HARD-EARNED POINT FOR STAGS BUT COULD HAVE BEEN 3
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Chesterfield
Attendance: 5931 (1497 from Chesterfield)
Date: 22 March 2014
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town picked up a hard-earned point against high-flying Chesterfield on Saturday lunchtime but finished the game the stronger of the two sides and ended up rueing missing some late chances. The first half was a pretty even affair with not too many chances created for either side in a fiery contest. The best chance of the half fell to Chesterfield’s Marc Richards who picked up a poor back header from Ryan Tafazolli, rounded Alan Marriott and fired goalwards only for Tafazolli to have got back superbly to clear off the line and spare his own blushes. The second half continued to be quite even. Paul Cox made a positive change on 63 minutes bringing on Clucas and Meikle and switching to a 4-4-2 formation and really going for the victory. The Stags had the better of the closing stages creating several chances for Clucas, and then in the 93rd minute the Stags should have won it as Clucas headed a Murray ball into the path of Ollie Palmer who had a free shot at goal with his left foot from 12 yards but slid his effort inches past the right post. Palmer was totally gutted not to have won the game when I spoke to him afterwards. Plenty of good performances from Stags players, and actually no-one had a bad game in my opinion. Results from the later 3.00 kick-offs were mixed for the Stags with a surprise win for Exeter, but the bottom two failing to win, so the gap to the bottom two is still 5 points. I think the Stags need to get 8 or 9 points from the final 8 games to ensure staying up. And so on to another huge game on Tuesday, away to Hartlepool. Come on Mansfield!
At the final whistle, some Stags players put their heads in their hands knowing that a chance of glory had slipped away. A tremendous ovation at full time from the 4,400 Stags fans, who created a great atmosphere throughout. The Stags had definitely been the better side in the final half hour and finished the game on top. And overall the Stags had more than matched the high flying Spireites. A pleasing performance from Mansfield and one which needs to be built upon against Hartlepool on Tuesday.
Adam Murray was the sponsors’ man of the match but handed his bottle of champagne to Ollie Palmer afterwards, insisting that Palmer deserved the award. Tafazolli was tremendous at the back, recovering from a terrible start to the game with that back header. Everybody in the Stags team was at least ok. I thought Cox got the substitutions spot on in hindsight - probably his best substitutions of the season.
Man of the match: Murray/Tafazolli
Stagsnet report here
Mansfield Town 0 Chesterfield 0: match report
Read a full report of the League Two game between Mansfield Town and Chesterfield at One Call Stadium on Saturday 22 March 2014
Stalemate: Mansfield's Anthony Howell, right, controls the ball under pressure from Chesterfield's Sam Hird during Saturday's 0-0 draw Photo: PA
By Les Scott, at One Call Stadium
6:14PM GMT 23 Mar 2014
Promotion-chasing Chesterfield were happy to settle for a point in this goalless, but far from gutless encounter against a Mansfield Town side who created the majority of the chances in a lively derby.
Mansfield chairman John Radford said: “As a lifelong Stags fan this is the match above all others I look forward to the most." He is not alone.
Mansfield’s highest crowd of the season witnessed a pulsating and highly entertaining game. For all the extensive bridgework done to his team in the past year it remains a nagging toothache for Paul Cox that Mansfield have remained inconsistent. A fact born out by their previous six matches which have resulted in the replication of a win, draw and defeat.
If only Cox’s side could reproduce their second-half performance in this game on a regular basis, they would be rubbing shoulders with Chesterfield at the top of League Two.
Chesterfield could have taken the lead as early as the second minute when a weak back-header from Ryan Tafazolli was intercepted by Marc Richards, who rounded home keeper Alan Marriott only to be left riddled with angst as he watched Tafazolli redeem himself by hacking his goal-bound effort off the line.
The second half began in explosive style when Tendayi Darikwa flickered into life on the Chesterfield right, danced past two defenders only to see his rising drive fly inches wide. The Mansfield riposte was immediate, Ollie Palmer feeding Jamie McGuire whose effort was well saved by Lee. A minute later Adam Murray had Lee at full stretch as Mansfield seized the initiative.
In time added, Palmer wasted a superb opportunity to seal victory for the Mansfield when, having done all the hard work, he skewed the ball wide of Lee’s left-hand post.
“We had five or six very good chances and dominated the second-half, so it’s disappointing not not have all three points,” said Mansfield manager Paul Cox. “That said, Chesterfield are a very good team and I feel it is a mark of how we have improved over the season that we dominated for lengthy spells. We have several players who are new to this level of football and they are still finding their feet. Our problem has been our inconsistency but you will get that with young players who are getting to know one another.”
Chesterfield manager Paul Cook was satisfied with his team’s performance and the point. “It’s a welcome point, one that takes us one step nearer to our goal of automatic promotion. We have seven games remaining and I am happy with where we are and how we are as we approach that run-in. We also have a Wembley visit for the Johnstone Paints Trophy final, which serves as icing on the cake for our supporters and everyone connected with the club.”
Mansfield Town (3-5-2) Marriott; Dempster (Clucas 62), Tafazolli, Riley; Jennings, Howell, Murray, McGuire (Meikle 62), Beevers; Rhead, Palmer. Subs Sutton, Stevenson, Speight, Clements, Daniel. Booked: Dempster, Murray, Tafazolli.
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Lee; Darikwa, Evatt,Cooper, Humphreys; Banks (Bennett 46), Hird; Roberts, Morsey, Kearns( Gnanduillet 70); Richards (Doyle 70).
Subs: Dunbavin (g), Smith, O’Shea, Ryan.
Referee D.Bond (Lancashire)
Saturday, 22nd March 2014: Mansfield Town 0, Chesterfield 0
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
A tight local derby ended scoreless and honours even as Mansfield Town dug in to earn a vital point and hinder bitter local rivals Chesterfield’s title challenge.
Chesterfield had the most chances over 90 minutes and, at times, played the better quality football.
But Paul Cox will be proud of the way his side dug in and scrapped and they had some great chances of their own after the break with Tommy Lee making a great double save from Sam Clucas and Ollie Palmer slotting a great chance wide at the end in stoppage time.
That left Stags unbeaten in their two League Two clahses with their rivals after that 1-0 win at the Proact Stadium in September.
Stags made two changes. With Darryl Westlake suspended at right wing back, Lee Beevers won the race with Ritchie Sutton to replace him.
Paul Cox also opted for a battling central midfield with Lee Stevenson left out and Jamie McGuire returning.
Top scorer Sam Clucas, back from illness, could only make the bench, with striker Jake Speight also a welcome sight on there after coming through a midweek reserve game.
The afternoon built up perfectly with a great pre-derby atmosphere, Spireites boss Paul Cook on the pitch to rouse the visiting fans just before the teams emerged.
The electric atmosphere was rewarded with an electric start as Tafazolli almost gifted the visitors a second minute lead with a short backheader. That put Richards in one-on-one with Marriott but, after rounding Marriott to the right, Tafazolli made amends by getting back to clear Richards’ finish over the bar before it could cross the line.
Stags then cleared two huge throws from Humphreys from the left.
Jennings drew huge applause from the home fans for dispossessing Spireites ace Roberts and sending McGuire on a run only for the midfielder’s control to let him down.
The visitors replied with their second corner on seven minutes which Stags cleared at the second time of asking as well as the subsequent Humphreys throw as the visitors asked all the early questions.
It took two defenders to shut down Palmer as he tried to boost into the box as he chased an acrobatic forward ball from McGuire.
And on 14 minutes the Stags finally threatened the visiting goal as a left wing Jennings cross was cleared out to Beevers who rifled a 20-yard shot inches over the angle.
On 21 minutes the home side might have won a penalty as Dempster’s shirt appeared to be pulled as he tried to get on the end of a Jennings free kick. The defender ended up on the turf looking at the referee, but nothing was given.
McGuire was well over with a hopeful 35 yard half-volley, but the build-up to it earned warm applause with Stags trying to play some football after what had been a frantic start.
Roberts got to the left by-line to win the Spireites next corner on 27 minutes which saw a Kearns shot deflect wide for another.
That was half-cleared and launched back in to Richards, who controlled well and spun, but fired a rising shot over from eight yards.
Banks tried an audacious long lofted shot from inside his own half soon after when spotting Marriott off his line. But the Stags keeper watched it all the way and was in perfect position to gather.
Dempster took both Richards’ legs very late on 31 minutes 25 yards from goal to earn the first booking and give away a free kick in a very dangerous central position.
Roberts got the ball up and over the wall but straight at Marriott.
A half-cleared Stags free kick then saw Murray fluff his first shooting chance when he reached him but recover to get away a half-volley that Lee confidently gathered to his right.
The rain was coming down by now and the wind really getting up in Mansfield’s faces with a free kick and a goalkick really holding up in the air.
An extra minute produced no threats at either end and a thoroughly absorbing half ended scoreless.
Shirebrook-born Bennett replaced Banks for the second half.
And he almost made an instant impact as he took a pass just inside the box from Morsy, wrong-footed Dempster and blazed just over the near angle.
The pitch was now immersed in bright spring sunshine, though the wind was bitterly cold.
On 51 minutes the visitors were close again as a poor Dempster header out was smashed inches over the top by Darikwa from 12 yards.
A minute later Palmer’s persistence won Stags their first corner of the game, but Howell’s flick on Jennings’ kick into touch beyond the far post.
It took a great tackle from Murray to halt Darikwa’s mazy run into the box after he had already sidestepped two opponents, Tafazolli then clearing the corner.
Another promising Chesterfield move ended with Kearns blazing a wild cross-cum-shot high into the North Stand.
Riley was given a final warning for a trip on Bennett.
On the hour Palmer and Howell worked a shooting chance for McGuire which he flashed wide of the right post.
At this point the home side were down to 10 men with Jennings off the pitch injured.
Murray was very late on Bennett on 62 minutes to take the game’s second booking.
Stags made a positive attacking double swap on 62 minutes as Meikle and Clucas came on for McGuire and Dempster as Stags went 4-4-2.
Soon after Murray dinked a delightful ball across the face of goal with no one quite able to get a finishing touch and a goalkick ensuing.
On 69 minutes Roberts played in Bennett for a low shot that took a deflection, but Marriott was to readjust and turn the ball round for a corner.
Chesterfield pepped things up with a double sub of their own on 70 minutes, sending on Gnanduillet and Doyle for Kearns and Richards.
Evatts sent a looping header straight at Marriott from a Roberts corner on the restart.
On 74 minutes Stags created a rare chance soon after a period of pinball in the away box.
Meikle launched a long cross in from the right and Clucas met it with a flying header that he was unable to direct on target.
Two minutes later Roberts tested Marriott with a 20-yard half-volley that flew at him, the keeper forced to turn it over.
Back came Mansfield and a Jennings free kick was headed away for a left wing corner on 80 minutes.
Rhead headed that down and Clucas saw Lee pull off two magnificent point blank range saves to deny him twice.
Chasing a through ball, Palmer got away down the centre and, Lee having left his line, saw Palmer take the ball past him but well wide and the moment’s hope was gone for Mansfield.
Tafazolli’s 86th minute foul on Darikwa made him the fourth home player booked on the day.
Gnanduillet was on target with a 30-yard free kick which Marriott gathered at the second attempt.
Soon after, Bennett held off a couple of challenges on the edge of the box to zip in a low shot, again on target and Marriott again well placed.
In the last minute Roberts sent over a corner from the right, Gnanduillet met it with an on-target header, but Marriott grabbed it diving to his right.
Four minutes were added on and in the third of those palmer should have won it as Clucas found him with a nod down on the edge of the six yard box, but his low finish was wide of the far post and it ended honours even.
STAGS: Marriott; Dempster (Clucas 62), Tafazolli, Riley; Beevers, Murray, Howell, McGuire (Meikle 62), Jennings; Rhead, Palmer. Subs not used: Sutton, Stevenson, Speight, Clements, Daniel.
CHESTERFIELD: Lee, Banks (Bennett HT), Hird, Morsy, Cooper, Darikwa, Richards (Doyle 70), Roberts, Humphreys, Evatt, Kearns (Gnanduillet 70). Subs not used: Smith, O’Shea, Ryan, Bennett, Dunbavin.
REFEREE: Darren Bond of Lancashire.
ATTENDANCE: 5,931 (1,497 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Tafazolli.
Stags close to champagne moment
by Tim Morriss
Mansfield Town 0 Chesterfield 0
STAGS captain Adam Murray modestly handed his sponsors’ man of the match champagne award to striker Ollie Palmer after a hard-fought derby ended goalless.
See more at: http://www.news-journal.co.uk/sports_news/so-close-to-champagne-moment/#sthash.H1EqOcf9.dpuf
But Palmer had gone so close a champagne moment of his own when his injury time shot from substitute Sam Clucas’ flick-on brushed the post.
A goal would have been a fitting reward for Palmer’s non-stop performance, even when he was isloated with strike partner Matt Rhead in a stalemate first-half of little goalmouth action.
Palmer and Rhead became an increasing threat in the last 20 minutes as the Stags created a series of chances, thanks also to the pace of substitutes Clucas and Lindon Meikle, aqnd a formation switch from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2.
Palmer’s shot was blocked and Clucas was twice denied on the goalline after he had just failed to touch in a Murray cross set-up by Meikle.
The Stags’ tremendous last 20 minutes rightly drew a standing ovation from the home fans in the crowd of 5,987 and earned a precious point in their fight to stay in the Football League.
The draw left them in 18th place with 44 points, five points clear of the relegation places with eight games remaining.
Yet it could all have been so different against their local rivals, who remain in the promotion places after their point.
In the second minute Stags’ defender Ryan Taffazolli’s weak header allowed Richards to steal in and round the keeper, but as his shot flew towards an empty net the young defender got back to deflect the ball over for a corner.
It was the closest the Spireites came to a goal, despite carrying the greater threat for the first 70 minutes and showing occasional flashes of the form that has taken them close to promotion and a place at Wembley in next weekend’s Johnstone Paints Trophy final.
Stags keeper Alan Marriott did well to keep out a deflected drive from Chesterfield substitute Mason Bennett, the Shirebrook youngster on-loan from Derby County.
Spireites FT: Mansfield 0 Chesterfield 0
by Matthew Brooks
Chesterfield came away from Mansfield with a point.
With so much at stake - bragging rights, local pride - both managers underlined the importance three points would have for either side.
Chesterfield were looking to reclaim top spot in League Two while rivals Mansfield wanted to further themselves from the drop zone.
Around 1,500 Spireites packed into Field Mill to cheer their side on and they were almost treated to an early goal through Richards.
The striker chased what seemed to be a lost cause as Tafazolli appeared to be in control. His header sold keeper Marriott short, and Richards nipped in.
Richards rounded the onrushing keeper and went to slot the ball into an empty net only for Tafazolli to redeem himself and clear from under his own crossbar.
The game settled into a typically scrappy period between two sides unwilling to give their opponent an inch during the opening exchanges.
Periods of possession were rare to come by in what quickly became a heated contest - picking up from where they left off earlier in the season.
Beevers went close for the hosts when he sent a left-footed shot narrowly wide of Lee’s left hand post after he was first to Kearns’ headed clearance.
Mansfield had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty turned down when Dempster went to ground under close attention from a cluster of blue shirts.
Roberts and Kearns continued to switch sides from left and right in an attempt to stretch the Stags’ central three defenders.
Kearns, on loan from Peterborough United, whipped in a corner that Banks got his head to but was unable to direct it towards goal.
The danger wasn’t cleared and Kearns forced another corner when his shot was deflected behind. Richards then shot over from an angle.
Banks tried to catch Marriott out from halfway but the home keeper backtracked and saved comfortably under his own bar.
Richards was eager to make up for his earlier opportunity and the former Port Vale man controlled and spinned on the ball before he was brought down by Dempster.
The defender was booked and Roberts tested Marriott with the resulting free-kick. The winger sent a curling, dipping shot from 25 yards that the keeper held with ease.
Lee had to watch Murray’s shot all the way when the experienced midfielder’s shot from the edge of the box appeared to dip under the nose of the Spireites keeper.
Bennett, a half-time substitution for Banks, almost made an immediate impact for Chesterfield when he was slipped in by Morsy. The teenager, on loan from Derby County, side-stepped his marker but blazed wide of the target under pressure from Dempster.
Spireites piled on the pressure and Bennett was central to the attack once more when he outjumped Dempster to meet Kearns’ cross.
The ball fell for Darikwa eight yards out but the make-shift right-back skied his effort into the travelling Blue Army behind Marriott’s goal.
Stags were resorting to hitting it long for their two front men; Palmer and Rhead were a physical test for Evatt and Cooper.
Clucas and Meikle replaced Dempster and McGuire for the hosts. Clucas was inches away from connecting with Murray’s delivery.
Bennett brought an impressive reaction save from Marriott after Roberts had found room on the edge of the penalty area.
Mansfield flooded forward and Palmer almost got lucky after his first effort was blocked, but Cooper threw himself in the line of fire.
The danger wasn’t fully cleared and when the ball was knocked forward Clucas went close with a diving header from the edge of the box.
The game began to open up with chances at either end. Roberts stung the finger tips of Marriott after he latched on to Doyle’s knockdown.
A combination of Humphreys and Lee kept the Stags out after Clucas had not one but two bites of the cherry from six yards out.
Substitute Gnanduillet tested Marriott with a dipping free-kick from fully 30 yards before Bennett wriggled free before he fired straight at the Stags keeper.
Palmer wasted a glorious chance to give his side all three points from eight yards when he skewed his shot wide of Lee’s left hand post.
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