LATE THOMAS GOAL EARNS DESERVED POINT AT OXFORD
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Oxford United 2 - 2 Mansfield Town
Hylton 31, 69. Green 22, Jack Thomas 89.
Attendance: 5346 (174 from Mansfield)
Date: 9 February 2016
Martin Shaw at the Kassam Stadium
Mansfield Town earned a deserved point at Oxford United last night with an 89th minute equaliser from Jack Thomas, heading home after his initial shot smashed against the crossbar. The Stags came into the game on the back of three successive wins that had lifted them to 5th in the table, and they really took the game to 3rd placed Oxford with a terrific first half performance. The first 30 minutes was some of the best football the Stags have played this season considering the quality of opposition and were deservedly in front on 22 minutes when Mal Benning’s high cross from the right saw Ryan Tafazolli challenge keeper Sam Slocombe. Tafazolli did well to head back across goal as Slocombe tried to punch, and the ball looped up invitingly for Matt Green who headed into the right corner of the net. It was Green’s 10th goal of the season and took him to 7th in Mansfield’s all-time list of league and cup goalscorers (since we joined the league in 1931) with 67 goals. Out of the blue, Oxford levelled on 31 minutes. Right back Jonjoe Kenny, on loan from Everton, overlapped from Alex MacDonald to get to the byline and his dinked cross was headed home by Danny Hylton. Mansfield nearly regained the lead on 42 minutes when James Baxendale sent a great shot from 22 yards towards the top corner and keeper Slocombe pulled off an amazing save to tip it wide. Baxo told me after the game he thought it was in and couldn’t believe the keeper saved it. A terrific first half from Mansfield and pretty much Scott Shearer’s only touch of the ball was to pick the ball out of the net. The second half was a different matter as Oxford came into the game and played some very good football. The Stags had a stroke of luck on 76 minutes Chris Maguire’s excellent free kick from the edge of the box hit the post. The Stags thought they should have had a penalty on 82 minutes when Jake Wright climbed all over Chris Beardsley in the box but nothing was given and Beardsley was booked for retaliation. Shearer made a good save from Kemar Roofe on 86 minutes, and the Stags equalised on 89 minutes. Jack Thomas fired a shot from 8 yards against the underside of the bar. As it dropped down, Green got a touch on it and Thomas was able to loop a header inside the far right post, the ball seemingly taking an age to drop into the net as time stood still. It was a sensational moment for Jack Thomas and for Mansfield, and just reward for that first half performance in claiming a point. The game wasn’t quite over though and Oxford thought they had nearly snatched a winner in the 5th minute of 4 minutes of added on time as Hylton fired just wide from 8 yards, but the referee told the Mansfield players it was a foul by Bowery on Tafazolli just before Hylton shot, and the goal would not have stood. A good game of football and it shows how far Mansfield have come, to play so well and get a deserved draw at a team as impressive as Oxford this season. The Stags are up to 4th, though have played more games than other teams around us. Fantastic! On to Plymouth on Saturday and another top of the table clash, this time 2nd against 4th. I just can’t wait! Come on Mansfield!
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
MATCH REPORT: Oxford United 2, Mansfield Town 2
chad.co.uk report by Charlie Talbot-Smith (Agency)
Substitute Jack Thomas netted a last-gasp leveller as Mansfield Town climbed to fourth in the League Two table with their draw at Oxford United.
Thomas scored only the third goal of his career to prolong the Stags’ unbeaten run to four games in the League while fellow promotion chasers Oxford stay third - four points ahead of their opponents.
Read more: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-news/match-report-oxford-united-2-mansfield-town-2-1-7724656#ixzz3zmL5QCUK
Matt Green headed the visitors in front midway through the first half with his 10th goal of the season.
But eight minutes later the hosts were level, Danny Hylton firing home his first goal of 2016 and the Stags retreated.
After the hour mark Hylton had a second and Chris Maguire’s free-kick hit the post before Thomas’ late intervention from the bench rescued a point.
Click HERE to see Oxford hit the Mansfield post with the score at 2-1
The hosts struggled for any kind of rhythm early on and Mansfield took advantage midway through the first half. Benning’s high ball was not cleared and Green headed home from close range.
That strike shocked Oxford into finding an equaliser in the 31st minute. A swift move down the right ended with Jonjoe Kenny picking out Hylton and the front man made no mistake.
Oxford then took control but the Stags almost stole a second goal just before half-time, James Baxendale’s powerful volley tipped wide.
The hosts were quick out of the traps for the second half, with Liam Sercombe seeing his volley well saved by Scott Shearer before Kemar Roofe’s deflected effort landed on the top of the net.
And with 67 minutes gone, the home team edged in front. Zeli Ismail fired a cross along the six-yard line and Hylton flashed home his second via the crossbar.
Maguire’s free-kick came back off the post with 14 minutes left and that came back to haunt the hosts late on.
Thomas’ initial effort rebounded to him off the bar and he looped the return header home to claim a crucial point.
OXFORD: Slocombe, Kenny, Mullins, Wright, Skarz, MacDonald (Ismail 64), Lundstram, Sercombe, Maguire (O’Dowda 78), Roofe (Bowery 86), Hylton. Subs not used: Buchel, Ruffels, Dunkley, Evans.
STAGS: Shearer, Collins, Pearce, Tafazolli, Benning, McGuire, Clements, Baxendale (Beardsley 62), Lambe (Thomas 71), Blair (Alfei 67), Green. Subs not used: Jensen, Yussuf, Kavanagh, Chapman.
REFEREE: Michael Bull of Essex.
ATTENDANCE: 5,346 (174 away).
Oxford United 2 (Hylton 31, 69), Mansfield Town 2 (Green 23, Thomas 89)
Oxford Mail report by Jack Johnson
SAM Slocombe made two costly errors as Oxford United were denied victory by a last-minute Mansfield Town goal at the Kassam Stadium tonight.
The hosts thought they had done enough after Danny Hylton’s double, but Jack Thomas nodded in a dramatic 89th-minute equaliser when Slocombe fumbled after Ryan Tafazolli's header came back off the bar.
Victory would have seen Michael Appleton’s side open up a seven-point gap over fourth-placed Bristol Rovers in Sky Bet League Two, but instead their advantage remains at four points, with the draw seeing Mansfield climb into fourth place.
It did not go to plan early on for the hosts when Matt Green headed the Stags into the lead after Slocombe did not get a good connection on an attempted punch, allowing the former Oxford striker to head home from close range.
However, Hylton’s brace either side of half-time put United ahead and seemingly on course for an important three points.
But Thomas took full advantage of Slocombe's error to leave the hosts frustrated.
United made two changes from the Johnstone's Paint Trophy area final second leg against Millwall last week.
Chris Maguire started his first game since returning to the club, while goalkeeper Sam Slocombe came in for Benji Buchel.
After an uneventful opening ten minutes, it was the Stags who created the first meaningful effort, with Jake Wright forced to head away a goal-bound effort from Matt Blair.
Mansfield shaded the opening quarter of the game, while United looked like a side that had not played for seven days after Saturday's postponement at Exeter.
And the visitors took the lead on 23 minutes when Slocombe spilled a Benning cross under pressure from Ryan Tafazolli and Green headed home.
It was perhaps the wake-up call United needed and just a minute later Hylton's looping header landed on the roof of Scott Shearer's net.
But the Stags continued to have the upper hand and Green was denied a second when Jonjoe Kenny cleared off the line.
However, the host's best flurry forward moments later brought the equaliser.
Liam Sercombe spotted Kenny's run and the full back dug out a cross from the dead ball line for Hylton to head home on 31 minutes.
Suddenly United were alive and dominating possession, while Alex MacDonald and Kenny were causing Mansfield problems down the right.
But the Stags were still a threat with the pace and strength of Green, while Slocombe pulled off a fine one-handed save to claw a James Baxendale volley out of the top corner on 41 minutes.
United started the second half positively, with Kemar Roofe heading wide, before Sercombe drilled a shot straight at Shearer and Maguire tried his luck from 25 yards.
But the pace of Green and Reggie Lambe still caused the hosts problems and the former kept Slocombe on his toes with a rasping drive on 52 minutes.
Mansfield, though, we're happy to waste time when possible, and it was United building the pressure.
Roofe saw a shot deflect over after good work from Kenny, but on 69 minutes their good work paid off.
Substitute Zeli Ismail found space on the right and his cross was flicked on by Roofe for Hylton to hammer into the top corner.
The U's had their tales up and Maguire went close to making it 3-1 when his free-kick hit a post on 75 minutes.
United looked comfortable, but they were hit with a hammer blow.
Mansfield hit a long ball into the box and after Tafazolli's header hit the bar, Slocombe could not hold onto the ball and substitute Jack Thomes nodded into the net.
There was still a chance to win it, but Hylton fired wide from inside the six-yard box.
Oxford United (4-4-2): Slocombe, Kenny, Mullins, Wright, Skarz, MacDonald (Ismail 64), Lundstram, Sercombe, Maguire (O'Dowda 78), Roofe (Bowery 86), Hylton.
Unused subs: Buchel, Ruffels, Dunkley, Evans.
Mansfield Town (4-3-3): Shearer, Collins, Pearce, Tafazolli, Benning, McGuire, Lambe (Thomas 71), Clements, Baxendale (Beardsley 62), Blair (Alfei 67), Green.
Unused subs: Jensen, Chapman, Yussuf, Kavanagh.
Referee: Michael Bull (Essex).
Latest | February 2016