TEN MAN STAGS EARN POINT IN SEARING HEAT
Blue Square Bet Premier
Forest Green Rovers 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Forbes 41. Dyer 18 seconds. Howell sent off 45
Attendance: 893 (241 from Mansfield).
Date: 1 October 2011
Martin Shaw at the New Lawn
Mansfield Town had to play 45 minutes with ten men in 30 degrees of heat at the New Lawn this afternoon, and came away with a hard-earned point. The Stags took the lead after 18 seconds with a terrific finish from Ross Dyer, against his former club. The Stags were very much on top for the opening half hour. Forest Green equalised out of the blue on 41 minutes through Forbes, and should have gone ahead through Norwood who fired wide from a good position two minutes later. But on 45 minutes, Anthony Howell went in for a crunching challenge just outside the Forest Green box, and the referee immediately produced a red card. Opinion was split in the press box as to whether it should have been a red card or yellow card. Opinion was also split in the Mansfield camp as manager Paul Cox admitted after the game he thought it should have been a red card, whereas captain Adam Murray did not think it should have been a red. However viewing of the video (the camera was on the opposite side of the ground) suggests the red card was justified. In the second half, the Stags fought bravely and actually had the better chances to win the game as Riley and Murray had chances cleared off the line, Dyer headed against the bar, and Green appeared to be brought down in the box and the referee actually put his whistle to his lips but changed his mind as he was about to blow. Forest Green in contrast did not properly test Marriott in the second half. So a well-earned point, and one you fancy we would not have got under recent previous managers.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre
Man of the Match: Ross Dyer
Forest Green Rovers 1 Mansfield Town 1, Saturday 1st October
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
AFTER having Anthony Howell sent off in the last minute of the first half, gutsy Mansfield Town left the sun-drenched New Lawn with a hard-earned point on Saturday afternoon after a 1-1 draw.
Chasing a fifth away win on the trot, the Stags couldn't have a better start in the unseasonal searing heat as Ross Dyer marked his return to his old club with a goal after only 17 seconds.
It seemed like a stroll in the sunshine for the Stags for much of that first half as they looked in complete control.
But it all fell apart in the last four minutes of the half as Kieron Forbes levelled against the run of play and then Howell was dismissed for showing studs in his tackle on Forbes – Mansfield's third red card in as many games.
With temperatures at pitch level over 30 degrees, being a man down was the last thing Stags wanted and a gruelling second half lay ahead.
However, Stags refused to settle for a point, despite Rovers' numerical advantage, and the visitors pushed Ross Dyer up from his midfield slot in the 4-5-1 formation to partner Matt Green in a 4-3-2.
And it almost paid off as Dyer rattled the woodwork and Stags created the better chances in an heroic second half for Paul Cox's men.
Ex-Forest Green striker Dyer made the perfect return to his former club with an exquisite goal after just 17 seconds.
O'Neill took the ball over the halfway line on the right and threaded a firm pas to Murray 20 yards from goal whose deft flick over the defence allowed Dyer to race onto it on the right of the box and drill a low finish beyond a helpless Bittner.
Green had to let a Dyer through ball run past him as he was offside, but O'Neill kept running which almost caught the Rovers defence napping, Bittner having to come quickly off his line to smother.
The visitors came close again on nine minutes as O'Neill whipped the game's first corner in from the left and the keeper came and missed it, the ball hanging dangerously in the six yard box before the home side hooked clear.
Rovers' first threat came from a quickly-taken free kick that sent Thomson away down the left only to see his low effort well wide from a narrow angle.
Riley was wide at the other end with a diving header from Kendrick's right wing free kick on 15 minutes.
Then Griffin was high and wide after Todd had been dispossessed 30 yards from goal.
A short pass by Green saw Rovers begin to break quickly. But Worthington refused to give up and, failing to make the first tackle, chased Klukowski and finally superbly robbed him 35 yard from goal.
On a scorching afternoon Mansfield were letting the ball do the work with some accurate, crisp passing.
But Forest Green forced their first corner on 34 minutes which Marriott initially dropped but quickly recovered to grab at the second attempt.
Two minutes later Forbes was booked for catching Murray late which saw both sides head to the dug-outs for liquid refreshment.
However, the home side somehow found themselves level out of the blue on 41 minutes. Forbes played a one-two on the right of the box and hooked a finish past Marriott.
Clearly lifted, Forbes went on another run a minute later which ended with a low 20 yard finish flashing just wide of the far post.
Stags were rocking as Thomson skipped past opponents to the by-line before pulling back an inviting low ball to Norwood who tried to place a sidefooted finish but sent it wide of the far post.
Mansfield's afternoon got worse in the last minute of the half and Howell went in late and with studs showing on Forbes and the red card was out almost instantly.
Within 15 seconds of the restart, Worthington was yellow-carded for his late challenge on Forbes.
Stokes was well over from 30 yards in Rovers' first real effort of the half.
Bolland replaced Todd in the Stags midfield on 52 minutes, Dyer pushing up front to help Green in the gruelling weather.
The energy of O'Neill got him forward again, taking a return pass from Green to fire in a low shot at the keeper.
But Rowe twice came close inside a minute, Worthington blocking his first effort and then, when Stags failed to clear, Marriott down to block his next shot.
Kendrick almost set Green free down the centre but Bittner had left his box to get there first.
The new formation was working much better for Stags and on 63 minutes, from a right wing corner, but Dyer and Murray were denied by a Forbes goal line clearance and then a Bittner save.
At the other end Norwood zipped a shot just over the bar from 25 yards.
The home side made a double change on 67 minutes for fresh legs in pursuit of a winner, Taylor and McDonald replacing Thompson and Griffin.
Another good Stags move on 71 minutes saw Green's finish deflect up and over from Murray's pass for the first of two corners, the second of which saw Dyer's header hit the far angle.
Marriott gatheredRowe's dangerous low cross from the right anf then the referee refused Gren;s calls for a penalty as he went down in the home box as we entered the final 12 minutes
On 82 minutes Forbes was just wide of the far post after cutting in from the left.
Looking for a winner, Stags changed their front two for the last seven minutes, Connor and Meikle forming the new pairing.
Rovers forced a corner in the last of three added minutes which O'Neill saw off with a diving header.
Once Hodgkiss brought down Meikle as Mansfield counter-attacked, shown a yellow card, the pressure was finally off Stags as they took a hard-earned point.
The Stags defence had showed two enforced changes with Tom Naylor and Ben Futcher joining Louis Briscoe on the suspended list after the midweek win at Wrexham, Joe Kendrick returned at left back and Martin Riley in the centre.
Otherwise the side was unchanged, though Rhys Day came into the 16 on the bench for the first time this season.
FOREST GREEN: Bittner, Hodgkiss, Stokes, Turley, Norwood (Allen 81), Klukowski, Griffin (Taylor 67), Forbes , Graham, Rowe, Thomson (McDonald 67). Subs not used: Turk, Imudia.
STAGS: Marriott; O'Neill, Sutton, Riley, Kendrick; Worthington, Murray, Howell; Todd (Bolland 52), Green (Connor 83), Dyer (Meikle 83). Subs not used: Day, Redmond.
REFEREE: Andy Davies of Hampshire.
ATTENDANCE: 893 (241 away).
Full-time: Forest Green Rovers 1 Mansfield Town 1
Nottingham Post report by Matt Halfpenny
TEN-MAN Mansfield Town battled to a hard-earned point at a sun-drenched Forest Green Rovers this afternoon – but could have taken all three.
The Stags looked to have blown their chances as first Kieran Forbes levelled Ross Dyer's early strike against his old club and then Anthony Howell was dismissed late in the first half for a rash challenge.
But manager Paul Cox chose to keep two men up front in the second period and with better finishing or a little more fortune could have recorded their fifth straight away win.
Even so, a share of the spoils was a pleasing outcome for the Stags following their midweek success at Wrexham.
Mansfield made two enforced changes, with defenders Tom Naylor and Ben Futcher both suspended.
Joe Kendrick was recalled at left-back with Luke O'Neill switching back to right back.
Martin Riley was drafted in for his first start since the 3-0 home win over Kettering.
On the bench there was a welcome return for Rhys Day who has yet to figure this season after knee and calf injuries.
Forest Green handed a full debut to Jake Thomson, on loan from Kettering.
Incredibly, the Stags went in front after just 17 seconds with what must have been one of, if not the, fastest goal of the day.
Luke O'Neill played a crisp pass in for Adam Murray, whose first time flick over the defence found Dyer on the run and he lashed in a first-time angled volley from the right-hand side of the box, 12 yards out.
James Bittner did well to come off his line and claim at the feet of O'Neill as he chased a through ball from Dyer with Mansfield looking to double their lead.
Soon after the Stags won a corner and as Bittner failed to claim it, his team-mates had to scramble the ball away with Andy Todd lurking.
Mansfield then won a free-kick on the right-hand side when Matt Green was fouled and as Kendrick whipped in a testing centre, Martin Riley got there but could not steer his diving header on target.
At the other end, Charlie Griffin collected Jared Hodgkiss' pass only to power over the top from just outside the box.
Jon Worthington tracked back superbly to tackle Yan Klukowski after himself surrendering possession with the Stags on the attack.
But Forest Green drew level five minutes before the break as Forbes played a neat one-two and somehow squeezed a finish past Alan Marriott at his near post from a tight angle.
That lifted the hosts as Forbes blazed wide before Thomson teed up James Norwood, who dragged a low shot past the left-hand upright when he should have done better.
Mansfield suffered a hammer blow in the final minute of regulation time in the first half when Howell was sent off.
He lunged into a tackle two footed on Kieran Forbes and was instantly shown a red card by referee Andy Davies, right in front of the referee.
As Mansfield were pinned back in the early stages of the second half, a tactical reshuffle saw Andy Todd taken off and Paul Bolland introduced.
But it did not stop Forest Green doing most of the attacking and Marriott saved James Rowe's powerful low drive.
However, the Stags went close to going back in front following O'Neill's free-kick when a close range effort from Riley was blocked on the line by Forbes before Bittner denied Murray from the follow-up.
Norwood then cut in from the left only to blast well over the top with an ambitious effort.
But Mansfield were not spent as an attacking force and Green saw his shot deflected over the top after Murray's neat lay-off.
And from the second of two resulting corners, Dyer headed against the far angle from O'Neill's near post delivery.
The Stags had appeals for a penalty waved away as the game entered the last quarter as Green went down in the box under challenge from ex-Stag Luke Graham.
As Rovers went in search of a winner, Forbes was not too far away with a daisy cutter that went wide but had Marriott scrambling.
But there were few opportunities in the closing minutes as Mansfield remained watertight at the back
Ten-man Stags show their cool in record heat to earn a point
Nottingham Post considered report by Matt Halfpenny
IT felt more like Florida than Forest Green; more Maracana than New Lawn. Yet in the sizzling, record-high October heat, Mansfield Town did a better job than most of keeping their cool.
After a red-hot start, there was a very real danger of things unraveling in the lead up to half-time for the Stags as they conceded an equaliser and then had a player sent off for the third game running – this time midfielder Anthony Howell. But in their latest demonstration that this season the team has a great deal more bottle and fight, they did not melt away.
In fact, though Forest Green predictably bossed possession in the second period, it was Mansfield who created the clear-cut chances and went closest to grabbing a winner.
It was a game that would almost have certainly been lost in campaigns past.
But there's no denying that there is a growing bond and spirit among this bunch of players that ensured they put everything in under the 30 degree sun to turn around a seemingly lost cause.
Mansfield's point saw them slide down three places in a bunched Blue Square Bet Premier table to eighth.
But two sides – York and Luton – are only above them on goal difference and it kept them in the pack chasing leaders Gateshead, who have a four-point lead over Paul Cox's side.
The draw was, remarkably, the Stags' fifth 1-1 stalemate of 2011-12. Unlike the other four, though, this definitely felt like a point gained, rather than two lost.
And while converting a couple of those stalemates into wins would have really seen them up there at the business end of the table, two defeats in 13 games points to a consistency that bodes well for the months to come.
What's more, they have achieved that despite the absence of key personnel through injuries and suspensions, highlighting the value of what appears to be a strong squad.
More changes were enforced on Saturday, with Tom Naylor and Ben Futcher serving bans for respectively being sent off and picking up five bookings in the 3-1 win at Wrexham.
It meant Joe Kedrick was recalled at left-back after missing out at the Racecourse Ground, Luke O'Neill switching back to the other flank and Martin Riley returning.
Before they had even been tested, and most of the Forest Green side had touched the ball, Mansfield streaked in front after just 17 seconds.
Ritchie Sutton's header found O'Neill, whose pass to skipper Adam Murray was flicked up and over the home defence for Ross Dyer.
The former Forest Green player still had plenty to do as he chased the bouncing ball into the right-hand side of the area, but lashed home an unstoppable angled volley from around 12 yards that gave James Bittner no chance.
Rovers were clearly shell-shocked and it seemed only a matter of time before Mansfield would double their advantage, with Andy Todd not too far away after a scramble from Kendrick's corner.
But as the half went on, the Stags took their foot off the pedal a little and allowed David Hockaday's side to work their way back into the game.
They began asking questions of the visitors with half-time approaching and their reward, eventually, was an equaliser.
Kieran Forbes took a return pass and from the tightest of angles his finish beat Alan Marriott at his near post.
When the final minute of the first half saw Howell rightly shown red for appearing to jump in with two feet on Forbes, the conjecture at half-time from a Mansfield point of view was all about how they would cope being a player down.
The answer was, the odd scare aside, pretty well. What really helped their cause was a reshuffle after 52 minutes from 4-4-1 to 4-3-2 which saw Paul Bolland introduced for Todd and Dyer pushed up alongside Matt Green as a second central striker.
The effect was that the Stags had an attacking outlet that helped relieve the pressure and could also have yielded a crucial second goal.
A melee following a Joe Kendrick free-kick saw Riley's shot cleared off the line by Forbes, while Bittner was alert to push away the rebound.
Dyer was unlucky when his header from O'Neill's near post corner from the left struck the angle of post and bar.
Mansfield felt they should have had a penalty when Green went down in the box under a challenge from Luke Graham.
At the other end, Alan Marriott was forced into one good save from James Rowe while James Norwood shot wide from a decent position.
But it was largely comfortable for the defiant Stags who made it a welcome haul of four points from two away games inside five days.
Come this weekend and the visit of Grimsby, the temperature could be ten or even 15 degrees lower, once the current Indian summer has passed.
Whatever the weather, though, you fancy Mansfield will be determined not to be left in the shade
Forest Green 1 Mansfield Town 1 - full time
thisisgloucestershire.co.uk, by Pete Orchard
TEN-man Mansfield forced Forest Green to settle for a third straight 1-1 draw in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Rovers old boy Ross Dyer put the visitors in front from the game's first attack, a lead cancelled out on 41 minutes by Kieron Forbes.
The Stags' Anthony Howell was sent off on the stroke of the interval for a studs-first lunge on Forbes, leaving his team-mates to roll up their sleeves in the sweltering heat and pouch a deserved point.
It took precisely 20 seconds for Dyer to remind Dave Hockaday of his poaching instincts, as Luke O'Neil's lofted pass was flicked on to the big striker and he finished clinically past James Bittner into the bottom corner.
The leveller came when Forbes orchestrated a brilliant one-two with Yan Klukowski and burst into the Stags' area for an angled shot that left Alan Marriott helpless.
The visitors' cause worsened considerably in the final minute of the first half when Howell went over the top of the ball to challenge Forbes and was instantly shown the red card by referee Andy Davies.
Marriott was called upon again on 56 minutes, blocking a James Rowe shot with his legs, but again Mansfield responded with an O'Neil free-kick which created a melee in the six-yard box and ended with Dyer's shot cleared off the line by Jamie Turley.
The Stags were giving as good as they got, as Matt Green saw a prodded attempt deflect over and Dyer's flicked header from the subsequent corner came back off the far post.
But Forbes was still the game's orchestrator, and he had Marriott scrambling with another drive that just missed the upright.
Forest Green: Bittner; Hodgkiss, Turley, Graham, Stokes; Klukowski, Forbes, Rowe; Griffin (Taylor 67), Thomson (McDonald 67), Norwood (Allen 81); Subs not used: Imudia, Turk
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