STAGS FRUSTRATED IN DRAW WITH HEREFORD
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Hereford United
Geohaghon 44. Jackson 21.
Attendance: 2248 (137 from Hereford)
Date: 29 September 2012
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town were held at home by Hereford for a second successive draw. Hereford took the lead following a bad mistake by Stags defender Ritchie Sutton, but the Stags drew level just before the break with a fine header from Exodus Geohaghon. Mansfield had much more of the possession but created precious few chances and didn't do enough going forward to win the game. The Stags missed suspended striker Matt Green who will surely return for the game at Cambridge next week. There were some positives with fine displays in the back line from the returning John Thompson and George Pilkington, alongside the ever excellent Exodus Geohaghon.
Man of the Match: Exodus Geohaghon
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Mansfield Town 1-1 Hereford, Saturday 29th September
chad.co.uk report By John Lomas
DESPITE constant second half pressure and some of their best football this season, Mansfield Town had to settle for a point at home to resilient Hereford United today.
Stags had won their previous four home games but not found much fluency in their football.
After a poor first half wit Hereford enjoying the strong wind at their backs, Stags got the ball down and played some decent football in the second half only to find the visitors rock solid.
Hereford had grabbed a first half lead through Marlon Jackson on 22 minutes after a mistake by Ritchie Sutton.
But Exodus Geohaghon had Stags level a minute from the break with a header.
The visitors hardly threatened at all in a one-way second half with the home fans annoyed by the Bulls time-wasting tactics.
But, despite Nick Wright, Junior Daniel, Louis Briscoe and Ritchie Sutton all going close, Mansfield just couldn't find a winner on the day.
The Mansfield side showed six changes as manager Paul Cox went back to a 4-4-2 formation.
Out went Chris Clements, Matt Rhead, Lee Beevers, Lee Stevenson, Ryan Tafazolli and injured keeper Alan Marriott.
A new-look defence saw a first start of the season for John Thompson at right back and a return for George Pilkington in the centre.
Lindon Meikle and Anthony Howell came into the midfield while Nick Wright was declared fit to make his first start alongside Jake Speight up front.
Although Stags brought in Notts County youngster Liam Mitchell as cover in goal, reserve keeper Shane Redmond had shaken off an elbow injury in time to make hs home debut anyway.
A neat dummy in the box by Wright helped Stags win their first corner in the second minute which was headed clear.
Geohaghon then had a couple of early opportunities, the second of which was put behind for corner number two, which was also cleared.
Another big throw was cleared as far as Murray, who hooked well over from 20 yards.
United finally got out of their own half to win a corner of their own on five minutes, but Thompson was there with a decisive header away.
The early stages were littered with throws and moves breaking down in the strong wind, but it had largely been an encouraging first 15 minutes for the home side without being able to test the keeper.
Murray was booked on 21 minutes for a late tackle on Clucas. And we finally had a shot on target as Watkins fired straight at Redmond.
But a minute later Hereford were ahead after Sutton's loose pass on halfway gifted a break to the Bulls from which Clucas carried it forward before feeding Jackson for a deadly finish under Redmond.
More Stags pressure saw a lovely ball from Howell find Daniel to his left who lifted a rising shot over from just inside the box.
Pell was lucky not to be booked for a two-handed shove in the back of Meikle that left the Stags winger on the floor. Daniel took responsibility for the 30-yard free kick, curling it round the wall but narrowly wide.
The home fans were getting frustrated by Hereford's time-wasting, home boss Cox walking on the pitch at one stage to kick the ball back to the visitors for a free kick.
Stags forced two more successive corners as half-time neared. And, when the second of those was only cleared as far as Wright on the left, he lifted a high ball forward over an advancing defence where Geohaghon was adjudged onside as he planted a header high into the Hereford net on 44 minutes.
Stags created the first opening of the second half as Speight's flick gave Wright space to fire in a low on-target shot that Bittner always had covered.
O'Keefe angered the home side and fans when he rolled about after a challenge but was soon back up with Hereford gaining some dubious foul decisions.
Another followed soon which allowed Clucas to curl in a free kick that passed through everyone and bounced just wide of the far post.
After the home side's best spell of possession so far, a quickly-taken throw allowed Wright to get into a central shooting position from which he was too high.
The Bulls replied with two corners without profit.
Stags sent on Rhead for Wright and he almost carved open Hereford with his first touch as he tried to slip Speight away whose firs touch let him down.
Rhead then headed wide of the near post from a Geoghaghon throw as he quickly made his presence felt.
Briscoe then came on for Meikle with 14 minutes left as Mansfield looked for a hero.
Hereford were incensed when Speight when it late at Bittner after he keeper had gathered the ball, the Stags striker shown the game's second yellow card.
Another long Geohaghon throw was not cleared by the Bulls, allowing Daniel to hook a shot over from eight yards as time began to run out on the home side.
Sutton was not far wide from a pull-back by Howell as Mansfield piled on the pressure.
We entered four minutes of added time in which Briscoe's low 20-yard shot beat Bittner but rolled wide of the post.
Daniel was booked for bringing down Pell as Stags' second half exertions finally brought them nothing more than the point.
STAGS: Redmond; Thompson, Pilkington, Geohaghon, Sutton; Meikle (Briscoe 76), Murray, Howell, Daniel; Speight, Wright (Rhead 71). Subs: Clements, Beevers, Stevenson.
HEREFORD: Bittner; Gallinagh, Stam, Graham, Carruthers; Watkins, Clist, O'Keefe, Clucas; Jackson (Canham 87), Pell. Subs: Heath, McQuilkin, Sammons, Smikle.
REFEREE: Darren Handley of Bolton.
Geohaghon earns Stags a point
mansfieldtown.net report by Andrew Webb
Exodus Geohaghon's headed goal on the stroke of half-time earned Mansfield Town a point from their home Blue Square Bet Premier clash with Hereford United.
Marlon Jackson fired the visitors into a one-goal lead midway through the first period when he slipped a close-range shot under the body of Stags goalkeeper Shane Redmond.
But on a bitterly cold afternoon at One Call Stadium, Geohaghon claimed his first goal of the new season after guiding home a Nick Wright cross only a minute before the interval.
Hereford were forced to soak up plenty of early pressure as Mansfield made their intentions clear from the start.
Geohaghon delivered a number of his torpedo-like long throws into the heart of the six-yard box to which the visitors held firm, before skipper Adam Murray fired over with a speculative 30-yard attempt after the ball broke to him following a Stags corner.
Nevertheless, Mansfield struggled in their quest to create any clear-cut chances and Hereford shot-stopper James Bittner was rarely troubled inside the opening quarter-of-an-hour.
Murray received a caution midway through the first period after an innocuous foul on Sam Clucas and from the resulting free-kick Marley Watkins warmed Redmond's gloves with a powerful drive from the edge of the box.
However, less than 60 seconds later, Hereford opened the scoring.
Clucas broke dangerously through the middle after intercepting a loose pass from Ritchie Sutton and squared a beautiful through ball into the path of an advancing Jackson, who took a touch before unleashing a shot that crept under the body of Redmond and trickled over the line.
Despite the early blow, Mansfield hit back with a series of quick chances and had their opponents penned back for a number of minutes.
Bittner had to scurry across his line in order to claim a dangerous high ball from the head of Sutton in one attack, whilst Junior Daniel also drilled two efforts narrowly wide of goal in the space of as many minutes.
Under the cosh from Paul Cox's side, the Bulls seemed intent on doing as much as they possibly could in order to slow down the pace of the game and thus break-up any momentum that Mansfield tried to generate.
Hereford's game plan appeared to be working, but on the cusp of half-time Geohaghon headed home an equaliser.
Wright floated a high ball into the six-yard box after he reached an over-hit corner from Murray, and with the Hereford defence advancing in an attempt to catch an opponent offside, Geohaghon rose highest and cushioned his free header beyond a beleaguered Bittner.
Clear-cut opportunities remained at a premium after the re-start, as the game developed into a bruising midfield tussle between two teams who appeared close-knit and compact in their approach play.
Bittner saved well from Wright on two separate occasions, and at the other end Bulls playmaker Clucas tested the nerve of the Stags defence with an inquisitive free-kick that eluded everyone inside a crowded six-yard box, before it fell only inches wide of Redmond's right-hand post.
Matt Rhead replaced Wright with 20 minutes remaining and within moments of his introduction to the action, the bustling striker came close to diverting Geohaghon's long-throw beyond Bittner.
Daniel came only marginally closer to finding a winner a few moments later, when his deflected 20-yard drive was saved by Bittner at his near post, moments before the Hereford shot-stopper captured a dangerous loose ball inside his area after Geohaghon had delivered another of his trademark throws.
Sutton and Daniel both lashed efforts high over the woodwork in the closing stages, whilst Watkins carried the ball over half the length of the pitch in the last minute of normal time, but lacked any kind of end product with his final shot.
Neither side came close to finding a winner during four minutes of additional time, as both teams were ultimately left to reflect on what was a frustrating afternoon of football.
Attendance: 2,248 (137 away supporters).
Anxiety again holds back Stags in Hereford stalemate
Nottingham Post report by Stevie Roden
THE season might be almost a quarter of the way through but, for Mansfield Town, there is a real feeling that it has not yet got going.
They were not bad on Saturday, far from it. They weren't outstanding either. There just seems to be something amiss.
A 1-1 draw against Hereford, a team just relegated from the Football League, made it five unbeaten at the One Call Stadium. In fact, it made it four wins and a draw – 13 points from a possible 15.
But it felt almost like a defeat, the atmosphere somewhat subdued.
That was hardly surprising because despite dominating possession, despite rarely being troubled, Paul Cox's men hardly threatened themselves.
Had it been a case of a series of missed chances from Mansfield, at least it would have been easy to put the finger on why they did not come away with all three points.
But the fact they went behind after another unforced error gifted the Bulls the opportunity to score and then, once again, nobody took responsibility in the final third, meant it was frustrating all around.
It was not just a case of nobody dare shoot, even worse. Nobody dare try and make that final pass to create the chance to shoot. And if that is the case after four wins on the bounce, what will change it?
There weren't boos, but the few fans in the corner spouting vile abuse at individual players as they headed down the tunnel is never going to help players.
it was just a sombre mood and the lack of cutting edge certainly did not help inspire vocal support, the game such a damp squib. It is almost a case of chicken and the egg when it comes to what comes first.
The players coming out of their shells and stop fearing making a mistake when playing at home, or the fans being ultra-positive, never getting on their backs. You can see it from both sides.
Cox made six changes to the side that drew 2-2 with AFC Telford the previous weekend, also going back to 4-4-2.
With goalkeeper Alan Marriott out with a shoulder injury, Shane Redmond came in between the sticks despite signing Liam Mitchell on loan from Notts County 24 hours earlier.
Lee Beevers, Ryan Tafazolli, Chris Clements, Matt Rhead and Lee Stevenson all dropped out, with George Pilkington coming in from the wilderness in central defence and John Thompson at right-back, as Ritchie Sutton switched to the left of the back four.
Anthony Howell also came back in , as did Lindon Meikle with Nick Wright getting a rare start alongside Jake Speight up front, as Matt Green served the final match of a three-game ban.
Some were forced, other changes gave people a chance but nothing happened for 21 minutes, until Hereford's Marley Watkins fired in a shot after a free kick wasn't cleared, but it was straight at Redmond.
However, seconds later Mansfield were behind. Ritchie Sutton, switched to left-back, played a poor ball across the middle of the pitch and Sam Clucas intercepted it, broke forward, slotted in Marlon Jackson who from inside the box, tucked it beyond Redmond.
It was another unforced defensive error costing Mansfield and it would have been easy for the fans to turn at that point, but they didn't.
At least it brought the game to life and when Junior Daniel twice trying his luck as he looked for a quick response.
However, everyone got what they wanted a minute before the break, with Mansfield's first shot on target, as Exodus Geohaghon put Mansfield level.
After a corner was cleared, Nick Wright swung the ball in from the left flank and the defender rose in the box to plant a superb header from 12 yards out beyond the despairing James Bittner.
It was just what was needed but instead of inspiring Mansfield in front of their home support, they still came out lacking the belief in the final third.
Five minutes into second half, Nick Wright unleashed a low shot after getting away from his man but straight at Bittner and a bit later, a rising effort over the bar. But still, nothing to really threaten.
Redmond, in the Stags goal, must have wished he had put his thermals on, such was his involvement the game as Hereford simply put men behind the ball and lacked any attacking intent.
But it was not until Rhead came off the bench on 71 minutes that Mansfield looked like they might cause trouble. A minute after his introduction, he met Geohaghon's long throw but headed over.
Daniel hooked a shot over in a packed area with six minutes to go and Briscoe also fired wide in added time but the breakthrough would not come.
But while Hereford failed to even get on the front foot, when it came to clear-cut chances, Stags failed to produce.
If a stranger had walked into the stadium on Saturday, you would not have guessed they have such a good home record, given the lack of confidence.
It was another point on the board but if they are to make progress, that anxiety has to be shaken off.
Until that point, they will always be facing an uphill battle.
Stags: Redmond, Thompson, Sutton, Pilkington, Geohaghon, Meikle (Briscoe, 76), Howell, Murray, Daniel, Wright (Rhead, 71), Speight. Subs: Clements, Beevers, Stevenson
Hereford: Bittner, Gallinagh, Pell, Graham, Watkins, Carruthers, Jackson (Canham, 88), Clist, Stam, Clucas, O'Keefe. Subs: Heath, McQuilkin. Sammons, Smikle
Referee: Darren Handley (Bolton)
Attendance: 2,248 (137 visitors)
Bulls Stand Firm In Stags Stalemate
Sat 29 Sep 2012
Author: Gregg Davies
Hereford United halted a run of three successive away defeats by producing a battling display to hold pre-season promotion tips Mansfield Town.
A scrappy game featuring few clear-cut opportunities saw Marlon Jackson bag his fourth goal in just five starts midway through the first half, but the advantage was wiped out shortly before the break as defender Exodus Geohaghon headed home the leveller.
Neither goalkeeper was seriously tested after the interval in blustery conditions that caused havoc throughout the contest. The visitors departed content with a point following a defensively resolute performance to help banish the bad memories of recent hammerings at newly-promoted part-time pair Hyde and Dartford.
Bulls boss Martin Foyle made two changes to the side defeated by Forest Green Rovers in midweek. Ashley Sammons and an unwell Ryan Bowman made way for Simon Clist and Josh O'Keefe, who joined Harry Pell in midfield, with Sam Clucas and Marley Watkins tasked with supporting front-man Jackson from either flank.
The Stags came storming out of the blocks, forcing a corner-kick inside the opening minute with what would prove to be a rare piece of flowing football, before assistant manager Adam Murray blasted the ball wildly over from 20-yards.
United had to batten down the hatches for the opening 10 minutes, as long-throw specialist Geohaghon persistently pummelled the penalty area with his chief weapon.
Having weathered the home side's early storm, Hereford steadily grew in confidence with Jackson a constant menace for Mansfield's defenders, gaining his team-mates valuable territory further up-field.
Clucas was clattered by Murray after 21 minutes, earning the midfielder a booking. Within 60 seconds the winger was in the thick of the action again, racing through on goal before unselfishly setting up Jackson to slot the ball beyond Shane Redmond.
Some defensive hesitancy almost allowed Town to equalise immediately, only for Colin Daniel to wastefully fire over, before the former Macclesfield Town wide-man curled a direct free-kick narrowly wide of the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Two let-offs then became three for the Bulls, as captain Luke Graham's under-weighted back-header was pounced upon by Jake Speight. But shot-stopper James Bittner raced out and forced the striker to knock the ball out of play as he rounded the goalkeeper.
Neat interplay between Watkins and Jackson on the edge of the danger zone could not quite create an opening as United edged towards half-time with their lead still in tact.
However, the Stags hauled themselves level moments before the referee's whistle after failing to clear their lines effectively following a flag-kick. The ball was returned into the penalty area, where a marginally onside Geohaghon was waiting to loop in a header.
Despite the setback, Hereford could still have returned to the changing rooms with the lead, after Clucas latched onto a long ball over the top. The wide-man beat a player on the by-line but was crowded out as he attempted to pull the back for Jackson.
The Bulls began the second period positively, forcing an early corner, from which Watkins and Stefan Stam came close at the far post.
But the Stags soon responded through Nick Wright, who blasted straight at Bittner from 18 yards in what would be the hosts' second and final shot on target.
Clucas' determination earned his side a free-kick, with the winger's swirling set-piece causing minor consternation before drifting agonisingly wide of the far upright.
Custodian Bittner continued to handle Geohaghon's long-throws with authority, and did well to gather Chris Carruthers' inadvertent glance towards his own goal; getting caught late by Speight for his troubles.
Daniel then lifted the ball comfortably over the crossbar as the Stags grew increasingly frustrated while the Bulls successfully held their shape and denied the hosts space.
Watkins could even have snatched all three points for the visitors in the dying embers, beating three opponents down the centre of the pitch. However, he chose to change direction towards the corner flag to help preserve the point against a side who had won their last four home matches, conceding only one goal in the process.
Mansfield Town: Redmond, Thompson, Pilkington, Geohaghon, Sutton, Meikle (Briscoe 76), Howell, Murray, Daniel, Wright (Rhead 71), Speight.
Subs not used: Beevers, Clements, Stevenson.
Booked: Murray, Speight.
Hereford United: Bittner, Gallinagh, Graham, Stam, Carruthers, Clist, O'Keefe, Pell, Watkins, Clucas, Jackson (Canham 87).
Subs not used: Heath, Sammons, McQuilkin, Smikle.
Attendance: 2,248 – 137 away.
Bulls secure valuable point at Fieldmill
Hereford United picked up a useful point against a fairly low quality Mansfield team this afternoon. An early strike from Marlon Jackson was equalled by an Exodus Geohaghon header with both goals coming in the first period.
Ryan Bowman was withdrawn from the squad through illness and Martin Foyle opted for caution following a couple of hefty away defeats. The back division was unchanged and Marlon Jackson, in the lone strike role was supported from midfield by Watkins, O'Keefe, Pell, Clist and Clucas.
The Bulls attacked the goal in front of the visiting Herefordians in the first half and Simon Clist quickly felt the studs of Anthony Howell in a late challenge. Watkins lost possession on the halfway line but the breakaway was stopped at the expense of a fruitless corner before a Pell through ball found Jackson on the move but he was quickly closed down and the ball was cleared.
The quality in the opening twenty minutes left plenty to be desired and when Clucas tried to inject some pace and skill into the proceedings he was scythed down by Stags' captain Murray who duly received a yellow flash from referee Handley. Then, with a little over twenty minutes played, Clucas created the opening goal for Jackson.
The enthusiastic Clucas intercepted a cross-field ball and he set off on a run from just inside the Mansfield half before releasing Jackson on the edge of the box. With the home defence already stretched, Jackson was able to drill home from 12 yards.
Daniel blazed high over the bar for the hosts then a free kick similar to the one that produced a goal for FGR on Tuesday fell wide of the target as The Stags enjoyed a rare few minutes of pressure in what was, generally, a poor first half. Jackson just failed to get on the end of a Pell through ball and, from a corner, Simon Clist was clearly pulled from behind in the box but Mr Handley clearly had his eyes focused in another direction. Then with a long ball into The Bulls box only being half cleared the ball fell to Nick Wright who found Geohaghon unmarked six yards out and he nodded in with Bittner seemingly rooted to his line.
Clucas almost created the late first half opportunity when he jinked his way into the box but the score remained level as the twenty-minute queue for coffee commenced.
HT Mansfield 1 Bulls 1
Mrs Ex commented at the break that it was boring and the facts were confirmed in the second period when, I believe, she actually went to sleep for the first time at a game.
It was fully fifteen minutes before anything of note happened after the oranges and that was a cross from Watkins that sailed harmlessly beyond the far post. Then there was a throw in. Did I mention Geohaghon's throws? No? Oh well, perhaps I was asleep as well.
The industrious Clist fed a pass for Jackson but he was eased off the ball and the ball rolled out for another throw. Mansfield made a couple of substitutions which made no difference whatsoever and then there was a throw in. Jake Speight received a deserved yellow for following through into Bittner long after he had collected the ball before Canham replaced Jackson for the final five minutes of enthralling throw-ins witnessed by 2248 including 137 in the visitors pen.
FT Mansfield 1 Bulls 1
Bulls: Bittner, Gallinagh, Graham, Stam, Curruthers, Watkins, O'Keefe, Pell, Clist, Clucas, Jackson (Canham 87). Unused Heath, McQuilkin, Sammons, Smikle.
Mansfield: Redmond, Sutton, Thompson, Pilkington, Long Throw Geohaghon, Howell, Murray, Daniel, Meikle (Briscoe 76), Speight, Wright (Rhead 71). Unused Beevers, Clements, Stevenson.
Not the best but looking like MF is addressing the early season midfield failings. Marley took a bang on the leg but should be fine by next weekend and Samuel Raymond Clucas turned in another hard-working shift that included most of the better parts of the afternoons performance. The midfield looked a lot more solid if a little lacking in support for Jackson up top. However, it was, overall, much more palatable than the last two away efforts.
Stockport County? Bring 'em on!
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