GOALLESS AT FIELD MILL
Mansfield Town 0 Brentford 0
Att. 3,735 (129 from Brentford)
Match Statistics (Stags/Bees)
12 Goal Attempts 6
6 On target 3
6 Off target 3
0 Woodwork 0 (comment : Andy White hit the post)
8 Corners 3
13 Fouls 12
3 Offside 3
Chances galore went begging as both sides mastered the treacherous conditions but had to settle for a point.
On a frozen snow-covered pitch Mansfield squandered the clearer chances at the start of each half to claim their first home win of 2003 and ease their relegation fears.
But as Brentford finished the stronger, striker Rowan Vine twice went close to pinching a late winner to kickstart the Bees' play-off hopes. Vine twice sprung the offside trap in the final 15 minutes, but first lobbed tamely at the keeper and then with just Kevin Pilkington to beat he fired wide.
The Stags had brought in Preston full-back Adam Eaton just a few hours after he started his second loan spell at the club.
And the home side should have got off to the perfect start. In the third minute a mistake by Michael Dobson allowed Wayne Corden to cross from the left and when the ball fell kindly to the unmarked Liam Lawrence at the far post he skied his shot.
Two minutes later Andy White squandered an even better chance, heading a Junior Mendes right-wing cross wide from close range with the goal at his mercy.
Brentford always looked dangerous on the break and Vine's crisp shot was well saved by Pilkington before the keeper then raced across his goal-line to hang on to a curling free-kick from Stephen Hunt.
The home side again wasted a clear chance when Tom Curtis rounded keeper Paul Smith, only for Scott Marshall to head his cross off the line as White threatened to score.
But the home side lived dangerously at the other end when Hunt charged down Pilkington's clearance, before Matt Gadsby scrambled the loose ball to safety.
A minute into the second half, Mansfield's new Â£20,000 signing Mendes almost marked his home debut with a goal, only for his final shot to be acrobatically tipped around the post by the diving Smith.
Missed chances cost Stags in goalless stalemate
BATTLING Mansfield braved the icy conditions at Arctic Field Mill last night to carve out a priceless point from a 0-0 draw in their fight against relegation.
But the Stags, who mastered the treacherous pitch from the kick-off, were left ruing missed chances at the start of each half, as they failed to find their first home win of 2003.
In the opening five minutes Liam Lawrence and Andy White both squandered gilt-edged chances, and then at the start of the second half home debutant Junior Mendez and Lee Williamson also went close.
Stags boss Keith Curle sprang a surprise before the kick-off, recalling Williamson in place of Craig Disley in the heart of the midfield.
As expected, full back Adam Eaton also started after his last minute loan switch, replacing Bobby Hassell who dropped to the bench.
There was also a surprise place as a substitute for 'forgotten' striker Danny Bacon.
Both teams were forced to tread carefully in the opening stages as they came to terms with the partially frozen, snow-covered pitch.
An early Eaton free kick, flicked on by White, forced a hurried clearance inside the Brentfoird area after just 30 seconds.
But then the Stags squandered two golden opportunities to get off to the perfect start.
In the third minute Corden capitalised on a mistake by Dobson to cross low from the left. Mendez and then White both missed the ball as it skidded across the area before Lawrence blasted high and wide at the far post.
Two minutes later White wasted an even better chance, fluffing his close range header from a pinpoint Mendez right wing cross.
However, Brentford were posing an equal threat on the breakaway, and from one fast move keeper Pilkington saved well, diving low to hold onto Vine's drive at the foot of the post.
Pilkington then reacted quickly to sprint across his line and cling onto Hunt's 20-yard inswinging free kick which threatened to catch out the Mansfield keeper as he lined up his defensive wall.
After a spell of home pressure Williamson saw his dipping 20-yard drive flash narrowly wide.
In the 20th minute Curtis, unmarked inside the area, rounded the keeper, only for Marshall to head his cross from an acute angle off the line.
As play became scrappy Lawrence's 20-yard free kick was easily saved by Paul Smith, and then Corden's free kick from a similar distance flew high into the stand.
The Stags again lived dangerously as Pilkington was forced to race out of his area to clear a mis-hit back pass. As on Saturday his clearance was charged down, but this time the ball fell kindly for the Stags who eventually cleared.
New signing Mendez almost marked his home debut with a goal a minute into the second half, his low shot acrobatically turned around the post by the diving Smith.
From the resulting partially cleared flag kick Eaton's 25-yard piledriver flew harmlessly wide.
Another clear cut chance for the Stags went begging in the 55th minute when the stretching Williamson just failed to touch in Corden's fierce low cross-shot.
As Brentford fought back in the second half it looked as though Mansfield might be made to rue the wasted chances.
First Gadsby had to react quickly to clear a dangerous cross from Evans, and then the Stags were fortunate when Vine sprang the offside trap before tamely lobbing straight at Pilkington.
There was another escape for the home side when Vine raced clear, but with just Pilkington to beat, he failed to hit the target.
Mansfield were again grateful to the timely tackling of Gadsby 15 minutes from time when he superbly slid in to rob Hunt as the striker shaped to give Brentford the lead.
STAGS: Pilkington, Doane, Gadsby, Day, Eaton, Lawrence, Curtis, Williamson, Corden, A. White (Mitchell 89), Mendez. Substitutes not used: J. White, Disley, Hassell, Bacon.
BRENTFORD: P. Smith, Dobson, Sonko, Marshall, Somner, Fullarton, Evans (Rowlands 69), J. Smith, Vine (Constantine 84), O'Connor, Hunt. Substitutes not used: Julian, Frampton, Hutchinson.
REFEREE: Eddie Evans of Manchester.
CAUTIONS: Brentford - O'Connor 63 (unsporting behaviour).
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Gadsby.
Latest | February 2003