Report: Cheltenham 0-0 Stags
Mansfield Town were held to a second goalless draw in five days following a 0-0 scoreline against ten-man Cheltenham Town this afternoon.
Stags had earned a point at Yeovil on Tuesday night and completed the week with two points from their 645 miles spent on the road.
The home side had to play most of the contest with ten men after Kyle Storer was deemed to have lunged into a challenge on Stags' midfielder Jamie McGuire in the 17th minute.
But Mansfield were unable to make their extra man count and found it difficult to frequently get past a stubborn Cheltenham defence, who superbly protected Scott Brown, their goalkeeper.
Neither shot stoppers were seriously extended in a game where quality in the final third was lacking - partly because of a ripped-up Whaddon Road playing surface - one of the worst in the division.
Two changes were made to the Stags’ line-up. McGuire returned to midfield and Pat Hoban gained a start in a lone role in attack.
Midfielder Joel Byrom and striker Shaq Coulthirst were moved to the substitutes’ bench.
The first charge at goal transpired in the seventh minute when Cheltenham frontman Billy Waters advanced through the middle before teeing up a shot for Kyle Storer. But after it was blocked, Jack Barthram sent it back into the penalty area where Krystian Pearce was able to clear for a corner.
Stags then won six successive corners in inside two minutes, all taken by Alex MacDonald, but the home side were able to deal with the right-flank crosses to prevent goalkeeper Scott Brown from being called upon.
And after the rain cleared, the sun shone on Whaddon Road, but turned dark on the field for the hosts when Cheltenham were reduced to ten men in the 17th minute.
Near the touchline in between the two dugouts, Kyle Storer was adjudged to have lunged late into Jamie McGuire and was given his marching orders.
Things went from bad to worse for the Robins as their manager Gary Johnson was sent to the stands for protesting with the match officials, before play restarted.
Cheltenham switched to a 4-1-3-1 formation following the dismissal, from the 3-5-2 with which they started.
Mid-way inside the first half, Stags’ winger CJ Hamilton delivered low from the goal line into Hoban who turned to pull the trigger, but Cheltenham blocked and hacked away.
At the other end, Stags’ goalkeeper Scott Shearer rose inside his six yard box to comfortably collect a Liam Davis cross with half-an-hour played.
Less than two minutes later, Pearce, Stags' Man of the Match, showed good strength on the half-way line to keep possession before releasing Ben Whiteman. And the skilful midfielder, on loan from Sheffield United, sped away through the centre but could only drag his left-footed shot wide from 22 yards.
Stags began to enjoy the lion’s share of possession and Cheltenham defended in great numbers towards half-time, but Mansfield’s final ball was often found wanting and Brown went untested.
Mansfield won their tenth corner in the 40th minute, and were awarded another flag-kick moments later when Whiteman’s header was deflected behind.
From it, Pearce directed an effort goalwards on the left side of the box, but again it was put behind by Cheltenham.
With three minutes of normal time remaining, Hoban smashed an ambitious 25-yard strike well over.
Stags ended the half having racked up 13 corners – the last of which in the 44th minute, when Brown claimed with ease at his near post from Pearce’s tame header on the edge of the six yard box.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Cheltenham began the second half in encouraging fashion.
With 90 seconds played of the second period, home captain Harry Pell let fly from 25 yards, only for Bennett to block its route to goal.
In the 50th minute, Daniel O’Shaughnessy launched a massive throw into the Stags’ goal area for William Boyle to head against Collins and out for a corner.
Directly from the Liam Davis’ flag-kick, Shearer had to be fully alert to fingertip it on to the bar.
Stags should have made more of an attack on 57 minutes.
Hamilton robbed Cheltenham of the ball inside the centre-circle, and after dribbling his way to the edge of the Cheltenham box, he knocked it to the right, only for Whiteman to drag his low shot wide.
Inside the hour, Shaq Coulthirst replaced Pat Hoban in Stags’ first change.
After promising build-up play from Mansfield on the left-flank, Cheltenham half cleared a cross into the box, allowing Lee Collins to rifle a shot just off target from outside the area.
As the ball was out of play, Alex MacDonald was replaced by striker Yoann Arquin in the 66th minute.
Robins’ midfielder Carl Winchester then cleared the stand with a 30-yard pile-driver.
Cheltenham's wayward shooting continued when Pell blasted a 25-yard free-kick against the top of the stand.
Scott Brown was sent sprawling to his near post shortly after a Cheltenham double change, when Hayden White's right-flank floater was headed forward by Coulthirst - but the flag was up in any case.
Diminutive midfielder Alfie Potter then took the place of Jamie McGuire with 15 minutes of normal time to play.
Arquin hit a speculative effort off target from 30 yards and at the opposite end, Shearer got well behind a Liam Davis shot.
As the clock ticked over the 90, Coulthirst missed a great chance - Stags best of the encounter - to break a late deadlock.
Racing onto Hamilton's assist, Coulthirst lifted it over the cross bar from seven yards, with Brown racing out to narrow the angle.
Bennett conceded a free-kick 22 yards from his own goal in the last of five minutes added on. But Rowe's curler hit the Mansfield wall.
Cheltenham celebrated at the full-time whistle, whereas Stags will see the affair as an opportunity missed to have claimed maximum points.
CHELTENHAM: Brown, Onariase, Boyle, O’Shaghnessy, Barthram, Storer (sent off, 17), Pell, Winchester (Cranston 73), Davis, Waters (Rowe 88), Wootton (Wright 73)
UNUSED SUBS: Lovett, Munns, Dayton, Holman
STAGS: Shearer, White, Pearce, Bennett, Benning, Collins, McGuire (Potter 75), Whiteman, MacDonald (Arquin 66), Hamilton, Hoban (Coulthirst 60)
UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Howkins, Byrom, Baxendale
REFEREE: Charles Breakspear
ATTENDANCE: 2,941 (320 Stags' fans)