STAGS HELD AFTER TAKING THE LEAD
Wrexham 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Proctor 70 M.Boulding 53
Attendance: 4865 (303 from Mansfield)
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn
BOTTOM TWO SHARE SPOILS
Wrexham 1 Mansfield Town 1
The Stags critical relegation showdown with fellow League Two strugglers, Wrexham ended all-square leaving both sides still very much deep in trouble.
The fixture, played at Wrexham, amongst the fervour of St David's Day typified the lowly league positions of both sides with Micky Boulding's fortunate deflected goal being cancelled out by Proctor's well struck free kick equaliser to leave both sides with a point and frustratingly looking above them for results of the other sides involved in the battle for League survival.
Stags made just one change to the sixteen that had drawn in midweek at home to Bury with Dan Martin being included at the expense of McAliskey.
It was a nervy start by both sides, with the expected urgent rush from the fired up Red Dragons never really materialising as Mansfield, without being too effective in the last third, did their best to dampen the enthusiasm of the passionate home support.
The closest either side came in a disappointing first 15 minutes was when Mullins dragged a shot well wide from a Hamshaw free kick.
Wrexham, on a terrible run of form tried to respond and Spann was desperately trying to orchestrate things from the centre of midfield, however try as he might, he would have been better giving his services to the brass band that greeted both teams to the field of play. The frustration could be heard all around the ground as both sides struggled to have any effect on the field of play that would hurt the opposition.
As usual with The Stags this troubled season, the approach work was good on the eye and at times the side passed their way through their opponents with ease, however time after time, Stags failed in their quest to find the final killing pass and Wrexham were not much better.
On the 20th minute mark, Whitley twice fired in at the Stags goal and won his side a corner on each occasion, however from the 2nd Broughton headed powerfully over.
Two minutes later and it seemed as if the game had come alive when a good move involving Jelleyman, Atkinson and Boulding resulted in Jelleyman getting into the area and having an opportunity of testing the keeper, unfortunately his shot was tame and the keeper saved with ease. Almost immediately, Llewellyn fired in at Muggleton who held the low shot safely.
The best move of the first half ended in frustration for Mansfield. Atkinson worked well with D'Laryea but when it looked like the Stags midfielder would have a pop at goal, he laid the ball off to Briggs, who also hesitated when he should have shot, and instead played a poor ball into touch whilst trying to feed Hamshaw.
Stags were trying to fashion chances and their approach play promised much, but delivered little. Wrexham in the meantime looked truly awful.
The home side then began to get a little foot-hold on the game as it lumbered towards the half time break with both Llewellyn and Spann shooting well wide from distance. The closest they came was from a 20 yard free kick by Spann which was inch perfect for Proctor, but the experienced Wrexham striker was obviously playing low on confidence and failed to make any real contact.
Matty Hamshaw had been unwell all week and was replaced by Arnold at the start of the 2nd period. Stags leading striker, Micky Boulding seized on a poor clearance from Williams and although looking to be pulled back a little, managed to get off a shot towards goal.
Wrexham then had a great chance when the ball wasn't cleared well by the Stags back four enabling Proctor to hook the ball towards goal, however it landed safely in the arms of Muggleton.
On 53 minutes though, the goal the game had been crying out for came and fortunately it came for The Stags. A move forward found Briggs with time and space to set himself up for a shot from distance, he unleashed his effort which then took a wicked deflection off of Micky Boulding enabling the striker to claim his 20th goal of the season.
The celebrations were wild and long from the visitors whereas the home sides head visibly dropped.
However they came straight at the Stags and Muggleton had to be at his best to tip over a powerful drive by Llewellyn to win a series of three corners. The last of which saw Williams fired off target from 15 yards.
With 30 minutes to go Wrexham made several changes as they desperately tried to get back into the game. Spann then shot well wide from distance to bring load groans from the frustrated home faithful.
On 65 minutes Atkinson worked well with Briggs before shooting powerfully wide of goal as it looked only a matter of time before Stags grabbed a second and what would have been game killing 2nd goal.
Briggs again tried from distance and his effort wasn't too wide of the mark. Then Boulding and Arnold set up Louis for a blistering drive.
The season long feeling though that Stags had not quite done enough to kill their opponents came to the fore as Wood was penalised for a foul just on the edge of the D. Proctor drilled in the low free kick into the bottom corner to cause the home fans to finally find their voice.
Stags responded and a fine run by Atkinson freed up Boulding but the Wrexham keeper just reached the ball and the danger was passed.
Louis then flicked the ball into the path of Boulding who set off on a mazy run into the Wrexham box. Desperate tackles flew in and Wrexham eventually crowded him out and conceded a corner.
Stags were finishing the stronger and creating chances. Arnold shot narrowly wide then Boulding was inches away from a solid contact on a fine clipped ball through from Briggs.
The final few minutes saw Wrexham push forward to try and capitalize on several poor clearances from Muggleton, but to no avail as the final whistle blew the sound of frustration created the players.
In a vital game for both sides, each had to settle for a share in the spoils. For Stags it was a game where a point was gained for the home side though, a feeling of inevitability seemed to be in the air.
Wrexham 1-1 Mansfield
Michael Proctor rescued a point for Wrexham in their bottom-of-the-table clash with Mansfield at the Racecourse.
Mansfield took the lead when Keith Briggs' long shot deflected off Michael Boulding to wrong-foot goalkeeper Gavin Ward eight minutes after half-time.
Wrexham battled back and Proctor beat Carl Muggleton with a low 70th-minute free-kick that evaded the keeper.
A draw was little use for either side, but the news that Macclesfield above them were also held offered some hope.
Latest | March 2008