Report: Accrington 1-1 Stags
Mansfield Town acquired a well-earned point at Accrington Stanley this evening after Terry Gornell's strike cancelled out Chris Clements wonderful first half free kick.
It would be difficult to begrudge either side of a point in a match which saw Stags dominate in the first half, while Stanley enjoyed more possession in the second.
Three alterations were made to the line-up following Saturday’s 1-0 loss at home to Grimsby Town.
Jamie McGuire and Chris Clements gained places in midfield as Alex Iacovitti and Oscar Gobern were moved to the bench while frontman Pat Hoban replaced Matt Green in attack to make his first league start of the season.
Mansfield took the game to their Lancashire hosts in the first half, with Pat Hoban and Danny Rose both winning the majority of aerial balls, while goalkeeper Scott Shearer went untested at the other end.
Stags forced three corners within the first five minutes, the first of which came after a teasing left-flank cross by Mal Benning, which Zak Vyner, the Accrington defender, had to turn behind for a corner.
Continuing their good start, Stags struck at goal on ten minutes when Rhys Bennett fired over from outside the box.
Accrington wasted a chance to test Stags' goalkeeper Scott Shearer on 13 minutes. After conceding a free-kick 30 yards from goal, Steven Hewitt blasted the resulting free-kick out of the stadium,
On 16, Pat Hobarn headed goalwards from 15 yards after another inviting cross by Benning, but it was straight at Elliot Parish, the Stanley shot stopper.
Both sides then played out a ten minute spell, in which the quality of final balls into the area were found wanting.
Then came the breakthrough with half-an-hour played when Mitchell Rose was upended inside the Stanley D as he looked to drive into the penalty area.
Chris Clements stepped up to whip the ball over the wall to see it smash against the underside of the bar and into the net.
It was a wonderfully hit free-kick by the Stags midfielder, struck with fine accuracy and speed, leaving Parish with no chance to deny.
There was a nervy moment on 36 minutes, when Scott Shearer did well to slide low to clear with his feet after a shorter-than-anticipated back pass by Jamie McGuire, with Stanley forward Billy Kee in hot pursuit.
Then at the other end, Parish had to get down quickly to beat away a 25-yard effort by Kevan Hurst.
As the first half edged to its close, Paddy Lacy wildly hit a 30-yard free-kick over the stand as Accrington’s frustrations mounted.
Jamie McGuire did well to win a free-kick after an excellent tackle by Mitchell Rose. And from it, Chris Clements tried his luck from 25 yards, but it lacked the power to beat Parish.
Expectedly as the home side, Accrington responded in a more vigorous fashion at the start of the second period, and Stags had to block two early shots inside their own box within the first six minutes of the second period. Then, Jordan Clark struck over from the right-side of the box, as his sight of goal was blocked with a mass of Stags’ players defending.
Stanley were level on 56 minutes after a dubious free-kick was awarded to the hosts on the touchline near the half-way line. From it, a deep ball into the box caused confusion, allowing Terry Gornell to place it home from eight yards.
Accrington had a goal disallowed on the stroke of the hour.
John Coleman’s men broke forward and as Benning lost his footing on the edge of the box, Clarke was allowed to shoot at goal. And after Shearer parried, Sean McConville was well positioned to send the ball over the goalline, only to see the flag raised for offside.
Midway through the second period, Stags made their first change as Kevan Hurst made way for Ashley Hemmings.
Clark then sent a shot onto the roof of the net and moments later nobody was able to convert for Stanley following a low right wing ball across the Mansfield box.
On 72, Alex Iacovitti took the place of Danny Rose.
Stags registered their first corner of the second period on 75 minutes. It came as a result of a clever turn by Clements inside his own half, ending with Benning winning the flag kick on the left channel.
A final change was made by Mansfield just two minutes later, as Pat Hoban departed the field for Matt Green.
With 83 minutes played, Krystian Pearce headed over from a Mal Benning corner in front of 136 travelling Stags' fans amidst Mansfield's best period of the second half.
In the 89th minute, Hemmings crisp touchline cross forced Parish to claim at the second attempt.
In the third minute of time added on, Boco roamed forward for Accrington before letting fly, which fizzed beyond the post and out for a goal kick.
It was the last real action of the contest in a match from which Stags will be pleased with their night's work at a ground which has previously served as a graveyard for points.
ACCRINGTON: Parish, Pearson, Beckles, Vyner, Clark, Gornell (Boco 80), McConville, Lacey, Hewitt, Kee, Donacien
UNUSED SUBS: Hughes, Davies, Jones, Chapman, Sykes, Eagles
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Collins, Pearce, Benning, McGuire, Clements, M. Rose, Hurst (Hemmings 67), D.Rose (Iacovitti 72), Hoban (Green 77)
UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Hamilton, Gobern, Henderson
REFEREE: Darren England
ATTENDANCE: 1,134 (136 Stags’ supporters)