DEPLETED STAGS BATTLE FOR HARD-FOUGHT POINT
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 0 - 0 Cambridge United
Attendance: 2925 (410 from Cambridge)
Date: 18 October 2014
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town’s depleted squad battled hard for a point against a confident Cambridge United at Field Mill this afternoon. The Stags were without 7 senior players through injury, plus Adam Murray through suspension, and had players turning out who weren’t 100% fit. The hard graft of the players earned a good ovation at the end. The Stags could have been ahead after just 8 minutes when Fergus Bell went over the Cambridge keeper in the area, with Bell seemingly having just about got to the ball first, but instead of giving a penalty, the referee booked Bell for diving and gave a goal-kick. If the ref thought that the keeper had got there first, he probably should have given a corner. Either way, it wasn’t a dive by Bell. UPDATE: Review of the match DVD shows that Bell and the keeper got to the ball at the same time so a difficult one for the officials to give as a penalty, but it certainly wasn’t a dive by Bell. The next controversial moment came when loan signing Jamie Sendles-White, on his home debut, fouled Tate with an over the ball challenge, and was a bit lucky to escape with a yellow card. The best chance of the first half came to Cambridge when Bell headed off the line to Tom Elliott who hit the base of the post. In the second half, Sascha Studer made a great save from a curling shot from Kwesi Appiah and another great save palming away a shot from Liam Hughes, while Appiah also fired a great effort against the post. Mansfield’s best chance came on 85 minutes when Bingham beat two men on the left, cut inside and fired over the bar. Plenty of good performances from the Stags players, especially at the back, where Riley and Sutton played very well, Studer made some great saves, and in the middle where McGuire gave a controlled captain’s performance, Heslop battled through the 90 minutes despite not being fit, and Bell played well. A hard-earned point. Though in the same way that Mansfield should have won at Portsmouth, Cambridge will feel they should have won this.
The Stags were without the injured Dempster, Tafazolli, Clements, Palmer, Hearn, and Rhead, and Luke Jones who ruptured his Achilles in training during the week in an incident that upset the players who heard the snapping noise and realised that he will now be out for about 6 months. Best wishes to Jones in his recovery. Murray was serving the second game of his three game suspension. Heslop played despite limping out of training during the week. Fisher came in to partner Bingham up front, in place of Rhead, in the only change to the starting XI from the Portsmouth game. The Stags were two players short of filling the bench. After the game, Fisher went to A&E for a CT scan but was given the all clear and is fit for Tuesday.
Saturday, 18th October 2014: Mansfield Town 0, Cambridge United 0
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
Mansfield Town somehow defied the odds today to earn a splendid 0-0 home draw with in-form Cambridge United today, despite their horrendous injury problems taking another turn for the worst.
Stags lost Ollie Palmer in training and also had the sight of Luke Jones, nearing fitness, also go down in agony in training with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.
That left Paul Cox with nine first teamers out injured, skipper Adam Murray suspended, and several of his side soldiering on, despite injuries that should have seen them sidelined today.
They rose to the challenge well in a tight first half, but not surprisingly they tired visibly after the break under an onslaught of pressure from a side that had hit eight goals in their previous two winning outings.
The final whistle brought warm applause from the stands where fans appreciated just what their side were going through and how much the players had given for the cause.
Stags defended well, the post came to their aid twice and Sasha Studer pulled off some good saves.
They also had a little luck when referee Mark Heywood only showed home debutant jamie Sendles-White a yellow card for a challenge that might have earned him a red with some officials after only 18 minutes.
Mansfield had been dealt a double blow when both Matt Rhead and Palmer were ruled out with injury, Rhead failing to recover from a hamstring strain at Portsmouth last weekend.
Alex Fisher, as the only other striker in the club still fit, came in to partner Rakish Bingham up front.
Stags had just five players on the bench including keeper Dimitar Evtimov.
Appiah was crowded out in the Mansfield box as he made a menacing run in the opening minute.
Beevers nodded a long Freeman cross wide at the far post in Stags’ first threat.
A quick free kick by Sutton into the right hand side of the box on eight minutes saw Dunn quickly down to smother. Bell and Bingham went in to challenge and Bell tumbled over the keeper’s body and claimed a penalty. The referee had other ideas and booked him for a dive.
Riley stuck to his task and stayed strong to poke the ball away from Appiah as he threatened to get away from him in the home box.
Freeman then slid in to cut out a dangerous low ball across the box by the same player after a good combination of passes by the visitors.
Fisher tried to catch Dunn off guard as he turned and hooked a first time dipping shot over the bar from 20 yards on 16 minutes.
A sedate start to the game erupted on 18 minutes as Sendles-White dived into a tackle and caught Tait.
Tait rolled around in agony as both sides squared up for a bout of pushing and shoving with Appiah completely losing his head and needing restraining by his team mates.
There were a few anxious moments as the officials discussed the tackle with United fans chanting for a red card.
Thankfully for Mansfield the eventual card was yellow with Appiah also booked for his troubles.
Hughes finally put the free kick into the home wall.
Comically, Tait then re-entered the field without being waved on and was also booked. But the referee stopped a Stags attack to administer that card and then gave Stags a free kick!
Heslop got his body in the way of a Simpson volley in United’s next raid.
Heslop then managed Mansfield’s first on-target effort on 26 minutes, curling a 30-yard free kick round the wall but straight to Dunn.
Some great inter-play between Bell, Bingham and Fisher in successive home attacks got the Stags fans cheering encouragement.
Riley’s well-timed challenge haltd another Appiah threat in the box.
Then on 37 minutes Donaldson saw the afternoon’s fifth yellow card for a dive.
Cambridge forced the game’s first corner on 40 minutes and came the closest we had been to a goal.
Nelson got a goalbound header onto Donaldson’s corner which Bell cleared off the line, Hughes’ follow-up clipping the outside of the near post for a goalkick.
As we entered the first of three added minutes, Fisher got a head onto a long Sutton cross. The ball rebounded back to him and this time the striker lashed a shot that was always swerving wide of the far post.
Cambridge won the second corner of the game on 48 minutes, but Simpson failed to get anything much on his header as it floated well wide.
A great through ball from McGuire saw Fisher overhit his cross for Bingham. Bingham went to retrieve it but, with options, he chose to shoot and was well wide from a difficult angle.
On 53 minutes Studer had to make his first real save of the day as Appiah turned on the edge of the box and fired in a superb low shot that threatened to creep just inside the right post until the Swiss keeper got down to turn it away.
Bell fired straight at Dunn from 20 yards seconds later as play quickly swung up the field.
Appiah should have done better when he nodded the ball tamely at Studer from close range on 55 minutes after Hughes had headed a corner back in front of goal.
Bingham flashed a low shot wide for Mansfield soon after as we continued to await the breakthrough.
On 58 minutes Appiah again came close as he superbly controlled a long ball forward and crashed a shot from the right hand corner of the box that hit the base of the far post with Studer beaten.
United called for a penalty on 66 minutes after they felt Riley had handled as the home side tried to clear the visitors’ fifth corner, but it would have been a harsh one if given.
A minute later Cambridge broke well and Appiah set up Donaldson to his right, but his finish was woefully wide of the far post to Mansfield’s relief.
Donaldson was massively wide from a 30-yard free kick on 73 minutes, earning jeers from the home fans.
Bell almost got Bingham away down the centre on 76 minutes, Tait across well to clear.
A great burst of pace from sub Dunk won United another corner with 11 minutes to go. There was a delay as the referee tried to sort out jostling players, Sutton shoving Nelson into the net at one stage.
Elliott set up Hughes on 82 minutes for a low shot that again Studer proved equal to, diving to his left to block.
On 85 minutes Bingham came to life as he chased a long crossfield ball from Beevers, wriggled between two opponents and whipped a shot over the bar from 20 yards.
Rob Taylor came on for Bell for the final four minutes of the match as Stags clung onto a deserved point earned very much the hard way.
Sadly, there appeared to be some trouble outside the ground at the end with police and stewards racing behind the North Stand.
STAGS: Studer; Sutton, Riley, Sendles-White; Beevers, McGuire, Heslop, Bell (R. Taylor 82), Freeman; Bingham, Fisher. Subs: Evtimov, Lambe, Marsden, Thomas.
CAMBRIDGE: Dunn, Tait, G. Taylor (Chadwick 80), Coulson, Donaldson, Champion, Elliott, Simpson (Dunk 56), Hughes, Nelson, Appiah. Subs: Lanzoni, Norris, Lennon, Bird, Naylor.
REFEREE: Mark Heywood of Northwich.
ATTENDANCE: 2,925 (410 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Martin Riley.
Cambridge United are held in stalemate with Mansfield Town
CambridgeNews, By Aaron Mason
Mansfield Town 0 Cambridge United 0 - Sky Bet League Two
It remains to be seen whether this will be a good away point for Cambridge United or two dropped.
Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge-United-held-stalemate-Mansfield-Town/story-23263495-detail/story.html?#ixzz3Gg3kr8NR
But there is a nagging feeling that had Richard Money's side managed to break the deadlock, the floodgates could potentially have opened.
Sections of the Stags fanbase have booed as early as half time in recent home games when Paul Cox's outfit have been behind, so on that basis, it may only have needed one goal to cause unrest in the stands at the One Call Stadium.
Combine that with Mansfield being down to the bare bones - they could only name five substitutes - due to a glut of injuries and they were there for the taking.
It was not for the want of trying on United's part though, as they dominated the second half and were only denied a goal by the woodwork following a rocket of a first-time shot from the right side of the area by Kwesi Appiah and some fantastic saves from keeper Sascha Studer, notably from that man Appiah again and Liam Hughes.
Mark Heywood will be just as grateful for the way United turned it on after the break as his refereeing in the first half threatened to be the main talking point.
A bitty first half was a classic case of fighting for the right to play on the visitors' part with little goalmouth action at either end aside from waving away an early penalty appeal by the Stags after Fergus Bell went down in the area as Chris Dunn raced off his line.
It was a close call, but Heywood booked Bell for diving, which seemed harsh given it was his momentum that saw him fall as Dunn appeared to get there just in time, and only served to wind up the home fans.
Soon after, Jamie Sendles-White could easily have been heading for an early bath after cynically hacking down Richard Tait as he was about to charge into the box.
But the Mansfield defender got away with a booking as a scuffle ensued, Appiah picking up a yellow card for his part in the melee.
Tait went off for treatment as a result of the challenge only to then be cautioned himself for re-entering the play before being given permission.
A silly booking, obviously, but it seemed as if Heywood had forgotten the right-back had gone off despite his pleas to come back on.
And Mansfield, who were on the attack at the time, could then feel aggrieved for play being pulled back to the halfway line for a free kick.
In his defence though, Heywood did get it right when booking Ryan Donaldson for diving.
It was embarrassingly obvious he had gone down with Jamie McGuire a couple of feet away and given it was his third yellow card for simulation this season, albeit the previous two bookings being extremely harsh, the midfielder needs to be careful he does not develop a reputation among officials.
Having had to battle, United let their class show in the second half.
Tom Champion looked as if he had never been away despite being out for almost seven weeks with a fractured cheekbone.
While the defence stood firm with Dunn having little to do, it may be no coincidence that United also kept their first clean sheet since August's 5-0 win at home to Carlisle, Champion's last Sky Bet League Two game, following his return to action.
United head coach Money was certainly pleased to have his skipper back in the fray.
He said: "We've known in this period he's important to us and despite the performance last week, we always knew this was going to be a much tougher test in terms of the type of game, so we felt Champion coming back was the right decision.
"We thought about (Tom) Naylor too, but we didn't want to lose anything from our forward threat, so we just went with Champion. We're glad to have him back and he'll be satisfied with his performance."
There was plenty of slick play as United camped out in Stags territory with Appiah again a huge menace, aided and abetted by Tom Elliott, Hughes, Donaldson and Harrison Dunk, who offered the visitors fresh impetus after coming off the bench early in the second half.
Unfortunately, despite being League Two's highest scorers, they just could not get the ball in the back of the net this time, not that Money was concerned.
He said: "We look confident with the ball, we've got good movement, we look as if we've got a goal threat and everybody is working extremely hard to make sure we keep a good shape and discipline, so I think it's another step forward."
Latest | October 2014