STAGS DENIED VICTORY BY DODGY PENALTY IN 95TH MIN
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Accrington Stanley 1 - 1 Mansfield Town
Naismith pen 90+5. Speight 75.
Attendance: 2092 (662 from Mansfield)
Date: 18 April 2014
Martin Shaw at the Crown Ground
Mansfield Town were denied a fifth consecutive victory by a dodgy penalty in the 95th minute at Accrington this afternoon. The Stags had taken the lead on 75 minutes with a superb goal as magical play from Sam Clucas in beating two men, set up Jake Speight to slam home his first goal of the season from 10 yards, in front of the fabulous travelling support of 662 Mansfield fans. Speight had been denied a goal by an offside flag just two minutes earlier. The Stags looked like holding on for a deserved victory and were within 6 inches of a second goal in the 93rd minute when a goalkeeping clearance from Marcus Bettinelli struck Speight on the backside and ricocheted towards the goal. Just as it looked like it would go in, it hit the base of the post and somehow stayed out. Speight told me afterwards that he thought that if there hadn’t been a bobble in the pitch, it would have gone in. 22 seconds later, Accrington were awarded a penalty. A ball was flicked into the Stags box by Aldred, and Gray and Riley went for the ball, and Gray went down. The referee pointed to the spot. From my position it did not look like a foul by Riley, and having looked at the match DVD, I still think it did not look like a foul. Stags players thought that Gray was offside as well as it not being a foul, but the footage from the match DVD suggests it was onside. Kal Naismith took the penalty and sent it low to the left of Stags keeper Lewis Price who nearly got there. It was the first goal the Stags had conceded for more than 360 minutes. It was desperately disappointing to concede a late equaliser, and one that the Stags did not deserve on the day. Unbelievably that’s the second time Accrington have left the Stags shell-shocked this season, following the game at the One Call Stadium where Mansfield led 2-1 in 93rd minute and managed to lose, having gifted Accrington goals in the 94th and 95th minute. The Stags are 7 points behind the play-offs with 3 games to play and getting into the play-offs looks a very tall order now. Nevertheless while there’s a chance there’s still much to play for against Cheltenham on Easter Monday, and it would certainly be pleasing anyway to attain a top 10 finish. Plenty of good performances from Stags players with the back three of Tafazolli, Riley and Sutton continuing to impress hugely.
The Stags keep up their record on not having lost away from home to a team outside the top 8 positions.
Friday, 18th April 2014: Accrington Stanley 1, Mansfield Town 1
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas
A controversial penalty kick five minutes into added time at the end of the game saw Mansfield Town’s outside hopes of making the play-offs take a huge knock at never-say-die Accrington Stanley this afternoon.
The Stags looked all set to reel off a fifth win on the bounce, thanks to sub Jake Speight’s first goal of the season on 75 minutes.
But referee Richard Clark decided Martin Riley had fouled James Gray and awarded Stanley a spot kick deep into added time from which Kai Naismith made no mistake.
Stags argued Gray was in an offside position before Riley’s challenge.
It had been a tight game on a bobbly late season pitch.
On-loan keeper Lewis Price was called upon to make two fine first half saves, but the Stags had plenty of chances with Speight having one effort disallowed and another chance, when home keeper Marcus Bettenelli cleared against him, bounce back off a post.
Martin Riley also failed to put away a free header from eight yards.
But it seemed like they had done enough when Speight smashed home after great work from fellow sub Sam Clucas.
However, Stags should know it’s never over against Accrington until the end after they netted two stoppage time goals to earn an unlikely 3-2 win at One Call Stadium.
The draw, coupled with other results going against them, left Mansfield 12th and seven points off the play-offs with three games left.
But it did extend their impressive run of away form since Christmas to four wins and five draws from 10 games.
In the bright spring sunshine, roared on by 662 away fans on the terrace behind the goal, Stags were first to threaten from a third minute free kick. Jennings sent it in from the right to the far post where Riley got a foot to it but could only send it well over the bar.
From a half-cleared Hunt long throw, Molyneux had a shot blocked, and soon after he took a theatrical tumble in the box after making contact with Sutton, play waved on and Sutton left waving a finger at his opponent.
A misguided header from Murphy almost sent Rhead away, Bettinelli having to come out of his box to clear.
Hunt was eventually penalised after keeping hold of Jennings on the floor, the pair beginning to wrestle. Hunt was warned and Stags given a free kick, though it came to nothing as the referee spotted pushing.
From a Stags throw into the home box on 19 minutes, Stanley broke quickly through McCartan down the middle, eventually laying a pass into space to his left.
Molyneux closed in on it but before he could shoot, Westlake made a superb tackle to concede a corner and halt the danger.
On 24 minutes a Clements free kick was fisted out by Bettinelli to Daniel 25 yards from goal, who tried to place it back past the keeper with a firm first time effort that wasn’t far wide of its target.
Jennings tried a spectacular overhead kick at the far post with two defenders at his back. It was accurate but the angle was tight and the ball was straight to the keeper.
On 31 minutes McCartan almost provided the breakthrough when he managed to wriggle his way past some half-hearted challenges to get into the box and rifle a low finish that Price superbly blocked with his legs.
Two minutes later Palmer poked a low effort goalwards from 20 yards which Bettinelli saved low to his right, turning it aside for a Mansfield corner.
Then Murray had a shot blocked as he raced into the box following flicks by Rhead and Daniel.
On 37 minutes Daniel caught Hunt late to earn the game’s first yellow card.
Two minutes later Daniel burst onto a loose ball just inside the box and caught it perfectly with a rocket shot that Bettinelli was happy to simply parry.
It was Price’s turn to make the save on 42 minutes as Molyneux played the ball inside him from the right to McCartan, who turned superbly and struck a fine dipping shot that the Palace loanee did well to turn over and keep the first half scoreless.
The ball broke invitingly to Murray just inside the left corner of the home box on 47 minutes, but his low finish was wide of the far post.
Hatfield then tested Price from the tightest of angles on the right, the keeper failing to hold it but getting his body in the way to make sure it stayed out.
Soon after Hatfield showed good feet to cleverly create another half-chance, this time mis-kicking his finish and the ball going tamely to Price.
Westlake was booked on 49 minutes for getting in the way of the home side trying to take a quick free kick.
Stags should have gone ahead on 52 minutes after Clements curled a superb ball in from the right to the far post.
Riley had a free header from eight yards but somehow managed to guide it wide of the far post with the goal gaping.
Stags immediately sent on Clucas for Palmer.
Molyneaux tested Price at his near post from a tight angle, the keeper holding onto it safely.
Hunt was lucky not to be booked for bringing down Clucas in full flight on the sub’s first run, then Clements’ free kick was too near the keeper, who plucked it out of the air.
Stanley forced a corner from which McCartan flicked a header over the bar.
Then Clucas broke into the home box down the right and, with options to his left, tried the shot and could only rattle the sidenetting.
Stags went 4-4-2 with Meikle on for Westlake on the hour.
Daniel did well to control the ball wide on the right and cut inside a couple of defenders before screwing a dreadful shot well wide.
On 66 minutes the home side won a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the D which Molyneux put into the Mansfield wall.
Stanley then won two successive corners which came to nothing as we reached the midway point of the second half with the deadlock still intact.
Clucas put a great cross in from the left of the box on 71 minutes which picked out Clements at the far post where he chose to volley his finish and smashed it wide of the target.
Mansfield did have the ball in the home net on 73 minutes, Speight tucking home at the far post after Meikle had sent Jennings to the left by-line to cross hard and low. But celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
But two minutes later Speight did break the deadlock.
Clucas was the architect as he dragged two defenders out right and then cut inside them both before cueing up Speight for a superb rising finish at the near post that gave Bettenelli no chance.
The home side made a double change 12 minutes from time.
Joyce wasn’t far wide as he got a 30-yard free kick up and over the wall as Accrington pressed for an equaliser.
Another free kick into the box saw the ball bounce worryingly until Price took control and grabbed it bravely at the feet of Gray.
Riley was in the way of a thumping Naismith drive, then Price punched away a Mingoia corner.
Jennings was shown a yellow card for bringing down Naismith just outside the box on the right with a minute to go on the watch.
It was cleared back out to Naismith who cut inside a challenge but dragged a disappointing low shot wide of the near post as we entered four minutes of stoppage time.
Three minutes into that, Speight closed the keeper down as he tried to kick clear and got in a block that saw the ball spin back towards the empty goal and it hit the base of the post.
How Mansfield could have done with that goal as Accrington levelled with almost the last kick of the game.
As the ball was pumped back into the Stags box, Riley was adjudged to have fouled Gray and the referee pointed to the spot.
Riley and the defenders were furious as they felt the player had been well offside, but Naismith kept his calm with 95 minutes on the watch and stroked home a low spot kick under the dive of Price, who had guessed right to his left but couldn’t quite get there.
There was still time for Mansfield to get the ball into the home box, but once Bettenelli had grabbed it, the whistle blew and two precious points had been spilled.
ACCRINGTON: Bettinelli, Murphy, Liddle, Joyce, Aldred, Winnard, McCartan (Gray 65), Hatfield (Naismith 78), Molyneux (Mingoia 78), Hunt, Odejayi. Subs not used: Webber, Windass, Buxton, Atkinson
STAGS: Price; Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli; Westlake (Meikle 60), Murray, Daniel (Speight 70), Clements, Jennings; Rhead, Palmer (Clucas 52). Subs not used: Dempster, Briscoe, Stevenson, Howell.
REFEREE: Richard Clark of Northumberland.
ATTENDANCE: 2,092 (662 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Tafazolli.
Accrington Stanley 1 Mansfield Town 1: Match report
Nottingham Post report by Sarah Clapson
WHAT is it with Accrington Stanley and late goals against Mansfield Town?
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Accrington-Stanley-0-Mansfield-Town-1-Match/story-20980271-detail/story.html#ixzz2zMibdmTg
Just when the Stags thought they’d made it five victories in a row, just when they thought a play-off push might truly be on, it was frustration and heartbreak all over again at the storefirst.com stadium.
James Beattie’s men snatched the points with a couple of late efforts in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, and history repeated itself as they rescued a draw right at the death.
It was tough on Paul Cox’s team, who showed the same kind of resolve that had taken them to within a Ryan Tafazolli kick of the top seven.
Making that step looks unlikely now, but Mansfield’s rise up the table has been built on grit and determination, a solid defence and hard work from front to back - and those same qualities were on display against Accrington.
The hosts edged possession in the first half, but the Stags stood firm. The physical presence of Kayode Odejayi was nullified, the clearances well timed and the saves from Crystal Palace loanee Lewis Price superb.
Darryl Westlake proved important interventions can come from anywhere across the pitch as he made a fantastic tackle in the 19th minute.
Stanley had looked to hit their visitors on the counter-attack as Shay McCartan threaded the ball through for Lee Molyneux. But with the front man free in the box, Westlake raced across and averted the danger.
Adam Murray had blocked Will Hatfield’s effort shortly before and, as the half wore on, Price was required to show his class on more than one occasion.
Just past the half hour, McCartan twisted and turned his way through the Stags back line and drilled the ball goalwards - Price’s legs denying Accrington an opener.
Cox’s men had dug in during the opening stages, but with neither side able to find any fluency, it was hard going, at times, up front.
Martin Riley had put James Jennings’ free-kick over the bar in the first few minutes and Colin Daniel had fired wide from 25 yards after Chris Clements’ set-piece had been only partially cleared.
For the most part though, home keeper Marcus Bettinelli enjoyed a relatively comfortable first half. He easily caught a speculative overhead kick from Jennings, following Matt Rhead’s header on from Murray’s cross, and diverted Ollie Palmer’s low shot beyond his post.
The one time Bettinelli’s blood pressure was really raised came five minutes before the break.
Daniel struck the ball with great venom from almost on the penalty spot, but his effort was straight at the Stanley stopper, who showed great reactions to beat it away.
Anything he could do, Price proved he can do too, making a fine save to deny Peter Murphy on the turn just before the interval.
Mansfield made the brighter start after the break, but still they struggled to break their opponents down - a Murray strike and a Riley header causing few problems.
Cox quickly brought on fresh legs in the form of Sam Clucas and the winger took the opportunity to run at the Reds, though could only find the side-netting when carving out space for himself on the right-hand side of the box.
Clements found himself in a similar position midway through the half, but a rush of blood saw him snatch at the volley and put it well wide, following good work by Clucas.
Slowly but surely, the Stags were starting to find their feet and build up a head of steam - benefiting once again from a switch to 4-4-2 and some inspired changes from the bench.
They thought they had grabbed the winner with less than 20 minutes to go when substitute Jake Speight finished off Jennings’ cross, but the assistant referee’s flag quickly ended the celebrations.
Still, Speight didn’t have to wait long for his first of the season for the club.
Both he and Clucas had looked lively since their introductions and they combined with 75 minutes gone - the former working his magic to dance through the defence and his team-mate capping the move with a brilliant finish from close range.
After a season which has been blighted by a persistent knee problem, it was a moment to savour for Speight.
The final quarter of an hour was not without its scares - Accrington trying to beat their visitors at their own game by applying pressure from set-pieces as they pressed for an equaliser.
Price, however, was coolness personified in between the posts, and his composure rubbed off on those in front of him, with some sterling performances from those in blue.
Victory was no less than they deserved, but Accrington seem to have the measure of Mansfield when it comes to last minute strikes.
Referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot following Riley’s challenge on James Gray and though Price went the right way from Kai Naismith’s penalty, there was no keeping it out.
Man of the match: Ryan Tafazolli: Has been one of the Stags’ most consistent players this season, and put in another outstanding performance. Covered more ground than seemed humanly possible and made some fine clearances.
Ref watch: Richard Clark (Northumberland): Stags felt an offside flag should have gone up when James Gray went down for the penalty, but that aside, there were few complaints about the actual decision. A few questionable free-kicks given, but overall, not a bad game by the referee.
Accrington: Bettinelli; Hunt, Winnard, Aldred, Liddle, Hatfield (Naismith 78), Murphy, Joyce, Molyneux (Mingoia 78), Odejayi, McCartan (Gray 65). Subs not used: Webber, Windass, Buxton, Atkinson.
Mansfield: Price; Tafazolli, Riley, Sutton, Westlake (Meikle 60), Clements, Murray, Daniel (Speight 70), Jennings, Rhead, Palmer (Clucas 52). Subs not used: Dempster, Briscoe, Stevenson, Howell.
Attendance: 2,092 (662 away).
Stanley secure late leveller
Mansfield Town must be sick of the sight of Kal Naismith. After scoring twice in a 3-2 win at Field Mill in December, the Scot popped up with another stoppage time strike to deny the Stags a win at the Store First Stadium.
Naismith kept his cool to despatch a 94th minute penalty and cancel out a Jake Speight goal to give Stanley a share of the spoils.
A tight game between two wholehearted sides with contrasting styles saw opportunities for both teams with Martin Riley nodding over early on for the visitors before Lee Molyneux was first denied a penalty and then thwarted by a last ditch tackle at the other end.
Mansfield goalkeeper Lewis Price made the first meaningful save of the game, getting down well to block a low Shay McCartan drive with his legs just past the half hour mark.
But Marcus Bettinelli was required to reply in kind, turning an Oliver Palmer shot round the post before blocking excellently from Matt Rhead.
Price made it two fine saves apiece before the break when he prevented Peter Murphy from netting his 10th goal of the season.
The Stanley midfielder flicked the ball into the air and smashed it goalwards with his left foot forcing the on loan goalkeeper to turn the ball over the bar at full stretch.
The second half continued in a similar vein with Mansfield’s direct style bring them some joy and Stanley trying to get the ball down and play. Adam Murray shot wide and Riley headed off target either side of Price keeping out a strike from Will Hatfield.
Buoyed by a late goal at York Shay McCartan headed a corner over at the near post before visiting sub Sam Clucas shot into the side netting.
Another one of Paul Cox’s subs, Speight, then had the ball in the net but saw the effort ruled out for offside.
Moments later there was no such reprieve. Clucas can take much of the credit for the goal, beating two men on the right and crossing for Speight to smash home from six yards.
Stanley battled for a way back into the game but could only muster a free kick wide from Luke Joyce and an effort scuffed off target by Naismith following his introduction in place of Hatfield.
They were handed a reprieve when a blocked clearance flew beyond a stranded Bettinelli and struck the base of the post and when four minutes of stoppage time went up there was hope around the ground of another late show.
Auxiliary centre forward Tom Aldred flicked the ball over his own head into the box with time disappearing and James Gray was clear favourite to get their first only to be stopped by an errant Mansfield arm.
Referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot and despite a lengthy delay Naismith was calmness personified to stroke home his 10th goal of the season.
Unlike in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season the Reds couldn’t manage a winner in the dying seconds but Naismith’s key contribution ensured they banked another point into their safety total.
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