STAGS HELD BY 10-MAN WREXHAM
Blue Square Bet Premier
Wrexham 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Andrews 37. Mangan sent off 45+1. Connor 18
Attendance: 2505 (133 from Mansfield)
Date: 27 November 2010
Martin Shaw at The Racecourse Ground
Mansfield Town were held 1-1 at Wrexham despite playing the whole second half against 10 men after home striker Andy Mangan had been sent off at the end of the first half. On a tricky surface, with a covering of snow and icy in places, the Stags took the lead after 18 minutes with a fine finish by Paul Connor from an incisive Adam Murray pass. Wrexham were level on 37 minutes from a corner that should never have been given, but the Stags marking was poor as Marvin Andrews headed home. After Mangan was sent off, the Stags dominated the second half and missed a number of chances, with Danny Mitchley missing the best chance after a great run beating two defenders but shooting wide from a great position. At the end of the game, the home fans cheered while Stags players held their heads in their hands.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre.
Wrexham 1-1 Mansfield Town
Evening Post report
MANSFIELD Town missed the opportunity to win a second successive game under caretaker boss Duncan Russell as they were held to a draw by ten-man Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground.
The Stags enjoyed a man advantage for the whole of the second period after Andy Mangan had been sent off in first-half stoppage time.
But they were unable to make the most of their openings, with Danny Mitchley going closest.
Both goals came in the first half, with Paul Connor's opener – his tenth of the season – cancelled out by Marvin Andrews' close-range effort.
Mansfield were almost a goal down inside the first 62 seconds as Jamie Tolley fired home as he made a run into the box but was ruled offside.
The Stags got in the first effort on goal as Mitchley spun and shot wide from distance when he might have been better advised playing the ball out to Smith on the left.
Connor almost put through his own goal from an inswinging free-kick by Dean Keates, but Kevin Pilkington reacted well to save before the Stags scrambled the ball away.
Connor looked to play in strike partner Mitchley soon after but his pass was slightly too hard, allowing keeper Chris Maxwell to clear.
In the 16th minute, Marvin Andrews was given plenty of space to unleash a drive, but it never threatened Pilkington's goal.
But it was the visitors who went in front three minutes later from their first threatening attack.
It was Adam Murray who played a superb threaded pass for Connor, who timed his run to beat the home side's offside trap before picking his spot past Maxwell with a cool finish.
A dangerous Wrexham free-kick was only half-cleared as far as Keates, whose effort was blocked by Rhys Day.
The referee waved away calls for a Wrexham penalty as Gareth Taylor argued he had been impeded challenging for another Keates free-kick.
Mansfield were left complaining bitterly about Wrexham's equaliser in the 37th minute, which came from a left-wing corner they felt should not have been awarded.
From it, Andy Morrell flicked on for Marvin Andrews, whose header found the net despite Mitchley's attempt to clear.
Three minutes before the break, Kevin Sandwith tried his luck from a 30-yard free-kick, which Maxwell was always well behind.
At the other end, Curtis Obeng's deflected cross was headed on target by Mangan, but straight into the arms of Pilkington.
There was a nervy moment for Maxwell when he fumbled a long range Steve Cook shot that trickled just past the post.
In first half stoppage time, Wrexham were reduced to ten men for Mangan's two-footed challenge on Smith.
As the second half got under way, Sandwith had to be alert to prevent Morrell from breaking clear.
Mansfield's response saw Sandwith put Mitchley into space through the left channel but his eventual shot was weak and at Maxwell.
The Stags had a golden chance to go back in front in the 65th minute as Connor flicked into the path of Mitchley, who raced into the box past two men only to screw his left-footed effort inches past the right-hand post.
Mitchley was holding his hands in his head again as he got in a goal-bound header from a Louis Briscoe cross, only for it to strike Andrews just behind him.
Wrexham then had their own perfect opportunity as Simon Grand slipped on the surface, allowing substitute Mathias Pogba to clear, only for the striker to over-run the ball and enable Pilkington to intervene.
As Mansfield had a spell of pressure, the ball broke for Day on the edge of box but he scuffed his shot horribly.
A double substitution saw Luke Medley and Rob Duffy replace Adam Smith and Paul Connor.
Almost immediately, Duffy brought a stop out of Maxwell while Grand drove wide from the follow-up when he might have scored.
Four minutes of stoppage time were added but, in truth, neither side looking like breaking the stalemate.
Wrexham 1 v 1 Mansfield Town, Saturday 27th November
MANAGERLESS Mansfield Town failed to make their man advantage count in the snow in a 1-1 draw at 10-men Wrexham this afternoon.
The Stags at least halted a dreadful run of five straight defeats against the Dragons since relegation from the Football League and, on a slippery, snowbound surface that survived two morning inspections, claimed a decent away point against a Wrexham side who were five games unbeaten.
But, having led through Paul Connor's 10th goal of the season on 19 minutes and with Wrexham goal ace Andy Mangan sent off in first half stoppage time, this still felt like a disappointing result.
Home keeper Chris Maxwell almost spilled a Simon Cook shot into his own net at the end of the first half. And Danny Mitchley and Simon Grand failed to take good second half chances to snatch the win.
But, in the end, Marvin Andrews' 37th minute header proved enough to give the Welshmen a hard-earned point at a freezing cold Racecourse Ground.
It meant Mansfield's caretaker-manager partnership of Duncan Russell and Paul Hall had taken four points of out six.
But in the stands were managerial candidates Dave Penney, Martin Foyle and Jimmy Quinn, all hoping to get the nod for the job from chairman John Radford this week.
Stags switched to 4-4-2 with midfielder Tyrone Thompson left out and non-contract striker Mitchley coming in for a full debut up front alongside Paul Connor.
Kevin Sandwith shook off a virus to keep the left back shirt.
Using a yellow ball on a pitch still covered in snow with footing tricky, Stags kicked off as the sun dropped down behind the main stand.
Stags conceded in the first minute last weekend and found the ball in the back of their net after 62 seconds as Tolley stabbed home only to see an offside flag raised against him.
Wrexham almost caught Stags napping with a quickly-taken free kick but another offside flag saved the visitors.
It was quickly obvious how difficult the conditions were out there with players sliding around and passes and tackles going askew.
Mitchley was wide on the turn from 20 yards with Mansfield's first goal attempt on six minutes.
Murray slid in and looked to have won the ball against Obeng but was lectured by the referee over safety on nine minutes.
Keates sent in the free kick and, in trying to head away, Connor could only send the ball at his own goal and forced Pilkington into evasive action, diving to turn it round to his right for a corner.
Connor's persistence won the Stags a corner soon after but neither flag kick produced anything.
Pilkington ran out his box to clear ahead of the chasing Tolley after Sandwith had given the ball away.
Andrews found himself in plenty of space as Wrexham stretched Stags on 16 minutes but, with the home fans screaming 'shoot' he sliced a finish horribly wide.
But Stags made the breakthrough on 19 minutes. Murray threaded a good pass down the centre to the feet of Connor who was level with the last defender and simply turned and crashed a finish past Maxwell from 15 yards.
Day hacked clear a shot from Keates after a long Tolley free kick reached him, the home fans screaming for handball against Day.
Taylor thought he had been fouled in the box as he tried to head on a Keates free kick but again the referee played on.
The Dragons quickly forced two successive corners, the second of which Stags felt was a goalkick.
And from that corner it was 1-1 on 37 minutes. Morrell headed the corner across the box and Andrews was there to nod home from close range past a helpless Mitchley on the goal line.
Istead saw the game's first yellow card on 40 minutes when he was late in on Obeng.
Three minutes later Sandwith curled a 25 yard free kick straight at Maxwell.
Then an Obeng cross was deflected towards Mangan whose header was also straight at the keeper.
But Cook almost restored Stags' lead in the last minute of the 45. Trying his luck with a low, skidding shot from 30 yards, Maxwell always looked behind it but spilled it as it hit him and watched with relief as it trickled outside the post and not into the net
But there was still time for the home side to be reduced to 10 men.
Mangan went in two-footed on Smith near the halfway line and the referee instantly showed him a red card.
And, despite the home crowd's booing and the Wrexham players' remonstrations with the referee, Stags suddenly had 45 minutes ahead with a man advantage on a lethal surface.
An early Tolley challenge after the break left Murray hobbling.
Then Sandwith produced a timely tackle to halt Morrell as he tried to power his way through for a shot.
Sandwith played a low pass down the left for Mitchley to chase which the striker carried on to the edge of the box and fired in a low shot which Maxwell gathered.
Pogba replaced Taylor up front for Taylor for the Dragons and was immediately tripped as he tried to turn Day, earning the Stags skipper a caution.
A drab second half almost came to life on 65 minutes as Connor's flick to Mitchley saw his young co-striker cut into the box, beat two men but, with only Maxwell to beat, drag his shot wide of the post.
Soon after Briscoe's near post cross found Mitchley who got a head on it only to see Andrews' head divert it wide for a corner.
Grand slipped to give Pogba sight of goal but his control let him down as his heavy touch saw the ball run through to Pilkington.
Smith wrestled down Obeng in full flight to earn a booking on 73 minutes. Soon after Day wasted a half chance with a sliced shot to Maxwell.
With 12 minutes left Stags threw on Medley and Duffy for Connor and Smith and Duffy soon forced a save from Maxwell with Grand turning the follow-up wide with Maxwell at his mercy.
Four minutes were added on at the end but the home side held on for their point, defending well and looking dangerous on the break.
WREXHAM: Maxwell, Obeng, Andrews, Blackburn, Taylor (Pogba 58), Mangan, Morrell, Keates, Sinclair, Tolley (Knight-Percival 78), Creighton. Subs not used: Brown, Williams, Cieslewicz.
STAGS: Pilkington; Cook, Day, Grand, Sandwith; Briscoe, Istead, Murray, A. Smith (Medley 78); Connor (Duffy 78), Mitchley. Subs not used: Collett, Naylor, Stonehouse.
REFEREE: Dean Mohareb of Cheshire.
Russell would be an asset to Stags
Evening Post considered report, by Matt Halfpenny
BILLY McEwan couldn't manage it, nor could Adie Moses and Mark Stallard, and it also eluded the recently-departed David Holdsworth.
So the fact caretaker-manager Duncan Russell was able to steer Mansfield Town to a positive result against Wrexham, something of a bogey team in recent history, is a real feather in his cap.
Since both sides were relegated simultaneously out of the Football League at the end of the 2007-2008 season, they had met five times, four in the Blue Square Bet Premier and once in the FA Trophy.
The Stags lost the lot, but were rarely in danger of extending that unwanted record to six games as they clinched a merited point and could well have earned all three.
It is hard to envisage amiable Russell will land the vacant boss' role full-time, even though he has experienced promotions before on the backroom staffs of MK Dons and Walsall.
Yet the ex-army officer is showing that he would be a useful man for Holdsworth's eventual successor to have at his side.
It's true that in Russell's first game the Stags played under his charge they were largely poor in clinching a scrappy 3-2 victory over Hayes and Yeading, having trailed for much of the game.
But that was less than 48 hours after chairman John Radford's decision to step in and make a change of leadership.
It would have been a difficult task for anyone to come in at such short notice and get the Stags firing, especially with an expectant home crowd demanding both a victory an improved performance against the Londoners.
Still, the team at least got the job done, after Russell had seen sense and switched Mansfield to a 4-4-2 formation. If that display, though, was anything but convincing, things were eminently better at a bitterly cold Racecourse Ground.
Having enjoyed the chance to work with the players for a week, and by keeping the same set-up as they had finished the Hayes and Yeading game, Russell's Stags looked an altogether more convincing outfit this time.
Yes, they were given a sizeable helping hand with the sending off of Andy Mangan, arguably one of Wrexham's better players.
But Mansfield had already showed their capabilities while he was still on the field and were holding their own against Dean Saunders' in-form side.
With a dusting of snow on the playing surface, it was never going to be easy to knock the ball around.
But to their credit – and that of their opponents – the game did not degenerate into the long ball game it could have been.
There were, inevitably, misplaced passes, slips, slides and stutters, yet by and large the players made light of the conditions that, you suspect, would have has some of the Premier League big boys whingeing and whining.
Mansfield's input was to be all the more applauded given the fact the weather had delayed their arrival in North Wales and forced them to cancel their pre-match meal in a hotel.
Instead, it was grab what you can from the service station ahead of a team-talk on the coach.
With Wrexham knowing beforehand a win would have lifted them into the play-off spots on the back of a host of weather postponements, a draw is likely to look a good point come the end of Mansfield's season.
However, there was still tinge of disappointment come full-time because the visitors had the chance to go one better.
Mangan saw red for a two-footed lunge on Smith in first half stoppage time to leave his side in a vulnerable position.
But while Mansfield enjoyed the lion's share of possession and pinned Wrexham back after the break, they failed to capitalise on the openings they forged.
Danny Mitchley – making his first Mansfield start in the only line-up change, Tyrone Thompson giving way – had a golden opportunity to sink the club where he had been previously been on loan.
Yet after a mazy run into the box past two defenders, he screwed his finish agonisingly wide of the right-hand upright.
Simon Grand was also guilty of failing to net when he might, stabbing wide from close range after substitute Rob Duffy's shot had been pushed into his path by diving Red Dragons keeper Chris Maxwell.
Still, the Stags could have lost it too. With the pitch becoming increasingly hard after the sun had gone down, Grand slipped and allowed Mathias Pogba a clear run on goal. Fortunately for Mansfield he overran the ball, allowing Kevin Pilkington to smother.
The two goals had both come in the first half. Mansfield went in front in the 19th minute as Paul Connor grabbed his tenth goal of the season, slotting home coolly from inside the area after Adam Murray's superb threaded pass had split the home defence.
The Wrexham leveller came in the run-up to half-time from a corner the Stags and their fans felt should not have been awarded. Andy Morrell flicked on at the near post for Marvin Andrews to head past Pilkington.
With no further score, both sides could consider themselves happy with the final outcome, though for contrasting reasons.
It's been a strange fortnight for the busy Russell – and he readily admits he could be just days from being unemployed should a newly-appointed manager want a new assistant.
If that is to be his fate, then at least he can walk away with head held high, safe in the knowledge he has done a commendable job for Mansfield at such a challenging time.
Match facts: Wrexham v Mansfield Town
Wrexham: Maxwell, Obeng, Andrews, Creighton, Sinclair, Blackburn, Keates, Tolley (Knight-Percival 79), Morrell, Taylor (Pogba) Mangan. Subs not used: Brown, Williams, Cieslewicz, Knight-Percival.
Mansfield: Pilkington, Cook, Grand, Day, Sandwith, Briscoe, Istead, Murray, Smith (Medley 78), Connor (Duffy 78), Mitchley. Subs not used: Collett, Naylor, Stonehouse.
Referee: Dean Mohareb (Cheshire).
Goals: Wrexham: Andrews (37). Mansfield: Connor (19).
Shots on target: Wrexham 2 Mansfield 5.
Shots off target: Wrexham 3 Mansfield 5.
Fouls: Wrexham 14 Mansfield 11.
Corners: Wrexham 5 Mansfield 6.
Offsides: Wrexham 8 Mansfield 2.
Bookings: Wrexham 2 (Keates, 79, dissent; Blackburn,89, foul on Istead) Mansfield 3 (Istead, 40, foul on Obeng; Day, 59, foul on Pogba; Smith, 74, foul on Obeng).
Sendings off: Wrexham 1 (Mangan 45+1, violent conduct) Mansfield 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Paul Connor. Continues to exude class with his hold up play and unselfish running and notched his tenth goal of the campaign with another excellent finish. Could now do with a settled strike partner to really make Mansfield an attacking force.
Wrexham 1 Mansfield 1
by Mark Currie, Daily Post
ONE week the hero, the next the villain – such is the transient status of Wrexham striker Andy Mangan, whose two-goal haul in his previous outing secured a valuable win over Darlington at the Racecourse.
But on Saturday the rush of blood that earned him a 45th minute sending-off during the equally important clash with promotion rivals Mansfield Town arguably cost the Dragons any chance of back-to-back successes for only the second occasion this season.
Referee Dean Mohareb incurred the wrath of the home crowd by brandishing the red card for a two-footed tackle on Mansfield midfielder Adam Smith, but the match official really had little other choice given that – even without the benefit of hindsight or video replay – it was an unnecessary and reckless challenge at a time when both teams were anticipating the half-time whistle.
In the past criticised by manager Dean Saunders for his antipathy to the physical side of the game, not even Mangan's vow last week to try and become a braver player was mitigation for his folly, particularly on a tricky and treacherous snowbound surface that made life difficult for both sides.
Wrexham, though, overcame the one-man handicap after the break with a resolute defensive display that frustrated their opponents and brought the best out of their fans, who got behind the team and almost willed them to extend their unbeaten run to six matches.
And former Dragons striker Paul Hall, now assistant to Mansfield caretaker boss Duncan Russell, confessed he could not argue with the outcome.
“It's a sweet and sour situation for us because we did well enough to have won,” he said. “But we were pleased with the way we played in the snow against a team who are really in form.
“I thought we were the better team when both sides had 11 men and we came here to try and get the points, but the main thing was that we didn't lose.”
The game's dynamic might have been vastly different had Wrexham not fallen foul of a vigilant linesman just 62 seconds after the kick-off when Mangan's cross was met by Jamie Tolley, who beat veteran goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington, only to have his effort ruled out for offside.
The home side continued to make the running and Mansfield striker Paul Connor was fortunate not to be credited with an own goal in the ninth minute, when his miscued header from a Dean Keates free kick was blocked on the goal-line and scrambled away for a corner.
Looking to get forward at every opportunity, Tolley invited a wall pass from Keates that split the visitors' defence, but he was beaten to the ball by the keeper.
And the Dragons' early confidence was epitomised by the sight of Marvin Andrews striding forward from the back to try his luck with a typical defender's effort that flew closer to the corner flag than the Mansfield goal.
So it was very much against the run of play that the Stags stole into an 18th minute lead, Adam Murray's through pass bisecting Andrews and Mark Creighton to give striker Paul Connor the easiest of tasks to stroke his shot past Chris Maxwell.
But the visitors either chose not, or were unable, to press home their advantage and Wrexham maintained their shape and stuck to their task.
Frank Sinclair saw his goalbound effort from Tolley's free kick blocked and from a similar set-piece, Creighton's header was deflected behind for a corner before the Dragons' persistence was rewarded eight minutes before the interval.
Tolley's flag kick from the left was flicked on at the near post by Andy Morrell and Andrews rose highest in a crowded six-yard box to nod the ball into the net and claim a second goal of the campaign.
Immense though he has proved to be since signing for the Dragons, the former Trinidad international was then true to form in conceding a soft free kick with an unnecessary foul on Danny Mitchley that brought a first meaningful save by Maxwell from Kevin Sandwith.
There could have been a goal at either end in the closing stages of the half with Morrell putting Curtis Obeng clear for a cross met by Mangan, who was unable to get enough power on his header to trouble Pilkington, before Steve Cook saw his shot fumbled by Maxwell who recovered to gather.
And that was as good as it got for the Wrexham striker, who seconds later was on his way to an early bath to leave his team-mates at a distinct disadvantage in what had already proved to be a closely-contested battle.
Mansfield obviously sensed their opportunity and enjoyed the initiative from the restart.
Steven Istead warmed Maxwell's hands, but their best chance of taking the points came and went in the 64th minute.
Former Blackpool striker Danny Mitchley – who was on a month-long loan at the Racecourse towards the back end of last season – skated into the penalty area past Obeng and Andrews, but dragged his shot wide of the goalkeeper's near post.
Maintaining the pressure, the visitors were then denied by Andrews, who diverted a Mitchley header for a corner.
But the home side lifted the siege briefly when a mistake by one-time Wales under-21 international Rhys Day saw substitute Mathias Pogba given a free run on goal that came to nothing due to a combination of poor control and the tricky pitch.
It could have proved costly but for Maxwell, who made a fine 80th minute save from another ex-Dragon, Rob Duffy, and deserved his luck when centre-back Simon Grand sliced the rebound wide of the target.
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