VITAL DRAW FOR STAGS
Yeovil Town 1-1 Mansfield Town
Skiverton 61. Day 79
Stagsnet report currently being written
Match Statistics (Yeovil/Stags)
13 Goal Attempts 7
7 On target 4
5 Off target 2
1 Woodwork 1
5 Corners 6
19 Fouls 17
3 Offside 1
Both managers desperately needed maximum points on their bid for promotion from the third division - but it was the Stags' Keith Curle who went home happier.
He knew defeat would see his team drop out of the play-off places with Yeovil leaping above them - and midway through the second half it looked as though the Somerset team were heading for victory.
In the 62nd minute inspirational home skipper Terry Skiverton moved up to head in a right wing corner. He damaged his back in the process and his presence at the back was missed as Mansfield pressed for an equaliser in the closing stages.
The visitors forced a number of free-kicks on the edge of the box as Yeovil lived dangerously.
In the 71st minute Yeovil keeper Stephen Collis made a magnificent save to keep out Wayne Corden's free-kick but seven minutes later the equaliser arrived.
From another free-kick, this time taken by Liam Lawrence, Collis made another good save. But as he pushed the ball out substitute Chris Beardsley whipped it back into the middle and Rhys Day headed in.
Both teams hit the woodwork in the goalless first half. Neil Mackenzie thundered a 25-yard drive against the Yeovil bar in the 16th minute and on 42 minutes Yeovil's Kevin Gall - without a goal since December - headed against a post from an awkward angle.
The main talking point of the half came on 32 minutes when Gall in the clear, was floored from behind by Bobby Hassell but referee Richard Beeby refused to give want seemed an obvious penalty.
Yeovil manager Gary Johnson, normally an affable character, was asked if he had challenged the referees decisions.
"I wont do that for a week," he said. "I will when I have calmed down - I don't want to have to go before the FA along with Sam Allardyce." His opposite number Keith Curle said: "Sometimes you get those decisions, sometimes you don't. It is just one of those things." The managers agreed it was a excellent advert for the third division and Johnson added: "Although I am disappointed not to get the three points I thought we deserved, I was pleased that we got our form back and we are still in their chasing promotion."
Day snatches Stags precious point for battling Stags
RHYS Day snatched Mansfield Town a precious point as Stags drew 1-1 in their big promotion showdown at Yeovil Town this afternoon.
Stags knew a defeat would see the Glovers, just a point adrift, knock them out of the play-off spots for the first time since the start of the season.
That looked as if it was going to be the case as, after a tight first half, home skipper Terry Skiverton headed Yeovil in front on 62 minutes.
But, in a thrilling second half, Mansfield refused to give up and, after home keeper Stephen Collis had made two heartbreaking saves, up popped Day to head in a glorious equaliser 12 minutes from time.
The point on their first-ever game at Yeovil, preserved the narrow advantage for Stags who now have a fantastic opportunity to build on it with three successive home games.
"That was a good, entertaining game of football when you consider what was at stake," said manager Keith Curle.
"Both teams had their chances and both teams played the sort of football they wanted to play. Overall it was played at the right tempo.
"It was important we came away with something. It would have been a long journey home without a point.
"We now look to be getting back that belief again. Going a goal behind, we know we have a goal in us but, for the last five or six weeks, when we went behind you knew it could be three or four.
"We never lost the spirit from the camp, though. But young players do tighten up sometimes. We never asked them to do anything different, but sometimes they took the easy way out and treated the ball like a hand grenade with the pin out.
"We have had to get them to relax and enjoy their football without becoming sloppy. Success and simplicity go hand in hand.
"I went with five in midfield as I was determined we wouldn't lose the midfield battle today."
Curle was delighted with the second half displays in unaccustomed positions of Bobby Hassell at centre half and Lee Williamson at right back.
Alex John-Baptise complained at the interval of feeling dizzy and sick after a clash of heads.
"Knowing Alex as I do I know he would have stayed out there if he could have done," said Curle. "But he was suffering double vision and I had to replace him. The easy option would have been to put Dave Artell on as a natural central defender.
"But I was a bit worried about the pace of Kevin Gall down the centre for them. I thought it was an accomplished performance by Bobby while Lee is a natural footballer who I feel can play anywhere on the park.
"It was a magnificent goal by Rhys Day as well. He has that aggression in him and wherever the ball is in the air, he wants to win it and get a head on it."
Stags now prepare to face more promotion rivals on Tuesday when Torquay United visit Field Mill.
"It is another massive game,"said Curle. "But they are all massive games at the moment and that is what we are in this business for."
Curle went back to a 4-5-1 formation at Yeovil with Mendes on his own up front and Disley back in the side in midfield. Laurent D'Jaffo missed out with a back injury.
Stags almost made a dream start in the Somerset drizzle as Disley exchanged passes with Lawrence and Mendes before trying to finish from eight yards only to see Lockwood get in the way to concede a corner.
Stags dominated the early exchanges with some neat passing football and Yeovil's frustrations showed when Lockwood clattered Corden from behind and was lucky to escape a card.
Weatherstone got Yeovil's first shot on target on 13 minutes but it was weak from 20 yards and easy for the keeper.
Stags were desperately unlucky on 15 minutes as, after working the ball along the edge of the box through Mendes and Curtis, MacKenzie sidestepped a defender before curling a left footed effort over the keeper but back off the crossbar.
Yeovl's first corner ended with Skiverton heading well over and Lawrence needing treatment after falling awkwardly.
Gall was afforded too much time and space on 23 minutes as he ran from left to right without a challenge before blasting wide of the near post.
Williams warmed Pilkington's hands on 32 minutes when he wriggled into a shooting position in the box.
And Mansfield were very lucky to get away with what looked to be a perfectly goof penalty appeal by the home side seconds later.
Johnson slipped Gall behind the defence and Hassell appeared to shove him over from behind as he bore down on goal.
But the home side were furious when the referee waved play on.
Way and MacKenzie were lectured for some shoving off the ball.
But there was much concern on 40 minutes as Skiverton clashed heads with John-Baptiste and collapsed to the ground out cold.
The nearest players rolled him onto his side and he received attention before bravely getting up and carrying on.
There was another let-off for Mansfield on 42 minutes as Gall headed a far post cross by Johnson against the near post from a tight angle to leave the score deadlocked at 0-0 at the break.
Curle made a surprising change at the break as John-Baptiste was withdrawn with Hassell moving across into the centre of defence and Williamson was brought on to play at right back.
Gall was booked for a foul on Curtis as Stags began the second half strongly.
And Disley had home hearts in mouths as he span well in the box to curl a cross-cum-shot wide of the far post.
Pilkington had to punch away a dangerous in swinging corner from Williams. But Stags broke quickly down the right through Mendes who reached the by-line and drilled the ball across hard and low. Curtis got a touch on it at the near post but Collis was too close for the ball to get past as he smothered it.
Yeovil enjoyed a period of pressure which ended with Way firing a low shot straight at Pilkington.
The chances continued to flow from end to end as Corden pulled his finish well wide after Disley rolled the ball into his path and then a long punt forward almost caught Stags napping as Pilkington raced out his box to head clear just before Gall could capitalise.
It seemed only a matter of time before we had a goal and it arrived seconds later for the home side on 62 minutes.
Johnson sent a corner in from the right and Skiverton guided a header inside the left hand post.
There were more worries amid the home celebrations as Skiverton again stayed down but was back up after treatment to huge applause.
Stags were now up against it and Curle sent on Larkin to partner Mendes, sacrificing Disley from midfield.
Williams went on a powerful run for the home side, forcing Pilkington to save diving to his right from 20 yards.
The bruised and battered Skiverton was withdrawn to a warm ovation on 67 minutes, Lindegaard replacing him.
Yeovil again came close on 70 minutes as Gall crossed low from the right and Jackson saw Pilkington in the way of his close range finish.
Collis pulled off an astonishing save on 72 minutes after Stags had won a free kick on the edge of the box. It looked for all the world like Corden's curler was destined for the top left corner but Collis stretched magnificently to claw it over the bar.
The tiring Mendes was replaced by teenager Beardsley for the last 14 minutes.
He was immediately in the thick of things as he was hacked down by Pluck. Tempers flared briefly and the referee booked Pluck and Lawrence in the aftermath.
Collis again broke Mansfield hearts on 78 minutes when Lawrence drilled a superb 35 yard free kick powerfully at goal only to see Collis throw himself to his left and palm it away.
However, Corden whipped the loose ball back across and Day steamed in to head powerfully into the net and get Stags back on level terms.
Gall should have restored the Glovers' lead within two minutes.
Way found him in space in the box with a square pass and Gall let fly from eight yards only to see Pilkington's fingertips take it wide of the post.
It was breathtaking stuff now as both sides stepped up the hunt for a winner.
Pilkington saved a shot from Lindegaard but couldn't hold on to it. It ran loose for Weatherstone to fire at the unguarded net but Hassell got in the way,
Corden then had a shot deflected just over the at the other end.
Another Yeovil break then saw a scramble in which Lawrence had to bravely blaze over his own bar from close range to concede a corner in the closing stages.
Latest | March 2004