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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:08 3rd November 2012
By  Andrew Webb

Stags held by Slough


Mansfield Town will face a replay at Slough Town to determine which team advances to the Second Round of the FA Cup with Budweiser after a goalless draw at One Call Stadium.

The Stags spurned several opportunities against the resilient Rebels, who would have won the game had Shane Redmond not made an excellent save from Ed Smith in the first period.

Steve Bateman’s side acquitted themselves well in the early exchanges and the closest that Mansfield came to an early goal was when Ben Hutchinson received an intelligent pass from Lindon Meikle on the edge of the area and saw a powerful right-foot shot blocked by Rebels defender Sean Fraser.

Louis Briscoe carved his way through the middle with a weaving run on 17 minutes and despite his chipped cross through the penalty area appearing to strike the hand of a Slough player, Japanese referee Jumpei Iida waved away the subsequent appeals for a spot-kick.

The Stags began to attack with more menace as the half progressed and should have grabbed an opener when Matt Green reached Briscoe’s long ball down the right channel ahead of Rebels shot-stopper James Warrington, who had advanced from his line and was caught wildly out of position.

Green’s lofted ball through the area was inadvertently diverted by Hutchinson into the path of Meikle, whose goal bound shot was superbly blocked on the line by Alex Brown, before Slough finally cleared the danger through Fraser.

Anthony Howell spurned another gilt-edge chance moments later when he agonisingly fired wide from close range, whilst Nathan Bowden-Haase failed to hit the target at the other end as Slough enjoyed a rare foray into the Stags box.

Despite their territorial dominance, Mansfield remained frustrated for long periods and almost fell behind to the rebellious Rebels on the half-hour mark as Smith weaved his way past Exodus Geohaghon and John Dempster and saw his vicious 12-yard attempt expertly tipped over by Redmond.

Lee Beevers received a yellow card shortly prior to the interval, before Mansfield almost crafted an unlikely opening when Geohaghon hurled one of his trademarks long-throws into a crowded penalty box, which almost caused a mix-up between Bowden-Haase and Warrington.

The Stags began the second period with a real purpose in their play and created several chances in quick succession.

Briscoe was industrious in the action as he fabulously linked up with Hutchinson on the right channel in a great one-two move which created enough space in the Rebels defence for the winger to drift into, before he received the ball back from his team-mate and arrowed a shot just wide of the left-hand post.

The Stags came even closer on 55 minutes as Meikle thrashed a powerful close-range header against the woodwork after Chris Clements had hooked an exceptional cross towards the back post from deep within the inside right channel.

Clements’ set-piece deliveries caused Slough numerous problems throughout the afternoon and defender Dominic Rhone was forced to clear Green’s goalwards header from the line moments later, as Mansfield once again threatened to break the Rebels gritty resistance.

Nick Wright replaced Hutchinson in attack on the hour-mark and almost claimed an assist when his high ball through the six-yard box evaded everyone, including Meikle who intelligently held his run towards the back post, in order to remain unmarked as Wright delivered his right-sided cross.

Clements’ powerful drive was diverted over by Brown on 69 minutes and from the resulting corner, Dempster connected with a set-piece delivery from the right and cushioned a header towards goal, which was somehow bundled over the target from only two-yards out by Green.

Mansfield searched in desperation for a winner as the game agonisingly ticked towards its conclusion, but Slough, despite their heavy legs, nevertheless remained robust and resilient as they survived a series of set-pieces and crosses to record a well-earned draw and thus earn a replay at Holloways Park later this month.

Attendance: 1,686 (250 away supporters).