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Match Reports

Match report: Stags 0-0 Swindon Town

29 December 2018

Match Reports

Match report: Stags 0-0 Swindon Town

29 December 2018

Mansfield Town played out a stalemate with Swindon Town as they earned a point to round off 2018 at One Call Stadium, stretching our unbeaten streak in Sky Bet League Two to 16 matches.

With both sides sharing good chances in the first half, it looked to be set up for an entertaining second period that ultimately didn’t arrive.

The Stags were unable to capitalise on their second-half dominance and – despite late chances falling their way – it meant that neither side would sign off the year with victory.

For the third successive time, David Flitcroft had opted for an unchanged starting line-up that also accompanied an untouched substitutes bench.

An early tempo was laid out at One Call Stadium by the hosts as both CJ Hamilton and Tyler Walker saw efforts from the right-hand side blocked with relative ease.

Neat one-touch football, which ended with a Mal Benning cross, then looked to be profitable, yet it was hooked away by Jak McCourt as it sailed towards Walker in the middle.

And for all of Mansfield’s hard work in the opening moments they almost found themselves behind in the 10th minute.

Krystian Pearce had possession nicked away from him by Elijah Adebayo, but a strong save from Conrad Logan thereafter thwarted Keshi Anderson’s low strike.

The game ebbed and flowed as the Stags responded with an attack of their own. Hayden White’s cross found Hamilton in the middle but his deft flick was turned behind by the Swindon defence.

Timi Elsnik then found himself with no options as he strode forward with intent. Instead, the Slovenian decided upon a drive from 30 yards that was only just collected by Lawrence Vigouroux.

Mansfield showed no signs of letting up as Benning almost ended a training ground routine in style. Collecting a short corner from Jacob Mellis, the left wing-back looked to have found the bottom corner, had it not been for another well-timed block.

The Robins came closest just shy of the half-hour mark, though, when Matt Taylor struck the frame of Logan’s goal. The shot-stopper did well to tip the disguised effort from his set-piece onto the bar.

Brilliant work from Walker soon allowed White to get a strike away but, not for the first time, had it blocked and subsequently sent behind for only a corner.

The on-loan striker soon had Vigouroux scrambling when a curling, long-range effort had to be touched over to prevent his side falling behind.

Both sides had battled hard thus far, and it showed no signs of easing as the half drew to a close.

Several corners went unpunished from a Stags viewpoint before Anderson was denied smartly by the feet of Logan.

It was a nervy end to the half for Flitcroft’s side when Anderson almost poked home from a corner. The midfielder was unable to get a clean connection though, ensuring it would honours even at the break.

Second-half proceedings began with the hosts as much the better side.

Benning’s cross was met by the head of teammate Mellis, but the Stags midfielder was unable to steer it goalwards with sufficient power.

Chances were few and far between in the second period but the hosts continued to search for the opener.

Neal Bishop, who had put himself about all afternoon, made space for a cross that was marginally too high for Hamilton in the middle.

In the meantime, Otis Khan had replaced Elsnik on the hour mark in an attempt to try and force the opener.

And the substitute had a chance not long after to pounce on Logan’s long punt upfield – but he was unable to capitalise on the opportunity as it bounced all the way through.

Pearce then found himself in the referee’s notebook after tugging down Kaiyne Woolery to halt a rare Swindon attack.

Matt Taylor assumed responsibility of the subsequent free-kick but could only find Ryan Sweeney’s mid-rift in the amber and blue wall.

Chances were still a rarity in the Stags’ latest Sky Bet League Two clash but Mansfield looked most likely to score as the clock ticked towards 90.

Hamilton let fly from a tight angle and forced a smart save from Vigouroux, before the following corner was turned out of harm’s way by the visitors.

Mellis was next in-line to try his luck but saw his effort from the edge of the area blocked by the head of Sid Nelson.

Pinball football ensued in the final minute of added time but Flitcroft’s side were ultimately held despite being the better side for the majority of the afternoon.

The draw will look to be put behind them quickly, though, as the Stags make the trip to face Grimsby Town on New Year’s Day.

STAGS XI: Logan (GK), White, Benning (Rose 79’), Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, Mellis, Sweeney, Walker, Elsnik (Khan 60’), Hamilton.

SUBS NOT USED: Kean (GK), Atkinson, Butcher, Law, Graham.

SWINDON XI: Vigouroux (GK), Knoyle, Doughty, McCourt, Nelson, Anderson, Adebayo (Richards 65’), Woolery, Conroy, Taylor ©, Woolfenden.

SUBS NOT USED: McCormick (GK), McGlashan, Dunne, Iandolo, Smith, Twine.

REFEREE: Trevor Kettle.
ASSISTANTS: Chris Isherwood & Alix Pashley.

ATTENDANCE: 5,311 (486 away).

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