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Match Reports

Match report: Stags 2-2 Chesterfield

25 November 2017

Mansfield Town left it late to extend their unbeaten run to 10 games as they played out a 2-2 draw in a fierce local derby against Chesterfield at One Call Stadium this afternoon.

Mansfield bossed the majority of the opening 45 minutes but they found themselves behind in 14th minute when Spireites' winger Joe Rowley curled the ball past goalkeeper Conrad Logan from around 10 yards out.

Despite the setback, Stags continued to pepper the Chesterfield goal and they got a deserved equaliser 12 minutes later through right-back Hayden White, when his overlapping run ended with him dispatching the ball into the top corner.

Despite Mansfield's strong first half, it was Chesterfield who started the second period brighter and they retook the lead in the 58th minute when Wigan Athletic loanee Andy Kellett headed in from close range after being picked out by striker Kristian Dennis.

Stags then clinched a point in the 88th minute when skipper Zander Diamond, operating as a makeshift centre forward, headed home winger Alex MacDonald's cross.

Looking to build on an emphatic 4-0 victory over Port Vale in midweek, Mansfield manager Steve Evans made two changes to his side. Jacob Mellis returned to midfield, with Paul Anderson dropping to the bench, whilst forward Omari Sterling-James was given a start with Oxford United loanee Kane Hemmings missing out due to a slight calf strain.

Chesterfield were unchanged after going unbeaten in their last four games as part of their recent revival since being taken over by club legend Jack Lester.

It was a bright but cold day in north Nottinghamshire as Stags' fans turned out in their numbers to support the club in their first metting with the Spireites in three years. 

The game was fast-paced from the off, Chesterfield having much of the early possession but not threatening 'keeper Conrad Logan in the Mansfield goal.

Both sets of fans put their rivalries to one side in the second minute when One Call Stadium broke out in applause in memory of young Stags' fan Dawson Willcock, who sadly passed away on Friday, aged two.

The first chance of the game arrived in the fourth minute when Mansfield winger CJ Hamilton did well to get to the byline before looping a ball into the box. Chesterfield 'keeper Joe Anyon could only palm it into the path of defender centre-half Rhys Bennett, but despite twisting his body to meet it, the Stags' centre half couldn't direct the ball on the target.

The first piece of drama arrived in the sixth minute when referee Andy Woolmer had his first big call of the afternoon. He ruled that Mansfield wideman Alex MacDonald had not been fouled in the Chesterfield area by their captain Ian Evatt.

Mansfield were growing into the game and starting to get on top. Former Chelsea youngster Jacob Mellis was next to try his luck, but his low shot was well held by Anyon.

As the game passed the 10 minute mark, Logan remained untested but at the other end, Mansfield were getting closer to opening the scoring and the pacey Omari Sterling-James fizzed a shot just wide of the near post after latching onto a long ball and cutting inside from the left.

In the 12th minute, supporters of both sides came together once more to pay their respects to young Chesterfield supporter Abbie Jacques, who passed away aged 12 last month.

The Stags were now dominant and Mellis found space in the centre of park to drive towards the edge of the box and unleash a rasping drive which went just wide of the target.

Despite Mansfield's strong start to the game, it was the visitors who took the lead inside the 14th minute. A good passing move resulted in Joe Rowley being left in too much space inside the area and he curled the ball past Logan and into the top corner.

The goal came against the run of play, but Stags immediately returned to the ascendancy and went in search of an equaliser.

Stags nearly struck back immediately but when MacDonald was found in the area, his shot was headed over by Jerome Binnom-Williams.

Mansfield continued to dominate despite falling behind and top scorer Danny Rose nearly notched his 12th of the season but he was just inches away from turning in Sterling-James' drilled pass across the face of goal.

A goal for the home side looked inevitable and it finally arrived in the 26th minute. Right-back Hayden White initially gave the ball away but after tremendous work to win it back, Mansfield counter-attacked and Sterling-James slipped the marauding full-back through on goal with White keeping his composure to curl past Anyon.

Mansfield were playing with all the confidence of a side on a nine-game unbeaten run and their opponents had yet to have a sight on the home goal since Rowley's opener.

With half-time approaching, the men in amber and blue almost went ahead. After receiving a long throw from left-back Johnny Hunt, Danny Rose did well to hold the ball up and he teed up Mellis on the edge of the area but the influential midfielder saw his strike blocked.

The Spireites were enjoying their best spell of the game late into the first half and in added on time, they were awarded a free kick in a central position around 25 yards out. In-form winger Jak McCourt eventually got a shot away but it was deflected wide.

The Stags will have felt they were unfortunate not to go into the break ahead but Chesterfield were not looking like a side rock bottom of League Two and looked dangerous on the counter attack, throwing men forward at every opportunity.

Chesterfield hit-man Kristian Dennis had been relatively quiet so far but he sparked the second half into life with a tremendous effort from range that clattered the bar in the 48th minute.

The visitors were looking lively after the break and Sheffield United loanee Louis Reed hit a low shot from outside the area which Logan got down to meet.

Much like the Stags' chance in the first half, Chesterfield saw a chance go begging minutes later when Dennis nearly turned home his 13th goal of the campaign but he just couldn't meet Rowley's pass across the six yard box.

Chesterfield were now attacking the end which housed their fans and the travelling supporters were soon in raptures as the away side retook the lead just before the hour. Dennis got down the left and delivered a high ball into the box, which looped over Logan, and Andy Kellett was on hand from close range to head into the net.

Stags were behind once more and would need to find a goal from somewhere to salvage something from the clash.

Winger CJ Hamilton nearly headed Mansfield level but he couldn't keep his effort down after meeting White's cross from the right.

Wideman Alfie Potter was brought on in the place of Hamilton to try and get the Stags back into the game but it was Chesterfield who had the next effort, Dennis seeing a drilled shot turned round the post by Logan.

Gaffer Steve Evans made two more quick changes, bringing Will Atkinson and Jimmy Spencer on for Jacob Mellis and Joel Byrom, respectively.

The Stags almost got an equaliser in the 80th minute when Rose was slipped through by Sterling-James but he attempted to cut the ball back to MacDonald and the danger was cleared.

With time running out, Stags piled men forward as they tried to find a late equaliser. After a set piece was cleared, skipper Zander Diamond stayed up front to make a nuisance of himself in the box – and make a nuisance he did.

Right-back Hayden White laid the ball off for MacDonald on the right wing and the former Oxford United man whipped a superb delivery onto the head of Diamond and he directed the ball past Anyon and into corner of the net.

Four additional minutes were added at the end of the match and Mansfield went close to grabbing a winger. Potter drove to the byline and clipped a cross towards Rose, who produced an acrobatic volley from close range which flew over the bar.

Stags had the game's final chance as Potter burst clear down the left but his effort from inside the area went over the bar.

In the end, both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils as Stags maintained their place in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs prior to the 3.00pm kick-offs.

STAGS' XI: Logan, White, Bennett, Diamond ©, Hunt, Mellis (Atkinson 69'), Byrom (Spencer 72'), MacDonald, Hamilton (Potter 65'), Rose, Sterling-James

SUBS NOT USED: Olejnik (GK), Pearce, Anderson, Butcher

CHESTERFIELD XI: Anyon, Binnom-Williams, Hird, Evatt©, Dennis, Rowley, Kellett (De Girolamo 90'), Reed, McCourt, Barry, Weir

SUBS NOT USED: Parkin (GK), Wiseman, Mitchell, O'Grady, Dimaio, Maguire

REFEREE: Andy Woolmer

ATTENDANCE: 7,525 (1,646 away)


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