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16:55 18th January 2014
By  Andrew Webb

Report: Pompey 1-1 Stags

Mansfield Town continued their good away form with a hard earned point at Portsmouth.

After a goalless first half of very few clear-cut chances, the Stags went ahead courtesy of Lee Stevenson’s acrobatic close-range finish shortly after the re-start.

But Pompey, who enjoyed several corners, earned a share of the spoils thanks to a 77th minute equaliser from debutant Ryan Taylor.

The Stags controlled the match for the opening five minutes and came close when James Jennings curled a free-kick just wide of Trevor Carson’s left-hand post.

Pompey’s first chance arrived on seven minutes when Sonny Bradley’s looping header from Jed Wallace’s free-kick landed only yards wide of the target.

The hosts slowly began to grow in confidence and Nicky Shorey forced a good near-post stop from Alan Marriott following the first corner of the afternoon.

John Dempster then went close for Mansfield on the quarter-hour mark when he rose highest to meet a Chris Clements corner, but was unable to guide his header towards goal.

The momentum swung to-and-forth and Patrick Agyemang soon spurned a gilt-edge opportunity for Pompey, when his close-range effort was blocked by a Stags defender.

At the other end, Stevenson tried his luck with an audacious half-volley on the half-hour mark, which was comfortably gathered by a back-peddling Carson.

Pompey looked the more likely of the two teams to break the deadlock at this point and they won another corner when Marcos Painter’s shot was deflected wide by Clements.

Despite the resulting flag kick coming to nothing, Taylor tried his luck a few moments later, but his 25-yard attempt sailed well wide of the woodwork.

Neither team showed much quality in the final third during the first half, but within six minutes of the re-start, the Stags made a breakthrough.

Darryl Westlake’s right-wing cross reached James Jennings inside the six-yard box and his flick across the area was spectacularly rifled into the net by Stevenson in acrobatic style.

The opening goal was what the Stags had craved and the task now was to hold onto the advantage.

Pompey attempted to find a quick equaliser, but a resilient Mansfield defence dealt with a Jed Wallace free-kick and two Nicky Shorey corners before the hour mark.

Paul Cox’s team then enjoyed a brief spell of pressure during which Matt Rhead had an attempt deflected wide and Clements also fired narrowly off-target.

The biggest difficulty for Pompey was creating clear-cut chances, but they bolstered their attacking threat with the introduction of David Connolly and Jake Jervis.

Mansfield nearly doubled their advantage on 71 minutes when Dyer stole a yard on his marker to reach Clements’ right-wing cross, but his toe-poked effort hit the post.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, an unmarked Jervis should have done much better when he scuffed a low 20-yard drive wide of the right-hand post.

However, Portsmouth grew in confidence following this attack and only a superb diving save by Marriott to tip an effort by Connolly onto the post, prevented them from drawing level.

But a minute later, the Stags custodian was finally beaten as Taylor drove his way into the area down the inside-right channel and slotted home from a tight angle.

Having now levelled, Pompey pressed and probed for a winner, but one was not forthcoming.

Their best opening came with 10 minutes left to play when Painter whistled a teasing ball through a packed six-yard box, which somehow evaded everyone.

Mansfield’s defensive display was enough to merit a point and that is what they ultimately achieved.#

Attendance: 14,686 (607 away supporters).