KEE GOAL EARNS BIG POINT AT CHELTENHAM
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Cheltenham Town 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Burns 47. Kee 68
Attendance: 2,597 (283 from Mansfield)
Date: 7 March 2015
Martin Shaw at Whaddon Road
After a week in which Mansfield earned precious wins over Dagenham and Newport, it was important to keep the momentum up by avoiding defeat at second-bottom Cheltenham today and thus preserving the gap between the Stags and the bottom two. The Stags did just that by coming from behind for a hard-earned and deserved point. In an even first half, the Stags hit bar through Junior Brown, while Wes Burns had best chance for Cheltenham, firing wide from a good position. Cheltenham took the lead two minutes after the break when Burns was able to turn and fire home in the box as the Stags defence momentarily went missing. Stags introduced substitute Billy Kee on 52 minutes and he was close to equalising on 67 minutes when he turned and fired over. But a minute later he scored a fine equaliser firing into the top right corner of the net after good play from Clements and Lambe. After that, both sides could have won it, but neither side was able to, and the Stags were happy with the result, as the 283 Stags fans gave the side a rousing reception at the final whistle. This was only the second point Mansfield have picked up this season after going behind, the first being at York, and represents a big result. The gap to the bottom two is increased to 8 points with Tranmere’s defeat. With 11 games left, Mansfield are 15 points ahead of Hartlepool, 8 ahead of Tranmere, 7 ahead of Cheltenham, and 6 ahead of Carlisle and York. Still work to be done, but the run of 14 points from the last 8 games represent a massive step in the right direction. As a sidenote, Mansfield have the same number of points as this stage last season (42 points from 35 games). No midweek game this week, then a big week with games against Bury, Wimbledon and Hartlepool. Come on Mansfield!
Saturday, 7th March 2015: Cheltenham Town 1, Mansfield Town 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Substitute Billy Kee earned Mansfield Town a point with the crucial equaliser in today’s 1-1 draw at relegation rivals Cheltenham Town.
The Robins had drawn first blood two minutes after the break as the Mansfield defence switched off to allow Wes Burns to turn and slot home.
But Scunthorpe loanee Kee came on after 52 minutes and 16 minutes later coolly levelled the game from Reggie Lambe’s pass - his second goal for the Stags.
Overall this was a poor game on what was an awful Whaddon Road surface.
The Stags did rattle the woodwork twice in succession in one first half attack through Junior Brown and Chris Clements.
But there were few chances, Lenny Pidgeley having one real save to make to deny Troy Brown, though he almost put through his own goal when slicing an ill-advised bobbling backpass from Ryan Tafazolli.
The second half was a little more open with chances at both ends.
The home side, who began the day in the bottom two, finished the afternoon strongly, but Mansfield held on to their point and kept a seven point gap between the clubs.
The Mansfield line-up showed four changes as boss Adam Murray brought back three of the players he rested to the bench in the midweek win at Newport, Ricky Ravenhill, Ricky Ravenhill and Newport matchwinner Reggie Lambe coming in along with loanee keeper Lenny Pidgeley, unable to play against his parent club, replacing Sascha Studer.
Also out went Jeffrey Monakana, Billy Kee, both dropped to the bench, and Jamie McGuire, left out of the 18.
The Robins gave a debut to Notts County loanee Danny Haynes.
In the bright Cotswolds sunshine, Oliver scuffed the game’s first shooting chance with a poor first time effort from 25 yards in the fifth minute after a scrappy opening.
Ravenhill then conceded the afternoon’s first corner before clearing it at the near post.
On 12 minutes Oliver sent a tame header at Carson from a long Heslop cross from the right.
A great crossfield pass from the right by Brown picked out the run of Elder into the box. But the youngster wanted too long and was soon crowded out.
Pidgeley caught an inswinging Sparrow corner from the left at his near post on 23 minutes when any touch by a home player would have had him in trouble.
On 26 minutes the poor pitch almost played a part in opening the deadlock as a Tafazolli backpass took a bad bobble on the uneven surface as Pidgeley tried to clear and he sliced it out for a corner.
Two minutes later Brown almost put Stags ahead as he rose to meet a Beevers cross from the right, the ball coming back off the bar.
That sparked a scramble in which Clements fired a follow-up against a post and Brown got in the way of a Heslop shot to concede a corner.
Brown forced a save out of Pidgeley from Richards’ 31st minute corner, the keeper tipping the far post effort away for another flag kick.
In response, Oliver had a go from distance but only succeeded in blazing the ball out the ground to jeers from the home fans.
Oliver was also well wide with a first time effort from another Beevers cross.
Burns did well on 40 minutes, getting past Elder to set up time and space for a low shot that was only just wide of the right hand post.
Brown managed to get a half-cleared Elder throw back in front of goal where Tafazolliu saw a looping header easily grabbed by Carson as the half ended goalless.
However, the deadlock was broken within two minutes of the restart as Burns put the Robins ahead with his third goal in seven games.
A long throw from the left by Braham-Barrett was aimed for Manset. But the ball somehow bobbled through a static defence to Burns, who was allowed to turn and steer home a low finish with Pidgeley helpless.
Heslop wasn’t far wide with a free kick on 51 minutes as the Stags sought a quick reply.
A minute later Kee replaced Heslop as Stags went 4-4-2.
Clements curled in a free kick from the left which Carson held onto at the far post.
Sparrow’s late tackle on Clements on 56 minutes saw the referee get out his cards for the first time and flash a yellow.
Monakana replaced Brown on 65 minutes, seconds later Carson just beat Oliver to a through ball.
On 67 minutes Kee might have levelled from an Oliver nod-down in the box, but failed to keep his finish down from 12 yards.
But a minute later Kee did find the net to haul Mansfield level.
Clements fed the ball to Lambe in the box and his square pass to his right to Kee saw the striker expertly guide it high into the net first time.
Clements then lifted a free kick over the home wall from 20 yards, but Carson was well placed to save.
Burns was just wide with a low shot from distance on 81 minutes and seconds later he was replaced by Richards.
Kee went down under Brown’s challenge with back to goal, but he never looked likely to get the penalty.
Stags were almost undone on 85 minutes as a quick free kick by Vaughan was flicked across the face of goal by Harrod.
Play continued after Lambe was tripped which allowed Oliver to flash an on-target effort at Carson.
At the other end sub Harrad failed to make contact with a good chance in front of goal.
The same player then fired a free kick into the Mansfield wall as the home side finished strongly.
CHELTENHAM: Carson, Vaughan, Braham-Barrett, Taylor, Brown, Mills, Richards, Haynes, Burns (Richards 81), Sparrow (Wynter 82), Manset (Harrad 67). Subs not used: Gould, Deaman, Hanks, Berry.
STAGS: Pidgeley, Beevers, Riley, Tafazolli, Elder, Ravenhill, Heslop, Clements, Brown (Monakana 65), Lambe, Oliver (Kee 52). Subs not used: Studer, Rhead, Bingham, Thomas, Sutton.
REFEREE: Trevor Kettle of Rutland.
ATTENDANCE: 2,597 (283 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Vadaine Oliver.
Cheltenham Town move out of the League Two relegation zone after draw against Mansfield Town
Gloucestershire Echo, By James Young
CHELTENHAM TOWN: 1
MANSFIELD TOWN: 1
NEITHER a triumph or a disaster, Cheltenham Town escaped the bottom two of League Two after a 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town.
Read more: http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Cheltenham-Town-v-Mansfield-Town-Team-news/story-26134312-detail/story.html?#ixzz3TjrE2XpZ
But time will tell about whether this was a point well-gained or two crucial ones that were lost by the time the season ends at the start of May.
After a simply dreadful first half, Wes Burns fired the Robins into the lead in the opening two minutes of the second period.
But one-time Robins strike target Billy Kee slammed the Stags level and despite the game eventually warming into someway near entertainment, a winner could not be found.
New signing Danny Haynes went straight into the starting lineup as he joined Burns and Mathieu Manset in a remodelled front three.
Given a start after impressing in training and a lively cameo in Tuesday's defeat at Carlisle, Manset gave a good account of himself.
And with the ever-present pace of his two wing men putting the Stags on the front foot, it looked a decent unit - the only trouble is they saw precious little of the ball.
The first 20 minutes passed without any incident, or good play as the two sides struggled to gain any momentum or string two passes together.
Had the game been played in your back garden, you would have made a strong case for closing the curtains.
What life there was came around the half-hour mark when both sides created their best chances within three minutes of each other.
But it was the visitors who should have taken theirs as Junior Brown's header from a Lee Beevers cross cannoned back of the cross bar and into a crowd scene in the area.
As befitting a scrappy game an almighty melee ensued and despite the best efforts of Chris Clements and Simon Heslop, the Robins just about cleared with Troy Brown making at least one telling block.
Brown was then in action at the other end as he looped a fine header goalwards from a deep Matt Richards corner, but Stags keeper Lenny Pidgeley flew to his left to save.
Wes Burns then created a chance for himself, winning a tackle with Callum Elder and then running at the defence before firing a shot wide from the edge of the box.
While the first-period started at snail's pace, there was a far quicker start to the second period from the Robins, who took the lead with their first attack.
Craig Braham-Barrett looked for Manset with a long throw into the penalty area from the left and the giant striker got a slight flick to tee up Burns at the back post.
With his back to goal and a defender in close attendance, the Bristol City loanee still had plenty to do, but he controlled, swivelled on a sixpence and drilled in to the corner of the net.
Mansfield's response was to throw on one-time Robins target Billy Kee and move from a 4-5-1 formation and go 4-4-2.
With someone to react to his knock-downs, giant striker Oliver was suddenly a real threat and he dominated the Robins centre-halves.
He came close to setting up an equaliser on 65 minutes when he leaped above Troy Brown to set-up Kee, but the powerful striker volleyed over.
Kee was much less forgiving from the next attack as Clements' ball parted the Robins' defence and the former Torquay and Burton man slammed home from 12 yards to level the scores.
Clements then warmed the hands of Carson with a free-kick while the Robins keeper had to be well-positioned to gather from Oliver after he wriggled free at the edge of the box.
The Robins then forced a golden chance to win the game late on after a quick free-kick set Lee Vaughan down the right, but his low cross could not be forced in by substitute Shaun Harrad.
Eventually offering some entertainment the game finished at a frantic pace with the Robins applying some decent pressure on the Stags goal
But clear-cut chances were in short supply and the match ended with the scores level and the Robins not really sure about whether that was good or bad.
Results elsewhere saw Russell Milton's men, not so much climb out of the bottom two but leave it all the same.
At the start of the recent run of four crucial games a haul of five points from 12 would have been considered as below par.
That it isn't says as much about the others in the basement battle as it does about the Robins. It's going to go to the wire and the team that survives will be that who improves the most from now on.
Cheltenham Town: T Carson; L Vaughan, M Taylor, T Brown, C Braham-Barrett; M Sparrow (M Sparrow, 82), P Mills, M Richards; W Burns (E Richards, 81), M Manset (S Harrad, 66), D Haynes.
Subs not used: M Gould, J Deaman, J Hanks, D Berry.
Mansfield Town: L Pidgeley; L Beevers, M Riley, R Tafazolli, C Elder; J Brown (J Monakana, 65), S Heslop (B Kee, 52), R Ravenhill, C Clements, R Lambe; V Oliver.
Subs not used: S Studer, R Sutton, M Rhead, R Bingham, J Thomas.
Referee: T Kettle.
Attendance: 2,597 (283 away)
Star man: Wes Burns - the chief attacking threat and capped a decent display with a well-taken goal
Cheltenham hoping for better going as manager Russell Milton looks up
Manager Milton regrets loss of two points against Mansfield but takes solace from moving up out of League Two relegation zone
Jeremy Alexander at Whaddon Road
Sunday 8 March 2015 22.00 GMT
Pounding hooves came early to Cheltenham and its Festival. One look at the going at Whaddon Road - firm to threadbare - persuaded both sides, the Robins and Mansfield, that the only way was aerial and the match was soon locked in first-time hoists and bouts of midfield head tennis, from which it seldom escaped. A 1-1 draw seemed to satisfy both clubs.
They had further excuse. Cheltenham were 23rd in League Two. If Mansfield had not won three of their previous four games, they would have been equally anxious. They were only a point ahead when Russell Milton, head of academy coaching, became Cheltenham’s third manager of the season in mid-February. Adam Murray, with only a dozen more games in charge of Mansfield, said: “If we’re in the League at the end of the season, I’ll relax.” They came back to it in 2013 after five Conference years.
Milton and Cheltenham must feel the same, though the manager was a picture of relaxation despite “probably seeing it as two points lost because we were ahead and lost the momentum in the game. When you’re on top for 15 minutes you’ve got to shut up shop. Clean sheets give you a platform to work on.”
Five in 35 games show what he means. Four were in their first six games after which they lay second. The other was a week ago, when they beat Tranmere (Micky Adams, 770 more games in management) 2-0. Rovers are now 23rd after a fourth defeat running, with Cheltenham 22nd. “Moving out of the relegation zone puts a bit of a brighter spark on things,” Milton said.
His very presence has done that. If the club got rid of Mark Yates with reluctance - after five years but finally four successive league defeats - they released Paul Buckle with relief after one win in 12 and a home FA Cup defeat by non-league Dover. Milton instantly raised spirits. Wes Burns, on loan from Bristol City, said: “The camp’s been a lot more positive. It’s miles happier than it was. People are coming into training with smiles on their faces. It’s a massive thing to have that good atmosphere.”
Burns put smiles on faces when, just after half-time, Mansfield switched off at a long throw and he fired in unchallenged. Billy Kee’s equaliser 21 minutes later followed a similar aberration in Cheltenham’s defence.
Though born in Folkestone, the manager’s name is practically a passport to Gloucestershire, where Jack Russell and Arthur Milton are revered. He also has a long history with Cheltenham, coming there by way of Arsenal, Hong Kong (where he played with Sócrates) and Dover before six midfield seasons with Cheltenham in which Steve Cotterill led them into the Football League for the first time in 1999.
Along the way to the manager’s seat he has run a coaching school with links to Arsenal, taken a degree in sports science, lectured at the University of Gloucestershire and commentated on Cheltenham’s matches for BBC local radio. All fans worth their scarf have thought at some time they could do better than the manager. Not many get the chance to try. Perhaps Alan Green should be allowed to referee a match with Martin Atkinson commentating.
Milton said beforehand: “From moment one I have said there is enough in our dressing room to get us out of our situation.” The question is whether they are familiar enough with each other on the field. While Troy Brown stood out in their defence, ushering one attack to safety after the ball had hit bar and post before forcing a finger-tip save from Mansfield’s Lenny Pidgeley, the attack was disjointed, with five of the front six arriving since the start of February. Just before those incidents Pidgeley had sliced a clearance close to his own goal. The Robins’ future may lie in the lottery of the pitch but Milton, rounded and refreshing, is determined to make the positives.
Latest | March 2015