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Club News

Season Review - March

20 May 2014

A marvellous month for Mansfield Town saw Paul Cox’s team accumulate 12 points from seven matches.

Vs Dagenham & Redbridge, D 0-0. Watch highlights by clicking here.
Vs Newport County, W 2-1. Watch highlights by clicking here.
Vs York City, L 0-1. Watch highlights by clicking here.
Vs Northampton Town, D 1-1. Watch highlights by clicking here.
Vs Chesterfield, D 0-0. Watch highlights by clicking here.
Vs Hartlepool United, W 4-2. Watch highlights by clicking here.
Vs AFC Wimbledon, W 1-0. Watch highlights by clicking here.

March proved to be a brilliant month for our team, though it began with a subdued 0-0 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge in East London.

Medy Elito and Adebayo Azeez squandered good chances for the Daggers, whilst Ritchie Sutton went close for us, and a point apiece was probably a fair reflection.

A week later, we picked up three points in dramatic style as Anthony Howell scored in the dying minutes to earn us a 2-1 win over Newport County.

The match had looked set to finish in a draw as Rene Howe’s equaliser shortly after half-time had cancelled out Ryan Tafazolli’s headed opener on the half-hour mark, but Howell’s close-range last-minute finish gave us maximum points.

In our following midweek match with fast-improving York City, we succumbed to a 1-0 defeat on what was a tempestuous night at One Call Stadium. 

Ryan Bowman was the match-winner as he converted a controversial spot-kick, which was awarded after John Dempster was judged to have tangled with Josh Carson inside the area. Our team’s sense of injustice was fuelled even further as we had two penalty shouts turned down by referee Darren Drysdale.

The defeat to the Minstermen left us teetering just three points above the relegation zone ahead of our trip to Northampton Town, who still occupied a spot in the bottom two.

It was a tense affair at the Sixfields Stadium, but Ollie Palmer showed great calmness and composure to open the scoring and give us an advantage on the half-hour mark. Darren Carter equaliser for Northampton in the second half after Darryl Westlake was sent-off for handball, but we held on to pick up a point.

The following Saturday, 5,931 spectators flocked to One Call Stadium to witness our goalless draw with arch-rivals Chesterfield, and we came so close to doing a ‘double’ over the Spireites.

Sam Clucas had already seen an effort blocked on the line, before Ollie Palmer found space inside the six-yard box and screwed a shot wide deep into injury-time, as we were desperately unlucky to make a breakthrough.

However, three days later, we took out our frustrations on Hartlepool United, as we romped to an emphatic victory in a six-goal thriller at Victoria Park.

It was a thrilling spectacle for any neutral. In a pulsating first period, James Jennings opened the scoring with a predatory close-range finish, but Marlon Harewood quickly equalised. The Pools then had the chance to lead at the interval, but Alan Marriott produced a superb diving save to deny Harewood, after Ritchie Sutton felled Luke James.

James made it 2-1 to Hartlepool shortly after the re-start, but the drama didn’t stop there. Our team roared back to earn three points as Jennings’ looping free-kick made it 2-2, before Matt Rhead’s delicate point-blank header swung the pendulum in our favour. Jamie McGuire then completed the scoring with a 20-yard thunderbolt in stoppage-time.

Everyone was now engulfed by a fresh sense of optimism and with confidence sky-high our team recorded their first back-to-back victories in over six months, just four days later.

AFC Wimbledon were the victims. Despite a spirited fight, the Dons lost 1-0 in North Nottinghamshire courtesy of an early free-kick by Adam Murray, which evaded the desperate dive of Ross Worner.

By the end of March, we had climbed into the top half of the table for the first time in 2014. We had also reached 50 points – with six matches of the season still remaining.

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