daniel had cleared from a corner.

The Stags came very close on 77 minutes as Rhead’s header from McGuire’s cross was saved right on the goalline by Worner. The Stags were definitely looking the more likely to score. On 82 minutes, Clucas, on the edge of the box, tee’ed up Hutchinson who fired over.

The Stags came even closer on 83 minutes. Marriott’s free-kick from inside his own half was headed across goal by Rhead and Clucas’s header was brilliantly saved by Worner.

On 85 minutes, Hutchinson’s corner was punched away by the keeper under his angle.

On 88 minutes, an incredible save by Worner kept the Stags at bay. A long free kick by Marriott bounced up off the ground and Dyer headed powerfully towards the roof of the net before Worner somehow palmed it over the bar. After the game, Paul Cox told me he was virtually celebrating the winner.

On 90 minutes, a 40 yard shot from Fenlon was powerful and moving in the air, and Marriott did well to keep it out.

So the Stags were denied by an inspired performance by home keeper Worner but will nevertheless gain confidence from this display.

Man of the match: Adam Murray

Report by: Martin Shaw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, Kingsmeadow

Line Up:
Marriott 7.5 Made some very good saves, especially with his legs from Luke Moore. Looked safe.
Westlake 7.5 The sign of a good full-back: was hardly noticed. Efficient and solid. And one very dangerous cross.
Dempster 7 One major slip allowed a glorious chance for Luke Moore, but otherwise played very well.
Riley 8 Very good game.
Daniel 7 Did well again standing in at left back. One stupid free kick given away in a dangerous position (as he did at Oldham).
Meikle 6.5 Some super defensive work including getting back to put Sheringham off from a dangerous position, but didn’t contribute too much going forward. The Stags improved greatly going forward after he was subbed.
McGuire 7.5 Some good tackles and no errors.
Murray 8 Plenty of fine crosses, and some fine defensive work, for example to clear when Smith was in a shooting position.
Clucas 8 Mansfield’s most likely scorer: went close three times, though should have scored when he fired into the side netting. Showed some great skill, which was a joy to watch from close up in the second half in front of the press box.
Howell 6 No mistakes, but didn’t bring much to the performance, and the Stags improved greatly going forward after he was subbed.
Dyer 7 So close to being the hero when his late header was denied by an incredible save. Won lots in the air, including doing really well to set up a Clucas shot in the first half.
Sub Line Up:
Hutchinson (for Meikle, 62) 7 Looked good.
Rhead (for Howell, 62) 8 Caused all kind of problems for the home defence, with a header saved right on the line, and another header setting up a good chance for Clucas.
Subs not used: Deakin, Beevers, Tafazolli, Clements, Palmer.
Opposition Line Up:
Worner; Fenlon, Fuller, Frampton, Kennedy; Mohamed, Sweeney, Francomb, Moore (Porter 68); Sheringham (Midson 75), Smith. Subs not used: Brown, Saint-Luce, Antwi.
Mike Bull 6 No major mistakes.

Season 13/14 Reports